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.

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

Modern Writing in QuarantineLife

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!

Recording today was kind of like this …

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…

Keep your eyes and your ears here! ~ Don

…and here it is!

Writing on Whidbey Island (WOWI) episode 13 – Don and Tom Quarantine Interview

Meg and Kingfisher Bookstore Interview

fe95992103b1deb6bf2974ddfc39f165GOODNESS — Tom and I have been BUSY hombres!  Late January we interviewed PJ Beaven about her about EarthFit books — early February we met with David Gregor of Gregor Rare Books — and Tuesday this week we met with Meg Olsen, owner of Kingfisher Bookstore in Coupeville, Washington.  Looking back at the calendar, we’ve recorded three sessions in 30 days!

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.)

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What you see here is someone’s attempt at illustrating where all of Meg’s energy comes from…

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!

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Kingfisher that was … and will be AGAIN!

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!

Look for Meg and Kingfisher online at …

And in real-life at 16 Front St. in Coupeville, Washington.

Kingfisher black and white
Kingfisher Bookshop ….. before the renovations.

Writing on Whidbey Island (WOWI) episode 11 – Meg Olsen, Kingfisher Bookstore

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

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.