Writers' Rendezvous: December update

Only three courageous souls braved the icy weather to read their work at the WritersMic this month, but today’s Rendezvous had 14 attendees. Yay! It was held at the Fairfield County Story Lab, where we were hosted by the owner, Carol Dannhauser. Members admired the shared writing spaces available,  as we sat around drinking coffee and eating festive cakes and cookies. A person could get used to this! Here’s some of what we discussed:

Photo: Catherine Sebastian

Join extraordinary memoirist Joyce Maynard at the  Fairfield County Writers’ Studio for a one-day Master Class on personal storytelling on Tuesday, January 7, from 10-2:30 pm. ($125) /10-4 pm. ($175). The numbers are limited to 20, and you should register immediately if you’re interested, since places are going fast. Writers who wish to attend must submit, in advance of the class, the first 750 words of a work of first-person memoir/essay, which will form the basis for a significant portion of the day. While the words do not need to be perfect, this workshop is not for people who are brand new to the genre. Submit work by January 3, 2020, to info@fcwritersstudio.com, with the subject title Maynard/followed by your name. The Master Class will conclude at 2:30 pm Writers interested in continuing the work may meet with Joyce from 2:30 to 4 pm. and may submit a longer piece of work—up to 1700 words—for more in-depth discussion. This workshop addendum is limited to four participants, though all writers from the earlier session are welcome to stay and observe for free.
510lsmefgjL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Member Bette Bono will be talking about her new book, The Better Angels, at the Norwalk Library on January 12, from 2-3:30 pm.
On January 17, from 10-5pm EST, you can attend a virtual conference called Your Breakout Book. Now, you can learn how to successfully publish, market, and publicize your book! This one-day conference includes sessions with four industry professionals, as well as integration sessions so you can create plans to put everything you’ve learned into practice. One of the speakers is publishing and marketing guru Jane Friedman. Check the website to see if this is for you. $49
41rk-2dqvoL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_On January 18, from 11-1:00pm, yours truly will be joining Fairfield University’s MFA Director and author Sonya Huber (Pain Woman Takes Your Keys) and incoming MFA director, author and Fairfield University English professor Carol Ann Davis at the Pequot Library in Southport CT. We’ll be chatting about the highs and lows of the publishing world, and answering your questions. Details here. Bring lunch if you like. 😊
RSL hatLast year, the Westport Library organized a Wearable Books exhibit, where artists created things to wear from books about to be recycled. I bought this wonderful Robert Louis Stevenson hat there. And early next year, the Pequot Library is seeking submissions for its first Edible Book Festival. Delicious!
images (1)imagesWhat’s an edible book? Anything made of food and inspired by a book. They want family-friendly creations that will be a feast for the eyes — the punnier, the better. Take a look at these examples to get the idea. Then decide on your edible book and register to enter between December 1 and January 31. $8 registration fee. Winners will receive a $25 gift certificate from The Pantry in Fairfield. Bring your creation to Pequot Library on Friday, January 31 between 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. See all the edible books on display, vote for your favorites to win, and celebrate Take Your Child to the Library Day on Saturday, February 1.
Westport Writers Workshop is offering a panel on publishing: Traditional Publishing, Self-publishing, and Everything in Between: What’s Right For You? at the Westport Country Playhouse on Saturday, February 1, from 2-4pm. The panel will feature local writers Allison Dickens, Jessica Speart, Libby Waterford, & Heather Frimmer. $25
The Connecticut Press Club’s annual Awards contest is open for submissions for work published during the 2019 calendar year. To enter the contest, follow the directions on the contest site. The early deadline to submit entries — and avoid a one-time additional fee of $25 — is January 28. The final deadline for books is February 4 and the final deadline for all other entries is February 11. There are 61 categories including 17 just for writing (news, fiction, poetry, etc) and others for websites, blogs, design, advertising, PR and even speeches. Email CTContestDir@charter.net with questions about the contest. And email ctpressclub@gmail.com if you would like to be a judge.
Member Libby Waterford, President-elect of the Connecticut Romance WWriters Association, is giving an online workshop entitled: High Concepts and Tropes: Stories that Sell on Saturday, February 22, from 2-4pm. And she’s offering a second one, Conflict in Contemporary Romance on Saturday, March 7, from10-12pm.
Meanwhile, Westport Continuing Ed is offering two series of six-week Creative Writing workshops, taught by Marc Lee from February 25-March 31, and then from April 21 to May 26. A very good value at $129 per session. The course is designed to help those with an interest in writing to better their craft across any of the creative writing genres. Writers of all experience levels in poetry, creative non-fiction, personal essay, fiction, flash fiction, and any other genre of writing are welcome, and bringing in works-in-progress is highly encouraged. Register at the link above.
Authors Publish has a list of 25 magazines looking for book reviews. If you’d like to get published, writing book reviews is a good way to increase your online presence and to make connections within your genre. They also have a great article on the ten major publishing trends of 2019.  Not all of it is encouraging, but we must soldier on!
Member Kara asked for help in formulating a query letter and was offered several suggestions. Among them; check Writers Digest for examples of successful queries, read Marilyn Allen’s book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Book Proposals and Query Letters, and here’s an article with a step-by-step guide.
Have a great holiday season, and I’ll see you in the New Year!

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