January 2015 Open Mic at Village Books

Dear Writers:

I hope everyone is having as much fun in this new year as we’ve been having at Open Mic Night at Village Books! Here’s what I know:

COLLAGE by Jim Milstead

COLLAGE by Jim Milstead

Jim Milstead shared the news that his book Collage is out! It is delightful to see a book of poetry out from such a beloved local writer. Fondly dubbed the “Bard of Bellingham,” on this night Sir Milstead treated us to a preview of the book’s poems. From Kafka’s coughing, a great playful piece, to more somber poems that get to the heart of the matter, Collage is a keeper! Jim will read from Collage on Sunday, April 19 @ 4 p.m. at Village Books in historical Fairhaven.

Our beloved Bard describes himself thus: “Born in Chicago. Moved to Fresno CA. Entered the Marine Corps, occupying northern China. Graduated from Fresno State College. Worked at the Linear Accelerator in Livermore Ca. Entered graduate school, spending 35 years as a biological control researcher at UC Berkeley. Moved to Bellingham in 1992. Now I write.”


Along came the wildly funny Harvey Schwartz, known for taking us on the road in his memoir-like wanderings. Tonight Harvey’s set included memories of a road trip to Los Angeles plus a screamingly funny and bold Super Bowl poem, written in tribute to the Seahawks, of course. Go Hawks!

The talented Angela Belcaster was on scene, bringing a pair of new pieces, including the beautifully reflective “Passport Photos” as well as “All of My Children Are First-Born,” celebrating a mother’s love for the arrival of each unique child.

Next was the delightful Victoria Doerper, who read “Willow,” a thoughtful essay relating the life of the garden to the life of a writer.

David Drummond launched his set with a poetical tale of a “laid-back” moon, and went on to let us in on the details of eating in the “Kitchen Korner,” yes, that’s two Ks!

Sam Bouic was up next, treating us to the original work of a talented tenth-grader before sharing her own wonderful words, including “Bad Book,” a wittily clever ode to a very naughty bedtime story.

Closing out the night by having us periodically holding our noses and laughing till our noses ran was Nancy Sherer with her true tale titled “Racoon in the Chimney,” recounting the household horrors (think maggots overtaking the carpet) that can occur from a tragic wrongful death inside the chimney.

What a fantastic way to start off the year! Thanks to all who came to read, listen, and smile.

♥♥♥The Sweet Stuff♥♥♥

speakeasy-16-othermind SpeakEasy 16: Join a fabulous lineup of young poets and their grown-up understudies at the upcoming SpeakEasy event at Mt. Baker Theatre on Sunday, April 12 @ 2 p.m. Produced by Lummi Island poet Luther Allen, this very special SpeakEasy event is designed to encourage kids to write and read poetry.



sarah-gives-thanks-cover1♥ Meet Sully the Salamander: If by some unlikely chance you read this blog but haven’t yet met Sully, the latest wonderful “doodle” from kid lit author/illustrator Mike Allegra, you can find Sully here! Sully will also make a special guest appearance in my poem at SpeakEasy 16, with a voice-over assist from the wonderful Kevin Murphy. And if you haven’t yet purchased a copy or ten of Mike Allegra’s charming tale for children, Sarah Gives Thanks, well, you can find that here!


DreamofaCityofRuin-1600x2400px-eBookCover-Flat-200x300Dream of a City of Ruin: I attended my first online book launch, produced by Dreams of QaiMaj series author Selah J Tay-Song. All I can say is, wow! This elegant Facebook event featured a virtual champagne party, Q&A with book characters, and a new post every ten minutes announcing new characters and book elements. It was super fun but also super educational. If you’re considering hosting an online launch and want a stellar example, you can find the amazing text of Selah’s launch on Facebook here. And you can find the latest book in this marvelous series here!

Hosting on online book launch was “was way more fun than I expected,” says Selah. “I spent several hours preparing for a launch that lasted ninety minutes. The hardest and most fun part was searching for celebrity photos to mirror the images of the characters I had in my mind as I wrote the stories. I really liked doing a virtual launch as opposed to a physical event. I would have had to hire six actors who looked like characters in the book, and there’s no way that could have happened in the physical world!”

logo-napowrimoNoPoWriMo Time: I always love this time of year since we get to hear so many of the amazing poems at Open Mic. So ready, set, go, dear poets! 30 poems in 30 days!

Another Autumn in Clover V8_Page_4NEW STORIES: Read my stories, including “Don’t You Come Back,” in Clover, A Literary Rag.

MANUSCRIPT EDITING: I will be accepting new clients for individualized manuscript review and editing in 2015. See my Scope of Services.

OPEN MIC NIGHT: Join me on Monday, March 30 @ 7 p.m. in the Readings Gallery for the next Open Mic Night at Village Books!

Begging forgiveness from a few peeps around here who’ve sent me publishing news, I have more exciting titles by local writers to mention in future posts. So to be continued . . .

XO Laurel Leigh








10 thoughts on “January 2015 Open Mic at Village Books

  1. A copy or ten, eh?

    I would like to officially hire you as my PR agent.

    I can’t wait to hear more about SpeakEasy 16 — and finally read your salamander poem. Good luck (though none is needed, I’m sure) and stay busy (which you obviously are)!

    • Yep, if everyone gives ten or more copies of your book to kids they know, it will start a smile line across the country. Plus it’s such a fun book to show people, and kids should know who Sarah was.

      Thanks for the good wishes. The salamander poem is penned! – but under wraps until SpeakEasy 16. The wonderful poet out here who has been cast as Sully will be hilarious.

      Now must go see what’s going on with those Christmas decorations at your neighbor’s house!

    • Thanks, Jil! Jim Milstead is quite adored in these parts–it’s pretty hard not to since he’s a nice guy and always shows up at local events to support his fellow writers. I’m excited for him to now have a collection out.

      See you at the Dogpatch soon! We have notes going up on your latest story pretty soon!

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