May WordFest offers thrills, chills, and stories of children in wartime

Three Northwest writers will read from their works at WordFest on Tuesday, May 14, 6:00-8:00 pm, at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 1428 22nd Avenue in Longview.

Castle Rock author Mary Stone recently published a short story collection, The Innocents at Home—Children of the 1940s. The 18 fictional stories, told through the eyes of children living in the US, Poland, Germany, and France, are about the abnormality of childhood during this decade and the experiences of war, internment, love and loss, prejudice, faith and resilience.

During her time as a counselor at Lower Columbia College, Mary used her lunch hours to walk across the street to the Longview Public Library to do research for these stories, going through microfiche, poring over old Life and Saturday Evening Post magazines, and hardbound volumes to create realistic narratives. Upon retirement from Lower Columbia College, Mary was honored with Faculty Emeritus. Yet, she didn’t retire altogether. Mary continues to write, as well as teach writing classes, and publishes a monthly devotional blog on her website:

Rick E. George will read from Lethal Alliance, the second novel in his Boyd and Abboud Mystery Series, where FBI Agent Russell Boyd and Arabic interpreter Nawar Abboud face a contemporary problem: When extremist politicians bash the nation’s leading law enforcement agency, what could possibly go wrong? Quite a lot, as they find out, to their great peril. When a group of Christian Nationalists known as the Kin of Christ link up with an ISIS terrorist group to plan an attack at a Seattle sports event, Boyd and Abboud infiltrate the groups.

But on the brink of thwarting the plot, they experience a stunning betrayal, forcing them to go into hiding to save their lives, while at the same time, trying to save America.

Rick is the author of four novels, including the first novel of the Boyd and Abboud Mystery Series, Sinister Refuge. His short fiction and poetry have been published in various literary print journals. He has worked as a reporter, wildland firefighter, and an educator, and lives with his wife in the Cascade Mountains outside White Salmon, Washington.

Debz Briske will be reading two short pieces of creative nonfiction that involve dead bodies she encountered in her life and travels.  “A Gringa in Rio” is a story set in Brazil during the military dictatorship, and first experiencing the jungle, hearing Samba, and seeing a dead body. It was also the first time she watched a person die, and struggled with how she wanted to respond and what she could do in a different culture.

“The Dog Stood Watch” deals with a murder on the Evergreen College campus when Debz was a student there, and the connections of animals to the spirit world.

Debz is a storyteller and writer of psychological and paranormal horror and personal monologues. She works in health care, which provides ample occasions for horror, humor, and cadavers, and loves baking, gardening and exchanging ghost stories.

An open mic will follow the presentations where people can read 10 minutes each.

The monthly gathering of readers and writers meets the second Tuesday of each month, 6:00-8:00 pm., in the fellowship hall of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church. The events are free and open to the public.