Posted in Uncategorized

Shawn Ryan: Journey From Coast to Coast


                                            WRITER/PRODUCER SHAWN RYAN

                                              JOURNEY FROM COAST TO COAST

Shawn Ryan grew up in Rockford, Illinois.  He lived a big chunk of his young life playing soccer, working his way onto select teams and competitions.  In high school, Shawn was a soccer star. He spent summers at soccer camps and dedicated a large amount of time to his soccer game.  After high school Shawn headed to the East Coast to attend Middlebury College in Vermont, where he majored in economics.  Having been the high school star, Shawn continued to play soccer in college. Having headed into the game with a lot of confidence, he learned a valuable lesson, “Just because you’re great in high school, doesn’t mean you’ll be great in college”, Shawn said.  “There were a lot of really good soccer players in college; I was no longer the star.”  He continued to play soccer and forge through his economics classes.

Shawn always felt that math was his strongest subject, definitely not English.  He never felt like he had strong writing talent.  Shawn said, “I had always been a better math student than English.  I was interested in economics but had done some theater in high school, so I took theater in college.”   During his Junior year in college Shawn wrote a play called “The Gamesmen.”  This was a very loose version of Shawn, his best friend, and their two girlfriends. Just a few 20 something year old kids trying to figure out life, friendships and relationships. His play got produced and a lot of attention.  As a result, he fell in love with theater and switched things up. He changed to a joint major of economics and theater, quit soccer and focused his attention on theater, writing and his artistic pursuits.  “I really had zero interest in writing for a living before that”, Shawn stated.  “Having discovered writing and being encouraged by some really wonderful professors at Middlebury, it was really transforming for me. Not everyone gets to experience being enlightened about what you want to do with your life and be encouraged and supported by some incredible people to do that.”

By the time Shawn graduated college he had written three plays.  His play, “The Gamesmen” was quite successful.  It got a lot of attention, winning awards including what’s known today as the Norman Lear Playwriting award, which at the time was sponsored by Columbia Pictures Television.  That award had a trip to Los Angeles attached to it.  Shawn ended up moving to L.A by himself at 23 years old.  He literally only had one friend in Los Angeles, Jay Karnes.  Jay ended up playing the lead in a new play Shawn had written and eventually was cast in another show Shawn created and wrote for, “The Shield”.  L.A wasn’t all positive at first.  When he moved out there he thought he had a lot of talent.  After hitting some road blocks and not finding the work he hoped for, he asked his manager to show him a script from another writer whose work was better than his.  Well, that’s just what happened. He was presented with a script from a well employed writer and indeed it was better than Shawn’s.  “Writers should be critical of their own work”, Shawn said. “A lot of times writers are enamored with their own work.  They should be their own worst critic.  When you write, you should put it down, then pick it up and read it like someone who hates you is going to read it and pick your work apart.”  Shawn tells himself, “Okay, if someone who was rooting against you was reading this script, what would they find wrong with it?” A bit of advice Shawn gives to writers is don’t be a friendly reader of your own work.  Audiences don’t have favorites.  They watch things and it either makes sense or it doesn’t.  Don’t set your work down when you are satisfied with it; instead give it another pass over once or twice to see where it really is.”

New York Television Festival

Shawn got his first staff writing job working on Nash Bridges T.V show. A popular prime time show starring Don Johnson.  It was there he fell into some great writing mentors, Carlton Cuse and John Wirth.  Shawn spent a lot of time with those two and learned a lot from them.  He credits them both for having been a positive influence on him and his writing career.  Shawn says that Nash Bridges had a very talented writing team, whom which he spent a lot of time with.  He learned quite a bit working on that show.  Shawn eventually left that show, spent one season on Angel and then created a new show of his own, “The Shield” which had a very long and successful run.  During its’ run, the show landed 58 nominations and won 15 various awards including 2 Golden Globes.   The Shield was a T.V series that followed the lives and cases of a dirty L.A cop and the unit under his command.  The show had a consistent run from 2002-2008.

Shawn Ryan seemed to have a knack for writing cop shows.  When I asked him why he leans towards police shows, his response was quick and simple, “When I was working on Nash Bridges in San Francisco I went on some police ride-alongs.   I witnessed and realized a lot of things that were going on that weren’t quite appropriate to write for Nash Bridges.  I had stories that I was interested in and wanted to explore.  At the same time, the Rampart scandal in L.A broke which really documented a special group of police officers who were doing a good job curbing crime but kind of became criminals themselves in doing it.  As a new father I started thinking about all the dangers in the world that might befall my daughter.  I started wondering what kind of police I would want if my daughter’s life were in jeopardy.”  Shawn Ryan considers himself a Libertarian.  He believes in following rules and regulations, but wonders, “Just how firm would my beliefs be if my own child was in danger?”  Such thoughts in fact, were the inspiration Shawn needed to create his show, “The Shield”.


Shawn’s journey didn’t end when “The Shield” series ended.  He continued his writing passion which currently translates to the T.V show S.W.A.T.    Shawn had previously worked with the talented Aaron Rahsaan Thomas on a popular Netflix show called, “The Get Down”.   Shawn became an Aaron fan and supporter.   “Aaron is an incredibly intelligent guy from Kansas City”, Shawn said.  We worked for months together on “The Get Down” before Aaron went off to New York and I stayed in L.A.  Aaron had early conversations about adapting S.W.A.T into a T.V show.  He approached Shawn about partnering up and as an added plus, Justin Lin was attached as director.  A lot of early ideas that are still in the DNA of the show emanated from Aaron.  We joined forces, flushed it out and worked together on the script.   S.W.A.T is a very personal story for Aaron. He wanted an African-American cop who was intelligent and focused. A character who could portray a man who had one foot in the community and the other foot in the police community to help bridge the gap.”  Shawn was really fascinated by this concept.  He wanted to help Aaron tells those stories as best as they could.

Once the script was developed and sold, CBS made the commitment to S.W.A.T.  Shemar Moore was mentioned as the possible lead for the show.  Although Shawn had seen some episodes of Criminal Minds, he still needed to do his research. He sat down and watched some episodes of Criminal Minds.   His conclusion was, “I saw Shemar had a lot of potential and was a great actor.  I felt as though Shemar hadn’t necessarily been given the chance to fully show off his talents and skill. He’s very talented.”  Shemar hadn’t committed yet.  We wrote the script with Shemar in mind, so we sent him the script with a note about why we thought he’d be the perfect guy to play this character Hondo.  The script spoke to him, he loved the character.  We discussed what we wanted and what he wanted.  The result was a marriage made in heaven.  “I can say that there are very few legit, bonafide television stars in the world, Shemar Moore is definitely one of them.”

Shemar’s lead role (Hondo) was written specifically for an African-American man.  When we met Hondo’s father in Season one he was African-American.  His mother in season two is going to be African-American, although we met with Shemar’s mother Marylin Wilson Moore who is white. She’s a fantastic woman.  We aren’t going to mirror too closely to Shemar’s personal history but more towards his character’s creative history.”  It’s not a common occurrence to have an African-American male in a lead role on a prime time T.V series.  That puts a lot of pressure on us to tell his story, and tell it authentically.

S.W.A.T tackles some very tough, current topics like immigration that get the point across without becoming too political.  “We don’t shy away from tough and controversial topics; we try to be real”, Shawn said.  “Our characters are first responders not politicians.  We try to stay truthful to topics, telling stories that make people really think about situations.  We aren’t here to create propaganda.  I’m very proud of the fact that our audience is proven to be politically mixed; which isn’t true about all shows.  No matter what their affiliation, they can sit down, watch the show, enjoy it and hopefully think about things.  CBS has a very broad appeal.” I was raised to respect the opinions of people across all political spectrums. I don’t have to agree with them, but I do have to respect them. We are trying to make entertainment that can also make you smarter.  We aren’t trying to indoctrinate people through the show.  We are just trying to present real life situations that sometimes have a political bend.”

Shawn Ryan is a genius writer, producer and showrunner.  He is very humble and gives credit to those he works with.  Shawn speaks highly of the entire writing team for S.W.A.T.  “There’s a whole talented team of writers who work on the scripts along with me and Aaron Rahsaan Thomas.  I don’t want to mention only some of them by name, because they are all talented and I wouldn’t want to accidentally leave anyone out.”  “Writing isn’t an easy task.  I think something actors might forget is that they are all handed a script to work with, writers are handed a blank page.  It’s very easy for actors to find mistakes or places they want changed, but for the writers, they have to come up with the content.  Writers aren’t really interpreting anything, we are originating something. That can be intimidating and terrifying.  We do the best we can but I think a lot of times people just don’t realize the intense, crazy amount of work that goes into writing on that page.”  Shawn Ryan is a very busy man.  His job is definitely high demand.  However, he prides himself in being a good father, husband, friend and boss.   He made sure his office is only a short distance from his home so that he doesn’t have to struggle with the commute like most L.A people do.  He believes in simplifying his life.  For Shawn it all boils down to work and family.   Shawn’s been married to his amazing wife Cathy Cahlin Ryan for 20 years and they have two beautiful children, one heading off to college in the Fall.  Shawn credits his wife as the rock of their family.  She takes excellent care of everyone while he is at work.  “My wife is our rock. She’s amazing and she sacrificed her own career to be able to stay at home and raise our children.”  Shawn speaks fondly and proudly of his wife, mentioning her T.V credits and own successes.  “Cathy was an actress when I met her.  She had a number of small credits on T.V”, Shawn says.   “We had a role we needed on The Shield. They said we needed someone who would come back. I said I knew she would come back”, Shawn says jokingly.  “It turned in to a pretty big role.  She did amazing on that. She’s also done work outside of my show.”

Shawn Ryan is an all-around genuine man.  A man who grew up loving to play soccer and hockey.  Up until a few years ago, he was still playing hockey recreationally.  Who knew?  Shawn is also an avid wine collector.  “I collect all kinds of really good wines.  Unfortunately, I never have time to drink them. I just kind of stare at them sitting there. Maybe my kids will inherit them some day”, Shawn said jokingly.  Shawn has a big heart.  He loves his family, career and his friends.  Right now he’s focused on having a successful Season two of S.W.A.T.  Shawn has other projects he’s working on with other friends like Bob Odenkirk.  None that he can confirm because as we all know, nothing is for sure in Hollywood until you get the green light. One thing that’s important to Shawn is to help other talented writers realize their own dreams.  He wants to mentor other talent and help them become successful showrunners in their own right.  Being a showrunner himself, Shawn knows what it takes to become successful.  He wants to impart his knowledge and skills onto others.  One of his friends, Eileen Myers is working on an adaptation of Amy Adam’s “Sunshine Cleaning” for a T.V version.  She’s in the process now of writing that and Shawn is supervising her.  “Having had the success I had, I want to help gift that to other talented people.  I’m always looking for writers I believe in so I can help them launch their own writing careers and shows”, Shawn said.

As for Shawn Ryan’s own personal philosophy, he knows how privileged he is to have the job he has and the success that comes along with it.  “Being a show runner can be a roller-coaster ride.  I try not to be up or down.  I treat it like a job I’m privileged to do. I never lose sight that I’m lucky. I still have to be one of the best, work hard, simplify my life and maintain balance.”  One of the main reasons Shawn has his office near his home is so that he can keep that balance.  He says that ultimately a lot of what you come up with as a writer is based on your own life.  If you’re spending a lot of time in the writer’s room of a T.V show, you are quickly going to run out of things to write about.  “I try to be a good husband, father, friend and boss.  I do the best I can each day and then I move on to the next”.  Very wise words from Mr. Shawn Ryan.  It’s apparent from his strong work ethic, family base and success that speaks for itself, his journey from coast to coast was well worth the ride.

Make sure you catch S.W.A.T on CBS Wednesday nights starting October 2nd, 2019 at 10 p.m. PST/9 Central.  For more on Shawn Ryan, visit his IMDB page to see all the wonderful successes he has accomplished and continues to work on.

Writer: Sue McGaughey

Photo credit: CBS studios

Previously published in City to Country magazine


Posted in Entertainment

Kenny Johnson: Staying Connected to Yourself




When you hear the name Kenny Johnson, most people automatically think of the T.V shows S.W.A.T and The Shield.  Kenny spent at least 17 years on set of the The Shield as the character Curtis Lemansky. When the show first started no one thought it was going to be as successful as it was.  The Shield ended up winning 2 Golden Globes, 13 wins and 58 nominations.  Kenny really loved working on that show and he got to work with creator and director Shawn Ryan.  Kenny said he enjoyed working with Shawn because he was brilliant and allowed his actors the freedom to act. The show also had amazing writers. Working on set was like working with family.  The cast created an amazing bond.  “No one had a big ego”, Kenny said.  “We were all so close on set and off. Working on The Shield was a magical experience. “

When Kenny was a young man he did what most young men did; he went to college and played sports.  Kenny was completely into football and baseball.  He played for Central Connecticut State University.  Acting was the furthest thing from his mind. He just wanted to play sports.  Kenny confesses that he did daydream about going to California one day but life had him rooted in Connecticut and Vermont.  He recalls standing in a park one day just thinking.  Suddenly he felt something go through him and he just knew his calling was in California. Kenny is a firm believer in being connected with yourself. He’s often had premonitions that come true. Although some people may find that a bit unbelievable, Kenny finds it very believable.  He is very comfortable talking about his spiritual and connected side.  He truly believes and has faith in the messages he feels he receives. Kenny was doing his thing in college but found himself having some personal struggles.  After thinking about things and trusting his feelings he hopped on a plane with $500 bucks in his pocket and decided to fulfill his daydreams.  Kenny moved to California. Once in California Kenny found himself basically homeless until he found a place to live above a Jack Lalanne studio.  So began his adventures in entertainment.

Kenny was always a bit shy.  Standing in front of a camera posing or acting was very uncomfortable for him.  He started out in entertainment as a model and worked for top modeling agencies, Wilhelmina and Ford.  He does have great hair! Kenny worked on overcoming that shyness.  As for acting, one of Sylvester Stallone’s friends wrote a movie and approached Kenny to act in it.   At first Kenny didn’t want to do it but a month or so later he decided to give it a try.  Someone worked with Kenny on the lines for a few weeks. At the time he was very anti-social and suffered from O.C.D.  “Acting in a film, you have to be really open and have an understanding of human beings to be able to portray the characters”, Kenny said.  “I was standing on set, taking it all in and when I heard the word ACTION, I just froze. It was like time stood still. I just stood there and it was like a rush of energy that went through me and told me that this is what I was supposed to be doing for the rest of my life. It was like an epiphany, a spiritual message that was telling me what to do.  From that moment on I knew what I had to do.” After that, Kenny started working with one of the best acting coaches in America, Larry Moss.  He also went to therapy to overcome some of his personal struggles and phobias.  It’s safe to say it all worked because Kenny has accomplished major goals since the beginning of his career.  The type of person Kenny is believes in conquering your fears and working through your struggles.  He believes you have to be strong and do what you have to do to get things done the right way.

Currently you can find Kenny portraying Dominique Luca on the hit television series S.W.A.T.  When Kenny first auditioned for S.W.A.T he didn’t read for the role of Luca. He read for the role of Deacon.  He kept trying to do the Deacon part and he will honestly tell you that he had only had the script overnight and really didn’t now the Deacon role well.  He was having a hard time and was visibly frustrated. He felt like the character just wasn’t him.  He didn’t give up though. Director Justin Lin kept working with him and Kenny kept going.  At the end of the audition Kenny wasn’t feeling so great about his audition.  However, being Kenny, before he left  he told the casting group, “Look I don’t know who you guys hire for this Luca guy and if you don’t hire me for anything that’s cool but whoever you hire for Luca I want to come in and arm wrestle him.  I want to whoop him because I should be playing Luca”.   Kenny left the audition feeling like there’s no way they are going to cast him. He stopped at the bathroom, accidentally dropped his phone in the toilet burning it out and just left.”  Suffice to say it wasn’t such a great day.  Kenny eventually got his phone fixed and to his surprise there were a bunch of messages from casting asking him to come in and read for Luca.  Apparently, things had somehow become mixed up and he had read for the wrong role the first time.  He was supposed to read for Luca!  It was fate. He went in, did his thing feeling much more comfortable this time.  Later Kenny received a call telling him he got the role for Luca! Good thing because Kenny Johnson is a world champion arm wrestler, so whoever he would have wrestled would have lost for sure.

“S.W.A.T is a lot of fun and hard work”, Kenny stated. His character Luca is a little like Kenny himself.  Both are kind, caring human beings who want to participate in making changes in the world.  Both are very physical human beings who enjoy working out, kicking butt on the bad guys and bringing more peace and harmony to the world.  Kenny describes Luca as a quiet assassin. He’s a lot stronger than he looks. He’s kind of fearless and an expert driver. He puts his life on the line, one of the most selfless guys who’s out trying to get rid of the bad in the world. He’s a team player with a common goal to protect society so everyone can live in a free world.  As a person, Kenny is super loyal and will put everybody in front of him.  “I will always do what I can to fill out me as a human being and then it’s really about serving everyone else and trying to make their lives better. I like to help make their lives better in any way I can.”  There are definitely similarities between Kenny and Luca that make portraying his character so much fun.  It also makes it a little easier to feel comfortable playing his character.

Working on set is a hard job.  S.W.A.T is no joke.  “We had to train with real S.E.A.L and S.W.A.T teams. We had to train like they train so we could learn how to do it right.  It is hard work”, said Kenny.  “On and off set we are all like family.  I would have to say I have the most fun with Lina Esco, Alex Russell and Shemar Moore.  We go work out together, we go to the boxing gym or do Ju-Jitsu together.  We definitely have each other’s backs.  We are family.  Shemar is one of the kindest, most caring and honest human beings I know.  Lina is my buddy.  She always jumps in to the workouts and we have a lot of fun. She’s obsessed with working out.   Alex and I have fun times. He’s super funny. We all just have one big love fest.”  Joining the love fest recently on the set of S.W.A.T is Kenny’s young daughter Angelica. He calls her Jelli.  She will be seen in an upcoming episode of S.W.A.T.  Just because daddy works on the series didn’t mean she automatically got the part.  Jelli had to work her way on set just like everyone else.  She had to audition and land the part, which she did.  Jelli has been acting since she was 5 years old.  Among several projects she’s already done, she’s worked on 2 documentaries and just wrapped up a film about Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf.  “Acting was something Jelli had a passion for ever since she was 5 years old”, Kenny told us.  He says his daughter is his best friend. They do everything together.  On his down time he enjoys going bike riding with her, coloring, hiking and just connecting with nature.  They are two peas in a pod.  Very close father/daughter relationship.


It’s normal for fans to make assumptions about the characters they fall in love with or enjoy watching on T.V and in movies.   Keep in mind that watching someone do their job and getting sucked in to the character means the actor is doing a great job.  Actors work hard to entertain their audience and are so appreciative of the support and enjoyment they bring to others.  However, those actors have real lives and aspects of themselves that people rarely observe.  Kenny Johnson is one of the most real, honest and down to earth people I ever interviewed.  He’s very connected to his inner-self.  He’s spiritual, open minded and funny.  A person who believes in premonitions and signs from above that guide him in life.  Kenny didn’t have a smooth path to where he is today.  He will tell you he made mistakes, got in some trouble and had many personal struggles that lead him down some wrong paths.   Being the kind of person Kenny is, he believes that all of life is a lesson.  Fortunately for him, he was able to learn from his mistakes, connect to his own being and understand where he needed to take his life’s direction.

Kenny Johnson lives by his own philosophy, Body Mind and Spirit.  “Be the best of who you are at all times. We only live once, so do it for the love and passion of doing it. Don’t do it for money and for fame. Don’t compete, don’t get jealous. Work the best you can. Know yourself. Give back to this life as purely as you can. There’s something greater out there. Destiny will happen regardless. Don’t listen to negativity.”

When I asked Kenny what advice he’d give to today’s youth wanting to break into the entertainment business he laid it out straight, “Basically you can’t learn unless you fail. Don’t take it personal. Don’t have expectations.  A lot of youth feel things should just be given to them.  In your heart of hearts, in your gut if you feel something you should do it and it will manifest. Don’t buy into the hype.  Don’t put your energy into 10 different things.  Hone in on what you want to perfect. “Great advice from a man who’s been in this industry a very long time.

Kenny Johnson is so much more than an actor.  He’s a man with a deep soul and a distinct passion for life.  His fans may not know a few things about him such as he likes to walk barefoot outside at night to practice his lines.  He also loves to hang out at hair salons! Ever since he was a kid, he liked going to hair salons.  He loved watching how the stylists cut hair and created beauty. His sister actually owned her own salon in Vermont.  Who knows, perhaps Kenny has an untapped passion in hair cutting?  Kenny is a true inspiration. His zest for life, his family, his career and his compassion for others is infectious.

At a certain point in most people’s lives they will walk a rough path.  It’s up to each individual to find the path that best benefits them personally, professionally, productively and positively.  Kenny is a perfect example of someone who walked the rough path but ultimately learned to listen to the messages he was being taught.  He learned how to connect to himself and to a higher understanding.  Learning to utilize your life’s lessons in a positive manner is different for everyone.  Like Kenny said, “Mind, Body and Spirit.  Stay connected to yourself and don’t get caught up in the negative and hate.”

Make sure you catch Kenny on S.W.A.T Wednesday nights, 10 p.m PST on CBS, starting in October 2019.

For more information on Kenny Johnson visit the social media pages below:



Instagram: @thekennethjohnson

Photo Credit: CBS, Brad Everett Young

Previously posted in City to Country magazine

Writer Credit: Sue McGaughey







Posted in Entertainment

Spiderman Far From Home film review


Spiderman Far From Home took in around $25.2 million dollars over the July 4th holiday. Was it worth it? Directed by Jon Watts, the movie starred Starring: Angourie RiceAnthony QuinonezCobie SmuldersDavina Sitaram,Hemky MaderaJ.K. SimmonsJacob BatalonJake GyllenhaalJB SmooveJon FavreauLaura HarrierMarisa TomeiMartin StarrMichael KeatonNuman A,Remy HiiSamuel L. JacksonTom HollandZendaya


Tom Holland, who plays our friendly neighborhood Super Hero decides to join his best friends Ned, M.J (who he has a crush on) and the rest of his school group on a European vacation. However, Peter’s (Spiderman) plan to leave his super hero job behind for a few weeks so he can swoon and profess his love to M.J., comes to an abrupt halt when he agrees to help Nick Fury uncover the mystery of several elemental creature attacks, wreaking havoc across the continent!


Jake Gyllenhaal plays  a good bad man with his character Mysterial.  Parents should be warned that this isn’t a little kid friendly film.  There is violence, killing and some shirtless moments when Peter Parker takes his shirt off. I’d say it’s a good 13 and up film.  Far from Home is the first post- Avengers:Endgame film in the Marvel cinematic universe.  It works both as an epilogue to that saga and paves the way for future films.

The story line is really good.  You’ll see a great twist that occurs about half way through the film.  I guarantee you won’t expect it.  The special effects are amazing.  Kuddos to the special effects team.  Go see it!  I wasn’t bored at all.
Written by: Sue McGaughey
Posted in Positive living, Relationships

You are Not Alone

Happy Friday! Hope everyone survived the 4th. So, I had the strangest dream last night. I woke up feeling I HAVE to share this message:

For all the people out there feeling, lonely, rejected, sad or alone:

– For every person who speaks poorly of you, there’s a person who speaks niceness

– For every person who rejects you, there’s a person who accepts you

– For every person who makes assumptions about you, there’s a person who takes the time to ask you

– For every person who is outright mean to you, there’s a person who will be kind to you

– For every person who talks shit behind your back, there’s a person who will HAVE your back

– For every person who excludes you, there’s a person who will include you

– For every person who puts you down, there’s a person who will build you up

– For every person who thinks they are better than you, there’s a person who appreciates having you in their life.


I hope this message helps at least one person today. To those who portray the negative actions….shame on you. To those who portray the positive actions…THANK YOU.


Sometimes people can be extremely mean and thoughtless.  Not everyone in life is going to like you or be your friend, and that’s o.k.   You don’t need to be around those people. Sometimes it happens at work and you have no choice, but just do your job and find people in the work place that do like and accept you.  If it happens in your social circle, just find a new circle of friends to hang out with, or separate yourself from the person or people who are excluding you and being unkind.

Our society puts a lot of pressure on people these days.  There are fads, trends and people trying to climb to the top no matter what it costs.  This often triggers people to act in an unpleasant or negative manner.  It’s sad really, back in earlier times if people had an issue with each other, they’d either talk it out or have a fist fight (one on one), shake hands and get over it.  It’s unfortunate that in the times we live in, generally you’ll find people in a group who feel way too comfortable leading the pack for others to go against one person.  When it comes down to it, behaviorally speaking, it’s usually because that person has insecurities and doesn’t feel good about themselves unless they are bad mouthing someone else.

At any rate, if you are the subject of being bullied, slandered, talked badly of, being excluded….don’t feel bad about yourself.  Find some other people to be around. People who enjoy your company and add a sense of positivism into your life.  YOU are worthy of kindness, niceness and acceptance.  If you are feeling really down and alone, make sure you find someone to talk to either personally or professionally.  Life is worth living.

Written by:  Sue McGaughey

Posted in Entertainment

YESTERDAY: Film Review


Director Danny Boyle did a fun job with the Richard Curtis written script about a young singer- songwriter who gets in an accident, then wakes up in a world where no one remembers the Beatles.

I just love Himesh Patel who portrays Jack Malik, a singer-songwriter who feels like his career is going no where and decides to end his music dreams.  That was until he was hit by a bus, woke up in the hospital in a world where no one remembers the Beatles.  This gives Jack a brainstorm on how to boost his failure of a career into a sky rocketed, overnight success!  Jack gets released from the hospital and immediately starts googling the Beatles.  His hunch is correct, there’s no trace of them at all.  This opens the door to his character Jack carving a good singer-songwriter career for himself.  Patel plays the part very well.  In Hollywood fashion, Jack Malik plays himself off as a successful songwriter who wrote all of the Beatle’s songs. Can you imagine?  This sends him off on a world-wide tour with, wait for it, Ed Sheeran! That’s right, Ed plays himself.  Ed lives locally to Jack, hears his music on the radio and decides to insert himself into Jack’s ventures.  He invites Jack to come tour with him as his opening act.  Jack accepts and off they go.

Rewind a bit;  Jack walks or rides his bicycle through the streets of Suffolk, endlessly strumming his guitar and singing about the summer that fails to make listeners feel good. Even when he lands a spot at a big rock fest Lattitude almost all of the adults in his tent are his four or five loyal friends, including Ellie who is his manager.  Ellie is played by Lillie James, who drives him around to the occasional gigs he gets and continually boosts his ego with encouragement.  You might think they are a couple but they’re not.   The audience will have to draw their own conclusions. Part way through the film the film might find out differently.  I don’t want to spoil everything.  Let’s just say Ellie has been secretly pining after Jack for many years.  Has Jack been doing the same?


Jack Malik with Ellie by his side, finally goes into the recording studio.  Once his (Beatles knock-offs) songs are heard, he’s scooped up by a ruthless music manager Debra played by Kate McKinnon.  Kate really portrayed this character well.  She gives you a good glimpse into the world of music, management and capitalism.  She completely takes over everything giving Jack a bit of a remodeling.   As we call it these days, she’s re-branding him.  Jack ventures to Los Angeles to become a star, leaving poor love sick Ellie behind.

Eventually, Jack grows a conscious and comes clean about everything.  During his journey though, he takes people back through the Beatles era.  Those who grew up with the Beatles will find themselves tapping their feet and singing a long while reminiscing of all their yesterdays.  This is a cute film.   Well done, entertaining and the kind of material that lets you leave the theater feeling good.  I literally walked out singing and thinking of how much I loved the Beatles.  I had 3 older sisters who were always playing their music; brought back some great memories.  This is a great date night movie.  It has good music, good story line, laughter and romance.  You can’t go wrong.  I give it 3.5 out of 5 #suescoffeetalk coffee cups.

Written by:  Sue McGaughey






Posted in Positive living

A Child’s Miracle


A true story that happened to me when I was just about 7 years old. This was also published in City to Country magazine Spring issue.

Miracles come in many forms and when you least expect them.  Children especially, don’t usually recognize a miracle right away, if ever. Generally they will recognize it later in life when they are older. That’s not what happened to me.  When I was just a little girl, seven or eight, I experienced a miracle I will never forget. I knew right away what had just happened.

The smells of summer were all around me.  The flowers in bloom smelled fresh and bright.  Everything was so colorful around me. I could even smell the dirt after the night’s rain.  Sun was shining down through my bedroom window.  I wanted to lay in bed just a little longer to enjoy the peacefulness. From downstairs, I heard my Uncle call to me. “Time to get up princess. Come on down and eat your breakfast.” He called the same to my little brother. My brother was only four years old.  Life was still all about cartoons and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. My brother was a sweet little boy, always cheerful and loving.  I jumped up out of bed, yawning and wiping the sleep from my eyes. I threw on my robe and walked downstairs to the kitchen. My brother was already down there sitting at the kitchen table.  I realized what was missing was the laughter I had grown use to every morning when I came down the stairs. Something was different, I could feel it deep within me.  I had an unexplained feeling of uneasiness that was piercing through my stomach and chest.  I tried to shake it off but it was like a sudden chill went through my body.  It was like my soul was rising up out of me, starring back at me, talking to me so clearly.

It was a Sunday morning, Uncle John was up and dressed in a suit, aunt Dolly was working around the kitchen.  She had breakfast ready for me and my little brother. French toast with syrup, fresh squeezed orange juice and scrambled eggs.  Auntie could cook real well.  Her food was always delicious.  We were use to doing chores after breakfast, making our bed and getting ready for the day.  Uncle John spoke to me and my little brother, “Good morning you two.  After breakfast, I’d like you to get dressed, brush your teeth and auntie will help you pack your suitcases. Today you are going home to see your family.”   Back when I was a kid, we never even dreamed of talking back to our elders, so we did as told.  My brother and I were excited.  We had not seen mom or dad for almost two months.  Although we loved being at our Aunt and Uncle’s house, we missed being home in our own rooms.   My brother and I quickly ate our breakfast and did what we were told.  We didn’t ask any questions, we were just filled with excitement, knowing today was the day we’d see mommy and daddy. Soon, we were saying our goodbyes to our Aunt and our cousins. We were a little sad to say goodbye but happy at the same time because we were home bound.

Two months earlier, mom had informed us that we were going to spend the summer at our aunt and uncles’ house.  We were reluctant to go.  We didn’t want to leave our friends, our toys and all that was familiar to us.  However, dad had been really sick and was in the hospital. Mom felt she had to ship us off so she could focus fully on dad. She told us daddy had cancer.  “Cancer? What’s that?”  Being so young, we didn’t really understand what that meant.  On the morning she told us we were going to our aunt and uncles’, she also took us to see our dad.   I remember being afraid to go into the hospital.  Hospitals were scary and smelly.   I have no idea where the fear came from, but it was there.  I packed a suitcase for me and my little brother.  We were ready to go see dad and to wait for our uncle to come and pick us up.  It was a sad day.  Neither of us wanted to leave our home or our mommy and daddy, but we knew we had no choice. What was to be, would be.  We were about to embark upon an adventure.  Going to a new place could be fun.  Besides, our aunt and uncle lived in a more upper class area than we did.  It was about to be a whole new world for my brother and I to explore and learn.

My brother and I hopped in the car with mom.   I remember the silence on the way to the hospital.  No one really spoke.  My brother was playing with a little toy in the back seat.  Somehow I knew that I was going to have to take care of him for a while.  We pulled up to the hospital. Although I felt the fear swell up inside me, I also was excited to see my dad.  I loved my dad so much.  I was his little princess pea.  We walked into the hospital, got on the elevator and walked into his room.  Daddy’s bed was the one right next to the door when we walked in.  He looked tired to me.  His skin had a funny color to it, but he mustered up a smile for us and held out his hands for us to come up on his bed and give him a hug.  “Be careful of daddy’s tubes”, mom said.  We slowly climbed on the bed to feel our dad’s hug. Daddy always gave the best hugs that told us without words that he loved us.

That was the last time we saw dad before the journey to our relatives’ house. Now, after spending two months there, our visit was over. My brother and I were bickering over who was going to ride in the front seat.  I was the oldest so I wanted to ride in front.  Uncle John, always diplomatic, made us share the ride.  It was going to be a 2 hour ride home, so he split the time.  I got to ride the first half in the front, and my brother got to ride the second half.  We never talked back to our elders, so it sounded like a good deal to us.  We obeyed the directions.  My little brother was 3 years younger than me. I was 7 and he was 4.  He was dressed in a nice shirt, khaki shorts and his little brown sandals. I wore my favorite summer sun dress, white with blue and green flowers on it, sporting my white sandals.  My sunglasses were on because the sun was out that day. I loved wearing my glasses, they made me feel like I was a celebrity.  A child’s mind always has an active imagination.  As a child, I watched a lot of T.V.  I use to say, “One day I’m going to move to Hollywood and become and actress”.   Ironically, in my twenties I moved to California.  I didn’t become an actress but I did get involved in the entertainment business.  Funny how sometimes as a child, you speak your destiny without even knowing it at the time.

The first hour riding in the car, seemed like an eternity.   Of course we had to make bathroom stops and Uncle John had the music on.  He kept things light-hearted in the car. In retrospect I think he was trying to keep us happy all the way home.  I knew though that something wasn’t right.  As we drove, I rolled down my window, hung my arm out the window and felt the breeze blowing on my arm.  I wasn’t thinking about much other than getting home to my room and seeing our parents.  As we were riding down the road, suddenly, off to the right, I saw this big, bright golden light.  At first I thought my eyes were deceiving me.  I rubbed them and looked again, closer this time.  The light grew bigger and bigger as I felt extreme warmth against my arm and all through my body.  My eyes couldn’t move, they were fixated on the light. I knew it wasn’t just the sun because it had a golden glimmer all around it.  It became big, bright and warm.  One of the most beautiful sights I had ever witnessed.  Still, I couldn’t turn away or speak.  Suddenly, I heard a man’s voice say to me, “Daddy’s gone to the angels”.   I was stunned. I wasn’t sure what I was hearing. Again, “Daddy’s gone to the angels. It’s alright. Everything will be ok.”   The light faded away, I turned to my uncle and asked, “Did my daddy die”?  My uncle looked at me with a bewildered look on his face, evasive in answering my question.  He changed the subject, gave me some answer that I don’t even remember and asked if we wanted to stop for ice cream.  Obviously he didn’t want to be the one to break the news to us, so he just changed the subject and attempted to distract me from the question.

I couldn’t get the image or voice out of my head.   I felt sadness, yet a peace that I didn’t understand.  There was no fear, no questions, I only knew what the voice said to me.  We stopped for ice cream.  I had a hot fudge sundae and my brother a vanilla ice cream cone.  We sat at the counter in the ice-cream shop, eating with and awkward silence.  We got back in the car and completed our journey home.  Uncle John pulled up to our house. Parking was scarce. There were so many cars and people at our house.  Uncle pretended not to know what was going on.  He found a parking spot down the block, helped us out of the car with our suitcases and took us in the house.   Mom was sitting in the kitchen, probably fifty people floating around our house. There was food, lots of people talking, some crying, some laughing.  We were excited to see mommy.   Both of us ran to her to give her hugs and kisses.  I climbed in her lap and asked, “Mommy, why are there so many people here”?  “We are having a house warming party”, she said.   Dad had bought the house not more than six months previously.  Being a kid, I took her answer at face value.   I ran off to my room and so did my brother.  Happy to be home but noticing daddy wasn’t there.  Was that voice in the car right? I still couldn’t shake that feeling I had in the car when the bright light spoke to me.

After a few hours all the people started to leave.  There were a few left roaming around the kitchen, cleaning up.   Mom called to me to come downstairs.  As I bounced down the stairs, my little brother still playing, I had no idea what she was going to say.  Mom pulled me up in her lap and gave me a hug.  I could see the tears in her eyes.   “Mommy, what’s wrong”, I asked.   She simply looked at me and said, “Daddy has gone to the angels”.    “I know mommy. I already know.”  “He won’t be coming home”, she said. “He’s in heaven now with God and the angels.” I didn’t even cry.   I already knew he was gone because the voice I heard while riding home had told me those exact words.  I was sad, but I knew my dad was at peace.

I’ll never forget that day for as long as I live.  I believe an angel came to me that day to prepare me for the news of my dad’s passing.  From that day forward, my faith in God has always been strong.  I know there are a lot of non-believers out there, and I never force my own beliefs on anyone.   However for me, there was no stronger sign than the one I was given.  I already knew my dad was at peace.  I knew he was gone from Earth but never gone from our hearts.  It was years later that I finally cried, not because he was gone, but because I missed him.  The pain he was suffering with from the cancer was over.  Daddy never really left us, he just left his body that was causing him pain.   I know that he is part of me.  Part of him runs through my veins and stays in my mind.  There was an angel looking over me that day.   A child’s mind is innocent and imaginative, but how could I ever explain that the exact words my mom spoke to me, were the exact words the light had given me.   I knew. I just knew that an angel had come to me. A real angel sent from God in Heaven to prepare me for my dad’s passing.

I was but a child, given the miracle of truth, as well as the faith I needed to get through the loss.


Written by: Sue McGaughey




Posted in Relationships

Stuck in a Situationship


Are you stuck in a “situationship?” You know, that area where you’ve been dating someone for a significant period of time, yet they don’t want to label the relationship nor commit to one. What exactly is that? How is a ‘situationship’ different than
friends with benefits? The fact of the matter is that many men nowadays will treat you like you’re his girlfriend, but will refuse to label the relationship. By not labeling the relationship, he has the perfect excuse out! The bottom line is this. If a man is saying
to you, “I’m not ready for a relationship, or why do I have to give you what you want,” what he’s really saying is, “I’m not ready to have a relationship with you!” Any man who knows who or what he wants will move mountains to get it. If you’ve
been sleeping with him, doing girlfriend things for and with him
for over six months, and he hasn’t committed to you, he has no
intention of ever doing so.

You might be wondering, what exactly are the rules of a situationship? Well, here goes. You probably won’t really want to hear these, but it’s up to you to decide:

1. You can ask, you can suggest, you can drop hints, but he
knows he doesn’t really have to give you anything, because he’s
technically not your man. Why does he have to adhere to
“relationship rules?” You will find yourself constantly
frustrated, but you know you have to swallow your emotions
once again, because you allowed yourself to be suckered into
this exploitative, powerless relationship.

2. Waiting. You will wait, wait, and wait some more. Somehow,
he convinces you that he loves you, but for whatever reason,
he’s not ready or prepared to be with you exclusively. He keeps
you in wait, while he is actively out pursuing his next prey.
You’ll listen to his lies and excuses, all the while accepting what
he says, because thinking he wants you helps you sleep better.
Eventually, you have to wake up and realize he doesn’t want to
be with you.

3. Sex. You will commit yourself to him. You won’t have sex
with anyone else, because you only want to be with him. That is
noble of you. However, you are still sleeping with multiple
partners, because while you are waiting for him and saving

yourself for him, he’s out sleeping with someone else. Reality is,
he doesn’t view you as good enough to be exclusive to your
body and your body only. His appetite is never satisfied. When
it is, he may finally settle down for the one who probably isn’t
you. Think long and hard before having continual sex with this
man. First of all, the emotional stress and pain it will inevitably
cause you isn’t really worth it, is it? Second, think of how many
multiple partners you are really sleeping with, even though you
are only giving yourself to one. Every other woman he is
sleeping with is ultimately sleeping with you too, and who
knows who any of them are sleeping with?

4. Lies. Lies become easy in a situationship. They become
routine. A man who is bedding more than one woman is not
going to tell you the truth. Why would he? He knows that it will
hurt you, he knows you might be jealous, and he wants to make
sure you stick around. Telling you a lie about what he’s doing is
easier for him than dealing with your hurt feelings. He knows
you still want to be with him, even though the situation is as it
is, so why should he risk losing a good thing? Lies are
mandatory to keep you coming back. Besides, you’re the one
doing the girlfriend things for him, so why would he want you to
walk away? He doesn’t.

5. Love. The word “love” becomes meaningless. He may tell
you he loves you over and over again, but reality is, if he really loved you, he wouldn’t continue to sleep around with other women. Also, when any man is truly in love with you, he will do whatever it takes to ensure your happiness, as well as his own.
He will want to put a label on the relationship, because he won’t
want to lose you to someone else.


SITUATIONSHIPS…….. Is this really what you want? Ask yourself if you are willing to live in a situation that keeps you continually frustrated and unfulfilled. Are you willing to make love to a man who will only walk out the door and think nothing
of making love to someone else? Are you willing to sacrifice true love and happiness for the sake of fleeting moments of instant gratification? If you don’t mind dealing with everything discussed in this article, then by all means, continue on in your
situationship. If, however, what you are really looking for is a loving, healthy, and happy relationship, then it’s time to rethink your situationship. Remember, you have a choice. It all starts and stops with you. Take control of your own love and happiness. Realize your self-worth. You have the power to put yourself in or take yourself out of any situation and to put yourself out or in a relationship.

Written by: Sue McGaughey

Posted in Entertainment

How to Avoid Being Scammed by Celebrity Imposters


Hellllooooo!  Ben Affleck, Shemar Moore, and Keith Urban just followed me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! I can’t believe it! They sent me messages, thanking me for being such a loyal fan. We’ve been chatting for days. I can’t believe it! Well, DON’T!! All top-level celebrities have a blue check on their social media pages to indicate that it is their official page. Don’t let yourself be fooled by scam artists who either think it’s hilarious to sucker people into believing they are someone they aren’t or to scam people into giving them money. Not only that, some have scammed people into meeting them in person, which resulted in robbery or rape. You must stay aware and vigilant on how to recognize imposters.

Here are five big, red flags to help you avoid scammers and imposters:

  1. Well-known celebrities have a blue check on their page, indicating it’s their verified page. Watch out for people who put fake, blue checks or blue circles. The fake blue checks are thicker. You can tell the difference, if you look closely.


  1. If you are a loyal fan, then you, no doubt, have paid attention to how a celebrity talks during their interviews and how they phrase things on social media. A lot of scam artists will try to imitate celebrities by using a common phrase everyone knows that celebrity uses. I’ll use Shemar Moore for an example. Most of his fans know that he uses the term “Baby Girl,” which started on the show Criminal Minds. He refers to people as his “fans, homies, and baby girls.” Imposters will message people and use those phrases. Here’s the deal. Pay attention to the rest of what they are saying. Pay attention when a celebrity speaks in public, during interviews, and/or on videos. Every person has a unique way of speaking. Some are very articulate and good spellers. If you listen, you will see loopholes in those messages you receive. Check their spelling! That’s a dead giveaway.


  1. Who runs celebrity fan pages? Most of the time, the celebrity is not solely responsible for their fan pages. Nine out of ten times, their publicist or manager runs their page. Of course, the celebrity has access to post and read comments, etc., but generally, someone from their team is running the page. Think about it. How can they possibly film for a full day, sometimes for 12 hours, and still have time to deal with their social media? They can’t.  So, be aware of someone sending you messages, claiming to be the celebrity in question. Remember, most celebrities aren’t trying to start a conversation via social media during a work day or any other day. If they want to contact you or anyone else, they have teams of people that track that information down for them.


  1. Since I work in entertainment myself and have often run my client’s pages, I’m very familiar with the process. First and foremost, don’t hold the celebrity responsible for the imposter. They can do absolutely nothing about it.  They can ask their publicist or manager to scan their page for imposters, then block and report them. That’s the same thing you can do too. If you feel you are being scammed, simply block the person from your page and report them. It’s up to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms to investigate the matter for themselves. They know who the real celebrities are and generally, will shut down the imposters. The problem that often occurs is that there is usually more than one imposter. It’s so difficult and time consuming to expect a person’s staff to take hours, days, and sometimes, months to shut down all those imposters. The best thing you can do is to familiarize yourself with the process, recognize the red flags, and trust your gut!


  1. One last bit of advice for you. NEVER give out your personal information over social media. Don’t give out your telephone number, your address, or where you work. Don’t fall for the money scam and give out your bank account numbers. A lot of these imposters are master manipulators and charmers. They will have you believing they are the real Shemar, Ben, or Keith. In some cases, women are the scammers, pretending to be Jennifer Aniston, Halle Berry, or someone else. Just remember that high-profile celebrities have a ton of their own money. Why on Earth would they ask a perfect stranger for money to help them privately? Many celebs are passionate about fighting causes like cancer, MS, hunger, and more. Those people will be very public about it and have verified websites where people can contribute. They would never ask a person to put money in their own personal account.


Well, there you have it. Five good ways to know whether you are being scammed by an imposter on social media. Imposters become very frustrating for talented actors and musicians who work very hard to entertain their fans. They have no way of controlling it. When this is happening, the best thing you can do to support them is to just block and report. Don’t get mad and don’t get taken. Instead, take action and do your part in getting these phonies off social platforms.

Written by: Sue McGaughey

Posted in Entertainment

Shemar Moore – The Bounce Back


I love a good movie, especially a fun, romantic comedy. Executive Producer Shemar Moore and Director Youseff Delara did a good job making the characters relatable to real life romance in their film, The Bounce Back.

Moore portrays a self-help expert named Matthew Taylor. After getting his heart broken by his ex-wife, Taylor writes a self-help book to show people how to get past the hurt and move on with their lives.

Shemar, with his  6-pack abs, gorgeous smile, and charming personality, plays his part as Matthew Taylor very well. He’s a divorced, heartbroken dad who becomes a sexy playboy. In the film, Taylor embarks on a tour to promote his book, The Bounce Back, giving seminar attendees and plenty of ladies his advice on how to bounce back from heartbreak.

His manager and partner in crime, played by Bill Bellamy, is both a thorn in his side and his biggest advocate. He is insistent that Taylor find a love interest. After all, you can’t have a self-help love guru talking about love without being in love! Bellamy keeps the audience engaged with his natural comedic personality. He has great dialogue and delivers those zingers. Look out, Kevin Hart. Here comes Bill Bellamy!

Matthew is met with resistance and an opposing opinion from a widely-known therapist, Kristen, that is played by Nadine Velasquez. Velasquez kills it in this role. She had the audience laughing like crazy. The chemistry between Velasquez and Moore was excellent. They had a natural on-screen vibe that worked…fun banter, sexual innuendos, tension, and a believable realness.  Velasquez’ character is reeling from a previous bad break-up. She’s successful, smart, and determined not to be made a fool of again. She gives Moore’s character a run for his money.



I honestly can’t think of even one of the actors who didn’t do a good job in this film. They all seemed to have fun and definitely made it worth watching.

The film started off a little slow, but to be honest, Shemar’s good looks kept the audience watching. It didn’t take long to get sucked into the storyline and to start enjoying this fun, funny, and romantic film. Another bright spot in this film was Moore’s on-screen daughter, Aleya, played by Nadja Alaya. Aleya is 13 and going through that awkward stage of liking boys and enjoying time hanging with her dad, Matthew Taylor.

Shemar adds a fun touch as the father, watching and preparing his daughter for her first puppy love. Nadja Alaya stood her own next to the adult actors with which she worked. She was funny, on point, and had an endearing quality that just made you smile.  Shemar and Nadja portrayed a solid father/daughter relationship. Nadja added fun to the film.

Most film-goers will relate to what it feels like to be stuck in a rut when it comes to love and relationships. Many people can understand the desire to move past heartbreak and pain through willpower, perseverance, and holding on to the hope that one day you will find the one who completes you.

The Bounce Back was a fun film. I even heard the men in the audience laughing. I asked one couple behind me, “Did you like the film?” Their reply, “Yes, this film is so us!”

Shemar Moore spent years on TV. For those like me who have followed his career through Soul Train, The Young and the Restless, and Criminal Minds, I think you will be delighted to see him in a lighthearted role. The character he plays seems to be much like Shemar in real life…silly, goofy, compassionate, caring, and driven.

Having started a GoFundMe campaign to do this movie, Shemar’s huge fan base, called Baby Girl Nation, contributed widely to the success of this film. The campaign raised approximately $650,000, and Shemar reached in his pocket to pick up the rest. He had a dream and followed it. He was driven and passionate about bringing his baby, The Bounce Back, to life.


Shemar has said more than once that he wanted to prove to Hollywood that there is a need for certain content. I think he is right. With all the violence, anxiety, and high levels of stress in our world today, it is refreshing to go to a theater and see a fun, romantic comedy. The world needs more love and laughter, and I’d say Mr. Moore brought that to the screen. Whether he makes money from this film or not, he can go to sleep feeling rich in success.

In addition to making the movie, Shemar started a campaign, “I Bounced Back”, selling t-shirts and sweatshirts to raise money to support his on-screen daughter, Nadja Alaya, who was diagnosed with stage four Hodgkin’s lymphoma after filming.   The proceeds raised will help his little star, Nadja, as well as other children fighting cancer and cancer-like illnesses.

Shemar Moore is a blessing to many. From the way he interacts with his fans, to his commitment to raising money for MS, to the sincerity he seems to show to those around him.  Personally, I hope he keeps making movies. Perhaps The Bounce Back 2? I’d recommend going to see The Bounce Back. Like I said, it started a tad bit slow, but you will definitely get into it quickly.  If you miss it in the theaters, make sure you pick it up when it comes out on DVD.

Written by:

Sue McGaughey