Saturday, September 23, 2017

Ed Calkins on Asian Carp and Neanderthals

Dear MOMI (Mistress of My Immortality)

I've been a little reoccupied lately on the problem of Asian Carp. Every time I think of some plan to handle it, I get distracted. 

Now, if you're assuming that the problem I'm working on is about invasive species, I might point out the hypocrisy inherent on humans calling that out. Talk to whales, and they'll tell you that the oceans were fine before mankind invented ships. I'm sure birds, although I've not verbal conformation, feel the same way about planes and skies.

Nowhere however, is the hypocrisy of invasive species more apparent than to Neanderthals. I'm speaking of the great undocumented migration of Homo Sapiens from Africa into Europe. As you may recall, (I'm not suggesting you're old enough to remember this so you have to take my word for it), before this time, all of humanity (I exclude Neanderthals, which my be a prejudice.) lived on tropical lake front property around the area that is the Sahara desert today. This lake in the tongue of ancient caveman was called 'Uga Buga Wuga' which means "a really nice place to live." (I'll write later on what it will be called). 

You know the bit about every 20 thousand years the earth's tilt and Uga Buga Wuga' dried out, causing waves of impoverished Homo Sapiens to brave the Neanderthal border patrols and cross into "Neatherland" without legal right to do so? The problem got so bad the really big leader of Neatherland called his senators together to demand that a giant wall be invented first, then built. As you know, despite this ingenious preemptive attempt to keep Neatherland great, humans continued to pour into Europe without even an attempt to assimilate into Neatherland culture. 

Archaeological evidence shows that humans stayed, Neanderthals didn't, and no wall was ever invited or built. Reasons why may be politically divisive and so I will not lend my name to the debate. Let it not be said, however, that these primates did nothing, for on the borders they posted signs presumed to discourage illegal immigration.
   
As to theories on what drove Neanderthals into extinction, they have that political problem as well so I can pretend that I don't know (as do you (because I told you)), that it was the Ug-Lee syndrome.

Oh yes, I was talking about the fish. See what I mean.

Okay.

Remember, the twenty thousands years land grab for lake front property around the Sahara is going to be a giant lake again in a mere ten thousand years. I mean to own that lake by buying all the land around it and making it the best place in the world to fish, but also the safest. 

Using selective spawning, I'd hoped to evolve a fish that grows very big, taste like lobster or steak, and then bites a sinker, grips its mouth tightly around it, and doesn't let go until its safely in the net. Sounds great, right? 

The problem is the Asian Carp has that beat for fishermen. It grows big, tastes good (although not quite like surf and turf) and jumps right in the boat as you pass. How am I suppose to beat that? I'd have to breed a fish that cooks itself!

There's another matter of which I find some discomfort in mentioning; a financial matter. Despite my contempt for such uninteresting considerations, I find myself in need of funds. Well known are the Saudis for valuing their oil wells, but who would have thought they'd value so highly all the land that encircles them?

No, MOMI, I'm not asking you directly for money, you're a writer; you don't have two pennies to rub together. I'm asking you to solicit investors. I'll need one hundred of them at 50 mil a piece. Just tell them that if they give Ed Calkins fifty million dollars, he'll make them rich.

Later on how beer came to Ireland and the Irish came to (back) to Africa.
                            
Also why I haven't read Staked!.

Yet

Ruthlessly yours,
                                            
Ed Calkins, Steward of Tara




        

Friday, September 22, 2017

Story Round-Up: Features in The Herald-News, Sept. 17 through Sept. 22

I did ZERO fiction-writing this week but only because I spent that time on marketing and finalizing formatting for a couple of my projects as well as the WriteOn inaugural anthology.

I made a little progress on The Silent Corner by Dean Koontz, but it's progress.

Except for work and working out (some), that was the week. I'm the weekend editor, so I'll be cooking this weekend with Rebekah instead of writing, although if I'm fortunate, I can sneak a little fiction in somewhere. Not anticipating it, though.

For the curious, what does cooking with Rebekah have to do with being the weekend editor?

For the past few months, she and I have been cooking recipes from the BryonySeries cookbook Memories in the Kitchen: Bites and Nibbles from "Bryony," and posting the results on the Sue's Diner page at www.bryonyseries.com and on this blog.

The only time we have to work on this project together is Saturday afternoons, of which time I'm usually still writing. So we decided to cook for a couple hours on weekend editor Saturdays. We can always pause while I address a work-related issue, and if I'm needed for more than a pause, she can continue cooking.

And there we are. And onward...

Where to find my non-bylined works?

Local events: Pets, health, faith, and arts and entertainment calendars: where to find them? Under the sections tab on the left hand side of http://www.theherald-news.com/. Click on "features" and the topics drop down. Assembled by moi.

More local events: Gotta Do It, also by me, runs each Sunday in the People section.

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

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.

Thank you for reading The Herald-News. And for reading this blog. Your support is greatly appreciated.


He's a Joliet music man

"Kevin is an excellent musician," John Herder, Joliet American Legion Band president, said. "One of the things we liked about Kevin is that his needle points up. His future is very, very bright. We saw only the upside with Kevin and how he and the band can grow together."



An Extraordinary Life: A stellar volunteer, a teacher at heart

After Irene Klindworth's death, her husband Carl said he learned Irene completed that degree in three years, instead of the typical four. But it didn’t surprise him.

“She was a very intelligent and strong-willed person. I don’t know [how] she put up with me,” Carl said. “But she would laugh with me.”



Joliet women help with pet rescue efforts following Hurricane Harvey

"We know how to talk to dogs, vet dogs and clean up after dogs," Peggy Grandahl said. "We saw what was going on and we knew how bad [Hurricane] Katrina was. Knowing the area was underserved and knowing there wasn't enough help, we thought, "Well, we can lend ourselves."



Pets of the Week: Sept. 18

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



Rock for the babies, comfort the parents

Car seat, crib and bumpers, booties, diapers and hooded towels: typical items purchased by expecting parents.

They usually don't consider caskets and headstones. But The TEARS Foundation does.



Coal City chef prepping 'recipe for success'

The owners of Milkman Cafe in Coal City, a meal prep service that uses locally produced foods, are within a few hundred dollars of their $8,000 goal. It's an overall modest goal for the food industry, but the Larson have three big plans for the funds.

Their Kickstarter campaign ends tomorrow at 9:28 p.m.



Channahon pastor didn't give up on God

Rev. Tim Casey often takes people aback.

Especially people who meet him for the first time to discuss challenges in their lives. Because that's when they find out he's a quadriplegic and ministers from a wheelchair.

"They say to me, 'I've come to talk to you about my problems and you have your own problems,' " Casey said.

As Tim looks back on 20 years, he feels life's "worked out pretty well." But not until he'd traversed some rocky spiritual terrain.

"I was suicidal, you know," Tim said.



Why does Joliet Junior College own a brand-new harpsichord?


And not just any harpsichord. It's a custom-made, one-of-a-kind, hand decorated harpsichord, designed in the style of the 17th century Flemish Ruckers family, who were renowned for their harpsichords.



Artworks: Catching up with Plainfield-based Marina City

Ryan Arghast of Plainfield was just 17 and a Plainfield North High School student when he launched his pop music career with Toxic Productions.

Arghast even filmed his music video "Forever 17" at the school. Watch it on YouTube.

Now in his mid-20s, Arghast is still performing music – as vocalist for his band Marina City – except the genre has somewhat changed. Recently, Arghast took a few moments to discuss where the band is now.






Thursday, September 21, 2017

BryonySeries Throwback Thursday: 10 Questions with Videographer Stephen Tuplin

Originally posted in two parts in January 2011.

Stephen Tuplin is working on his last semester at Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy, a digital media arts school located in Chicago, Illinois.

He has agreed to film the Bryony trailer; a music video for James Onohan (http://www.jamesonohan.com/), the composer/pianist for Bryony; and a series of interviews with the Bryony team. 
Last summer, I had asked Stephen if he'd like to jump on board because his passion for movies was just the vision I needed for the Bryony trailer.

Stephen also regularly posts in-depth movie reviews on his Facebook page. Below is the first of a two-part interview with Stephen.

Connect with Stephen at echowhitefox@yahoo.comecho whitefox@mac.com http://flavors.me/echowhitefoxhttp://www.facebook.com/echowhitefoxhttp://twitter.com/#!/echowhitefox.

 1) Have you always been a movie buff? Why?

"Movies have always been in my life. Some of my best childhood memories involved watching movies with my family with a roaring  fire in the fireplace. Every time I would watch a movie, I would always get something from it. I don’t do my homework with the TV on cause I need to watch what’s on. The way I see it, movies are about entering the world of another person’s personal vision. Whether it’s a good experience or a bad one, I still respect all film; someone had the guts to pull it off.

2) When did you first try your hand at filmmaking? What did you film?

"In the summer of 2003, my friend Luke and I started production on a film called, “the Squirrel”. It took us about four months to do. The production had no script; just a handicam and some terrible actors: Us. Needless to say, this film doesn’t get shown often. Good times though.

3) What made you pursue a filmmaking degree?

"I knew I wanted to go into filmmaking in high school. People regarded me as the “movie guy” so I knew it was just in my blood. To be honest, I consider this question done; I was always going to make movies no matter what.

4) Why did you choose Flashpoint Academy?

"In my senior year of high school, my dad told me about a new school in Chicago that was all about media arts and filmmaking. He sent me the link to the website and I signed up for my newsletter. The next day, after coming home from JJC doing my annoying Gen. Eds, Flashpoint personally called me. Their policy is to contact everyone who joins their site; this was encouraging for me. After going on their tour, there really wasn’t any other school that could satisfy me. Tribeca Flashpoint Academy is an all hands on school that doesn’t waste my time. Students from Columbia room with students from Tribeca, and they are always surprised at all the things we get to do. Word of mouth can contain exaggerations; Tribeca doesn’t need to."

5) Which do you enjoy more, filming or editing? Why?

"The highlight of my year last year was directing. I get no greater pleasure than working with actors and collaborating with fellow filmmakers. Editing is just one of the many facets that Tribeca was able to teach me. Editing is something I enjoy thoroughly, but it’s not something I would call myself a pro at. The film is crafted, and sometimes saved in the editing room, but the actual shoot is where my adrenaline is."

6) Where do you hope to use your skills after you graduate?

"I hope to either work for a production company, or do PA work on shoots happening around Chicago. I’m really open to whatever opens up. God’s brought me this far; I don’t worry about tomorrow."

7) It's ten years from today. What are you doing?

"I hope to be directing at an independent film company, perhaps my own."

8) Is creating a compelling book trailer more difficult than creating a movie trailer? Can you elaborate?

"Well, a trailer consists of footage from a movie that has already been shot. Since this is a book, it’s more about making it into a movie and then making a trailer. Since I don’t have the means to do this, it’ll be more about thinking up specific shots and sequences to film. So, this is going to be more difficult than a movie trailer; but it’ll still be a blast."

9) After agreeing to create the Bryony trailer, you offered to film interviews with members of the Bryony team? Why are these extras important to have?

"I proposed this because it sounds like your website for the book is in need of content. Since you’ll have a video for the book, it only seems more convenient to have face-to-face interviews with those responsible for the book. Knowing the faces of the people behind a novel causes a connection for the reader. I find I respect a film more after watching behind the scenes footage of the filming; a book is no different."

10) What feeling will people have after viewing the Bryony trailer?

"My goal is to tease the audience with ambiguity and wonder; but also some surrealism. If the footage is the book's cover, it’s my goal to make them want to open it."



Tuesday, September 19, 2017

For Authors: What Constitutes "Publishing?"

One often hears writers say, "I'm a published author."

But in today's electronic, self-publishing age, what does that mean?

According to Merriam-Webster, publishing is "the business or profession of the commercial production and issuance of literature, information, musical scores or sometimes recordings, or art," such as "newspaper publishing" or "software publishing."

For authors, that process was once straightforward: bundle up manuscripts, ship to publishers, and hope for the best. In the twenty-first century, this feels as outdated as coke syrup for morning sickness.

This doesn't even get into the differences between commercial and creating writing (more on this in another post). For today, let's just touch on the basics.


1) Blogging is considered publishing.

Yes, that's correct. With bloggers often receiving the same first amendment rights as journalists while being held to the same accountability as journalists.

What this means in terms of publishing your short story on your blog or on an online site or a fan fiction page is this: if you wish to submit the same story to a traditional publisher, be aware some publishers might consider the story already published and be disinterested. That's not true of all publishers. But it is something to consider before posting you work anywhere on a whim.

2) The same mindset applies to pay-to-publish companies and true self-publishing.

Yes, they are very different animals. Both can bite whether or not the work does well.

Some traditional publishers want to see high sales before taking a chance. Others will eschew a work with high sales feeling sales are pretty much exhausted. Neither are likely to be interested when sales are poor.

3) The assumption behind the phrase, "I'm a published author."

The assumption is that your work has gone through a vetting process with a traditional publishing house and was accepted for publication.

But this shouldn't knock the accomplishments of writers choosing one of the options in No. 2. It takes discipline to write a book, even if it doesn't approach the editorial standards or commercial expectations of a publishing house. So take pride in that.

4) Being accepted by a traditional publisher isn't a reward for good writing.

True, traditional publishers generally like good writing and will lean toward manuscripts that need little in terms of editing. But traditional publishers are mostly seeking salable works.

If you've written a masterpiece, but the market won't support it, you'll have difficulty finding a traditional home for it, no matter how stellar the writing, plot, characters, world-building is.

Likewise, if you've written a salable masterpiece, but a particular house has already purchased two like it, you'll have difficulty finding a traditional home for it.

Furthermore, a work may need quite a bit of editing and still receive an offer from a traditional publisher simply because the house feels the work will sell well (after the editing).

5) Being accepted by a traditional publisher doesn't mean your work will sell of that you will make lots of money.

Even if you're a "bestseller."


In short, if your goal for a particular work is traditional publishing, the conservative opinion would be to shy away from any forms of publication, including print and "e." Doing otherwise doesn't necessarily mean death for the work. But it might reduce the odds of living in traditional form.

Then again, publishing online might get it noticed. Or garner fans who help get it noticed. Think Amanda Hocking. Or Fifty Shades.

Just don't count on it. Because like many things in life, there are no guarantees when it comes to writing and publishing.

Except one.

There is absolutely no substitute for hard work and the long tail. Meaning, the more you do to perfect your craft and learn the business side of publishing over the long haul (cliche), the more likely you will find a home within its borders.












Monday, September 18, 2017

Looking for Good Reads and Free Stuff? Read On!

Looking for good reading material, for you, for other adults, for teens, for kids?

Do you like free stuff? Do you like to win stuff?

Keep reading!

ANTHOLOGY

WriteOn Joliet will release its first anthology Write Where We Are in approximately six weeks. The editing/formatting is done; the cover art is designed, and the whole was uploaded to Createspace this weekend. All that's need is for CS,  and then the contributors, to approve the book.

The anthology will contain essays, poetry, short stories, one novella, and one excerpt from my BryonSeries prequel in progress, Before the Blood.

Copies should be available online Nov. 1 with autographed copies on Nov. 17 at WriteOn Joliet's anthology release party, 6 p.m., at The Book Market, 2365 Plainfield Road in Crest Hill. Details about that event will follow as we get closer to that date.

In the meantime, here's some opportunities to score some great reads (BryonySeries and otherwise) along with free stuff.

AUTHOR FAIRS

A number of WriteOn Joliet authors (including moi) will be participating in the following events. I'll be raffling off a basket of BryonySeries stuff and giving away a chapter from Before the Blood as a thank you gift for signing up for my newsletter, which begins in 2018.

White Oak Author Fest:

When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.,

Where: White Oak Library, Crest Hill Branch, 20670 Len Kubinski Drive, Crest Hill
Etc: Local authors, talks (book preservation and Illinois Author Project), and bookish crafts. BryonySeries books and other merchandise for sale, giveaways and raffle baskets. Free to attend.
Contact: bryonyseries@gmail.com
Visit: whiteoakauthorfest.org.

Oswego Literary Festival

When: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 7

Where: Oswego Public Library, 32 Jefferson St., Oswego

Etc: Local authors, BryonySeries books and other merchandise for sale, giveaways and raffle baskets. Free to attend.

​Contact: bryonyseries@gmail.com


Indie Author Day

What: 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 14

Where: Plainfield Public Library, 15025 S. Illinois St., Plainfield

Etc: Local authors, BryonySeries books and other merchandise for sale, giveaways and raffle baskets. Free to attend.

Contact: bryonyseries@gmail.com


WriteOn Joliet Open Night Mic

When: 6 p.m. Nov. 2

Where: Book and Bean Cafe, 3395 Black Road, Joliet (inside the Joliet Public Library)

Etc: WriteOn Joliet will read excerpts from their works and share information about the upcoming anthology and Nov. 17's anthology release party.

Contact: bryonyseries@gmail.com 


GIVEAWAYS/DISCOUNTS

In addition to free stuff for kids (stickers, erasers and the like), I'll be giving away several different items at these events. One is a raffle basket full of BryonySeries product. Another is a copy of the out-of-print holiday edition of Visage, the second book in the BryonySeries (the official edition of this book is still available).

The other is a free chapter in the BryonySeries prequel in progress when you sign up for my newsletter, which will begin in early 2018.

I'll also have discounts on select products and information on upcoming releases.

I'll also have a BryonySeries trivia contest. Answer a random question correctly and receive half off any BryonySeries product on my table.

Or simply plan to stop by and chat. I'd love to meet ya. :)



















Sunday, September 17, 2017

Sue's Diner: What's Cooking?

Unfortunately, nothing since I've returned from Raleigh.

Between vacation catch-up (work, hearth, working out), weekend editor duties, editing and formatting an anthology for WriteOn Joliet, working on Before the Blood (and falling way behind on the second Cornell Dyer book), getting two more Bertrand The Mouse books ready for publication, and planning for four author events this fall...well, you see what I mean.

However, Rebekah and I have selected more recipes and, unless something extremely pressing intervenes, we will be back in the kitchen on Saturday.

In the meantime, please consider purchasing a copy of the cookbook from whence we are cooking:  Memories in the Kitchen: Bites and Nibbles from "Bryony."

Between its pages are many Victorian and 1970s recipes to try, everything from boiled calves head to pizza, all grounded in Bryony, with references to the storyline. Even if you don't like to cook (or eat), the book is fun reading for history and/or BryonySeries buffs.

It makes a great gift for any age (Christmas is coming) all proceeds are donated to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Will and Grundy Counties.

For an autographed copy, email me at bryonyseries.com.

To order a copy, visit www.bryonseries.com.







Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Ruthless Times (First Edition of Ed Calkins' Free Newspaper)

For the backstory of The Ruthless Times (not to be confused with The Munsonville Times), read last week's post HERE



Weather: 

Ruthlessly hot, cold, mild, raining, snowing, earthquakes, hurricanes, lava flows, or any number of things depending on where you are. (hint; look up at the sky.) 

No major Ice Ages since the last publication, and only one major flood.

 No major life-as-we-know-it-ends meteor showers in the last 20k years, but hey, we're due so have your Utopian underground city built, stocked, and ready. (You should let Ed Calkins know where it is.)

Top Stories: 

Nothing really. 

A bunch of wars and stuff. 

The Fountain of Tooth was never found (the Spanish mistranslated concept (Fountain of Youth) sounded good. Actually it was merely a stream of with a high concentration of fluoride that native American dentists where rumored to have stolen. (More likely, it was the IVA as tooth decay can be a problem.)) 

Egypt got rid of its pharaohs, Rome got rid of its empire, Barbarians got rid of the Romans, and China started drinking tea.

New Zealand (pronounce new 'Z' land) and Nazis (pronounced 'not Zs') both had unrelated unimportant wars, but the names were made up to incite mythological relief from the boring truth. 

Some people went into outer space, but they came back. 

A few went to the moon and found it so disappointing they left without picking up their stuff. Since then, no one has gone back.

Recent stuff: 

Again, nothing much. 

The ruthlessly independent state of Texas undid its 'second largest' static by leaving the Untied States and joining the larger-then-Alaska Gulf of Mexico. 

In Florida, a president had to cancel his tee time, and the weather there came northward thus revising the habit of northern people going south for that weather. 

North Korea has become a problem with its new intercontinental launching accuracy. Its rockets still can't hit the right continent, but every time they launch a threat it hits the White House between the ears. 

Aliens are in the news largely because they're because unwelcome for some reason. (Hint: just impose a tax on flying saucers).

On this date one thousand years from now: 

Lets see, 3017 right? The Twitter-Face Book Global War rages on leaving anarchy and lawlessness across the once civilized world but its not all gloom. There is a lot of doom as well. 

With more the 60 per cent of the world's population living in the catatonic state of post-apocalyptic insults, the reminder of people are reduced to using AOL and Prodigy (as predicted by the education "How to Sacrifice a Virgin" piece once posted) 

Some cold wars between nations are more traditional. The Rocky Islands and the Alp Islands fight limerick-laced differences on global warming. Both sides disbelieve it, but each claims the other is propagating its heresy in an effort to incite panic. Both sides promise a nuclear solution to the war as soon as a way to haul ballistic missiles from the ocean floor, dry them out on the surface, and build new missiles site to launch them can be completed. 

McDonald's presents its civil case against the Bryony crop. for using the signage "Over "# million sold" over its bookstores. (the # here is used to mark an unknown amount. Who wants to spoil the surprise?)





Friday, September 15, 2017

Story Round-Up: Features in The Herald-News, Sept. 10 through Sept. 15

Other than work (which you'll find below) and working out, what did I do this week?

I began The Silent Corner by Dean Koontz, the least I could so since he sent it to me.  A BryonySeries fan feels he and I have similar writing styles, so I'm reading it on two levels. So far, not seeing any similarities, but I AM enjoying it.

The WriteOn Joliet anthology is edited, very nearly formatted, and has a cover created by Sue Mydliak, a member of the group and the illustrator for Cornell Dyer and the Missing Tombstone. I began an account for the group and plan to upload anthology this weekend.

I worked on SEO for the bryonyseries website.

Tomorrow I'm working on Before the Blood. Rebekah is planning to format two more Bertrand the Mouse books so I have them for upcoming events.  But that's after today, which is full of deadlines and interviews.

And there we are! And onward...

Where to find non-bylined stuff?

Local events: Health, faith, and arts and entertainment calendars: where to find them? Under the sections tab on the left hand side of http://www.theherald-news.com/. Click on "features" and the topics drop down. Assembled by moi.

More local events: Gotta Do It, also by me, runs each Sunday in the People section.

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

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.

Thank you for reading The Herald-News. And for reading this blog. Your support is greatly appreciated.


Not just a matter of ABC

When people come to the U.S., they often want to drop the "home language." But Pamela Maxey – a former literacy adviser for a national language in Cameroon, Africa – isn't a fan of that, either inside or outside the classroom.

In fact, Maxey wants to support families in using both English and their native tongue.



An Extraordinary Life: A very good neighbor, in and out of Manhattan

"He just wanted to help everyone be the best they could be," Jim Gentile said, "without making anyone feel uncomfortable."



Taste of freedom for Ruby, the red-tailed hawk

"She flew very straight," John Papach said. "Her wing is recovered, but she's not gaining height yet."



Never too old to ride

Do you want to ride a horse?

That was the question Ann Abraytis of Marseilles asked her 92-year-old mother, Dorothy Almberg of Joliet.

And Almberg did.



Pets of the Week

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/2017/09/05/29a6543da7bd45829d60c2065fd94843/index.xml


Moving to the music

Led by Stacey Jager of Lockport, a music therapist who sings and plays guitar during the program, "Music and Movement" helps seniors and chair-bound adults to gently exercise their bodies as well as their minds while being entertained and reminiscing on days gone by



Local Flavor: Troy administrator shares favorite recipes from Cameroon, part 2

Pamela Maxey, the new Troy Community School District 30-C director of early childhood education, was once a literacy advisor for a national language in Cameroon, Africa.

Check out her recipes for sugared peanuts and Cameroonian Peanut Sauce.



Coffee and doughnuts with God and neighbor

The new café worship service at Channahon United Methodist Church is not simply another contemporary service.

It's a come-as-you-are interactive second-service worship that includes sitting around tables, singing praise music and watching videos related to the day's message.



Joliet university's got the music goods

Tomorrow: Buy lps, 45s, 78s, CDs, Blu-rays, cassettes, VHS, 8-tracks, sheet music, instruments, stereos, turntables, cassette players, professional and home audio equipment and more – all used, all for sale and all donated either from the community or from the WCSF radio station itself.

Read on for details.



Artworks: The joke's not on them

Faith-based comedy group is gaining momentum. Here's why.









Thursday, September 14, 2017

BryonySeries Throwback Thursday: Six Questions with Bryony Fan Wayne David Blankenship

Monday, October 18, 2010


Six Questions with Bryony Fan Wayne David Blankenship

Wayne David Blankenship is an avid fan and reader of the Bryony Facebook page. He is following the posts and waiting patiently for Bryony’s release date. So Bryony’s web administrator Sarah Stegall sent Wayne a few questions about his interest in Bryony, books, and vampires.


Sarah: “What is the first thing you would do if you wrote a famous book?”

Wayne: “The first thing I would do is help family and friends in need with the earnings from the book. I would also start a savings account for my family, and make sure to spend the money wisely, and make it last.”

Sarah: “What is your favorite thing about the Victorian Era?”

Wayne: “I would definitely say my favorite thing about the Victorian era was its long period of peace, the prosperity of the British people, and all of the innovations that were born out of the era.”

Sarah: “Why is it important to still pick up a book when technology is everywhere?”

Wayne: “I think technology is good for quick answers to questions, socializing, and catching up on the news. However, nothing beats reading books when it comes to diving deep into a subject, immersing oneself into a magical world, or following comical characters hitchhiking through the universe.”

Sarah: “Vampires: Real or myth?”

Wayne: “Are vampires real.....although vampiric entities have been recorded in many cultures and although speculation of their presence has been around since seeming the beginning of time, I believe they are mythical creatures.”

Sarah: “Why do you find the Bryony Facebook posts interesting?”

Wayne: “They leave me wanting more, wanting to hear more of the story, and definitely point to a vampire story that is original, not just "another teenage vampire movie."

Sarah: “What is something you'd like to see on the Bryony blog?”

Wayne: “I would enjoy seeing more snippets from the book, and people's opinions thereof. I would like to know how many people, other than myself, are interested in the book.”

http://www.bryonyseries.com/

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Character Development in Novels: 10 Questions to Ask When Self-Editing

Characters:

1) Are lead characters interesting and fully developed?

2) Do they have strengths and weaknesses? Quirks, habits, and interests?

3) Do they have clear goals and dreams?

4) Are they motivated in ways appropriate to the plot as well as their personalities and goals?

5) Are all characters vital to the story?

6) Do you have enough characters? Too many characters?

7) Do they grow with the story? If not, give them plot-appropriate challenges.

8) Are they appropriate to target reader age, era, and genre?

9) Are they believable?


10) Make sure responses/actions/reactions are character-appropriate.




Monday, September 11, 2017

Anthology, Author Fairs, and Giveaways, Oh My!

Looking for some great autumn reading? Read on!

ANTHOLOGY

WriteOn Joliet will release its first anthology Write Where We Are in approximately six weeks. The editing/formatting is nearly done; the cover art is being designed, and the goal is to upload the manuscript to Createspace this weekend.

The anthology will contain essays, poetry, short stories, one novella, and one excerpt from my BryonSeries prequel in progress, Before the Blood.

Copies should be available online Nov. 1 with autographed copies on Nov. 17 at WriteOn Joliet's anthology release party, 6 p.m., at The Book Market, 2365 Plainfield Road in Crest Hill.

But you don't have to wait that long to score some great reads.

AUTHOR FAIRS

A number of WriteOn Joliet authors (including moi) will be participating in the following events. I'll be raffling off a basket of BryonySeries stuff and giving away a chapter from Before the Blood as a thank you gift for signing up for my newsletter, which begins in 2018.

White Oak Author Fest:

When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.,

Where: White Oak Library, Crest Hill Branch, 20670 Len Kubinski Drive, Crest Hill
Etc: Local authors, talks (book preservation and Illinois Author Project), and bookish crafts. BryonySeries books and other merchandise for sale, giveaways and raffle baskets. Free to attend.
Contact: bryonyseries@gmail.com


Oswego Literary Festival

When: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 7

Where: Oswego Public Library, 32 Jefferson St., Oswego

Etc: Local authors, BryonySeries books and other merchandise for sale, giveaways and raffle baskets. Free to attend.

​Contact: bryonyseries@gmail.com


Indie Author Day

What: 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 14

Where: Plainfield Public Library, 15025 S. Illinois St., Plainfield

Etc: Local authors, BryonySeries books and other merchandise for sale, giveaways and raffle baskets. Free to attend.

Contact: bryonyseries@gmail.com


WriteOn Joliet Open Night Mic

When: 6 p.m. Nov. 2

Where: Book and Bean Cafe, 3395 Black Road, Joliet (inside the Joliet Public Library)

Etc: WriteOn Joliet will read excerpts from their works and share information about the upcoming anthology and Nov. 17's anthology release party.

Contact: bryonyseries@gmail.com 


GIVEAWAYS

One item in the BryonySeries raffle basket are these Bryony-themed coffee holders, with two complimentary Keurig cups, one to drink and one to share. Here they are, ready to ship from their creator to me. Aren't they pretty?






Sunday, September 10, 2017

The Most Convenient Kitchen Utensils (from a 19th Century Point of View)




Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Most Convenient Kitchen Utensils...

...according to Miss Beecher's domestic receiptbook: designed as a supplement to her Treatise on domestic economy.

Certainly, Simons Mansion boasted no microwaves or slow cookers. So, in addition to the ice box, what other items might Melissa have seen inside the kitchen? Note: The comments in parentheses are mine.

1) Tin Baker or Reflector: for baking breads, cakes apples, as well as an oven (I had to read this twice. Who would bake an oven?)

2) Footman: made with brass or sheet iron to heat irons.

3: Balances: for weighing cakes (What else?).

4) Dustpan: so one doesn't have to sweep the crumbs across the carpet (Obviously invented by someone whose kids did the sweeping. We have two dustpans, but I'm always finding the bulk of kitchen debris underneath the garbage can).

5) Saw Knife: a saw on one side and a knife on the other. Useful for cutting meats.

6) Lemon Squeezer

7) Case for Lamplighters: to receive the remnants of extinguished matches.

8) Meat Mallet

9) Egg Beater

10: Apple Corer: In 1860, this cost only a dime.

11) Gridiron Scraper

12) Rolling Pin

13: Fish Kettle

14) Preserving Kettle With a Cover: a cover best preserves the flavor of the fruit.

15) Preserving Kettle Without a Cover: shallow, so as not to crowd the fruit.The best are copper or bell metal. Porcelain ones are apt to crack.

16) Cast-iron Sauce-pan with Lid: (I only cook with cast iron. I'm still using a set that cost $28 in 1982 when my oldest son was born).

17) Tin Sauce-pan

18) Copper Sauce-pan. Every household needs at least four different sizes of saucpans. The copper ones are best and most durable. The iron lined with tin are next best. The tin are the poorest.

9) Trivet: for heating articles over coals without burning. Three or four of different sizes are needed with an open fire. Food cooked for the sick demands them.

20) Tin Bonnet: very useful to keep articles warm, to roast apples, and to warm plates.

21: A brush made of bristles twisted into wire to clean bottles.

22) Tin Safe: To preserve food in hot weather and to protect it also from mice.

23) Refrigerators: to keep meat, milk, butter, and cream during hot weather. Instructions are provided for making an inexpensive one. (Something to remember next time I need to replace a refrigerator).

A note from Miss Beecher's domestic receiptbook: designed as a supplment to her Treatise ondomestic economy: "A housekeeper who choses to do without some of these conveniences, and spend the money saved in parlor adornments, has a right to do so, and others a the right to think she in this shows herself deficient in good sense."

Ouch!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Heralding the Great and Awesome Return of Ed Calkins, Steward of Tara to the BryonySeries Blog: Ruthless Times

In 2010, I received an email from Ed, vaguely stating he was "going through some things" and would reach out when those were resolved. In the interim, I ran old posts with the tag "Steward Setback Saturday."

On the Saturday before I left for Raleigh, I decided enough was enough. I mean, I'm all for giving a dude his space, but five years of silence?

Uh, uh.

So I called. And I'm glad I did. Ed was glad I did. Turns out, the difficult situation is not yet resolved, but he did share some of it, and I empathized with his trying circumstances. 

But.

As we talked, his voice became brighter and his interest in the entire BryonySeries project revived. He hadn't realized I was still plugging away at it. He'd forgotten to read Staked! He'd forgotten this was the novel where the fictional steward really shone. He'd forgotten that Saturday was his space on the blog and was surprised that I'd held it for him and that I'd filled his empty space with all things Irish. He was humbly stunned that we celebrate Calkins Day; when our conversation ended, I sent blog links to prove it.

But before we ended the call, Ed decided to read Staked! No, he wouldn't accept a free copy; he'd buy his own from Amazon. 

And he promised to write blog posts. In fact, Ed promised to send one by the very next Saturday.

Which he did. And has done every Saturday since then.

I now have three such "telegrams."

But...wait, I can almost hear the new reader to the series ask. You...you talk as if Ed Calkins is real.

Ah, well, he is. He really, truly is. With his own page on the BryonySeries website.

So without further ado, I bring you the return of Ed Calkins. 



My Dearest Mistress of My Immortality (MOMI):

Through my many years of delivering newspapers, I had one favorite publication, which I'm thinking of reviving: The Ruthless Times.

This was a freestanding newspaper existing from about 4050 to 3099 B.C. Even though, it wasn't very informative, as back in that day nothing really changed, it was both ruthless and amusing. In fact, in its fifty-one years of existence, I don't think it actually had a single story that could be actually counted as news. Mostly, it simply the happenings of the prior two hundred years.

Now the publisher, who was also the distributor, could hardly be blamed for this. Back then births were not quite as newsworthy as the invention of naming your children.  Also on and then it was the notion of Journalistic integrity or simply telling the truth. Since that at this time humanity with spread entirely over the globe the first addition was never completely delivered Perhaps the papers most endearing feature was it's "this day a thousand years in the future".

In an age when journalism has suffered such diminishing returns, perhaps it's time to bring this paper back. Maybe a website would like a copy.


Ruthlessly yours,

Ed Calkins, Steward of Tara


P.S.: The Ruthless Times was always a free publication, which is another reason why it went out of business.


Below, the real Ed Calkins, in a striped shirt and a kilt, laughs at an unknown joke, while "Brian Marhcellis," holding a non-white Snowbell, looks on. This fake Snowbell belonged to my grandson Lucas. With the push of a button, this grinning cat cocked its head and made growling purrs. VampFest was the 2011 launch of the BryonySeries and a fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters for Will & Grundy Counties. We donated $1,400 to the nonprofit, not bad considered we didn't even have a book to sell yet due to publishing issues.


Friday, September 8, 2017

Story Round-Up: Features in The Herald-News, Sept. 3 through Sept. 8

First of all, a very happy and blessed 27th birthday to my number four child and number third son, Timothy Michael Baran, who shares a birthday with the Theotokos. May God grant him many happy, healthy and blessed years!

It's been a couple weeks as Rebekah and I spent eight days in Raleigh with Sarah and her family. I nearly literally "hit the ground running" after the plane landed and haven't quit. I plan to format WriteOn Joliet's anthology tonight and work on Before the Blood tomorrow. While I've picked at it here and there since I've returned, Saturday will be the first real attention I've give it in a couple of weeks, and I greatly looking forward to it.

Tomorrow also heralds the return of Ed Calkins, the Steward of Tara. I have two new posts from him, one of which I'll run tomorrow.

Onward to features!

 Local events: Health, faith, and arts and entertainment calendars: where to find them? Under the sections tab on the left hand side of http://www.theherald-news.com/. Click on "features" and the topics drop down. Assembled by moi.

More local events: Gotta Do It, also by me, runs each Sunday in the People section.

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

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.

Thank you for reading The Herald-News. And for reading this blog. Your support is greatly appreciated.



1990 Plainfield Tornado: Then and Now
By Megan Schuller

The finally story by Herald-News summer intern Megan Schuller, this story is a first-person pictorial look at sites struck by the tornado "then" and "now."



An Extraordinary Life: Bonnie Disera was Joliet's George Bailey

Lanette Disera-Geissler of Joliet, Bonnie's daughter, 
 said her mother worked “from 8 a.m. to midnight.” Bonnie’s three favorite words were, “Get to work,” Lanette added.

“She worked nonstop,” Lanette said. “She would take calls at 10 or 11 at night. To her, 11 o’clock was the same as 8 o’clock in the morning. You could call her at midnight with questions. She’d say, ‘Call me any time.’ ”



Pets of the Week: Sept. 4

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



Minooka Creamery goes to the dogs for Joliet hospice

On Sept. 2, several hundred people and pups alike had a doggone good time at Minooka Creamery's Doggie Ice Cream Social. Yes, you read that right: ice cream for dogs. Proceeds benefit Joliet Area Community Hospice’s pet therapy program.



The Minooka Creamery announces pet contest winners

Read on for the winners of the canine costume contest.



Plainfield woman is a 'walking billboard' for one particular form of cancer

Lori O’Connor knows without subtle reminders of the need for prostate cancer screening (hence, the bag promoting screening on her treadmill handle), men probably won’t think about it, much less discuss it with their doctors or among themselves.

“Men are men,” Lori said. “They don’t bring these things up. ... They don’t know if their fathers had it, which increases their risk, because they don’t talk about it.”



Local Flavor: Troy administrator shares favorite recipes from Cameroon, part 1

Pamela Maxey, the new Troy Community School District 30-C director of early childhood education, was once a literacy advisor for a national language in Cameroon, Africa.

Maxey will be featured in Sunday's People section but today, she's sharing foods she and her family enjoyed while living in Cameroon. And if you like these, Maxey will share two more recipes on Sept. 13.



New Lenox midwife trying to save moms and babies

Sherry Burnam, a certified nurse midwife for over 30 years and part of the group Obstetrics in Women's Health in New Lenox, does not often encounter the above in her patients.

But a medical mission trip to Myanmar (the former Burma) in 2014 starkly showed her what happens to mothers and babies when health providers don't have basic resources.

Often, they die.

So Burnam decided to do address it.

http://www.theherald-news.com/lists/2017/09/06/1ca5e23b322a4cb49b02f51bc9f3d1cb/index.xml



Wanna see the world? Don't leave home.

Virtual field trip?

Isn't that just a fancy name for watching a documentary?

Nope.



Artworks: Singing is ministry and joy for Joliet grandmother

“If one person heard your message and heard your voice, that’s better than not hearing it at all,” Graves-Brown said in an email. “Dreams only come alive if you are living it.”