Saturday, November 16, 2019

Steward Setback Saturday: How the Real Ed Calkins Became a Fictional Vampire

Saturday, October 16, 2010


How the Real Ed Calkins Became a Fictional Vampire

It was timing, actually.

Two years ago, Ed Calkins and I worked in the same distribution center. He was a supervisor, and I was a newspaper carrier. Ed was always planning something to make working a seven-day job in the middle of the night more lighthearted. One of those “things” was his annual Ed Calkins day parade in honor of his birthday.

The parade was a simple one. Ed would ride a palette jack and toss candy to the carriers. Each year Ed had the parade, I missed it by coming too late to see it (It’s a VERY short parade).

One year, Ed kept pestering me about starting a newsletter for his imaginary kingdom. He had assumed the persona of a “ruthless dictator” dubbed as the “Steward of Tara” and demanded some “media” coverage. So, after missing yet another parade, I presented him with a big red bow and a choice of birthday presents: a monthly one-page newsletter or a bit role as a vampire in Bryony. Ed laughed and said, “Immortality, of course.” Thus, I began rewriting parts of the novel to make room for his character.

Ed’s character grows in plot importance in the three books that currently comprise the Bryony Series, but the fictional Ed Calkins resembles the real Ed Calkins in many ways except one: as a vampire, he is free to fully live the stories he weaves.

Denise M. Baran-Unland

Friday, November 15, 2019

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

Good Friday morning! Is everyone ready for the weekend?

It's a bit of working weekend for me.

I'll have the calendars to finish up for Monday's publication, and I have the last bit of Phyllis' memoir to type up. I'm also working on the first round of edits for an author in WriteOn Joliet.

Speaking of WriteOn Joliet, the group (of which I co-lead) is hosting its third anthology release party tonight from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at The Book Market, 2365 Plainfield Road in Crest Hill.

The latest anthology will, of course, be for sale (and so will the previous releases), along with works by members in the group, including all BryonySeries titles.

I don't have copies of Cornell Dyer and the Flu yet (KDP just approved it yesterday, but it's available online, and I'l be taking orders at a special sale price tonight.

If you can't make it out tonight, and you still want a copy of the anthology, you can purchase it here.

Have a wonderful day, readers, writers, and BryonySeries fans! :)

Non-bylined features:

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

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

Community news? Again, under the sections tab, under features, and by topic. Updates are posted on these days in print and web (and some only on web on other days as I have the time): 

 Social media:

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

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

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

Upcoming events:

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

Check out the progress he has made so far. Each square is hand-built. And be sure to "hover" your hand over the first square. Note: this only works (so far) with the desktop version.

But he's also made A LOT of changes to the website. So be sure to roam around a bit.

Books and Such

Information on my books (including where to buy) along with upcoming events is at www.bryonyseries.com. Again, Timothy is in the process of updating the website, so all titles may not appear. If you have any 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 veteran reflects on his service

A very practical view of military service.

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/10/10/joliet-veteran-reflects-on-his-service/d5ej087/


VIDEO: Another reason this Joliet #veteran served

It wasn't all about being lofty.

https://www.theherald-news.com/video/id/8632e808-c790-4f8b-9a35-185a914b5ebb.html


A look back at the faithful service of Joliet area veterans 

Daniel Bush said this of his father Carl, "He was able to live his life the way he wanted to – taking care of his wife and his children. America gave him that opportunity and he never forgot it.”

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/10/16/a-look-back-at-the-faithful-service-of-joliet-area-veterans/dfuwfot/


LocalLit author spotlight: Granddaughter honors Lockport veteran

This newsletter this story references went out on Friday - but if you'd like to read it, I'll send you mine. Message me at bryonyseries@gmail.com.

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/07/locallit-author-spotlight-granddaughter-honors-lockport-veteran/dqpfk5h/


Not the typical library book group
Romeoville library's over 21 book discussion program still going strong 

Find out how you can join - and why you should

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/12/not-the-typical-library-book-group/aep3ghs/


Crest Hill book store to host after-hours event on Friday 

The menu is amazing. Click on the link and read for yourself.

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/12/crest-hill-book-store-to-host-after-hours-event-on-friday/al5nf76/


'Everyone is a part of the show'
Former music director of Joliet diocese brings choir for Rialto concert 

An immersive holiday experience for all ages.

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/12/everyone-is-a-part-of-the-show/dwll2ri


Rialto's Christmas concert to feature Joliet organist


“First of all, even the look of it is very impressive,” Beverly Holt said. “It’s a theater organ and very few places have an organ like that, the size of it. “

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/12/rialtos-christmas-concert-to-feature-joliet-organist/ajauygn/


LocalLit book spotlight: 'Elspeth' by Sue Mydliak of Joliet 

Preview of Tuesday's book review about a Scottish witch

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/14/locallit-book-spotlight-elspeth-by-sue-mydliak-of-joliet/d7bwohb/


This past week, I was asked to share my faith and writing. Listen now. 

https://www.spreaker.com/user/gifts4glorypodcast/denise-m-baran-unland-author?fbclid=IwAR0VKqxjZlJQ5MOy77rxuQhGp7QGtsDSpHsYYpmXZ-NklCLokr4DkvP_OIM



Illustration by Matt Coundiff for "Visage."

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Tomorrow Night

I have not one, but TWO pieces of news to share this morning.

Enjoy chef-created appetizers and desserts, along with complimentary non-alcoholic beverages, tomorrow night at WriteOn Joliet's third anthology release party at The Book Market in Crest Hill.

Details of the four desserts, along with event information, are HERE.

But here's one to get you started:


Spiced apple pie shooter: Flaky homemade pie dough with a filling made with apple cider syrup, apple puree, chunked apples and cinnamon.

Except for a pinch of sugar in the pie dough, all the sugar in this dessert derives naturally from the cider and apples.


This will be served in tiny parfait glass (shooter). Serving size is one to two bites.

In addition, my variation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is now available through Amazon.

Alas, I will only have the proof copy with me tomorrow night.

However, you may order it at special price at the party tomorrow night and have it delivered to your home in time for Christmas.

Looking forward to meeting you tomorrow night!

Below is a photo from last year's event.




Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Community News: Nov. 13, 2019

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.


Frankfort elementary school celebrates spirit of kindness

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/09/frannkfort-elementary-school-celebrates-spirit-of-kindness/arlpknt/


NuMark CU volunteers spread awareness for National Bullying Prevention Month 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/09/numark-cu-volunteers-spread-awareness-for-national-bullying-prevention-month/az69gtf/


Local students earn scholarships, awards and are inducted into honor societies

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/11/local-students-earn-scholarships-awards-and-are-inducted-into-honor-societies/aer1rd9/


Local students graduate, earn dean's list

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/11/local-students-graduate-earn-deans-list/aatg1a1/


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."

For Book Lovers

This Friday at The Book Market in Crest Hill, WriteOn Joliet will host its third anthology release party.

This drop-in, after-hours event will feature copies of the anthology (a fundraiser that supports literacy and the efforts of local writers), copies of books by individual members of our group, a chance to browse and buy from The Book Market, and FREE chef-created refreshments by my son Timothy (until all the food is gone).

In fact, Timothy is dedicated to this event, he plans the menu in advance and donates all the food and supplies (a cost of several hundred dollars, go Timothy!).

How does this menu grab you?

* Spiced Apple Pie Shooter

* White Chocolate Peppermint Bark 

*Vanilla Strawberry Cheesecake 

* Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies 

* Meat and Cheese Tray

* Savory Herbed Cheese Log

We'll also serve FREE coffee, hot chocolate, tea, and water.

The event is from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Nov. 15 at The Book Market, 2365 Plainfield Road in Crest Hill.

For more information, visit writeonjoliet.com.



Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Community News: Nov. 12, 2019

Check out upcoming events and 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.



Vaccination is best defense against pertussis whoopingcough outbreaks, Morris Hospital expert said

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/09/vaccination-is-best-defense-against-pertussis-outbreaks-morris-hospital-expert-said/al4c8uc/


Taking care of teen health
Will County has resources for complete adolescent wellness 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/11/taking-care-of-teen-health/axcqa4h/


Help prevent SIDS with advice from AAP, Will County Health Department

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/09/help-prevent-sids-with-advice-from-aap-will-county-health-department/ayu63de/


Non-profit Spay Illinois offers affordable pet wellness care

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/08/non-profit-spay-illinois-offers-affordable-pet-wellness-care/a8y3zl1/


Local arts and entertainment: Nov. 11 through Nov. 18

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/09/local-arts-and-entertainment-nov-11-through-nov-18/aq66ely/


Local faith events: Nov. 11 through Nov. 18

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/09/local-faith-events-nov-11-through-nov-18/adh5rn/


Local food events: Nov. 11 through Nov. 18

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/10/30/local-food-events-nov-11-through-nov-18/ax8yg1l/


Gotta Do It: Nov. 11 through Nov. 18

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/09/gotta-do-it-nov-11-through-nov-18/a4j5itl/


Local pet events: Nov. 11 through Nov. 18

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/09/local-pet-events-nov-11-through-nov-18/ahmeepl/


Local health events: Nov. 12 through Nov. 19

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/09/local-health-events-nov-12-through-nov-19/at3dzrg/


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."

Even as a Child: The Psychology of "Little Women"

Last August when I was in Raleigh and my daughters, mother, and I spent a day in Cameron Village, I purchased this book: "Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters" by Anne Boyd Rioux, which I pretty much read before I returned to Joliet.

I first read the book at age eight, an old book with crumbling pages between a hard orange cover that had been my mother's. I fell in love with the story and read more of Alcott's works.

I adored An Old-Fashioned Girl, also my mother's. Eight Cousins, borrowed from the library at St. Bernard's Catholic School in Joliet (which no longer stands), was boring, although I attempted a reading of it several times because I liked the cover and Alcott.

By the time I'd read Little Women, I already knew I wanted to be a writer "when I grew up," so Jo's aspirations and activities felt natural to me, even though she wasn't my favorite character.

The characters. That's the point of this blog.

It was not a book I could discuss with my friends as none of them knew what Little Women was. In fact, I have never had a discussion of this book with anyone, although I'm sure some of the people I now know have most likely read it.

I have also never watched a movie adaption. I tried the one with June Allyson, but it was so boring, I never finished it.

Long before I wrote an entire novel, or took a psychology class with the dynamic Sister Mary George when I attended Providence High School in New Lenox, I instinctively understood the multi-layered elements of building realistic characters.

As a child, I understood even adults were more than the exteriors I saw as a child.

So at family parties, I could have been no more than nine, I would approach the adult women and ask them if they had read Little Women. Nearly all of them had.

And then I would ask them which was their favorite character and why. Most were taken aback; all of them answered.

Their responses gave me insight into who they were as people.

Even as books such as Rioux's gives me insight into how Alcott built a story that endured.

For writers cannot write in a vacuum. Every idea comes from somewhere, and that somewhere is usually experience, even if only a strand of experience is pulled from one's life before twisted into a new purpose.

I'm sure many writers would want Alcott's legacy.

But anyone who knows Alcott's backstory would know that Little Women was, most likely, not the type of story she wanted to last beyond her.

It's not easy being a writer even into perpetuity.











Monday, November 11, 2019

Community News: Nov. 9 and Nov.11, 2019

Check out upcoming events and 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.


Plainfield native exemplifies legacy of U.S. Navy Seabees

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/04/plainfield-native-exemplifies-legacy-of-u-s-navy-seabees/a9z7f6a/


When military veterans are applying for jobs
Make sure never to ask these questions

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/04/when-military-veterans-are-applying-for-jobs/ap0v1pj/


Joliet soldier promoted

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/04/joliet-soldier-promoted/ahgobz9/


Plainfield resident receives medal

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/04/plainfield-resident-receives-medal/a8gdsc5/


Reducing stress on military families, honoring veterans

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/09/reducing-stress-on-military-families-honoring-veterans/agkgrjj/


Orland Park native exemplifies legacy of U.S. Navy Seabees

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/04/orland-park-native-exemplifies-legacy-of-u-s-navy-seabees/aollwpy/


Organization that serves #veterans  in Will, Grundy counties receives donation

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/06/organization-that-serves-veterans-in-will-grundy-counties-receives-donation/aczqabh/


Retired Channahon police chief takes Honor Flight

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/07/retired-channahon-police-chief-takes-honor-flight/au2110/


Pets of the Week: Nov. 10

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/04/pets-of-the-week-nov-10/dmk702j/


Bolingbrook parent mentors increase skills

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/08/28/bolingbrook-parent-mentors-increase-skills/agfdlxh/


Ginny the comfort dog visits Romeoville school 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/09/23/ginny-the-comfort-dog-visits-romeoville-school/afscxli/


Bolingbrook students study caterpillars

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/09/23/bolingbrook-students-study-caterpillars/a1vwez9/


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.com.

Antidote for Discouragement

Look for the blessings.

That's it.

If you're feeling discouraged, look for those blessings and appreciate them.

They are the signposts to keep moving your forward, the bread and drink for the journey.

Have a most blessed Monday readers, writers, and BryonySeries fans.



Saturday, November 9, 2019

A "Ruthless" Update

This is the "telegram" I received earlier this week that promoted this blog post: The Great Compliment of Fan Fiction.

Along with this email, I also received the first seven chapters and the epilogue, which I read in fits and starts this week. (I still have chapter seven and the epilogue to go).

Writers: take note of the lowercase letters. The explanation is at the bottom, hilarious.


Dear Momi,
   
With so few word between us since I've started the rough draft of Ruthless, the back story of Ed Calkins, I feel the need to send some of what I'm working on. 

I don't want to damage the Bryony franchise, but I've taken liberties with the some of the characters and their author. I am completely willing to retreat on any storyline I've introduced if you find it prudent. 

This is a good point to send what I have, but new chapters are likely to emerge as the plots unfold. Just as sure, chapters will need to be cut as the subplots gain complications.

Table of content (outline)

Forward or Backward w

Chapter 1 Pigs don’t Plow w

Chapter 2 Mirror w

Chapter 3 Road trip bar w

Chapter 4 The Why chromosome w

Chapter 5 Suspect w

Chapter 6 Happy Hunting w

Chapter 7 A Government of, by, and for Ed Calkins w

Chapter 8 The divine refrigerator w

Chapter 9 Shoot out at the Not OK Coral c

Chapter 10 Somebody else’s dirty secret w

Chapter 11 So a girl, a guy, and a brownie walk into a bar… u

Chapter 12 The Council of scantily clothed merrows u

Chapter 13 The road trip continues. u
                             A The trial
                             B The execution

Chapter 14 Turning State’s evidence u

Chapter 15 Kiss, kill, or marry u

Chapter 16 Where’s your bathrobe u

Chapter 17 the folly of a gun at a limerick fight u

Chapter 18 Won the lottery, died the next day u

Chapter 19 A full confession u

Epilogue w
c- complete but needs revision
w- writing done be content needs adding and revision
u- created but not one word on paper




Friday, November 8, 2019

Community News: Nov. 7 and Nov. 8, 2019

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.


Bolingbrook students enjoy special breakfast 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/09/23/bolingbrook-students-enjoy-special-breakfast/axyzeg8/


Troy staff become celebrity lunch servers

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/06/troy-staff-become-celebrity-lunch-servers/aonijrs/


Plainfield restaurant helps out football/cheer association 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/05/plainfield-restaurant-helps-out-footballcheer-association/as0ytzu/


Air Force Junior ROTC were walking tall and proud at the 2019 Bolingbrook Pathways Parade

https://www.theherald-news.com/lists/2019/09/23/74bc37c6320a43cb838e3525ec3ab44a/index.xml?page=1


Morris Lions Club announces costume contest winners

https://www.theherald-news.com/lists/2019/11/04/c067ed424fc14733a8b92914d28b4be7/index.xml?page=1


Bolingbrook parent mentors increase skills

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/08/28/bolingbrook-parent-mentors-increase-skills/agfdlxh/


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.com.

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

It's super-busy Friday, and I'm a super-tired editor, so here's a few quick highlights:

The proof copy for Cornell Dyer and the Flu arrived yesterday, which I hope to read over the weekend, in-between work and two side projects I'm tackling.

I doubt I'll have copies in time for WriteOn Joliet's anthology release party on Nov. 15 (Hope to see you there!), but I will be taking orders and selling the book at "in-person" prices, so please stop and check it out.

I was invited to participate in a podcast, which we'll be recording this evening.

In the meantime, please check out the stories about some extraordinary people and worthwhile events coming up in the area.

Have a wonderful day, readers, writers, and BryonySeries fans! :)

Non-bylined features:

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

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

Community news? Again, under the sections tab, under features, and by topic. Updates are posted on these days in print and web (and some only on web on other days as I have the time): 

 Social media:

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

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

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

Upcoming events:

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

Check out the progress he has made so far. Each square is hand-built. And be sure to "hover" your hand over the first square. Note: this only works (so far) with the desktop version.

But he's also made A LOT of changes to the website. So be sure to roam around a bit.

Books and Such

Information on my books (including where to buy) along with upcoming events is at www.bryonyseries.com. Again, Timothy is in the process of updating the website, so all titles may not appear. If you have any 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.


An Extraordinary Life: Joliet native was 'always the servant'


People will probably most remember Chuck Lennon for this Henry Ford quote: “You can do anything if you have enthusiasm,” which Chuck had printed on the back of his business cards.

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/03/an-extraordinary-life-joliet-native-was-always-the-servant/a3tn8ak/


VIDEO: ER doctor at Lockport career fair planned hands-on activity 

https://www.theherald-news.com/video/id/b871da1c-a4f3-4ae0-b6c2-32a9bae433e0.html


A 'taste' of Chicago right in Joliet
CUT 158 Chophouse offers large cuts of premium meats, hosting 2 events

 "It's all prime cuts," Bill Dimitroulas said. "The size we offer is way greater than any other restaurant in the area."

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/06/a-taste-of-chicago-right-in-joliet/d2v7og0/


A simple way to feed the hungry
Joliet business owner to receive prestigious award for micro pantry movement

 "So many were too embarrassed or prideful to ask for help, or did not want the hassle completing paperwork," Jeff Eberhard said in the health department news release. "The micro pantries allow them to just stop by and take what they need for their families and children.”

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/06/a-simple-way-to-feed-the-hungry/dc147b9/


Making military history come alive
Traveling exhibit to be part of Veterans Day event in downtown Joliet

Robert Dymek has histories of battles and the items on display on the poster boards. Sometimes, he even has information about the people whose uniforms and memorabilia he is displaying and is able to share their stories.


He’s heard grandparents pointing out uniforms to their grandchildren and saying, “This is what I wore.”

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/05/making-military-history-come-alive/djxbacw/


A 'legacy' for student musicians in Joliet
Alumnus will direct Joliet Central High School symphonic band in unique composition 


“It’s such a rare thing for any school to be able to have a composer that’s an alumni to come and write a piece for their band," Jermaine Stegall said. "I hope people like the piece.”

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/05/a-legacy-for-student-musicians-in-joliet/dlg8p1/


LocalLit Preview about story of Lockport veteran this Sunday

You won't want to miss it.

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/08/locallit-preivew-about-story-of-lockport-veteran-this-sunday/ay8jncw/




Illustration by Matt Coundiff for "Visage."




Thursday, November 7, 2019

BryonySeries Throwback Thursday: What Every Artist Hates to Admit

Sunday, November 4, 2012

What Every Artist Hates to Admit

Yesterday, I spent seven hours at a craft fair and didn't sell anything. Not one book. Not one cookbook. Not one candle.

It's not that I didn't have plenty of traffic. People looked through the books, walked away with cards, filled out their contact information on recycled Vamp Fest tickets and folded them into my "music box." A few fans stopped by just to be friendly and supportive. A crowd gathered around the woman who won my Bryony basket, "ooohing and ahhing" over its contents.

But sales? None, the very first event I worked all year that did not result in a sale.

I did, however, sell two books today out of the blue. So go figure.

So why am I publicly admitting my failure? Because artists rarely admit it.

Actually, I've only met two artists ever that were humble enough to share the hard truth about how well they do at certain events. One was a discouragaed vendor I'd met at Witches Night Out. She was working her second show and had sold nothing at her initial one. Maybe the first venue was not right for her product, or maybe it was just the luck of the evening, but at Witches Night Out, she sold hand over foot. The second artist is a fantastic illlustrator. He had recently returned from a Wisconsin show without selling a single piece of artwork and didn't mind telling that to me.

I've sold copies of Bryony at some unusual venues, places where my only intention was to hand out cards to passersby and create awareness of the product. Yesterday, though, was not my day.

Do I care? Sort of. Enough to make me quit? Absolutely not.

I am publicly announcing it, however, because I want artists to know that, whatever successful sales figures they might read online about OTHER independent artists, (which we always seem to seek out when we hit our low), the hard truth is this.

Sometimes people want what you're selling and sometimes they won't. It's not personal because past sales, no matter how slim, prove you have a market for your art. Unfortunately, when you're just beginning to place your works (and admit it, your ego, for all true artists leave parts of themselves behind in their art), you need to experiment with many opportunities until you discover the best places to find your audience.

And that means taking some hits.

So what?

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Community News: Nov. 6, 2019

Check out upcoming events 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.


My Joyful Heart in Mokena to host fundraiser to benefit kids 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/04/my-joyful-heart-in-mokena-to-host-fundraiser-to-benefit-kids/adl4xsk/


Make holidays brighter for children in Will and Grundy Counties: donate a toy

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/04/make-holidays-brighter-for-children-in-will-and-grundy-counties-donate-a-toy/afbmnz8/


Shorewood family donates to Gift of Hope Organ Tissue Donor Network 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/09/29/shorewood-family-donates-to-gift-of-hope-organ-tissue-donor-network/ap190to/


Valley View Superintendent of Schools answers questions from Bolingbrook and Romeoville students 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/09/23/valley-view-superintendent-of-schools-answers-questions-from-bolingbrook-and-romeoville-students/aqiedbz/


Romeoville science students examine owl pellets 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/09/23/romeoville-science-students-examine-owl-pellets/as6932r/


Bolingbrook library assistant needs seasonal apparel 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/10/14/bolingbrook-library-assistant-needs-seasonal-apparel/aqmfere/


JTHS Board of Education recognizes 233 Joliet students for academic excellence 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/10/24/jths-board-of-education-recognizes-233-joliet-students-for-academic-excellence/ajphvb6/


MLK Day of Service Jan. 20 at Joliet Central High School

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/04/mlk-day-of-service-jan-20-at-joliet-central-high-school/anblunw/


Romeoville HS students learn about the impact of Da Vinci’s impact on Western Civilization 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/09/23/romeoville-hs-students-learn-about-the-impact-of-da-vincis-impact-on-western-civilization/ackkpkn/


Joliet Central student, band director to be interviewed on NPR podcast 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/04/joliet-central-student-band-director-to-be-interviewed-on-npr-podcast/aahky05/


Romeoville HS students visit zoo to study animal behavior 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/09/23/romeoville-hs-students-visit-zoo-to-study-animal-behavior/atzol3n/


NEWSLETTERS

Sign up for the Will County Go Guide

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


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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."


The Satisfaction of Getting It Right

Editor's note: Tone may sound depressing to some. If concerned, skip the read.

Anyone who writes, or is perfecting a craft, often hears (or reads) how he or she is getting it wrong.

Articles with headlines of Ten Ways to Fill In Those Plot Holes, Five Darlings You Need to Kill Now, How To Hit That Daily Word Count, Writers: Stop Doing These Three Things Now all imply we need improvement in in these areas and more.

I'm all for self-improvement. But we rarely stumble upon articles that tell us when we're doing it right.

Well, one found me this morning.

Before I share it, one piece of advice to anyone who is working on a skill: strive for betterment but also seek out those reassuring signposts of progress and perfection.

My lone BryonySeries super fan has told me that a psychology student could write a doctoral thesis based on my books because the character development is that rich. 

While such a compliment is easy to wave away (as opposed to a general bad review that says I suck as a writer, which tends to hand around murkier than mist in Simons Woods), I read a gem of an article this morning that reinforced a nuanced part of Before The Blood in which I got something write.

And it feels good, especially since the book centers on how people live, how they die, and (especially) how they live in such a way to ruin their lives and wind up not quite in the afterlife.

In Before The Blood, one main character has a childhood nightmare that recurs in adulthood during times of great stress. The character always awakens from sleep calling for his mother.

In childhood, of course, she's there. In adolescence, she's there but not really. In adulthood, she's gone.

Here's my little win:

“A nurse from the hospice told me that the last words of dying men often resembled each other. Almost everyone is calling for ‘Mommy’ or ‘Mama’ with the last breath."


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


Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Community News: Nov. 5, 2019

Check out upcoming events 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.


Member of Plainfield Knights of Columbus named state deputy 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/08/07/member-of-plainfield-knights-of-columbus-named-state-deputy/aanw6gx/


St. Mary Immaculate Parish school in #Plainfield recently held Red Ribbon Week 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/03/st-mary-immaculate-parish-school-in-plainfield-recently-held-red-ribbon-week/arqvr0p/


Shorewood school announces Students of the Month

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/04/shorewood-school-announces-students-of-the-month/abkyte1/


Student leaders at St. Mary Nativity in #Joliet attend meeting 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/04/student-leaders-at-st-mary-nativity-in-joliet-attend-meeting/akh4c25/


Carl R. Hendrickson Family Foundation Awards $20,000 Grant to Will-Grundy Medical Clinic

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/08/07/carl-r-hendrickson-family-foundation-awards-20-000-grant-to-will-grundy-medical-clinic/aw1whqe/


Illinois Department of Labor releases top 5 safety violations for Illinois fire departments

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/03/illinois-department-of-labor-releases-top-5-safety-violations-for-illinois-fire-departments/a4rv5ra/


Illinois Department of Public Health issues Well-Woman Care Grants

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/03/illinois-department-of-public-health-issues-well-woman-care-grants/a3ec4m9/


Illinois dentists to treat #veterans in need in their offices

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/03/illinois-dentists-to-treat-veterans-in-need-in-their-offices/a85klal/


Don’t be a scary driver
Consider these tips from the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois State Police

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/03/dont-be-a-scary-driver/ab7kka4/


Why you should practice mindfulness at work

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/04/why-you-should-practice-mindfulness-at-work/afv0srk/


The price of noise on health

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/04/the-price-of-noise-on-health/atnwrjp/


Check those batteries!

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/04/check-those-batteries/ajmynve/


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." 

The Great Compliment of Fan Fiction

Almost every aspect of writing involves struggle.

Writers struggle with ideas, writer's block, making time for writing, discipline.

When we finally have a jumble of fairly cohesive words, we only to tear it apart through the revision process.

Then writers struggle to find beta readers, agents, and publishers.

Oh and writers struggle against rejection, LOTS of it.

If writers finally see their words in print, they struggle to find readers and reviews.

And then writers struggle against their emotions when reading negative reviews.

So when a reader starts writing fan fiction based on your words, it's a surreal experience like no other. And it's an experience I'm experiencing right now.

A few months ago, at the request of my lone BryonySeries super fan, Ed Calkins began writing his backstory.

If you don't know Ed's connection to my books, you can find it here.

Now, Ed's novel is not the first time he's "played" with my characters, including the fictionalized version of himself.

But as I'm reading through the chapters he sent me on Sunday night, enjoying those chapters as a reader (doubled-over laughing in spots) and mentally marking areas for tightening as an editor, I began to realize someone else was creating new works out of my old ones and encouraging my mind to go beyond the stories I've written.

I can't adequately describe how that feels.

First, Ed has read (at least), the "drop of blood" trilogy, since he is featured in those books. So he's already spent time in the fruits of my imagination. Keep the term "fruits" in mind, for comparison's sake.

Second, the sheer length of these chapters shows he's spent even greater amount of time there than, say, an average reader of my stories.

Now, I don't want to minimize the joy a writer feels when a reader revels in one's works (and even re-reads them) and takes the time to write lengthy reviews championing those works. It's exhilaration on the humbling scale, and I hope every writer gets to experience it.

Let's call that grapes: red grapes and green grapes. If you've read Before The Blood, you'll get it.

I'm also enjoying collaborating with Timothy on creating The Adventures of Cornell Dyer series, based on a character in Visage, which ranks high for me on the fun scale.

Let's call that an orange, even though no actual oranges were ever used in Cornell's favorite orange drink.

But Ed's fictionalized backstory is a new honor altogether. Let's call that an apple, since Ed's spending so much time with the character John-Peter.

When I was writing Bryony, Ed was the supervisor for one of my routes. I felt the story needed a new character.

Ed, who is very creative, had created a fictionalized version of himself. I approached him with teh request to take his idea  few steps beyond that.

So he allowed me to create a pretend version of himself and gave me complete freedom to develop the character in any way I wished. And he did it legally. As through an attorney. The amount of trust there is huge.

But now he is taking my pretend version of his pretend self, along with some of my characters and storylines already established, to create an entire new work.

Now I have always said the creation of BryonySeries is a team effort. But Ed has take that to, pardon the cliche, a whole new level.

It's an emotional whirlwind to read his words.

And it's beyond humbling.





Monday, November 4, 2019

Community News: Nov. 2 and Nov. 4, 2019

Check out upcoming events 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: Nov. 3

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/10/28/pets-of-the-week-nov-3/dd9493r/


Support team at Bolingbrook school honored 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/09/23/support-team-at-bolingbrook-school-honored/atnu9f6/


Bolingbrook Spanish students participate in mock job interviews 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/10/14/spanish-students-participate-in-mock-job-interviews/alkly0d/


Students at D. 86 in Joliet serve on leadership team 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/10/24/students-at-d-86-in-joliet-serve-on-leadership-team/ay79ayr/


TC Energy gifts Joliet Junior College technical program $250,000

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/08/07/tc-energy-gifts-joliet-junior-college-technical-program-250-000/dn129at/


D. 86 in Joliet celebrates National Principals Month

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/01/d-86-in-joliet-celebrates-national-principals-month/a4g9e4/


Plainfield church blessed pets on Oct. 5

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/10/31/plainfield-church-blessed-pets-on-oct-5/ar4wylv/


Genetic dispositions may influence behavior 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/01/genetic-dispositions-may-influence-behavior/a4jsk5n/


Report reveals country’s most pet-friendly cities

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/10/26/report-reveals-countrys-most-pet-friendly-cities/aglertm/


Gotta Do It: Nov. 4 through Nov. 11

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/10/30/gotta-do-it-nov-4-through-nov-11/amh5pd6/


Local faith events: Nov. 4 through Nov. 11

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/10/30/local-faith-events-nov-4-through-nov-11/ae6eks9/


Local food events: Nov. 4 through Nov. 11

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/10/30/local-food-events-nov-4-through-nov-11/a12fcj5/


Local health events: Nov. 4 through Nov. 12

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/10/30/local-health-events-nov-4-through-nov-12/aomrfma/


Local pet events: Nov. 4 to Nov. 11

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/10/30/local-pet-events-nov-4-to-nov-11/avj1sx7/


Local arts and entertainment: Nov. 4 through Nov. 11

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/10/30/local-arts-and-entertainment-nov-4-through-nov-11/a1udg02/


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."