Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
SIS Bren says...
I was in the grocery store the other day and heard a song that I hadn't heard in quite a while. It was an old song and it took me right back to the days of my youth. I love when songs do that!
My pick of the week: Ambrosia
I guess I would describe this 70's band as easy-listening or light jazz, I'm not really sure,but I love them. Their songs have great melodies and harmonies and are great to listen to when you just want to wind down and relax.
Favorite songs: Biggest Part of Me, How Much I Feel, Apothecary
SIS Beth says…
Every once in awhile I discover a new vocalist who floors me. I remember when I first heard this woman sing. I even had the pleasure of seeing her perform live before she was a star. I was moved by her voice and her music. She’s been around awhile now and she isn’t popular as I think she deserves to be, but I hope she’ll hang in there. I, for, one, am a huge fan.
My pick of the week: Norah Jones
Although she has recorded four albums—her newest, The Fall, coming in November—her debut album is still my favorite. I’m not sure how to describe the music—a unique blend of jazz, folk, and R&B?—but every song touched me. As a vocalist, I especially wanted to perform Don’t Know Why . . . and I did. Still one of the songs I most enjoyed singing. A far cry from Joplin's Piece of My Heart, (another fave) but no less moving.
Recommended Album: Come Away With Me
Favorite Songs: Don't Know Why, Cold Cold Heart, Feeling the Same Way
Monday, September 28, 2009
Saturday, September 26, 2009
I’ve probably mentioned a time or twenty that I rarely watch TV anymore. In order to maintain my writing schedule other things had to go, and TV was one of them. However every now and then something my husband is watching catches my attention and, once in a great while, I get sucked in. Usually by a sitcom. As we’ve discussed before there are few well written sitcoms these days. When you find one, it’s like finding gold.
My Pick of the Week: Scrubs
The nutshell overall plot as described by IMDB: In the unreal world of Sacred Heart Hospital, intern John "J.D" Dorian learns the ways of medicine, friendship and life.
JD is played by actor/writer Zach Braff, who I think is pretty darn brilliant. Not just in Scrubs, but in all of his endeavors. This particular show is a comedy/drama and stars an ensemble cast of extremely talented actors. In a way, it has the same dynamics as my all-time favorite sitcom M*A*S*H. The writing is clever and quirky. Each episode manages to make me laugh, tear-up, and think. I’ve watched this series on and off since 2001 and it has never faltered. A true gem.
Friday, September 25, 2009
That said, the additional project I took on this week is finished and turned in. The editor was pleased and I'm thrilled. The assignment--an article--was a bit of a challenge. In the midst of that challenge, Barb emailed me: You can do it!
I'd had a similar situation the day before. We were in Yellowstone National Park in the Little Grand Canyon. if you wanted to see the impressive waterfall up close you had to climb down (and back up) 500 steps. I not only faced the physical challenge (most everyone we passed was wheezing!), I faced my fear of heights. No way was I going to miss out. I sucked it up and did it. I was darn proud. I can't imagine missing that moment, earning that memory.
See it, Be it.
As my plane circled over Philadelphia on that plane ride home from Wyoming, I looked down on the city, the region, and thought, "I don't belong here." As enchanting as I found Wyoming, I don't belong there either. My heart is in England, a country my husband and I have visited many times. When I got home I asked him if we could seriously discuss moving there. It's something we both badly want.
"It wouldn't be easy," he said.
"But we could do it."
We will do it.
See it, Be it.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
My Pick of the Week: Second Sight
Set in the late reign of Queen Victoria, this book is a double joy for me. Not only does it meet my time period desire, there’s a paranormal angle. Bonus! Oh, and it the first in the Arcane Society series. You know how I love a series. I’ve only just started the read, but so far it’s a delight. Here’s blurb…
There is nothing like having a dead husband return from the grave to ruin a fine spring morning…. In financial straits and on a sure path to spinsterhood, Venetia Milton is a Victorian-era photographer who possesses the uncanny ability to see other peoples’ auras. When she is hired to photograph the strange artifacts in the private collection of the Arcane Society she seizes on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to engineer her own ravishment. Her new employer -- Gabriel Jones – is just as mysterious as the relics in the Society’s museum. Not only does he have the eyes of a sorcerer, he is endowed with some unique psychic talents.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Barb's post on Monday reminded me of something I've been wanting to throw out there for a while now. I agree that something seems to be getting lost as our world makes leaps and bounds in technology. What used to be exciting is now boring. It seems as though every thing from music videos, to television, to club dancing has gone to the extreme. When will it be enough?
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
SIS Barb says...
I was so excited about yesterday's topic, I almost forgot to post for today! But here I am and I've decided to pick a group this week. A group that I believe is on their last tour together. Their chemistry on stage is fantastic. They both look so alive and so happy to be doing what they're doing and their talent...incredible.
My Pick of the Week: Sugarland
Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush make a great combination. I could be starting rumors here but I believe Kristian will be leaving the group to spend time with his family. He will be sorely missed but I have no doubt Jennifer will be a huge success on her own.
Favorite Songs: Sugarland, Something More, Already Gone
SIS Bren says...
Some artists just have that sort of voice that is unmistakable. You hear it, and you know exactly who it is. Those are the sort of singers that I truly appreciate. They have their own unique sound that sets them apart from all the other humdrum artists you hear on the airwaves every day.
My Pick of the Week: Anita Baker
Her voice is like velvet, her songs are truly romantic. Sometimes it's hard to believe that that voice can come out of such a small lady. I love every song that I've ever heard from her!
Favorite songs: Sweet Love, Rapture, Perfect Love Affair
SIS Beth says…
I'm a sucker for movie soundtracks. Love them.
My pick of the week: Practical Magic
This soundtrack is an enigmatic collection of songs by artists such as Harry Nilsson, Elvis Presely, Stevie Nicks, Joni Mitchell,and Marvin Gaye... too name a few. A steller line up for an awesome movie.
My Favorite Song: Coconuts by Harry Nilsson
*Runner up: Practical Magic by Alan Silvestri--magical!
Monday, September 21, 2009
Saturday, September 19, 2009
This movie stars Eric Bana (one of my faves), Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman.
I'm a tad behind in my movie or a TV viewing. I could recommend a beloved favorite, an oldie from the past. But instead, I think I’ll go for something so new, it’s not even out yet! Not a recommendation, but a want-to-see.
My Pick of the Week: Love Happens (2009)
Here’s a short summery from Yahoo Movie: When a self-help author arrives in Seattle to teach a sold-out seminar, he unexpectedly meets the one person who might finally be able to help him help himself.
Yes, it sounds sappy, but when done right, I love sappy. It stars Jennifer Aniston, who I sometimes love. And Aaron Eckhart, who I always love. Since it’s not classified as a romantic comedy (which everyone seems to mangle these days), but a Comedy, Drama, and Romance… maybe they’ll get it right.
Friday, September 18, 2009
My first solo post since my return from my writer's retreat/sister adventure... and I'm going to crap out.
#1 I know exactly what I want to write about, something I realized this past week, but I want to include pictures and...
#2 My laptop is down. I'm writing this on my netbook and I can't access the awesome CDs Barb burned for me. Not to mention...
#3 I'm crunched for time. Between work, catching up on writing business, working on an article for Romantic Times Magazine and bearing down on the deadline book... Big time crunched.
Tune in next Friday for the post I'd intended to share today. Inspiring and motivating, I hope. For now, I'm going to share at least one picture that I was able to download from the trip via an email from Barb.
Yellowstone National Park. Little Grand Canyon--Lower Falls.
Question of the day: Have you ever taken a trip (even a day trip) and experienced some kind of epiphany? If so what and where were you?
Thursday, September 17, 2009
SIS Barb says: I recently picked up a book that I knew was mid series. I'd heard wonderful things about the author and the book was cut to such an incredible price, I just had to get it.
SIS Beth says...
Are you sick of me recommending the books in the Sookie Stackhouse series? You are. Go ahead. Say it. But I can't help it! I'm hooked!
This week's pick: Club Dead
Just when I thought things couldn't heat up for Sookie (sexually) or get more paranormally (is that a word?)--they do. Now a sexy werewolf is in the mix. I can't believe I just typed 'sexy' and 'werewolf' in the same sentence. Jeesh. I'm only half way through this book (the third in the series) and I can't wait to see how the plot thickens and shakes out. All I can say is... I want to be Sookie.
Author: Charlaine Harris
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
As you can tell by my book recommendation I like Celtic mythology. When searching for a new C.D. recently I found one that was inspired by the Celtic goddesses of ancient myth.
Legends of the Goddess by Laura Powers is magical and enchanting. Laura has a beautiful voice that moves you. My favorites on the album are Morrighan's Quest and My Avalon.
My pick of the week: Legends of the Goddess
Artist: Laura Powers
Monday, September 14, 2009
Saturday, September 12, 2009
The name of the show is Eastwick; premiering September 23 on ABC. I'm not sure how they are going to make a series based on a book and movie stay interesting for very long. I will keep my fingers crossed that I like this show as well as I did the movie.
My pick of the week: Eastwick
Friday, September 11, 2009
The sea is full of fish;
The trees are full of golden leaves;
Let's make an Autumn wish.
The Woodland Elves are singing
The glorious song of change.
They bring about the Autumn winds
And the turning of the leaves.
Fall is my favorite season. I love it when the air cools and the leaves start changing colors. Nature paints Hers trees with the colors of russets, golds, dark reds and nut browns. It is a beautiful work of art. Autumn is also a time of abundance. Farmers markets are full of wonderful fruits and vegetables as the harvest season draws to a close.
My Autumn wish? Abundance! Not of money (though that would be nice). But of good health, fun, laughter and good times with family.
" Not what we have but what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance." Epicurus
" Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into." Wayne Dyer
What are your Autumn Wishes?
Thursday, September 10, 2009
SIS Brandy says...
So, I have a big confession... I never read!! How horrible is that? I am subbing on a blog that focuses a lot on books, and I don't read! When I was younger, I read all the time. Somewhere along the way, I let my life get too busy and hectic to sit down with a good book. That being said, I was surprisingly able to come up with a book recommendation.
My Pick of the Week: The Secret
"You hold in your hands a great secret... As you learn The Secret, you will come to know how you can have, be, or do anything you want. You will come to know who you really are. You will come to know the true magnificence that awaits you in life." - from the introduction.
Um, I have another confession. I didn't even read this book! Omar would read it to me before bed. We now go back and refresh a little if things are tough or if we are in need of an attitude adjustment.The Secret is about the law of attraction. It teaches us that positive thoughts attract positive reactions. We must focus on what we want, not what we don't want.
Author: Rhonda Byrne
"Whether you think you can or think you can't, either way you are right." - Henry Ford
SIS B.J. says...
In the Arthurian legends, many think the women in the tales are evil enchantresses, scheming seductresses and shameful adulteresses. But in the book Ladies of the Lake by Caitlin and John Matthews nine women from the Arthurian mythos are examined to see who they truly are. Strong , courageous, and loving women who help and challenge their men.
These nine women are: Ingraine, Morgan and Guinevere; The Kindred of Arthur.
Argante, Nimue and Enid; The Sovereign Sisterhood.
Kundry, Dindraine and Ragnell; The Grail Maidens.
My pick of the week: Ladies of the Lake
Authors: Caitlin and John Matthews
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Where I used to dream of the huge estate I would own with 7 bedrooms and as many bathrooms and the finest furnishings I could acquire, I now know that I would be happy with a three bedroom house and the furniture that I own now.
Okay, I guess that's my top five for now. I just realize that I left out buying our dream boat. I could make that number 6. I plan on winning the lottery tonight, so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Please feel free to share your top 5!
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
I love vocal harmonies. Simple or complex. As long as their tight and blend. In fact, as much as I enjoy singing lead, I get a bigger kick out of singing with multiple vocalists. The biggest kick of all is singing with my sisters. There’s something about the way family voices blend. Unfortunately, I haven’t had as many opportunities to sing with my sisters as I’d like. I have, however, had the pleasure of singing with some extremely talented vocalist here in Atlantic City. At one time I put together a country group, inspired by the Dixie Chicks. We called ourselves the Chili Chicks and we performed together for three years. There were moments when the harmonies sounded so beautiful, they gave me chills. I don’t miss a lot about performing, but I do miss special moments like those. Feeling nostalgic this evening.
My pick of the week: Dixie Chicks
I love their music. Love their voices. And love, love, love their harmonies. Since the Chili Chicks was a cover band and not a tribute band, we performed hits from a variety of artists. We did, however, cover a lot of Dixie Chicks. It was darn hard to narrow it down when I loved nearly every song they recorded.
Recommended Album: Fly
My Favorite Song to Sing: Goodbye Earl
Monday, September 7, 2009
Who am I?
I’m a laborer. I’m a full time mom and a full time wife. I work a full time job. I’m a full time housekeeper, a full time chef, a full time accountant, a full time chauffer, a full time dry cleaner, a full time grocery shopper, a full time handy man and a full time teacher. Am I forgetting something? Probably. You’ll have to excuse me; I’ve been rather busy.
But do all these things define me?
Who am I?
At the end of the day, when all is quiet, the house is settled and the last thing on the list has been marked off, the person inside me has become a stranger, someone I no longer know. I’m not sure if she’s lost or just…gone. But I do know that I must search for her. Search within the chaos and the buzz of everyday life. Search within the heart and the soul. Search for me—the real me.
I think it’s so easy to lose sight of one’s self. We so often put others wants and needs in front of ours that we don’t even remember what our wants, needs, likes and dislikes are. We become eager to please just to keep the harmony, because when the day is unharmonious, when someone puts a hitch in the giddy-up, the whole day starts to go downhill. Then we all know what happens next…the snowball effect that eventually leads to the avalanche. Then it can take weeks and sometimes months to dig yourself out.
So there you are asking yourself, yet again, who am I and what am I doing? When’s the last time you spent a whole day—scratch that—a whole hour doing what you want to do, something just for you? How do you find yourself when the whole world has taken so much of you that there’s nothing left, at least nothing that you can sense.
Remember the old, old commercial… “Calgon! Take me away!” I totally get it.
I wouldn't trade my children for anything in the world, they are my heart and my soul. But I do think that there has to be a happy medium in there, somewhere between mom and goddess.
I’m on a mission now. I’m off to find myself. If anyone can point me in the right direction, I’d greatly appreciate it. No worries, I'm not sad, just determined!
Happy Labor Day to all!
SIS Barb aka Elle J Rossi
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Two of my favorite things. 1) People falling in love 2) Laughter
No surprise that one of my favorite genres of film is Romantic Comedy. The thing is, really great, well-written, well-acted, clever romantic comedies are hard to come by these days. Some of the best romantic comedies came out of the 1930s and 40s. Films starring Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn, Myrna Loy, William Powell, Jean Harlow . . . I could go on. There were some gems from later decades as well, but lately . . . I always have the highest hopes for a new romantic comedy, but usually I’m disappointed. Sometimes though, sometimes I come across a romantic comedy that so woos and amuses me, I find myself watching it again and again. This week I have two picks and, so weird, I just learned they were released in the same year!
My Pick(s) of the Week: French Kiss (1995) and While You Were Sleeping (1995)
French Kiss stars Kevin Kline and Meg Ryan. It’s hilarious, yet there were several moments that tugged at my heart strings. I felt Kline’s character falling in love with Ryan. Clever writing, wonderful acting and fabulous chemistry. Pure magic.
While You Were Sleeping stars Sandra Bullock and Bill Pullman. I adore this movie. Though there are several light-hearted moments, it’s more sweet than laugh-out-loud funny. Fantastic characterization. Wonderful acting and chemistry and top-notch writing.
All I can say is, I aspire to write romantic comedies like these.
Friday, September 4, 2009
Now let's apply that train of thought to my profession.
There used to be a time when writers wrote. Period. They poured their time and energy into writing the best story they could and the publisher took it from there. These days a publisher not only wants a great story, a publisher wants to know what you, yes, you—the creative artist—is going to do to market your book.
For now, let’s bypass the time and money spent on conventional promo avenues (bookmarks, print ads, mailing lists, etc.) and focus on the Internet. Don’t quote me, but I’m pretty sure it’s expected that you participate in social networking—the more the better. MySpace, Facebook and Twitter are the big ones. Then there’s Good Reads, Library Thing, Red Room, Amazon Connect … Oh, and blogs. Not only should you have your own, but you should comment on others. Maybe your publisher also has a special place on their website where you can interact with readers.
All in all, that’s a lot of interacting. That’s a boat load of time mingling when you could/should be writing. For awhile I tried to do it all. I wanted to please my publisher. Even more so, I wanted to sell as many of my books as possible. Not because I wanted to make a lot of money (although that would be nice), but because I wanted to cultivate a lot of readers. Spreading joy brings me joy. The more, the better.
Unfortunately, I’m not one of those people who can ‘do it all’ for long periods of time. I started sweating deadlines. Big time. There were others factors, such as the day job, and family obligations/needs. There simply wasn’t/isn’t enough time in the day. But that excuse doesn’t fly far. Bottom line: Missing deadlines is bad.
Something had to go.
The day job is financially necessary. Family is vital. Spinning stories is my passion. That left ‘social networking’. I cut back a little. Then a lot. Whether or not this was wise in the career scheme of things is unclear. I think there are authors who benefit greatly and see a lift in sales because they are incredibly active in the social media circles. Then again, there are authors who seem to be enjoying moderate to great success who I never see participating in any of these Internet venues.
Truth told, aside from a time issue, I’m just not that inspired to blog everyday or to Tweet every five minutes. I’m not all that interesting folks. Also, I’m not comfortable blurting everything and everything that crosses my mind. I don’t want readers to buy and read my books based on ‘me and my life’. I want readers to escape real life and to enjoy the tales that bloomed from my imagination.
A few months ago, when I tried to convince a friend/author to join Twitter, he said to me, “But don’t you ever feel like you’re giving too much of yourself?”
It took me a month or so to comprehend the full meaning of that question. “Don’t you feel too exposed?” Today, my answer would be yes. I don’t want ‘the world’ (and folks, once you put it on the Internet, it is world-wide fodder) to know my every thought. Some things are private. Some things are for my husband only. Or my closest friends only. Or me only.
I suddenly feel very old fashioned. I worry I’m not going to cultivate as many readers as I’d like. At least, not as quickly as I’d like. I worry I’m copping out . . . but at the same time, I’m being true to myself. I’m devoting precious time to writing the stories of my heart rather than rambling on about whatever. I’m protecting my personal life, honoring my personal life, and trusting (hoping and praying) that I will build a vast readership and impressive sales based on my storytelling period. It may take me longer to get to where I want to be, but at least I’ll be content along the way.
Where do you stand on artist exposure? Are you more inclined to ‘support’ the artist’s works if you’re privy to his/her personal life/likes/beliefs? Or are you more interested in the story itself? Do you ever feel authors (actors/musicians--celebs) are over exposed? Does it ever discourage you from investing time and money into their latest project?
Where do you stand on author (actor/musician--celeb) Internet exposure... or overexposure?
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Welcome to Café Chaos. Grab a cup of coffee or tea (we prefer coffee) and join us for a chat. Every Thursday we’ll offer recommendations for book lovers. Feel free to comment on our picks or to throw in a few of your own. We’re listening!
SIS Barb says…
SIS Bren says…
The Sookie Stackhouse series is not traditional romance. It's more urban mystery, an on-going series, but it sure has a strong romantic layer. I’m not into vampires, yet I’m pretty hot for Bill and… after reading this installment, Eric. Book two was even sexier than book one and far more intense. The violence was graphic. The premise disturbing at times, yet I still felt… enchanted. Needless to say book three is in my grubby little paws.