Friday, August 10, 2018

Story Round-Up: Features in The Herald-News, Aug. 5 through Aug. 10

Ah, the best-laid plans!

When I took my in-home writing retreat last month, I compiled a strict writing schedule for the weekends between now and Labor Day.

As my luck (or poor planning) has it, other projects have bled (get it, vampires?) into my life, disrupting that schedule.

So with less time for actual composition, I've focused on editing, which means uneven, less measurable progress.

Some chapters are in surprisingly good shape and will need little, if any, further attention until I turn this fifth book over to my editor.

Other chapters still have entire scenes writing patiently for their turn to be written.


Since heading out to Raleigh isn't possible this year, and I still have vacation time to use, I'm taking a few days off after Labor Day for a SECOND at-home writing retreat to "flesh out" those remaining scenes and print out the first four books and hand them off to my editor. Because at that point, I'll know whether or not I need to add/subtract anything major from the plot, characters, etc. in the previous books.

By the time she works her way through them, book number five will be ready for her. So since I've gotten some editing done, in some ways I ahead. How 'bout it?

I still plan to release all five books of Before the Blood in 2019, beginning with the first book in January. I am very excited to finally see the fruition of this project, which started with an idea for a single book in 1985 that began assuming actual life in 2007 when I decided to finally write the $$%% thing.

AND, I still have some very cool vacationy things planned for this year.

This month, I'm being treated to one of those afternoon cruise ship things on Lake Michigan, and I'm spending a day at Warren Dunes, where I've not gone since high school. Next month, a few of us are heading to Wisconsin overnight to one of those lantern light festival things.

With my remaining vacation time, I'm actually going to help decorate for the holidays and do a little REAL Christmas shopping, the first time I've engaged in such activities in a decade.

AND, I'm getting to finish the original BryonySeries (with more spinoffs to come).

I'm blessed.

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 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 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 We're based in Joliet, Illinois, but we love to meet and interact with writers outside our area, too.

Upcoming events: 

These are listed here:

Books and Such

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

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.

Where all the good witches gather
Annual  Joliet event raises thousands of dollars each year for women and children 

"So often these fundraisers are so expensive, people can't afford to go," Judy Erwin of Plainfield, co-founder,  said. "This is not a $125 fundraiser. We stared off at $10 and then went to $15 because of our overhead costs. But we still think this is affordable. We sell out quickly."

Joliet woman lived on joyful faith despite rare illnesses

"She never pretended life was perfect," Jillian Huddlestun of Minooka said about Emily Neiman. "She was very open and honest about her struggles and I think that just made it easy for people to open up to her."

Joliet shepherd was 'simply the best' 

Tom Zeiger of Joliet said this about his German shepherd Hogan: "If I as taking a picture, he'd stare at the camera, smiling sometimes, it seemed like."

Yoga for all seasons and reasons
Joliet area venues combine yoga with a variety of interests and causes

Yoga isn't new, but group sessions of yoga in neighborhood parks or in taverns or as fundraisers or with puppies is increasing.

Mystery Diner Asian cuisine for the American palate
MORA Asian Kitchen in Bolingbrook offers new foods in familiar presentations 

It's all about the mochi!

Hope and healing for all
Annual 'Night of Hope' in Shorewood is free to the community

Sherry Anicich and her husband, Joe Anicich, founded The Purple Project as a way to "turn a tragedy into something positive and share a message of hope," Sherry said. Purple" is the color Sherry wore in honor of Alisha and Ava during the murder trial, according to the Purple Project website.

Blues festival features 5 artists

Thousands expect to attend inaugural event on Saturday at Joliet park

Debbie Greene, development director for the Will- Joliet Bicentennial Corporation,  said the blues is a traditional form of music with wide appeal and great versatility in the way artists approach the genre. And yes, kids are welcome, too.

Artworks: Plainfield country artist touring the Midwest with his music
'I'm really down to earth'

"I write music people can relate to; I capture life experiences," Eric Chesser said. "I try to be really honest with my lyrics."

LocalLit author spotlight: Bill McCormick of Chicago

McCormick said: " I like searching in the dark corners of the universe. I figure all the interesting stuff hides there and not in a well-lit meadow. Also, I have an odd sense of humor and my writing allows me to display that.

Illustration by Matt Coundiff for "Visage." Follow him at

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