Magic Hour Writers

Our Mission: To encourage and promote excellence in writing for children through
friendship, education, and peer support to writing colleagues.

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Sunday, January 19, 2020

Meeting Highlights - January 8, 2020

Members Present:  Jackie, Karen, Patty, Pete, Valia

Patty participated in a two hour webinar sponsored by SCBWI. The webinar was $35 and included critique. She recommended those put on by the Texas chapters. The 2020 Winter Webinar Series is being offered to both members and non-members. You must register for ZOOM, a free website to view the SCBWI webinars.

Karen is the SCBWI Library Coordinator and updates the Hoosier Book Happenings Library Newsletter which promotes PAL members’ new books. . The fall retreat will be the first weekend in November for the next three years.

Valia talked about the Tri City Safety Village. History teacher Tom Clark that is there every Saturday from 9-12. Valia suggested Karen get in touch with him again and discuss her book The Medal With A Heart. The museum has a vast collection including pictures of Purple Heart recipients.

Valia brought in an old Hoosier Horizon Children’s Magazine he found in his father’s trunk. Vaila’s own son was a contest winner decades ago, before Valia had even heard of the group.  Valia then read “Wolves Around the Chattisgarh Express,” a poem he wrote about his cousins and uncle who were killed in 1984 by mobs who targeted Sikhs.  It was published in The Sikh Review, Volume 67:12, No. 792 Dec. 1, 2019.

Pete’s fifth book came out in December. Mr. Webster Rock Star Teacher was illustrated by his daughter and is a memorial for a friend. Pete interview several teachers who were friends with Mr. Webster. Proceeds benefit the Gary Webster Young Musicians Program for Valparaiso 4th and 5th grade elementary students. Pete is also working on a screenplay based loosely on his high school and college friends that he continues to golf with.

Jackie applied for another writer residency/retreat. She informed members that Magic Hour Writers has now been in existence and meeting regularly since February 11, 2010. The blogsite has over 110 published posts and continues to highlight members’ achievements, upcoming events, and includes resources for writers of all levels and genres. Members suggested we celebrate MHW's 10 year anniversary next month.

Next Meeting:  February 12, 2020, Rosati’s in Schererville, at 6:30 p.m.


Meeting Highlights - November 13, 2019

Meeting Highlights to come.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Meeting Highlights October 9, 2019

Members Present:  Alan,  Jackie, Judy, Karen Patty, Valia

Alan shared the latest project he is working on. The Witch Who Runs the Daycare will be a picture book geared toward third and fourth graders.

Valia brought in a handout on publishing that he got from Gail Galvan at the last Write-On Hoosiers meeting. Jackie will share it with the rest of the group via email.

Valia then read his poem "Grandfather", which was published in the Spring 2019 edition of Wards Literary Journal. The theme was Borders. Valia also shared "Three Facets of Refugee Status". This poem was featured in Dove Tales, an International Online Journal of the Arts in August 2019 and was written in response to the sinking of a boat full of refugees earlier this year.

Judy passed out copies of The Lost Little Penguin. She started this book years ago and just recently finished illustrating it. Judy also brought in copies of the monthly newsletters she has been creating for Clarendale.

Karen talked about the history of the Seagoing Cowboys and the  Heifer Catalog.

Jackie reported Light Literary Journal published one of her photos in their last issue Finishing. She then read the first stanza and some notes for a new poem she is working on for Halloween.

Patty read Chapter Seven, Trapped…Or Not in her novel The Iron Ladies.

Next Meeting:  November 13, 2019, Rosati’s in Schererville, 6:30 p.m.


Sunday, August 25, 2019

Meeting Highlights - 8.14.19

Members Present:  Alan, Jackie, Karen, Pam, Patty

Patty read Chapter 5 and 6 of The Iron Ladies. Karen and Patty discussed how the main character should change in the second part of the story. Vienne should stop reacting and instead be taking more control by being the acting force. They went over some basics for character development and how the plot should progress.

Alan shared the first chapter in his new young adult novel which is about a troll and is written in first person. Alan usually writes poetry so this is a big change for him. Members discussed dialogue and tags as well as some popular children’s books.

Pam had a lot of questions about self-publishing so members discussed Kindle Direct Publishing.

Jackie printed out and started to organize the poems she has written over the past 10 years. She would like members to look at their bios and send any updates to her.

Next Meeting:  September 11th, Rosati’s in Schererville, at 6:30.


Thursday, July 11, 2019

Meeting Highlights 7-11-19

Members Present:  Jackie, Karent, Luneil, Patty, Valia

Guest:  Allen
Allen was a stand-up comic who enjoys writing poetry for children. He has written four books.

Luneil wrote another chapter in Barty and will read it at the next meeting. Members suggested she try to write the next chapter in first person.

Karen was working on a “Dear Reader” letter for the workshop she will be attending next week in Vermont. It introduces her book to others who are also attending the workshop. She then read the newly revised first chapter of Ghost Lessons.

Valia reported three of his poems have been published in three different literary journals. “Grandfather” was published in Wards, “Bell Tolls” was published in Northwest Indiana Literary Journal, and “Heart Beats” was published in Poetic Medicine. He submitted to Poetic Medicine for over a year which shows persistence pays off.

Jackie submitted a poem and four photographs to Light Journal. Unfortunately, this will be their last issue.

Patty likes Children’s Book Insider as a downloadable resource. She met with Esther again in Chicago and is trying to sort through her recommendations.

Allen read his poem “Gorilla Chose Vanilla” which he wrote for a friend’s birthday. He is not sure if he will self-publish or submit to traditional publishers. Members suggested he tighten up the poem and check out a few rhyming picture books at the library. Jackie suggested books by Jamie Lee Curtis. Allen also hopes to attend Write-On Hoosiers and Northwest Indiana Poetry Society meetings.

Next Meeting:  August 14, 2019, Rosati's in Schererville at 6:30


Monday, July 8, 2019

Meeting Highlights June 12, 2019

Members Present:  Helena and Valia

Helena presented her essay entitled ‘Wait with Patience.’ It was an essay that she was going to present to her church under a program called Write to the Heart Presentation. It highlights spiritual journey when one of her church closed. It served her family and other Chinese families for 20 years. It describes their anguish which she describes using quotes from the Bible that gave her inspiration. The essay ends with doors opening to another church by Bethel Church for Chinese Congregation.

Valia presented his poem entitled Old Man and the Stick (inspired from Shel Siverstein’s Giving Tree). It describes how an old man finds companionship with a stick during his lost phase of life journey and how the stick rewards him.

Next Meeting:  July 10, 2019 at Rosati's in Schererville at 6:30 p.m.


Sunday, June 2, 2019

Meeting Highlights May 8, 2019

Members Present: Debbie, Jackie, Karen, Patty, Ruthann

Debbie talked about her interest in writing, being published in a literary journal, and her latest book project.

Karen has been marketing her The Medal With A Heart book. She announced it will be sold at Colonial Williamsburg museum which gets 1 million visitors a year. It will also be sold at Mt Vernon (Washington’s home). They ordered 50 books. Karen has been phoning bookstore and asking for their book buyer’s email.

Patty wrote over 65,000 words, completing her latest NaNoWriMo challenge. She discussed the book Being Mortal by Atul Gawande which asks what you want to do with the rest of your life and stresses setting priorities.

Ruthann read Closer to Home, a short story about her cousin Mary Ellen and her husband Bob, who was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer last year.

Jackie shared an article her office aide wrote for the Lake Central Summer Newsletter about her Hoosier Women Artist award.

Patty read "Chapter Four: The Light of Their Hearts" from The Iron Lady.

Next Meeting:  June 12, 2019, Rosati’s in Schererville, 6:30 p.m.