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Welcome to the literary blog for Rockford Writers' Guild.

November Guild Meeting Highlights

Here are some highlights from the November 18 Guild Meeting:

Tom Walsh is our new Membership Director. He will be mailing renewal reminders to Guild members. Mr. Walsh is also our Inmate Correspondent. This is a new outreach position with the Guild. What does it mean? Whenever we receive queries from inmates, he will write them back and let them know of writing opportunities. We receive between three-to-five inmate queries from federal institutions a year.

Hana Ferguson is our new Social Media Director. Hana is one of our youngest writers. She is currently enrolled at Rock Valley College. Look for her energetic, intelligent posts here.

Ryan Dowling shares his new writing during James Marshall’s “Crossing into Winter” writing contest.

for her energetic, intelligent posts here.

Lori Marshall shares her writing from the “Crossing into Winter” writing contest.

Cindy Putnam Guentherman has been the Guild Treasurer for a year, but has added Social Media Editor to her duties. Look for Cindy’s inspirational, literary posts here as well as her signature on any checks you may receive for your Guild writing!

Several Guild members, including Tom Lee, took books to distribute in our communities. Look for copies of The Rockford Review wherever you go. If you have a place at your business to display a little stack of literary goodness, let us know!

James Marshall led another great literary meeting as well as the Crossing Into Winter Writing Contest. All of the writing was beautiful, but Dr. Marshall could only select three winners. They were Jesse Kuntz for “Jeremiah’s Bones”, Katie Marshall for “Crossing into Winter”, and Sam Kuntz for “Crooked Winter”. Each winner won $5, but Jesse and Sam donated their winnings back to the Guild. Each winner also recorded their writing for the next Guildy Pleasures Podcast.

And…you can’t leave a Guild meeting without getting homework. Next month, Dr. Marshall would like you to bring your own new writing that highlights the sense of winter or winter holiday. “Writing should be set in a winter holiday setting. Write with ‘holiday sense.’ It can be Christmas, Hannukah, or whatever.” Next meeting: December 16 from 1-3 in the Riverview Room at Burpee Museum of Natural History. This is our annual holiday meeting and we will provide refreshments and other holidays delights to all who write. If you don’t write, you will be given COAL.

Thank you for reading.  Now…go write! -Connie

Guild Meeting on Sunday, November 18

Guild Volunteer Meeting:  All Guild members who are able are invited to meet at Noon in Riverview Room at Burpee to go over simple tasks to help grow the Guild.  This meeting takes place one hour before the regular monthly meeting AND THERE WILL BE CAKE.  To volunteer, you must be a Guild member in good standing.

Regular Guild Meeting:  This takes place from 1-3, also in the Riverview Room at Burpee.  This meeting is open to all writers and…THERE WILL BE CAKE.  See your November Newsletter for meeting details.

Update about “Judge” and “Vote” Writing Opportunities: We received lots of late night/last minute submissions for the Judge and Vote writing contests. (The deadline was last night.) Winners of both writing contests will be announced in the December newsletter. Thank you to everyone who wrote…Regarding submissions for The Rockford Review…

Update on The Rockford Review:  Kris Veches and I will be going over your submissions over the next few weeks.  We will let you know one way or the other if your work is selected.  Thank you for reading this.  Now…go write!  -Connie Kuntz

Make Sense with James Marshall (Save the Date)

The first meeting of the new year is on Sunday, September 16, 2018 from 1-3pm downstairs in the Riverview Room at Burpee Museum of Natural History.  Address:  737 N. Main Street in Rockford.

Bring “famous” writing that highlights one of the senses.  James will lead us in a discussion about examples of good (and maybe some bad) sense writing.  Then he will conduct a writing contest.

Give yourself a little extra time to get there.  The Greenwich Art Fair is taking place in a nearby parking lot, and that means it will take extra time to find a parking spot.  But after the meeting, you can go check out the art.

Until then…go write! -Connie

Meet Me at the Museum

Burpee Museum of Natural History – 737 N. Main Street, Rockford, IL. Park in the lot for free!

Doesn’t this look like a nice place for a meeting? It is! With the exceptions of April and August, we meet every third Sunday of the month from 1-3pm at Burpee Museum of Natural History.

This Father’s Day is no exception. Bring your character writing and father-themed writing to this meeting and share it with the group!

Winners of “Biggest”,  “Relief”, and “Superstitious” are all invited to share their winning work at the mic.

We’ll also have a writing contest and discuss all the great things that are happening at Rockford Writers’ Guild.


Public Meeting: Please be mindful that this free event is for writers of all ages and abilities.

Character Writing: Bring your new, original writing that features a strong character. If it is a poem, it should be fifty lines or less. If it is prose, it should be 1300 words or less. Being respectful of the word count.  The word count helps make sure everyone gets a chance to share and provide feedback.

Contest Winners: Bring a copy of your work and share it at the mic. Please rehearse before the meeting.

Sunday’s Writing Contest: We write at every meeting so do not forget to bring your favorite writing apparatus. Winners will receive $5.

Let us know if you have questions or concerns.  Until then…go write! -Connie Kuntz

We have recorded six sessions with Molly McNett!  Two are available right now.  They are free of cost and ads!

Molly McNett at a recording session at The Shumway.

Her first story, “Catalog Sales” is about two young sisters (ages nine and eleven)  who are dealing with the divorce of their parents.  This is the first story in her book, One Dog Happy.  At the end of her story, I interview her.  Here it is:


Her second story, also from One Dog Happy, is “Ozzie the Burro” and it is written in the epistolary style.  Through a series of heartfelt (but typo-laden) emails, Grace wrests real love from hard truths.  Per usual, an interview with yours truly follows this story.  Here it is:


Thank you for listening and reading.  Now…go write! -Connie Kuntz




Three Contests and a Baby


Bahiyyih El-Shabbaz’s pregnancy essay, “The Parts” can be heard at any time for free. Season One; Episodes 16, 17 & 18.

Binge-Worthy Podcasts

If you haven’t already, we recommend binge-listening to Bahiyyih El-Shabbaz’s three-episode pregnancy essay, “The Parts.”

Each episode represents a trimester of her pregnancy.  For instance, Season 1; Episode 16 is her first trimester.  Season 1; Episode 17 is her second trimester. Season 1; Episode 18 is her third trimester.  Here is a link:  Episodes 16, 17, and 18

El-Shabbaz’s writing is honest and earnest; plus it’s interesting to watch her determination as a writer and a young mother grow throughout the course of this essay.

Fifteen Year-Old Baby Discovered at Shumway?

Now I don’t want to spoil anything, but I will say that in Episode 18, the subject of  El-Shabbaz’s essay joins us in The Shumway studio for a little interview with yours truly.  Good stuff.

In Season One; Episode 18, Nasir El-Shabbaz joins us at The Shumway for an interview.

There is plenty to listen to on the Guildy Pleasures Podcast. At this writing, we have nineteen podcasts up and running.  I hope you are enjoying listening as much as we enjoy recording them.  Wait.  What’s that I sense/hear?

“But…I’m Tired of Listening and Reading.  I Want to Write!”

If you are ready to break from listening and would like to write and submit something, we are offering three writing opportunities to all Guild members.  The deadline for all three writing contests is May 15.

Spring “Relief” Prose Contest

What does “relief” mean to you?  For this contest, submit up to three PROSE entries, each 1300 words or less that express the theme RELIEF.  Cash prizes up to $100, plus winning entries will be published in The Rockford Review.  

“Superstitious” Writing Contest 

We rolled out this “Superstitious” Writing Contest on Friday the 13th.  Ha ha ha.  Get it?  Submit up to three poems or three prose pieces that express the theme SUPERSTITIOUS.  Poems must be 50 lines or less.  Prose must be 1300 words or less. Winning poems or prose entries will be published in The Rockford Review.

“Biggest” Writing Contest

The BIGGEST tree in Illinois stands at the base of a hill at the Bald Hill Prairie Preserve in Mount Morris, IL. For perspective, note the person standing next to the tree.

The “Biggest” Writing Contest is inspired by an eastern cottonwood tree that lives at the bottom of a hill in the Bald Hill Prairie Reserve in Mount Morris, IL.  This tree is the official “biggest” tree in Illinois.  It stands over 120 feet tall and is about 200 years old.  It’s not the oldest or even the tallest, but it is the biggest.  We are looking for writing that expresses the theme “biggest”.  Winning poems or prose pieces will be published in The Rockford Review.

Thanks for reading and listening. Now…go write!  -Connie Kuntz



Step on a Crack, Break Your Mama’s…

Back on Friday the 13th, we launched the Superstitious Writing Contest.  Any Guild member in good standing may submit up to three poems or three prose pieces to “Superstitious”.  Prose must be 1300 words or less in length.  Poems must be fifty lines or less.  The theme is “Superstitious” and the writing that best interprets the theme will be published in the next edition of The Rockford Review.  Here is a little video to whet your appetite for superstitious writing.

But if you are superstitious and… 

If you think it’s bad luck to write about superstition, you’ll be relieved to know we are  still accepting entries for the Spring “Relief” Prose Contest.  Any Guild member in good standing may submit up to three prose pieces to this contest.  Rules are simple:  prose must be 1300 words or less in length and it needs to express the theme “relief”.  Cash prizes up to $100 for this contest, along with publication in The Rockford Review.

Wait.  Hasn’t the deadline has passed?

The deadline to submit to the “members only” section of  the upcoming edition of The Rockford Review has passed, but you can still submit to “Superstitious” or “Relief” contests.  The deadline for those contests is May 15.  The winners will have their work published in the same upcoming “members only” edition of The Rockford Review.  We have already received a great deal of wonderful work.  I can’t wait to finish formatting the book!  It is already looking fantastic.

I Get it.  How did the April 15 meeting at Severson Dells Nature Center go?

Here is who showed up to the April 15 meeting at Severson Dells Nature Center! (Not pictured: Denny Ordway and Connie Kuntz)

It was cold and snowy, but hey, the show must go on.  Everyone shared their new writing that emphasized the importance of a good setting.  Since it’s National Poetry Month, many members young and young-at heart recited or shared famous poems.  For our monthly writing contest, all of us wrote new work that expressed the theme PERSISTENCE.  We had two new guests join us; Paul Gies and Orin Keplinger.  From the Junior Guild, we had five writers: Alan Jimenez (14), Angelo Kuntz (8), Fern Kuntz (9),  Jocelyn Kuntz (13), Sam Kuntz (11).  From the regular Guild, we had eight writers:  Brooks Agnew, Connie Kuntz, Jesse Kuntz, Tom Lee, Denny Ordway, Robert Stowe, Tom Walsh, and Joe Yates. In conclusion, the fire roared, the writers wrote, and then we all went home.  See you next month on May 20 from 1-3 at Burpee!  Until then, here are a few more pictures from our monthly meeting at Severson Dells.

Here we are sharing new work that emphasizes specific settings.

Denny Ordway shares a poem.

Brooks Agnew shares a poem.

Tom Walsh shares an essay about his father and Cleveland.

Thanks for reading.  Now…go write! -Connie Kuntz



Friday the 13th! (Three Writing Opportunities)

Music in the above fifteen-second video is an excerpt of “Freddie’s Theme” from the 1980’s horror film, Friday the 13th and is used by way of the Fair Use Act.

SUPERSTITIOUS:  All Guild Members are encouraged to be superstitious!  Submit up to three poems (fifty lines or less) or three prose pieces (1300 words or less) that each express the theme “superstition” by 11:59pm on May 15, 2018. The best entries will be published in the upcoming summer-fall “members only” edition of The Rockford Review.

RELIEF:  Guild members may also enter the Spring “Relief” Prose Contest.  For this contest, submit up to three prose pieces (1300 words or less) that each express the theme “relief” by 11:59pm on May 15, 2018.  A winner or winners will receive cash prizes up to $100 and publication in The Rockford Review.

ENTITLEMENT:  Any Guild member in good standing is entitled to have at least one poem or one prose piece published in The Rockford Review.   There is no theme or jury.  This is your opportunity to have something you love published.  If you want me to pick for you, then submit up to three poems (fifty lines or less) or one prose piece (1300 words or less) by 11:59pm on April 15, 2018.  If you want something specific published, simply send it to me.  Per our constitution (and this goes for every writing and publishing opportunity we provide) no supremacist, racist, sexist, vulgar, or pornographic writing will be published.

HOW:  Email your subs to or snail mail them to Rockford Writers’ Guild – PO Box 858 – Rockford, IL 61105.  Good luck!

Thank you for reading.  Now…go write!  -Connie Kuntz