Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Random Acts of Kindness

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It's been mentioned here at SIS quite a few times how much we all detest rude people. It seems as though the number of rude people I encounter each day seems to grow and grow. The other day I was approaching a convenience store entrance at the same time as one of its employees. She saw me coming and picked up her pace to get to the door first. Was she trying to get there first so she could hold the door for me? How very nice! But, no. She opened the door, walked in and let the door close in my face. I couldn't believe it!

Rude and inconsiderate acts take place every day to every one of us. And we are always appalled and always complaining, but the fact remains that it's just part of life. Not every one out there is a decent person. But there are plenty of kind considerate people out there. They may be hard to find, but they are there. Isn't it nice when someone does something nice for you for no reason at all? Especially when it is a stranger.

Last year, my husband, children and I went to a local family sports pub. We needed an inexpensive day out so we decided to go and play some darts and have some munchies. While playing, our server came over and asked if we were busy that night. Odd question I thought, but we answered no and asked why. She asked if we wanted to go to a Buccaneer pre-season game. She had four tickets that the owner wasn't using and we were welcome to take them if we wanted to go. I love football and was thrilled. We accepted the tickets and went to the game and although we were at the very top of the stadium, I mean the very last row of seats, we had a great time. There were plenty of people in that pub that day and she could have given those tickets to anyone. I'm so glad she chose us! How nice!

We moved into our new house last year just two days before Christmas. It was such a hectic time, but we were finally in and just getting situated. We stayed home for New Year's Eve with the boys. We all watched the ball drop and looked forward to the start of a new year. We awoke New Year's Day to a plumbing nightmare. Both toilets were over flowing and water was every where. My wonderful husband was in there plunging and flushing and doing his best to fix the problem as water continued to flood the bathrooms.

We finally rented a snake from Home Depot and after 3 more hours had the problem solved. Now it was time for me to clean that mess up. I was throwing towels on the floor and gagging and cursing and so not happy about the whole thing. I called Barb to complain and told her how I knew it was mostly only water, but I didn't think I would ever be able to use my towels again. A couple days later, I came home and found a big box on the door step. I wasn't expecting anything. Inside, beautiful towels with a note from Barb saying how she and her mother-in-law had found a great sale and she hoped we would enjoy them. I cried. Every time I pull one of those towels out of the linen closet, I think of her and smile. How very thoughtful!

My husband and I, on several occasions, have seen women walking alone on the side of the road. Some have been old, some have been disabled, one was drunk. We pull over and offer them a ride and to my surprise, all but one have accepted. One woman was probably 70 years old. She had been to the hospital for tests and couldn't reach her husband to get a ride home so she decided to walk. I think she must have totally misjudged the distance because when we found her she had already walked about 2 miles and was have much difficulty. She said her home was just a little further. It was probably 3 miles more to her house. All of these women have been so thankful that we stopped and offered them a ride. I'm glad we do it. I just hope we don't happen to pick up some gun toting grandmother!

When was the last time someone did something nice for you? It could be the smallest of gestures. Just some thing that made you say, "Wow! That was really nice!"

And while you're out in the world today, do some thing nice for some one. Help an old lady cross the street. Let some one with less items than you get in front of you in line at the grocery store. Or maybe just smile at some one who looks like they are having a bad day. Spread the love people! Spread the love!

Have a Spectacular Day!

SIS Bren

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cafe Chaos -- Music

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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 Tuesday we’ll offer recommendations for music lovers. Feel free to comment on our picks or to throw in a few of your own. We’re listening!

SIS Barb says...
I've been hearing this song on the radio lately and totally thought it was somebody other than who it is. When I heard today who actually sang it, I had an OMG moment. I watched a couple of season's of Nashville Star. (of course I did--I'm a HUGE country music fan) Anyway, some competitors were okay while others really stood out. This guy stood out!

My Pick of the Week: Chris Young
Man, can this guy sing. Absolutely flawless and that includes singing live. He's also a songwriter and performed one of his originals on Nashville Star a couple of season's ago. The song is called Drinking Me Lonely and to this day, I love the song. His latest album was released earlier this month and I downloaded the entire album from iTunes today. If you like a voice that sounds like old country mixed with new whiskey, you'll like Chris Young.

Recommended Album: The Man I Want To Be

My Favorite Songs: Gettin' You Home and Rainy Night in Georgia (and if you get the chance, download Drinking Me Lonely from his previous album)

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


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I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend. It definitely flew by. I could use at least one more Sunday this week.

Here's why.

Saturday would have been a prime writing day but I walked past my daughters room and cringed. What. A. Mess.

"Oh, 'Drama'," I said. "How about I help you clean your room?"

"No, Mama, please. I can do it," she cries.

"Really? Because I've asked several times and I don't see it happening."

"No, Mama. I promise. I'll do it."

"That's okay, 'Drama'. I'd love to help."

3 hours, six trash bags, several tears and multiple curse words ( I made her leave the room as certain choice words were flying) later, 'Drama' has an immaculate room and several items to donate. She's so not happy.

But then my husband tells me he's taking our son to the ballpark with some other guys so I decide 'Drama' and I will go shopping. We call my mother-in-law, whom I adore and had a girls day. We didn't buy much but we had a great time. We need girls' days every now and then. 'Drama' got a new bedspread for her clean room. One would think that would cheer her up but no, of course not. She was devastated that we had to throw the old one out. No matter how many times I explained that the old one was torn, stained and just plain gross, the tears kept coming. Several hours later she finally decided she liked her room and the new blanket. Thank goodness.

Sunday rolls around and all I can think about is what a prime writing day it will be. But then I found some brain teaser games on my Yahoo home page and I was hooked. Then my husband had to borrow my computer to update his phone. He neglected to tell me it would take over 2 hours. After about 30 minutes, I started reading a book I had recently purchased and that's all she wrote, folks. The book was great! I finished all 374 pages in one day and still had time to get back to the brain teaser games.

Who knows? Maybe I needed a break from writing. I don't work my day jobs on Monday, so...perhaps today will be a prime writing day.

How about you? What distracts you?

SIS Barb writing as Elle J Rossi

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Cafe Chaos -- Movies and TV

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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’ll offer recommendations for movie and TV lovers. Feel free to comment on our picks or to throw in a few of your own. We’re listening!

SIS Barb says:
I love romantic books but I'm not usually one for romantic films. I rarely watch romantic comedies because I just don't find them funny. However, the other day I was scrolling through my On Demand selections and came across a romantic drama. I liked the actors so I decided to give it a try.

My Pick of the Week: Nights In Rodanthe
Diane Lane and Richard Gere were wonderful together. I also enjoyed them in another film they worked in together a few years ago. I believe it was called Unfaithful (I'll have to look that up to confirm) Diane Lane her characters emotions from beginning to end. And Richard Gere...well, he was his typical great self.

from IMDb: Adrienne Willis, a woman with her life in chaos, retreats to the tiny coastal town of Rodanthe, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, to tend to a friend's inn for the weekend. Here she hopes to find the tranquility she so desperately needs to rethink the conflicts surrounding her -- a wayward husband who has asked to come home, and a teen-aged daughter who resents her every decision. Almost as soon as Adrienne gets to Rodanthe, a major storm is forecast and a guest named Dr. Paul Flanner arrive. The only guest at the inn, Flanner is not on a weekend escape but rather is there to face his own crisis of conscience. Now, with the storm closing in, the two turn to each other for comfort and, in one magical weekend, set in motion a life-changing romance that will resonate throughout the rest of their lives.
SIS Beth says…
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

See it, Be it!

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Last week I had a firm idea of what I wanted to blog about today. But then the week went by, things happened. My mind switched tracks. It does that a lot. I don't think I have ADD. I just think my mind is constantly spinning. I have a lot of interests. A lot of projects. And the ideas just keep coming. As do opportunities. I don't have ADD, but I do have trouble saying 'no'.
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!
It reminded me of when we were climbing up that mountain in Wyoming (as well as what I wanted to blog about!), the first half of a six-mile hike. Aside from not being used to the high altitude, I'm not in peak condition (it would help if I exercised), so I was hurting. My thighs were quivering, my lungs near to bursting. Forty-some degrees and I was sweating. Barb climbed ahead of me, with somewhat greater ease. Still, I imagine it was a bit of a trial for her, too. At one point she commented (paraphrasing here) "If you want it bad enough, you'll make your body do it."

This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I wanted to share it with my sister. No way was I wimping out. On sheer determination, I did it. We did it!
See it, Be 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.

Sort of like with that article. Something out of my normal realm. I had to stretch my muscles, conquer self-doubt. The pay off was sharpening my writing skills, highlighting the careers of an artistic team I admire, and getting my name out there. It took concentrated effort and time. But I did it.

See it, Be it.

This week I heard back from my agent about a partial I sent her. The first three chapters of a new series idea that I'm dying to write. She adored the concept and much about the second and third chapters, but had felt overwhelmed by the first chapter. She explained why. I got why. She offered alternate thoughts that inspired new thoughts. It means some major changes, some deep thought, some additional effort. But I'm going to do it. I want to write this series. I'm dying to write this series.
Whatever it takes.

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.

"What would it take," I asked."

"It wouldn't be easy," he said.

"But we could do it."
"We could do it."

We will do it.

See it, Be it.
I started scoping real estate and job opportunities in Kent and will continue to do so until I pinpoint a viable option.
Speaking of my husband, TODAY is our wedding aniversary. Click the SIS Scrapbook tab up top to see pictures. I wanted a happily-ever-after. I got it!
See it, Be it!
No matter the goal, I think it all boils down to how badly you want it. If you want it bad enough, you'll do whatever it takes to succeed. You'll face fears. You'll make sacrifices. You'll work hard. You'll do it. Our bodies and minds are capable of more than we give them credit for. We have it within us to conquer formidable mountains. All we need to succeed is passion and determination. I've got a boatload of both. How about you?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cafe Chaos -- Books

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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 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...
I let my daughter pick a book for me. She picked it based solely on the cover. No big surprise here, the cover is a pretty blue shade with purple flowers. I said, What the heck. I'll give it a shot."
I'm happy I did. This author was new to me but has apparently been around for awhile. Based on this book, I will read her again.

My Pick of the Week: Star Bright
The heroine must fake her own death to escape her brutal husband. New state, new town, new identity. Can her new employer, who can't tolerate liars, learn to trust her and help her through this new life? Will her husband find out the truth and come after her? You must read this to see what happens.

Author: Catherine Anderson
SIS Beth says...
As most of you know, I’m hooked on Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse series. I was ready to dive in to book four, Dead to the World, when the need to immerse myself in Victorian times, specifically Victorian England, arose. I started reading a collection of Sherlock Holmes short stories and though I am enjoying them, I’m also jonesing for some romance. It’s been awhile since I’ve read historical romance, so I started researching. Although I found plenty of books set in Regency times, and a few set in early-mid Victorian times, I could only find one romance novel set in late Victorian times—and that’s what I’m really interested in. If you have any suggestions, please send them on! Meanwhile, like Barb, I'm trying a new-to-me author who's been around for quite some time.

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.
Author: Amanda Quick

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


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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?

I remember when MTV and VH-1 first hit the air waves. I used to sit and watch for hours on end. Not just watch, but get up and dance. The camera actually stayed in one position long enough that you could learn whatever new dance steps were being performed. I learned the entire dance routine from Michael Jackson's Thriller. Now, the camera is switching from one view to the next so quickly, it leaves my head spinning. Just when you see something that catches your eye, it's gone. Honestly, I haven't watched music videos in probably 10 years. When I do happen to catch one, I am quickly reminded as to why I don't bother to watch them anymore.

All of this seems to bleed over into the live touring of groups as well. I would much rather go and see a band like Steely Dan, that may not have a huge stage production, but actually play and sing live, than go and see some girl with a rock hard body who can dance, but is lip syncing. I saw a certain very popular young singer on a show the other night. Yes, she's pretty, she can dance, she was doing moves that would make even the best exotic dancer jealous, but she was lip syncing. It's very disappointing to me. Whatever happened to simply getting out there and singing your heart out? I don't mean that you have to just stand still. But for me the show should be about the music and the voice. Not the eye candy.

You don't even have to sing well to be a singer any more. More importance is placed on how good you look, than whether or not you actually have any talent. It's a shame. I think there are probably a lot of extremely talented people out there that we'll never have the pleasure of hearing just because they don't have the right "look".

Video games are no better. I remember the good old days. Mario, Galaga, Asteroids...ah what great games. I still have all the old Nintendo systems and occasionally sit down and play Mario and Duck Hunt with my boys. The video games of today are so fast-paced that I can't keep up. I'm sure if I sat down for a while, I'd catch on. But every thing moves so fast across the screen, and there is so much going on! It's no wonder we see more and more cases of hyper kids. I think you have to be hyper just to be able to play these games. Although there are a lot of studies of how bad video games are for our children, I have to say this. They must do wonders for our children's eye-hand coordination!

It seems as though a certain innocence is being lost. I'm all for freedom of speech, but when half of the lyrics of your song have to be bleeped out, don't you think maybe you should re-write them. It's like there's a game of "who can be more shocking" going on out there and there are no rules. I just wonder where it will stop. It's hard as a parent, to try and keep your child innocent. But it is possible. You just have to constantly pay attention to what's going on.

What are your thoughts? Do you think that society as a whole has become bored with the ordinary? Do you think that people need to be shocked in order to be entertained?

SIS Bren

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Cafe Chaos--Music

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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 Tuesday we’ll offer recommendations for music lovers. Feel free to comment on our picks or to throw in a few of your own. We’re listening!

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.

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

A New World

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Ah, folks, this week all I can do is shake my head. Not in assent but in disbelief and maybe even a little shame. What I'm about to discuss may offend some and enrage others. Whatever your feelings are, I'm game for an intense debate. How about you?

Now, let's get down to it. I can't take full credit for this post as it took reading posts by two authors that made me think of it. Edie Ramer blogged about how a school near Boston has removed ALL books from their library. In it's place...a virtual library with a coffee shop. She went on to say that the article stated that only 48 books were checked out the previous year. And then...our very own Beth posted that apparently cursive writing is a fading skill.

Reading these two things really angered me. Angered me so much that I started thinking about all the other "problems" occurring as a result of the times. Such as the fact that many people cannot communicate verbally anymore. They can't make eye contact. They can't call and order a freakin' pizza. They can't spell because EVERYTHING is a flippin' abbreviation these days. They can't write a check or go to the bank and make a deposit. Because they don't know how!!!! They can't apologize for any wrong they've made because they're too busy talking/texting on their cell phone to notice that they've slighted someone. Please, thank you, excuse me...ALL phrases from the past. I can't remember the last time a stranger or an acquaintance uttered any of those words to me.

Oh my gosh! I almost forgot one. Has anyone noticed that there are almost no children playing outside? That's because they're all inside on the computer or playing video games. And then we wonder why we have so many health problems. Hello? Parents? Pull the power cords out!

And...have you noticed that swings are almost non existent and slides and jungle gyms are dwindling by the minute? Welcome to Sissified America. You gotta love it! Except I don't!

Don't get me wrong. I'm not against technology by any means. I use all forms of the latest. But don't you think it's important to teach our children basic life skills? Skills that will make them a better, more rounded person? And not just children. What about adults who've forgotten what it's like to sit across from somebody at a dinner table and actually converse?

My daughter is 7 and she learned how to write her name in cursive at the age of 5. Why? because she thought it looked pretty and because I thought it was important. If I find in the years to come that the school does not continue with this important and necessary skill, I will do it on my own and raise hell along the way. Both of my children have learned and use polite manners and will continue to do so if they want to live in a pleasant house.

Now I'll turn it over to you. What do you think of this "New World"? Am I totally wrong in my thinking? Do I need to get over it and get with it? Be honest. Let's debate this topic today!

SIS Barb writing as Elle J Rossi

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Cafe Chaos -- Movies and TV

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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’ll offer recommendations for movie and TV lovers. Feel free to comment on our picks or to throw in a few of your own. We’re listening!

SIS Barb says:
I recently watched a movie that came out in 2008. To be honest, I'd never heard of it but the DVD cover intrigued me. I was hooked by the incredible costumes and the intense plot from beginning to end. I highly recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys period films.

My Pick of the Week: The Other Boleyn Girl
This movie stars Eric Bana (one of my faves), Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman.
from IMDb: A sumptuous and sensual tale of intrigue, romance and betrayal set against the backdrop of a defining moment in European history: two beautiful sisters, Anne and Mary Boleyn, driven by their family's blind ambition, compete for the love of the handsome and passionate King Henry VIII.

SIS Beth says…
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

The Crap Out and The Pay Off

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First things first. I want to say a huge thank you to BJ and Brandy for filling in these last few days. I loved reading their posts. Thanks to Brenda for uploading everything and mega thanks to our loyal readers and commenters. You all rock. Me? I so do not rock. Not today anyway.

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.

We climbed down 500 steep stairs to get to this point. I'm not sure which was the hardest: Braving my fear of heights or the 500 step climb back UP. This proved the enduring theme of the trip to me. Physically and mentally pushing yourself beyond what you think you're capable of. Paraphrasing Barb, "If you want it bad enough, you'll make yourself do it."

My theme, my life lesson for next Friday's post: SEE IT, BE IT!

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?

SIS Beth

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Cafe Chaos--Books

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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 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: 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.
I thought about setting it aside until I bought the other books in the series but in the end I gave in and read it. It took me a few pages to get rooted but I really loved the authors style. She hooked me with the story line and the characters. So much so that I will get ALL the books in this series. I have no idea how many there are but I'm on a mission to find them.

My Pick of the Week: Dark Possession~A Carpathian Novel
from the inside cover: Manolito De La Cruz knew he was dangerously close to becoming a vampire. The last thing he expected after being called back to his Carpathian homeland by Prince Mikhail was to catch the scent of his destined lifemate in MaryAnn Delaney. MaryAnn is human but she knows all too well the overwhelmingly aggressive instinct of Carpathian males. And they're not exactly the kind of male she'd prefer to be bound to for life.

Author: Christine Feehan

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


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First, I would like to start by thanking B.J. and Brandy for stepping in this past week and doing an incredible job! It was a pleasure to have them here at SIS and I'm hoping they'll be regular guest bloggers. Feel free to jump in any time sistas!

Second, I'd like to welcome back Beth and Barb, the adventurers! I'm sure they'll have a few great stories to share with us. I'll bet they are glad to get back to civilization where they can get adequate cell phone and internet service.

Now, on to my ramblings....

My sons are 6 1/2 years apart. I didn't really plan it that way. It's just how it happened. At first, my oldest was excited about his new brother and was great with him. Now, it seems as though they fight constantly. It is a rare occurrence that they should actually get along with one another. The oldest is constantly picking on the younger and the younger seems like he really enjoys trying to get his big brother in trouble.

I have told them constantly that they should learn to appreciate one another. I've tried to explain to them that friends will come and go. Even life long friends may some day desert you for one reason or another. Your parents will eventually be gone, you may even separate from your spouse. But your sibling is your sibling. No matter what. And they will be there to support you and listen and help in any way they can.

Of course, there are exceptions. But if you treat your siblings with the respect that you would show a friend, you will have a life long relationship that is so important on so many different levels. I know that my sisters and brother are there for me always. It doesn't matter if sometimes life gets hectic and we don't talk as often as we should. There have been times when I have gone months without talking to some of my siblings. But when we get on the phone and catch up, it's like we never lost touch.

I just wanted to take the time to say how much I love it here at SIS. How much I love most all of the siblings getting involved and sharing little parts of their lives! If there is a blessing at all in the tumultuous summer that we have experienced, it is that we have become closer as a family and I am thoroughly enjoying it!

So, sisters and brother, I love you very much and I am sorry if I was ever mean to any one of you. But seeing as how I am the perfect child, (and the prettiest) it was probably all of you being mean to me, and I forgive you!

How important is your relationship with your sibling(s)? If you are an only child, would you want to have a sibling? If you have siblings, did you ever wish you were an only child?
Have a very blessed day!

SIS Bren

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Cafe Chaos -- Music

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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 Tuesday we’ll offer recommendations for music lovers. Feel free to comment on our picks or to throw in a few of your own. We’re listening!

SIS B.J. says...

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

SIS Bren says...

I'm a rocker at heart. There's just something about the driving guitars and the strong, powerful vocals that I can't resist. Looking through my CD collection in my car, I came across a Best Hits CD that I hadn't listened to in a while. I popped it in and was instantly swept back in time to high school. Great memories!

My Pick of the Week: Pat Benatar

Favorite Songs: Love is a Battlefield, Hell is for Children, Fire and Ice

Monday, September 14, 2009

Haunted House!

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B.J.'s post last week has really put me in the mood for autumn. All the stuff that comes with it is so appealing - the leaves, the food, the weather, Halloween...

So, I think I am sitting on a gold mine for this Halloween season! Last year, we bought this great house. It's nice and big - fairly new. I never would have imagined that it could end up being a real life "haunted" house. I'm thinking maybe I should start charging admission.

It started with little things. Lights turning on and off by themselves (bad wiring right?), the door that seems to unlock itself (I decided I was losing my mind), and little noises (must be the kids)! Stray shadows here and there can be easily explained too, huh?

Then some spookier events were occurring. Omar and I swear we saw "a figure" one night. It was very obvious that we both observed the same thing at the exact same time. And just ask Brenda if she'll ever sleep in my basement again (which, by the way, is very far from dungeon-like). I don't think she cared too much for the breathing going on in her room. You can ask my friend Donna about it too. She's seen something just like what we did and heard the noises Brenda had experienced. I hadn't told her about any of it!! And I won't even think of telling you about the time I felt like I was being held down in bed - you'll think I am the crazy sister.

On top of that, we have bats in the attic!! There is a small space above my entry that they stay in. Each night at about 9:00 they start to take flight. One by one they wiggle out of a gap smaller than my finger. On busy nights we've counted about 90 bats!!!

Sounds like a pretty good place to start a haunted house tour to me! Start it off with the nightly bat show and then move on to visit our unexpected house guest.

My question of the day : Do you believe in ghosts or spirits or whatever you want to call them? As you can see, I do!

SIS Brandy

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Cafe Chaos -- Movies and TV

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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’ll offer recommendations for movie lovers. Feel free to comment on our picks or to throw in a few of your own. We’re listening!

SIS Brandy says...

As most of you know, my sisters are weepers. Me, I'm usually not so bad. I will have to admit though, I bawled uncontrollably during certain parts of this movie - even having to hit pause to compose myself! Though heart wrenching at times, in the end I was left with a good warm feeling.The combination of the storyline and an amazing cast makes this one of favorite movies. Grab a box of tissues and be prepared to hit pause.

My Pick of the Week : P.S. I Love You

At a fairly young age, Holly (Hillary Swank) loses her husband Gerry to a brain tumor. She of course is having a great deal of trouble moving on. On her 30th birthday, Holly receives a letter from her late husband. It is the first of many that he has written to help her through the healing process. Each letter ends with P.S. I Love You.

Cast: Hillary Swank, Gerard Butler, Lisa Kudrow, Kathy Bates, Harry Connick Jr

SIS B.J. says...

This week I am going to pick a show out of the new fall line up. It is a new series based on the novel Witches of Eastwick by John Updike and the movie staring Jack Nicholson, Cher, Susan Sarandon and Michelle Pfeiffer. It is about three witchy women who make a wish and a devilish man rides into town to grant them.

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

SIS Bren says...

My book rec this week got me thinking about the movie Presumed Innocent and then Harrison Ford. I've enjoyed him in many movies. Of course I love all of the Indiana Jones movies, but my book rec has my mind thinking mystery!

My Pick of the Week: What Lies Beneath

From IMDb: The wife of a university research scientist believes that her lakeside Vermont home is haunted by a ghost -- or that she's losing her mind.

If you are ready to jump in your seat a little and pull the covers up over your eyes, this is the movie for you. It's not the scariest movie I've ever seen, but there are parts, (you know, when the creepy music starts) that got my heart racing. It's a great suspense movie all around!

Cast: Harrison Ford, Michelle Pfeiffer

Friday, September 11, 2009

Autumn Wishes

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The woods are full of fairies;
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.
Aleena Ravenwood

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

Cafe Chaos--Books

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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 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 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
SIS Bren says...
I love mysteries. I've probably made that abundantly clear. I'll read any book that allows me to play who-dun-it and keeps me in suspense. Even though I saw the movie before I read the book, I still thoroughly enjoyed it!
My Pick of the Week: Presumed Innocent
From the back cover: Presumed Innocent brings to life our worst nightmare: that of an ordinary citizen facing conviction for the most terrible of all crimes. It's the stunning portrayal of one man's all-too-human, all-consuming fatal attraction for a passionate woman, who is not his wife, and the story of how his obsession puts everything he loves and values on trial--including his own life. It's a book that lays bare a shocking world of betrayal and murder, as well as the hidden depths of the human heart. And it will hold you and haunt you...long after you have reached it's shattering conclusion.
Author: Scott Turow

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Lottery Dreams

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I've written before about my dreams of winning the lottery. I could day dream for hours, thinking of how I would spend my fortune. Over the years, my plans have changed drastically. I no longer dream of the mansions, the exotic places, or the lavish life-style that I would be living.
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.

I wouldn't go out and buy the most luxurious sports car I could find. I'd be fine with just a great car that looks nice and runs great. Instead of the $400,000 Bentley, I'd be happy with a fun Jeep!

I've read articles and even seen shows on TV about "the curse of the lottery". They are depressing stories of how people lost their fortune by spending it on homes, cars, clothes and mostly drugs and partying. One 16 year old girl in England won a lottery of $3 million. She spent close to $1 million on designer clothes alone. I think I could come up with a kick butt wardrobe for about $5000.

Experts say that money won't make you happy. I believe that to an extent. If you are unhappy to begin with, you'll probably be miserable after you win your big bucks. Miserable, but rich. But I look at my life and find that I am very happy with my life. My husband is awesome, my children are great, I even love my job(s). I have to say though, that I'm sure I'd be just a tad happier if money were not an object.

So, let's pretend that I've just won the lottery! What would I do? Obviously, the opportunities would be endless. But I'll pick just five. I'll try to make them my top five. I'm sure something else more important will pop into my head later, but here they are for now.

1. Bob. I would do any thing and every thing in my power to help our brother fight cancer. Maybe it would mean getting the very best doctors, or getting him to a cancer center. I'm not sure what it might be, but if there is some thing more that could be done, I'd take care of it!

2. Plan some sort of fun family reunion. Our mom will be 70 next year. There have only been two times that all of us siblings have been together at the same time. Once for Barb's wedding and then when our Dad died. So I would love to try and plan something like a week at Disney World or a cruise...Somewhere that everyone, siblings, spouses and children, could all get together!

3. Buy a house. Not a huge house. Something just big enough that we would have adequate room when guests come to visit. So a 4 bedroom house should do it. I would like our house to have a view of the water though.

4. Health Exams. I would arrange for my husband and I to have extremely thorough tests done. I'd like to find out why his shoulder hurts all of the time (and fix it). I'd like to find out if there are better drugs to treat his high blood pressure. The list is endless...

5. Take care of my Mom and loved ones. I'd like to pay off their houses, or take care of bills that cause them stress. Or help them start a business... Again, there are so many possibilities. It would be nice to make their lives a little easier.

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!

SIS Bren

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Cafe Chaos -- Music

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SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Before we offer this week's music reccomendations, we'd like to share some SIS news. Tomorrow, Wednesday, Beth and Barb are taking off for a writing retreat/adventure in Wyoming. Luckily, two other sisters (yes, there are many of us!) agreed to come on board for a week so Brenda wouldn't be all by her lonesome. Adding their own delightful personalities and musing into the mix will be B.J. and Brandy. You can see them in a new picture on the SIS Scrapbook page. (Note from Beth and Barb: "Don't have too much fun without us!")

And now back to Cafe Chaos --Music!

SIS Barb says...
This week I'm going to recommend a song rather than an artist or album. Many artists have sang this song throughout the years, including Bren. I have to say she does my favorite rendition. Every time I hear this song, it brings back wonderful memories. Memories of hog roasts, swinging on ropes into the river, cooking everything with just a touch of beer, running barefoot through the grass and just good country living.

I will admit that you may need to have a little, just a tad of country in you to truly appreciate the song. For all others, feel free to roll your eyes and tell me I've lost it.

My Pick of the Week: Rocky Top
Artist: Osborne Brothers (as well as a bazillion others!)

SIS Bren says...
For more than 20 years I was fortunate enough to sing for a living. I wouldn't change it for anything. I don't even remember half of the songs I sang. Some were great, some were just whatever was popular at the time. I remember being excited to sing "Material Girl" from Madonna. YIKES! Not because it was a great song, but because I knew people would dance to it and love it. There were always so many songs to choose from and a lot of times, I would want to sing a song originally recorded by a man. Usually the guys in the band would take those, so I would have to bow out. I was absolutely thrilled when a female artist I admired released a rendition of one of my favorite songs recorded by one of my favorite artists. It is almost my favorite song that I ever had the pleasure of singing!
My Pick of the Week: Oleta Adams
I love her deep, rich, soulful voice. She had a big hit with the song "Get Here" by Brenda Russell which was an amazing song that I was blessed to sing. She and a few other artists you may recognize sang on an album "celebrating the songs of Elton John and Bernie Taupin". I'm not sure if my pick is Oleta Adams, Elton John or the Album...
Suggested Album: Two Rooms
Favorite Songs: Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me (Oleta Adams), Daniel (Wilson Phillips), Your Song (Rod Stewart)

SIS Beth says…
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?

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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

Cafe Chaos -- Movies and TV

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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’ll offer recommendations for movie lovers. Feel free to comment on our picks or to throw in a few of your own. We’re listening!

SIS Barb says:
The other night I couldn't get to sleep. This is not a typical problem for me. Usually, I am so beat, I'm in bed and asleep by 10pm--Even on the weekends. I do wake up several times a night though and now that I think about that, maybe that's why I'm so tired by the end of the day. Anyway, I was channel surfing and I came across a movie I'd heard a lot about and really wanted to see when it was in the theaters, but that never happened. So, wide awake me watched it, commercials and all and stayed up to the wee hours of the morning to finish it.

My Pick of the Week: The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
Based on a true story about a man named Chris Gardner and his struggles to pay his bills and raise his son after his wife leaves him when they come upon hard times. Follow Chris (played by Will Smith) and his son, Christopher (played phenomenally by Will's real life son, Jaden Smith) as they stick together and fight to get off the streets after they lose their home. The story of Chris Gardner is inspiring and moving, showing us that you can never give up if you want to persevere.
SIS Bren says...
Beth gave me the idea to choose a romantic comedy this week. Instantly, a movie popped into my head and it made me smile. It's been a long time since I've seen this movie, but now that I've thought of it, I'll be stopping by Blockbuster soon to view it again. I can't believe I don't have it in my collection.
My Pick of the Week: When Harry Met Sally (1989)
From IMDb: Harry and Sally meet when she gives him a ride to New York after they both graduate from the University of Chicago. The film jumps through their lives as they both search for love, but fail, bumping into each other time and time again. Finally a close friendship blooms between them, and they both like having a friend of the opposite sex. But then they are confronted with the problem: "Can a man and a woman be friends, without sex getting in the way?"

SIS Beth says…
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


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I’m only comfortable with allowing the public to see so much of my body. I’m not even all that comfortable in a bathing suit. Yes, I feel self-conscious about my almost fifty body. But it’s more than that. Being nearly naked—in an age that focuses on physical perfection—makes me feel exposed. To comments, observations, and judgment. I don’t want to be judged, liked or disliked, on my body, the package—whether it’s too skinny or too saggy. I want people to focus on what’s inside. What makes me tick and what I have to offer.

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?

SIS Beth

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Cafe Chaos--Books

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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 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…
Any paranormal fans out there? I know I am. I can't explain what draws me the other-worldly realm. Perhaps it's knowing that there's a possibility that there's more out there. More than just us. To believe that it's impossible is in my humble opinion, absurd.

My Pick of the Week: Ghost Walk
A brutal murder. A haunted-tour company. New Orleans. A paranormal investigator and ghosts. Lots of ghosts.

Author: Heather Graham

SIS Bren says…
I haven't been reading lately. Nothing seems to be grabbing me at the moment. But soon, very soon, a book I have been waiting for for years is hitting the shelves! I am so excited and praying that it doesn't disappoint.
My Pick of the Week: The Lost Symbol
I loved The DaVinci Code and Angels and Demons and in 12 days I will be nose deep in The Lost Symbol. I've reserved my copy and I'm ready to delve into the pages of what I hope proves to be an exciting, intriguing, pulse quickening read!
Author: Dan Brown

SIS Beth says…

I have to say, I've been reading like crazy. That’s not to say I’ve tackled a lot of books. Just that I’ve been reading every chance I get . . . And loving it. I’m particularly hooked on Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series and will no doubt go back and read her Highlander series which, I understand, feeds into Fever. I’m also hooked on Charlaine Harris’s novels featuring feisty heroine Sookie Stackhouse. Sookie’s in love with a vampire named Bill. Gotta love that. A vampire named Bill. I just finished book two of the nine book (so far) series.

My pick of the Week: Living Dead in Dallas
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.
Author: Charlaine Harris