Sunday, August 31, 2014

COSCBWI Meeting August 2014: New Website Overview

This month's COSCBWI meeting combined both the writer and illustrator meetings into one group session.  We started off the meeting with an overview of the new SCBWI website.

The new SCBWI website can be found at  It has a wealth of helpful and informative features for SCBWI members.  When you sign in, you can view and update your own profile.  Your profile can contain as much or as little information as you'd like, such as your contact info, artist statement, bio, and publications.  There is even a feature to upload pictures to your own little illustration gallery. 

Beyond the member profile, the SCBWI website offers many great resources for writers and illustrators in the "Resource Library."  Some of the features include past issues of the SCBWI Bulletin, FAQs about publishing, and discussion boards.  If you take a look at the purple menu bar, you'll find links to other membership benefits including award and grant opportunities, a bookstore, and a calendar of events.  And if you get lost, there's even a handy-dandy help section.  There are so many wonderful things to learn and find on the new SCBWI website, so have fun discovering them all!

The new SCBWI website also contains the new chapter site for Central and Southern Ohio SCBWI.  It can be found at or by choosing "My Region" from your profile.  If you don't want to sign in, you can also access it by clicking on "Your Regional Chapter" on the front page of the main SCBWI website, then choosing "Ohio: Central and South" from the list of regional chapters.  The members of the COSCBWI admin board (myself included) are still becoming acquainted with all the features of our new site, but we're working hard to make it user-friendly and informative for the COSCBWI members.  The purple side bar contains links to information on meetings, workshops, and COSCBWI projects.  A calendar of events can also be found on the page, as well as an email link.  Be sure to acquaint yourself with the new COSCBWI website, and stay tuned for more updates!

After the overview of the new SCBWI and COSCBWI websites, the group split for critiques.  Writers had a first page critique session, while Illustrator Coordinator, Stella Hickman, critiqued the work-in-process illustrations for the 2nd Annual Member Exhibition.  Everyone got great feedback on their work, and I can't wait to see how the finished illustrations turn out.

If you want to learn more about SCBWI or COSCBWI, remember to check out and  And if you know any writers or illustrators who may want to join, please pass the information along to them.  I hope to see you at the September meetings! 

Note: Screencaps of the SCBWI and COSCBWI websites were compiled by me, Kathryn Powers.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Home from Highlights

There's nothing like a cozy cabin, tasty food, and good friends to get you in the writing spirit! 

I'm back from my "Unworkshop" at the Highlights Foundation and it was just what I needed to reconnect with my writing.  This was my third visit to the retreat center in Pennsylvania, but my first "Unworkshop."  As I mentioned in my last post, I became writing buddies with the other participants at the prior Highlights workshops I attended.  A few of us decided the "Unworkshop" would be the perfect opportunity for a mini-reunion.  We weren't quite sure what to expect, but we found the "Unworkshop" to be just as amazing and inspiring as our past retreats. 

The staff was warm and friendly and made us feel right at home.  I knew I was in for a great visit when I saw the welcome sign on my cabin.

Since the "Unworkshops" don't have a structured schedule (apart from meal times--but who would want to skip those?), that leaves ample time for writing and wandering the neighboring woods.  My cabin had a comfy desk with ample room for all my tools and a lovely view.  

It was so nice to have space to write and illustrate while being inspired by squirrels skittering across my porch.  Or listening to crickets chirping outside my window late at night, since I often work looooong after everyone else has gone to bed.  (Which I probably shouldn't, since this often happens:)

I'm happy to say it was quite a productive few days!  (Erm, apart from that that late-night gibberish...)  The past year has been very busy, and my manuscripts have been pushed to the back burner.  If you've been following my blog, you'll know the loss of my furry ferret muses, Link and Butters, has also made it difficult to work on my novel, "Pirate Ferret."  It was great to reacquaint myself with my stories and characters, and remember why I love writing.  I was even inspired to draw some ferrety sketches.

The food was just as delicious as my past visits, and we were all excited to see what sort of yummy dishes each meal would bring.  (Zucchini Fritters?  Yes, please!)  Meals were shared with the other "Unworkshoppers," and it's always a treat to meet new writers.  There's never a dull moment when creative folk get together, from chats on craft to lengthy discussions on zombie turkeys!

Of course, the best part of the trip was catching up with my old writing buddies.  We had a blast, if you couldn't tell from our giddy faces below.

The "Unworkshop" was over all too soon, but I very much hope to return to Highlights again the future.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but I only need five to summarize my experience:

Photos are (c) me, Kathryn Powers.  You can learn more about the Highlights Foundation and all their amazing workshops at:

Friday, August 8, 2014

Highlights Bound 2014

All writers are welcomed warmly at the Barn at Boyds Mills!
This weekend, I'll be packing up my laptop and heading off to the woods for an "Unworkshop" at the Highlights Foundation.  I was very fortunate to attend two fantasy workshops at Highlights in the past led by authors Laura Ruby and Anne Ursu.  (You can find all the blog posts I wrote chronicling those workshops here and here.)  Those experiences were nothing short of magical with outstanding faculty, plenty of time to write, a peaceful environment, and some of the most delicious food I've eaten in my entire life.
This is my first time attending an "Unworkshop."  Instead of a structured workshop with faculty, the "Unworkshops" are simply an opportunity to hide away in a cabin for a few days with fellow writers and write 'til your fingers fall off.  (Which essentially equates to "Writers' Heaven!")  At the prior workshops I attended, I met many other wonderful fantasy writers, and several of us are using this "Unworkshop" as an opportunity for a mini-reunion.  I'm looking forward to catching up with old friends, and meeting lots of new writers, too.
Since this isn't a structured workshop, I won't be posting daily summaries of my time at Highlights as I did in the past.  I'm just going to enjoy the quiet, eat (and eat, and eat some more), and spend some long-overdue, quality time with my manuscripts.
See you when I get back!

Note: Picture is from the Highlights Foundation website at