Lauren Flake – Laughing Into Her Lapel –  Fantasy novelist and writers group founder

Laugh into your lapel. Laugh into your lapel as if you were covering a cough or a sneeze, but laugh into your lapel because you don’t want to be embarrassed by laughing so hard, or at least she did. Our interview with Lauren Flake was fun; but maybe we were laughing as we tried to keep warm as the room heated up. Lauren was nice enough to meet us at South Whidbey Commons on a chilly Saturday morning to talk about her work developing a fantasy novel, as well as her efforts to start a writers group. Digressions and detours occurred.

Lauren may be at the resurgence of writers groups on the island. This blog/podcast has somehow been seen as a possible source of news about writers groups. Thanks, but that’s probably more from a lack of options rather than from any obvious expertise. Coincidentally, the previous two days also included renewed interest in writers groups, so naturally we took the hint and talked about what could happen, what might already be happening, and some of what has already happened. Without a writers association writers groups lost a repository or at least a directory of various groups. Maybe something could be coordinated with Sno-Isle (or maybe leveraging the Foundation Grants to Individuals (GTI) database) or Whidbey Island Arts Council (and joining WIAC does Not require an invitation.) Maybe all it takes is someone like Lauren. Listen in to hear about her approach using Facebook.

Naturally her main goal is to develop, finish, and publish her fantasy novel; which could also become a series. She talked about world building, inspirations, and progress. Books don’t have to be developed as a solid block of work with no preliminaries. She’s using short stories to explore her world and the characters within it. There are advantages to taking small bites.

Her work in progress is one motivation for finding or, if necessary, creating the right writers group because a writer develops their writing as they write; but that kind of development does not have to be done in isolation.

So where does the laughing into lapels happen? For that you’ll have to listen to the podcast.


Writing on Whidbey Island (WOWI) episode 41 – Lauren Flake – fantasy novelist and writers group founder


Contact:
Lauren Flake on Facebook
Lauren Flake on Instagram
or via laureneflake@yahoo.com

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Katrina Morse – Adult Services Librarian

Say the word ‘money’ and people either have their ears perk up or their eyes glaze over. How about if it is money for your projects? Sno-Isle Libraries’ Freeland Library has become one of the few homes for a database of grants, a source of people and organizations who want to fund people and organizations who have projects and ideas, but who don’t have the money they need. We were lucky enough to talk with Katrina Morse, an Adult Services Librarian who has the task of showing artists, creatives, and advocates how to use the Foundation Grants to Individuals (GTI) database. This is for individual people. Non-profits can benefit, too with the Foundation Directory Online. There are over 10,000 grantmakers on GTI, which is a good thing, but it is also why its best to have a guide like Katrina.

Believe it or not, if you have an idea there just might be someone out there who wants to fund people willing to work on that idea. Research a region? Organize a community? Develop a facility or resource? There’s no guarantee, but there is a possibility. Why say no to an idea until you’ve found out if someone has already said yes, at least to financing it?

Katrina did a great job of teaching Don and I about some aspect of the database tool then listening to us start playing with ideas. Could there be some way to travel to an area that’s going to be in your next book? Someone might care about that region, wherever it is. We’re hearing about writers seeking writers groups. That might be something to organize on more than a volunteer basis. Do we writers need a coworks or a sound studio or a meeting place? That might be handy, and maybe someone wants to encourage the arts in places that aren’t in ‘The Big City’. And maybe not. But maybe.

It is obvious that Katrina can get introduced to lots of passionate people, and funnel them to a source that is otherwise not readily available. This is something that has to be accessed onsite, a bit old-fashioned in that regard; but imagine what this service was like recently, when lots of it was bound and printed and only available by traveling to central locations like Seattle. To get access on Whidbey is a great improvement.

Listen in to what she has to say, and maybe contact her directly about how she can help. Imagine finding funding for organizing classes – or maybe even a writers conference. We won’t know until we ask.

Guidestar, the nonprofit directory: – https://guidestar.candid.org/profile-best-practices/

Candid (the nonprofit that oversees the Foundation Directory) – https://learning.candid.org/training/.

If you need to incorporate:

https://learning.candid.org/resources/knowledge-base/starting-a-nonprofit/
https://learning.candid.org/training/courses/is-starting-a-nonprofit-right-for-you/
https://learning.candid.org/resources/knowledge-base/pros-and-cons/

One example of a writers group: Third Thursdays Online Writer’s Group through Sno-Isle Libraries: – https://sno-isle.bibliocommons.com/v2/events?q=third%20thursdays%20writers


Writing on Whidbey Island (WOWI) episode 40 – Katrina Morse – Adult Services Librarian, South Whidbey


Katrina Morse – Adult Services Librarian, South Whidbey

360.331.7323 x6205

kmorse@sno-isle.org

http://www.sno-isle.org

Getting Ready For Our October 15 Self-Publishing Workshop

Our workshop about self publishing is coming soon. October 15th we’ll be conducting an all-day (9AM-9PM) workshop: From Inspiration To Publication. In one day we’ll discuss topics from writing to editing to formatting to publishing to selling your book. 

The previous time we made the presentation was at the local library (thank you, Sno-Isle Libraries and the Friends of Langley Library); and we covered as much as we could in under a couple of hours. It was a bit of a rush. (#massiveunderstatement) This time we’ll give each topic more time. We’re also hosting it in downtown Coupeville, at the Rec Hall, so the setting is sweet, again. 

But what should you bring?

The good news is that you don’t need to bring much, but you can also bring a lot. Whatever way you prefer to take notes, laptop or paper, bring it. (Sorry, no recordings for privacy concerns.) You may just have an idea or you have a completed manuscript; either way there’s enough to get started with. Don’t be surprised if we ask you to describe your project in three sentences. Aside from that, Coupeville has the rest like plenty of restaurants. Park at the building. Pay that day. (check, cash, PayPal) Take breaks if you need to. 

We’ll have wi-fi and presentations, of course, but we’ll also bring publishing and merchandising examples. The very nature of the presentation means we’ll also have the props and support ideas that we use when we present our books at readings and signings.

Don’t worry about signing up. We appreciate knowing how many people to expect, but this is an island thing. There’s no need to be formal. 

We’ll start at 9AM, but should have the doors open before then. We’ll close at 9PM, but there will be breaks throughout the day. We have a schedule but will be flexible because we’ll try to emphasize what you want to work on.

There’s always more to say, but it may be best to hear your questions directly from you. (Contact)

Looking forward to it!

Wind Jammer Park Oak Harbor Washington

WOWI – 3 Years Running!

Happy Birthday cake three years old
Click the cake to help us blow out the candles …

Wait — WHAT — WOWI is 3 years old?!?  Yeah — that’s right — 3 years ago Tom and I sat down and recorded our first Writing On Whidbey Island episode!  I remember it fondly … a beach in Coupeville … with waves, and seagulls, and jets.  This past Wednesday, Tom and I sat down — this time at a picnic table (we’re moving up!) — meeting for our 3 year anniversary show … with seagulls and near the water of Oak Harbor … with the potential for overhead jets … so, actually, not much has changed.

Oak Harbor’s newly remodeled Windjammer Park served as our backdrop.  Our audience was a flock seagulls, while our special effects were ash and smoke that smelled like charming pipe-tobacco emanating from the southern Washington forest fire.

From Inspiration To Publication Self-publishing workshop writer author book

Tom and I discussed how the show has grown over 3 years, where it’s going, what we each have been up to in writing lately (*See Links Below*), and our upcoming From Inspiration To Publication workshop .  This 1-day workshop will be co-presented in Coupeville WA October 15th 2022 by Tom and myself — See You There!

Tom has two new books recently published!  Check out …

 

Amy Gulick In The Trees

Amy Gulick outdoor nature photographer author Alaska salmon treesNature photographer, author, and presenter Amy Gulick kindly took a recent afternoon for a WOWI interview with Tom and myself.  Having spent time in Alaska studying the ecology and wildlife, she has made sense of the heavy sciencey-stuff and presents it in her books, such-as “Salmon In The Trees”.

Amy was great to meet with, and clearly is one of the most animated guests I can remember in our nearly three years of podcasting.  The passion for her work drove this episode, and was a joy to personally experience. I have no doubt our listeners will be similar thrilled to listen to this WOWI session!

Find out about Amy Gulick and her work everywhere online:

Also find her at AnnenbergPhotoSpace.orgSalmonInTheTrees.orgCrossCut.comTheSalmonWay.orgBiArtMuseum.org, BraidedRiver.orgNanpa.orgGirlsWhoClick.orgSafinaCenter.orgSalmonNation.net, and ExploreGreen.com.

Amy Gulick With Salmon In The Trees

What do you know about the natural cycle of salmon? What do you know about finding funding for storytelling? Amy Gulick is an islander who has stories to tell about salmon and about how she approached her mix of advocacy, community, and funding.

Amy had won enough awards for her photography and writing that the list would probably be longer than this post. She’s a writer, yes. She’s a photographer, obviously. But she identifies as a storyteller who has been telling stories in words and images since she was a child. Children tell stories. It isn’t until we’re adults that we apply labels like writer or photographer.

Her two main books are Salmon in the Trees and The Salmon Way. Not a surprise, she knows a lot about salmon, but has also witnessed how salmon return to their spawning grounds, but also their carcasses return nutrients to the plants and animals along those streams. She’s also witnessed the impact salmon have on communities, families, people.

Storytelling is an art. Storytelling for advocacy is a finer example of it because there are consequences to the story. Advocates advocate, so the telling of a story can hopefully encourage action directly, or at least awareness that can indirectly lead to action.

Her process may be useful, too, because there are many reasons and many topics for advocacy. Got something you want to advocate for? Listen in, and at hear from someone who can tell stories so well that it makes for an engaging interview.

In the words of co-host Don Scoby, learn how to; “Tell Your Own Damn Stories”.


Writing on Whidbey Island (WOWI) episode 38 – Amy Gulick- storyteller in words and images


Links:

Sarah McCarthy-Allen Mixing Fantasy And Physics

Take one genre; there will be enough to talk about. Take a second genre and the same thing is true. Take two genres that are opposing, like fiction and non-fiction, then sometimes keep them separate and sometimes overlap them and the matrix of possibilities becomes multi-dimensional. So goes, or went, our conversation with Sarah McCarthy and Sarah Allen as we talked about her career steering through fiction titles and non-fiction titles, respectively. At least she kept the same first name for both.

Sarah has a degree in physics (impressive), has studied cognitive psychology (which would seem to help with characters), and now tutors physics students. And then on the fictional side of life;

“Fantasy novels are basically goal-oriented extended camping trips and magic is just alternate-reality physics, so this worked out well”

Good luck guessing which is what with titles like, Newton’s Laws: A Fairy Tale (approachable non-fiction) and The Eidolons of Myrefall (fiction for sure.) And in both cases, check out her cover designs.

She not only is working in more than one genre, but also has a tendency to work in, or on, series as a soloist and in collaborations. 

Successful authors frequently are required to make the leap from introvert as a writer to extrovert as a business person. Sarah has managed to not so much leap as stretch from her introverted base to successfully conduct marketing and sales campaigns by using a few online tools very well. Her efficiency may also explain her productivity because a quick count of her titles suggests a publication rate of about one book per year, with hints that she may be able to do more.

And she’s not stopping. There are other series to write, and with each series it sounds like she is tutoring herself in how to become a career author.

Listen in. By the way, this podcast was recorded in a park with kids running around, parents on smartphones, and a gracious groundskeeper who saw our recording rig then steered away until we were done. Whidbey Island, a place where even landscapers support writers and authors.


Writing on Whidbey Island (WOWI) episode 37 – Sarah McCarthy/Allen – author of non-fiction and fiction, tutor of science


Links:

Melanie Bacon From National Lampoon To Sherlock’s Sister

Let’s see, topics included: National Lampoon (with a connection to Garrison Keillor), a dragon, the sister of Sherlock Holmes, a relative of Jack the Ripper, Sarah Susanka, Mary (yes, that one), casino mysteries, and a book temporarily titled Adultery And Other Alternatives To Suicide. One hour wasn’t enough for our interview with Melanie Bacon, but the company offering the free online conference call was heartless and cut us off at an hour. (But, hey, it was free.)

Interviews are easy when the interviewee is a comedian, as well as a story teller. Melanie has also had a fascinating journey in her career and in finding a place on Whidbey. From one of her bios; 

A few of the many trades she worked at but failed to master were cage cashier, employee relations manager, and legal affairs investigator at a large Minnesota Indian gaming casino. She has also been a farmwife, a signmaker, owned a bookstore and second-hand shop, chaired a city planning commission, and was once the international compensation manager for a Fortune 500 corporation.

She has written several novels. Her current series is called The Detectorist. Book 1 is titled Dragon Ripper, which is an intriguing title. Book 2 in the series is done, but not published, yet. Considering her low-key, minimalist, surprisingly successful market approach to the first book (aka not over-working it), she may not need to do much this time, either. Of course, we fellow writers could help spread the word; which is the case for all of us.

The interview lasted an hour, but went by quickly. Laughter helps make that happen.

Listen in and enjoy, and stay tuned for when her next book gets published. There might be a line at the store when that happens.

Oh yeah, and if you can handle flashbacks, check out the links below. One is a hand-built web site from 1999 that we jokingly called, The Last of the HTMLs.


Writing on Whidbey Island (WOWI) episode 36 – Melanie Bacon – author, bookstore owner, graduate of National Lampoon, and more


links

Joe Menth Does More Than Hit Print

Don’t judge a book by its cover, except people do. Joe Menth has helped many of Whidbey’s writers by helping them fix their covers, polish the graphics inside, produce posters and cards and plenty of other marketing materials. Joe’s shop, Feather and Fox which is owned and operated by him and his wife, is in Langley, but if you follow local writers or local artists you’ve probably seen his work.

Writing On Whidbey Island is about the writing community, which previous episodes have shown to be about the support network that wraps around the writers. Librarians, booksellers, editors, publishers, etc. add to the unofficial community that already includes hundreds of writers, poets, and screenwriters. Some writers can do it all, but many of us call for help because we don’t have those skills, or are already so busy that hiring a professional for an hour can save a day’s (or a week’s) effort.

Joe talked with the two of us in a conversation that had to wander around what he does and what he’s asked to do because his skills are so varied. His skills are so varied that sometimes he has to be reminded of them. (Personal note: He’s helped me with at least ten books, so far. Insides, outsides, and marketing besides are demonstrations of more than hitting print.)

Welcome back to a virtual call because, as the pandemic has proved, sometimes the only way to get three busy schedules to align is by having everyone phone it in. Hopefully, you find the episode more engaging than that.


Writing on Whidbey Island (WOWI) episode 35 – Joe Menth of Feather and Fox – fine art printer, graphics expert, creativity enabler


Link: Feather and Fox Print, Co. FeatherAndFoxPrintCo.com

Victoria Ventris Shea and Shagoon!

You know how sometimes you can be completely wrapped up in your own little world, busy having an ‘off day’, when something grabs you and turns everything around?  Some amazing thing pops into your gnarled perspective that makes you do a one-eighty and say, “WOW!”?  Recently, I had one of these turn-around-WOW experiences with Victoria Ventris Shea and her debut book “Shagoon”.

This past Wednesday* Tom and I had the absolute pleasure of meeting with Whidbey author “Vickie” Shea.  She kindly invited us in to here delightful home for our April WOWI recording session. 
(*National Tartan Day)

^ ^ ^ Hey, HOLLYWOOD! ^ ^ ^

Vickie shared with us how the idea for her historical fiction book “Shagoon” came to life.  Taking place during the 18th century, her story travels between Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, and Hawaii.  Its focal point is Ana, a young (Native American) Tlingit girl, who crosses paths with Captain Vancouver aboard the Discovery, a Hawaiian queen and even a Russian leader as she searches for her Tlingit family.  Not only is this a book I’m looking forward to reading soon, it’s also a movie I’d like to see.

After this, Vickie went on to tell us about her next book,Brick, Lime and Moonshine”.  Taking place during Prohibition in The Inland Northwest, “Brick, Lime and Moonshine” looks at life from the ground level – focusing on the rural people of the period as they worked just to continue on.  Of course that’s not all – her book also recalls “…flapper fun, dance halls, drinking houses and serenades on Loon Lake.”

Now … here’s the “WOW”

In talking with Vickie, clearly she is humble about her writing.  Like most of us, she doesn’t like to brag when talking about her literary work.  However, both Tom and I noticed that when she discussed her stories that she holds a unique passion.  When we asked her directly about this, we could see the smile in her eyes! Meeting someone like Vickie can turn around your day, and surely her stories will take you away.  She loves writing, and I have no doubt that I will enjoy making the personal discovery of her work.

Enjoy! ~ Don


Writing on Whidbey Island (WOWI) episode 34 – Victoria Ventris Shea – historical fiction author, teacher


LINKS