Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Community News: Nov. 23 and Nov. 27, 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.


President of Plainfield Toastmasters receives award

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/25/president-of-plainfield-toastmasters-receives-award/am9ewq/


Frankfort school encourages students to break social barriers

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/25/frankfort-school-encourages-students-to-break-social-barriers/abmivn9/


Joliet student honored as Student Laureate by Lincoln Academy

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/25/joliet-student-honored-as-student-laureate-by-lincoln-academy/ahg8upz/


Frankfort students express thankfulness 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/22/frankfort-students-express-thankfulness/atry6ib/


Fall driving can get risky when deer get frisky

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/14/fall-driving-can-get-risky-when-deer-get-frisky/a3vz8vl/


Plainfield school  social workers receive grant 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/22/plainfield-school-social-workers-receive-grant/ag3x8cq/


Residents recognized for accomplishments

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/22/residents-recognized-for-accomplishments/a43k1ig/


Shorewood TCBY partners with Troy schools

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/21/shorewoodtcbypartners-with-troy-schools/a1ip45h/


Former Joliet resident celebrates 90th birthday

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/13/former-joliet-resident-celebrates-90th-birthday/a3uwvtm/


Former Joliet-area resident receives award

https://www.theherald-news.com/lists/2019/11/13/b96636844ff24e39ad5428af032c1c8d/index.xml?page=1


Amazon donates $20,000 to Girl Scouts to expand STEM programming

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/13/amazon-donates-20-000-to-girl-scouts-to-expand-stem-programming/ar7zwkk/


Lincoln-Way high schools hosted career fair

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/10/31/lincoln-way-high-schools-hosted-career-fair/asamixl/


Valley View School District receives award from Romeoville 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/10/14/valley-view-school-district-receives-award-from-romeoville/ajlc380/


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.


Childlike Play

For my birthday, which was back in the summer, Rebekah wanted to sign us up for a local venue's painting event, which featured waterscapes.

But the amount of was out of her budget.

So she went to a craft store and picked up two children's paint kits and brought them home. We did nothing with them because we could not find several hours where both of us were free.

Until this past Sunday.

For most Sunday afternoons over the last two years, I've met with a woman in her mid-90s to listen to her stories and take notes, as I was hired by her family to write her memoir.

But last Sunday, she celebrated Thanksgiving with her friends. Rebekah does not work on Sundays.

So, finally, we painted!

We had no time pressures. No looking at our phones to check the time or messages.

We listened to music (because my art teacher in sixth grade always played classical music during art projects and because my sister and I loved to listen to music while we colored, hours and hours of coloring) and we painted.

We did not talk much, except when asking to borrow a color of the other's paint.

It was several hours of background classical music and brush strokes.


Here's Rebekah's




Here's mine.



Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Community News: Nov. 26, 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.


Joliet West students learn life safety skills

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/23/joliet-west-students-learn-life-safety-skills/ar5lzz3/


Manhattan Dental Care’s 10th anniversary Candy Buy Back a huge success

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/23/manhattan-dental-cares-10th-anniversary-candy-buy-back-a-huge-success/a6w3e46/


L-W Central HS in #NewLenox hosted 'Road to Reality'

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/23/l-w-central-hs-in-new-lenox-hosted-road-to-reality/ai3p32w/


Joliet students trained to make a difference in their community

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/23/joliet-students-trained-to-make-a-difference-in-their-community/d4w36m/


Veterans’ Day prayer service held at Plainfield school

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/23/veterans-day-prayer-service-held-at-plainfield-school/aliwbxn/


Joliet school honors its students for beauty 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/23/joliet-school-honors-its-students-for-beauty/azfcpem/


NEWSLETTERS

Sign up for the Will County Go Guide

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


Sign up for the LocalLit Short Story Newsletter

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


Sign up for The Munsonville Times

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



Illustration by Kathleen Rose Van Pelt for "Bryony."

One Page Nearly Done

No, not another book (although I have four in various stages of loose production).

This past weekend, Timothy finished the basic setup of the BryonySeries store.

This means he completed a design he liked, added all titles, and then linked them to Amazon.

The overall goal is to link the store to my PayPal account and run special prices, but we're having a few issues with that.

If you're curious, here is the direct link: https://www.bryonyseries.com/copy-of-general-store.

He is still tweaking other pages, merging some, and creating subpages for a cleaner, more streamlined experience.

Sue's Diner and Fetes and Feasts (events calendar) are nearly done, too, so feel free to browse.

Have a great Tuesday, readers, writers, and BryonySeries fans! :)




Monday, November 25, 2019

Community News: Nov. 20, Nov. 21, Nov. 22, and Nov. 25, 2019

Check 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.


The guide to Santa's appearances in Will and Grundy counties. 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/09/18/santa-sightings/av2kx7d/


Pets of the Week: Nov. 22

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/19/pets-of-the-week-nov-22/d7kng9x/


Helping out students at District 86 in Joliet
Local businesses and churches offer support 
https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/09/helping-out-students-at-district-86-in-joliet/ayoqfg7/


Bananas for Valley View students

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/18/bananas-for-valley-view-students/aewwywy/


New Lenox food drive Thanksgiving food drive was successful

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/20/new-lenox-food-drive-has-successful-food-drive/asqa7ic/


In The Wild
Highlights from Will County Wildlife Facebook Group 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/21/in-the-wild/defllr/


Romeoville art students showcased art at Bolingbrook venue 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/18/romeville-art-students-showcased-art-at-bolingbrook-venue/d96vtoy/


Local pets events: Nov. 25 through Dec. 2

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/20/local-pets-events-nov-25-through-dec-2/aue8r4j/


Local health events: Nov. 26 through Dec. 3

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/20/local-health-events-nov-26-through-dec-3/azezm2f/


Local food events: Nov. 25 through Dec. 2

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/20/local-food-events-nov-25-through-dec-2/a7vyjro/


Local faith events: Nov. 25 through Dec. 2

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/20/local-faith-events-nov-25-through-dec-2/adk8t7p/


Local arts and entertainment: Nov. 25 through Dec. 2

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/20/local-arts-and-entertainment-nov-25-through-dec-2/aco39gl/


Gotta Do It: Nov. 25 through Dec. 2

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/20/gotta-do-it-nov-25-through-dec-2/ai4o29r/


NEWSLETTERS

Sign up for the Will County Go Guide

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


Sign up for the LocalLit Short Story Newsletter

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


Sign up for The Munsonville Times

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


Illustration by Kathleen Rose Van Pelt for "Bryony."

A Smile for You on Monday Morning

Came across this yesterday, one of those chuckles passed around online.

I found it on several sources, including this link, but you have to scroll way down to find it.  For your convenience, the text is pasted after it.



And Adam said, "Lord, when I was in the garden, you walked with me everyday. Now I do not see you anymore. I am lonesome here and it is difficult for me to remember how much you love me." 

And God said, "No problem! I will create a companion for you that will be with you forever and who will be a reflection of my love for you, so that you will know I love you, even when you cannot see me. Regardless of how selfish and childish and unlovable you may be, this new companion will accept you as you are and will love you as I do, in spite of yourself."

And God created a new animal to be a companion for Adam. And it was a good animal. And God was pleased.

And the new animal was pleased to be with Adam and he wagged his tail. 

And Adam said, "But Lord, I have already named all the animals in the Kingdom and all the good names are taken and I cannot think of a name for this new animal." 

And God said, "No problem! Because I have created this new animal to be a reflection of my love for you, his name will be a reflection of my own name, and you will call him DOG."

And Dog lived with Adam and was a companion to him and loved him. And Adam was comforted. 

And God was pleased. And Dog was content and wagged his tail.

After a while, it came to pass that Adam's guardian angel came to the Lord and said, "Lord, Adam has become filled with pride. He struts and preens like a peacock and he believes he is worthy of adoration. Dog has indeed taught him that he is loved, but no one has taught him humility."

And the Lord said, "No problem! I will create for him a companion who will be with him forever and who will see him as he is. The companion will remind him of his limitations, so he will know that he is not worthy of adoration."

And God created CAT.
And Cat would not obey Adam.

And when Adam gazed into Cat's eyes, he was reminded that he was not the supreme being. And Adam learned humility.

And God was pleased. And Adam was greatly improved. And Dog wagged his tail.

And Cat did not care one way or the other.


Friday, November 22, 2019

Story Round-Up: Features in The Herald-News, Nov. 17 through Nov. 22

A couple of quick plugs and then I'm off to work!

If you're looking for Christmas gifts for children, seek no more! Here's two BryonySeries book recommendations:

Bertrand the Christmas Surprise is picture book about a crocheted mouse who decides to wait for Santa.

Cornell Dyer and the Flu (third grade and up) is a spoof on Charles Dicken's A Christmas Carol. It's Christmas Eve and Cornell dyer, supernatural super sleuth, is sick in the hospital with a mysterious flu that's causing some very strange symptoms. One of the patients takes him on an even stranger journey, leaving Cornell with a life-altering decision to make.

For the adults on your list, why not buy Before the Blood? It's rich world-building and character development tucked into 804 pages makes it great for a long winter's read.

Finally, if you're looking for some free Christmas stories to read, try this post. It contains eight excerpts from the BryonySeries, with a common theme of Christmas. I posted it last year, and it's received views every day ever since.

Have a great 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 auto body supply shop turns 50

Read about the foundation upon which this business was built and why it's still going strong five decades later.

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/12/joliet-auto-body-supply-shop-turns-50/dgvp4gq/


An Extraordinary Life: Joliet couple knew the value of hard work

They founded Arnie's Auto Body & Supply Inc. in middle age and built up the business while raising nine children. Read about their values, tenacity, and frugal ways.

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/12/an-extraordinary-life-joliet-couple-knew-the-value-of-hard-work/dr9dahl/


Joliet school using technology to keep students healthy

One smart thermometer plus a program for schools equal better communication and addressing of symptoms.

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/06/joliet-school-using-technology-to-keep-students-healthy/anj03xb/


A taste of thanks
Joliet venue offers drinks for the season, hosts toy drive

Four adult drinks reminiscent of traditional Thanksgiving, as well as a chance to give back.



Gloria Jean's Coffees offering new holiday flavors at stores

I prefer plain and unembellished, but fans of the flavored varieties will find some great choices here.

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/18/gloria-jeans-coffees-offering-new-holiday-flavors-at-stores/a67k4py/


'It’s really nice to impress them'
Meet 2 dedicated artists behind the production of 'The Nutcracker' 

“Most people have never seen a ballet. It’s really nice to impress them,” Kenneth von Heidecke said.
 “When I hear people walking out of the theater, especially husbands and teenage boys, saying to their wives or girlfriends, ‘Wow, I didn’t know it was going got be like that. You can take me to a ballet anytime,’ I think that is very rewarding.”

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/13/its-really-nice-to-impress-them/d6lswwd/


An art and hobby beyond #dollhouses
Manhattan museum hosting an exhibit of miniature displays through December 

The exhibit includes handmade miniature houses, dioramas and creative miniature displays of detailed and, oftentimes, handmade items placed in small rooms and other settings, such as inside teacups and tobacco tins, according to a news release from the museum.

https://www.theherald-news.com/lists/2019/11/10/29f209d5eb5b42ea9343241246a00593/index.xml?page=1


LocalLit author spotlight: Colleen Robbins of  Joliet

Meet the editor for Before The Blood.and then sign up for the free newsletter and read her short story on Tuesday.

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/04/locallit-author-spotlight-colleen-robbins-of-joliet/aiqzxid/



Illustration by Matt Coundiff for "Visage."




Thursday, November 21, 2019

BryonySeries Throwback Thursday: In Case You Missed It

The throwback this week is thrown back just a week or so.

But I'm very appreciative to Dave Ebert for inviting me to appear on his Gifts For Glory podcast, I wanted to share the interview one last, as well as provide the opportunity to browse his site and, perhaps, find another interview that catches your attention.

If you've already listened to it, please share with someone you feel might enjoy it.

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

Have a most blessed Thursday, reads, writers, and BryonySeries fans!


Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Community News: Nov. 16 and Nov. 19

Check 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.


Donate Toys for Tots at Plainfield

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/15/donate-toys-for-tots-at-plainfield/atql8bl/


Lockport Catholic school hosts career fair 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/14/lockport-catholic-school-hosts-career-fair/axpzv8r/


Joliet student named Commended Student

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/14/joliet-student-named-commended-student/az8tq7u/


Joliet Catholic Academy announces October Students of the Month 

https://www.theherald-news.com/lists/2019/11/14/5d386cbdc2714257bccda6aa7fe212f7/index.xml?page=1


Joliet Catholic Academy announces September Students of the Month 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/14/joliet-catholic-academy-announces-september-students-of-the-month/dkr8csb/


Students in Joliet Park District program honor veterans 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/16/students-in-joliet-park-district-program-honor-veterans/dqtvr48/


All 3 Frankfort School District 157-C schools honored veterans for Veterans Day

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/14/all-3-frankfort-school-district-157-c-schools-honored-veterans/d3cfqbr/


D. 202 Board of Education honors CEO of United Way of Will County

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/10/31/d-202-board-of-education-honors-ceo-of-united-way-of-will-county/aizlus2/


Harvest Bible Chapel of Joliet announces name change

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/15/harvest-bible-chapel-of-joliet-announces-name-change/ayu1r54/


Providence Catholic High School in New Lenox honored 2 couples 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/15/providence-catholic-high-school-in-new-lenox-honored-2-couples/avsh6ps/


IlliniCare Health held 'Boo to the Flu' event in Joliet

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/18/illinicare-health-held-boo-to-the-flu-event-in-joliet/a7ogw4r/


Morris doctor recertified in orthopedic surgery by ABOS 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/18/morris-doctor-recertified-in-orthopedic-surgery-by-abos/aoa8sug/


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."


Better Each Year

That's my assessment of WriteOn Joliet's third anthology release party, which the adult critique group (of which I co-lead) held last Friday night at The Book Market in Crest Hill.

I say this because we are gradually becoming better at planning, organizing, and marketing the event as well as the free, chef-created food we serve.

Each year sales have increased, which is good for us individually, as a group (anthology proceeds benefit WriteOn Joliet programs; get this year's HERE), and for The Book Market's owner, who stays open after hours each year for this event and receives a portion of all sales.

Most importantly, each year we see an increase in attendance, which gives the public an opportunity to discover this treasure of an independent bookstore and the writings of authors who live right in their community.

I mean this last with all my heart.

When I was a child, I longed to meet my favorite authors, but beyond the biographies on the book jacket, little information was known about them.

In fact, one benefit of the internet is that I can learn more about their lives, as well as their deaths, because most of the authors whose books I enjoyed in childhood have passed.

Now despite what some indie authors might proclaim, their books are not for everyone, just like the books I enjoy from well-known authors won't appeal to every person who reads.

But for those who revel in the printed word, what joy can compare to finding a book that sparks interest and then accepting it, signed, straight from the hands of the author who wrote it?






Monday, November 18, 2019

Community News: Nov. 14, Nov. 15, and Nov. 18, 2019

Check 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.


Student gives Bolingbrook High School concession stand a makeover 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/11/student-gives-bolingbrook-high-school-concession-stand-a-makeover/atx7o01/


Manhattan teens greets veterans at special breakfast

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/13/manhattan-teens-greets-veterans-at-special-breakfast/d4eqx53/


Romeoville student combines academic and artistic talent 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/10/14/romeoville-student-combines-academic-and-artistic-talent/a190ihj/


Lewis University Composer’s Voice Returns to Carnegie Hall 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/13/lewis-university-composers-voice-returns-to-carnegie-hall/an67jgh/


Frankfort students learn about friendship

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/13/frankfort-students-learn-about-friendship/awh38wn/


Joliet resident’s sunset won September’s portion of Forest Preserve photo contest 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/13/joliet-residents-sunset-won-septembers-portion-of-forest-preserve-photo-contest/ad8tqpm/


Troy students go home with winning pumpkins

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/04/troy-students-go-home-with-winning-pumpkins/aczyj34/


Channahon skeleton undaunted by Halloween snow

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/04/channahon-skeleton-undaunted-by-halloween-snow/aq6ku3p/


Plainfield students decorate pumpkins at annual party 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/04/plainfield-students-decorate-pumpkins-at-annual-party/am6zz50/


Joliet area residents participate in various arts

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/13/joliet-area-residents-participate-in-various-arts/acdxfqn/



Pets of the Week: Nov. 17

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/14/pets-of-the-week-nov-17/dcgwzce/


Local arts and entertainment: Nov 18 through Nov. 25

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/15/local-arts-and-entertainment-nov-18-through-nov-25/a59vyx3/

Local faith events: Nov. 18 through Nov. 25

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/15/local-faith-events-nov-18-through-nov-25/ada7clj/


Local food events: Nov. 18 through Nov. 25

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/15/local-food-events-nov-18-through-nov-25/aptn8cl/


Local pets events: Nov. 18 through Nov. 25

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/15/local-pets-events-nov-18-through-nov-25/a7zx9p8/


Local health events: Nov. 19 through Nov. 26

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/15/local-health-events-nov-19-through-nov-26/ajvcdfb/


Gotta Do It: Nov. 18 through Nov. 25 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2019/11/15/gotta-do-it-nov-18-through-nov-25/a1fyqcs/


NEWSLETTERS

Sign up for the Will County Go Guide

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


Sign up for the LocalLit Short Story Newsletter

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


Sign up for The Munsonville Times

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



Illustration by Kathleen Rose Van Pelt for "Bryony."

When All That's Left Are the Words

Experts say hearing is the last sense to go.

But it may also be the sense that continues.

Two years ago, the granddaughter of a a woman I interviewed twice for The Herald-News in the early 2000s, who, I found out after the first story ran, turned out to be a neighbor of Sarah's, messaged me on Facebook, wanting to hire me to ghostwrite her mother's memoirs.

I turned it down. I absolutely, positively did not have time for another project. Nope!

The woman persisted. Her mother had begged her to ask me and only me. I politely refused again, but I felt myself wavering, especially since she and Sarah had been close.

As a mother, I've often encouraged my children never to refuse an opportunity that moves them in the direction they wish to go. And I wish to become a better writer.

Reluctantly, I agreed.

And then the woman, who's in her mid-nineties, became seriously ill. Twice.

And it seemed as if we would not write the memoir after all.

I figured that was, perhaps, for the best. Because, in the meantime, I had received extra duties at work, which slashed the long spaces of time I needed on weekends for writing fiction, an activity that is extremely dear to me.

At the time, I also trying to finish the last novel of Before The Blood. But the complexity of the novel meant I needed many consecutive hours to think and write, and these hours were already retreating and fading.

Also around the same time, I had some lab work come back that hinted at the reappearance of the pheochromocytoma, spurring an internal urgency to finish the last novel before the tumor finished me.

As these events unfolded, woman recovered. I was told to repeat the labs in six months (They were normal, FYI). And so we began, this woman and I.

For most Sundays for the next year and a half, this tough-as-nails-woman with her portable oxygen and walker drove to my house to spend the afternoon - and that was after her Sunday meetings and lunch dates with friends.

She came with photos, snippets of paper, and notebooks of stories she'd tried writing over the years.

She read; she shared; she retold certain stories with additional information.

I took notes.

Some weeks we did not meet. She was out of town; I was too busy; it was a major holiday.

On off weeks, I sifted through hundreds of pages of notes: cutting, combing, arranging.

We are coming into the cliched homestretch, and I, again, feel that sense of urgency.

She is slowing down and, as she has shared with me, feels as if her "time" is drawing near. Instead of meeting in person, as she has always insisted, we've met the last few times via phone - and for shorter periods.

I'm determined she will hold that book, which is close to a hundred edited pages, before her "time."

It's arranged in novel form, topically, as opposed to chronologically.

I have one chapter left to write, along with some selections on "gratitude" she wants me to include.

The basic formatting is done. Rebekah will help with inserting photos and cover design.

I offered to hand off the manuscript to the woman for her to review. She likes my reading voice and preferred I read it to her.

I've made few corrections, and she is amazed at my accuracy and my ability to capture her voice. I give the credit to my journalism training.

She told me yesterday she thought I would just transcribe each sessions, type it up, and that was that.

I reminded her that, no, her memoir will be a real book her loved ones can hold in their hands and read.

But a memoir, I'm realizing, is a cross between journalism and fiction.

For instance, in journalism, when I quote a source, I must quote each word as the source said it.

In fiction, I make up the quotes. In fiction, one loses the "natural" sounds of the human voice when the voice is written as we speak.

My penchant for exactness is showing up when I'm reading the memoir back to this woman. As I read, I find myself stumbling over, and verbally eliminating all together, the superfluous words, the fatty words, that muddy up the "sound" of her voice and keep it from shining over the syllables.

Yes, I am trimming her speech.

Because once her "time" arrives, all that will remain are her worlds, and I want her family to "hear" her voice whenever they read them.

You can't imagine how humbled and honored I feel to be the conduit through which that eternal voice flows.



Illustration by Kathleen Rose Van Pelt for "Bryony."

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.