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 29, 2015

Meeting Highlights December 10, 2015

Members Present:  Judy, Valia, Donna

Members agreed to change meeting dates to the second Wednesday of the month starting in January.

Suzy, Ruthann, Donna, Jackie, Luneil, Judy, and Sharon attended the WOH Banquet at Lakes of the Four Seasons December 2nd.

(More notes to come)

Next meeting will be Wednesday, January 13th, 2016

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Meeting Highlights November 12, 2015

Members Present:  Jackie, Judy, Luneil, Pam, Patty, Ruthann, Suzy, Valia

Guest: Helena

Helena is a member of Highland Writers and Indiana Writers’ Consortium. She is from China and has a degree in Chemistry. She is interested in writing non-fiction. She wants to share the stories of her ancestors with her children.

Pam signs Helena's book
Jackie and Judy reported they sold Christmas books at the IWC banquet. Members discussed how many they have purchased individually. Members agreed that MHW will continue to sell softcover for $12 and hardcover for $20 at future events. There is no shipping charge for orders over $30.

Patty is participating in the Nanowrimo challenge. She is very happy with the experience thus far. She does not have to worry about editing, word choice, and punctuation so she is able to focus on writing every day. Patty said of those participants who continue to write the minimum amount of words for 30 days, 60% go on to be published. Illustrators can participate as well by attempting to illustrate a cover a day. Helena said there is a poetry writing contest in March.

Valia announced that his poem about Indiana Steel will appear in AIST'S Iron & Amp: Steel Technology magazine, January 2016 issue. 

Ruthann is very excited to be working on a new project. The screenplay is about her father.

Suzy read Chapter 15:  Spell Weaving Resources in Mrs. Walters’ Adventures.

Pam shared Now My Name is Buster. She plans to write a series and start with three books. Members discussed marketing ideas.

Judy read the end of Chapter 4: Chaos in the Kitchen from her YA novel.

Patty read Chapter 3: Pippi’s Distress.

Helena read “A Miracle of Audiobooks”.

Jackie read “September at the Dunes” and reported it received an Honorable Mention in the Indiana State Federation of Poetry Clubs contest.

Members discussed changing the meeting day to the second Wednesday of the month. This will be discussed again at the December meeting.

Next Meeting:  Thursday, December 10th, at 6:30 at Rosati’s.


Sunday, November 8, 2015

Meeting Highlights - October 8, 2015

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

Guests: Pete, Donna

Members were excited to receive their complimentary hard and soft cover Magic Hour Family Christmas books. Books are available through Amazon and Flying Turtle Publishing. Members will also get a discount code for future orders.

Pete said he reads one of his poems every Tuesday over the loudspeaker at the Lowell school he teaches at. Many students have been inspired by him to write poems of their own. He then shared his poem “Frightful Night.”

Donna is a toddler teacher at a Montessori school in Hobart. She writes visual stories for children in different levels of learning. She read her board book story Molly Makes Vegetable Soup targeted for children 12 months to three years old.

Luneil read her reflection "God’s Miracle of the Seasons". Members felt it read like a poem and encouraged her to try different poetic forms.

Karen read her latest story Haunting Mom. She is actually revising it and putting it in 1st person.

Valia read two poems “Uninterrupted-Lives-Interrupted” and “An Uninterrupted Life at the Terminal Stop”.

Patty read part of Chapter I, Life Before the Dreadful Visit from her YA novel.

Next Meeting: November 12, 2015, 6:30 p.m. at Rosati’s.


Monday, October 5, 2015

Meeting Highlights - September 17, 2015

Members Present:  Jackie, Judy, Karen, Luneil, Pam F., Patty, Ruthann, Valia

Judy and Jackie discussed the MHW Stream Line Event that took place on September 9th at Paul Henry’s Art Gallery in Hammond, IN. Judy, Jackie, Ruthann, and Valia were presenters. Around 25 adults and children attended the interactive 2 hour event.

Karen stated her book release has been postponed so it can be reviewed first.

Judy read her Christmas story Butterfinger, The Clumsy Polar Bear. She also did the illustrations.

Valia read two poems: “A Colorless Solution” and “Volcanoes of Northwest Indiana”.

Patty read Chapter III, The Bell of Reckoning from her YA novel.

Jackie showed the poem pictures she had at the Stream Line event. She also passed out the handouts she used when discussing how the things we see can inspire our writing.

Karen discussed NaNoWriMo and encouraged members join in this November. The creative writing project challenges participants to write enough words for a novel in one month (50,000 words).

Ruthann reported she attended best-selling mystery author Kate Collin’s presentation on September 15th in Crown Point and bought two of her books. Kate discussed tips on how to write a novel and get published.

Next Meeting:
October 8, 2015 at 6:30 p.m.
Rosati’s Pizza in Schererville, IN


Monday, September 7, 2015

Meeting Highlights August 13, 2015

Members Present:  Jackie, Judy, Karen, Mari, Pam F., Patty, Ruthann, Valia

Judy holds up a handmade quilt to go with a children's story.
The quilt was made by Mari's mother.

Jackie and Valia reported they both received rejection letters.

Mari announced that Flying Turtle Publishing will be accepting fictional/factual science based stories in February.

Members discussed the online submission process. Karen stated although it is convenient, many submissions may not get to their intended audience if filters are set to flag certain words.

Christmas Book Update:  Everyone needs to send Mari a 3 or 4 sentence bio along with a head shot for the Christmas book. She also wants to know how you want your name listed on the copyright. She will be the one editing the children’s stories. Mari explained her plans for the illustrations and has decided the book will be hard cover. Mari will need photos for each poem. Members decided to include a section with Christmas tips. We will be able to sell the book at the IWC banquet on October 10th.

Mari read Mother Jessup’s Hottest Christmas and A Christmas So Nova. Both will be included in the Christmas book.

Valia read his poem "Goodbye to Cecil and Others of Similar Fate".

Ruthann revised her story and passed out copies to each member. She would like feedback before she submits to Mari.

Pam read her Christmas story about a little girl who desperately wanted a Spirograph toy. Members tried to help her think of a catchy title.

Jackie read her poem "God's Greatest Gift" then her short story Flamingo and Moose. She included sketches and a few suggestions for the artist who will be working on the project.

Judy read her short story Fidget. She also showed off the illustrations she is working on.

The IWC/MHW Stream Line event is scheduled for Wednesday, September 9th. Valia plans to bring in fossils to show the children.  Judy will read My Grandma is a Science Teacher. Jackie will do a presentation on Poetry in Pictures, and Ruthann will read a chapter from her book The Adventures of Boopy.

The next MHW meeting will be on the 3rd Thursday this month. (One week later than usual). We will meet at Rosati’s on September 17th at 6:30 p.m.


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Meeting Highlights: July 9, 2015

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

Guests: Pam F., Sharon C.

Karen announced her circus elephant rescue book Ivy is coming out in November. Karen teamed up with High Hill Publishers to get her historical novel published. It was an eight year journey which demonstrates it’s never easy, but patience, persistence, and belief in your work pays off.

Mari wants all Christmas book submissions in to her by August 15th. She will review each piece and notify the author of any editing changes that are needed the first week of September. Members should also include a recipe and photo. Illustrations and personal photos for the publication are also encouraged.

Ruthann read her submission The Best-Worst Christmas Ever! Mari offered a few suggestions.

Jackie read two poems "Spike’s Lunch" and "Thanksgiving Top Ten". She reported she is having a hard time writing Christmas poems for the book.

Judy read her story Tinsel Wars.

Valia read his poem "Rainbow". Mari encouraged him to write about Indian celebrations for the publication.

Patty read the second chapter from Modiste De Paris entitled “The Ring of a Different Bell”.

Next meeting will be August 13th at Rosati’s Pizza at 6:30 in Schererville.


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Hammond Art Walk. June 13, 2015

The Art Walk was a huge success! The Hammond Innovation Center (IWC headquarters) had lots of traffic. We are very grateful for all those who came to our table and talked to us about our group!

Remember you can find us on Facebook
or email us if you have any questions!

Meeting Highlights June 11, 2015

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

Members discussed the upcoming Art Walk in Hammond, scheduled for June 13th 1-4 p.m. Judy, Jackie, Patty, and Valia will take shifts and sit at the table to answer any questions visitors may have.  Judy will make business cards and bring the MHW pens. Jackie will display the Welcome and Guidelines page. Members will also bring past publications and current projects to display.

Jackie read an article she wrote for the Times newspaper about the VFW Ladies Luncheon which honored the charter members.

Judy passed around Lily Grace. Patty and Valia had not seen her illustrated short story before. Judy also brought in a copy of the lastest POPP Children's Poetry Magazine. Judy did the layout and design, as well as several of the illustrations.

Valia read his poem “Imprints of Immortality”. He would like to be included on Tom’s poetry group email list.

Patty read her revised Christmas story December 26th. Members encouraged her to trim detailed paragraphs that do not keep the story flowing.

Judy gave out a handout from Joyce Hicks who was at IWC’s meet and greet. The handout gives details and information links for getting your stories and poetry in print.

Jackie announce her poem “Hello Hoots” will be in an upcoming edition of Highlights High Five Magazine and showed off her acceptance letter.

Members decided if they would like help before the next meeting they can email their Christmas stories to each other.

Next Meeting is scheduled for July 9th, 6:30 p.m., at Rosati's Pizza.
Guests always welcome!
Bring about 6 copies of your work if you would like to read.


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Meeting Highlights May 14th, 2015

Members Present: Bernardo, Jackie, Judy, Karen, Pam, Patty, Ruthann, Suzy

Guests: Bob P.

Suzy read Lester the Goblin’s First Real Christmas.

Patty read December 26th.

Karen read the revised version of her picture book biography about inventor Elijah McCoy.

Ruthann is working on a memoir in which her mother was ill and her dad was in charge of Christmas.

Judy discussed her ideas for Lily Grace. She would like to add teacher notes in the back and then submit to a few publishers. Her interns read it to their kindergarten classes and got positive reviews.

Pam read her story Gus the Elf.

Bernardo read "The Secrets of Woodtree" which is the next chapter in his adventure story.

Jackie will email the MHW Christmas Book submission guidelines again to everyone. She reminded Karen and Ruthann to send in their bios for the blog.

Next meeting is:

June 11th at 6:30 p.m.
Rosati's Pizza
5504 W. Lincoln Highway
Schererville, IN

Hope to see you there! Bring about 8 copies if you plan to read.

Remember: Guests Always Welcome

And join us at the Hammond Art Walk!
this Saturday June 13th 1-4 p.m.

Magic Hour Writers will have a table at the Hammond Innovation Center


Monday, May 11, 2015

Meeting Highlights from April 15, 2015

Members Present:  Bob, Jackie, Judy, Patty, Ruthann, Suzy, Valia

Guests:  Pamela Ford, Karen Kulinski

Jackie and Patty gave a brief recap of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Spring Conference they attended in March. Jackie brought signed picture books and discussed the speakers’ online courses and credentials, the need for diverse books, etc.

Jackie passed out submission guidelines for the Magic Hour Writers Christmas Book. Members discussed Flying Turtle Publishing and Mari's vision.

Judy read her revised ending of Chapter 4 in Emma and Guinevere. As the disheveled Guinevere returns to the castle she is met with much concern and animosity.

Ruthann read the first Chapter in The Adventures of Boop. Ruthann and her daughter trekked across the country with their pet dove seeking answers and help with her daughter’s medical condition. Ruthann hopes to tell the story from the dove’s point of view.

Valia read “Two Feathered Dove”. His poem is about effects of war and the hope for a peaceful future.

Karen read Elijah McCoy, a picture book biography about the inventor as told by his young friend Marcus. Karen has an agreement with Lee & Low Publishing. Her novel Rescuing Ivy will be available this fall.

Patty read The Chinese Flower Tree, which was written over 25 years ago. This short story is about an unhappy older couple who survives an arranged marriage but eagerly awaits the death of the other until the tree intervenes.

Patty's Millinery Miniatures

Bob read Chapter 3 in Magic. Cody, Carrie, and Claire take their mom to the doghouse but determine only children can appreciate its secret.

Suzy shared some articles on hybrid publishing and publishing scams.

Jackie read two poems. She wrote “Welcome Home” for the Word of the Month challenge. The poem was inspired by the word “pace”. Her other poem, “Pizza Play”, is a rhyming action play for a young audience.

Members decided to meet at Rosati’s again next month on May 14th.


Monday, March 30, 2015

Meeting Highlights - March 12, 2015

Guest Speaker:  Mari Barnes

Members Present:  Andrew, Bernardo, Bob, Jackie, Judy, Luneil, Pam, Patty, Ruthann

Guests: Bob P., Sharon, Hardarshan

Mari Barns was our guest speaker at the March meeting. She discussed her background as a proofreader and copy editor. She then explained how and why she started her own publishing company. Flying Turtle Publishing, which specializes in books that families can share, has been around since 2012.

Mari said everyone needs to examine their options and decide if they want to try being published the traditional way first. She discussed pay to publish (formerly known as vanity publishers), self-publishing, Create Space, ISBN numbers, and Ingram printing and distribution. Mari does not format or illustrate the books Flying Turtle publishes. She works with professionals in those industries so that the best possible products are produced. This also allows her some time to write.

Mari’s handouts included tips and a list of resources. Authors should make connections with other people who will be reading and buying their books. This includes moms, grandmothers, and teachers, as well as other authors. She also passed out The George Stanley Idea Generator.

Mari asked Magic Hour Writers to work on a Christmas Book. Each member should write a short story or poem with a Christmas theme. Mari will meet with us in June and we will discuss illustrations. Mari plans to have the book published by the end of September.


Next Meeting will be Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Rosati's Pizza
5504 W. Lincoln Hwy.
Schererville, IN


Monday, February 23, 2015

Meeting Highlights February 12, 2015

Members Present:  Andrew, Bob, Jackie, Judy, Luneil, Patty, Ruthann, Suzy

Judy will contact IWC about reserving a room at the Lake County Library for our meetings.

Luneil won the raffle for the Text Aloud3 (convert your text to speech software app). She looks forward to using it and will report her experience to the group at a future meeting.

Patty brought in miniature hats and perfume bottles that she has been working on to help her visualize the millinery shop from her novel. She plans to create a two story shop complete with a hat work room and apartment on the upper level. Suzy and other members reassured her that a lot of authors sketch floor plans, draw maps, and make recreations for reference.

Patty read “The Millinery Shop of Paris”, Chapter 2 in Modiste De Paris. Members suggested she keep the chapter, which describes the shop in vivid detail, as author notes for reference. Members also advised her to include specific details throughout the upcoming chapters so they are not just concentrated in one place.

Judy read Chapter 3 “Friends” in Emma and Guenevere. Aunt Anne is shocked to discover Emma has not only met the princess but considers her a friend.

Bob read his recently revised first chapter, entitled “Magic”, about Cody and his dog Lucy and the mysterious dog house.

Suzy brought in the book Screen-Smart Parenting by Jodi Gold, MD. In the book Gold evaluates the benefits and effects of technology on children of different ages. Suzy learned e-books need to be kept simple. Further, buttons and animations distract children and take away from the reading and learning experience.

Suzy created a picture book for her grandson though Ibooks. She used pictures from Killian’s early years to ease him into the transition of becoming a big brother next month.

Luneil handed out an outline of ideas she has been working on for her Barty the Clumsy Vampire book. Members gave additional suggestions.

Jackie passed out writing handouts and read her poem “Snow Day”.

Judy has secured a guest speaker for our next meeting. Mari Barnes is a member of Indiana Writers’ Consortium and has her own publishing company.

MHW would like to thank Panera Bread for allowing us to hold our February meeting there. 

Members decided another location will be needed when we have special events including guest speaker engagements and will check on availability.

Next meeting is March 12, 2015. The place is to be determined.