Blog

RWG Meeting, Nov. 17, Burpee Museum

Everyone is invited! RWG meeting on Sunday, Nov. 17, at the Burpee Museum, downstairs Riverview Room, from 1-3 PM. Bring an example of a sequel to a story (prose or poem) in which the sequel is written by a different author than the original story ...
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November 17 RWG Meeting

Rockford area writers, come on down to the Burpee Museum, Sunday, Nov. 17, 1-3 PM, downstairs Riverview Room. Enjoy friendship and shared creativity! Bring an example of a sequel to a story (prose or poem) in which the sequel is written by a different author than the original story. A writing contest will take place toward the end of the meeting ...
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Severson Dells Nature Center: Volunteer Opportunity

Conservation Crew Work Day — Vegetation Management Saturday, November 9, 2019 9 AM to NOON No experience necessary; training and tools are supplied. Bring a water bottle and stay hydrated. Dress in layers and expect to get dirty! https://www.seversondells.com/events/conservationcrew-nov-9 ...
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Connie Covers the Screamatorium

Just in time for Halloween! Read Connie Kuntz’s delightful spine-tingling, elbow-tickling piece about Ann-Margret Naber and Brian Thomas' Screamatorium. https://www.northernpublicradio.org/post/state-artist-devil-details ...
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RWG Meeting Sunday, October 20

Don’t miss the Sunday, October 20, Rockford Writers’ Guild meeting at Burpee Museum, 737 N. Main Street, 1-3 p.m. That’s just a week from today. Bring a short prose or poetic retelling of a story that you wrote yourself. And, winners of the “Smooth as Ice” poetry contest are invited to read their poems. James Marshall, Ph.D., will lead the meeting ...
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Connie’s Interview With Dr. James Marshall

Ornithologist and Rockford Writers’ Guild Vice President Dr. James Marshall bands birds at Severson Dells Nature Center every week during the fall migration. Read Connie's interview with James to find out what he says regarding the decline in our national bird population. https://www.northernpublicradio.org/post/illinois-ornithologist-responds-national-bird-population-decline ...
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The Shumway, Oct. 1, 10 AM

All artists, including writers, are invited to a coffee klatch with Connie Kuntz on Tuesday, October 1 at 10:00 a.m. sharp at The Shumway; 713 E. State Street in Rockford. Connie is the host of 89.5 WNIJ's State of the Artist. WNIJ is the local station for NPR. For State of the Artist, Connie interviews Illinois artists in the places that inspire them to keep creating and changing the world. The five-minute interviews are broadcast during Morning Edition and then live forever on the WNIJ website and NPR podcasts. She is scouting for artists to feature on the show and she will discuss the interview process at the klatch. No registration necessary, but if you have questions, email Connie at ckuntz@niu.edu. This is a free event and coffee will be served ...
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Three Upcoming Events at Severson Dells

THREE EVENTS AT SEVERSON DELLS: Sept. 26, 7:30 - 8:30 am Breakfast at the Dells Sept. 28, 8 am - 4 pm Forest Quest Scavenger Hunt Sept. 28, 4:30 pm Concert: Musician Kraig Kenning For more information, call 815-335-2915 or email info@seversondells.org ...
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Poetry Contest Winners

“Smooth as Ice” Poetry Contest Winners Thank you to the writers who entered the Smooth as Ice Fall Poetry Contest. Judges selected ten $10 winners and their work with be published in the 2020 Winter-Spring edition of The Rockford Review. Winners are invited to share their poems at the October 20 meeting. Marie Asner for “The Skater.” Cindy Guentherman for “Combing the Dog.” Mark Hudson for “Icy Pond.” John Casey Kalkirtz for “The Old Country Mailbox.” Jennifer Lagier for “Frosted.” Emily Marshall, age 7, for “Smooth as Ice” — children’s category. James Marshall for “Smooth Sailing.” Wilda Morris for “Florrie.” Jim Swierzynski for “Byootocks on Ice.” June Thompson for “Ice Walk.” Honorable mention: R.M. Yager’s “Martini Talk.” ...
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Submission Form Online

Hello, Writers! Our new website is online at www.rockfordwritersguild.org. Check it out! We encourage you to submit your poems and prose pieces via our online submission form. Try it -- you'll like it! We have two deadlines: October 15 for open submissions of poetry and prose and November 15 for our On the Abyss contest (for RWG members only) ...
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On the Abyss Contest

Hello, RWG Members, We have another contest, deadline November 15. Please submit up to three poems, each no more than 50 lines each, and/or three prose pieces (fiction or creative nonfiction), each 1,300 words or less. Theme: On the Abyss. The winning pieces will be published in our 2020 Winter-Spring edition of The Rockford Review. Also, our RWG website is refurbished — check it out at www.rockfordwritersguild.org. For those interested, try using our new submission form for entering the contest ...
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RWG Meeting September 15

Our next Rockford Writers’ Guild meeting is on Sunday, September 15, 1 -3 p.m. in the Riverview Room, Burpee Museum. James Marshall has outlined a schedule for RWG meetings titled “A Year of Re-Creation.” For the first two meetings, we will look at how people retell familiar stories. In the September meeting, bring in an example of an author or poet who is retelling a well-known story. We will discuss these works and have a writing contest ...
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Calling all writers!

Please consider sending us your poems and short stories for our 2020 Winter-Spring The Rockford Review. Deadline: October 15. Members and non-members, please send up to 3 poems (each 50 lines or less) and/or three short stories (each 1,300 words or less). Include a bio (50 words or less). Send to: sally@rockfordwritersguild.org Thank you! We pay $5 for every person published in the edition ...
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RAAC Meeting August 28

Attention Artists and Writers! Arts+Meeting WED, August 28 Noon-1:00 PM Arts Council office 713 East State ...
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One More Day!

Guild members -- you have one more day to submit up to three new poems to our poetry contest. The theme is: Smooth as Ice. Each poem should be 50 lines or less. Please also include a short bio of up to 50 words.       Send to sally@rockfordwritersguild.org Thank you, everyone! ...
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We Need Your Good News!

Guild members -- Be sure to send us any good news about your writing successes and we'll post the news in our September newsletter. Send to sally@rockfordwritersguild.org ...
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Connie’s Interview With Ann Rundall

As with all of Connie’s extraordinary interviews, her interview with Ann Rundall is chockfull of witty quotes, lessons to be learned, and a wealth of inspiration. You go, girl! And know we miss you! Thanks to Connie for sharing this one. "This year's theme is 'Dream.' I think too often children get told what their dreams should be. We are trying to draw the dreams out of the children, and encourage them to dream for themselves.” And another: “It (Ann’s car license plate) spells RT ATAK, because I believe that we can attack the problems of the world through the arts," said Ann. https://www.northernpublicradio.org/post/state-artist-here-go-make-some-stuff ...
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TEN MORE DAYS!!

Rockford Writers' Guild poets -- you have ten more days before the August 15 deadline! Poetry contest: "Smooth as Ice" is the theme. Cash prizes to the winners. Send new, unpublished poems (each 50 lines or less) to sally@rockfordwritersguild.org ...
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Dan Klefstad’s Upcoming Novel

Take a few minutes to read this well-written and enticing excerpt: "The Dead of Venice” is a chapter-excerpt from Dan Klefstad’s upcoming novel, "Fiona’s Guardians." ...
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Doris Kampfe

To all who knew Doris Kampfe: Doris Kampfe passed away on July 20, which explains why she didn’t make it to the Un-Gala. She was 93 and a longtime member of the Guild. She was featured on the last podcast with her poem, Bounce Back. Her daughter Lisa died a few months ago. Our deepest sympathy to Doris's family and friends. She will be missed and forever cherished ...
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Calling Rockford Writers’ Guild Poets: Winter Poetry Contest

Open to RWG Members: Winter “Smooth as Ice”  Poetry Contest.  Submit up to three new poems, each up to 50 lines. Theme is Smooth as Ice. The deadline is August 15, 2019. Cash prizes up to $100. Winning entries published in The Rockford Review, Winter-Spring Edition, 2020. Winners announced in the October 2019 newsletter. Send your three poems to sally@rockfordwritersguild.org Don't delay -- the August 15 deadline is quickly approaching! ...
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In The Mail

Dear Guild Members, Your copy or copies of the 2019 summer-fall "members only" edition of The Rockford Review are in the mail. You should receive your package in the next couple of days. The exceptions are as follows: Those who emailed their Un-Gala RSVP to me will receive their books at the Un-Gala. Those who live out of the country. I will be taking care of our international mailing this week when I am at the Post Office. Now...If you receive your book in the mail and decide, "Hey, I want to come to the Un-Gala!" then shoot me an email and RSVP. This will help ensure that I order enough cake. Also, if you come, don't forget to bring your book with you to the Un-Gala. If you want to order extra copies of the book, you can purchase them online for $12 or send a check or money ...
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Congratulations and Celebrations

Congratulations to Cindy Guentherman. Her haiku was selected out of more than 4000 entries in the NPR summer haiku challenge. Her poem was read on the air by Dan Klefstad and you can read the full story here. Since we are on the topic of haiku, please enjoy a link to Guild member Charlotte Digregorio's haiku/writing blog here. Charlotte has a solo haiku exhibit the month of July at Northfield Public Library in Northfield, IL. The haiku is illustrated with art. Congratulations are in order for Wilda Morris. The National Federation of State Poetry Societies Annual Convention in Santa Fe awarded her the NFSPS Founders Award for her poem, "On the Local Train from Orvieto to Florence." The prize is $1,000. And my new series State of the Artist has successfully launched on 89.5 and WNIJ.org. I follow artists to the places that inspire them and interview them. Learn more here. Maybe you will be my ...
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Come Write with Rockford Writers’ Guild

A Year of Sensational Writing                                                                   June 16 Meeting:  Review your sense-based writing from the past year. Revise a piece or write a new piece that focuses on the senses.  If you have missed meetings, write new work that focuses on any or all of the five senses. New people are welcome! 1,300 words or less for prose and 50 lines or less for poetry.  Share your work with the group. We will discuss your work and have a writing contest.                                   July 21 Un-Gala: Come meet Sally Hewitt! She will be flying in from Washington state for this event. We will ...
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Dan Klefstad Keynotes Rock Valley College’s 35th Annual Writing Awards Ceremony

Most people know Dan Klefstad as Morning Edition host on 89.5 and WNIJ, author of Shepherd & the Professor, and our first Guildy Pleasures Podcaster. After reading this dynamite speech he delivered at Rock Valley College's 35th Annual Writing Awards Ceremony, we think he qualifies as a motivational speaker for writers, too!  What do you think? DAN KLEFSTAD'S SPEECH Congratulations in advance to the writers who will be recognized tonight. I look forward to reading your work and sharing the stage with you at future author events. And to those who don’t receive an award: Take heart, you will be recognized one day. And, one day, you might even get the publishing contract your novel, academic paper, or memoir deserves. But I think we should all prepare ourselves for an industry that is structured to say No to your work.  That’s the default. Your job is to be so brilliant you ...
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“Snow Day” Poetry Contest – Deadline is March 15

Dear Writers, The deadline for the "Snow Day" Poetry Contest is March 15, 2019. If you are a member of the Guild in good standing (dues are paid), you may enter up to three poems for this cash writing contest.  Here are the rules: (1) poems must be fifty lines or less, and (2) poems must express the theme "snow day." Per the Guild's constitution, we will not publish content that is pornographic, sexist, racist, and/or vulgar. Email your subs to editor@rockfordwritersguild.org or snail mail 'em to: Rockford Writers' Guild PO Box 858 Rockford, IL 61105 The winners will be announced in the April newsletter. Winners will receive a cash prize up to $100 and have their winning poem published in the next summer-fall "Members Only" edition of The Rockford Review. Thanks for reading. Now...go write! -Connie Kuntz ...
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Submit to the 2019 Summer-Fall Edition of The Rockford Review

Dear Guild Writers, It's time to submit your writing to the 2019 summer-fall “Members Only” edition of The Rockford Review. Submit up to 3 new, previously unpublished poems (50 lines or less) or 3 new prose pieces (1300 words or less) or a combination of up to three poems and prose pieces to be considered for publication in The Rockford Review. No theme. Any Guild member in good standing may have one poem or prose piece published in this edition as long as it meets the Guild’s content rules, listed below.* If you want me to select, send me a bunch. If you prefer to pick your own, that is perfectly fine. Deadline: April 15, 2019. Include your bio, 50 words or less. *Per the Guild’s Constitution, we will not publish content that is sexist, supremacist, racist, vulgar, or pornographic. We publish work that is new; a reflection of the ...
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A Poem for The Current Condition by Cindy Guentherman

A Poem for The Current Condition                                                                         by Cindy Guentherman                                                                                                           Loves Park, IL The wind chill is 45 degrees below zero and the USPS has suspended service. All the junk mail lies smug in the carriers’ bags and even the bills are not eager to show up. All the kids have a snow day but none of them are out playing in it. They ...
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Feb 17, 2019 – Save the Date!

All Guild members (who are able) are strongly encouraged to attend the February Guild meeting. The meeting is Sunday, February 17, 2019 from 1-3 p.m. in the Riverview Room at Burpee Museum of Natural History. We have important announcements about the future of the Guild and the safety of its members.  Input from the membership is crucial. More details later.  Until then, mark this date on your calendar.  Now...go write!       -Connie Kuntz ...
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2019 Winter-Spring Edition of The Rockford Review

Our fantastic printer, Gary Ehrhardt with 11th Street Express Printing emailed me a couple days ago.  He wrote: "Hi Connie, Everything looked good with the files.  Have started the job. Thanks, Gary" Hearing that the manuscript is no longer a galley proof but is actually almost a book always brings me great relief.  We'll be distributing the books at the February 17 Guild Meeting at Burpee Museum of Natural History.  If you are Guild member who is unable to attend, we will mail you your copy and you will receive it by the end of February. In the meantime, below is a peek at the front and back covers. And here's a quick thanks to our amazing editorial board:  Eunice Fisher, Cindy Guentherman, Sally Hewitt, Jesse Kuntz, Lori Marshall, and Kris Veches. Thank you for reading this update.  Now...go write! -Connie Kuntz ...
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Guild News for January 2019

A Year of Sensational Writing:  Month Five - January On Sunday, January 20, 2019 from 1-3 p.m., meet us in the Riverview Room at Burpee Museum of Natural History. Bring new writing that focuses on “senses in a late winter setting.”  Consider how you are using your words to evoke different feelings and settings. Rehearse, then share writing with  group. Prose must be 1300 words or less. Poetry—50 lines or less.  We encourage creativity!  Be thoughtful, serious, joyful, or whatever. James Marshall will lead a literary discussion around your work and conduct a cash writing contest.  Recap of the Year of Sensational Writing: In September, writers brought famous writing that highlighted a sense.  In October, writers returned with their own writing about that same sense. We are building off this pattern throughout the year.  We will culminate with a sense-themed Un-Gala in July 2019.  If you miss a meeting, just ...
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MEETING CANCELLED

Dear Writers, Today's December 16 meeting at Burpee Museum of Natural History is cancelled due to a power outage.  The museum is closed to the public while Com-Ed works to restore the energy. I will go down to the museum to personally explain the cancellation to any writer who does not get this message. We will not be rescheduling this meeting, but will combine the December writing and sharing with the January meeting.  We'll have details about that in our January newsletter. I am so sorry for the inconvenience and disappointment this news may bring to you. Thank you for staying apprised of all things Guild.  I hope you find time to "go write" today, just as you would have at today's meeting. Yours, Connie Kuntz ...
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December 16 Guild Meeting at Burpee Museum of Natural History

For the December 16 meeting, bring new writing that focuses on "senses set in a late December setting."  The setting can be winter, Hanukkah, Christmas, etc. - Think about how you are using words to evoke different feelings and settings.  Share you writing with the group.  Rehearse before you step up to the mic.  Prose must be 1300 words or less.  Poetry--50 lines or less.  We encourage creativity!  Be thoughtful, serious, joyful, or whatever.  James Marshall will lead a literary discussion around your work and conduct a cash writing contest. Winners of Judge and Vote are invited to share their winning work at the mic and light holiday refreshments will be served. Who:  This meeting is free and open to all who write.  All ages of writers are welcome. What:  A sharing of new wintry "sense-themed" writing material based on James Marshall's "Year of Sensational Writing." Where:  Downstairs in the ...
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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. for her energetic, intelligent posts here. 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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Guild UnGala Podcast from Burpee

The 2018 UnGala has come and gone, but we have this short podcast to remind you of our wonderful day.  Click and listen for free at any time. 2018 UnGala Podcast - 71st Anniversary of RWG Thanks for listening.  Now...go write! -Connie Kuntz ...
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Meet Me at the Museum

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. WRITING/SHARING GUIDELINES: 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 ...
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The Unsinkable Molly McNett

We have recorded six sessions with Molly McNett!  Two are available right now.  They are free of cost and ads! 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: [audio src="http://rockfordwritersguild.org/dir/?name=guildy_pleasures_s01_ep24_final.mp3" /] 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: [audio src="http://rockfordwritersguild.org/dir/?name=guildy_pleasures_s01_ep25_final.mp3" /] Thank you for listening and reading.  Now...go write! -Connie Kuntz ...
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Good Golly, Miss…

Molly McNett begins recording in The Shumway studio on Monday, May 14.   We are excited! Until then, click here for Guildy Pleasures Podcast Lite. Thanks for checking in.  Now...go write! -Connie Kuntz ...
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Three Contests and a Baby

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. 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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Daffodils and Vampires

It's going to happen and it's going to happen soon.  The due date for Bahiyyih El-Shabbaz's pregnancy essay, "The Parts" is Monday.  Until then, take a good hard look at this daffodil. Or...catch up on the podcast "Hauptsturmführer Soren" by Dan Klefstad.  This short story has strong language in it, but my kids have listened.   If you want to read along, you can find this story in the current edition of The Rockford Review. "Hauptsturmführer Soren" is my eight-year old son's favorite episode of "The Guardian" series because it is about how Soren Fillenius becomes a vampire in the first place.  I was with Angelo when he was listening. It was so fun to see him realize what was happening between Soren and Fiona.  It reminded me of the excitement I felt when I first learned about vampires.  I was about the same age as my son, but the year was 1978 ...
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April 15 at Severson Dells

Hi Everyone, This is a quick reminder that we are meeting on the porch at Severson Dells Nature Center for our April meeting.  This is the fourth year we are celebrating National Poetry Month at the Dells. Writers are to dress for the weather, bring their new writing that features an excellent setting, and share it with the group.  1300 words or less if it's prose.  Fifty lines or less if it's poetry.  It can be an excerpt. After that, writers may either write on the porch or wander into the woods to write new poetry.  Writers will meet back on the porch and share their new writing with the group.  There will be cash prizes for the best poems, adult and youth categories! If you have never been to a Guild meeting before, this is a great way to break the ice, quite literally if all this snow and ...
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The Second Trimester (and a promo)

We recorded the "second trimester" of Bahiyyih El-Shabbaz's essay, "The Parts" on Monday evening at The Shumway.  You will be able to hear her "first trimester" on Monday, April 9, 2018. Until then, here is a promo that Dan Klefstad, Jesse Kuntz, and I collaborated on for Bahiyyih. If you are eager to listen to a podcast, you may listen to any of them for free at any time.  The most recent story and interview is Dan Libman's "bonus" episode and it is available here.  "Charon's Kayak" is a beautiful story about death and disappointment, but it's funny, too.  After his story, he participates in a lovely interview with yours truly.  This is also the episode wherein we meet his wife, Molly McNett.  McNett will be our June author! Things are going well for the Guildy Pleasures Podcast.  I hope they are going well for you, too.  Thanks for reading and listening.  Now, go write.  -Connie ...
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Charon’s Kayak by Dan Libman

It's up!  Dan Libman's fifth story, "Charon's Kayak" is yours for the listening. This humorous story takes us on a tour to paternal death and disappointment with a couple stops along the way; one at an AA meeting, another at the river.  We also visit Houston for a minute.  Beautiful writing. Later, in our interview, he introduces listeners to his wife, Molly McNett.  She will be our June author.  I have ordered her book, One Dog Happy and am eager to get to know her through her writing. It has been a joy to work with Dan and we look forward to working with Molly in June.  Until then, you can listen to Dan's "bonus" episode here. Thanks for reading and listening.  Now, go write.  -Connie Kuntz ...
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Alter Ego Spotted at Blarney Pub!

Yesterday, as part of our Spring Break Literary Tour,  Jesse and I checked out O'Leary's, which is the inspiration behind Dan Klefstad's "Blarney Pub". The Blarney Pub is where the character Daniel interviews a young candidate for the position of vampire caretaker. The fictional Blarney Pub exists in an unnamed sleepy college town, and "The Interview" takes place at Midnight on a Thursday.  But the reality is that Jesse and I visited O'Leary's in DeKalb at Noon on Good Friday. But then something strange happened! The minute we walked into O'Leary's, it became Midnight.  The sunlight flashed into deep darkness.  An intense man with only one arm approached us.  Jesse and I scare easily, so we hustled away as quickly as we could.  We ran upstairs, where it became bright and sunny again, and ran into this cute couple.   In The GuardianDan Klefstad writes about the Blarney Pub in his second chapter, "The Interview".  ...
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Rock River Culture

In Episode 15 of Dan Libman's newest story, "Charon's Kayak", we get a glimpse into the city of Oregon, Illinois; population 3545. My family and I have been to Oregon many times because Lowden State Park is there. It's a lovely park with tall pines, scenic views, decent trails, and the famous Lorado Taft "Blackhawk" statue which, even under construction, is still impressive and mystifying. Yesterday, however, we went to Oregon for literary reasons. We wanted to experience for ourselves some of Libman's writerly inspiration. In "Charon's Kayak", Libman's narrator (like Libman himself) moonlights at a mom-and-pop river business where people of all abilities can rent a canoe, stand-up paddleboard, kayak, tube, or bike, and experience the serenity and drama of the Rock River and its environs.  The name of the business in  "Charon's Kayak" is Rock River Rafters, but it is based on the real life small business, White Pelican.  ...
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Inspiration v. The Muse – a Cagey Fight

Where do you find your inspiration?  I find mine in people and the news, but if I don't get outside on a regular basis, the last thing I want to do is write.  The more I am outside, the more I want to write and vice versa. Ironically, I do not enjoy writing outside.  I'll do it, but my best work happens when I am inside, surrounded by dust and clutter. Anyway, I think the Muse is different than inspiration, but sometimes I question Her existence.  Is She real? In Episode 3, "Solstice", our January author, Dan Klefstad clearly states, "The Muse exists!" and he even tells us where: Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy in Williams Bay, Wisconsin.   It's Spring Break, so my family and I are following in the literary footsteps of the Guildy Pleasures authors.  It's simple:  if they talk about it on the Guildy Pleasures Podcast, we visit it.  If they believe in ...
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