Thursday, December 31, 2009

Out With the Old...

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

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

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

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

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

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

SIS Brandy

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Me? It's my turn?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Wednesday!

SIS Bren

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Writer's Block

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

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

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

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

Work? Boring!!!

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

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

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

SIS Brandy

Monday, December 28, 2009


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SIS Barb aka Elle J Rossi

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Counting Our Blessings

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Happy Holidays!

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

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

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

Friday, December 18, 2009

Holiday Round Robin

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

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Collaboration

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

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

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

Okay, here goes....

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

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

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

SIS Bren

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Almost Here

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

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

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

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

How about you? Are you ready for Christmas?

SIS BJ aka Aleena Ravenwood

Monday, December 14, 2009

It Won't Wash Off!

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Happy Monday everyone!

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

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

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

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

SIS Barb aka Elle J Rossi

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Pop Culture -- SIS Style

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 11, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 10, 2009


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Call me crazy, but, I LOVE WINTER!!

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

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

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

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

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

What do you love (or hate) about Winter?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Those Were The Days

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

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

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

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

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

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

SIS Bren

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Just One of the Guys

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

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

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

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

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

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

SIS Brandy

Monday, December 7, 2009

It's All About The Experience

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SIS Barb aka Elle J Rossi

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Pop Culture--SIS Style

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

SIS Beth says...

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

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

My Pick of the Week: Star Trek (2009)

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

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

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

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

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

Author: Linda Wisdom

Friday, December 4, 2009

A Friday Ramble

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s up with Tiger Woods?

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 3, 2009


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

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

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

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


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


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

'Tis the Season

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


SIS Bren

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Where in the World is SIS Brandy?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009 13

Ok time to have a little fun...

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

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

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

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

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