Please join us for an evening of poetry: “Her House and Other Poems” by Donna Marie Merritt on Friday April 25th at 7:00 p.m.

Please join us for an evening of poetry with Donna Marie Merrit as she shares her book,”Her House and Other Poems” at 7:00 p.m. on Friday April 25th.

About the book:


Her House is a culmination of fine observation. Donna Marie Merritt reflects on those details that so often pass by undetected, yet play an enormous part in our lives. Along the way we examine our fragile bargain with nature—and how close we are to chaos when nature reminds us just who is in charge. Long countryside walks, a good glass of wine, family and friends, growing older… all these Merritt celebrates with gratitude, prompting us to truly see what surrounds us, reminding us that memory is precious and sweet.

To see the video click here.

About the author:

Merritt3Donna Marie Merritt is the author of Her House and Other Poems (2013, Stairwell Books). She is also the author of the Poetry for Tough Times series: What’s Wrong with Ordinary? Poems to Celebrate Life (2012), Cancer, A Caregiver’s View (2011), and Job Loss, A Journey in Poetry (2010), all from Avalon Press. Donna’s work has appeared in magazines, school reading programs, and American Library Association’s Book Links. Her poems have been included in several anthologies: Caduceus, volumes 9 and 10, by the Yale Medical Group (2012, 2013); Olives, Now and Then: poems in honor of Donald Hall by the Connecticut Poetry Society (2011); and Dear One: A Tribute to Lee Bennett Hopkins by the National Council of Teachers of English (2009). In addition, Donna is the author of 15 math and science books for children.

Flip-Flops After 50 comes to Byrd’s Books on May 2nd with Cindy Eastman!

Join us at Flip-Flop Night at Byrd’s Books! Celebrate Spring, wear your favorite flip-flops and join us as we laugh and discuss Cindy Eastman’s new book, “Flip-Flops After 50: And Other Thoughts On Aging I Remembered to Write Down.”

About the book: Flip Flops

“Flip-flops After 50 “will amuse, enlighten, and provoke readers to think about the topics that affect all of us. Who hasn’t dealt with the emotions from family events, stress from lousy jobs, or the bittersweet feelings when the kids leave home? Not to mention body image, high school reunions, and parenting. Eastman’s conversational style and easy humor tackle the sublime and the ridiculous, the sacred and the profane. After a certain age–and it’s no secret that it’s 50–Eastman argues that attitudes change for the better. Making decisions gets easier, although there’s no guarantee that life does. Even so, her writing allows us to take a look at our own issues with the reassuring handholding of a confidante. (April 8 release)

Advance praise:

“Cindy Eastman’s Flip-Flops After Fifty: And Other Thoughts on Aging I Remembered to Write Down is as funny, warm, and inviting as its title. Filled with the kind of everyday humor that made Erma Bombeck everybody’s favorite columnist, Eastman’s wit and generosity reach out to embrace the reader. With every laugh, there’s a moment of recognition and a sense of camaraderie.

—Dr. Gina Barreca, professor of English and feminist theory and author of It’s Not That I’m Bitter

About the author:

Cindy Eastman’s work is informed by her ability to be an observer as well as a participant in her life. With her dry sense of humor, she is able to address a variety of topical subjects and deliver an insightful analysis that’s both provocative and amusing. Currently she coordinates a supervised visitation service with her husband in his counseling practice and facilitates diversity and anti-bullying trainings for the Anti-Defamation League. She also teaches a writing course for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the Waterbury campus of UConn. Eastman makes her home in Connecticut with her husband, Angelo, and their cat. She is working on a second book when not babysitting her grandson.


Meet the Author & Honey Tasting with Marina Marchese on May 3rd at 5:00p.m.

Byrd’s Books welcomes Marina Marchese for a fun evening of honey tasting! Marina

A leading authority in the world of honey tasting, Marina Marchese has dedicated her life to honeybees and to educating chefs, foodies and beekeepers across the country about the culinary delights of single-origin honey. Marina has shared her inspirational journey as a beekeeper in her international best selling book “HONEYBEE Lessons from an Accidental Beekeeper” and now the groundbreaking concept of terroir and tasting and pairing honey in her recent book “The Honey Connoisseur” (co-written with Kim Flottum, editor of Bee Culture magazine). Honey will be served and available for purchase.   



Meatless All Day: Recipes For Inspired Vegetarian Meals by Dina Cheney

Byrd’s Books is thrilled to host Dina Cheney on Saturday May 3rd at 2:00 p.m. as she discusses her new book from Connecticut publisher Taunton Press!

About the book:  Meatless All Day Cover

The 85 vegetarian—including more than 10 vegan!—recipes included in MEATLESS ALL DAY all wield high-impact ingredients like caramelized onions, black bean sauce, nuts, beans and lentils, tempeh, mushrooms, and more that add “meaty” flavor and texture to dishes of all kinds. With these ingredients as the foundation, dishes are hearty, flavorful, and super-satisfying.

Peppered throughout with cooking tips, serving suggestions, and ideas for turning vegetarian dishes into vegan fare, MEATLESS ALL DAY will become a staple in every kitchen.

About the Author:

Dina Cheney, a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education, is the author of Year-Round Slow Cooker, Tasting Club, and Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Salads.  She also develops recipes for several magazines, including Fine Cooking, writes monthly columns for Everyday with Rachael Ray, and contributes to many other food and lifestyle publications. Dina lives in Connecticut.  Follow her at, on Facebook (dinacheney) and on Twitter @DinaCheney.

Marcie Cuff felts with families on Thursday May 8th at 7:30p.m.

We are so happy to spend a family-friendly evening with Marcie Cuff, author of “This Book Was a Tree” on Thursday May 8th at 7:30. From Marcie: “I’ve been imagining my event at Byrd’s to be a sort of book signing and “crafty night out” for grownups.” We think that sounds great!!!

From the author:

This Book Was a Tree is sort of a self-help book for adults on how to slow down and reconnect with the outside world. Though the writing is fun and quirky, and the projects within it are simple and green, it covers the science behind formidable local and global environmental issues. Its audience is the practical, educated middle-aged person making responsible purchases and favoring ethical products. Although the projects within it are very family-friendly and collaborative, but the text is not written as a children’s book.”This book was a tree

About the book:

At no time in human history have we been more disconnected with what lies outside our front doors. Within just a century, our relationship with our surroundings has transformed from one of exploration to one of disassociation. In This Book Was a Tree, science teacher Marcie Cuff issues a call for a new era of pioneers–not leathery, backwoods deerskin-wearing salt pork and hominy pioneers, but strong-minded, clever, crafty, mudpie-making, fort-building individuals committed to examining the natural world and deciphering nature’s perplexing puzzles.
Within each chapter, readers will discover a principle for reconnecting with the natural world around them, from learning to be still to discovering the importance of giving back. With a mix of science and hands-on crafts and activities, readers will be encouraged to brainstorm, imagine, and understand the world as inventive scientists–to touch, collect, document, sketch, decode, analyze, experiment, unravel, interpret, compare, and reflect. (April 1 release)

About the author:

Marcie Cuff has an academic background in studio art, evolutionary biology and animal behavior, and an MA in Secondary Science teaching. Now a nature columnist for a regional newspaper, The Hudson Independent, she has written professionally for most of her life, and runs Mossy, a blog highlighting innovative family projects, hands-on parenting commentary, and related photography, and listed as one of Babble’s top 50 Mom Craft Blogs of 2011. She works as a garden coordinator at a local elementary school, and organizes and maintains a community-based vegetable garden.

We welcome Nan Rossiter back to Byrd’s Books to sign her latest book, “Under a Summer Sky” on Saturday May 10th at 2:00 p.m.

Byrd’s Books welcomes back Nan Rossiter as she signs her new book, “Under a Summer Sky” on Saturday May 10th at 2:00 p.m.- just in time for Mother’s Day!!

About the book:

New York Times bestselling author Nan Rossiter transports readers to Cape Cod with a warm, compelling story of family, new beginnings, and finding the courage to love honestly and well

The old Cape Cod house that Laney Coleman shares with her minister husband Noah and their five boys is usually brimming with cheerful chaos. There’s nothing fancy about the ancient kitchen or the wooden floors scuffed by the constant parade of activity and the clicking claws of their two Labrador retrievers. It’s a place to savor the sea breeze wafting through the windows, or sip coffee on the porch before another hectic day begins. This summer, life promises to be even busier than usual, because Noah’s younger brother, Micah, wants to hold his upcoming wedding on their property.

Under a Summer

Though thrilled that Micah has found happiness after past heartache, Laney is apprehensive about having her home turned upside down. She has other concerns too her youngest son is being bullied at school, and Noah’s father is not the robust patriarch he once was, in mind or body. As the bride and groom’s large, close-knit families gather, there will be joyful celebration but also unexpected sorrows and revelations, and a chance to store up a lifetime of memories during the fleeting, precious days of summer.

About the author:

Nan Parson Rossiter is the author / illustrator of several award-winning books for children including Rugby & Rosie, The Way Home, and Sugar on Snow. She lives in rural Connecticut with her husband, two handsome sons, and a yellow re triever named Mul ligan. When not working, she enjoys hiking with her family and vacationing on Cape Cod.

Bette Isacoff discusses “Star Crossed”

Byrd’s Books is happy to welcome Bette Isacoff as she discusses her new book, “Star Crossed” on Saturday May 31st at 4:00p.m. If you grew up in Westport, you might even recognize someone…….

About the book:

Set in New England in the late 60s, “Star Crossed” the poignant, funny, and inspirational chronicle of an interfaith courtship at a time when interfaith love was “exotic” and “forbidden.”

When Bette met Richard in 1968, he was a seventeen-year-old Jewish kid. She, at twenty-one, was a Catholic college senior doing a practice-teaching assignment at his high school. Seven weeks later, they were engaged. To say their two-year courtship was ill-received is an understatement. After graduation, Bette did not have the option of getting her own apartment. Instead she returned home, to parents determined to break up the unlikely couple. She was denied all contact with Richard. He was told to find a Jewish girl. The harder their families tried to pull them apart, the tighter they clung together.

This couple faced not one impediment to marriage, but four: religion, age (at a developmental stage when it is significant), education level, and the tenor of the times—a culture in which Jews and Catholics rarely married “outside.” Throw into the mix outraged parents, scornful siblings, snickering friends, legal obstacles, uncooperative clergy . . . and still, they persevered.  Star Crossed

In the last decade, 45% of all U.S. marriages have been between people of different faiths. Today, there are a number of books about the technicalities of blending an interfaith family. Yet this is the only one written from the perspective of a blissful, forty-three year marriage that has withstood all the naysayers and skeptics. Cross-generational as well as cross-cultural, Star Crossed speaks to young men and women considering or entering an interfaith relationship; it challenges the old order espoused by their parents; and it is a nostalgic look back to a simpler time. 

About the author: 

Bette Isacoff has been a high school English teacher, juvenile probation officer, and computer programmer. She is also a registered nurse. Bette bred, trained, and exhibited Champion, Group, and Best in Specialty Show winning Finnish Spitz under the Kitsuna (reg.) prefix. She is credited with bringing the breed from total obscurity in this country to recognition by the American Kennel Club. Her writing has appeared in the AKC GAZETTE, (where she was also a breed columnist from 1988-1991), DOG FANCYGolden Ages magazine, and The National Observer. She was the creator and twenty year editor of The Finnish Line (monthly newsletter of the Finnish Spitz Club of America), and is a professional member of the Dog Writers Association of America. Isacoff obtained her BA, and MFA in Creative Writing, from Albertus Magnus College. She and her husband reside in The Berkshires.

David K. Leff returns to read selections from his new novel in verse, “Finding the Last Hungry Heart”

David K. Leff returns on Thursday June 5th at 7:00p.m. with his latest novel in verse, “Finding the Last Hungry Heart”. As David stated, “It’s a project I’ve worked on for thirty-five years.”

About the book:  Finding the Last

The story is a confluence of the present and the 1960s.  Caleb Dempster, a disillusioned refugee from that turbulent era makes his living operating a municipal landfill, dealing with the waste of a society he’d once hoped to reform.  One night Dempster catches some teens climbing the landfill fence in the hope of spotting a bear that’s feeding on the garbage.  The kids’ interest in Dempster’s past enables him to see some value in experiences that had only tormented him with disappointment.  There’s some small town politics and violence, but ultimately the kids enable Dempster to triumph by finding value in what he had thought was a wasted youth of unfulfilled promises.

About the author: David K. Leff

David K. Leff, author of numerous essays, columns, and stories for the Hartford CourantAppalachia and other publications, is a former Deputy Commissioner, Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection. He is a member of the Collinsville Historic District Commission and was chairman for twenty years, is a former volunteer firefighter, and a Boy Scout merit badge counselor.

The author of three nonfiction books and three volumes of poetry, David has read his work, given book talks, and lectured on literary and environmental topics throughout Connecticut and beyond.  He is on the board of Directors of the Riverwood Poetry Series.

Janet Ettele has a new book to share with us June 7th at 4:00p.m.

Byrd’s Books welcomes back Bethel author Janet Ettele (on June 7th at 4p.m.) with the third book in her “How Life Works” series. Janet will discuss her newest title, “How Patience Works” and give us some insight to her writing process.

About the book:

Things are looking up for Troy. Summer’s around the corner, he’s wrapping up his spring semester at the community college, and the dynamics with his stepmother Maureen are at least more polite than they were a few months ago. He knows he’s lucky to have met Grace and Abe who, through their kindness and shared wisdom, have helped him begin to turn his life around. He’s in love with Maggie and knows he’s lucky she loves him in return even after he’s told her some of the darker things from his past. He’s determined to clean up his act and grow into the man he wants to be. With the things he’s learned from Grace and Abe that means developing his wisdom and offering across-the-board compassion, including to Maureen.

About the author:

Life is filled with chance meetings, and there are some that change your life in the most unexpected ways. I’ll start by telling you about the chance meeting I had with John Cerullo, a publisher and fellow student at a Tibetan Buddhist Center.  JKEttelePortrait-300x200

It was 2010 when John and I had a conversation about a shared vision to present the Buddhist teachings in such a way that non-Buddhists could benefit, and without implying a need to become Buddhist. Several months later I received an email from John describing his concept for a series of books based on The Six Perfections taught in Buddhism. He didn’t seem concerned that I am not an authority on the subject. Nor did he seem concerned that I had never written fiction, created characters, plot, or dialog. Accustomed to life’s unexpected turns, I took a giant leap of faith, a lot of deep breaths, and began the journey of writing the series.

Writing on a topic as profound as The Six Perfections isn’t something I take lightly, and my comfort level has undeniably been stretched by the work involved. I have benefited tremendously by the challenging and deeper study required, and I am extremely fortunate to have the help and guidance from excellent teachers where I study at Do Ngak Kunphen Ling (DNKL) in Redding, Connecticut.  To begin, I took the adage “write what you know” to heart. For my first attempt at creating a character I used my own life to form the outlines that are colored in by the distinct and unique character you will meet in Grace. Like Grace, I was divorced when my sons were very young, and with a degree in music I was able to earn money by teaching piano from home. And like Troy, the character whose journey we follow through the series, it was only through some stroke of luck that the right people were there to help me find my way when I was young and my life was at loose ends.

Dreaming of George Harrison

As a student at Berklee College of Music in Boston, I studied music composition. For me, music is all about painting pictures with sound.  I feel writing is about the same thing, only with words. I have found that elements of music composition such as theme, phrasing, rhythm, and dynamics are common elements in writing words. It is an awareness of these shared elements that helps guide my writing.

When His Holiness the Dalai Lama visited DNKL in October 2012, I had the ultimate good fortune to present him with copies of my first two books, How Generosity Works and How the Root of Kindness Works. While I don’t presume he has read the books, just knowing the Dalai Lama has held them in his hands is more thrilling to me now than was the possibility of my fantasy as an eight-year-old that, if only I could meet him, George Harrison would hold my hand and fall in love with me.

Humor Writing Workshop With Judith Marks-White Saturday June 14th at 2:00p.m.

Byrd’s Books is  offering this very special workshop on humor writing not to be missed! Judith Marks-White will conduct a workshop on Saturday June 14th at 4:00p.m. Call the store to reserve a spot (203) 730-2973.

Ms. Marks-White has been involved in the design and instruction of creative writing programs in Connecticut, and has taught writing for many years. She was an adjunct Professor of English/Writing at Norwalk Community College for many years where she won Teacher of the Year Award for 2005 “for imparting wisdom with contagious enthusiasm” and where she continues to teach a course in the Art and Marketing of Humor Writing. 

Cover Seducing HarryJudith M-W

Ms. Marks-White is the recipient of numerous writing awards from the Connecticut Press Club, Matrix: Women in Communications, and the New England Press Association (NEPA).  She received a first place award for Best Humorous Personal Column from the National Federation of Press Women and continues to receive award recognition for her columns from the Connecticut Press Club.   In March of 2003, she was honored as one of the Ruth Steinkraus-Cohen Outstanding Women in Connecticut celebrating her achievement and dedication to public service through the art of column writing.  She considers her awards special as it emphasizes her love of the satirical essay as she entertains her audience with her take on the human condition and the small foibles we all experience in our daily lives.  She continues to carry the theme of humor into her novels.    

Judith Color PhotoMs. Marks-White turned her attention to novel writing.  Seducing Harry was her debut novel.  Her second novel, is Bachelor Degree. Both are published by Random House/Ballantine.  She is presently working on her third novel. Ms. Marks-White lives in Connecticut.