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

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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

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Get a Clue, Find the SIS

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It's 11:30 PM Monday night and I just got home from Virginia. It feels so good to be here - extra good because Omar got to come home this week too. I am ready for a great relaxing week with my girls and my man. I also am looking forward to our early Thanksgiving on Sunday.

On my flight home, I was thinking about all of the beautiful places I have been this year. I have been to Montana, Alabama, Mississippi, Virginia, Pennsylvania and many more. I haven't been able to enjoy any of these places. All I do when I am out of town is work. There must be a way that I can experience all of these beautiful states and cities! So, I have came up with what I think is a great idea.....

Where in the world is SIS Brandy!!

Starting next week we are all gonna play a little game together. For my post, I will be giving you clues as to where I am. These clues could be facts, historical info, pictures, etc. This will help me learn a little more about where I am and hopefully help me better enjoy my travels. I am hoping this will be a fun game for all of you too. Not even my sisters get to know where I am heading off to. You must guess also!!

Any feedback? Also, where have you been that you weren't able to enjoy?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Good Gets Better

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You know how things just pop into your head sometimes? Why? You have no idea but when they do it can be fun.

I woke up this morning thinking of coffee. Mmm! So good. But what would be a little better? A steaming hot vanilla latte from Caribou Coffee.

Then I checked my email. No bad news = good. An email telling me I won the sweepstakes...BETTER. OKay, I didn't win, yet, but my fingers and toes are crossed.

Good: Chocolate
Better: Raspberry chocolate

Good: Facebook
Better: Finding a long lost friend or relative on Facebook

Good: A good book
Better: A book so good you neglect everything in order to finish it

Good: Writing
Better: Watching your fingers fly over the keyboard with a scene you've got to get down

Good: A day off
Better: Doing something just for you on that day off

Good: Watching a movie
Better: Watching a movie that makes you cry

Good: A shower
Better: A hot, relaxing bubble bath

Good: Sleep
Better: 8 hours of uninterrupted slumber bliss

Now it's your turn. What's good for you? What would make it better?

SIS Barb aka Elle J Rossi

Saturday, November 7, 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...
Taylor's post yesterday got me thinking about Thanksgiving, a truly wonderful holiday that I've lost touch with. I've decided to warm up to the special day by watching a few old holiday favorites. A gem of a movie came to mind. I haven't seen it in a long time. I aim on rectifying that. If you've never seen it, run to your nearest rental store! Funny and touching, it was directed by Jodie Foster and stars Holly Hunter, Robert Downing Jr. and a slew of other great actors.

From IMDB: After losing her job, making out with her soon to be ex-boss, and finding out that her daughter plans to spend Thanksgiving with her boyfriend, Claudia Larson has to face spending the holiday with her family. She wonders if she can survive their crazy antics.

My MOVIE Pick of the Week: Home for the Holidays (1995)

SIS BJ Says...
The Mabinogion translated by Lady Charlotte Guest from 1838 to 1849 is a book of Celtic tales from Wales. In it is the story of Taliesin the great poet or bard. It is about a mother, Caridwen, who wishes to brew a potion of Inspiration for her ugly son Morvran ab Tegid so he will be accepted into the world. Caridwen had to brew the potion for a year and a day so she made the young Gwion Bach stir the potion. On the last day three drops of the potion flew out of the cauldron and fell on Gwion's finger. He put the finger in his mouth and he became imbued with Inspiration. Caridwen became very angry because the potion no longer worked for her son. Caridwen gave chase to Gwion, both shapeshifting into many forms until Caridwen ate Gwion, thus becoming pregnant. She gave birth to him and Taliesin was born. He became a great poet able to cast spells and tell the future through poetry. You can read the rest of the tale at INTERNET SACRED TEXT ARCHIVE.

My BOOK Pick of the Week: Taliesin from The Mabinogion

SIS Barb says:
Hooray! I finally got a chance to sit down and watch a movie the other night. It's one that's been sitting in my DVR for the last 2 months. Worth the wait? Absolutely! This movie is based on a very true story which makes it all the more disturbing. Directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Angelina Jolie, Changeling is a must see.

from imdb: Los Angeles, 1928. A single mother returns from work to find her nine-year-old son gone. She calls the LAPD to initiate a search. Five months later, a boy is found in Illinois who fits the description; he says he's her son. To fanfare and photos, the LAPD reunite mother and son, but she insists he's not her boy. The cops dismiss her as either a liar or hysterical. When she joins a minister in his public criticism of the police, they in turn use government power to silence and intimidate her. Meanwhile, a cop goes to a dilapidated ranch to find a Canadian lad who's without legal status; the youth tells a grisly tale. There's redress for murder; is there redress for abuse of power?

My Moive Pick of the Week: Changeling (2008)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Welcome Guest Blogger, Taylor Van Nest

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SIS Beth is holed up in her writing cave. A big deadline looms! Her friend, Taylor Van Nest (former co-worker at the library, current Broadcast Journalist major and all around super-cool guy), is covering her butt today. Not literally of course. Please give a big SIS welcome to Taylor!

As a college student I’ve been distracted lately. That’s nothing too surprising, but more than lately it’s become overbearing. Why? Because anticipation has taken over me. You see, I’m in the middle of my three favorite months of the year. Halloween is my favorite holiday, but that’s passed so I won’t get into it (we’ll be here for days!). Up next is Thanksgiving. And there in lies the problem. Thanksgiving and the holiday season that proceeds it are both a wonderful time. But here’s the thing: I’m not interested in just celebrating a single day. I want my holiday all month long!

Like a good suspense movie, it’s all about the build-up. The preparation, the planning, the anticipation itself is where the fun’s at. For I celebrate Thanksgiving as much as Christmas itself. I don’t overlook waiting for the December holiday’s to roll around; I embrace the one coming up sooner. I check the TV Guide to make sure when a Thanksgiving-themed show is on (Food Network has that covered). I read up on my favorite Thanksgiving books (“Twas The Night before Thanksgiving” - a Must-Read!). I even find Thanksgiving themed music – Vince Guraldi’s “Thanksgiving Theme” from the Charlie Brown TV special is cool and crisp, just like the season. I have even been ordering the hot turkey subs at the local convenience store more often (but I just use the holiday as an excuse to enjoy those)! Call me crazy, but investing all the fun into just one day when you can have a month-long build up is much more enjoyable.

So you can see why I might be a little distracted, I’m just trying to get into the Thanksgiving spirit. And the fun doesn’t stop with just one day. Wednesday’s before Thanksgiving are a college kid’s dream: you always skip your professor’s class to get home and hang out with all your friends as soon as possible. On the actual Thanksgiving Day, you get together with family and friends and enjoy the times over delicious food. And Friday morning…early, early morning – you get real crazy like me and go to Kohl’s at 3 in the morning. But as a college student I’m up at that hour anyway, so why not shop? I maximize Thanksgiving into a three-day event, the way it should be celebrated.

And why do I welcome it so happily? Because it’s all about what’s important in my life: that I should share the fun in my life with my friends and family, to share laughs and memories with, and to welcome new ones ahead. Our ancestors had the right idea when they shared all this good feeling over plenty of food. And if that’s not worth celebrating for a whole month, I don’t know what is!

So now I turn the (dinner) tables over to you: what do you look forward to most when it comes to Thanksgiving? Any special ways of catching that Thanksgiving spirit? What are your Thanksgiving rituals and events? I look forward to all your routines and memories, Happy Turkey Day!!

Here’s some links to my favorite Thanksgiving reminders!

‘Twas The Night Before Thanksgiving’ (Book)

Thanksgiving Theme – The Vince Guaraldi Trio (Song player is in top right corner of page)


Thursday, November 5, 2009

My Little Rant

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Before Halloween even rolled around, stores were already putting Christmas merchandise on their shelves. I just walked into a store today and they have Christmas Trees up. I'm now starting to see Holiday themed commerials.

By the time Christmas gets around I will be sick of it and I won't be able to remember the real reason for the season. I'll just be ready for it to be over with. Before you know it, Christmas merchandise will start showing up in July. The Holidays are depressing for some, why make them suffer sooner.

When is enough, enough? When are they going to let one Holiday get over with before they start with another? I bet next month you will start seeing things for Valentine's Day.

I will admit, it was nice being able to buy Chocolate Covered Cherries in October. But hey, it was chocolate.

That's my little rant for today. Do you have any?

SIS B.J. aka Aleena Ravenwood

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Major Award

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This past week, Beth sent all of us an e-mail informing us about a wonderful sweepstakes at Simply by creating or adding an item to your wish list, you could enter the sweepstakes and have a chance at winning 10 kindles! Wow! So we entered, and you can probably guess that since none of us are screaming “woo hoo” in our blogs, we didn’t win. Well, darn!

Every time I enter a sweepstakes or contest I can’t help but think that maybe I’ll win. I mean as I’ve said before, somebody has to win, so why shouldn’t it be me? I love the excited feeling I have waiting to hear who the winner is. I love the thoughts that run through my mind as I dream about what I’ll do with my prize.

As a child, I remember watching “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” and being so excited for him as he opened that candy bar and pulled out the golden ticket. I often would dream of something like that happening to me.

I don’t think it would really matter what my prize was. Just winning anything would be a great feeling. Of course some prizes would be way better than others. Winning a car would be much more exciting than winning a bowl of fruit. But hey, I’d take the fruit. At least for a week I could look at that fruit and think, “Anyone could have won that fruit, I’m lucky it was me”. Okay, well maybe I wouldn’t think that, but it would bring a smile to face every time I looked at it.

I love the scene in “A Christmas Story” when Darren McGavin’s character wins “a major award”. That is one of my very favorite scenes in the whole movie. Everything from the mispronunciation of the word fragile (“It must be Italian”) to the look of horror on the mother’s face to Ralphie practically molesting the leg, is priceless! It may have been a hideous lamp to the mother, but to the father, it was “a major award” and one that he displayed proudly in his front window for the world to see.

I’ve been trying to think of things I’ve won. I’m sure it’s happened. The only thing that comes to mind is a printer for my computer. I happened to answer a telemarketing call one day and received an offer from HP. They said they would provide me with a printer and all I had to do was complete some “projects” and send them in and when all projects had been completed and turned in, the printer was mine to keep. It was a pretty good deal, so I accepted, and I got a decent printer out of it.

I’m hoping that something more exciting comes to mind…I’ll have to think on it. But in the meanwhile, have you ever won a sweepstakes or contest? If so, tell us all about your major award!

SIS Bren

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

In My Right Mind

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I am a lefty - the only one in my whole family. I have always been proud of it. For some reason I guess you could say it makes me feel "special" (not that kind of special, Barb!). I once had a customer tell me that I must have some kind of gift. She said that God gives all left-handed people some kind of extra special talent. I'm still working on figuring out what my gift is exactly.

I did a little research on differences between left handed and right handed people. Some of the info on lefties is pretty interesting. First of all, we are known to be great leaders. Did you know that 66% of the presidents over the past 30 years have been south paws? That's pretty cool considering that lefties only account for about 10% of the population! Studies also say that we tend to be more independent, adaptable, and artistic. It also is said that left-handers are quicker thinkers and are more intelligent. For the most part, everything just says that me and my fellow lefties tend to be pretty amazing!!

I looked like crazy for info on the "normal" people, but there just isn't much out there. That's ok, though! The whole world was made for you people!! Scissors, tools, the computer mouse, instrument, guns ... the list could go on and on. Ok fine, maybe I did find a few nice things. It is said that the "normals" are more analytical, decisive, logical, and detail oriented. Right handed people have a longer life span too. That's crap!! It's probably because us lefties get injured having to use all the things made for righties!!!

Are you a lefty or righty? Do you think our traits are determined by which hand we use?
SIS Brandy

Monday, November 2, 2009

Treating Myself

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While a lot of people were out tricking this weekend, I decided to stick with the treats--in more ways than one. Yes, I overindulged in the Snickers and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and maybe I had a tad too many Kit Kats and Peanut M & M's but that's not the treat I'm talking about today.

On more than one occasion, I've blogged about my lack of reading time. Writing has taken precedence over that particular joy in my life. I miss my books. I miss the escape. I decided to allow myself to put writing aside for just a few days and really treat myself to a book or two. I did just that and the reward was priceless, plus it had zero calories (unlike the 12 candy bars I consumed).

I figured it would be best to stick with books that were within the same genre of my WIP--the paranormal. Not hard to do since it happens to be my favorite genre to read! These 2 books were particularly inspiring and I'd like to share them with you today in hopes that you'll treat yourself.

1) Seduce Me In Shadow (A Doomsday Brethren Novel) by Shayla Black
This is book 2 in the series and I can tell you that book 1, Tempt Me With Darkness was equally as good. Ms. Black writes about wizards in a way I never expected. Tall, strong, handsome and powerful. They wield wands like a warrior would a sword. The Doomsday Brethren ooze sex appeal. The heroines...equally as appealing. Book 3, Possess Me at Midnight, was just released and will soon be in my greedy little hands!

2) Untouchable by Kresley Cole
Kresley Cole has teamed up with Gena Showalter in a holiday collection called Deep Kiss of Winter. I will start on Ms. Showalter's story, Tempt Me Eternally, tonight. But I will tell you that Kresley Cole has done it again. She is one of my all time favorites. She is amazingly talented and has a way of making you fall in love with all her characters--primary and secondary, male and female, good and bad. While immersed in her stories you find yourself believing in all lore, legends and myths.

Now I'm motivated to get back to writing and have quite a few ideas I need to get down. This was definitely something I needed. A way to recharge!

How do you get recharged?

SIS Barb aka Elle J Rossi