Saturday, January 30, 2010

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!

I have started reading a series of books from a historian and archaeologist husband and wife team W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O'Neal Gear. It is the North America's Forgotten Past Series. The first of 18 books is People of the Wolf.

From the back cover:
In the dawn of history, a valiant people forged a path from the old world into a new one through what is now Alaska and the Canadian Norhtwest Territories. Led by a dreamer who followed the spirit of the wolf, a handful of courageous men and women dared to cross the frozen wastes to find an un touched, unspoiled continent.

The authors give you a sense of what it would be like to live in those hard times struggling to save your family, your tribe from starvation and the end of their ways. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series People of the Fire.

My book pick of the Week: People of the Wolf
Authors: W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O'neal Gear
SIS Beth says:
Speaking of spies…. I’ve been on a James Bond binge. Movie wise that is. I’m a long time fine of the Bond films… and the men who played them. Sean Connery and Daniel Craig are my top two favorites, followed by Pierce Brosnan, then Timothy Dalton. Roger Moore never really did it for me as Bond but I do like some of his Bond films. For instance, the other night I watched For Your Eyes Only. I hadn’t seen it in years. I really enjoyed it, although not near as much as the film I watched last night…

My Movie Pick of the Week: The Living Daylights (1987)

From IMDB: James Bond is living on the edge to stop an evil arms dealer from starting another world war. Bond crosses all seven continents in order to stop the evil Whitaker and General Koskov.

There are a lot of exciting action sequences in this film, as well as fun moments with Q and his cool spy gadget inventions, but the thing I like most is the chemistry between Bond and the heroine of this flick, Kara. She’s a sweet, vibrant cellist and Bond is completely smitten with her. The way he looks at her makes me weak in the knees. And his tendency to protect her is dang sexy, too. As a fan of romantic adventure, The Living Daylights is a double-oh-swell!

SIS Barb says:
I have 2 recommendations this week. I thought of saving one until next week but why do that? I'd like to start with my book recommendation. I haven't finished it yet, nor am I even a third of the way through. But I'm recommending it anyway, pure;y on writing technique and style. This author has been a best seller for decades yet this is the first time I've read one of her works. A friend recommended that I try this book when I asked people to send me titles of books featuring witches. I'm so glad he did. This author is blowing me away. I hope to learn how to layer in description while still maintaining a flow. She does it beautifully.

My Book Recommendation: The Witching Hour
Author: Anne Rice

Now on to my movie pick. I'm a little late to the party on this one but better late than never. I've been dying to see this movie but my husband didn't want to see it in the theatre because of its length. That wasn't going to stop me. I almost went alone (which is fine with me) but then a friend said I absolutely had to see it and she was willing to go a 2nd time. Fantastic! Works for me. To say I have never seen anything like this is a complete understatement. I plan to blog in more depth about it over at Loud Whispers later today, but people, if you haven't, you must see this movie!
The world building blew me away. That was the main reason I wanted to see it. I need to create a world in my paranormal and this definitely inspired me to give it my all. No holding back. Let my imagination and creativity run wild.

My Movie Pick: Avatar in 3D

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Spy Who Stumped Me

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Anyone who follows me on Twitter or Facebook knows I’ve been struggling with a synopsis. Oh, wait. I whined about that here, too. Well, at least now I have essential information that I didn’t have before.

*A name for my heroine. Usually that comes to me right away. This one didn’t. I’m a little fuzzy on how it came about, but I like the outcome. Lily Ricci.
*My heroine’s occupation. She started off as a librarian, but now she’s a grade school teacher. There’s a reason for that. She also has a sister—Violet. They’re estranged. There’s a reason for that, too.
*My heroine’s personality. She’s a caretaker. She’s cautious. Also a bit of a pushover. But she’s rabid when it comes to certain issues, especially if when they have a negative effect on children. Her sister pushes her buttons on that score. The villain will push her buttons big time on that same score. I can feel Lily now. This is good. Really good.
*I have the set up for the story.
*I have the premise.
*I have a semi decent handle on my hero, although I don’t know his name yet. Dang!
*I have my villain and his wicked plot.
*I can envision several scenes.
*I hear witty banter.
*I feel the sexual tension.


Sorry. Didn’t mean to yell. It’s just that I’m frustrated. It’s like having all of the pieces of the puzzle in front of you, but not seeing how they fit.

I’ll get it though. Hell or high water. This weekend as a matter of fact. I’m off tomorrow and Sunday from the library. I’m locking myself in my writing room and I will not emerge until this sucker is done. Well, except to order some Chinese food … oh, and to visit the bathroom a few times as I will be drinking gallons of java.

By the way, my hero is a British Secret Service Agent. You know, a James Bond dude. Stealing from Barb/Elle here, but for the fun of it…. help me name my spy. Think British. Think Bond. Think sexy and cocky with the marshmallow heart.

Okay. What have you got?
SIS Beth

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Just Ramblings

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Not a whole lot going on right now. I can't seem to even come up with somrthing to blog about, so I will just ramble.

I finally got my car back from the shop. I missed my little car. The rental they gave me was a too big for my tatse. The insurance company couldn't get anything right so it took a little longer than usual to get my car in the shop.

Business is slow where I work. My boss is thinking of closing both stores down. I feel bad for him because he has had his stores for over 20 years. It is going to be hard for him to do something else. Of course that means I have to go job hunting. Something that I am not looking forward to.

The sun is now shining its warming light every now and then. I wish the weather could make up its mind. We have had snow, rain, freezing rain, warm weather and now bitterly cold weather all within a couple weeks. Very confusing on the body.

That's it for my ramblings. Do you have any?

SIS BJ AKA Aleena Ravenwood

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Under the Knife

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While reading the news on Yahoo yesterday, I came across an article about actress Helen Mirren. She revealed that she regretted getting a tattoo in her younger years. While reading this article I noticed a link that said something about plastic surgery nightmares, so I clicked. HOLY MOLY! Some of them I had seen before, but, what are people thinking?

I’m not sure that I’m against plastic surgery. I guess it’s a very personal thing. I don’t think that I would opt for it though. There’s not anything on my body that I hate so much that I want to change it. Not yet anyway.

And then there’s the chance that something could go drastically wrong. Some of the pictures I saw prove it. Can you imagine going in to have your lips done and coming out looking like you “just made out with a bee hive”? (I stole that from a celebrity roast).

So for me, right now anyway, no way Jose! I can deal with what I have. If it doesn’t look good, I’ll try and disguise it for now.

What about you? Would you like a little nip and tuck here and there? Would you have your lips injected? Or are you just happy with what you’ve got?

Check out these pics and then be sure to answer.

SIS Bren

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


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Have you ever thought about how different vampires are from book to book? Each story I read tells of conflicting ideas of what a vampire can and cannot do.

First, there is the whole sunlight thing. Do they instantly burst into flames if they are exposed? Well, apparently, there are some vamps that are luckier than others. Some sparkle when in the sun. I just read a book in which they could go in the sun as long as they were wearing a special gemstone.

What about eye color? Is it red, yellow, black...

And what about body temperature? Are they hot or cold? I'm getting confused. Every author keeps telling me something different.

The same thing can be said for their eating habits. Some kill anybody in sight without a second thought. Of course that's normally not the hero in the book. Other's hunt animals for food. Some can drink from a human without turning them into a vamp or killing them. Others are very sophisticated and drink blood from wine glasses. (They must order it online)

But one thing every vampire has in commom... They are so damn sexy!!! Their physical appearance is always amazing. They are very charming and very protective of their heroine. These vamps are great balance of arrogant and romantic. How can the thought of a "man" that drinks blood be so appealing?!?!?

Thoughts please!!

SIS Brandy

Monday, January 25, 2010

Use A Measuring Cup

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Happy Monday all. Let's make this a great week!

Today I'd like to talk about portion size. As always, keep in mind this is just my opinion and not meant to offend. I'm currently reading a book which will remain unnamed at this point in time because I haven't finished it yet and I feel it would be unfair to "review" it without having all my information. However, I'm having some major problems with this book and I'd like to share them with you.

1) Um, where's the plot? It is so barely there that I have to squint to see it. I realize that the focus is on the "romance" and I use that term lightly (I'll get to why in a moment) but I'd like there to be more behind said romance.

2) The romance is not romantic. This is all about the sexual/physical attraction to each other. There is nothing other than physical. No glimpses as to who these people are behind their physical attributes. I'd maybe get it if this was in the "erotic" genre, but it's not, so I don't.

3) Sarcastic much? Okay, we've talked about this before. Most of us use sarcasm but this is so over the top I want to scream. The banter back and forth between the hero and heroine is ridiculous. At one point, after first "meeting" each other she asked why he was chasing her. His response: "Um, because your bootylicious." Are you kidding me? I'm sure it was supposed to be funny but somehow it wasn't. Maybe it was because of all the other retorts that had me gagging.

I'm about a third of the way through the book and should just quit reading. I cant. I always finish the book. Maybe there's part of me that hopes it will turn a corner and somehow impress me. Maybe it's the part of me that wants to see how bad it can really get. I'm not sure. But I will finish it. I realize now that I won't ever give up the title or the author of this book because, like I said, this is just my opinion and I'm not into slamming someone for their professional work. They are published and selling quite a few books so some must like what they're reading, even if I don't.

My point is, I prefer a good mix, the right mix of plot, romance, intrigue, light, dark, sarcasm, wit, dialog, feeling and emotion. It's not easy, that's for sure and one good thing I can say about this book is that it's making me reevaluate mine. I plan to make sure I used my measuring cup and that I have the proper portion size for all of my ingredients.

How about you? Ever read a book that had you thinking, are you kidding me? Please share!

SIS Barb aka Elle J Rossi

Saturday, January 23, 2010

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:
Having a 6 year old means that I get to read a lot of children's books. Every month she has to complete four Book-Its. She has to read a book and then draw or write what she likes about it. When she turns them all in she gets a prize. Most of the time she likes to read the book herself. Sometimes we read together. I love the times she allows me to read with her. One of my favorite books to read are the Skippyjon Jones series by Judy Schachner.

Skippyjon Jones is a cat who thinks he's a Chihuahua. He calls himself Skippito. Skippito gets in a lot of trouble and likes to go on outlandish adventures. Sometimes he sings silly songs that makes me laugh as I try to "sing" the words to my daughter.

The Skippyjon Jones series is a fun read to share with children. I know I enjoy reading along.

My Book Pick of the Week: Skippyjon Jones by Judy Schachner

SIS Beth says:
Pop culture includes all sorts of entertainment, including games, right? The other day, I found the coolest updated version of something I used to love. Paper Dolls. I'm not sure if they have the conventional kind anymore, but when I was a kid, paper dolls were all the rage. I loved them. The doll itself was always of a stiffer cardboard and you could manipulate her (or him) to stand. Then there were pages of clothes and accessories. In the beginning you had to cut them out. Later, they were perforated and you could just sort of punch them out. I use to spend hours dressing my paper dolls (and of course, making them talk as if they were alive!)

Anyhoo, I've been reading a book called SOULLESS by Gail Carriger. (More on the book next week--I just started it). I checked out Ms. Carriger's website and was surprised and thrilled to see that she (and her publisher) has an electronic paper doll version of her heroine. What a hoot! You've got to check it out. Click here and play!

My Game pick of the Week: The Soulless Victorian Dress-Up Doll

SIS Beth

Friday, January 22, 2010


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Tonight I have to write a synopsis. Or at least get started on one. For me it’s comparable to pulling a story out of my butt. It’s that painful.

I hate writing a synopsis.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with a synopsis, lucky you. I mean, here’s a short description from Suite 101.
A novel synopsis is a detailed summary of a story from the start, through the middle and detailing the end. Therefore, writers have to know, however vague it may be, where they are taking the reader. A novel synopsis will introduce the main characters; will describe the major conflicts and any sub plots.

Basically, you’re telling your story beginning to end in narrative form. Along the way you want to include the conflict, major turning points, plot twists, the climax and the resolution. (Never leave an editor hanging.) If you’re writing romantic fiction, you need to focus on the conflict between the hero and heroine and how their relationship evolves. And, depending on the publishing house, you need to do all of this in 3-15 pages—depending on the publisher’s guidelines.

The shortest synop I’ve ever written was five pages. The longest, fourteen. I sold the stories on the basis of those synopsis and in both cases, the stories, when all was said and written, ended up veering greatly from the synopsis. The characters were the same. The concept, the conflict, and a few plot points the same, but the majority of the story played out differently.

Why then, you ask, do I bother writing a synopsis? Because the publisher requires it. They’re not going to buy a story blind or on a one paragraph pitch. Currently, I’m out of contract and hoping to sell a new story. So…
I gotta write a stinkin’ synopsis.

The reason I find them so painful is because I’m more of a seat-of-the-pants writer. I work best when I have a general premise, a couple of key scenes, and the major players and then let the characters lead the way. The joy and thrill is in the discovery. Learning things as I go. Then again… there’s something to be said for having a map. Something to keep you from taking too many wrong turns. This actually worked fairly well for me on my last story—Into the Wild. Although I did end up with a different villain . . . and the last quarter of the book took an unexpected turn…. And….

So basically, I should stop fretting and procrastinating and just let my imagination soar. Accept that the actual story always veers from my initial synopsis. That hasn’t proved a bad thing yet. Well, maybe once. And even that turned out okay.

So, off I go. To pull a story out of my butt. Ta-dah!
What about you? Have you written a synopsis? Love them or hate them and why?
SIS Beth

Thursday, January 21, 2010


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No, I am not sad. I'm referring to Seasonal Affective Disorder. It happens in the winter when people don't get enough sunlight. Symptoms include sleeping too much, little energy and depression. I'm not sleeping too much( who has time for that) nor am I depressed. What I have is lack of energy. I'm tired as soon as I wake up and it continues throughout the day. My minds feels as foggy as it has been outside for the past few days.

Normally I am not affected by seasonal changes. This year is throwing me for a loop. I have so little energy that it is hard to concentrate on anything that I am trying to do. I have been trying to read up on Celtic myths and Faery lore because that is where I draw most of my inspiration for my poetry. I can't seem to get my mind out of this fog. I need sunlight. Hopefully Mr. Sun will decide to grace me with his presence soon.

Do you suffer from S A D?

SIS BJ aka Aleena Ravenwood

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Out Of This World

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Do you ever just look out at the night sky and imagine the endless possibilities of other galaxies? Surely, one of those stars out there is a sun to a whole other set of planets. It’s hard for me to believe that Earth could be the only planet with life forms such as us.

My post today is a short one. Just a couple questions really. I’m interested in your thoughts on this subject.

Do you think there are other galaxies like our own, with planets that support life?

What sort of life forms do you think are out there? Would they be like us, or more like the aliens often depicted in movies?

If given the chance, would you fly to the moon, or better yet, a far away planet in another galaxy, where you could start a new life?

Please share your thoughts and have a Way out Wednesday!

SIS Bren

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Double Whammy

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Shh...Maybe she won't notice. I decided to steal SIS Brandy's day. (again) But I have something very important to discuss today.

Support Systems

Nope. I'm not talking panty hose and girdles here although I've worn my share. I'm talking about people who have our backs. People who are there in a pinch. People who are honest but sensitive. I'm privileged to surround myself with quite a few these days.

My sisters here have been extremely helpful since day 1 of my writing career. They've answered questions, read my work, offered suggestions, cheered me on and what-if'd with me over and over again.

My husband always asks how my writing is going and sends me information on the publishing world. He's encouraging and wants me to succeed. That is everything to me.

And now, after what I feel was a very long time coming, I've found a critique partner to work with. This has proven to be priceless already. If I can date myself a little with this comment...She totally rocks, dude! Not only is her writing superb, it is heart felt. I can tell she has spent a lot of time making sure that every detail is correct and yes, she is sharing some of that time with me, working on my ms. In the past 2 weeks, she's pointed out a couple of things that I hadn't thought of and encouraged me in areas I was worried about. She values my opinion every bit as much as I value hers.

So I've got one heck of a support system. How about you?

SIS Barb aka Elle J Rossi

Monday, January 18, 2010

Good Times

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Wow. Time really flies. I had no idea it was Monday already which is why I'm getting my post up late. I actually stopped by SIS to see what my sisters were talking about and thought that someone was slacking. Guess that would be me.

The reason behind my confusion? My niece and nephew (18 and 21 years old) came to visit for a few days and we had the absolute best time. These are my brothers children and I think they just needed to get away for awhile. I'm so glad they picked my house. I needed the "get away" too.

Friday night I took them out for a night of country karaoke with my friends. We danced, we laughed and we sang, sang, sang. Can I get a yee-haw? I really need to do that more often. Partly because I love to sing but more so because I need to get out of the house. I'm becoming a hermit of mega proportions.

Saturday my husband and children and I took them up to the lakefront so they could take pictures. It was FREEZING! Our hands were numb (we forgot gloves) and our eyes were watering from the wind whipping around us, but it was fun and we did get some good pictures. I'll post them to our scrapbook a little later. Afterwards, we headed to my in-laws. I could tell my niece and nephew were nervous. It only took about 10 seconds to ease their minds. They were greeted by all with hugs, food and tons of laughter. We even played a corny, but hilarious, game of charades. My nephew, Michael, told us about a website--all of you must go on--called the people of OMG. It was so funny. My husband's eighty year old grandmother was laughing so hard. I have to admit, I was a little worried. But Grandma Dot was just fine. We probably looked at about 500 pictures.

Later, my nephew and I had a long talk and he told me that he has never felt that welcomed in his entire life. This made my cry. And even though I really don't care for the word lucky, I think in this case it is most definitely apropos.

My daughter had a basketball game on Sunday and we all went to root her on. Then we hit the mall and wrapped it up last night with The Golden Globes and the 5th Bring It On movie.

I hope they get a chance to come back in the summer. Winters are brutal here but summers...summers are beautiful.

Family is good.

SIS Barb aka Elle J Rossi

Saturday, January 16, 2010

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 Sunday I went to the movies (an actual movie theater) for the first time in a year. I couldn't believe it had been that long, but last year was so jammed pack schedule wise, I simply hadn't the time. It was quiet a treat seeing a movie on the big screen, especially THIS movie!
Director Guy Ritchie put a fresh and unique spin on Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick Dr. Watson. The chemistry between Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law was quite fun. The cinematography was dark, gritty, and impressive. The acting superb. The story was packed with action and humor and a lot of twists and turns. I was thoroughly entertained and cannot wait for the sequel. That's if they make it. They must! There was a set up and everything. I went to see the movie hoping to come away inspired. Mission accomplished!

My Movie Pick of the Week: Sherlock Holmes (2009)

SIS Barb says:
I was discussing a book series with a friend this week. I realized I've yet to finish the series and want to rectify that. What I like about these stories are the duel story lines. The first set in present time and the second set in the past--I believe mainly in the WW1 era but I'd have to revisit them to confirm that all of them were set during that time. The secondary characters are always older and we get a glimpse into what made them the people they have become. One of these stories was actually the first to ever make me cry. A lot of books move me but rarely to the point of tears. SIS Beth turned me onto this series. I'll have to see if she's finished them.

My Series Pick of the Week: The Troubleshooter series by Suzanne Brockmann
Love these books. Based around a team of U.S. Navy SEAL's, we are never at a loss for danger, excitement and sex appeal. The characters are wonderful. The missions are intense. The love stories are everything we'd want them to be and more. The first book in the series is The Unsung Hero and I'd highly recommend starting there!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Writing Projects -- Present and Future

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Typically, I write my Friday post the night before. I contemplated my subject matter through the week. I contemplated really hard yesterday. But nothing sparked. As of this morning, I still wasn't inspired to write about a particular subject. Desperate for a topic, I decided (five seconds ago) to fill you in on the writing side of my life. Where I am and what's in the works.

*OUT OF EDEN, my next rom-com adventure for HQN (Harlequin) will hit shelves April 1st. At this point, my job is to pre-promote that book. I've learned over the years that not all promotional efforts (on the author's part) are cost-effective, so I'm very picky. This entails brainstorming new ideas and researching established opportunities. I've actually been doing that for the last couple of months and am now in the process of implementing some of those promo efforts. On that front--shameless hawking here--if any one's interested in a guest blogger in March, I'm available!

I'm also keeping a keen eye on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The publisher hasn't upload the cover and excerpt yet. I'm curious as to if I'll see a lift in pre-sales when they do. I'm also mentally preparing myself for 'reviews'. They should start trickling in another 90 days or so.

*INTO THE WILD, my September release with HQN, is written and turned in, but I'm waiting for the revision letter from my editor. I already know that I'm short on word count, but, even though I have the free time now, I hesitate to tinker with that story until I get the revision letter. My editor may require specific changes that may or may not be time intensive. Rather than expanding on something that she may want drastically altered or even deleted strikes me as a waste of time and energy. So I'm in waiting mode.

Meanwhile, yesterday I received a PDF of the cover for INTO THE WILD. It's quite lovely! Fun and sexy. Unfortunately, I can't share it with you yet. Soon though.

*Book Proposals. Currently, I have met all of my contracted obligations. Which means I'm 'out of contract'. Which means I need to supply my agent with a book proposal so she can try to sell that book to a publishing house, garnering a new contract. A book proposal typically consists of the first three chapters of a story and a 6-10 page synopsis. A synopsis, for those who don't know, is a condensed version of your story--beginning to end. This is always a tough one for me. As a 'seat-of-the-pants' writer, my stories often unfold as I write them. But a synopsis is a necessary evil, so I've learned to suck it up and to create them . . . even though the actual story almost always veers away.

I've spent the last two weeks working on the first three chapters of a series idea that's been simmering and morphing in my brain for several months. I hope to finish polishing that today, but still need to write the synop. Bleh.

I also have two other proposals in mind. My goal is to bring one of those two life over the weekend so that I have two full proposals to submit to my agent this coming week. It's an exciting time because I'm tinkering with fresh ideas. It's also a nail-biting time, because what if neither of these proposals sell? Then it's back to the drawing board and the longer I'm out of contract, the longer between published releases. So... I'm feeling a wee bit of pressure. That said, I should get cracking on that proposal!

What about you? Where are you in past, present and future projects?

SIS Beth

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Guardian Dragon

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We have talked about Guardian Angels on here before. I believe we all have one in some form or another. In fact, we probably have more than one.

One of my Guardian Spirits is a Dragon. You see, I have a great fear of driving. Years ago I was shopping in an Oriental themed store and I was looking at some dragon charms made of Jade. The sales lady told me they were for safe travel and they were to be hung on the rearview mirror of your car. Of course I had to snatch it up.

My Dragon friend has been hanging in every car I have driven since the day I found him. When I am driving and start to feel nervous, I reach over and rub the charm and ask my Dragon friend to protect me. The Dragon on the charm is an Eastern Dragon (think Oriental), but when I ask for his protection he appears to me as a Western Dragon (think King Arthur type dragon),flying right above my car ready to grab hold with his talons if needed. He is a beautiful Dragon. Black with jewel like cobolt blue scales scattered about his body. I relax every time I imagine him.

My Dragon friend visits during bad storms as well. He sits atop my house ready to protect it and its inhabitants from strong winds and falling trees. He is a great friend to have around and I always thank him for his presence.

Is my Dragon friend real? I don't know,but the thought of a Dragon being there to protect me and those I love brings me great comfort.

What about you? Do you have Guardian Spirits that are different from you Guardian Angel? If so, what do they look like?

SIS BJ aka Aleena Blackwood

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

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As most of you know, my little dog, Dizzy, went missing this past weekend. I had to go out of town for work and we left Dizzy with family about 15 miles from where we live. They have a small dog also and Dizzy likes to play with her. So we dropped him off early Saturday and headed South to sing back ups for Elvis.

Sometime early Saturday evening they noticed it was getting cold in the house. They started looking and noticed the front door was open. They had company over and apparently one of the kids hadn't closed the door all the way. Now the panic started to set in. They started a frantic search of the house thinking Dizzy might just be hiding somewhere. After a half hour they moved the search outside. They decided they didn't want to worry me yet because they were sure they could find him.

James, my er, step son-in-law, jumped on his neighbor's 4 wheeler while his wife and kids and their friends started making signs and posting them in the neighborhood. They searched until 1:00 in the morning, Sunday. They live in a sub-division surrounded by wilderness. Woods, lakes, ponds, fields, wildlife...there were just so many places he could have gone.

We got the call early Sunday morning and hurriedly packed our things and started our hour and half drive to their house. So many thoughts ran through my mind. The previous night had been on of the coldest here ever with lows around 30. Not to mention the thought of the coyotes and alligators in the area. I was worried out of mind.

We began immediately searching the area he had last been seen which was in the area of the wilderness I mentioned. We called shelters, but no one would answer because it was Sunday. I asked my step-daughter to post an ad on Craig's List. We searched for hours and then headed home so I could make fliers with his picture on it.

Later that afternoon we returned to the search area and called for him until it was so dark we could no longer see. I was now devastated. Sunday night would be a colder night yet with temps dropping to 27 degrees. We returned home and I started sending e-mails to shelters and posted another ad on Craig's List with more detail and his picture attached. I cried myself to sleep on the sofa, I slept there in case somehow he found his way home. I held on to the hope that in the morning, when the shelters were opened, we would find him.

Monday morning came and I began frantically calling the shelters. No one could tell me anything on the phone, they were swamped, so I'd have to come in and look. I headed back North with more fliers in hand and began posting and leaving them with animal hospitals, groomers, businesses, anywhere I could think of. Moose, my other wonderdog, and I began our search again. Walking the fields, driving the neighborhoods, and calling out his name. We had received no calls from the shelters or from the fliers we had posted and around 2:30 I headed home to print yet more fliers to pass out.

I can't begin to tell you the overwhelming feeling of deseration that loomed over me. I was crying non-stop and trying my best to keep a positive outlook. It wasn't so much the feeling that I may never see him again that was killing me. It was the thought of what he was going through that was ripping my heart out. He was cold and alone and in a very unfamiliar place. I prayed that he had not been hurt by another animal. But if someone had found him, why were they not calling? I was a mess.

I was half way home when I got the call. A woman had seen my post on Craig's List, saw the picture, and just knew that she had seen Dizzy in her neighborhood all day Sunday, Sunday night and Monday morning. Several times Sunday night, he would scratch on their door and peer into their window, but when they would try to let him in he would run. They said it was if he was looking for me and when he saw I wasn't there, he would run. But he kept coming back. In fact, she and her husband had left the garage door slightly opened and left a blanket for him and he had spent the night Sunday in their garage. When they saw him Monday morning, they tried to close the door but he darted beneath it and ran off.

I whipped the car around and began calling in the troops. I told everyone to go to this neighborhood and start looking. Long story short, and I know it's too late, but six of us walked and drove that neighborhood for 4 hours calling for Dizzy. Lots of people had seen him earlier, but now there was no sight of him. I finally told P.J., the lady who had called me, that we were just going to park in front of her house and wait. So Moose, my husband, and I, sat in our car with the window down, freezing our butts off and waited.

Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted him walking up the sidewalk beside the car, headed for that garage. I called his name, and he froze with that "deer in the headlights" look, looking like he would bolt, but I called his name and opened the door and he ran to me and jumped in my arms. I was crying, he was crying, and we carried him up to P.J.'s front door and when she saw him she was crying.

He was in great shape. He was dirty and his fur was full of prickers and sticks, but all in all, he was great. It was a miracle to me.

I must mention that it is incredible how very thoughtful and helpful people were in my search for Diz. Even Sis Barb was searching from far away. She was finding me numbers to call and even calling numbers herself, and offering suggestions the whole way. SIS Beth sent me a very thoughtful and encouraging e-mail. And all of you sent me well wishes. I'm grateful and thankful!

SO....after all this rambling...have you ever felt so desperate and devastated and then had it turn the other way and end with a glorious ending? Please share!

SIS Bren

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

All in a Day's Work

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I feel like I have been so out of the loop!! The last week or so, I have had technical problems with my internet. Between that and working late nights I didn't even get a chance to check the SIS site. I just now read yesterday's post. Welcome home Dizzy! I was feeling so bad for Brenda and then all of a sudden... he's home!!!

So anyway... I have been all over the place over the last couple of days. We had to make a mad rush from one account to the other. It was quite interesting.

Sunday was the last day of the sale in VA. We worked until 7pm. From there we headed up to CT. We had to run a training session first thing Monday morning, so there was no time to spare! So we packed 6 people and our luggage into a rental van and headed out! (I was plenty comfy - I got shotgun!)

We made pretty good time - got to our hotel at 2AM. After a short "nap" I was up and ready for the meeting. Then there was setup at the dealership, visiting with personnel, blah blah blah. I am tired!!!

The best part of the last two days..... NEW YORK CITY!!! I had never seen it. The whole trip I was so excited to just be able to even drive around it. I wanted to see the lights, the buildings, everything. The route we took didn't give me a chance to really really see everything, but I still got some great views. It gave me butterflies.

What have I missed out on this last week? Anyone have anything going on I should know about? Anybody do anything exciting? Fill me in!!!

SIS Brandy

Monday, January 11, 2010

Whatcha Lookin' At?

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I'm curious. Where are you most productive? Do you have an office? A Desk? The kitchen table? A favorite chair? A coffee shop? A bookstore?

Is it quiet? Is there chaos? Music? TV?

What time is it? First thing in the morning? Mid afternoon? Late at night? All day long?

Do you surround yourself with inspiration? Character pictures? Research books? Clutter?

Are you organized? A hot mess?

Me? I've found that I'm most productive sitting in my chaise lounge with the laptop in front of me. I've got my headphones on but my music selection varies each day. Some days it's Mozart. Others it's Boyz II Men, Chris Young, Miranda Lambert, Kelly Clarkson or Willie Nelson. My kids constantly interrupt me and my husband is always asking what's for dinner. But still I manage to crank out more words during those times than when I'm all alone in a quiet house sitting at the new desk.

My 2nd most productive writing time is Monday mornings at Caribou coffee. I'm not sure what it is. I think I just like the vibe.

Another quick question...American Idol starts tomorrow. Will you be watching this season?

On a side note: SIS Bren's dog, Dizzy, is missing. He was staying with some family while Bren and her husband were out of town and he escaped. Brenda has had Dizzy for more years than I can remember. She is doing everything she can to find him. Please send thoughts and prayers her way so that they can be reunited.

SIS Barb aka Elle J Rossi

Saturday, January 9, 2010

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 recently watched a movie that charmed and fascinated me. I loved the concept, adored the acting, and appreciated being swept away in a fantasical adventure. I highly recommend this movie for kids as well as the young at heart. Bren would say I'm doing this backward, but I enjoyed the movie so much, I'm now reading the book.

A blurb from IMDB: A young girl discovers her father has an amazing talent to bring characters out of their books and must try to stop a freed villain from destroying them all, with the help of her father, her aunt, and a storybook's hero.

My Movie Pick of the Week: Inkheart (2008)

SIS BJ says...
I am only a couple pages into this book because I just picked it up today. I have been wanting to read it ever since I saw the preview for it on TV. Like Brenda, I like to read the book before seeing the movie. Even though I am only a few pages into it, I am hooked already.

The book I am talking about is The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. It is a story about a young girl who is murdered and comes back as a ghost to help her father find her murderer.

I will let you know what I really think about it when I am finished reading. Right now I am sure that I am going to love it.

My Book Pick of the Week: The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

SIS Bren says...
As stated above, I do always prefer to read the book before watching the movie. But in this case, I saw the movie first and in fact have seen it numerous times and still have not read the book. The movie is so great that I can hardly imagine the book could be better. I'll have to read it to find out.
Every actor in this movie delivers an exceptional performance. I cry with them, I hate with them, I laugh with them (though there is not much laughter in this movie). Michael Clarke Duncan tears at my heart each and every time.
From IMDb: Paul Edgecomb is a slightly cynical veteran prison guard on Death row in the 1930's. His faith, and sanity, deteriorated by watching men live and die, Edgecomb is about to have a complete turn around in attitude. Enter John Coffey, He's eight feet tall. He has hands the size of waffle irons. He's been accused of the murder of two children... and he's afraid to sleep in a cell without a night-light. And Edgecomb, as well as the other prison guards - Brutus, a sympathetic guard, and Percy, a stuck up, perverse, and violent person, are in for a strange experience that involves intelligent mice, brutal executions, and the revelation about Coffey's innocence and his true identity.
My Movie Pick of the Week: The Green Mile (1999)

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Good Stuff

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Pursuing and maintaining a writing career can be tough to be sure. I've bemoaned my hectic schedule plenty here at SIS. Meeting deadlines can be a bear. Competiton is fierce. The economy is in the dumper. Traditional publishing is in a tailspin. Sometimes one can get so wrap up and overwhelmed with the business that they forget to celebrate the good stuff. Today, I'm sharing the good stuff.

Behold the cover of my upcoming release: Out of Eden!
Pretty, huh? And kind of sassy doncha think? I'm really pleased with it. Covers are so important. Occasionally readers choose a book simply because they're wowed by the cover. The back cover blurb is important, too. I'm hoping readers are wowed enough by the 'package' to peek inside. Once inside, well, they're in for a wild ride. Hopefully one they'll thoroughly enjoy.

Good stuff.... Although the official release date for Out of Eden is April 1, 2010, you can pre-order a copy now!

More good stuff... Out of Eden features a dog, Shy, who I based on my real-life dog Cheyenne. While you're waiting for the release of Out of Eden you can meet the quirky characters through Shy's eyes. Visit her blog, Barking at Eden's Door, and meet a new character each week for the next few months!

More good stuff... I can't remember if I mentioned it here, but I have a brand new spiffy website. Special thanks to Rae Monet of Rae Monet Inc. Designs for her awesome work. Please hop over and tour my new home!

Wow. It felt really good to share my good stuff! What about you? Share something good. Anything at all! Let's wallow in the positive!

Special note: A loud and merry shout out from SIS to Mary Stella whose celebrating her birthday (yesterday) all month long! Good stuff!

SIS Beth

Thursday, January 7, 2010


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For this new year I have decided to try my hand at writing poetry professionally. In the past I have written poetry for my eyes only. The only time I have shared my poems is on this blog. I am usually a very private person. Blogging on this site is the most I have "talked" to anyone in a long time. Just ask my sisters. They can only keep me on the phone for a couple minutes. Putting myself out there is going to be hard. My hopes are to have at least one poem published by the end of this year. Of course, I would love to have many more published.

I have been reading up on how to write poetry professionally. Poems need to have metaphors and similes in them. I'm good at similes, but not so much at metaphors. Their definitions are so close that they can be confused with one another.

Metaphor: n. A figure of speech in which a word or phrase that ordinarily designates one thing is used to designate another, thus making an implicit comparison.

Simile: n. A figure of speech in which two essentially unlike things are compared, often in a phrase introduced by like or as.

I have now challenged myself to work very hard at understanding and using metaphors in my poetry. This means reading a lot of poetry and finding the metaphors within them. At least I will enjoy the endeavor.

My question to you is: Do you use metaphors and similes in your writing? If so; which one comes easier to you?

SIS BJ aka Aleena Blackwood

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Negative, shmegative

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Last night I reconnected with an old friend. I haven’t talked to her in a few years and suddenly she popped into my head and we ended up on the phone chatting for quite a while. I am SO glad I called her. She is an amazing person…so loving, so comforting…everything you could ask for in a friend. Shame on me for not being in touch with her.

Because of our conversation, I’ve decided to let go of all the negativity that has been ruling my life for the past few years. I thought that I had let it go, but obviously I haven’t. I still lie awake at night thinking of things that are out of my control and crying about them and wishing things were different. But they aren’t and they probably never will be. So that’s it. I’m done with it. Well at least I hope so.

It’s crazy how these things can build up and take over your life. I can only imagine how much further I would be in my writing if I didn’t allow negative situations to consume me. I can only imagine how much better I would have felt about myself if I had just let go. So, in this new year, that is my goal. To just say no to people and situations that bring nothing but headaches! I really hope I can make it happen.

How do you handle negativity? Do you allow other people’s opinions of you or hard times to really affect you or are you able to brush it off? And if you ARE on of those people who can just brush it off, please tell me how you do that.

By the way, I must mention that my friend is an AMAZING singer. She has a God-given talent that I have always admired. AND she is a really good person. I mean truly, deep down and to the core, she is gold. Please check out her web site…

Thanks, Robin, for the great chat. I love you and your wonderful husband, Pat Galleo! You mean the world to me!

Have a Glorious Wednesday Everyone,

SIS Bren

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

YA...Yay or Nay

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Hi! Brandy is in Virginia and having very sketchy internet access so y'all get me! Try to contain your enthusiasm. You'll make Brandy feel bad.

My topic today? YA. Young Adult. The genre not the people. I recently read an article that talked about the growing popularity of this genre and how publishers will be offering more contracts as well as larger advances to authors of this genre.

My first thought? Crap with a capitol C! I don't write YA. Come to think of it, I've never even read YA. SIS Beth advised me not to be discouraged. There are always trends. Always. Just keep writing. That's the important thing. She also suggested that I read a YA. She said I'd be surprised.

A quick peruse of my personal library and I had one in hand. I remember purchasing it at my local bookstore just last month. Why? I'm only slightly embarrassed to admit it was primarily because of the cover. One of the best looking and best feeling covers I have ever come across. You have to see it and feel it to completely understand. Another reason I bought it was because someone at the bookstore had written a note stating it was better than Twilight. Really? Wow. I say this without ever having read Twilight but I know what a huge phenomenon it is. HUGE.

I blogged about this book at Loud Whispers but I had only just begun to read it. I'm now on page 483 and can I say...Oh my goodness? This book is fantastic. Beautiful Creatures is the debut book of Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. Debut? Are you kidding me? This story is so well written I can't stand it. Their description of the southern scenery, the small town people and the not so small town "people" is something I hope to learn from. Amazing. Simply amazing.

I started off having doubts. First of all it's written in first person through a 16 year old boy. Really? Yep and let me tell you, I quickly learned to love first person through that 16 year old boy. Second of all, the romance is between this 16 year old mortal boy and a 15 year old "Caster" girl. I got over this as well. Ethan and Lena will stay with me for a very, very long time.

I guess my point it this: I shouldn't knock it 'til I try it and if this is YA, I definitely say YAY.

How about you? YA? Yay or Nay?

SIS Barb aka Elle J Rossi

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Witch Is In The House!

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NOTE FROM SIS... Please welcome, multi published author, Linda Wisdom!

Mega thanks to the sisters for having me here.

First off, I’ve been published for 30 years writing for Silhouette and Harlequin books, Dell Candlelight Ecstasy, Bantam Loveswept, and a single title romantic suspense with Kensington. I think all I wrote in the past prepared me for now.

Elle asked me to talk about the witches in my paranormal series and why I chose the hexsters.

I’ve always enjoyed witches be it Looney Tunes Witch Hazel (I totally love her laugh), Samantha Stevens (even if she gave in to Darrin too much on her power), Veronica Lake’s old Salem witch in My Favorite Witch and moving up to the sisters in Practical Magic, which is one of my favorite movies. I wanted witches that did more than cast spells and dispelled the rumor they ride brooms or wear pointy hats. I think my series did that.

Jazz and her fellow witches began in 2005. My agent at the time wanted me to write dark edgy vampires and while I love reading them I knew I couldn’t write it and I didn’t want to make myself crazy (okay, crazier) trying to write it. Then Jazz popped into my head with “you really need to write about me”. Cute, sassy, snarky, and totally fun. My kind of witch. I saw Irma, her ghostly sidekick, Fluff and Puff, her fangy bunny slippers, and best of, Nick, the sexiest vampire around.

The premise behind the series is that the class of 1313 of the Witches Academy was expelled after one of the students performed an illegal spell on a local nobleman and no one would own up nor snitch. The girls stood together. So they were banished for 100 years as long as they behaved. And 700 years later they’re still out in the world. And more time is added to the 100 years each time they do something the Witches Council doesn’t feel is appropriate.

Instead of a series featuring the same characters, I hope to write all the witches in the class. Each with their own distinct personality and power. So far, I have Jazz, the witch who can eliminate curses and lives in LA, because Hollywood needs her. Stasi, who deals in romance, creates love spells and owns a lingerie/romance bookstore in a small mountain town. Blair, Stasi’s housemate, who owns a retro shop and very gifted in revenge spells. If your husband or boyfriend cheats on you she’s the one to go to. Maggie, my kick ass witch, who’s a member of the Cerberus Guard, protectors of all creatures. She’s happiest when she’s fighting someone. And Thea, the diva romance novelist, whose day is dreary if she’s not on the NYT bestseller list or she breaks a nail.

As for the men. Total yum! Jazz has vampire Nick, her on and off again lover for the past few hundred years. Stasi has wizard attorney Trev, who’s got sex appeal. Blair’s honey, Jake, a local carpenter with some furry secrets. A hot half fire demon named Declan for Maggie and a ghostly gunfighter for Thea.

What can I say? I can’t make it too easy for them, can I? And I don’t. But that also can mean I don’t make it easy for myself.

It’s not just researching spells, I’m also researching the past, because these witches have a long history and I need to make sure the historical facts are correct. Not that they’ve been noblewomen in the past. Jazz spent the longest two hours of her life as a carhop. Stasi was a seamstress for a duchess. Blair had been a parlor maid. Maggie was able to work as a bodyguard for female nobility and Thea wrote novels under various pen names.

Magick means you can’t use it for personal gain and they, especially, couldn’t. They could protect themselves and even protect the weak.

Along the way, they learned a lot about themselves and many times had fun doing it.

I also wanted to create characters that I hoped my readers could identify with. Women they’d want to hang out with, go shopping, and have lunch with. Sure, they have great magickal power, have creature sidekicks most of us wouldn’t think of, and they’ve been on earth a long time, but they also have their Starbucks addiction and Jazz can’t live without the creams from The Body Bakery. They’re still thrust into very human situations and I love to play with how they’ll deal with them.

A high praise for any author is to hear her readers love her characters or want a pair of magick bunny slippers. As for me, not only do I have a couple pair of bunny slippers that seem to scoot around during the night, but they’re also tattooed on my ankle as is Horace, Stasi’s perv of a gargoyle.

By now, they’re friends and very real to me. I hope that any of you that read my books will feel the same way.

And what about you? Do you enjoy snarky and sexy? Or something darker? And would you want a pair of bunny slippers that can eat a man if they’re so inclined?


**A note from Elle--if anyone is interested in taking one of Linda's online classes, you can find a list of them at I've already signed up for "My Bunny Slippers Ate My Homework". Join me in learning from the best how to weave preternatural creatures into your story!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

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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...
I'm going with a game this week. YAHTZEE!! I remember sitting around the kitchen table with Mom and sisters playing this game for hours. We always had so much fun. Mom seemed to get all the Yahtzees'. I think she may have figured out a way to cheat. I don't know how someone could so many in one game. Now I sit around my kithen table and play with my girls. We end up having a blast no matter who wins.

My Game Pick of the Week: YAHTZEE

SIS Beth says...
On our drive up to Long Island for Christmas Eve, Steve and I listened to various interviews on NPR. One of those interviews was with Richard Carpenter. Anyone remember him? The male half of the famous brother and sisters pop sensation--The Carpenters. Sadly his sister, Karen Carpenter, died in 1983 at age 32--heart failure linked to anorexia. To this day, Karen is one of my all time favorite vocalists. I adore her voice. And her music. Some people think of their hits, songs such as 'Close to You, We've Only Just Begun, and 'Rainy Days and Mondays' as corny pop. But I've always thought them beautiful and magical. To mark the 40th anniversary of when the Carpenters first signed with A&M records, in October 2009 Richard released a 2 CD set called 40/40. It's packed with their greatest hits plus songs I've never heard. Knowing how much I love the Carpenters, Steve got me this album for Christmas. The music... Karen's voice... she makes my heart sing!

My music pick of the week: 40/40 by The Carpenters

SIS Barb says:
On New Years Eve I scrolled through movies on demand in hopes of finding a movie the entire family would enjoy. It was pretty slim pickins, let me tell ya. Thankfully, a movie I'd really wanted to see was at the bottom of the list. Alphabetically speaking that is.

We laughed, I almost cried, we laughed some more, we bit our nails and then we laughed and laughed some more. The characters were wonderfully fantastic, the plot, romantic, heart-felt and a true adventure. This is how we should all live our lives. One adventure after another whether they be the adventure in our own home with our own family or whether we head off to South America in search of Paradise Falls.

My Movie Pick of the Week: UP

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year... New Attitude

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Here we are. January 1, 2010. The first day of a new year. The first day of my new attitude.

After a difficult year, personally and professionally, I’ve decided to attack life by living it. This means shedding my all-work-no-play mentality in dogged pursuit of a dream. It won’t be easy because: A) I’m a creature of habit, and B) the dream to earn my living solely as a writer still burns bright.

I’m not giving up, but I am adjusting my expectations. This includes altering my idea of ‘success’.

I’ve spent the last fifteen years working my butt off to achieve certain goals in my writing career. My dedication and perseverance paid off in many ways, but not in all the ways I had hoped. Typically I’m an optimist, but in 2009 I was a first-class pessimist. I focused on the negative aspects of my writing career. On everything that had gone wrong or hadn’t panned out. Instead of celebrating my achievements, I wallowed in what I perceived as my failures. Let me tell you, I wallowed big time.

A couple of weeks ago, in a moment of deep depression, I actually voiced my darkest thought to my husband. “I feel like a failure.”

I couldn’t believe those words left my mouth.

In reality, everything that had gone wrong or hadn’t panned out for my books was out of my control. In reality, luck and the current state of publishing weren’t on my side. My less-than-stellar-sales and status in the publishing world are not a reflection of my writing. The logical side of me knows this. But the dreamer . . .

My husband quickly and calmly pointed out that I haven’t failed. He added that, quite frankly, he’s amazed by all that I’ve achieved. It was the kindest and wisest thing he could have said because in that moment, I got it.

When I started writing fifteen years ago, I had no formal training. I was a professional performer. All of my training and experience was in musical entertainment. But I attacked my new passion, my new dream of being a published author with a vengeance. I joined writers’ organizations. I read books on craft and business. I attended workshops. I wrote day-in-day out. I submitted my work to publishers and agents over and over. I endured rejection over and over. Until one day . . .

First I published with a small press print publisher—three books co-written under the name CB Scott. Then I signed solo with Medallion Press—six books. Four of these resulted in foreign sales, all garnered fabulous reviews, including a positive nod from Publishers Weekly. Then I signed with my current dynamo agent, Amy Moore-Benson. Next came a three book contract with HQN (Harlequin). More stellar reviews and awards. Fan mail! Appearances at major trade shows and conferences. Another two-book contract with HQN.

To date, I’ve written and published fourteen books (including the two that are due for release this year). I’ve averaged two books a year for the last six years… while working a fulltime day gig. All of these books have been hits with reviewers and readers.

How am I a failure?

I’m not. My mistake was in assuming certain things would naturally happen at certain stages of my career. My mistake was in comparing my ‘achievements’ with those of other authors. Huge, honking mistake. There are so many variables. Reality check. I’m not them. I’m me. And (note to self) I’m pretty darn charmed.

My original goal was to sign with a major New York publisher. To share my stories with thousands of readers. To see my stories in print and in book stores.

I’ve done all that… and more. I succeeded. I conquered. I should be happy dancing, not wallowing. I should be living life, embracing the future, exploring new opportunities.

I don’t have resolution or goal this year. I have a new attitude, a new mantra.

Live. Embrace. Explore.

SIS Beth