We'll i've has success of a sort.
I made sure that the booktype was set to -rom and then purchased some verbatim -r discs and some cheaper +r discs (dynex), both for testing.
Results: The +r disc worked in my old JVC without a hitch!!! This went and worked so smoothly. I'm assuming the change in booktype accounts for this.
Verbatim -r disc: This worked!!!! Better media, i'm assuming. (The change in booktype should have had no effect on this, right?)
Original cheap -r disc: Started out working better but then had problems. This DID perform better, but eventually had problems. I have to assume that this is a media problem and that the NEC 3540a doesn't like this type of meda. (Unless anyone has any other ideas.)
So i guess, what i've learned, is that media types really do play a difference, however i feel really good about the drive working with the cheaper +r discs!
Thanks to everyone here and all their support!
I'll continue testing and burning!