Board Members

Dusty Richards

Dusty Richards is an award winning western author, with over 100 published novels under his name and pseudonyms, many more short stories, articles and columns. Besides being recognized for being a big help to so many beginning writers and his involvement in so many writer organizations, his awards include two Spurs, best book of the year Wrangler Award from the Cowboy Hall of Fame and Museum, a Will Roger’s Medallion Award for best western book of the year, and True West Magazine readers voted him the best living western fiction writer. Dusty came to his first OCW Conference in 1985 and hasn’t missed one since them. Besides serving as president of OCW, he is also vice president of WWA. He and his wife Pat live Beaver Lake in NW Arkansas.


Johnny D. Boggs, Vice President

Johnny D. Boggs has been praised by Booklist magazine as “among the best western writers at work today” and is one of the few authors to have won both the Western Heritage Wrangler Award and Spur Award for his fiction. True West magazine has named him the Best Living Fiction Writer in its Best of the West Awards. Boggs has four Spur Awards from Western Writers of America, winning for Best Juvenile Western Novel in 2008 and 2010 for Doubtful Cañon and Hard Winter, for Best Western Novel in 2006 for Camp Ford and for Best Short Fiction in 2002 for “A Piano at Dead Man’s Crossing.” He won the Western Heritage Wrangler Award from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum for Outstanding Western Novel of 2003 for Spark on the Prairie: The Trial of the Kiowa Chiefs. His novels Killstraight, Northfield, The Hart Brand and Ten and Me and his short story “The Cody War” were Spur finalists. A native of South Carolina — two of his novels, The Despoilers (2002) and Ghost Legion (December 2005) chronicle the struggle in the Carolina backcountry during the American Revolution — Boggs worked almost 15 years in Texas as a sports journalist at the Dallas Times Herald and Fort Worth Star-Telegram before moving to New Mexico in 1998 to concentrate full time on his novels and books. Other titles include East of the Border, a comedy about the 1873-74 theatrical careers of Buffalo Bill Cody, Texas Jack Omohundro and Wild Bill Hickok; and The Killing Shot, a re-imagining of the 1949 classic crime movie White Heat as a Western. Boggs is also a prolific writer of short nonfiction whose works have appeared in 50 magazines and newspapers. He is a frequent contributor to True West, New Mexico Magazine, Persimmon Hill, Wild West and Boys’ Life.  He lives with his wife and son in Santa Fe. His website is .  

Elizabeth Bartlett, President


Elizabeth Bartlett is a freelance writer and humor columnist based in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Her work has appeared in numerous magazines, websites and newspapers, including Writer’s Digest, Mental floss, Meetings South and American Profile; her weekly humor horoscope column appears in the Lovely County Citizen and online at


Lou Turner, Secretary

Louella Turner has had scores of short stories, essays, and articles published, starting with her first publication 10 years ago in Country Almanac, a national magazine with three quarters of a million subscribers, to the latest which was a 3 page article with her own photography for Ozark Magazine. She has also seen her fiction appear in 14 published anthologies and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Louella and her husband started a new business nearly 4 years ago called High Hill Press. To date they have published more than 40 books. Several of their authors have won some hefty prizes with their books, including being short listed for book of the year with ForeWord Magazine which garnered them an invitation to the London Book Fair, the Atlanta Book Fair and the Chicago Book Fair. They have managed to have many of their books reviewed in several major newspapers and book sales are brisk. She has been on the board of many writers organizations over the past decade, including the Writers Hall of Fame, St. Louis Writers Guild, Saturday Writers, which she helped to found as a chapter of the Missouri Writers Guild, the St. Louis chapter of Sisters in Crime, where she was also a founding member, Ozarks Writers League, and Ozark Creative Writers.   She has organized all day workshops throughout the mid-west, often bringing in NY agents and editors, and has helped organize three national conferences as well as the quarterly meetings for Ozarks Writers League. Lately she’s been spending her time setting up signings for her authors, and recently landed an interview with a national radio show to promote one such signing.

Peggy Vining

Peggy Vining is considered a literary gem, and was appointed Arkansas Poet Laureate by Governor Mike Huckabee in 2003 for her many contributions to the literary world.


Dr Susan Swartwout

Susan Swartwout is professor of English at Southeast Missouri State University where she also directs the University Press (, the Small-press Publishing Program, and the Creative Writing Program, and edits two literary journals, Big Muddy: Journal of the Mississippi River Valley and The Cape Rock: Poetry. In 2012, she received the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Education from Governor Jay Nixon, as well as being the first professor in Southeast history to win the top two faculty merit awards in the same year. She’s the author of the poetry collections Freaks and Uncommon Ground, editor of Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors, and co-author of Hurricane Blues: Poems About Katrina and Rita, Real Things: An Anthology of Popular Culture in American Poetry, and Student’s Guide to Publishing. Among her writing awards are the Stanley Hanks Award, the Rona Jaffe Foundation Award, the Davenport Award for Fiction, a Ragdale Foundation Fellowship, and a Hedgebrook Writers Fellowship. She has published over 100 poems, stories, and essays in anthologies, collections, and literary magazines. We are proud to welcome Susan to our board this year, and know that she’ll add to the unique enthusiasm we are known for with our annual conference in Eureka Springs.