January 2018 Newsletter

December 28, 2017 1:57 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

January 2018
Letter From The President
 Letter From The President

The New Year is upon us! It’s a time to look back at what we’ve achieved and where we need to improve. It also gives us the opportunity to lay out a plan for a leap forward into 2018.

What were OCWW’s organizational accomplishments in 2017?

Members tell us, in their view, we fielded the finest array of accomplished instructors and workshop topics in recent memory. We also increased Membership and Workshop Attendance to the highest level in OCWW history. Member comradeship is at an all-time high. You can feel the buzz of conversation reverberating about the room at registration, before the workshop begins, during the break, and as Members make their way to the door at meeting close. It’s great!

We also made progress in securing volunteers. Let’s give tribute to these volunteers. Each is a precious contributor to the success of our organization. They welcome us at registration, bring the snacks, create the newsletter, burnish our website, recruit and service the needs of our speakers, handle the manuscripts for critiquing, keep the books, handle our Board Meeting Minutes, and more. We wish we had more volunteer contributors. We’re still shorthanded and could use more help to keep our standards up and not overwork our existing team.

Importantly, we have also improved our OCWW diversity demographics. It is vital for OCWW to show further improvement in this area to survive and thrive. Our finances are in the best shape ever. As a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, our goal is not to make money but to break even and maintain a sufficient contingency reserve to meet financial obligations should an emergency occur. We’ve prepared for any such contingency.

How about 2018? Where is OCWW headed? What are our goals?

Our priority is to maintain the superior speaker workshop standards that we have been achieving.

Second, we need to increase the number of volunteers. Our Board, Officers, and other current volunteers are overloaded and weary. Remember, OCWW is a 100% volunteer organization. Without volunteers, we don’t exist. Let’s not allow those who are already volunteers to remain overburdened. We can’t afford to lose any of our current volunteers due to being burdened with overwork. All we ask is for you to consider giving back to the organization that gives you so much to help you with your writing. What’s the saying? “Pay it forward.” Most Members can find an hour or two a week to contribute their time and talent. How about stepping up? We are badly in need of volunteers for communications, publicity and website tech help. Three, four or more volunteer contributors to fill out the Communications/Publicity Committee would be a big help.

Third, we look forward to further improving the social interplay aspects of OCWW by encouraging each Member to extend themselves to their fellow-Members and continue to show the friendliness and social interplay we have seen in recent times. If anyone would like to help coordinate an outing or social event please let us know.

Finally, we are working on developing more promotional programs like our recent Holiday Book Fair to help our Member authors promote and sell their books.     

Enough about OCWW. How about you?

How do your personal writing goals and achievements stack up? Now that it’s 2018, it’s time to assess how many, if any, short story, novel, flash fiction, memoir, personal essay, non-fiction, poetry, or play/script-writing manuscripts you completed in 2017, or plan to finish in 2018, or wish to start and finish in 2018. If you’ve completed writings, have you gone the extra mile in preparing them for submission, or are they sitting in your “to be submitted” file? If it’s the latter, then it’s time to shake off the dust and dread and get to submitting them. It’s not a time to avoid submissions due to fear of rejections, we all get them. Writers who don’t submit their works never get published. Then again, some may be writing purely for personal pleasure or as a leave- behind memoir or personal essay for family and friends. If that’s your goal, more power to you, it’s an important and fulfilling goal to achieve.

Let’s all embrace 2018 as an opportunity for making a fresh start on achieving our writing goals.

I couldn’t leave the old year and enter the new without extending my thanks to every one of you for the support that you give to OCWW, the Board, Officers, and me. Please know it is appreciated.

Here’s looking forward to a great year ahead.

Warmest regards,


Member Accomplishments

Barbara Barnett was a guest speaker at the Faulkner Society annual Words and Music Writers Conference. She spoke on the topic, “blogging for authors” and getting “yourself” out there on social media as part of a fantastic weekend, featuring such luminaries as Walter Isaacson, Reza Aslan, and Roy Blount Jr. 

In January, Barbara will be taping a new three-part web course on Blogging Basics for authors, which will be available in late January (scheduled) from the Profitable Authors Institute. In January, she will also be officially hanging out a “shingle” offering consulting to other authors on using the popular software program Scrivener for plotting, writing and editing long-form works. 


Della Leavitt has two publications to share.  First, her poem and accompanying introduction, Where I am From, will be published in the Family Methodologies Special Issue of the International Society of Educational Biography's journal, Vitae Scholastica. http://isebio.com/our/journal.html

Secondly, her piece, Teaching and Becoming: Currere in Context is partially adapted from one of the chapters from her novel-in-progress, The Measure of a Teacher. It will appear online in December 2017 as part of Volume 1, Issue 2 of the Currere Exchange Journal. http://www.currereexchange.com/currere-exchange-journal.html


Board Member Thomas Benz’s award winning story collection Home and Castle is being released in January by Snake Nation Press. Peter Ferry, author of Travel Writingand Old Heart, winner of the 2015 Chicago Writers Association Book of the Year Award, said “Tom Benz's marvelous stories of life in the American suburbs will remind you of John Cheever but with a subjective empathy and wry vulnerability that are wrenching.”

A special pre-order rate of $12 (including shipping and handling, except international) is available on a limited basis at www.indielit.net/store. (click on the book image and you do not need to “sign in” to buy).


Member Jane Hertenstein has new flash fictions posted on-line at:

Ink & Letters (http://www.inkandletters.com/shop/)

and at Sunlight Press (http://www.thesunlightpress.com/catching-up/


Jennifer Worrell is featured in two anthologies for horror, fantasy, speculative romanceand noir comedy.

72 Hours of Insanity, Volume 3 (Kalfou: a woman is haunted by her dead husband in St. Louis Cemetery #1 in New Orleans)

and Ironology 2017 (Moonlight & Love Songs: Fate of movie museum, thru POV of memorabilia; Stone Circuit, Black Hole: Science and magic are one, leaving a man to mourn his love more deeply than ever; and Keep the Change: A cat's human allergy leads him to take drastic measures.)




Lynn Sloan reports that her story Nature Rules appears in the fall 2017 issue of Shenandoah.

Find it here: https://shenandoahliterary.org/671/09/10/nature-rules-sloan/

CWA lists its upcoming events in its newsletter, 
which you can find here:http://mailchi.mp/736b9cd9fa6f/news-from-chicago-writers-association-2834001 

Manuscript Submission Deadlines

One of the outstanding benefits to being an OCWW member is the opportunity to have your work critiqued by some of our highly qualified speakers. To check if a speaker is accepting manuscripts please check the list below. Manuscripts should be sent as an attachment to ocww.info@gmail.com Manuscripts should be in Word, double spaced, Times New Roman 12 point font with one inch margins, pages numbered, and name on the front or in the header.  They should be received and paid for no later than 2 weeks before the workshop. The critique charge is $3 per page, with a 20 page maximum. *Please note there is a $15 (5 page) minimum*

Golda Goldbloom: submit and pay by January 11

Natasha Tarpley: submit and pay by January 18

Nadine Kenney Johnstone: submit and pay by February 15

Matt Bird: submit and pay by March 1

Abby Geni: submit and pay by March 15

Amy Hassinger: submit and pay by March 22

Barbara Barnett: submit and pay by March 29

Abby Saul: submit and pay for 1 page single spaced Query Letter by April 12 Fee is $15.

Tina Schwartz: submit and pay for 1 page single spaced Query Letter by April 12 Fee is $15. Tina will also accept the first ten pages of your manuscript by April 12.

Jac Jemc: submit and pay by April 19

Sarah Terez Rosenblum: submit and pay by April 26


January - '18



Amy Jo Cousins

Hot Romance on a Cold Winter Day

Romance is big business, and there’s a reason the romance genre is a billion-dollar industry, selling more books than the next two largest genres combined. The search for love and the struggle to make a relationship work are core stories, engaging readers’ hardwired need to learn what happens next on a character-driven level. Including strong romantic elements in your manuscript of any genre can strengthen your work, but a well-structured romance has its own story beats. We’ll discuss braiding your romance arc into the external plot and theme, and how to engage readers’ desire for emotionally satisfying endings.

9:30am-12pm.  Winnetka Community House



Richard Thomas

What Editors Look for in Short Fiction: Key Elements Paired with Your Unique Voice

Author, editor and lecturer Richard Thomas starts this lively session with a discussion of Freytag’s Pyramid and the essential points he teaches in his Short Story Mechanics Class for university students, including exercises authors can do later on their own. In the second hour, Richard will talk about how editors evaluate short fiction and how you can improve your chances of publication.

9:30am-12pm  Winnetka Community House



Hannah Gamble

Use the Absurd to Spice Up Your Writing

Poet, essayist, editor and educator Hannah Gamble leads a workshop on how to use absurdity to lead our readers to a genuine emotional experience. She will illustrate how absurdity works in fiction, poetry, and memoir, and conduct several writing exercises throughout the session.

9:30am-12pm  Winnetka Community House




Goldie Goldbloom  DATE CHANGE from 12/14/17

Meet Your Conflicts Head On!

Award-winning author and lecturer Goldie Goldbloom focuses on the way in which many writers swerve away from the most difficult interactions in their work, and how to correct that impulse.In the second hour of her lecture, she’ll review member manuscripts submitted for critique as examples of how to improve your story by finding the issues and addressing them.

9:30am-12pm  Winnetka Community House



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