Thursday, December 31, 2009

Out With the Old...

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How lucky are you guys?!? You get stuck with me 2 days this week! SIS BJ is having technical difficulties and can't join us today.

Happy New Year's Eve! I am really looking foward to a new year. It just feels like things will be looking up in 2010. 2009 has been a roller coaster for many of us here at SIS. I love roller coasters if they are in an amusement park. When it comes to life, I'd prefer it to be a little more stable.

Like every year, I will be ringing in the New Year at home with the girls. Of course they are all ready asking me if we get to see the ball drop. The oldest says we should go out and do something "really cool."

I am still working on my New Years resolutions. So far I know that staying focused on my goals is at the top of the list. I can't let anything distract or discourage me! I'd also like to become more organized. I know Beth is working on that too. Losing 10 pounds also makes my list. (it does almost every year)

I send New Years wishes of good health, happiness, stability, creativity, and love to all of you!

What are your resolutions? Anyone have any fabulous plans for tonight?

SIS Brandy

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Me? It's my turn?

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Geez! I’ve been so busy the past couple days that I didn’t even realize it was my turn to write. I just read Brandy’s post and know exactly how she feels about writer’s block. I haven’t even had coffee yet, but I’ll see what I can pull out of my cob-web filled head.

First I would like to say Happy Birthday to Happy, my little guy. He turned 10 yesterday! Wow! I can’t believe how fast the time has gone by. I still remember the day he was born and how he looked like a Glo-worm all snuggled in his blanket and cap. HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY BOO-BOO!

Okay, no putting it off any longer….what to write about?????

I haven’t written in probably two months now. How shameful. But I do intend to get back to it ASAP. Maybe that would be a good way to start the new year. I love my story and my characters and really need to get back to it. I loved Tori’s suggestion yesterday of writing at least one sentence. Chances are, if I wrote just one line, it would lead to several more and I would have a productive writing day every day.

I’ve often wondered if I am approaching this writing thing correctly at all. Of course, writing the story is a necessity. You can’t be an author if you haven’t written the book, duh. But I read about writing classes and writing clubs and I wonder if I am missing out on something huge.

Is it possible to write an excellent piece of work with no formal training at all? Does it just come naturally to some? If it does, I hope that I am one of those blessed people. It’s not that I wouldn’t enjoy attending a writing class, or conference, or club, it’s just that I don’t see it happening anytime soon with all that is going on in my life.

And say that I was able to write an incredible book that just had to get published. Is there any chance for me if I’m not able to attend conferences and shop it around? What are my chances of finding a great publisher?

And then let’s not forget self-promoting. I know it’s necessary to a point, but like Beth mentioned here at SIS before, how much is necessary? I have a personal Facebook, and I haven’t even been able to visit there for months! So how in the world would I keep up a Facebook, Twitter, MySpace…blah blah blah? Is it possible to write a book that virtually sells itself?

As I read back over this, it almost sounds like I’m looking for an easy way out. It’s not that at all, I just wonder about these things. I wonder how I will MAKE the time to attend these classes and conferences and how I will MAKE the time to self-promote. But first I need to MAKE the time to write!

I know I could probably find these answers myself via searching the web, but I thought I would ask you first. What are your suggestions/ experiences? Any advice is appreciated…

Happy Wednesday!

SIS Bren

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Writer's Block

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I have sat here staring at the computer for the last hour. Not a single thing comes to mind to write about. I think I have lost a few brain cells straining for ideas!! I have been struck with total writers block.

I guess I could talk about the weather. Did you know it's too freaking cold out?

Or I could talk about Christmas. You've probably had enough of that.

Or what about New Years? Shoot, I don't even know what my resolutions would be!

Work? Boring!!!

AAAHHH! It's driving me crazy! I can't come up with two or three paragraphs of something creative.

Pretty much everyone here does a lot more writing than me. Whether it be books or poetry, I definately am bringing up the rear. It amazes me that others are able to imagine enough scenes, characters, and details to write a whole book! I am pretty sure that somewhere during the writing process just about every author experiences writer's block.

Do you encounter writer's block often? When you do is there anything that helps you break through it?

SIS Brandy

Monday, December 28, 2009


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Ah, yes. The holidays are on their way out and life should hopefully get back to normal. Not that I mind a little hullabaloo every now and then, but I do like my routine. I prefer knowing my work schedule and the children's school schedules so that I may plan my writing schedule accordingly. The last month has been nothing but hullabaloo, thus, very little time for writing. I feel terrible about that and I'm more than ready to get back in the saddle.

Christmas was great. The kids were very thankful which made me beyond proud. Neither one of them said, "Is that all?"

*Big News* My husband gave me a Kindle for Christmas and I have to admit...I LOVE IT. It's so cool, so fast, so easy. The books are much less expensive to buy this way and I can store up to 1000 of them. I can also delete but WHY WOULD I EVER DO THAT? The one thing I will really miss though, is looking at all the cool covers on real books. The colors, the detail, the textures cannot be replicated. Oh well...I'm sure I'll get over that!

Skipping around a bit, but I'm dying to see the movies Avatar and Sherlock Holmes. Both look wonderful. Chances are I'll wait for the DVD's to come out but I WANT TO SEE THESE MOVIES!

Still on a mission to get a dog. I haven't won but I'm far from giving up. Maybe 2010 will be my year.

Don't you love when we ramble over here at SIS?

My Paranormal WIP is screaming at me to get moving. My heroine, Meera, is just discovering her abilities while my hero, Ghanem, is fighting to get his back. It's getting interesting folks! That's why I need to get life BACK TO NORMAL!

My Multi-Cultural Contemporary WIP has been pushed to the side for a few months but I plan to get back to it very soon. I still love those characters and their story, so it's only fair to see how it plays out. I mean, come on, if you were a character, how would you feel if someone put your story on hold? And, right at a big turning point? Exasperated I'm sure. I'm a little afraid of what they'll do to me when I check in on them.

Anyway, that's what's going on with me.

How about you? It's been awhile. Fill us in on what's going on in your life? Still got hullabaloo?

SIS Barb aka Elle J Rossi

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Counting Our Blessings

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Happy Holidays!

SIS is taking a break until Monday, Dec. 28, spending time with friends and family and generally having a jolly old time. Wishing you and yours the happiest of holidays--good health and good cheer.

In the true spirit of Christmas, we're counting our blessings. Won't you join us?

SIS Beth, Bren, BJ/Aleena, Barb/Elle, and Brandy

Friday, December 18, 2009

Holiday Round Robin

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Please read the post below and contribute as often as you like! Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Collaboration

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I have what I think is a fun idea! Actually, I sort of got the idea from B.J.'s post last week. I thought it could be interesting to start a story and then have everyone who joins us here at SIS contribute. Not for just one day, but for the rest of the days leading up to Christmas Eve. Each day, I will take everything written that day and post it for the beginning of the next day and then anyone who wants to contribute can chime in.

Any style is allowed: romance, thriller, fantasy. You name it, you can write it. The only rule is that you have to read what was written previously and try to segue from that point. You can twist the story any way you choose. You can add characters, kill off characters if you choose, change it from romance to fantasy...just have fun!

I think it will be interesting to see how the story deviates from what I originally perceived and also to see how very different we each may write from one another. Now, this needn't be a novel. It can be short story. Write as much or as little as you like!

Okay, here goes....

Lily could scarcely believe that it was Christmas time already. The year had flown by so quickly. But she was glad. It had been a horrible year. She had lost her boyfriend, her job, and now, worst of all, her best friend, Snorks.

Not that Snorks had died or anything, she had literally lost him. The last she remembered having him was when she was walking into the toy store to buy a gift for her nephew. He shouldn't be too hard to find. After all, he...

Alright then. It's your turn. I have my ideas for what or who Snorks is and what he looks like, but let's see where this leads. Have fun....

SIS Bren

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Almost Here

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Good morning everyone. I'm filling in for Brandy today because she isn't feeling well. I'm sending healing thoughts her way.

I am almost done with Christmas shopping. Just a few things left to get. Candy for the stockings and new toothbrushes that the kids get every Christmas. I know, who wants a toothbrush for Christmas. I am happy to say that they actually like getting them.

We have done our family tradition of going to see holiday light displays and eating at White Castle. We don't have one in town so we look forward to the trip to get our Sliders. I remember dad taking us all the way to Indy just to go White Castle. Thank goodness we don't have to drive that far anymore.

While I will be happy that the stress of the holidays will soon be over, I will be sad when it ends. The day's won't seem as magical when the wait is over. I am looking forward to getting up Christmas morning to watch my little ones open their presants. They are so excited they can hardly wait. I am getting excited as well. I feel like a kid again waiting for Santa to show up.

How about you? Are you ready for Christmas?

SIS BJ aka Aleena Ravenwood

Monday, December 14, 2009

It Won't Wash Off!

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Happy Monday everyone!

Usually I have Monday's off from my day job but this week is screwy and not only do I have to work today, I also have to work Saturday. I haven't worked a Saturday in about 8 years. I guess I can handle it and I'll try to do so with little complaint.

Today, I'd like to discuss the tattoo phenomenon. I don't have one and more and more it seems like I've joined the ranks of the minority. Everywhere you look, you see people with tattoos. Almost every hero in the books I read is sporting a tat of some sort, whether it be tribal, military or a dragon. Tattoos have taken over.

I do know what mine would be should I ever be brave enough to jump off that cliff. I just don't know where--on my body--I'd put it. My hesitation? What if in 10 years, I don't want it anymore? It won't wash off! At least with jewelry and make-up you can change your look everyday. But with a tattoo? Per-ma-nent!

Well, what are your thoughts? Got one? Where is it? Any regrets? Want one? What would it be? Where would you put it?

SIS Barb aka Elle J Rossi

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Pop Culture -- SIS Style

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Welcome to Café Chaos. Grab a cup of coffee or tea (we prefer coffee) and join us for a chat. Every Saturday we celebrate Pop Culture. Movies, TV, books, music, games, trends in style... you get picture. Feel free to comment on our picks or to throw in a few of your own. We’re listening!

SIS BJ says:
The other day my daughter Monster picked up a Christmas book that she wanted me to read to her. It was The 12 Days of Christmas. I decided instead of just reading it to her i would sing it. The smile on her face was worth it. When I got to the 5 Golden rings part, I tried my hardest to sound like Miss Piggy. She got a laugh out of that and even joined in every time I got to that part. I ended up reading(singing) that book three times that night.

My Song Pick of the Week: The 12 Days of Christmas (Muppets Version)

SIS Beth says:
Severe time crunch folks. A short and sweet rec. A seasonal must see! (inspired by BJ)

My Movie Pick of the Week: The Muppet's Christmas Carol

SIS Barb says:
My pick this week happens to be one of my favorite movies of all times. I've seen it a number of times but recently realized it's actually been several years since I last had the pleasure of getting lost in this wonderful film. I tried to rent it at Blockbuster but no luck. They no longer carry it. So, I've put it on my Christmas Wish List this year in hopes that it'll be under the tree waiting for me.

One of my lovely sisters may have recommended this in the past and if so, I'm okay with that. This definitely is a recommendation I don't mind repeating.

My Movie Pick of the Week: Amadeus (1984)
In my opinion, this is truly one of the best musical dramas of all time. The movies tag line says it all: The Man...The Music...The Madness...The Murder...The Motion Picture...Everything You've Heard Is True

Friday, December 11, 2009

Series vs Single Title—In This Corner Wearing the Red Trunks…

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A note from SIS: Please welcome guest blogger, multi published author, Jordan Summers!

When I first started writing romances, my goal was to finish one book. I loved the idea of writing a book and being done with it, when I typed ‘The End’. The goal was to wrap everything up and leave the reader with a feeling of satisfaction when they reached the last page. About a year or two into my burgeoning (it’s still burgeoning *g*) writing career the focus at the publishing houses shifted. Everyone started to ask if the book I turned in was part of a series. As a new writer, I panicked. Most of the books I’d written (and there weren’t many) hadn’t been intended as a series. Of course I didn’t say that when they asked. *wg* Instead, I went back to my manuscripts and took a closer look at the storylines and the secondary characters. Even if you aren’t naturally a series writer, you may be someone who subconsciously puts enough elements in your book to create a series. I figured out fairly quickly that my storylines may or may not carry over into a series, but I had created interesting secondary characters——characters that I routinely received emails about from readers asking me when I planned to tell their stories.

In writing classes, you don’t really learn that there are ways of getting around certain obstacles when it comes to writing a book and publishing. It’s not a subject that comes up.

I took those secondary characters and used them to build series. I did it with my Atlantean’s Quest series and my Phantom Warrior series. It made writing both those series a lot of fun. When I decided to write my Dead World series, things changed. In the first place, it wasn’t supposed to be a series. RED was supposed to be a stand-alone title. Later I was asked to turn the book into a series. This brought up problems I’d never faced before. There were several secondary characters, but none really stood out as a potential lead. Also, my main hero’s and heroine’s story wasn’t quite finished. (At the end of RED, it had just begun.)

I had to learn how to create a larger story ARC. Fortunately, I’d introduced a large enough plot and world in RED to carry over for three books. After finishing the series and having the final book, CRIMSON release last month, I have newfound respect for all the authors who have a continuing series that runs for more than four books. It’s tough. You have to make sure the characters stay true, create a plot for the current book, and keep the larger story ARC in mind (ticking along) at all times. It’s much easier in my opinion to write a stand-alone single title.
That said, I’m glad that I had the opportunity to write RED, SCARLET, and CRIMSON. If I hadn’t, I would’ve never known that I could write a series with the same hero and heroine in all three books.

Learn more about Jordan and her books by visiting her website and blog!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


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Call me crazy, but, I LOVE WINTER!!

I love snow flying around me as if I were in a Snow Globe. I love the feel of cold crisp air kissing my cheeks turning them a rosy hue. I love the snow covered trees and the beauty of Black Crows against the white landscape. I love the way wind whips around me tossing my hair about my face

Children making Snow Angels and Snow People always brings a smile to my face, remembering that I too was once a child and enjoyed such things. I still enjoy them, just not with the same innocent joy of a child.

I love Winter clothing. Sweaters, coats, hats and scarves, all in a variety of colors and styles. My hair always looks best in Winter. It is so much easier to straighten my curly hair and keep it that way.

Cuddling on the couch, wrapped in warm blankets with my family and watching holiday movies with them gives me feelings of warmth and love. There seems to be more laughter at this time of year in my house. The girls trying to figure out what is under the tree and hoping Santa visits them soon.

I love the feelings that Winter brings to me. Love, joy, laughter, warmth of heart and all around good cheer!!

What do you love (or hate) about Winter?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Those Were The Days

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It's amazing how time flies. It seems like just yesterday that I was posing in this promo shot with my big SIS, Beth. We were hot weren't we?! Vinyl and big hair. We were hip too, weren't we? I don't think my eyes see that much eye shadow in a full year these days! And how did I ever get my hair to stand up that high? I know it wasn't Aqua Net...I never liked the smell of that stuff.

I don't remember the year exactly, but I'd say it was somewhere between '89 and '91. We were called B.B. and the Intruders. The B.B. was for Beth and Brenda of course. If I told you what the Intruders were about I'd have to kill you. Actually, Beth's comical husband gave us that part of the name. I wonder if the guys in our band knew what it was all about.

We were a great band, playing mostly top 40 with a little jazz mixed in. I always had a great time performing with Beth. She is an amazing performer. She was born to perform. It came a little harder for me, but I did my best to keep up.

This was a great time in my life. I look at this picture and it takes me right back to where I was and what was going on. Good Times...We had a lot of fun. We laughed a lot. I still hear songs today that we performed with that band and it brings a smile to my face.

Ahh...memory lane. I love to take a stroll now and then. It's nice to remember the past...good and bad. The bad memories remind you not to make the same mistakes and the good memories keep you sane and warm your heart!

What special memories do you have of the past? Maybe a certain time in your life or just a single occasion...

SIS Bren

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Just One of the Guys

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For a long time, I have worked with a huge majority of men. My line of work sort of lacks in women personnel. I have always been ok with it, though. I've always said that it just means less drama. Somehow I am looked at as "just one of the guys."

The men I work with will do and say anything in front of me. Everyday I get to hear comments on how hot certain women are. I get to listen to details on the girl that one of them took out (or took home) last night. And heaven forbid someone trying to talk properly around me. They get an "Oh please - it's just Brandy!"

Most men can be really nasty!! I can't even count the amount of time I have had to evacuate an office. This would be to escape the foul smelling "present" that one of them has left behind. Hey I don't do that to them!! Why they gotta drag me into their little games!! ... Which brings me to slug bug. I get slugged like a guy! I know I am a big girl, but come on. Have a little mercy!

I have to make sure I don't truly turn into "just one of the guys." Heck, I even won the football pool the last two weeks. Scary, huh?

When I am off work, I try to do things to help me feel more girlie. I try to wash the guy shenanigans off me. Doing stuff with my girls really helps! Who doesn't feel like a total girl when you're shopping,painting nails, and doing hair? Nice long bubble baths, watching a "chick flick," and reading also do the trick.

Are you "just one of the guys?" What girlie things do you like to do?

SIS Brandy

Monday, December 7, 2009

It's All About The Experience

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I was at a shoe store the other day, just browsing and watching the crowds. I had a cup of chai tea latte from Starbucks. A very sweet sales woman came up to me and told me how wonderful my coffee smelled and that on her first break she was headed out to get some for herself. We actually chatted about coffee for the next 3-4 minutes.

"It's all about the experience, isn't it?" I asked.

She said, "Ya know, you're right. The coffee itself doesn't taste that great but the smell. That's the best part."

"And don't forget how it warms your hands as your holding it."

"Oh," she said, "And the fact that it's a good reason to ask your friends over."

We agreed...Coffee is all about the experience.

I actually ended up buying a pair of winter boots from her that day and the sweet woman gave me a coupon for 20% off. I was thrilled. She saved me about $14. I thanked her over and over again and she said, " Now you have a little extra for some more of that wonderful coffee experience."

We had our first snow of the season overnight and while we don't have much accumulation, it's still very pretty. The grass is dusted with snow, the trees are not quite as naked since losing their leaves. The air? It smells clean and crisp. Almost as good as laundry drying on a clothesline in the summer. Almost. But it's all about the experience of the first snow.

Seeing a movie at the movie theatre? It's loud. You can hear people talking and chomping on their popcorn and answering their cell phones. You have to keep moving around to see past the person with the enormous head seated in front of you. So why do we go? It's all about the experience.

How about you? Can you think of one or two?

SIS Barb aka Elle J Rossi

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Pop Culture--SIS Style

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Welcome to Café Chaos. Grab a cup of coffee or tea (we prefer coffee) and join us for a chat. Every Saturday we celebrate Pop Culture. Movies, TV, books, music, games, trends in style... you get picture. Feel free to comment on our picks or to throw in a few of your own. We’re listening!

SIS Beth says...

I grew up watching the original Star Trek TV series. Kirk, Spock, Bones, Scotty… I followed their adventures even as they jumped to the big screen. Then came Star Trek–The Next Generation. The TV series and the big screen movies. Loved them, too. I wouldn’t go so far as to call myself a Trekkie—I mean they’re pretty extreme, right?—but I’m close.

Imagine my glee when I heard a new Star Trek movie was in the making. A movie based on the original characters. The characters as before the TV series. In other words, a prequel. Bonus: A movie directed by J.J. Abrams, a personal fave. I didn’t get to see it in theaters, it rocked just as heartily on my big screen TV.

My Pick of the Week: Star Trek (2009)

Actor Chris Pine as James T. Kirk. So sexy. So conflicted. Nailed it! Zachary Quinto as Spock. Sensitive and… sexy? Who knew?
I’m pretty confident that you’ll enjoy this film even if you never watched the original series. But honestly? This is a perk, a gift for those of us who were fans of the initial series. Abrams and the writers nailed it. They stayed true to the original characters. It was a hoot to see why they were who they were… maybe. Let’s just say, this movie made it to my permanent collection.

SIS Barb says:
I mentioned yesterday that I made a trip to B & N. I was actually there to do a little Christmas shopping but in the end, I got too wrapped up in books for myself to really make much of a dent in finding gifts for others. You see, books are my thing and when I get to a book store or even the book section at my local grocery store, I truly believe I get hypnotized by all the delicious covers and enticing titles. This is exactly what happened yesterday. While perusing the romance section I spotted these marvelous covers. The bright colors and the art work screamed sexy fun. I flipped them over to read the blurbs and I was hooked!

My Pick of the Week: 50 Ways to Hex Your Lover
As you can tell by the title there is a witch element and that's what sealed the deal for me. My current WIP's heroine is a witch. Now I can read these books and call it research. (works for me)

From the back cover: Jasmine Tremaine is a witch who can't stay out of trouble. Nikolai Gregorovich is a vampire cop on the trail of a serial killer. The sizzling love affair between Jazz and Nick has been on- again off-again for about 300 years--mostly off, lately. Butt now Nick needs Jazz's help, and while Jazz and Nick try to figure out their own hearts and resist their increasing attraction, they must steer clear of a maniacal killer with super-supernatural powers. They are surrounded by a hilarious cast of oddball characters including Irma, the chain-smoking ghost who haunts Jazz's sports car. Dweezil, her ghoul of a boss; and fluff and puff, a pair of bunny slippers with sharp teeth and short tempers (watch your ankles)!

I haven't quite finished this first book of the series but I had to share it with you. Linda Wisdom has a way of writing that draws you into this story with a cast of fantastic characters, descriptive flowing scenery and a fabulous mix of steam and fun. This is a must read!

Author: Linda Wisdom

Friday, December 4, 2009

A Friday Ramble

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I have deadline brain. Time is ticking. Time is short. I’m trying to be creative. Meanwhile a voice keeps shouting in my ear. Faster! Write faster! Still I linger over passages. It’s impossible to move forward until what I wrote before clicks. Someday I’ll break that habit. But not today.

Nia, our fairly new adopted puppy, is on a diet. When we got her she weighed 22 pounds. She now weighs 38. Yes, she’s a little older but she didn’t grow much taller. Today, Steve called her a little moose. I have to admit, she is a bit ‘round’. She’s a black lab mix and labs are notorious for being overweight. Not good for their health. So… Nia is on a diet.

Cheyenne-the-sensitive-dog and Sadie-the crazy cat had their yearly check ups yesterday. PERFECT HEALTH! Yay!! By the way, they are not overweight.

I’ve decided to hold off on an e-reader. I researched pretty extensively. Between the Kindle, Nook, and Sony ereader, I had decided on the Kindle. It was going to be my one and only material Christmas wish. Today I read an interesting article about ereaders. Looks like other companies will be releasing models with more functions in 2010. So…. I’ve decided to wait.

Meanwhile I uploaded a free version of Kindle to my PC. Very cool! The Mac version is coming soon.

After ten years of handling my own website, I’m finally investing in a professionally designed and maintained site. I’m uber impressed by this designer’s process and products. Visit Rae Monet Designs to view some of her magic.

We’re well into December and I haven’t even thought about decorating the house. This is probably a sign.

I owe a few people emails. If you’re one of them, apologies and I hope to catch up after the weekend.

When I finish and turn in this book, I plan to spend an entire day watching holiday movies, and another whole day reading, plus a whole day of just laying around probably sleeping.

What’s up with Tiger Woods?

It was 69 degrees here yesterday (I’m in NJ). Today it’s 42. Weird. Not to mention it should be closer to 30 degrees. It’s December!

Can’t wait to see the new Sherlock Holmes movie!

Did you know termites are a better source of nutrition than vegetables and sort of taste like nutmeg? Also, grubs are a great source of protein. Things to eat if stranded in the jungle.

Oh, the things you learn while researching and hope to never have to do for real.

I could ramble on but the deadline book calls. Care to add on? Got a random thought or two? Ramble on!

Thursday, December 3, 2009


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In the childs infectious laughter
In the twinkle in their eyes
In the sound of a bubbling brook
In the clouds up in the sky

In the squirrels scampering in trees
In the way they ask for corn
In the beauty of Natures gifts
In the hopes of spotting a Unicorn

In the wonder of sparkling crystals
In the way snow covers trees
In the fun of sledding down hills
In the way we shout with glee

In the times we spend with family
In the way we laugh and sing
In the hugs and love we give them
In the joy of gift giving.....


Where do you find joy?
Feel free to add to this Never Ending Poem!


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

'Tis the Season

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I absolutely LOVE this time of year. It seems that no matter what is going on in my life, I can always get into the Christmas spirit. The mood, the songs, the crazy shoppers, the Christmas displays, food, family...I love it all. Even the cranky shoppers to whom I can’t resist but say, “And a very Merry Christmas to you, too!”.

Decorating the tree is one of the highlights for me. Digging the dusty boxes out of our crowded garage and dragging them into the house and praying that a spider didn’t somehow get into one of my boxes...what a great time. It’s almost like receiving a present every time I open those boxes and find an ornament or a decoration of sorts that I had completely forgotten about, or that I treasure deeply.

Probably the best part is watching my boys unwrap their presents. They wait and wait for that day, hoping that they’ll get what they put on their wish list. My heart swells and my eyes fill with tears as I watch them tear into their gifts with great enthusiasm. Gift-giving, for me, is an incredible feeling. It doesn’t matter the gift, it could be a can of silly string or baked goods or even just a card. Just seeing the smile on someone’s face is a gift in itself.

I remember the anticipation of Christmas morning as a child. However, I was an impatient child. It’s not that I needed to have my gift sooner, I just needed to know what I was getting. It killed me to look at those presents and not know what was under that wrapping paper.

I was a big-time snooper. I couldn’t wait for my parents to leave so I could go snooping. One year I even went as far as to unwrap one of my gifts and re-wrap it before my parents returned. I even remember the gift. It was a pair of roller skates. They weren’t the kind that you put on and laced up. These were hard plastic ones that fit over your shoe and buckled.

Another year, I remember my brother and I looking into the back of the truck (which had a topper) and seeing bicycles! We were so excited! The hardest part of the snooping was not letting on that you knew what you were getting. I think I slipped about seeing those bikes, and then tried to make it sound like it was a dream that I had had.

I tell my kids not to snoop. I tell them that if they snoop, I will know, and I will take everything back to the store. Now that’s Christmas spirit for ya, huh? It seems to work though. Either they don’t snoop or they’re really good at not letting on.

What’s your favorite part of Christmas? What are some of your favorite memories as a child?


SIS Bren

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Where in the World is SIS Brandy?

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Ok time to have a little fun...

My day starting with me springing out of bed at 4am. Shoot!!! I am late!! My alarm clock didn't go off. Good thing I didn't have a plane to catch! I was driving to this sale. I got ready in record time. Showered, finished throwing my stuff together, and was pulling out of the driveway at 4:27! My drive was supposed to be 10 1/2 hours. I had some making up to do.

It was a beautiful drive. Raining the whole time, but still beautiful. I went through a lot of hills and mountains on the way to my destination. The appalachians are beautiful. At one point the directions took a very winding road right up a mountain. For an hour, there was nothing but 20mph curves and steep inclines. Amazing and a little scary at the same time. At one point, I was looking down (about 500 ft) a very steep drop off into a beautiful "raging rapids" river.

The trip was mad in record time. Cut over an hour off of the mapquest time. Some of the cities I passed were Cincinnatti, Lexington, and I even went through a "Big Island."

So about the town I am in... It's state is one of the original thirteen colonies. The city sits in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. There are six colleges and universities here - pretty amazing considering the population here is only about 75000 people here. This historical town was first settled in 1757. One of it's nicknames is " The Hill City." During the civil war, it served as it's state's capital for a whopping 4 days.

Is that enough? Can you figure out where in the world I am?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Doin' The Happy Dance

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I'm thrilled to announce that I have met my deadline. Is the book finished? No. Not even close, but Bren challenged me to send her 10 chapters by the end of this month and as soon as I finish typing this post I will hit send on the email containing chapters 1-10 on my paranormal WIP. It was a difficult road at time. Lots of sweat. Lots of neglecting household chores. But in the midst of it all, I made myself find time to read a couple of books and spend time with my family.

I think both of things helped to inspire me. Reading books by amazing authors is inspiring and motivating at the same time. I read them and I realize I have to elaborate more in some areas and pull back in others. I realize I need to go deeper with the emotions and lighten up on the dialogue at times.

Spending time with my family was important. I didn't allow myself to lose sight of that. There were times when I was so focused, so driven that I didn't even hear them talk to me. My mother would call that "tuning them out". I did that, but then I'd see the look on their faces and quickly snap back into reality. Forcing myself to take those breaks and have fun with the family was a great thing. We had a great time. I laughed, they giggled, my husband rolled his eyes. They giggled some more. Then when they were through and wanted to move onto something else or had hit the hay at the end of the day, I was able to get back to work with a clearer mind. A fresh perspective.

I'm so pleased. I can't even begin to describe how good this feels. I want to keep going. I need to keep going. Brenda knew what I needed and did what she does best...she gave it to me on terms in which I could relate. I love her for that. Now hopefully she'll be sending me just as many of her chapters today. I'm incredibly intrigued with her story and can't wait to read more. Thanks, Bren!

Beth's on a deadline too and from what I've read so far, she's got another great one on her hands. Adventure is her forte and this is that and soooo much more. Root her on. The clock is ticking. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

What are you pleased about today? Tell me something good in your life. Focus on that and let the smile light up your face. It's the little things. Ya know?

SIS Barb aka Elle J Rossi

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Pop Culture--SIS Style

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Welcome to Café Chaos. Grab a cup of coffee or tea (we prefer coffee) and join us for a chat. Every Saturday we celebrate Pop Culture. Movies, TV, books, music, games, trends in style... you get picture. Feel free to comment on our picks or to throw in a few of your own. We’re listening!

SIS Beth says...

Last week I posted a rec. I swear. But Blogger ate it. Thus I am re-posting this week and if my rec disappears again I'll take it as a sign, dang it.

Where was I? Oh, yes. This week's recommendation.

My MOVIE Pick of the Week: UP (2009)

See it. SEE IT! Oh, my God. I laughed, I cried. Seriously. So tender. So funny. So unbelievably well written. And the cinematography? Awesome! For young and old. For anyone who needs a life boost.

From Yahoo Movies: At age 78, life seems to have passed Carl Fredricksen by, until a twist of fate (and a persistent 8-year old named Russell) gives him a new lease on life.

See it!!

SIS Brandy says...

I don't know if this is a legal pick. Don't care I am going with it anyway! I just finished reading a series that I really really enjoyed. The plot was great. I loved the characters - especially Arch. I think I have a crush on him now!

I am probably the last person here to read this series. If I am not, though, I greatly recommend these books.

My Pick of the Week : The Chameleon Chronicles - All About Evie, Everybody Loves Evie, and Evie Ever After

Author: Beth Ciotta

SIS Barb says:
Brandy's pick cracked me up. You're good Brandy. It's legal and I good pick!
I'm also recommending a book today. I've grown to love this author over the last couple of years. Her Black Dagger Brotherhood series is one I've recommended in the past and am thrilled to say that the series is continuing. But that's not what I'm recommending today. She has a NEW series. Oh yeah! So far, only the first one has been released and I'm not sure when the next one is coming out but I'll keep you posted.

My Pick of the Week: Covet (A Novel of the Fallen Angels)
This band of fallen angels has everything I could want in a group of heros. Charm, charisma, power, strength, sensitivities and even insecurities. Jim, the newly recruited fallen angel is told he must save the souls of seven people from the seven deadly sins. He can not fail. Everything relies on his success. He's got some help though, and that's where some of the other fallen angels come into play. The love story comes from the one he is trying to save and I'm just fine with having multiple heros and a couple of story lines in my book. This is a great one and one I highly recommend.

Author: JR Ward

Friday, November 27, 2009

Shopping Day from Hell

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In the midst of a lovely Thanksgiving and the blur of deadline writing, I completely forgot that today was Friday thus my post day. So... before I rush off for work let me ask you this topical question.

Are you going to brave Black Friday shopping? If so, what is your most sought after item(s). Have a past Black Friday story (nightmare)? Please share!

SIS Beth

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Counting our blessings. Family, friends, good health... So much to be grateful for including our cyber-friends here at SIS. Thank you for making us smile... and think. Wishing you a joyous Thanksgiving!

And now for a special treat. A rare commercial from the Macy Day Parade (2001) starring Billy Cystal and Robert DeNiro! *cluck-cluck* Oops. Make that GOBBLE!

SIS Beth, Brenda, Barb/Elle, BJ (Aleena), and Brandy

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Identity Crisis

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The perfect read for me is when I get so wrapped up in a book that it almost seems real. All day long, no matter what I am doing, the plot of the book is always playing in my mind. It’s as if I am the lead character and I’m going over everything that has happened to me so far in the book and wondering what lies ahead.

I love to imagine the towns that are described. The houses, the cars, the stores, the people, all come alive in my head and it’s as if I am there and what is happening is happening to me.

Sometimes, the book is so good, that when it ends, I find myself a little sad. It’s like being on a great vacation that ends. The only hope is that it’s a series book and I can simply go to the book store, pick up the next book in the series and get back to my pretend life. The worst is when you have to wait for that next book to be written and published.

I don’t always slip into the mind of the lead character. Sometimes I even find myself in the head of “the bad guy”. And it doesn’t happen with every book. I guess maybe some characters grab me more than others. Maybe that’s a testament to the author and how well they depict their characters. Or maybe it’s just that I identify more with certain characters than others. Which is a scary thought since I just admitted that sometimes it’s “the bad guy” that gets into my head.

I’ve not been able to do much reading lately…pretty much none. But I am in great need of an escape and am looking forward to my next read and hoping that the characters will draw me in and carry me off to another life for a short while. Don’t get me wrong…I love my life. It’s just fun to let my mind wander into another one for a short while.

So here’s my question…you knew it was coming…

Which characters have you identified with? If you could be a character from any book, who would it be? Go ahead, pick a few!

SIS Bren

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


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There are many feelings that can cause butterflies to creep up in my belly. There's the flip-flopping nervous kind, the burning scared kind, and the tickling anxious ones too. The ones I absolutley crave are the fluttering lovey ones.

I have been very blessed with lots of that kind of butterflies over the last few years. It amazes me everytime that feeling goes through me. How is it that someone can have such an effect on another person?

It's the littlest things that cause those butterflies to take flight. It could be a wink from across the room. Or an "I love you" whispered in my ear. Just reading a text from him sometimes does the trick too.

I get that fluttering feeling the most when he kisses my hand. I know it may seem like a very small gesture. To me, it speaks volumes.

Sorry! I'm done with the mushy crap!!

What gives you butterflies?
SIS Brandy

Monday, November 23, 2009


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What do you do when you come to a scene in your WIP where you have absolutely no personal experience to draw from? That's exactly what is happening to me right now. I'm working on a fight scene. Not a verbal fight--that I could handle--I've been in quite a few of those. And not a battle of sarcasm either--I think I could definitely hold my own in that confrontation.

Nope. This one is a knock down, drag out physical brawl. Oh! And there's just a tad of magic and supernatural powers thrown into the mix. I guess I should be proud of the fact that I've never been in a fist fight, but right now I'm wishing I had at least socked somebody once or twice. LOL
I want to know how it feels to get my nose broken or how my knuckles would throb after knocking someone on their arse. I know, I'm being a little dramatic. I wouldn't really want to know what it feels like but I'd sure like to know how to write it.

I'll muddle through it and I'm sure I'll have to do some research in the form of reading fight scenes seeing as I don't actually want to pick a fight with anyone. But if anyone knows of another way I can improve in this aspect of my writing, I'm all for it!

Today I'm taking any and all hints and suggestions about fight scenes. Let's hear it people. Tell me your personal experiences or just your personal thoughts. I'm all ears!

SIS Barb aka Elle J Rossi

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Pop Culture -- SIS Style

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Welcome to Café Chaos. Grab a cup of coffee or tea (we prefer coffee) and join us for a chat. Every Saturday we celebrate Pop Culture. Movies, TV, books, music, games, trends in style... you get picture. Feel free to comment on our picks or to throw in a few of your own. We’re listening!

SIS BJ says...
Magic, sorcery, swordfighting, friendship, laughter, and love is everything I like in a movie. In the movie WILLOW, it has all of this and more.

From the back cover:

When young Willow Ufgood (Warwick Davis) finds an abandoned baby, he is suddenly thrust into an adventure filled with magic and danger. According to an ancient prophecy, the sacred child is destined to end the reign of the evil sorceress Queen Bavmorda (Jean Marsh). Now, with only a single swordsman (Val Kilmer) at his side, Willow must overcome the forces of darkness that threaten to destroy anyone who stands in the Queen's way!

Even though this movie was made in 1988, it is one of my all time favorites. The book is even better.

My MOVIE Pick of the Week: WILLOW

SIS Barb says:
Lately I've taken the time to watch a couple of movies. All I can say is thank goodness for ON DEMAND. It allows me the freedom to watch whenever I can spare the time. Two weeks ago I watched a movie with breathtaking scenery and a moving story. Another movie that didn't end the way I would have liked but instead ended as it should. Edward Norton and Naomi Watts played their roles perfectly.

from imdb: The Painted Veil is a love story set in the 1920s that tells the story of a young English couple, Walter, a middle class doctor and Kitty, an upper-class woman, who get married for the wrong reasons and relocate to Shanghai, where she falls in love with someone else. When he uncovers her infidelity, in an act of vengeance, he accepts a job in a remote village in China ravaged by a deadly epidemic, and takes her along. Their journey brings meaning to their relationship and gives them purpose in one of the most remote and beautiful places on earth.

My Pick of the Week: The Painted Veil (2006)

Friday, November 20, 2009

It's Me Again

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Yep, it's me again. I know, I know. You just heard from me on Monday but here's the thing. Beth had a wonderful guest blogger lined up for today but unfortunately she was not able to visit with us. We hope she will be able to in the very near future. Then Beth had to go out of town and me being the kind and generous person that I am offered to help out. Or it could just be that I have a lot to say and will take any chance I get to voice my opinions and share my tales. Yeah, you're probably right. I'm sure it's the latter. I just realized that I'll be here again tomorrow sharing my recommendation for the week AND I'll be back on Monday with my regularly scheduled post. You are so lucky, you just have no idea. Hey! What's that? Are those gagging sounds I hear?

Anyway, even though there is HUGE and I mean HUGE news in the writing/publishing world right now, I've decided not to blog about it here. Two reasons: 1) Every other blog in the writing world is discussing it and my head hurts from reading the thousands of comments. 2) While I have strong opinions on the subject, I do not consider myself an expert, nor do I have any experience (yet) with the publishing side of things, so I'd rather error on the side of caution and let others handle this.

I guess I blogged about it a little. Sorry about that. And if you stop over at my solo blog Loud Whispers...sorry about that too.

On to other, more pleasant things. I have my local chapter of RWA meeting tomorrow and I'll have the pleasure of meeting Leanna Renee Hieber. She'll be presenting her workshop, "Direct Your Book: Theatrical Techniques For Writing A Blockbuster Novel." I think this will be a really great workshop and I'm very excited that I have the chance to attend. Maybe, if you're nice, I'll share a smidgen of what I learn!

Tonight, Drama and I will be making cupcakes with some friends and while I'm not the baker type at all, I'm really looking forward to this. Could it have something to do with the promise of Champagne cocktails? Maybe just a little. My friend is a phenomenal baker and she happens to own the Hello Cupcake! book. If you haven't seen it please take a look. These designs are incredible and seem impossible but my girl breaks them down so even I can make them look edible. If you have the book, check out the snowmen. That's what I'll be attempting tonight.

So that's me. So glad I stole Beth's day so I could jabber more. Anything HUGE going on with you? Any interesting plans for the weekend? And just because I didn't really blog about it does not by any means mean that I wouldn't love to hear your opinions on the HUGE news in the writing/publishing world.

SIS Barb aka Elle J Rossi

Thursday, November 19, 2009


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Every year in November my small town holds a Downtown Christmas festival. And every year my girls and I go on a Mommy / Daughters date. We don't care how cold it is or if it's raining or snowing. We always have fun no matter the weather.

We start out the night by watching the small parade, eagerly awaiting for Santa to make his entrance. I love watching the excitement in my childrens faces. I'm sure they see the same in mine.

After the parade we walk around town listening to Christmas Carolers and going into all the stores to what fasinating things we can find. Of course we love when those stores have cookies and cider. Who wouldn't like a free treat?

As we are walking around the stores, my girls look for their yearly Christmas ornament. Every year I buy them a new ornament so when they grow up and have their own Christmas Tree they have a good start on the decorations for it. I put their name and year they got it on the back.

When we put up our Christmas Tree we have fun talking about the times we got them. My hope is that they will do the same with their children.

We love the memories that this yearly tradition brings us. I can't wait to add this years memories to them!

My question to you is: Do you have any traditions that you cherish?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Dog's Life

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I’ve often thought, “If I could do it all again” followed by all of the things I would have done differently in my life. A lot of things I would have kept the same…but some things would definitely have to change. But I guess our past is what makes us what we are today.

If I had taken a different path in life, then there’s a good chance that I wouldn’t have my two amazing children. There’s a chance I wouldn’t have met and married my wonderful husband. I probably wouldn’t be sitting here typing my random thoughts for all our great friends at SIS to read.

So while there are things that I wish I could go back and not necessarily change, but do much better, I would keep my life pretty much the same. I’m grateful for the years I spent as a singer/entertainer. It afforded me many experiences I would probably never have enjoyed if I hadn’t followed that path. Plus, it gives me plenty to draw from when I am writing characters into a scene.

But what if my life was not my life? What if you could go so far back that you could choose what you want to be? And by what I mean which species. What if you could choose to be absolutely anything?

This is Moose. Moose has a good life. He wakes up every morning at whatever time he pleases. He then wakes me, whether I am ready to get up or not. He goes outside and runs around sniffing for a while, does his business, finds a stick, and then comes back to the door where he jumps up on the glass to let me know to get my butt over there and open the door.

He comes inside and his food and drink are waiting for him. He doesn’t have to shop for it or prepare it. He just gets to eat it and enjoy it. Then Moose comes over and licks me for a while, which then turns into chewing because he’s still a puppy and I guess now he’s decided it’s play time.

This is Dizzy, my very loyal companion for 7 years now. Tomorrow is his birthday. Poor Dizzy. He has become Moose’s chew toy. He used to have this big, white, long, fluffy tail. See, Moose likes to pretend he’s a baby elephant. He likes to grab on to Dizzy’s tail as they run laps around the table. I don’t think Dizzy likes this too much.

So Moose has it good. He plays hard for a while and then lays down and has a nap. Nobody bothers him while he naps. No one asks him for anything. He just sleeps until he’s ready to get up. Then he goes outside again, and he plays some more, oh and he goes for walks. He gets to go for car rides where he hangs his head out the window enjoying the wind in his face. He gets much love and attention, and of course he gets treats!

Maybe I would choose to be Moose if I could do it all over again. I know he can’t do things like drive a car or write a book or take pictures, but all in all, he’s got it pretty good. He gets plenty of nourishment, shelter and tons of affection. Mind you, I don’t want to be just any dog. Today, my choice would be Moose. Ask me again tomorrow and I’ll probably have a completely different answer.

So tell me, who or what would you like to be and why? Remember, you can be anyone. Any species…

SIS Bren

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The to do list

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I came up with a grand idea last week to start the game "Where in the World is SIS Brandy." I love the idea and I really want to do it! There's only one problem... I am not prepared for this week. This weekend was so hectic, and I was unable to research.

The problem with me is that whenever I decide on something that I want to do, I never find time to do it. I always blame it on my crazy busy life. It is sort of getting old. Surely there is some way for me to fit in these extra things that I really want to do!!!

So, I guess I am just gonna let you know the answer to this week's game. I am in Waterbury, CT. It is beautiful and so far I am actually enjoying it. The people that I am working with this week have been very cordial and inviting.

I won't be traveling next week, but the week after I promise the game is on!!

What is on your "to do" that you are having problems getting to?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Tick Tock Tick Tock

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First off, I'd like to thank everyone for the wonderful birthday wishes yesterday. It was a great day spent with a lot of family.

Brenda and I recently challenged each other to turn in 10 chapters of our current WIP by Thanksgiving. Or was it the end of November? I'll need to clarify that. Anyway, I'm not nearly as far along as I need or would like to be but I am making headway. Today I must bust out at least 1 chapter and that's not easy for me. But it's my day off and between getting the kids ready for school and cleaning the house because a bug/mouse inspector/killer is coming tomorrow to take a look around and see how the mice are getting in. We can't see them but we can hear them in the walls and it's driving me crazy!

Where was I? Ah, yes. The challenge. I know this is just a friendly competition between 2 sisters who happen to be writers but nonetheless I feel the deadline looming and I want to prove to Bren as well as myself that I can do this. I think this is a good story, I just need to get it on paper, so to speak.

Today I'll either be working on a fight scene or a training for a fight scene. Both will be difficult for me. I need to get the moves down and put them into words so the readers can visualize. I need them to feel the tension. A writing friend told me that it's almost as if you need a professional choreographer. This is so true. But today I will be the choreographer so cross your fingers that I can make this happen in a fantastical but believable way.

How about you? What deadlines are looming in your world?

SIS Barb aka Elle J Rossi

Sunday, November 15, 2009


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We'd like to wish our sister, Barb aka Elle (ain't she purty?) the happiest birthday ever!! Have a super, fantabulous day! We love you!!!
Now everybody sing. On the count of three. 1 ... 2... 3!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Pop Culture--SIS Style

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Welcome to Café Chaos. Grab a cup of coffee or tea (we prefer coffee) and join us for a chat. Every Saturday we celebrate Pop Culture. Movies, TV, books, music, games, trends in style... you get picture. Feel free to comment on our picks or to throw in a few of your own. We’re listening!

SIS Beth says...

Pop culture includes games, right? As I cram on deadline (hard, hard work), I reflect on a night devoted solely to fun. A night this past summer with my sister BJ, and her young daughters. On a whim, I asked BJ to drop by a department store. I wanted to see if they had a card game I remembered from my youth. UNO. They did! Can I tell you it was the best few dollars I've spent in a long while? It's a card game for all ages! Even BJ's youngest got the gist (How old is Monster?). Soon after the first round, BJ's husband (thirties) joined in. As well as our niece and nephew--late teens/early twenties. I'm in my late forties. We ALL had a blast!! Good old fashioned fun. Highly recommended.

My GAME pick of the week: UNO

SIS BJ says...

A single word can be a world and every letter a land.

A rune drawn upon the ground can have curious consequences, might invite adventure, may open ancient doors. Here are the Runes of Elfland. Here are songs of the shining lands. Here are signs of crossing and threshold. Here are the stories of fate and illumination.

Chant the charm, tell the tale, and step across...

So it says in the introduction of The Runes of Elfland by artist Brian Froud and story teller Ari Berk.

In this book, there are 24 runes with 24 stories. Each story has a gift to give. Each story is shrouded in mystery. Travel to the Land of Faery with beautiful artwork and poetic words.

This book is great for people of all ages. Sit back, read, and get ready to be taken to different lands of ancient memories.

My BOOK Pick of the Week: The Runes of Elfland
Artist: Brian Froud
Written by: Ari Berk
SIS Bren says...
The other night I had quite a rare treat. We watched not one, but two, of my favorite movies back to back. I've seen them before, but I sat, riveted, as if it were my first viewing. One, I'm sure I've recommended before...the other, most have probably already seen. But I'd like to mention them again.
My MOVIE Pick of the Week: The Count of Monte Cristo and Braveheart
If you want an action-packed evening, these two make a great double feature. Lost loves, betrayal, revenge...they cover it all. I am always amazed by the battle scenes in Braveheart. If you've seen them before, now would be a good time to re-visit!
SIS Barb and Brandy say...
Yeah. What those three said!! Have a great weekend.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Olympic Fever --Guest Blogger, Taylor Van Nest

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Pre-note from Taylor... "I just wanted to say thank you once again to Beth and all her sisters for letting me blog again and welcoming me so warmly to the team. And thank you to everyone who responded last week, I look forward to many more this week!!"

About a week or so ago I woke up to the great news on TV that in 100 days we will be welcoming the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. I'm just going to come out and say it: I absolutely love anything and everything about the Olympics. Beth can attest to this: for the 2 week period that the 2008 Beijing summer games was on in August I was practically useless at work. If I wasn't watching the Olympics at home I didn't want to do anything else. So if you read my blog from last Friday, you know just how much I enjoy anticipating events!

So come February 12th, 2010 I will plan to neglect all my studies, ignore all outside social life, and more than likely drive myself hungry if I forget to replenish myself. Ok so maybe I won't be that critical, but I get close to it. I'm one of the rare people who prefer the Winter Games over the Summer Games, but I think that's because I just love snow. There's just something about the whole event; the spectacle of it all is mesmerizing. It's not just about the games themselves (I'll get to that in a minute) but the unity of the world getting together. I always love the message of peace, but the celebration of culture and location is always something to admire too. The Olympics go above and beyond to mix sporting with culture, to insert themselves into the history and art of a region.

Take Vancouver's location for example - On it's website, the Olympics proclaim a whole art exhibition related directly to the Olympic event: "From January 22 to March 21, the best artists from Canada and around the world will play in our own backyard. Genre-bending theatre; stunning virtuoso dance; fierce, fresh music; breathtaking visual and digital art extravaganzas — Cultural Olympiad 2010, presented by Bell, will bring it all to Metro Vancouver and the Sea to Sky corridor."

Sounds pretty awesome, huh? But then again, it can't beat some of the adrenaline, crowd-cheering excitement of an Olympic sport game. I love the ski and skating events of course, but I also heavily enjoy the lesser acknowledged games. I love the events such as biathlon, cross-country, and my favorite, curling. Yep, believe it or not a curling event is very exciting. It requires a great amount of skill, timing, and luck. It's not always about how fast someone can be but how well they can play the game. It is also as unique, challenging, and exciting as a skier going 80 mph down a slope!

So like I said, come February 12th don't bother calling me - I won't pick up the phone! The previous winter games, in the majestic Torino, Italy, cannot be matched. But hopefully Vancouver will surprise me in new ways. The theme of this year's games is "With Glowing Hearts". I know that mine is already warming up with anticipation!!So now I turn to you: are you looking forward to the Olympic games? If so, what sport do you look most forward to? And while we're at it, do you have a favorite past Olympic games (Nagano 1998? Salt Lake City 2002?)? Let me know and come join in the anticipation with me!

Here are some Olympic-related links in case you want to explore more!:


Thursday, November 12, 2009


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I'm used to losing my keys and sun glasses,but lately odd things have come up missing.

First it was all of my spoons. One by one they went away. I don't know where they could have gone. Where ever it is, my steak knives followed. Now I am waiting to see if my forks decide to run away also. Maybe there is a land where all the silverware go when they don't like you anymore. I could just see them laying around in the sun someplace beautiful instead of being at my house doing what they were made to do. Maybe someday they will come back to me. I'm not holding my breath. I fear they are gone for good.

Now my Birth Certificate is missing. It should be with the others. I guess it didn't like me either. It must want people to think I wasn't born. That's not fair. I need my Birth Certificate. Now I have to apply for another one and that's a pain in the butt. I wish it would come back to me. I promise I will be nice if it does. I'm not holding my breath. I fear it's gone for good.

Someday, when I no longer need these things,they will come back from their mystical lands. They will tell me they are sorry for running away. I'm not sure if I will forgive them. Probably I will.

Have you had anything odd come up missing? If so, where do you think they went?

If your see my things,please ask them to come home.
SIS BJ aka Aleena Ravenwood

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Under Pressure

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 18

Brandy’s post reminded me how much I enjoy playing games. Not that I need to be reminded. We play games almost on a daily basis around here. I can’t stand for my brain to be idle and I enjoy anything that gets the wheels turning.

I love board games, card games, trivia games, there was a time when I even loved video games. Well I loved them if they involved Mario. We watch Cash Cab, Smarter Than A Fifth Grader, even Don’t Forget the Lyrics. But my favorite games are word games. I love to watch Wheel of Fortune and am often told that I should go on that show and win some money. I always wonder if I would choke. Could I handle the pressure?

Some years ago, I was watching Wheel of Fortune. This woman had ruled the wheel and methodically called out letters until Vanna had flipped the last tile and every single letter in the puzzle had been revealed to spell out “General Motors Corporation”. Now all she had to do was read the answer. She carefully and confidently read the words aloud…”General…Motors…Cooperation”.

WHAT?!?! Cooperation? What was she thinking? She basically just handed her opponent, a complete stranger, something like $12,000 (I’m not sure about the exact amount, but that’s not really the point). She choked. Big time. Was the pressure too much for her?

I think I deal with pressure pretty well. Maybe that’s why I procrastinate. I seem to work more efficiently when I absolutely have to get something done. If I have a day to clean the house, it takes that entire day, plus I don’t even get everything finished. But if I know guests are coming for dinner, I fly through this house and get it done.

I’m hoping to apply the same technique to writing. I’m not a published writer, yet, so I don’t have deadlines to meet. Well, not deadlines from a publishing company, or an editor…only the deadlines I have given myself. Oh yeah, and then there’s the pact I made with Barb that we would each hand over 10 chapters by the end of November. I wonder how far along she is. I’m doing great. I’ve almost finished um…Chapter 1.

But I’m not concerned. The pressure’s on, and that’s when I do my best work, right? That’s what I said anyway. What about you? How do you fare under pressure? Do your creative juices freeze when you’re under pressure and absolutely have to get it done? Or does that added pressure light a fire under your butt and get your mind reeling and your fingers flying?

A Wonderful Wednesday to you all and a heart felt “Thank You” to all you Veterans out there on this Veteran’s Day!

SIS Bren