Friday, March 27, 2020

Story Round-Up: Features in The Herald-News, March 22 through March 27

Super busy Friday (what else is new?) and looking forward to a great at-home weekend.

I have a Cornell breakfast with Timothy (at home) where we'll outline the next book in The Adventures of Cornell Dyer series and (hopefully) finalize two key pages on the updated BryonySeries website: Fetes and Feasts and Sue's Diner.

And then I have quite a few notes to carefully read regarding the first several chapters of The Phoenix, the latest story in the BryonySeries.

Two people reached out to me and asked if they could be beta readers. One read the "drop of blood trilogy" when it first came out and the other hasn't read any of my books. Both readers have very different responses to these first few chapters (one overall likes it, the other overall dislikes it), so I'm very interested to learn what is and what is not working for them.

On the editing front, I have the final changes to make to Phyllis' memoir and the second round of editing for a client to tackle, which I started last week.

Be safe, be well, be full of joy and hope.

Non-bylined features:

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

Or search by topic (people, pets, A and E, faith, health, and food) at theherald-news.com.

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 join 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.

Upcoming events:

Once Timothy Baran is done updating this page, these will listed here: https://www.bryonyseries.com/fetes-and-feasts

Books and Such

Information on my books (including where to buy) along with upcoming events is at bryonyseries.com.

Questions?

Email me at bryonyseries@gmail.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.


What it’s like getting tested for COVID-19

Will County resident had been in contact with someone else who tested positive for coronavirus 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/19/what-its-like-getting-tested-for-covid-19/adq9bhn/


I home-schooled; you can, too
Tips and encouragement for educating your child during COVID-19

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/20/i-home-schooled-you-can-too/aa79rh2/


Tips for homeschooling during the shutdown: 'It's not public school at home'
Parents scramble to find resources to keep children learning, engaged

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/20/tips-for-homeschooling-during-the-shutdown-its-not-public-school-at-home/a28byof/


Joliet-area stores offer special senior hours for shopping

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/20/joliet-area-stores-offer-special-senior-hours-for-shopping/ansif6a/


LocalLit essay New Lenox student Taylor Issa
'A Sailor’s Experience as part of Christopher Columbus’ First Expedition to the Americas' 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/03/locallit-essay-new-lenox-student-taylor-issa/akaj8i2/


10 tips for caring for a pet during the COVID-19 pandemic

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/20/10-tips-for-caring-for-a-pet-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/a34byc9/


Owners of companion animals: practice good hygiene, especially during coronavirus

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/20/owners-of-companion-animals-practice-good-hygiene/aj4phnz/


Will County resident tested for COVID-19 finally gets test results

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/23/will-county-resident-tested-for-covid-19-finally-gets-test-results/a6rbqej/


Fighting back against COVID-19: treatments and vaccines in development

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/23/fighting-back-against-covid-19-treatments-and-vaccines-in-development/a7dzi9a/


Hand sanitizer is not your car’s best friend
Crest Hill Milex owner gives tips for safely keeping cars disinfected

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/24/hand-sanitizer-is-not-your-cars-best-friend/a9d34z2/


Convenience foods during the coronavirus - here's what's trending 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/03/convenience-foods-during-the-coronavirus-heres-whats-trending/d4n4rj3/


LocalLit book review: 'Miracle of an Ordinary Guy' by Michael Altenhoff of Plainfield 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/23/locallit-book-review-miracle-of-an-ordinary-guy-by-michael-altenhoff-of-plainfield/a4v0b2d/


Joliet food pantry director worried about running out of food

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/25/joliet-food-pantry-director-worried-about-running-out-of-food/aluwf84/


Joliet-area teachers take to the streets
Social distancing parades provide safe, in-person connections

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/26/joliet-area-teachers-take-to-the-streets/dbrhwr1/


LocalLit book spotlight: 'Necessary Death' by R. Michael Markley of Joliet 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/26/locallit-book-spotlight-necessary-death-by-r-michael-of-joliet/arrrc87/



Illustration by Matt Coundiff for "Visage."

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Five Facts From History the BryonySeries Taught Me, Part Two

In the first post of this kind, I'd mentioned how part of the fun of writing novels with a historical basis is, well, learning the history behind them.

Here are five more facts about history I didn't know before I wrote the BryonySeries prequel, Before The Blood.

1) I learned A LOT about one of the most brutal wars in human history, a war of which I had almost no knowledge before the research.

And that war is the 30 Years War.

2) A variation of vichyssoise can be made with two other ingredients - and now I want to try this version.

The ingredients are almonds and grapes.

3) I learned the lyrics more cowboy songs I ever knew existed - and two lines to one from the Civil War won't leave my head.

The lines are:

 I'm lonesome since I crossed the hill
And over the moor that's sedgy
Such lonely thoughts my heart do fill

Since parting with my Betsy

And I discovered the music to many of them on YouTube.

4) I can name a number of restaurants that no longer exist in Chicago - and tell you what they served.

Here's one: Henrici's.

5) I had never heard of cordgrass - but now I know what it is and where it grows - and why (even though the "why" didn't make it into the story).

You can see a photo here.



Illustration by Kathleen Rose Van Pelt for "Bryony."

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Story Round-Up: Features in The Herald-News, March 8 through March 20

Good morning, readers, writers, and BryonySeries fans! :)

On Friday, I started to post this list of stories from the last couple weeks and then the day turned upside down and continued into Saturday.

I then spent the rest of the weekend catching up on life stuff and working on a couple of novels (one of which, ironically, has elements of quarantine, but I'd started it months for the pandemic, so here we are).

The blog has been all but abandoned in the madness of the last couple weeks, so I was more than pleasantly surprised to see the number of readers who've popped in anyway.

In addition to useful information about the coronavirus, these stories include some inspiration - and a glimpse of life that's disappeared in the last couple of weeks.

Be safe, be well, be full of joy and hope.

Non-bylined features:

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

Or search by topic (people, pets, A&E, faith, health, and food) at theherald-news.com.

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 join 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.

Upcoming events:

Once Timothy Baran is done updating this page, these will listed here: https://www.bryonyseries.com/fetes-and-feasts

Books and Such

Information on my books (including where to buy) along with upcoming events is at bryonyseries.com.

Questions?

Email me at bryonyseries@gmail.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.


Joliet teacher experienced racism - and has a solution

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/04/joliet-teacher-experienced-racism-and-has-a-solution/de1cgml/


Tips for preserving financial  during the coronavirus

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/12/tips-for-preserving-financial-health-during-the-coronavirus/a2zpxtl/


An Extraordinary Life: Gae Luchowski was a trailblazer for women in law enforcement in Will County

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/25/an-extraordinary-life-gae-luchowski-was-a-trailblazer-for-women-in-law-enforcement-in-will-county/dyxvjj9/


Joliet Junior College alumna experienced racism because of the coronavirus

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/16/joliet-junior-college-alumna-experience-racism-because-of-the-coronavirus/ahwnk2v/


Not all Joliet area churches closed this past Sunday
Some Eastern Rite churches offered Communion, too

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/16/not-all-joliet-area-churches-closed-this-past-sunday/ahk9ynf/


Plainfield church to offer drive-thru prayer

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/16/plainfield-church-to-offer-drive-thru-prayer/aohb97r/


Joliet shelters still open during pandemic

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/17/joliet-shelters-still-open-during-pandemic/atwsf1k/


Food bank meeting increased need in Will, Grundy counties
Find out where to get food, how to help distribute food

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/17/food-bank-meeting-increased-need-in-will-grundy-counties/apth1sc/


Plainfield restaurant gives free food to kids
Other resources in the community, too

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/17/plainfield-restaurant-gives-free-food-to-kids/ahjj90s/


Embers Tap House in Lockport adds home-style choices to menu, accepts cash

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/18/embers-tap-house-in-lockport-adds-home-style-choices-to-menu-accepts-cash/dgrz1g2/


It's that time of year again
The reason behind Daylight Saving Time

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/05/its-that-time-of-year-ago/dh6nc3c/


She plays with fire where few see her
Minooka native training in underwater welding 

https://www.theherald-news.com/lists/2020/02/26/8ab9c07560b34ec1a2f3b82a84c5c0b9/index.xml?page=1


'He was an all-around great guy'
Elwood resident was the go-to man for car knowledge

https://www.theherald-news.com/lists/2020/03/03/956270c6357847a8986759da5457ab74/index.xml?page=1


The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak may impact pets

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/04/the-coronavirus-disease-covid-19-outbreak-may-impact-pets/d2aqk6x/


Culinary event for Joliet organization celebrated 25th anniversary

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/02/culinary-event-for-joliet-organization-celebrated-25th-anniversary/do6remw/


Try the ‘Irish Spring’ cocktail for St. Patrick’s Day

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/11/try-the-irish-spring-cocktail-for-st-patricks-day/a45ex7c/


LocalLit essay by Plainfield East High School student Nolan Hull
'Our American Heritage and Our Responsibility for Preserving It' 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/02/locallit-essay-by-plainfield-east-high-school-student-nolan-hull/adj9hss/


When children grieve a pregnancy loss 
Joliet-area parents share their experiences

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/05/when-children-grieve-a-pregnancy-loss/ddptj09/


Event cancellations raise anxiety among Joliet-area freelancers

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/19/event-cancellations-raise-anxiety-among-joliet-area-freelancers/dvwszc7/


Troy, Joliet teachers keeping students connected to literacy during COVID-19

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/17/troy-joliet-teachers-keeping-students-connected-to-literacy-during-covid-19/almveva/


LocalLit book spotlight: 'Miracle of an Ordinary Guy' by Michael Altenhoff of Plainfield
inspirational #Cancer 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/19/locallit-book-spotlight-miracle-of-an-ordinary-guy-by-michael-altenhoff-of-plainfield/ayg4zt8/




Thursday, March 19, 2020

Community News: March 16, March 17, March 18, 2020

Check out the awesome things people are doing.

If you live within the Herald-News' coverage area (most of Will and Grundy counties in Illinois), and you'd like to share the good your organization is doing, email the information to new@theherald-news.com.


D-202 students place at German competition 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/13/d-202-students-place-at-german-competition/an2794z/


Pets of the Week: March 16

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/10/pets-of-the-week-march-16/do3t9zg/


39 Providence Catholic students earn AP Scholar award

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/12/39-providence-catholic-students-earn-ap-scholar-award/al0g9f/


Troy school board names two new administrators

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/04/troy-school-board-names-two-new-administrators/aukz4pd/


'Link between abuse to animals and violence against humans is undisputed'
Glasgow has been named one of 'American’s Top Ten Animal Defenders' by the ALDF

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/11/link-between-abuse-to-animals-and-violence-against-humans-is-undisputed/dqyq2y9/


VVSD to provide Emergency Meals for Kids program in Romeoville, Bolingbrook 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/16/vvsd-to-provide-emergency-meals-for-kids-program-in-romeoville-bolingbrook/av2zb6u/


NEWSLETTERS

Sign up for the Will County Go Guide

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


Sign up for the LocalLit Short Story Newsletter

http://www.theherald-news.com/newsletter/locallit/


Sign up for The Munsonville Times

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


Illustration by Kathleen Rose Van Pelt for "Bryony."


Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Thank You, Aaron D. Brinker

On Twitter recently, Aaron D. Brinker, who writes in multipe genres (including horror and thriller), asked if any author wanted to be featured on his blog.

So I messaged him.

Brinker's blog is mostly interviews with other authors with a standard questions and answer format.

However, many of the questions are not standard and made me think.

And the post itself was retweeted more times than I could count by other authors (including authors that people I personally know follow, a very pleasant surprise).

However, between working for the media during a pandemic and a smattering of family emergencies, I was not one of the people sharing that post (multiple head thumps for me).

So here it is, for your enjoyment today. 


And please poke around his website a bit. You might discover a new author.

Thank you again, Aaron D. Brinker, for the opportunity.


Illustration by Kathleen Rose Van Pelt for "Bryony."





Monday, March 16, 2020

Taking a Break from the Coronavirus

COVID-19 has been on my mind a lot this past week especially.

Not only am I one of those borderline high risk people (almost sixty, I have asthma, and my insurance just refused to pay for my medicine - but no worries, I paid full price and will continue to take it), I work for a daily publication where updating the community about the pandemic feel near-constant.

Top that with some family emergencies, and it's been an interesting two weeks.

So Saturday, I stopped most of life and "hunkered down" with one of the two novels I've been first drafting and found I'd made some real genuine process.

Last weekend, I'd experienced a slight return of the muse, but not until I re-read last week's work (apparently manuscript distancing slows the spread of the infection "author self-doubt") did I fully realize the progress I'd made.

Part of that is due to a new method of approaching this particular novel (The Phoenix, the first in the Limbo trilogy, yes, part of the BryonySeries).

For my first novel (Bryony), I wrote scenes as they came to me and used them to help structure the novel. It was fun seeing them come together, too. I call this the "Golden Spike" approach.

For the rest of my novels, I used outlines for the book and each chapter. In most cases, I had the first and last sentences of the books and chapters written before I "painted by number with words," working in order of each chapter in a linear progression.

Neither approach was working with The Phoenix.

Over Christmas break, I did outline the novel and each chapter. 

I do have the first and last sentences written.

But I remained disconnected with the characters and overall story line. I started, and then abandoned, character questionnaires because they weren't helping.

So last weekend, I reread through everything and added a little to each chapter. That helped.

I didn't know how much it helped until I re-read everything this past weekend.

So this weekend, I did the same. I added to each chapter in both linear and non-linear ways.

I call this "macro to micro writing."

And I will continue in this fashion until this half of the novel is done.

Not sure if that will work with the other half (the novel is two parallel story lines).

But I will cross that time zone when I reach it.



Thursday, March 12, 2020

Community News: March 11, 2020 (and a quick commentary)

Good morning readers, writers, and BryonySeries fans!

Some extra assignments at work this morning means it's an extremely compressed day.

So in perfect BryonySeries "Harold Matthews" style, I'll leave you with a nice quote from literature and my best best that your day is full of blessings.


"All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost; the old that is strong does not wither, deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken, a light from the shadows shall spring; renenwed shall be blade that was broken, the crownless again shall be king."

—J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring



Check out the awesome things people are doing.

If you live within the Herald-News' coverage area (most of Will and Grundy counties in Illinois), and you'd like to share your organization's news or upcoming events, email the information to new@theherald-news.com.


Joliet Township High School congratulates February Students of the Month 

https://www.theherald-news.com/lists/2020/03/04/cd3c12116c38480d9f313cb06129d924/index.xml?page=1


Plainfield North HS student builds micro-food pantry for Eagle Scout project 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/11/plainfield-north-hs-student-builds-micro-food-pantry-for-eagle-scout-project/dlxsxk5/


Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Heart in Frankfort to host Lenten programs

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/06/franciscan-sisters-of-the-sacred-heart-in-frankfort-to-host-lenten-programs/a5kk05u/


Joliet church to host Lenten event

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/06/joliet-church-to-host-lenten-event/a2do990/


Joliet students make bible covers 

https://www.theherald-news.com/articles/2020/03/06/190741f8ae6f46c4a17d72bf78fac87b/index.xml


NEWSLETTERS

Sign up for the Will County Go Guide

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


Sign up for the LocalLit Short Story Newsletter

http://www.theherald-news.com/newsletter/locallit/


Sign up for The Munsonville Times

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



Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Community News: March 10, 2020

Check out the awesome things people are doing.

If you live within the Herald-News' coverage area (most of Will and Grundy counties in Illinois), and you'd like to share your organization's news or upcoming events, email the information to new@theherald-news.com.



Pets of the Week: March 9

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/02/pets-of-the-week-march-9/drju16i/


Joliet telethon seeks volunteers

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/04/joliet-telethon-seeks-volunteers/ae6kzfv/


Sorority presents débutantes to Joliet community

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/04/sorority-presents-debutantes-to-joliet-community/dvsifsd/


Lewis University students place 3rd in cyber defense competition 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/05/lewis-university-students-place-3rd-in-cyber-defense-competition/ap61euy/


Plainfield students learn about 'math construction' 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/06/plainfield-students-learn-about-math-construction/aiypzzp/


NEWLETTERS


Sign up for the Will County Go Guide

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


Sign up for the LocalLit Short Story Newsletter

http://www.theherald-news.com/newsletter/locallit/


Sign up for The Munsonville Times

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

Recipe for Victorian Sponge Gingerbread

Sharing an old post (and even older recipe).

It's simple to make and so delicious, I'm wondering now why we never made it again.

Perhaps we will this weekend.


Thursday, March 28, 2013
Recipe for Victorian Sponge Gingerbread

I asked Rebekah to pick a recipe she'd like to make as a birthday cake for my oldest son's birthday on Saturday, and this is the one she chose.

Yes, my thirty-one year old son still looks forward to his giant chocolate chip cookie, but since Christopher also likes ginger cookies, etc., we decided to try this cake recipe, too. This recipe originally appeared in Miss Beecher’s domestic receiptbook: designed as a supplement to her Treatise on domestic economy.


Sponge Gingerbread

1 cup sour milk

1 cup molasses

1/2 cup butter

2 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoon saleratus (We're going to substitute baking soda and see how that works)

1 great spoonful of ginger

Flour to make it as thick as pound cake

Put the butter, molasses and ginger together, and make them quite warm, then add the milk, flour, and saleratus, and bake as soon as possible.

Note: It doesn't say when to add the eggs. I'm thinking about beating them into the milk. Thoughts?



Illustration by Matt Coundiff for "Memories in the Kitchen: Bites and Nibbles from "Bryony." 

Monday, March 9, 2020

Community News: March 7 and March 9, 2020

Check out the awesome things people are doing.

If you live within the Herald-News' coverage area (most of Will and Grundy counties in Illinois), and you'd like to share your organization's news or upcoming events, email the information to new@theherald-news.com.


D. 202 middle school students headed to Will County regional spelling bee

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/04/d-202-middle-school-students-headed-to-will-county-regional-spelling-bee/akctbzo/


Joliet grade schools celebrate Black History Month

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/05/joliet-grade-schools-celebrate-black-history-month/ai9mmyq/


Joliet Junior College to present 'A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum' 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/04/joliet-junior-college-to-present-a-funny-thing-happened-on-the-way-to-the-forum/aqnrzqw/


Students invited to participate in Congressional Art Competition for Third District

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/04/students-invited-to-participate-in-congressional-art-competition-for-third-district/ae4ocka/


Forest Preserve’s ‘Pelican Watch’ in #Channahon features hikes and hands-on activities
Many other animal-themed programs offered in March, too 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/04/forest-preserves-pelican-watch-in-channahon-features-hikes-and-hands-on-activities/as0bnu2/


Louis Joliet Chapter NSDAR recognizes students

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/04/louis-joliet-chapter-nsdar-recognizes-students/dts7scq/


Plainfield students to compete at DECA state conference 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/04/plainfield-students-to-compete-at-deca-state-conference/am1w6p/


NEWSLETTERS

Sign up for the Will County Go Guide

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


Sign up for the LocalLit Short Story Newsletter

http://www.theherald-news.com/newsletter/locallit/


Sign up for The Munsonville Times

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


Illustration by Matt Coundiff for "Visage."


How to Coax a Stubborn Muse

Although I wouldn't go so far as accusing my muse (Warren Peace) of "ghosting" me, it's certainly been uninspired and unreliable lately.

But it did reappear in small and significant ways this weekend, enough that I'm happy with the progress I'm making on one of my new novels (no time to open the second one).

How did I coax the muse out of hiding? It's mostly a matter of training and persistence, like teaching your kid to take out the trash.

Honestly, I have no idea why the muse decided to get busy this weekend, but I'm glad it did.

However, here's a few suggestions that often work for me.


1) Show up.

While that may seem like a no-brainer, that does help.

Sitting at the computer (or preferred writing area) and actually opening up the manuscript are good first steps.

2) Bring the muse its favorite drink.

Warren Peace likes dark roast coffee. Hot.

Find out what your muse likes and keep a nice supply handy - along with a microwave for warmups.

3) Put yourself in your muse's shoes.

Think about all the times the muse DID show up, and you DIDN'T.

My muse tends to nap on weekends and then show up at the most inconvenient times (such as when I'm on deadline at work or trying to sleep at night).

For all the "not now, dear; I'm busy" excuses I've given my muse when it's been ready to write, I should be more understanding when it tells me the same thing.

Could your muse too busy with distractions? Sulking at being stood up too many times?

Knowing the reason goes a long way to addressing it.

4) Take time to warm up.

As in any exercise, a few stretches helps the workout. Why should a mental one be any different?

Don't expect your muse to sprint at full speed.

Try this: Reread work from the past weeks and soon your muse will be racing.

5) Keep tidbits of inspiration handy.

People don't work well on an empty stomach. Well, a muse doesn't work well on an empty mind.

Have little inspirational snacks ready (a favorite quote, a deadline, a timer) to ensure the muse is able to work at a somewhat steady face.

But don't overfeed it when it's supposed to work.

Overfeeding the muse can quickly turn into a twelve-course meal of surfing social media and clicking from link to unrelated link, which may put your muse into snooze mode.

6) Give the muse room to wander.

You really want to finish chapter five but the muse has great dialogue for chapter twelve? Go with it!

You like to write in sequence but the muse has ideas for scenes in three different chapters you haven't even tackled yet? Explore that!

Or simply write as the muse dictates, in a free flowing way without expectations as to where the it (sentence, paragraph, chapter, etc.) will wind up. The best journeys sometimes come with no expectations.

7) Praise your muse.

We spend so much time "killing our darlings" that we forget to give our muse a pat on the wisp and let it know when it's done a good job, and we are really, really pleased.

"What a clever sentence" and "Great plot twist!" gives your muse the encouragement it needs to keep producing for you.

8) Don't be a relentless taskmaster.

Look for signs your muse is organically slowing down and know when to give it a rest. A rested muse is happier to work for you.

On the other hand...

9) Don't let your muse deceive you.

Muses are fickle by nature and, like many of us on the weekends, would rather chill and be lazy.

Get to know your muse well enough so you can differentiate between a muse that is exhausted and one that feigns fatigue so it can watch mindless hours of Netflix.

10) Reward your muse and give generously to it.

Muses love good music and good books. Keep a large supply on hand.

For AFTER the writing work is done.








Illustration by Christopher Gleason for "Staked!" Follow him at artworkbytopher.com.

Friday, March 6, 2020

Community News: March 5 and March 6

Check out the awesome things people are doing.

If you live within the Herald-News' coverage area (most of Will and Grundy counties in Illinois), and you'd like to share your organization's news or upcoming events, email the information to new@theherald-news.com.



Dine at Culver’s donate to Silver Cross in New Lenox 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/25/dine-at-culvers-donate-to-silver-cross-in-new-lenox/aqq4yti/


Learn about cultures, taste new food, at Frankfort event

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/03/learn-about-cultures-taste-new-food-at-frankfort-event/avk8q8p/


D.157-C encourages spread of positivity during Frankfort Kindness Project 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/27/d-157-c-encourages-spread-of-positivity-during-frankfort-kindness-project/a9580em/


D. 202 in Plainfield to host musicals this spring

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/26/d-202-in-plainfield-to-host-musicals-this-spring/akg7hq6/


Plus three new stories that posted:

This library's gone to the dark side 
White Oak Library district to offer 'Monsters and Myths of March' 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/03/this-librarys-gone-to-the-dark-side/ajjoro2/


'I see the world through a rectangular frame'
Homer Glen photographer exhibiting artwork at Joliet cafe

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/25/i-see-the-world-through-a-rectangular-frame/dvl55j1/


LocalLit book review: 'Mouse in the House' by J.L. Callison of Aurora

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/02/locallit-book-review-mouse-in-the-house-by-j-l-callison-of-aurora/aqzwawp/



NEWSLETTERS

Sign up for the Will County Go Guide

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


Sign up for the LocalLit Short Story Newsletter

http://www.theherald-news.com/newsletter/locallit/


Sign up for The Munsonville Times

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




Illustration by Christopher Gleason for "Staked!" Follow him at artworkbytopher.comartworkbytopher.com.

Story Round-Up: Features in The Herald-News, March 1 through March 6

Wow!

There's lot to read and view here, so I'll keep commentary short and simple.

I hope you're having a great start to your Friday and that it continues to go well.

I hope your weekend is even better.

And send up good thoughts for me that I'll get lots of writing down on my two novels in progress this weekend.

The muse has been a little slow to activate, and I find myself defaulting to reading good books instead of writing them.

Non-bylined features:

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

Or search by topic (people, pets, A&E, faith, health, and food) at theherald-news.com.

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 join 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.

Upcoming events:

Once Timothy Baran is done updating this page, these will listed here: https://www.bryonyseries.com/fetes-and-feasts

Books and Such

Information on my books (including where to buy) along with upcoming events is at bryonyseries.com.

Questions?

Email me at bryonyseries@gmail.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.


'I wanted to leave a record of my 100 years'
New Lenox man and former Herald-News retiree celebrating milestone birthday on Sunday

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/25/i-wanted-to-leave-a-record-of-my-100-years/d7a1qi4/


VIDEO: Hopping on a boxcar
Lyle Wiggins of New Lenox, who turned 100 today, talks about the unusual way he found a summer job.

https://www.theherald-news.com/video/id/d81a837e-e07b-4bc3-ac90-825f378d2d4c.html


VIDEO: Transporting the wounded
Lyle Wiggins, a former Herald-News employee, discusses one of his jobs during World War II.

https://www.theherald-news.com/video/id/6fe7237d-4ade-4568-b549-a50e37390cce.html


A new way to get events published in The Herald-News

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/19/a-new-way-to-get-events-published-in-the-herald-news/a6c0njh/


Not quite ready for the wild life
Release of an owl in Plainfield on Friday runs into glitch

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/27/not-quite-ready-for-the-wild-life/d9hwlj2/


'His spirit was so strong and positive'
Mokena man was strong in music and ministry

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/24/his-spirit-was-so-strong-and-positive/dupvn9q/


'Prescription yoga' for your individual needs
Minooka studio offers yoga therapy to help address a wide range of wellness issues

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/25/prescription-yoga-for-your-individual-needs/d4mg6rz/


'I rap for the unchurched'
Joliet gospel artist spreading the good news through music

https://www.theherald-news.com/lists/2020/02/19/9b5ea1c7067b46b29006ef00a0131823/index.xml?page=1


These Minooka HS teens make thrifting cool
'Shop' for free at their next pop-up store on March 14

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/02/these-minooka-hs-teens-make-thrifting-cool/dorwc01/


Make this quick and easy sautéed salmon at home

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/03/make-this-quick-and-easy-sauteed-salmon-at-home/avyy2el/


Come out and try alligator, elk and venison nachos on March 14 in Plainfield

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/03/come-out-and-try-alligator-elk-and-venison-nachos-on-march-14-at-plainfield-church/a3pi76s/


LocalLit spotlight: Plainfield East High School student Nolan Hull

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/02/locallit-spotlight-plainfield-east-high-school-student-nolan-hull/acfbx1x/


This library's gone to the dark side 
White Oak Library district to offer 'Monsters and Myths of March' 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/03/this-librarys-gone-to-the-dark-side/ajjoro2/


'I see the world through a rectangular frame'
Homer Glen photographer exhibiting artwork at Joliet cafe

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/25/i-see-the-world-through-a-rectangular-frame/dvl55j1/


LocalLit book review: 'Mouse in the House' by J.L. Callison of Aurora

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/03/02/locallit-book-review-mouse-in-the-house-by-j-l-callison-of-aurora/aqzwawp/


Illustration by Matt Coundiff for "Visage."


Thursday, March 5, 2020

BryonySeries Throwback Thursday: “Federigo’s Falcon”


As part of my BryonySeries social media posting, I often include links to stories or poems that from the time period of that echo the themes.

Back in my family's homeschooling day, we read a lot of literature, far more literature than I'd ever read at one period in my life.

Here is a posting from the early days of the blog about one of those pieces, along with a link so that you may enjoy it, too.


Friday, August 24, 2012

“Federigo’s Falcon” (from "The Decameron"), by Giovanni Boccaccio

Yesterday, Daniel and I read Federigo’s Falcon by the early Renaissance Italian storyteller Giovanni Boccaccio. The selection is from The Decameron, a collection of ten tales told over a period of ten days by each of the people fleeing from the plague in Florence.

The story centers around a rich young man, Federigo, who is frenetically in love with a married woman. He spends his entire fortune trying to gain her attention and fails. Finally, the poor man owns nothing in the world but his beloved falcon.

One day, after the woman's husband dies and her son is near death, she asks the boy for his final wish. 
The boy states that he might return to health if he can possess Federigo's falcon. So off the woman goes, knowing full well she had spurned Federigo's affections in the past, to ask him to give her the bird.



Illustration by Kathleen Rose Van Pelt for "Bryony"

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Community News: March 3 and March 4, 2020

Check out the awesome things people are doing.

If you live within the Herald-News' coverage area (most of Will and Grundy counties in Illinois), and you'd like to share your organization's news or upcoming events, email the information to new@theherald-news.com.


Troy Shorewood students lead clothing drive, kindness challenge

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/27/troy-shorewood-students-lead-clothing-drive-kindness-challenge/ax1leb4/


My Joyful Heart in Mokena hosting pillow drive

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/27/my-joyful-heart-in-mokena-hosting-pillow-drive/abq5mhl/


Frankfort students make blankets for Project Linus

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/27/frankfort-students-make-blankets-for-project-linus/a21yyj5/


Students compete at #Joliet D. 86 STEM Extravaganza 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/27/students-compete-at-joliet-d-86-stem-extravaganza/a50rppy/


State Rep. Batinick visits Liberty Elementary School in Plainfield

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/27/state-rep-batinick-visits-liberty-elementary-school-in-plainfield/a4115f/


Pets of the Week: March 2

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/25/pets-of-the-week-march-2/ds1u5zw/


Two good blogs to check out


"Finding Focus and Holding Focus" by James Pressler 

http://www.writingandtheprocess.com/2020/02/find-focus-and-holding-focus.html?fbclid=IwAR1cqYXEYq56qYHsJ7h8vT3nXCuokMaVacLr3a0rSZXxu4dydgim_vJKJ3M


"The Holy Rolling Barnstorming Tour of 2020" by Tom Hernandez

https://tomhernandezblog.wordpress.com/2020/03/03/the-holy-rolling-barnstorming-tour-of-2020/?fbclid=IwAR1wQBMH9mZy_7iuTTKmX0jaXDM1ZBeTpSB6A0wBbONMDP6iHHoiL4OV-I0


NEWSLETTERS


Sign up for the Will County Go Guide

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


Sign up for the LocalLit Short Story Newsletter

http://www.theherald-news.com/newsletter/locallit/


Sign up for The Munsonville Times

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


Illustration by Kathleen Rose VAn Pelt for "Bryony."

"A Funny Thing Happened on the way to The Open Mic..." Jim Pressler

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

"Bryony" 30-Day Countdown Quotes


Before I released my first book back in the dark ages of 2011, my oldest daughter Sarah (created my first website and managed most of my social media), asked me to pull thirty quotes from the book ("Bryony") that she could post each day in the month following publication.

Today, I still post a quote a day from various books on the BryonySeries Facebook page.

For your reading pleasure, and since we are VERY close to finally releasing the audio book version of Bryony, here are the original thirty.

Bryony 30-Day Countdown Quotes:

Prologue: As the fog rolled inland off the lake, the approaching dusk grew uncommonly gloomy.

1)      Brian seemed fine with moving, but, after all, he was only eleven. He'd be okay if a spaceship teleported him to Mars. Chapter 1: Welcome to Munsonville.

2)      Ghost stories are more fascinating than truth, which, sad to say, can be boring." Chapter 2: There's No Such Thing as a Ghost

3)      “Charm! Wait until you see Mr. Walczak. He’s a regular Dr. Moreau.” Chapter 3: The School Report

4)      “I’m going to belt the next old lady that kisses me.” Brian wiped lipstick off his mouth with the back of his hand. “Yuck, yuck, yuck and super yuck.” Chapter 5: Blood Relatives. Brian Marchellis, Melissa Marchellis’ younger brother

5)      When Mr. Masters arrived at the line, “The bride kissed the goblet, the knight took it up,” she scribbled with haste, “He’s our teacher?” Chapter 6: A Job Well Done. 

6)      Melissa couldn’t understand the fierce emotions for a stupid, fishing competition. The fishermen bickered with each other over each fish’s weight and debated the integrity of contest guidelines. Chapter 7: The Centennial. 

7)      The white was so bright in the darkness that Melissa wondered if the figure clutched a piece of the moon. Whatever he held, the being brought to his lips. Chapter 8: The Night is Darkest. 
8)      Dr. Anderson certainly appeared competent, not the country doctor she expected. At any rate, anemia didn’t seem very serious. Chapter 9: The Music Box. 

9)      Never in her life had she continued dreaming after she was alert. However, the other explanation was simply out of the question. Melissa was way past the age for believing in ghosts. Chapter 10: When Good Dreams Go Bad.).

10)  “Oh, it’s just you,” Steve said. He sighed with relief, and added, “I wondered who let the vampire in here.” Chapter 11: Tricks are Treats. 

11)  She hated to go there alone; she knew how much John disliked it when she did, but there didn’t seem to be any choice. She knew she could not stay here. Chapter 12: A Fair Trade. 


12)  She hesitated, then set it for the regular time. If John Simons was real, he didn’t require an alarm clock to prompt him. Chapter 13: Who Needs Church? Melissa Marchellis (as narrator)

13)  Melissa opened her mouth to retort, but Brian had changed completely into a little, pink pig, who sat on his chair wearing a plaid shirt. Chapter 14: Weekend in Detroit

14)  “Mr. John” certainly made a lot of Bryony’s decisions, something she was unprepared to hear. Perhaps, it was because Bryony was so young and innocent that she relied on John’s wisdom and experience. Chapter 15: Playing Bryony. 

15)  “Over one thousand different parasites can live in or on the human body,” he added. “Can anyone think of some?” Chapter 16: School Daze. 

16)  John always appeared dignified and formal, but this man behaved as if someone designed the suit with him in mind. Every line of his clothing fit him to perfection. Chapter 17: That Mysterious, Handsome Man. 

17)  “I died once and landed here. What should happen to me a second time, I hardly imagine. Why tempt fate?” Chapter 18: It Couldn’t Be Masters. 

18)   Mr. Masters closed his eyes and his voice boomed with emotion. A hero? She could not reconcile that term with the comical figure at the head of the room. Chapter 19: Daring to Dream. 

19)  “You only have to verbally agree to join my harem. This way, I make wives left and right.” Chapter 20: Confusion in the Closet. Ed

20)  He waited for Melissa’s response, but none arrived, so he leaned forward, smiled at her, and said, “Aren’t you feeling more secure now?” Chapter 21: Fetes and Feasts. 

21)  “Don’t be angry. I meant no harm. I’ve never met another host before. Everyone I always meet is dead.” Chapter 22: Lisa Harding. 

22)  Melissa flashed a bright smile. “I’m thankful for new experiences!” Well, it was true. Chapter 23. What Melissa Learned from Fr. Alexis. 

23)  At the first rrrip, Snowbell abandoned the garland and darted to Brian. Two paws pounced on the box’s edge, then she stretched her crooked neck over the top and peered inside at its contents. Chapter 24: It’s No Use. 

24)  She felt the heavy brocade of the dress before she reopened her eyes, and her hopes soared, until she smelled the conspicuous fragrance of many, lavish bouquets of roses. Chapter 25: A Lesson in Love. 

25)  Alarmed by those words, Melissa scrutinized his appearance. Henry looked pale, even for a vampire. Nevertheless, if something really was wrong with him, Melissa was fairly certain he would not share it with her. Chapter 26: Sick and Tired. 

26)   The man raised his glass for a close view of Melissa. “Good Lord!” he said. “This one is the spitting image of you. A tremendous family you have.” Chapter 27: A Real Date. 

27)  Flinging the covers back, Melissa stood up and walked to the window. She opened the curtains and peered outside, but the night was crystal clear and full of stars. There was not the tiniest wisp of mist anywhere. Chapter 28: Gone. 

28)  “Between our murmurings, my angel asked me, ‘Kellen, how would like to escape death?’ Now that was an intriguing question, considering the moment was impending.” Chapter 29: Up in Smoke. 

29)  Then again, maybe, Darlene was right when, the day they frosted cookies, she said there was more than one way to love somebody. Chapter 30: The Second Time is Harder. 





Monday, March 2, 2020

Community News: Feb. 28 and Feb. 29, 2020

Check out the awesome things people are doing.

If you live within the Herald-News' coverage area (most of Will and Grundy counties in Illinois), and you'd like to share your organization's news or upcoming events, email the information to new@theherald-news.com.

At the bottom of these links is an outstanding piece by WriteOn Joliet member Holly Coop.


Escanaba in da Moonlight’ opens March 6 in Morris

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/26/escanaba-in-da-moonlight-opens-march-6-in-morris/a8g8w53/


Troy school hosts daddy-daughter dance

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/19/troy-school-hosts-daddy-daughter-dance/atb0gxm/


Grundy County SWCD to host fish and tree sales

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/26/grundy-county-swcd-to-host-fish-and-tree-sales/afek0pp/


Joliet West speech team wins 4th consecutive conference championship

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/26/joliet-west-speech-team-wins-4th-consecutive-conference-championship/a356sfd/


Apply now for the youth corps at Midewin in Wilmington 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/26/apply-now-for-the-youth-corps-at-midewin-in-wilmington/as0h8vz/


Multistate E. coli outbreak Linked to sprouts at Jimmy John’s

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/27/multistate-e-coli-outbreak-linked-to-sprouts-at-jimmy-johns/avibvbd/


Troy 30-C coach named 2020 Distinguished Middle School Coach of the Year

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/19/troy-30-c-coach-named-2020-distinguished-middle-school-coach-of-the-year/a5h7xfj/



And check out this brief post by Holly Coop for a bit of inspiration:

"I decided to turn over a new attitude instead of a new leaf."

https://writerbeeme.blogspot.com/2019/01/what-are-you-reading-these-days.html?m=1&fbclid=IwAR3jGjlRvdHD_q6wpzgAfJqNyJq1jHKolSUViCBDzNvi3wJvOyhN9FZbCvY



NEWSLETTERS

Sign up for the Will County Go Guide

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


Sign up for the LocalLit Short Story Newsletter

http://www.theherald-news.com/newsletter/locallit/


Sign up for The Munsonville Times

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



Illustration by Kathleen Rose Van Pelt for "Bryony."