Notes from the December, 2016 Tamale Hut Café Writers Group meeting

We had our fifty-first Tamale Hut Café Writers Group meeting on Saturday, December 10.  Thanks to Aaron, Marianne, Sean, Matt H, Cary, Beth, Salvador, and Kathy for joining me for our monthly get-together about writing and stories.  And as always, thanks to Jaime for providing shelter from the cold.

We started with a few quick agenda items:
– Kathy brought in copies of her new book, Reflections From a Hospice Nurse, and they look great!  It went on sale last month in paperback and hardcover at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and from the XLibris web site.  I’ve added the Amazon link to the Writers Group blog page.
– The next meetings will be Jan 14 and Feb 11.  The signs are already up at the THC, and will be up at the other spots this weekend, weather permitting.
– I finally finished compilation of the serial story from earlier this year.  As promised, I’ve sent links to all the participants.
– Though we didn’t sell many books, Sean and Marianne agreed with me that having a table at the Chicago Book Expo was a worthwhile endeavor.  We passed out lots of flyers so we might get some e-book sales, and hopefully some of the people we talked to will stop by for a Reading Series night next year.
– A quick reminder that the Soon To Be Famous Illinois Author Project is accepting entries through January 7, 2017.  Previous years you needed to go through your local library, but Sean said that this year you can submit on-line –
– We tabled the Goodreads review discussion for another month.  Lisa seems to use the site more than the rest of us so we wanted to get her opinion, but she could not attend the meeting.  The problem seems to be that there’s no easy way to see all the reviews related to the group on one screen.  I had the idea of using the group bookshelf to collect the reviews we hadn’t discussed yet, and then clearing the bookshelf after the meeting, but it was not clear to some how to add a book to the shelf.  Plus, several people said that they struggle to find time to write a review.
– Cary discussed his efforts with the NaNoWriMo challenge this year.  He said he didn’t complete the draft, and kind of lost his momentum once he realized he wouldn’t hit his goal.  We tried to motivate him to pick up the story again and work to finish it.
– Jaime has offered us October, 2017 to be featured as a group at another Reading Series night.  We discussed it and the consensus was that we should accept.  Ideally, we will have another group project to present.  We’ll decide on the parameters of the project at a future meeting.

Internet Notes –
The Self-Publishing Podcast 230 was “Writing real cops and crime with Writers Detective Adam Richardson” – Richardson is a retired detective who has set up a blog to help writers with accurate police details
– The aforementioned blog: The Writers Detective: law enforcement technical advising for writers
Pseudopod 509 had a story I really liked – Night Games.  It was about a minor league pitcher who knows the next batter he faces is a vampire.

The rest of the meeting was taken up with the usual lively conversation about writing and critiques of the submitted work.  Of particular note was Sean’s piece, which consisted of movie reviews that he wrote back in 1991/2.  The movies he reviewed triggered as much conversation as the reviews themselves.  Many of us appreciated the capsule-style comments, and I suggested that might be a model for the Goodreads book reviews we had been proposing the past several months.  I appreciate that everyone is busy and doesn’t have time (nor the inclination sometimes) to write a lengthy review after finishing a book, but we all should be able to follow Sean’s example, writing a few well-constructed sentences to convey our opinion of the subject matter.  I would even suggest that such a capsule is a more helpful review than some I read on Goodreads (none from this group, of course) where the reviewer describes the plot of the story in excruciating detail.  I never saw the benefit of such a review, especially from someone I don’t know that I share the same tastes with.

Thanks again to everyone for joining me this month.  Here’s the schedule for the next month or so:
– around January 1, I will 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, Jan 14 at 2PM at the Tamale Hut Café
– The next Tamale Hut Café Reading Series event will also be Saturday, January 14 at 7PM.  The first event of the year is usually well-attended, but this one will be special because we’ll be celebrating the 10 year anniversary of the Reading Series, and the featured reader will be the one and only Jenny Seay.  Hopefully she’ll bring some California weather back with her.  Please check the blog ( or the group’s THC Facebook page for more information.

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

Matt B


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