What’s a Dark Angel? Ask Richard. Despite nearly an hour of conversations about what it is like to be a paid writer, a writer paid well enough to pay the bills (hey, it happens!), we forgot to ask about the origin of the name. Richard Pelletier teaches at and helps produce an international series of writing workshops under the name, Dark Angels. He also writes regularly for corporate clients, is an excellent photographer, and is working on a novel. For Richard, writing is major part of his life.
There are overlaps in his activities. Dark Angels helps writers reveal story concisely and clearly, exceeding the standards of most businesses. Helping a business stand out from “most businesses” is valuable. (Creative Writing for Business) Fortunately, some businesses recognize the reality and hire writers like Richard. It is also why Dark Angels is active and traveling (maybe not as much this year. ) There’s a need and they go meet it, wherever it is. (And somehow those events tend to be in locations like Scotland, London, Spain, Seattle, etc. Hmm. Tempting.)
He’s also working on a novel, something that can be hard to prioritize when doing so much intense writing for others.
Writing can be a career, not just a hobby. It can be an art form. Listen as Richard talks about how he approaches writing, art, business, and a bit of balance.
Say Yay! for our local libraries and the librarians who make them much more than buildings with books. Whidbey Island is fortunate enough to have five branches of the Sno-Isle Library system: Oak Harbor, Coupeville, Freeland, Langley, and Clinton. Some day we may manage to interview someone from each, and we started with Langley Library’s Vicky Welfare.
As most writers know, librarians do more than sort books on shelves. That’s been especially apparent during the current crisis because they’ve managed to keep the system operating. An impressive accomplishment. Their current restrictions have ironically highlighted some of the things they’ve always done that don’t require visiting the buildings, like research. With a bit of creativity and adaptation, they’ve also found ways for people to access books, movies, educational content, and generally helping people however they can. (They’ve even left the wi-fi on, which is how we’ve managed to record and upload some of these podcasts. The right parking space helps. Just remember to turn off your headlights if you’re there for a while – inside joke.)
Vicky shared a bit of her story, including a good idea for a bit of musical history; something for us to look forward to. We also talked about what the library can do for writers before, during, and after the writing of a manuscript, then a book, then a product. Click on the links below. Listen in. And, if you have questions and want answers, ask a librarian; that’s something they excel at.
(By the way, Vicky was kind enough to host one of our, Don and Tom presentations about Modern Self-Publishing. This video gives a glimpse of the presentation space we talk about in the podcast.)
Writers don’t have to have grey hair. Some start young, like John Del Prete’s class that recently published “Invisible Pollution”, a book and presentation about ocean acidification and how it is affecting life in and around the Salish Sea. That’s an impressive start to any writer’s career. This was a significant project, partly funded by NOAA and in partnership with Oak Harbor as well as Port Townsend schools.
Their work was divided among the entire class:, illustrations, writing, and the necessary research to back up their observations about the sources of ocean acidification, the consequences like weakened shells for shellfish and the impacts of the rest of the food chain – a food chain that we are a part of.
It will be interesting watching these students as they progress, seeing what this work inspires in their lives. For now, listen to the podcast to hear six young voices, their teacher and mentor, and of course interruptions by Don and Tom. You might eventually be able to say, “I knew about them back when they were young and just getting started.”
(By the way, keep in mind that these podcasts are live, so don’t be surprised if there’s a factual error or two. Everyone involved is human. Imperfections are part of the reality.)
This past Monday I rigged-up my gear and met Tom in a video chat — our intention being to record a 1-off WOWI episode — both to see how using this medium might work and to discuss how how being in quarantine affects writers. Frankly, going into this … I didn’t expect much — and yet, what came out of it was an intriguing show running over an hour long!
“How do the adjustments we are making and disruptions we are dealing with make for opportunities, affect work and art later on, what is yet to come for the world of the day-job worker?”
On Wednesday I e-met with Tom again with two purposes in mind. One was to test an improved set-up with my gear — which produced technological success. The other was to further discuss continuing the show from QuarantineVille. Our aim at this point is to try and host 1 to 2 guests each month over video chat — and we each have a few authors in mind to ask.
If you are Whidbey Island writer/author, editor, bookstore owner, graphic artist or illustrator, marketing guru — or whatever as long as your work is part of the publishing industry — and you think you’d be a fit for a WOWI episode … PLEASE CONTACT US!
It seems like it was only yesterday that I posted WOWI vs COVID-19. In it I wrote that Tom and I were pausing to figure out how-maybe to record another episode in the days of physical and social distancing …. and then today we recorded Episode 13!
How did we do it?
Easy! … We agreed on a time and started a Google Hangout session while I ran my Zoom H2n in my office. Yes, this was our first virtual WOWI session!
We each relaxed, sitting in the comfort of our own homes, talking one-on-one about writing right now from QuarantineVille. Many of us are home and have the opportunity to work on our books — and for some of us (introverts), this is pretty normal. How do the adjustments we are making and disruptions we are dealing with make for opportunities, affect work and art later on, what is yet to come for the world of the day-job worker? All I can say is to listen to this episode, hopefully it will be as thought provoking and topical for you as it was for us.
After the session Tom and I threw some ideas around online — what these amount to…
We are going to look into how we might hold a ‘From Inspiration To Publication‘ how to self-publishing workshop — we’ve been wanting to present another, it looks like we might do this online & soon! This may be a single episode or a short series. We’ll update you online as this develops.
We should be recording our next session … soon after we hear back from our next guest.
All and all, I think today’s session worked out well — the method could use a little refinement, which will come over time, however this online-meet could lead to more episodes…
Hello — Don here, messaging you from QuarantineVille! Yes, we are weeks … months(?) … into this Cornonavirus thing. All of us are seeing some changes in our lives from this crazy deal. For Tom and myself one of those is we’ve had to put the brakes on WOWI for the time being. I’m here to tell you — we may be down for the moment, but we’re not out!
Tom and I are each juggling our personal lives with the adjustments; for the time being our schedules, and ‘social distancing’, have precluded us from recording the next WOWI episode. We have done some brainstorming about how we might hold an interview under the current conditions ….
One idea has been to arrange a meeting time and location with an author … each person walking into the location from separate directions (kinda like that Clint Eastwood spaghetti western …. no, the other one), do the interview while keeping our distances, and then safely back out. Dramatic and amusing!
Or, more simply a video-meeting or 3-way phone call.
None of it seems worth the bother right now, and for Tom and myself our priorities have us drawn (if not also quartered) elsewhere.
Our intention is to hold the next WOWI interview when folks can safely shake hands again, without threat of the viral-apocalypse or residential-gulag or whatever. So please enjoy our current collection of episodes, and keep an eye here for updates.
Recently I announced that Tom and I were set to meet with award-winning local poet and 3-time published author, Daniel Edward Moore, for our next WOWI session. What neither of us knew then was that we were about to meet a fascinating gentleman who proved to be — frankly — a POWERHOUSE!
Daniel met us today at a delightful new shop in downtown Oak Harbor — Whidbey Made — which features a splendid array of local-only artisan goods and keepsakes. If you haven’t dropped by yet, I’m tellin’ ya, GO NOW! In the back of the Whidbey Made mercantile is a cozy space available to rent for small meetings and workshops. It proved to be perfect for WOWI — I think partly due to proprietors, Catherine & Brian, seeing their shop in-part as highlighting all the local talent. But I wonderfully digress . . . . (Please follow @WhidbeyMade on Twitter)
Daniel shared his story of how he made his personal discovery of poetry — picking up a well-loved Sylvia Plath copy at a garage sale — and beginning to write. His insights and experiences with developing his craft and submitting to national journals had Tom and myself chomping at the opportunity to ask more questions. Easily this was a conversation that could have gone into ‘the wee hours’ — but, alas, Whidbey Made did need to close up!
As said — Daniel was a powerhouse in conversation. His passion about expression through the written word is clearly merely unabashed on a slow day — and you’ll hear this in the recording session. He is also no-holds-barred when it comes to the poetry community on Whidbey Island. For three years he and his wife, Laura, have managed the Oak Harbor Poetry Project, a group that both features established poets, supports upcoming poets with writing workshops, and holds an open mic. Saturday (14Mar2020) Daniel will be giving a poetry reading from 7 to 830PM at Unity of Whidbey (free admission, refreshments and book signing at intermission). With a “Writing Poetry Inside Out Workshop” at the Freeland Library 29Apr2020 from 2 to 4PM . . . . Daniel is one to watch. (Take a look at the Readings & Events page on his website — note that he’s already booked out into next year!)
Once our session concluded, Daniel kindly pulled out copies of his book “BOYS” (Nov2019), inscribed and signed them, and gave copies to Tom and myself. He also gave a copy to Catherine, who apparently observed most of our recording from the doorway to the workshop room — our first WOWI audience member!
I have no doubt that you too will be impressed with Daniel Edward Moore and our latest WOWI podcast!
Over the last number of decades, Daniel is an award-winning poet whose works have appeared in some of the country’s most prestigious literary journals. Additionally he is the author of “Confessions of a Pentecostal Buddhist“, “BOYS“, and his latest book “Waxing the Dents” published only weeks ago (01Feb2020).
Together with his wife, Laura, they manage the Oak Harbor Poetry Project, which began its third year January this year. It’s held at the Oak Harbor Library where they also have featured poets and — as Daniel told me — “a wonderful open mic tribe!!”
On a personal note… I’m excited about Tom’s and my meeting with Daniel! Poetry is where I found my voice as a writer — these have mostly been decades of private scribbles, I’ve not pursued public presentation with this work — so I look forward to hearing the writing experiences of a published poet. A few years ago a poetry/author friend of mine, Von, put forth a question to me — asking about how poetry exists now having gone from the printed page to e-books. Daniel’s books are also available as e-books …. so let’s find out his take on this!
Tom and I have had a few dates lined up before with Meg for this interview. Unfortunately those went through a series of reschedules because She’s A BUSY Lady! So we were pleased to finally get a date nailed down with Meg earlier this week. Since Kingfisher is closed until 28Feb2020 for renovations* the three of us were able to sit down and talk. Meg shared with us how she engages Whidbey Island authors, being a bookseller in the modern market, the books she enjoys, her experiences taking ownership of the Kingfisher Bookstore, and the new layout for her shop. (*You can hear some of the work going on in the background of the podcast … along with the creaking rocking chair Meg sat in for the session.)
I’ve known Meg for the past year — since getting my debut book “Make Your Own Darn Good Cookies“ placed in Kingfisher. During our interview I got to comment on my first impression of her, and I’ve been absolutely pleased not only that she carries Whidbey Island authors’ books but how she relates to our books and us individuals. My impression from day-one is that Meg is enthusiastic about books and high-energy — through our interview I’m updating that to being passionate about books and a DYNAMO!
Meg spoke about the history of Kingfisher along with her plans for the future — and if you’re a Whidbey Island author, I’m telling you now … you need to get ready! Ready to meet your readers, ready to do readings, ready for EVERYTHING! Kingfisher will be getting stairs into the basement and when it reopens around February 28th the floor space will be expanded — used books in the basement, new books on the ground floor …. and with that much more space for new books, We Are Going To Need To Write MORE BOOKS!
This is another one of those interviews where I think Tom and I could have sat with our guest and talked all day — so this session ran around 50 minutes (Good Stuff!). Reality is that we’re all busy folks, so Tom and I got out of Meg’s hair / way / renovations. I’m excited not only to see the new shop space in another week, I’m also EXCITED to see everything that’s to come in Meg’s future with Kingfisher Bookshop!
Enjoy! ~ Don
UPDATE 27Feb2020 — I stopped in at Kingfisher yesterday, a lot of nice work has gone on there. I was told that there is a good bit of work yet to go, and they are predicting being back in service in time for Musselsfest March 7th/8th. It’s going to be exciting to see the grand re-opening!
Today Tom and I trekked out into some wild western Washington winter weather to interview David Gregor — musician, author, and proprietor of Gregor Rare Books — and what a day it was!
A little backstory here… Shortly after Tom and I recorded and posted the first few WOWI episodes, Tom forwarded an e-mail he had received from the owner of Gregor Rare Books. These were introduced with how Tom knows David, and that he has a cozy and unique shop located in Langley on First Street. This baffled me — I used to live at the south end of the island and would typically romp through Langley twice a week — and yet I had no idea where this “Gregor bookshop” was! I looked it up on GoogleMaps and sure-enough there it was!
I believe unbeknownst to David, his e-mails couldn’t have reached Tom and myself any better. In short, he said that he liked what we had started doing with the show and if there was anything he could do to help support it to let him know. Well THANKS — that’s a fast way to get on our radar! Why — we appreciate that sort of reception and because most of the year Tom and I need to find indoor places to record our shows. Anyway, a few more e-mails went back & forth and I easily formed the opinion that this Gregor was a nice guy!
Entering David’s shop you see shelves, books, display cases, a guitar and amp — normal bookstore stuff, right? Until you look closer at his offerings…. Major books, major authors, valuable copies, signed copies, books that David has expertly assessed for their condition. Yeah, when you realize that you’re looking at a Hemingway tome worth more than your checking account, you take notice! These are the books that David has a passion to bring to his customers.
Tom and I got to spend the better part of an hour with David today. To say that he is a pleasant and fascinating gentleman would be putting it lightly. He is an accomplished blues musician and composer. He has five book titles to his own name. He is the owner of a bookshop that caters to customers with particular tastes, whom he connects with rare books both in his store and online. David talked with us about travel, music, his writing, his writing process, the Whidbey writing community, the books he deals in, the customers he meets — I wanted this WOWI session to never end!
But alas, all good things must come to a close, and now you too may enjoy this interview with David Gregor — along with visiting his shop “Gregor Rare Books”, located at 220 1st Street in Langley, WA.
I took one of the Island Transit buses today — far more efficient than my truck and requires hardly more time. Upon reaching the bus stop to make my way one, one of the other riders asked if I had been taking some photos today. “Uhh, huh?!?” He pointed at my mic stand. I clarified that I’d been recording a podcast and that it was a mic stand — then joked that it shoots SM-58 microphones.