Dan Klefstad

Morning Edition Host & Book Series Editor

Good morning, Early Riser! Since 1997 I've been waking WNIJ listeners with the latest news, weather and other information, with the goal of seamlessly weaving this content into NPR's Morning Edition.

What do I do after the show ends at 9:00? I read. I'm especially interested in literature from the WNIJ listening area, which led me to adopt the "Book Beat" in 2012. Throughout the year, I immerse myself in works written by authors from northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. Then I interview these writers for Morning Edition and record them reading excerpts. Interviews and excerpts are available as podcasts in our Book Series archive.

If you're a writer from this area, or have a personal connection to this place, send your book to me at 801 N. 1st St., DeKalb, IL 60115. You can also email a .doc or .pdf to dklefstad@niu.edu. I'm looking for novels, poems, short fiction, memoirs and creative nonfiction. While most of the books I feature come from established presses, I do accept self-published works. Just make sure your manuscript is well edited.

Thanks,

@danklefstad

#WNIJReadWithME

Ways to Connect

Carl Nelson

Remember when we asked for your relationship-themed poems for Valentine's Day? We received 118 listener responses by the Jan. 29 deadline, which made for a busy weekend for our contest judge, Susan Porterfield.

Episcopalchurch.org

The Episcopal Church will remain part of the worldwide Anglican Communion -- for now. A recent gathering of the world's top Angilcan bishops, or primates, avoided a separation with the U.S. branch over their full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Carl Nelson

The first time we held a writing contest, called "Three-Minute Fiction," more than 100 people submitted stories. Our judge, GK Wuori, selected five winners -- all of whom got to read their stories to WNIJ listeners in October.

With Valentine's Day approaching, we decided to ask for poems about relationships. These could be sonnets about seduction, burlesques about breaking up, or haiku about healthy relationships.

In 2003, James McManus became the best-known storyteller about poker when he published Positively Fifth Street: Murderers, Cheetahs & Binion's World Series of Poker. The book recounts McManus's reporting assignment for Harper's Magazine, in which he covered the 2000 World Series of Poker from the perspective of a player.

This Spring, the Illinois Reads program will invite residents to read dozens of new books by Illinois authors. One title on their 2016 list is our Winter Book Series selection Paris, He Said, by Christine Sneed.

The novel introduces us to Jayne Marks, an aspiring artist who leaves her New York City life -- friends, steady job, and boyfriend Colin -- for Paris, home of her new lover, Laurent Moller.

Our Winter Book Series continues Monday with Paris, He Said by Christine Sneed.

The novel is about an aspiring artist, Jayne Marks, who leaves New York City for the "City of Light," home of her new lover, a gallery owner named Laurent.

You can hear a snippet of the interview in the radio promo below:

Christine Sneed is a visiting professor at the University of Illinois. Paris, He Said is her second novel.

Memory and desire are common themes in Joe Gastiger's prose poems. In his latest collection, If You So Desire, he uses historically famous people to illustrate these themes as well as ordinary people in the news.

Chris Mann

Our roving reporter, Dan Libman, returns with a story about last weekend's "Tour de Frost" bike ride around Rockford. The 6th annual event raised money, and bicycles, for the Rockford Rescue Mission.

Two writers meet in a bar called The Jesuit in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The older one is struggling to finish the final book in his contract. The younger one hopes to repeat his one publishing success.

They only met the day before; but the older man, Nigel Moon, proposes a deal:

"What Moon would like the other writer to do is ghost-write this final book for him," says Craig Hart, author of the novel Becoming Moon, our first Winter Book Series selection for this season.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner hasn't met with legislative leaders since the end of May, so today's expected meeting is important.

Or, rather, it will be if talks continue.

Illinois has been without a budget since July and is one of two U.S. states without a spending plan (Pennsylvania is the other).

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