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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Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Meeting Highlights - May 12, 2021

MEMBERS PRESENT: Judy, Luneil, Patty, Karen, RuthAnn, Suzy and Hardarshan Valia

Our Third zoom meeting started promptly at 6:30 PM. Judy announced that one of the next meeting agendas would be whether to meet in person at a park or continue the zoom meeting format. Judy has recorded the meeting for those who could not attend; however, the recording will be stored for two months for them to listen. HARDARSHAN VALIA gave information on the website, a good source of information related to publishing. He also mentioned that SCBWI had introduced a free webinar for its members; the first one is entitled ‘Transferring a picture book manuscript into a visual narrative scheduled for May 13, but a recording will be available May 14. He also urged SCBWI members to take courses offered by SCBWI-Indiana, where he took one course on writing a picture book by Shannon Anderson.

PATTY, read Chapter Eighteen The Liar from her manuscript The Iron Ladies. Vienne learned the history of Gepp’s family and how her grandfather’s abusive treatment affected Gepp’s childhood growth. She realized the role she will be playing in bringing happiness into her father’s life.

LUNEIL AND JUDY, presented the character sketch for their collaborative novel Lottie Nora and Ryligh Emma. They described in detail the steps taken to record the characterization of their protagonists. After that, a table was presented that highlighted their character, which was later incorporated into their stories. After that, Luneil read her accident-prone character Lottie’s first day at school. That was followed by a reading by Judy, who described the sleuth Ryligh’s first day to school, thereby setting the premise to where they will meet and the plot will thicken.

KAREN, informed that she is continuing the revision of her Rescue Ivy book. It has sixteen chapters with an epilogue. She intends to do one more revision before final submission.

SUZY, returned to the group and has started working on the story of Mrs. W.

NEXT MEETING: scheduled for June 9, 2021 at 6:30 PM

Submitted by,

Hardarshan Singh Valia

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Meeting Highlights - April 15, 2021

Members Present: Judy, Luneil, Valia, Patty, Karen, Jackie and Helena

Meeting started promptly at 6:30, our second ZOOM meeting and it was a great success. Judy announced that our meetings will continue this way, but the day will change. We will now meet on the second Wednesday of the month. Next month's meeting will be May 12, 2021 at 6:30 pm.

VALIA, read “On Sacred Ground” published on March 29, 2021 at the International Human Rights Art Festival.

LUNEIL, announced she will be moving to Virginia, but will continue to meet with our group via Zoom. We talked about Barty, and the possibility of him having a girlfriend.

KAREN, is hoping to again sell her Rescuing Ivy book.  She has been doing extensive revisions on Ivy’s story.

JACKIE, shared a poem, The Dark Forest, her son Aaron, wrote as part of a school assignment incorporating the Golden Shovel method. A golden shovel is a poetic form in which the last word of each line forms a second, pre-existing poem (or section thereof), to which the poet is paying homage. Jackie, also gave suggestions for sharing documents.

JUDY, read her story about Ryleigh Emma. She also read LUNEIL’S story about Lottie Nora. They have decided to collaborate their stories and combine their two characters to join forces in solving mysteries. There were many suggestions on how to merge the two characters, ideas for a series and recommendations about age groups.

PATTY, read part of Chapter 17, of her Vienne story, THE IRON LADIES.

There was further discussions about the basic Zoom plan, individuals using it for meet-ups and time limits. We also talked about meeting up together, outside in warmer weather.

Meeting was adjourned approx.: 8:40pm.

Next Meeting:  May 12th @ 6:30.

Respectfully submitted by,

Patty Yackanich

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Zoom Meeting Highlights - March 11, 2021

MHW Members got together, via Zoom, after not meeting for over a year. Judy set up the Zoom account and created a how-to document for anyone who is confused about how the process works. The link will be sent out a few days before each monthly meeting. Please call Judy or Jackie if you want to get on the mailing list or still need some technical help sorting it all out.

Current and past members, as well as anyone interested in writing for children, are welcome to join us virtually through these meetings. Membership dues have been waived this year, so this is a great time to see what we are all about! Also ask to join our Magic Hour Facebook Page if you haven't already. Hope to have a big turn out next time :). JSH

Members Present: Pete, Helena, Patty, Valia, Judy, Jackie
Minutes by: Judy Lachance-Whitcomb

  • Pete 

    • Has moved away from poems and is focusing on a children’s book inspired by his journey into family history (DNA test, Ancestry)

    • He has also written lyrics for a song that he is waiting for a friend to put to music.  He shared one lyric with the group, I’ll See You in a While.

  • Helena

    • She has been doing all her writing in Chinese and hasn’t been writing in English.

    • Mainly, she has been writing about her family’s history

      • She has one book completed on her father

      • One book on general family history

      • Her mother is over 90 and she wants to complete a book as she did for her father for her mother.

  • Patty

    • Patty had taken a break from her novel due to Pete’s health issues and COVID.

      • She has gone back to it and appreciates the break because the “step back” from it has given her a “fresh eye”

      • She is using “filter words” to eliminate some of the weakest words written.

        • She uses the “search” function on Word and types in a filter word.

      • She takes the filter word out and is surprised at how much better it makes the sentences.

      • filter words: 

  • Valia

    • He has taken several on-line workshops through SCBWI with Shannon Anderson and Lynn Oliver

      • He has now become interested in writing a children’s picture book

        • He shared what he has written on it so far

  • Judy 

    • While at Clarendale, she didn’t do any creative writing

      • Her writing was devoted to putting out a monthly newsletter that was an average of 30 pages

      • She also wasn’t attending MHW meetings because of her other commitments at Clarendale.

    • With freed time, she is determined to attend MHW meetings regularly and start writing again.

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.