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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Thursday, October 11, 2018

Meeting Highlights October 10, 2018

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

Karen brought in copies of her latest book The Medal With A Heart. Members bought books and she signed them.  Karen reported she had a book signing this past Saturday at Barnes and Nobel in Valparaiso.  A young girl approached her and said she had seen Karen’s Rescuing Ivy presentation a few years prior. Karen would like to talk to fifth grade teachers and see if they are interested in sharing her book with their students.

Jackie said she helped her son with a few history writing assignments but hasn’t written much else lately.  She then reported she has a metal print on exhibit at the Carnegie Center in Rensselaer, IN until November 3rd, 2018.

Valia’s poem “Dementia” was accepted in Sage-ing Literal Journal and will be published in December. Valia discussed a few of his favorite children’s books by Eric Rohmann.

Luneil read an excerpt from Barty. Members offered a few suggestions relating to character development and improving the story line.

Patty read “Chapter Twelve:  Time For Truths” from Vienne. The judge questions Vienne about the way she was raised and where she feels she belongs.

Next Meeting:  Tuesday, November 14, 2018 at 6:30 p.m.


Saturday, September 29, 2018

September 12, 2018 – Meeting Highlights

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

Guest: Andrew

Patty and Karen discussed SCBWI’s Prairie Writer’s and Illustrator’s Day which will be on October 27 in Palatine, IL. Indiana Writers' Consortium's Annual Steel Pen Conference is that day as well at Fair Oaks Farm in Indiana.

Patty read Chapter 10 and 11 from her novel Vienne.

Karen read Chapter 2 of Ghost Lessons.

Valia read his memoir Kaka Remembers Home. Members discussed how he could turn it into a picture book.

Andrew read his poem The Land of the Blind, based on the short story “The Country of the Blind” by H. G. Wells. Members suggested he read it to his students at school.

Judy read her digitally illustrated poem The Safari Three.

Next Meeting:  October 10, 2018 at Rosati’s In Schererville, 6:30 p.m.


Wednesday, August 22, 2018

August 8, 2018 - Meeting Highlights

Members Present:  Karen, Patty, Ruthann

Meeting started out with general discussion and ‘catching up.’ Karen talked about diversity and having the right ‘voice’ and we also mentioned a few upcoming conferences.

Karen also brought her completed Purple Heart manuscript for Ruthann to read. The drawings are wonderful, the colors and details give Karen’s story a real sense of history. She even mentioned three women and a horse have received the medal.

Ruthann read her latest story, “They call me Rusty” about a dog adoption. It’s a wonderful ‘dog-eye view’ of what a dog goes through. It was suggested that Ruth Ann write the story through Rusty’s eyes, his emotions, ideas and feelings, which might be difficult but well worth it for younger readers. 

Karen read new first chapter of “Ghost” Mack, now spelled with a “k”. Mack has a wonderful new voice and we all laughed at his antics.

It got late so Patty decided to wait to read her next chapter.

Meeting adjourned after 9pm.

Next Meeting:  September 12, 6:30 p.m., at Rosati's in Schererville, IN


Thursday, July 12, 2018

Meeting Highlights July 11, 2018

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

Karen read the screenplay for Rescuing Ivy and is happy with the changes overall. She is currently revising The Last Ride of 503. Her agent would like her to cut another 200 words. Karen plans work concentrate on Ghost Lessons next. Karen then read The Medal With A Heart. Everyone was impressed with the story and illustrations.

Jackie reported that she won a 3rd Honorable Mention in the National Federation of State Poetry Societies Annual Contest for her poem Lupe. She will send out notes from the jurors. One of her photos is currently on exhibit in Springfield, IL. She plans to pick up her award and print at the closing ceremony at the end of July.

Valia and Patty are both participating in NANOWRIMO. This is Patty’s 7th time. Valia and Patty discussed the benefits of writing every day and encouraged Luneil to join them.

Luneil's computer is down but she has been working on Barty's diary entries. Members helped her write a list of possible situations and night time settings.

Valia read Incredible Journey of Beete Bea. It is the story he has been working on in NANO.

Patty read Vienne, Chapter 8 and 9.

Karen and Patty discussed the IWC Steel Pen Conference and the Prairie SCBWI Conference. Both are scheduled for October 27th, 2018.

Next Meeting:  Rosati’s, August 8, 2018, 6:30 p.m.


Sunday, June 24, 2018

Meeting Highlights - June 13, 2018

Attending: Luneil, Valia, Karen and Patty

It was an excellent meeting with many intensive discussions. It began with comments about the SCBWI and IWC conferences. Karen and Valia attended SCBWI and brought handouts. Patty attended IWC. Pros and cons of both were brought up.

The Fall Indiana/Michigan writing retreat will be held at Pokagon State Park, in October. Sign up by Sept. 4th.

SCBWI 6 State ‘Wild West Conference’ will be held May 3-5, 2019

Luneil mentioned she needs help with her boy, Barty. The others came up with several suggestions for Luneil, including giving Barty a diary to write in in order to find out more about him. Karen suggested Luneil get into Barty’s head, to really flesh him out.
Patty said Camp NANOWRIMO starts July 1st, and suggestions Luneil write just 10 minutes a day as a goal, rather than completing 50,000 words. Patty said she is going to do the camp, hoping to get ideas for her next book. 

There was discussion about Diversity in writers and stories.

Valia brought several of Eric Rohmann’s books from the conference. There is minimal wording, especially in “My friend, Rabbit” He wanted to show how much information can be given with a few excellently chosen words and outstanding illustrations. He also showed us Candace Fleming’s “Giant Squid” another beautiful book with few words. They both were presenters at conference.

Only Patty had something to read, Chapter 7 from her Vienne book. Thankfully, both Karen and Valia mentioned that too much of the chapter was ‘telling and not showing’ and she can change it for the better!

The meeting ended at 9pm. We were all better for attending!

Respectfully submitted,


Sunday, May 20, 2018

Meeting Highlighs - May 9, 2018

Members Present:  Jackie, Judy, Karen, Luneil, Patty

Karen has been editing Rescuing Ivy and plans to submit to publishers once it is complete.  She has been working closely with her agent as they feel the last publisher did little to promote sales. This version will be longer and the characters will be more developed. She will also change the title of the book.

Karen passed around illustrated pages from A Medal with a Heart and brought Peggy Archer’s latest book A Hippy Hoppy Toad. Peggy has been a regular contributor to Highlights Magazine, authoring six of their mini readers.

Judy met author Sharon M. Griffin RN, PhD and brought one of her books to the meeting. Griffin did a presentation at Clarendale and discussed her series as well as her partnership with St. Jude Hospital. Judy asked members if we wanted to invite Griffin to speak at a future meeting.

Judy read “My Shadow; My Life”. She plans to submit it to Prairie Writer’s Guild for the next From the Edge of the Prairie book.

Jackie passed around pictures of the solar and lunar eclipse. She plans to submit several photos for the PWG book. Jackie‘s poem “Hello Hoots” was published in the April 2018 issue of Highlights High Five. She brought a copy of the magazine and the thank you card she received from the company.


Patty reported she had finally submitted her novel to a publisher! She plans to start a social media platform. Patty read Chapter Five, Still More Revelations.

Next Meeting:  June 13, 2018 at Rosati’s in Schererville, 6:30 p.m.


Saturday, March 17, 2018

Meeting Highlights - March 14, 2018

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

Guest:  Michael

Members encouraged Patty to get on social media. Rachael has linked her Facebook page to her blog and plans to use Pen It! Publications for the next book in her One Kindness At A Time Series.

Rachael read the intro to her latest story which will be on water purification. She would like it to be the first book in a survival series for young readers.

Michael read his story Rainbow Painter. He plans to submit to publishers after a few more rounds of edits or self-publish. This led to a discussion about Pen It! Publications and Create Space.

Valia read the first two chapter of Bill Quart’s Incredible Journey. His book is about the origin of life and history of Earth.

Patty passed out the cover letter she plans to send to Harper Collins Publishers.  She asked that we email her with comments and suggestions.

Karen showed the group some sample pages from her book The Medal With A Heart. She also provided information about how to pre-order copies.

Jackie posted links on the MHW Facebook page about the National Federation of State Poetry Societies Annual Contest (she just entered 6 poems) and Saturday's NW Indiana Poets meeting at the Lowell Library.

Next Meeting: April 11, 2018 at Rosati’s at 6:30 p.m.


Sunday, March 11, 2018

MT Publishing is taking pre-orders for Karen's latest book
The Medal With A Heart, coming this fall.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Meeting Highlights - February 21, 2017

Members Present: Jackie, Judy, Karen, Luneil, Patty, Ruthann

Guest:  Michael

Members took a vote and agreed to donate $50 toward the Poetry Pavilion gazebo that will honor Tom and Kathy Spencer. It will be built in Freedom Park in Lowell.

The Summer SCBWI Conference will be in held in Evansville Indiana on June 1-3. Cost is $150.

Patty is working on deleting 30,000 words from her YA novel then plans to submit her story to publishers.

Karen reported that her agent hired a screen writer for Rescuing Ivy and they are working on raising the necessary funds to turn Karen's book into a TV film.

Karen brought in a dummy book and story board thumb nails for her latest book The Medal with a Heart. Karen Gruntman is the illustrator. The book will be published through MT Publishing.


Michael is working on a picture book about colors for children ages 3-5. 

Ruthann is working on Chapter 2 of Boopy.

Luneil read Barty's New Friend, the latest chapter in her book about the clumsy vampire.

Luneil holds up a drawing of Barty

Judy shared articles on vocational and intellectual wellness. She wrote them for her fellow residents at Clarendale.

Next Meeting:  Wednesday, March 14 at 6:30. Rosati's in Schererville.


Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Meeting Highlights – January 10, 2018

Members Present:  Helena, Jackie, Karen, Luneil, Patty, Pete, Ruthann, Valia

Membership Dues were collected. Membership dues are only $10 per year and are used to reimburse guest speakers and help off-set the cost of promotional materials.

Jackie signed up to be a judge for the Scholastic Writing Awards again this year.

Pete talked about his ideas for a future book of poems. He wants to include notes about what influenced and inspired him so he can motivate others to do the same. Members suggested he look into publishers who deal with educational materials.

Patty read Chapter Four: A Friend Indeed.

Valia announced he is a finalist in the Quantum Leap Poetry contest. Pete read Valia’s poem Ode to Lake Michigan to help him with pronunciation and cadence. Valia will read his science-based poem in front of a live audience at the competition on January 19th.

Luneil has been working on Barty and asked for feedback and ideas.

Helena read her short story Begin Anew. It is about the Chinese New Year and starting over.

Next Meeting:  Since the second Wednesday is Valentine’s Day Jackie plans to call Rosati’s and ask if we can meet a week later.