by Lisa Marbly-Warir
Or not—when I write my stories I’m sometimes nervous of the presumption of some readers that because my female protagonists are Black that they will assume she is a boss bitch—cut throat, chews men up and spit them out types. And when someone who is not your target audience gets your book it can spell trouble for how your book is rated if they were expecting one kind of character but got another.
I’ve had a couple of people not care for two of my characters because they felt they weren’t strong. But as I’ve posted online before, I can’t help what my characters tell me. That may sound funny, but if you’re a writer you know this is true. You can be writing, thinking one way, but the characters say, um, no this is how it goes down.
My characters tend to be more than boss bitches, matter of fact; I wouldn’t call them boss bitches. I don’t like care for how the term bitch has been turned into a positive. It may be generational; it also depends on the environment of the women who embrace the phrase--boss bitch. I see nothing endearing about it at all but that’s just me. I know a lot of women do. Or maybe I’m just hung up on the word bitch.
A female that is extremely successful, stunting, and has plenty of power.
You see that girl over there, she's a boss bitch.
Credit to Denel June 08, 2006
Now of course boss bitch can mean different things to different women. My characters, Destinee, Jewel, Evermore etc. are strong, successful and independent women in their own right—but they would never refer to themselves as boss bitches.
But that doesn’t make them less strong because they label themselves differently. I wanted to write about women who convey strength and independence, but they are also vulnerable and insecure at times as they go through this thing called life and dealing with the men that come their way.
It’s ok to be strong and have it together; however, it is also ok to be delicate and feminine. That doesn’t take away who they are. I guess I am writing this because as mentioned above there is sometimes a misconception that all or most Black women are boss bitches especially in books, too strong to be vulnerable and even we perpetuate that perception.
Our strength comes in many different forms and I want my characters to reflect that. Thanks for reading.
Facebook Destinee Romance Novella
By Lisa Marbly-Warir
I’m going to be honest, Vegas, has never been a place that was on my bucket list. I figured if I ever went—good, if I never went, that was fine too. Thing is when you have a spouse, you have to compromise and my husband wanted to go. So I went. I always did say, however, that if I ever got the chance to go—I had to see an Elvis show. Yeah, I’m corny like that.
Forget what you see in the movies—Vegas is a place you have to see for yourself, if you ever want to go or plan to go.
I immediately started showing pictures of my trip on Facebook—and got a lot of responses from fans of Vegas, and perhaps people who hope to go one day. One of my former coworkers private messaged me to ask me questions because he’d never been and wanted to take his wife.
First things first—we landed at Mccarran International Airport 5757 Wayne Newton Blvd. I didn’t know the name of the street until I started writing this post. You’ll see many streets named after famous people—Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis and Frank Sinatra. It was easy to get a feel of what Vegas must have been like during it’s heyday with the Rat Pack, Elvis and even Redd Foxx.
My husband and I stayed at a hotel on what is considered the old Vegas Strip. I don’t want to put the hotel we stayed at on blast.
The hotel—is considered a 4 star but, my husband and I gave it 3 stars. There were a few things that took away from a full 5 star experience. The blinds were broken and maintenance was in our room for about 30 minutes fixing it. And after a long flight and a snafu at the car rental—coming to the hotel to relax an hour or so was priority and it didn’t happen right away. Then on top of it all, our bathroom sink didn’t work properly and I’m not sure if housekeeping was as thorough as they could have been.
We had a view with a mountain in the distance, it was very pretty—we certainly don’t see mountains every day in Michigan.
As a first time visit to Sin City we would do it again, only next time we will stay on the newer side of Vegas.
People watching was also fun—the characters you see are probably unlike anything you will see anywhere else, except for maybe Times Square. Though I’m sure people don’t walk around almost butt-ass naked in Times Square (sorry, didn't take any pictures of butts and other unmentionables)
I’ve never been to Times Square in the summer, so maybe some people do walk around almost naked.
Before visiting Vegas I was told food prices were high. I didn’t find them to be any higher than where I live.
Our last night in Vegas, we went to a Legends in Concert at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino. There was Elvis, Michael, Marilyn and Janis. All of the performers were pretty darn good.
We got the tickets for free after being tortured at one of those 90 minute time-share meetings. It was my 2nd time doing one and hopefully my last. Avoid them if you can—they will try to lure you off the street with promises of cash, dinner or shows. It may be worth it to some, but for me and my husband we wished we’d just bypassed them altogether. We missed some other attractions messing with them. All-in-all, first trip to Vegas was a wonderful experience and we plan to go again.
The funny thing is, when I get a book cover commissioned and I get the finished product—I love it, until I think of another way it could have been designed.
Ugh!! that's money spent that I didn't necessarily have to waste. I've spent more money on covers than I care to share. I have found a good designer and hope to keep using her for awhile.
If I could design my own covers, I would be a force to be reckoned with, but alas, graphic designing is not my forte.
You can't say I didn't try. That very first cover I designed myself and as you can see, um, no. I had to be able to compete with the big dogs and had it redesigned. The next 3 covers (the Destinee covers) you see were designed by 3 different people and the last one is my current designer.
My first Book Expo
Where to start? Technically my first expo was a few months ago (July 2016) to be exact. I never bothered sharing that experience, because--
a) It wasn’t a book expo/fair so my book sales were dismal
b) It was a horrendous day for reasons I won’t post and
c) It was a glorious sunny day the whole day until I had to pack everything into my car to head to the expo and then it decided to rain down in buckets—that added to the already horrible day.
Awful, just awful…I no longer have a relaxer, so my pretty curls were ruined; it was also hot and humid.
The only plus—it was a first-time experience getting in front of people with my books and figuring out what works and what doesn’t work at a vendor fair.
Detroit Book City Expo 2017
What an amazing experience and it totally made up for the fiasco which was last year. Unlike the previous one, I only had about 2 weeks to plan. The reason I got in so late was because someone cancelled.
I ordered my books, bookmarks, stickers and prayed that they would come in time (they did)
See pictures below
I purchased candy (chocolates) and everything else needed for such an event. Side note-I think for my next expo/fair I won’t do chocolate. I find most adults pass on the candy, but of course children eye the tasty goodness with the eyes of a hawk.
One of the authors I met at the expo said she’d done hand sanitizers one year and they went over very well. That’s the good thing about these events, you get to meet great people, slyly get pointers and possibly connect for later projects.
The event—I got there early with my friend, Dora who helped. She was very helpful and gave me moral support. I laid out my books, etc. and watched the parade of people pass through. I got more sales than I anticipated and got some sign-ups for my email list. Pluses all around.
One bonus I didn’t expect was #Jesse Jackson showed up. He of course was immediately swarmed by people and left almost as soon as he stepped foot into the venue. I managed to get a picture, blurry, but a picture none-the-less. And it was neat to see him in person.
What I did right—bookmarks, postcards, 11x17 size posters of my books. Greeted the readers with a smile and engaged them in conversation-not in a pushy, sale-sy kind of way—just a little schmoozing.
What I did wrong—though wrong is subjective.
I’m pretty content with how everything turned out. However, I saw another author taking pictures with everyone who purchased a book from her. That’s smart, something to post on your website or Facebook page with their permission of course.
Not having enough change. Customers only wanted to give $20 bills. Next time I will have all singles. I could have lost a couple of customers who only had larger bills. Thankfully, Dora was there and bailed me out twice. She had the presence of mind to have singles.
I didn’t have a large banner. That will be my first priority for my next showing.
I had bags, but next time—some bags with my logo with a handle. Some people were struggling to find places to put their purchases.
Blurry picture of Jesse Jackson
In honor of #Black History month February, 2017
excerpt from A Johnson Family Saga—Love that transcends all (complete Destinee series)
also found in Two Become One which is part 2 of the series.
By Lisa Marbly-Warir
Even the Johnson Family left their mark in their own enclave of the world.
as told by Destinee Jones-Johnson
…When the party was over, nice as it was, I knew some of the women would still hold their old elitist attitudes towards me, and my mother-in-law was blissfully ignorant of it. She, like most of the women there, lived in her own bubble. They related only to each other for the most part and never took into consideration the feelings and life experiences of women from other cities; especially if those cities were poor or didn’t have the same wealth.
I never understood that, but I wasn’t from Langston either. It was just innately in them. Being married to Edward was wonderful; he was my buffer and a lot of the ugliness never reached me because of him and even his parents. Langstonites weren’t keen on becoming ostracized for messing with The Johnsons—they were one of the first families of Langston. Edward’s great-grandfather, founded Langston with the help of other well-to-do Blacks of his time; a time when Blacks were relegated to certain areas of the country and terrorized simply for being.
They wanted a place to differentiate between themselves and less fortunate Blacks. Edward sat down with me one evening and went over old photos of his grandparents and great-grand’s. One thing for certain was that the Johnson men had strong genes, the same eyes and that beautifully-shaped mouth. He told me the story that was passed down to him about how his great-grandfather founded the city with about six other families and it grew from there.
They were blessed to survive during a time when certain societal conditions that was beyond their control could have destroyed anything positive and good concerning Black people. Four generations later, the community was still thriving and I was blessed to be a part of it…
And because of the trials and tribulations the Johnson’s ancestors went through made Edward Sr. come down especially hard on his son, Edward Jr. Often reminding him of the great strides his family and Black people in general went through to be where they are today.
To read more please download a copy today.
By Lisa Marbly-Warir
***UPDATE*** it was recently announced that Rachel Lindsay will be the next, but, first Black Bachelorette.
I’m going to be honest I really don’t have a dog in this fight, but the subject came up on another social media site and I wanted to chime in. I only watched one season of The Bachelor and that was because there was a prince (I believe it was season 9) so of course I’m thinking a prince, castles and dragons, etc. Most little girls dream of that whole scenario. And of course they would, since girlhood we have been indoctrinated with fairy tales of the strong handsome prince and the fair princess. I’ve discussed this before. Click link below.
I know some women get up in arms about telling little girls about fairy tales.
We know the reality of relationships and they’re not all what we see in the movies. But, I’m a firm believer of letting little girls have their dreams. That all said, in regards to a Black bachelorette—I’m in agreement with Wells Adams. Perhaps that is one reason why The Bachelor/Bachelorette never really appealed to me.
Wells Adams Bachelor Show Racism Black Bachelorette
I might have mentioned once; why don’t they, or why won’t they do a #Black bachelor or #Black bachelorette? And I quickly came to my senses. With the racial climate in America there isn’t an easy cut-and-dry solution for this. Many things have to be taken into consideration—because it goes much deeper than just black and white, although race is but one reason.
#Blackbachelorette #Blacklove #Blackwomen
Website with blog www.lisamarbly-warirauthorpage.weebly.com
Destinee: A Romance Novella Facebook
Interview with Destinee Jones-Johnson
By Christine Thomas
Abstaining from sex till marriage is it worth it?
It’s your girl Christine, of Christine’s Corner. I thought the topic of abstinence, or maintaining virginity till marriage would be a good topic for Valentine’s Day and beyond. Valentine’s Day is usually a day and night for unbridled passion and the promise of a romantic dinner, skimpy lingerie and good sex.
Valentine’s Day has passed but it didn’t stop me from getting in touch with my good friend Destinee. She is the best person to talk to about abstaining till marriage and actually walked the walk. Not an easy one according to her. I’ve known her for years and I know she is an inspiration for some young women who want to know her experience for waiting and whether or not it is worth it?
CT-Hi Destinee, how are you girl? You’re looking great. I see Mister is keeping you happy.
DJ-I’m fine Christine. Thank you and yes he is.
CT-When I interviewed that fine husband of yours I thought he was very charming.
CT-When we were in college you were the only one of us who never really had a boyfriend. And you weren’t having sex like the rest of us. College is usually the place where people experiment and I was no exception. I’m going to tell you. I thought you were weird and missing out. Please tell my readers, why maintaining your virginity was so important to you?
DJ-You thought I was weird? You never told me that before.
CT-I did. But I also admired your stand. Temptation is too great out here. It was too many fine brotha’s on campus. I don’t know how you did it.
DJ-Part of it was upbringing and religious convictions-I know that’s not politically correct. Once I got older and was able to make decisions for myself it was what I wanted to do. I always felt sex was something special that shouldn’t be given away to just anyone. No judgment. That was my choice for my life.
CT-I’m glad you mention no judgment because people usually feel some kind of way when they encounter a woman who chooses to abstain. Why do you think that is?
DJ-Just guessing, it could be because they wish they had waited. Perhaps the first man they gave themselves to; proved to not be worthy. Men view you as a novelty and like the thrill of the hunt and to see if they can persuade you. At the end of the day men and women view sex differently and women are often the ones who feel out of sorts if they didn’t get from a man what they expected after giving their bodies to them.
CT-What about women who enjoy sex and don’t put archaic limitations on themselves when it comes to sex?
DJ-Just like my choice to abstain was my own, women who don’t like archaic limitations have a right to live how they see fit. My choice to abstain only became a problem when certain people started questioning me about it and they felt some kind of way about my choice. You know who I’m talking about. I only talked about it when I was confronted about it.
CT-Did the questions about abstaining bother you back then?
DJ-Only when I was ridiculed for my choice; other than that, no.
CT-So that brings me to a very personal question. Your husband is the only man you’ve slept with. How can you know if he is good or not? Do you regret not playing the field a bit?
~~Destinee laughs here~~
DJ-Yes he is and I am very satisfied in more ways than one with his performance. No complaints on either side. I don’t regret not playing the field. You remember #####? She was very free and vocal about her conquests but when she met ######## she quickly forgot about the body count she used to not only brag about, but she used to rub it in my face that I wasn’t getting any. So I don’t see the point of playing the field, only to want to forget about your conquests once your knight and shining armor shows up.
CT-It’s safe to say your husband wasn’t a virgin, correct?
DJ-No he wasn’t
CT-Do you think your choice to remain one till marriage was his motivation for pursuing you?
DJ-I guess you’d have to ask him, but I don’t think so.
CT-I’d love to ask you some even more personal questions but I know you shared some in Two Become One. Two snaps girl, you didn’t hold back.
DJ-Well enquiring minds wanted to know some things
CT-My final question. At the end of the day; was waiting for sex worth it?
DJ-Yes. It was a long journey. I wanted to throw in the towel many times, but I’m glad I made the personal choice to wait.
CT-Thank you Destinee. I wish you and your husband the best and many more years to come.
Anything you’d like to share with my readers?
DJ-Just make sure when you are having sex it’s with someone who really loves you, respects you and because you want to. I preferred sex within marriage, but that was my choice. Thank you for inviting me.
By Lisa Marbly-Warir
A love worth waiting for—Destinee’s story
Get your copy today—1st book in series is .99
Two become one-A Destinee romance
Born out of Lust
Under the Irish Moon
The Millionaire—Diamonds are forever (coming soon)
Available at www.Amazon.com
I’ve been online for about 15 years and in those 15 years, most people who know me on various media sites know that I was/am pro-marriage and an advocate for abstinence, more importantly saving one’s self for marriage. In today’s society this is a feat within itself. A lot of women find abstinence or celibacy after dealing with the wrong man or men and even after having children by a man who never intended to be a part of her life let alone the child’s life. I believe if more women took this road there would be less heartache.
The heartache of having a child or children with a man that didn’t want her. The heartache of multiple notches on the bedpost and nothing to show for it except some stained sheets and tears. I’ve also found that some women who were sexually free, promiscuous even, like to forget about all of their past lovers once a man has put a ring on it.
In the case of Ciara and Russell it was the man who wanted to wait.
It truly takes a special man who wants to wait. I believe there are some out here, but Russell is the exception and not the rule. Both Ciara and Russell saw enough in each other to want to build a friendship and let it progress naturally from there. I’ve said many times online that dating/courting used to be about getting to know a person.
Knowing if that person was marriage material or not. Today it has turned into sex, pregnancies (most times unwanted) and then marriage, if marriage even happens. The sad truth is most of the sex and pregnancies are happening between people who weren’t trying to be in it forever (a lot of times the men)
Women are the ones who often lose. Men and women do not view sex the same. Of course there are some women who say they can separate sex from love, but how many women can do that successfully? If men and women were on the same page when it came to sex, there wouldn’t be so many hurt, mad, struggling baby mamas out here or angry men who have to shell out money to a woman who he claims to hate after she’s had his offspring.
This is the price of sex without really knowing who you are sleeping with and especially not married to. The try-it-before-you buy-it is a lie that both men and women tell themselves and again, women are the ones who end up with the short end of the stick—a baby/children to raise by herself, 5 or 10 years of being a fiancé never a bride etc.
I recently wrote online that I tend to have more respect for women who waited for marriage, like, truly waited—no friends-with-benefits, no maintenance men, no ‘he my friend’ but really waited on the promise of God sending her a mate. I admire Ciara and Russell for their choice to wait, and also Megan Good and her husband. I wish them all the best.
Waiting is not an easy road. Been there done that, but it paid off for me—but that was my personal journey and commitment to God and myself. I wish more women saw value in what they have between their legs. You don’t have to rush into sex, sex will eventually come but you want it to be with a man who genuinely cares for you and wants a life (in marriage with you) if marriage is what you want.
#abstinence #celibacy #abstinencetillmarriage
Lisa Marbly-Warir wife, writer, dreamer
Bringing characters to life~one book at a time
By Lisa Marbly-Warir
I can remember when I was a girl looking out my bedroom window at the snow coming down and dreaming of Christmas day. Christmas time always holds a lot of warm memories for me—memories of bygone times that are forever etched in my mind.
A lot of us may not like to relive our early years—especially if those early years were less than ideal. As children we didn’t know it wasn’t ideal. It was our normal. By the time you’re a teenager or even in your early twenties you may look back in shame and embarrassment at the fact that you were poor, or that you were raised by a single mother when other children had their daddy.
However, a funny thing happens when you get even older. You begin to look back on some of those simpler struggling days with fond memories as some of the happiest times of your life.
One thing about my mother, she made sure my brothers and I had the best Christmases ever. During that time of year we didn’t know we were poor.
The day before Christmas my mother would prep the Christmas dinner—a turkey would be thawed, cakes and pies would be baked, greens washed and she did it all by herself. To this day, the smell of chopped celery and onions takes me back to my Mama’s kitchen.
By Christmas Eve we would be too excited to fall asleep, but we knew if we didn’t go to sleep it only prolonged the long awaited Christmas morning. Sometime during the night my mother would add more Christmas gifts under the tree and by Christmas morning we would get out of bed and run downstairs.
We would look in amazement at the sparkling multi-colored lights dancing off of the glass ornaments and the Christmas presents stacked high with different colored wrapping paper and stockings with hollow chocolate Santa’s and foil wrapped chocolates. To say we were on cloud nine would be an understatement.
Before we could tear into those presents we had to get washed up to have our pictures taken and then have a small “family altar” service—where we sang a few Christmas songs and were told the real meaning of Christmas and why we should be thankful.
What are your fondest Christmas memories?
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Some people will say yes there is a hook-up culture and some will say no. I recently read an article that said the hook-up culture always existed. And I don’t think that is the case, at least not as it is today. I would say when I was in my 20s, men still wanted to settle down and get married and you’re only looking at 20+ years ago.
It’s much worse for women today—particularly women who want to settle down and get married. The operative word is want. Because there is a segment of women who want to sow their oats the same way as men do and that can spell trouble later if she ends up with a child she has to raise by herself, or decides later in life she wants a real relationship, but is hard pressed to find one with a man who also wants to settle down.
There is a generation of men who are being raised to run from marriage and skirt their responsibility. I have my own theory as to why and it tends to vary from what other people think the reasons are.
So, how does being traditional-minded work in today’s hook-up culture and is it beneficial to women? My answer to that is no—and I touched on it a bit in the first paragraph.
Do traditional men even still exist? I know there are some out here, but both men and women have gotten away from traditional values in general and the only victims in this hook-up culture IMO are the men and women who are genuinely sincere in wanting to find a person to settle down with in marriage and not taking detours (one night stands, friends with benefits etc.) on their quest for finding or waiting on the right person.
I feel the younger generation of women who follow the latest reality star when it comes to how to be in a relationship, or use their bodies will be sorely disappointed later when the flash and glamour of their youth is gone and now they want something genuine in a man. I’ve often said online, that men are spoiled today because many of them get all of the perks of a marital relationship without having to make it official. It’s more popular or expected to be divorced or jump from relationship to relationship than it is to be in a long-time marriage.
Women are often the ones who hurt in the long-run, because we tend to want more. Maybe not right away i.e. in our youth but we will definitely want it later. This is why I try to talk to young women. I feel my message is for someone. There are times I want to stop talking about being traditional-minded. I want to let women who are traditional know they are not alone in their desire to set themselves apart from the crowd.
I know being traditional goes against the grain of today when young girls consider shaking big butts, and flashing boobs as a way to capture a man’s attention. Yes, you’ll get his attention, but at what cost? Some men will approach a woman with no intent of making her his forever after and a lot of times that young woman is left with a kid or two and the man is long gone and she is wondering what happened. That to me is what the hook-up culture is doing to young women.
Also, traditional is subjective. There are some people who are guilty of hooking up indiscriminately, yet they consider themselves traditional. I know some women like that, and I wonder what part of traditional don’t they understand.
I’m generation X—those are the ages between 1961 and 1981. I consider my age being in that transitional age between traditional and free-minded and I’m talking in terms of relationships. We’ve essentially gone from girls/women dreaming and planning their wedding day and being married to shacking up, co-parenting but not being together.
There really seems to be no in-between. It appears to be one extreme to the other. You know the high-profile families who have an almost twisted view of propriety only to find out there is incest, molestation charges to unwed pregnancies in a family where abstinence was taught. You know who I’m talking about so I won’t name names—versus the hook-up culture where a monogamous relationship seems like a joke or unbelievable.
There has to still be women who dream of their wedding day and wanting to be married. When I’m online and talk fondly of marriage I sometimes feel like an old relic of the past. The irony is romance books and movies are a multi-million dollar industry—so romance is not dead in that respect.
As a writer I find I am stuck in a hard-place in regards to some of my stories specifically as a Black writer. I still have one foot in the past with making my protagonist’s old-fashion minded but in a contemporary society. I prefer to keep my characters pure until marriage but ultimately found that I had to modify some of my stories to keep with today’s trends. My only character that saved herself was my Destinee character in A love worth waiting for-Destinee’s story. But I’m sure I have some more characters like her just waiting to have their stories told.
So ladies (and gents) if you’re out there give me a shout out. Share your thoughts on what’s going on out here.
Thanks for reading.