Saturday, February 29, 2020

Lunch With Ed Calkins

In all the years I've known Ed Calkins (the real Ed and the pretend Ed), we've actually never sat and had a real conversation.

When he was my supervisor for one of my paper routes, we obviously had verbal interaction.

And when I was writing him into the ByonySeries "drop of blood" trilogy, I often interviewed him by phone.

But a real conversation? Never, not in the more than ten years since I met him.

We remedied that on President's Day, since I was off work.

Over a very long lunch (several hours), we caught up on life, work, the BryonySeries and Ruthless, his first novel, which tells the back story of the pretend Ed Calkins and will be part of the BryonySeries.

Since he's adding some of my characters to the storytelling, he was concerned about remaining true to my vision of them. I reassured him that because Ed Calkins (in all forms) is an unreliable narrator, he could do what we wanted with the characters.

"I was hoping you'd say that," Ed smiled with relief.

When we parted, he asked for another lunch meeting, six months out, to keep him on track and accountable regarding his novel, so we set one for July.

My WriteOn Joliet co-leader Tom Hernandez says our adult critique group always honors the effort. Honoring the effort doesn't mean getting a shiny gold star simply because one writes something of dubious quality.

For some writers, that's as far as they will write, and that's OK.

Other writers want to keep develop their writing a bit more, and that's OK, too.

Others want to polish forever (and then polish some more), and that's OK, too.

We honor that effort every step of the way.

Not with a gold star.

But with honest, thoughtful feedback, encouragement, and suggestions.

In short, we respond to the piece.

Unless one is keeping a journal, writers want to be heard.

In any form of communication, one speaks, the other listens. And vice versa.

But sometimes writing feels like the proverbial tree in the forest. When we sit - alone - in our space, we wonder if anyone will ever "hear?"

The best gift you can give a writer is to hear - and then to respond.

That's how one honors the effort. That's how you "hear" the writer.

In Ed's case, as a writer who'd long ago given up on writing due to all the obstacles (computer crashes, terrible dyslexia, and a bad case of the scatterbrain), I've kept WriteOn Joliet's vision by providing opportunities for him to be known as a writer.

I've written him into my series.

I've given him a spot on my blog and published a series of those blogs into a book.

And I'm "helping" him with his first novel, which is connected to my series.

"Helping" means answering questions, providing encouragement, and then guiding him through the editing and publishing process.

But Ed still has to do the hard work of writing and overcoming the obstacles that impede that work - especially since he wants a finished book and copies in hand for Calkins Day 2021!

He's setting his own deadlines. I believe he will fulfill them.

After all, Ed is a paper carrier. And paper carriers are all about the deadline (I should know).

Pictured are the real Ed Calkins and the real Bertrand The Mouse. Both are characters in the BryonySeries.

Bertrand already has his own series going, six books so far.

Now it's Ed's turn.












Friday, February 28, 2020

Story Round-Up: Features in The Herald-News, Feb. 23 through Feb. 28

Good morning!

I'll be adding three more stories later today, so be sure to check back (not everything that is in print today has been posted online yet).

Below you'll find information on where to find me and my writings in the online world.

Beyond that, you'll find links to all the human interest/features stories that ran in The Herald-News this past week.

Tonight, I'm attend an author event.

Tomorrow, I'm attending a book signing.

Sunday, I'm attending a fundraiser.

But other than that, my only plans are some reading and a whole lot of writing for my first book in the Limbo series and my werewolf novel, both part of the BryonySeries.

I'll be armed with plenty of quiet and coffee. All I'll need is for the muse to show up.

Wish me luck!


Non-bylined features:

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

Or search by topic (people, pets, A&E, faith, health, and food) at theherald-news.com.

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

Books and Such

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

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.



They entered for the sake of Chance – and won
Wilmington parents win bike for their special needs son

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/19/they-entered-for-the-sake-of-chance-and-won/ad9ylh9/


Friends lovingly remember Minooka grandmother who died in Feb. 14 fire

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/21/friends-lovingly-remember-minooka-grandmother-who-died-in-feb-14-fire/dqah3zf/


VIDEO: Susan M. Weber shows off her new Minooka home

https://www.theherald-news.com/video/id/75a87e5e-d0b8-42a9-bdcd-5280c41cac03.html


An Extraordinary Life: ‘One of the strongest women I’ve ever met’
Joliet Unity Movement to give away 2 scholarships in member’s name

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/21/one-of-the-strongest-women-ive-ever-met/akini40/


Fur the love of George and his shelter mates
Shorewood's no-kill shelter to host annual gala

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/20/fur-the-love-of-george-and-his-shelter-mates/dt4w1sk/


Plainfield dog is a bit more cautious these days
Maverick is recovering well following his fall through the ice ice 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/21/plainfield-dog-is-a-bit-more-cautious-these-days/d5htfr2/


'It's all over his body'
Joliet family staying positive as their toddler battles cancer

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/24/its-all-over-his-body/dyjrfsc/


LocalLit book spotlight: 'One Shoe Off' by Sue Merrell, formerly of Joliet 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/20/locallit-book-spotlight-one-shoe-off-by-sue-merrell-formerly-of-joliet/agstpq9/


LocalLit book review: 'One Shoe Off' by Sue Merrell, formerly of Joliet

https://www.theherald-news.com/articles/2020/02/24/b4cb404ee78b44f08e0341bfc0e461ad/index.xml



Nothing beats the taste of homemade bread
Follow these tips to make some at home

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/26/nothing-beats-the-taste-of-homemade-bread/dgog8j4/


'It's like a mixture of impressionism, realism and surrealism'
Art exhibit in #Lemont features work of fine art/abstract paintings

https://www.theherald-news.com/lists/2020/02/20/7cf75e71daff45e1b68b47c903b8ce91/index.xml?page=1


At 98, Lemont jewelry artist champions the creativity of others

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/21/at-98-lemont-jewelry-artist-champions-the-creativity-of-others/dje2iem/


LocalLit book spotlight: 'Mouse in the House' by J.L. Callison of Aurora

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/27/locallit-book-spotlight-mouse-in-the-house-by-j-l-callison-of-aurora/a2xiqxk/




Illustration by Matt Coundiff for "Visage."

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Community News: Feb. 27, 2020

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.


MYSO celebrates 60th anniversary with reunion concert and alumna soloist

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/19/myso-celebrates-60th-anniversary-with-reunion-concert-and-alumna-soloist/a2f2em9/


Forest Park students socks to Lockport charity 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/24/forest-park-students-socks-to-lockport-charity/az4we1k/


R.A.C.E. has donated more than $2.2 million to Chicagoland charities

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/24/r-a-c-e-has-donated-more-than-2-2-million-to-chicagoland-charities/amx27qq/


Plainfield-based artist selected as finalist for Pabst Blue Ribbon Art Can Contest  

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/24/plainfield-based-artist-selected-as-finalist-for-pabst-blue-ribbon-art-can-contest/a9eytdk/


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.

BryonySeries Throwback Thursday: Leeches 101

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Leeches 101


During Melissa’s first day at Munsonville School, Ann Dalton compares their biology teacher, a former scientist, to H.G. Wells’ Dr. Moreau. That’s because Mr. Walczak, through his retained laboratory connections, brought all manner of interesting specimens to class, including a two-headed fish and a vampire bat.


So when Mr. Walczak collects a jar of leeches from Lake Munson, Melissa is fascinated at the close-up view at the grotesque creatures, although Jack Cooper, who grew up in a fishing boat with his father, is bored.

Perhaps Mr. Walczak’s connections included Biopharm (http://www.biopharm-leeches.com/), an international company, established in 1812 and based in South Wales, UK. His knowledge of leeches certainly suggests it.

According to the company website, Biopharm is the first leech farm of its kind. It produces, in a sterile environment, the majority of leeches used in modern medicine worldwide. Thank you, Biopharm, for sharing your interesting collection of leech facts.

· There are 650 known species of leeches.
· The largest leech discovered measured eighteen inches.
· About one fifth of leech species live in the sea where they feed on fish.
· The leech has thirty-two brains, thirty-one more than a human.
· The Hirudo Medicinalis is the leech mostly used in plastic and reconstructive surgery.
· The Hirudo leech lays its babies within a cocoon; whereas the Amazon leech carries its babies—sometimes as many as three hundred--on its stomach.
· Not all leeches are bloodsuckers. Many are predators, which eat earthworms. Ironically the nearest relatives of leeches are earthworms.
· The Hirudo leech has three jaws with one hundred teeth on each jaw, making three hundred teeth in all.
· The Amazon leech uses a different method of sucking blood. They insert a long proboscis into the victim, as opposed to biting.
· The bite of a leech is painless due to its own anesthetic.
· The Hirudo injects an anti-coagulant serum into the victim to prevent blood clotting.
· The leech will gorge itself until full, sometimes up to five times its body weight, and then just fall away from its victim.
· After the Hirudo leech drops off, the wound it leaves will bleed, on average, for ten hours.
· The first leech was used in medicine about 1000 B.C, probably in ancient India.
· Wales was once one of the major leech collecting areas of Europe. People would stand in lakes and pools and, when the leech attached to their legs, they would put them in their baskets and sell them.
· The original surgeons were barbers that used leeches to cure anything from headaches to gout. The red and white stripe traditionally seen on a barber pole began when surgeons hung their bandages on a pole outside their shops.
· Biopharm leeches have helped save the limbs of patients in twenty-nine different countries.
· By extracting the anti-clotting serum for the leech, researchers are isolating new pharmaceutical compounds for eventual treatment of heart diseases.
· The nervous system of the leech is very similar to the human nervous system and is of enormous benefit to researchers in their quest for the answers to human problems.

(Illustration by Kathleen Rose Van Pelt for "Bryony").

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Community News: Feb. 25 and Feb. 26, 2020

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.

At the bottom of these links is an outstanding piece by my WriteOn Joliet co-leader Tom Hernandez.


Business owner donates to Valley View schools for the 9th year in a row

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/19/business-owner-donates-to-valley-view-schools-for-the-9th-year-in-a-row/a1toqrd/



Romeoville Schools to honor distinguished alumnus 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/19/romeoville-schools-to-honor-distinguished-alumnus/ada9l8b/


Troy 30-C spelling bee winners announced

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/19/troy-30-c-spelling-bee-winners-announced/al2q6hc/


Contractors Association of Will and Grundy Counties offering scholarship program 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/21/contractors-association-of-will-and-grundy-counties-offering-scholarship-program/aamxiav/


Amy Odell promoted to director of activities at The Timbers of Shorewood

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/19/amy-odell-promoted-to-director-of-activities-at-the-timbers-of-shorewood/adzdsps/


Minooka HS to assess student, staff culture as part of ongoing equity, diversity efforts 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/06/minooka-hs-to-assess-student-staff-culture-as-part-of-ongoing-equity-diversity-efforts/aphelxt/


JOHA Foundation cares for Joliet-area cancer patients

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/05/joha-foundation-cares-for-joliet-area-cancer-patients/az5dkmz/


Plainfield pastors to host conversation regarding race in America

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/18/plainfield-pastors-to-host-conversation-regarding-race-in-america/aa326lu/


Joliet- area students earns dean's list in fall 2019

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/01/21/joliet-area-students-earns-deans-list-in-fall-2019/arogocx/


"A Really Bad Morning"
By Tom Hernandez 

https://tomhernandezblog.wordpress.com/2020/02/23/a-really-bad-morning/?fbclid=IwAR0B1g2ygmXM9a0ReQ8F-292fWlqkLAQ1TEuP2Ja-yVkWtbbj3ClgWISXdE



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."


"A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Open Mic..." The Introduction

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Concern For Frances

Yesterday before I left for work, Frances and Faith got into a hissy fight that left one with a wound no one saw.

Rebekah noticed the blood on several places the floor and inspected both cats. She saw a little blood on one of Frances' paws, but it wasn't clear the blood was from the paw.

I went to work. Rebekah, who was off work yesterday, fed both cats at noon and saw no issues.

Last night, Frances abandoned most of her dinner. I noticed, and Rebekah coaxed her out so she could finish most it.

This morning, Frances is nowhere to be seen, and her breakfast is sitting by my computer so Faith doesn't gobble it up.

For a cat that lives for food, I'm concerned that she is two hours late for breakfast.

Please send up good thoughts for Frances. She is in the foreground, and Faith is in the background.

PS: In true snarky cat form, as soon as I hit "publish," she came running into my room, looking for breakfast, which she happily gobbled.

Cats!



Monday, February 24, 2020

Community News: Feb. 24, 2020

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's D. 86 academy programs accepting student registrations Joliet 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/19/joliets-d-86-academy-programs-accepting-student-registrations/a9i8mxv/


Troy Middle School students perform well in STEM competition

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/19/troy-middle-school-students-perform-well-in-stem-competition/afewljk/


Pets of the Week: Feb. 24

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/19/pets-of-the-week-feb-24/dsps521/


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.

Instead...

One of my favorite weekend pastimes is writing fiction.

This weekend, after coming off an intense mental workout where work writing was concerned, I gave my mind a break.

So instead of writing fiction, I chose to

* Read a book and a half

* Get a badly needed trim for my hair

* Format a book

* Watch an Asian drama with Rebekah

* Catch up on some miscellaneous marketing for WriteOn Joliet

* Catch up on some miscellaneous (non-writing) work for the BryonySeries with Rebekah

* Walk and work out

* Run a few errands

* Take a ride to New Lenox with Daniel for video, photos, and a couple quick interviews

* Read through some of last week's writing for two novels in progress (because I couldn't stay away completely, ha ha).

What about you? How was your weekend?





Friday, February 21, 2020

Community News: Feb. 19 and 21, 2020

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- area students create more than 2,200 Valentines for local veterans

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/13/joliet-area-students-create-more-than-2-200-valentines-for-local-veterans/ahth4wl/


Plainfield sophomore serves on D.A.R.E. International Youth Advocacy Board 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/10/plainfield-sophomore-serves-on-d-a-r-e-international-youth-advocacy-board/ajuuds1/


Frankfort students have their own dreams

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/10/frankfort-students-have-their-own-dreams/alsqfiy/


Troy students celebrate 100th day of school 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/10/troy-students-celebrate-100th-day-of-school/ae4tial/


Joliet West French horn ensemble invited to national festival 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/19/joliet-west-french-horn-ensemble-invited-to-national-festival/abn3c3b/


Deer hunting season’s preliminary harvest totals 153,048 deer

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/19/eer-hunting-seasons-preliminary-harvest-totals-153-048-deer/amuk8hj/


Joliet Central chess advanced to 2020 IHSA State Chess Tournament final

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/19/joliet-central-chess-advanced-to-2020-ihsa-state-chess-tournament-finals/ajmu1gd/


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."

Story Round-Up: Features in The Herald-News, Feb. 16 through Feb. 21

It's too early in the day to behind, waaahhhh!!!!

But, alas, t'is true!

So no editorializing from me today, just plenty of places to find me on social media and some great features stories to read.

Scroll through this page, click where the interest leads, and enjoy! :)

Have a great Friday 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. 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.



A program to help Joliet-area teens graduate into life
Upcoming, interactive workshop helps ‘identify the laws of success’

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/10/a-program-to-help-joliet-area-teens-graduate-into-life/ak473gn/


Joliet hospice now has a certified dementia practitioner 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/11/joliet-hospice-now-has-a-certified-dementia-practitioner/amdau2e/


From a Depression-era technical school to a Romeoville university
Lewis University's roots start with a Chicago bishop dedicated to Catholic social justice 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/10/from-a-depression-era-technical-school-to-a-romeoville-university/ais105k/


LocalLit book review: 'The Divine Mercy Chaplet: A Deep Meditation' by James Mark of Braidwood

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/18/locallit-book-review-the-divine-mercy-chaplet-a-deep-meditation-by-james-mark-of-braidwood/a8bi29r/


Joliet Junior College's Thrive delivers upscale food and helps students succeed 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/19/joliet-junior-colleges-thrive-delivers-upscale-food-and-helps-students-succeed/asqdl54/


'It's scary when you think how quickly things can happen'
Experts win Will, Grundy counties discuss grain bin safety

https://www.theherald-news.com/lists/2020/02/20/6d0bc180b643443f94fc3b8d5dc9a349/index.xml?page=1


Some Joliet-area fish fries to check out this Lent
And some good reasons for adding more fish to your diet

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/18/some-joliet-area-fish-fries-to-check-out-this-lent/atu7z3o/


Joliet’s Taco Truck serves up excellent tacos

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/19/joliets-taco-truck-serves-up-excellent-tacos/aivzuzx/


Don't limit Harriet Tubman
Joliet theater to host performance based on the life of Harriet Tubman

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/06/dont-limit-harriet-tubman/aubrapb/


Get entertained at Rialto Square Theater in Joliet 
(Check out all these upcoming shows!)

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/18/get-entertained-at-rialto-square-theater/a3qdqs4/


LocalLit book spotlight: 'One Shoe Off' by Sue Merrell, formerly of Joliet

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/20/locallit-book-spotlight-one-shoe-off-by-sue-merrell-formerly-of-joliet/agstpq9/



Illustration by Matt Coundiff for "Visage."



Thursday, February 20, 2020

BryonySeries Throwback Thursday: And Now For Something Completely Different

Sunday, February 21, 2016

And Now For Something Completely Different

Yes, this was served up on a fictional wedding buffet. Those 19th century folk didn't waste a thing...

The Munsonville Times was so impressed by the spread John Simons served for his wedding to Miss Bryony Marseilles that the newspaper listed each item. Here's a recipe for one of them:

Boiled Pigeons with Turkey Stuffing

Pigeons
Butter
Flour
Pepper
Butter, the size of a goose egg, for every 12 pigeons

Pigeons are good stuffed and roasted or baked. They are better stewed thus: Stuff them like turkeys, put them in a pot, breast downwards, and cover them with salted water 1 inch above the top, and simmer them 2 hours in tender, and 3 if tough. When nearly done, stir in butter. Take them up and add a little flour paste to the gravy, with salt and pepper, and pour some of it over them, and put the rest in a gravy dish.

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 on Amazon (because Timothy temporarily took our page down on the website).



Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Community News: Feb. 14, Feb. 15, and Feb. 18, 2020

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.


Plainfield elementary students play the ukulele

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/01/29/plainfield-elementary-students-play-the-ukulele/alg8le3/


Lockport reading specialist becomes board certified

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/05/lockport-reading-specialist-becomes-board-certified/aqq39gf/


Bolingbrook Park District Awarded $400,000 OSLAD Grant
Project to fund 50% of Improvements to Century Park 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/10/bolingbrook-park-district-awarded-400-000-oslad-grant/ascpn03/


Pets of the Week: Feb. 16

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/13/pets-of-the-week-feb-16/dujqx2f/


Joliet students celebrate the 100th day of school with celebrations 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/13/joliet-students-celebrate-the-100th-day-of-school-with-celebrations/axsspls/


Plainfield Fire Protection District puts new fire engine into service

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/10/plainfield-fire-protection-district-puts-new-fire-engine-into-service/audm8ar/


L-W East Hosts ‘Griffins Growing STEM’ 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/10/l-w-east-hosts-griffins-growing-stem/auajci2/


JTHS Bridge Builder works hard for the betterment of Joliet 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/10/jths-bridge-builder-works-hard-for-the-betterment-of-joliet/acbj1e5/


JTHS Bridge Builder transforms lives in the health care field, Joliet 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/10/jths-bridge-builder-transforms-lives-in-the-health-care-field-joliet/a3l2wi/


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."


In The Cold Frosty Morning

At 5:30 this morning, I received the following text from my oldest son Christopher:

"If you go outside in the southwest is the crescent Moon. To the left in the 9 o'clock position you can see Venus with the naked eye."

So I grabbed my coat and shoes and phone and trudged down the stairs and out the door.

I had to walk a bit for a clear view past the power lines and trees.

But there it was, just as he said, and I told him so.

He replied, Nice. I was worried about light pollution since it's so faint."

It was a beautiful start to the morning. 


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



Tuesday, February 18, 2020

A Tale of Four Coffees

Yesterday morning was the last morning of a three-day weekend where I actually accomplished most of the projects I set out to do.

I started the day with a cup mug of coffee (far left). The pod was not the actual pod I'd used, but it was the brand.

Then Rebekah later treated me to a cup of coffee. (second from the left).

Just as I was about to leave for my lunch with Ed Calkins, the Steward of Tara (He wanted to discuss "Ruthless"), Jasmine, my ride, brought me a large Gloria Jean's, which I, of course, could not take to the restaurant, so I planned to enjoy it upon my return.

At lunch, Ed was surprised I didn't order coffee with the meal, so I explained why.

About twenty minutes later, my first ex-husband called. Being at lunch, I ignored the call.

So he called again. And again.

Thinking it was an emergency, I answered.

No emergency. He was outside my door with a cup of coffee (far right).

So he left it for me inside the grill.

It was a lot of coffee, even for me, so I'm still enjoying it this morning.

Even better than coffee was the fact that I'm surrounded by thoughtful people.

My goal for today: to live up to their standards.






Saturday, February 15, 2020

Steward Setback Saturday: Better Than Gold: Ed Calkins Introduces the Pombec

During WriteOn Joliet's Calkins Day open mic this past Thursday, Ed Calkins read this piece, originally posted on my blog over six months ago.


If you missed it, here it is now.
If you enjoyed it, read it again.
If you don't care, scroll all the way to the bottom, where you can see the front and back of this new (and completely worthless) currency.


Saturday, June 1, 2019

Better Than Gold: Ed Calkins Introduces the Pombec


Dear MOMI:
              Don’t try to talk me out of it, my debt to you is too great. I’m designing the new trillion pombec bill of which only one will ever be in print. I know this will send panic among the pombec hording investors but if the bill does what it will be printed to do, the pombec will remain strong against all other currencies.
              You might not yet know what a pombec is. I’ll give you a chance to avoid feeling foolish and explain it latter with a presumption that you’ve figured it out but your readers need more information. Instead, I’ll start by informing you that the (I)rish (V)ampires (A)ssosaction has been using it for as long as I became the one IVA spokesperson. My dues were paid in pombecs as was my budget for IVA spokesperson.
              I might point out here, that some of the IVA’s most brilliant investments have backfired to the fault of the irrational markets’ constructs. Each misfortune is a lesson in the economy of people too stupid to lose.
              The first case might be explained as the peril ‘too precious to make change.’ Noting how rare they were becoming, the IVA aggressively bought out saber-tooth tiger teeth (known as ‘STT’) until we cornered the market. Gullible cave dwellers every were traded what teeth they could find for yellow heavy pebbles fond in river banks. The value of these teeth kept rising, and when the saber-tooth itself became extinct, the price exploded. But there is the problem. The STT became so pricey that the only thing expensive enough to trade for even one was another STT. Furthermore, no one without STT was wealthy enough to make change. The STT will just have to wait for way better things to be produced before it is traded again.
              Secondly, I submit the peril of ‘so useful it’s useless’ merged with ‘so rare it’s everywhere’. Take the case of those yellow pebbles. Naturally, I’m talking about gold which should be worthless by now, but people are too stupid to realize that they can’t use it for anything. Back before it was of value, it was the perfect metal to make cups, watches, armor, cable wire, and even coins. Now all of these things of gold can be found, but there too precious to actually use. If those shiny pebbles were meant to just lay around like they do in Fort Knots why did we bother taking them out of the rivers as we still do to this day? If fact it’s also so plentiful that people wear it, which is one thing gold was never good for. A wool sweater will keep you warm but a gold chain will only weigh you down or get you robbed. You can find gold everywhere sitting around doing no good for anyone. Can you say the same for engine parts?  The last actually useful thing about gold is as a tooth filling, but you need a tooth ache and an expensive dentist to get one. (There should be a joke in there but I’m too focused to see it.)
              Then there’s the mountain effect. Remember the Ica’s? They were the folks that insisted on living high up in the mountains were food was hard to hunt or grow. Well, before that moved, the IVA sold them some worthless plants with white bulbs in their roots. They’d still be making fortunes selling potatoes back to us if some even stupider race hadn’t climbed those mountains and wiped them out.
              Alcoholic beverages might seem like a good currency. Wines and hard liquors that age well create an investment opportunity that even stupid people can understand. The problem there is the cost of ‘stupid’ can be the commodity itself. Places in Russia where vodka is accepted and rubbles are not it’s said that every man, no matter how rich, is only one bender from broke.
              Lastly, we come to the ultimate finical victory of stupid that is paper money. Paper, unless its used in place of gold as cups, watches*, armor*, cable wire*, or even money, is mostly useless and plentiful. Image the skepticism of the IVA when the leaders of nations announced that their governments would simply print money that would be legal tender for all. Any vampire, noting the folles of former countries would have assumed that the only government job worth having was that of ‘currency printer’, attracting the same types that always want to be banker when playing monopoly. Any Irish vampire would have assumed that no government would ever be broke until the paper bills to buy a cup of coffee needed to be carried by fork lift.
              That stupid mistake was too smart for even kings and presidents to make. Instead they make the dumber mistake of borrowing the money they just printed to pay the monthly minimum on previous loans which carry higher that market interest.
              I realize that I’ve made a very poor case for any to take financial advice from an IVA member, but I think the borrowing to pay loans is good evidence that the current currency (say that five times) is in trouble. If legal tender money becomes worthless, what kind of paper will be valuable? Paper cups, watches*, Armor*, Cable wire* and plates will always have some value, but will those things fit in a wallet? Plastic cards? Didn’t the collapsing government try that already. Bit coins. Those are one hard drive away for crashing.
              What if something of value that’s both rare and useful was written on the paper? The ‘Bryony’ series in paperback will always be of value, but in a thousand years, we’re back to the STT problem. So, to the wary investor, buy up all the pombecs you can find. As Denise has already figured out, the first pombecs are hand written on paper napkins that once laid next to some tip that some lucky waitress collected. Like valuable autographs, condition, quality, and back story can have value, but usefulness and transferability distinguish pombecs from other collectibles. Though pombecs have different backings, all have the same four words, ‘Will you marry me?” written in the same hand. ‘Pombec’ is the acronym for ‘proposals of marriage by Ed Calkins’. Each pombec, having only those four words, and thus not being specific to the original payee has the effect of being a tradable option to marry, without any expiration prior to activation.
              As many of you know, Denise’s last book will bear the title; “The Most Impressive Women of All Times: The First 100 Wives of Ed Calkins**” As women who wish to live as legend down the unfolding of history strive to make the 100 cut, pombecs will trading will sky rocket. This long-awaited book will fly off shells throughout the future ages, doubling in sales from year to year. Image that! In four years, she’ll have sold 15 copies total…31 in five… 63 in six… yeah! Denise’s grandchildren will be rich!
              To the casual eye, Denise doesn’t have much incentive to write such a long, difficult book that is predicted to coincide with the end of her creative life.
              So, to address this, I’m issuing the first and last One Trillion Pombec Bill which will allow the bearer and 999,999,999,999 of her closest friends to be wives of Ed Calkins. Thou Denise once broke my heart by indicating no interest in activating such a claim, she can trade it, because I’m donating the bill to you, Denise. I know that you’ll use the money (it will be) to advance mankind’s capacity to write and understand how ruthless Ed Calkins really is.
              You are going to have to wait. I’ve yet to design the bill, find pictures and ink for it and other trivial matter that separate you from your future wealth. I do promise to present it to you by the next Calkins Day.
                                                                                      Ruthlessly Yours,
                                                                                       Ed Calkins
·       These things haven’t been invented yet. When they are, I’ll spend my longest STT for the rights
·       Yes, I’ve changed the title of your future book to manipulate the market
p.s. My computer crashed. I have plenty of backups, but I haven't yet located the Epic Limerick among the seven memory sticks....its someway, I just have to find it. I wouldn't really look except...you know...the muse





Friday, February 14, 2020

Story Round-Up: Features in The Herald-News, Feb. 9 through Feb. 14

Although the title indicates these are all the features stories I've written this week, I still have three more that are in print but won't appear on The Herald-News website until later today.

So I will TRY to remember to update this page later and repost.

Yes, yes, and yes: Calkins Day was a lot of fun. Those who attended and participated smiled, laughed, and went home reasonable happy.

I'll post recaps, photos, and videos over the next few weeks to keep the "good cheer" going, but for now, well I'm the proud owner of a trillion dollar pombec.

Have a great Friday 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. 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.



'It’s a great way to get a full-body workout'
Plainfield family dedicated to rock climbing 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/03/its-a-great-way-to-get-a-full-body-workout/dfcfwt2/


An Extraordinary Life: From potica to politics, Elaine Bice of Plainfield did them well

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/07/an-extraordinary-life-from-potica-to-politics-elaine-bice-of-plainfield-did-them-well/d9lpipj/


'We see the hardships; we see the persecution'
One-man show about black priest coming to Joliet this month

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/07/we-see-the-hardships-we-see-the-persecution/a8hq4me/


'He was always a happy and smiling baby'
Joliet toddler fighting tumor, family needs financial help 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/08/he-was-always-a-happy-and-smiling-baby/db5ec9m/



'I’m in real estate to help people'
After lightning destroyed Joliet home, agent still advocating for former owner 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/05/im-in-real-estate-to-help-people/aidyo6x/


'I had no idea how far we’d take it'
Joliet-area special needs cheer team will compete at Disney

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/11/i-had-no-idea-how-far-wed-take-it/ase3dyi/


'We try to be available to all races and genders'
Romance novels with diverse themes are catching on – slowly

https://www.theherald-news.com/lists/2020/02/13/84e9f1b640854946bb55a23daa3d27ef/index.xml?page=1


Turn plain waffles into chocolate delights

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/12/turn-plain-waffles-into-chocolate-delights/dalgu45/


Deals on meals this Saturday in Lockport
Nicky's Gyros is celebrating 25 years with special discounts

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/12/deals-on-meals-this-saturday-in-lockport/ds2qgng/


'They make it looks so easy on Instagram and Pinterest' 
We tried to make chocolate cups - and failed 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/12/they-make-it-looks-so-easy-on-instagram-and-pinterest/datbpef/


Don't let the miles separate your heartbeats this Valentine's Day
Last-minute digital gifts to say ‘I love you.’

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/12/dont-let-the-miles-separate-your-heartbeats-this-valentines-day/at1ptn4/


‘The Divine Mercy Chaplet: A Deep Meditation’ by James Mark

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/13/the-divine-mercy-chaplet-a-deep-meditation-by-james-mark/a96b81l/


'It’s just going to be the best evening ever'
Breast Intentions of Illinois bringing unique fundraiser to Joliet

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/04/its-just-going-to-be-the-best-evening-ever/ajbxj4n/


'The song and dance of mental illness'
Joliet Drama Guild to present award-winning musical about 'depressing subject'

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/11/the-song-and-dance-of-mental-illness/dj8pqer/


Plainfield dog doing well after falling through ice
German shepherd is doing well following a fall through the ice earlier this week. 

https://www.theherald-news.com/2020/02/12/plainfield-dog-doing-well-after-falling-through-ice/dwt8vna/

Illustration by Matt Coundiff for "Visage."

Thursday, February 13, 2020

The Ruthless Times

This was part of a post from a couple years ago from Ed Calkins, the Steward of Tara.

In honor of Calkins Day (today), WriteOn Joliet is hosting a humor-themed open mic tonight from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Book and Bean, 3395 Black Road in Joliet.

Come out to read, come out to laugh, or come out for both. The cafe has wonderful food and beverages for purchase (the open mic is free), and if you don't know what Calkins Day is, skim through the blogs of this past week and, again, come out tonight, and you'll see and hear from yourself.

Keep your serious hat at home. We seriously aim to make you forget troubles and angst.

For those with previous obligations or who live too far away, wait a few weeks for the video recaps.

WriteOn Joliet member Duanne Walton has recorded every event since 2013 and posts them, along with the fruits of his other intrepid videography projects, on his YouTube page.


My Dearest Mistress of My Immortality (MOMI):

Through my many years of delivering newspapers, I had one favorite publication, which I'm thinking of reviving: The Ruthless Times.

This was a freestanding newspaper existing from about 4050 to 3099 B.C. Even though, it wasn't very informative, as back in that day nothing really changed, it was both ruthless and amusing. In fact, in its fifty-one years of existence, I don't think it actually had a single story that could be actually counted as news. Mostly, it was simply the happenings of the prior two hundred years.

Now the publisher, who was also the distributor, could hardly be blamed for this. Back then, births were not quite as newsworthy as the invention of naming your children.  Also, now and then, it was the notion of journalistic integrity or simply telling the truth. 

Since that at this time humanity was spread entirely over the globe, the first edition was never completely delivered. Perhaps the papers most endearing feature was it's "this day a thousand years in the future."

In an age when journalism has suffered such diminishing returns, perhaps it's time to bring this paper back. Maybe a website would like a copy.


Ruthlessly yours,

Ed Calkins, Steward of Tara


P.S.: The Ruthless Times was always a free publication, which is another reason why it went out of business.