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This very small but very interconnected town is crawling with writers. There are enough of us that we made the local paper’s year-end roundup. It’s incredibly nice to live in a place where the work one does is valued.

best_of_bainbridge-fave-authors1

Here’s the excerpt about island writers:

Written on the island

Steadily documenting the work of Bainbridge authors over the course of a year is pure pleasure for a reader and writer. Seeing them compiled into a single “year in review” entry is jaw dropping.

Whether your drool is awe- or envy-inspired, wipe it off and get to the library or bookstore.

Fiction ran the gamut, from juicy to literary. Kristin Hannah glowed with “Firefly Lane,” Susan Wiggs gave us “Just Breathe,” and Carol Cassella provided the remedy with “Oxygen.” Meanwhile, Judith Reynolds Brown celebrated a “Turkish Wedding,” Anthony Flacco came out of the woodwork with “The Hidden Man,” Jonathan Evison explored familial (dys)function in “All About Lulu,” and David Guterson took us into the backwoods while examining the duality of manhood in “The Other.”

In verse, MacArthur Award winning poet Linda Bierds published “Flight: New and Selected Poems.”

History and biography scored. Mary Woodward published “In Defense of Our Neighbors: The Walt and Milly Woodward Story.”

Ann Gowen Combs and her brother, Geoffrey Gowen, documented another island legend and father with “Sunrise to Sunrise: Vincent Gowen’s Memoirs.” Michael Lisagor turned his “Romancing the Buddha” into a one-man stage play.

Gary White turned 30 years’ worth of passionate research into “The Hall Brothers Shipbuilders.” Wilkes Elementary School teacher Warren Read explored his family’s history of racism in “The Lyncher in Me.” And Richard LeMieux documented his years of homelessness in “Breakfast at Sally’s.”

(These last two, while not technically island residents, made the “island” cut by virtue of proximity as well as worth.)

In photography and how-to, a pair of Kathleens, O’Brien and Smith, published “The Green Home Primer,” a design-focused guide to creating an environmentally sound domicile. Michael Diehl made churn visually fascinating with “Crossings: On the Ferries of Puget Sound.” And two women with a taste for the island raised funds for the Kitsap Humane Society with “Flavors of Bainbridge.”

Other nonfiction included “Evangelical vs. Liberal” by James Wellman and “Understanding Your Child’s Puzzling Behavior” by clinical psychologist Steven Curtis.

Which leads us to the kids. Suzanne Selfors followed last year’s “To Catch a Mermaid” with the young adult novel “Saving Juliet,” later adapted for the stage at BPA.

First-time author Andrea von Botefuhr gave us “The Land of Smaerd.” Julie Hall presented “A Hot Planet Needs Cool Kids,” while science/how-to fave Lynn Brunelle tackled shoe-tying with “The Zoo’s Shoes.”

Finally, George Shannon gets mention this year for “Rabbit’s Gift.” Though published in 2007, the charming winter-themed picture book, resonant on so many levels, earned a 2008 Washington State Book Award for children’s fiction.

Today’s guest blog comes from Theresa Rizzo, a good friend and wonderful writer. Meet us both, along with Karen Joy Fowler, John Shors and many others at the fantastic Readers in the Rockies conference, June 20-22. There’s a writers’ conference, too, all organized by the Crested Butte Friends of the Library.

Join us at Readers in the Rockies!

You will find true success in those efforts that captivate your heart and soul.  Belief fuels passion, and passion rarely fails.”

Today’s guest blog is by my friend and fellow writer/editor, Lori. You can meet her, Aubrey and Pam, and many other literary luminaries at the upcoming conference.

Aubrey, Lori, PamThe last weekend in April used to signify my daughter’s birthday was approaching. Now it means the annual Field’s End Writers’ Conference. Aubrey’s birthday is still at the tail end of April; we just have a new way of celebrating it. Last year was our first Field’s End experience. We stayed the night at the Clearwater Casino Resort – a treat for us. Not only did we get meaningful girl time, but Aubrey was especially delighted with the hotel’s accoutrements. We still have the fun cell phone video clips of Aubrey showing off the hotel room. The spinning chair in front of the vanity was particularly exciting.

At the actual conference, Aubrey was initially cowed at being the only young person in a roomful of adults. But the Field’s End participants are a very friendly lot, so Aubrey soon relaxed. We were lucky enough to land at tables with speakers Garth Stein and Robert Dugoni. They helped draw out Aubrey – and everyone else. Bob Dugoni “escorted” Aubrey to the first break-out session. Her workshop tastes ran differently than mine, and she evidently didn’t feel the need to cling to my side the entire day. When we did get together, I was impressed with how well she sat still. An entire day is a long time – thank goodness for Malachy McCourt! Even though she couldn’t remember how to pronounce his name, she asked me recently if he would be there again. Aubrey took away ideas from each speaker, but it was Mr. McCourt’s presentation she found most enthralling. No surprise! Later we had a grand time purchasing books and getting authors’ autographs and personalized messages. What a delight to see Aubrey bloom into a young woman and a creative presence. There are many, many things we learned that day and which remain part of who we are a year later. This year Aubrey told me that she would like to go back to Field’s End for her birthday (and she gets that this means not much else in the way of birthday presents!). So register, we did.

Aubrey’s writing interests are strong and deep, although she’s still not sure she wants to be a writer. But as some of the Field’s End participants reminded us, a writer is not something you become, it’s something you are. Thus, Aubrey is a writer, and a good one. She’s taking honors classes this year (sixth grade) and scored 100 percent on her most recent Reading WASL. Her Writing WASL score was close behind. She counts attending the Young Authors Conference at Skagit Valley College nearly every year during elementary school as one of her writing-related accomplishments. Children’s book author George Shannon is a frequent presenter, so she was excited to “know somebody” at Field’s End last year!My mom, Pam, has never thought of herself as a writer, but she is certainly skilled. She chose (was there much of a choice in those days?!) to be a mom, wife and homemaker. While I was at the UW, she earned her A.A. from Everett Community College. I always knew she was an excellent proofreader and organizer, if you will, of written materials, but I recently realized that she’s also a talented writer. She can deftly describe her own and other people’s feelings and motivations. Mom would disagree (LOL). Once she decides to believe in her skill and channel it to a specific project of her own, look out! For now, she is helping to research and write a book with her brother.

I’m actually writing the children’s chapter-book version of the same story. Although I’m an on-again, off-again kind of fiction writer, I’m still very committed to this story. My preference is to fix and organize words rather than to originate them. That’s the editor in me. My mom recently showed me a progress report from my first-grade teacher. I wanted to be a nurse, teacher, hairstylist and editor. How crazy is that? What six-year-old kid knows what an editor is? I evidently figured it out, and it has stuck with me. My mom plans to join us this year. Aubrey’s okay with sharing a bed with me, although I offered to have her and Grandma bunk together because Grandma’s skinnier than I am and will take up less room. We’ll see what happens.

It’s not long now until we return to the garden of the gods at Kiana Lodge, host to the Field’s End Writers’ Conference. I should ask Aubrey how many days until our adventure begins. She’ll know. Aubrey & Lori at the Field’s End conference

*** CALENDAR ALERT ***SAVE THE DATE

WRITING IN THE GARDEN OF THE GODS
Field’s End Writers’ Conference 2008Photo by s.j. luke, onsetimagery

WHO: This year’s line-up of authors and speakers includes: Roy Blount, Jr. (keynote speaker), Stephanie Kallos (opening speaker), Knute Berger, Alice Acheson, Lyall Bush, Laura Kalpakian, Thomas Kohnstamm, Rosina Lippi aka Sara Donati, Jennifer Louden, Nancy Pagh, George Shannon, Charley Pavlosky, Sheila Rabe aka Sheila Roberts, Suzanne Selfors, David Wagoner, and Timothy Egan (closing speaker). Professional actor Ron Milton will be on hand for the Page One sessions.

WHAT: Third annual Field’s End Writers’ Conference, “Writing in the Garden of the Gods.”

WHEN: Saturday, April 26, 2008
9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

WHERE: Kiana Lodge
14976 Sandy Hook Rd. NE
Poulsbo, WA 98370

DETAILS: This one-day conference, held at the spectacularly beautiful Kiana Lodge near Bainbridge Island, is a combination of lectures and breakout sessions presented by an eclectic group of people in the literary world.

The day offers three groupings of breakout sessions. Guests will select three workshops to attend according to their interest (literary fiction, poetry, nonfiction, screen writing, dialogue, genre, travel writing, editing, journalism, historical fiction, and commercial fiction). Each breakout session will also offer a Page One workshop, where conference guests can anonymously submit the first page of something they’ve written for possible live reading and critique by the guest authors.

Lunch is provided and there will be an early evening wine and cheese reception and book signing providing conference guests, authors, and speakers a chance to mingle. Shuttle buses will be available to carry walk-on ferry passengers to and from Kiana Lodge.

Registration begins February 1, 2008. Early registration is recommended as the conference is limited to 250 guests and has sold out in the past. Cost to attend is $135 if you register before February 28, 2008 and $150 after March 1, 2008. Groups of 5 or more can register for $130/person. To register for the 2008 Field’s End Writers’ Conference, visit http://www.fieldsend.org.

Founded in 2002, Field’s End is a writers’ community whose mission is to inspire writers and nurture the written word through lectures, workshops, and instruction in the art and craft of writing. Located across the Puget Sound from Seattle on beautiful Bainbridge Island, Field’s End is an affiliate of the nonprofit Bainbridge Public Library, which is located at 1270 Madison Avenue on Bainbridge Island. For more information, call (206) 842-4162 or visit http://www.fieldsend.org.

###

MEDIA CONTACT:
Kirsten Graham
Concept 2 Launch
(206) 890-3435
kirsten@concept2launch.net

kirsten graham
c o n c e p t 2 l a u n c h, LLC
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innovation
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t.206.890.3435
e:kirsten@concept2launch.net
http://www.concept2launch.net

I love poring over the year-end “best of” lists, particularly the book lists. I’ve been lucky enough to see my own books on a list or two. Here’s my own list. It’s in no particular order, no particular pub date, just a list of memorable books I’ve read in the past year. Happy reading to all!What's better than reading a good book?

Quietly in their Sleep by Donna Leon. Atmospheric police drama in the most intriguing city in the world.

Dead Ex by Harley Jane Kozak. Her books are so ridiculously entertaining, and she keeps surpassing herself!

Making Money by Terry Pratchett. I love his books. Love this author. He’s an auto-buy for me.

Which Lie Did I Tell? More Adventures in the Screen Trade by William Goldman. I’ve owned this book forever but I kept misplacing it. Which is nuts, since this man is a god to me. This book actually surpasses his classic Adventures in the Screen Trade. In fact, I’m going to shut up right now and save a discussion of this book for its own post.

Mortified by David Nadelberg. A collection of painful high school memories, painfully illustrated. As the author points out, “We were all that same strange kid.”

Hide by Lisa Gardner. I’m picky when it comes to thrillers. This one has it all–depth of characterization, a page-turning pace and spot-on procedural detail.

The Shakespeare Riots by Nigel Cliff. I’d never heard of this historic event, which took place in 1849 at an opera house in New York. Now I’ll never forget it. I’m totally writing a novel about it.

The Children of Hurin by J.R.R. Tolkein. I became a rabid Tolkein fan when I was in 7th grade and the mania continues.

The River Knows by Amanda Quick. She’s a can’t-miss author for me. Jewels and secrets, romance and suspense.

What Matters Most by Luanne Rice. An emotional saga that tugs at the heartstrings.

Truck: A Love Story by Michael Perry. A memoir about restoring a truck, but it’s really about family, nostalgia, commitment and growth.

Blankets by Craig Thompson. Me? Read a graphic novel? This one sucked me right in.

…and here are a few books I can’t wait to read in the coming year:

Oxygen by Carol Cassella

The Cure for Modern Life by Lisa Tucker

Moon Shell Beach by Nancy Thayer

Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult

Saving Juliet by Suzanne Selfors

Sing them Home by Stephanie Kallos

Bikini Season by Sheila Roberts

2007, like every other year, is the year of the book. Fully confident that none of my friends or family read my blog (really, they don’t), I’ll post a partial list of some of the books I’ve bought as gifts this year:

what’s on my mind right now:

Join me on Facebook. You won’t be sorry.

I tend to spontaneously give stuff away to readers and libraries. Join the fun here. Really.

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