Friday, February 4, 2022

 Because I write full-time, I find it hard to blog. I find it hard to remember to blog. My brain is so filled up with words and ideas and research. It finally occurred to me that maybe I was writing too many non-fiction books. I mean, people would ask about one of my earlier books and I couldn't remember one factoid or thing I had written about! I've stopped doing much radio because I have to go back and read what I wrote years ago.

Me thinks my brain is too full. I have a couple more non-fiction titles under contract and then I think it's time to return to the creativity of the right brain. I am writing more fiction, screenplays, novellas and it makes me so happy. I've rediscovered my passion for writing and telling stories, a passion that began when I was old enough to talk and got teased by my beloved Poppy for taking any ordinary situation in life, such as a trip to buy shoes, and spinning an elaborate story out of it. When my Poppy said that to me, he was recognizing what I came here to do...tell stories.

I will write non-fiction in the future if the spirit moves me, or if I get an offer I cannot refuse! But I long to return to the days when I could look at something ordinary, and see something deeper...enough to spin a story out of it. My Poppy knew me even before I knew myself.

Saturday, July 24, 2021

i am still here!!!!!

 I write for a living and often forget to blog. I know, my bad. So much has happened since my last blog, including a hospitalization for my heart, several new books, a shared world series I created called BLACK MARIAH debuted with writers from all over the world, and I am now writing under a pen name for Kindle Vella, J. Madison Ree. I have to stories on Vella, SPACE COWBOYS, and THE HYBRID KING. 

I sold a screenplay for a romantic comedy that should be going into production soon, wrote and produced my second short film, optioned two big TV projects, and put out one of my most important non-fiction books ever, DISINFORMATION AND YOU: IDENTIFY PROPAGANDA AND MANIPULATION. 

I am also writing and editing for Soulmaker Press and working on a ton of fabulous and important life-changing books for them. They are wonderful. My screenwriting partner Denise A. Agnew and I are pitching our scripts and writing our newest horror story, MONSTROSITY. Having a blast doing it, too.

So a lot is happening and I am usually glued to my office chair writing and editing and writing some more. I thank everyone who has supported me all this time and hope you continue to do so. I will try not to forget to blog as much. My brain can only take so much, and calendars don't seem to help!!!

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Thursday, November 19, 2020

 Writers are lucky creatures. We can work from home, or from anywhere else in the world, so things like pandemics don't affect us much. Nor do shutdowns. We tend to be isolated creatures, too. But we do need some personal contact with other creatures, and one of the best ways to do that is to embark on projects that involve other writers, or to make an indie film. 

I have the distinct pleasure of being involved with several "teams" of writers and film folks, so I get the joys of collaboration even in times of staying in your own house when possible. We can zoom, meet for lunch, and still keep things going, with a few tweaks here and there. Creativity and the urge to tell stories and share information never stops. So it's all about adapting.

Even if you have a more "normal" job or career, what are some ways you can adapt to working at home more? Seeing people over Zoom if you can't meet in the conference room? Working with partners or  teams so you don't have to feel so alone?

I can do my job from a deserted island (if it has internet connection, that is) or in the middle of a busy city, and I realize how blessed I am. Look for ways to adapt to the current situations to make them work for you. All it takes a little resourcefulness and creativity.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Focusing on Goals During Global Upheaval

 It's hard enough to focus attention needed to achieve goals when things are going rather peacefully in the world around us. External and environmental events have a way of sneaking up on us and causing a lot of underlying anxiety that leads to lack of motivation, a "so what" attitude, a feeling of futility of effort, and a general malaise that doesn't leave a lot of energy for goals.

Yet this is actually the time to dig in and go for those personal goals. No matter what is going on in the world, we have the power to tune it out and put our focus where we need it so that we can better our own lives. Too much worrying and concern over what's going on "out there" means time is passing and opportunities are fading into the distance. Here's the thing. You can't really control what happens in the world, but you can control what happens in YOUR world.

The time is going to pass anyway. It's a shame to see so many people engaging in political attacks, arguments, debates, and generally stressing out over the opinions and actions of others, when they can be putting that same focus, that same passion and energy, into achieving something or doing something productive. Then, when things calm down "out there," you'll hear many of these same people lamenting how they wished they would have taken better advantage of that time. Sorry, it's gone now.

The world will continue to turn and things will happen that will cause a great deal of anxiety. Turn off the news. You'll find out what is happening, trust me. Get off social media and channel that energy into doing the things you've been putting off, the things you've always wanted to do. Act now, or you will one day wake up and things outside of you will be back to normal, but you'll be filled with the regret of not having taken action when you could have.

Focus! Put your attention on what you want, not what you don't want. This is how you change your life, and eventually, this is how you change the lives of others, by example. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

 Sometimes writers forget to blog. I have been so busy living life and writing that I forgot I even had a blog! This is why having a schedule and business plan can be so effective for writers. We tend to overwhelm ourselves with deadlines and jobs and pitching and starting new projects, it becomes easy to let something slip, then realize it's been years since we revisited it.

My bad! I am putting on my calendars "blog something, dummy!" to remind me that I have this awesome opportunity to reach out and talk to more people when I do. Hey, maybe one person reads this, maybe nobody does. But I figure the NSA tracks everything we do online, so maybe they'll enjoy knowing what I have to say!

My next blog will be a giant-ass catch-up of everything I've done since my last one, which was uh...four years ago!

Until next time!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


So, a couple of weeks ago I posted on Facebook about a huge project I had just signed contracts for officially, and today we are going out with the following press release. Suffice it to say, I am excited, anxious, energized, wired, and every possible wild emotion in between that I have been given the absolute privilege to tell this story, the story of one of the most iconic brands in history, and the evolution of one woman who experienced being a part of a family dynasty that is the MAYBELLINE empire. Here we go!
Italia Gandolfo – GH Literary Management
Writer-Producer Options Maybelline Cosmetics Dynasty Story
SAN DIEGO, CA/JAN. 19, 2015 – Writer-Producer Marie D. Jones (Where’s Lucy? Productions) has optioned the rights to the story behind the Maybelline cosmetics empire from Sharrie Williams, great-niece of Maybelline founder Tom Lyle Williams; based upon her personal experiences, her father’s journals (William Preston Williams), and her extensive collection of family documents.
Writer-Producer Jones is developing a television series, working title “Out of the Ashes: The Story of the Maybelline Empire and the Family Behind It,” which is already garnering interest from networks. The series covers the history of the family dynasty, from the founding of the company in a rural Kentucky kitchen in 1915 to its continued status today as a billion dollar brand icon, focusing on Williams’ coming of age and personal experiences growing up amidst power, fame, and fortune.
Jones stated, “Open the drawer of the average woman and you’ll see Maybelline products. But few people know the incredible, tumultuous and, at times, shocking, story of the family behind the iconic brand; a dynasty spanning four generations. It is the intimate story of a young woman growing up surrounded by the recognizable trappings of wealth and power, and with the challenges and losses she endures, finds herself literally rising from the ashes to become her own person. But it’s also the epic historical journey of a singular idea born from a simple Kentucky dream that became a legend—a brand that continues to stand the test of time.”
Italia Gandolfo, CEO of GH Literary Management, brokered the deal.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Why Stuff Like "Star Wars" and "The Walking Dead" Makes Me Cry

Between October's season finale to THE WALKING DEAD and the current hype and craze of STAR WARS, I've been experiencing a strange state of emotion. I think it has to do with being a writer. I see trailers and cry my eyes out, but not for the same reasons as most people. Most people, you see, are crying because of the sheer magnitude of joy they feel over their favorite movies, TV shows, novel series, etc...They cry because they are so happy to be a part of the glorious nature of entertainment, where millions of hearts can be touched and moved by a single project that began in the mind and heart and imagination of...a writer. Or at least someone who had an idea and got it on "paper" and into reality.

So, yeah, I cry at the drop of a movie or TV show trailer, or at the announcement of a new novel by a fave writer, for those reasons, but also because AS A WRITER, I can FEEL the powerful joy of what the creator/s must be feeling to see one of their "babies" stand before the eyes of the world and be adored. I cry and get all choked up for them, because I know what it feels like, or at least I WANT TO KNOW WHAT IT FEELS LIKE to have a story of mine one day influence and affect so many people, change and touch so many minds and hearts and spirits. I long for that day, and that is what drives everything I do. That, and wanting to leave such a legacy for my son, and show him he can do likewise, with whatever he chooses to create.

Imagine being the creator/s of something like THE WALKING DEAD. Yeah, I know their names, but just bear with me. Imagine in the beginning doing all the hard work alone world-building and creating characters that no one might ever see or give two shits about. Then imagine one day having the most watched show in cable television history, and having fans practically jump off bridges because some character may or may not be dead! Imagine creating something of the magnitude of STAR WARS...whether you're directing or writing or acting...just being INVOLVED in something that will change the spirits of so many people...Being able to say that you had something to do with a piece of pop culture history so epic it has stood the test of generations. Being able to say, "I did that. THAT came out of my imagination..."

Every creative person wants that for one of their babies, maybe more, whether they admit it or not. I admit it. I see nothing wrong in that. I have no idea if any of my stories will ever achieve such a profound position in storytelling history as the HARRY POTTER novels...I have no idea if anything I do really matters much at all. But the dream is that it does, and it will and it must and it keeps me and a zillion other writers and dreamers writing and dreaming. Because SOMEDAY, we want, I WANT, people to see the trailer for my movie and cry for the sheer joy of excitement and anticipation of it. And I WANT to one day create characters that people fall rabidly in love with, or hate with, as the case may be.

I cry because I feel the power of creativity from both the perspective of a fan, and a creator. I can't NOT cry.

Where's the Kleenex?