You Heard It Here: The Other Side of THAT.

I’d been wondering what I wanted to blog about and since I have two blogs going on the same day, I thought I’d toss the coin, literally, and talk about both sides of it… Make sense? Probably not, but it will if you read both of blogs. (I know… very devious of me. My bad. <G>)

First of all, my topic is writing. Not everybody who reads these will be a writer, but I think 99% of the people in the world have contemplated writing their story or someone elses… they just maybe haven’t gotten around to doing it.

So… What side of the coin is this… that has to do with writing? The “stuck” side. What happens when you have a story idea… you have the characters and general idea of what you want for them, but no earthly clue how to get them started? OR… you get them started and have no clue where to go? And what if these characters are NO help to you whatsoever? What if they’re not in your ear saying, “Yo, Dee J, this is boring, can you blow up this car or put a sniper on the roof so I can save the love of my life before she’s riddled with bullets?”


I know… you’re laughing at me (and the blank page I’ve posted above). I am too. (Actually, I’m crying, but that’s okay. I’ll get over it. <G>) I always joke that you can tell when I’m stuck in one of my books because I blow something up. That’s not always true. (Although it might be true a little bit of the time. LOL.) I try to come up with a strong enough conflict that will make my characters work hard to overcome. If that conflict is strong enough and my characters are smart enough, they can drive the story. But as I mentioned… what if they don’t feel like sharing with me? There I am, back in stuck city with no power or emergency kit. My brain is dark, my story is begging for some help and I’m looking for inspiration. (To read the other side of this coin, check out my blog at Not Your Usual Suspects today.)

What’s the answer? No really. I’m asking… What’s the answer? Does anyone have any great ways to get unstuck? Is it about the characters, the conflict or all of the above? Are there other factors involved that I’m not even considering?

Okay, talk amongst yourselves…but not too quietly. I’d like to hear what you have to say because currently, I need help!!



You Heard It Here: Hollywood Premiere

I’m breaking my usual story telling because I have an announcement. My show, Marvin Marvin premiered on Nickelodeon November 24. Yay! Here’s a picture of me with the cast. This was taken after we shot our eleventh episode on November 16th. Our show airs on Saturday’s at 8:30 p.m.

From left to right: Mim Drew, Pat Finn, Casey Sander, Lucas Cruikshank, moi, Jacob Bertrand, Victory Van Tuyl and Camille Spirlin.

This is one awesome group of actors. I love ’em. ‘Nough said.

Since it’s the first of the month and I’m talking TV, how about you tell me what your favorite show of all time is/was? I don’t care if it’s a sitcom or drama. (I just hope you don’t give me a reality show since that really has nothing to do with acting and everything to do with editing. <G>) I want to know what characters drew/draw you in every week. Go!



You Heard It Here: Happiness Is

Since I make the first post of the month something about Hollywood, I decided to talk about the things that make me happy in the last post of the month. (That leaves the middle for everything in between!)

So… lately, I’ve been trying to focus on the good things in my life. Those that know me, know I’m fairly easy to please. I love my family, dogs and Chai lattes. I love my new day job and being back on the set. I love my new Prius. Wait… I’ve killed 5 blogs already with this list, so I’ll slow down.

This month is an easy one:
Happiness is the pride I feel while watching my husband direct multiple episodes of a new Disney show. He’s worked so hard to get to this place where everyone appreciates his ability to find humor even when it isn’t written in the script. Not to mention the fact that he makes it look effortless as he puts his vision on camera. Here he is with the star of the show, “Crash and Bernstein,” Cole Jensen.

I guess I could embellish this a little more and say happiness is loving the man I married twenty-three years ago even more as I watch his dreams come true.

What about you? What makes you happy? Are you easy to please? Do you find enjoyment from the simple things in life?

You Heard It Here: The Neighbors

Most people deal with it at some point. Having bad neighbors can be life altering. Whether they live above you and pound on your roof like elephants gone wild, or live next door to you and blast the music so loud it rocks the pictures on the walls, living near people that have no common courtesy is an absolute ball-buster.

Then there are those neighbors who save us on a regular basis. The ones who are there to take in our trashcans while we’re at work and the rain is coming down. The neighbor who brings over extra birthday cake after their child’s party, or picks you up when you get a flat tire fifteen minutes from home.

I used to have the good kind until my neighbors of 22 years sold their house and moved. Now I have neighbors who don’t seem to understand that when they leave their dog alone all night long, he barks…all night long.

My neighbor situation arose after I wrote Dangerously Close where Mel was not originally happy about having a neighbor. (Especially since he thought he had a private mountain top to himself.) He initially thought his neighbor Ashley was going to be a problem and worried that she might uncover his secret. Then he found out she couldn’t see him. So what started out as a potentially bad neighbor situation turned into one that he could live with. Ultimately it turned into the best relationship of his life.

Have you ever had a bad start with a neighbor, only to end up later being great friends? Or the other way around? Did you start off with a good relationship and something happened to change it into an uncomfortable one?

You Heard It Here: Hollywood Halloween

In the spirit of Halloween I wracked my brain trying to think of a good Hollywood Halloween story. Though I have a couple that revolve around a cast dressing up for rehearsals, the earliest one I remember is on Roseanne when we were shooting our first Halloween episode. (Roseanne was a big Halloween lover. It was bigger than Christmas to her. LOL.) Anyway… if any of you have seen the episode where Darlene and Becky are stirring the green goop on a big pot on the stove, I played the hand that comes out to reach for them (in rehearsals all week). Darlene struggles to keep the hand in the pot. It was fun, but I’m pretty sure I got the job because I was small and could fit under the cabinet. <G> Since I don’t have any pics from my days on the set then, here’s a pic of some my cast this year on my new show.

We have a sheriff in the house. Michael Jackson, meow kitty, gnarly hockey player, high school dude and down in front, mini Shaft. (BTW- Yes, that’s me giving my description… the cast may disagree with me. LOL.)

What about you? How was your Halloween? Did you dress up? If so, spill. Inquiring minds want to know!

You Heard It Here: Decisions Decisions

How often have you come across a crossroads in life where you have make a decision that will decide your life for the foreseeable future? Usually, I imagine they don’t come along that often. Recently I had to make one of those decisions.

By now, most everyone knows that my background is in show business and very recently I’ve gotten back into my dialogue coach work on a new sitcom. (Don’t get me wrong, I love writing, but until I become a best seller, I still need to pay the mortgage! <G>  But I digress.) I love the cast, crew and exec producers of my show, so when I was offered a job working on another show closer to home, I had to consider it. I really agonized over this dilemma. The new show is closer to home and would probably entail less hours and certainly less work required of me because I really only had one cast member who needed me. I took everything under consideration… the commute, the schedule and how it works with my family, the working environment. I made my pros and cons list which was fairly detailed. I have to say the new show won in the pros department, but I decided to stay with my current show mainly because I got attached to the cast. Every one is so wonderful and funny and I didn’t have the heart to leave them. So, yes, I drive a longer distance and work more hours, but I’m happy knowing that I have a place to go everyday where the people appreciate what I do and they love me anyway. <G> I’m happy with my decision and now I just need the show to be a hit so I can pay my mortgage for the next half dozen years or so.

Here’s a pic of me with some of the cast members from a recent episode. If you have kids, you may or may not recognize the young man on the far right.

What about you? Any major life decisions that you were glad you made… or maybe not so glad?

You Heard It Here: Happiness Is…

Most of the time, I’m a pretty happy person, but recently I’ve been trying even harder to concentrate on the good parts of life and enjoy all the moments that make me happy. Last night is the perfect example. I found a conversation on twitter about Dangerously Close and the end result had me grinning so much that it took me hours to go to sleep. (I billed it as the best kind of insomnia.) To give you the short rundown,  a blind author read the book. (Sounds like she has a text to speech app, but I’m not 100% sure.) She loved my “kick ass book” and “badass heroine” and can I tell you… it just doesn’t get better than that. She got it. She got me and I’ll forever love that woman. <G>  But along with getting great feedback from my books, other things make me happy too.
Seeing my daughter play well on the soccer field or watching my husband come up with ways to make jokes on the page work even better when he’s directing a show…

Loving on my sweet puppy dogs… And watching them love on each other.

(I feel the need to mention that I call this photo, “The Big Boy Lovin’ on his Big Girl.”)

When my editor gives me a smiley face on something in my manuscript…

Even just picking up a simple chai latte will brighten my day to an enormous extent. I’ve decided I’m a simple person and that’s okay with me. I’m not hard to please (and my husband probably likes that. LOL.)
What about you? Are you high maintenance or do you/can you appreciate the simple things in life? What makes you happy?

You Heard It Here: The (Hollywood) Animals Have It.

It’s the first of the month which means another Hollywood story. I wondered what I could talk about this month and I decided I’d share a list of all the animals I’ve worked with over the years. (Although I use that term loosely since I didn’t necessarily work with the animals so much as share the same set with them as I worked with the actors around them.)

So, keeping in mind that this list is probably forgetting one or two or ten of the animals I’ve shared a set with, here we go:

I worked with Mike Meyers and a bear for one of the Oscar telecasts.

Countless numbers of dogs, cats, ponies and horses (this includes a zebra).

An elephant (Who also happened to be the elephant that starred in Water for Elephants.)

Orangatangs, monkeys, possums, goats, cows, snakes, iguanas, lizards, spiders and every type of bird you can imagine, including an eagle and falcon.

A tiger, although I made sure I was off the set when that bad boy got there.

A sea lion, which the trainer billed as a wet lion. I’m sorry, but I had to chuckle at that. I might not be able to outrun a lion, but I’m fairly certain that on dry land I can outrun a sea lion. (I’m may be small, but I’m fast. LOL.)

(Of course there was the time I came face to face with a black panther, but that wasn’t Hollywood related. It happened in Texas when I was very young so it doesn’t count. But I felt inclined to add it since you don’t get much more exotic when discussing animals!)

Hm… I think I might’ve covered everything. Not a bad list, right? I’m a huge animal lover – especially dogs – which might explain why I put a dog in Dangerously Close. (Roamer is a combination of my old dog, Sam, and my new dog, Zachary.)

What about you? Any history of meeting a unique animal that didn’t include the zoo?

You Heard It Here: iPhone

As most of you know… it’s birthday month and for my birthday I received a much needed new phone. But not just ANY new phone. I got an iPhone! Do I love it? Really? Need you ask? I adore it! Yes, I know the new iPhone 5s are coming out… like NOW, but I really couldn’t wait and I’m so thrilled with my 4s that I’m not unhappy in the least. (Not to mention that because the 5s were so near to release, I got my 4s for a song! Doesn’t get better than that!)

My old phone – which shall be aptly called from this point on POS – is now history. Thank God. That thing stunk. It was discontinued shortly after I bought it. Naturally. But I digress…

My new phone… Dare I use the word – orgasmic? Yes, that’s how much I love it. I’m comparing it to orgasms. (That is so wrong. Yet on the road to the truth nevertheless.) And the case…don’t even get me started on the joy of my Mophi. It’s a charger too. Between the phone battery and the charger, my phone has a solid 12 hours of go time. Yay!

I’ll be chalking this birthday up to an absolute success. This is also my last chance in September to wish Dangerous Race a happy belated first birthday!!

What about you? Any favorite b-day gifts?

You Heard It Here: I Covet…

It’s still birthday month so I thought I’d share my birthday book. Literally this time.

Because I entered the RITA Awards, my publisher, Carina Press, had to print up some copies for the contest. Had I finalled, I wouldn’t have seen my books, but as it stands, Carina sent me the left over copies. I covet them. Yes, I do… I covet the copies of my books. I’ve given a few away and still have a couple more to give to family members, but I’m keeping one for myself. I stare at it when I get down. LOL.

This book represents over ten years of trying to get published. Ten years of wondering if anyone would enjoy my stories, style and voice. There is a lot going on in my head when I look at this book. And it’s all pretty damn emotional!
What about you? What do you covet? What item do you have that represents a struggle or triumph in your life?