Don’s Interview On Tartan Tunes

Writing a book leads to more than the opportunity for books sales. Sales or no sales, a book can introduce an author to other endeavours, and branch out to connect with other projects. Here’s an example of co-host and co-producer Don Scoby being introduced to an international audience where he was able to talk about more than just one thing.

Tartan Tunes is the YouTube channel of Peter and Davie from Scotland. They have a regular feature called Scottish Sessions – Whats New Wednesdays which “includes interviews and musical performances from established and upcoming musicians from all over the world.”  

They found Don because he’s a piper and they were intrigued by at least one of his books that include music, recipes, and history; particularly “The Patriotic Piper“. 

  • 20 traditional Scottish American military and patriotic bagpipe compositions, arranged into 8 performance numbers
  • 15 delicious Scottish and Irish recipes
  • Numerous history and trivia writings accompanying the tunes and recipes
  • Featuring over 40 high quality images of food, SAMS insignia, and Post photos

A book does not have to stand alone. If can be a key contributor to a writer’s, an artist’s works, each supporting and amplifying the others. Their interview gave him the opportunity to talk about performing, baking, scuba work. It was an opportunity to show how an author everything can integrate (except maybe the scuba) and be introduced to an international audience.

Watch or listen in to the full video (~48:30 minutes), or use this link to skip ahead to where Don is introduced. Or, go to Don’s blog.

Many writers and authors are creative in many ways. Treating them as a whole also means an author may sell something else like music, or their music may help sell books. Whether they help a diver get underwater gigs, well, ask Don about that.

Our Libraries Our Librarians – An Interview With Betsy Arand

Finally, back to talking to people in person! Betsy Arand, the Managing Librarian at the Freeland Library, was nice enough to be our first interviewee as the restrictions are relaxed. It was a treat for the three of us to sit around for that hour or so – 3-D! While it is easy to make fun of something that seems so simple now, it was proof that there’s more to life than a 2-D screen. Body language conveys things that can’t be part of a podcast, but it changes the conversation. We humans respond differently when we see someone else’s response. 

We mostly talked about life as a librarian, particularly during a crisis. As Betsy said (paraphrased); “Managing a library during a pandemic was not part of the library school curriculum.” Adaptability on display, by necessity.

The good news is that almost all of the library services are available again, though with adjustments in the interim. About the only thing not available are the public presentations in the various Sno-Isle Library System meeting rooms, like the well-equipped one at Betsy’s library in Freeland. 

That’s where we met. Our live and in-person interviews are conducted in ways so the background ambiance is included. Don’t be surprised if it’s quieter than usual this time. Though there was that one visitor who picked the wrong door as an entrance; but that’s understandable.

Our conversation lasted about an hour, which is too little time to hear the stories and insights she’s accumulated from decades of service. Listen in and enjoy. And, if you have any questions, well, there’s a librarian for that.

Betsy Arand, Managing Librarian at Sno-Isle Libraries (Freeland)

Writing on Whidbey Island (WOWI) episode 25 – Betsy Arand, librarian


Attached is the information for authors and the top circulating titles (provided by Betsy Arand):

Sno-Isle Resources for Authors

  • Inter-Library Loan (ILL)
    • This service was suspended during the pandemic and will start again on August 2
    • Use to request books published more than a year ago 
    • Also used to request periodical articles not available in a library database 
    • New ILL system should reduce wait times to 2-4 weeks (previous requests took up to 8 weeks)
    • A new feature: customers can create an account to receive regular notifications about the progress of their ILL request
  • Local Author collection in Sno-Isle Libraries
    • Local authors can have their books added to the Sno-Isle Libraries catalog
    • Eligibility requirements
      • An author needs to live in Island or Snohomish County <or>
      • Have ties to area that are evident in their book
    • Local authors donate one or two copies at a community library in the Sno-Isle Libraries system
    • Final decision whether an author’s work is appropriate for the Local Author collection is made by librarians in the Collection Services department
    • If an author’s book is available in eBook format in Kobo or Smashbooks, Sno-Isle Libraries is able to purchase it through our eBook vendor
  • Databases
    • Use library databases for research
    • Available under the Online Resources tab at top of library’s website
    • Databases are searchable by Age, Format or Subject
      • Some of the Subject categories: Current Events, History & Culture, Science
      • Examples of use:
        • Use the Chicago Tribune Historical database to research the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 for a novel set in that time period or location
        • Use the Birds of the World database from Cornell University to do research for a novel that includes birdwatching

Top Circulating Books and DVDs at the Freeland Library

  • What books are Freeland library customers checking out? These are the top three fiction and non-fiction books checked out during the same time period before the pandemic closure, when the library was providing contact-free holds pickup only, and after the main library building was fully re-opened.
    • Top June 2019 Fiction – before pandemic closure
      • Overstory by Richard Powers 
      • Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens 
      • The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides 
    • Top June 2019 Non-Fiction – before pandemic closure
      • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot 
      • Unforgettable Canada by George Fischer 
      • Furious Hours: murder, fraud, and the last trial of Harper Lee by Cep Casey
  •  Top June 2020 Fiction – contact-free holds pickup
    • Olive, again by Elizabeth Strout 
    • Redhead by the Side of the Road by Anne Tyler 
    • The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel 
  • Top June 2020 Non-Fiction – contact-free holds pickup
    • A Pilgrimage to Eternity by Timothy Egan 
    • Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla Saad 
    • Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Kimmerer 
  • Top June 2021 Fiction – main library building re-opened
    • The Law of Innocence by Michael Connelly 
    • The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett 
    • All the Devils Are Here by Louise Penny 
  • Top June 2021 Non-Fiction – main library building re-opened
    • Facing the Mountain: a True Story of Japanese American Heroes in World War II by Daniel James Brown 
    • Caste: the Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson 
    • Nomadland: Surviving American in the Twenty-first Century by Jessica Bruder 
  • What DVDs are popular with Freeland customers? These are the top five DVDs that checked out most often before the library closed due to the pandemic, when the library was providing contact-free holds pickup only, and after the main library building was fully re-opened.
    • Top June 2019 (before pandemic closure)
      • Bohemian Rhapsody 
      • Ocean’s Eight 
      • Tiny: a Story about Living Small 
      • Humor Me 
      • Take Shelter 
    • June 2020 (contact-free holds pickup)
      • Little Women 
      • A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood 
      • Star Wars IX, the Rise of Skywalker 
      • Knives Out 
      • Jumanji: the Next Level
    • 2021 (main library building re-opened)
      • Minari 
      • Mulan 
      • News of the World 
      • The Father 
      • Coda 

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


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

A Dark Angel – An Interview With Richard Pelletier

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.

Writing on Whidbey Island (WOWI) episode 16 – Richard Pelletier, writer

Richard is a contributor to several noteworthy books:

  • Established: Lessons from the world’s oldest companies
  • Dark Angels on writing: Changing lives with words
  • Armistice 100 days

His works can also be found at: