Writing on Whidbey Island (WOWI) episode 8 – Dan Pedersen, Final Impulse

Do you know Dan Pedersen from his Saturday morning blog, his extensive library of recently written books, or as the guy who goes for walks with Duncan (his dog who is also the cover model for one of the books)? Dan was nice enough to invite us to his house for his interview. Duncan was there, too. You can hear his toenails clicking around the room at the start – before he wondered off to some favorite spot to sleep until we were done.

Dan is the author of several books, and their arc is a study in the progression of a career from professional journalist, to blogger, to writer-for-hire of a non-fiction nature book, to traditional self-publishing in non-fiction, and now to modern self-publishing a somewhat accidental mystery series based on Whidbey Island. His list of productions is enough to cover a table, and represents several perspectives on how, why, and what to write. He also discusses what not to write, which can counter the conventional wisdom of everything being material.

It isn’t always about the money. Blogging is gratifying. Novel writing is fun and an escape. Yet, the mechanics and economics matter there, too, because time is precious and irreplaceable. He describes how he writes, how he advertises, and how he sells – with a bit of a commentary on dealing with publishers, printers, and whatever Amazon has become. Self-publishing provides control, which also requires working every aspect from cover design, page numbering, and how to store a few thousand copies – or paying nothing and only buying what is immediately needed.

Listen in as a gracious man displays a sense of humor as we tried to capture as much of his insights as we could in less than an hour.

Writing on Whidbey Island (WOWI) episode 8 – Dan Pedersen, Final Impulse

Writing On Whidbey Island (WOWI) episode 6 – Maribeth Crandell, Hiking Close to Home

Listen to songbirds, turkeys, a few cars, and a babbling stream as the background to our interview with Maribeth Crandell, author of Hiking Close to Home, a hiking guide for dozens of trails on Whidbey Island. Our setting was the Outdoor Classroom in the Maxwelton Valley, a facility provided by the Whidbey Watershed Stewards, as well as one of the trails mentioned in her book.

Maribeth’s hiking and writing history includes Flip Flop, her story of traveling the Appalachian Trail. Such epic hikes are engaging, but she also recognized the benefit of hiking closer to home, especially when the mountains are inhospitable. She noticed the simple fact that no one had written a book that covered dozens of trails on Whidbey Island, including the ones that accommodate (or at least attempt to accommodate) wheelchairs and such. Over 120 pages and six months later, she and Jack Hartt completed the book, ordered up a few hundred copies, began the rounds of presentations and signings, and now have to order more books.

As with most authors, she also has a day job, working for Island Transit, a free bus service that deserves a book, too. Rather than separate the hiking and the day job, she’s found ways to incorporate the two, including bus-related hikes, and conducting bus tours to various trails. Her experience is a good one for writers and authors to witness how book projects can be inspired, and can inspire other projects. Just don’t be surprised if we’re distracted by sounds from the woods, or digressions about whales and squirrels. Bring your binoculars – to the hikes, not the podcast.

Writing On Whidbey Island (WOWI) episode 6 – Maribeth Crandell, Hiking Close to Home

Writing On Whidbey Island (WOWI) episode 5 – Allan Ament, Learning to Float

Ament, like in Dam(n) It. Allan Ament (attorney, writer, and person instrumental in the official – though no longer existing – writers association and language arts institute) was kind enough to spend some time talking about writing his book, Learning to Float – Memoir of a Caregiver-Husband. Another key talent, a sense of humor.

As Allan mentions, life is a writing prompt. Even if you don’t intend to write a book, life can put a person through an experience that others ask to hear or read. His story is based on caring for his wife, Deloris Ament, who is also a writer and editor with her own book, Iridescent Light – The Emergence of Northwest Art. Caregiver is a job frequently engaged by necessity as much as choice, which is where Allan found himself. Requests from friends about medical progress turned into an email list, which turned into a blog, which turned into a book. The path to publication does not always follow a plan.

He gives credit to the various writing groups on the island (a place that is “amazingly supportive of creativity.”), and notes their differences in style; the role of the various types of editors, something he’s familiar with because Deloris is one of the best; and how attempts at perfection can intrude on creativity. As he advised one of his perfectionist students, “Get a life.” Considering the topic of his book, and the life he’s led, that’s far more pragmatic than academic.

Writing On Whidbey Island (WOWI) episode 5 – Allan Ament, Learning to Float

Writing On Whidbey Island (WOWI) episode 4 – Susan Jensen, Cold Snap

Say hello to Susan Jensen, author of three books (Cold Snap, Island Solstice, My Dad Smells Funny), artist, AirBnB Superhost, and the star of the viral #DankSusan meme. We met in her home, the site of her AirBnB studio apartment (The Oar House, and yes, she knows what that can sound like because she has a sense of humor.)

Hear about her debates with editors and agents about issue books, including a quick vocabulary expanding opportunity with the phrase “roman à clef.” Her experiences with writers groups becomes a quick survey of which ones work and which ones don’t work, at least for her. To join, or not to join – the choice is always personal. Especially for the topics her books cover, it’s important to find writers who can critique with compassion.

With decades of experience marketing the works of others, and a teacher’s perspective for developing talent, she provides insight and support to writers – and also self-critiques her marketing. Whether about writing or not, she’s engaging in a broad range of conversations. Now, about those pet portraits

Writing On Whidbey Island (WOWI) episode 4 – Susan Jensen, Cold Snap

Writing On Whidbey Island (WOWI) episode 2 – Self-Publishing and E-books

Now that the introductions are done (see episode 1), time to get into some details. Co-host Don Scoby recently self-published his inaugural cookbook, “Make Your Own Darn Good Cookies”. That’s a story and worth a celebration as authors know; but his experience was particularly educational because it happened as CreateSpace and Kindle became one. Yet again, the self-publishing industry changes.

Thanks to Don’s experience as a musician and an entrepreneurial baker he understands the practical aspects of production, presentation, sales, and basically running a business based on a creative product. The transition from writer to author is also the transition from introvert to extrovert, which he describes and balances well. Within the publishing world, he also describes why and how not to rely solely on Amazon, and the value of making personal contacts. “You’re an artist” also becomes “You’re a small business.” (And remember to keep that day job.)

Amidst the rest, we also talked about coffee rings, jets again, writers groups gathering around intersections, and if you closely you’ll hear sea gulls making dinner by dropping clams onto rocks. It’s Whidbey!

Writing On Whidbey Island (WOWI) episode 2 – Self-Publishing and E-books

WOWI episode 1 – Hello and Welcome!

Clack two rocks together. We didn’t have one of those boards they use for movies, but so it begins, and began. Welcome and hello to the first podcast episode of WritingOnWhidbeyIsland (WOWI), a show put together by Don Scoby and Tom Trimbath (me). 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, and group that includes hundreds of writers, editors, producers, publishers, librarians, and bookstore owners. The how is keeping it simple. Thanks to Don’s equipment and skills we intend to record from a variety of locations up and down the island including the background ambiance (which in this case includes seagulls and F-18s.) Each episode will focus on one writer or aspect of writing, and don’t be surprised if the creative process leads somewhere else. The first two episodes are the two of us, so you know who’s doing the talking. Why is easy; we like the community and the island and think it all deserves yet another avenue and venue for continuing and advancing the conversation. Where is wherever we can, which for this episode was sitting on the low-tide rocky beach of Penn Cove and Coupeville. What inspired us was much of the above, but also some talks, classes, and presentations we’re conducted about modern self-publishing: print-on-demand and ebooks. (Click on the link to the captured livestream of one of the events – Self-Publishing from Inspiration to Publication.)

If you want to learn more about us, check out this blog’s About page.

Listen in if you want to hear more about writing, the process, the failures that aren’t failures, the balancing of extrovert and introvert, and some of our background stories. Besides, listening in leads to hearing about robot unicorns, I-beams on kayaks, and an ambiance punctuated by a low-flying F-18.

(WOWI) episode 1 – Hello and Welcome!

 

Don on pipes. Tom listening and waiting to begin the presentation.

Coming Soon … Whidbey Island Writing Podcast? – !

From Whidbey Island Baking Company‘s June 20, 2019 blog;

You will of course remember my friend, Tom Trimbath — the gent who helped coach me through getting my first recipe book published on Amazon. Tom is a great guy and we have continued to talk about various creative ideas to produce together. One of these is a collaborative writing project, another is to present a series of self-publishing workshops, and we’ve talked about starting a podcast!

A podcast — that’s neat! What’s the plan, Don?

Our plan so far is to keep things fairly open — we want to talk about all-things-writing as it relates to Whidbey Island. Self-publishing, marketing, writing groups on Whidbey, local authors, visiting authors, you name it. I have portable recording gear, so one of our ideas too is to produce our podcast recordings at different locations on Whidbey including local business who would be interested in hosting us and in turn receive a plug on our show.

COOL!  When can I tune-in?

Last month Tom and I set a goal — to record 1-2 podcast episodes by the end of June. As summer has switched on, this has been a bit of a juggle — and if you look at the calendar … yeah … time is drawing near. We are currently working to schedule our first recording tomorrow morning OR during next week. With launching our show we also have the recordings from the how-to self-publish workshops we have presented — so we should have a decent collection to start with out of the gate.

Stay Tuned!
~ Don