Thursday, June 24, 2010

July 27th - Options in Book Publishing

Authors’ Corner* July Program
sponsored by Made in the Valley

Options in Book Publishing:
If you’re thinking about becoming an author,
this program is for you!

Tuesday, July 27, 6 pm to 8 pm.
Cost: FREE! Just show up!

Have you ever thought about becoming an author or are you finishing your manuscript now? A lot has changed in the book publishing world, giving you more options than ever. Come hear a panel of authors discuss the publishing routes they chose and why. We’ll discuss traditional book publishing and the many alternatives for self-published authors, from printing with an offset printer, Print-on-Demand, Internet publishing companies such as Lulu, and eBooks. Today, there is definitely more than one way!

Our panelists will include:
Marilyn Anderson, author of Never Kiss a Frog
Susan Moss, author of Keep Your Breasts! and Survive Cancer!
Marianne Emma Jeff, author of 100 Days of 100%

Book coach/editor Robin Quinn (, a veteran who has worked in book publishing for over 20 years, will moderate.

Location: The Valley Economic Development Center, 5121 Van Nuys Blvd., 3rd floor conference room,
Van Nuys, CA 91403. Parking under building and on street.

*Authors’ Corner is a new ongoing series of panels on book publishing!

More info: Write to

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Thinking of Trying the Raw Foods Lifestyle? Figure Skating Star Debbie Merrill Leads the Way in Revised Edition of Her New Book

by Robin Quinn

Note: This is the first of a series of blogs on New & Noteworthy books.

Merrillism: “Raw living food is extraordinarily ordinary.”
~ Debbie Merrill

Vibrant and joyful … These are words that truly captured the energy of skating fitness expert Debbie Merrill, as I watched her mingle. The event was a recent book-signing/fundraiser at the 5th Street Whole Foods in Santa Monica. Years ago, I interviewed Debbie about her work in training celebrities to skate on screen (think Steve Martin gliding through MOCA in L.A. Story). Now I learned that Debbie was just releasing a revised edition of her August 2009 book on raw foods, The Raw Truth to the Fountain of Youth. I also discovered that she had hosted a TV show on the raw foods lifestyle for two years since we had last met, featuring guests in the forefront of raw living such as David Wolfe (The Sunfood Diet Success System), Gabriel Cousens, MD (Rainbow Green Live Food Cuisine), and Juliano (of Juliana’s Raw Restaurant). Cousens wrote her Foreword, and the other two gave her endorsements. Other book blurbs come from Martin, Melanie Griffith, Patricia Bragg (apple cider vinegar proponent), and newswoman Jane Velez-Mitchell.

The petite, attractive blonde athlete has been “eating and living” the vegan way for 27 years, she told me, the last 17 years as 100% pure raw vegan. She described herself as a “person who transitioned to live foods and the fountain of youth one inch at a time.” Her 450+ page book offers Debbie’s knowledge and wisdom, along with the tools that work for her. In addition, as Cousens explains in the Foreword, we get Debbie’s life story which she “so elegantly shares as a narrative for her teachings.” Cousens also notes that Debbie encourages you to “live a full joyful, loving, healthy life with every bite,” but you don’t feel forced.

The book’s sections are cleverly laid out like a meal, starting with “Section 1. Appetizers: Awakening” and ending with “Section 5: Final Course” (the nuts and bolts of her program, including 40 “rawkin’ raw recipes” which Cousens calls “excellent”). Debbie has delivered 40 chapters, and here are some highlights:

Ch. 1, Create Your Own Treasure Map: Before embarking on an exploration of raw foods, Debbie asks you to become aware of what you want to get out of life. Her tools are a “Treasure Map” (similar to a vision board) and a “Treasure Box” (where you put your written goals). “What you can visualize, vocalize and physicalize, you can manifest in your life,” she tells us.

Ch. 3, Peeling the Onion: Here Debbie quotes Mae West: “Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly.” She offers the insight that success comes from mastering one part of your goal, and then moving on. The author promotes moving forward one small step at a time toward our goals for a healthy lifestyle, and insists that bad habits will then become easier and easier to shed.

Ch. 5, Move It or Lose It: Of course, a professional figure skater who has performed around the globe will share her wisdom about exercise. “Health should be a verb,” Debbie writes. “… health is action.” The reader is asked to sign a contract with themselves to commit to get moving.

Ch. 8, The Road to Raw: Here Debbie admits that she went to raw foods because years ago she saw that she was “falling apart” and “eating more crap than vegetables” as a vegetarian. She reveals the changes she made and the benefits she gained. “This is not about deprivation,” she notes, “this is about moderation, rejuvenation, inspiration and innovation.”

Ch. 12, Paralysis of Perfectionism: Debbie jokes that perfectionism seems in some ways to be part of her DNA. This has helped her as an athlete, but also hurt when she saw an error as a personal defect. She’s learned along the way that sometimes it’s better to do something imperfectly than to wait til you can do it flawlessly.

Ch. 16, The Carrot and the Rabbit: Chapter 16 highlights the reasons for giving up being a meat eater. The author urges the reader to become informed with such films as Eating, Diet for a New America, and Super Size Me, and/or to even visit a slaughterhouse. (That visit did it for her, she said.) To Debbie, the most compelling reason came down to one word, compassion (for the animals).

Ch. 36, The Essential Raw Kitchen: Debbie learned to love cooking from her mother, who was a fabulous Italian cook. Here the author provides tips on the practical side to preparing to “raw-mble” in your own kitchen. She recommends a Vita-Mix blender, a food processor, a dehydrator, a juicer/wheatgrass juicer, and more. And, of course, a ready supply of fresh veggies and fruit.

Ch. 38, The Raw Truth to the Fountain of Youth Food-for-Life Plan: Here you’ll find Debbie’s food plan. She writes that you can do it in its entirety, or slowly move toward 20%, 40%, 60%, 80% and 100% raw foods. You’ll find lists of foods for fruit, veggies, protein, fats, and grains, along with recommended daily amounts. Her “Additional Suggestions” include this reminder: “What you don’t eat is as important as what you do.”

Ch. 39, Rawsome Recipes: During our interview, Debbie told me that she has included simple raw recipes, as well as those that more die-hard raw foodists would enjoy. Ones that caught my eye include “Debbie’s Raw Pizza Pizzazz” (made with raw crackers, homemade tomato sauce, sundried tomatoes, black olives, nuts, plus), raw enchiladas, “Debbie’s Sprouted Lentil Salad” (gets raves at holiday pot luck parties, she said proudly), mango smoothie, “Nano Banana on a Stick” (named after her dad, and includes banana, nuts, carob powder, and more), and raw cracker recipes. “Mother Earth is the best chef in the Universe,” she notes.

“I’ve lived through every type of diet that there is,” Debbie writes in her book. “I’ve gone from red meat to chicken to fish, from vegetarian to macrobiotics to lacto-ovo to vegan to raw vegan, and it is certainly not for me to say where you should end up … [but] if there is the slightest twinge in your soul that you are not where you want to be, then I invite you to take this wonderful journey with me.”

The Raw Truth to the Fountain of Youth is available at

Debbie Merrill’s Instructor to the Stars website is

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Location, Location, Location Revisited

Hard to believe that nearly a year has gone by since I wrote about David Ulin's panel addressing location as part of your novel or memoir, and how the author's job is to get past the stereotypes to the place's real identity.

Since there is such richness in the panelists' insights, I thought I'd celebrate my anniversary with this Santa Monica Library event by running my coverage of it again in my blog. Because the talk was in Santa Monica, LA was central to the discussion.

To your writing! Enjoy!

Book Editor/Book Coach -- Los Angeles



Yesterday I headed out to attend a panel discussion on “Los Angeles as Literature” at Santa Monica’s beautifully designed modern main library. I was particularly interested in this panel because I have always fallen in love with places. Also, when we write, our setting is so important for flavoring what we get down on the page. After soaking up some sun for a precious five-minute break in the library’s courtyard, I wandered inside to meet a fellow writer at the MLK Jr. Auditorium entrance.

David L. Ulin, The Los Angeles Times Book Editor, served as the discussion’s adept moderator. The authors were a fittingly diverse trio. Cecil Castellucci is a Young Adult writer and the author of Beige. Nina Revoyr is a Japanese-American novelist (The Age of Dreaming). Gary Phillips is the Black writer/creator of the Ivan Monk mystery series (Bangers).

The panelists addressed the author’s job of breaking through the stereotypes of a place to find its real identity. Typical depictions of Los Angeles they identified included the world of Hollywood and an urban gangland. Nina Revoyr pointed out that beyond the stereotypes are so many untold stories. Gary Phillips shared that he was inspired to write about our city because the Los Angeles described in the many mysteries set here was not the place he knew.

Nina noted that one way stereotypes get established is that writers use “shorthand” to tell about a place. One of the favorite LA neighborhoods she has written about is Crenshaw, and this writer wanted to bring out its racial diversity as it is often thought of as a Black neighborhood.

The panelists also brought out another reason a place get inaccurately depicted; that is when outsiders take a quick take on a newsstory, and are influenced by the misinformed ideas of the place that they bring with them.

Cecil talked about how her home neighborhood of Silverlake influences her writing, with its spirit as a creative space. This line of thought was reflected in a comment by Gary that a writer must immerse him- or herself in a place and among its people to get an accurate picture. It is not enough to just read about it.

The speakers, including David Ulin, explored LA’s real identity. They noted that since Los Angeles is constantly evolving (like many other places), we must make it a point to re-learn our city if we are to write accurately about it. One aspect that brings about change here is the steady influx of outsiders streaming in to LA. Nina pointed out that this is a young city, still finding its identity. David mentioned how LA finds itself always compared with New York and San Francisco (it seems these comparisons can make us defensive at times as Angelenos).

Perhaps our strength is an identity that was spoken of by Nina (which I believe is often true), that this is a place where things happen first … a trend-setting city.

I was left with the impression of a place that is like a mosaic. So many slices of life that themselves have smaller parts and stories within. I was reminded of my early days in Los Angeles when I traveled all over the city to write pieces for the Los Angeles Reader. This served as a good foundation, and enriched my understanding of LA. I wanted to make a point of continuing to move through many sections of LA, and not be isolated in one neighborhood.

A note of hope for our city that came out of the panel is that a more expansive mass transit system may make us less neighborhood-centric and more open to the many diverse places and people who make up our great city.

Robin / Book Editor-BookCoach

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Pioneer in Bio-Energetic Healing Debuts New Book

This weekend at the Conscious Life Expo, my client Meg Benedicte will introduce her new book "Soul Realized: Unlocking the Sacred Keys to Becoming a Divine Human." Benedicte is the founder of a transformational technique called Unified Field Therapy, and her book lays the foundation for understanding her process. Tonight (2-13-10) at 7 pm, she is giving a free lecture, including a sample of her powerful Vortex Meditations. Visit her at booth 410 or come to the lecture at the Los Angeles Hilton. The Expo continues through to Sunday night. Learn more about Benedicte and UFT at