Get to know our WoA3 venue, Burpee Museum of Natural History

Following two very successful exhibitions, Word of Art 3, a collaboration of authors and artists, was contacted by Burpee Museum of Natural History and asked to participate in their 75th Anniversary celebration. We are honored to have one of the country’s best natural history museums host our event.


Burpee Museum Celebrates 75 Years! August 2016 – August 2017 with a variety of events, attractions, and special experiences for the whole family.

Next up, PaleoFest, where you can celebrate nineteen years of fossils and dinosaurs at Burpee Museum. Engage in make and take workshops, explore in hands-on Paleo Stations, venture through unique exhibits and learn with a world renowned paleontologist! FOSSIL FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY!
Saturday, March 4 @ 9:00 am to Sunday, March 5 @ 5:00 pm

Enriching the Rockford community since 1942, the Burpee Museum of Natural History, 737 North Main Street, Rockford, Illinois, is proud to celebrate its 75th year with tours, activities, special events including a partnership with Word of Art 3, and an exhibit showcasing the treasure trove of artifacts, specimens, and memorabilia from the museum collection.

During the special Rediscover Burpee anniversary displays, visitors are invited to witness the development of the museum through time and to see what makes it a local treasure and unique among the country’s most respected natural history museums.

Regular features include displays on GeoScience, the First People, Window to Wilderness, and The Prep Lab. Most notable is the comprehensive dinosaur display which includes Jane, the world’s most complete and best preserved juvenile Tyrannosaurus Rex.

There are four floors of evolving, engaging, and exciting exhibits, classes, and clubs that the Burpee Museum offers the community. The Burpee Museum also has meeting and event spaces available, including the newly renovated River Walk Terrace.

It is the mission of Burpee Museum of Natural History to inspire all people to engage in a lifetime of discovery and learning about the natural world, through preservation and interpretation. They believe that the best communities are those that work together to be successful.

To learn more or plan a visit, go to

The Word of Art 3 reception, exhibition, and book release, sponsored by In Print Professional Writers Organization in partnership with Burpee Museum of Natural History, will be held on Friday, March 10, 2017, from 5 to 9 pm, at Burpee Museum.

In Print would like to thank the dedicated staff of employees, board members, and volunteers at Burpee.

When the arts collaborate, history is made.

Meet our WoA3 Word Judge, JOHN BRADLEY


Word of Art has consistently brought together the complimentary expressive forms of word and art. In our third year of collaborations, we welcome author and teacher John Bradley as our Word Judge. John will read through the twenty-eight selected essay, prose, and poetry submissions and select three runners-up and one winner to be announced following the program at the Word of Art 3 Exhibition and Book Release Reception, Friday, March 10, 2017 at Burpee Museum of Natural History.

John Bradley is the author of Love-In-Idleness: The Poetry of Roberto Zingarello (Word Works), now in a second edition, Terrestrial Music (Curbstone), War on Words (BlazeVOX), You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know (CSU Poetry Center), Trancelumination (Lowbrow Press), and And Thereby Everything (Longhouse).

His poetry has appeared in the American Poetry Review, Caliban, Colorado Review, Diagram, Hotel Amerika, Ironwood, Lake Effect, Rolling Stone, and other journals.

His prose poems have been anthologized in No Boundaries, and his aphorisms in Short Flights.

He is the editor of Atomic Ghost: Poets Respond to the Nuclear Age (Coffeehouse Press), Learning to Glow: A Nuclear Reader (Univ. of Arizona Press), and Eating the Pure Light: Homage to Thomas McGrath (Backwaters Press).

He frequently reviews books of poetry for Rain Taxi.

John is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize in poetry and two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships in poetry.

He received an M.A. in English from Colorado State University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Bowling Green State University.

He resides in DeKalb, IL and teaches at Northern Illinois University.

Word of Art 3 is honored to have John Bradley as our Word Judge.


Independent Publishing Forum February 11, 2017

The publishing market has experienced great changes in the past decade. Independent publishing, including self-pub, hybrid publishing, and small press publishing, accounts for nearly half of all books printed (digitally and otherwise). Many In Print members have independently published and several are available to share their adventures with you. They will discuss the good, the bad, and the unexpected at the next In Print general meeting.

Our panel discussion on alt-publishing will include Kristin Oakley, Ted Iverson, Louise Brass, Sandra Colbert and Debbie Deutsch. These authors have all published independently in a variety of ways and genres and will share the pros and cons of DIY publishing.
Lisa Roettger, of Watchword Editing, will facilitate the discussion.

We hope you will join us on Saturday, February 11, 2017 at 1 pm at the Roscoe Public Library for this insightful panel discussion.






Welcome Home!

In Print has a new home for our general meetings!

We are happy to announce that the Roscoe Public Library, 5562 Clayton Cir. Roscoe, IL. 61073, will be hosting our monthly meetings. In Print meets the second Saturday of each month from 1 to 4 pm.

The dates we have reserved are as follows:
Feb 11th, March 11th, April 8th, May 13th, and July 8th.
(June’s event is yet to be determined).

Click here to see our program schedule.

Hoping to see everyone at the Roscoe Public Library!

What? Would? Why?

What are you reading? Would you recommend it? And why?

by Mary Lamphere (as previously posted at

I just finished the audio of Wool by Hugh Howey.
I would not recommend it.
It sucked.

Let me explain.
It was a compilation of several stories slapped together seamfully and since I had the audio, I wasn’t privy to the breaks that are probably obvious in the printed version. That’s still no excuse. After the first two losses, I refused to be invested in the next “main” character. I had no sense of where it was going or why. And again, being an MP3, I had no idea how close I was to the end. I could go on with my critique, I have more to say, and I’d be happy to discuss further. If you’re interested, message me.

That said, it didn’t suck.
Since anyone who was considering reading it will, and should, still do so, allow me to defend my initial review.

I came into this book on the hype of the author’s story. Hugh Howey is a writer who had a day job and wrote on the side. He self-published short stories on Kindle. As the series grew, so did the attention they drew. Cut to the now, he’s a millionaire who lives on a boat with multiple publishing deals and a film in the works.

Wool has received over nine thousand five star reviews on Amazon.

Bottom line is, my expectations were too high.
This is why I tell you it sucked.
When you start with suck, there’s nowhere to go but up, right?
That is the gift I give you, potential Wool reader.
So, in a way, I guess I am recommending it.
I have no doubt that you will enjoy Wool more than I did.
I look forward to your review.









Your turn…
What are you reading? Would you recommend it? And why?

If you would like to submit a review or blog post to the In Print website, click here for details.

On Writing – Catherine’s Observations

On Writing – Catherine’s Observations
by Catherine Conroy

It began with preparing for my Book Club meeting. This month each member is discussing their favorite book on writing. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott had been considered for all to read until the consensus became, each person bring the book they’d recommend.

In my writing studio, I scanned the bookshelves closest to me. The Elements of Style 4th ed by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White; The Scene Book, A Primer of the Fiction Writer by Sandra Scofield; and Writing Fiction, A Guide to Narrative Fiction by Janet Burroway; I often refer to these.

Because it had been discussed, I pulled out Bird by Bird, read it and held it in my lap. Two things struck me, a one inch view, and the view within a headlight beam; the field of focus for writing – go close in, the rest of the world isn’t the experience. These two reminders were worth the reread of Anne’s book.

Anne’s irreverence, her young child being heard saying “shit” and Anne’s intended admonishment met with, “…the f***ing keys” – he’s holding a set of plastic keys he’d planned to use after purposely locking himself outside. There’s “The Shitty First Draft,” and “Broccoli” meaning listen to your intuition, your child sense of what a character might do and say, and radio station KFKD – or K-F***ed, the station that can play in your head twenty-four-seven if you allow it to foster your defeat.

I wasn’t satisfied I’d honed in on my most valued book about writing. I searched further and pulled out, The Situation and the Story; the Art of Personal Narrative by Vivian Gornick, The Right to Write, and The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron (these started my journey as a writer), The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler, and Women and Writing by Virginia Woolf. Gornick’s book sucked me in and reminded me of connecting into the story through personal experience.

What do these books have in common? Why are they valuable to me? They prompt me to write and to stay with writing. In a pile, they are daunting and they taunt me with all that I have not accomplished. Why this now? What should I do? Find what keeps me writing forward. It was in Anne’s book when she wrote about having a writing partner or writing group; small, trusted. Do whatever it takes to keep you on task.

The most valuable books are the ones that keep you writing.

WaR Summary of Griffin and Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence

by Mary Lamphere

Griffin and Sabine, by Nick Bantock, is an epistolary, interactive, illustrated novel. At 48 pages, it was certainly a stray from recent WaR reads. (The Third Coast was 544 pages, Beautiful Fools was 368 pages, and Me Before You was 448 pages.)

Griffin and Sabine is a mystery that unfolds one handwritten letter or post card at a time. The exchange is between two “strangers” who are both artists. She lives on a (fictional) tropical island, he in London. Through their conversations we learn that for whatever reason, she is able to see through his eyes when he creates art. At first, he is logically skeptical, but over time she convinces him it’s true. This connection is very deep and they begin to fall in love through their correspondence of shared experiences and creativity. The involvement for the reader is quite personal as well, opening envelopes and flipping cards to “eavesdrop” on their discussions.

This is the first book in a trilogy and it reads as so. The end is not really an end, but it certainly gets you wondering.

Griffin and Sabine is a unique book in that the illustrations are part of the story. There is probably more story revealed through the images than there is in the words. In club, we talked about the themes, content, and interpretation. Love, loneliness, and connection were themes that resonated. Most of the group appreciated the interactive nature of the book, but wouldn’t be inclined to read more like it or create one. Our best discussions surrounded the original art and how it related to the story. The elements of style, colors, and graphic nature of the art more often contradicted the words, informing the reader of a multi-leveled story. What is really going on here?

Because of its physical attributes, Griffin and Sabine isn’t available as an e-book. Those qualities also make it hard to describe this novel. I recommend you check it out from the library, pick it up at the book store, or borrow it from me. It’s worth a perusal.

WNIJ Flash Fiction Contest

Attention Short Story WritersWNIJ logo

Enter the Flash Fiction Contest

WNIJ invites you to submit an original work of short fiction based on the following prompt:

Your first sentence must describe an outrageous, inexplicable situation, like Franz Kafka’s protagonist waking up to discover he’s a giant insect.

We invited prize-winning author Molly McNett to create this prompt and to help us select the winning stories.

To enter, write a short story of approximately 500 words responding to the prompt by the contest deadline: 11:59 p.m. on Monday, September 12. The authors of the winning entries will be invited to read their story on air during Morning Edition the week of October 3, 2016.

Click here for contest rules and for all information about how to enter.

We look forward to reading your work, and good luck.

Contest Rules
Contest Registration Form

WNIJ is a gathering place for regional literature.
For more information about related programming, visit

September General Meeting – Reedy Press and a Harvest of Opportunities

Meet the Publisher

Writers are invited to meet with Josh Stevens, publisher and editor at Reedy Press, during the September general meeting of In Print Professional Writers Organization (IPPWO) from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept 10, at the Cherry Valley Public Library, 755 E Main Street, Cherry Valley.

IPPWO members, as well as non-members, may bring their ideas to discuss with Stevens and his representative, Molly Page, and hear what Reedy Press is seeking from writers.

Page is the author of  100 Things to do in Chicago before You Die, a regional best seller. According to Stevens, Page is a marketing dynamo, and is taking the lead for Reedy in acquiring new regional titles on Chicago / Illinois.

Bring Your Book Pitches

Stevens plans to be available to speak with authors individually for 10 to 15 minute time slots, and to take proposals for books.  A variety of non-fiction subjects may be proposed such as history, communities of note, tourism, food, institutions, iconic neighborhoods, guide books, sports. Include your bios and any information on published work you wish to mention in a package for Stevens to review. Continue reading “September General Meeting – Reedy Press and a Harvest of Opportunities”