Writers Conference ’01

White County Creative Writers’ 6th Annual Conference was held on September 1, 2001. Over 65 people participated in the conference, which featured four speakers and 5 writing contests.

Featured speakers included:


Mara Leveritt was born in Chicago and raised in Denver, but has lived in Arkansas for the past 30 years. She worked at the Arkansas Democrat and the Arkansas Gazette before becoming a weekly columnist and senior editor at the Arkansas Times. In 1996, she left full-time newspaper work to write “The Boys on the Tracks,” which was published by St. Martin’s Press in 1999. Kirkus called the book ” a wrecking-ball tale of tragedy, malfeasance, and machine politics,” and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette said it “lures you in and holds you hostage until the end.” In 2000, “The Boys on the Tracks” was awarded the Booker Worthen Prize by the Central Arkansas Library System. Leveritt, who remains a contributing editor to the Arkansas Times, is presently at work on a new book that explores a triple murder in West Memphis.

Mara will speak to us on “Taking Your Work to the Vet”. When a lawyer reviews a non-fiction book, the process is called vetting. It’s an old word, based on the old-world practice of having a veterinarian look over an animal before it was taken home. Modern-day publishers do that, too, because they don’t want to buy a work that’s likely to succumb to a lawsuit. For writers of serious non-fiction, this means that no book is complete until it has been thoroughly vetted. Mara will tell about this crucial part of the non-fiction writing process – and what writers need to know to withstand it.

Mara’s presentation is sponsored in part by Searcy Farm Supply, 1701 East Line Road, Searcy, AR.


Born in Enid, Oklahoma, in 1948, Michael is the first son of a military family. He graduated high school in Tampa, Florida and attended St.Petersburg Jr. College. After college, he relocated to the Florida Keys, established a commercial diving business, and traveled extensively thoughout the southern hemisphere- diving, treasure hunting, adventuring, and writing of his travels. He presently resides in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas,is the “Ouachita Outdoors” editor and staff writer for the Mena Star, and continues to pen his novels.

Michael Reisig is the author of a travel guide, three novels, and an author/publisher self-help book. He has been featured in Writer’s Digest, Southern Living, and in numerous newspapers around the country. Michael’s works have been optioned for motion pictures, sold for overseas publication and e-book production, and produced on audiocasette. His books are in the top 10% of sales with both Amazon.com and Books In Motion Audiobooks. A journalist for the Lancaster Newspaper Group, he has received top honors for his sports/outdoors and humor columns at the annual Arkansas Press Association Awards.

Michael’s presentation will be “The Myths, the Truths, and The Lies About Publishing and Marketing Books” – a condensed version of his latest book, “The Fledgling Author’s Handbook”. He presents to us the concepts, resources, and tricks of the trade which he feels are necessary to the survival and success of the author who is considering that step into the book market.

Lodging for M. Reisig furnished by Hampton Inn, 3204 East Race Street, Searcy, AR.


Gina Wilkins has written 63 books and 5 novellas for Harlequin and Silhouette Romances. She is a four time winner of the Maggie Award for Excellence, sponsored by Georgia Romance Writers, and a previous winner of the Best Series Author Award by the reviewers of Romantic Times magazine. Her books have been on the Waldenbooks, B.Dalton, and USA Today bestseller lists. Gina’s books have been published in 20 languages and are sold in more than 100 countries. She is currently working on her first mainstream romantic suspense proposal and is under contract for several more books for Silhouette. Some of her earlier work is published under the pseudonym of Gina Ferris.

Gina will speak to us on “Romancing the Reader”. It is an overview of the romance industry, with advice for being published in popular fiction markets. As a member of a national organization for published writers, she manages to keep abreast of the industry news and will offer advice applicable to all genres.

Interview with Gina Wilkins…

Gina Wilkins’ presentation is sponsored in part by Paul’s Paint Shop, Velvet Ridge, AR.


Dr. Wink obtained his B.A. at the University of Southern Mississippi, and his M.A. and PhD. from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, Arkansas. He is currently Professor of English at Ouachita Baptist University.

For many years, Dr. Wink’s passion has been reading, writing, memorizing, thinking about, and talking about poetry. He has published one volume of poetry, “Haunting the Winerunner” through August House Press and has had roughly fifty poems appear in such publications as “The Christian Science Monitor”, “The Plains Poetry Journal”, “The Kentucky Review”, “Moondance”, “The Kansas Quarterly”, and “Christianity in Literature”.

For twenty years, Dr. Wink has presented lectures on the topic of poetry. He has addressed various branches of the Poets’ Roundtable of Arkansas, sundry Arkansas Arts Councils, and a good many elementary, jr. high, and high school classes. Dr. Wink believes poetry gets a bad press in our culture; therefore, through his work he strives to reverse that trend.

Dr. Wink’s presentation will be “Growing into Poetry”, a title he derives from something once said by M.L.Rosenthal. He will deal with how people with poetic gifts mature into artists, and how particular poems evolve from whatever their beginnings into what they become in the fullness of their own time.

First Security Bank, 314 North Spring Street, Searcy, AR has sponsored Dr. Wink.

We wish to gratefully acknowledge the following sponsors from Searcy, AR for their generous assistance in bringing this program to you:

555 Auto Supply, White County Auto Supply (NAPA)
Classic Colors Autobody, Corner Pawn Shop
Larry’s Paint and Body
Scott Smith General Dentistry
Los Montanos Mexican Restaurant


2001 Conference Winners


Sponsored by The Daily Citizen of Searcy, AR.
1st Place – Evalena Berry Little Rock, AR
2nd Place – Pat Oplinger, Cherokee Village, AR
3rd Place – Mollyana, Conway, AR

Sponsored by Pat Laster of Arkadelphia.
1st Place – Pat Oplinger, Cherokee Village, AR
2nd Place – Doris Owen Ward, Haines, Alaska
3rd Place – Liz Parker, Smithville, AR

Sponsored by Quality Auto Repair and Youngman’s Auto Sales of Searcy, AR.
1st Place – Mary Ann Webber, Little Rock, AR
2nd Place – James W. Bell, Little Rock, AR
3rd Place – Dorothy Hatfield, Beebe, AR

Sponsored by Razorback Auto Sales and Blazing Cycles of Searcy, AR.
1st Place – Kerry Philamlee, Rosebud, AR
2nd Place – Kitty Jones, North Little Rock, AR
3rd Place – Dorothy Hatfield, Beebe, AR

Sponsored by The Carousel – Maternity and Childrens Clothing, Searcy, AR.
1st Place – Earl E. Smith, Searcy, AR
2nd Place – Wanda L. Dean – Heber Springs, AR
3rd Place – Jane S. Roland, Cabot, AR.


What We Did in 2001

It is sometimes a revelation to sit down at the end of the year and list the things we managed to get done. So many of us, when asked, say that we didn’t do much. When we write it down, we realize that yes, we have been busy.

Dot Hatfield

ByLine Magazine – HM essay
Arkansas Writers’Conference – 1st Place essay; HM SS –
White County Creative Writers Conference – 3rd Place Essay; 3rd Place SS
Fiction Writers of Arkansas Short Story Contest – 3rd place

Article in December issue of EVANGEL
Article purchased by MATURE LIVING for publication in June, 2002

Congratulations, Dot!!!

Patsy Pipkin

Arkansas Writers’ Conference – 2nd place essay;  3rd place essay; 3rd HM essay

The Daily Citizen – weekly column
Active Citizen – 3 features
bi-weekly column in: The Batesville Guard; The Courier;  The Leader; Senior Wire
syndicated column – Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Three Rivers Edition
1 feature
1 photo feature
Cleveland County Herald
Ozarks Mountaineer
NATURE OF SURVIVAL(Published by CARTI) – essay
BUZZWORDS (literary magazine) – essay

Laman Library, North Little Rock, AR.
Arkansas Writers’ Conference, Little Rock, AR
The Shepherd’s Center
Red Bud Garden Club
First Presbyterian Women’s Group

Poetry Reading

Christine Henderson

Arkansas Writers’ Conference – 3rd Place short story
Poets Roundtable of Arkansas National Poetry Day  – 1 HM
Fiction Writers of Central Arkansas Short Story Contest – 2nd Place

Tri-monthly Poetics column in T-Zero Expandezine
Article on Library Funding in The Searcy Sun

Submissions board for T-Zero Expandezine
Judged essay contest ( for an outside writers’ organization)
Served as president – White County Creative Writers
Designed and printed White County Creative Writers Conference literature
Designed and produce web page www.whitecountycreativewriters.org

David Roper

The Christian Bible Teacher – series began in January
article in December Truth for Today
Commentary Series: Acts, Volume I
The Life of Christ, November 1st of 14
Dacus Family Tree Album (375 ms pages)
The Daily Citizen – features and articles


Georgie McIrvin

45th Annual Grand Prairie Festival of Arts – 1st place poetry; 3rd Place essay; 3rd Place SS

Arkansas Democrat Gazette, Three Rivers Edition – 11 separate photo events
9 front page features with photos
6 helping hands features with photos
3 inside features with photos
Heber Springs Sun Times: 1 photo feature
2 letters to the editor
THE NATURE OF SURVIVAL (Published by Carti) essay
15 articles

judged essay contest (for an outside writers’organization)
Keeping Busy!

Warren Watkins

NLAPW, Arkansas Pioneer Branch – 2nd Place SS
Arkansas Writers Conference – HM poetry; 1st place essay
Dallas Poets Community Contest – HM
Poets’ Roundtable of Arkansas National Poetry Day – 2 – 1st place awards

The Sherwood Voice – weekly religion column
The Daily Citizen – weekly feature column; weekly religion column


Christmas Gathering 2001

Our tradition is for each of us to write something for this meeting in a style or on a subject that we haven’t tried before. We drop these gems, unsigned, into a basket when we arrive. After ‘dinner’, we gather and select pieces to read aloud (we’re not allowed to read our own). For once, everyone hopes that theirs will be read first, for the best part comes in trying to guess who the author is after it is read. There are always a few surprises but when you are the last one, you have no hope for anonymity!