Tamale Hut Café Writers Group meeting for December

Lisa sent in two notes that might be of interest if you have a completed manuscript:
IngramSpark is a print-on-demand publishing company, similar to Kindle Direct Print but with a wider reach to book stores and libraries, and without the negative association with Amazon that KDP has. They are offering free setup for your book if you use the promo code NANO2020, and it doesn’t matter if you participated in NaNoWriMo or not. Details are at this link.
Equinox Books is a traditional small press looking for compelling stories in genre fiction: fantasy, mystery, romance, sci-fi, suspense, thriller. They are currently seeking submissions, but it must be an unpublished manuscript. Check out this link for details.

The next THC Writers Group meeting will be Saturday, December 14th, at the Tamale Hut Café, starting at 2PM. If you can attend, we’d love to see you there. If you would like to submit a piece for critique during the meeting, please send it to thcwritersgroup@gmail.com, along with an idea of the level of feedback you are looking for, and I will distribute it to the group. If you have something you would like feedback on but you can’t attend the meeting, I’d be glad to forward it to the group as well. We can discuss it at the meeting and get some comments back to you via e-mail.

I hope to see you all on the 14th.

For those of you attending, you should have already received the following pieces:
Sean – A_LIFE_ON_THE_FENCE_v2_CH9 WITH TEASER.pdf, A_LIFE_ON_THE_FENCE_v2_CH9 ONLY.pdf, ALifeOnTheFenceChapter9.docx
Errol – babysitter mansion CH 4 – 6.txt

Notes from the November, 2019 Tamale Hut Café Writers Group meeting

We had our eighty-sixth Tamale Hut Café Writers Group meeting on Saturday, November 9. Thanks to Marianne, Sean, Lisa, Matt H, Kathy, and Salvador for joining me for another fun afternoon of spirited conversation. Thanks, also, to Jaime for providing the comfortable space.

As usual, we started with a few agenda items:
– Congratulations to three members who were among the winners of this year’s THC Short Story Contest: Matt H, Aaron, Gary – we will need to go to the Reading Series night on Nov 23 to find out rank
– Gary sent an e-mail that read: “I will be emceeing the writer’s read event for the Oak Park Writer’s Group on 11/16 at 2Pm at the Oak Park Library’s Veteran’s room on the second floor. Lots of different types of literature.” http://oppl.evanced.info/signup/EventDetails?EventId=43833&lib=0,1,2,7,1003&backTo=Week&startDate=2019/11/12
– We acknowledged the start of National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo (https://nanowrimo.org/). None of the attendees are taking on that daunting challenge this year, but best of luck to those of you who are.
– When I was posting flyers for my Featured Reader spot last month, I asked Anderson’s Bookstore in LaGrange about carrying my book. They said they would not because it was published by Kindle Direct Publishing (aka Amazon) but said that if I went through IngramSpark (https://www.ingramspark.com/), that they would work with me. I had a few problems with getting the first Barnstormers printed through Kindle, so I’m considering looking into IngramSpark for future volumes.
– The Madness of Edgar Allen Poe at the Oak Park Theater is almost sold out! All that remained as of Saturday were tickets for Thursday Nov 14 (8pm) and Sunday Nov 17 (7pm). Marianne attended this year and said it was great.
https://oakparkfestival.com/project/poe-2019/?mc_cid=f761df7883&mc_eid=e668cbf013
– November is the month for the semi-annual Criterion sale at Barnes & Noble. Through 12/1, all Criterion discs are 50% off, including the new, massive Godzilla set! (https://www.barnesandnoble.com/b/criterion/_/N-1p0i) Remember, Christmas is coming!
– On 11/21 at 7pm, the Brookfield Library has a program titled “A Song of the Avatar: One Author’s Journey in Self-Publishing.” The blurb reads “Hear how one local author went about self-publishing his first book. Local author Gary Whitney will discuss his journey of creating his graphic novel, the Song of the Avatar, which he wrote and illustrated. He will also discuss the self-publishing tools he used: Book Baby and the Library’s self-publishing tool, Pressbooks..” Might be worth going to hear about the self-publishing tools mentioned. Registration is at http://brookfield.evanced.info/signup/EventDetails?EventId=23334&et=23&backTo=Calendar&startDate=2019/11/12
Steve Canyon TV series is back on the Decades channel for a few weeks, starting 11/12 at 3am. Based on the popular newspaper strip by Milton Caniff, the program was made with the cooperation of the US Air Force, so there’s lots of rare airplane footage. Check your local listings for the channel on your system.
– The Soon To Be Famous Illinois Author Project announced the two winners (one of whom bills herself as a “USA Today Bestselling Author” … hmmm) and also announced that Manuscript Project submissions window is open until Jan. 2 – https://soontobefamous.info/
– Matt H is hosting his popular Riverside tour through Atlas Obscura several times over the next few months. The next date is Sunday, Nov 17. Details are at https://www.atlasobscura.com/experiences/riverside-what-the-burbs-couldve-been
– Sean will be one of the authors featured at the upcoming Independents Day 2019 event at Centuries & Sleuths Bookstore (https://www.centuriesandsleuths.com/). The event is held on Nov 30, and will feature “14 local authors to chat with you one on one.” Sean will be available from 2pm to 4pm. Check the web site, or the PDF attached below, for more details.
IndependentsDay2019

We then went around the table to get everyone’s current reading list:
– Marianne is reading The Library Book by Susan Orlean, which several group members had read
– Sean liked The Club Dumas by Arturo Pérez-Reverte, and he really liked Perfume by Patrick Süskind
– Matt H said that he had read High Weirdness, which I assumed to be High Weirdness by Mail by Ivan Stang, but I see that there’s another book titled High Weirdness: Drugs, Esoterica, and Visionary Experience in the Seventies by Erik Davis. From my recollections of the conversation that we had, it really could have been either. I think I need to take better notes…
– Kathy spoke highly of Mistress of the Ritz by Melanie Benjamin, as well as And When She Was Good by Laura Lippman
– Matt B began Regards, Ditko by Jaison Chahwala and Steve Ditko
– Salvador and Lisa had no current reading to report

The rest of the meeting was taken up with the usual general writing discussions. With only four pieces to discuss, the meeting went fairly quickly, and we were out by 4pm. The small number of pieces did allow for some deeper analysis of the work done, as well as some discussion about the differences between reading for pleasure and reading for critique. Three of the four pieces this month were parts of larger work that we’ve been following for months, and the familiarity can cause the reader to drift more toward pleasure reading, which can make critique a little difficult. On the other hand, you can argue that the long history we have with the characters and the story can lead to more in-depth comments than with something that’s completely new. I don’t really have a point to make here, but I thought it was an interesting conversation.

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 on Saturday, November 23 at 7PM, when the winners of the 2019 THC Short Story contest will be featured. Please check the blog (http://thcreadingseries.wordpress.com/) for more information.
– around December 1, I will to 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, December 14 at 2PM at the Tamale Hut Café.

Thanks for your interest in the THC Writers Group. I hope to see you at the next Reading Series event or at the next Writers Group meeting.

Matt B

Tamale Hut Café Writers Group meeting for November

Lisa sent in details of a new service for authors offered by the Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS). We’ll talk about it at the November meeting, but if anyone is interested in checking it out before then, the home page is https://www.inkie.org/.

The next THC Writers Group meeting will be Saturday, November 9th, at the Tamale Hut Café, starting at 2PM. If you can attend, we’d love to see you there. If you would like to submit a piece for critique during the meeting, please send it to thcwritersgroup@gmail.com, along with an idea of the level of feedback you are looking for, and I will distribute it to the group. If you have something you would like feedback on but you can’t attend the meeting, I’d be glad to forward it to the group as well. We can discuss it at the meeting and get some comments back to you via e-mail.

I hope to see you all on the 9th.

For those of you attending, you should have already received the following pieces:
Sean – 1_A_LIFE_ON_THE_FENCE_CHAPTER_8 with teaser.pdf, 1_A_LIFE_ON_THE_FENCE_CHAPTER_8 only.pdf
Matt B – Barnstormers chapter 25.docx
Salvador – Relic1of2.docx
Matt H – noahs ark second to last section.docx

Notes from the October, 2019 Tamale Hut Café Writers Group meeting

We had our eighty-fifth Tamale Hut Café Writers Group meeting on Saturday, October 14, which was the first meeting of our eight year!  I again brought cookies for the occasion, and they were well-received.  Thanks to Cary, Gary, Marianne, Salvador, Matt H, Chris, Brian, Steve, Aaron, and returning member Kay for joining me for another in a series of fun afternoons of useful conversation.  Thanks, also, to Jaime for hosting us monthly over the past seven years.

As usual, we started with a few agenda items:
– I announced that there was a showing of Nosferatu with live theater organ at 5:30 at the Stickney-Forest View Public Library that day, so if anyone wanted to leave early to see the film, I would totally understand.  There will be another showing on Friday, October 18 at the Lisle Library District, 777 Front Street in Lisle, IL at 6:15.  Jay Warren, the organist who accompanies the films from the Silent Film Society of Chicago, is accompanying silent horror films all over the city and suburbs between now and Halloween. His schedule is on his web site at http://www.silentfilmsjaywarren.com/events.html.  Many showings are free.
– Our next two meetings will be Nov 9 and Dec 14  Flyers are up in the usual places
– As I did for the last three anniversary meeting, I brought in the statistics I have for the group.  I can send the details to anyone who is interested, but the high level is this: over 84 meetings, we’ve had 59 different writers attend, and we’ve discussed 589 separate pieces.  Eight members have participated in more than 40 meetings each, and we currently have 73 people on our mailing list!
– NaNoWriMo (https://nanowrimo.org/) is less than a month away.  Salvador reports that Moraine Valley is holding NaNoWriMo workshops – https://www.morainevalley.edu/news-story/national-novel-writing-month/
– Marianne attended the meeting wearing the t-shirt that Salvador designed last year, and I said I’d remind everyone how they could get one for their very own – https://www.teepublic.com/t-shirt/2037380-thc-writers-group
– The Madness of Edgar Allen Poe, a play performed at the Oak Park Theater, is more than half sold out.  This play was highly recommended by several members of the group, so get your tickets now.  It runs October 24 thru November 17 at the Cheney Mansion in Oak Park.  Details at https://oakparkfestival.com/project/poe-2019/?mc_cid=f761df7883&mc_eid=e668cbf013
– Salvador mentioned that he was thinking of getting a table at Holiday Bazaar at the North Riverside Parks & Rec building.  He wrote that he’s “aiming for a multi purpose table combining STEM and arts (in this case, specifically literature).”  He’s contacted the people running the show and is on a waiting list.  I will send out a separate note if he gets a table.  If you want to go, the event is Sat Nov 3 – details are at https://patch.com/illinois/forestpark/calendar/event/20181103/431451/2018-holiday-bazaar-at-north-riverside-village-commons
– I recently took a look at our web site and noticed that at least one of the author links on the right side of the main page is stale.  When you get a chance, please take a look at where your link goes, and if you want me to change it, just tell me where to point it to.  Also, if anyone else wants to have a link there, let me know that as well.
– Sean sent in this link that he said that we might find interesting as writers – https://getpocket.com/explore/item/38-wonderful-words-with-no-english-equivalent?utm_source=pocket-newtab
– Kathy wrote to say that she will be traveling and will miss the next few THC events, but she should be back for the next Writers Group meeting.  She also said that she’s Chairperson for the Oak Park Temple Rummage Sale on 11/9 to 11/11 so stop on by.

We then went around the table to get everyone’s current reading list:
– Gary is reading The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein and is enjoying the political concepts woven into the narrative
– Marianne is enjoying The Annotated Poe and The Annotated Dracula, and specifically recommends “The Man of the Crowd” by Edgar Allan Poe
– Kay is about halfway through Swing Time by Zadie Smith but is not yet sure if she would recommend it to anyone
– Matt H loved Coraline by Neil Gaiman, and like Marianne, has been reading some Edgar Allan Poe short stories
– Chris is reading The Edge of Every Day by Marin Sardy
– Brian is thoroughly enjoyed John le Carré’s The Night Manager
– Steve is still working on Kerouac’s On The Road, and has recently picked up a copy of Octopussy by Ian Fleming
– Matt B read Citizen Klansman by Leonard Joseph Moore for research
– Kathy wrote in to say that she “just finished reading A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles which I loved and highly recommend.”
– Cary and Salvador said they hadn’t read anything of note

The rest of the meeting was taken up with the usual general writing discussions.  One thing that came up during our conversations was concern about the length of submissions for review.  I thought, since we’re celebrating seven years of monthly meetings, that I should probably pass along what I tell new people who reach out for information about our group:
“Unlike some other groups, we don’t have any restrictions on content or story length of work submitted for critique, beyond simple common sense.  If you have something in your piece that might offend or disturb someone, it’d be nice to have a heads-up.  And keep in mind that most everyone who participates works full-time and otherwise has a life outside of our group, so if you have something long to submit, the earlier you get it in, the better chance that most everyone will have time to read it before the meeting and can comment on it.  Just to give you an example, my pieces typically run around 2000-3000 words and I try to send mine out by the Monday before the meeting.”
As an extreme example, Sean frequently submits large portions of his latest work on progress, but he typically sends it in a day or two after the prior meeting, so that we have almost a full month to read it.
The downside of that is that as a reader, it’s easy to lose track of a piece that’s sent too early.  That’s why, when I send out the files as they come in, I always include information about all the stories to read for the month.  I also keep a current list on the meeting announcement on our web site.  If a meeting is coming up and you can’t find one of the pieces I sent out, e-mail me and I’ll resend as soon as I am able.

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 a book release party for Barnstormers Book One, with our own Matt B as featured reader.  It will be on Saturday, October 19 at 7PM.  Please check the blog (http://thcreadingseries.wordpress.com/) for more information.
– around October 27, I will to 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, November 9 at 2PM at the Tamale Hut Café.

Thanks for your interest in the THC Writers Group. I hope to see you at the next Reading Series event or at the next Writers Group meeting.

Matt B

Tamale Hut Café Writers Group meeting for October

September is all but over, and we’re moving into October. Are you all working on your Halloween costumes? I expect that there will be a lot of scary Impeachment costumes out there this year. But before you work on that, let’s get some writing done!

The next THC Writers Group meeting will be Saturday, October 12th, at the Tamale Hut Café, starting at 2PM. If you can attend, we’d love to see you there. If you would like to submit a piece for critique during the meeting, please send it to thcwritersgroup@gmail.com, along with an idea of the level of feedback you are looking for, and I will distribute it to the group. If you have something you would like feedback on but you can’t attend the meeting, I’d be glad to forward it to the group as well. We can discuss it at the meeting and get some comments back to you via e-mail.

I hope to see you all on the 12th.

For those of you attending, you should have already received the following pieces:
Sean – A_LIFE_ON_THE_FENCE_CHAPTER_7 full with teaser.pdf, A_LIFE_ON_THE_FENCE_CHAPTER_7 only.pdf
Matt H – Noahs ark section 2 section 2 section 2.rtf
Cary – My Boys – THC.docx
Gary P – KR installment.pdf
Matt B – Indiana pt1.docx
Chris W – THC October- Chats with a Charlatan – Chapters 14-18.docx
Brian – Sanitation and all that Tamale group.docx
Aaron – Los Ebanos 1.rtf
Kaveria – The Delay.docx

Notes from the September, 2019 Tamale Hut Café Writers Group meeting

We had our eighty-fourth Tamale Hut Café Writers Group meeting on Saturday, September 14.  Thanks to Steve, Lisa, Sean, Matt H, Salvador, and Cary for joining me for the latest in a series of fun afternoons of useful conversation.  We also welcomed back Marianne after a prolonged absence because of, as she put it, “greatgrandbaby duty on Saturdays,” as well as welcoming back Michelle, who specifically took a day off of work to join us.  Thanks, also, to Jaime for his benevolent patronage.

As usual, we started with a few agenda items:
– I mentioned that I used the Android app @Voice Aloud Reader to have my phone read some of the pieces for this month as I was stuck on my ungainly commute.  It handled everything very well, even the patois in Michelle’s piece
– Before each of the films in the recent Silent Summer film fest, a slide show of local businesses was projected on the screen, and this year I purchased time to advertise my novel, The Opening of the Elysium.  I figured the time setting of the book and the story of the construction of a movie palace would fit the festival.  And when I mentioned to the crowd that the book was on the shelves at the Brookfield Library and is available via inter-library loan, I received much applause.
– The 2019 Southeastern Wisconsin Festival of Books is on Nov 2.  In addition to the traditionally published authors speaking there, they offer a Writers Marketplace, where independents can “reach more than 1500 Southeast Wisconsin readers in person.”  I went two years ago, and while I didn’t sell a lot of books, I had fun.  They are under new management, so maybe the book sales will be better this year.  Cost is $30/3 hours, $50/All day – deadline for entries is Oct 1 – https://www.sewibookfest.com/
– Matt H told us of an ownership change at the Atlas Obscura web site and he said that they would like him to again host his tours of Hyde Park and Riverside.  He also said they are eager to have him reprise the presentation he gave in 2018 with fellow writers group member Marianne about Frances Glessner Lee.  That one sold out in record time, so as soon as he tells me it’s been announced, I’ll let everyone know.
– The play THE MYSTERY OF EDGAR ALLAN POE: A LOVE STORY will be presented by the Oak Park Festival Theatre this fall.  Dates are Oct 24 through Nov 17, and will be presented at the Chaney Mansion, 220 N Euclid Ave in Oak Park.  The play is part biography of Poe, specifically his relationship with his wife, and part dramatization of some of his short stories.  What makes it unique is that the audience moves from room to room in the building, with different parts presented in each room.  Several of us saw this at the First Folio Theater in Oakbrook in previous years and highly recommended it – https://oakparkfestival.com/project/poe-2019/?mc_cid=79fedde596&mc_eid=e668cbf013
– Speaking of the First Folio Theater in Oakbrook, the Fall presentation this year will be Sherlock’s Last Case, a play featuring Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.  It runs from October 2 to November 3. https://firstfolio.org/?production=sherlocks-last-case  (And coming in February will be a brand-new Wooster and Jeeves play!)
– Cary said that the La Grange Park Library will be holding a Bingo night as a fundraiser for the library.  The date is November 15, and details are at https://www.lplibrary.org/events2/bingo-fundraiser/
– The web site https://www.craftliterary.com/ is having their first flash fiction contest for unpublished stories up to 1,000 words! Submissions end Oct 31, Previously unpublished work only – $20 reading fee per entry allows up to two stories of 1,000 words or fewer each – 3 $1000, 4 $150 prizes, All entrants will receive an exclusive digital compilation.  Details at https://www.craftliterary.com/craft-flash-fiction-contest/
– Lisa reported that the there will be a panel discussion on “First Amendment, Art, Censorship & Freedom of Speech” at the Harold Washington Library downtown on October 1st at 6:15pm.  The panel will be moderated by Robert Jordan, Chicago journalist and former WGN-TV news anchor, and is presented by American and Illinois Library Associations, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Morris Library at Southern Illinois University and in collaboration with Chicago Public Library.  Details are at https://chipublib.bibliocommons.com/events/5d0167bcf4162d9e401e0818
Explore More Illinois is a cultural pass program that allows Illinois public library cardholders to get discounts and benefits from museums, park districts, historical societies, performing and visual arts centers, and other attractions.   Featured Museums include Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum (Springfield), Chicago Children’s Museum (Navy Pier), Ernest Hemingway Birthplace Museum (Oak Park), Illinois Holocaust Museum (Skokie).  Not every library offers it, but the Brookfield Library does. – https://exploremore.quipugroup.net/
– Salvador mentioned that he’s been talking to members of a writer’s group that meets on the campus of Triton College.  He was thinking of inviting them to one of our meetings.
– The silent film The Phantom Carriage (1921) will be shown with live organ accompaniment at the Emmanuel Episcopal Church in La Grange on Sat Oct 5.  Popular Swedish fantasy film “considered to be one of the central works in the history of Swedish cinema”.  I saw the Phantom of the Opera there last year, and the pipe organ was spectacular! Details at http://www.silentfilmsjaywarren.com/events.html
– Sean is excited that his three Bernie Sebastian books are now available at Centuries & Sleuths Bookstore on Madison Ave in Forest Park (https://www.centuriesandsleuths.com/) and he will be included in the Celebration of INDEPENDENTS DAY event at the bookstore on November 30.  This event will allow readers to speak one-on-one to authors, and Sean will be there form 2 to 4pm.

We then went around the table to get everyone’s current reading list:
– Steve is still working his way through On the Road by Jack Kerouac
– Lisa liked The Sleep Detectives Go To Washington by Matthew Bieniek, and is also reading Newton’s Football: The Science Behind America’s Game by Allen St. John, which she is finding fascinating
– Sean is still reading the Louis L’Amour collection he mentioned last month, and is also reading Three Strikes You’re Dead by Robert Goldsborough, which he picked up after meeting the author at Centuries & Sleuths
– Matt H is enjoying The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Catherine Webb
– Marianne is reading The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein
– Cary has been reading The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash
– Matt B liked A Life Rebuilt by Beth Robb despite the many typos, and is now reading Charlie Harmer Takes A Ride by Brendan Detzner
– Michelle and Salvador said they hadn’t read anything of note

The rest of the meeting was taken up with the usual general writing discussions.  The list of pieces for critique was short this month, but that just meant that we had plenty of time to discuss the intricacies of each story, after spending quite a bit of time talking about the upcoming events listed above.

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 28 at 7PM, with series regular Chris Krazmus as featured reader.  Please check the blog (http://thcreadingseries.wordpress.com/) for more information.
– around September 29, I will to 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 12 at 2PM at the Tamale Hut Café.

Thanks for your interest in the THC Writers Group. I hope to see you at the next Reading Series event or at the next Writers Group meeting.

Matt B

Things to remember:
– If want to reach out to one of the other members directly, send me an e-mail and I will send your e-mail address to the other person, asking them to get in contact with you.
– If you simply want to forward something to another member, send it to me and I’ll do just that.
– And as always, if you no longer want to be on this list, simply reply saying so and I’ll remove you from the list promptly.

Tamale Hut Café Writers Group meeting for September

Labor Day is here, which, for all practical purposes, means that summer is over. Kids are back in school, the new TV season is almost upon us, the leaves are starting to change, and road construction seems to be ramping up to screw up as many commutes as possible before the snow starts. What does that have to do with writing? I dunno, but all this puts me in a bit of a melancholy mood, and slipping back into a world that’s sprung from my own creative mind makes me feel a little bit better.

The next THC Writers Group meeting will be Saturday, September 14th, at the Tamale Hut Café, starting at 2PM. If you can attend, we’d love to see you there. If you would like to submit a piece for critique during the meeting, please send it to thcwritersgroup@gmail.com, along with an idea of the level of feedback you are looking for, and I will distribute it to the group. If you have something you would like feedback on but you can’t attend the meeting, I’d be glad to forward it to the group as well. We can discuss it at the meeting and get some comments back to you via e-mail.

I hope to see you all on the 14th.

For those of you attending, you should have already received the following pieces:
Sean – A_LIFE_ON_THE_FENCE_CHAPTER_6.pdf
Matt H – Noah’s ark section 2 section 2 section 1.rtf
Michelle – Chapter 8.docx
Cary – Poems 3.docx