Monday, August 26, 2019

MY MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW: Travel Journalist Judith Fein's Taboo-Busting Book of the Dead

"Communicating with the dead has been a secret part of my life for many years." –Judith Fein

Judith Fein’s fourth deep travel memoir, HOW TO COMMUNICATE WITH THE DEAD AND HOW CULTURES DO IT AROUND THE WORLD, invites us along on her decades of investigations and explorations of the final frontier: Death.
For most of her life, Judith Fein has seen and heard dead people. Not all the time, thank goodness, or it would not leave much time for this prolific journalist to write about her soul-searching globetrotting with her ever-skeptical photojournalist husband, Paul Ross. "Judie and Paul" are the "Nick and Nora" of the travel adventure-supernatural set. She can see a ghostly figure in the middle of nowhere and believe it to be a specter. He can be right next to her, eyes huge, and afterward admit “maybe” it was real. Their yin-yang bonding and love adds to the delightful humor of this Odyssey.
HOW TO COMMUNICATE WITH THE DEAD signals a coming out of the woo-woo closet for Fein. The Oxford dictionary defines "woo-woo" as "unconventional beliefs regarded as having little or no scientific basis, especially those relating to spirituality, mysticism, or alternative medicine…" Throughout her illustrious career as a journalist, Fein has occasionally penned articles about seeking healers and rituals in “exotic” locales; although mostly she has flown under the radar as a gifted intuitive herself. This book puts the spotlight on Fein’s spiritual truths as she has lived them, revealing how she has embraced and been embraced by others around the world who perceive those truths without shame.
There is no navel-gazing in these stories that take us from her father’s untimely death (and her first stunned awareness that she could hear him beyond the grave) to her late mother’s skepticism that she and her daughter could communicate after her transition (and how wrong that turned out to be) to various vortexes of cultures and religions that accept death as a fact of life that does not end the soul.
Fein’s passion to communicate with her living readers shines as an honest desire to help others move through their grief and fears to an understanding that death itself is not the final word on existence.
A discussion guide ends the book with such thought-provoking gems as:
"Would you like someone to contact you after you die? Why or why not?"

Friday, August 23, 2019

Los Angeles, CA, August 16, 2019 --( Marlan Warren will read from her fictionalized memoir, “Roadmaps for the Sexually Challenged [All’s Not Fair in Love or War]” as a featured speaker in a workshop entitled “Writing a Best-Selling Memoir” on the first day of the Annual Greater Los Angeles Writers Conference (AGLAW), Friday, Aug. 16 at 6 p.m.

“It’s an honor to be included,” said Warren. “This will be my first public reading of this book.”

The e-book debuted as a "novel" on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) in 2015. "Roadmaps for the Sexually Challenged" is set in Los Angeles in the mid-90s with the O.J. trial in the background and plenty of steamy sex. The story follows the hot romance of a divorcing Jewish American woman with a Japanese American man who still bears the scars suffered by his family during World War II. As both are on the rebound, the woman's girlfriends cheer from the sidelines, while issuing small craft warnings.

“A paperback second edition will be coming out this Fall,” said Warren, noting that the story has its roots in diary entries, which qualifies it as a fictionalized memoir. "I altered reality here and there, including scenes that let me say what I wish I had said.”

Warren is also a documentary filmmaker and playwright whose topics often involve couples of mixed races or cultures: “As a film writer/producer, I tried for years to bring racially mixed couples to the screen, and hit the wall every time in Hollywood."

Her “Japanese American Internment” documentary “What did you do in the War, Mama?: Kochiyama’s Crusaders” is in post-production. Two years ago, her play, “Bits of Paradise: Kochiyama’s Crusaders” debuted at Rogue Machine Theatre in Hollywood.

The panel will be moderated by writer/editor Robin Quinn, and also feature readings by authors Madeline Sharples and Herbie J. Pilato.

AGLAWC runs Friday, Aug. 16 through Sunday, Aug. 18, featuring best-selling authors, editors, publishers, literary agents, publicists, and film industry experts.



Venue | DoubleTree by Hilton | 6161 West Centinela Avenue, Culver City, California, 90230

Registration Details:
Program Details:
Contact: E-Mail: | Phone: 310.379.2650

Book / Author Info:

Title: Roadmaps for the Sexually Challenged [All's Not Fair in Love or War]
Author Website:

Video Author Interview: "How a Memoir Evolves into a Work of Fiction"

Marlan Warren’s Film IMDb:
Contact Information
Roadmap Girl Publications
Marlan Warren

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Excited to be speaking at this L.A. Writers Conference 8/17 - 8/18 - Doubletree Hotel, Culver City!

This has been an exciting year for me. Last spring, I was invited to join the faculty of the Greater Los Angeles Writers Society, and right out of the gate, they put me on panels for their free meetings, and scheduled me to speak on the plethora of topics that I've gained extensive experience in professionally.

My next opportunities will be Friday, Aug. 16th at 6 p.m., at the Annual Greater Los Angeles Writers Conference (#AGLAWC) when I will speak on memoir writing, and Aug. 18th at 10 a.m. when I will have fun hearing "First Lines" of writers' manuscripts to give feedback. On Saturday, Aug. 17th, I'll be on hand to hear your manuscript draft pitches for editorial feedback. (Yes! I am a book editor!) You have to sign up in advance to participate.

In 1979, I arrived in San Diego from Chicago with the goal of writing professionally. At a journalism workshop, the teacher urged me to attend writers conferences as a way to improve my skills, and even more importantly, connect with fellow writers. I attended my first conference a month later. It was a refreshingly supportive experience that made me feel that I was on the right track!


Friday, 8/16 @6-7pm

Writing a Best-Selling Memoir - Biographies That More Than Just Your Family Will Read:
What makes “Eat, Pray, Love,” “The Liar’s Club” or “Angela’s Ashes” garner dazzling reviews or make readers weep or howl with laughter? How do you impose order on a thousand memories? Why is it important to resist the temptation to summarize your life?

In this workshop, we’ll identify what makes great memoirs unforgettable, as well as identify moments from your own life: the lowest ebb, the most unusual, shattering, funny or triumphant incidents that reveal your character and move readers. We will also discuss how to write a memoir/autobiography for a friend or client/celebrity.

MarlanWarren, Madeline Sharples, Herbie J. Pilato, Robin Quinn

I'll be available Saturday, 8/17. After lunch! For this:

ProCritiques™ with Editors and Literary Agents
1 on-1 Pitch Sessions w/Agents and Publishers

Meet editors, agents and/or publishers for a personal consultation to pitch, discuss and improve pre-submitted pages of your manuscript. Schedule an appointment at the Registration Desk. Some editors may take new submissions on site. A separate fee applies to ProCritque and Masters ProCritique consultations. Some agents do not read or edit material in advance. Consult the website for details. We recommend you attend the "How to Pitch" session in order to help identify the best professional for your individual genre and material.

SIGN UP at 1-on-1 Desk starts after agent panel.

Sunday, AUG. 18 @10 A.M.
Great Beginnings for Nonfiction Books –
Your First Line, First Pages

You've heard that if the first paragraph of your novel isn't strong enough, agents and publishers won't read the first page, let alone the first fifty. Now you can learn how to separate fact from fiction and remain true to your story. Learn to draft a first line that will grab an acquisition editor and announce your authority as an author. This will cover first pages, first chapters, and first characters. This is a unique opportunity for you to learn how pros consider the merits of the material and the intent of the author, then offer improvements covering everything from glaring grammar errors to story-structure flaws to the overall storytelling and more.

Bring six (6) copies of your first 2 pages. Selected works will be read aloud, so the audience can follow along and learn how an agent or publisher reviews a manuscript. Time permitting, they may suggest improving the samples.

Claire Gerus, Helga Schier, Marlan Warren, plus panel

Conferences tend to be a bit on the pricey side, so this Annual Greater Los Angeles Writers Conference is a godsend because they have broken it down into bite-size affordable $ chunks for anyone who wishes to attend. Here's the scoop (with details at