Tamale Hut Café Writers Group meeting for November

We had an intimate evening for our feature night at the THC Reading Series last month, and we heard lots of stories with smells in them (but none of them stunk!)  Now it’s back to work on our regular projects, especially for those of us who are attempting NaNoWriMo this year.

Lisa sent word of another free writing course offered by the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program.  Enrollment is now open for Stories of Place: Writing & The Natural World.  The course runs Nov. 15 – Dec. 31, and details can be found at https://iwp.uiowa.edu/iwp-courses/distance-learning-courses/moocs

The next THC Writers Group meeting will be Saturday, November 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 the Writers Group, and at the next Reading Series night on November 17.

For those of you attending, you should have already received the following pieces:
Matt B – Barnstormers chapter 15.rtf
Gary P – TKR_Nov10.pdf
Sean – The Artist and the Tenant.pdf
Marianne – THE SLEEPING CHILDREN ON BAKER’S HILL.docx
Cary – Three States, THC.docx
Gary D – Mr. Exciting Guy PDF.pdf

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Notes from the October, 2018 Tamale Hut Café Writers Group meeting

We had our seventy-third Tamale Hut Café Writers Group meeting on Saturday, October 13.  It was the start of our seventh year so I brought cookies!  Thanks to Kathy, Steve, Sean, Molly, Michelle, Brian, and Gary D for joining me for a fun afternoon of conversation and critique. Thanks, too, to Matt H and Salvador for mailing in comments, and to Jaime for the roof over our heads.

We started with a few agenda items:
– As I did for the last two 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 72 meetings, we’ve had 56 different writers attend, and we’ve discussed 505 separate pieces.  Six members have participated in more than 40 meetings each, and we currently have 68 people on our mailing list.
– Our next meetings will be Nov 10 and Dec 8.  I’ll have flyers up at the usual places before next weekend.
– Bad news was announced this week that the Chicago Book Expo, where our groups has had a table the past few years, has been cancelled for 2018.  The show runners lost their sponsor in Columbia College and don’t have the funds to stage the show anywhere else.  They hope to be back in the future with new sponsorship.  I also announced that I’m not going to go to the Wisconsin show in November.  I just can’t justify the time and expense this year.
– Kathy said that she had a good time this month at the Booktoberfest Author Fair at the Forest Park Public Library.  She said it was not very well attended, possibly due to lack of advertising, but she sold a few books, met some readers, and more importantly, got on the library’s radar, so she hopes they keep her in mind for future events.
– Lisa sent a note that “the Library of Congress announced September 26 that it has digitized hundreds of hours of motion pictures that will be freely available on the newly launched National Screening Room website. Most of the content in the National Screening Room is in the public domain and is fully downloadable. Permissions were granted for the inclusion of copyrighted motion pictures, which are only available as streaming files. The first phase of the project features 281 titles; new content will be added every month.… https://www.loc.gov/collections/national-screening-room/”
– Molly announced that her story is now available online in the new issue of Newfound at https://newfound.org/current-issue/   She writes “If you scroll down, you see a blurb from my piece, if you click on that, it takes you to the whole piece, a work of flash fiction entitled “The Nail.” Just for fun, there it is. (And if anyone’s ever on twitter and wants to join in with my eleven followers, well, then I’d have twelve, or even thirteen…  I’m at @mksturdevant – https://twitter.com/mksturdevant)”  By the way, I just checked and she now has 15 followers.  It’s a groundswell!
– Gary said that he saw a flyer recently that Elizabeth Berg will be speaking on November 13 at 7pm at the 19th Century Club, 178 Forest Ave in Oak Park.  Tickets are $10, and “light refreshments will be served.”  Details are at https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3627260
– Gary will also be one of the readers at the upcoming Writers Read event at the Oak Park Public Library.  It will be on November 17 at 2pm,in the Veteran’s Room of the Main Library.  The link on the library site sent me to   https://oppl.evanced.info/signup/EventDetails?EventId=37383&df=list&et=50&nd=120&backTo=List&startDate=2018/11/17&endDate=2019/02/11
– Steve brought in word that he was not a winner in this years Muriel Craft Bailey Poetry Contest, but the letter he received containing the names of the winners also included details of the Chapbook Contest also run by the Comstock Review, and he plans to enter.  Submissions are taken through Octoner 31st, and you can find details at http://comstockreview.org/comstock-writers-group-chapbook-award-for-2014/
– The Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author Manuscript Contest details are finally on the web site.  They are looking for  “the best unpublished works of adult fiction. Winner receives these valuable prizes: Professional line editor who will work with you to polish your novel, Professionally designed cover., and Self-publishing guidance from past STBF winners and committee members.  Finished book automatically entered as semi-finalist status in the 2020 Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author Project contest.”  The contest opens November 1, 2018 and closes January 2, 2019. They will accept complete manuscripts of adult fiction in book length (50,000 to 100,000 words) from Illinois authors.  http://soontobefamous.info/about-the-project/manuscript-contest
– Looking farther ahead, Molly mentioned a session scheduled on January 9th at the Forest Park Library about “authentic voice in fiction.”  I expect more details as the date gets closer.

– I brought in a few entertainment items that writers might find interesting:
— ‘The Madness of Edgar Allan Poe‘ runs through Nov 4 at The First Folio Theater in Oak Brook.  Kathy and I had both seen it in past years and highly recommend it.  http://firstfolio.org/?production=the-madness-of-edgar-allan-poe-a-love-story
A Dickens Carol will be back at the Oak Park Festival Theater Dec 14-30.  I saw this play last year and really enjoyed it.  Tickets are on sale now. https://oakparkfestival.com/project/a-dickens-carol-2018/
— Jay Warren, the movie theater organist who runs the Silent Film Society of Chicago is busy this month, playing organ for a number of silent films around the area – http://www.silentfilmsjaywarren.com/events.html
* 10/18 Nosferatu at the Wheaton Public Library, Wheaton IL
* 10/19 The Phantom of the Opera at Emmanuel Episcopal Church on Kensington in LaGrange (This is a benefit for their pipe organ, plus, it’s practically in our own back yard!  I will be there.)
* 10/20 Metropolis plus 1910 Frankenstein at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel in Chicago
* 10/26 The Phantom of the Opera at Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts in Fond Du Lac, WI
* 10/27 Nosferatu at the Logan Theater in Chicago
* 10/28 The Hunchback of Notre Dame at the Hoosier Theater in Whiting, IN
* 10/30 The Unknown (with Lon Chaney) at Aurora University in Aurora IL
* 10/31 Nosferatu at the Geneva Theater in Lake Geneva, WI
— Riverside Township Radio Players do live re-enactments of old time radio shows at Riverside Township Hall every month and it’s free to get in.  Their Halloween show on October 26 includes an adaptation of the fantastic short story “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson from NBC Presents, Short Story Show, and a Lights Out episode entitled “Come to the Bank” – http://www.riversidetownshipradioplayers.com/
— And keeping on the Old Time Radio theme, on Saturday, Oct 27, Those Were The Days will have the radio version of “The Uninvited” starring Ray Milland – it can be heard on WDCB and streaming at http://www.nostalgiadigest.com/those%20were%20the%20days.htm

– We then discussed planning for our October feature reading night on the 27th.  The theme we had chosen was “Autumn/October/Halloween stories that somehow incorporate a sense of smell,” which really wouldn’t look good on a banner.  We batted around some title ideas, and came up with “Olfactory Fiction.”  I’ll work up some sort of a banner for the wall like I did last year, and maybe a flyer for the counter at the THC.

 
NOTE – as I was writing this, I checked the web to make sure I was spelling “olfactory” properly, and I discovered that the technical name of a sense of smell is “olfaction.”  So what do you say about “Olfaction Fiction”?  I think it has a nice ring to it.  If you have an opinion, please drop me a line in the next couple of days.
We also discussed how we were going to structure the evening.  We agreed to meet beforehand on the 27th to decide who will read during “featured time” and who will just read during open mic.

We then went around the table to get everyone’s current reading list:
– Kathy is currently reading The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish, Janesville by Amy Goldstein, and Unbury Carol by Josh Malerman for her book clubs
– Steve is still working on The Shadow of Blooming Grove by Francis Russell, and is also reading the play of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee
– Sean enjoyed All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg, which he borrowed from Cary.  He said he typically doesn’t go for stuff like this, but he really enjoyed it
– Molly recommended Undoing the Demos by Wendy Brown for anyone looking for some political non-fiction
– Michelle said she’s not reading anything.  She’s focusing on completing her novel
– Brian is reading Warlight by Michael Ondaatje.  He’s read and enjoyed other books by the author.
– Gary liked The Kingdom by Fuminori Nakamura and You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie
– Matt B is reading Laugh Your Troubles Away by Derek Gee and Ralph Lopez and Riverview Amusement Park by Dolores Haugh as research for an upcoming story

Internet Notes –
– Lisa sent in a link to an article containing a “short review of apps for phones.”
https://www.writermag.com/2018/09/18/fifteen-mobile-apps-for-writers-on-the-go/
– NaNoWriMo starts in a couple of weeks! – https://nanowrimo.org/

The rest of the meeting was taken up with the usual varied discussions about general writing topics.  Several of the attendees mentioned that they had to leave early or at least earlier than normal, plus we started late, so I tried to keep things moving along fairly quickly.  This had the unfortunate effect of limiting the tangents that the conversation often meanders onto, but we did have plenty of time to give each piece that was sent in the discussion time it deserved.  We’ll have to venture more into the usual ephemera next month.

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, October 27 at 7PM, when the featured reader will be … us! Please check the blog (http://thcreadingseries.wordpress.com/) for more information.
– around October 28, 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, November 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 October

It’s October, and that means that our feature night at the THC Reading Series is just around the corner.  The theme we decided on for the October 27 event is Autumn/October/Halloween stories that somehow incorporate a sense of smell, but we don’t yet have a catchy title.  If you think of something good, let me know and I’ll make a banner for the wall like I did last year.  (I’m kind of fond of “Your Story Stinks!”)

The next THC Writers Group meeting will be Saturday, October 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 the Writers Group, and at our featured Reading Series night on October 27.

For those of you attending, you should have already received the following pieces:
Matt H – Document1 (2).docx
Michelle – Chapter 6.doc
Gary D – The Living Room.docx
Molly – _From_Here_to_Nancy_.docx
Brian – Sybil Tamale Oct 2018.docx
Steve – Story–‘Leaves’.doc, Story–‘The Milk Run’ (Tentative title) v1.doc
Sean – Journal Entry 12-19-82.docx

Notes from the September, 2018 Tamale Hut Café Writers Group meeting

We had our seventy-second Tamale Hut Café Writers Group meeting on Saturday, September 8, which if you are doing the math makes sixth full year of monthly meetings!  Thanks to Brian, Sean, Salvador, Marianne, Steve, and Gary P for joining me for a fun afternoon of conversation and critique. Thanks, too, to Matt H and Cary for mailing in comments, and to Jaime for his unwavering support.

We had a few agenda items this month:
– Just a quick reminder that International Talk Like A Pirate Day is coming up on 9/19/2018.  Annoy yer landlubber friends an’ family (an’ maybe yer scallywag boss) wit’ salty banter!
– I saw the following notice on the http://soontobefamous.info/ site – “Watch for more information on the new STBF Manuscript Contest coming this Fall. This new contest will be judged by library professionals. The winner to be announced during Spring 2019 will receive a professional edit and cover art and will be entered into Round two of the 2019 Soon to be Famous Illinois Author Project.”
– A quick TV recommendation: Stephie and I have been enjoying on NetFlix a Scottish sitcom from the early aughts called *Still Game*.  We have to watch it with subtitles on, and even then, we don’t always know what they’re talking about.  The guys once called another character a “jammy old boot.”  What does that even mean?  We don’t know, but we laughed.
– Sean says that he’s working on his first play.  He’s been transcribing the journals he’s mentioned in past months, and he thinks this would be a good way to tie some of the stories together in a coherent way.  He says he’s a few scenes in, and he’s pleased with the results.
– Molly was unable to attend, but sent in the following news: “I have a flash-fiction piece coming out in Newfound in October. I’ll send a link when I get one.”  I think she might mean https://newfound.org/, but I’ll forward the link when she sends it.
– We’ve talked about Goodreads in the past, and I’m still not sure the best way to utilize the site as a writer.  I’ve been invited to join a Chicago Authors group there, so maybe that’s what I needed to increase my engagement on the site.  I’ll let you know.
https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/710889-chicago-authors
– The First Folio Theater, which is located in the Mayslake Estate in Oak Brook, is again presenting the play ‘*The Madness of Edgar Allan Poe*’ this coming October.  Kathy and I had both seen it in past years and highly recommend it.  The promotional material says that they won’t be mounting the production again for another five years.  Marianne said that she checked the web site and some of the showings are already sold out, so if
you want to see it, now’s the time. http://firstfolio.org/?production=the-madness-of-edgar-allan-poe-a-love-story
– There’s still time to sign up for the Writers Marketplace at the 2018 Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books at the University of Waukesha.  The date is Nov 3, and I think I’m going to go – http://www.sewibookfest.com/
– Still no sign of the Public Library Association (PLA) National Writing Contest submissions portal but several articles mention that the submissions period begins be Sept. 25.  My announcement for our next meeting should be going out on Sept. 30, so I hope to be able to include details in that e-mail.
– And just a reminder, October’s THC Reading Series, we’ll present Autumn/October/Halloween stories that somehow incorporate a sense of smell.  Someone suggested “Smell-O-Vision” as the title, but that’s not really accurate, since the “vision” is in your imagination.  How about “Smell-O-Rama”?

We then went around the table to get everyone’s current reading list:
– Brian says he has multiple books that he’s in the middle of reading, but one that stands out is Burmese Days by George Orwell
– Sean has been on a Carl Hiaasen binge lately. Having recently finished Lucky You, he’s starting on Bad Monkey
– Salvador is really enjoying House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea
– Gary is loving Burmah Road by Donovan Webster, both for the story and for the details that he’s been able to use as inspiration for his story
– Marianne is working her way through an annotated collection of Edgar Allen Poe stories, as well as an annotated Dracula.
– Steve is reading The Shadow of Blooming Grove by Francis Russell
– Matt B enjoyed Zodiac Cracked by Marianne Koefer, actually completed Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust (which he considers to be a person accomplishment) and is now reading The Incal by Jodorosky and Moebius, and Ki-Gor and the Beast Gods of Atlantis, which is sort of a second-tier Tarzan from the golden age of the pulps.

Internet Notes –
– I was pointed to this interesting blog entry about engaging with potential customers at book fairs:
https://www.blog.yourfirst10kreaders.com/how-to-sell-more-books-at-events/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=10k_blog&utm_content=joseph_cillo&inf_contact_key=32e631031b0510c96fca1459024676ab6b6645df6d625a88dd27736bf58fbd7c

The rest of the meeting was taken up with the usual smattering of discussions about general writing topics.  It was a fun meeting as always, and was punctuated with some visual aids.  Gary passed around his copy of Burmah Road, showing some of the pictures that inspired characters in his story.  Brian brought in two photos his father took, which were part of the cache that was central to the chapter he submitted this month.  I brought in my copy of Batman #151, the issue mentioned in my piece.  It even has the “old paper” smell that featured in the story, and I found it funny to watch everyone look at the cover, then take a whiff to get the same experience as the characters in my story.  Inspiration can be found in so many different places.

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 22 at 7PM, with featured reader Chris Krazmus. Please check the blog ( http://thcreadingseries.wordpress.com/) for more information.
– around September 30, 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 13 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

Just a quick note…

It appears that I had the incorrect date for the Reading Series night for this month.  The next Reading Series event will be on September 22, 2018, not on the 15th as I had been telling everyone in e-mails, in person at the Writers Group meeting, and as I had on the flyers I’ve put up.  Apologies for any inconvenience.

Matt B

Tamale Hut Café Writers Group meeting for September

Well that was fun Summer, wasn’t it? What? You missed it? I did too. But the calendar tells me that Labor Day is next weekend, and Sam’s Club has started selling Christmas decorations, so Fall must be right around the corner. No matter though, because the new month gives us another chance to get together and talk about stories!

The next THC Writers Group meeting will be Saturday, September 8th, 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 8th for the Writers Group, and at the next Reading Series night on September 22.

For those of you attending, you should have already received the following pieces:
Salvador – TheIceWitch.docx
Matt B – Remembrance of Comics Past.docx
Gary P – TKR_Sept18.doc
Sean – 1980_WHAT I DID ON MY SUMMER VACATION2.pdf
Brian – Photographs Tamale September 2018.docx
Steve – Story–‘Leaves’.doc