Friday, January 31, 2014

COSCBWI Meeting January 2014

January is always an exciting time of the year full of new beginnings, including the return of one of my favorite activities: monthly COSCBWI meetings!

In case you didn't know, I'm the Membership Coordinator for the Central and Southern Ohio chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.  (Try to say that five times fast!)  I love going to the COSCBWI meetings and events, and post summaries of them here on my blog for anyone who may have missed attending, or anyone who is just interested in children's publishing topics.  (And I'll also gladly answer any questions people have about joining this great group!)

After a month full of snow and polar vortexes, the group finally got to meet on January 29 for the first monthly meeting of 2014.  COSCBWI always kicks off the new year with an informal meet and greet.  It was great to see a lot of returning members, as well as plenty of new faces, too.  Once we all got to know each other a little better, Regional Advisor, Linda Miller, led the group in a discussion on goal setting.

Making goals is important for writers and illustrators, and the beginning of a new year is the perfect time to do so.  While resolutions can seem daunting at times, creating attainable, thoughtful goals can be very beneficial in helping writers and illustrators achieve their publishing dreams.  Saying, "I'll publish a picture book this year!" puts a lot of pressure on you, but saying, "I want to have my manuscript revised and out to five agents by July," is a bite-size, achievable goal, and a stepping stone to bigger publishing ambitions.

Linda gave the group three goal milestones to think about for 2014:
1) What writing or illustrating goal do you want to achieve by the end of 2014?
2) By June, what steps will you have taken to achieve that goal?
3) By our next meeting in February, what FIRST step will you have taken to achieve that goal?

By creating an overarching goal, then working backwards to consider the little steps you'll need in order to achieve that goal, you end up with reasonable, milestone mini-goals AND a schedule to keep you on track to success!

After the discussion on goal setting, a special speaker came in from the Ohioana Library Association, Librarian Stephanie Michaels.  (Who is also my co-worker, as I now have the privilege of working at this wonderful organization!)  Stephanie spoke about the mission of the Ohioana Library Association, as well as some exciting ways for writers and illustrators to get involved.  While there are volunteer opportunities, such as the yearly Ohioana Book Festival (coming May 10, 2014--mark your calendars!), there are also wonderful book review opportunities.  The Ohioana Library is a specialty library that acquires books by Ohio authors, as well as books about Ohio and Ohioans.  The books the library acquires each year are reviewed in the Ohioana Quarterly literary journal--and you can be a reviewer!  It's a great way for aspiring writers to build up publishing experience for their writing resumes, and there are always lots of children's, middle grade, and young adult books that are available for review.  (As well as books for adults, too, if that's your cup of tea.)  If you're interested in finding out more information on how to become a reviewer, or how to become involved in Ohioana, you can visit the website at: or email Stephanie Michaels at

After Stephanie talked, Linda went over some plans for COSCBWI in 2014.  Plans are currently in the works for a workshop, and (fingers-crossed) another illustrator and writer exhibition.  The new Illustrator Coordinator, Stella Hickman, will be hosting Illustrator Meetings again on the second Wednesday of every month, and the Writer Meetings will be held on the fourth Wednesday of every month.  Unless you hear otherwise, both meetings will be held on their respective days at 7:00 PM at the Upper Arlington Tremont Library.  (Feel free to check the Facebook page or website for updates!)  Lastly, Linda iterated that the most important thing in making COSCBWI successful is YOU!  The admin board would love to hear your thoughts, ideas, and hopes for the group in 2014, and encourages you to email anytime!  (Or you can drop a message on Facebook, or leave one here, too!  I'll be sure it gets to the right place!)

While the group website is temporarily down due to some upgrading, be sure to "Like" the COSCBWI Facebook page for updates and news.  I very much hope to see you at our February meetings!  2014 is shaping up to be a fantastic year already!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Sometimes I Like To Draw Horses

When I was putting together my 2013 art summary for my last blog post, I realized there were a lot of pieces that I never shared on my blog--especially my equine art.  Horses are by far my favorite thing to draw, and I find myself doodling them quite frequently.  (Secretly, I'd love to illustrate an equine book someday.  I guess I never outgrew my childhood horse-craziness!)

So here--have some horsies!  :)

Portrait practice/fan art of  Rain from the movie, "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron"

Equine Secret Santa gift for BlueCreekFarm on deviantArt

Equine Secret Santa gift for Jahpan on deviantArt

Portrait for RosaViola on deviantArt

Celebration art for "A Link Between Worlds" video game release

Silly version of the above piece.  (Because I like "My Little Pony," 'nuff said.)

Portrait practice of a personal, non-novel character

Art for Sandraa-a on deviantArt

"Chibi" equine--and one wolf!--prizes for my deviantArt 2013 Christmas Raffle

Now that you're on equine-overload, I'll announce that you can definitely expect more horse art from me in 2014!  (I'd guess that doesn't surprise you...)  I hope you all like horses!  ;)

Note: Characters are all (c) of their owners and can be found on deviantArt.  Rain and "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron" are (c) Dreamworks.  Epona, Link, and "The Legend of Zelda" are (c) Nintendo.  Twilight Sparkle and "My Little Pony" are (c) Hasbro.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Out with the Old, In with the New

It's that time of year again--time to reflect on the year that just zipped by, and look ahead to 2014.

2013 was a challenging year for me.  It was busy, full of unexpected curve-balls, and flew by at break-neck speed.  When I look back at my 2013 resolutions, I'm not overly pleased with my results.  On the one hand, I feel pretty good about my art progress.  I can put check marks next to most of those goals, and I even had the courage to "officially" throw my hat into the illustrator ring.   I had something artistic to show for every month of the year, and that makes me pretty happy.  :)

But when it comes to my 2013 writing and personal goals, I derailed across the board.  And that does not make me happy.

I don't want to end the year on a bad note and feeling like a cotton-headed ninny-muggins, so here are some bonus 2013 events of happiness which I never had time to blog about:

I celebrated my 5th anniversary with my hubby.  For the big day, I attempted to re-create a mini version of our wedding cake, which was turquoise, tropical-themed, and just lovely.  Mine was not quite as lovely, but a noble effort nonetheless!  We enjoyed bringing out our old cake-cutters and champagne flutes to toast five wonderful wedded years together.

I attended "Symphony of the Goddesses," a concert that consisted of music from The Legend of Zelda video game franchise.  I'd wanted to see this show since the concert series was first announced two years ago to celebrate Zelda's 25th anniversary, and it finally came to Columbus in October.  It was beautiful.  It was mesmerizing.  It was amazing.  It was hands-down one of the best things I've seen in my entire life.  If it came back every year, I'd be a very happy Kathryn.

This awesome thing was released...

And it was quickly followed by this awesome thing...

I now own both awesome things, the latter of which contains a brand-new Zelda game.  (And those don't come around too often!)  It was a good year to be a Zelda dweeb.  ;)

I went to Disney World (and the Wizard World of Harry Potter) with my hubby.  It was our first real trip together since we got married, and it was wonderful.  I know I already blogged about the trip, but it bears repeating since it was by-far the best part of 2013.  :)

Now comes the part when I look to the future: 2014 Resolutions

In all honesty, I'm setting the bar pretty low this year while I get my life back on track.  So here's my plan:

Keep moving forward.

Keep moving forward.

Personal Life
Spend more time with my family, friends, and pets, and do things that make me happy.

And that's it.  As I learned in 2013, you never know when a ferret-snuggle might be your last, or dreams might have to be put on the back-burner for a while.  If I can just keep moving forward and appreciate the blessings in my life, then 2014 will be a great year!  :)

I hope you had a wonderful New Year's and are ready to approach 2014 with confidence and optimism.  I wish you a healthy, happy, and inspired 2014!

Note: Art summary meme was created by user DustBunnyThumper on deviantArt.  link  It's a lot of fun to fill out and see your art progress over the past year!