Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Community News: Jan. 17, 2018

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


Need help? Want to help? Here's a roundup of area food pantries 



Drone delivers admission letters to Romeoville university 



Joliet student athletes recognized 



Joliet high school students recognized 



Joliet student selected as a 2017 Student Laureate 



Joliet Junior College awarded grant for STEM education 



Shorewood Lions Club names Troy Students of the Month for October 




Lemont resident earns national Lasallian educator award 



Illustration by Matt Coundiff for "Visage." Follow him at www.facebook.com/artbymattcoundiff or @MattCoundiff on Twitter.

Open Mic Night 2017: Steve Saporta

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Community News: Jan. 16, 2017

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


Gotta Do It: Jan. 14 through Jan. 20



Local pet events: Jan. 15 through Jan. 21



Local health events: Jan. 16 through Jan 23 



Pets of the Week: Jan. 15

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



Pretty Penny beats warrior Xena in Forest Preserve python-naming effort



‘Be a Beekeeper’ with help from the Forest Preserve District of Will County



Lincoln-Way students participate in Voice of Democracy essay contest




Romeoville raises flag celebrating Illinois’ 200th birthday 



Illustration by Kathleen Rose Van Pelt for "Bryony."

Two Quick Proofreading Tips

Want to weed out pesky errors from your edited work? 

Try this:

1) Read your story aloud. You'll catch errors and clumsy writing.

2) Read it backwards, same reasons.

Stay safe, stay warm, and may all your prose be smooth and error-free!


Monday, January 15, 2018

A 2017 List for a 2018 Year

A few weeks ago I made a list of dangling threads from the past year, those projects half-begun in 2017 and only half-done now that it's 2018.

I've since whittled this list by a third (and attached a few more threads as my mind recollected them).

This wrapping up of the old can be more tedious than delving into the new. The sheen is worn from these scraps of projects, but the satisfaction of crossing them off the list is great, and motivation is strong.

From whence cometh this strong motivation?

My resolution of not starting another project until I've put away the old ones.

How about you? What are your plans for your leftovers?









Sunday, January 14, 2018

Sue's Diner: Winter Squash

One of the items served at John and Bryony's Munsonville wedding.

Simple to make, delectable to eat, and so perfect for cold winter temperatures.

Find the recipe HERE.

From "Memories in the Kitchen: Bites and Nibbles From 'Bryony'"

All proceeds benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Will and Grundy Counties. www.bbbswillgrundy.org.

Order the cookbook at www.bryonyseries.com.







Saturday, January 13, 2018

Community News: Jan. 13, 2018

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


Fourth D. 202 “Next Steps” training about student independence Jan. 16 in Plainfield 

http://www.theherald-news.com/2018/01/12/fourth-d-202-next-steps-training-about-student-independence-jan-16-in-plainfield/aaa6j18/


Lincoln-Way West kicked off Homecoming Week with Homecoming Olympics

http://www.theherald-news.com/lists/2018/01/12/aaaccc1c51524a5e802379b1a13c5fdb/index.xml


2018 Great Read program honors Dr. King's life, legacy


Prairie State Legal Services offers Victims Legal Advice Line


Edward-Elmhurst teams travel to Caribbean to help hurricane victims



Is your back sore from shoveling snow?
New Lenox hospital offers free low back screenings on Jan. 22
Illustration by Kathleen Rose Van Pelt for "Bryony."

Calkins Day is a Month Away

What is Calkins Day, you may ask?

Why, it's the BryonySeries' very own holiday. It's a time to celebrate laughter, imagination, and generosity.

When is it?

On. Feb. 13, the date of Ed Calkins' birthday. (Yes, Virginia, and everyone else, Ed Calkins is real. And so his birthday).

How does one celebrate?

A parade with the distribution of candy is ideal, but impractical. Although we did have a parade of two people last year. The footage is below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CN5aHgwzWbM

Are any foods associated with the holiday?

Any of the foods listed in chapter 29 in Staked! would suffice. At the very least, serve some Irish soda bread.

You can buy a copy of Staked! HERE.

The BryonySeries cookbook, Memories in the Kitchen, Bites and Nibbles from "Bryony," has a very nice Irish soda bread that's become my family's tradition for Calkins Day. And when you buy a copy (which you can do HERE), all proceeds go to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Will and Grundy Counties.

I did post the recipe HERE, too.

Should I wear anything special?

Jeans and a striped shirt. Or a kilt. Ed has worn both (although not at the same time).

Will Ed Calkins be making any appearances?

That's the plan, if he can get a sub for his newspaper route. Details HERE.

Is Calkins Day just an excuse to sell books?

Um, no. The holiday began in Ed's mind long before he became a character in my series. In fact, the idea for vampirizing him came after I missed yet another parade (He hosted very short parades).

For more details on this most pretend of all pretend holidays, read the post from 2011:

http://bryonyseries.blogspot.com/2011/02/case-for-calkins-day.html


Here I am on Feb. 13, 2017, wearing my Calkins Day garb, candy bowl in hand, ready for the parade.





Friday, January 12, 2018

Community News: Jan. 11 and Jan. 12

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


Local faith events: Jan. 11 through Jan.18


Local arts and entertainment: Jan. 12 through Jan. 19


Joliet parish celebrates priest's 50th anniversary


St. Mary Nativity students in Joliet acknowledged for values and virtues


Lemont school wins


In honor of theophany


Joliet Catholic Academy announces November Students of the Month


Joliet Catholic Academy announces December Students of the Month


Lockport German students attend the Steuben parade


13 Plainfield student to participate in ILMEA festival


Joliet playwrights festival features teen' works


Joliet band to perform at national festival



Troy musicians selected for elite statewide band


Plainfield students exhibiting artwork


Troy symphonic band to play at music educators’ conference








Story Round-Up: Features in The Herald-News, Jan. 7 through Jan. Jan. 12 (And Self-Publishing Seminar Recap)

A few less stories this week as I play catch-up from the holidays, which in features world, starts in September and continues nonstop through the first of the year.

Adding to the mix that I worked the news end of things on a holiday and then taking a day off to compensate, and having Monday off for my anniversary date (the company has each employee take a free day in the month he/she was hired, which is very nice), already puts me at a deficit of three days.

Oh, and I had a big project to complete under a tight deadline, which too me an entire day. I also learned 2018 will bring not one, but the start of two newsletters by moi.

As I've previously mentioned, I'll be starting a newsletter for the BryonySeries this year. Details are HERE.

But The Herald-News has asked me to start one, too, beginning this month. I was given some direction as to the vision, with me mulling on how to best execute that vision.

As you can see, it's an exciting start to the new year.

Last night, nearly twenty brave souls ventured into the sleet to learn the basics of "how to self-publish for nearly free," with a couple people actually traveling a distance to do so. I estimated two hours for the event, and we used up every bit of it.

Nearly everyone, it seemed, received something use from the time (and from the handout), and one gentleman even asked me to autograph it! So a good time (and the quaffing of some great coffee at Book and Bean Cafe) was had by all.

For those who missed it and are sorry they did, not to worry. There's more events coming up, including a WriteOn Joliet meeting on Jan. 18 and the Calkins Day celebration and book signing on Feb. 11. Details are HERE.

Now where do you find features, fiction, and me?

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): Monday (pets), Tuesday (health), Thursday (faith), Friday (arts and entertainment), and Sunday (people).

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.

Books and Such

Information on my books (including where to buy) is at www.bryonyseries.com

Thank you for reading The Herald-News. And for reading this blog. And if you're read (or plan to read) any of my books. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Here are the stories that ran in features this week:


Why some Joliet area churches celebrate Christmas on Jan. 7

The answer lies with church history and how people once marked the passage of time.



Just one of the villagers
Joliet man found adventure in life's simplicity

The more others share memories of Joe Baltz with his wife Marie Pierre Baltz, the more Marie Pierre realizes “what a great man he was” and “what a complete man he was.”

Joe Baltz of Joliet died on Nov. 4 at age 71.

“Not only was he complete in what he did,” Marie Pierre said, “but my feeling now is that I am discovering the man I lived 44 years with.”



Channahon beekeeper keeps puppies' paws safe

"There's nothing I make in the paw wax that's bad for the dogs," Parhsall said. "It's just basically beeswax, coconut oil, shea butter and olive oil. No petroleum products, nothing like that."



Plainfield's Blueberry Hill Breakfast Cafe: home-cooked meals in a friendly atmosphere

The epitome of blueberry breakfast dishes is in Plainfield.

It's called the Baked Blueberry French Toast. The texture was more dense than traditional French toast and the cream cheese frosting was "more refreshing than sweet," said one diner.



Illustration by Matt Coundiff for "Visage." Follow him at www.facebook.com/artbymattcoundiff or @MattCoundiff on Twitter


Thursday, January 11, 2018

BryonySeries Throwback Thursday: New Writer's Group Begins Feb. 2, 2012

Monday, January 30, 2012


New Writer's Group Begins Feb. 2, 2012

The Three Rivers Arts Council (TRAC), 413 Mondamin, Minooka, is hosting a new writer's group, from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. every first and third Thursday of the month. Stop in with your latest (or not-so-latest) project, enjoy some coffee, and share and learn with fellow writers. We're laid back and friendly, so please, don't be shy!

Friday night's writer's assessment was tons of fun (Yes, assessments is how we writers define fun). I had the opportunity to read a variety of fiction, and also, in some cases, had the privilege of being the first set of eyes (other than the author) to read those printed words. In addition, we raised a little money for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Will and Grundy Counties, so it was a great night.

From January's two assessments came a core group of people eager to meet more often to give and receive feedback on their works. Since writing is a solitary occupation, it was refreshing for me to meet others whose idea of a perfect evening is transferring their creative ideas from brain to paper.

On another "note," two of my sons accompanied me to TRAC's first open mic night. Timothy, who sings well, but only for family, friends, and empty warehouses, took the stage with three songs and "wowed" those present.

Way to go, Timothy!


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Community News: Jan. 10, 2018

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


Need help? Want to help? Here's a roundup of area food pantries


Lincoln-Way cadets volunteer through the holidays



Lincoln-Way West students receive National Honor Society induction


Endowed scholarship created in memory of USF employee


Lockport students recognized at Porter Pride Breakfast


Lockport Township High School announces Advanced Placement Scholars




Illustration by Matt Coundiff for "Memories in the Kitchen: Bites and Nibbles from 'Bryony.'" Follow him at www.facebook.com/artbymattcoundiff or @MattCoundiff on Twitter

Open Mic Night 2017: Sue Midlock

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Community News: Jan. 9, 2018

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


Local health events: Jan. 9 through Jan 16



Camphor products: A cause for concern
Keep products containing camphor away from children



Lung cancer removed with robotic surgery



In Will County, health screenings start soon after birth 



Joliet West High School NHS gives back with Purple Project



Joliet area women recognized for their mental health contributions



Help choose top three 2017 Preserve the Moment photo contest pictures



Sign up for free newsletter to get year-round Forest Preserve District news



Special 'Peter and the Wolf' performance in Joliet includes 'instrument petting zoo'  



Illustration by Matt Coundiff for Visage." Follow him at www.facebook.com/artbymattcoundiff or @MattCoundiff on Twitter.

"Sue's Diner, a Review"

Everything about this review is fictional, except for the food, which, alas, is only available if you prepare it at home using recipes from the BryonySeries cookbook.

Information on ordering is at the end of this review.

All characters referenced in this review appear in the BryonySeries.

First shared at a WriteOn Joliet meeting as part of a group assignment, probably in 2013.

Sue's Diner, a Review
By Dr. Trenton J. Cooper
Exclusive to Experience Michigan Now!

For me, moving to a city near my hometown meant foregoing the unpacking of bags until my wife Courtney and I had experienced Sue's Diner in Munsonville.
Yes, I know Sue's Diner has become the "it" place for good eating in Wade County ever since executive chef Brian Marchellis bought the place last year, but that's not why Courtney and I immediately headed over to the small fishing village for an overnighter.

You see, my family had owned that restaurant for many decades, up until my mother's valiant fight against brain cancer. I ate most of my boyhood meals in that diner's kitchen, earned my allowance by bussing tables, and spent my weekends sitting in a fishing boat with my father.

However, what most people do not realize is that Chef Marchellis, although at first appearing an unlikely prospect for this diner's culinary success, was actually the perfect individual to take this historic piece of the village to this level. To understand why, please allow me to digress.

In 1975, a couple of years before I was born, the village had purchased a mansion in Simons Woods from Chef Marchellis' family. The previous owner--John Simons--was apparently a rather famous pianist and composer in the nineteenth century.

Because of this, as well as rumors that the mansion was haunted, village officials had planned to convert Simons Mansion into a tourist attraction. Unfortunately, a fire burned the structure to the ground before any serious renovations had taken place.

Now in the fall of 1975, several months before the fire, Chef Marchellis and his family had actually lived in the former servant's quarters on that estate. In fact, I believe the structure still stands as a storage unit for park maintenance.

Anyway, in that cottage, one of the village employees, Steve Barnes, whose parents had founded Sue's Diner in 1922, took the future chef under his wing and taught him all of his family's secret recipes. Steve later became Chef Marchellis' stepfather, moved away with the family, and opened a cleaning business.

After Steve's death, Chef Marchellis expanded the cleaning business and franchised it, but when my mother became sick, Chef Marchellis sold the business, enrolled in the world renowned culinary arts program at Joliet Junior College, and initiated conversation with my family about selling the diner. And as a "by the way," Chef Marchellis was also the uncle of my childhood best friend.

So you can see why Courtney and I were most anxious to see the new Sue's Diner, and believe me, we were not disappointed, even before we got through the door. The dingy gray exterior is now a fresh white with blue-gray trim; matching window boxes hold wildflowers from Simons Woods. Just beyond the diner, a spacious parking lot replaces the ramshackle fishing cottages that were once the mainstay of Munsonville's tourist season.

Inside, was even more jaw-dropping. No more tacky blond paneling. The walls had been painted white and adorned with blue-gray shelving and free-standing cabinets displaying items that had once played useful roles in homes of the early settlers: cast iron cookware, vintage photographs (including those of village women cooking over wood stoves), homemade fishing poles and nets and antique dinnerware.

The threadbare carpet has given way to gleaming wood floors (compliments of Simons Woods); the metal chairs with their stained blue-green cushions and the Formica-topped tables were replaced with polished wood benches, chairs, and tables, all locally crafted from Millers Fine Furniture in Shelby, whose original owner, Russ Miller, is also a born and bred Munsonviller. Sue's Diner servers are professionally trained and wear blue-grey and white uniforms, no exceptions.

All fish on the menu has always been freshly caught from the waters of Lake Munson. However, the produce is now locally grown from the community garden and restored orchards on the grounds of the former Simons estate. This is a project the pastor of the Congregational Church initiated nearly 20 years ago as part of the youth ministry he began with the now-famous emporium orphans, which has since reached its full flowering, so to speak.

In addition to the signature dishes Sue's Diner patrons have enjoyed through the decades--Boiled Fish with Gravy, Fish Loaf, Fish Chowder, Lemon Chicken, Shepherd's Pie, my grandmother's house salad and Apple Pudding (not to mention the diner's popular tartar sauce, which my Great Uncle Gabe ate by the cupful)--Sue's Diner now features recipes Chef Marchellis learned directly from Steve, recipes the Barnes family did not share when my grandparents bought Sue's Diner in back in the '50s.

For our first Sue's Diner meal as official tourists, Courtney and I shared a jalapeno-corn dip with homemade tortilla chips for an appetizer and sampled each other's entrees: a very hot vegetarian chili for her and pork roast with cabbage, grated apples and fresh sauerkraut for me. Beer and wine offerings were slim but expect some diversity here in the near future as Chef Marchellis is currently experimenting with making his own.

At dessert, Chef Marchellis himself served complimentary slices of his very rich, eight-layer, "Best Ever" chocolate cake, the very first dessert he'd made with Steve. We enjoyed it with Sue's Diner coffee, still freshly ground with a hand grinder.

The next morning, we split an order of Toffee-Apple French Toast, as the portions were so large, we wanted to save room for lunch. We spent the morning wandering through Simons Woods and generally reminiscing, returning to Sue's Diner after the noon rush had passed. Courtney then ordered the baked ham sandwich--featuring a unique onion-poppy mustard--and I ordered a giant barbecue made with Chef Marchellis' own smoky, non-tomato-based barbecue sauce.

That night at dinner, Courtney and I again shared an appetizer, the black avocado dip, again with homemade tortilla chips. Chicken ruled our dinner plates: pot pie for Courtney and pan-fried chicken slices with string beans in sour cream gravy for me. We had considered sampling other desserts--trifle comes to mind--but caved to Chef Marchellis' "Best Ever" chocolate cake.

We left Munsonville early the next morning but not before treating ourselves to a breakfast entree we've not seen anywhere but Sue's Diner and a favorite of mine growing up: batter dipped ham pieces and Scarborough Puffs. All in all, our entire experience at Sue's Diner was a highly satisfying one. Chef Brian Marchellis, I salute you. It took nearly 50 years, but thanks to your efforts, Munsonville now has its tourist attraction.


Editor's note: Dr. Trenton J. Cooper is chief of neurosurgery at Jenson Memorial Hospital, a former classmate of mine, and the perfect person to review Sue's Diner, as Dr. Cooper has now experienced both sides of its kitchen. Interested in submitting a piece to Michigan's official tourist magazine? Contact me at cchandler@experiencemichigannow.com.

 SUE'S DINER

 Location: 301 Main Street, Munsonville, Mich.

Reservations: Suggested but not mandatory. Walk-ins welcome, but expect a wait.

Price: Most breakfast and lunch entrees are between $7 and $12; dinner ranges from $15 to $25, not including appetizers and desserts. Homemade soup included with every order.

Charge Cards: All major credit cards accepted

Hours: 5:30 a.m. - 11:00 p.m, seven days a week

Parking: On street (when available), valet parking

Cuisine: Home-style with gourmet flair

Call: 989- 826-5514

Visit: www.suesdiner.com or find "Sue's Diner" on Facebook.


From "Memories in the Kitchen: Bites and Nibbles From 'Bryony'"

All proceeds benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Will and Grundy Counties. www.bbbswillgrundy.org.

Order the cookbook at www.bryonyseries.com.



Monday, January 8, 2018

Community News: Jan. 4 and Jan. 5 and Jan. 8, 2018

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


Local arts and entertainment: Jan. 5 through Jan. 12 



Gotta Do It: Jan. 7 through Jan. 14



Local pet events: Jan. 8 through Jan. 15



Pets of the week: Jan: 8



Student helps pets at Christmas




Local faith events: Jan. 4 through Jan.11, 2018



Joliet students recognized



Joliet students acknowledged for virtues



Shorewood 8th-graders help neighbors near school



Lockport students presented at the IETC conference



Tips for staying safe in your car during the cold weather



Will-South Cook Soil and Water Conservation District will elect two new directors




Associated Orthodontists accepting applications for annual scholarship program
Current and former patients encouraged to apply for $1,000 #scholarship 

http://www.theherald-news.com/2018/01/04/associated-orthodontists-accepting-applications-for-annual-scholarship-program/af4iw7l/


Illustration by Kathleen Rose Van Pelt for Bryony.

What Happened to Community News? (and two event reminders)

It returns this evening.

Between getting ready for our family Christmas and keeping up with deadlines, the first ounce of free time came too late at night to post it.

As I transition back into the regular routine over the next couple weeks, I'll be catching up on stuff I let go during the holiday weeks.

This includes sorting out stories by priority of timeliness, catching up on getting more community news in print and online, starting two NEW projects for The Herald News (I hope you're curious and excited to know what these are), getting back in the fiction groove (Before the Blood has languished for attention lately), finish a book I started in September, posting weekly recipes again, and hosting two events.

One event is coming up this week. Another happens in February. Information is below.

Have a great Monday, vampire fans! :)


How to Self-Publish a Book for (Nearly) Free

When: 6 p.m. Jan. 11, 2018

Where: Book and Bean Cafe, 3395 Black Road, Joliet

​Etc: WriteOn Joliet co-founder and author of the self-published BryonySeries will give a concise step-by-step presentation on how to self-publish a book for no to minimal cost. Opportunity for Q&A and to purchase books from WriteOn Joliet authors. $10. All proceeds benefit WriteOn Joliet programs.

Contact: Visit www.writeonjoliet.com or email bryonyseries@gmail.com.


Calkins Day Book Signing

​When: 6 to 8 p.m. Feb. 13, 2018

Where: Book and Bean Cafe, 3395 Black Road, Joliet

​Etc: Meet BryonySeries' real Ed Calkins, Steward of Tara and first (and only) Irish vampire on Calkins Day. Buy signed copies of his yet untitled or released book about author Denise M. Baran-Unland's "Irish" genealogy. Refreshments and great coffee for sale. The evening will celebrate Ed's birthday, limericks, Celtic lore, and all things fun and creative. Irish garb (Irish apparel, dressing as leprechauns and other Celtic mythological characters) encouraged.

​Contact: bryonyseries@gmail.com.





Illustration by Matt Coundiff for "Visage." Follow him at www.facebook.com/artbymattcoundiff or @MattCoundiff on Twitter

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Merry Christmas! (Huh?)

Years ago when our family moved from the Christian West to the Christian East, we made friends with some families that celebrated Christmas on Jan. 7.

Some of these friends celebrated only on Jan. 7 and some celebrated on Dec. 25 and Jan. 7. Sometimes we celebrated with them, a Christmas with family and a Christmas with friends.

Gradually, we incorporated Jan. 7 as ours, especially after my youngest daughter Rebekah was born on Jan. 7 (making her 24 years old today).

The idea behind the switch was less about the present and more about the future. As the children grew up, married, and had children and families of their own, moving our celebration as an immediate family would give them the freedom to celebrate the popular date with their new families, incorporating their traditions and starting their own, while also allowing them to celebrate as a unit with their siblings.

Through the years, Dec. 25 became the date we celebrated with extended family. And Jan. 7 became the "siblings all together under one roof" Christmas.

But why Jan. 7? The answer is explained in this story I wrote for today's Herald-News.

http://www.theherald-news.com/lists/2018/01/04/72fa64f0ec884df98d8817c50dd03f2e/index.xml

Whenever and however you celebrate, what's most important, I think, is that you celebrate.

Christ is born! Let us glorify Him!


Saturday, January 6, 2018

Did You Know I Was Irish?

Neither did I.

But apparently I have an Irish backstory.

Which Ed Calkins, the Steward of Tara, so thoughtfully chronicled back in 2010 when I started this blog.

He emailed my genealogy in installments. I published them in installments.

Now, for the first time in make-believe history, you can read the entire bit of nonsense in one small, novella-like book.

The proof was ordered today; the event details are below.

And if you'd like to publish your own book for free (or nearly free) this year, join me for a cup of coffee Jan. 11 at Book and Bean Cafe in Joliet. Details for this event are also below.

Have a great weekend, vampire fans!


Calkins Day Book Signing

​When: 6 to 8 p.m. Feb. 13, 2018

Where: Book and Bean Cafe, 3395 Black Road, Joliet

​Etc: Meet BryonySeries' real Ed Calkins, Steward of Tara and first (and only) Irish vampire on Calkins Day. Buy signed copies of his yet untitled or released book about author Denise M. Baran-Unland's "Irish" genealogy. Refreshments and great coffee for sale. The evening will celebrate Ed's birthday, limericks, Celtic lore, and all things fun and creative. Irish garb (Irish apparel, dressing as leprechauns and other Celtic mythological characters) encouraged.

​Contact: bryonyseries@gmail.com.


How to Self-Publish a Book for (Nearly) Free

When: 6 p.m. Jan. 11, 2018

Where: Book and Bean Cafe, 3395 Black Road, Joliet

​Etc: WriteOn Joliet co-founder and author of the self-published BryonySeries will give a concise step-by-step presentation on how to self-publish a book for no to minimal cost. Opportunity for Q&A and to purchase books from WriteOn Joliet authors. $10. All proceeds benefit WriteOn Joliet programs.

Contact: Visit www.writeonjoliet.com or email bryonyseries@gmail.com.



Friday, January 5, 2018

Story Round-Up: Features in The Herald-News, Dec. 31 through Jan. 5

So last night I did something I rarely do anymore.

I stayed up late and rose late, mostly because the way my day is structured today, I could.

My original intent after returning home from WriteOn Joliet's first meeting in 2018 was to finish up some work leaving me free to tackle some other projects today. But once I stepped through the door,  I reverted to kid mode.

You know, the part of you that's like, "Yippee! No school tomorrow! I get to stay up late!" And then you fill the time with semi-useless stuff, a wasting of time that allows one to unwind.

So while I wouldn't say I frivously wasted a few hours (I did, after, all re-read parts of the WIP, not that I had any pressing reason to do so excepted whim and enjoyment), I do feel I had a bit of playtime for the mind and am now ready to tackle what needs to be done, in this order: work, personal project, working out, some fiction (if I'm fortunate), and teaching tonight.

Tomorrow: Work, Christmas shopping, work, the wrapping of presents, work.

Sunday: Christmas and family, work in the evening (this last is a HUGE maybe)

What, no fiction?

Maybe.

If there's time.

Because I have other things to do this weekend. I know. I've said it a lot. But I really had no intention of hitting fiction hard again until the following weekend.

Which I definitely will do.

Unless something comes up.

And now some quick information before the stories:

An event:

What: How to Self-Publish a Book for (Nearly) Free

​When: 6 p.m. Jan. 11, 2018

Where: Book and Bean Cafe, 3395 Black Road, Joliet

​Etc: WriteOn Joliet co-founder and author of the self-published BryonySeries will give a concise step-by-step presentation on how to self-publish a book for no to minimal cost. Opportunity for Q&A and to purchase books from WriteOn Joliet authors. $10. All proceeds benefit WriteOn Joliet programs

​Contact Visit www.writeonjoliet.com or email bryonyseries@gmail.com.

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 in web on other days as I have the time: Monday (pets), Tuesday (health), Thursday (faith), Friday (arts and entertainment), and Sunday (people).

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.

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


‘It’s become part of my identity’
Art Dykstra steps down as executive director of Trinity Services

“I’m also aware of the fact that if you want to be successful, you have to be value-based, something I’ve tried hard to do,” Art said. “We make sure we put the people first and build the systems around them ... It’s been a very human service education, I guess.”



'I just have real passion for supporting people
Thane Dykstra steps up as CEO of Trinity Services

"I just have real passion for supporting people most providers aren’t interested in serving or who don’t necessarily have the expertise in serving," Thane said.



Help pets achieve healthy weight in new year

Based on 2016 pet population projections provided by the American Pet Products Association, an estimated 41.9 million dogs and 50.5 million cats are too heavy.



'People are comfortable with me'
At 200 pounds, Mokena personal trainer has lost half her body weight

"I was so large, I could not fit on 80 percent of the equipment," Cassie Campbell said, "and I could only walk one mile on a treadmill, not very long, but we went every day. I got on equipment I could fit on and I met with a nutritionist and she gave us a road map that really helped."

http://www.theherald-news.com/lists/2017/12/29/1c80d9b66357430592288328ff14a9e6/index.xml


Mystery Diner: Mattina Cafe has breakfast for any taste 

Our other adult diner went with the French quarter toast ($9.25).

I thought nothing of it when the order was placed, thinking it was just a fancy name for French toast with maybe some sort of fruit or whipped topping.

But I was wrong.

http://www.theheraldnews.com/lists/2018/01/01/5a43877fc1314b7e8be45366cb4e9f53/index.xml?page=1


Joliet's Christ Centered Combat has God at its core

"It develops the whole person," Sam Murphy said. "Not just your body and your mind, but your soul and your spirit as well need cultivating."

http://www.theherald-news.com/lists/2018/01/02/e03350e63b3b4d9aa00ce60d2ccce755/index.xml?page=1



Romeoville man's chess club started with a book and a cup of coffee

About 30 people of all ages now attend "Chess and Coffee" each Thursday between 6 and 10 p.m., and the number appears to be growing. Yes, kids can play, too.




Bricks and Minifigs Lego shop to open Saturday in Crest Hill

The Joliet store is one of 37 locations in the country, and the only one in Illinois, Linsner said. Its grand opening is Saturday.

http://www.theherald-news.com/lists/2018/01/02/432e29a8d95a4dc5842cad848460ca7f/index.xml?page=1


Illustration by Matt Coundiff for "Visage." Follow him at www.facebook.com/artbymattcoundiff or @MattCoundiff on Twitter



Thursday, January 4, 2018

BryonySeries Throwback Thursday: Naming a Baby is Easier than Naming a Song

Monday, January 17, 2011

Naming a Baby is Easier than Naming a Song

Not that I took naming any of my children lightly.

Each time, I put much thought and prayer about the perfect name for this particular child. I said it aloud. I printed it on block paper. I wrote it in cursive with sidewalk chalk on the front porch. The name had to fit my children’s looks, personalities, and even destinies. I wanted them to like their name, to be proud of it. They would wear those names for the rest of their lives.

On Saturday, James Onohan (http://www.jamesonohan.com/), who composes and plays original piano music, sent me two, newly recorded songs for my review. He’s creating a ten-song Bryony CD and has already written its theme song (It’s beautiful). The songs (I love them!!!) were accompanied by a request to collaborate with him in their naming.

So, early Sunday morning, in the morning’s wee hours, while I rolled and delivered Sunday newspapers, I played and replayed those two songs and jotted down notes as I listened to them. What was James trying to communicate? What might he have felt as he wrote and played them? What was I feeling? What Byrony images did the music conjure up for me?

Later that day, I emailed my impressions to James, and he sent me his ideas. He’s pleased with the exchange because he really wants his music to reflect my book. We haven’t named the songs yet, but we’re closer to it today than yesterday. My seventeen-year-old daughter shook her head at me during the umpteenth listen and said, "Well, whatever you're into.'"

Oh, I am so into this!
So, why is this harder than naming my children? With my children, I had certain first and middle names assembled that I already liked and a goal for bestowing them. Heck, I even had a formula: one Old Testament name, one New Testament or saint name, and a combined meaning of the two.

I think it’s trickier to simultaneously and accurately sum up James intention behind a song while correlating it to Bryony, but I’m finding it no less sublime than naming a child. As my publicist would say, ‘We’re making history,” so the titles have to be right.

James’ songs are going to wear those names for a very, long time.