We had our sixtieth Tamale Hut Café Writers Group meeting on Saturday, September 9. Thanks to Cary, Lisa, Matt H, Sean, Brian, Michelle, Steve, Salvador, Christian, and first-time attendee Gary for joining me for a sunny afternoon of conversation and critique. Thanks, too, to Jaime for allowing us use of his place of business, and thanks for Joe for the attentive service and for the quick wit.
We started with a few quick agenda items:
– We’re looking good for our featured reader night on October 28. We’ve seen a bunch of great stories so far, and may have a few more next month. At our October meeting, I’ll have a list of the pieces we’ve seen, so we can discuss who will read during the feature time that night, and if we want to decide on an order. I am also working on a sign to put up behind us that will contain our prompt sentence: “All last night the singing went on upstairs and nobody said a word.”
– We were gearing up to go en masse to the open mic night at the Frugal Muse in Downers Grove when we received notice that the event was cancelled. Gary said that he’s familiar with the book store and their open mic nights and that attendance had dropped off dramatically since they moved it from Tuesday to Sunday, which probably explains the cancellation. He echoed Lisa’s comments from previous meetings that it is a pretty good book store and is worthy of our support, so if you’re in the market for new reading material, keep them in mind.
– We will again have a table at the Chicago Book Expo, held this year on October 1 at Columbia College in downtown Chicago. Sean and I will be there, and Matt H has expressed an interest in going to try to sell some books and promote our group and the Tamale Hut at large. There’s typically not much room behind the table, but you’re all welcome to come down and hang out with us and to talk to some of the other writers in the Chicago area. It’s a free event.
– Sean wanted to remind everyone that he will be the featured reader at this month’s THC Presents Reading Series night on September 30. Let’s pack the place to celebrate one of our own!
– Cary mentioned recently that he still uses Goodreads and I plan to as well once I get my reading schedule settled. We still have the group set up there (thc-writers-group) so feel free to add your books to the group bookshelf.
– The Decades channel continues to show episodes of Westinghouse Studio One, only they moved them to Tues-Sat at 5am CDT. As I mentioned last month, Studio One was an anthology series of one-hour stage plays from the early days of broadcast television. I’ve enjoyed the episodes I’ve seen so far, so it might be worth your time to set your DVR to grab a few of them. Decades is broadcast over the air on channel 2.2, and is channel 338 on Comcast.
– At some point during the conversation, the topic turned to movies, especially movies relating to writing, and Gary recommended Midnight in Paris, a Woody Allen film staring Owen Wilson.
We then went around the table to get everyone’s current reading list:
– Cary has read A Chicago Tavern: A Goat, a Curse, and the American Dream by Rick Kogan, and is reading The Pink Suit by Nicole Mary Kelby
– Gary is working his way through 11/22/63 by Stephen King, and highly recommends Joe by Larry Brown, who Gary says is great at writing evil people.
– Lisa’s re-reading It by Stephen King, ahead of the upcoming movie. She said that it was slower moving than she remembered, but that she also made the mistake of rewatching the mini-series of the story, which, in her estimation, “sucked”. She’s also enjoying an ARC of Unraveling Oliver by Liz Nugent
– Matt H is enjoying The Dead Mountaineer’s Inn by Arkady Strugatsky and Boris Strugatsky. He’s also reading Metropolis by Thea von Harbou, and the group was aghast that he’s never seen the movie, one of the most popular and well-known of the silent era. Matt B offered to lend him the DVD to fix that oversight.
– Sean enjoyed The Operators by Michael Hastings, which was the basis of the film War Machine, which he also liked.
– Brian has been really enjoying Between Them: Remembering My Parents by Richard Ford.
– Steve just finished a re-read of 1984 by George Orwell, and I’m not sure if I got this correct, but I think he’s also reading Taming the Tiger Within by Thich Nhat Hanh. (Apologies if that’s not correct.)
– Christian is reading The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien.
– Michelle, Salvador and Matt B didn’t read anything for pleasure last month.
Internet Notes for the month:
– Wildside Press has a new mystery e-magazine: Black Cat Mystery – http://bcmystery.com/ – and they have any interesting membership plan. For an annual membership of $11.97, you get a one-year e-book subscription each to Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine and Black Cat Mystery Magazine, as well as seven mystery and suspense e-books a week. That’s 365 e-books for less than a buck a month. They are also looking for submissions for the magazine, and details are on the site.
After the meeting I got an e-mail from Beth, who hasn’t been to a meeting in a while. She writes:
I’m finding that now that my Book is published, I keep getting calls from marketing companies who want to Market my book for a fee, of course.
Recently one called bookwhirl.com was asking to market my book for $1.800.00. I’m wondering if others in the group are getting such solicitations?
I replied that I hadn’t had any such solicitations, but that I’d ask the group. If anyone has had any experience (good or bad) with any of these so-called book marketers, please let me know and I’ll pass that along to Beth. I also congratulated her on her book publication, and asked her why she didn’t let us know?
The rest of the meeting was taken up with comments and critique of the pieces submitted by the attendees. Four of the eight pieces were stories written for our October Reading Series project, and as I wrote last month, I’m amazed at the different directions people went from the same opening sentence. I think the attendees of the October reading night are in for great night of stories.
The other four pieces were portions of larger works, and the continuity of attendance really pays off in those cases. What I mean by that is that most of the group was able to discuss the pieces in the context of the larger story. It’s not uncommon to hear “I remember that you did this in an earlier chapter…” or “I remember that character from last time.” There is a benefit to being a regular attendee, and I think that we are fortunate to have as many regulars as we do.
Thanks again to everyone for joining me this month. Here’s the schedule for the next month or so:
– The next Tamale Hut Café Reading Series event will be Saturday, September 30 at 7PM, with our own Sean Parks as featured reader. Please check the blog or the group’s THC Facebook page for more information.
– the following day, I’ll send a reminder to you to submit a piece for critique during our next meeting.
– as I get pieces, I will send them out as quickly as I can
– our next THC Writers Group meeting will be Saturday, October 14 at 2PM at the Tamale Hut Café, where we will be celebrating the start of our sixth year.
I want to include one more reminder about our upcoming feature at the THC Presents Reading Series on October 28. I know many of you are not available to attend one of our second Saturday afternoon get-togethers but do attend the Reading Series nights. You are more than welcome to write a story based on our opening sentence, then read it at the THC Presents event on October 28. Wouldn’t it be fun if all the stories read on that night started with the same sentence? If you want to play along, your opening sentence is:
“All last night the singing went on upstairs and nobody said a word.”
Thanks for your interest in the THC Writers Group. I hope to see you at the next Writers Group meeting or the next Reading Series event.