Saturday, November 5, 2016

How to Love a Writer

Advice to the Lovelorn

If you value your privacy
 Do not date a writer.
If you have secrets
 Do not date a writer.
If you want to sneak around
 Do not date a writer.
If you want to lie your head off
 Do not date a writer.
If you want to see & not be seen
 Do not date a writer.
If you want calm and peace of mind
 Do not date a writer.
If you do not want to see yourself in Public
 Do not date a writer.
If you want to be cherished beyond all else
 Date a writer.
If you want to find new depths in intimacy
 Date a writer.
If you like the unexpected
 Date a writer.
If you accept your warts and all
 Date a writer.
If you do not care what she does as long as she’s with you
 Date a writer.

Advice to the Lovelorn, Warren, Marlan. November 5, 2016 

When Life gives you Lemons, make #poetry!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Huzzah! My review of the brilliant Imperfect Echoes is in Nov. issue of Midwest Book Review!

My review of Imperfect Echoes is published in November 2016 Issue of Midwest Book Review: Reviewer’s Bookwatch!

Reviewer's Bookwatch

Volume 16, Number 11
November 2016

Narcissus knows her reflection
well. She forgets to peer
under burkas, in our jails,
in the beds of the abused,
deeper, deeper into the pond...
―Howard-Johnson, Carolyn. Narcissus Revisited.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson's "Imperfect Echoes: Writing Truth and Justice with Capital Letters, lie and oppression with Small" is just perfect.

This Los Angeles award-winning poet lays out the landscape of her contemplative thoughts, feelings and reactions with such honesty and deceptive simplicity that they have the effect of offering a peek into her private journals. What puts this poetry on par with leaping tall buildings is the fact that each poem manages the feat of conveying personal and universal relevance at once.

Do not be scared off by the prospect of political rhetoric masquerading as literature; this is not one of those books. Although the book's subtitle may strike some as rather lofty, it is a quote from Czeslaw Milosz's poem, "Incantation," in his anthology, "The Captive Mind," which reflects Howard-Johnson's poetic themes. She has divided her prolific poems into a Prologue plus four sections: "Remembering What We Must"; "Nations: Tranquil Self-Destruction"; "Acceptance: Waiting for the Gift"; and "Future Stones of Distrust."

Howard-Johnson deftly blends the "Truth and Justice" observations with the "Small" moments of "lie(s)" and "oppression" as they intersperse through her poet's journey. The poems in "Remembering What We Must" address the stark realities of war and global misery, which Howard-Johnson treats with her practiced light touch that floats like the proverbial butterfly and stings like an outraged bee.

In "Belgium's War Fields," she compares the reasons for bygone wars to our present day confusion: "And now a war that takes from the mouths /and hearts of the stranded, the homeless. / How different from those who / marched with snares or flew flags / in a war when we knew / why we were there."

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Book Review: Christina Hoag's YA Novel, "Girl on the Brink," Teaches How Not to Be a Victim.

"I hope...he never calls me again, but he still owes me a big apology."
 --Girl on the Brink by Christina Hoag

Summary: Aspiring reporter Chloe (age 17) lands a dream job as a summer intern with the local paper in her New Jersey suburb, and meets the somewhat annoying-but-cute Kieran while she is on assignment. Kieran (age 19) pounces on Chloe, who is pleased to find a creative person like herself (he's an aspiring actor), and enjoys his lavish attention as a welcome alternative to her unhappy home life due to her parents' impending divorce. Gradually, it becomes more and more apparent that Kieran is emotionally disturbed, and unable (or unwilling) to control his need to micromanage her life or his extreme jealousy. At first, she thinks "There's no point in resisting," but by the time he's repeatedly hurt her physically and mentally, Chloe knows in her head that he's abusing her, but her heart makes excuses for him. Which will win? Head or heart?

Los Angeles author Christina Hoag has crafted Girl on the Brink as a "howdunit." While it is no mystery why the vulnerable and intelligent 17-year old Chloe falls for the initial charm of a potentially lethal 19-year old young man whose avid attention leads her into a summer romance, the real mystery lies in how the heck this otherwise sharp, but troubled, teen will extricate herself from what increasingly becomes an abusive relationship.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Thanks for the Kudos!

Kudos are always welcome here. Six degrees of separation makes the Internet vibrate.
These are for Maxine Nunes' amazing L.A. crime novel, Dazzled, and my Review:

Carolyn Howard-Johnson

2 days ago  -  Shared publicly
Aha! Marlan, I see you found one of my favorite authors and fun reads! And, as usual--your pages always look wonderful. You are the book world's treasure!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

"DAZZLED" - A Mystery Built on the Contradictions of L.A. with Unflinching Fresh Eyes

I wondered how anyone ever felt at home here,
 where there was nothing you could trust to hold on to, not even the ground beneath your feet.—Dazzled
Title: Dazzled 
Author: Maxine Nunes
Series: A Nikki Easton Mystery (Book 1)
Publisher: Five Star (October 23, 2013) 
ISBN-13: 978-1432827304 
Available on Amazon (Paperback, Kindle and Hard Cover)
Synopsis: Feisty one-liner actress Nikki Easton finds herself embroiled in a quest to either find out who murdered her best friend—the "dazzling" aspiring actress Darla—or verify that the unrecognizable corpse buried in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery is really someone else. Along the way, Nikki finds herself smitten with a sexy cop, looks for clues at a Playboy-type mansion, and tangles with unsavory Underworld characters whose antics and shocking connections are nearly indistinguishable from the rest of Hollywood's movers who slither through this book. Sex, drugs and lost souls who are torn between the need to be "somebody" and the desire to flee L.A. keep this mystery ticking like the proverbial time bomb.

Maxine Nunes' Dazzled is a tale told with such precision for atmospheric details, lifestyle annoyances and pitch perfect dialogue, it should come with a cautionary disclaimer for Los Angelenos:

"Warning: May induce the sensation that you are still inside the plot every time you look up from the book."

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

QUOTE OF THE DAY: Carolyn See "Making a Literary Life"

This quote comes from Carolyn See's indispensable how-to book:
Making a Literary Life:

It's a wonderful thing to even think about becoming a writer. 
It's like opening a crystal door in your mind.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Writing Coach Elaine Ash Helps Writers Rewrite Until It's Right.

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of hearing Los Angeles writing coach, Elaine Ash, speak on the topic of "Self- Editing for Authors" at the monthly Sisters in Crime meeting. If you've never been to a Sisters in Crime meeting, and you're an aspiring crime writer living in the vicinity of their meeting place, the South Pasadena Library, I urge you to attend their free meetings, which always feature a riveting speaker.

Elaine Ash is an engaging speaker who shows up with a well organized and entertaining presentation that included a handout with insightful tips guaranteed to get any writer's motor running. The headings included:

  • "Develop First - Everything Else Can Wait"
  • "Get The Most Out of Your Writers' Group"
  • "Too Many Characters"
  • "Deconstructing Successful Novels for Structure"
  • "The Feather Edit"
As a publicist and book reviewer, the "too many characters" totally resonated. For me, few things are more frustrating than settling down to read a newly published indie novel, only to find a few pages in that I need to write down the 10 characters who were introduced before I got to page 4 (and draw a map of the tangled backstory while I'm at it). As readers, we wish someone had tipped off the writer that confusion overload can lead to a reader closing the cover, never to open it again--unless it's for love or money.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Interview with Author Jennifer K. Jordan: “I wanted to give a snapshot of fathers’ wisdom from across the world.”

 Published in Broadway World Book News

Book Title: 
DADLY Wisdom: Untold Stories That Represent the True Faces of Fatherhood
Author: Jennifer Karin Jordan
Publisher: Motivational Press (March 10, 2016)
ISBN-10: 1628652691
Paperback: 232 pages
Genre: Family Relationships
Brand: Hogan Hilling's DADLY Series

Available at Amazon
Author Website: Jennifer Karin Jordan Website
Facebook: DADLY Wisdom Facebook Page 

Media Kit: DADLY Wisdom Media Kit
Author Contact: 
(562) 208-4869 /
Interviewer: Marlan Warren (323) 347-6762 / 

Interview with Author Jennifer K. Jordan: “I wanted to give a snapshot of fathers’ wisdom from across the world.” 

What began as a simple tribute to honor the wisdom and love of her father became a life-altering journey for Jennifer K. Jordan, author of DADLY Wisdom. Recently Jordan sat down with journalist/blogger Marlan Warren to reveal her 14-year process to gather insights from fathers she believes (according to the book’s back cover) “represent humanity at its best.”

Q: Did any of the interviews surprise you?

A: All of the interviews did that. Every time I interviewed a father, I was so impressed and moved that I thought I could never meet another such fine human being. I was in awe of all the fathers and their love for their children, and their dedication to helping their families no matter what.

I was surprised when Cain Credicott spoke to me for two hours for his interview. He is extremely busy as the Editor-in-Chief of Paleo Magazine, so I didn’t think his interview would be so long.

When I listened to Bernard Sayone and Tomas Kovar talk about their experiences in the Holocaust, I was constantly amazed. I learned more about the Holocaust from interviewing them than I had in any school, book or film. Bernie and Tomas also inspired me because they now work to promote peace in the world instead of being victims of such a difficult past.

Q: How did you select the fathers?

A: I interviewed over 100 fathers, but I included 52 in the book because some of the stories were too similar. Also, I interviewed some fathers back in 2000-2002, and when I started working on the project again in 2013, I was not able to contact them. Each father had to sign a release form so that I could use his story in the book.

I looked for fathers who had a reputation for being wise, successful professionally and with their families. I also looked for people who had a service ethic for contributing to their community in addition to their family.

I asked people for referrals of wise fathers from local areas, other states and other countries. Sometimes a father whom I interviewed then referred me to other wise fathers whom he knew. I also looked for fathers who represented different professions, ethnicities, religions, races, geographic locations and family structures. Thus, I interviewed a couple of single fathers and a gay father in order to honor all voices of fatherhood. I wanted to give a snapshot of fathers’ wisdom from across the world.

Q: Are you still in touch with any of the fathers?

A: I am still in contact with some of the fathers from the book, and I’m sure that many of the fathers interviewed would come to an event featuring DADLY Wisdom.

Q: What was the most challenging aspect in putting this book together?

A: The hardest part of doing the book was getting release forms and essay reviews back from fathers. Many of the fathers are extremely busy and didn't have time to get things back to me right away. For instance, Congressman Alan Lowenthal would often be in Washington, D.C., so I had to wait awhile to interview him and get his release form.