Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Community News: Oct. 17, 2017

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


Local health events: Oct. 17 through Oct. 24

http://www.theherald-news.com/2017/10/13/local-health-events-oct-17-through-oct-24/al21muq/


Will County team effort against heroin, opioid problems continue



Joliet man participates in recent Bears game, thanks to Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital



Pets of the Week: Oct. 16



Local pet events: Oct. 16 through Oct. 23


4-H members bring home ribbons from state fair animal shows


5 Ways to Write a Scary Story

1) Quickly establish a bond between reader and protagonist.

You want your reader to walk closely with your main character.

2) Foreshadow early in the story.

Creates unease in protagonist AND reader.

3) Confine evil to shadows.

We fear what we cannot see.

4) Take the normal and natural and give it a hard twist to the left.

Our minds find safety in the predictable. Shake that up.

5) Wrap up the story (but not really)

Let your protagonist think the danger has passed. Your reader will know better.





Monday, October 16, 2017

Community News: Oct. 16, 2017

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


Gotta Do It: Oct. 15 through Oct. 22



Community Foundation of Will County awards $93,324 to area nonprofits



Crossroads school renamed to Cronin in rededication ceremony



VFW Bolingbrook Post 5917 taking part in $30,000 scholarship competition



VIDEO: Ruby the Red-Tailed Hawk flies free



 Veterans receive peer support at Romeoville university


Something Old, Something New

Something old: On Saturday, I attended Indie Author Day at the Plainfield Public Library, driving there in the middle of a monsoon. The day was a series of presentations with just one hour to display our books.

I was table mates with Holly Coop, another WriteOn Joliet author, and we sounded like each other's publicist in the way we promoted each other's books to those browsing the tables. This was probably the most fun part of the day.

The other part I enjoyed was the author roundtable, where a moderator introduced a topic and anyone could answer.

Having attended a number of these events, for which I'm always thankful, I think two changes next time might make this one more fun for all and more effective for overall networking.

One: Allow the author fair to be ongoing throughout the day instead of having only one hour to display and sell books. I'm assuming presentation brought different participants, which means new possible customers and greater chances to making connections.

Two: Allow time for networking after the roundtable so participating authors could meet and chat with each other afterwards.

Thoughts from other authors?

Something new: Each day, I edit, publish on The Herald-News website, and then tweet out on my site and the publication's site, a variety of community news, most (but not all), pertaining to the day's topic (features is divided into various topics for each day).

While I make mention of these calendars and briefs during Friday's story roundup, I'd like to collect them and present them on Facebook, too. There are too many to post one by one on Facebook, my caution is to never apear "spammy."

So I'm going to try publishing a second blog Monday through Saturday with only links to the community news: upcoming events and brief (non-bylined) submitted stories about community happenings.

I'm assuming these won't have broad appeal, but I enjoy assembling them and learning the awesome things people are doing and have done. Perhaps you will, enjoy reading them, too.

Have a great Monday, vampire fans! :)



Sunday, October 15, 2017

Sue's Diner: Cinnamon Coffee Cake By Janet Cooney

Neither Melissa nor Brian felt at ease during the unfamiliar church services in memory of their grandmother. The array of delicious food at the potluck luncheon that followed was more appealing. This was especially true for Brian, who had heaped his plate high with many of the foods, including this cinnamon coffee cake.

Note from Denise: I've held off publishing this recipe, wrongly assuming the weather would be chilly enough to bake it again...because it IS really good.

Try this recipe on Sue's Diner HERE.








Friday, October 13, 2017

Story Round-Up: Features in The Herald-News, Oct. 8 through Oct. 13

Do you ever feel that, despite working hard, you accomplish little?

On a minute to minute, day to day basic, I often feel this way. But then, I put this weekly story roundup together and wonder, Did I really do all this? How???

And that's just looking back on the stories. And I'm also wondering if I should do a second roundup, one that features the events calendars and the features briefs I put together, if only to let readers know the awesome things people in our community do. At any rate, I'm considering it. Mostly trying to decide which day to run it, hmmm...

In the meantime, I have tons of deadlines today and an author fair and fixing the copy and formatting issues in WriteOn Joliet's first anthology tomorrow. If you're in the Plainfield area, perhaps I'll see you there. I'd love to meet you! :)

Here are the details:

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


If you do stop by to "Hi" to me, Timothy (my helper for this fair), and/or Bertrand (Yes, of course, Bertrand will be there), here's what I'll have at my table.

1) A variety of BryonySeries product for sale: books, cookbooks, and bryony-themed homemade soy candles in five scents. Copies of Cornell Dyer and the Missing Tombstone. (new copies haven't arrived yet). Copies of three different Bertrand the Mouse books: Bertrand and the Lucky CloverBertrand's First Book of Numbers, and Bertrand and the Christmas surprise (because it's not too early to think about buying Christmas presents).

2) Assorted small giveaways for kids (sticks, eraser, plastic spiders, and the like).

3) Free gift of sample chapter from Before the Blood when you sign up for the upcoming BryonySeries newsletter.

4) A chance to win a BryonySeries basket full of great BryonySeries stuff.

5) A chance to win the out-of-print 2012 holiday edition of Visage. (It's the only place where I'm photographed as a kangaroo. Seriously).

6) For those who've read Bryony: Play the Bryony trivia game and win a 20 percent discount on anything for sale on my table. Play as many times as you like. Each win gets you another 20 percent discount.

7) Information on upcoming releases.

8) Information on WriteOn Joliet and WriteOn Joliet's upcoming open mic night.

And now, onward to stories and such. First, 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.



Joliet retailer learned customer service as a Herald-News paper boy

Mark Fehrenbacher of Joliet is certain his father learned those "people skills" as a former paper carrier for The Herald-News.



Delivering The Herald-News formed Shorewood man's work ethic

James Morgan  said he was 11 when he started that job. But it was during the Great Depression. His father worked "off and on at the steel mill," but that wasn't always sufficient money for the household, which included James' mother, grandmother and sister.

"The three dollars I made during the week helped, you know?" James said



The Herald-News taught our family to work together

For years our family, as a family, rose at midnight seven days a week to deliver thousands of newspapers a day - and that was all because I felt newspaper routes were part of a child's money-earning rite of passage and arranged for my oldest son Christopher to contract a route when he was 11.



An Extraordinary Life: Braidwood woman happiest when helping others

“I can’t tell you how many people who came to her wake talked about how if they or their families were in the hospital, sick or injured, she would show up and sit with them for hours,” said Tony Altiery, Sandy’s son.



Beecher pumpkin patch has lofty purpose

The animals, some of them exotic, at Settler's Pond animal shelter were once abused and neglected, Pinky said. Although Settler's Pond does not accept predatorial animals, it's become known as a resource in the community because people who find abused or neglected animals, especially exotics, often don't know where to call, she added.



Pets of the Week: Oct. 9

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



Mystery Diner: White Fence Farm serves 'world's greatest chicken'

Yet it's for good reason The Food Network listed White Fence Farm as No. 23 on its list of "Iconic Illinois Eats: Where to Eat the Greatest Foods in the Land of Lincoln." The food is just good, not good in an upscale way, but good in homey, comforting way.

http://www.theherald-news.com/lists/2017/10/04/9fa280278ff84051a734e99769c06b94/index.xml



Celebrating 100 years since Fatima apparitions

Not Catholic or unfamiliar with the rosary? No worries. Jeanne Giambrone said everyone is welcome at the rosary rally on Oct. 14. Some people even have donated rosaries for attendees who don’t have one.

“So we will have a few available,” Giambrone said. “It’s a beautiful way of praying to God, the Son of God and the Holy Spirit, and thanking Mary as the mother of Jesus. It’s just a way of reconnecting with God and bringing us closer to God, and asking God to protect our country.”

http://www.theherald-news.com/2017/10/09/celebrating-100-years-since-fatima-apparitions/au403or/


Costumes, pumpkins and spice

Pumpkin farms, haunted houses or something else? Which do you prefer this time of year and why?

That was the question I posed on Facebook. Jen Blankenship of Joliet didn’t have to think twice.



Artworks: 10 questions with Australian blues artist Michael Charles

On Oct. 14, Grammy-elected and recent Blues Hall of Fame inductee Michael Charles will perform a free concert at K J McKeon's in Morris.

Read on to learn more about this Australian blues artist and why he's coming to the area.




Thursday, October 12, 2017

A 'Throwback' of a Different Kind

A few mornings ago, through a bleary brain as I sipped my coffee and signed online, I mused on how we've had no internet woes at the house for awhile.

Bad thought to have. Because yesterday, after a very short night of sleep (when I could have been sleeping except I had work to get done before working offsite for the day), I had no internet.

After multiple resettings of the system, I learned outages were reported in the area. Estimated restoration time: 8:30 a.m.

By now, I'd been up over thirty minutes. And restored service was four hours away. Too late to get any significant work done, too late and too wide awake to go back to sleep.

Once again, block from what I needed to do by technology.

There's no doubt about it. Technology makes many aspects of our life easier. 

I don't miss the days of typewriters and correction tape (or fluid).

I don't miss the days of staying home because of the need to "wait for an important call."

I don't have to wait to go to the library when I need a question answered or want to research a topic. Social media allows instant communication. Email makes communication happen without playing phone tag.

And yet, how quickly all those things shut down when the internet does.

Without the internet, I can't do many aspects of my job.

Having lived in the "good 'ol days," I can tell you they weren't any better than the ones we have today. They had different opportunities and different challenges.

Technology is here to stay, and I'm glad.

I just wish it was here to stay everyday.




Tuesday, October 10, 2017

A Thought-Provoking Rare Poem

Can't even remember where I found this gem earlier this year, as a random internet search to credit the source turned up nothing.

Poem Hunter.com has the author's biography (he was a poet laureate) and some of his other poetry but not this one. 

Anyway, this is one piece I enjoy reading again and again. I hope you like it, too.


On Parting
by William Jay Smith

Time that is recorded is not now,
Now when the train is leaving, and the clock
Is hooded in the distance, when the heart cries: How
Can you be leaving, for there is no time?

Some delight in the journey, in the crossing
Of accepted boundaries; you go
Knowing you love what's left, yourself, your loss
Of―
         knowing the wheels will say, You do not know.

Rain is falling, and there is no rest.
Where are there tears enough to drown the sun?
Love also dies; the dead have loved you best:

Look for them there in the dark where the rails run.





Monday, October 9, 2017

Recap of Oswego Literary Fest, Upcoming Two Author Fairs

This was my first year participating in the already established Oswego Literary Festival, and it had four high points for me.

The first was my one and only sale, a copy of Bryony, to an extremely lovely older British woman who was very happy to have it.

She had stopped at my table because the book covers caught her eye. She inquired about the series and asked which book was the first? I gestured to Bryony, and then invited her to read the back cover and flip through the pages. She did and had to have it.

Just so you know, the other authors around me weren't selling large amounts either. Some sold zero, the most I saw was three, and that was the author sitting next to me with a graphic novel. Foot traffic  to the area at the far end of the second floor was sparse and slow, but one cannot predict attendance.

Library staff was most gracious and offered several additional events to attract readers: a secondhand book sale, speakers, and classy live music. I'm most grateful to have been included in this event.

The second high point was one little girl, about eight or nine, who fell in love with Bertrand. She kept returning to my table to flip through his books and pet him. At the end of the event, she came back with her father. He didn't buy a book, but he did let me photograph a very happy her with Bertrand in her hand and text him the photo. And they left with a BryonySeries business card.

The third was the director of programming approaching my table. He said he was seeking authors to speak at book clubs and other events and appeared most impressed at the way I self-published my books. He signed up for my newsletter and took my sample chapter.

The fourth was meeting a very enterprising eighteen-year-old who was selling the first book in his series next to my table. He had nearly died while the doctors were figuring out what was wrong with him (rumination syndrome) and had written the book while in the hospital.

He said the book was the first in a series of nine, with three of the nine completed. His name his Albert G. Miller and here is his Amazon page.

I still have three more events this year and am already planning for 2018. Details are below.

Have a wonderful Monday, vampire fans! :)

UPCOMING 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 copies of the out-of-print 2012 holiday editor of Visage, as well as giving away a chapter from Before the Blood as a thank you gift for signing up for my newsletter, which begins in 2018.

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 

Visit: writeonJoliet.com or www.bryonyseries.com

WriteOn Joliet Anthology Release Party

When: 6 to 8:30 p.m. Nov. 17

Where: The Book Market, 2365 Plainfield Road, Crest Hill

Etc.: Copies of "Write Where We Are" (WriteOn Joliet's first anthology) will be for sale. Information about WriteOn Joliet. A chance to meet and talk to some of WriteOn Joliet's members, as well as purchase books written by individual WriteOn Joliet authors as well as browse the store and purchase others books. Chef-created refreshments. BryonySeries raffles. Free admission.

Contact: bryonyseries@gmail.com

Visit: writeonJoliet.com or www.bryonyseries.com



Sunday, October 8, 2017

Sue's Diner: Beef Stewed With Apples

Melissa is thrilled when John finally invites her to a picnic away from the mansion, just the two of them. Of course, John feels Bryga packed enough food to feed them for a week, but even that careless remark couldn’t completely dampen Melissa’s excitement of being alone with John.

One of those items was cold beef stewed with apples. 

I could wait for it to chill to try it. It was very good hot. And then I ate the cold leftovers for lunch the next day.

Also, this recipe, adapted from Miss Beecher’s domestic receiptbook: designed as a supplement to her Treatise on domestic economy, gives the option of stewing the beef with onions as well as apples. I recommend using both, very good indeed.

Try this recipe on the Sue's Diner page HERE.




Saturday, October 7, 2017

Steward Setback Saturday: Ed Calkins Wants to Know: When Will "Bryony" be Translated into French?

Saturday, October 27, 2012


Ed Calkins Wants to Know: When Will "Bryony" be Translated into French?

Dear MOMI,

I don't mean to nag, but when will Bryony be translated into French?
Until it is, I will have no excuse to go to Paris and promote the sport of French Sumo Wrestling, the rules of which I'm sure you've heard me say many times. (Should you need a refresher, I'd be glad to recite them.)

Why this is important?

French Sumo Wrestling its one of the few sports where I still could be a professional, given that no baseball scouts ever saw me throw newspaper and instantly realized that I belonged in the majors (as a pitcher of course).

This oversight has haunted me all my life. It’s affected my cash flow, crippled my desire to break records (such as most strikeouts, lowest era, and most insulting limerick recited to a homerun hitter), and carried a major impact to my wife count.

Naturally, baseball would have never been the same, and my wives would have gotten to march in the ECDP (Ed Calkins Day Parade) with the most attractive, most wealthiest single man in baseball, if not the world. And since as you know being married to me does not prohibit marrying or being married to another man (or men), women would marry me just to attend that event.

To set this right, I need Frenchmen to step up their Sumo game. Frenchmen after Frenchmen must destroy one another in front of cheering French women before one of them, having demolished all others, can credibly claim to be the world's best. Then (undoubtedly) I will be summoned to Paris to set the record straight. If the paycheck is right, it should be the biggest bout since David used his slingshot.

I ask you to attend to this, not for myself, but for the future times, wives, and children yet to be. So one might ask you this question, "Would you have been the most important novelist since the invention of writing had you know the responsibilities it would pour on you?"

It's too late, Denise.

Ruthlessly yours,

French Sumo Great, Ed Calkins.

Friday, October 6, 2017

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

Last night at WriteOn Joliet, we passed the proof copy of our first anthology 'around the table, and one member, who is agented and currently rediting her novel for the publisher, burst into tears at actually seeing her works in print.

We have come a long way ever since Kristina Skaggs approached me in late 2011 and asked me to co-lead a writer's group with her. I refused, she asked again, and we went back and forth for a long time before I finally, and reluctantly, relented. I'm sure today's members are glad I did. And so am I.

Back to the proof. My co-leader Tom Hernandez found two typos, and I saw some formatting errors we missed correcting when the pages shifted. Our group's best copyediter took the book home and will mark all the pages since she has the sharpest, and the freshest, eyes for the whole now. Tom and I have looked at it too much to be objective any more.

The whirl of festivals continues! Books and moi (along with another WriteOn Joliet author, Holly Coop), will appear at the Oswego Literary Festival bright and early tomorrow morning - but not until I meet lots of steep deadlines today.

To learn more about Holly and her books, read this interview with her HERE.

Keep reading for information about tomorrow's festival, community events and briefs, and my feature stories for this week.

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

Visit: www.oswegoil.org

If you do stop by to "Hi" to me, Timothy (my helper for this fair), and/or Bertrand (Yes, of course, Bertrand will be there), here's what I'll have at my table.

1) A variety of BryonySeries product for sale: books, cookbooks, and bryony-themed homemade soy candles in five scents. Copies of Cornell Dyer and the Missing Tombstone. (new copies haven't arrived yet). Copies of three different Bertrand the Mouse books: Bertrand and the Lucky Clover, Bertrand's First Book of Numbers, and Bertrand and the Christmas surprise (because it's not too early to think about buying Christmas presents).

2) Assorted small giveaways for kids (sticks, eraser, plastic spiders, and the like).

3) Free gift of sample chapter from Before the Blood when you sign up for the upcoming BryonySeries newsletter.

4) A chance to win a BryonySeries basket full of great BryonySeries stuff.

5) A chance to win the out-of-print 2012 holiday edition of Visage. (It's the only place where I'm photographed as a kangaroo. Seriously).

6) For those who've read Bryony: Play the Bryony trivia game and win a 20 percent discount on anything for sale on my table. Play as many times as you like. Each win gets you another 20 percent discount.

7) Information on upcoming releases.

8) Information on WriteOn Joliet and WriteOn Joliet's upcoming open mic night.

9) And maybe, just maybe, Timothy might read some of his original poetry.

Hope to see you there!

And moving on...

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.


Not just another Joliet memoir

Naturally, since Robert Hafey is Joliet born and raised, "Boomhood" is heavy in Joliet memories and experiences, the types of recollections many Jolietans will recognize.

But that's not where the story ends.



An Extraordinary Life: Caregiving was Joliet man's true calling


Before becoming caregiver to his mother Helen Cremeens (deceased), Richard Cremeens was a licensed mental health counselor at the mental health division of the Will County Health Department, serving mostly children and adolescents, his obituary said.

Kathy Cremeens of Joliet, Richard's twin sister, pictured on the right, said Richard had great respect for his coworkers and often used his clinical skills in hospital emergency rooms in Will County assessing if his young clients could go home or needed more care.


"And if they needed more care, he knew where and how to get it," Kathy said. "I know he spent a lot of time trying to determine what was best for a child. He always did his best and succeeded in getting those patients the care they needed."


Joliet woman changed her mind because of a goldendoodle

And then Lisa Morel Las found herself searching online for golden doodles and read about one in Plainfield. 

“Lo and behold, it fit every one of my criteria,” Lisa said. 

It got better from there.



Pets of the Week: Oct. 2

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



Mystery Diner: Minooka's Dock Rotz has good food, variety of craft beers

On Monday at Dock Rotz, the food choice was simple for me. The Dock Burger is almost half off at $5 (regular $9.95) with the standard cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion.

The nacho and beer choices weren't as simple.

http://www.theherald-news.com/lists/2017/10/03/60ac8083b4124b28be3e4dc69d5128ad/index.xml


Joliet church pairs faith with works for hurricane victims

"We said, 'Let's so something,'" Jake Garcia, the church's discipleship director, said. "Let's not just send some things. Let's send some people."

http://www.theherald-news.com/lists/2017/10/04/557f4f811ce4474799a7f07ed5e95b3d/index.xml


St. Raymond’s to offer faith-building events

The first speaker, the Rev. John Kartje, will discuss the relationship between faith and science at 7 p.m. Oct. 12. The second speaker, Colleen Murphy Duggan, will discuss Catholic parenting at 7 p.m. Nov. 9.

Both speakers are experts on their respective topics, Elaine Gutierrez, director of development at the Cathedral of St. Raymond, said. Kartje is the rector of Mundelein Seminary and an astrophysicist Duggan is the mother of five and a prominent author and blogger on Catholic parenting.

http://www.theherald-news.com/2017/10/04/st-raymonds-to-offer-faith-building-events/a71dsi8/


Kindness is rock-solid in Will, Grundy Counties

"It's easy; it's simple, yet powerful," Cemeno said. "It's about spreading kindness one rock at a time and building a community of just kindness."



Artworks: Artworks: Joliet man's artwork featured on clocks sold in Target

Green's conceptions of Pinocchio and The Old Woman Who Lived on a Shoe are being featured on clocks made by Chicago Lighthouse Industries, which – according to its website – provides "industrial job training and continuous employment to people who are legally blind through the production of high-quality brand name consumer products."

How Green's artwork wound up on these clocks is another story.



Thursday, October 5, 2017

BryonySeries Throwback Thursday: Pizza!

Monday, October 22, 2012


Pizza!

As I'm writing this post, I'm eating this terrific, buttery, garlicy, white pizza from 2Fer's in Minooka. A friend suggested this venue to us as a place for Timothy to sing karaoke.

It took a couple of months, but we finally pooled our money and went once, in July, for my birthday celebration. The best part of a pizza joint for karaoke is that Daniel, who's only seventeen, could participate, and Rebekah, who's only eighteen, could finally hear Timothy sing "live" other than in a warehouse while cleaning it.

Currently, four enormous boxes of pizza are sitting on my stove in various stages of "eaten up."
So what's the big deal? We're feasting on pizza tonight because an angel brought it to us, an online angel I've never met.

Last year, when our water heater died a sudden death (right after the warranty expired; dontcha love how that happens?), this woman heard of our plight, found us a terrific deal on a new water heater, and sent a friend 'round our place after hours to install it.

Today, she and I were chatting, innocuously, I thought, when my cavalier attitude toward our various crises alerted her radar, and she began brainstorming options with me. These weren't anything I hadn't considered, but it's always good to give things another review, and her kindness truly warmed me.

So I figured we were just making conversation when she began asking me about my favorite pizza parlors...until she asked for my address and what my family liked to eat. I typed loud objections; she told me to breathe and not to worry about making dinner tonight.

Since it was already mid-afternoon, and I still had two more interviews and a meeting, plus I had to run (literally, long story) to the bank to exchange a money order and then drop off some paperwork at my attorney's office, and then work on three more projects tonight before I pronounce Monday as officially "over," (Did I mention I was particularly stressed since I'd missed my power walk this morning due to monsoon-type thunderstorms?), I decided to quit arguing and accept her generosity.

Now for a little "ha, ha."

I told Daniel to walk with me for a little mother-son bonding time, stressing the fact that I had fifty-five minutes to run to the bank and the attorney's office and to review a press release before my four o'clock interview. He obliged me with a good pace to both places and soon we were trotting back to the house.

As we neared the stoplight at our intersection, I opened my manilla envelope to hand him the money order along with the instructions of how to separate it and where to file each piece. Oh, horror of horrors! The money order was gone.

I literally stopped dead in my tracks in the middle of the sidewalk, threw up my hands, looked into the still overcast and threatening sky and shouted, "Who's side are you on?" Then I checked my phone: 3:40. I spun on my heel and ran back down the sidewalk, looking left and right as I did so.

I spied that lovely piece of paper about halfway back, patiently waiting for me on a thatch of grass. Daniel snatched it up and proclaimed himself keeper of the money order, which was fine by me. Then we ran all the way home. As the journey came to an end, Daniel, with sudden revelation, said, "Hey, you got your work out!"

Maybe God's on my side, after all.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

I've Made Friends with a Book Marketing Muse

Most writers who actually write (instead of talking about writing) often speak of their writing muse, that flow of inspiration that either runs like a babbling brook or sludge, oftentimes at its whim.

I now have a new muse in my life, one I thought would never befriend me.

It's my book marketing muse.

Like many writers, the thought of self-promotion turns me as pale as a vampire in sunlight. I'm most comfortable behind a screen, not in front of it, refining a craft I secretly pray will disperse into the universe like magic dust and settle into the minds of readers, making them clamor for more.

Fortunately for me, I've had one good brand ambassador fan of the series who, for several years now, has constantly exhorted me to promote the BryonySeries.

Because she loves the series and is certain others will, too.

Because no one will know if I don't put the information out there.

Because she does plenty of her own promotion of my works, and if she can, I probably ought to do the same.

So last Thanksgiving weekend, I spent a couple days writing a marketing plan. It's about four pages long. I've barely touched most of the ideas, not for reasons of shyness or sloth, but because each idea requires its own developing, and development takes time. And I have faithfully put in that time over this last year.

Also, like any muscle, my book marketing biceps are shriveled from lack of use. But like any muscle, flex it a bit, and it springs into action.

Or so my book marketing muse tells me. And I'm finding it's true.

Yes, a book marketing muse is a real thing.

Now that this muse and I have befriended each other, I'm learning three's not a crowd, that my writing muse and my marketing muse can sit in the same room and exchange ideas.

Hence, the reason for this post.

The ideas these two muses are creating are plausible and realistic. And as I work my way through the plan, executing and refining, I'm finding myself getting as excited about marketing as I do about writing.

Of course, I need to be a good friends to these muses in return. Each requires one-on-one time, as well as group outings. But these meeting of the minds are fruitful, and the seeds of new projects are starting to bloom even as I'm tending existing ones.

Not quite as prolific as bryony vines. But at a pace I can prune and harvest.

Exciting stuff, vampire fans.




Monday, October 2, 2017

Recap of White Oak Author Fest, Upcoming Three Author Fairs

First of all, I'm extremely thankful for being able to participate in the very first White Oak Author Fest.

Organizers were kind enough to plan the event and invite me, and many other authors, to take part. I feel the fest was successful, although judging from a few that left a bit early, not everyone, perhaps, shares my view.

Having attended a number of these since I released Bryony in 2011, my perspective on author events has changed, for the better, I believe.

For my first events, as a newbie author, I expected to sell lots of books, and I came prepared to do so. At the suggestion of my publicist, my father created some very nice marketing pieces for my table, and my mother purchased all kinds of themed items, so many over the years that we can now pick and choose what to take, and vary it all the time.

I've only had two occasions where I sold nothing, and two of these events were major events that attracted many, many people. At first, I was disappointed when my expectations didn't meet reality. This was true whether it was a solo signing or one that featured many local authors, who also had modest, if any sales.

And this was true of Saturday's event, too. So why do I feel it was a success?

Because, as I said, I changed my perspective of these events.

Unless one is a superstar author, or even a decent midlist author with a decent midlist following, the main challenge for authors is building brand awareness. This is easier to do with a niche non-fiction book, where sales might happen quickly and briskly. It's much harder, if nearly impossible, to do so with fiction.

Especially self-published fiction of supernatural/literary type. In fact, literary fiction is the most difficult to market and sell, whether it is self or traditionally published. But in terms, of taking the long view and the long road in marketing, the stories I've written are very smart.

Because their themes are classical, they will hold up to time. The 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, the Victorian age, and even the period during the Thirty Years War are always in the past, even when told from the present. Fads in fiction will come and go, but because the BryonySeries (even the Cornell Dyer and Bertrand series) are timeless in their telling, their marketing ability will not go out of style.

These days, I concentrate on building awareness that I have this series, that I love writing, that I have these books (and other fun, related products), that I'm here to entertain you through my writings and books, I write and sell, if that's the type of writing you like.

So, yes, Saturday was successful for me. The White Oak Library Author Fest brought a steady trickle of people through its doors and past our tables. I talked to many people. Many people signed up for my newsletter I'm beginning in 2018. They signed up for my raffles. They left with free copies of story excerpts. I talked to a number of White Oak staff from all three of its libraries, and one of them wants to meet for coffee and pick my elderly brain.

Hey, I'm always up for coffee!

These are all people I've introduced to the BryonySeries without being spammy or pushy, people I would never have met if I'd stayed home with the sulky attitude of "Why bother if no one is going to buy?"

You know what? A sale doesn't mean the buyer will ever read your book. It might be a gift to someone who will never read the book. It might sit on the shelf. A sale doesn't necessarily create a long-term fan.

It might, of course. All I'm saying is that a sale doesn't guarantee it. Neither does networking, of course. But a friendly, genuine connection that builds over time is, I feel, a better quality step in that direction.

And guess what? I did sell, too. Two books and two candles, good for me and good for Valerie's Heavenly Scents, who made two sales without ever having to attend the event.

I made a wonderful new author friend, a very sweet and sincere author who's written two books for children about unconditional love and living in the moment. Her name is Michele Foote, and her website is www.michelefoote.com.

The only downside is that Bertrand grumbled a bit about sitting next to this Dr. Gothart-type skull I picked up for a buck at the local dollar store. But since one of the books I sold was his, he really shouldn't complain.

If you've made it this far, you'll know I meant it when I say, "Hey, these events are coming up. Stop by and say, 'Hi.' I'd love to meet you."

Because I mean it. Even if you aren't buying that day.

Because here's the thing. You might find a book you'll love to take home, even if it's from another author's table. And we'll get a chance to chat.

And maybe, just maybe, you or someone you know, might want what I'm selling. But that's a bonus. But I also know it's possible. My most loyal, dedicated BryonySeries fans/brand ambassadors are passionate about the series, and they are people who finally became curious about the series and took a chance.

So this is why I keep trucking. Ultimately, it's for you, the reader. And that's not baloney. I have one dedication in each of my books, and it reads like this: This book is lovingly dedicated to the reader, whoever you might be.


UPCOMING 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 copies of the out-of-print 2012 holiday editor of Visage, as well as 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 

Visit: writeonJoliet.com or www.bryonyseries.com

WriteOn Joliet Anthology Release Party

When: 6 to 8:30 p.m. Nov. 17

Where: The Book Market, 2365 Plainfield Road, Crest Hill

Etc.: Copies of "Write Where We Are" (WriteOn Joliet's first anthology) will be for sale. Information about WriteOn Joliet. A chance to meet and talk to some of WriteOn Joliet's members, as well as purchase books written by individual WriteOn Joliet authors as well as browse the store and purchase others books. Chef-created refreshments. BryonySeries raffles. Free admission.

Contact: bryonyseries@gmail.com

Visit: writeonJoliet.com or www.bryonyseries.com












Sunday, October 1, 2017

Sue's Diner: Marjoram Potatoes

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.

One of the items on the refreshment table as these marjoram potatoes, one of the recipes I couldn't wait to try when I started collecting recipes in 2009. I'm not a huge potato-eater, but when I prepared these for the first time last weekend, I was hooked. I definitely will cook them again.

Try this recipe on the Sue's Diner page HERE




Friday, September 29, 2017

Story Round-Up: Features in The Herald-News, Sept. 22 through Sept. 29

Several recaps today, stories and what's in store tomorrow at the White Oak Author Fest in Crest Hill.

First, the event:

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.

Next, what I personally have in store for those who stop at my table to say, "Hi" to me, Rebekah, and/or Bertrand (Yes, of course, Bertrand will be there).

1) A variety of BryonySeries product for sale: books, cookbooks, and bryony-themed homemade soy candles in five scents. Steep discounts on proof copies of Cornell Dyer and the Missing Tombstone. (new copies haven't arrived yet).

2) Assorted small giveaways for kids (sticks, eraser, plastic spiders, and the like).

3) Free gift of sample chapter from Before the Blood when you sign up for the upcoming BryonySeries newsletter.

4) A chance to win a BryonySeries basket full of great BryonySeries stuff.

5) A chance to win the out-of-print 2012 holiday edition of Visage. (It's the only place where I'm photographed as a kangaroo. Seriously).

6) For those who've read Bryony: Play the Bryony trivia game and win a 20 percent discount on anything for sale on my table. Play as many times as you like. Each win gets you another 20 percent discount.

7) Information on upcoming releases.

8) Information on WriteOn Joliet and WriteOn Joliet's upcoming open mic night.

Hope to see you there!

Moving on...

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.



Minooka woman discovers 'The Way'
By Jean Tyrell

This past summer in July, Pam Boucher of Elwood and I were able to walk one of the Camino routes and I got to experience what it means to be a modern day pilgrim.



An Extraordinary Life: Minooka man wrestled giants and slew dragons

"As little boys, we believe our dads can wrestle giants, slay dragons, and protect us from monsters," Jason Strode, of Wilmington, wrote in his father Dave Strode's eulogy. "Now that I am grown with a wife and children of my own, I see that my dad did wrestle giants, slay dragons, and fight monsters, but they were far scarier than those I imagined as a child."



Mokena girl is best in her class

On Aug. 23,  Lyla Grace Wroble of Mokena won the World’s Championship Horse Show in Louisville, Kentucky, for her age group.

At 10, Lyla takes her win in stride. Whether she rides for pleasure or competition, it’s ultimately a fun experience, Lyla said.



Pets of the Week: Sept. 25

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



Joliet chef's on his third TV show

At 9 p.m. Sept. 27 on the Food Network Joliet Junior College pastry chef Andy Chlebana was one of eight chefs competing for the title Best Baker in America.

In Q&A format, he discusses the show's premise, his past TV competition experiences and why he loves competing.



Joliet pagan group puts its own spin on Thanksgiving and new beginnings

At the center of the celebration for Treibh na Tintean is Mabon, a Welsh god.

“He’s kind of an obscure god who represents the great hunter,” Sandy Costa said. “He’s also a god of light and youth and strength. And although there is no real evidence the holiday was meant to be named after him, he’s a very good symbol of it.”



Joliet Franciscan captures the extraordinary in the ordinary

As Sister Marianne Saieg's ministry brochure states, "embedded in Franciscan spirituality and with a passion for beauty, she illuminates the ordinary as an extraordinary means to encounter the holy."



Patriotic quilt at Joliet VFW will benefit veterans

Admirers of her patriotic quilt have offered to pay Cheryl Kraus of Joliet to make quilts for them, too, but Cheryl had to decline.

"I quilt for my own pleasure," she said.

And, in this case, to support veterans, too.















Thursday, September 28, 2017

BryonySeries Throwback Thursday: Setting and POV or What my Architect Father Inadvertently Taught My About World-Building

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Years ago, when my first husband and I were in the process of buying our first house, I brought my architect father with me to check out each possibility, well, the ones my husband and I both agreed were possibilities. For him, the more modern, the more trendy, the better. For me, the more vintage and within our price range, the better.

I learned a lot about fiction that way.

While I noted high ceilings, large rooms, sufficient bedrooms for our current brood (three at the time) with room to grow that family, whether or not such and such a room would need redecorating, and the size of the yard so the kids would have room to play, my father was checking out other things: the number of outlets in a room (should be one to each wall), amps or breakers and their number (breakers preferred), if the electric was up to current code, the amount of insulation in the attic, the heat source (He sternly advised against gravity heat in a three-story house), the last well test, and the location of the septic field. He'd even want to get up on the roof.

Creating a plausible setting for your story is more than simply describing the landscape. Setting has everything to do with your characters. Most of us, perhaps without realizing it, do not just notice our settings, we filter them, AND we react to them.

Suppose two of my sons - Christopher and Timothy - take me to a cell phone store to buy a cell phone for me. Since I don't understand the technology (even when it's explained to me), I usually let them do the sorting out of possibilities, while I wander around.

Both boys have a solid understanding of current products and can discuss cell phones for hours (Literally). Christopher, like his father, veers towards the newest, the latest, the whistles and bells - the obtaining of the most options for his money - and he will negotiate anything and everything in order to get as much free stuff as possible. He will also zero in on the sales person he will be most likely to "persuade" into those things. Timothy wants to discuss battery life, memory storage, the pros and cons of each brand and the specs of company that produces those phones, the contract terms.

Both boys will agree on free upgrades and the necessity of my phone fitting into pockets of chick jeans, which are notoriously teeny. Apparently, clothing designers can't understand some women like their clothing to be functional, as well as decorative.

So when describing a room, a landscape, a town, a person, remember that it's usually from the point view from the character noticing it. This will help you add the details and the ruminations particular to that character.

Some examples from my books:

Her mother parked in front of a dingy, squat-looking building, Sue’s Diner. Brian turned and rolled his eyes. Melissa mouthed back, probably get food poisoning.


She fretted about the report all the way past Main Street, which now split in two. One road led into the deeper part of the woods; the other wound up the hill toward their new home. Brian wiggled and bounced to see everything at once. The tops of the lush, profuse trees touched each other, but the sun filtered through the leaves and formed lacy patterns on the asphalt. Lake Munson, full of ducks and geese, rippled a clear blue-green.
   Big deal, she thought, catching herself watching them, determined to find nothing redeeming about her new home. Who cares about a bunch of old birds?


The box-shaped cottage was too flat, too old, too gray, too small, and most of all, too ugly. The Grover’s Park ranch, with grey-blue siding, black shutters, and a manicured yard with a few perennials and tomato plants, had been home. This could never be home.


She took three steps down the creaking stairs and glimpsed an old furnace and a washer and drier. Melissa couldn’t imagine doing laundry in that musty place, where snakes might lurk. She’d let Brian do it. He’d probably find it fun.


A wrought iron sign hanging from a small one-story building advertised homemade soaps, while the wood sign posted on the two-story home next door promoted its hand-dipped candles, which reminded Melissa of the candelabra on John’s desk inside Simons Mansion’s library.


One step inside Rudy’s, a large Queen Anne of reddish-brown stone, and Melissa knew Jenny had understated its elegance. To one side of the main lobby sat a concert grand piano, although not, Melissa thought smugly, a Schwechten.


Two boys shouldering matching blue-gray vinyl bags soon joined them. The taller boy had neatly combed sandy hair, gold-wire glasses, bow-shaped lips, and a serious face. His much thinner companion, with wispy brown hair and a scrawny mustache, winked at Tracy, and she blushed, the first time Melissa had seen her even slightly flustered. The boys unzipped their bags and removed shoes, several balls of different styles and weights, wrist braces, and monogrammed hand towels.
   “I think I’m in the wrong place,” Melissa said.
   Julie set her own ball on the return and grinned. “You’ll do fine. Let’s go find you a ball.”


An angry clicking sounded from the pond’s edge, and a cloud of monarch butterflies shot from the purple milkweed, hotly pursuing the flower sprites that preyed on their nectar. A hearty laugh broke through John-Peter’s lips and fluttered away into the woods. Although reluctant to leave such serenity, he stood, hungry now for something more than dandelions and ground beetles. He chuckled to himself. Those butterflies would never catch the fairy pack, especially with Aodhan leading it.


The oak trees surrounding him moaned his name, and the cool breeze rippled their leaves, as well as the tender grasses, causing them to dance about his feet. John-Peter,  the oaks' national hero, acknowledged their greeting with a detached nod. From here, the earth sloped downward, but John-Peter saw the top of the thatched roof of the tiny mud and grass cottage he forsook centuries ago. Even before he reached his home, he spied the overgrown weeds of what used to be his garden and decided he might have to hoe and plant before he brought the princess here, just in case she didn’t hunt for her food. Still, he waded through the tall greenery and stumbled upon a few cabbages and potatoes, entirely inappropriate for an ancient, abandoned, Irish garden, but this wasn’t his fantasy, and, besides, he was plenty thankful for their existence. He gathered an armful of food and trotted back to the cottage. Today’s breakfast, at least, was assured, thanks to the steward’s benevolence. He noted the cord of wood, as he pushed through the grassy, rear doorway. What a surprise. That wood should have rotted eons ago.


On Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation when Abbot was in town, father and son attended High Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral, its Federal-style architecture and plaster ceiling and walls resembling home: hard, beautiful, and cold. As erect and immobile as the marble statues, but not nearly so tall, Abbot stood beside his son, and, to the accompaniment of the Erben organ, sang those majestic Latin hymns in a strong and powerful tenor voice.


The outline of buildings came into view. John slowed his pace. He couldn't avoid spending his summer as a chore boy, but he could delay it. The white farmhouse, trimmed in dark gray, looked fresh and inviting in the early morning light. The shutters were still closed, a sign that the aged mistress of the farm, bound in the distance ancient sycamores, hadn't yet stirred. He rode straight back to the barns. Despite their age, they, too, appeared sturdy and well maintained, almost as if recently built. John hitched the horse and went inside the first one, meandering through the large building, gazing from side to side at the sleek thoroughbreds. The condition of the barn was impeccable. How had a single, elderly woman managed it, and did the widow really require his services?





Posted by Denise M. Baran-Unland at 5:54 AM