Monday, February 19, 2018

Calkins Day 2018: A Few Photos

In case you missed it (and even if you didn't), here are a few photos from the Calkins Day Book Signing (Feb. 13) at Book and Bean Cafe in Joliet.

Nos. five (ruthless pose), six (ruthlessly glancing at MOMI's coffee), and seven (composing a ruthless limerick) are especially noteworthy.













Sunday, February 18, 2018

Community News: Feb. 15, Feb. 16, and Feb. 17, 2018

WriteOn Joliet meeting Thursday night, internet interruptions at the house on Friday morning (and through Saturday), and working late Friday night meant no chance to post this (or to engage in much social media).

That said, check out upcoming events in the Joliet area, as well as the awesome things people are doing.


Local faith events: Feb. 15 through Feb. 22


Lockport students take virtual field trips


Joliet school announces spelling bee winners


Students at Shorewood school named top winners at ACSI Spelling Bee 

http://www.theherald-news.com/lists/2018/02/14/da744f1ee2174fa3ae2650c05502e963/index.xml


Author visits Bolingbrook students




Bolingbrook students learn about record players



Romeoville students check out the library



Great Moments in Vinyl plays The Rolling Stones on Feb. 23 in Joliet



28th Annual Spring Craft Fair is Feb. 24



Cheery snowman greets Troy students



Illinois American Water warns customers of utility imposters



Accreditation at Romeoville facility reinforces excellence among senior living providers  



Plainfield Fire Protection District: Working smoke alarms save lives 



Try your hand at watercolor on Feb. 21 in Homer Glen 





Illustration by Kathleen Rose Van Pelt for "Bryony."






Sue's Diner: Meatloaf by Janet Cooney

In Bryony, Melissa and Brian are stunned when their mother announces they will be traveling to Detroit for their grandmother’s memorial service. 

Brian, however, is more astonished at Melissa’s increased appetite, especially when she asks for extra helpings of this extra-special meatloaf.

Find the recipe HERE




From "Memories in the Kitchen: Bites and Nibbles From 'Bryony'"

All proceeds benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Will and Grundy Counties. www.bbbswillgrundy.org.

Order the cookbook at www.bryonyseries.com.







Friday, February 16, 2018

Story Round-Up: Features in The Herald-News, Feb. 11 through Feb. 16

Well.

It's been a week of celebrations and surprises.

Last night at WriteOn Joliet, one member brought her little granddaughter, who loves to read and write book reports. She has a copy of Bertrand and the Christmas Surprise, of which she report a little report and drew his picture. Needless to say, Bertrand was thrilled! I'll share her work in a post next week.

Tuesday night's Calkins Day event was successful, at least by my standards. THANK YOU to everyone who came out and supported Ed: by their presence, their support, and buy books for him to sign. Recap also follows next week.

Victorian fans, here's one you'll like: Another member of WriteOn Joliet presented me with a silver bag (silver for moonlight, prefer to silver to god; how did she know???) full of 19th century "thises and thats." Post and photos next week!

A number of events are coming up in the next couple of months. For details, visit www.bryonyseries.com/fetes-and-feasts.

Of course, the burning question is whether or not I will be writing fiction tomorrow. The answer is yes, but after and between three other things: dentist appointment, acting lesson, and an interview (with me being interviewed, bit of a role reversal. I'll post a link). Oh and a a few errands...with one of them being coffee, I'm certain.

And now, onward to this week's feature stories and where to find me and other features information.

Non-bylined features:

Monday through Saturday I assembled my non-bylined works - brief posts and calendar listings - into one convenient file and posting them on Facebook in the evening, so readers can easily choose the ones they want to read.

One can also find those event listings, the Gotta Do It calendar, as well as the pets, health, faith, and arts and entertainment calendars, under the sections tab on the left hand side of http://www.theherald-news.com/. Click on "features" and the topics drop down.  Gotta Do It runs under "people."

Community news? Again, under the sections tab, under features, and by topic. Updates are posted on these days in print and web (and some only on web on other days as I have the time): Monday (pets), Tuesday (health), Thursday (faith), Friday (arts and entertainment), and Sunday (people).

Social media:

Daily updates: I do post the briefs and calendars on Twitter during the week, so you're welcome to follow me at @Denise_Unland61.

BryonySeries stuff: I post curated content relating to the BryonySeries at @BryonySeries. And assorted related content at www.facebook.com/BryonySeries. And of course, please follow the adventures of Bertrand the Mouse on Instagram at bertrand_bryonyseries.

If you're a writer anywhere in the world, you're welcome to jon WriteOn Joliet's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/writeonminooka/?ref=bookmarks. We're based in Joliet, Illinois, but we love to meet and interact with writers outside our area, too.

Books and Such

Information on my books (including where to buy) is at www.bryonyseries.com

Thank you for reading The Herald-News. And for reading this blog. And if you've read (or plan to read) any of my books. Your support is greatly appreciated.


Celebrating 10 years of hugs and wishes 
Shorewood HUGS 9th annual chocolate ball was 'quite the celebration'

"The attention to detail in the decor was outstanding," Sarah Dilg, projects and events manager at The Herald-News, said. "From the pearls holding the tags on the champagne bottles to the Tiffany boxes and diamonds placed throughout the room. It was absolutely beautiful. Oh, and the chocolate. Of course the chocolate was my favorite part."

http://www.theherald-news.com/lists/2018/02/09/9910563abcc946b0a6a1b182656c3c8b/index.xml?page=1


Joliet Job Corps students help local nonprofits

For the last several months these students, who are age 16 to 24, are spending two weeks sharing their skills at local nonprofits.

http://www.theherald-news.com/2018/02/08/joliet-job-corps-students-help-local-nonprofits/altzbq/


An Extraordinary Life: "She just really cared about her students"

“I think the thing that speaks most loudly about Arlyne’s life is the fact that, in death, there are probably thousands of people that are speaking about her influence on their lives,” Brett Margaron of Florida, a former student, said.

http://www.theherald-news.com/2018/02/07/she-just-really-cared-about-her-students/ax2r9bg/


Mystery Diner: Plainfield's Volar Mexican restaurant features quality food and quiet atmosphere

As I looked through the menu, the server brought out chips and a salsa verde along with a cup of what seemed to be fermented salsa with chunky vegetables.

Both were outstanding and got us started right before the main course arrived.



Lent: A time for plaster, candles and no complaining

One blogger who posted in Joliet Connect the other day (Joliet Connect is The Herald-News Facebook group) thought she might give up complaining for the next 40 days. The minute I read that, I became acutely aware of how much complaining I actually do.

http://www.theherald-news.com/2018/02/14/lent-a-time-for-plaster-candles-and-no-complaining/ao7g1ez/


Rediscovering 'the magic of reading'
Month-long reading event spans Joliet area communities

Many libraries hosting events in honor of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. 



Artwork: Channahon arts center gives kids options

"I believe if you have the desire to learn, you should at least give it a try. It's about dedication and putting in the work," Steev Custer, owner said, about music lessons for kids and adults.



Illustration by Matt Coundiff for "Visage." Follow him at www.facebook.com/artbymattcoundiff or @MattCoundiff on Twitter.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Community News: Feb. 14, 2018

A Happy Valentine's Day to everyone!

Check out upcoming events in the Joliet area, as well as the awesome things people are doing.



Need help? Want to help? Here's a roundup of area food pantries



Center for Disability Services in Joliet to host Great Chef’s Tasting on March 4



Beerhead Bar & Eatery hosts inaugural Big Bad Beer Night
Chicagoland craft beer bars presents rare beer lineup and private tastings



Joliet area fish fries: where to find them



Clybourne Parks opens Feb. 16 in Joliet



Learn about the USDA Forest Service’s Midewin Interagency Hotshot Crew on Feb. 15  






Illustration by Matt Coundiff for "Visage." Follow him at www.facebook.com/artbymattcoundiff or @MattCoundiff on Twitter.

Believe Me True: Victorian Valentines, 1840 - 1900

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Community News: Feb. 13, 2018

Check out upcoming events in the Joliet area, as well as the awesome things people are doing.


Local health events: Feb. 13 through Feb. 20


DMG enhances structural heart disease program


Morris Hospital hosting programs and screenings for heart month


Morris Hospital honors secretary as Fire Starter of the Month


Will County Health Department: BMI is important


Bolingbrook teacher recently named a 'hero'


Plus, check out my free newsletters:


Sign up for the Will County Go Guide



Sign up for the LocalLit Short Story Newsletter



Sign up for The Munsonville Times

https://www.bryonyseries.com/munsonville-times




Illustration by Matt Coundiff for "Visage." Follow him at www.facebook.com/artbymattcoundiff or @MattCoundiff on Twitter.

Making a Dream Come True (A Post Even Bertrand Approves)

In one final plug for the Calkins Day celebration 6 to 8 p.m. tonight at Book and Bean Cafe, 3395 Black Road, Joliet (inside the Joliet Public Library), I'd like to share this final thought.

When I spoke to Ed last night to make sure we were both on the same page (get it? same page?), he said again, rather quietly, "You know, it's always been my dream to have something of mine published."

He mentioned it once previously, a few weeks ago when I received my proof copy of "Denise M. Baran-Unland's Irish Genealogy" by Ed Calkins, Steward of Tara.

Except that time he got a little choked up.

A similar situation occurred a few months back when we at WriteOn Joliet passed around a proof copy of our first anthology, Write Where We Are. (Available for purchase HERE)

One woman, who has an agent and publishing contract, mind you, actually burst into tears.

To help make a person;s lifelong dream come true is no small matter. To take part as it unfolds is truly humbling in a way words (at least, my words) cannot adequately describe.

"Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone." Galatians 6:10

"Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act." Proverbs 3:27

Oh, and BTW, K-Mart is carrying the book. Seriously.

http://www.kmart.com/denise-unland-denise-m-baran-unland-s-irish-genealogy/p-SPM15291731315




Bertrand approves this post.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Community News: Feb. 12, 2018

Check out upcoming events in the Joliet area, as well as the awesome things people are doing.



Gotta Do It: Feb. 11 through Feb. 18


Plainfield-based rescue adopts its 15,000th pet


Pets of the Week: Feb. 12

Read the caption of each photo to find out about that pet, including where he or she can be adopted.

http://www.theherald-news.com/lists/2018/02/08/d4f57efe13f246f48b1bbcfefcb020cf/index.xml


12 VVSD students recognized for All-State


Joliet Alternate High School chess team wins sportsmanship award


Troy spelling bee champs named


Plus, check out my free newsletters:


Sign up for the Will County Go Guide



Sign up for the LocalLit Short Story Newsletter



Sign up for The Munsonville Times



Illustration by Matt Coundiff for "Visage." Follow him at www.facebook.com/artbymattcoundiff or @MattCoundiff on Twitter.

How to Make Two Writers Happy (And Four Good Quotes)

"I wind up changing the word to get past spell check, but when I keep writing that way, I kill the story. I keep trying, because I can’t stop writing, yet, on the other hand, I can’t finish anything. My life is full of half-begun novels." (Ed Calkins, Steward of Tara)

All that has changed with the self-publication of Ed's first book. Come to the Calkins Day book signing tomorrow and pick up some copies. If you can't afford one (or more), we'll give them to you.

The joy for him will be signing them. (Although he is hoping to make 17 cents in royalties).

The joy for me is watching the joy in him and attendees. And I'm hoping for a good belly laughs, too.

Details here: https://www.bryonyseries.com/fetes-and-feasts


Notable quotes from Ed Calkins, the Steward of Tara:


“This is not about Ed Calkins, the man, but Ed Calkins, the myth, and I can’t worry about all these details."


“It’s true that I’m a ham. But I also believe that good cheer is contagious."


"The wise know they will die, so they fear how others will remember them. All it takes is one good poem to turn your victories into treachery and your missteps and misfortunes into epic blunders."


"You only verbally agree to join my harem. This way, I make wives left and right."


“As an Irishman, it’s my right to create myth. That way, you don’t bother about the facts, only what you imagined happened."



Sunday, February 11, 2018

Sue's Diner: Breaded Potatoes

The Munsonville Times was so impressed by the spread John Simons served for his wedding to Miss Bryony Marseilles that the newspaper listed each item. 

One of those items was breaded potatoes. 

Rebekah and I used large potatoes because that's what we have. Next time we make them, we plan to use small reds or Yukon golds, although if you only have large, they're still delicious.

Find the recipe HERE.








From "Memories in the Kitchen: Bites and Nibbles From 'Bryony'"

All proceeds benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Will and Grundy Counties. www.bbbswillgrundy.org.

Order the cookbook at www.bryonyseries.com.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Steward Setback Saturday: Getting Prepped for Calkins Day: One Striped Shirt, Check

Saturday, January 28, 2017


Getting Prepped for Calkins Day: One Striped Shirt, Check

“Of course, the highlight of the year is the Calkins Day parade on February thirteenth, my birthday. In fact, I have a petition circulating to make February twelfth through the fourteenth a three-day national holiday. Would you care to sign it?” (Bryony, Chapter 22, Lisa Harding)


As she walked in his direction to join him, Melissa saw a pot-bellied, bespectacled, gray-haired man wearing blue jeans and a white and red-striped shirt. He was pushing a pallet jack full of newspapers toward the table where John-Peter sat. Ed Calkins! The Steward of Tara! (Visage, Chapter 23: No Holds Barred)


Ed approached the next carrier. “Would you care to sign my petition? You see, my birthday falls between Lincoln’s birthday and Valentine’s Day, so I believe it should be a national holiday, complete with a parade.”(Visage, Chapter 23: No Holds Barred)


No new carrier slipped through the ranks without at least one request to sign Ed Calkins’ petition. Ed’s birthday fell between Abraham Lincoln’s birthday and Valentine’s Day, a fact significant enough, Ed felt, to warrant a three-day national holiday.

“The time will come when everyone around the world will eagerly anticipate the Ed Calkins Day parade,” Ed always said, beaming, as he pressed both paper and pen into the hesitant carrier’s hands.

In the meantime, Ed himself offered the joys and excitement of his parade to the elite crowd fortunate enough to deliver newspapers in the middle of the night from the Jenson warehouse. 

For as long as John-Peter could remember, he celebrated each February thirteen watching a carrier pull Uncle Ed through the building on the pallet jack, one John-Peter had decorated with green streamers and balloons for the occasion, while an exuberant Ed waved to his constituents with one hand and tossed bite-sized, wrapped pieces of candies from the other one toward the work stations.
("Staked!" Chapter 4: Midnight Apprentice)


Ah, Ed Calkins. What would this character be like without his famous petition and delusion that February 13 should be a national holiday? And yet, what better way to celebrate fiction in general and the BryonySeries in particular, than with a nonexistent holiday?

Sooooooo, in preparation for February 13, Ed Calkins Day, I've begun collecting items I will need for a modest parade Calkins Day parade of one (me).

And here we go!



Friday, February 9, 2018

Community News: Feb. 9, 2018

Check out upcoming events in the Joliet area, as well as the awesome things people are doing.


Local arts and entertainment: Feb. 9 through Feb. 16


Joliet School District 86 hosts 'Principal for a Day'


Valley View students participated in ILMEA festival


Author visits Bolingbrook students


Bolingbrook school band honored
Good opportunity for readers and writers
Sign up for the LocalLit short story newsletter



Sign up for the Will County Go Guide 

http://www.theherald-news.com/newsletter/will-county-go-guide/#/







Illustration by Kathleen Rose Van Pelt for "Bryony."

Story Round-Up: Features in The Herald-News, Feb. 4 through Feb. 9

Waving "hi" as I keep moving....it's  busy Friday!

Below, an event reminder; where to find calendars, briefs, me (on social media), books, and feature stories for the week.

Enjoy the day! :)


A reminder of an upcoming event:

Calkins Day Book Signing

​WHEN: 6 to 8 p.m. Feb. 13, 2018

WHERE: Book and Bean Cafe, 3395 Black Road, Joliet

​ETC: Meet BryonySeries' real Ed Calkins, Steward of Tara and first (and only) Irish vampire on Calkins Day. Buy signed copies of his yet untitled or released book about author Denise M. Baran-Unland's "Irish" genealogy. Refreshments and great coffee for sale. The evening will celebrate Ed's birthday, limericks, Celtic lore, and all things fun and creative. Irish garb (Irish apparel, dressing as leprechauns and other Celtic mythological characters) encouraged.


Non-bylined features:

Monday through Saturday I assembled my non-bylined works - brief posts and calendar listings - into one convenient file and posting them on Facebook in the evening, so readers can easily choose the ones they want to read.

One can also find those event listings, the Gotta Do It calendar, as well as the pets, health, faith, and arts and entertainment calendars, under the sections tab on the left hand side of http://www.theherald-news.com/. Click on "features" and the topics drop down.  Gotta Do It runs under "people."

Community news? Again, under the sections tab, under features, and by topic. Updates are posted on these days in print and web (and some only on web on other days as I have the time): Monday (pets), Tuesday (health), Thursday (faith), Friday (arts and entertainment), and Sunday (people).

Social media:

Daily updates: I do post the briefs and calendars on Twitter during the week, so you're welcome to follow me at @Denise_Unland61.

BryonySeries stuff: I post curated content relating to the BryonySeries at @BryonySeries. And assorted related content at www.facebook.com/BryonySeries. And of course, please follow the adventures of Bertrand the Mouse on Instagram at bertrand_bryonyseries.

If you're a writer anywhere in the world, you're welcome to jon WriteOn Joliet's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/writeonminooka/?ref=bookmarks. We're based in Joliet, Illinois, but we love to meet and interact with writers outside our area, too.

Books and Such

Information on my books (including where to buy) is at www.bryonyseries.com

Thank you for reading The Herald-News. And for reading this blog. And if you've read (or plan to read) any of my books. Your support is greatly appreciated.



Kickboxing saved Joliet man's life

Daniel Morales’ answer to a prayer came when he saw a photograph of a mixed martial artist “about to fly in midair.”


An Extraordinary Life: Serving with a smile

“It was always for the kids and her husband,” Kathy Macris of Joliet, Frances’ daughter-in-law said. “She put them first. ... She had a very positive attitude.”

http://www.theherald-news.com/lists/2018/01/30/07b3d423779a4ccdb20cf3ca43825580/index.xml


Have fun with Breast Intentions
Feb. 9 Mardi Gras event benefits breast cancer patients

Lou Ann Peck, founder of the Illinois chapter, said all the money raised helps breast cancer patients with rent, utility bills, medical and cosmetic needs, groceries, car payments, gas cards and insurance.

"It's the everyday items that pile up," Peck said. "It's about the groceries and the kitty litter and the dog food. Maybe it's the little things that need to be addressed every day that are not because they have to drop something to pay for something else.



Mystery Diner: Joliet's Hey Hot Dog: Homemade root beer, great dogs, 'old-timey' venue

I feel the best way to judge a hot dog venue is to sample an assortment, which is just what a friend and I did one day.



Fallen from grace, saved by grace
Plainfield man has lived both sides

“I started picking up the word of God and reading it. It formed me from the inside out,” Joe Brunker said. “I started writing worship songs. I felt this amazing power in me I never felt before.”



Make memories this Valentine's Day
Joliet event planner tells how

Tameca Marve  believes occasions such as Valentine's Day, birthdays, anniversaries – and yes, even Sweetest Day – are opportunities for people to create cherished memories.



Artworks: Plainfield teen swaps stage for STEM

"Every day we did a new job," Tewes said. "We got to use the camera and do the sound with the boom mic. We edited a little bit; they taught us how to do it. Everything you do when making a movie, we got to try."


Illustration by Matt Coundiff for "Visage." Follow him at www.facebook.com/artbymattcoundiff or @MattCoundiff on Twitter.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Community News: Feb. 8, 2018

Check out upcoming events in the Joliet area, as well as the awesome things people are doing.



Local faith events: Feb. 8 through Feb. 15



Plainfield school announces spelling bee winners



Joliet students recognized for virtue of perseverance



Tips for keeping your car in the clear this season
Be safe on the road in snow



Joliet Chamber to honor its 'Great Teachers'



Good opportunity for readers and writers
Sign up for the LocalLit short story newsletter



Sign up for the Will County Go Guide 



Joliet Montessori School adds primary teaching assistant





Illustration by Kathleen Rose Van Pelt for "Bryony."

BryonySeries Throwback Thursday: My First "Bryony" Photo Shoot!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My First "Bryony" Photo Shoot!

Ah, children! Boy, do they keep you humble.

My seventeen-year-old daughter Rebekah accompanied me yesterday to the P. Seth Magosky Museum of Victorian Life in Joliet where a photographer from the Morris Daily Herald took pictures of me in Victorian dress and on the location where we shot the Bryony trailer and music video.

While I changed in a cold upstairs bedroom from my nice warm jeans into a cold satin gown and tied on my tulle-filled bustle, I graciously accepted Rebekah's well-meaning comments of, "You don't look bad for fifty," and "How could you do this without me?"

To prove her point, Rebekah clasped my borrowed jewelry around my neck and balanced my hat atop my head. Next came the hard part: descending the polished wood stairs in a pair of slippery-soled shoes. Pat Magosky, museum curator, stood at the bottom, shaking his head and laughing at my careful, halting steps.

"If I fall down and break my neck," I told him, "I promise to haunt your house forever."

Pat's wife Andrea Magosky entertained us with stories of Joliet's past until the photographer arrived. Then the real fun began. The photographer decided that, for the first picture, she would position me on a small couch near the grand piano. That's when I heard the soft giggle.

"Stop laughing," I warned Rebekah.

The photographer draped my skirts "just so," which elicited another muffled snicker from Rebekah and additional chastisement from me. We repeated that routine several times.

"My kids aren't used to seeing this side of me," I said.

The photographer smiled in understanding.

Next, the photographer snapped a few pictures of me standing between my "Bryony" displays. Rebekah chuckled, then clapped her hand over her mouth.

"Do I have something taped to my back?" the photographer said looking around her.

I glared at Rebekah.

"Since it's such a key part of the story, let's take a few at the piano," the photographer said.

I sat on the bench and placed curved finges over the keys (Note to self: Have James show me a real chord or two for future shoots). Rebekah fled from the room, laughing, laughing, laughing.

The photographer smiled too and good-naturedly finished up with some additional shots of me on the couch.

"I don't take very good pictures," I said.

"These are fine," she replied, still smiling and snapping away.

She selected two interior "Bryony" illustratons and asked me to email them to her, along with the cover and "Bryony" logo. I thanked the photographer for her time, as well as her patience with the peanut gallery. The photographer, who doesn't have children, graciously dismissed it.

Back upstairs, while I switched back into street clothes and Rebekah repacked my costume, we wondered how messy the warehouse might be on a Monday and whether or not any recycling boxes had arrived. I mentally reviewed the story I would finish writing while she worked and hoped I had brought the right notes.

"Did you pack my flash drive?" I asked.

Rebekah shook her head in mock exasperation. "What would you do without me?"

We had returned to common ground.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Community News: Feb. 7, 2018

Check out upcoming events in the Joliet area, as well as the awesome things people are doing.


Need help? Want to help? Here's a roundup of area food pantries



Local pet events: Feb. 5 through Feb. 12



Romeoville university students impact nutrition at Bolingbrook school



Bolingbrook school hosted barbecue



Joliet nursing home announces new assistant administrator



Bolingbrook school receives donation of school supplies



3rd-grader at Bolingbrook school helped hurricane victims



Romeoville student knows his math




Illustration by Matt Coundiff for "Memories in the Kitchen: Bites and Nibbles from 'Bryony.'" Follow him at www.facebook.com/artbymattcoundiff or @MattCoundiff on Twitter.