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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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.


Thursday, July 11, 2019

Meeting Highlights 7-11-19

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

Guest:  Allen
Allen was a stand-up comic who enjoys writing poetry for children. He has written four books.

Luneil wrote another chapter in Barty and will read it at the next meeting. Members suggested she try to write the next chapter in first person.

Karen was working on a “Dear Reader” letter for the workshop she will be attending next week in Vermont. It introduces her book to others who are also attending the workshop. She then read the newly revised first chapter of Ghost Lessons.

Valia reported three of his poems have been published in three different literary journals. “Grandfather” was published in Wards, “Bell Tolls” was published in Northwest Indiana Literary Journal, and “Heart Beats” was published in Poetic Medicine. He submitted to Poetic Medicine for over a year which shows persistence pays off.

Jackie submitted a poem and four photographs to Light Journal. Unfortunately, this will be their last issue.

Patty likes Children’s Book Insider as a downloadable resource. She met with Esther again in Chicago and is trying to sort through her recommendations.

Allen read his poem “Gorilla Chose Vanilla” which he wrote for a friend’s birthday. He is not sure if he will self-publish or submit to traditional publishers. Members suggested he tighten up the poem and check out a few rhyming picture books at the library. Jackie suggested books by Jamie Lee Curtis. Allen also hopes to attend Write-On Hoosiers and Northwest Indiana Poetry Society meetings.

Next Meeting:  August 14, 2019, Rosati's in Schererville at 6:30


Monday, July 8, 2019

Meeting Highlights June 12, 2019

Members Present:  Helena and Valia

Helena presented her essay entitled ‘Wait with Patience.’ It was an essay that she was going to present to her church under a program called Write to the Heart Presentation. It highlights spiritual journey when one of her church closed. It served her family and other Chinese families for 20 years. It describes their anguish which she describes using quotes from the Bible that gave her inspiration. The essay ends with doors opening to another church by Bethel Church for Chinese Congregation.

Valia presented his poem entitled Old Man and the Stick (inspired from Shel Siverstein’s Giving Tree). It describes how an old man finds companionship with a stick during his lost phase of life journey and how the stick rewards him.

Next Meeting:  July 10, 2019 at Rosati's in Schererville at 6:30 p.m.


Sunday, June 2, 2019

Meeting Highlights May 8, 2019

Members Present: Debbie, Jackie, Karen, Patty, Ruthann

Debbie talked about her interest in writing, being published in a literary journal, and her latest book project.

Karen has been marketing her The Medal With A Heart book. She announced it will be sold at Colonial Williamsburg museum which gets 1 million visitors a year. It will also be sold at Mt Vernon (Washington’s home). They ordered 50 books. Karen has been phoning bookstore and asking for their book buyer’s email.

Patty wrote over 65,000 words, completing her latest NaNoWriMo challenge. She discussed the book Being Mortal by Atul Gawande which asks what you want to do with the rest of your life and stresses setting priorities.

Ruthann read Closer to Home, a short story about her cousin Mary Ellen and her husband Bob, who was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer last year.

Jackie shared an article her office aide wrote for the Lake Central Summer Newsletter about her Hoosier Women Artist award.

Patty read "Chapter Four: The Light of Their Hearts" from The Iron Lady.

Next Meeting:  June 12, 2019, Rosati’s in Schererville, 6:30 p.m.


Thursday, April 25, 2019

Meeting Highlights: 4.17.19

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

Welcome new member Debbie!

Karen and Patty discussed their writing coach Esther and finding their main character’s voice. Both have been patient throughout the ongoing editing process despite making countless revisions and penning numerous versions.

Patty and Karen explained NaNoWriMo to Debbie.

Valia is working on a picture book A Bird, A Tree, and a Volcano. It is geared towards children ages 5-8. Members suggested formatting changes and helped with a few minor grammatical issues. Rachael discussed the science behind the story and offered a few suggestions. Valia then read “Roosters of Hawaii” which was featured on the Who Writes Short Shorts website earlier this month.

Jackie read “Ceramic Attraction,” a short memoir she wrote for the 2019 edition of From the Edge of the Prairie anthology due out later this year. She is also submitting a few pictures for inclusion in the publication.

Patty read “Chapter Three: Heaven Slipping Away” from her novel The Iron Ladies.

Luneil plans to continue working on Barty, the Clumsy Vampire.

Next Meeting:  Wednesday, May 8, 2019 at Rosati’s in Schererville

LM and JSH

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Meeting Highlight - March 13, 2019

Members Present:  Jackie, Karen, Patty, Valia

Patty read the first two chapters of The Iron Ladies. A few members suggested reworking the beginning chapters so that a devastated Vienne is alone with Pippi struggling with the news of what is to come. Patty plans to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo again this year. The fun begins April 1st

Karen is working on chapter 6 of Saving Ivy. She recently entered into a partnership with The Military Order of the Purple Heart. They sent out a letter to members which encourages them to purchase two The Medal With A Heart books so they can donated one to their local library. Karen is anxious to hear how many people ordered. She then discussed Purple Heart Cities. Karen has another school visit scheduled in Boswell, IN.

Valia read “Facets of Refugee Status” which is a series of three poems he wrote. He also suggested members look into humanities grants available to Hoosiers.

Jackie reported that she is a Hoosier Women Artist honoree and will take down a framed picture of Cataract Falls on March 22nd for the artist reception. Her picture will hang in the treasurer’s office in the Indiana State Capitol building for a year.

Next Meeting:  (A week later) April 17th, 2019.


Sunday, February 24, 2019

Meeting Highlights - February 13, 2019

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

Karen read Patty’s young adult novel last month and offered suggestions within the manuscript. She hopes to be done with Saving Ivy by the end of March. Karen also plans to attend a one week workshop at an artist colony in Vermont so she can meet with Esther and get more in depth critique. She then explained the partnership with the Military Order of the Purple Hear and how her book can be personalized for $37.

Jackie shared a few versions of her latest poem about finding melted gum in the washing machine. She also discussed a couple artist residencies in Washington and artist awards that are available for parents. Jackie reported Prairie Writers Guild is accepting submission for their 2019 publication due out in the fall. The deadline is April 1st. Jackie will give Rachel a copy of last year's book.

Valia read his poem “Poetic Medicine” which was written in response to a call for poetry with the theme #MeToo. He then shared another poem with a photo entitled “Shades of Creation”.

Judy has been submitting to Northwest Indiana Senior Newspapers. A picture of her grandchild and an article on Clarendale has already been published. She plans to write an article on wellness next.

Patty read the prologue for The Iron Ladies and then Chapter 1. Members discussed other starting points for her first Chapter.

Next Meeting:  March 13, 2019 at Rosati’s in Schererville


Monday, January 28, 2019

Meeting Highlights 1.9.19

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

Adhering to her editor’s advice, Patty said she is working on cutting a lot out of her novel Vienne and is also developing subplots.

Ruthann read her short story One Night… She plans to enter it in a contest. Winners receive a trip to New York.

Rachael brought her books The Blue Pencil and The Lucky Beads and read them to the group. 

Members purchased copies and Rachael autographed them.

Jackie read a letter she received from her sponsored child, a teenager from India. Valia explained a little about the Hindi language.

Valia read his humorous poem “Granite Wall”. He also added a related picture to the handouts.

Karen is still revising her screenplay which is now called Saving Ivy and will send chapter one to the group via email since we ran out of time.

Next Meeting:  February 13, 2019


Meeting Highlights 12.12.18

Members Present:  Helena, Jackie, Judy, Karen, Luneil, Patty, Rachael, Ruthann, Valia

Members met at Clarendale in Schererville for a Christmas / holiday party. Everyone brought a dish, dessert, drink, and/or appetizer. Earlier in the month Judy suggest members also bring “a gift of words” to the gathering.

Patty reported her editor Esther had her story for 6 weeks. She has also heard from a few publishers that she submitted to. Patty then read her tribute “The Magic Hour” and said some pretty amazing things about our group.

Rachael’s 2nd book in the One Kindness at a Time series won a Readers’ Favorite 5 stars award. She will bring copies of her first and second book to the next meeting.

Karen sold 12 of her The Medal With a Heart book at the Indiana Historical Society in Indianapolis at an author’s fair. The book launch went well also. Karen then read a poem she wrote about writers.

Valia read two poems: “Grandfather” and “Fabrics That Carry Us”.

Judy read “I Walk in Beauty,” a Navajo prayer/song. She reads the prayer often and it has helped her keep her focus.

Helena read A Gift of Promise, inspired by her friends from MHW who encouraged her to send her story to them when she needed some critique.

Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! See you in 2019!


Meeting Highlights 11.14.18

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

Guests: Michael, Debbie

Debbie is a medical assistant and met Judy and Helena at the IWC conference in October. Debbie shared a book she started writing years ago. The working title is The One We Could Not See. Members discussed publishers and Karen mentioned Children’s Writers Market.

Valia read his Guest Commentary “Answer Hate With Love”.

Helena read a memoir “Be Thankful Always”.

Patty read “Chapter 13 - Shocking Revelations.”

Karen reported her book The Medal With A Heart can now be personalized. Also, The Military Order of the Purple Heart supports the book by offering it to members to raise funds.