Westport Writers Rendezvous: August update – Part 2

Happy you rejoined me. 🙂 And, as you will see if you read far enough, this is all about me.

The Brooklyn Book Festival will be held from September 16-23 in a variety of venues around Brooklyn (of course). It’s one of America’s premier book festivals and the largest free literary event in New York City. Presenting almost 200 national and international literary stars and emerging authors, the Festival includes a week of Bookend Events throughout New York City, a lively Children’s Day and a celebratory Festival Day with more than 300 authors plus 250 booksellers filling a vibrant outdoor Literary Marketplace (September 22).

The Westport Writers Workshop is signing people up for one-day Saturday workshops beginning in September. Among them are: Honing Your Pitch  with Allison Dickens,  (September 14), Facebook For Writers w/ Jessica Grunenberg  (September 21), Twitter For Writers, also with Jessica Grunenburg, Learn to Outline (How to Write a Novel & Not Lose Your Mind) with Jessica Speart on October 5, Revise and Love It with Marie Cordell (October 12). Each costs $75, and runs from 10-noon or 10-1pm.

SFestThe Saugatuck StoryFest runs from September 26-28 and kicks off with Beyond Earth: The Stories and Science of Space Continue reading

Westport Writers’ Rendezvous – January update

I’m going to keep the intro short this month, since there’s a lot of ground to cover. Wednesday saw another great meeting, with old hands and new faces, and many successes to report. And here’s what’s coming up in the writing world of Fairfield County and environs:

This Saturday, January 19, Brian Hoover will be leading his monthly memoir writing workshop from 10:30-12:00, in the Bridgeport History Center, located in the main branch of the Bridgeport Public Library. Free.

The Connecticut Press Club is wrapping up submissions for this year’s contest. Anyone who lives or works in Connecticut is eligible to enter work published in 2018. Fees: $25 for the first entry and $15 for each additional entry. Deadline: midnight EST, January 22.

The Moth Mainstage comes to the Westport Playhouse on Friday, January 25, at 7:30PM for a one-night-only performance. Five storytellers, including Westport Continue reading

Westport Writers’ Rendezvous – June update

Another great group of people showed up at Barnes & Noble in Westport today, and we had a good time, encouraging each other, and generally making the writing happen. Several people had things published, some rather unexpectedly. Kathryn Mayer had a piece she’d forgotten about published here, and if you have something to brag about, add it to the comments, so people can find it!

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WWR member Robert Steven Williams (author of My Year As a Clown) is one of the two creators of the film: Gatsby in Connecticut: The Untold Story, which will be shown on Thurs. June 21, 7pm at the Pequot Library in Southport. The filmmakers in this 2018 documentary argue Continue reading

Where I Write: Jessica Speart

One of my internet friends, Pauline Gaines of the Perils of Divorced Pauline, runs a regular series of posts called “Blogger Space” in which authors send in a photo of their workplace and write about it.

Jessica Speart

And I follow author Jessica Speart on Facebook and Goodreads. She writes a fun series of mystery novels (nine of them) about a  former actress Rachel Porter, who now works for the New Orleans Fish & Wildlife Service, uncovering and solving crimes in the Louisiana bayous. Her latest book, Winged Obsession, is a non-fiction account of real butterfly smuggling, and it reads like a thriller. So when I saw a photo of her on Facebook, sitting at her laptop with what appeared to be a large furry cat on her lap, I needed to do some investigating myself. And she was gracious enough to answer my questions, even though I had mistaken her dog for a cat, and some of her answers were completely unpredictable…

P.S. A note on blogging etiquette: I checked in with Pauline, who kindly said that she didn’t mind if I adapted her idea and ran it as an interview format. Thanks, Pauline!

GC:  I couldn’t help noticing from your photo that you had a dog on your lap.  What can you tell us about that?

JS: Josie is a Lhasapoo.(I believe this is a Lhasa apso/poodle mix. GC)  She’s a rescue dog that I brought back to Connecticut from Anchorage, Alaska.  I was attending the Bouchercon World Mystery Convention a few years ago and was presented with the idea of taking Josie home with me just minutes before boarding the plane. The decision turned out to be easier than figuring out how to get a dog with “cage aggression” into a soft-sided carry-on bag.  Yet, I somehow accomplished it. She wouldn’t calm down and I ended up hiding her under a blanket on my lap for the entire trip home.  She’s become my constant shadow and writing companion.  She wasn’t feeling very well that day and I wanted to make her comfortable.  A pillow on my lap did the trick.  It’s amazing what we’ll do to accommodate our pets.

GC:  Where do you usually write?

JS: It varies.  There are lots of windows and sunlight in the kitchen.   I like to write there when my husband isn’t home.  Otherwise, I lock myself in my bedroom and office during the day.  It’s become a No Trespassing zone.

GC:  What time of day feels most productive for your writing?

JS: I work best in the morning.  Too many other things are on my mind by the time 3 pm rolls around.

GC:  What’s your favorite snack to have around when you write?

JS: Now we’re getting into dangerous territory.  As Mae West said, “When I’m good, I’m very good.  But when I’m bad, I’m better.”  On a good day, I’ll snack on almonds.  On a bad day, it’s definitely dark chocolate.

GC:   What’s the last book you finished in this spot, and what are you working on in the photo?

JS: The last book I finished was my narrative nonfiction Winged Obsession.  Right now, I’m working on a thriller that has nothing to do with wildlife.  At least, not that kind of wildlife.

So, with a dog, some almonds and some dark chocolate, you, too, can be a successful writer…In the meantime,you can find Jessica on her very attractive website, on her author Facebook page: and on Twitter.