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.

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

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?)


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