Monday, January 14, 2019

Lilac Wine - The Podcast: "Chapter 3"

On this episode of Lilac Wine, we go to Chicago to meet Robert Bishop, who works at his uncle's piano factory on "Piano Row." Chicago, at the time, was one of the leading producers of musical instruments. But the war was taking a toll on business, and soon Robert will need to find another job.

Check out the picture of "piano row" below, taken in 1907. Tell your friends about the podcast. Subscribe on your favorite podcast app.

This is "Piano Row," Chicago. Click on the picture below to go to a full size version. The detail is amazing!

Monday, January 7, 2019

Lilac Wine - The Podcast: Chapter Two

After Owen's accident at the swimming hole, Abelia's picnic in interrupted by a black cherry wine-induced dream. Listen below or in your favorite podcast app. Subscribe so you don't miss an episode!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Lilac Wine - The Podcast: Chapter One

Chapter One is here! An accident at the swimming hole brings out several residents of Lily Springs, hoping to find the source of the sound that is reverberating off the buildings in Lily Springs.  Listen below or in your favorite podcast app. Subscribe so you don't miss an episode!

This episode features some of the more eccentric characters in Lily Springs. Where is Lily Springs located? North of Dubuque, Iowa, along the Mississippi.

When researching the book, I took a trip to Iowa and drove up and down the banks of the Mississippi, stood at the railroad tracks mere feet from the river.

Lily Springs is a completely fictional town, but North Buena Vista was a town that had many qualities I was looking for in regard to the "look" of Lily Springs.  Here are some pictures I took on that trip:

Tuesday, December 25, 2018


"The Prologue" is finally here. On this episode of Lilac Wine - The Podcast, author Bruce Janu reads the prologue to the novel, introducing us to the novel's main character, Abelia Brody.

This chapter was the first written some 25 years ago. After reading, Bruce talks about the challenge of writing a novel over many stages of life and how the prose sounds to him now 25 years later.

Please feel free to comment or ask questions about the episode by joining the forum.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Inspirations, Music and Creativity - The Influences Behind Lilac Wine


On this episode of Lilac Wine - The Podcast, I discuss the inspirations for the novel and play a song from my favorite band, Over the Rhine.  In addition, I give a shout-out to a junior high school teacher who encouraged my writing more than anyone else.

Music plays such an important role in my creative process, especially in regard to this novel. How do you write? Music, for me, is a necessity, as important as air, especially in the pre-writing period.  On this episode, I talk a lot about music and, in particular, a band from Ohio: Over the Rhine.

Click on the image to listen to a selection of music from Over the Rhine and other bands who have played a big role in inspiring Lilac Wine.

A special thanks to Karin Bergquist and Lindford Detweiler from Over the Rhine for allowing me to play their World War I inspired song, "Flanders Fields" on the podcast. They are an amazing band and well-worth listening to. Their songs are folksy and soulful with a real truth at their center.  As I mentioned in a previous post, their songs play like old friends sitting late at night around the kitchen table, discussing love and life.  More information about them can be found on their website

To get a sense of the passion and beauty of Bergquist's voice, check out the following songs:

Subscribe to Lilac Wine now so you don't miss an episode! You can subscribe on Apple Podcast, Google Podcasts or on any podcast service.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Preview Lilac Wine now!

The first episode of Lilac Wine - The Podcast has dropped! On this episode - a "preview" episode, if you will - I discuss the story of Lilac Wine and the purpose of the podcast.  Listen now. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The Making of a Trailer

In getting ready to launch Lilac Wine - The Podcast, I wanted to make a promo that captures the feel of the story. I based the idea on a music video that I made a few years ago in which the pages of an old photo album come to life. The video was for a song by the Civil Wars called "20 Years." I made the music video for a contest. I didn't win, but liked how the video turned out, nonetheless.

I needed to find photographs that captured the spirit of Lilac Wine. Scouring the internet for public domain images from in and around 1917 was not too difficult.  Within a few minutes of googling, I found these pictures:

These images are from 1917, found in a Hungarian photo website.  I just love them. The image on the left really captures the feel of Lilac Wine.

I needed to add some wine to the image, so I went to a photo that I have from the Civil Wars music video. That video features pictures from a photo album I bought at an antique store. I simply took the bottle off of the table of this picture from 1902 and added it to the chair in garden the picture.

Add a flower garden picture from the early 20th century:

And finally, a World War I battlefield, courtesy of the Library of Congress:

Oh, and we can't forget the World War I soldier. This was from the original concept book cover I made back in 2010. I don't remember where I got that original image, though.

I then created a large image in photoshop with several layers, adding trees in the foreground and more colored flowers as well.

I positioned the layers in a 3-dimensional space in Adobe After Effects and moved the "camera" in and out and across the 3D space. I then added some royalty free music and narration from Rachel Vissing, a colleague and fellow collaborator on the We Are EG podcast at Elk Grove High School and voilĂ : the new trailer for the Lilac Wine Podcast.