Pitchfest Las Vegas 2016

It seems that for most of my life I have found it necessary to do a thing, anything, twice for me to either learn from it or genuinely appreciate whatever the “thing” was. This past weekend was no exception to that rule. Last fall, in mid-October I made the journey from Phoenix to The Big Apple for the purpose of “pitching” Dear Mom and Dad, You Don’t Know me, But … to a group of motion picture producers. The event was organized by Author Solutions, the parent company to my publisher, iUniverse Publishing.

I was schooled and prepped by the marketing consultant assigned to me by iUniverse, at times, daily so that I would be in top form. Jessie did an excellent job, because I received book requests from every producer that I presented to. I’m not certain, but it’s possible that I was the only person to that date who had achieved such a response. That in itself was amazing because I spent most of the trip engulfed by a flood of nerves.  But … my “accomplishments” are not what this is about.

This past weekend I repeated the experience in Las Vegas at Caesars Palace. I was immediately surprised to discover that I was once again a bundle of nerves.  But on reflection it may have been due to having set such a high bar the first time. However, I adapted quite well I think.

As I sat there in that opening night cocktail party and get together this time, I began remembering the myriad of emotions from the first time; not knowing what to expect, hoping against hope that I would at least get 3 or 4, maybe even 5 requests. I never dreamed that I would get requests from every one of the producers who heard my “pitch.” What  occurred to me this time was that maybe I could help some of the people I met this time with encouragement that I never received. And the amazing result was what I received in return.

I am probably the worst person in the world for remembering names. I like to think it’s most likely because I get so wrapped up in my conversations with them that it becomes a person and not a name that clings tenaciously in my mind.

The first people I met were a couple from San Antonio. The husband Christopher had written a book based on a little known crime that took place in Chicago as I recall. I know his adorable wife introduced herself but true to form I don’t remember her name. Shame on me. There were others at the table that first night but these two were the ones that took up residence in my heart.

The next person to enter my life was Rosemary Guanera. I met her on the elevator ride up to the 27th floor. By the time we exited the elevator we were already involved in conversation and the conversation continued down the hall toward our respective rooms. It took longer than it should have because we stopped frequently to exchange ideas and experiences. She was appalled to learn that I was a conservative Republican as well as … well shall I say Georgia and George. I of course pointed out that Caitlyn Jenner was also a conservative Republican to which she responded that, the people around her would eventually change her mind.

The last conversation I had with Rosemary was over salad and sandwiches after the closing meeting on Saturday night. She was on her way to her home in Cleveland to pack for her six month stay at her home in Rome. She was totally invested in trying to sort out how my life had evolved from living as George to living as Georgia. I’m not totally convinced that she really understood after more than an hour of questions and explanations. But … she certainly knew more than she had and, to her credit she had made a valiant effort to understand .

Her book was the result of a death bed request of a friend who had been a close confidant of Italian crime boss Valenti, that she should share with the world the secrets he shared with her. Her attitude about the results of Pitchfest was relaxed and assured that she had completed the task that had been given her.

I made the acquaintance of Spiro Pastos over lunch on Saturday. He had written a book on the dark side of Liberace which he had apparently researched quite extensively. When I told him that I had been a fan of Liberace as a child he insisted on exchanging contact information so that we might get together the next time I was in Los Angeles.

Last but not least was Sarita Sarna of New Delhi, India. She was there in support of her young son Armaan who had written a series of children’s books called the Mole Books. Both mother and son were warm and generous with their friendship. The last time I saw them was in the foyer of the hotel as I waited for the shuttle to the airport. I stressed to Armaan that if he didn’t succeed this time at Pitchfest that he should not give up. I felt he had a great future ahead of him especially when he had a mother so willing to go to any length to promote his talent.

So those are the people who touched my heart. There were many others that I associated with from time to time but these were the ones who shall forever stay in my heart. I pray that I was able to convey sufficient encouragement to each of these people to keep them on the road to success with their efforts.

Now we all await the outcome of Pitchfest Las Vegas 2016.

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