Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Liberty States Fiction Writers Conference

My dear friend and co-writer, Yelena Casale, reminded me with her wonderful blog at that I have not yet written about my experience at the Liberty States Fiction Writers conference at the Renaissance Woodbridge Hotel. Shame on me. *slaps hand* I’ll be rectifying that now...
Liberty States Fiction Writers
The Liberty States Fiction Writers conference is hosted annually and only in its second year. Yet, easily over one hundred writers from across the country attended the event. Workshops, pitch sessions, giveaways and a luncheon with the best chocolate cake ever all played a part in making the conference great!
The pitch sessions featured several epublishers, which highlighted the changes in the industry. Both the agent and editor panels discussed new publishing strategies including the rise of the electronic market. Bottom line: Print books are not dying relics. eBooks are not the enemy. Both have a place and both are valuable.
The keynote speaker at the luncheon, MaryJanice Davidson aka MJ, took the cake – well not, literally, I wasn’t giving up that cake for anyone, but you get the idea. She is hilarious! If her books are even half as good as her speech, then she gained a fan in me. Check her out here
If you live in the tri-state area, I’d highly encourage you to attend next year. Lots of fun! The Renaissance Woodbridge Hotel, the location for the event, is also gorgeous. It’s perfect if you are coming from further away and need a place to stay for the conference.
Renaissance Woodbridge Hotel
You can find more about the conference and the Liberty States Fiction Writers organization on their site

Friday, March 18, 2011

How You Can Help Japan

By now, you've probably heard about the disasters that struck Japan. Pieces of my heart break each day as the bad news continues to pour in. I don't want to weigh down this post with words. I only wish to say Japan is a wonderful country and very dear to me. I lived and worked there in 2007. If you'd like to read about my happy times there, CLICK HERE.

The people are suffering and need help. I urge you to donate whatever you can to these reputable organizations:

American Red Cross 


Today, hold your loved ones a little closer. Give thanks to the good things in your life and please keep the Japanese people in your thoughts.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Celebrating Women

March is Women's History Month &
Today is International Women's Day
Group of Women Around a Table
In honor of this very special time, I'm celebrating the women who've shaped my life.

Granny Bird
When I was a child, my maternal grandmother read my favorites books BIG BIRD VISITS GRANNY BIRD and HELLO KITTY to me until she had them both memorized. She worked in the public library system for twenty-seven years and has taught me a lifelong love of reading.

Gone but never forgotten. She pushed me out of the nest very young, so I’d be forced to fly. I hope I make you proud.

Aunt Nor
Always welcomed me into her home no matter what the circumstances and pushed me to go for my dreams even when life seemed like a nightmare.

For over twenty-five years, this friend has stuck with me through heartache and triumph. If I possess even half of her good nature and kindness, I'd consider it a priceless commodity.

Pushing me to be the best version of myself in life, love, writing and martial arts. Without her, I never would have made the leap into the adult fiction world from my days as a children's writer, nor would I have attained my black belt in Shotokan karate.

Melissa, Sara, Marie, Rebecca, Emily and Irina (karate mom)
& all my karate girls
My karate sisters and friends whose love and support mean more to me than words could ever express.

Aunt Nicole, Shannon, Loretta, Betty, Caitlin, Nancy 
& all the women in my family
Thank you for showing me the true meaning of the word "family".

Jen, Coley, Maryann, Laura & all my friends
Friendship truly makes life worth living. It'd be forever rainy without you all.

My Fellow Women Writers (especially the #writersroad ladies)
Never give up your dreams. Never stop expressing yourselves through the written word. And never let fear or self-doubt rule you.

I am very blessed to know, love and respect these amazing women. So the question is...

How will you honor the women in your life?