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, June 2, 2022

Zoom Meeting Highlights - May 11, 2022

Members Attending: Judy, JC, Patty

Judy shared her experiences with the Writing for Young Children workshop she has completed through Authors Publish.

Judy shared a book recommended by John Claude Bemis who led the workshop she just finished.  It is the Emotional Wound Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi.  She feels this is a great book that helps writers craft emotion in their stories.  

When the group discussed agents, Judy shared the following statistics

    1.      If you are published through an agent, your advance would average $27,000.  Without the average is $3,000

    2.      In 2017, 75% of middle grade books published were through an agent.  Picture books 50% were agent assisted.

    3.      Even with an agent, no guarantee of being published.  Agented authors get 30 or more rejections for debut novels.

    4.      Getting an agent isn't a breeze. 20% of authors get rejected by more than 60 agents a year. An average agent will sign 1% of the authors who query them.

JC is considering trying her hand at poetry for children.

Patty read chapters 31 &32. She discussed the SCBWI webinar she and Karen attended regarding “LOG lines” and submitting your book to agents and editors. Patty recommended Story Genius by Lisa Cron.  Story Genius is a writing guide on how to use cognitive storytelling strategies to build a blueprint for a story. She had heard about it from that Esther.

Next Meeting:  June 8, 2022

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Zoom Meeting Highlights - April 13th 2022

Members Present: Judith Whitcomb, Luneil Morrow, Patty Yackanich, Karen Kulinski, Joyce Shone, Debbie Lewandowski, Jackie Huppenthal, and Hardarshan Valia

Zoom meeting started promptly at 6:30 PM.

Judy described her experience of participating a writer’s workshop with Authors Publish.

Karen mentioned about that Gold Star Mother’s group is going to order her Purple Star Medal book for promoting in their community. Someone introduced her book to VA Deputy Director. She also got request for her book from VA Hospital in Chicago.

Debbie read a revision of her story The One We Could Not See about grieving the loss of a baby. 

Patty read Chapter 30 about Vienne making the decision to step out of her comfort level and take some control over her life. She will bring home Rene, Amelie and The Rat to spend the night in the warm chateau. The Rat discovers it was Yves who stopped his father from killing him. Reluctantly, Yves agrees to take them all to Rue de Grenelle for the night

Hardarshan Valia wrote about his experience during last summer walk-through Wicker Park, He was attracted to a free jazz concert at the other end. The meditative scene initiated emotions as represented in his poem entitled 'Healers of the Night' published in Jerry Jazz Musician, A Collection of Jazz Poetry – Spring, 2022 Edition.

Next meeting:  May 11, 2022, at 6:30 PM.

Submitted by,

Hardarshan Singh Valia

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Zoom Meeting Highlights - January 12, 2022

Members Present: Judy, Luneil, Patty, Karen, Joyce S, and Hardarshan Valia

Zoom meeting started promptly at 6:30 PM.

PATTY, read Chapters 26. Chapter 23. This chapter described her everyday trip to Montmartre, the place she hated. However, on her way she would see horse-driven carts with pre-fabricated panels heading to Eiffel Tower that would give her strength. After all Eiffel Tower was the Iron Lady that instilled iron-will power in her too! One practice she developed was taking food for Rene, Amelie, and Rat. Vienne was able to convince the carriage driver to take carriage through her old street where she was thrilled to see displays dedicated to her on her favorite window shops.

LUNEIL and JUDY, shared Chapters 8 and 9 entitled “Enter the Bullies,” “Feelings.” In these chapters, Ryleigh and Lottie tried to get information about the incident at the tournament that affected Michael’s behavior. They came across boys who were friendlier with Michael but their conversations did not provide any answers. Then they encountered some other boys named Jacob, Tom, and Smitty who were not only mean but spoke with racial overtone. When Tom grabbed Rayleigh’s hat off, that made Ryleigh pretty mad. She also did tit for tat by pulling off Tom’s red cap. Soon after they both fled to Rayleigh’s home where her brother Brain and her two friends who were playing basketball were good enough to force the three boys to retreat back to where they came from. One thing is commendable in how Luneil and Judy introduced the sensitive issue of race in a non-preachy way.

HARDARSHAN VALIA read his poem entitled, “Exodus at an Alzheimer Care unit wherein the newly admitted preacher ends up giving sermon to fellow inhabitants of the care unit.

JOYCE S., who was attending Memoir Writing class by Judy first time attended Magic Hour Writer’s meeting. She is interested in developing writing skills with confidence.

Submitted by,

Hardarshan Singh Valia

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Zoom Meeting Highlights - December 8, 2021

Attending: Judy, Karen, Valia, Ruthann, Luneil, Jackie and Patty

Karen: Has been working on Griffith Historical Society Museum display. She has done an enormous amount of research on the town of Griffith. In addition, she’s sent off her story “The Last Ride” to an editor. Karen is also working on General Grumpy, which is part of her series of train stories for children.

To our great delight, Karen has also been nominated for a DAR award for her book about the Purple Heart, The Medal with a Heart It will be the 90th birthday of the medal in 2022.

Judy and Luneil read another chapter from their already loved WIP, about Lottie Nora and Ryleigh Emma. They have prepared a questionnaire for their beta readers to fill out. The group also discussed plot points. 

Valia read his work in process called, When Parrot leaves a Mango Tree. This is a story about a family that has moved from Chandwara India to Hammond, Indiana. A homesick boy listens to the sounds of his new home, and they remind him of his former home. 

Jackie suggested a book to Valia which might help him plot the comparisons. 

Ruthann is busy with two grandchildren and promises to write when she has a spare second.

Patty completed another NANOWRIMO and read Chapters 25 & 26 of her story, The Iron Ladies.

There was further discussion about questions to ask beta readers, which will be helpful for any WIP being read by the appropriate age group. It’s helps to determine if the story is headed in the right direction.

The meeting concluded around 8:45 pm.

Next meeting:  January 12, 2022, @ 6:30 by Zoom.

Happy Holidays to all!

Respectfully submitted,

Patty Yackanich

Zoom Meeting Highlights - November 10, 2021

Members Present:  Jackie, Judy, Karen, Luneil

Karen is working on another train car story and discussed ways to get people interested in your product. She has been specifically working on promoting the Griffith Depot Museum.  She is also working on her latest revision of Ivy.

Judy has been participating in a foster grandparents program in Michigan City three times a week, providing emotional and academic support to students in Queen of All Saints School.

Judy and Luneil continue to work on Ryleigh Emma and Lottie Nora. Members have been getting the chapters ahead of time so they can offer more in-depth critique. Judy and Luneil have asked beta readers to critique both the characters and the story line. The characters have very different personalities which complement each other and the story moves along at a nice pace.

Members discussed the children’s author David L. Harrison and his Word of the Month blogsite that Jackie used to contribute to regularly.

Members decided to continue to meet via zoom through March since the winter months could make travel difficult.

Next Meeting: December 8, 2021


Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Zoom Meeting Highlights - Thursday, October 13, 2021

Members Present: Judy, Luneil, Patty, Karen, and Hardarshan Valia

Zoom meeting started promptly at 6:30 PM. 

PATTY, read Chapters 23 and 24. Chapter 23 is titled ‘Montmartre’ wherein Odette is taking Vienne to the underbelly of the city. She warned Vienne not to tell others otherwise face dire consequences. Chapter 24 is entitled ‘The Rat’ where Vienne meets Rat who is shabbily dressed, uncouth character. First she is terrified by his presence but then she realizes that Rat is also being badly exploited by Odette. They will help each other under the terrible circumstances.

LUNEIL AND JUDY, shared story of Ryleigh Emma’s chance to solve a mystery. It began with Lottie Norma picking up a note that fell from Mike’s food tray when he was emptied it. The note revealed that Mike, a shining star will be dropped from the school's sport team. Now the girls are on the way to solve the mystery of why Mike is being dropped from the team. They found out that Mike’s parents have a role in the episode. Stay tuned to the mystery!

KAREN, informed that she is continuing the revision on four chapters of Rescue Ivy book. However, much of her time is being spent working on the Griffith Historical Museum. She is redoing the displays in the History Museum. The idea about redoing came when she attended a lecture entitled “Why Do People Care About Your Museum?” where the speaker, Director of Hesston Steam Engine Museum from LaPorte, emphasized that people have hundreds of other things to do and will come to your museum when you decide to make it a personal rather than just old-style displaying in boxes. Hence, Karen is writing stories that relate to the display box. For example, she rewrote one aspect of Griffith History dealing with fur trade via Story of a Beaver character. Listening to the story, illlustrated via the display box, looked amazing and children will love it very much. 

HARDARSHAN VALIA read a picture book version of his story entitled “When Parrots Leave a Mango Tree.” The adult version of this was published in Hoosier Horizon. The story deals with how one should be connected with roots. Stronger the roots, greater is the strength to fly high.

Next meeting scheduled for Nov 10, 2021 at 6:30 PM

Submitted by,

Hardarshan Singh Valia

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Zoom Meeting Highlights - September 8, 2021

Attendees: Judy, Luneil, Karen, Ruthann, Valia, Jackie and Patty

Meeting started at 6:30pm

Member Discussions:

Karen shared with us a story she’d written years ago, TADPOLE TROUBLES with ALBIE. She told us about the origins of this story and is considering doing some editing and hopefully, submitting. It is a funny and scientific story about frogs laying eggs in a swimming pool and Albie trying to save them all before his father opens the pool for the season.

Valia suggested that Karen and the rest of us, watch the Netflix movie, “My Octopus Teacher” regarding story and science. Several members agreed now that summer is over there'll be more time for writing/editing.

Patty read chapters 22 & 23 of THE IRON LADIES. She was extremely grateful for all the suggestions for improving the chapters, especially the points that were not made clear for the reader. She feels this is the greatest help for writers, caring individuals who give suggestions and ideas for improving work.

Valia Read his poem NOMAD, alternate title, SHADOWS IN THE NIGHT. It was a lovely, moving poem about his mother’s passing. He also shared a few touching incidents that occurred at home at the same time.

Ruthann excited by the birth of another grandchild, has promised to get back to writing as soon as she is able. The group would love to hear more Boopy stories.

Judy spoke about her Senior Memoir writing workshop which she is conducting. The group gave several ideas to help encourage the seniors to share life stories and situations. There was discussion about editing, sharing with other writers, reading memoirs to others, and general suggestion for future classes. Judy hopes to be able to take the collection of the senior’s life stories and put them into book form when the classes are over.

Meeting concluded around 9pm.

Next Zoom meeting: October 13, 2021 at 6:30pm

Respectfully submitted,

Patty Yackanich