Past 2007 Events of IWOSC - the Independent Writers of Southern California










Past Events

Our Past Events of 2007

Wonder what IWOSC has to offer you? Wonder what type of people come speak with us? Here are some of our most recent meetings and events.

Past 2007 General Meetings

PUBLISHING 101: Trends in the Book Biz

Monday, January 28, 2007
7:30 SHARP to 9 p.m. (networking follows the program)

The meeting:
"When did the rules change?" Many writers and journalists have pondered this question over and over about book publishing, which has completely undergone a metamorphosis in the past decade. The Internet, media consolidation, big-box vs. independent bookstores, the boom in self-publishing/online "e-books" and blogs, and Hollywood-style demographics, age discrimination, and target-audience issues have transformed what was once the most stable and reliable of media industries into a completely new -- and relatively uncharted -- landscape.

IWOSC kicks off 2008 with a panel created to untangle some of these knotty career issues. It includes experts from every checkpoint of modern publishing -an agent for one of Hollywood's most A-list literary and talent agencies and a top book publicist. Plus, two of LA's most prominent booksellers -- one anchored in the independent bookseller world while the other hails from one of the nation's premiere chain bookstores.

A sampling of issues to be addressed:
*The boom in non-fiction publishing over the last 25 years * why it is more difficult to acquire an agent and a major publishing house *the decline in traditional paperbacks * when preppy, buzzy, young first-time authors are paid top dollar -- where does that leave young and mature writers starting out? * What carries more weight? A fiction author's career, platform, and education or how well an author writes? * The trend toward specific markets such as gay/lesbian, black or Latino, chick or lad lit, etc. * What booksellers are looking for in new books and new authors * What types of books are considered hot for the foreseeable future and which ones are so last year.

Moderator, Telly Davidson


Top Ten Editors Talk Trends
Meet editors from Angeleno, Boulevard, Nurses World, and more!

Monday, November 19, 2007

The meeting:
Today, the most successful specialized magazines are taking a cue from their online competitors and are building “communities” of devoted readers.

Angeleno magazine Editor in Chief Degen Pener moderates a panel of editors from Boulevard, Gorgeous, and Nurses World. They'll discuss the Los Angeles magazine scene and opportunities in their publications for writers. Pener joined Angeleno in April. Previously, he did staff editing and writing stints at Entertainment Weekly, Details, Santa Barbara magazine, and New York magazine.

The editors will tell you how to get their attention and which departments are looking for fresh ideas. Each editor will describe what the magazine is broadly about, and what kinds of things it does cover and does not cover. They'll tell how to contact them, and will provide a calendar of upcoming topics.

Our panelists include:
Moderator DEGEN PENER began his career at New York magazine, where he was an associate editor of the "Intelligencer" gossip column. At age 25, Pener was tapped by The New York Times to write a column, "Egos & Ids," for the newly created "Styles of the Times" section. During his career, Pener has been editor at large for Elle and a staff writer for Entertainment Weekly. Among the personalities he's profiled are Oprah Winfrey, Drew Barrymore, Paris Hilton, are Jessica Simpson. He's also the author of "The Swing Book," a guide to the swing music revival.

SEAN O'MEARA is the editor in chief for Nurses World, a bi-monthly, hybrid glossy trade magazine distributed in California. Its editorial focus includes both professional/practice/clinical and consumer articles, with an eye to balancing home and work lives. Readers, mostly women, are interested in exercise and healthy lifestyles, travel, reading, and home design, along with health industry stories.

RASPIN STUWART is the owner and editor of both Boulevard and Gorgeous magazines. Boulevard is "the very finest source for where to go, what to do, and what you like" in Los Angeles. Its primary readership is women. Gorgeous tastefully celebrates gay, lesbian, trans-gender and alternative lifestyles. It focuses on West Hollywood, Silverlake, the San Fernando Valley, and Palm Springs. Both publications are large format, with colorful, distinctive covers, celebrity profiles, and a calendar of local events.


The Wonderful World of Audiobooks: The Hows, The Trends, The Possibilities

Monday, October 29, 2007
7:30 to 9 p.m. (networking follows the program)

The meeting:
Between appearing on The Oprah Winfrey Show and the time it aired, Grammar Girl blogger Mignon Fogarty had already created an audiobook, which quickly climbed to the top of iTunes’ best-selling books list.

Like Fogarty, audio is hot, and it’s constantly evolving. At IWOSC’s October General Meeting, learn about downloadable audiobooks, how audiobooks are handled at the major publishers, and how authors and others are creating their own audio products. Our speakers include former Audio Publishers Association President Jessica Kaye, Media Staff Studio President Jerry Maybrook, Hachette Audio Producer Dennis Kao, audio expert Ian Rich, and Marie Elena Rigo, creator of the Everyday Feng Shui instructional CD. Robin Quinn, an independent L.A. writer/editor, is the producer and moderator of this panel.

NOTE: This program includes IWOSC's annual State of the Organization meeting, and the Board will also briefly present the proposed budget for members' approval at the start of the event.

The panel:
JESSICA KAYE, a partner in the Beverly Hills law firm Kaye & Mills, represents publishers and writers. She is the founder of Big Happy Family, LLC, a digital distribution company for audio programming, as well as the founder of The Publishing Mills, an audio and literary publishing company that published nearly 20 titles each year. Kaye has produced two Grammy Award nominated works, including the Grammy Award-winning Best Comedy Recording, Crank Calls by Jonathan Winters. In 2005, Kaye co-edited the Bruce Springsteen-inspired anthology Meet Me Across the River, which she also licensed for audio. She’s a past president of the Audio Publishers Association, and has served as a member of the Board of Governors for the Los Angeles Chapter of the National Academy for Recording Arts & Sciences, West.

MARIE ELENA RIGO, M.A., is a Feng Shui expert, interior designer, and life coach based in Santa Monica, Calif. She is the creator of Everyday Feng Shui™, a groundbreaking instructional CD of life-changing tips, which has been featured in Redbook, Yogi Times and Conscious Life Magazine. Rigo teaches workshops for the Learning Annex, and major corporations including Amtrak and The Disney Store. She has filmed a TV pilot on feng shui for A&E and has appeared on World Talk Radio, KCSN-FM, Southern California Life and The Fine Living Network.

JERRY MAYBROOK is president and co-founder of The Media Staff studio of Los Angeles, specialists in audiobook recording. This studio is in demand by the major book publishers for their West Coast projects, and it was designed by leading acoustical engineer Jeff Cooper. Grammy Award-winning audiobooks recorded at the studio include George Carlin’s Brain Droppings and Sidney Poitier’s autobiography The Measure of a Man. Other voices recorded at The Media Staff include Gore Vidal, Jane Fonda, Michael Crichton, Ellen DeGeneres, Ray Bradbury, Jackie Collins, David Foster Wallace, Whoopi Goldberg, Paul Reiser, Anne Heche, Dr. Phil, and Nora Ephron. Maybrook has been in sound recording for over 30 years.

DENNIS KAO has worked in the audiobook industry for eight years, first with Time Warner Audiobooks, and now with Hachette Audio. Titles he has produced or supervised include Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point, James Patterson's Double Cross, and Gossip Girl read by Christina Ricci. Kao is president and co-founder of I Read Whale, Inc., a children's videobook company launching at the end of October. I Read Whale’s initial releases include The Ugly Duckling, read by Brooke Shields; Voyage to Lilliput, read by Cary Elwes; and Peter Rabbit, read by Patrick Stewart.

IAN RICH is an audio expert and speaker who has 20 plus years of experience in recording audio in many formats. In the music business, he’s worked with all the major labels, remixing artists such as Tom Jones, Chaka Chan, Aretha Franklin and Seal. In addition to producing many records and remixes, he has worked as an audio consultant and created many audio products for individuals and companies. Clients include human change expert Christopher Howard, e-zine queen Alexandria Brown, relationship advocate Mary Anne Comaroto and Silver Spoon Kids authors Jon and Eileen Gallo.


THE ART OF BOOK REVIEWS, hosted by Digby Diehl

Monday, September 24, 2007
7:30 to 9 p.m. (networking follows the program)

The meeting:
A top-notch panel of book reviewers moderated by Digby Diehl demystifies the steps involved in critiquing a work of literature: what they look for, what matters, and what qualities make literature resonate with the public. In addition, who is it that decides which books are reviewed? Panelists include Los Angeles Times Book Review critic Erika Schickel, Amazon reviewer Dr. John L. Murphy, literary fiction reviewer Edward St. John, nationally syndicated radio host Michael Dresser, and award-winning author and critic Amy Wilentz.

DIGBY DIEHL is one of the most trusted and successful literary collaborators in America. He is the founding editor of the Los Angeles Times Book Review, and was the first online book reviewer for Prodigy. Over his distinguished career, he’s been a literary and entertainment critic for numerous broadcast outlets. His book credits include entertainment autobiographies, including the New York Times bestseller Million Dollar Mermaid, actress Esther Williams’s life story, and Natalie Cole’s Angel on My Shoulder, a Los Angeles Times No. 1 bestseller. He penned the novel Soapsuds with actress Finola Hughes. Diehl has moderated IWOSC “Conversations” with Mariette Hartley and Sandra Tsing Loh.

The panel:

AMY WILENTZ divides her time between being a critic and an author. Her criticism and stories have appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Time magazine, The New Republic, Mother Jones, Harper’s, Vogue, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel & Leisure, The San Francisco Chronicle, More, The Village Voice, The London Review of Books, and many other publications. She is the author of The Rainy Season: Haiti Since Duvalier (1989), Martyrs' Crossing (2000), and I Feel Earthquakes More Often Than They Happen: Coming to California in the Age of Schwarzenegger (2006). She is the winner of the Whiting Writers Award, the PEN Martha Albrand Non-Fiction Award, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Rosenthal Award, and is also a 1990 nominee for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

She is the former Jerusalem correspondent of The New Yorker and a long-time contributing editor at The Nation. She teaches in the Literary Journalism program at the University of California at Irvine.

ERIKA SCHICKEL is a regular book critic and occasional opinion page contributor for the Los Angeles Times. Her reviews can also be seen in the Chicago Tribune and Bust magazine. She writes features for LA Weekly, LA City Beat, and In addition, her work has appeared online at,,, and she is a featured "Native Intelligence" contributor on

She is the author of You're Not the Boss of Me: Adventures of a Modern Mom, which is currently being developed as a television series. Raised in New York City, Schickel now makes her home in Los Angeles, where she divides her time between being a writer, a mom, and sometimes actress. Her website is

DR. JOHN L. MURPHY, a fulltime professor of Humanities at DeVry University in Long Beach, Calif. is one of the most prolific book and music critics to appear on He was ranked a “Top 1000” Amazon reviewer as of September 2006 and has logged upwards of 730 reviews. With a specialty in Irish literature, folk, and rock music, Murphy’s reviews can also be found in scholarly works such as The Irish Book Review, Irish Literary Supplement, and New Hibernia Review. On the Internet, more than three dozen of his articles and reviews can be found on The Blanket, a Belfast-based journal, and at, a digital magazine of world music.

While EDWARD ST. JOHN has made a career out of cataloging music and other information at various academic institutions such as Smith College, Loyola Marymount University, and Loyola Law School, he’s led a parallel life as a literary critic. He began reviewing literary fiction for the Library Journal in the mid-1980s. Additionally, he’s added Dow Jones, Salem Press, and Magill’s Literary Annual to his repertoire during the ‘90s.

MICHAEL DRESSER is a nationally syndicated talk radio host whose author-centric programs are heard from California to New York, and also abroad. On an average day, his radio show features eight authors. He has utilized his 25 years of experience and knowledge to create a media training and communications program on his show that gives writers the ability to bring their message home with confidence, clarity, and the relevance needed to intrigue the buying public, regardless of subject matter. According to Dresser, “if you sell the sizzle your book sales will skyrocket.” Visit Dresser’s website at


“Helping Others: Personal Stories and How They Can Make A Difference”

Monday, July 30, 2007

7:30 pm sharp (arrive early) to 9:00 p.m.

The Program:
Two largely unsung heroes, who have inspired and given hope to many, will receive well-deserved Lifetime Achievement Awards at IWOSC's July General Meeting.

Actress/Author Mariette Hartley is known for her tireless work with the American Society for Suicide Prevention. Comedienne/Author Marcia Wallace is a national spokesperson for Breast Cancer Awareness. In addition to their artistic accomplishments, they are generous with sharing their personal stories, in written and spoken word, in order to help others make changes in their lives.

For this IWOSC program, the pair will be interviewed by author and personality Digby Diehl. They will share what drew them to the writing life, and how their books and other written works -- along with their talent and Hollywood clout -- have helped make a difference.

Marcia Wallace has been making people laugh on television for thirty years. While her career includes the long running role as Carol the receptionist on "The Bob Newhart Show" and an Emmy-winning role as Ms. Krabappel on "The Simpsons" -- and four of TV Guide's funniest episodes in television history have featured Wallace -- her greatest success has been weathering her own stormy life. Her memoir, "Don't Look Back, We're Not Going That Way: How I Overcame a Rocky Childhood, a Nervous Breakdown, Breast Cancer, Widowhood, Fat, Fire & Menopausal Motherhood and Still Managed to Count My Lucky Chickens," shares those ups and downs.

Mariette Hartley is an Emmy Award-winning (and six times nominated) Best Actress currently appearing in the new FX series "Dirt." She has established herself as an enduring star on stage, in five television series, countless television movies, and more than a dozen feature films. Plus, of course, her famed stint with James Garner making TV commercials for Polaroid during the 1970s (View the commercials on YouTube.

Among recent projects, Hartley starred in Hallmark Channel's "Meet the Santas," and she has had a recurring role on "Law & Order: SVU." In 1990 her autobiography, "Breaking the Silence," was a bestseller in hard cover and paperback; it publicly chronicled her personal memories as a child in a home torn apart by family secrets, alcoholism, and depression. Hartley's new solo stage show, "If You Get to Bethlehem, You've Gone Too Far," in which she portrays eleven characters, is based on "Breaking the Silence." Hartley notes on her website: "Many of us get to heaven by backing away from hell."

Digby Diehl is a widely respected book reviewer who created the original Los Angeles Times Book Review, hosted the MSNBC Book Club, and was the first online book reviewer for Prodigy. He is also the noted author of 14 books, including the novel “Soapsuds,” written with Finola Hughes, and the co-author with Esther Williams of the New York Times bestseller, "The Million Dollar Mermaid," and other notable celebrity biographies.

During this evening, Gary Young will present the Lifetime Achievement Foundation's highest award to both Hartley and Wallace. Previous recipients include Ray Bradbury.

Going Green: Writing About, and For, the Environment

Monday, June 25, 2007

The Program:
Green Journalism and Green Marketing are going global, especially in the wake of the Oscar win for Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth." Our panel of experts will tell you how to tap into this marketplace, and how to turn hard-core science into readable, layman's English.

Please join Eco-author Sophie Heyman-Uliano and green documentarians Ty Carlisle and Zach Jordan, along with other media panelists, as they discuss such topics as sustainability, green lifestyles and environmental issues -- and how they have each developed a niche-writing marketplace in the green arena.

  • Green guru Sophie Heyman-Uliano is an author, yoga teacher, and actress based in Los Angeles. Heyman-Uliano teaches women about yoga, nutrition, and meditation. Previously, she was a theatre and television actress in England, performing with the Royal Shakespeare Company and in London's West End and in numerous British TV shows.

  • Five years ago, Heyman-Uliano developed a passionate interest in environmental issues, and radically transformed her life. She designed a lifestyle that was stylish and fun but also "green." Living in Hollywood and teaching many celebrities, she knew that women wouldn't compromise on their glamour and style, so she developed a lifestyle that jived with the "Hollywood" scene and yet was still environmentally friendly. The result was the soon-to-be-published book "Gorgeously Green," an eight-week guide for women that shows them how to live an eco-friendly life with fun, sophistication, and style. Heyman-Uliano also writes a "Gorgeously Green" column for the Larchmont Chronicle.

  • Producer Ty Carlisle of Prairie Starfish/Talking Evolution Productions has always considered himself to be an environmental/political filmmaker.  The age-old science vs. religion issue came up in Carlisle's first feature film; the documentary "Flock of Dodos: the Evolution-Intelligent Design Circus," which can be seen right now on Showtime. Carlisle is also the producer of over 30 short films; most notably "Shifting Baselines in the Surf," which played to standing ovations at a number of environmental film festivals such as LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability). He also produced the controversial environmental satire "The Tiny Fish PSA," which after three years is still on view nationally on cable and local broadcast stations.

  • Zach Jordan is a producer for, the world's first and largest video encyclopedia, where he produces segments on the environment and future technologies.  Most recently, some of his work may be seen as part of the "MSN Live Earth" project.  Prior to becoming involved with, Jordan worked as an independent filmmaker, writing and producing web-based content for multimedia companies and an array of stand up comics and performers hip to the power of Internet marketing and podcasting.  Jordan will return to Tanzania in August of 2007 to finish shooting his high-definition documentary "Carpe Kilimanjaro."

The panel moderator Julio Moran is an experienced journalist and teacher, and serves as executive director of CCNMA: Latino Journalists of California. Moran was a reporter for 14 years with the Los Angeles Times, where he was part of a team of reporters who won the 1984 Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service for a series on Latinos in Southern California. A Los Angeles native, Moran has taught journalism at USC since 1998 and at Cal State Northridge since 2005.

General Meeting: Agent Insider 2007: What’s New, What’s Tried & True, What They Want

Monday, April 30, 2007

7:30 pm sharp (arrive early) to 9:00 p.m.

The Program:
You have a strongly saleable idea and writing you’ve polished until it shines. Now you want to explore the realm of agents. What still holds true from the dog-eared books on agents that you have on your shelf? What’s changed in today’s milieu and with the electronic environment? What’s hot today? A stellar panel of agents, including former Los Angeles Times Book Review editor Steve Wasserman (now a New York agent), will share insider views. Join us and become armed with the most up-to-date information.

Meet the panelists:

  • Steve Wasserman is now director of Kneerim & Williams at Fish & Richardson and manager of the firm’s New York office. While at the L.A. Times as Book Review editor, Wasserman was also a principal architect of the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. He's in town this month for the Festival and will join us the next night. Wasserman’s literary interests are eclectic, and include history, memoir and biography, narrative nonfiction, science, and popular culture.

  • Betsy Amster heads her own literary agency in Los Angeles. Before opening Betsy Amster Literary Enterprises in 1992, she spent 10 years as an editor at Pantheon and Vintage. In a profile in the ASJA newsletter, Amster is said to have a no-nonsense style and a whimsical sense of humor. Her clients include best-selling writers María Amparo Escandón (“Esperanza’s Box of Saints”) and Elaine Aron (“The Highly Sensitive Person”). Her agency looks for literary fiction, quirky mysteries and thrillers, memoirs, narrative nonfiction, self-help, parenting, business, etc.

  • Paul S. Levine wears two hats, as a literary agent and lawyer. He represents authors, the sale of motion picture and television rights to books, and film and TV writers. Previous projects include fiction by Edward Cline (the Sparrow Hawk series), “The Dog Ate My Resume” (by Zack and Larry Arnstein), and the made-for-TV movie “Santa Jr.” (Hallmark Channel). His literary/book interests include self-help, how-to, politics, sports, and commercial fiction (i.e. thrillers, mysteries, “soap opera” novels [a la Danielle Steele], and literary fiction). In film, his interests lie with romantic comedies, thrillers, historic epics; and for TV, he focuses on true-life movies, docu-dramas, and series (both dramatic and comedic).

Robin Quinn, an award-winning nonfiction ghostwriter and book editor from Los Angeles, moderated.

General Meeting: Once Upon A Tome: the Art of Storytelling

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Program:
Storytelling is the ancient art of conveying events in words, images, and sounds, usually characterized by an active dialogue between the storyteller and an audience. Today there is a surge of interest in storytelling, as evidenced by the dozens of storytelling festivals throughout the country. But it is also a useful skill to learn. Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, for page or stage, a strong, narrative story will keep the reader interested and bring your writing to life.

A panel of professional storytellers and creative narrative specialists will share their secrets and techniques for finding your writing voice and applying the art of storytelling to your work. They'll also explore the marketplace for writers as storytellers.

Meet the panelists:

  • Stacie Chaiken is a writer-performer and the founder/artistic director of the "What's the Story?" solo performance workshop Los Angeles, which presented its first festival of new full-length solo plays in February 2007. Chaiken's new play, "The Dig: Death, Genesis, and the Double Helix," is scheduled for a Los Angeles production in 2007.

  • Penny Post is a writer, speaker and coach of all who would practice the verbal arts who has also performed as a professional storyteller for 20 years. In 1990 she began teaching her own workshops about storytelling and its transition from the campfire to the conference table. Post has also served as an officer of Toastmasters International.

  • The oft-honored author of hundreds of magazine articles and more than a dozen non-fiction books, Marvin J. Wolf is the generalist as consummate storyteller. Writing imaginatively and authoritatively on subjects ranging from business to crime, from broadcasting to grantsmanship, and from ethics to technology, his common denominator is people in their infinite variety. Wolf is the author/screenwriter of the bestsellers "Fallen Angels" and "Where White Men Fear To Tread," and the movie "Ladies Night," which aired on the USA Cable Network in 2005.

  • Ina Hillebrandt teaches memoir writing and literacy workshops for adults and children that focus on storytelling, finding your own voice, self-expression, and performing your stories. Hillebrandt is the author of “Pawprints,” a collection of essays about the animals in her life, and “How to Write Your Memoirs: Fun Prompts that Make Writing, and Reading, Your Life Stories A Pleasure.” In her prior business life, she used storytelling in the corporate world as a Fortune 500 consultant.

  • Terrie Silverman, MFA, is a writer, solo performer and educator who has been writing about her life and performing it since 1995. She has been presented at various theaters and art festivals, including MOCA (the Museum of Contemporary Art), the Getty Center, the HBO Workspace, KPFK Radio, UCLA’s World Arts and Cultures Department, Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center, Highways, F.A.R. (Foundation for Arts Resources), the Azatlan Center for International Women’s Day, and Track 16 Art Gallery. Among her career highlights is “4 Women for Women,” which Silverman produced and performed, along with Laraine Newman, Melanie Chartoff, Ann Randolph, and host Julia Sweeney. Silverman has also worked with The Bread and Puppet Theater, and has died on-stage with Sir Ian McKellan.

Moderator Gary Young's plays have been produced throughout the U.S. and Europe, at the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, the White House, the Smithsonian, and other schools and colleges. "Interruptions," an offbeat but sensitive portrayal of grief and loss, originally produced at the Kennedy Center, ran at the Stella Adler theatre in L.A. His one-person show, "On Hold: the Myth of Male Maturity," opens soon.

General Meeting: Flavors of Life: Writing for the Travel, Health, Fitness, and Food Markets
IWOSC Panel Discussion

Monday, February 26, 2007

The Program:
Lifestyle writing offers independent writers a wide selection of writing styles and topics. Like ingredients found in flavorful dishes, the words of lifestyle writers can enhance their readers' savory exposure to one or more fields. For this program, a melange of seasoned writers and editors who have successfully bridged more than one style of writing will discuss opportunities in the various lifestyle genres, synergies between the different topics, and how to adapt your writing to connect with readers of particular lifestyle markets.

Our panelists include former Gault Millau Guidebooks editor James Burns, an expert on food, wine and travel writing, health writer and editor Elisabeth Deffner, Executive Editor, FMAware Magazine, published by the National Fibromyalgia Association (NFA), and award-winning food and travel writer/editor Barbara Hansen, with others to be announced.

Meet the panelists:

  • After a decade working editor jobs at various sports and sporting goods publications (California Bicyclist, SportStyle, Actiona Sports Retailer, Bicycle Guide, and Triathlete), Roy M. Wallack became an independent writer of health, fitness, and travel stories, and athlete profiles, for many national magazines (Outside, Men's Journal, Playboy, Bicycling, Triathlete, and others). He also writes a regular biweekly fitness gear column in the Los Angeles Times Health section, and frequently contributes other features to the Health, Calendar, and the now-defunct Outdoors sections of the paper. 

    An endurance cyclist and runner, Wallack has toured the Soviet Union by bike and has completed the Eco-Challenge, the 1,200 km Paris-Brest-Paris bike ride, the 400-mile Trans Alp Challenge mountain bike race, the 2002 Badwater Ultramarathon, and other endurance events. Wallack is the author of The Traveling Cyclist, a how-to book featuring 20 of his bike trips around the world, and the co-author of Bike for Life: How to Ride to 100, a game plan for super-fit longevity through cycling, which is in its fifth printing.

  • Devin Alexander is a veteran in the fight against obesity and she's winning the war with her unique approach to healthy cooking. Having maintained a 55-pound weight loss for over 15 years, she lives and eats her message: you don't have to deprive yourself to be fit and healthy.

    Alexander has shared her secrets for unbelievably decadent, yet healthy foods through frequent appearances on “Good Morning America,” “The View,” “The Biggest Loser,” Discovery Health, HGTV, USA, Style Network and others shows and networks, and through over 100 magazine features in Prevention, Women's Health, Shape, and Healthy Cooking, to name a few. Alexander’s first cooking show, "Healthy Decadence with Devin Alexander," will start airing on Discovery Health Channel on March 29.

    Alexander has served as culinary advisor to Men’s Fitness magazine and is currently the cooking expert for Women's Health magazine. Her recently released cookbook, Fast Food Fix, was featured as an editor’s top pick in USA Today. And in October she released The Biggest Loser Cookbook.

    For the IWOSC “Flavors of Life” panel, Alexander will discuss how she transformed her chef secrets into articles and story ideas, and how she works with TV producers, print editors, and publishers. (You can learn more about Devin at

  • Lowell Thomas Award-winning food journalist James Burns is a one-man-band of food and travel writing in print and on the Internet. He created the award-winning Cyber Kitchen weekly magazine, and has edited and/or written several hundred articles in Self, Westways, L.A. Style, Los Angeles magazine, Los Angeles Times Magazine, the Philadelphia Enquirer, Newsday, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and the Miami Herald, among other publications. He was the Editor-in-Chief of "Underground Wine Journal" which garnered six award nominations under his watch. He was Senior Editor at the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, where he edited "FoodStyles," "World's Fare," "Berger On Wine," and Cooking Light magazine’s syndicated material. Now an independent writer and publishing consultant, Burns has also been the editor for various books, including Cooking Without Fat and Baking Without Fat, both books by George Mateljan which have sold a combined 670,000 copies so far.

  • Along with her stewardship of FMAware Magazine, Elisabeth Deffner also is the editor of NFA's e-newsletter, FMOnline. As an independent writer, Deffner has contributed to various national and regional publications, including the Los Angeles Times, the Orange County Register, American Profile, Catholic Digest, and National Geographic KIDS. Her topics have ranged from Gulf War Syndrome to in vitro fertilization and frozen embryos to recovery from sexual abuse. She will provide valuable insight into how to pitch to editors, what health magazines are looking for from independent writers, and any differences between web-based and non-web-based content.

  • Food is Barbara Hansen’s profession and passion. Founder, editor and writer of, Hansen brings to her cyberspace readers mouth-watering self-tested recipes, information about traveling to faraway places, and explorations of the various ethnic foods found in Los Angeles. For many years, Hansen wrote food features, restaurant reviews, and travel articles for the Los Angeles Times. In 2004 she won a James Beard award for an article on mezcal in Oaxaca. Mezcal is a distilled liquid made from the hearts (pinas) of various maguey (agave) plants. She was also nominated previously for a Beard award for an article on cooking with Chinese medicinal herbs. Hansen has written for Bon Appetit, Saveur, and Cuisine magazines. So far, she's produced five cookbooks: Cooking California Style, Good Bread, Barbara Hansen's Taste of Southeast Asia, Southeast Asian Cooking, and Mexican Cookery. She will discuss what it takes to develop food and travel websites, as well as how to approach food and travel editors with story ideas.

General Meeting: Unraveling Mystery Writing

Monday, January 29

The Program:
Need a clue about how to write a great mystery? Please join IWOSC in January as its panel of expert mystery novelists and screenwriters unravel the mysteries of crime and mystery writing.

The panelists discussed the rules of the genre and their own paths to success. Our panelists also discussed the future for the genre, especially how the Internet will be involved.

Mystery writing, perhaps more than most writing genres, tends to stick to certain guidelines that readers expect. Readers want an intellectual challenge, a crime that fits the criminal, a strong and plausible plot (with or without twists, but no twins, please), and a rational solution. But the detective and the setting make or break the crime! Our panelists’ protagonist detectives include a plus-size paralegal and a feisty female management consultant, a former newspaper reporter and a soap opera actress.

The moderator for this program is DIANA JAMES, a Los Angeles-based literary manager and vice president of Sisters In Crime/LA. She is the co-chair for the upcoming No Crime Unpublished writers conference scheduled for June 10, 2007. She is the wife of one of the panelists, Darrell James.

Meet the panelists:

  • PATRICIA SMILEY’s debut mystery novel, “False Profits,” which introduced Los Angeles businesswoman Tucker Sinclair, received a starred review from Booklist and was a Book Sense recommendation. Her follow-up novel, “Cover Your Assets,” was a Romantic Times Top Pick. Both novels were Los Angeles Times Bestsellers. “Short Change,” her third novel in the series, is set for release in July 2007.

  • SUE ANN JAFFARIAN is a paralegal and the author of the Odelia Grey mystery series, which features a middle-aged, plus-size paralegal as a humorous amateur sleuth. After being previously self-published, the first two books in the series, “Too Big To Miss” and “The Curse of the Holy Pail,” were republished by Midnight Ink. Jaffarian has just completed the third book in the series, “Mother Mayhem,” which is scheduled for release in February 2008. “Too Big To Miss” has been optioned for television. Jaffarian also writes general fiction and short stories.

  • DARRELL JAMES is the author of “Body Count: A Killer Collection,” an anthology of fifteen mystery short stores. He has written over 24 works in the short story or novel form. His work has appeared in numerous mystery magazines, including Futures Mysterious Anthology Magazine, Armchair Aesthetic, and most recently in the book anthology, “LAndmarked for Murder.” James is the 2004 winner and a prior year finalist of the Fire to Fly Competition. He is a member of Mystery Writers of America (MWA) and a board member of Sisters In Crime/LA.

  • ROBERT S. LEVINSON has written many best-selling books, including “Ask a Dead Man” and “Where the Lies Begin.” He is also the author of the Neil Gulliver and Stevie Marriner series of mystery-thriller novels, which to date consists of “The Elvis and Marilyn Affair,” “The James Dean Affair,” “The John Lennon Affair,” and “Hot Paint (The Andy Warhol Affair).” Levinson's short stories have appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine (EQMM), and Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. His 2005 story "Death Conquers All" was voted an EQMM Readers Award, making it the third consecutive year he has been honored by readers.

    Levinson was a newspaperman before entering the field of public relations, where his company serviced numerous international performers, including Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Fleetwood Mac, The Who and The Osmonds. He wrote and produced the MWA's 2003 and 2004 Annual Edgar Awards show and the inaugural Thriller Awards show of the International Thriller Writers organization which led to an invitation to produce ITW's second Thriller Awards scheduled for July 2007 in New York. He has served on the national and Los Angeles boards of Mystery Writers of America. Among his various professional memberships, he is a member of the Writers Guild of America/West, Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Hollywood Radio and Television Society, International Thriller Writers, and Sisters In Crime.

  • THOMAS B. SAWYER is a novelist, screenwriter, and playwright. He was head writer/producer-showrunner for the hit CBS series “Murder, She Wrote,” for which he wrote 24 episodes. He has written nine network TV pilots, 100 episodes, and has been writer, producer or showrunner on staff of 15 network series. He is co-librettist/lyricist of “Jack,” an opera about JFK. He wrote, directed, and produced the cult film comedy, “Alice Goodbody.” His first mystery-thriller was “The Sixteenth Man” and his next book, “No Place To Run,” will be published in 2007. Sawyer has been nominated for an Edgar and an Emmy. He's taught writing at UCLA and other colleges and universities, and he also teaches at numerous writers conferences. In addition, Sawyer is the co-creator of Storybase software. Both his latest book, “Fiction Writing Demystified,” and Storybase are Writer's Digest Book Club Selections.

Bookseller Linda Bivens of Crimetime Books will be selling the panelists' books at the meeting.

To read more about the panelists you can also visit the Los Angeles chapter of Mystery Writers of America site or the Sisters In Crime site.

~~~~~~~ Past 2007 Seminars ~~~~~~~

Saturday, November 17, 2007
10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Seminar:
Writing Memorable Screenplays: Idea to Successful Script

Powerhouse writing partners, Marvin J. Wolf and Larry Mintz, explain the subtle dynamics behind writing a successful screenplay. Several of their projects have aired on the small screen since their collaboration began in 2001. Between them, the men represent more than 70 years of professional writing.

Marvin J. Wolf has written professionally since 1965. In addition to authoring or co-authoring a dozen nonfiction books, his articles have appeared in magazines and newspapers in 132 nations around the world. Wolf's honed his storytelling talents while serving as a U.S. Army infantryman, Ranger School instructor, basic training drill instructor, combat photographer, public affairs officer, communications-electronics officer and company commander. Later, he worked extensively in creative advertising positions for Foot Cone, Wells Rich Greene, Northrop, Transamerica, and Avco before becoming an independent writer in 1978.

In partnership with veteran screenwriter Mintz, Wolf took up screenwriting in 2001. Their script "Ladies Night," based on a chapter of Wolf 's 1988 book "Platinum Crime," aired in February 2005 on the USA Cable Network, as did "The Pierre Heist," based on another Wolf book. Wolf's books include "Buddha's Child" (St. Martin's, 2002) the wartime memoirs of former South Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Cao Ky, "Where White Men Fear To Tread "(St. Martin's, 1995), the autobiography of Native American activist and film actor Russell Means, and "Beating The Odds" (Scribner's, 1991), the life story of ABC Television founder Leonard Goldenson. In addition, he's written several true-crime anthologies, including "Fallen Angels, Chronicles of Los Angeles Crime and Mystery" (Ballantine, 1986), long considered a minor classic of its genre. Wolf is a charter member of IWOSC and has served four terms as president.

Larry Mintz has written for the screen since 1976, and is credited with more than 50 produced teleplays for both episodic and long form, and has supervised, produced or contributed to some 200 other productions. He has also worked extensively in feature films. Mintz began his career working for Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin as a staff writer and story editor on  "Sanford and Son," starring Redd Foxx. He moved to Paramount in 1979 to create, write, and produce "Angie," starring Donna Pescow, Robert Hayes and Doris Roberts. While at Paramount, he wrote several episodes of "Mork and Mindy," starring Robin Williams and Pam Dawber. In 1983, he wrote and produced " High School USA," an "NBC Movie of The Week," starring Michael J. Fox and Anthony Edwards. He later worked on "Mr. Mom," an MGM film starring Michael Keaton and Teri Garr and on "Mannequin," starring Andrew McCarthy and Kim Cattrall.

Mintz went to Lorimar (later acquired by Warner Bros.) in 1989. Until 1993, he wrote and produced for several series, including "Family Matters" and "Step by Step," starring Suzanne Somers and Patrick Duffy. In 1993, Mintz produced and wrote for the Columbia-TriStar television series " A League of Their Own, " produced by Penny Marshall. He also found time to write " Angels in the End Zone," an "ABC Wonderful World of Disney" presentation and to serve as a consultant to Fox-Columbia TriStar's long running hit " Married with Children," starring Ed O'Neill, Katey Sagal, and Christina Applegate. He also co-wrote half a dozen feature film scripts for Paramount, 20th Century Fox, Columbia TriStar, Imagine Entertainment and Warner Bros. Since 2001, his fruitful collaboration with Wolf has yielded several produced scripts. The partners have several other projects in development.


Saturday, October 20 , 2007
10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

The Seminar:
Media Expert Michael Levine Shares Secrets of the Super Successful

Back by popular demand, Michael Levine breaks out another dynamic presentation, divulging how to think like the super successful. As a longtime entertainment publicist, he’s been the favored choice among A-list entertainers such as Barbra Streisand, Michael Jackson, Nancy Kerrigan, Demi Moore, Jon Stewart, Bill O'Reilly, David Bowie, Prince, Jon Voight, Charlton Heston, Fleetwood Mac, George Carlin, Suzanne Somers, Paul Reiser, among many, many others.

Levine's talk gives you the tools to immediately and permanently super-charge your career. In more than 20 years as founder of Levine Communications Office, he has cultivated several effective tactics for success, which can be applied to many types of business.

Move than motivate, he’ll teach you how to structure your career like a super-success. His Guerilla P.R. (Harper Collins) is the most widely used text around the world for beginner public relations courses. His most recent book. Broken Windows Broken Business (Warner Books) uses the metaphor of broken windows to describe the small problems in business that escalate into serious consequences. Levine’s book offers a road map on how companies can fix broken windows promptly.

Levine has made the rounds of practically every major national TV and radio show as a media expert. He’s been frequently seen on The Today Show, Nightline, Good Morning America, CNN, Fox News, ABC News, MSNBC, PBS, and more. His quotes have appeared in prestigious print outlets ranging from Time Magazine to the Los Angeles Times and from Newsweek to The New York Times. He sends out a lively breaking news “e-lert” that reaches thousands of influential readers daily.


Saturday, September 15 , 2007

Ann Convery, a speaker, author and media coach, is back by popular demand with her latest program. Convery’s clients range from former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan to top professionals in the fields of politics, medicine, law, business, health, and beauty. For this IWOSC seminar, she’ll share her tips on how to convey your specialty and position yourself as an expert resource to the media -- in 60 seconds or less.

Become a valuable “edutainer” with an arsenal of talking points that can be used effectively during an interview or any media opportunity and discover why passion is the secret to presence. Mindy Bradish, Director of Membership and Events at the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, thought her patter to chamber members was working until hearing Convery’s 15-minute speech. Bradish hired Convery for an additional two-hour meeting with the entire staff. “I realized that while I could get away with my pitch, she could teach me to take it to the next level…From that two-hour meeting, I took away ten different sound bites and a polished elevator speech, which I started using that very day,” says Bradish.

Convery has brought her method to other venues. She’s taught "Presentation Skills" at UCLA Extension, and "The PR Power Panel" at the Learning Annex in L.A. and New York. Convery has been interviewed in Elle, Cosmopolitan, ABC-TV, Maxim, Fitness, Woman’s Day, First for Women, Entrepreneur, Presentations Magazine, Bulldog Reporter, and many other media. She has written several columns on presentation skills for the Los Angeles Business Journal.

For 17 years Convery has prepared clients for CNN, 60 Minutes, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Vogue, People, Self, and other outlets. Convery's second book was just picked up by Harper Collins. She’s created "Speak Your Business in 30 Seconds or Less," and offers private training and seminars on "Dollarize Your Service, Double Your Profit," as well as other themes that can invigorate your writing career.


Saturday, July 21, 2007

What do YOU think? Ever since 16th-century writer Montaigne created the essay form, scribes and littérateurs have experimented with the boundaries of non-fiction prose. Today, the display of private experience as public intimacy through memoirs, one-person stage performances, and personal essays has become an increasingly important part of the writing business. From magazines to such book series as "Chicken Soup for the Soul," personal essays have a home in today's literary marketplace. In this IWOSC seminar, author Marvin J. Wolf will discuss both style and sales, helping participants identify their own unique experiences worth writing about.

After earning a battlefield commission for his achievements as a combat photographer in Vietnam and serving thirteen years in the U.S. Army, Wolf worked briefly as a business communicator, then became a freelance photojournalist, advertising copywriter, magazine writer, and nonfiction author. Wolf's first book, "The Japanese Conspiracy," appeared in 1983, followed by a dozen more, including the best-sellers "Fallen Angels" and "Where White Men Fear To Tread." In addition, his byline has appeared in hundreds of magazines and newspapers around the world. Recently Wolf turned to screenwriting. His first produced film was "Ladies Night," which aired on the USA Cable Network in 2005.


Businesses Reaching Businesses — In Your Words

Saturday, April 21, 2007

10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

The Seminar:

You write brochures, flyers, press releases, and reports for your business clients. In this hands-on, interactive seminar, you will learn how to optimize your clients' business-to-business communications.

Instructor Trish Lester teaches techniques that will help improve your clients' communications to other businesses as well as directly to the consumer.

Lester is a specialist in corporate communications with more than 20 years' experience. As a writer, designer, and project manager, she provides a range of PR and marketing communications assistance to corporate and professional clients. She is expert at creating cost effective, quality print materials that reach a well-defined audience and call for a specific, measurable response.

Brochures, advertisements, direct mail and newsletters are her primary areas of expertise. She is also experienced in developing website content. With extensive background in healthcare & fitness, international trade, food, and finance, Lester has won dozens of awards from professional organizations for achievement in the areas of employee communications, collateral materials, publications, design, writing, and PR programming. She is also a singer/songwriter! Learn more about Lester at

We would like to encourage seminar participants to submit a sample of their business writing-for-hire, and benefit from Lester's expert critique.

After you sign up for the seminar, you may send (via USPS or other post) your previously-produced printed materials for critique IN ADVANCE, along with a few details, to help Lester evaluate:

> Who the intended audience was
> How the piece was distributed
> What type of response was desired from the recipients
> What response was received (if known)
> How the material relates to other materials/programs/services of the same business (if applicable)


IWOSC Saturday Seminar:
Screenwriter's Survival and Success Guide

Saturday, February 17, 2:00 to 4:30 p.m.

The Seminar:
You wrote a screenplay. Now learn how to get a good agent, manager, producer, and deal.

Agent Victoria Wisdom has represented screenwriters as diverse as 2007 Oscar nominee writer/director Deepa Mehta ("Fire," "Water"), Ernest Thompson ("On Golden Pond"), and Christopher McQuarrie ("The Usual Suspects").

In this workshop, she will help you understand how to write scripts competitively for the studios, target trends, understand box office, and choose commercial subjects.

Learn how to collaborate and develop your material with development execs, producers and financiers, how to have a meeting with a studio executive that can hire you, and how to find and what to look for in your relationships with directors and actors.

Most importantly, how do you create longevity in a career that begins with the first sale?

Instructor Victoria Wisdom has been an agent and partner at the literary agency Becsey Wisdom Kalajian (BWK) for fourteen years. At BWK, she has represented the writers and directors of such films as "The Red Violin," the British Oscar and NYC Film Critics winner "Love & Death on Long Island," and the Berlin Film Festival Grand Prize winner "Italian for Beginners." BWK agency clients have included such hits as “Crash,” "Million Dollar Baby," and "The Fugitive." Wisdom also sold the hit CBS drama series "Criminal Minds" and the film "Camille," starring Sienna Miller.

In addition to Mehta, Thompson and McQuarrie, Wisdom has also represented director Bryan Singer ("X-Men"), Doug McGrath ("Bullets Over Broadway"), and Oscar winner Seth Winston ("Session Man"). Prior to working at BWK, Wisdom was an agent at International Creative Management and Agency for the Performing Arts.

~~~~~~~ Past 2007 Workshops ~~~~~~~

Ongoing Intensive Writing Workshop
by Oliver Mayer

Oliver Mayer has been leading an ongoing writing workshop for playwrights, screenwriters, novelists, poets, short story writers, and journalists have long been welcome to start with any next session.

This ongoing workshop was held the second and fourth Tuesday evenings of each month from 7:30 - 9:30 p.m. in Westwood. IWOSC members $30 per month; Non-members: $40 per month.

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~~~~~~~ Past 2007 Parties ~~~~~~~

IWOSC holds and Annual Summer Party and Annual Winter Party.

IWOSC Annual Holiday Party

Wednesday, December 5
7:30 – 10 p.m.

Smeraldis in the Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los AngelesJingle bells are ringing at the Biltmore. Follow the tradition of presidents, celebrities, dignitaries – and IWOSC writers – by kicking off the holiday season and celebrating history, architectural splendor, and creativity at the beautiful Biltmore Hotel!

Once again, we’ll enjoy a lavish custom pasta bar, with chefs cooking up pasta dishes with all the trimmings. Dinner includes salad, dessert and beverages. No-host bar. After dinner, we’ll toast this year’s IWOSC dignitaries with special service awards. You can join the fun with raffles and door prizes.

Arrive at 5:45 p.m. before the party starts and join a docent-led tour of the Biltmore!
The behind-the-scenes tour includes the ballrooms, public areas, indoor pool, and the Presidential Suite! Space is limited so pleased reserve soon. You must have a party reservation to take the hotel tour.

CRendezvous Court in the Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles.ome early for no-host cocktails if you’re skipping the hotel tour.
Join your IWOSC friends in the Rendezvous Court (the “old lobby”), one of the most beautiful spaces in the city
Early-arriving guests can visit other downtown sites: the Main Library’s grounds, sculptural steps, and seven-story atrium. Pershing Square with its skating rink and life-size statue of Beethoven; the forecourt of the Oviatt Penthouse building with its Lalique elevator doors.
Hardier souls can walk to MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art).
Holiday shoppers take note: MOCA and nearby Disney Hall have great gift shops!



Saturday, August 25
4 to 7 p.m.
McGroarty Arts Center, 7570 McGroarty Terrace, Tujunga, California 91042 — Map

Don't miss the annual IWOSC Summer Party! It's your opportunity to rub elbows with some of Southern California's most interesting writers, while you enjoy a light repast and quenching drinks in a unique historic setting. And we'll toast IWOSC's Board of Directors as they are installed into office for the new term.

This year's party is being held at the landmark stone residence of John Steven McGroarty, a playwright, Los Angeles Times columnist, author, historian, elected Congressman, and Poet Laureate of the State of California from 1933 until his death in 1944.

Nestled in the Verdugo foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains in Tujunga, this impressive stone structure was built in 1923 and is also known as "Rancho Chupa Rosa." Like many nearby homes constructed in the period, much of the property was constructed with rocks found in the soil or from the nearby Tujunga Wash. The home features a large veranda with a spectacular view of surrounding oaks, the sprawling city below, and the majestic San Gabriel Mountains to the north. Today, the McGroarty Residence is filled with antiques, McGroarty's personal library, and mementos of California's colorful history. It is a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument, and has been a community arts center since 1974. It is currently operated by a volunteer Board of Directors, the Friends of McGroarty Arts Center (F.O.M.A.C.), whose mission includes support for both the visual and literary arts.

IWOSC loves to introduce you to great places of local literary history, like the McGroarty Residence, but the Summer Party ALSO introduces next term's Board of Directors, who will be installed as part of the afternoon's program. We'll also be honoring a few of our own. Please do join us at the festivities.

The menu will include delicious light summertime fare, wine, soft drinks and yummy desserts.


~~~~~~~ Past 2007 IWOSC Reads Its Own ~~~~~~~

IWOSC Reads Its Own is a special event that takes place twice a year.

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This page was last updated on Saturday, January 31, 2009 at 5:58 PM