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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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

December News

MHWriters had a small gathering in November. Luneil, Joan, and Jackie looked over the list of recipes. Jackie brought her recipe and photos for Snake Bites Stuffed Breadsticks. Luneil handed out copies of her recipe for Orange Flavored Pork Steaks. Joan plans to write something about a fish and come up with a related main dish.

Jackie mentioned including another page on the blog which would include links to information and tips on writing. Links for Shadow Poetry and Rhyme Zone follow.
Additional links will be added on a regular basis.

Members discussed the upcoming Christmas party meeting. It was later decided to cancel the December meeting and celebrate the new year in January instead.

Next meeting:
Happy New Year Party
Thursday, January 10, 2013
6:30 p.m. at Chapel Lawn

Merry Christmas!


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Meeting Highlights - October 11, 2012

Happy Halloween!!!!

Members Present: Pam, Bernardo, Judy, Luneil, Lorraine, Jackie

Lorraine informed the group about two writing competitions. The first was the 13th Annual Writer's Digest Short Short Story Competition and the second was the 82nd Annual Writer's Digest Writing Competition. More information is available on the Writer's Digest website:
Lorraine reported she received rejections from Sasquatch Books and Carus Publishing (Spider Magazine). She encouraged us to keep submitting and suggested we all enter the same contests and see how we do.
Judy reminded everyone she e-mailed the group about the Ladies Home Journal Personal  Essay Contest and the Children's Writer YA Short Story Contest. Links for both follow: and . We have also included this information on our Upcoming Events and Contests page.
Jackie received an e-mail from Dawn Publishing in September that provided information and links for nature writers and those who teach children about nature. She will forward the e-mail to our members. She also reported she got a rejection letter from the editorial director at Cricket Magazine Group. Jackie had sent in a total of four poems, one of which included a related activity.

The group discussed future guest speakers including local poet Beverly Stanislawski.

Bernardo started a blog which has an encouraging theme and uplifting messages. He reported his short story Red and Fred is over 12 pages. Bernardo started an outline which lists the seven things they encounter before reaching their destination. Jackie suggested he make a list of their character traits and incorporate them into each section of the story. Pam volunteered to develop a tip sheet on character development and will distribute it at the next meeting.
Pam is working on a two part self-help e-book series. Her books will assist people in becoming familiar with their options in a step-by-step fashion. In addition, she is developing a supplemental workbook that would accompany the guidebooks.

Judy reported Tate Publishing is still interested in her story and is willing to work with her in regards to financing options. Judy is still busy working for Michigan State and has a new group of teacher interns. She suggested we look into attending writers' conferences so we can make connections with agents, writers, and publishers and get feedback from them directly. The group also agreed to look into SCBWI (the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) further and consider joining the organization.

Luneil is recovering from a second back surgery and has not had much time for writing. She is still working on the MHW cookbook though. The group reviewed the list of recipes, short stories, and poems and brainstormed other ideas. Jackie will update then e-mail the list. Jackie then suggested that Luneil revive her feisty Rapunzel character and write her into various fairy tales.

*** Members are encouraged to keep submitting items for our cookbook.

*** We are asking members to review their bios and update them on an annual basis. Jackie will make revisions this winter.

Ask Our Members: Writers are encouraged to carry around a notebook and pen at all times because you never know when inspiration will strike, so...We asked our members:  When do you get your ideas?

Pam - while doing dishes
Bernardo - on the throne
Jackie - while driving or at bedtime
Judy - (no ideas lately) oh no!
Luneil - when sitting in a strange place
Lorraine - in the early morning while still asleep

Next meeting: Thursday, November 8th.
Everyone welcome!  We love writing for kids and are always looking for fresh ideas and new members. Come see what we are about before becoming a member. We always have great food and really know how to throw a fantastic Christmas party!!! Hope to see you at the next meetings :).

(Membership dues paid now will be applied to 2013. We offer a discount for students.)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Meeting Highlights August 9, 2012

Members Present: Paul, Joan, Jackie, Luneil
Paul was able to attend our August meeting! Paul reported he is going to take two classes this fall. He only has six classes left before he starts student teaching. Other obligations have kept him from writing and painting this year. He is hoping with this semester's easier work load he can get back to what he enjoys most. Currently he has work featured at Hoosier Highlander. Paul encouraged Jackie to submit to Studio 659 in Whiting. Members also discussed other local art galleries and Paul reported he may teach a parent and child session of  Young Rembrants.
Luneil and her daughter are pictured in the latest Lake Area United Way brochure. It is a wonderful picture of them. Luniel has been an active volunteer for over 22 years. Luneil encouraged Jackie to submit some photos to the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority summer fun photo contest. Deadline is August 31, 2012.
Jackie announced four out of her seven photographs won ribbons in the Lake County Fair. She also discussed the upcoming IWC banquet which will be held this October. Members, guests, and anyone else interested in writing is invited to attend.
Members discussed different types of list poems. Jackie then read Sick by Shel Silverstein. Perfect timing for a poem about a child who doesn't want to go to school. See link for poem and author bio.
Joan was quiet, but happy. She also brought homemade cookies again :).

Next Meeting: Thursday September 13th.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Meeting Highlights July 12, 2012

Members Present: Jackie, Lorraine, Luneil

Lorraine brought in a revised recipe for "Rhubarb-Oatmeal Bars". She also made another version of the recipe that provided step-by-step instructions with computer generated illustrations. Lorraine then read her short story One Way to Learn About Lizards. She began the story last fall and has been working on revisions for the last few months. Her target audience is 2nd and 3rd graders. She would like it illustrated with the "photos" one of the characters take during the story. Lorraine likes to write stories that teach about nature and encourage a greater appreciation as well. Since we had a small group Lorraine will keep the writer's guide for another month.
Luneil passed out her recipe for "Crisp Crispy Chicken". She then read her related poem entitled Zaylie's Two Lovely Meals. The poem is a first draft. Luneil is asking members to give her suggestions about how to improve the piece.

Jackie read her latest poem Snakes, No Thanks! which still needs some work. She plans to include a recipe for "Snake Bites Breadsticks". Jackie is keeping a list of stories/poems and recipes so we know what we have so far. Sharon and Paul plan to contribute as well.

Next Magic Hour Writers meeting is scheduled for Thursday, August 9th at 6:30 p.m.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

June 14th Meeting Highlights

Attendees: Judy, Joan, Lorraine, Luneil and Pam

Notes:  Pamela's internet business is taking off. She purchased a program cs6 that can be used for publishing. She publishes a newsletter called Connections for the church. She passed out a copy of the letter; it is interesting and looks great. On a sad note Pam's grandson was ran over by a car two weeks ago. His injuries were serious but he is recovering. We all pray that he makes a full recovery.

Joan made contact with Harry Porterfield who did a story about a barber named Delmar Dunn from Chicago. She wanted Mr. Porterfield to help her contact Delmar to see if he knew Nelson. Hopefully Mr. Dunn will contact her.

Lorraine lost her aunt on May 1st; our condolences to her. She gave us a copy of her picture recipe of Rhubarb Oatmeal Bars. This is another idea for our recipe book. Lorraine also wrote and read a story about a Lizard. This is going to be a chapter book.

Judy passed out a story that Sharon had sent her about a teacher. Sharon also sent her a summary of writing an effective Query letter. Judy wrote a new story and a recipe. The title is Two Too Delicious Grilled Cheese Sandwich.

Luneil did not have any thing to read, but she shared with the group a new idea for a Lottie Nora story.  Her father is still in the hospital and while she was sitting there, she thought of different ways Lottie Nora could get into trouble when trying to help as a candy striper at the hospital.  Luneil will have another story and recipe for the next meeting.

We also want to start brainstorming about our children recipe book. We need to discussed illustrations and how we will put it together. We still need everyone to submit at least two stories and two recipes.

We had delicious snacks but we went home with a sugar high. Joan made some brownies, Pam brought danishes and Luneil brought apple slices and caramel dip. Yum!! Yum!!!

Next MHW meeting will be  July 12, 2012.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Meeting Highlights - May 10, 2012

Attending members: Cathy, Jackie, Joan, Judy, Lorraine, Luneil

Judy read a thank you letter from the Gift of Hope Organ and Tissue Donor Network. MHW donated money in memory of Paul's father who recently passed.

Jackie asked if members would be willing to donate a basket of books for a silent auction raffle benefiting the Claus family. Emory received a liver transplant from her father last month. Twenty-five dollars was taken from the treasury and members threw in enough additional funds to purchase a second raffle basket. The event will be in Lowell on June 2, 2012 and all are invited to attend. Jackie will be doing facepainting. She also suggested MHW donate a basket of books to a children's hospital annually.

Judy used MHW funds to purchase the Writer's Guide to 2012. Any member can borrow the book for a month at a time. It includes tips, advice, and, info on agents and publishers, etc. Luneil will take it home this month.

Joan showed members the latest issue of the local Family Flyer. Her poem The Legion was included in the May edition. Congrats Joan! The Family Flyer is a monthly publication which has a readership of over 113,000 people.

Lorraine reported she sent her story Marty the Moose to three publishers. She heard back from one who said they had just published a story on a moose. Lorraine then read her short story The Rhubarb Patch and accompanied recipe for Rhubarb Bar Cookies.

Luneil read her poem Doxie Dog which goes with her recipe for Cheese Hot Dog Wraps.

Judy shared her poem Very, Very, Slushy and recipe for Very Berry Slushie complete with her own computer graphics.

Jackie and Judy reported on the Indiana Writers' Consortium PoPP (Power of Poetry Project) Awards Assembly that was held at Taft Middle school in April. Elementary students from 4 area schools participated. Winning poems and illustrations were published in this year's PoPP publication. Certificates and medals were handed out and place winners also received a gift card.

Jackie reported she sent a poem into the Words for Riley poetry contest for Riley Children's Hospital. Winners will be notified by May 31. Jackie also sent in a poem to Chicken Soup and reminded members she posted their current needs on the "events and contests" page on the blog. Finally, Jackie announced she was awarded an honorable mention in the Oregon Poetry Association Spring Poetry Contest. She then read her winning haiku Quietly Encased.

Cathy read Five More, One Mores which is a short story about her granddaughter Zoe who was refusing to finish her cereal. Members brainstormed ideas for a related recipe. The group hopes to have at least 20 recipes with stories or poems that can be included in our first publication.
Next Meeting: June 14, 2012

Sunday, April 29, 2012

April Minutes

April 12, 2012

Members in attendance:  Pam, Bernardo, Luneil, Joan, Lorraine

Pam is no longer working at Chapel Lawn. She has a part-time job working at 1st Methodist Church in Valparaiso as a Communication Director. Pam will be able to use her writing skills with a newsletter she is going to publish for the church. Also her business is taking off; she just made a big sale with her party packs. Chapel Lawn is going to let us to continue to use their facilities for our monthly meeting,  She also gave us a handout on Writing & Illustrating and The Los Angeles Review is open to submissions for Issue 12. The deadline is April 30, 2012 . 

Lorraine is working on a story titled the Rhubarb Patch.  She plans to have the story finished to read by the next meeting and also bring a rhubarb dish for us to enjoy.

Luneil entered a piece in The Riley Writing Contest.  She also read her poem Doxie Dog and the recipe that goes with it.

Bernardo read some more of The Adventures of Red & Fred to the Sea.  His adventure series will be in seven parts.

Joan also entered several pieces in the The Riley Writing Contest. 

Next Meeting: Thursday May 11, 2012 at 6:30 p.m.


Saturday, March 31, 2012

March Highlights

March 8, 2012

Members present:  Cathy, Jackie, Joan, Judy, Lorraine, Pam
Guests:  Bernardo and Damian

Magic Hour Writers welcomed guest speaker Shannon Anderson from Rensselaer, Indiana. A former first grade teacher, Shannon is now an elementary school literacy coach, coordinates the high ability program, and teaches Spanish for elementary educators. Shannon has a short story titled A Deed a Day in Chicken Soup for the Soul - Find Your Happiness. She also will have a how-to article "Through the Hoop" published in Highlights Magazine for Children in August 2012.

Shannon suggested writers carry around an idea book at all times. Include anything and everything in your idea book, even a catchy title. She spoke about her road to publication, how to get critiques from those in the field, and making/maintaining contacts. She discussed writing grants, joining SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators), attending conferences, starting your own website, and taking online courses. Shannon's presentation was full of information and inspiration! Her website is

Bernado shared his poem Coqui Coqui about a frog found on the island of Puerto Rico. Bernardo included a recipe for Mantecaditos (Puerto Rican Little Butter Cookies).

Joan read her latest poem The Legion which included a recipe for Flag Cake. She shared a second poem entitled Veggies.

Jackie read a poem about worms and a related recipe for dirt pudding. Jackie also brought in a box of Cherrios which included one of the winning books from the Spoonful of Stories contest many members submitted to last year.

Next MHW meeting:  Thursday, April 12.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Poetry Contest

Words for Riley Poetry Contest

Meeting Notes- February 9, 2012

Members Present:  Cathy, Jackie, Joan, Judy, Luneil, Pam

Guest: Bernardo Gonzalez

Members agreed to donate $35.00 to Indiana Writers' Consortium's (IWC) 2012 PoPP (Power of Poetry Project) which is an annual children's poetry contest. Jackie and Judy are both on the PoPP committee. It was decided that dues will also be used to buy a writer's publication each year and reimburse gas expenses to guest speakers.

The PoPP awards assembly will be held Friday, April 20, 2012 at Taft Middle School in Crown Point at 6 p.m.

Luneil received a rejection letter from Highlights Magazine for Children. She had submitted one of her short stories which features young Lottie Nora. Luneil then read Lottie Nora and the Wal-Mart Speedway Incident.

Pam is currently working on Mystery at Mayfield Manor. She read the first few pages at Write-On Hoosiers the week before. Pam handed out brochures from Dignity Memorial. Chapel Lawn counselors will provide a free safety program to any interested groups. Two different presentions are available. The target audiences are school children and seniors.

Joan brought in her Dyer Local Town Calendar to show Jackie's photos to the group. Joan read her latest poem Myrtle the Turtle which was accompanied by a recipe for pretzel turtles. She is encouraging the group to keep working on the cookbook project. Joan plans to come up with something for vegetables. Luneil has an idea for crescent dogs.

Members discussed getting an ISBN # and promoting/selling the cookbook through the new IWC website. We plan to utilize local artists and consider doing a book signing at Albanese Candy Factory and local craft fairs. Profits would go in a "writer's seminar fund" to offset registration costs.

Jackie went over the current membership list and asked for any corrections. Jackie then read Leopard Frog, a picture & poem from 2010.

Judy passed out her poem In the Pet Shop Window and shared her recipe for Hedgehogs. (No worries, the recipe does not call for real hedgehogs :).

Bernardo read his first draft of Red and Fred, complete with illustrations. He had started this short story years before for his daughter. She is the one who encouraged him to work further on it.

Cathy read How to Save a Spider from Drowning in Your Toilet Bowl and Grandpa's Weird Sense of Humor.

Members should work on short stories or poems and related recipes and bring to the next meeting Thursday, March 8th. See you then!


Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Meeting Notes - January 26, 2012

Cathy, Jackie, Joan, Judy, Pam

Guest: Debra

Members introduced themselves and welcomed Debra. Debra is a special education teacher's aid in Hammond. Debra had a short story published in Stark/Tinkham in 2010 - A Purdue Calumet publication.

Judy passed out 2012 membership cards and bookmarks to each member present. We have a new logo!

Pam is working on a modern day fantasy.

Cathy put together a recipe for her My Life by A. Banana poem. Cathy and Joan would like us to all come up with a poem or short story and related recipe and discuss putting together a MHW publication this year.

Judy read Ryleigh Emma - Supper Sleuth, The Case of the Missing Chocolate Heart. Jackie suggested she include a detective's checklist within the story.

Members discussed having a discounted membership fee for students. It was determined that the annual student membership fee will be $10.

Judy will look into purchasing the 2012 edition of a publishers magazine this year. Since we have the 2011 edition of Children's Writer's Market, MHW will purchase the Children's Writer's Market every other year from now on.

Jackie passed out a sheet on Story Building. She will e-mail it to the other members. She talked about the "call for submissions" on sports poems. Information about this contest is on the blog in the upcoming events and contests page. She then read her latest poem and handed out an activity sheet she plans to submit with it. Jackie shared her recent rejection letters from Highlights, Illumination Arts, US Kids, and Tanglewood Press. Jackie did receive hand written notes of encouragement with two though.

Debra read her short story The Juniper Leaf and then discussed her book "101 Reasons for Time Out in Preschool and Kindergarten" and the process she went through to self publish it in 2003. It is now also an electronic pdf file and on sale for 99¢.


Monday, January 23, 2012

Make up meeting - this Thursday

Magic Hour Writers will be meeting Thursday, January 26th at 6:30 at Chapel Lawn.

Hope to see you there!

I just added to contests to the  Upcoming Events page - Check them out and submit!