heartland writers

Details from the 2008 Heartland Writers Conference

2008 Heartland Writers Conference

2008 Conference Photos

June 7, 2008
at the University Center
Southeast Missouri State University
Cape Girardeau, Missouri
Cost: $85 members, $95 nonmembers.
More Information: Phone: 573-888-3620 Email

UPDATE: The 2008 Conference took place on June 7, 2008, at the University Center at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Attendees were presented with topics by Greg Tobin, Stephany Evans, Susan Swartwout, Bobbi Smith and Charlotte Hubbard, Susan McBride, Ken "Fog" Gilbert and Sharon Hohler. It was an entertaining day of learning and communicating. After lunch was served, published authors took part in a book signing. Jeremy Melvin won 1st and 3rd place in the Flash Fiction contest. Sherri Richardson won second place in the Flash Fiction contest. The day was closed with an enlightening presentation by Robert Vaughan.

Pre-Conference Info:

Members of Heartland Writers Guild are in the process of making plans for the 2008 Writing Conference. We want to let everyone know that the conference will be a bit different this year.  The conference has been streamlined but will be packed with interesting and informative speakers.  The conference for 2008 will be held as a one day conference on June 7.   Please note that the location has also changed.  We will be meeting at the University Center on the campus of Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau. 

The program gets under way with registration at the University Center at 8 AM with coffee and snacks available.  Workshops begin at 9 AM and end at 5:30 PM.  Morning refreshments, lunch, and afternoon refreshments will be included with registration fee.   We will feature one New York editor, one regional publisher/editor, and one New York literary agent.  All of these presenters will be conducting a workshop and pitch sessions.* (see note below) In addition, we will have a bookstore set up with authors signing books during the extended lunch time.*(see note below) Six authors with multiple publications will be sharing tips and timely information about the craft of writing and the process of getting published.  Sessions will cover nonfiction, poetry, and several genres of fiction as well the young adult genre.

*Small Group Pitch Sessions
Greg Tobin, Stephany Evans, and  Dr. Susan Swartwout will be conducting small group pitch sessions.  Our pitch sessions are limited this year, so attendees are encouraged to return their registration forms with their 1st and 2nd choices as soon as possible.  Brochures with registration form included will be mailed the 2nd week in February.

*Bookstore and Book Signing at the Conference

The following information needs to be forwarded to Candice Lahr if attending authors wish to participate in the book signing and have their books for sale in the book room.  She will manage the book room and organize the book signing at the conference. Individuals with self published books should also contact Lahr to make arrangements to participate in the book store/ book signing.

Candice Lahr
Catas Books
302 Public Square
Benton, IL 62812
618- 439-9191
Fax 618- 439-9110
Email:  catasbooks@yahoo.com

She will need the following information:

            Name of author           
            Author’s contact information
            Name of publisher
            Title of book/books
            ISBN Number


HWG is sponsoring a flash fiction contest with three monetary prizes to be awarded at our June 7 event.  This contest is limited to those attending the conference.  Attendees may submit up to 3 unpublished entries ($5 per entry).  Prizes: 1st $75, 2nd $50, and 3rd $25.  Deadline for entries must be postmarked by May 1, 2008.  Additional guidelines and mailing information follows.


  1. Entry must be a previously unpublished story of 500 words or less.
  2. Include a title page with your name, address, and title of the story.
  3. Include story page (s) with title but no author identification.  We prefer Times New Roman, single-spaced, with double-space between paragraphs.
  4. Entry fee: $5.00. Make checks payable to Heartland Writers Guild.
  5. May enter up to three (3) storiesInclude a title page and a $5.00 entry fee for each story.
  6. Mail to:  Heartland Writers Guild, PO Box 652, Kennett, MO 63857.
  7. Entries must be postmarked no later than  May 1, 2008.
  8. Prizes:  $75-first, $50-second, $25-third.
  9. Winners will be announced at the HWG Writing Conference, June 7, 2008.  Authors must be registered attendees and present to win.
  10. Authors retain copyright to their work.

June 7, 2008

Greg Tobin: Editor

Greg Tobin began his distinguished 22-year book publishing career as an editor at Leisure books, then at Ace Books.  He was a book club editor at Doubleday before he became a senior editor and associate publisher of Bantam Books.  He worked as editor-in-chief and chairman of the editorial board of Book of the Month Club, then was a senior vice president of Random House. He left the publishing industry to write full time and to study for his masters degree in theology and has had several important books published, both fiction and nonfiction.  In recent years, he has maintained connections with various publishers as a consulting editor, recommending and editing books and helping the authors and agents shape book proposals.  One of his proudest career accomplishments is the publication of Robert Vaughans’s best-selling series, The American Chronicles, for Bantam Books. He is currently editing a major nonfiction book for Sterling Publishers and completing a new novel. 

Stephany Evans: Agent

With a background in theatre, film and painting, Stephany Evans began agenting in 1990 with Sandra Martin/Paraview.  In 1992, she formed her own agency while serving as editor for alternative health, healing, and personal growth magazine, Free Spirit.  In October 2007, her Imprint Agency Inc. merged with Peter Rubie Literary to form FinePrint Literary Management.  Stephany serves as President of FinePrint Lit, and is the ghost author of five published books in the categories of memoir and spirituality.

For seventeen years, Stephany has represented nonfiction writers in the areas of health and wellness, spirituality, lifestyle (including home renovating/decorating, entertaining, food and wine, and eco/sustainability), popular reference, and narrative nonfiction.  In fiction, her core interest is in stories with a strong and interesting female protagonist, both literary and upmarket commercial- including chick lit, romance, mystery, and light  suspense.  In literary fiction, a sure-footed, original voice is of highest importance.

Stephany loves to run (her NYC 2007 marathon time is 4:17:32): she likes to laugh (she has a somewhat dark sense of humor); and she loves dogs (especially Afghan hounds).  Her greatest pleasure comes from discovering a formidable new writing talent, or helping an author shape and take to market her or his potentially world-altering idea.

Stephany is a member of the Association of Author’s Representatives, the Author’s Guild, and Romance Writers of America; she is a member of the Women’s National Book Association, and a member and former co-chair of New York Women in Publishing.  She splits her time between her offices in New York City and Marfa, Texas. 

Dr. Susan Swartwout: Publisher/Editor

Susan Swartwout teaches creative writing and publishing at Southeast Missouri State University and is the Publisher of Southeast Missouri State University Press which produces books and Big Muddy: Journal of the Mississippi River Valley, an interdisciplinary magazine.  Her two collections of poetry are entitled Freaks and  Uncommon Ground, she co-edited Real Things: Anthology of Popular Culture in American Poetry, Hurricane Blues; Poems about Katrina and Rita, Balancing on a Bootheel, and A Student’s Guide to getting Published. Her poems and short stories are published in literary journals such as Nebraska Review, The Laurel Review, River Styx, Negative Capability, Mississippi Review, and Spoon River ‘Poetry Review, among others.  She is a recipient of the Rona Jaffe Writers’ Foundation Award, the Dillinger Good Award, and St. Louis Poetry Center’s Hanks Award. 

Robert Vaughan: HWG Founder and Published Author

Robert Vaughan sold his first book when he was 19 years old.  That was over 50 years ago…nearly 300 titles, and 20 million books ago.  Writing under 42 pseudonyms, he has hit the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and USA Today best seller lists.   Vaughan authored Andersonville which was made into the popular TNT television mini-series.  His documentary, Vietnam Homecoming, which aired in December 2006, was nominated for 6 Emmys and a Peabody.  His book Survival (under the pseudonym K. C. McKenna) won the Spur Award for best western novel (1994), The Power and the Pride won the Porgie for best paperback original (1976), and Brandywine’s War was named by the Canadian University Symposium of Literature as the best iconoclastic novel to come from the Vietnam War.  He was inducted into the Writers’ Hall of Fame in 1998.

Vaughan has written military drama, westerns, histories, men’s action and adventure, mysteries, police procedural, humor, romance (using female [pseudonyms), literary, and mainstream and is a popular speaker at schools, universities, civic and writers’ groups where he often performs a one-man Hemingway show.  The Masada Scroll, his latest novel, written with Paul Block, is currently available at bookstores. For the past eleven years, over 275 individuals have attended Vaughan’s Write on the Beach annual writing event, referred to as one of the most unique and productive writing seminars in the country.

Bobbi Smith: Published Author

Bobbi Smith is celebrating 25 years as a published author.  After working as a department manager for Famous-Barr, and briefly as a clerk at a bookstore, Smith gave up on career security and began writing.  She sold her first book to Zebra in 1982.  Since then, Bobbi is edging toward her 50th published book.  To date, there are more than five million of her novels in print. Her  first faith-based contemporary  project was written as Julie Marshall. She has been awarded the prestigious Romantic Times Storyteller of the Year Award and two Career Achievement Awards.  Her books have appeared on the New York Times, USA  Today, Walden, B. Dalton, Wal-Mart, and K-Mart Best Seller Lists. Smith’s latest books: Wanted! The Half-Breed (Leisure, June 08), Texas Splendor (Leisure, March 08)  back after 20 years, and Lawless, Texas (Leisure, Aug 07)   

Susan McBride: Published Author

Susan McBride is the author of five Debutante Dropout Mysteries from HarperCollins/Avon and the forthcoming YA series, The Debs, from Delacorte (set to debut August 08).  The debut, Blue Blood (04), won the Lefty Award for Best Humorous Mystery and received an Anthony Award nomination for Best Paperback Original.  Blue Blood spent three months on the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association’s top ten best-sellers list.  The Good Girl’s Guide to Murder (2005), was a BookSense pick, an IMBA bestseller, and an Anthony Award nominee for Best PBO, The Lone Star Lonely Hearts Club (2006) was one of three finalists for the William Rockhill Nelson Award, presented to Kansas and Missouri authors for excellence in literature.  This successful writer earned a degree in Journalism from the University of Kansas, but always dreamed of making up stories rather than reporting. McBride’s “stories” continue to roll off  the press and earn awards.  Her short fiction and essays have appeared in several anthologies including The Spirit of Writing: Classic and Contemporary Essays Celebrating the Writing Life and Mayhem in the Midlands.    

Charlotte Hubbard: Published Author

While she was still a school librarian, Charlotte Hubbard sold her first story to True Story.  This launched her into writing a string of seventy “true confessions” stories over the years. The next big step was to sell her first historical romance with Zebra, Colorado Captive, in 1990.   Five novels followed. After a dry spell, Hubbard has resurfaced in a new genre, with Leisure as her new publisher.  Publisher, editor, and agent are excited about Hubbard’s Angels of Mercy series.  The first book in the series, A Patchwork Family, came out in 2005 followed by Journey to Love in 2006, and  Angel’s Embrace in 2007 with more books in the series to follow.  Hubbard is a popular speaker at her RWA chapter in St. Louis and at writing conferences.  

Pat DeClue: Published Author- Short Nonfiction

Pat DeClue has had more than 300 articles published in newspapers and magazines.  She has taught “Article Writing & Publishing” in Continuing Education College Programs, has been active in the Missouri Writers’ Guild, and has contributed to several writers groups in the state.  She has served on the Missouri Arts Council for Literature.  DeClue has been the Missouri State Representative for ByLine Writers’ Magazine for the past seven years. Her diverse writing interests include nonfiction, children’s writing, poetry, and fiction. Additionally, she combines her interest in wheel-pottery with her writing at her new Misty Valley Studio.

Ken “Fog” Gilbert: Published Poet

Ken Gilbert, better know as “Fog,” lives in Carbondale. Fog as been writing, teaching and publishing poetry since 1970.  He has published ten books, including Penguins and Other Matters of Black and White, Skittish Afterthoughts, and The Black Album. His most recent book, Against the Current, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in Poetry for 2006 and again in 2007. In the past year Fog’s poems have been published in the following magazines: Skyline, Hudson View, Remark, Pen Himalayas, and Splizz.  Believing that poetry is a wide open genre, inclusive of many styles and tastes, he strives to help individuals find their niche relating to form and content.* (see note below)  Fog, with clarinetist Eric Mandat, performs poetry in a variety of locations in the region.  The duo has appeared several times on Studio A Café, an arts presentation of PBS television. 

*Note about Fog’s Poetry Session
Attendees planning to take advantage of Fog’s poetry session at the conference should bring 10–15 copies of up to 3 poems which will be shared/critiqued during the poetry session.


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