Don And Tom Reconnect WOWI

On a typical marvelous day in Coupeville, Don and I found an opportunity to set these podcasts back on their original track. At the start, we crafted these episodes based on our resources, i.e. two guys, a microphone, an interest in highlighting the writing community of Whidbey Island, and a willingness to adapt and learn. Writers are creative people. We did what we could with what we had. The pandemic changed things (understatement.) And now, thanks to responsible folks wearing masks and getting vaccinated, enough progress has been made that we could return to something like our original concept. Uh. How did we do this a little more than a year ago? We begin again. 

We started with live, largely uncut interviews and discussions with various members of the expansive yet unofficial Whidbey Island writing community. Guests included writers, of course, but also editors, publishers, poets, librarians, book sellers, book collectors, etc. Our community is varied. Whidbey Island is varied, too. So, we recorded at a variety of locations. The background became part of the show. Listen for ambience that includes jets, turkeys, dogs, businesses, pedestrians, etc. The island provides a long list to include.

Then, the pandemic hit. Zoom this. Google Meet that. Everyone was remote. Everyone was required to have a bit of technological skill. And of course that thing we all needed, a sense of humor, somehow.

Now, we’re back – or at least we hope we are – sort of. For the first time in over a year, Don and I recorded a live, masked-face-to-masked-face episode. The bonus was a setting that included the sounds of eagles, people, and maybe a ferry. Our personal bonus was a view of the Sound, Port Townsend, the Olympics, and the usual extraordinary panoramas from near the Admiralty Head Lighthouse. Why not include someone as a guest? Well, partly, we had to see if we remembered all of the gadgets and setup considerations. (Good thing Don remembered the extra batteries.)

It was good to reconnect and remember those other bits of communication that are harder to convey online. Body language, hand signals, stifled laughs – as well as a reminder to not bump the microphone.

And there was a lot to talk about. Those months weren’t wasted. Turning binge watching into a way to research writers’s styles. A surplus of uninterrupted time to write. Dealing with a support network, or at least fellow writers, that are necessarily more remote. Marketing campaigns that can’t rely on readings, signings, panels, or talks. 

Listen for our personal adaptations and approaches, as well as progress in our individual projects – including opening hints about a possible group project for sci-fi writers. 

If you have a story to tell about your recently released book, how you managed your marketing campaign, how your business survived, how your organization adapted, whatever, send us a note about possibly being one of our guests. (If we get too many we might have to put all the names in a basket and see what luck provides.)

Writing on Whidbey Island (WOWI) episode 23 – Don and Tom Reconnect


Pavel Soukenik – Tulip & Hound publishing

Have you hear of Tulip & Hound?  It’s a new and exciting publishing company here on Whidbey Island!  This past Tuesday afternoon Tom and I had the absolute pleasure of spending time (via e-meeting, because Corona) with owner and visionary Pavel Soukenik.

Pavel and his wife, Angela, have joined us here on Whidbey for a number of years — and Pavel himself has joined us here in The United States originally from the Czech Republic.  Given his background, Pavel supports translation from English into Czech — but what makes Tulip & Hound unique doesn’t stop there!

Tulip & Hound is a small and promising publishing company potentially filling a niche here on the island — there are no publishing company (or distributors for that matter).  Pavel’s books are traditionally printed here in the United States using print runs instead of print-on-demand. Books printed in volume through Tulip & Hound can then be offered at lower prices with better terms for both bookstores and authors.  Pavel also believes in giving back and is donating 10% of profits from all book sales to preservation of the environment.

The debut book being offered by Tulip & Hound is titled “Siren and the Serenade” by Angela Cummings.  She’s a Pacific Northwest author located right here on Whidbey — so local she’s Pavel’s wife.  This is convenient for Pavel because he never has a problem reaching his client.

I found our time with Pavel interesting and thought provoking — and I believe you will too when you listen to the podcast.  He is pleasant, has a great sense of humor, and all around … he’s just a neat guy!  It will be exciting to watch what happens for Tulip & Hound and his company continues to develop.  With any luck, it is my hope Tom and I can visit again with Pavel in a year or so to learn about everything that has transpired with Tulip & Hound!

Tulip & Hound’s website

Tulip & Hound on Twitter

His Mother Really Is Crazier Than Yours – In Interview With Cam Castle

Where would writers be without their families? Sure, they’re a source of support, but they’re also a source of stories. Cam Castle was born into a wealth of stories, which is one reason he wrote a book about it. “My Mother is Crazier than Your Mother”

Cam’s Mom created a creative childhood environment, not necessarily on purpose. Retelling those tales here would be redundant. Besides, Cam’s better at telling them. He’s a writer of many talents, including writing for the Seattle Times; but as a few fortunate fellow writers know, having him in a writing group makes sure the day won’t be dull. He’s a humorist with the ability to make dull text entertaining. (I know. His reading of some of my personal finance pieces made them funny enough to wake everyone up.)

Cam was also brave enough to be one of our first interviewees, back when we were still learning what this podcast would truly be about, and how we needed to approach it. Just like in the writing groups, his candor was appreciated and constructive. Subsequent interviewees can thank him, even though it may not be apparent how he made their experience much smoother. (That’s also why he pointed out that, while we posted the podcast, we forgot to post the attendant blog post. Oops. Pardon us as we play catch-up.)

Writing On Whidbey Island (WOWI) episode 3 – Cam Castle, My Mother is Crazier than Your Mother

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Childrens Books, Creative Cards, And Coaching – An Interview With Deb Lund

At least on Whidbey Island, creative people tend to create more than one way to express themselves and help others. Yet another reason the island’s writing community has multiple layers that support each other. Deb Lund is probably best known for her children’s books, but she’s also taught writing and coached writers, which inspired her card deck designed to inspire them. But, really, it is hard to ignore and easy to remember someone whose books include dinosaurs that “take to the skies, the rails, and the high seas” as well as monsters on machines (wearing hardhats, of course.)

The conversation started with the dinosaurs because, why not. They may be children’s books, which can be much more complicated to write, produce, and publish than conventional novels. With a conventional novel there may be effectively no limit to the word count, except the thickness of the binding. Deb pointed out that children’s book are much more constrained (imagine editing a story of a few thousand words down to a few hundred), and require the writer to relinquish much of the control to the illustrator. Instead of only one graphic which is limited to the cover, every page can be a graphic from edge to edge. A children’s book is more of a duet, but with the two artists working separately much of the time, and yet the two efforts become one creation. 

Deb also has teacher cred, a natural background for someone writing children’s books, as well as a natural lead to teaching and coaching writers. Along the way, she created a series of inspirational playing cards to give writers fresh perspectives on their works in progress. They became popular enough that her students encouraged her to create and sell the decks. Welcome to yet another publishing accomplishment that was much more than lots of words on blank pages. Concise messages on colorful cards required multiple art forms, again. 

Her accomplishments are impressive, but are better heard about from her. Listen in on the podcast for the stories in her own words, and maybe contact her if you want to benefit from an experienced artist – who also can tell stories about gargantuan dinosailor goofballs.

Writing on Whidbey Island (WOWI) episode 21 – Deb Lund, Childrens’ book author, card creator, and coach

She can also be found on:

Her web site: deblund.com

Facebook: (pages for 
Deb Lund, author
The Creativity Cafe
Writing With Kids

Twitter: @deblund

Instagram: deblundauthor

Popular Posts 2020

Welcome to the ten most popular posts, the posts that received the most traffic in 2020.

That’s a nice mix. Authors, librarians, booksellers, poetry, fiction, non-fiction, editing, and rare books. That diversity is one of the reasons the Whidbey Island writing community is broad and deep, able to support the members of the informal, unofficial, highly creative community. Personally, it is nice to see people returning to episode 1, to better understand our intent. And remember, a grade school class got the most traffic by a large margin. Forget the MBA. Maybe tune into 5th graders, instead.

Surfing Writing And Staying Stoked – An Interview with Drew Kampion

“Life is a wave. Your attitude is your surfboard.
Stay stoked & aim for the light!”

Subscribers to drewslist, a much friendlier and more neighborly (and very Whidbey) version of craigslist, can recognize that as the signature at the end of each email from the service that Drew Kampion started years ago. (As Drew put it, “It is like craigslist, but exactly opposite.” paraphrased)

That attitude and philosophy was handy during this wintry recording of the podcast that involved internet glitches and dropped signals. Drew rode those waves with a laugh and a smile. Whew. (And thanks to co-host and audio techie, Don, for stitching it back together.)

For this podcast about writing on Whidbey Island, we talked less about For Sale ads and more about the books he has written, his time as a journalist, the early era of the now-famous Patagonia company, surfing (the subject of much of his work), how he got to Whidbey, and what he did when he got here. Fake spoiler alert: that signature philosophy isn’t theoretical, it’s practical, and has been steering him through an interesting story.

I’ll leave the storytelling to him, but will mention that it is fun to hear about someone who loves something like surfing can take a talent like writing and create a career in a way that wouldn’t make any textbook. Find what you enjoy. Find what you can do well. And if the two can work together, then celebrate that. Listen in for his story of the ride.

Writing on Whidbey Island (WOWI) episode 20 – Drew Kampion, writer, author, editor, journalist, surfer, and founder of drewslist

DrewKampion.com

Drew Kampion on Amazon

drewslist

Steel Lace Apples And Editing – An Interview With Holly Thomas

Pluck another apple, Eve, and finish it. Or more appropriately, “Pluck Another Apple, Eve, And Finish It”; or something like that. (What is the right way to capitalize a title?) Maybe we should ask an editor. Actually, we did. Holly Thomas, editor, poet, artist was kind enough to let us interview her. We didn’t ask about this title or her artistry (this is a podcast about writing); but we did ask about life as an editor and her work as a poet. If you haven’t noticed the graphic below in some preview pane, she published a collection of her poems titled, “Pluck Another Apple, Eve, And Finish It“.

Holly’s work is a reminder that while some of us count how many words we write per hour, poets can spend hours per word – and it shows. Easy grace can require effort and introspection. As captured in the book’s description on Amazon, the term “steel lace” comes to mind. (There may also be some poems that touch on nature, emotions, and physics – a wide range that gets tied together.)

Poets have a difficult time paying bills with poems, which is why she is also an editor, earlier with Microsoft and more recently as an editor working with individual authors. Managing the creative spirit internally, in a group, in a corporation, or with fellow creatives is a special talent, possibly a collection of talents as each environment is different. Her insights into how to work with an editor are valuable. Being able to respect another’s creativity while polishing the product is a rare and hopefully appreciated skill.

(Writer’s note: Writing about an editor’s work can make a writer incredibly self-conscious. Oh well, she’s probably edited worse.)

Listen in for a range of perspectives from corporate to consulting to publishing to working on items that are so personal they may never be shared – oh yeah, and laughter. We can all use a good laugh.

Writing on Whidbey Island (WOWI) episode 19 – Holly Thomas, editor, poet, artist

Holly Thomas, main page

Her book on Amazon

Allied Arts Foundation Emerging Poet Award – Holly Thomas reading Burrs

Writing On Whidbey Island (WOWI) – First Anniversary

I didn’t expect to finish our first year of the Writing on Whidbey Island podcast by being interviewed for another site in the UK. (Tom and Don interviewed by Pen To Print) Evidently, we’re doing something right, or at least notable. The tough challenge was finding a succinct way to summarize what we’ve done so far. Don did a good job of answering that call. I was glad to mostly sit by and watch. One bit of good news, our intent that we described in one of our first posts remains. Check back for a comparison. (WOWI episode 1 – Hello and Welcome!)

Origin stories are in style, and this first episode recorded Don and I as we talked about who, how, why, where, and what inspired us to begin this series.
The who is easy: the rest of the writing community of Whidbey Island,…
The how is keeping it simple…
Why is easy; we like the community and the island…
Where is wherever we can,…

As with any first drafts, we do things a bit differently now; though many may not notice the changes. The bigger change was the one we’re all experiencing. That “Where is wherever we can…” changed from three people around one microphone in one location, to one computer per person with all the varying background sounds and technical issues that includes. Again, thanks to Don for managing that part. 

The podcast is about the writing community on Whidbey Island, which is more than writers and authors. Writers have a support group on the island that includes librarians, teachers, book sellers, book collectors, editors, workshop organizers – some of whom we’ve interviewed. We also hope to include publishers, illustrators, publicists, whoever else is considered to be part of the party.

Even within the bounds of ‘writers and authors’, we’ve listened to people talk about memoir, fantasy, poetry, reference guides, nature – and of course cookbooks and music (Don), and travel, personal finance, and photography (Tom). 

And we’ve only just begun. We’ve yet to find a complete count of how many writers on the island have books for sale. One measure is that, as a community, we’ve overwhelmed the local libraries and bookstores. They have a tough time keeping up with what has been produced. 

A common comment that arose unprompted has been that almost everyone relies on someone else somewhere along their project’s path. A writer working on their book can also be the editor for someone else’s book. Marketing benefits from shared experiences. Cross-marketing, particularly through social media, amplifies our voices. Inspiration is accelerated. 

One story in particular is the reminder that success doesn’t require decades of effort, advanced study, or dozens of drafts. Our most popular podcast so far has been Invisible Pollution, written, illustrated, and compiled by students from John Del Prete’s 4th Grade Class at Crescent Harbor Elementary School. This was a serious production associated with NOAA. Writers are not required to wear grey hair.

The podcast continues. Covid is editing our style, for a while. As we said in this, our anniversary episode, maybe next year we can meet again, first in our original formula of three people in one place, and eventually in more public places, again. Any brewpubs, libraries, wineries, or bookstores interested?

Writing on Whidbey Island (WOWI) episode 18 – WOWI’s First Anniversary

Tom and Don interviewed by Pen To Print

PenToPrint.org

Accidents happen and sometimes they turn out as happy accidents! A few months ago I responded to a comment online from a delightful lady in England — Claire Buss. She was looking for people who produce podcasts — I didn’t think that what Tom and I offer with WOWI was quite her thing, but it never hurts to try … right? To my surprise Clair sent me a personal message soon after, asking that Tom and I each fill out a written interview for her site PenToPrint.org. We took to our trusty keyboards and — not so long story made even shorter — have been featured this month.

Check out PenToPrint.org and our interview … NOW!

William Boulanger — Private Detective Sci-Fi/Fantasy Author

Often when Tom and I book WOWI guests one of us knows the guest — and Tom knows just about everyone. For this session … it was my turn.

I know sci-fi & fantasy author William Boulanger through the veterans’ community here on Whidbey Island. Being a member of the SAMS (Scottish-American Military Society), a few years ago I got myself paired-up to march with the local VFW Hall in the annual City of Oak Harbor‘s 4th of July parade. They carried U.S. and military branch flags at the beginning of the parade and I play my Highland bagpipes. Apparently I presented myself as a decent guy because later they invited me to a Hall picnic and to play at a bell ringing ceremony. While at the picnic Will and I happened to start chatting — and it was one of those times where you meet someone and you instantly hit it off, talking about all sorts of things like boon companions…

Will and I talked about everything from electronic recording equipment, our veterans’ organizations, to kilts and kiltmaking. Eventually we fell upon the topic of our writing and I was soon able to tell that had to get him on WOWI! Here’s the thing … Will is a hugely bright guy and well humored, I wanted to hear what he had to say and I knew WOWI listeners would be equally interested.

This past weekend Tom and I had the pleasure of e-meeting with William — Tom in his spare bedroom, Will in his fancy guest shed, and I in the cab of my truck … you have to understand, it’s Whidbey Island. When it comes to writing and publishing our guest revealed that he works between traditional and self-publishing, writing short and full-length stories, working chiefly in the genres of sci-fi and fantasy. Will was amusing and engaging — and quickly blew Tom’s and my minds talking about how the traditional-publishing industry is affected by COVID-19 and slowed-down due to a lack of paper supply …. WHOA!

More than that, he has a private detective in a sci-fi setting that you’re going to want to know about… no, really!

William was an outstanding guest. I want to talk with him even more about his writing — with any luck …. we’ll get to have him on the show again.

Writing on Whidbey Island (WOWI) episode 17 – William Boulanger, writer

LINKS

Homepage of William Boulanger

William Boulanger on Instagram and Facebook

Bill Baker’s Dozen Vol. 1: Fresh Baked on GoodReads