About Me

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Marlan Warren is a journalist, novelist, editor, playwright, screenwriter, blogger, website designer, and publicist. She is the author of the fictionalized memoir, Roadmaps for the Sexually Challenged: All’s Not Fair in Love or War and the AIDS memoir, Rowing on a Corner. She reviews for Midwest Book Review. Marlan is also a filmmaker.

You can check out but you can never leave...


My life, your life, our lives inside and outside of Los Angeles and its angels.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

A Christmas Rags to Riches Tale of One Turtle with a Happy Hollywood Ending

Photo ©Tom Tsuji

Who doesn’t like a heartwarming, spiritually uplifting Christmas story of rags to riches? After a year of suffering cold-blooded Reptilian Brains, it’s only fitting that I wrapped up the year with an Amphibian Rescue Operation that gave Oliver Twist a run for his money. So sit right back and you’ll hear a tale…a tale of a fateful trip…

It began last Wednesday, Dec. 17, when my friend Tom, the building manager, and my no-English Armenian neighbor (whom I’ll call Armin) knocked on my door. Armin was standing in the hallway holding a tank of water with a turtle that was continuously swimming in it. After 10 years, Armin’s daughter had tired of her pet and dumped it on him.

Clueless and frantic, Armin kept saying: “Here! You take! Take now!”

Tuesday, November 3, 2020



                                                      - Marlan Warren, November 3, 2020, Los Angeles, CA

This poem jumped out of me after listening to an automated voice repeat "PLEASE HOLD THROUGH THE SILENCE" as I paid my utility bill via phone. I happily voted days ago at a Los Angeles Vote Center at the Hollywood Hotel where I found cheerful masked young female volunteers and only one person ahead of me, as we handed in our mail-in ballots. Great to hear the satisfying whir of the machine as my ballot went through. The next day I received confirmation from Ballot Trax that my ballot was received and will be counted. 

Monday, October 19, 2020

Roadmaps for the Sexually Challenged - #Audiobook Installment (Chapter 2, Part 4)

Roadmaps for the Sexually Challenged #Audiobook Installment


"Rainbow showed up with a black eye and a book titled The Verbally Abusive Mate."

Yes! It's the next installment of "Roadmaps for the Sexually Challenged"! If you're an author with a knack for reading your own work, I highly recommend you launch your own audiobook. Here's Chapter 2 (Part 4): "Intentional Households."

Elevator Pitch

On the run from her marriage of 10 years, Carrie has taken a room in a house full of people a couple generations younger in Venice, CA. Take this trip down the Yellow Brick Road of one woman's divorce odyssey, through a tangle of L.A. subcultures and biracial dating experiences -- set against the backdrop of the 1994 O.J. Simpson trial.

This fictionalized memoir is available on #Amazon #Kindle at

For more info & reviews:  http://roadmapsforthesexuallychallenged.blogspot.com

View on YouTube

Monday, October 5, 2020

New #Audiobook of L.A. Stories: "Roadmaps for the Sexually Challenged" by Marlan Warren - Chapter 2 (3)

I'm excited to share with you my #Audiobook: Roadmaps for the Sexually Challenged - Chapter 2 (Part 3) -- now up and running on YouTube.

In this episode of Roadmaps for the Sexually Challenged: All's Not Fair in Love or War, the newly separated and longtime married Carrie finds herself living with 90s Gen X roomies in Venice, CA -- a couple decades younger. Chapter 2:

"Intentional Households"

"Roadmaps" is available on #AmazonKindle.

This video was made and narrated by the book's author, Marlan

More info and reviews at http://roadmapsforthesexuallychallenged.blogspot.com

The story navigates through the wilds of 90s L.A. with interracial dating scenarios and loads of Tao.

Available on Amazon Kindle

Wednesday, August 26, 2020


"All Knowing Owl" Bracelet Made For Joyce Rankin By Lillian Todaro

Celebrating my friend Joyce Rankin's great news that she got an "All Clear" a few days ago from her doctor on the recent scans and tests! As everyone by now knows, we have enough anxieties and struggles going on in 2020 with the ongoing Covid-19 Pandemic Crisis and its effects that range from Death to Economic Disaster, without adding on a separate life threatening situation, but that's what happened to Joyce several months ago.

And there's nothing more stressful than worrying about a loved one who is very ill.

Joyce and I grew up together in Fort Myers, Florida, and after she graduated FSU with her degree in Biochemistry, she asked if I'd like to head off to Canada with her in the car that her father gave her as a graduation present. Our first night in Ottawa, Joyce crashed it against a telephone pole backing out of an alley. And we simply had to stay, get jobs -- in her case get married (!) -- and a year later, I moved to Chicago (after performing in a couple plays).

We've kept in touch over the decades, sometimes lucky enough to catch an in-person glimpse whenever Joyce is in "The States" (she has dual citizenship now). And still corresponding whenever the spirit moves us.

Joyce lost her mother when she was 8 years old, shortly before we met in the Fourth Grade. When I showed her our Fourth Grade Classroom picture, she said: "Oh my gosh! I don't know how I survived that year!"

Fourth Grade - I'm the kid with the tight curls and Joyce behind me.

Marlan Warren (L) Joyce Rankin (R) - Ottawa, Ont. CANADA

Joyce (L) Marlan (R) - Ottawa, Ontario

After I got the worrying news that Joyce was facing surgeries and Immunotherapy, I tried to stay upbeat whenever we talked. Joyce has the biggest, most laughter-filled laugh in the world, so I joked a lot when we talked on the phone.

Right after her first surgery, I offered to give her "Long Distance Energy Healing" (Reiki) and she accepted. Every night for a week. I'm a Reiki Master/Teacher who was first certified in 1984.

It's rare for me to offer Reiki that isn't in person because even though it "works" every time, I'm always a bit anxious that maybe the receiver won't feel any effects. Joyce did. And she got some good sleep during that recovery period.

I envy Joyce's many friends in Victoria, B.C. because they can actually be with her in person.

It's a helpless feeling when someone is far away -- and during this Pandemic Restriction, there's no way that I can travel to Canada from L.A.

So I decided to ask my L.A. friend, the award-winning master bead jewelry artist, Lillian Todaro, to please create a custom bracelet for Joyce. That's a BIG ask. Lillian Todaro designs are coveted by collectors internationally, and her one-of-a-kind creations are a huge deal to make as well as receive.

A champion survivor herself, the compassionate Lillian put her heart and a lot of soul into this "All Knowing Owl" bracelet. And I sweated out the long, long time it took to move through our U.S. postal system, Border Customs, and Canada.

When it did arrive, Joyce was thrilled and says she just loves it!


Bead Bracelet Map by Lillian Todaro

For me, it's been a journey of linked friendships -- one longtime and one new.

I'm self-quarantining 99 percent of the time at home with my cat Savannah. So the warm and fuzzy stuff has to happen in Time and Cyberspace. And occasionally the Telephone (remember those?).

Not only did Lillian intuitively select each bead (she looks over her massive collection and asks "Are you the one for this creation?" or words to that effect, and she says the beads practically jump on by themselves), but she included a hand drawn diagram (above) to explain every carefully chosen element. She signs both the map and the bracelet!

I'm grateful to Lilly for listening to my fears and comforting me these past months.

And I love her response when I told her that Joyce got an "All Clear" (for the time being):

FANTASTIC!!! So glad to hear another deserving human being won the battle. We must all stay positive for her & not even speak its name into the universe. And just think win, win!!! Win, win, and she won!!! Tell her I send love & positive thoughts of strength and perseverance. I would like to see a pic of her if you have one for my mind's eye. I can only see her bracelet now.

She also asked me to post all this on her FB Timeline so it could be celebrated by others and our combined good wishes and happiness for someone else's wellness could reinforce Joyce's current healing.


Stay safe, everyone! Hug your loved ones tight and be blessed!

Joyce Rankin in the 21st Century

Wouldn't you love to know more about Lillian Todaro's Designs? Check out my interview with Lilly and see the Goddess Bracelet that she made for my birthday:

Lillian Todaro's Pandemic Panic Survival Plan

Do you deserve a Goddess Bracelet?

Click here to go to Lillian Todaro Designs Website

#Survival #Survivor #Hope #LillianTodaro #LillianTodaroDesigns #LillianTodaroCollection #LifetimeFriendships #BeadJewelry #LosAngelesBeadSociety #JoyceRankin

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Annual Greater Los Angeles Writers Conference Pivots to Zoom (8/7 - 8/15/2020)

Event: Annual Greater Los Angeles Writers Conference
When: Friday, Aug. 7 - Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020
Where: ZOOM
Registration/Info: L.A. Writers Conference Website
Program: http://www.wcwriters.com/aglawc/program.html

Executive Director of the Annual Greater Los Angeles Writers Conference (AGLAWC), Tony Todaro, has announced that this educational and networking event will celebrate its 26th year with a pivot from its pre-pandemic originally slated venue at the Culver City Doubletree by Hilton Hotel to Zoom, starting Friday, Aug. 7, and running through Saturday, Aug. 15.

"When it comes to virtual writers conferences, one major plus is that writers are able to interact with agents, writing experts, and publishing professionals who might otherwise not be able to attend in person," says Todaro. "Nobody is limited by geographical location anymore."

"The schedule is daily and linear, so writers won't have to choose between two workshops or panels happening simultaneously," Todaro says. "We'll have more than 40 literary agents, professional editors, and publishers on hand to give guidance on the craft and business of writing fiction and nonfiction."

Keith Ogorek, President of the Author Learning Center, will kick off opening day with a webinar titled "7 Things Every Writer Needs to Become an Author."

Speaker event topics include how-to's for pitching agents or publishers; writing a memoir; self-editing; ghostwriting; screenwriting. Writers may have their writing read and critiqued by publishing professionals. 

"Our faculty is not 'sheltering in place,'" says Todaro. "With this new technology, we consider them our Writers in Residence."

He assures attendees there will be ways to network, share your contact info, etc. And yes, they will still receive goody bags!

Tony N. Todaro
Photo ©Ester Benjamin Shifren

For the past 26 years, Todaro, aided and abetted by his wife, Lillian, have organized these writers conferences. Although the learning curve for transposing this massive event to the virtual realm is steep, Tony Todaro is a veteran at staying focused.

He quotes from a t-shirt that he owns:

"Being an Executive Director is as easy as riding a bicycle, except you're on fire, the bike is on fire, and everything else is on fire."

(Sounds just a little bit like writing, doesn't it?)


Friday, July 10, 2020

Have you earned the right to a Goddess Bracelet? #LillianTodaro #BeadJewelry

For my birthday, Award-Winning Los Angeles Bead Artist Lillian Todaro gifted me with this custom made bracelet. Each bead and charm has a symbolic meaning, and Lilly included a diagram of what they mean and what they are. Sorry, you can't buy this one. But you can check out the rest of her amazingly spiritual collection at http://lilliantodaro.com.

For my interview with Lilly and to view the mouth-watering pics of her gorgeous creations, click here: Lillian Todaro's Pandemic Panic Survival Plan.

"Of course if someone wants to have a Goddess Bracelet made for someone they feel has earned it," says Lilly. "I am open to that."

And below are some photos of what it looks like draped over my crystal ball:

Why the butterfly?
"May you be surrounded by Blue Skies and Butterflies!"

Why the kitty?

Lilly knows I love cats. I didn't tell her that my Chinese astrological symbol was once known as "The Cat." But for me, no Goddess Bracelet would be complete without a feline!

My power colors! I didn't tell her. Lilly just knew.

Thank you so much, Lillian Todaro, for this great gift during this globally challenging period.

I will treasure it always. (Should I add "And hope to be worthy?" or is that too gag inducing?)

Saturday, April 25, 2020

L.A. Bead Artist Lillian Todaro's Pandemic Panic Survival Plan

Lillian Todaro, Award-Winning Bead Artist

"Beading will save your life." 
— Lillian Todaro

"It's my Pandemic Panic Survival Plan," says Lillian Todaro. "Bead...Bead...Bead some more!"

The multi-award winning veteran bead jewelry artist and sculptor has been down crises roads before and knows whereof she speaks:

"During 9/11, beading helped me keep it together."

Necklace by Lillian Todaro: "Night Flyer"

In the midst of swirling COVID-19 anxieties, tragedies, shutdowns and stay-at-home orders, you can find Lillian serenely sitting in her “beading chair,” creating stunning wearable art pieces, with one eye on a Sci-Fi flick next to her author/educator husband of 29 years, Tony Todaro, who helms Todaro Communications,
the Greater Los Angeles Writers Society (GLAWS), and the West Coast Writers Conferences (WC2).

"Beading will save your life," promises Lillian. "It takes care of everything."

Lillian Todaro is vice president of The Bead Society of Los Angeles and co-founder of the Facebook group, Confessions of a Bead Addict.

For the past 50 years, Lillian has found salvation, peace of mind, and the joy of creation in bead artistry.

"Handling the beads gives me a sense of connecting with the Universe, like chanting. They speak to me and it’s very comforting. Before I start work on a piece, I sit with my 50 bead jars that are full of various colors and shapes of crystals, wooden and vintage beads, and I listen for the ones that say: 'Use me!' When I touch them with my needle, they practically jump on."

Celestial Prayer Beads Necklace, Lillian Todaro Collection

The calming effect is not limited to the jewelry maker. "People tell me that wearing my pieces has a soothing, calming effect on them."

In non-pandemic times, Lillian Todaro can be found in the booth her husband made for her at festivals and bead bazaars, offering her beaded jewelry, DIY beading kits, and teaching manuals. Her creations attract an enthusiastic international clientele and collectors.

"Because of the lockdown, my spring shows have been cancelled," she says. "I'm really looking forward to participating in the Culver City Bead Bazaar in October."

Lillian's online market sites are still going strong at her LillianTodaro.com website and Bead Art Kits on Etsy. You can select ready-made jewelry or commission her to create a custom piece, choosing the colors and kinds of beads for a unique piece. "Emerald the Beaded Snake" was created for someone who asked for a beautiful snake sculpture.

Emerald, the Beaded Snake
Sculpture by Lillian Todaro

Spring Bead Jewelry Making Classes

It's not possible to talk with Lilly (as she's known to friends) for long and not have her ask if you're interested in learning to bead: "Why not try it and see if you like it?"

Bead Sculpture by Lillian Todaro: "Earth Bag"
A born teacher, she calls herself a "Creator of Beaders," and has penned numerous published books on the art of beading. 

Right now Lillian and Tony Todaro ("He's my roadie and my Zoom techie...") are busy preparing to launch virtual beading classes, and registering students who wish to learn bead embroidery (stitching beads to foundation material like fabric or leather), and other bead weaving and jewelry techniques. "The classes are small so I can give personal attention to each student."

Octopuses Garden
Beaded Embroidery Wall Hanging by Lillian Todaro

Her bead jewelry kits come with streamlined instructions because "I believe in beading, not reading."

Bracelet by Lillian Todaro

Lilly has one piece of very valuable advice for a newbie student who hits a pothole of frustration: "I remind them that it's just a little piece of glass with a hole in it, and that calms them down so they keep going and pretty soon they don't want to stop."

Interested in classes?

Contact Lillian at LillianTodaro.com for dates, times, and registration info.

More Info and Contact Information:
Lillian Todaro Website

Original Lilly’s Collections

Vintage Crystal Collections

Lillian Todaro Collection (Wearable Sculptures)


“I love to share my knowledge of the significance of beads and the beading world with all cultures," says Lillian Todaro. "It’s so important that this artistic practice be kept alive and continue.” She has appeared on Fox 5 San Diego KSWB-TV, and the Home and Garden Channel (HGTV) Carol Duvall Show.

Lillian Todaro on Fox 5 San Diego KSWB-TV


Q - How did your love affair with beads start?

A - When I was very young, I was fascinated with the rocks and stones in the riverbed near my home in El Monte. I used to take them home. I'd even lick them. When I was three or four, I'd make my parents stop at Trading Posts on roadtrips from California to Texas, so I could look at the beadwork and make them buy me something.

My grandmother was a wonderful bead artist and one summer, she taught me how to make beaded jewelry. After that, I was hooked, and I spent a lot of time and money at Woolworth's buying beads.

Earrings by Lillian Todaro

Q- How did you get started with bead sculpture?

A- For about 20 years, I had been beading more traditional types of beaded jewelry like the beaded earrings. Then one summer in in the early 90's I saw an article on Joyce Scott, a bead sculptor artist and I was freed! No more counting beads and I started beading outside the lines. I did take a class on a few basic techniques and I have never looked back. I have since developed many techniques on my own and written several instruction booklets that have been called "The Blueprints for Bead Sculpture."

Q-  What's your most interesting teaching experience so far?

A- I've had many over the years, but there was one student with multiple sclerosis (MS) who could barely hold the needle. I got her to make a cube cuff bracelet. She was ecstatic.

I had another student who spoke no English and her daughter had to translate. We spoke the language of beads and we became friends.

Q- How long does it take you to make a piece? 

A- It varies. The Celestial Prayer necklace takes one to two days.

REDress Project Pin by Lillian Todaro

A- It takes me three or four hours to make a pin like the Red Dress brooch that I made for the non-profit campaign, “Missing Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG)" that was featured along with 100 other artists' creations in the REDress Project YouTube video made by Justine Sanchez to help raise MMIWG awareness on Mother’s Day Weekend in 2019. I made two—one for me and one for Justine to thank her, beading into the pins a "J" for "Justice" and "Justine."

YouTube Video: MMIW RAISING AWARENESS Bead Talkers 
Beaded Red Dresses Challenge May 5, 2019

More info about MMIWG and their campaign for this Mother's Day Weekend is below.*

The fastest stitch is the lazy pearl spiral because I can string eight beads at a time and make a bracelet in about an hour. This has been one of my most popular workshops.

Lazy Pearl Stitch Bracelets by Lillian Todaro

The Peyote Stitch is good for beginners because it's the most versatile for making necklaces and earrings. A cube cuff is fairly easy because you're just going back and forth with square beads. You can see a variation of it in my celestial prayer necklace called the "Peyote Spiral." I wrote a book about how you can make almost anything out of it.

Peyote Spiral (Peyote Stitch Variation)

Q- Is there a "community" of beaders?

A - Absolutely. It's big and growing. Our Confessions of a Bead Addict Facebook group brings us together. Everyone is welcome. Even if you've never touched a bead, but you're just curious. "Bead Talkers" is a large Native American group that is very active.

Beading is a kind of Zen mind-eye-hand practice, which can be tedious, and beading has always been an "outsider" art, so interaction with other beaders brings comfort.

Q- What would you say the rewards of beading have been for you?

A - Too many to name them all. You know the original money in Native American cultures was "wampum." I made a "wampum" necklace and earrings set featuring dentalium shells that I hand trimmed and polished. I've heard dentalium are still used as barter by some Pacific Northwest tribes. 

"Wampum" Necklace and Earrings by Lillian Todaro
I've bartered for all kinds of cool stuff: carpet cleaning, food, dental work, clothing, computer parts. I even gave a real estate agent beaded jewelry as part of the commission.

I love taking little tiny beads that are insignificant by themselves and transforming them into objects with arrangements of form, function, and color that didn't previously exist in the world. 

I'm creating tomorrow's collectible antiques. When I look at vintage beadwork, I wonder:

"Who made this?"

Note: Lillian Todaro's pieces are coveted by collectors. One has 30 pairs of earrings, and another five purses. Her custom jewelry is signed in beads and a Certificate of Authenticity is available.

#LillianTodaro #BeadSociety #LABeadSociety #LillianTodaroCollection #beadjewelry #beadmakingclasses #classes #ZoomClass #wearableart #CSVANW #MMIW #TonyTodaro #GLAWS #WC2

*About the REDress Project:

The REDress Project originated in Canada to spread awareness, raise money for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG). In just one year, friends Carla Voyageur and Jeannine Lindsay raised $10,000 through this project that went toward the costs of creating and installing missing person signage on Vancouver Island.

Four out of five Native American women are affected by violence today. On Mother's Day Weekend, this project asks Canadians to take part in a striking one-day display of red dresses to represent the country's missing and murdered indigenous women.

A team of volunteers creates beaded red dress pins and earrings to bring awareness to MMIWG through the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native American Women (CSVANW).

More Info:

Wednesday, January 29, 2020


Artist Eric Abraham in Kansas [Double Exposure with L.A. Dancers*]
Photo ©Marlan Warren
Congratulations to my friend, the late great sculptor/author Eric Abraham, for your induction into the Russell County Kansas Hall of Fame by the Blue Hills Heritage Foundation of Lucas, Kansas. 

From their Website (where you can

Eric Joseph Abraham (1936-2013) was an accomplished artist with a national reputation. He was born in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City, where his parents illustrated children’s books for the public schools. Eric served in the intelligence division of the U.S. Air Force prior to earning his Master of Fine Arts degree in ceramics. In the 1970s, he taught ceramics at several colleges and universities. He created two large fire breathing dragons which were featured presented on the “Today” morning news show and was a featured artisan on the Lynette Jennings Design Show on the Discovery Channel.

By Marlan Warren

The rest is history—or at least it should be.
Frongo’s First Car, Eric Abraham

Eric Abraham’s imagination was beyond anything we mortals can imagine. His determination to march to his own drummer and live the life of an artist will always be an inspiration.

I’m very happy to hear that he has been awarded this Hall of Fame honor, and only wish he had lived long enough to see it. Eric’s passing was a shock to all of us because he was such a human dynamo and completely dedicated to constantly making art his profession, as well as his joy.

One of my most outstanding memories of Eric:

While I was living in Lucas between 2004 and 2006, I hosted a writing workshop. Everyone who attended was very talented, but Eric was the only one who wrote beginning pages during our writing session and returned two weeks later with a completed manuscript—Frongo’s First Car—complete with illustrations! His first book.

[NOTE: The wildly imaginative and entertaining Frongo's First Car has been edited by Von Rothenberger, and Eric's daughter and life partner are currently seeking a publisher. They welcome queries from bona fide publishers. Message me for details.]

The tale of how fast Eric could create anything is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to remembering his genius.

The brilliance and discipline that he demonstrated in writing was the same energy that he put into every aspect of his artistic life. I never heard him brag or put people down. He was simply his authentic self—a self that housed a shimmering interior fantasy life that he manifested in three-dimensional sculptures for our viewing pleasure.

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