Friday, August 19, 2016

Story Round-Up: Features in The Herald-News, Aug. 14 through Aug. 19

Been a week a scrambling to get ready to leave for Raleigh today. Even missed WriteOn Joliet last night. Have to leave shortly, so...


Check out the health, faith, and arts and entertainment calendars. Three of them can be found at the link below. http://www.theherald-news.com/lifestyle/ Gotta Do It, runs each Sunday and often stays on the home page throughout the week.

Feature briefs for Tuesday (health), Thursday (faith), Friday (Arts and Entertainment), and Sunday (People) are also edited (texted and photos) by the lady of this blog, but only the stories have bylines.

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

And if you do peek at these stories, to quote our editor Kate Schott, "Thank you for reading The Herald-News." :)



Joliet woman begins foundation in memory of her husband
Former Joliet police officer’s compassion lives on through foundation in his name

“Making a difference in people’s lives was what Joe was all about,” Sandy Gerrettie, Joe's wife, said. “That’s why he wanted to be a cop.”


http://www.theherald-news.com/2016/08/04/joliet-woman-begins-foundation-in-memory-of-her-husband/a1jmlh1/


An Extraordinary Life: Shorewood man forged lasting connections through love of sports

Baseball fan pitched a good game of life

“He liked the uniforms, the rules, the sportsmanship. It’s just very orderly,” Rheta Murdaugh, Bob Shoop's girlfriend said. “And he liked the competition.”



http://www.theherald-news.com/2016/08/13/an-extraordinary-life-shorewood-man-forged-lasting-connections-through-love-of-sports/ah3svra/


Pets of the Week: Aug. 15


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


http://www.theherald-news.com/2016/08/11/pets-of-the-week-aug-15/a4i9fk6/


State-licensed medical marijuana dispensary in Romeoville to host Aug. 20 informational event

Midwest Compassion educates the public on facts about medical marijuana

Many people are surprised to learn that medical marijuana is available in products that don’t require smoking and don’t sedate the user, which is important for active patients and those caring for children, Nicole van Rensburg, co-operator, said.


http://www.theherald-news.com/2016/08/11/state-licensed-medical-marijuana-dispensary-in-romeoville-to-host-aug-20-informational-event/avlq6a4/


Joliet woman prepares to consecrate herself to God  (VIDEO EXTRA)

Claire Halbur plans to live in the world but not of the world

Halbur is preparing to become a consecrated virgin, a decision she said “resonates deeply in her heart and in her soul.”



http://www.theherald-news.com/2016/08/17/joliet-woman-prepares-to-consecrate-herself-to-god/a3ump0q/


Joliet senior spent 5 days in the wilderness climbing mountains (VIDEO EXTRA)

Cheri Johnson pushed herself on an epic hike and prevailed


Cheri Johnson, 63, executive assistant to Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow, said she spent five days hiking 8 to 15 miles a day up mountains – sometimes rising at 2:30 a.m. to do so – and scrambling over loose rocks.



http://www.theherald-news.com/2016/08/16/joliet-senior-spent-5-days-in-the-wilderness-climbing-mountains/a5jb3oe/

Thursday, August 18, 2016

BryonySeries Throwback Thursday: We Have a Mansion!


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

We Have a Mansion!

Pat and Andrea Magosky, owners of the P. Seth Magosky Museum of Victorian Life in Joliet, Illinois, are "loaning" us the mansion for filming purposes. Stephen Tuplin has already shot some initial footage and plans to use the location for the Bryony trailer, interviews with theBryony team, and the Bryony music video. The museum even has a grand piano! Bryony web administrator Sarah Stegall will be in town this weekend for the Big Brothers Big Sisters Bowl for Kids Sake, so she will be the first person interviewed and photographed on location. Lucky! I'll share more about the P. Seth Magosky Museum of Victorian Life in future posts. For now, a brief history and some photographs can be seen here:http://www.cityofjoliet.com/business/museum.htm

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Raleigh Bound!

On Friday afternoon, Rebekah and I fly out to North Caroline to spend a week with Sarah and her family.

To prepare, I am attempting to get nearly and extra week's worth of work done (which will run the week I am gone), and Rebekah has graciously picked up my portion of the household duties to fee up some of my time. She also is the travel coordinator and suitcase packer. I literally will only have to get in the car when it's time to leave.

What will we do out there? Who knows? Last year, I had two goals: to read through my BryonySeries as a series and to do whatever Sarah and Lucas (my grandson) wanted to do. We didn't make it through Sarah's list last year, so she started another before we left. I assume we'll just pick up where we left off.

One change from last year: Bertrand the Mouse will accompany us wherever we go. We plan to take lots of pictures of him so we can finally get some books released.

So really, this year's goals look like last year's goals. Posting may be spotty next week, but we'll see.

Have a great day. :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Improve Productivity With Dedicated Time

But I don't have time!

It's a common refrain (reason, excuse) why people don't do the things they claim they want to do. But the truth is,we all have the same amount of time each day,week, month, year, and that time passes us by with shocking speed, and we never accomplish our dreams.

What many of us do have are very full days. Those full days are like full closets. If we wish to add more, something has to go.

If our days are too full to write, and we really want to write (some people only think they want to write), then something must go.

In my case, it was clearning thirty minutes of my morning to work on my novel.

I'm the type of person that has the mindset of "work before play." Except that I never completed all the work I wanted to do before I'd allow myself the pleasure of playing with the novel. Or if I did, then I was too tired to be creative. Over time, I grew frustrated and resentful, leading to less productivity. So I made space at the beginning of the day. How? I cut the work off earlier, got my ass to bed earlier, and woke up earlier. I did this about nine months ago, and I'm happy I did.

Thirty minutes doesn't seem like much time,and I wish I could grow it to an hour (my original goal). But even thirty minutes is extremely helpful.

It means when I have great chunks of time on Saturday, I can let ideas spill onto the page. It means I don't have to stop to refine, research, or slow the space to develop a character, describe a scene, etc. and watch the precious minutes of a writing Saturday tick by. When I come to one of those places, I type a few words about the work that section needs, bold it, add it to my "homework" file, and keep going.

In those dedicated thirty minutes, I pick one of those items.

My way may not be your way. But if you really want to write, find a way. You'll be glad you did.


Monday, August 15, 2016

Finally! An Update From Munsonville

So what's new?

The BryonySeries is (FINALLY!) available in various eBook formats as well as print.

All four books (Bryony, Visage, Staked! and Memories in the Kitchen: Bites and Nibbles from Bryony) are available in Kindle and Nook.

Everything except the cookbook is also available on Smashwords.

Prefer print? Order here.

The BryonySeries Twitter, which has limped along, is now taking shape. Come follow the series!

Is that all? No! As we complete projects, such as cleaning up the website, I'll update.

And if you're hungry, Sue's Diner has a new recipe. :)









Sunday, August 14, 2016

Before Bread Machines and Active Dry Yeast


Bread-making in the nineteenth century was very similar to modern, home bread-making with one exception. The cooks at Simons Mansion had to make their own yeast.

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

 Homemade Yeast


4 quarts water
2 handfuls hops
8 peeled potatoes
Batter
1/3 Indian meal (cornmeal)
2/3 rye meal
1 pint cold water
1 tea cup molasses
1 tablespoon ginger
1 teacup distillery yeast

Boil hops and potatoes until soft. Mix and strain through a sieve. Make a batter of the meals and cold water; amount of meal may vary, but keep proportions correct; boil for 10 minutes. When cool as new milk, add remaining ingredients.

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.



Friday, August 12, 2016

Story Round-Up: Features in The Herald-News, Aug. 7 through Aug. 12

Did anyone else's week fly past?

And if I thought this past week sped by, listen to my schedule for today: meetings/interviews (all-in-person) at 9:45, 10:30, 11, noon, 1:30, 3 and then teaching tonight at 6:30. Oh, and I'm also the weekend editor with two appointments tomorrow and a story for Monday that needs writing and submitting.

WHEW!

But I still plan to spend one dedicated hour to Before the Blood. That's reasonable, don't you agree?

And now for something completely real.

Check out the health, faith, and arts and entertainment calendars. Three of them can be found at the link below. http://www.theherald-news.com/lifestyle/ Gotta Do It, runs each Sunday and often stays on the home page throughout the week.

Feature briefs for Tuesday (health), Thursday (faith), Friday (Arts and Entertainment), and Sunday (People) are also edited (texted and photos) by the lady of this blog, but only the stories have bylines.

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

And if you do peek at these stories, to quote our editor Kate Schott, "Thank you for reading The Herald-News." :)



Joliet foster mom brightens lives of kids not in her care  (VIDEO EXTRA)
Janet Palkon’s Project Me provides supplies for kids in need

The Joliet woman collects suitcases and backpacks, which she fills with personal care supplies and small games for kids entering the foster care system.

http://www.theherald-news.com/2016/08/04/joliet-foster-mom-brightens-lives-of-kids-not-in-her-care/a2qcytt/


Joliet woman grew the love in her family  (VIDEO EXTRA)
Angie Sanchez embraced life with openness

As a baby, Angie was giggly and lovable, two traits intact even after the strokes affected Angie’s ability to think, talk and reason as she had in the past.

http://www.theherald-news.com/2016/08/05/joliet-woman-grew-the-love-in-her-family/a6tsnd7/



Pets of the Week: Aug. 8



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



Plainfield Catholic school has its first campus minister in Crest Hill resident

Crest Hill man is St. Mary Immaculate Parish School’s first campus minister

“I think it’s extremely important, especially in today’s society, for students to see a young person strong in his faith, implementing it and living out what the Gospels are telling us or Pope Francis is saying in his weekly homilies,” Christopher Hueg said.

http://www.theherald-news.com/2016/08/10/plainfield-catholic-school-has-its-first-campus-minister-in-crest-hill-resident/atahuv3/



Joliet preschooler is winning pageant titles  (VIDEO EXTRA)
Joliet couple feels pageant competitions can help develop character

“She’s not going to get special treatment because she’s queen,” her mother Lucia Williams said. “I try to teach her that the purpose of the crown is not to be all ‘high and mighty,’ but to be kind and help others. Eventually, we’d like to help her find a platform she can focus on.”


Thursday, August 11, 2016

BryonySeries Throwback Thursday: Sarah Stegall and the Magic of Bryony


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sarah Stegall and the Magic of Bryony

My cell phone rings, and there's a chorus of groans.

"Betcha it's Sarah," one disgruntled adult child says. It doesn't matter which adult child. They've ALL said it. Nary a day passes when Sarah and I don't speak at least once, and one time is on the low side.

That wasn't the case a year ago.

Sarah is my oldest daughter. She lives out of state, but she could have lived on Pluto for all we communicated, mostly by email, even if she had lived next door. Things had been tense at best since her teen years, although we had progressed to some polite, if not friendly, communication.

Then, after the first round of editing, my niece asked to read Bryony. Except for four members of my household, no one else had read it or expressed a remote interest in reading it.

That got the proverbial ball rolling.

My niece loved it and begged her mother, my sister, to read it. My sister told me yesterday she had resisted, certain the story wouldn't be very good. But she read it, to please her daughter and loved it, so much that my parents wanted a copy. They, too, loved it, and my mother said so to Sarah.

That's when my daughter called and wanted to know why I hadn't let her read it. I told her she might, if she liked.

Sarah later told me she only wanted to read it so she could publically and harshly denigrate it. Hoiwever, I already knew that, which is why I couldn't box up a copy and send it out to her fast enough. Bryony was about to face her greatest critic.

A couple days later I received a Facebook message from Sarah: "Where are the other two drafts?" That was all, but she was in, "sucked in," she likes to say. Well, it is a vampire story. It was also a peaceful truce to years of conflict.

Since then, Sarah has created and maintained Bryony's Facebook page and website, helped with the cookbook, and has been the book's biggest champion and promotor. No one, including the author, has more enthusiasm for the story. Sarah has read Bryony cover to cover more than anybody and intends to keep that record, even after the book's release.

I like to think her reaction is a testimony to a good story. Sarah says she'd hate to seeBryony take off and miss her chance at being rich and famous. Hmmm....

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Ramp Up Tension

Has the interest thread on your novel slackened? Does your novel suffer from "middle age syndrome" by sagging in the middle? Here's a few tips for tightening it.

1) Beat the Clock: Add a challenge with an expiration date.

2) Betrayal: a friend becomes a foe.

3) Danger: Introduce elements that put characters at risk of harm.

3) Flashbacks: Memories that add snippets of knowledge crucial to a better understanding of the character and his past that will also impact his present and/or future.

4) Foreshadowing: Throw out shadows of approaching trouble.

5) Frustrate the Goal: Keep it out of your character's reach.

6) Raise the Bar/Stakes/Personal Involvement: The more bigger the goal, the harder your character will try to attain it, and the more readers will root for him.

7) Revelation: New information or comprehension that changes a character's or plot's course.

8) Rivalry: Have two characters bid for the same prize.

9) Threaten a Loved One: And make your character fight to save him.

10) Subtext: Implication adds mystery and draws the reader in.

11) The Unknown: Keep your character (and your readers) guessing.

12) Villains: Add one or more to challenge your character and give him something to fight against, even if the villain is simply the "man in the mirror."

Monday, August 8, 2016

Gone Are The Days...

...when I used to bang out thousands of words in a developing novel in a single weekend.

Or at least this is true for a good chunk of Before the Blood.

The world building and character development is so finely detailed and complex, it's impossible to compose at a rapid pace. Also, I now possess fairly decent self-editing skills, so I tend to edit as I write, which also slows the process.

On Saturday, I clocked just under 1,000 edited words. This was a section of Henry's sixth chapter that had given me trouble. Yet when I reread the passages on Sunday and was pleased with the results, I was still a tad frustrated at the length of time I needed to produce it.

Maybe novel writing has its seasons, too.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Strawberry Ice Cream


Ice cream was John Simons’ one, particular culinary weakness. Each lunch at Simons Mansion ended with a dish of it.


Strawberry Ice Cream

Adapted from Miss Beecher’s domestic receiptbook: designed as a supplement to her Treatise on domestic economy.


1 pint ripe strawberries
1 pint cream
4 ounces powered sugar

Rub strawberries through a sieve, add cream, then sugar. Freeze.


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.


Saturday, August 6, 2016

Steward Setback Saturday: Someone Finally Asked It


Monday, September 13, 2010
Someone Finally Asked It

Bryony's basic storyline was outlined decades ago, so I find it interesting when certain elements mirror life today. For instance, from the very beginning, Melissa's mother, Darlene, was a single parent, who supported Melissa and her younger brother Brian through freelance writing assignments.

Someone asked me the other day if I modeled Darlene's character on me. I denied it, and that was the truth. At the time of the novel's conception, I was married with two small children and a third on the way. The possiblity of raising those children (and the three that followed them) as a single parent was the farthest thing from my mind. Heck, I had never given freelance writing a thought. I'm not sure I even knew thet option existed.

Besides, since I married my first husband rather young (two weeks after my twentieth birthday), my work history was slim: babysitting, office work, one fast food restaurant, and a summer internship at a newspaper. I was a happy stay-at-home mom and had no desire of ever being anything else.

However, since Darlene cared for her husband Frank before his death and later raised two children in the middle of Simons Woods, I wanted some lucrative work-at-home employment for her. At the time I began the story--1985--the only jobs I knew that could be performed at home were envelope stuffing and writing.

It seemed more likely that Frank, a former photojournalist, would fall love with Darlene the writer rather than Darlene the envelope stuffer. Also, having Munsonville's village board hire Darlene to create promotional literature for Simons Mansion gave her a good reason to relocate the family. I was well into the second round of edits before it occured to me that someone might think I modeled Darlene after myself.

Actually, I am none of the characters. All but one spring completely from my imagination. Only Ed Calkins is based on a real person and his imagination, brought to literary life, with his permission, by my imagination. I've heard sometimes authors base charcters on themselves, but for me, creating them only from the impressions that roll about my mind has been much more fun.

Denise M. Baran-Unland at 7:27 AM

Friday, August 5, 2016

Story Round-Up: Features in The Herald-News, July 31 through Aug. 5


Workwise, I had a productive week. Novelwise, I had a productive weekend, which flowed into my 30-minute dedicated space in the work week. I look foward to building on it.

I'm still in chapter six of Henry's story, but now that the chapter has real shape, I was able to make a set of homework notes for the rest of it. I doubt I'll finish it before the month is up, but I think I will be close.

And now, back to the "real" writing.

Check out the health, faith, and arts and entertainment calendars. Three of them can be found at the link below. http://www.theherald-news.com/lifestyle/ Gotta Do It, runs each Sunday and often stays on the home page throughout the week.

Feature briefs for Tuesday (health), Thursday (faith), Friday (Arts and Entertainment), and Sunday (People) are also edited (texted and photos) by the lady of this blog, but only the stories have bylines.

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

And if you do peek at these stories, to quote our editor Kate Schott, "Thank you for reading The Herald-News." :)


New Lenox paleontologist creating 3-D maps of historic Jurassic site
New Lenox man part of research team at Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry in Utah

Steve Clawson is mapping the site of every bone the team finds – how far below the surface it is and its plunge direction both horizontally and vertically, he said.

http://www.theherald-news.com/2016/07/26/new-lenox-paleontologist-creating-3-d-maps-of-historic-jurassic-site/ax6svfi/



An Extraordinary Life: New Lenox man was content and grateful, always
Bill Johnson was upbeat and devoted to family and nature

His wife Pam hopes whoever received Bill’s sky-blue eyes – the only organs able to be donated, she said – will see life through his perspective: no fear of the future and a strong belief in the inherent goodness of people, the sanctity of nature and the power of humor.



Pets of the Week: Aug. 1

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

http://www.theherald-news.com/2016/07/28/pets-of-the-week-aug-1/ad0jtsi/


EMS/trauma nurse coordinator at Joliet medical center is committed to child safety
Presence Saint Joseph nurse honored for her dedication to pediatric care

“Our children are so important to us,” said Leslie Livett of Mokena, “and sometimes they don’t get the attention they need.”



Icon at Homer Glen church still producing fragrant oil 1 year later
People reporting blessings, healing at Assumption Greek Orthodox Church

“I’m very thankful where I am today,” Ronald Koziol said. “I am convinced that St. John definitely helped me, if not 100 percent cured me. There is no doubt in my mind.”

http://www.theherald-news.com/2016/08/03/icon-at-homer-glen-church-still-producing-fragrant-oil-1-year-later/al45y7s/


Joliet actor's work to be featured in film festival at Gene Siskel Film Center
22nd annual Black Harvest Film Festival includes film starring Joliet man

The film is just 15 minutes long, has a cast of two people and was shot in one location, Lawrence Johnson Jr. said. But it’s effective and hilarious.


Thursday, August 4, 2016

BryonySeries Throwback Thursday: The First Cut is the Hardest


Monday, August 23, 2010


The First Cut is the Hardest

I’m not certain when the first round of edits arrived, since we don’t use the front door much in the winter. One of the kids had opened it on a Saturday afternoon in January and there was my manuscript, packaged and propped against the door.

A list of suggestions accompanied the copyediting. To my relief, those suggestions did not include deletions or plot changes, nothing that drastic. I focused on the mistakes. My husband Ron saw only the positive comments, especially, “A series would sell.” I couldn’t wait to get to work.

The editor wanted to deeper character development in two supporting characters. I was also instructed to deepen scene descriptions (I had focused more on action), use longer sentences, and to eliminate “wordiness” (a general, persistent fault of mine).

Then, an interesting thing happened. I had spent months learning to tell a story in novel form and even more months perfecting it. When I sat down to make my first, official change, I felt like a surgeon operating for the first time, except that I was also the patient. That first slice into my manuscript was the most painful. The rest were substantially easier.

The biggest error I made throughout the manuscript was style confusion (AP vs. MLA) and it was HUGE. The second, not as pervasive, but very embarrassing, was that some of my carefully set page breaks had moved.

It took eight weeks of daily work before Bryony was ready for its second send-off. I set it aside for several days and scrolled through it. I found copy errors and straying page breaks. I cracked.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Capture the Mood

Yesterday I had lunch with an author friend who also writes and publishes her young adult vampire stories.

She brought along her work-in-progress and asked me to read over a sensuous scene. She was trying to keep the right balance between making the reader feel the moment without being explicit.

She nailed it.

Now in adult novels, authors have more freedom in the specific details. But the basics still hold true.

One mistake we writers sometimes make in writing scenes with any sort of sexual tension is focusing in the physical details. As I told my friend, those details are, overall, fairly consistent, if one really thinks about it.

However, an individual's response, their emotions, their thoughts, as the action escalates (or does not), is what makes the difference. And an implication or hints of graphic can be more impactful than blunt words.

Here's the example I shared with her from Visage:


John stayed just as quiet on the return trip. Tonight, however, he did not pull into the back of the cafeteria. Instead, he swung the car into the staff parking lot and stopped at the far end, in front of the tall hedges bordering the empty road.
“I’ll walk you to the building,” John said. “The car’s staying here overnight.”
“How will you get home?” Melissa asked in surprise.
“I live across the street.”
“Then why do you…?”
“Drive to work? I don’t always go straight home.”
Melissa’s face grew hot. She knew that. He went to Shelby, of course. She blindly groped for the door handle. She had to leave, now, even if only to hide the bitter disappointment and frustration filling her eyes. She had misjudged John’s intentions again! Why did she keep torturing herself?
“Melissa, stop.”
He leaned near, cupped her face with one hand, and gently turned her. Melissa quickly blinked away tears and melted into John’s warm fingers. Her mind whirled. It’s a dream, she told herself, expecting to awaken in the next moment. This is just a twisted Bryony dream. The hazy light from the distant lamp pole illuminated the frenzy in John’s eyes as they searched hers. Melissa sat rigid, scarcely breathing, anticipating the impending jangling of her alarm clock.
“It’s strange,” John said, “but I feel we’ve met in another place, or....
John paused and inched closer. “....another time.”
Melissa throat tightened. The stillness of the night roared in her ears. John’s breath grazed her mouth.
“Does that make sense to you?”
She nodded, too astounded for words, petrified she’d pierce the elusive magic. Sleep, sleep, stay asleep, she silently begged, as John closed his eyes and swept a feathery stroke across her lips. This can’t be happening, Melissa thought. Oh, God, this is real!
Taking her head in his hands, John kissed her in earnest this time, gently, then harder and faster until Melissa released her pent up desire for John and met those kisses with a fervor that astonished her.
She touched his face and ran her fingers through that glorious hair, then to his shirt and down, farther than she had ever touched him, not even in Munsonville, not even when she was playing Bryony. By the time John opened his eyes and smiled at her, Melissa knew what she wanted to know.
If John Simotes had ever been a vampire, he wasn’t one now.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Sick Day

Friday I left work early (early for me).

I hadn't felt well the last couple of days, but didn't actually realize I was sick. Sometimes, I get too busy to pay close attention. Everything seemed hard, and I kept making mistakes. I had a very full Saturday, and I figured a couple of hours in front of Before the Blood before bedtime was just the boost I needed.

However, the most I accomplished was rereading through previously written material as my mind wouldn't stay focused. I tried working out and stopped one exercise shy (no energy). So I showered and settled down to watch two episodes of BoJack Horseman with Daniel. I fell asleep. As I trudged up to bed, I had this realization in my foggy brain: maybe I'm sick.

By morning, it was obvious. I was sick.

So I caneled all my obligations for the day, rested, and fiddled with the novel. I felt somewhat better yesterday and spent a few moments rereading through Saturday's additions. I actually accomplished more than I had thought, so that part felt good. This morning, I'm tired and getting up was difficult, but I'm on the mend.

It's been weeks since I spent a dedicated day in my imagination. I guess even getting sick has its benefits.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Fish Salad


 Although Simons Mansion hosted most of Munsonville’s festivities, the villagers reciprocated one summer with a celebration in honor of John and Bryony Simons, with John providing the entertainment. A torn dress kept Melissa away from the refreshment table, but, except for the cake, we doubt she would have eaten anything from it, anyway. 


The following recipe is from the Bohemian-American Cookbook by Marie Rosicky, published by the Automatic Printing Company (www.autoprintomaha.com). Use with permission.



Fish Salad

Cold, diced fish
Anchovies or capers
Sliced potatoes
Sliced red beets
Desired dressing

Mix the diced meat with anchovies or capers, place a layer of potatoes and beets over a layer of meat, then pour over all the desired dressing.



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.


Friday, July 29, 2016

Story Round-Up: Features in The Herald-News, July 24 through July 29

As much as I enjoy time off, it felt good to work a normal-sized week. A few ups and downs, a few challenges, a few victories: a complete week, I think.

And, yes, I did make some progress on Henry's story in Before the Blood. I'm still working on chapter six, but it's a long worldbuilding chapter, so it's taking time to construct.

Check out the health, faith, and arts and entertainment calendars. Three of them can be found at the link below. http://www.theherald-news.com/lifestyle/ Gotta Do It, runs each Sunday and often stays on the home page throughout the week.

Feature briefs for Tuesday (health), Thursday (faith), Friday (Arts and Entertainment), and Sunday (People) are also edited (texted and photos) by the lady of this blog, but only the stories have bylines.

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

And if you do peek at these stories, to quote our editor Kate Schott, "Thank you for reading The Herald-News." :)



Lemont athlete finding success in wheelchair sports
Jeff Yackley sees international success in wheelchair softball

In Japan, Team USA won the world cup, Yackley said. In addition, Yackley was named one of the top 10 wheelchair players in the world. Last year – Yackley’s first year playing wheelchair softball – he was named Rookie of the Year during the world series of wheelchair softball in Mississippi.

http://www.theherald-news.com/2016/07/13/lemont-athlete-finding-success-in-wheelchair-sports/aibag8z/


Plainfield man built a legacy of business with integrity

Nick Kourlesis believed in himself, his people

“He wanted to make a better life for himself,” longtime employee Debra Pandy said. “He was very adventurous and very brave. He would have an idea to do something and then figure out all the details. Even to the end, he was talking about wanting to do this and wanting to do that.”

http://www.theherald-news.com/2016/07/19/plainfield-man-built-a-legacy-of-business-with-integrity/askeno2/


Plainfield woman shares hidden health care costs associated with chronic pancreatitis
Plainfield woman’s chronic illness draining her resources

“My parents used to stay if you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything,” Ann Zigrossi said. “I believe them now.”

http://www.theherald-news.com/2016/07/24/plainfield-woman-shares-hidden-health-care-costs-associated-with-chronic-pancreatitis/atp8iiu/


Joliet church setting aside Aug. 4 for the sacrament of reconciliation
Rev. Peter Jankowski will hear confessions for 16 hours on saint’s feast day

“My attitude about confession is I consider it to be therapeutic; that you can walk into a room, say, ‘I’ve done wrong; I’m sorry for what I have done,’ and – through the priest and the church saying, ‘We love you and we forgive you,’ – you walk out of there and start with a clean slate,” Jankowski said.

http://www.theherald-news.com/2016/07/26/joliet-church-setting-aside-aug-4-for-the-sacrament-of-reconciliation/a480djx/


Students at Minooka Bible Church's day camp raise money to build a house for a widow in Haiti
Widow in Haiti to have new home, thanks to campers’ fundraising efforts

Last year, campers raised money for children in Haiti. This year, campers were challenged to donate $3 each with a goal of raising $4,000, McFadden said. Almost $7,000 was raised. The project was run in conjunction with Don Shire Ministries.

“The kids would bring change in with them in the morning and drop it into buckets,” Julie McFadden said.



Shorewood man expresses the profound through his acrylic paintings (VIDEO EXTRA)
Design engineer for Chicago’s Picasso sculpture yearns to exhibit paintings

Their artist, Anatol “Tony” Rychalski, 91, of Shorewood, describes himself as an amateur painter, but he is certainly no amateur artist.

According to the WTTW website, Rychalski was the engineer who oversaw the design and construction of the 50-foot-tall, 162-ton Picasso sculpture outside the Daley Center in Chicago. Rychalski said it also was his job to explain the sculpture and its relation to the city.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

BryonySeries Throwback Thursday: What Do You Consider the Most Overrated Virtue?


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What Do You Consider the Most Overrated Virtue?

For the first time in my newspaper delivery history, we carriers were told to stay home on account of Blizzard 2011. I suddenly went from cold dread at braving the brutal storm to giddy elation knowing I could spend the entire night working on Bryony's prequel. I've got this horrid cold, but my bed is but a few feet from the computer, very handy, in case I succomb.

Right now, I'm filling out character questionnaires. I originally intended to use them on the freshly introduced, minor players, but for warm-up practice, I decided to work up the familiar, main characters, too. I completed Bryony's then tackled John's.

Although the other books in the BryonySeries have already addressed some of the more obvious topics, such as, "Do you have a secret?" and "Have you ever been in love?" questions such as this blog's title made me pause and think.

So did, "Who is John Simons' favorite fictional character?" "What smells does John associate with his childhood kitchen?" and "Whom does he secretly admire?"

Certainly I could answer all of the above (Okay, I punted on John's favorite fictional character), yet typing out the responses solidified personality traits and moral worldviews, making me feel closer to the charcters and more confident to tell their story.

Of course, listening to the music James Onohan (http://www.jamesonohan.com/) composed for Bryony through headphones (so as not to wake the sleeping household) definitely set the mood, too.

All in all, not a bad way to spend a snowed-in night.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

A Bit of Blogger's Block

Do you kow the feeling? When you have a bunch of ideas rolling around in your head, but they won't come together?

Yep, that's me (grammatically incorrect, but the correct one sounds wrong) this morning. So how does one fix it?

For today, it's some quick sharing of details:

1) Progress on Hentry's story in Before the Blood is still slow, but somewhat steady. It's not the lack of ideas per se, but the particular detail and voices I wish to convey. Those take time to develop, as does the particulars of the time period and culture. No doubt about it. Research significantly slows the process. 

2) I find that rereading other parts of the novel, even those parts that belong to John, Kellen and Bryony, keep me connected with the story while giving some rest to the part of my brain that's focused on Henry.

3) Still, I do have to actually WRITE. And that is done in pieces and bits.

4) While I'm making uneven progress on the work-in-progress, Rebekah is helping with some other aspects of the BryonySeries, again in an uneven progression, as she is busy, too. More on this as we get things done.

Have a great and wonderful day! :)