WordFest looks at Self-Publishing

With over 180,000 books published each year and fewer and fewer publishing houses,  writers are increasingly turning to self-publishing as a way of sharing their stories, poetry, memoirs and plays.

At the next WordFest gathering on Tuesday, January 6, several authors who have chosen to publish their books will read from their works and discuss the experience of self-publishing, its challenges and its rewards.

 Jolan Durrah from Cathlamet wrote and published Adventure in Borneo: The True Story of One Man’s Quest to Find the Bornean Peacock Pheasant. It relates the adventures and misadventures of a friend who pursued his passion for exotic pheasants, taking him to the jungles of Borneo, where he knew neither the language nor customs.

Fran Gillette of Yacolt has been publishing her books on home arts and cooking for over twenty years, and estimates that she has sold more than 80,000 copies. Her books are in bookstores and special shops across the country.

 Also, Kelsey Ford, a 20-year old graduate of Mark Morris High School who is attending Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York, will talk about her internship at a new literary magazine called, A Public Space. The magazine was started in 2006, by Brigid Hughes, former associate editor of The Paris Review, and has published shorter works of some of today’s leading literary voices, including Haruki Murakami (Kafka on the Shore), Marilynne Robinson (Gilead), and Nam Le (The Boat.) Kelsey will talk about her experience interning with the literary magazine and read from its most recent issue.

Elizabeth Evans returns to WordFest to share her poetry which has displayed a wit and whimsy that has been very entertaining.

Following the presentations, there will be an open mic session.

 The Brits owner Alice Dietz will offer a select menu for people who wish to enjoy a light supper.

The Brits opens at 5:30 p.m.

December WordFest: Getting into the Spirit

Bev Ruhland

Trained as a botanist, Bev had primarily written technical papers before she launched into fiction. “For a lark I participated in National Novel Writing Month after reading about it in The Daily News. Once I started, I couldn’t quit.” She has twice before accepted the challenge of writing a complete novel within one month, and is currently rushing to finish her third novel. She will read from it and talk about the high-pressure experience of writing under that kind of a deadline.

Tedine Roos

Last year, Tedine delighted the WordFest gathering with her essay on some unconventional means of keeping a woodchuck out of her garden. A retired librarian, she displays her wry and gentle humor again in “Wall Marks,” which she describes as “a Christmas letter to a couple of old friends who never put hooks or nails in their walls, and includes my history of various wall defacements.”

Charolette Conklin

Charolette is another writer who uses humor subtly and very effectively. She will be reading her short story, “Roots of the Heart,” which won third place in a contest sponsored by the literary magazine, Rambunctious Review. The story is written entirely as an interior monologue, mixing humor with poignant memories and everyday observations.

Lorraine Merrin

Rounding out the evening will be poetry read by Lorraine Merrin. Lorraine’s poems have been published in The Salal Review, Quercus Review, Tar Wolf, and will be appearing in The Great American Poetry Show.

The Brits Tea Shoppe opens at 5:30 pm and offers a select menu for people who wish to enjoy a light supper during the readings.

November WordFest: Literary Merits of a Cookbook

(Note: Due to the presidential election, the November WordFest has been moved to the following evening, Wednesday, November 5th.)

Suzanne Martinson, former features editor for The Daily News, will be reading from and talking about her book–The Fallingwater Cookbook. This is not your mother’s Betty Crocker cookbook. It is the story of one of the most famous private homes in America, Fallingwater, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright over a waterfall, and the families who lived in it, and the woman who cooked for them. Oh, yes, there are also recipes included. Suzanne has won numerous food journalism awards. Copies will be available for purchase.

Note: See the interview with Suzanne and Daily News features editor Cathy Zimmerman on the Book Chat page on this website.

Dan Roberts will read his short story, “The Wedding,” about a divorced physician who falls in love at a medical meeting, but ghosts from the past lead to a surprising turn of events. Dan is a local physician and has written nonfiction throughout his career. He began writing fiction in 2001. He and his wife moved from Medford, Oregon to Kalama three years ago to be closer to their children and granchildren.

Bev Ruhland will be reading from her novel in progress that she is writing for National Novel Writing Month, where writers accept the challenge to write a novel in 30 days. She has completed two novels in this national event. Trained as a botanist and now working in a small environmental consulting firm, Bev says the experience got her started writing. “Once I got started, I couldn’t quit, and now get ‘possessed’ by an idea sometimes at 3:00 in the morning or driving down the freeway, and have to ‘exorcize’ myself at the computer.”

Rita Fontaine, an English instructor at LCC for over 30 years, writes poetry, nonfiction articles, and some fiction. She will be reading “The Million Dollar Rock,” published in a boating magazine in 2007, about an accident on a sailboat.

Lyle Sentman will be reading another passage from his autobiography, entitled The Quest. Lyle flew different commands in the air force, including SAC and the Air Defense Command.

An open mic period will follow the presenters, and The Brits will offer a select menu for a light supper. People who wish to eat are asked to order and pay for their food when they first arrive (The Brits opens at 5:30 pm).

October WordFest celebrates spooky words

(NOTE: Due to the presidential debates, WordFest has been postponed one week to Tuesday, October 14th.)

Getting into the spirit of the season, our next WordFest gathering will celebrate “spooky words”–providing what Edith Wharton called “the fun of the shudder.”

Local storyteller Leslie Slape will offer two short tales, one is fiction, “The Haunted Hatchery,” and one is nonfiction(?), “The Haunted Motorcycle.”

Mary Lyons departs from her usual adult memoir format to read a short story for children, “‘Not too scary, Mary!'”–about family and fears during a time of ghosts, goblins and war.

Richard Yates will read several poems from a sequence he wrote entitled, “Different Ways the World Ends,” based on apocalyptic dreams he’s had. Richard is a student in the MFA (Master of Fine Arts) Program at Portland State University. He was one of the presenters at the Raymond Carver Writing Festival in May, has been the poetry editor for the Salmon Creek Journal, and is an independent “zine” publisher.

Linda Eddleston will read a short story she wrote for a Hallowe’en party, entitled “The Haunted House,” complete with sound effects (woooooo!)

Humorist Jane Still reads a very short poem about something spooky, “Oh, What a Sight!”

Alan Rose, organizer of the monthly WordFest series and the host of the new KLTV program, “Book Chat,” will read a scene from his paranormal mystery, The Legacy of Emily Hargraves.

Following the presenters, there will be the Open Mic time, and people are encouraged to read from works that fit the spooky theme for the evening.

The Brits Tea Shoppe will open at 5:30 p.m. and people can order a light supper prior to the program. Owner Alice Dietz offers a special menu for the evening:

Turkey Pesto Sandwich    $7.50

Veggie Sandwich   $7.00

Chicken Caesar Wraps   $7.50

Soups   $3.75                                                                                      Chicken Dumpling, Vegetarian Lentil, and Split Pea with Ham

To make it easier and more convenient for everyone, people can order and pay for their food when they first arrive. Alice will also have two coffee stations available for people to serve themselves.

WordFest begins third year at The Brits

It’s been two years since we initiated WordFest–Who’d have thought it would last this long?

We will be celebrating our second anniversary on Tuesday, September 2nd, at a new location. With the closing of Frank’s European Cellar, we will be gathering at The Brits Tea Shoppe, 1427 Commerce Avenue in Longview. New owner Alice Dietz has graciously offered her cozy and charming establishment just for us.

The Brits will be open at 5:30 p.m. on WordFest nights (First Tuesdays), and Alice is offering a delicious select menu for those who may wish to have a light dinner before or during the readings:

Shepherd’s Pie–Slow cooked beef with fresh veggies and gravy, topped with creamy mashed potatoes and cheese, and served with soup or salad–$10.95

Cheese and Veggie Pasties–Fresh, sauteed veggies and cheese baked in a puff pastry, served with soup or salad–$8.95

English Muffin Melts–English muffins toasted with jack cheese and the Brit’s own special touch–$4.25

Chicken and Dumplings or Vegetarian Lentil Soup–$3.75

Come early and enjoy a meal!

And we have quite a line-up of presenters to kick off our third year:

Playwright and screenwriter Caroline Wood will present a scene from her play, “The Orchard,” about a couple who believe they have fallen out of love. The play was produced in a festival by Love Productions and Samuel French in New York. It took first place among the plays presented that week, and went on to compete with the winners from other weeks. Caroline says of her play, “There is dialogue in this play that hums in my mind like music.”

Ned Piper will read a short story entitled “Night Visitors,” which he describes as “a dark drama about a married couple who have lost trust in each other.” (Hm, I think I see a theme emerging.)

Ned has been writing–poetry, short stories, plays, novels, insurance books–since his teens. He has served as a PUD commissioner for the past 15 years, and helps his wife, Sue, with her monthly northwest magazine, The Columbia River Reader.

For a change of pace, Patrick Kubin, will be reading another section from his novel-in-progress, “A Time of Trial,” a courtroom thriller about a small town lawyer defending a young man for robbery and murder, offering twists and turns that will cast the case in a new light (Patrick read a portion of this novel at a previous WordFest–gripping stuff!)

Patrick is a local attorney, Superior Court Commissioner, and District Court Judge Pro Tem and Mediator, drawing on more than twenty years experience in writing “A Time of Trial.”

Cathy Zimmerman, features editor for The Daily News, will be reading…well, she wasn’t sure, but she thinks it will be a short story she is currently working on entitled, “True to His Word,” about different types of honesty, or lack of it.

And, as usual, following the presenters, we will have an open mic time.