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

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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

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

We had our eighty-third Tamale Hut Café Writers Group meeting on Saturday, August 10.  Thanks to Cary, Sean, Matt H, Brian, Errol, Chris, and Steve for joining me for the latest in a series of fun afternoons of useful conversation.  Thanks also to Salvador for sending in his comments, and as always, thanks to Jaime for comfortable surroundings.

As usual, we started with a few agenda items:
– Salvador e-mailed that he was unable to attend this month.  He said that his wedding anniversary was Monday and they were celebrating that Saturday.  Happy Anniversary to him and his lovely wife Noemi.
– I reminded everyone that the group’s Feature Night at the Tamale Hut Café Reading Series is fast approaching.  Come on out on August 24 and read your music-related stories!
– Cary spoke very highly about the American Writers Museum (https://americanwritersmuseum.org/) in downtown Chicago, which he visited during his vacation week last month.  He liked it so much, he became a member!  He really liked the display of typewriters and other writing tools of renowned writers.  He suggested that everyone should visit.
– Steve mentioned that there was to be an Art Auction and Sculpture Garden Reception at the Riverside Arts Center on August 24.  Details are at http://www.riversideartscenter.com/home/auction-hop-stop-sponsorship/
– Sean said that he recently picked up a collection of Louis L’Amour short stories titled Glory Riders.  He mentioned it because while stories were great, he found the foreward, which was a brief description of L’Amour’s life and career, to be fascinating.
– Matt H said that he had a few Atlas Obscura events in the pipeline.  He would be doing his popular Hyde Park tour again on August 31 (https://www.atlasobscura.com/events/hyde-park-walking-tour-august-2019) and has a few more in the works that he will have details shortly.
– Matt H also mentioned that he tried writing in Comic Sans, as was discussed at previous meetings, and he saw no improvement in his spelling or punctuation.
– Matt B recommended two podcasts in the Creative Penn series – #424 – Autopsies for Authors – in which the interview guest spoke about what authors get wrong when writing autopsy scenes, and what they can do to improve accuracy –  https://www.thecreativepenn.com/2019/04/01/autopsies-for-authors/
#441 – Flash Fiction and Making a Living as a Writer with Jason Brick – the title is pretty self-explanatory –
https://www.thecreativepenn.com/2019/07/22/flash-fiction-and-making-a-living-as-a-writer-with-jason-brick/
(A note about the Creative Penn podcast: every episode starts with the host talking about news stories about writing and selling books, industry trends, her personal update, and messages from listeners.  Sometimes she takes only a few minutes, sometimes much longer.  If you only want to hear the interview, you will need to skip ahead, or read the transcript that she provides on the web page.)
– The annual Silent Summer film festival, presented by the Silent Film Society of Chicago, will be held on August 16-18.  If you go to one of the showings, keep an eye out for the ad for my book The Opening of the Elysium, which will appear in the slide show before the films – http://silentfilmchicago.com/
– I found this interesting article on a site dedicated to the Stratemeyer Syndicate, the company that put out the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew series.  This is the first of three articles titled “Write your NaNoWriMo Novel Like a Classic Nancy Drew Volume,” which describes the Stratemeyer Syndicate’s “Formula for Outlines,” and how they are actually similar to the idea of NaNoWriMo – http://stratemeyer.org/2016/11/nanowrimo-1-how-many-words/

We then went around the table to get everyone’s current reading list:
– Cary is reading Modern Lovers by Emma Straub
– Sean enjoyed A Three Dog Life by Abigail Thomas, and Wild Swan by Celeste De Blasis
– Matt H liked Orange Sunshine by Nicholas Schou and is working on Kon-Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl
– Brian raved about author Norman Lewis, specifically the novel In Sicily, which he is now reading.
– Errol is reading more Hardy Boys for his project, but recently received a copy of one of the Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys Super Sleuths novels, and he’s not enjoying it as much as the original novels.
– Chris is listening to the audio book of Difficult Men by Brett Martin
– Steve started On the Road by Jack Kerouac.  He’s recently seen the 2012 film adaptation, and figured it was time to read the book
– Matt B listened to The People of the Black Circle by Robert E. Howard from the Classic Tales podcast, and has almost finished A Life Rebuilt by by group member Beth Robb

The rest of the meeting was taken up with the usual general writing discussions.  I had a question that brought up an interesting diversion.  One of the pieces had a chapter heading of “What New Hell is This?”  I asked if the deviation from the famous Dorothy Parker quote “What fresh hell is this?” was intentional, and if it was, if that was a good idea.  We all need to write what we want to write, but if your line is so close to something famous, especially standing out on a page like a chapter title does, would it be a distraction to the reader?  Would they think it’s a mistake, instead of taking it as an original phrase?  We really didn’t decide on an answer, but the discussion was interesting.

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, August 24 at 7PM, with our humble group as the featured readers.  Please check the blog (http://thcreadingseries.wordpress.com/) for more information.
– around September 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, September 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 August

One final reminder that the deadline for submissions for the 2019 Tamale Hut Café Presents Short Story Contest is midnight, July 31st, which is three days away as I write this. Send your story in for your chance at one of the big cash prizes that are being offered. Everything you need to know is in this flyer. Good luck!

Another looming deadline is August 24, which is the date of the next Reading Series night, in which our little group will be the featured readers. If you want some feedback on the story you plan to read that night (and it’s not required that you do that) then sent it in and we’ll talk about it at our next meeting.

The next THC Writers Group meeting will be Saturday, August 10th, 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 10th.

For those of you attending, you should have already received the following pieces:
Sean – BorderCrossingsCHAPTER5.pdf
Chris W – Chats – Chapters 11-13 for THC.docx
Brian – Bird’s eye view 1st draft with map.docx
Matt H – Tom Petty is Trying to Kill Me.rtf
Errol – The Farti Boys.docx
Matt B – Versus.docx
Steve – Story–‘The Etymologist’.doc

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

We had our eighty-second Tamale Hut Café Writers Group meeting on Saturday, July 13.  Thanks to Gary D, Cary, Lisa, Brian, Kathy, Salvador, Sean, Errol, and Steve for joining me for another in a series of fun afternoons of useful conversation.  Thanks also to Matt H for sending in his comments, and as always, thanks to Jaime for sharing his business and the interesting artwork on the walls.

As usual, we started with a few agenda items:
– The submissions window for the 2019 Tamale Hut Café Presents Short Story Contest closes on July 31.  Details are on our web site or in this flyer.
– I received a note from Matt H: “Enjoying the dairy-air in the great state of Wisconsin. Won’t be able to pull myself away from the brats. beer and polka long enough to make it Saturday. Hope you have fun.”
– The North Riverside Library Writers group next meeting is July 20 at 1pm.  Details at http://www.northriversidelibrary.org/events/writers-group/.  I’m thinking of going to say hello and to promote the short story contest.
– Matt and Cary talked about the Printers Row Lit Fest that each had attended last month.  Both had a great time, and neither walked away empty-handed.  You can never have too many books.
– Cary said he was doing Camp NaNoWriMo again this month, which prompted some good-natured ribbing about whether he’s actually going to finish a book this time!  He’s also thinking of going to the American Writers Museum (https://americanwritersmuseum.org/) in downtown Chicago next week.  Several people offered suggestions of other things to see downtown, like the Museum of Broadcast Communications (https://museum.tv/index.htm) which Lisa recommended for its current exhibit, “Louder Than Words”, showing how rock and roll plays a role in politics and social movements around the world.  Also recommended was the Poetry Foundation (https://www.poetryfoundation.org/visit)
– Kathy highly recommended a show she saw at Mary’s Attic in Andersonville.  She said The Drag Seed (https://www.theatreinchicago.com/the-drag-seed/10483/) is loosely based on the movie The Bad seed, and she said the play was a lot of fun.  It’s playing weekends until August 25.  She also recommended the Oak Park Festival Theatre (https://oakparkfestival.com/) which has Elizabeth Rex running until mid-July, then Much Ado About Nothing for the rest of the summer.
– Errol said that the Wildclaw Theatre (http://www.wildclawtheatre.com/) is accepting submissions for Deathscribe 2019 until July 31.  They are looking for “10-minute audio drama scripts that are genuinely scary, imaginative, chilling, intelligent, suspenseful, horrific or downright grotesque.”  He said he had something to submit and encourages others to do the same.
– Recently I discovered the Classic Tales podcast – http://classictales.libsyn.com/ – it just ended The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde, and is starting starting The People of the Black Circle, a Conan adventure by Robert E. Howard.  It recently presented The Hand of Fu-Manchu, the third book in the series by Sax Rohmer, and The Inimitable Jeeves by PG Wodehouse. I think they have my number…
– Lifehacker had an article titled “You Should Own Your Favorite Books in Hard Copy” basically in response to Microsoft closing down its e-book store and everyone losing their books.  Turns out there’s a whole list of Book-related articles on the site: https://lifehacker.com/tag/books

We then went around the table to get everyone’s current reading list:
– Gary said that he’s been reading some poetry by Charles Bukowski, a writer that the group has discussed many times.
– Cary said he wants to finish Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple before the movie comes out.
– Lisa said she’s listening to, and really enjoying, The Library Book by Susan Orlean
– Brian is busy reading things about Singapore during World War II
– Kathy also read The Library Book and also raved about it.  She also enjoyed The Lightkeepers by Abby Geni and When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
– Salvador said he had read nothing last month
– Sean has been reading A Natural Curiosity by Margaret Drabble and Glory Riders by Louis L’Amour.  He’s also been checking out the Kindle daily specials and lately has been buying books, as he put it, “willy-nilly.”  Recent purchases include The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco, Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane, and A Shropshire Lad by A. E. Housman
– Errol recently bought the first 10 Hardy Boys novels as research for a parody piece he’s writing.  He said that all the stories are basically the same but with different locations, and he’s surprised at how much he’s been enjoying them.
– Steve hasn’t been reading anything, but working on his writing.
– Matt B finished the Sex, Lies, and Private Eyes anthology, listened to Deathworld by Harry Harrison and The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde from the Classic Tales podcast, and has started A Life Rebuilt by by group member Beth Robb

The rest of the meeting was taken up with the usual general writing discussions.  We had a few pieces that are destined to be read at our featured reader spot at the August Tamale Hut Café Reading Series, and since the theme revolves around music, there was some discussion about the best way to present the work.  A suggestion was (I think jokingly) made to bring in some a capella singers to perform the lyrics for one piece, and other ideas were to have someone bring a guitar and have the audience sing along.  Simplest would probably be to have some recorded music prepared and played on a cell phone, maybe held up to the mic.  I could tell that the mental gears were turning, and with a group of writers being a creative bunch, I expect the audience at the THC in August will be highly entertained.

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, July 20 at 7PM, with Harold Holt as the featured reader.  Please check the blog (http://thcreadingseries.wordpress.com/) for more information.
– around July 28, 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, August 10 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 July

2019 is half over. How are you doing in terms of your writing goals for the year? Me?  I’m not doing too well, but I figure that I have six more months to catch up!

One thing that you don’t have that much time to complete is your entry in the the 2019 Tamale Hut Café Presents Short Story Contest. Deadline for submissions is midnight, July 31st. Get your story in shape and send it in for your chance at one of the big cash prizes that are being offered. Jaime’s full announcement is on our web site at this link. He has also created a flyer that’s attached below. Print it out and hang it next to your monitor for extra motivation!

The next THC Writers Group meeting will be Saturday, July 13th, 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 13th.

For those of you attending, you should have already received the following pieces:
Errol – On the road.pdf
Matt B – Barnstormers chapter 23.docx
Salvador – Heartbeat.docx
Brian – From Tekong to Changi 1st draft.docx
Kathy – A New Cover for Yesterday dedicated to all those who miss their Flip Phones.docx,
Kathy – IN MY LIFE story for Tamale Hut Cafe Open Mic 2019.docx
Aaron – Los Ebanos 1.rtf