Thursday, June 23, 2011

Television Tales

Back in another lifetime, I got my first post-college job at 5800 Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, California. Yep. Right there on the second floor to the left...can you see my office? (Okay, I'm lying; I didn't have a window, but my door WAS opposite the entry to Gene Autry's lavish suite.)

See, like my heroine Daphne in Lights! Cameras! Love!, I was a secretary-to-a-secretary at the corporate level. Yes, in spite of the newly minted MBA adorning the wall above my toilet at home, I took a lowly position in order they say...get my foot in the door. What a coinky-dinky--cuz that's exactly what Daphne does!

Within a year, I got my big chance--I moved to another less imposing building behind the one pictured here and found myself working as an "Assistant to the Producer" on a new hybrid show developed by Norman Lear. (Sadly, the less said about the show, the better.)

Anyway, lots of TV programs taped on that lot. One in particular (now I'm really gonna date myself) was Dinah! starring the late Dinah Shore who--for those of you too young to remember or (worse) weren't even alive yet--hosted a daily talk/variety show which aired in the afternoons. When Dinah was in production, we'd get a kick out of what we called "the Dinah line" parading past our windows in the afternoon. Usually older folks, trucked in from whoknowswhere by the producers to fill the audience.

On one such occasion, as the Dinah line was exiting the studio around twilight, I happened to be walking across the parking lot.

Suddenly cries rang out. "Dinah! Dinah, is that you?"

I swiveled around, expecting to see the seventy-something celebrity. Nothing but lots of cars.

A few elderly women broke from the pack, advancing on me. "Dinah," they said. "Can we get an autograph?"

Oh, God. They meant ME! (Sure I was blonde--still am--but for God's sakes, I was only twenty-seven!) Somehow I managed a graceful getaway, disappointing my ardent "fans."

Later that night, after taping our show, I walked to my car with our host, Steve Edwards (yes, the Steve Edwards who now has a morning show in Los Angeles and who often gets skewered on The Soup). So, who did we run into? Well, Dinah herself--the first and only time I ever met the lady.

Naturally, I told her about the earlier mistaken identity. And in her charming southern way, she invited me to impersonate her anytime I chose. (Cool and all, Dinah, but really? Did she think I ENJOYED being taken for a seventy-something woman?? Notsomuch.)

So there you have it--my big brush with quasi-stardom. I didn't use this story in Lights! Cameras! Love! but there are others that I did....

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Stealing Amy--No Such Thing As an Old Review

Faithful blog readers will remember that I originally sold Stealing Amy back in 2006 (eeek! 2006!) to an epublisher. It was released in February (or thereabouts) of 2007 and I withdrew the rights three weeks later for various reasons. Didn't matter one way or another because the (RWA approved) publisher went bankrupt in June of that year.

Ah, yes. Live and learn.

Another reason to self-publish!

Just sayin'....
But the point that time, I'd begun a lot of the promo hoo-ha involved with releasing a book, including the round of review sites. Don't know how cool it is to bring up an old review, but hey. It can still be found on the Internet, so why not?

Here's an excerpt from The Romance Studio:

Randy Jeanne has written an exciting, fast-paced read about the pitfalls of stolen identity and the drawbacks of falling in love. She uses her imagination and her sense of adventure to show many difficulties in their budding romance and the interruptions of both his unwanted exes; she was constantly pressured by the appearance of her mother. The wittiness is incredible!

I thoroughly enjoyed this light-hearted romance. There was a little bit of sex, a little humor, a little nosiness, some responsibility to others, and, of course, some danger--all the wonderful aspects of any novel. I wholeheartedly recommend this book!

Today I googled Stealing Amy and GEEZ. A lot of my earlier efforts still exist--especially tons of links to the "movie" trailer I made. case you run across that, please ignore the reference to Triskelion Publishing! It can, however, be found at Amazon (Kindle version) and Barnes and Noble (Nook version).

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


...of sandy beaches (are there any other kind?) and tiki huts. Writer friend Carol Burnside a.k.a. Annie Rayburn is blogging today at Under the Tiki Hut. Drop in to get acquainted with her characters and grab a cocktail or two.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Setting Inspiration

Okay, confession time. I was a HUGE fan of Romancing the Stone, and I'd always wanted to write a story set in a steamy jungle. So when I needed to send my heroine off on a search for her identity thief, I thought, why not Mexico? After all, my favorite vacation spot happens to be Puerto Vallarta, and just south of town is--you guessed it--a nice steamy jungle. Perfect for stranding two strangers who distrust each other yet can't deny their growing attraction. Better yet, who are forced by circumstances to rely on each other.

Not to spill the beans, but eventually Nick and Amy escape the jungle and head for an upscale resort (each with their own motivation). For this, I discovered a cool place called Las Alamandas upon wich I loosely modeled "Casa Rivera." Some day I hope to be able to visit Las Alamandas for real, not just in fiction!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Writing Tips From Odd Sources

Not an entirely accurate title for today's post but close enough. What I mean is that you never know where you're gonna learn something about writing.

Case in point: I'm currently reading Spencer Quinn's Chet and Bernie mysteries. Hm? Not up on Chet and Bernie? Well, get this: Chet is a dog and he's the narrator. Doncha love it?? So cute. So clever. And, hey--guess what else??--the books boast damned good mystery plots to boot!
But what I love most of all is that Chet, being a dog and all, doesn't react and observe the same way as a human would--and therein lies the lesson. He's a MASTER (dare I say best-in-show?) at showing rather than telling. For instance, when he's happy, a sudden breeze comes up, and seconds later we realize he's wagging his tail. Or take the way he uses smells to size up a character new to the scene. (Love that!)

I know Spencer Quinn (apparently a pseudonym) isn't the first author to use a non-human for his narrator, but still...Chet's pretty unique and laugh-out-loud entertaining. I mean, ya gotta love it when he sheepishly (sorry, Chet) confesses he's not so good with describing colors. Or that his sense of time is measured by describing the movement of the sun or the moon.

See what I'm getting at here? Instead of writing, "the next day" we get the actual physical observation. Kinda cool. Refreshing.

And ya gotta love a narrator who flunked out of K-9 school on the last day, although so far, Chet's always too busy to go into details....

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

I'll Play!

Long-time writer friend Carol Burnside (a.k.a. Annie Rayburn) has graciously awarded me a Verastile Blogger Award which comes with serious responsibilities!
Okay, totally lying. I mean, this is not exactly clap your hands so Tink doesn't die. Hm, do I have that right? Is it hand clapping or...clicking heels together three times? No, wait. That's Wizard of Oz. Geesh, I'm old. No memory.

Anyway, here's the deal:

1. Thank and link to the person who nominated you. Check. Thanks, Annie!

2. Share 7 random facts about yourself. Ready, set...go!

a. When I was about 22, I coordinated regional pageants for Miss California Teenager. (Yeah, that was a real ego-boost--constantly surrounded by gorgeous young girls giving me fashion tips)

b. When I was about 29, I managed the syndication side of things for The Richard Simmons Show (speaking of egos...).

c. I was the Associate Producer on several award-winning documentaries.

d. I once taught a community college course on how to develop employees through training ( current employees may find that amusing)

e. I am the proud recipient of an aortic valve donated by a cow (which explains the occasional moooooo)

f. I could sight-read piano music by age five. Sadly, it's not a handy talent to have because I can't play a note without sheet music in front of me, so I'm a real dud at parties.

g. I've never been married! (Yes! The most random fact of all!)

Back to the rules...

3. Pass the award on to 5 newfound blogging buddies.

Uh-oh. Really?? Who knew this would be the hardest part? Okay, here goes:

1. Newly-minted bride (not to mention newly minted LAWYER) Reagan at One!Singular!Sensation!

2. Writer friend Liz Falkner who'll have a release out soon!

Okay, we're seriously gonna have to put item three on the back-burner for awhile. (In other words...until I dredge up some other bloggers!)

Finally (back to the rules): Notify the recipients of your award. Coming atcha, Reagan and Liz!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Catching Up With Technology

Color me clueless when it comes to the latest tech talk. In fact, up until this morning, I'd have been hard pressed to explain the difference between a laptop, a notebook, or a tablet.

But that was then, this is now!

'Cuz I just ordered me a cool new toy!

Notice the handy-dandy detachable keyboard!

No guarantee I'll know how to actually use it when it arrives, but still. I'm-a-gonna-get-me-one.Something tells me this guy and I will be spending spend some real quality time together, traveling the planet. (That is, if I can manage to keep it within my possession and away from all matters of catastrophe, like water, sun, and the impact of rapid changes in gravity.)

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Stumbling Around

Okay, no one ever said I was an Einstein when it comes to technology, so it may not surprise you that I've flubbed a couple steps in this whole self-publishing journey.

First, I'm definitely not an artist. (Gee, can ya tell by my book covers?) Second, I have a day job (whine, whine) so I'm not always able to (cough) get things done in a timely manner.

Hence the difference in covers for Lights! Cameras! Love! on Smashwords versus Amazon. And let's not even get started with the notion that I haven't uploaded to Barnes and Noble yet. Hey, they need banking info and that's at my office. My writing stuff's at home. Never the twain shall meet (unless I concentrate real hard on the task).

Meanwhile, I'm supposed to keep writing??

The good news is that Smashwords approved Stealing Amy for their Premium catalog which means it will soon ship to other "stores." (For instance, you folks who read books on iPads will be able to purchase it from Apple--yay, you!) Lights! Cameras! Love! is pending but I'll keep ya posted.

Meanwhile, yikes. The object now is to promote, promote, promote (or as I call it, pimp, pimp, pimp). I'm really not so good at that--kinda why I did this under my pen name.

So anyone who wants to spread the word on their own, have at it!