Digital Access

Digital Access
Access and all Shaw Media Illinois content from all your digital devices and receive breaking news and updates from around the area.

Home Delivery

Home Delivery
Local news, sports, business, classified and more! News you can use every day.

Text Alerts

Text Alerts
Choose your news! Select the text alerts you want to receive: breaking news, weather, and more.

Email Newsletters

Email Newsletters
Have our latest news, sports and obituaries emailed directly to you Monday through Friday so you can keep up with what's happening in the area.
A & E

LocalLit author spotlight: Colleen Robbins of Joliet returns

A story about an agoraphobic artist by Colleen Robbins of Joliet, author of the fantasy young adult trilogy "Daraga's Quest," is featured story in next Tuesday's LocalLit newsletter.
A story about an agoraphobic artist by Colleen Robbins of Joliet, author of the fantasy young adult trilogy "Daraga's Quest," is featured story in next Tuesday's LocalLit newsletter.

LocalLit is a new short story newsletter that connects local authors with local readers. The newsletter kicked off in April. Each week a new short story by a local author is sent directly to subscribers' email.

Next week's short story is by Colleen Robbins of Joliet. Robbins was last featured in July. In that Herald-News story, Robbins said she began writing when she was 9, published her first writing piece at age 12.

She writes poetry, articles, essays, and short stories and likes to write fantasy, science fiction, horror, and stories based in reality.

Recently, Robbins took a few minutes to speak via email with Herald-News features editor Denise M. Baran-Unland.

Baran-Unland: Why do you write?

Robbins: I write because I have to. I have always written, even when my father forbade it and destroyed some of my stories. When I don't write enough, stories appear in my head and distract me (causing more than one crash with the wall while swimming backstroke).

Baran-Unland: What does your writing routine look like?

Robbins: I usually write first thing in the morning for about two hours. When I get the chance, I write as many hours as I can squeeze into a busy day.

Baran-Unland: Give a one-line summary about your featured short story.

Robbins: A completely housebound agoraphobic artist attempts to get outside and to a gallery that is featuring her work.

Baran-Unland: Tell us about your current work-in-progress and/or future works.

Robbins: I am putting the final touches on two current projects: "The Daraga's Children," the second novel in my fantasy series, and "Stories of a Sheltered Suburbanite," a short story collection based on real life.

Several of those stories have been previously published. Both of these books should be available from B& and in January 2019. After that, I'll be editing the manuscript of the third Daraga novel ["Dark Protector"] and a second short story collection ["Night Breeze and Moonbeams."] I hope to have them out before 2020.

Baran-Unland: Where can people find more information about you?

Robbins: My previous book, "Daraga's Quest," has an "About the Author" page, which I hope to repost on my fledgling website: The You Tube channel by 4th Troika has several videos of me reading various works [and also several other members of WriteOn Joliet writing club].

Editor's note: Robbins has also published stories in numerous anthologies.

Robbins will host an informal discussion about the first several chapters in "Daraga's Quest" from12:30 to 2 p.m. Jan. 5 at the Book and Bean Cafe, 3395 Black road, Joliet. The book takes place in a medieval-style, far-future earth and involves elves, dragons, and the problems that teenagers of today sometimes face.


Each week LocalLit will deliver an original short and family-friendly story by a local author to the newsletter's subscribers or – starting this year – a review of a book written by a local author.

Authors with a connection to our readership area may submit. Submission does not guarantee acceptance.

Stories should be edited and between 1,000 words and 7,500 words.

Featured authors will be spotlighted in publications before the newsletter runs so readers have time to sign up.

To submit and for more information, contact Denise M. Baran-Unland at 815-280-4122 or

To sign up for the newsletter and read Robbins' story, visit

Loading more