Sunday, February 28, 2016

Authentic Bohemian Rye Bread

Rye Bread

From the Bohemian-American Cookbook by Marie Rosicky, published by the Automatic Printing Company (

3 large peeled potatoes
2 quarts water
1 cake compressed yeast, dissolved in a little tepid water
½ cup flour
Salt, pinch
Rye flour

Boil potatoes the evening before baking. When boiled until nearly dissolved, press through a sieve, and if the water has boiled away, add enough cold water to make 2 quarts, then add flour and yeast. Beat, and set in a warm place overnight. In the morning, add salt and enough rye flour to make a batter as for pancakes, and let it rise 30 minutes. Then pour on a floured board, add more flour and knead until the dough does not stick. Place in the bowl and let it rise 15 minutes. Knead again, let it rise a short time, then form into loaves, place in pans, and when they have risen once their bulk, bake.

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

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

Friday, February 26, 2016

Story Round-Up: Features in The Herald-News, Feb. 21 through Feb. 26

The week past in a blur of tight schedules and much activities; this weekend and coming week will be more of the same: out to dinner tonight, a play (comedy) tomorrow, and revision workshop for Monday night.

Making baby steps with Henry's section of Before the Blood...but that is all. But progress is still progress, right?

Check out the health, faith, and arts and entertainment calendars. Three of them can be found at the link below. Gotta Do It, runs each Sunday and often stays on the home page through the week.

Feature briefs for Tuesday (health), Thursday (faith), Friday (Arts and Entertainment), and Sunday (People) are also edited (texted and photos) by the lady of this blog, but only the stories have bylines.

And if you do peek at these stories, to quote our editor Kate Schott, "Thank you for reading The Herald-News." :)

And now...

Joliet vault company employs 4 generations of family (VIDEO EXTRA)

When Conrad Knauer Sr. purchased the business from a cousin in 1972, he walked away from a pension that would begin in six months and mortgaged his home. He's never looked back.

An Extraordinary Life: Easygoing Joliet man loved doing for others

Eddie Coy Williams experienced two miracles, one at the beginning of his life and one at the end. Sandwiched between them was a life of zest and giving.

New Lenox and Morris doctors discuss cultivating good gut bacteria
By Jeanne Millsap

See what common over the counter drug can destroy beneficial organisms and lead to C. difficile.

Pastors, parents in Will and Grundy Counties offer suggestions to help kids pray

One reader messaged me yesterday to say she purchased several copies of the book. And if you need more suggestions, check out the sidebar of experienced advice.

Joliet native went from playing baseball to playing country music

A tragedy led to the inspiration and changed this man's life forever.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

BryonySeries Throwback Thursday: "The Haunted Palace" by Edgar Allen Poe

Friday, September 21, 2012

"The Haunted Palace" by Edgar Allen Poe

The Haunted Palace by Edgar Allan Poe (1839)
In the greenest of our valleys
By good angels tenanted,
Once a fair and stately palace-
Radiant palace- reared its head.
In the monarch Thought's dominion-
It stood there!
Never seraph spread a pinion
Over fabric half so fair!
Banners yellow, glorious, golden,
On its roof did float and flow,
(This- all this- was in the olden
Time long ago,)
And every gentle air that dallied,
In that sweet day,
Along the ramparts plumed and pallid,
A winged odor went away.

Wanderers in that happy valley,
Through two luminous windows, saw
Spirits moving musically,
To a lute's well-tuned law,
Round about a throne where, sitting
In state his glory well-befitting,
The ruler of the realm was seen.

And all with pearl and ruby glowing
Was the fair palace door,
Through which came flowing, flowing, flowing,
And sparkling evermore,
A troop of Echoes, whose sweet duty
Was but to sing,
In voices of surpassing beauty,
The wit and wisdom of their king.

But evil things, in robes of sorrow,
Assailed the monarch's high estate.
(Ah, let us mourn!- for never morrow
Shall dawn upon him desolate!)
And round about his home the glory
That blushed and bloomed,
Is but a dim-remembered story
Of the old time entombed.

And travellers, now, within that valley,
Through the red-litten windows see
Vast forms, that move fantastically
To a discordant melody,
While, like a ghastly rapid river,
Through the pale door
A hideous throng rush out forever
And laugh- but smile no more.


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Now That It's Out There...

 My publicist (back when I had a budget for one) would chastise me for my lack of self-promotion, but the very word leaves an icky taste in my mouth.

That said, one of my goals this year is to teach myself more about marketing, the type that doesn't come with the taste. I am learning that some people want to read what I've written and learn from knowledge I've acquired, which can't happen if I don't at least put the information out there.

That said. I was totally clueless when one of the reporters sent an email round the editorial staff yesterday with the subject line: Look who made the wall of the Plainfield Library !!!!

Who, I wondered, and then clicked on the attachment. Truly a face palm moment.

So if you're a writer, interested in the revision process, and will be anywhere in the vicinity of the Plainfield Library, swing by Monday night. It sounds like the group will be small, and I'm low-key and informal, really just a sitting 'round the table and sharing what I hope will be useful tips for shining up the prose.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Dealing With Your Character's Past

Just like people, all characters have (in theory) past memories and experiences, some of which impacts their present and future.

Writers are often advised to keep the story moving forward, to add just enough back story sprinkles to give the reader only the most immediate and necessary information. 

But why is that? Don't "real" people reminisce? Can't characters do the same?

Well, yes, of course.

But think about it. When is the last time you recalled, in complete detail and word for word, entire long portions of your life?

Yet that's what writers sometimes do with back story. They dump large amounts of information at the reader in the guise of sharing, looking back, or monologing. Even Henry and Kellen, with their penchants for storytelling, only told one story at a time.

What if your character is sitting by the fire with a warm mug of tea and musing on the past?

Well, most of us recall precise details in snippets, some portions clear, some hazy. Furthermore there's probably enough action in the background to root the reader in the present: the crackling of the fire, the gong of the grandfather clock, the cat that jumps on the couch.

Back story, when skillfully woven together with current events "feels" natural and part of the world you're creating.

How often back story flashbacks ccur depends on the extent the past is affecting (needling, inspiring, etc.) your characters. Flashes of back thought can happen fairly often. They just don't, usually, happen in large exact thought. It's not realistic.

The same is true for two (or more) characters talking. The person providing the information may dominate the conversation, but not for whole pages. Again, it's not realistic.

Unless you have a reason inherent to the plot to do otherwise. In that case, disregard the above. :)

Monday, February 22, 2016


Every writer experiences sluggish times, but I'm a little baffled why I'm experiencing it with Henry's section.

When I finally began writing Bryony in earnest back in 2008, I wrote all the Henry parts first because they were so easy; words just flowed.

I'm wondering if being disconnected from the character for so long is contributing to my muse's inclination to reread other sections of the WIP and come back to Henry later.

But then I remember the characters and plot lived in my head for decades before they finally spilled onto paper (Well, my computer). Furthermore, (spoiler) Henry has already appeared in other parts of Before the Blood, so it's not like we haven't hung out.

So I'm not sure.

I did peck away at the second chapter for most of Saturday, an excuciating pecking. I'm somewhat heartened, but I haven't looked over that writing yet. I felt I needed the distance of a day to be ojective.

With a deep breath and guarded hope, I'm opening that chapter now.

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

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.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Story Round-Up: Features in The Herald-News, Feb. 14 through Feb. 19

Nonstop on-call weekend last week slid into a busy week, which is wrapping up.

I absolutely did peck at Henry's section of Before the Blood. The muse is sparking...hoping it bursts into flames this weekend. Spending time with writerly comrades at WriteOn Joliet last night and writer's workshop always helps, so...

So what else HAVE I been doing all week? Well, writing. And editing.

Check out the health, faith, and arts and entertainment calendars. Three of them can be found at the link below. Gotta Do It, runs each Sunday and often stays on the home page through the week.

Feature briefs for Tuesday (health), Thursday (faith), Friday (Arts and Entertainment), and Sunday (People) are also edited (texted and photos) by the lady of this blog, but only the stories have bylines.

And if you do peek at these stories, to quote our editor Kate Schott, "Thank you for reading The Herald-News." :)

Marketing professor at Lewis University in Romeoville bridges distance to make romance work (VIDEO EXTRA)

Not only was I present when he popped the question, I caught it on video. Read on for a very unusual relationship.

An Extraordinary Life: Joliet matriarch set the tone for family

She lived a life of various experiences, but family always came first.

Joliet and Bolingbrook health experts discuss the problem of prescription drug shortages

An indepth-look at a growing concern from the provider's perspective.

Joliet Area Historical Museum to host bingo-themed Catholic comedy (VIDEO EXTRA)

Irreverent? It's co-writer and lead actress doesn't think so. The museum's development director said even "real" nuns are planning to attend. Mary McHale even stopped by The Herald-News in full habit. Watch the video. :)

Lockport branch library to host 2 programs for Downton Abbey fans
By Jeanne Millsap

The show is winding down, but local fun connected with the show is not. Enjoy tea and scones, engaging discussions, and an informative presentation about a Chicago area museum currently displaying many of the PBS' program's costumes.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

BryonySeries Throwback Thursday: Assorted News from Munsonville

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Assorted News from Munsonville

The Bryony team is busy! Here's what we've been doing:

* The author is working hard on her editorial notes and even pulled at twenty-four plus day last week before calling it a night (morning?). She hopes to finish by the end of the month, so more long days are ahead.

* The filming of the official Bryony book trailer and music video is scheduled for next week. In the meantime, we are feverishly seeking two men's Victorian suits.

* There is a possibility of a second music video in an historic theatre.

* James Onohan (Bryony's pianist/composer) has written several songs for the 10-song CD, The Best-Loved Compositions of John Simons (

* The author will be re-recording the audio documentary on vampires, hopefully this weekend.

* The Big Brothers Big Sisters Bowl for Kids' Sake statistics are posted. The two Bryony teams--Just Steve and Stake and Blade--beat their $1000 goal by $105!

* We may have a sponsor for the Bryony cookbook.

* Almost 2000 Bryony business cards have been dispersed. They are FREE. To get yours, contact, and we will send some to you.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Weak Words (Deadwood)

When I was learning how to self-edit, I came across a great site with an extensive list of "deadwood," overused weak words that either needing cutting or substitution with stronger, more precise words.

Of course, I printed it out instead of bookmarking the page. Sigh.

Until I broke down my attic office, that list sat near my computer. I'm sure it's packed in a box, somewhere.

Last night and this morning, I spent some time searching for it, but nada. The link below is the closet I've found to it.

I'm not implying writers can NEVER use the words on this list. It's the overuse that kills. Hope it helps.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Fast and Furious

A few hasty lines so I can open up Before the Blood for a couple quick minutes before the real work of the day begins.

Very little time spent on the novel this weekend (as I assumed), very busy on the news end, so I got plenty of experience.

Ideal weekend for it because the muse for this new section was slow to respond. On Saturday night, I settled down at the kitchen table for a snack and flipping through Bryony to reacquaint myself with Henry.

It was a good idea. After the early morning work and before we left for church on Sunday morning, I spent about an hour on chapter two. Nothing to break word count records, but enough to get some thoughts flowing.

Have a great Monday, vampire fans! :)

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Grandma Anna’s Blintzes

Something special for Valentine's Day...

Grandma Anna’s Blintzes
By Karen Larson

1 16 ounce container dry cottage cheese
1 16 ounce package Farmer’s cheese
¼ to ½ teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons sugar
Sprinkle salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg yolk
1 rounded tablespoon sour cream
½ stick softened butter
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 rounded teaspoons sour cream
Sprinkle salt
2 cups flour
1 rounded teaspoon baking powder
¼ to ½ teaspoon sugar
2 cups milk (may substitute cream or half and half)

Mix all filling ingredients and refrigerate. Mix dry ingredients then add milk a little at a time. Beat and stir for about 2 minutes after each addition until no lumps are visible.  The consistency of the batter should be like heavy cream.  Let rest at room temperature while you prepare the cakes. Heat skillet until watery bubbles dance. Pour batter thinly throughout the pan (tilt throughout the pan). Lift out when edges start to brown (pancake itself does not have to be brown). Flip and cook a few seconds. Place flat on plate.

Place a heaping tablespoon of the filling on edge of pancake. Roll and tuck ends. Brown and serve with sour cream.

Note from Karen Larson: “My grandmother and great-grandmother were both born in Russia (near Moscow) and emigrated to the states with her younger sister in the 1920’s.”

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

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

Friday, February 12, 2016

Story Round-Up: Features in The Herald-News, Feb. 7 through Feb. 12

Phenomonally busy on-call weekend staring me in the face: taxes, errands, one interview, one video, a story to write (Saturday), Divine Liturgy and health pages to assemble (Sunday), as well as minding the shop.


The timing is perfect because the muse is slow to perk up for Henry's section of Before the Blood, although I am dutifully pecking away at it for about half an hour every morning. I will continue to peck in tiny bursts through the weekend and next week, hoping that by then it will be awake and raring.

Back to the real work.

Check out the health, faith, and arts and entertainment calendars. Three of them can be found at the link below. Gotta Do It, runs each Sunday and often stays on the home page through the week.

Feature briefs for Tuesday (health), Thursday (faith), Friday (Arts and Entertainment), and Sunday (People) are also edited (texted and photos) by the lady of this blog, but only the stories have bylines.

And if you do peek at these stories, to quote our editor Kate Schott, "Thank you for reading The Herald-News." :)

Joliet resident's book addresses race relations with solutions for healing
By Jeanne Millsap

A thoughtful look at the topic.

An Extraordinary Life: Joliet farmer was the nicest guy you'd ever want to meet  (VIDEO EXTRA)

A lifelong farmer who never owned a farm (or a house), John Phelps maintained his easygoing personality through his senior years.

Retired Morris teacher had rare stress-induced heart attack
By Jeanne Millsap

Details here, plus comments from local health professionals on symptoms of heart attack in women. Those symptoms are not always the same as men's.

Joliet Jewish Congregation offers Torah study for people of all faiths

"Lunch and Learn" is a friendly discussion of what is commonly known as the Old Testament, along with some sidetracking into other related areas. About a third of the attendees are not of the Jewish faith.

Twenty-one years later, Joliet chef still coordinating tasting event to aid those with disabilities

Joliet Junior College Chef Fred Ferrara even teaches culinary to disabled students - and some of those students will be serving up food at the event.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

BryonySeries Throwback Thursday: Green Spaghetti, Bacon Dust, and Pie on the Floor

Monday, May 7, 2012

Green Spaghetti, Bacon Dust, and Pie on the Floor

Yesterday, we feted my oldest daughter, Sarah Stegall, Bryony's online administrator, at fellowship hour at St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Homewood.

For many years and during more prosperous times, we as a family, would cook a buffet lunch on the average of once a month and always near one of the children's birthdays (I have six children and three stepchildren, so you can easily see how quickly this works out to a monthly deal).

Once, an enaged couple asked us to prepare a wedding brunch for their out-of-town guests; this would serve as our wedding present to the couple. We did, after spending all night running papers, changing clothes, and attending a funeral, then racing home in the pouring rain to again change clothes, and begin advance food preparations, then (again) changing clothes to drive an hour away for the wedding, skippping the reception in favor of sleep since we had newspapers to run that night, coming home, changing back into good clothes, and packing up the food for the breakfast.


Somewhere, in those preparations, an entire chocolate pie had landed on the floor, but we had brought so much food, no one, but us, noticed the lack thereof. You know the food is good (or your pastor is starving), when he picks up entire wedges of your cheese ball and eats it by hand.

So, with Sarah celebrating her May 4th birthday with us this year, my oldest son Christopher Baran of Channahon Computer Repair ( sold a laptop and proferred the cash for the festivities. Rebekah Baran, Bryony's online assistant, contacted Sarah for her menu requests, which were thus:

   *  imitation crab dip and Ritz crackers
   * broccoli salad
   * a fresh fruit tray
   * garlic bread
   * green spaghetti

I protested this last item, a family favorite since my children's toddlerhood. It's spinach pureed with cream, parmesan cheese, and broth, then served over whole wheat pasta. It's not the typical post-Sunday services potlock item.

"No one at church will eat it," I insisted.

Sarah didn't care. She'd happily claim any leftovers.

"The blender's broken, and I don't have money for a new one," I added.

Well, Sarah shipped her old one for a one-time use (part of the lid was missing, and the pitcher leaked). Besides, Christopher had been pestering me to make green spaghetti, so on the list it went. I added the following:

   *  juice (two kinds, kid-friendly)
   * our famous sausage, potatoes and kraut

Sarah's dessert requests were these:

   *  cheesecake bars
   * lemon bars
   * caramel brownies (We reserved these for another time since Rebekah had just made Sarah a brownie pie. The leftovers became "brownie bites," which we served on the buffet with the remaining frosting, recycled as "chocolate gravy").

Saturday, of course, turned upside down on us, so we never began food prep for Sarah's big day until seven o'clock that night. Luckily, we no longer run papers. Rebekah, our pastry chef in training, and her best friend, were "manning" the desserts. My youngest son, Daniel Baran, sixteen, and I would do the rest.

Daniel cooked all the meats, guarded the sauteeing onions, and kept up with the mounting stacks of dishes. Now Daniel cooks some pretty decent bacon, but never to the point where it could be crumbled, and we needed that for the broccoli salad. So how could he know one couldn't dump it in the frying pan and leave the kitchen to swap movies for my four year old grandson?

"We can't use this," I said, surveying the black mess on the paper towel.

"Why not?" Daniel said, crumbling it to prove his point.

"Because it will make the entire salad taste scorched."

We alternated a few "will nots" and "wills," before Rebekah offered to run to the general store near the house for more bacon. She soon returned with half of the amount, all the store sold, and had paid a small fortune to secure it.

After carefully instructing Daniel on proper bacon cooking technqiues, I moved to another room to assemble the garlic bread. A burnt smell soon reached my nose, and I ran to the kitchen. Daniel was nowhere to be seen.


He flew up the stairs. My grandson had needed another movie. Daniel looked at the black mess in the frying pan and said, "I failed."

I tried to sound encouraging by saying, "We can fix it," and began separating the black pieces from the usable ones. "It's mainly for flavor, so let's crumble it really fine. Instead of bacon bits, we'll have bacon dust."

Daniel found the term "bacon dust" somewhat amusing, so that was that. Again, the next day, no one noticed, and no one cared. As for the burnt bacon? It gradually "disappeared" while we finished the cooking. Why waste perfectly good bacon?

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Difficulty in Beginning Anew (Stalling)

In 2011, I outlined the chapters of this next section.

Through the years, I've filled in details.

So why am I finding it difficult to begin (and finding ways not to begin)?

There is something exciting...and the not-so-blank piece of paper filled with chaotic information somewhat arranged.

Anyone else have this problem?

Making that come to life is always daunting, and I can certainly find many excuses for not getting down to it this morning: lots of "real" work staring me in the face, a longer blog post, not enough "homework" in this next chapter for short bursts of writing.

I have twenty minutes before I start posting social media for work. So I'm concluding this blog post and opening the chapter, even if I simply stare at it for the next twenty minutes.

Stalling, nah I'm not gonna do that. I'll stall forever if I do.

Monday, February 8, 2016

When the End Comes

I spent nearly nine months on the first Bryony portion of Before the Blood, word count currently at 79,770 (for those who care), a little longer than the estimated 55,000 for all the incomplete novels that comprise this book. Considering how pivotal Bryony herself is to the entire story, I'm cool with it. I'm not one to stick to arbitrary word counts (except as guidelines) and feel that one writes the words that tell the story.


My goal was to finish it last weekend, which didn't quite happen, so I pecked away at it last week and hit the goal early Saturday evening, ready to start Henrty's section. I was less jubilant than I anticipated.


The last comprehensive first drafts of anything Henry (outlining for this book and editing of Bryony don't count) was exactly seven years ago. I've looked forward to this moment for a long time.

I learned something in writing this particular type of experimental novel. Although it is technically one book, those unfinished novels that string it together really do have unqiue character, flavor, tone, and personallity. After writing the John section and the Kellen section, I knew I'd need a pause of sorts, a cleaning of the mental palate, before proceeding to the next portion.

This time, however, I needed a bigger break, and this surprised me.

I think it's less because this section was longer and more because of the volume of three-dimensional characters I needed to develop, whole families; I literally raised an entire village from its spartan beginnings to an entity that's flourishing ten chapters later.

And, of course, not everyone made it out alive.

I didn't realize how encompassing it had become until I reached the end. And it wasn't as easy to leave for the next novel as I thought.

That said, I did listen to some music for awhile and then opened chapter one of Henry and wrote it. It's a small chapter (1000 words), and it was outlined and had about 400 of its words already written. It read well; I was pleased; and then I opened chapter two to study, in preparation for my early mornings this coming week.

I couldn't focus on it. I was done. Reluctantly, I shut down the computer and walked away.

And this week? So far, I can't get into Henry. However, as soon as I post this, I'm going to open chapter two and browse a bit, keeping expectations low. All the people in the Bryony novel that I got to know and love and hate for nearly a year are hanging about my psyche. I need some time for it to fade.

That's okay, I think.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Fried Fish Cutlets

At Melissa’s first dinner at Ann Dalton’s house, she is amazed that the baked fish tastes a lot like fish sticks. At any rate, Mrs. Dalton’s method of making fish sounds exactly like Fried Fish Cutlets in the Bohemian-American Cookbook by Marie Rosicky, published by the Automatic Printing Company (

Fried Fish Cutlets

Fresh fish, any kind
Sliced lemons
Fresh parsley

Cut into slices any kind of fresh fish, dust with salt and pepper, dip into thin batter (flour, milk, and egg), and fry in hot lard. Arrange on a platter, surround with sliced lemon and parsley, and serve.

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

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

Friday, February 5, 2016

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

Have to be out of the house by 7 a.m. today and have some work to do first, so I'll get straight to the heart (spoken like a true writer of vampire fiction).

Check out the health, faith, and arts and entertainment calendars. Three of them can be found at the link below. Gotta Do It, runs each Sunday and often stays on the home page through the week.

Feature briefs for Tuesday (health), Thursday (faith), Friday (Arts and Entertainment), and Sunday (People) are also edited (texted and photos) by the lady of this blog, but only the stories have bylines.

And if you do peek at these stories, to quote our editor Kate Schott, "Thank you for reading The Herald-News." :)

Minooka resident and trained storm spotter turns Bolingbrook High School into a weather station

A classic movie began her love for weather, which her parents unwittingly fostered.

An Extraordinary Life: Joliet woman's love for God, family and music defined her (VIDEO EXTRA)

Four years ago, I spoke for over an hour with this woman, listening to stories of her mother's experiences in concentration camps, never realizing she had an extraordinary story, too.

WHO starts special meeting on zika virus amid rising concern
The Associated Press

A broad look at a growing problem.

Lockport Catholic school attracks national attention for the third time in 5 years

It appears one person within that community is the catalyst for it - and this woman feels she's simply giving back.

Owner of Joliet cheesecake business makes giving back a priority
By Dawn Aulet

Speaking of giving back, this man will be giving out samples of his specialties at two major fundraisers this month, but giving back is part of his business model.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

BryonySeries Throwback Thursday: Full Monday!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Full Monday!

Early morning walk today, followed by five interviews (including one "in person"), then it was off to Morris to visit my new baby grandson and his parents.

On the way home, we stopped to grab a few extra items for dinner. Next, Daniel and I will be finishing up his homework, but while he washed a few frying pans he left soaking in the kitchen sink, I ran upstairs for a quick mail check and blog posting.

Later, I have four stories to edit and send (If I can track Rebekah down to help with photos, harder to do now that she's in North Carolina), plus three additional stories I haven't even yet begun to write, which I'll be shelving until later this week.

And Visage, well I haven't even looked at Visage in a week (at least), so I know what I'll be doing this holiday weekend.

Tomorrow, I'll be spending a good chunk of the day at the University of St. Francis in Joliet working on Bryony the audio book. Accompanying me will be the list of phone calls I neglected today.

So what's on a writer's desk this week?

   *  a Memorial Day piece about a local woman who was a welding foreman working on navy contracts during World War II.

   * a stand-up comedian who wrote a novel semi-based on his experiences

   *  two teen rappers that have been touring colleges. They have a decent YouTube following, too.

   *  a master pastry chef who will be competing at the World Pastry Cup in France this January

   *  a 12 year girl who is running her own cupcake business

   *  a local church who scrapped worshipp services one Sunday in favor of community service

   *  a fatherhood conference

   *  a happy adoptee from a local rescue who is returning the favor by hosting a benefit

   *  a man who wrote a book documenting his multiple sclerosis experiences

   *  two Extraordinary Life interviews (my regular feature about recently deceased people who have lived interesting and/or inspiring lives)

   *  a couple who is carrying twins conjoined at the spine

   *  childhood sleep apnea

   * a hospital press release about a lab accreditation

A bonus: the house is super-quiet . Not only is Rebekah out of town, but Christopher is in Florida for a couple of weeks, so consequently, his boys won't be here, either. Even the cats are taking advantage of the stillness by "catnapping" quite a bit.

And did I mention Timothy received all "A's" (four in all) for spring semester? Way to go, little chef!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Stuck on Dialogue? Ask Yourself These Questions

You want a character to speak, but you're not sure how to phrase it, Here's a couple of muse joggers:

1) What might that character say?

     Like real people, characters don't have the same interests. When your character does speak, what does he/she like to offer?

2) Why is this person speaking?

     Like real people, characters may speak in certain situations and remain silent during others. What types of situations provoke this character to speak?

3) Is this HOW he or she would say it?

     Like real people, characters use certain tones when speaking, although perhaps not the same tones all the tone. Is he condescending? Authoritative? Shy? Angry? Sad? Bursting with joy? And how does your character react in those circumstances?

4) To whom is this character speaking?

   Again...if your character is a child, how does THIS child speak to a parent? His best friend? His teacher? The school bully? (And the same is true for the parent, BF, teacher, bully, etc.).

5) If you're still having difficult, take another look at the character. He/she might not be fully developed. Of course, minor characters don't need the comprehensive development major characters do, but they shouldn't feel flat, either, such as the young lady in the selection below, her only appearance in the entire story.

And don't forget beats. The gestures your character uses when speaking help enliven and underscore the words.

Happy writing!

Still, Kellen should have eaten someone before their little jaunt. Control, he told himself. Control, control. John was performing in two hours, and he couldn't do very well if he was dead.

"Manicure, sir?"

A young lady was standing on the steps of the historical cathedral as they stepped out. A roll of music was tucked in her arm. She wore two braids. Her eyes were cast down.

Kellen and John exchanged glances and kept walking. John could do better than that. Moreover, the women paid him.

("Before the Blood, Kellen's Story," Chapter 9: The Suite Life)

Monday, February 1, 2016

Vampires, Traditional and Modern: BryonySeries Has Both

I read this essay over the weekend and found it intriguing.

For as much as I express my preference for gothic vampire stories, I see elements of both the traditional and "new" modern vampire in the BryonySeries, and I think the combination makes my vampires complex and believeable.

Within each vampire in my series, there is a human to love and a monster to despise and fear.

Interestingly and as an aside, the most monstrous character in the series is not a vampire.

Here is the link to the essay.