Writers Read at Fallbrook Library Presents

Conney D. Williams and special guest Natalie Patterson

Celebrating National Poetry Month


Conney Williams National Poetry MonthDate: Tuesday, April 11, from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.

Location: Fallbrook Library, 124 S Mission, Fallbrook

Conney D. Williams, a poet, actor and performance artist, originally from Shreveport, Louisiana, is a favorite at Writers Read. He’s with us this month to share new works and celebrate the power of the written word.

Conney’s first collection of poetry, Leaves of Spilled Spirit from an Untamed Poet, was published in 2002. His poetry has also been published in various journals and anthologies including Voices from Leimert Park; America: At the End of the Day; and The Drumming Between Us. His collection Blues Red Soul Falsetto was published in December 2012, and he has released two new poetry CDs, Unsettled Water and River&Moan, available on his website.

Natalie Patterson National Poetry MonthNatalie Patterson is a Los Angeles-based poet, teaching artist and artrepreneur, dedicated to changing the world one poem at a time. Natalie starred in the web series “That’s What She Said” produced by SoulPancake and Darling Magazine. She collaborated with Sephora, resulting in the video “Wake Up Call” produced by Sephora University. She has traveled the country teaching and performing at universities, colleges and high schools. Poetry is the lens she sees life through, which supports her work as a teaching artist. Natalie leaves no topic untouched from inspiration to social justice and everything in between.

Conney and Natalie’s books and collections on CD will be available for sale and signing.

Join them—and bring your favorite poem, dark and dreary closet-writing, your randy limericks, whatever makes you happy—to celebrate with a room full of folks who know that poetry is not dead in the USA.

For more information, contact Kit-Bacon Gressitt at kbgressitt@gmail.com or 760-522-1064.

Writers Read at Fallbrook Library Presents

David Putnam

on Tuesday, March 14, 2017

reading and discussing

The Vanquished, a Bruno Johnson novel


David Putnam The VanquishedPreceded by open mic for original poetry and prose

Date: Tuesday, March 14, from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.

Location: Fallbrook Library, 124 S Mission, Fallbrook

The Vanquished (Oceanview Publishing, February 2017) is David Putnam’s fourth novel in his Bruno Johnson series. The best-selling author has put a 31-year law enforcement career to good use in his bad boy cop hero, and this latest installment is as thrilling as the previous three, The Disposables, The Replacements and The Squandered.

Putnam will read from his latest book and discuss his writing life. His novels will be available for sale and signing.

Learn more about Putnam and the Bruno Johnson series here.


For more information, contact Kit-Bacon Gressitt at kbgressitt@gmail.com or 760-522-1064.

Writers Read Presents Rocco Versaci

Join Writers Read at Fallbrook Library on February 14

Featuring Rocco Versaci

reading and discussing his memoir

That Hidden Road

Preceded by open mic for original poetry and prose


Rocco VersaciDate: Tuesday, February 14, 2017 from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.

Location: Fallbrook Library, 124 S Mission, Fallbrook

Rocco Versaci‘s That Hidden Road is a funny, bittersweet and sometimes aching story of loss and recovery. It recounts the author’s bout with cancer, fractured family, and cross country cycling quest in search of self—illustrated with Versaci’s comics.

Versaci grew up in the Chicago suburb of Downers Grove and is the product of an Italian-American family, too much TV, and countless books. He currently lives in San Diego, where he is an English professor at Palomar College.

In addition to teaching composition, creative writing and literature (including comics), he is the co-advisor for the school’s award-winning literary journal, Bravura. He is also the author of This Book Contains Graphic Language (Bloomsbury, 2007), and his writing has appeared in The English JournalThe International Journal of Comic ArtMidwestern Gothic, and the Georgetown Review.

That Hidden Road won a Rocco Versaci2015 San Diego Book Award for outstanding memoir. He has two sons, two bikes, and only a few regrets.

That Hidden Road will be available for sale and signing.

For more information, contact Kit-Bacon Gressitt at kbgressitt@gmail.com or 760-522-1064.



Writers Read Presents “An American Genocide”

Author Benjamin Madley

will read from and discuss

An American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe


Date: Tuesday, January 10, from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.

Location: Fallbrook Library, 124 S Mission, Fallbrook

UCLA Professor Benjamin Madley is an historian of Native America, the United States, and genocide in world history. His first book, An American Genocide, was published by Yale University Press.

Between 1846 and 1873, California’s Indian population plunged from perhaps 150,000 to 30,000. Madley’s deep research of California Indians under United States rule has produced the first full account of their government-sanctioned genocide. This history provides important context to recent successes in protecting Native sacred and culturally significant sites, such as the Gregory Canyon Landfill. The prospect of more such battles looms, and it is ever more important that communities understand the historical relationship between California’s Native Americans and the U.S. government.

The professor’s presentation will be followed by a Q&A with the audience. The evening concludes with book sales and signing, and An American Genocide will be available at a discounted price. The book has won the 2016 Heyday Books History Award and acclaim from multiple publications, including, The Nation, The Los Angeles Time, The New York Times and Kirkus Reviews.

There will be no open mic at this reading.

For more information, contact Kit-Bacon Gressitt at kbgressitt@gmail.com or 760-522-1064.

Writers Read Presents Susan Carol McCarthy

Reading and discussing her Cold War-era novel

A Place We Knew Well

Preceded by open mic for original poetry and prose

Date: Tuesday, December 13, from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.

Location: Fallbrook Library, 124 S Mission, Fallbrook

mccarthy-susan-carolSusan Carol McCarthy is the award-winning author of three works of literary fiction, Lay That Trumpet In Our Hands, True Fires, and A Place We Knew Well, plus the non-fiction Boomers 101: The Definitive Collection.

place-we-knew-well-cover-artIn A Place We Knew Well, McCarthy digs into the sociological affects of the Cuban Missile Crisis on Americans.

On October 19, 1962, The United States and the Soviet Union are at a stand-still and so is the Avery Family. The town of College Park, Florida is buzzing with gossip about the traffic at McCoy Air-force Base and Wes Avery, a World War II veteran and former bomb-dropper, can’t help but assume the worst—the United States is on the brink of catastrophe. In this intimately gripping novel, readers are brought into the 13-day period of panic, fear and uncertainty that was the Cuban Missile Crisis, the emotional repercussions of which were incredible and yet, the impact on the psyches of everyday citizens largely forgotten. With A Place We Knew Well, McCarthy seeks to remind us.

McCarthy’s debut novel has been widely selected by libraries and universities for their One Book, One Community and Freshman Year Read programs, and incorporated into school curricula in twenty-nine states and six countries. Although each of her novels was inspired by true historical events in her home state of Florida—a series of shocking race crimes, notoriously corrupt small-town politics, a week of military-imposed terror—McCarthy is best known for creating muscle-and-blood characters caught at the flashpoint when the larger political becomes intensely personal, and for her original blend of “fact, memory, imagination, and truth with admirable grace” (The Washington Post). Visit her website for more information.

A Place We Knew Well will be available for sale—at a special reduced rate for the holidays—and signing.

For more information, contact Kit-Bacon Gressitt at kbgressitt@gmail.com or 760-522-1064.


Writers Read: Parenting a Transgender Child

Hillary Whittington, author of Raising Ryland:
Our Story of Parenting a Transgender Child with No Strings Attached

Tuesday, June 14, from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

124 S. Mission, in the Fallbrook Library Community Room

parenting transgender childForty-one percent of transgender respondents to a survey, conducted by the Williams Institute at UCLA, reported having attempted suicide.

That’s almost ten times the rate of the overall U.S. population.

But statistics are just that, numbers, data without emotion or character—unless you have a personal connection.

Consider this: San Diego County lost four transgender or gender-nonconforming children to suicide in 2015, four we know of: Sage David, Taylor Alesana, Kyler Prescott and Emmett Castle. This makes the 41 percent disturbing, perhaps frightening—devastating for those who loved them.

For one local mother of a transgender child, such statistics have been motivating. That 41 percent, perhaps more than anything else, drove Hillary Whittington, a San Diego County resident, to write Raising Ryland: Our Story of Parenting a Transgender Child with No Strings Attached (William Morrow, February 23, 2016). Part memoir, part instructive lessons, Raising Ryland tells her family’s story of her son’s transition from female to male.

“Just even reading about [the suicides], it just kills me,” Whittington said in an interview. “I know we’re so lucky. A lot of people have attempted suicide. They’ve been through so much—even I can’t understand what it means to be transgender—but I can do my best to try to understand. I’ve read memoirs and talked to a lot of [transgender] people and I have friends, but I don’t know what it’s like for them.”

Yet Whittington does know much more than most parents. She has to—for Ryland’s sake. She’s become a passionate advocate for her son and an ally of the transgender community, yet her book speaks only for Ryland, her family, for herself. It recounts her doubts, familial conflicts, the turmoil of Ryland’s gradual revelation, and her fears for him. Born with the body of a girl and the heart and mind of a boy, Ryland eventually communicated this to his family explicitly. When they were able to accept it, they helped him to begin transitioning, with a boy’s haircut and all the accoutrements of a playful male child. They posted a YouTube video about their story, with the hope of enlightening others. And Ryland spoke at a San Diego LGBT event.

Now eight, he is well loved and admired. But it is what goes on outside accepting circles that puts transgender children most at risk, from unspoken rejection to outright bullying.

“People just don’t understand,” Whittington said. “There’s a lot of curiosity about it, a lot of fear—they fear what they don’t understand. I’m sure from the outside it seems like this crazy thing that we did [allowing Ryland to transition at his age]—‘Oh my gosh, what’s going on inside that home?’—just a huge curiosity by the average family that hasn’t been through it. But I think they do want to understand it. We’re all curious about things we don’t know. Hopefully, it’s for the right reasons. If we don’t expose the truth, people will never understand.”

Whittington strove to help people better understand, but she struggled with the exposure Ryland and the family had already received. While queries about reality television shows poured in, in response to their video, she wanted to protect Ryland from that level of scrutiny; to educate, not satisfy undue or hostile curiosity.

“As far as our family was concerned, I felt a book was the way that I wanted to explain things, the platform that I thought was more educational, the least invasive. Ryland just wants to be a kid. I want to protect him from what’s going on in the world.”

And Whittington knows in order to protect Ryland, change is essential.

“I want people to read my book who wouldn’t typically pick up a book about an LGBT topic. I’m actually hoping that Bill O’Reilly reads my book and that some of the people who typically wouldn’t care to understand this, get a little glimpse into my world, what it’s like in my shoes. I also want trans parents to read the book, because I don’t want them to feel that they’re alone. But I really hope for the bigger majority, because that’s what’s going to make change. There will be people who will criticize it, but hopefully I can change a couple minds with this book.”

Join us Tuesday, June 14, in the Fallbrook Library’s Community Room, for a lively discussion with the author. Raising Ryland will be available for sale and signing.


Need some help? 

The Trevor Project provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people, ages 13 to 24. Call the Trevor Lifeline at 866-488-7386.