You Heard It Here: Happiness Is… A New Book

I’ll admit that I was struggling to find my happiness this month. It started off a little rocky – because of the death of a friend – and will end a little rocky with the unveiling of my father’s headstone. I can’t believe it’s almost been a year since he died. But I’m happy knowing he’s at peace and he’s with my mom somewhere. She always wanted to travel and never really got the chance, so I have a sneaking suspicion that’s she’s dragging him all over the world to see everything she missed. Hey, who knows. Could be true.

But on to Happiness Is because I think it’s important to find happiness even in the sad times.

This month’s happiness is starting a new book. I’ve just finished the last Adrenaline Highs novel and it was kind of a bitter sweet moment. So before I got too sad about it, I dove into my next High Stakes novel. I’m still batting around possible titles, so I can’t share that with you, but I can tell you that you’re going to get Brendan St. John’s story. (That’s Blake’s twin in case you’re keeping track.) I don’t know if any of you remember that Blake works for one of my all time favorite characters… Seger Hughes. (I figure since I did a little series cross-over with Blake in Imminent Danger then I could cross Seger over into this High Stakes novel.) Seger plays an important part of this book and you can bet that where there’s Seger, there’s his wife Ashley. (Who knows… we might even see Roamer!)

IMG_0797 (BTW – this is my model for Roamer. He’s so sweet. Love this dog.)

So, that’s my happiness. What’s yours this month?

You Heard It Here: In Memory Of

This past week I experienced a first. It should’ve/could’ve been a scene from a movie or television show, but it was real life.

I got a call from the police department while I was in a movie. After checking my voice mail, I initially thought it was a scam, since I’ve been scammed before. But I soon found out, it wasn’t.

I returned the call and spoke with the officer. He was very cryptic, which made me even more leery. He mentioned a woman’s name. A woman I didn’t know. Yet he had my name and phone number so it was a true puzzle. Then he mentioned two names that I know very well. My dogs’ names. Then I had a connection and began piecing together the puzzle.

After a couple more phone calls, my husband and I went to the police department and waited for the officer we both spoke with over the phone. He took us to a small sitting area where we sat on a sofa while he and his partner sat across from us. I had my eyes peeled for the woman who brought us here. The woman who had my name and number and clearly needed me to help her. I mean, why else would the police call me? Something was wrong. We weren’t that close although she’d been house and dog sitting for us since she gave us the dogs. I was surprised that she didn’t have anyone else…surprised that she called me.

I had asked the officer if she’d been arrested as we talked on the phone and he said, “No,” so I felt a measure of relief. Still I wondered why she would be there and what would be needed of us.

He kept asking questions about her. Questions that didn’t really relate to right now/this minute, but I figured he was trying to make sense of the information he had and trying to build a full picture of the woman in question. After a few minutes, the officer sat forward and very calmly, very softly informed my husband and me that she had passed away. I couldn’t even tell you his exact words. I just remember I had my usual reaction when I’m told that someone has died. I said, “What? No way.” We were told my name and number was the only contact discovered near her. (Realistically, I know people die. I’ve lost my parents and I’ve lost friends. But I’ve discovered that surprise deaths aren’t something I deal with as well as the ‘someone’s sick and you have time to say goodbye’ deaths. I especially have a problem with it when it happens to someone young.)

I realized after the fact that she had something for the dogs and that was probably the only reason my name and number were so obvious.

Still, as many times as I’ve seen such a scene played out on television and on the big screen, I never dreamed that I’d be getting news like that myself. There is so much we owe Jess. Without her we wouldn’t have Zach and Liz who are very much a part of our family for the past three and a half years. I have no way to explain to the dogs that they’ll never see her again. They would go crazy when she showed up at the house. They’d maul her with unconditional love, crazy tongues and wagging tails. She pretty much saved their lives when their owner died and they knew it. They lived four months alone at their house with only Jess stopping in daily to take care of them before the house sold. She and a neighbor made a video and posted it to FaceBook hoping to find the dogs a family and they succeeded. They found us. (Actually, they found a lot of people, but we were thrilled when the dogs actually chose us among the candidates.)

So, though I didn’t know that many personal details about Jess, we connected because of our love for dogs. Anyone who continues to work for months making sure animals she doesn’t own are taken care of, who spends money on food and care, knowing that she won’t see it again, is someone I feel I can trust. I’ll admit she was a little quirky, but no one’s perfect.

Evidence indicates that she’d been living out of her car. I had no idea. I know she was a sweet sole who loved animals as unconditionally as they loved her. She was still young, too young to have died alone.

Please have a moment of silence for this young woman who gave way more than she received.

Rest in peace, Jess.

You Heard It Here: Hollywood Years Roll By.

Since Saturday was my daughter’s 18th birthday, I have birthdays on the brain. And birthdays mean growing older. When I think back to all the people I’ve worked with, young and old alike, I still get surprised as the years fly by. I didn’t always work in children’s programming, but I’ve worked with a lot of kids over the years.

Take for instance one of my first shows, Roseanne. Michael Fishman was all of seven years old when I met him. Now, he’s thirty-three with two kids of his own. I know I should be over the fact that kids grow up, but apparently I’m not, so bear with me.

Almost eight years ago, I started work on a show called True Jackson, VP with a very talented cast led by, Keke Palmer, Ashley Argota and Matt Shively. I met these kids when they were thirteen, fourteen and sixteen years old respectively. Here they are then: (I know… small pic. Sorry. Pull out your magnifying glass!)

TJVPNow, they are twenty-one, twenty-two and twenty-four.

It’s one thing to watch adult cast members grow older, because I’m growing older with them. But to watch my kids grow UP… grow INTO adults, is truly amazing. I love watching their careers blossom. Mostly, I love that they’ve remained such good humans.

KekePalmerKeke broke all sorts of records last year. First by being the youngest person to host her own talk-show (Just Keke / BET) and second, being the first African American actress to star in Cinderella on Broadway.

AshleyArgoatAshely’s releasing her second album in a matter of days and I can tell you it’s wonderful (because I was lucky enough to hear a few tracks)! Look for Limitless. You won’t be sorry!

MattShivelyAnd Matt is producing as well as acting these days. I couldn’t be happier for the three of them.

I see all their success and I wish the same for my daughter. Though she may not work in show business (which I’m very happy about), I can’t wait to see where she’ll land as she grows into adulthood.

What about you? Anyone in particular you’re watching grow up/older and trying to wrap your brain around the change?

 

You Heard It Here: Happiness Is…

Living in the moment.

I know this might sound like a cop-out, but it’s true. Lately, I’ve been trying really hard to live in the moment and enjoy each day for what it is. I know I have to look ahead to plan the future, but I’m trying to worry less about the future and live in the now.

Take for instance the milestone birthday coming up for my daughter. I’m trying not to freak out that she’s turning 18. So much happens when she celebrates this birthday. She’ll be able to vote. She’ll no longer be under a state imposed curfew. (Just mine. Haha) She’ll no longer be considered a minor. Holy smokes. How did that happen?

Katelynhawaiiansunset

(Here’s the kid on our last Hawaiian sunset. Love that smile. Love that girl!)

See what just happened there? I got ahead of myself. Because she is NOT yet 18 and I’m not going to stress. And when that birthday happens and all those things that go along with it come to fruition, I will be happy for her and not at all stressed.

I’m pretty good about letting go of the past. I can’t tell you how important I think that is. Holding onto the past never did anyone any favors. I truly believe that. To live a healthy life, people need to move forward and deal with what’s happening now.

And speaking of now. Right now, I’m enjoying being a full time author. Not only that, I’m crazy happy to be able to attend my daughter’s last high school soccer games. I have time to walk the dogs, make dinner and read a little along with writing every day. As much as I love my day job, it’s really hard to fit everything in. Actually, it’s practically impossible. So when I have these breaks from Hollywood, I enjoy them as much as I can.

Before I forget… this is my last chance to shout out Eight Nights with a Hero! It’s gone in 11 days so snag it now for 99 cents! You’ll be glad you did!

EightNights

Amazon US | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | ARe | Google Play | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

So, tell me…How are you at living in the moment? And besides that, what’s your happiness this month?

You Heard It Here: Hot Topics

So this is kind of a random blog. Have you ever scrolled through your FaceBook feed or found an article online or in the paper that compels you to respond? It might be a hot button topic or something mundane, yet you notice that its drawn a ton of comments and you feel the need to weigh in too?

What are the topics that excite you? Is it animals? Cute guys? Famous people? Weather? Politics? Book covers? Coffee? Movies? Zach&LizCaleb+Pryor+Joshua+Pryor+hYYZ4nLPlh0m

BettyWhite

Sunset in La Jolla!

Can’t forget hot book covers! OverTheTop_final

Is there something else that makes you hit that comment or reply button?

Or is there nothing that excites or angers you enough to respond online? Is your time too precious or maybe nothing interests you enough to comment? Let me know. Inquiring minds…

You Heard It Here: Hollywood Families

Before I get into this first blog of 2015, I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year! I hope this holiday season has been a great one for you and your family. And speaking of family, that leads me to this first of the month blog.

After over 25 years of working in television (which includes dozens of television shows), I can tell you that when you spend so much time on a set, the cast and crew can become your second family. I use the word “can” because it’s not always the case. Everyone can go to a day job, but that doesn’t mean those co-workers feel like family. Working on a set can be different though. I don’t know if it’s the long hours or the crazy situations we have to make work (for the camera), or if there’s something in the Wheaties at craft service, but sometimes a crew just gels.

thunderfamHere’s a shot of the lightning bolt sweater club from our wrap/holiday party a couple of weeks ago. From right to left we have Kira, me, Lauren, Cortni, and Bonnie. I can’t tell you how much I love all these ladies. Between us we cover a large spectrum on the show. From actor, dialogue coach, mom, set PA, and scripts. Not very often do all the departments hit it off so well, but that’s not the case with our little show.

As exampled above, we have my family at The Thundermans. There isn’t a bad apple in the bunch. I think this might be the second time in all my years and TV shows that I can say that about a show. There can be great groups – no doubt about it – but there’s something about this cast and crew that is special. During the years, I’ve worked on a few highly successful shows (Roseanne, Grace Under Fire & The Big Bang Theory to name a few), but I usually experienced something I dubbed, “The Nasty Factor.” I hadn’t worked on a hit show that didn’t involve someone nasty. Be it an actor or producer or crew member that made life difficult somehow. But there is no nasty factor on The Thundermans and we are a Nickelodeon hit. Yay us!

Something to be grateful for this year is family. Wherever they may be and whoever they are. If you love them and can give them a hug, do so. And if you can’t, then lift your glass and toast them. They deserve it.

Now… Tell me about your family. Extended or not, how does it measure up? Any nasty factors or just a weird duck or two?

May you all have the happiest, healthiest and most successful year in 2015!

You Heard It Here: Happiness Is… New Releases!

I hope everyone is rolling into the Holidays in good spirit! I know I’m having a hell of time! (And I mean that in a good way!) I have so much to be grateful for including two releases. First, I am beyond thrilled to bring you Over the Top in just 2 days! Look for it December 22nd!

OverTheTop_final

This is a prequel novella to Against the Wall and it’s definitely much shorter than my usual length when it comes to romantic suspense. But I’m hoping it will tide you over for a little while until my next release in 2015. The best part is it’s only 99 cents! Here’s the blurb:

The cozy getaway barely started before the nightmare began.

Terry’s dreams sometimes come true. The trouble is, this time she’s had a nightmare—her fiancé, Jay, dead, their young daughter kidnapped. When events eerily unfold just like in her dream, Terry’s sense of déjà vu increases. Terrified, she realizes she has to change the course of events, or her life will become a nightmare for real.

It took two years to get Terry to say yes to his marriage proposal, and just as they are set to celebrate their engagement, Terry reveals the secret she’s been keeping from Jay for years. Her lack of trust cuts him deep and leaves him wondering if they can make a marriage work. But when someone seeks to destroy their family, Jay and Terry will do anything to stay together.

(December 22 is only days away!)

And don’t forget Eight Nights with a Hero! Cold Nights, Hot Heroes and Eight Deadly Secrets! This is eight novels and novellas including NYT and USA Today Bestselling Authors! Grab your copy now for only 99 cents before it’s gone!

EightNights

Just imagine, for almost $2.00 you’re getting 9 books! Treat yourself to some fun romantic suspense!

Here’s a wonderful season of peace and joy and very Happy New Year to you all!

Tell me your happiness this month!

You Heard It Here: Boxed Set!

This year has flown by, but it’s not over yet! Eight Nights with a Hero ensures that 2014 will go out with a bang and introduce 2015 with just as much fanfare!

EightNights

I’m so excited to be part of the Eight Nights with a Hero boxed set! In fact, this happens to be day 3 of the Scavenger Hunt and you could win a Kindle Paperwhite and signed books from the set, (including mine, Imminent Danger!) Head over to the Scavenger Hunt and start at the beginning! You have to go in order to get the clues correct.

99 cents for 8 romantic suspense novels and novellas including NYT and USA Today Bestsellers! Get it before it’s gone January 31st!

Amazon US | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | ARe | Google Play | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Amazon CA | Amazon DE

Tell me about the best thing you’ve ever won or the best bargain you ever got!

 

 

 

You Heard It Here: Hollywood Egos

In this month’s Hollywood story I have to change the name to protect the idiot. (I say idiot, since the star in question is not innocent at all. LOL.) I always feel weird telling stories that don’t put people in a good light simply because I’m not fan of negativity. It doesn’t mean the town isn’t full of it, but it also doesn’t mean I have to spread it around. Still, idiots do populate show business and their bad behavior could be called out and they have no one to blame but themselves.

Now, with that said, I won’t “out” this actor, but I will tell you a story about him. (And yes, the “him” is the only hint you’ll get along with the show he guest starred on.)

I was working on Still Standing and my husband happened to be working on Rodney on the very next stage. I discovered that one of my favorite actors from one of my favorite TV shows was going to be guest-starring on my hubby’s show and I was SO excited. I knew I’d get to meet him. He’d been on a hit show many years before and he was a gorgeous man, so what’s not to be excited about, right?

Here’s a pic of the Rodney cast. I loved them. They were very good to me and my hubby.

AMY PIETZ, OLIVER DAVIS, JENNIFER ASPEN, RODNEY CARRINGTON,  MATTHEW JOSTEN, NICK SEARCY

I was supposed to go on set during my lunch hour to meet this actor, but before the big day, I discovered he’d been treating my husband – who at the time worked as the First Assistant Director – like crap. Really? That kind of burned me. I thought, hey, maybe he had a bad day and would get nicer. People have bad days all the time and I try to give them some slack, because you just never know what they are dealing with in their life. But then the next day, this actor was still being a real PITA to my husband. Two strikes… he’s out.

One of the crew members had mentioned to this actor that I was a huge fan and pointed me out to him when I came on set. But that was when I discovered what a jackass he’d been to my husband. So instead of walking up to him – which I would’ve done in a second, because I’d learned to be brave like that after so many years, I just hung out by my hubby instead.

This crew member – who will remain nameless – just because she likes her privacy – said, “You can’t not say hi to him! I already told him you want to meet him!”

Tough tacos. Not my problem. I really didn’t care at that point. (I hadn’t asked her to say anything and it shouldn’t have been an issue for her.)

Here’s the funny part. As I was leaving to go back to my set, I neared the stage door and this actor appeared out of nowhere to open the door for me. I’m serious. The door I choose was behind huge empty bleachers (where the audience sat on show night) and this guy had no reason to be back there. He had to have been keeping an eye for me waiting for me to oogle him and when I didn’t, he found a way to approach me. I suspect he needed his daily ego feed.

So, he smiles wide and opens the door for me. “Thanks,” I said, and walked out without another word. Nothing. I could see the surprise in his face. Truly, it was priceless.

Now, here’s the funnier part. the NEXT DAY, I’m walking back to my car after rehearsal and walking past my husband’s stage which is across from the actors’ dressing rooms for our two stages. Out of the blue, this actor appears from behind a trailer, hits me with his gorgeous smile and says, “Hi, there. Beautiful day today, isn’t it?”

First, I was shocked to see him because he is gorgeous and crushes are hard to crush when you have them, but I kept my cool and replied. “Yes,” I said. “I love California weather.” And I didn’t say another word. Just kept right on walking. I left him standing there in the road by himself and I could feel his eyes on me as I walked away.

I took terrible satisfaction in my actions. Knowing he’d been hoping for me to tell him how much I loved him and what a fan I was of him and his show and that I didn’t give him what he wanted/craved, I felt as if I’d knocked him off his pedestal. Probably not for long, but it was my little <insert middle finger here> to the guy who treated my man like crap.

What goes around comes around. Most especially in Hollywood. It’s a small town. But I’m always sad when someone I loved watching, who makes me laugh (or swoon) turns out to be a real heel.

Now… you guys are free to guess who I might be talking about, but I can’t guarantee that I’ll say you’re right.

What about you? Ever had preconceived notions about someone then learned the hard way that they aren’t what you hoped they be? Let me know! I’d love your story.

You Heard It Here: Happiness Is… The End

This month’s happiness is writing “The End” on my fifteenth book! I didn’t actually realize that it was a milestone number until I sat down and counted. I’ve been working on three books at the same time (although two of them are smaller novellas that I hope to have out shortly), so I was already a little schizo trying to keep track of them all. (Remind me never to work on that many books at one time.)

the-end

But finishing this sixth Adrenaline Highs book gave me… well, an adrenaline high. Although I’m pretty sure this will be the end to this series, I try never to say never. Because you just never know. Honestly, I’m eager to continue with the High Stakes series and see where that leads. I have a feeling that a few people from the Adrenaline Highs might actually make a few cameo appearances, but then again… I don’t know yet. It’s just fun to think about.

What about you? What’s your happiness this month?