Hope Tree CloseupWe’re well into the heat of summer which means our August meeting is right around the corner. I can’t wait to hear our speaker, C. Hope Clark. In the morning session, Hope will talk about “The Shy Writer – An Introvert’s Guide to Writing Success.” In the afternoon, she’ll be giving us ideas on “Funding Streams for Writers.” As you can see by her topics, she will provide us with a wealth of useful information for writers, using both discussion and exercises.


Here are a few items to remember for August:

  • Please make your dinner reservations for Friday night at Boxcar Willie’s by Tuesday, August 13. Dinner orders must be pre-paid ($9.50) either via PayPal or by mailing a check to Brenda Black. Both the PayPal link and Brenda’s address can be found here: http://www.ozarkswritersleague.com/#!meals–events/c1u1l  (NOTE: Please be sure to notify me of your reservation AND make payment by August 13.)
  • If you’d like to read something during Open Mic after dinner on Friday night, please let me know by August 13 and send a short bio to be used as an introduction. Open mic is limited to the first twelve requests and thank you for keeping your readings within the five-minute time limit!
  •        Thanks to Jeanie Horn for another great newsletter! I’ve attached a copy to this email. Or, you can click on this link to read it:http://www.ozarkswritersleague.com/#!newsletters/cee5
  • Contest entries are due by September 1!! Click on this link for more information: http://www.ozarkswritersleague.com/#!contests/coug

Nominations for next year’s officers will be made at the August meeting. Here is our current slate of nominations:

President-Karen Nelson

Vice-President-Brenda Brinkley

Treasurer-Ellen Thompson

Secretary-Ellen Withers

If you’re interested in running for office, please email me at jymorrill@gmail.com prior to the August meeting.

And finally, a couple of pieces of exciting news:

  • If you haven’t already done so, please visit OWL’s new online home at http://www.ozarkswritersleague.com/, created by our new Webmaster, Karen Nelson. This site is easy to maneuver and contains a means of paying for your membership, meals and contest entry fees via PayPal.
  • In November, we will be celebrating OWL’s 30th Anniversary! We plan to have a celebration as part of our Awards banquet on Friday night, November 15. This year, Boxcar Willie notified me that their banquet room will not be available in November, so that has given us the opportunity to try a new venue for dinner, a request that has been made by some of our members in the past. I’m excited to announce that our November Awards Banquet and 30th Anniversary Celebration will be held at the Old English Inn in Hollister. Here’s a link:  http://oldenglishinnhollister.com/. More information will follow, but for now, SAVE THE DATE!
  • Also, if you have any photos or memorabilia over the last 30 years, please email them to Karen Nelson at dkaren@centurytel.net. Karen will be putting together a presentation full of memories over the last 30 years.

I think that about covers it for August. As you can see, we have lots of exciting things going on. See you in a few weeks!



Get Ready for May!


Our big, big May meeting is right around the corner, and I can’t wait. We have invited two agents to listen to pitches and two fantastic speakers with lots of information to share, and of course . . .

Our Annual Auction!

Ready or not, hear it comes, and I hope you’re already searching your closets, drawers, under your beds, storage rooms, etc. for gently used (or NEW!) items to donate.


  • This is our main fundraiser for the year!
  • The success of the auction will determine what speakers we are able to get next year!

I thought we’d start having a little fun by sharing photos of auction items we plan to donate. I’ve already shared a couple of items on the Ozarks Writers League Facebook page. Come on! You, TOO, can tantalize us with your photos on Facebook!

Also, if you are able to contact local businesses for gift certificates, etc., that would be much appreciated. I’ve contacted several in the Branson and Eureka Springs area, and have already gotten a donation from the Crescent Hotel! Let the business know their donations will be posted on Facebook and this blog. If you are able to get donations, be sure to let me know so I can post it here.

Now, on to our guests!

Two agents will arrive in Branson to listen to pitches by members:

GODRON-PICGordon Warnock with Foreword Literary.

Specific genres Gordon represents include: Memoir, Cookbooks, Political and Current Events, Pop-Culture, Humor, Career, Self-Help, Pets, High-Concept Commercial Fiction, New Adult, Graphic Novels, and Contemporary Realistic YA (that means no vampires).

He does not represent: Religious Fiction, Genre Fiction, New Age, Children’s, Middle Grade, Collections of Essays, Short Fiction or Poetry.

Gordon will not require any materials for the pitch session.


Michelle WitteMichelle Witte with Mansion Street Literary Management.

Michelle is interested in:

  • Young Adult –
  • Middle Grade –
  • Children’s Non-fiction –


Please click on the agent links for additional information on what each agent is interested in. OWL members will be assigned approximately 10 minutes to pitch completed novel to one of these agents. Contact Jan Morrill at jymorrill@gmail.com to request a time slot.

Our guest speakers for May:

Dianna Graveman

Dianna Graveman is a partner at Treehouse Publishing Group and the founder, writer, editor, and designer at 2 Rivers Communications & Design. In the morning session, she will be speaking on communicating effectively online. Learn tips for using Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and other applications to build your business, network with others, or market your book. Online press releases, media kits, infographics, easy-to-build websites, blogs, book trailers, and more will be discussed, as well as lesser-known applications for managing and monitoring your online presence.

Mari Farthing

Mari Farthing is Senior Editor at Buzz Books. A technical writer and editor for 20 years, Mari branched out into freelance writing and editing ten years ago. Mari joined the staff of MetroFamily Magazine in 2004, where she earned several industry awards for writing and editing. She has been the Editor of MetroFamily Magazine since 2008.

For members making pitches, Mari asks that you review the submissions page on the Buzz website (http://buzzbooksusa.com/submissions) so you’ll be clear on the types of submissions Buzz is looking for. She would like to see a printed a one-page synopsis of the work you’ll be pitching. Please include your basic contact information.

In the afternoon, Mari plans to speak about editing–self editing, working with others (workshopping, early readers, etc) and working with a professional editor. She welcomes questions and feedback.

Here’s the agenda for May:

8:30 Registration
9:00 Announcements
9:10 Agent Panel
9:45 Dianna Graveman
10:30 Break
10:45 Dianna Graveman continues
11:30 Break for lunch on patio
12:00 Auction begins in auditorium
2:00 Announcements
2:10 Mari Farthing
3:00 Meeting ends
3:15 Board meeting

Boxed lunches will be served on the patio again this year. Stay tuned for a future blog post and email with additional information on what will be served and how to sign up.

Also, volunteers are needed (and much appreciated) for the May meeting to help set up the auction OR to set up/tear down tables for lunch OR to monitor/time the pitch sessions. Contact Jan Morrill at jymorrill@gmail.com if you’d like to volunteer.

As you can see, we have an action-packed meeting schedule, so mark it on your calendars:

Saturday, May 18

Plaster Auditorium

College of the Ozarks

Point Lookout, MO

Several OWL members will be speaking and doing book signings at the Kimberling Area Library on February 2, 2013, from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Hope you can come see us!

Kimberling City

2012 Contest Winners

I realize this is a late post, but as we are in a transition on our website, and since not everyone is on Facebook where the results were originally posted (before this blog existed,) I thought I’d post the winners of the OWL 2012 Contest, which took place at our November Meeting.

Better late than never, eh? So, without further adieu, the winners are (were) . . .

CONTEST #1 Gene Andereck Short Story

1)Keli Wright for “Windows”
2)Shannon Cavanaugh for “Buck Snort”
3)W.E. Mueller for “Wheaton House”

Honorable Mentions:
1st HM Geneva King Emerson for “Eldora the Bully”
2nd HM Nancy Hartney for “The Stooper”
3rd HM Marcia Gaye for “The Blessing of Timmy Grimes”

CONTEST #2 Flash Fiction
1)Valerie Haight for “Nearly Naiad”
2)Sara Gipson for “A Nutty Blessin”
3)Keli Wright for “Vines”

Honorable Mentions:
1st HM Russell Gayer for “Zombies of the Old West”
2nd HM Harriett Ford for “Oops”

CONTEST #3 Mystery/Suspense Short Story
1)Donna Volkenannt for “Sins of the Daughter”
2)W. E. Mueller for “The Case of Mr. Beck’s Walking Stick”
3)Brenda Brinkley for “Recycled”

Honorable Mention:
Linda Fisher for “Roses for a Dead Man”

CONTEST #4 Paranormal Short Story
1) W.E. Mueller for “Homecoming”
2) Bonnie K. Tesh for “Devil Wind”
3) Nancy Peacock for “Baby and Me”

Honorable Mention:
Brenda Brinkley for “Bigfoot’s Mother”

CONTEST #5 Western Short Story
1)Jeanie Horn for “O’Leary’s Crossing”
2)Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy for “Dragoon’s Bride”
3)Nancy Peacock for “Unfinished Business”

Honorable Mention:
Sara Gipson for “A Gamble with Law”

CONTEST #6 Short Story
1)Linda Fisher for “When Snow Falls in Silence”
2)Larry Wood for “Return to Simpson’s Ford”
3)Marcia Gaye for “Los Manos Bella de Betty”

Honorable Mentions:
1st HM Sara Gipson for “Tea with Miss Rose”
2nd HM Shannon Cavanaugh for “The Entanglement”
3rd HM Brenda Black for “Mother’s Trunk”


CONTEST #7 Young Adult Short Story or Novel
1)Sheila Wood Foard for “Wannabe Journalist”
2)Nick Nixon for “Little Red Rider”
3)Harriett Ford for “The Perfect Stranger”

Honorable Mention:
Veda Boyd Jones for First Cousins

CONTEST #8 Unpublished Book
1) Larry Wood for “Sins of the Father”
2) Jeanie Horn for “Deadly Secrets”
3) Nancy Peacock for “Grandmother Conspiracy”

CONTEST #9 Dan Saults, Personal Essay
1)Sylvia Forbes for “Canyon Time”
2)Gary R. Hoffman for “An Odd Shaped Orange”
3)Donna Volkenannt for “Twice Blessed”

Honorable Mentions:
1st HM Linda Fisher for “Red Squirrel on a Winter’s Day”
2nd HM Jeanie Horn for “An Ozarks Childhood”

CONTEST #10 Poetry
1)Geneva King Emerson for “Heart Attack”
2)Sara Gipson for “Inexperienced”
3)Marilyn K. Smith for “Husband”

Honorable Mentions:
1st HM Sylvia Forbes for “Curling Up with a Good Mystery”
2nd HM Jeanie Horn for “Ozark Ridge Home”

CONTEST #11 Non-fiction Article
1)Arline Chandler for “Yuma Territorial Prison: Hotel or Hell Hole”
2)Sylvia Forbes for “Life as a Storybook Character”
3)Veda Boyd Jones for “Arlington”

Honorable Mentions:
1st HM Jeanie Horn for “Sojourners through the Ozarks”
2nd HM Lucia Dulin Hawkins for “Beaver Lake and the White River”

CONTEST #12 Six word memoir
1)Linda Fisher for “Life as Pictures Scribed in Ink”
2)Diane Yates for “Life’s Lesson Learned”
3)Bonnie K. Tesh for “Morning Coffee, My deck, the Lake”

Honorable Mention:
Sheila Wood Foard for “Left Brain, Right Brain, Muse, March”

CONTEST #13 Memoir
1)Marcia Gaye for “Pearls of Happiness”
2)W.E. Muller for “The Ice Storm Visitor”
3)Donna Volkenannt for “The Latin Book”

Honorable Mention:
Sylvia Forbes for “A Colossal Adventure”

CONTEST #14 Page 99 Plus
1)Veda Boyd Jones for “The Corner of Pearl and Moffet”
2)Jeanie Horn for “New Beginnings”

Ruth Burkett Weeks for “Soldiers from the Mist”

Sheila Wood Foard for “Wannabe Journalist”

I hope you’re all getting your entries together for the annual Art and Photo Contest that will be held at the February meeting!  (Contest open to members only.)

Here’s the information:





1) For photography: Paperclip a 3×5 index card to the back of the 5×7 or 8×10 matted photo. Include:

* Photographer’s name

* Address

* Phone Number

* Email address

Name may not appear anywhere on the photo. Do not glue address labels to the back.

2) For art: Includes watercolor, oil, pastels, pencil, acrylic and any other form. Artwork must be matted. Follow above rules for placing artist’s information on the art work.

3) For alternative art: This includes any and all other kinds of alternative art: weaving, sewing, pottery, quilting, woodwork, crafts, etc. Follow rules above for placing owner’s information on the item, as far as possible. Information must NOT be visible to the judges.

4) All photography and art work is to be delivered to the Art Registration Desk in the lobby of Plaster Auditorium, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m., the morning of the February conference. Once the show has been judged and is over for the day, be sure to retrieve your items before you leave. OWL is not responsible for anything left at the close of the day.

5) Awards will be given for:

  • First Place
  • Second Place
  • Third Place

in each of three categories:

  • Photography
  • Art
  • Alternative Art

A “Best of Show” will also be awarded, which is the best of the First Place winners in the three categories.

6) If you’d like your photos entered in the Annual Cliff Edom Photo Contest, (see guidelines below) please leave them that day Pam Jones.


 Annual Cliff Edom Photography Contest

1. If mailed, must be received by the February meeting date. You may also give your entries to Pam Jones following the February meeting.
2. Paperclip an index card to the back of the 5×7 or 8×10 matted photo, with the photographer’s name, address, phone number, and e-mail address. Name may not appear anywhere on the photo.
3. Entries are judged on composition, use of available light, and appropriateness to the scene. The scene rotates each year.

The theme for the 2013 is: Places in the Ozarks.

4. Entries will not be returned unless sufficient postage and envelopes are attached. Entries may also be picked up at the May meeting. If not, they will be destroyed. May enter up to five entries.
5. Winner will receive a plaque or trophy.

To enter Cliff Edom Photo Contest, either give your photo entries to Pam Jones following the February Art and Photo Show or send to:

Pam Jones

226 Wedgeview Drive

Farmington, AR 72730

Cliff Edom founded the Photo-Journalism Department at the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1943.  He created the Pictures of the Year Contest in 1944 and the Missouri Photo Workshop in 1949.   Cliff and his wife, Vi, charter members of OWL, published several books including, Twice Told Tales, An Ozarks Photo Album and Forty Years of Missouri Photo Workshops.   Cliff Edom died in 1991.

If you have any questions, leave a comment or email me at jymorrill(at)gmail.com. Don’t forget, contest is for members only. If you aren’t a member yet, click here for information on how to join.

See you all in February!


I’m very excited to introduce you to our guest speaker for the February 16 meeting, Romney Nesbitt.

Romney Nesbitt

Romney Nesbitt

Creativity CoachRomney is a creativity coach and author of SECRETS OF A CREATIVITY COACH, (2008, BuoyUp Press). In February, she will be speaking in both the morning and afternoon sessions, offering suggestions and exercises on how to unleash your creativity. She is also an artist and art teacher with a B.F.A. in art, M.A. in Art and a Master of Divinity degree. Her book is available online at Amazon.com and www.AWOC.com.

Recently, I interviewed Romney to get to know her better:

1.       What led you to become a creativity coach?

Eric Maisel’s book , COACHING THE ARTIST WITHIN. I knew I had the right background and life experience to be a creativity coach. After completing my coaching training with Maisel, I discovered that while my arts background helped me relate to my clients’ work experiences and struggles, my training in listening and spiritual direction was what really made the difference in my ability to help people move past perceived limitations.  After teaching a few workshops and classes on creativity and building my client base I wrote my book, SECRETS FROM A CREATIVITY COACH.

2.       In your experience as a creativity coach, what have you found to be the greatest block to creativity?

 Busyness and self-chosen distractions. Most people are so overwhelmed with life—jobs, kids, health, chores, financial struggles, etc., that there’s simply no time to stop to think about what’s really important in their life.  In a coaching session I provide time for my client to think and focus on their goals and then together we develop a plan.   Regarding the self-chosen distractions: people are becoming aware of how their free time is being consumed by compulsive texting, phone app games, etc.  As a coach I remind people that technology is meant to serve us, not the other way around!  In order to create one must  commit to deep and sustained focus.  “Flow” happens when we allow our brains to rest in our creative work. Interruptions disrupt flow.  Making a decision to create changes everything—attitudes, actions, choices about time and interactions with others.

3.       OWL membership consists of many talented writers, artists and photographers. Have you found any of these creative types to be more challenged by creativity block?

Not really. Each creative person has his or her own set of challenges.  In general, most “creatives” are challenged by TIME—specifically claiming time to work.  People have to decide that their creative work matters enough to do it and then they have to find a way to add their creative activity into their day. The hard part is to choose which activities to eliminate in order to find new time slots!  People hate to choose!

4.       You wrote Secrets from a Creativity Coach and did the illustrations. Do you find you’re more challenged with your writing or artwork?

 I’m more challenged by writing. Art is easy. Writing is hard.  My art flows naturally from a lifetime of practice and training. Writing is my second career.  I still have a lot to learn.

5.        In Secrets from a Creativity Coach, you talk about “both/and instead of either/or.” Can you expand on that?

“Both/and” and “either/or” are phrases that relate to the way a person makes choices.  If a person is rigid in their thinking he or she may believe that all conditions have to be absolutely perfect before any work can begin. This is the lie of perfectionism and it comes into play in either/or thinking too.  For instance, I’ve heard so many clients say “If I didn’t have a full-time job I could write my novel.”  This person is trapped in “either/or” thinking and perfectionism. “I can either have a full-time job or I can write, but I can’t do both.”  We all know that most writers and artists have day jobs and do their creative work too. Either/or thinkers close off possibilities and limit creativity because they’re always waiting for the perfect scenario.

Both/and thinkers are able to adjust and shift according to the needs of the day. A both/and thinker would say “My job is demanding and takes up a good portion of my day, but I can almost always find a few minutes to work on my creative project.”  Both/and thinkers keep their goals on the front burner. They’re always looking for a chance to get back to their true love/creating.  A both/and thinker knows that a small step toward their goal is better than no progress at all.

6.       Is creativity nature or nurture?

As an artist and art teacher I know that some people are naturally talented (nature) but unless that person practices their craft and learns new techniques, their natural talent won’t develop.  There’s simply no way around hard work and effort .  Our gifts increase through practice over time.  I recommend your readers Google  the “10,000 hour rule” to learn more about the nitty-gritty of success.

Learn more about Romney at her website:


She is also writes a creativity coaching column titled “Ask a Creativity Coach” and articles on the business of art for Art Focus Oklahoma Magazine. To read her archived articles log on to www.ovac-ok.org and look for the “Business of Art” section in the table of contents. Nesbitt is a speaker for the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition’s newly formed ARTiculate Speakers Bureau. For a listing of her workshops go to www.articulateOK.org.

We look forward to seeing you at the February 16 meeting! For information on February’s meeting, click here.

To join OWL, you may print off a membership application from here and follow the instructions for mailing to the current treasurer. Memberships are $20.00 before the February conference. After that, it is $25.00. Student memberships are $10.00. One-day attendees are welcome and pay $10.00.

Premiere Post

Hello fellow OWL Members,

I’m happy and excited to start a President’s Blog for Ozarks Writers League. We have lots of good things to share with writers, photographers and artists and now a new place to gather.

On this blog, I will post all news related to Ozarks Writers League. This will include:

  • Meeting agendas
  • Guest speaker interviews
  • Organization news
  • Volunteer opportunities
  • Links to newsletters
  • And more!

This will not be a personal blog and will only contain information pertaining to Ozarks Writers League.

I hope you’ll subscribe by clicking on the “Follow” button in the upper right corner. It will be the best way to keep current on all the happenings at OWL.

And if you haven’t done so already, you can find OWL at all kinds of places on the Internet. Click on our “Find Us” page to follow us virtually anywhere!

I’m looking forward to an exciting 2013. Many of you have already asked how you can help, and I want to say a big THANK YOU! Please see our “Volunteer Opportunities” page for a list of ways members can help. One of the best ways is simply to spread the word about OWL. Bring some guests along. We love meeting new friends!

See you in February! (To see the agenda for February’s meeting, click here.)

Jan Morrill
President, 2013