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!!
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
Two days ago while Danica Patrick was running in first place during the Nationwide Series race in Montreal, someone threw a shoe onto the track. Danica rolled right over it. Imagine the velocity of the shoe when it kicked up under her car? You can guess… it did some damage. She lost a bracket under the car and ended up in 26th place.
Now, imagine what might’ve happened if she or anyone else rolled over that shoe at a different angle? There might have been a serious chain of events, especially with all those cars running so closely together. It makes every race a Dangerous Race.
When I came up with the idea for Dangerous Race, I never really thought that anyone would throw anything onto the track, but the reality is it’s a possibility (as shown on Saturday when this happened to Danica). If you want to check out what happens when a race car goes over oil on the track… check out the first book in the Adrenaline Highs series. Dangerous Race.
Personally, I’m not nearly brave enough to want to race cars for a living. What about you? Are you a daredevil? Do you like to live life on the edge? Do you like high octane fun?
I very recently took a trip to my hometown of El Paso, Texas to visit family. I’ve discovered that when I visit in the summer time, I’m usually in for at least one lightning storm… especially when it’s hot. There’s nothing like a good old Texas heat/lightning/thunder storm.
My daughter took this awesome picture and it was only one of many. (So hard to pick just one!) Okay… a little late, but here’s another:
And one more:
Okay, I lied… this is the last one. For reals. <G>
Mother nature really knows how to let loose and I guess I took some advice the following night when my daughter and I went on a road trip with cousins. We drove about 30 minutes or so into New Mexico (for a great Mexican dinner!) in a Jeep with no windows and the stereo blasting. Talk about reverting to high school! It was awesome! So much fun to let loose and enjoy the best parts of life.
How about you? Let loose lately? What did you do to let off steam?
I’ve got a question for you. What is the meaning of life? I sure as hell have no clue, but I have decided a few things about my own life. I’ve decided that I want to be well-rounded. I want to be able to sleep in on weekend mornings or mornings after a rough few days in a row. I want to enjoy the parts of life that make me happy. Whether that’s read a good book, watch a television show, or movie. I want to be able to do other things in my life besides write books, blog about books, tweet about books and FaceBook about books. I’ve decided that if I don’t get something done one day, I can do it the next. Will I make my deadline for a book or blog, yes, absolutely. I am a perfectionist and I strive to be on time for deadlines, but in between those deadlines I like singing to my own tune.
I’ve discovered that putting pressure on myself to do ONE THING and ONE THING ONLY only makes me NOT want to do that one thing. I need variety. I get inspiration doing other things.
My hat is off to the writers that can pump out three, four or five books a year. That is a dedication beyond measure. And don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to imply that these people don’t have lives. I’m sure they’re very happy pumping out all those books. I’ve just discovered it’s okay for me to go at my own pace. As Jon Bon Jovi sang it: It’s My Life.
What about you? Do you put pressure on yourself to do things and find you get burnt out more quickly or do you thrive on the pressure to do it all?
Have a great day and remember… You heard it here.