Magic Hour Writers

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

Follow us on Facebook

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas Party Meeting - December 11, 2010

Date: December 11, 2010
Time: 7:00

Joan Bodefeld
Jackie Huppenthal
Luneil Morrow
Sharon Palmeri

Jackie reported that Borders Books in Merrillville has given us permission to hold our gatherings there. The members decided to change their meeting location to Borders starting in January 2011 and meet a half hour early as well. New meeting time is 6:30 p.m. Since Borders' meeting area will accommodate a larger group we can publicize more to draw in new members. Flyers can be posted at local libraries, information can be submitted to newspapers and coffee shops, also on Lake Net. Borders made up a little blurb to post online about our group as well. Sharon discussed the possibility of MHW doing reviews on children's books that are available at the bookstore.

Luneil reported she submitted Barty the Clumsy Vampire to August House and Highlights Magazine for Children. She had to do some editing to meet submission guidelines. Good Luck Luneil!

Jackie read the latest rejection letter she received on 12-7-10 from Boyds Mills. She is still waiting to hear from two more publishers.

The group exchanged gifts and enjoyed refreshments.

Joan handed out handmade pot holders she made to honor her childhood friend who is sick. Joan is asking for prayers for Cona who is also pictured in Joan's book A Pause in My Life: The Story of Andy.

Meeting Minutes - November 11, 2011

Date:  November 11, 2010
Start time:  7:00
End time:

Location: Mellow Brew

Joan Bodefeld
Cathy Dzubla
Jackie Huppenthal
Judy Whitcomb

Guest: Paul Benninghoff, author

Members welcomed guest Paul Benninghoff from the Dyer Historical Society who is the author of Dyer (Images of America).

Members introduced themselves to Paul and mentioned current projects. We also discussed membership and our group dynamics. Paul is, among other things, an accomplished writer and artist, a ghost hunter, and a student. He is back in school working on his Elementary Education degree.

PoPP update: Sharon, Judy, Katherine, and Jackie talked to the teachers of Lake Street Elementary then presented a poetry lesson to the students. A teacher book on poetry with links and tips was also distributed. The IWC (Indiana Writers' Consortium) members will collect the poems in January, judge them, and host an awards assembly in April at the school.

Prairie Writer's Guild: Judy and Jackie are Published! We picked up our books and are official. Anyone interested in submitting for next year's edition? Submission deadline for poems, short stories, and photos is April 1, 2011.

The guild is asking each member obtain $100 worth of sponsors to help offset next year's cost. A book (currently valued at $12) will be give to businesses and individuals who donate at least $25. That is a great deal. MHW may want to be a sponsor if our members choose to submit again. This year's topic is "trees".

Mary Kay Emmrich is one of the editors for the Prairie Writer's Guild. She was an English teacher and is the librarian at Morocco, Newton, and one other library. She will help us polish our work for a minimal fee. It is always a good idea to have professional input and suggestions! She will also read our books to children if we would like to have that experience as well. We can send our manuscript to her directly if it is in book form. Contact her at and say you are a Magic Hour Writer and that you got her name from Jackie and Judy from Prairie Writers. Ask Jackie for contact information.

Lansing Writing Contest: The Lansing Public Library Writers' Group is presenting a short story and poetry contest open to the public. The deadline for submission is 1-1-11. Reading fee of $5.00 per short and $3 per poem. Prizes: $25, $10, and Honorable mention - all published in the LLWG book and will be invited to read at the meeting on April 15, 2011.

For more information:

We may be interested in having a contest next year to draw in more writers.

Future Meeting Location: The group discussed holding future meetings at Borders Bookstore in Merrillville, IN. Thursday evenings are currently available.

Business Cards: Judy discussed MHW business cards which will include individual members' information on the back side.

Bios: Jackie asked the group for any updated bio information. It needs to be determined if we want to include a page on the MHW blog that includes member's short bios. Bios should be updated on an annual basis.

Christmas Party: Anyone interested in attending the writer's Christmas Party? It's December 1, 2010,
7 p.m. at the clubhouse dining room for a cost of $17.77 per person.

Jackie read a rejection letter she received from Dawn Publications on 11-4-10.

Judy showed her two submissions that were ready to be mailed and discussed the reasons why she choose to submit My Grandma is a Science Teacher to those publishers.

Jackie read Read, a poem written for David L. Harrison's Word of the Month Poetry Challenge. It is about a mother reading to her young son. She announced she was featured on David's site in October as a guest reader. The spot included a brief bio and showcased a few of her pictures and poems for children.

Cathy read a funny poem entitled Children are Like That. It takes a humorous look at little boys and how "grimy" they can be.

Paul read several children's poems from his collection. He got much of his inspiration from Shel Silverstein.

Meeting Minutes - September 9, 2010

Date:  September 9, 2010
Start time: 7:00
End time:

Members Present
Joan Bodefeld
Jackie Huppenthal
Luneil Morrow
Sharon Palmeri
Judy Whitcomb

Guest Speaker: Katherine Flotz, author of A Pebble in My Shoe, A Memoir

Katherine Flotz self-published A Pebble in My Shoe in 2004. It is a story about her German family's struggle to survive as refugees and in concentration camps in Yugoslavia and other parts of Europe during WWII. Katherine shared her marketing strategies with the group. Out of 3,300 books printed, Katherine has sold 3,000. Her husband George is another survivor who tells his story in her book as well. Over 45 different libraries in the Midwest have purchased a copy and several local bookstores agreed to take them on consignment. She explained the process of working with and being her own distributor.

Katherine and George have filled numerous requests to do speaking engagements at churches, libraries, and schools in Indiana, neighboring states (including IL, WI, and MI), and as far away as Arizona. They have spoken at Purdue University twice a year since 2005. Many concentration camp survivors from all over the world have been reunited because of the efforts of Mr. and Mrs. Flotz and their story.

Mrs. Flotz is almost out of books and is uncertain if she will be placing an order for another 1,000. The group encouraged her to relate her writing and marketing success with known publishing houses to see if they are interested in doing a second publishing.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Meeting Minutes - August 19, 2010

Date: August 19, 2010
Start Time: 7:00 P.M.
End Time: 9:30 P.M.

Joan Bodefeld
Jackie Huppenthal
Luneil Morrow
Sharon Palmeri
Carol Rodgers
Judy Whitcomb

Treasurer’s Report
Total in treasury: $160.00

New Business:
It was Luneil’s birthday and she won the door prize, a massaging pen.

Sharon suggested that the money for the Children’s Project be given to Katherine Page Camp - the secretary/treasurer of the IWC - before the end of the year.

Jackie reminded everyone to get the money for the Christmas Party to Sharon.

Since no one was able to contact an illustrator, the group decided to invite Katherine Flotz to speak on her book and marketing for September.

Joan finally received her copyright for her book.

Judy Shared the Children’s Books Insider website, CBI Clubhouse ( It is a resource for many different things writers would need and be interested.

Old Business:
Submission project: Sharon reminded everyone that Writer’s provides a good source for possible publishers.

Jackie will share a sheet she developed to track submissions via email.

Luniel shared pictures of her beautiful granddaughter. She will be going to visit her on the 24th of August. She also shred a brochure with her picture for United Way. She is a volunteer with United Way for about 20 years. Luniel is thinking about submitting her Cereal story to the Chicken Soup for Kids series. Some thought that she could do that on-line.

Jackie won $4.00 and a ribbon at the Lake County Fair for one of her photographs.

Joan was questioning what other buttons she could use for her book. It was suggested that she make a list of all types of buttons. Through discussion, she began to think about contrasting the way things are handled with a button now, were handled in the past (ex. Dial phone, typewriter, etc.)

Sharon’s publishing workshop at St. Joseph’s College was a challenge because of time limitations. The class went very well. Transition into e-publishing was a big point of interest. Sharon shared a book about the thirteen moons on a turtles back based on American Indian folklore. The illustrations and explanations of each moon ( maple sugar moon, etc.) are excellent.

Carol hopes to have a story ready in the Fall based on a true story that her grandmother told her when she was young.

Judy read a story she wrote, My Grandma Is a Science Teacher. The book is geared to 2nd-3rd grade children. She explained that there is a second part that was not quite finished that is the science part. It explains center of gravity that is mentioned in the story. Sharon suggested that she submit both parts and let the editor decide how to use the second part. Also, use contractions when the narrator speaks. It was decided to change “doll” to something more appropriate to current terms kids would use.

Jackie shared her photograph poem about a leopard frog. She is thinking of putting a book together with the photos and poems about these things she has found in her yard.

Project Homework: Everyone has something ready to submit and a publisher chosen by October. Magazines are a possible source for submissions. Just remember to bring information on the publisher and submission requirements.

Christmas Party:
Where: The Lake of the Four Seasons Clubhouse
When: Wednesday December 1, 2010
Cost: $17.50 per person
For: Members of WHO, MHW, Northwest Indiana’s Poetry Society, and Writer’s Expression and spouses, significant others, etc.

Speaker Program: (Current Plan)
o September – Marketing: Kathy Flotz – contact person Sharon
o January – Publisher – contact person Judy
o April – Library agent for purchasing books – contact person Luneil
o July – Illustrator – contact person Sharon/Jackie

Reminder: The Northwest Indiana Poetry Society meets every 3rd Saturday of each month at the Lowell Public Library. The start time is 10:00 A.M and ends at 11:30 A.M. There is no fee to join, poetry only. Contact Tom Spencer at

Minutes respectfully submitted by Judy Whitcomb

Meeting Minutes - July 22, 2010

Date: July 22, 2010
Start Time: 7:00 P.M.
End Time: 9:30 P.M.

Joan Bodefeld
Jackie Huppenthal
Luneil Morrow
Sharon Palmeri
Carol Rodgers
Judy Whitcomb

Treasurer’s Report:
Total in treasury: $140.00

As an affiliate group of the Indiana Writer’s Consortium (IWC), the attending members of the Magic Hour Writers (MHW) unanimously agreed to support the Power of Poetry Project (PoPP) with a $25.00 donation from our treasury.

New Business:
Jackie introduced a project, Power of Poetry Project (PoPP). This is a children’s poetry writing contest that will be piloted at the Lake Street Elementary School in Crown Point, IN during the 2010-2011 school year. A grant proposal, Writing to Succeed: Fostering Creativity through Poetry is being submitted to Crown Point Community Foundation, Inc. to help fund the pilot project.

The project is sponsored by the IWC as part of their mission to support the development of creative writing. It is based on a very successful project that the Write-On Hoosiers had sponsored for a number of years.

Sharon reviewed the plans for the Christmas Dinner that will be a combined party for MHW, Writer’s Expression, The Northwest Indiana Poetry Society, and Write-On Hoosiers. She shared the information she had received on the cost of the facility.

Jackie reported on the picnic she attended the previous weekend. The picnic was sponsored by IWC. While it was very hot, she and her boys enjoyed things including the silent auction, scavenger hunt, literary bingo, etc. She shared a book by Peggy Archer who is a member of IWC. Peggy gave a presentation on writing tips. Jackie gave us some materials that came from the children’s corner. (Secretary’s note: This was an event open to our group. However, we forgot to mention it at the last meeting. I should have sent an email out with the information but I didn’t. I apologize. I think you should fire me ;-}.

Jackie suggested that we have a kind of library of resources for any materials that we gather that are of interest to our goals. Everyone agreed. It will be housed at Judy’s.

Jackie reviewed some information from one of the self-publishing companies that clarified information about ISBN numbers. Major point: No one can give you their ISBN number. Your book must have its own number.

Sharon had information that stated e-book publications are selling twice as many books as traditional publishing companies sell. A discussion around e-book publishing and self-publishing took place.

A compilation of work by a group is considered a publish work if there is an ISSN number.


Carol went to China visit her daughter. She gave a vivid presentation of what it is like in modern China. (And she did survive the heat, the mosquitoes, her daughter’s four dogs’ hair, and the traffic while having a wonderful time!)

Carol attended a Christian writer’s conference, Write to Publish, at Wheaton College. In our new resource library, Carol has given us quite a bit of literature from the conference. She will share writers’ guidelines that she had from the conference at the next meeting.

Luneil was beaming about her new granddaughter, Cameron Marie. She promises pictures at the next meeting.

Joan talked about using Neil (from the marketing class) to illustrate her Just Push a Button, Grandma.

Jackie shared her delightful bat shape poem with us. She had taken that picture that is the background of the poem during a family camping trip. Tom, poet expert from WOH, said the poem was perfect. She entered some of her pictures in the Lake County Fair. She also submitted poems to Spider. She read the Mouse and the City, one of the books she got from one of the self publishing company she researched.

Project Homework: Everyone has something ready to submit and a publisher chosen by October.

Christmas Party:
Where: The Lake of the Four Seasons Clubhouse
When: Wednesday December 1, 2010
Cost: $17.50 per person
For:  Members of WHO, MHW, Northwest Indiana’s Poetry Society, and Writer’s Expression and spouses, significant others, etc.

Speaker Program:  (Current Plan)
o September – Illustrator – contact person Sharon/Jackie
o January – Publisher – contact person Judy
o April – Library agent for purchasing books – contact person Luneil
o July – Marketing: Kathy Floatz – contact person Sharon

Reminder: The Northwest Indiana Poetry Society meets every 3rd Saturday of each month at the Lowell Public Library. The start time is 10:00 A.M and ends at 11:30 A.M. There is no fee to join, poetry only. Contact Tom Spencer at

Meeting Adjourned at 8:50

Minutes respectfully submitted by Judy Whitcomb

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Meeting Minutes - June 10, 2010

Date: June 10, 2010
Start Time: 7:00 P.M.
End Time: 9:30 P.M.

Joan Bodefeld
Cathy Dziubla
Jackie Huppenthal
Luneil Morrow
Sharon Palmeri
Judy Whitcomb

Treasurer’s Report
New member dues paid: $20.00
Total in treasury: $140.00

New Business:
The group welcomed new member, Cathy Dziubla. Cathy, also a member of Write- on Hoosiers, has written children’s stories in the past but not yet published. She did have a piece published in Famous Poet Anthology. She is currently working on a book, Sean O’Hara and the Leprechaun. This book is for an adult audience since there are terrorists involved.

Those present in the group agreed to have Judy record the minutes to be transcribed. The minutes are erased as soon as the written minutes are posted.

Sharon discussed the WOH Christmas Party. It is a social event and everyone gets a gift. This year the party is expanded to include our group, Magic Hour Writers, and another group, Writers Expression.


Christmas Party
Where: The Lake of the Four Seasons Clubhouse
When: Wednesday December 1, 2010
Cost: $17.95 per person
For: Members of WHO, MHW, and Writer’s Expression and spouses, significant others, etc.

Since the clubhouse is asking for an early deposit, please submit your money ASAP. This will also help with getting an accurate account of the number of people coming.

Jackie brought up the possibility of having an illustrator come to talk to our group. She asked what a going rate would be. Joan said they paid a speaker for her reading group $25.00. Sharon said with a group as small as ours, they may be willing to speak for free or with the offer of dinner or something.

The group was asked if having speakers would be something we want to pursue. The group was unanimously in favor of it. Members of the groups have possible contacts for speakers. The plan was formed to have speakers in an order of the writing process. These sessions would be planned quarterly. Current plan:

September – Illustrator – contact person Sharon/Jackie
January – Publisher – contact person Judy
April – Library agent for purchasing books – contact person Luneil
July – Marketing: Kathy Flotz – contact person Sharon

Joan strongly suggests trying to submit your work to regular publishers first for the experience. Pursuing self-publishing should come after that. Sharon suggested that everyone make it a goal to submit something. Judy suggested as a project we combine submissions with choosing a particular publisher. Our report on publishers with a submission. Jackie suggested that while looking for a publisher if we come across a company that would be of interest to someone in the group. For example: looking for fantasy books – Pam; generation gap – Joan; etc. The group decided that this homework would motivate writing.

Project Homework: Everyone has something ready to submit and a publisher chosen by October.

Unfinished Business/Progress Report

Publishing reports:
Luneil had emailed information on Lulu and Xlibris because we ran out of time at the last meeting. For some reason it didn’t come through but she has subsequently resent it and it came through successfully. Thank you, Luneil.

Judy reported on two companies, Wheatmark and Dog Ear. Both companies only provide on-line information, no hard copies.

Wheatmark ( Very supportive on-line resources; delivers an on-line marketing guide for free that Judy found very helpful when she took Sharon’s marketing class. They provide on-line presentations . They stay in contact with you via email when you sign up with them. They are somewhat selective with accepting work. They do have color publications and they do children’s books. Judy purchased a copy of The Snow Lion a book recommended by her contact that would illustrate the type of work they can do. Their prices are higher than Dog Ear. Contact person was very helpful and willing to share information but somewhat aloof.

Dog Ear Publishing ( will publish anything, they are more flexible giving more range to the writer to determine prices. The company founded by people with long publishing backgrounds. You get to Alan, Miles, or Ray (no Mark). Alan was the one Judy spoke with and he was very willing to talk, more down to earth, and informative, feels like you are talking to on old pal. However, when asked to recommend a children’s book for Judy to purchase, he said,”I’m so glad you asked because we have a lot of junk.” The sample Judy had based on his recommendation was Even Superheroes Get Diabetes.

Judy also found a resource (to be passed out next meeting) that states standard publishing companies are now looking at the self publishing materials.

Jackie reported on her companies that both sent her good information books, CDs, and pamphlets.
Self Publishing: Has a book on CD that is very informative. Book is very helpful.
Lumina: claim to be writers who started the company and to be very selective with the work they accept.

Joan went directly to a person, Mark, who ships directly to the printer. His wife edited, he reworked pagination. He doesn’t do color. He is very good to work with but slow.

We introduced ourselves to Cathy:

Luneil: Stated that she is happily retired. Her inspiration for her desire to write for children is the upcoming birth of her grandchild. She hopes to have a book ready when the baby is ready to be read to. She is also gardening.

Jackie: Is a member of WOH and has four boys who are keeping her out of trouble this summer. Jackie read Sally Mae to a second grade class. It was received well as evidenced by one little boy’s comment, “It should be in our school library.” Jackie felt she would have gotten more specific responses if her question, “How did you like the book?” wasn’t so general. Good job, Jackie!

Joan: Joan is retired. She has published a book, The Pause in My Life. Although sales have slowed down, she has met the goal she had in writing the book, which was to write the book basically for his friends. She hasn’t been writing but plans on doing a children’s book, Just Push a Button, Grandma. Her summer has been taken up with golf and learning to play bridge. She plans on getting back to writing.
Sharon: Has been busy painting her husband’s raised garden’s “Lincoln Logs”. She has been enjoying her successful gardening endeavors. Collard greens are not doing so well. Garlic, onion, two tablespoons of soap, and red canned pepper simmered together will get the critters who are getting the collards.
Judy: Judy is a member of WOH so Cathy knows her.

Book Reviews
Sharon read a book, Puppies for Sale by Dan Clark (a chicken soup contributor). The story was warm and charming real life issue. The book has a terrific moral without being “preachy”. The book showed lovely illustrations with appropriate white space.

She passed around another book that she thought would answer Pam’s question about her story poem being too short. A story about a dog (Do we see a theme here, Sharon?) that is eight rhyming stanzas long. A third book was written by a young man who gave the money profit from the book for cystic fibrous research.

Luneil : She is stuck on her current work with the question of what is going to be the special thing that happens in her chicken cereal work. Discussion in the group led to several ideas: using concept maps, she finds a jewel but where?, she finds something in a mall and gives it back. A favorite is to leave the book with open at the end for kids imagination.

She read fractured fairy tale, Rupunzel. This was written in Sharon’s Writing for Children’s class.

Reminder: The Northwest Indiana Poetry Society meets every 3rd Saturday of each month at the Lowell Public Library. The start time is 10:00 A.M and ends at 11:30 A.M. There is no fee to join, poetry only. Contact Tom Spencer at

Minutes respectfully submitted by Judy Whitcomb

Meeting Minutes - May 13, 2010

Date: May 13, 2010
Start time: 7:00 p.m.

Judy Whitcomb
Jackie Huppenthal
Joan Bodefeld
Pam Gonzalez
Luneil Morrow

Carol Rogers - speech pathologist, non-fiction writer, is planning to attend writers' conference in May entitled Write to Publish

Anthony Dixon - truck driver, went to Columbia/interested in film

Group voted to keep meeting during the summer.

Pam agreed to handle blog site updates and e-mail correspondences through the end of the year.

Judy will continue to do the minutes since there were no other volunteers.

Jackie will continue to moderate through the end of the year.

Group will continue research on self-publishing and will present their information next meeting.

Pam read her poem "Frannie the Frightened Faerie" which tells the tale of a faerie who finds the courage to let go of her insecurities and start enjoying the beauty around her.

Anthony read his short story "Let the Funk Flow" about a young man who is struggling to control an inner spirit who meddles in his affairs.

Information shared:
Always personalize back cover of your book or an advertisement will be placed there instead.

Upcomming Events:
The Indiana Federation of Poetry Clubs will be having an open microphone round robin and will present Emily Dickenson on June 14th in Hebron.

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: