The Whatcom Wordsmith is currently on hiatus. Stay tuned for upcoming episodes!
Welcome to The Whatcom Wordsmith podcast, a radio show dedicated to the craft of writing, the lives of writers and the business of writing.
The show is taped at KMRE 102.FM studios at 1312 Bay Street in Bellingham, Wash., Whatcom County -- the farthest northwest county in the contiguous United States.
Jennifer Karchmer is the creator, host and producer. She interviews local writers, authors, editors, proofreaders, bloggers and journalists (and sometimes baseball players). Click here for information on how to be a guest on The Whatcom Wordsmith.
Air date: Aug. 24, 2016
Originally from Milwaukee, John Morsell attended University of Wisconsin majoring in zoology with emphases on aquatic biology and applied ecology. After graduating with a masters degree, he worked as a fishery research biologist in the north woods of Wisconsin for several years. Following that, he attended the University of Montana for additional graduate work on applied ecology.
In 1974, John moved to Anchorage to work as a field Environmental Specialist for the company building the Trans-Alaska oil pipeline. He joined a large consulting company as an aquatic scientist and environmental project manager. In 1986, he formed his own small consulting company continuing research on fish and aquatic habitats, traveling extensively to all regions of Alaska. In 2004, John and his wife Sally moved to Whatcom County and they currently reside in Bellingham.
"Death at the End of the Road," a mystery thriller set in Homer, Alaska, is John's first attempt at fiction writing and is partly inspired by thirty years of travel among Alaska’s communities with all their charm and eccentricities.
Air date: Aug. 10, 2016
Elena Hartwell is the author of the Eddie Shoes Mystery Series. She was born in Bogota, Colombia, while her parents were in the Peace Corps.
With twenty years working in the theater as director, designer, producer and educator, she's no stranger to storytelling. First though she is a playwright. Productions of her scripts have been performed around the US and the world. She has taken those skills into novel writing with her first book One Dead, Two to Go, which is Book One in the Eddie Shoes mystery series. Her other titles are Two Dead Are Better Than One and Three Dead, You’re Out.
Elena lives in North Bend, Washington with her husband. She’s an animal lover of dogs and horses.
Air date: Aug. 10, 2016
Stephanie is the General Manger of the Bellingham Bells, a collegiate baseball team in the West Coast League in the Pacific Northwest. The league has teams extending from British Columbia, Canada into Washington state all the way to Oregon.
Originally from Yakima, Wash., Stephanie graduated from Western Washington University in 2008. She was Advertising Sales Consultant with the Bellingham Herald newspaper and then moved on to working with the Bells in 2014 as Marketing Director. In 2015, she took a promotion to Assistant General Manager and today serves as GM.
Air date: August 3, 2016
Susan Conrad is an accomplished kayaker. In 2010, she took her 18-foot sea kayak and completed her long-time goal of paddling the Inside Passage – a 12-hundred mile region from Anacortes, Washington, to Juneau, Alaska. She completed the voyage solo.
She chronicles her paddling voyage, and her inner metamorphosis in her memoir titled: “INSIDE—One Woman’s Journey Through the Inside Passage” published by Epicenter Press on May 15, 2016. Susan has been a fitness trainer, ski patroller, avalanche team leader, whitewater raft guide, graphic designer and marketing.
Originally from Woodbourne, New York in the heart of the Catskills, Susan has been involved in paddlesports for 25 years. She is an EXPED adventure ambassador and sponsored athlete and
holds an American Canoe Association ACA) Open Water Coastal certification.
Air date: July 27, 2016
Todd is an historian, writer, documentary producer, and author, most notably of the “Murder in the Fourth Corner: True Stories of Whatcom County's Earliest Homicides, and “MORE MURDER in the FOURTH CORNER: True Stories of Whatcom & Skagit Counties’ Earliest Homicides, the second book in a series of true crime occurring in Whatcom and Skagit Counties between the middle nineteenth and early twentieth-centuries. He is the co-author of “Images of America: Mount Baker.” Todd works at Whatcom Museum, where he has curated history exhibits.
Additionally, Todd is an Emmy Award nominee for “The Mountain Runners” and a recipient of the Washington State Historical Society’s 2008 David Douglas award for “Shipyard.” Originally from Massachusetts, Todd currently lives in Bellingham.
Air date: June 29, 2016
Attention memoir writers! Be sure to catch this interview with writer Abbe Rolnick. Abbe gives great advice on how to approach memoir writing. She herself is the author of the newly-released "Cocoon of Cancer: An Invitation To Love Deeply," a non-fiction, creative book inspired by caring for her husband Jim Wiggins when he was diagnosed with cancer.
Abbe is an author, entrepreneur and health food store owner. Originally from the suburbs of Baltimore, she moved to Florida as a teen where she started writing. She attended Boston Univeristy where she met her first husband, a native of Puerto Rico. In fact, her first novel, River of Angels, stems from her experiences living there. Her second novel, Color of Lies, is set in the Pacific Northwest. She and Jim live in Sedro-Woolley, Wash.
Air date: June 15, 2016
Paul is the General Manager of Village Books and programmer for the Chuckanut Writers Workshops and Classes.
Before arriving in Bellingham in 2011, Paul was the long-time manager of Eagle Harbor Book Company on Bainbridge Island. He is a writer and publisher, former President of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association, a past core team member of Fields End, a writers’ community on Bainbridge Island, and is the President of the Historic Fairhaven Association. Paul has been one of the Chuckanut Writers Conference Coordinators since 2012.
He holds a degree in English and Creative writing from the Uni of Washington.
Air date: June 8, 2016
In this interview, Leslie Wharton talks about "Phoenix Rising: Stories of Remarkable Women Walking Through Fire," a collection of personal stories of women who were affected by six different Colorado wildfires.
Leslie has a degree in Human Development and Family Studies. Along with working on her memoir "Edge of Next" and gathering stories for "Phoenix Rising," she is a caregiver for the elderly in Bellingham. You can see her on Saturdays at the Farmer's Market, where she sells veggies for Growing Washington. She is the recipient of a Sue C. Boyton Poetry Contest Award for her poem "Nooksack Salutation."
Air date: June 8, 2018
After a career as an employment lawyer, Marian Exall now writes what she loves to read: mysteries. Like her heroine, Sarah McKinney, Marian was born and raised in England. She lived for 30 years in Atlanta before moving to the Pacific Northwest where she hikes, gardens and does grandparent duty.
"A Slippery Slope" is her debut novel and she has followed up with "A Dangerous Descent," the second in the Sarah McKinney Mystery series. Be sure to catch the entire interview as Marian reads an excerpt from " A Slippery Slope."
Check it out! Valerie treats us to an acappella rendition
of her poem "Presence."
Valerie Marie Leslie
Air date: May 31, 2016
Join me in this lovely conversation with multi-talented Valerie Marie Leslie of Bellingham. Valerie is a singer, songwriter, poet and author of the newly-published, "Even the Smallest Bird Casts A Shadow" -- a collection of her original poems from adolescence to early adulthood.
Originally from the San Fernando Valley, Valerie earned a Bachelor’s degree of Music in Theory & Composition at Central Washington University. When she's not working full-time as a copywriter, she can be found singing harmonies for her singer-songwriter husband, Stephen Ray Leslie.
(Episode 15 with Valerie Marie Leslie):
Air date: May 25, 2016
With baseball season upon us, I devote an entire episode to discussing the Bellingham Bells, Whatcom County's summer collegiate baseball team, which opens with its first home game of the season on Tuesday, June 7 at Joe Martin Field. First pitch is 7:05p
Bells Pitching Coach and Recruiting Coordinator Jim Clem walks us through the history of the Bells, the difference in play between natural grass and the new synthetic turf, the communication required between pitchers and catchers and how he helps build leaders out of young baseball players. Be sure to listen to the end and find out about Jim's first Major League Baseball game he attended at Seattle's Sick's Stadium in 1969.
This episode is dedicated to Martin B. Karchmer (1935-2014), father and lifelong baseball fan.
Air date: May 18, 2016
Attention nonfiction writers! Don't miss this informative interview with Brenda Miller, a self-described essayist. Brenda is the author of several collections of non-fiction and books on writing, most recently "An Earlier Life." As a professor of English and Creative Writing at Western Washington University, she shares with us how she grades writing for college students and don't miss the part about "Writing by Hostage," a writing technique she employs with the help of a fellow author. Brenda shares lots of ideas for writing retreats too.
*Special treat: go straight to 13:30 to hear Brenda read an excerpt from her new book, "An Earlier Life."
Air date: May 10, 2016
In this lively interview, Johannes Lisiecki takes us on a wonderful journey that resulted in publishing his book, "Gibraltar: The Story of My Heart."
At 68, he had major heart surgery but came back to recover through his newfound love of swimming and at 76, he has swum more than 14-hundred-and-50 miles. In fact, he started the Heart Challenge Swim Association, which brings awareness to congenital heart defects.
Johannes is the author of two other books: "An Adventreneur’s Odyssey" republished under the new title ‘Following a Dream’ and his autobiography, "The Johmalites."
Editor's Note: Episodes 10 & 11 were replays of previous episodes of The Whatcom Wordsmith.
Air date: April 20, 2016
As the author of eight full-length fiction works, Pamela Beason is no stranger to the writing life. Living in Bellingham brings her joy as she spends as much time outdoors kayaking and hiking. When she is not enjoying nature and wildlife, she writes mystery and romantic suspense books, many of which have earned writing awards.
Listen to our conversation where Pam talks about being a private investigator, her time working at Microsoft and how she infuses her fiction with autobiographical elements.
Read reviews of The Whatcom Wordsmith podcast
Air date: April 13, 2016
If you want to learn more about marketing your books, then you've come to the right interview. I spoke with Kiffer Brown about how she started the Chanticleer Authors Conference, which is in its third year, held in Bellingham, Wash. in April. With her extensive background in marketing, she runs ChantiReviews, a review service for fiction and non-fiction books.
Air date: April 6, 2016
I know you will enjoy this fun conversation with Riley Sweeney, an Olympia native, because it's chock full of words, local tidbits and laughs. Riley has worked as a political organizer on a cross-section of Democratic campaigns in the last seven years and because of his interest and research into how language is used in political campaigns, we talked about the difference between the "estate tax" vs. "the death tax," an "activist" vs. "protestor" and how we can "address" problems rather than "deal" with them. You'll hear about Riley's "aha" moment that got him interested in politics as a career.
Riley graduated from WWU with a degree in communication, which has served him well as he currently is Communication Officer for the City of Ferndale, where he is helping promote the new STAR park, designed by kids and being built entirely by volunteers. Lastly, find out about the 1930s detective radio drama "Bellingham Terror" he's producing with his wife Bryna and dozens of other volunteers.
Air date: March 30, 2016
Originally from Gary, Indiana, Sean Dwyer moved to Bellingham a few years ago to work as a Spanish instructor at Western Washington University. In addition to Spanish, he speaks several languages -- French, Portuguese and German -- and is writing a book in Spanish. During our lively interview, Sean spoke candidly about a 2015 car accident that left him with post-concussion syndrome forcing him to put down his manuscript for "Chocolates on the the Pillow," a book that he was close to publishing. He's since picked it back up and is finalizing editing.
Sean is active in the Bellingham writing community, especially through self-designed "Write Outs" where he takes out his laptop to do extemporaneous writing (see photo for a transportation "Write Out"). He has three sons and lives in Bellingham with his wife Maureen.
Air date: March 16, 2016
This was a wonderful interview about the nitty gritty of book editing with Sara Stamey. Sara is a published novelist -- author of
the Caribbean psychic-suspense novel Islands, which was named a Foreword Book of the Year finalist and won the Chanticleer Paranormal Suspense Award. She is also the author of a near-future thriller set in the Greek islands, The Ariadne Connection, which received the Cygnus Award for Speculative Fiction.
In our hour-long conversation, Sara discusses her approach to teaching students, working with clients and the difference between copyediting and line editing. She teaches writing at Western Washington University and holds a master’s degree in English and Writing from WWU.
Sara infuses her books and stories with fascinating experiences throughout her life. Did you know she was a scuba diving teacher in the Caribbean, has has operated a nuclear reactor and backpacked around Greece and New Zealand?
Find Sara's work at: http://sarastamey.com/ and enjoy our conversation via the link at left.
Air date: March 9, 2016
I had a wonderful conversation with Bob Wright, who is a pilot, consultant and author. "Beyond Ultra," his first book, focuses on his interest in twentieth century historical fiction. The sequel, "Valhalla Revealed," was published in 2014 and he's working on a third tome to complete the trilogy. Bob discusses the painstaking steps he takes to preserve the factual history in his books.
Find out what gift he received in 1959 from his parents that sparked his lifelong interest in geography, history and maps, and how he celebrated the 50th anniversary of his solo flight.
Air date: March 2, 2016
Janet Oakley is an award-winning author of memoir essays and historical fiction including "Timber Rose" and "The Tree Soldier."
Did you know that in 2006, Janet was the manager of a History Channel grant, researching old court cases in early Washington Territory? She enjoys the hunt in old newspapers, court cases and other delights in archives around the country.
Stonewall Jackson Bird
Air date: Feb. 24, 2016
Stoney Bird formerly served as an international corporate business lawyer. Today, he is a writer and community activist engaged with growth management, environmental concerns and transportation issues.
NOTE: This episode is two parts.
Amanda June Hagarty
Air date: Feb. 17, 2016
Check out the FIRST episode of The Whatcom Wordsmith, which aired on Feb. 17, 2016 with writer and author Amanda June Hagarty. We talked about Amanda's passion for helping authors with social media marketing, writers' conferences in the US and Canada and how to get involved with the Whatcom Writers and Publishers group, among other topics. You can find more about her at: www.amandajunehagarty.com