Congratulations to the 2015 Weta Nichols Writing Contest WINNERS!

Congratulations to the 2015 Weta Nichols Writing Contest WINNERS!

Historical Category

  • 1st Place: Pam Bazemore, “A Choice Between”

Pam BazemorePam Bazemore. (Birchwood, 20 minutes NE of Chattanooga, TN) She’s attempted a number of things to find her primary role in life: secretary, cashier, piece worker, fork-lift driver and even tank driver in the TN Army Nat’l Guard. Writing short fiction and personal journals is something she’s done off and on since high school. ‘A Choice Between’ is her first novel. She has a completed second, a raw third, and eight chapters (so far) of a fourth. When not writing, she makes the claim of ‘glorified gopher’ for her husband’s business, devoted mom to their brilliant 23 year old son, and chief feeder and caretaker to six dogs she didn’t really intend to have but couldn’t give them up even if she wanted to.

  • 2nd Place: Veda Boyd Jones, “Will Jolie’s Excellent Vietnam Adventure”

Veda Boyd JonesVeda Boyd Jones (Joplin, MO) has written romance novels and children’s fiction and nonfiction books and is trying her hand at a mainstream historical novel. She reread letters she received from her husband during his army years (previous to their marriage), and using them as a catalyst, she decided to fictionalize the turmoil and angst of the Vietnam era on a young man and the young woman he loved. New ebooks: The Governor’s Daughter, That Sunday Afternoon

  • 3rd Place: Lindsey Edwards, “Awaiting the Viscount’s Kiss

Contemporary Category

  • 1st Place: Jessie Gussman, “When Silence Speaks”
  • 2nd Place: Lindy Dierks, “Who Says You Can’t Go Home”

Lindy Dierks

Lindy Dierks, an avid reader her entire life, began writing a few years ago. She squeezes in writing contemporary romances in the early morning hours, between a full time job, three kids, and the mountains of laundry.



  • 3rd Place: Lori Younker, “Without Borders”

Lori Younker

Lori Younker has enjoyed the world of words with her international friends for over 30 years. Whether she is learning a new language or teaching English, she appreciates the power of words to capture issues that inspire others. She has had several short stories published in anthologies some of which placed first and second in contests. Lori and her husband raised three kids in warm and woodsy Missouri. Currently, she is president of the COMO Writers’ Guild and donates her energies to recent immigrants and to her writing.


  • 1st Place: Rosalie Stanton, “Hellion”

Rosalie Stanton 2

Rosalie Stanton is a multi-published erotic romance author, with emphasis in paranormal and contemporary. A lifelong enthusiast of larger than life characters, Rosalie enjoys building worlds filled with strong heroes and heroines of all backgrounds.




  • 2nd Place: Allison Merritt, “Lawless”

Allison Merritt 2015A love of reading inspired Allison Merritt to pursue her dream of becoming an author who writes historical, paranormal, contemporary, and fantasy romances, often combining the sub-genres. She lives in a small town in the Ozark Mountains with her husband and dogs. It’s not unusual to find her lurking in graveyards, wandering historical sites, or listening to ghost stories.


  • 3rd Place: Anne Belen, “Past Mistakes”

Young Adult/Middle Grade

  • 1st Place: Mary Holm, “The Fatal Crown”

Mary HolmMary Holm started writing her first novel after her twins were born as a way to stay sane between feedings and diaper changes.  Since then, she’s written two novels and is working on a third.  After graduating from Southern Illinois University with a BA in Television, she worked in production, did documentary research, and currently works as a script researcher for TV programs and movies.

 She lives in Burbank, CA with her wonderful husband of 32 years.  Her boy and girl twins are now grown and have recently made her a grandmother to two beautiful grandsons, three months apart.  On the rare occasions when she has spare time, she enjoys yoga, hiking, watching TV and tweeting.

  • 2nd Place: Charles Robertson, “Ghost Tree”
  • 3rd Place: S.D. Keeling, “Songs Never Sung, Words Never Spoken”

sharon davis keelingS. D. Keeling is the pen name of Sharon Keeling Davis, an award-winning photographer, aspiring author and mother of two rambunctious little boys. She is often drawn to historical and time travel fiction–not surprising since she spent five years as a grad student in ancient and medieval history.


ORACon 2015 – September 18-19, 2015

Ozarks Romance Authors’ Annual Conference (ORACON) is almost here!

Oracon 2015 Line UpYou are invited to Ozarks Romance Authors’ Annual Fiction Writers’ Conference! This event is NOT just for romance writers. The fundamentals of good writing are universal, and you will learn vital information about the publishing industry, no matter the genre you write. Check out our lineup of fantastic speakers and register here. We will also announce the winners for the 2015 Weta Nichols Fiction Writing Contest, named in honor of the woman who founded our group in 1987, the late novelist Weta Nichols.

The conference itself will be held Saturday, September 19, 2015 at University Plaza in Springfield, MO. Check out the agenda to see the pre-conference activities on Friday, September 18th and plan to join in the fun!

Monthly Meeting – Saturday, September 5, 2015 – Holly Atkinson will present Pitching to Editors and Agents

Monthly Meeting – Saturday, September 5, 2015 – Holly Atkinson will present Pitching to Editors and Agents

 Holly Atkinson2Holly Atkinson was fortunate to receive her first taste in editing when she was thirteen and wrote copy for a local realtor show. In 2008, Holly graduated from Missouri State University with a Bachelor’s in English, emphasizing in Creative Writing. Her first real job in the literary world came in the role of line editor for Lyrical Press. In 2011, she was recruited by Mundania Press as a content editor, where she met one of her future Samhain coworkers. In 2012, Holly joined the amazing team at Samhain Publishing.

Holly lives in Missouri with her husband, loves travel, musicals, and goes a little nutty around the holidays. In her spare time, she writes erotic romances and serves as a copywriter for a local marketing firm.


Please note that in September, ORA will be meeting at the Midtown Carnegie Branch Library, 397 E. Central St., Springfield, MO. The speaker begins at 1:00.

Join our critique group from 10 a.m. to Noon. Want your work reviewed by talented writers and published authors? Bring twenty copies of up to five pages of your work to share for critique or just listen and offer advice.

Meet The Authors of ORAcon Friday, Sept. 19 at Barnes & Noble 4-6 p.m.

Leigh Michaels

Come mix and mingle with a lot of published authors, including:

* Leigh Michaels | author of how-to-write books, highly sought-after writing instructor, and author romance fiction —

* Angie Fox | New York Times Bestselling author of urban fantasy —

* Mia Marlowe | bestselling author of historical romance fiction —

* Rosalie Stanton | author of paranormal erotic romance —

The event is free to attend and will be at Barnes & Noble Booksellers
3055 S Glenstone Ave, Springfield, Missouri 65804 (Map). We’ll be toward the back of the store. Grab some coffee or tea at Starbucks and then follow the noise to find us.

These fabulous authors have traveled to Springfield to speak at a fiction writers conference the next day.

If you are a writer (or hope to become a writer), please stop by to visit, and think about coming to the all-day conference on Saturday, September 20, at University Plaza Hotel. Cost to attend this fabulous, jam-packed event is just $75. Details are available here:

Topics that our guest speakers will cover at the conference are vital for writers of all fiction genres, not just romance.

Fiction Writers Conference Scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014, in Southwest Missouri

SPRINGFIELD, MO – Whether aspiring or multi-published, authors will gather in southwest Missouri to learn from industry professionals Saturday, September 20, 2014, in Springfield. ORAcon2014, which is open to authors and readers of all genres, is sponsored by Ozarks Romance Authors, and will be held from 8:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. at University Plaza Hotel & Convention Center.

In addition, Barnes & Noble in Springfield is hosting a Meet The Authors event from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. Friday, September 19, 2014.

Workshops and presentations scheduled for Saturday include traditional and self-publishing, how to capture the attention of editors and readers, plotting, what makes a manuscript appealing to an acquiring agent or editor, and manuscript editing. Speakers include:

“ORAcon 2014 will be my third year in attendance,” said Lisa Medley, multi-published author with Harlequin. “ORAcon provided me with networking contacts, motivation and great workshops that not only educated me but inspired me. The atmosphere of this workshop is nurturing and friendly. No one, author, editor or agent, is unapproachable.”

Published and aspiring authors will have the opportunity to pitch their manuscripts to industry professionals who have traveled to our area to discover new talent. The agents and editors who are accepting pitches are:

  • Liz Pelletier (Entangled Publishing)
  • Nicole Resciniti (Seymour Agency)
  • Tish Beaty (L. Perkins Agency)
  • Holly Atkinson (Samhain Publishing)

“ORAcon offers a fantastic opportunity to learn about the craft and business of fiction writing from bestselling authors, editors and agents,” said Sharon Davis, President of Ozarks Romance Authors. “With a variety of programs and opportunities to pitch your finished novel, we have something for writers of all genres, from beginner to pro.”

Attendees will receive goody bags and have the chance to win prizes. Authors, local and nonlocal alike, will be signing and selling books. In attendance will be authors Mary Caelsto Lenker, Dawna Kreis, Elizabeth Obrey, Barbara Bettis, Lynda Frazier, Ellen Harger, Terri Lee, Heather Snow, Cecily White, Kathleen Garnsey, Sharon Kizziah-Holmes, T. Sue VerSteeg, Lisa Medley, V. J. Schultz, Judy Nickles, William A. Spradley, Willy Robbins, Shirley McCann, Brandy Nacole, Tierney James, Beth Carter, Susan Keene, and Rosalie Stanton.

The conference agenda is available online here:

To register for ORAcon 2014, visit

Members of Ozarks Romance Authors – $60.00
Non-members of Ozarks Romance Authors – $75.00
Join ORA now + conference registration – $85.00


For more information about the event, contact 417-827-7800 or email

Ozarks Romance Authors, founded in 1987, is a registered nonprofit group in the state of Missouri, and a member of Springfield Regional Arts Council.

ORAcon 2013

ORAcon 2013

Saturday, September 21, 2013.

You are invited to Ozarks Romance Authors’ Annual Fiction Writers’ Conference!This event is not just for romance writers. The fundamentals of good writing are universal, and you will learn vital information about the publishing industry, no matter the genre you write.Stay tuned for more details as plans are confirmed. We will also announce the deadline for the 2013 Weta Nichols Fiction Writing Contest, named in honor of the woman who founded our group in 1987, the late novelist Weta Nichols.

Once again, 1-on-1 pitch sessions will be available with agents/editors, we’ll have a Meet The Authors/Booksigning event the night before the conference, workshops, panels, headshots, Q&A, networking, and prizes.

ORACON 2013 – Save The Date

Save The Date

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Ozarks Romance Authors Annual Conference

Springfield, MO

Workshops – Pitch Sessions – Speakers – Headshots – Networking – Fun

We’re putting together a fantastic lineup of speakers. Stay tuned for more details!

2012 Weta Nichols Writing Contest Winners Announced!

Thanks to everyone who entered the contest this year and the judges who offered their expertise in judging! We hope everyone will consider entering again next year.


1st place – Tracy Garrett
Laurie, MO
“In The Line of Fire”

2nd place – Nena Clements
Vilonia, AR
“Maggie’s Find”

3rd place – Sherry Hedden
Springfield, MO
“Student of Desire”


1st place – Louisa Cornell
Wetumpka, AL
“His Charming Seductress”

2nd place – Joanne L’Estrange
Dublin, Ireland
“The Dark Defender”

2rd place – Woodrow P. Snow
Springfield, MO

Young Adult

1st place – Elena Dillon
Santa Clarita, CA

2nd place – Cecily White
Springfield, MO
“The (Almost) Perfect Revenge”

3rd place – Amy DeLuca
Barrington, RI
“Hidden Deep”

Honorable mention – Fran Young
Springfield, MO
“Bomber Babe”

Honorable mention – Tif Johnson
Springfield, VA
“Girl Player”


1st place – Christine Canada
Edwardsville, IL
“No Good Deed Goes Unpunished”

2nd place – Jeanmarie Anaya
Neponsit, NY

3rd place – Ginny Lynn
Fayetteville, GA
“Animal Management”

2012 ORAcon Speakers

2012 25th Anniversary Ozarks Romance Authors Conference

Saturday, June 23, 2012
8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Howard Johnson
3333 S. Glenstone
Springfield, MO 65804



As in previous years, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Ozarks Literacy Council to help their mission of promoting literacy in our region.

Members (before May 15) – $50.00
Members (after May 15) – $55.00
Non-members (before May 1) – $60.00
Non-members (afterMay 15) – $65.00
Student discount (up to age 15) – $30.00
Booths for selling books are free for members and an additional $20.00 for non-members.


8am: Breakfast and Raffles

8:45am: Introductions and Opening

9-12pm: Pitch Sessions with Cori Deyoe and Lucienne Diver

9-12pm: Critique Sessions with Rob Thurman

9-10am: Leigh Michaels – Workshop: Self-Publishing – Tips, Tricks, and Tripwires

10-11am: Jennifer Brown – Craft Workshop TBA

11-12pm: Steven Law – Workshop: Publishing and Publicity

12-1pm: Lunch and Raffles

1-3pm: Pitch Sessions with Goldminds Publishing

1-2pm: J. Brown, C. Deyoe, R. Thurman and L. Diver – Panel: Negotiating the Agent/Author Relationship

2-3pm: Leigh Michaels – Craft Workshop: Plotting Without a Net

3-4pm: C. Deyoe, L. Diver – Query Letter Gong Show

4-5pm- All Speakers – Q & A Panel

5-5:30pm Raffle Drawings and Presentation of Awards.

About The Speakers:







Cori Deyoe





Cori Deyoe (Three Seas Literary Agency) – Cori Deyoe has over 20 years of experience in the writing industry. She is a published author at Silhouette (national and international). She has also been published in various non-fiction projects. As an employee of 3 Seas Literary Agency since June, 2006, she traded in her “author’s” hat for a brand new one — “literary agent” and concentrates on her clients’ writing only.

Backed by the success of Michelle Grajkowski and 3 Seas Literary Agency, Cori handles her job and clients with the same commitment and values Michelle believes in.

Cori’s clients appreciate her experience in the publishing world, and she has a special talent for editing.

On a personal note, Cori loves reading, traveling, photography, dogs, cats, horses and all animals.






Lucienne Diver




Lucienne Diver (The Knight Agency) – Lucienne Diver joined TKA in 2008, after spending fifteen years at New York City’s prestigious Spectrum Literary Agency. With her sharp eye and gift for spotting original new voices, Lucienne is one of the most well-respected agents in the industry. A lifelong book addict, she graduated summa cum laude from the State University of New York at Potsdam with dual majors in English/writing and anthropology. She thus came well-equipped for her work as an agent.
Over the course of her dynamic career she has sold over seven hundred titles to every major publisher, and has built a client list of more than forty authors spanning the commercial fiction genres, primarily in the areas of fantasy, science fiction, romance, mystery, suspense and erotica. Her authors have been honored with the RITA, National Readers’ Choice Award, the Golden Heart, and the Romantic Times Reader’s Choice, and have appeared on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists. A publishing veteran, Lucienne has superb industry knowledge, numerous editor relationships, and a keen understanding of the foreign rights market. She is a member of the Association of Authors Representatives, RWA, MWA and SFWA.






Jennifer Brown




Jennifer Brown – Two-time winner of the Erma Bombeck Global Humor Award (2005 & 2006), Jennifer’s weekly humor column appeared in The Kansas City Star for over four years, until she gave it up to be a full-time young adult novelist.

Jennifer’s debut novel, HATE LIST (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2009) received three starred reviews and was selected as an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, a VOYA “Perfect Ten,” and a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year. HATE LIST also won the Michigan Library Association’s Thumbs Up! Award, was an honorable mention for the 2011 Arkansas Teen Book Award, is a YALSA 2012 Popular Paperback, received spots on the Texas Library Association’s Taysha’s high school reading list as well as the Missouri Library Association’s Missouri Gateway Awards list, and has been nominated for the Oklahoma Sequoyah Award. Jennifer’s second novel, BITTER END, (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2011) received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and VOYA and is listed on the YALSA 2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults list and is a 2012 Taysha’s high school reading list pick as well.

Jennifer writes and lives in the Kansas City, Missouri area, with her husband and three children.






Rob Thurman




Rob Thurman – Rob Thurman is currently writing three series for Penguin Putnam’s imprint ROC FANTASY: The CAL LEANDROS Novels, The TRICKSTER Novels, and The CHIMERA Novels. Her first book, NIGHTLIFE, was released in 2006. She has written eight books to date and is releasing two more in 2011. She has also written for a Charlaine Harris & Toni L.P. Kelner Anthology, WOLFSBANE AND MISTLETOE.

Although she does not write Young Adult, her first Urban Fantasy book in The CAL LEANDROS Series—NIGHTLIFE—has received a 2011 Eliot Rosewater Award Nomination for Excellence in High School Libraries—rather to her bemusement as she’d be the first to say her books are not for younger teens. Apparently, the librarians and teens disagree!

Rob’s work is dark, non-stop action from beginning to end, rife with purely evil sarcasm as sharp as a switchblade—and probably nearly as illegal. If one shoved LORD OF THE RINGS, THE SHINING, and PULP FICTION into a wood-chipper, the result would be what Rob aims to deliver in her Urban Fantasy novels.

Rob’s main protagonists are almost exclusively written in a male perspective; in fact, she was “in the closet” as a female writer until her third book, when she posted her bio on her website. Some fans took note and some did not as she received one comment saying, “Thank God! A man is finally writing a male point-of-view. Women simply can’t do it.” Whether this was a compliment or insult is still uncertain, but Rob shrugged and went on.

When asked why she uses a male pen name, she responds that with her books frequently being written in a male “voice,” it might momentarily confuse or cause a disconnect in the buyers’ minds to see a female name on the cover before they begin scanning the book. Besides, family and friends have called her Rob her entire life.

A member of the SFWA, Rob Thurman lives in rural Indiana—land of endless fields, infinite cows and where dial-up is still the only soul-crushing option.

Leigh Michaels
Leigh Michaels

Leigh Michaels – Leigh Michaels is the author of nearly 100 books, including 80 contemporary novels, three historical romance novels, and more than a dozen non-fiction books. More than 35 million copies of her romance novels have been published. Six of her books have been finalists for Best Traditional Romance novel in the RITA contest sponsored by Romance Writers of America. She has received two Reviewer’s Choice awards from Romantic Times.


Her work has been translated and published in 120 countries in more than 25 languages, including Japanese, Korean, Hungarian, Polish, Portuguese, Czech, Bulgarian, Russian, Turkish, Hebrew, Greek, Swedish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian, Danish, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Africaans, Arabic, Indonesian, and Chinese.

She is the 2003 recipient of the Johnson Brigham Award presented by the Iowa Library Association to an Iowa author for outstanding contributions to literature.

She is the author of On Writing Romance, published by Writers Digest Books.

She is the author of non-fiction books such as WRITING THE ROMANCE NOVEL, a step-by-step workbook, and CREATING ROMANTIC CHARACTERS. She is also the author of DEAR LEIGH MICHAELS: A Novelist Answers the Most-Asked Questions about Getting Published, and a cookbook, A TASTE OF LOVE. She has produced audio programs and written magazine articles on subjects of interest to writers in general.

She teaches romance writing on the Internet at Gotham Writers= Workshop, Men and women from around the world have participated in her workshops, and a number of them have gone on to publish their own romance novels with commercial publishers. She is currently an adjunct professor in the School of Communications at the University of Iowa.

She wrote her first romance novel when she was a teenager and burned it, then wrote and burned five more complete manuscripts before submitting to a publisher. Her first submission was accepted and published by Harlequin Books, the first publisher to look at it.

Steven Law

Steven Law – Steven is the publisher of Goldminds Publishing. He has written and published four novels. His latest, “Yuma Gold,” is scheduled for release by Penguin Group in New York in November 2011. For 12 years, he has worked as a literary publicist for as many as 30 best-selling authors, including New York Times best-seller Stephen Harrigan, Pulitzer Prize finalist S. C. Gwynne, and the late Elmer Kelton.

As a publicist, he has worked with numerous publishing houses, including Alfred Knopf, Tor/Forge Books, St. Martin’s Press, Little Brown, and others. Steven is founder of the ReadWest Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing the awareness and diversity of Western literature.

The speakers for our annual conference July 23, 2011, are getting excited!

Eliza Lloyd is one of the authors coming to speak at our annual writers’ conference, and she just gave a little sneak peek on her blog HERE.

In fact, this is the second time she has mentioned our writers’ conference, which is scheduled for Saturday, July 23, 2011, in Springfield, Missouri. We mentioned the other occurrence HERE, along with links to Eliza’s books.

If you like a sexy, steamy read, click on her titles below.

“Wicked Desires”

“Wicked Temptation”

“Another Lover”

Follow Eliza Lloyd on Twitter! Her Twitter name is @elloydwriting .

Writers’ conferences and conventions of this quality in the midwest are not easy to find. This year’s conference is full of presentations and workshops by award-winning authors, plus our attendees can schedule pitch sessions with a literary agent and publishing house editor from New York City. Opportunities like this do not happen often in the Ozarks! If you would like more details about who will be speaking (and who will be taking pitch sessions) at our conference, click HERE.

Ozarks Romance Authors, a non-profit group for Missouri writers of all genres, was founded in 1987. The regional writers’ group holds its meetings the first Saturday of each month at The Library Station, 2535 N. Kansas Expressway, in Springfield, Missouri.

Visitors are welcome. Your first three visits are free. For details about upcoming meetings, please click HERE.

Our annual conference will be held July 23, 2011, at The Clarion Hotel and Conference Center. To learn more about the amazing lineup of speakers and workshops, click HERE to visit our conference page.

If you have questions about the group, please email us at or call (417) 597-4716.