Guest Writers from Ireland highlight July WordFest

On Tuesday, July 3, WordFest will be meeting at the Backstage Cafe, 216 S. Pacific Avenue, in Kelso.

Orla Parkinson and Scott Coombs live in the wilds of county Leitrim in the northwest of Ireland with their three children. Leitrim is well known in Ireland for its arts community and Orla and Scott are both active in local writers groups. Orla, who works as a librarian in a local village on the border with Northern Ireland, will read from a selection of her poems, short stories, and from a play she is currently working on. Scott works in Dublin for an Information Technology consultancy and will read from a collection of short stories he is preparing. He also enjoys letterpress printing and runs the Barking Angels Press in his spare time.

In the second hour, Longview attorney David Rorden will read from a novel he is writing about a jury trial for an involuntary mental commitment case. Set in Longview and Stevenson in Skamania County, the story centers on a high profile case involving a bearded young man wearing a white robe  who sits in the lotus position on the I-5 freeway. His attorney soon learns that his client’s bizarre behavior was designed to put the state’s system of forced mental health treatment on trial. The novel draws on Rorden’s experiences as Cowlitz County’s contracted public defender in ITA (Involuntary Treatment Act) hearings.

In honor of Independence Day, WordFest regular Mary Lyons will read from her writings on patriotic themes, and people are invited to participate in the open mic period following Mary’s’ reading, sharing their own patriotic reflections in prose or verse (10 minute limit.)

1966 RA Long grad heads WordFest in June

On Tuesday, June 5, WordFest will be meeting at the Electric Bean coffee shop, 946 Washington Way (Washington Way and 10th Avenue) in Longview, 6:00 to 8:00 pm.

Mike Strom will be reading several poems, excerpts from his book of short stories, Spice: American Adventures, and also a short segment from his novel Wildwood. Both books are available in Kindle format on Paperback copies of Spice will be available for purchase and signing at the reading.

Mike graduated from RA Long High School in 1966 and Western Washington University in 1994. Following the life of an artist, he picked apples, renovated houses, lived in hippie communes, served in the US Navy, was a commercial fisherman,  owned several art galleries and wrote  for a number of newspapers and magazines, including the Baltimore Sun, San Diego Union, Longview Daily News, Audubon Magazine, Sports Illustrated, Pacific Fishing, and Fisherman’s News. In 2011, he returned to Longview, where he transformed an old family rental into an “art house” and began producing Pacific NW Artist Series, a series of art interviews conducted by Erica Rodman, presently being aired on KLTV.

Dan Roberts will be reading from his medical thriller, VRSA SYNDROME (At 4:15 on a Friday morning in August, Rick Caldwell takes the phone call every physician dreads. His friend Lindsey Dawson is having a grand mal seizure. In searching for the cause, he learns that Lindsey holds a key he doesn’t want to discover.)

Dan is a retired physician, who moved to Kalama six years ago. He was on the editorial board of Western Journal of Medicine for 10 years, and for several years was on the publication committee for American Academy of Family Physicians, which publishes American Family Physician, a nationally distributed journal of Family Medicine. Over the years, he has had narrative nonfiction pieces published in Medical Economics, and in 2010, a short memoir of his was published in The Healing Muse, a health care related literary journal.

Robin Weitzen will read from a novel she is currently working on, titled My Mission: San Gabriel. Set in California, the story is about a young man torn between a promise to his dead mother and secrets from his family’s past.

Robin has been teaching writing and directing writing programs for more than 20 years at Tulane University, the Institute of Reading Development in Marin County, California, and at the University of Phoenix, where she is currently a faculty member in the colleges of Humanities and Communications. She is in a doctoral studies program at Tulane University, with an emphasis on literary history from 1485 to 1815.

Following the presentations, there will be an open mic period (10 minute limit.)

WordFest meets at the Electric Bean in May

On Tuesday, May 1, WordFest will be meeting at the Electric Bean coffee shop, 946 Washington Way (Washington Way and 10th Avenue) in Longview.

Carolyn Caines will be reading from her novel, Passage to Love, an Ellis Island Story. The novel is based on the lives of her Finnish grandparents who came to America more than a hundred years ago. The story begins in the village of Puolanka, Finland, where young men and women are pulling up roots and following the lure of land and a new life in America. Among them are the headstrong Reeta, the eighteen-year-old daughter of a landowning family, and Thomas, the son of a tenant farmer. Social class restrictions doom their relationship from the start.

Carolyn is a third-generation resident of SW Washington and taught in both public and private schools for thirty years. She began writing during her college years at Seattle Pacific University, publishing a dozen short stories. She has had more than 125 poems published in devozine, Evangel, The Salal Review, and various other magazines and journals. Since 1998, she has written Poems For You, a weekly e-mailing.

Both her novel and her volume of poetry, In the Noiseless Night, poems about childhood in the ‘50s, will be available for purchase and autographing at WordFest.

Former prosecuting attorney and retired judge C.C. Bridgewater will be reading from his unpublished novel, entitled The Hook.  A crime mystery situated in SW Washington, it involves kidnapping, murder, and the use of mysticism in discovering the murderer and the location of the victim.

During the second hour, there will be an open mic period (10 minute limit.)

WordFest is a monthly gathering of readers and writers who meet the first Tuesday of each month, 6:00-8:00 pm. The events are free and open to the public.


April WordFest highlights memoirs at the Monticello Hotel

On Tuesday, April 3, WordFest will be meeting in the historic Monticello Hotel to learn about the craft of writing one’s memoirs.

Vancouver writer Bob Ferguson will read from his book, Some Days Chicken, Some Days Feathers, and will talk about the craft of writing one’s own story.

Bob’s memoir starts with his early recollections of harvesting potatoes as a pre-schooler in Central Oregon, and ends when he is released from a Naval hospital as a young Marine Corps lieutenant after being wounded in Vietnam.

He believes that everyone has a good story to tell and he will offer some fun ideas on how to get started telling that story.

Bob received a BA degree from Linfield College, and later a Masters degree in Teaching. Self-employed for over 30 years in the advertising industry, he is a frequent professional speaker at national industry trade shows throughout the United States.

During the second hour, there will be an open mic period, where people are invited to read from their own memoirs (10 minute limit.)

WordFest is a monthly gathering of readers and writers who meet the first Tuesday of each month, 6:00-8:00 pm. The events are free and open to the public.

In April, WordFest will be held at the Monticello Hotel.

WordFest moves to Las Rocas for murder mysteries

Next Tuesday, March 6, WordFest will be moving to Las Rocas Mexican Restaurant, located at 1260 Commerce Avenue in Longview.

Headlining the evening’s program will be authors Mike Nettleton and Carolyn J. Rose, who will be reading from their newest works and be discussing the craft of writing murder mysteries. Mike’s new book, Shotgun Start, is about a former cop turned golf hustler who sets out to prove his ex-wife’s innocence in the shotgun slaying of her abusive boyfriend and becomes entwined in a dark world of biker gangs and the Mexican Mafia.

Carolyn has a new book, titled No Substitute for Murder, about a former radio talk show host whose job is downsized and she takes a position as a substitute teacher. Soon after she arrives at the school, an unpopular teacher who was a bully and blackmailer is found strangled.

In addition to the books they have written individually, Mike and Carolyn are a husband and wife team who have collaborated on a number of quirky murder mysteries set on the Oregon coast, including The Big Grabowski, Hard Karma Shuffle, and Sometimes a Great Commotion.

Following their readings, there will be an open mic time.

WordFest is a monthly gathering of writers and readers who meet on the first Tuesday of each month, 6:00-8:00 pm.

The event is free and open to the public.