Willy Adkins and Justin Romine talk “Headline News”

Back in the dingy DeKalb office building in the summer of 2011, Willy Adkins, director and executive producer, and Justin Romine, directory of photography, paused from filming Headline News to record this interview with me. Headline News, based on my short story “Coed Terror in the Ivory Tower of Doom,” premiered at the Chicago Horror Film Festival on Saturday, September 24, 2011 at 7:00 pm at the Portage Theater. What a walk down memory lane! Check out the interview below.


Filming Headline News

On a summer day in 2011, I met director Willy Adkins and his cast and crew at an office building in DeKalb, Illinois. We were there to film Headline News, a horror short based on a story I wrote for my book Six Tales of Terror. Jason Sullivan adapted my story into a script. All the cast and crew, especially Michael Schmid, Michael Wexler, James Pusztay, and Kelsey Zukowski, really brought the characters to life. It was a surreal experience, to say the least, to see characters come to life I had previously only imagined! I even got to play a small walk on role, as a crime scene photographer. Here are some pictures from the filming. Tragically, Michael Wexler died after being hit by a car in December 2015. I only met him a few times, but he was a talented actor and seemed like a great guy. I was very sorry to hear about his loss.

150th Anniversary of the Charleston Riot

A big thank you is in order to Ann Winkler Hinrichs, David Kent Coy, and the other organizers of the 150th Anniversary of the Charleston Riot event last weekend! For what might be the final time, I was asked to give my presentation on home front dissent in Illinois during the Civil War, as part of a larger series of speakers at the Coles County Courthouse on Saturday, March 29th. The presentation was well attended, and there were a lot of great questions from the audience. Afterwards, I had a book signing at Pensees Bookshop on the square (502 6th St). Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer spoke at the banquet that night, but unfortunately I had to leave before he spoke. I met some very interesting folks that day! Thanks to my friend Becky Guymon for taking these photos of my presentation:

Secret Rockford Book Release Party

On Saturday, March 1, we had our Secret Rockford book release party at Tinker Swiss Cottage here in Rockford. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate and it snowed off and on throughout the day! Never-the-less, we had a good turnout and everyone enjoyed themselves. Several contributors to the book spoke about their articles and short stories, including Kathi Kresol, Stanley Campbell, Scott Farrell, Heath Alberts, Ernie Fuhr, Jim Phelps, and Doug Janicke. I thought all the speakers did a wonderful job and I was very impressed with their passion and ability to speak off the cuff. Hopefully we will have another event like this in the future.

Riley & Scot talk Secret Rockford

On February 27 at 10:20am, I had the pleasure of doing a short, in-studio interview with Riley & Scot at WROK 1440 AM in Rockford. After the unfortunate and untimely demise of 100.5 FM, this is now one of the only local talk radio shows left in the Rockford area. The other is The Michael Koolidge Show, which is also on WROK. I appeared briefly on Koolidge’s show as well to promote the Secret Rockford book release party at Tinker Swiss Cottage. The studio was comfortable despite the subzero temperatures outside. Thanks, guys!

Riley & Scot and I talk about Secret Rockford at WROK 1440 AM
Riley & Scot and I talk about Secret Rockford at WROK 1440 AM

Tales of Coles County Comes to Lake Land College

On Wednesday, February 12, I had the distinction of being the featured speaker at Lake Land College’s “Tacos & Tales” event. The event was a huge success, attracting over 40 students hungry for both knowledge of local folklore and tacos. I was told it was one of the best turnouts yet for that particular program. Better yet–for the first time, my name appeared on a marquee! Lucas Thomas, Student Activity Board Chairman, was a wonderful host–even delivering the 12 green M&M’s I jokingly requested. Lake Land College is located in Mattoon, Illinois. You can check out some photos from the presentation below.

Pictures from Roads Less Traveled

Last weekend’s presentation at White Trash Gallery in LaSalle went very well. I have to give a big thanks to White Trash Peg for helping put together another successful event! We had 15 people attend and I presented for a little over an hour and a half. It was great to finally meet Travis and Chad, who came all the way from Rockford. Everyone had a good time and hopefully learned something as well. Here are a couple of pictures from the event – I might have some video to post as well in a few days.