Sunday, March 27, 2011

Liberty States Fiction Writers Conference

Last Saturday, March 19th, I went to my first writers’ conference with my dear friend and writing partner Tina Moss. I wasn’t sure what to expect and was somewhat nervous, especially about a couple of pitches that we were scheduled to do.

Liberty States Fiction Writers Conference ( is in its second year and is rapidly gaining in numbers and popularity. Yet it was intimate enough for me to get a hang of what it’s all about without getting overwhelmed.

We attended a number of informative and interesting workshops, including “How to Create Complicated Characters” taught by Debra Mullins, and “Kick Butt Heroes: Using Martial Art in Your Action Scenes” presented by K.M. Fawcett and Melinda Leigh.

The highlight of the day (besides pitching, which I’ll talk about below) was the keynote speaker at the luncheon – MaryJanice Davidson. She was extremely funny and engaging and had us almost rolling on the floor in laughter the entire luncheon. If you have a chance to hear her at a conference or another event, you absolutely must!

(Oh, and of course I can’t forget that, after telling Tina that I usually don’t win anything at these events, I won a book basket at the reception raffle! The kicker was that the basket I won was called “paranormal and erotic romance”, pretty much the one I was interested in!)

Now let’s talk a bit about the pitching part. The two pitches I did at this conference were my first face-to-face ones. I was extremely nervous and was convinced my mind will go blank the second I sit down in front of an agent. Tina Moss kept encouraging and building me up – so all credit for me not freezing up, and actually getting through the pitches in one piece, goes entirely to her! We had decided to pitch to both agents together, since the novel we were pitching was co-authored. I loved how we were able to play off of each other when pitching and answering questions. It was definitely a very good first pitching experience and I’m thankful to the Liberty States Fiction Writers conference for giving us this opportunity.

While we’re on the subject of pitching, please check out Pitch University, fast becoming the leader in teaching writers how to pitch, and how to make your pitch the best and most effective it can be:         

You will find many resources, including articles, before and after pitches analyzed by agents and much, much more. You will also have an opportunity to submit your own pitch for analysis, or just for practice!

 Next up – RWA conference in June! 

Which conferences are you planning to attend this year? What have your experience being with conferences in general and pitching in particular?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Devastation in Japan

Watching the devastation caused by the 9.8 magnitude earthquake (the strongest in living history) and the tsunami that followed in Japan, my heart is breaking. Yet I remain glued to the images on the TV.

You can see some of these images here:


On top of the nuclear emergency that has been declared (which brings memories of Chernobyl that my family has lived through) and the still constant threat of aftershocks and further tsunami activity, the Japanese people have a long road ahead of them to recovery.

Please do whatever you can do help out. Go to to donate. You can also text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 to Japan's emergency relief.

Our karate organization, Japan Shotokan Karate Association (JSKA) has been able to reach the head of the organization, Abe Sensei and he is ok, as are the rest of our friends. JSKA-USA is planning our own fundraising efforts and will deliver the information once its available.

My friends, please pray for Japan and all the people affected by this terrible tragedy.                    

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