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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Monday, May 3, 2010

Meeting Minutes - March 11, 2010

Date:  March 11, 2010      
Start Time:  7:00 P.M.  
End Time:  9:30 P.M.

Joan Bodefeld 
Pam Gonzalez
Jackie Huppenthal 
Luneil Morrow
Sharon Palmeri
Judy Whitcomb

Treasurer’s Report
Dues were collected from all present members bringing total Funds to $120.
Membership cards for 2010-11 were distributed.

Unfinished Business/Progress Report:
Jackie passed out the Welcome and guidelines document for Magic Hour Writers.  She asked everyone to look it over and see if they think there is anything that needs to be adjusted.  If you didn’t have time at the meeting, please take a look before the next meeting.

Jennifer, who was unable to attend because she was visiting her daughter in New York, checked on the availability of the library as a location for future meetings when our group outgrows a house.   It’s available only if we have the state form stating we are a non-profit organization.  We don’t have that designation.  As the group grows it may be something we want to obtain.  Jennifer offered her house as a site for meetings, she lives near the Lake County Fair Grounds.  Judy said she doesn’t mind if meetings continue at her house but now there’s a choice.

Most members have a blog site.  Jackie will keep updating the information sheet.
Luneil’s can’t be reached through the address.  (At the end of the meeting Luneil, with group support, created a new blog site, Luneil’s Jewels.)
Judy is in the process of updating her blog and adding the Dr. Science page that will have information and activities for parents about children and science.

Publish On Demand (POD) Research:
Sharon clarified the difference between self-publishing and POD publishing.
    Self-publishing is when you do the publishing, you find a printer who will print your book.
POD publishing is what we are researching.  You work with a company that prints the book for you.  Most offer a variety of other services (ex.  Create a web page with book cover, author bio, and excerpts)
    Luneil provided us with a list of current POD publishers.
Judy suggested that, rather than waiting to present our research at the May meeting, we move it up to the April meeting.  The group agreed.  They also agreed to reduce the number from 3 PODs per person to 2.
Sharon was prepared to share at this meeting and we asked her to so we all would have some idea of what we would be presenting.  Sharon presented two:
·    Infinity  is a company in Haverford, PA.  Sharon had some copies of the information booklet that she passed out.  Some of her students had copies already.  She also provided us with a list of questions to ask if you are considering a publisher.  This is a good guideline for us to use as we contact our research publishers.
·    Trafford Publishing.  This is a company located in Canada.  Sharon said the person she spoke with was very nice and accommodating.  She was able to obtain their information booklet for each of us.  It is colorful and appealing with easy to understand information about services, pricing, and a complete contract.  Sharon pointed out that some companies do not do children’s books and/or color paged books.  Trafford does.  Sharon and the group thought this company might be a good possibility for POD publishing.

Based on Sharon’s modeling, when we contact the other publishers we should:
·    Ask if the have a hard copy or on-line copy of an information booklet containing information about their services and pricing.  It isn’t necessary to obtain one for each member.
·    Ask for a copy of their contract.
·    Use Infinity’s list of questions to guide our queries.
·    Who do they use as distributors?  POD should have connections with Ingram and/or Baker & Taylor distributors.

It was decided that each person should have a short one page or less summary of the publishers information (services, pricing, contract, etc.).  If the company has an information booklet, each researcher should have one that they keep.  At a future time, if a member wants to review info, they can obtain the booklet from that person.

A current list of the PODs that each member is researching is at the end of these minutes.

Pam announced that her husband, who is serving in Iraq, was promoted to sergeant.  Way to go, Benardo!  She also reported that her presentation about children in the Civil War went very well.  She was surprised that this was a group Civil War historian buffs that were unaware of much of the information she shared.  She is thinking of writing a children’s book about two young men in the civil war.  One was a drummer at 10 years old and after having two drums destroyed, picked up a gun and joined in the fighting.  He was a sergeant by the age of 12.  The other boy was befriended by Todd Lincoln.  The group was enthusiastic about the idea and thought she should write about them because those stories would be something that would trigger an interest in history for children.

Sharon has added new information to the Writing for Children website (  One thing that was added was a series of links for top POD companies.  This is very useful for our research. Thanks, Sharon.  She also suggested everyone should take a look at Illumination Arts website ( even though the publishing company is not accepting any submissions now.

Sharon and Judy are meeting with other members of the Indiana Writer’s Consortium to begin planning a poetry writing project/contest for school children.  For a model, the group may use a project that Write-On Hoosiers sponsored for six years that culminated with a celebration for the participants, parents, and teachers as well as a publication containing the students’ poems.  Once the project is initiated, Sharon is hoping that some members of our group will volunteer to be readers of the poems in order to select winners.

Jackie plans to edit once more then submit two of her poems to a contest in Alabama.  Good Luck!

Judy showed the picture book she made to go with the poem “The Puddle”.  She also read a story she wrote in Sharon’s Basic Writing class.  “Unbalanced” is a story of a teen boy caught between a long time friend and a new “love” interest.  She was asking for comments on whether this was something that could be expanded into a book or series of short stories.  Joan thought she should focus on following through with the Dr. Science series.  Others thought she could work on both.

Pam introduced us to village of Dikibyr, the beast Grimma, Halvor, a young man in his “fifteenth year”, and others in Thokkaland.  This is the beginning of her fantasy trilogy.  The beginning of the story made us all curious and eager to hear what happens.  Sharon reminded her to make readers “see” a setting (as she did at the beginning) rather than “tell” it.

Jackie read the two poems she is submitting to the contest.  One was “Joe” about an industrious worker with a surprise ending.  The other is one she submitted to David L. Harrison’s adult word poem of the month called “The Life of a Housewife” that she has since revised.  It is a humorous look at how a housewife’s workload is underestimated.  Both poems were joyfully received by the group.

In the Know:
Jackie shared information about the Northwest Indiana Poetry Society.    It meets every 3rd Saturday at 10:00 A.M. in the Lowell Public Library.  They do poetry work only.  There is no fee to join the group.  E-mail notification of meetings and events can be obtained by contacting  Tom Spencer at  In addition, The Indiana Federation of Poetry Clubs is having a Spring Meeting on May 16th beginning at 9 a.m., also at the Lowell Library.  It starts with a business meeting, then there will be an open microphone session, lunch, and an Emily Dickenson event (at 1:00 p.m.) where an impersonator puts on a performance as the poet and has a question and answer period following the performance.   It is open to the public.  Jackie has the information sheet if you have any questions.

Judy reminded the group the submissions for possible inclusion in “The Edge of the Prairie” are due April 1st.   She also informed them that the copy of submission requirement she handed out in a class had changed.  The theme now should incorporate something about food within the region.  Sharon contacted the project coordinator who said they would still consider submission on the sense of place topic.

Luneil’s blog is up and running.

On Demand Publishing Research

Bodefeld, Joan - Create Space (formerly Booksurge), 48 Hours Books     
Gonzalez, Pam - Art Book Bindery, IUniverse     
Huppenthal, Jackie - Selfpublishing, Inc., Lumina Press     
Morrow, Luneil - Lulu,     
Palmeri, Sharon - Infinity, Trafford     
Romano, Jennifer -             

Notes respectfully submitted by Judy Whitcomb

Meeting Minutes - February 11, 2010

Date:    February 11, 2010     
Start Time:  7:00 P.M. 
End Time:  9:00 P.M.

Joan Bodefeld  
Pam Gonzalez  
Jackie Huppenthal  
Luneil Morrow
Sharon Palmeri  
Jennifer Romano 
Judy Whitcomb

Sharon made some suggestions for group organization:
·    Sign in sheet:  This allows a quick attendance record as well as allowing an area to indicate who wants to share something during the meeting.  Sharon provided a sample sheet.
·    A group constitution:  This could contain goals and objectives.  It would also have meeting guidelines and rules.
·    Keep group size 15 or under

The mission statement was approved.

Dues:  The following was approved by the group:
·    $20.00 annually
·    Non-refundable
·    Any amount left at the end of the fiscal year will be carried over to the next year.
·    An accounting of finances will be incorporated into the minutes.

The group agreed to continue to meet at Judy’s for now.  As the group expands, it may be necessary to find a location that will accommodate a larger population.  Joan suggested a library for meetings.  Sharon said there may be some issues with libraries and bookstores (they were “kicked out of one").  Jennifer will call the Dyer/Shererville branch and inquire with them about the possibility of using them for a meeting site.

Sharon shared information about Write on Hoosiers and the Indiana’s Writers Consortium.
·    As a certified 501c3 group, you can get donations that are tax-exempt.
·    WOH meets the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of the month.
·    Possible opportunity for our group to combine with WOH and a couple of other small writing groups for special celebrations like the Christmas Party.
·    The Consortium is an umbrella group for other writers’ groups.  They meet four times a year.  Multiple counties are involved in this group so future meeting sites not available now.  Since the group is relatively new, not all questions could be answered because they are still working through details.  Check out their webpage.

Website/blog development:
·    Jackie compared the two and the group looked on-line to see Jackie’s.
·    Pam volunteered to develop the group blog.

·    Judy shared a kid’s poem, “The Puddle”.  Sharon said she could see that as a picture book because of the visual images she had hearing the poem.
·    Jennifer showed a hard copy of the book she wrote in the children’s writing class.  She had it done by I-photo.  The price was $85.00 for the book mainly because of the hard cover. 
·    Jennifer is having the book self-published by Author House.
·    Jackie made a picture book on Snapfish suited for a read to book for 3 – 4 year olds.  It had actual pictures of her family on a river trip.  This was a soft covered book that cost $13.00.
·    Both books were professional looking and inspiring to the group.

A discussion of self-publishing groups ensued.  An action plan was initiated to further investigate these groups:
·    Each MHW member will choose 3 self-publishing groups and gather information on the group.
·    The information may include:
o    A sample contract
o    An information book that Sharon indicated these groups will send out
o    Any other pertinent information
·    When a member decides on a self-publishing company to review, let Judy know so that duplicate reports can be avoided. 
o    When you send the name of a publisher, Judy will let you know if someone has taken that one.
·    These reports will be presented at the May meeting.

·    No agenda items suggested for the next meeting.
·    No sub committees designated for the development of the group constitution.
·    Meetings will take place on the second Thursday of each month at Judy’s.
·    Dues will be collected at the next meeting or may be sent to Judy

Current assignments:
·    Group Moderator:  Jackie Huppenthal
·    Blog developer:  Pam Gonzalez
·    Minutes and Treasurer:  Judy Whitcomb

Welcome and Group Guidelines

Welcome to Magic Hour Writers.  Thank you for joining us, we are happy you are here! At the beginning of each month these guidelines will be reposted for your convenience.

Meeting Times:  We meet on the second Thursday of the month at 6:30 p.m. at Borders Bookstore in Merrillville, IN.

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

About Us:  Magic Hour Writers formed in early 2010 after several of Sharon Palmeri's students decided they wanted to continue to meet on a regular basis to share their current works and projects as well as report on any progress, successes, and frustrations. Many also wanted to share and discuss any information they found to be of interest to fellow group members. Magic Hour Writers is affiliated with Write-On Hoosiers, an established writer's group that has been meeting in Northwest Indiana for over twenty years.

What you can expect...  We are a diverse group of individuals with very unique education, life experiences, and interests. Our main common goal is to write quality materials for children. This includes but is not limited to: board books, picture books, early readers, poems, articles, and young adult novels. Each of us has the duty to provide constructive criticism and offer suggestions and ideas. We plan to have guest speakers that will provide additional support as we build our craft. We will discuss and further explore topics of interest on occasion and take votes if necessary to reach a decision deemed in the best interest of the group.

Many of our members have additional websites. Check out the links on this site.

Dues are $20 a year  and are non-refundable. Members dues will be collected at the beginning of each calendar year. Any remaining balance will be carried over into the next calendar year. The acting treasurer will report on the balance of our budget and inform members of any income and expenses upon request.

Every meeting we pass around a reading sign-up sheet. On this sheet you will put down the title of any personal work you would like to share and if you would or would not like feedback from the group. You can share a chapter from your book, a poem, or a short story - no more than 5 minutes in length and appropriate in content. Please bring 10 copies of your work so there is enough copies for each member to follow along. These copies will be returned back to you upon your request.

Visit as our guest:  A guest may attend two meetings before membership will be required.

Contact us:  If you are interested in attending one of our meetings as a guest, or would like additional information please feel free to contact us via email at: