Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Notes from OCW: Tiffany Schofield from Five Star Publishing "We're Searching for Your Voice"

Last weekend I attended the 49th annual Ozark Creative Writers conference in historic Eureka Springs, Arkansas. I attended my first OCW conference about 20 years ago and attended faithfully for more than ten years, but due to family circumstances I've missed several of the annual conferences, but I was thrilled to make the trip this year!
If you've never been to OCW or visited Eureka Springs, you're missing a wonderful opportunity to hear from some amazing writers and publishers and see some eye-popping scenery.
After attending a writing conference like OCW I'm inspired and want to shout from the rooftops, so for my next series of blog posts I will share some of what I learned over the weekend. 
First up is keynote speaker Tiffany Schofield, from Five Star Publishing.
Tiffany is shown here wearing the sparkly red cowboy hat presented to her by Lou Turner, President of OCW.
In Tiffany's opening talk, she spoke with candor and enthusiasm about her love of writers and her joy in discovering new voices at Five Star Publishing. Her passion for books and writers was evident all weekend. She was approachable and knowledgeable -- and did I mention that she loves to talk to writers?
Here are some general comments I jotted down from Tiffany's opening presentation:
What you do matters
Literature has a way of finding us; story chooses its writer
Challenge the norms
Look for opportunity, not power
Be that rebel spirit
Put your own voice into the story
Write what you love and what that story is telling you
Writing is a solitary journey that can become part of something bigger
Don’t be afraid of the voice in your story
Listen to your characters
Pair the voice with the characters
Challenge the norms
Readers love to be challenged
Avoid head hopping
Don’t confuse your reader
Here are some of Tiffany's more specific remarks about Five Star:

Five Star is a niche market known for sales to libraries
Their books get reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Kirkus, and Booklist
Their three genre lists are: Mystery, Western, and Frontier Fiction
Frontier Fiction is genre bending, combining elements of western and mystery, even paranormal and sci-fi. The setting is the American frontier, pre-1920
Frontier thriller is very popular in the library market
Fiction writers writing historical fiction do more research than nonfiction writers
Find an historical character and be sure to get historical details correct

** My favorite quote from Tiffany: “Books are better than chocolate, and I love chocolate.”
I'll post information about Five Star's submission process in a future post.    


  1. Sounds like you had a great time, Donna. My favorite of the tidbits given is that the story chooses its writer. I've never heard that before, but it grabbed me, so I'll be giving that a great deal of thought. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Lisa,
      You're welcome. I like that one too. Tiffany's talk was so inspiring I couldn't help sharing.

  2. Thank you for doing this, Donna. Frontier Fiction is new term to me; I love the concept. I have never attend conference but SO planned to this year. Life intervened. I wanted to hear you and Brett Cogburn. I wanted to meet Lou Turner. Well, maybe next year. I will either have to dig in/conquer this writing thing or just give it up!

    1. Hi Claudia,
      Frontier Fiction was new to me too, and I agree it's a great concept. Sorry you couldn't make it this year. Brett was great. I plan to post about his talk later this month.
      Never give up! You are a fantastic writer!

  3. Thanks for posting updates for those of us who couldn't make it this year, Donna!

    1. Hi Dianna,
      You're welcome. I'm hoping to go next year. Road trip?

  4. I too love the part about literature finding us and the story choosing the writer. I think that's a fact only someone who loves story more than chocolate would see. Your blog posts are a gift.

    1. Hi Tammy,
      You are so kind. Glad you enjoyed the post.

  5. I love the idea of Frontier fiction and I think I'd read it--not so sure I could write it. But I want that red cowboy hat. :-)

    1. Hi Cathy,
      I could see you writing Frontier fiction--and wearing a red cowgirl hat.

  6. Thanks for posting the conference highlights, Donna. I sure hope I can make the conference next year. I'm interested in checking out the writer's retreat Marcia talked about, too.

    Critter Alley

    1. Hi Pat,
      You're welcome. I'm hoping to check out the retreat center next year.

  7. Wish I could have been at the conference. Your review is great for those of us who couldn't make it this year. Can't wait to read your next post about the conference!

  8. Tiffany was very inspiring. There were lots of speakers and not a snoozer in the bunch! I'm so glad you could make it this year. Next year is the big blowout 50th anniversary so we need to gather up all the writers we know and head out there.

    For those who want a real writing challenge, reserve a room at the Writer's Colony at Dairy Hollow and commit a week or two to concentrated writing time. WCDH is quiet and scenic and a real tonic, less than two miles from the OCW convention center. There is an application process but I'd be glad to talk about that and offer a reference.

  9. Thanks, Donna. I never imagined frontier writing in the sci-fi genre. That is an interesting concept.

  10. I've been missing out on a lot by not reading all my blogger friends. Just want to say, I'm sorry about missing the event where you wrote a script. Do I have that right? Even though I just read it, nothing stays in my brain. :-) Great tips here and in your previous posts too! Thanks for sharing.

  11. Donna--I love "Listen to your characters." I think if we have fleshed-out characters, they will tell us where the story is going.

    Thanks for sharing the tidbits. I look forward to more about the conference...

  12. Thank you so much for this, Donna. I love your blog and always learn so much when I come here. All of Tiffany's points are wonderful, but I especially like: "story chooses its writer." That is such an important concept, and it says that ALL writing matters. Not one type is more important than another, just different, and that the "difference" is to be celebrated. That point alone is a treasure to behold, as are you and your insightful posts.

  13. Hi Marcia,
    It was so good to spend time with writing friends like you and Jane and Lou and Doyle at the conference.

    Hi Linda,
    I think frontier fiction is exploring a new -- frontier.

    Hi Lynn,
    You are welcome. Glad you found it interesting, and congratulations on your recent Chicken Soup publication.

    Hi Sioux,
    That's one of my favorites, in addition to the books are better than chocolate.

    Hi Theresa,
    You are so kind. Hearing that "story chooses its writer" was an eye-opener for me. And it is so true that all writing matters, and good writing rocks!

  14. Hi Donna. Late to the party as usual. Just found your blog through a twitter post tagging Tiffany. I enjoyed meeting her this year. While I did not officially attend, she was one of the highlights of the weekend for me. I am looking forward to our 50th! Creative Blessings!


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