Friday, February 26, 2010

Real Life Woo-Woo

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Recently, a friend of mine approached me with an interesting mix of humor and angst. "You're going to think I'm crazy, but . . ."

She proceeded to tell me about these strange going-ons in her house. Hearing things. Seeing things. Sensing and feeling things. You see where I'm going. She (and her kids) were convinced their house was haunted.

"Do you believe in stuff like that?" she asked.

"Absolutely," I answered.

My skin got all tingly as she relayed several episodes. I could envision what she saw, imagine what she (and her kids) felt. I pointed out that the spirit was probably harmless. I made a few jokes, trying to ease her fear. Easy for me. I'm not the one living in a (possibly) haunted house.
Still, I truly did understand. I didn't think she was crazy, because, yeah, I believe in that sort of stuff. I've had a couple of experiences of my own.

When I was a kid, third grade maybe, I saw a scary movie, Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte. Scared the bejeebers out of me. I don't remember anything about it now except it was in black & white, starred Bette Davis (I think) and involved a decapitated head in a box. Yeah. Yuk. Anyhoo, not long after, a night or so later, I was laying in bed, facing the window. A storm raged outside as I tried to sleep. Thunder. Lightning. In a flash, I saw a man standing in my window. A man holding his head. Yes, yes. I know. It HAD to be my imagination. An image prompted by the movie. Except, I can still 'see' that image to this day. It was real. He was real. Whoever he was.

I never felt comfortable in that house again. A house I loved. A house we moved out of not long after. Perhaps I should research the history of that house. Maybe there was a freak farm accident. Maybe a murder occurred there. Who knows?

Fast forward to many years later. My early 30s. The first home my husband and I occupied as man and wife. I really loved that place. So much personality. So charming and homey, and yet... I had a terrible time sleeping. I always felt that someone, other than my husband, was there. It was eerie to think that an uneasy spirit lived there, too. I read up on the matter. I remember laying there at night, mentally telling the 'spirit' that it was okay to 'crossover'. In the end, we moved before he/she made that jump. Hmmm. I should research the history of that house, too

A few years later, the week after my stepfather passed away, I was performing on stage at a local casino, singing a country song. I glanced up to an upper level where people could look over and listen. I saw a short man with a beard and a cowboy hat. I could swear it was Tommy. The moment stole my breath away and gave me goosebumps. It's not the first time I thought I saw a friend or family member who'd died.

So, no. I don't think my friend's nuts. That would make me nuts because ... I believe. I know we've touched on topics like this before, but what about you? Do you believe? Any woo-woo stories to share?
SIS Beth

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Say What?!

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Surprise! You're getting me today instead of BJ. And, since you'll be getting me again tomorrow (my normal day), and also since I'm jamming on story revisions, I'll keep this short.

As you know, my beloved pets bring me (and Steve) much joy. Here's one of my favorite pics of Sadie (the cat) and Nia (the pup). Believe it or not they do stuff like this quite a bit. They wrestle a lot too! Crazy.

Have some fun and make me smile. Stretch your creative muscles and caption this photo! OR... share a sweet or funny story about your past or present pet!

SIS Beth

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Got News?

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Every morning when I get up, I turn on CNN Headline News. It’s about my only chance to catch up with what’s going on in the world. Plus, I really enjoy Robin Meade, Bob Van Dillen, and Rafer Wigel. It’s usually a pretty good start to my day, whether the news is good or bad.

But here’s my problem. When I turn on the news, I want to hear the news. I could care less about what’s going on in Tiger Woods’ personal life. He’s a celebrity because he’s a golfer, not because he’s a great husband.

It could be any one of a handful of celebrities, but let’s just pick Tiger Woods because he’s the big “news” of today. I personally, could care less about his personal life. It’s nice that he’s married and has kids, but he’s not a personal friend of mine, so basically, I don’t care about anything in his private life.

He’s a golfer. He’s an incredible golfer. So if he’s the highlight of the sports segment in the news, then that’s great. But I am so tired of seeing his face plastered all over the news. To me, it’s just gossip. Why are we as a nation so hung up on gossip?

Imagine how horrible it was for his wife to discover not only that he had cheated, but just how involved that cheating was. It must have been devastating. But then imagine how much worse it was for her when his infidelities were broadcast for the ENTIRE world to see.

Why is it anyone’s business? I believe it’s something for them to hash out as a man and wife. If people are allowing their children to look up to him as a role model, then they need to tell their children that they should strive to have his work ethic, but not his personal morals.

I think that Tiger Woods should be in the news because of his golfing ability. Otherwise, unless he is suddenly arrested for being a mass murderer, I really don’t care. If he happens to smash his caddy in the head with a 9 iron, then I guess that could be included in the sports segment.

And one more thing…I can’t believe that anyone is quacking about the fact that he has not publicly apologized to his mistresses. Please! These women knew that he was married and had children. Did they really believe him if he was telling them how much he loved them? He was lying to his wife so what would make them think he wasn’t lying to them? Apologize for what? They knew exactly what they were doing and what they were getting.

Where do you stand on this subject? Do you think that if a person is a celebrity, we all have the right to know everything about their lives, professional AND personal? Do you think their infidelities are newsworthy? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

SIS Bren

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Let's Have a Drink

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I have been very stressed out lately. Just lots of stuff going on in my world. One thing that always helps me feel a little better is a nice tasy bloody mary!

I make a great bloody mary. If I am making it from scratch, I start with Clamato. It is a greast base!! Then just add some pepper, lemon, tobassco, worchestchire, garlic pepper, and olives. Oh yeah, how did I forget the vodka?!?!? You don't need any fancy brand, but if you put just a little extra in relaxation will find you in no time!! For a quick bloody mary, the Zing Zang mix is great. You don't even really need to add anything but the alcohol.

It's pretty sad that I couldn't think of anything else to post about, but oh well. I want to know what your drink of choice is. If you have any yummy recipes let us have them. Come on... we'll just have happy hour all day long.

SIS Brandy

Monday, February 22, 2010

My Ideas Are Not My Own

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I've been told that there are only so many ideas out there. So many plots. So many words. So many heroes and so many heroines. Of course, I was immune to this. My idea was new. Never been done. Fresh. Amazing.

Conceited much? Sometimes. But there's always something out there that will bring me back from the land of Conceitville. This time it was in the form of one of my favorite authors.

Here's the deal. I'm writing a paranormal. In my paranormal there are immortals. Many different species of immortals. Some get along. Many don't. I had a word for all the different species. Something they called each other. At first I thought the word was lame, but it grew on me. I thought I was having a genius moment. Until this weekend.

I happened to be reading the latest release by this author and about 10 pages in, she used MY word. I blinked, re-read, blinked some more and then shouted, "OH NO!". This couldn't be. That was my idea. My word. I was seriously in panic mode.

Since then it's been explained to me that several (lots) of writers have used this word. Guess I'm no genius after all. This time anyway. Now I'm on a mission to create a word. One that I'm sure no one will have ever used. I'll do it. I swear.

Anything like this ever happen to you? Anyone ever stolen your idea before you even had the chance to share yours?

SIS Barb aka Elle J Rossi

Saturday, February 20, 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:
My recommendation for this week is very simple. The Sounds of Nature. Step outside and listen to the birds sing, the wind blowing through trees, waves crashing onto the shell covered beach and water running smoothly through a stream. Enjoy!

My "Music" Pick of the Week: The Sounds of Nature

SIS Beth Says:
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to see a film based on a children's book by Ronald Dahl. I admit, I was tempted because George Clooney played the lead. I love Clooney. The man is funny, charming, and sexy... even as a stop-animation fox.

From IMDB: It is the story of one Mr. Fox and his wild-ways of hen heckling, turkey taking and cider sipping, nocturnal, instinctive adventures. He has to put his wild days behind him and do what fathers do best: be responsible. He is too rebellious. He is too wild. He is going to try "just one more raid" on the three nastiest, meanest farmers that are Boggis, Bunce and Bean. It is a tale of crossing the line of family responsibilities and midnight adventure and the friendships and awakenings of this country life that is inhabited by Fantastic Mr. Fox and his friends.

I adored this movie. Perfect for kids and adults. Touching and funny--an overall delight!

My "Movie" Pick of The Week: Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

Friday, February 19, 2010

My Big Honking Thrill

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I'll be the first one to advise any artist to take reviews of their work with a grain of salt. One person's opinion. Taste is subjective. However, even though I preach this and believe it, it's still hard not to feel the rush of a good review and the sting of the bad.

My method: Enjoy and celebrate the good reviews forever. Endure the sting of a bad review for a day then shrug it off.

You will never be every one's cup of tea. Even Nora Roberts, whose books appeal to millions of readers, including me, is not every one's cup of tea. I will remind myself of that the first time someone disses my upcoming release Out of Eden. But for now I am reveling in TWO super reviews!

Out of Eden comes out April 1st. But I have been googling for early reviews for a couple of weeks now. As always, it's a nail-biting time for me. I put a lot of sweat and heart into my stories and, dang it, I want people to enjoy them. Aside from a passionate creative outlet, my main motivation for writing is to entertain.

Wednesday morning I came across my first review of OOE. Holy cow. Publishers Weekly. The big kahuna. PW reviews all genres. They receive hundreds of books from publishers every day. It's tough to get a review there, especially for smaller names like moi. I've only been reviewed at PW one other time, years ago. Charmed received a lovely review. It's still a highpoint of my career. But how would I fare this time? I prepared myself for the worst and was pleasantly, wondrously surprised! It's a great review!

Okay, the word 'raunchy' raised my brow. Me? Raunchy? Seriously? But then I considered my secondary plot which consists of seedy elements that I didn't sugar coat. Hence the raunchy reference. I can live with that. Heck, I'm embracing it. This is a stinking awesome review. I'll put the really cool part in red.

-- Publishers Weekly, 2/15/2010
Out of Eden Beth Ciotta. HQN, $7.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-373-77443-2

On Kylie McGraw's 32nd birthday, she drinks too many cosmos and vows to shake up her life. While her brother, Spenser, is off being an Explorer Channel star, Kylie leads a predictable, boring, and sensible life running the family shoe store and dreaming of travel. Former NYPD detective Jack Reynolds, Spencer's best friend and Kylie's longtime crush, has returned to Eden, Ind., as the new police chief. He wants to reconnect with his roots, end a feud with his sister, and make peace with his soul. When Ciotta throws these two well-drawn characters together, sparks fly. A widower with a secret past who helps Kylie change the store into an upscale “shoppe,” a Philadelphia mob boss who needs to right an old score, and the escapades of Jack's cheating brother-in-law turn this campy romance into a well-plotted raunchy adventure. (Apr.)

Well-drawn characters? Sparks fly? Well-plotted adventure? Let's just say I'm dancing on air. As for the second super review, I'll share that next week. I have to spread out my joy. In the meantime, if I do get a bad review, this will sure ease the sting. Thanks for letting me share!

SIS Beth

Thursday, February 18, 2010

What's In A Name?

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In ancient times people were given names that fit who they were. Most were given these names on the onset of adulthood or if something great happened to them. We no longer take on new names that have great meaning to who we are as a person, but we can look up our names to see what they mean and find out if they ring true.

I looked up my daughters names to see if they fit their personalities. I used their first and middle names, put the meanings together, and came up with these names that are more titles than names.

My oldest daughters name translates as Noble One of the Lake. It seems to fit her. She walks around the house as if she were a queen and she loves the water. Of course i let her know that I am the Queen and she is a Princess. She's okay with that.

My youngest daughters name translates as Beautiful Day. Yes, it was a beautiful day when she was born, but more than that, when she laughs it makes the gloomiest day bright and beautiful.

Now on to my name. Beverly JoAnn. Beverly means "who dwells in the meadow of beavers". That's right Barb, my name does mean beaver, laugh all you want. Barb called me Beaver and Beaverly growing up. JoAnn means "gift from God". So Beverly JoAnn translates to Gift From God Who Dwells In The Meadow Of Beavers. Well, I'm going to change that up a bit. Beaver is a not so nice name for women, so I'm changing beaver to women. Meadow can mean land. In Celtic legend Avalon is a land of women. So now I have Gift From God Who Dwells In The Land Of Avalon. That name fits me better. I love anything to do with Avalon, and yes, I am a gift from God!

Now it's your turn. Look up your name and let us know what it means and if it fits you.

SIS BJ aka Aleena Ravenwood

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


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Today, February 17th is SIS Brandy’s birthday! She is number 6 in the line of siblings. I remember the day she was born. I remember our poor brother, our only brother, being so hopeful that this time he would get a little brother. But alas, another girl was born. He didn’t mind though.

I was so excited. We had been tossing names around for weeks. It had to begin with a B. We were all Bs. Beth, Bob, Brenda, Beverly (B.J.), Barb, hmmmm? What would our mother choose for the next name?

I don’t even know what we might have picked for a boy’s name. But I do know that the name that I chose for a girl won! I had a friend when I was in first grade named Brandy. She was smart, sweet, pretty and popular. I always thought it was a beautiful name. So Brandy it was. I won’t divulge her middle name, but I chose it to rhyme with mine so that our names would sound the same. Hey, I was like 12 or 13, I guess I thought it was cute.

It seems that Brandy has been teased about her name over the years though. I still love it, but I think she probably would have picked a different name for herself. I think most of us would pick a different name for ourselves. Barb blogged about this topic over at SIS Beth’s blog last year and I found it interesting how people feel about their names.

But, anywho, today being Brandy’s birthday, I thought we could name her and then she could choose which she likes. Not that she’ll be changing her name, but I thought it would be fun to see what other people might choose. Choose a first and middle name. The middle name can be anything, but the first must start with a B. Oh, and you can’t choose Becky, that’s our mom’s name.

I’ll go first…. Bianca Drew

So….Happy Birthday to SIS Brandy! We love you very much and I hope your day is as beautiful as you!

SIS Bren

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Let's Continue...

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Gee, how am I supposed to top yesterday's turnout? Good job Barb!! I am happy to see so many comments.

My topic fits right in with the discussion from yesterday. Do kids today use cell phones and computers too much? In my opinion, yes!

The computer is a great tool. There is so many things people can learn on the internet, but the younger generation has seemed to forget that. All they ever do is get on sites like Myspace and Facebook. I think it is getting way too excessive. It consumes their thoughts at all times. They just itch to check their pages.

I grounded my oldest from the computer and her phone for this whole week. I think it is killing her. I was nice and let her respond here last night. I get up this morning and find that sometime during the middle of the night my computer had went to myspace. She says she didn't do it... my laptop must just have a mind of it's own. I am telling you, our kids are addicted!!

The cell phones are just as bad. They are constantly on them. My daughter has to be told on a regular basis to put the phone up. She is texting the whole way through the grocery store, everytime we are in the car, before school... Shoot I think they text people that are in the same room.


SIS Brandy

Monday, February 15, 2010


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Anyone know what that means? The title of this blog? Come on. Everything is an abbreviation these days...

Has anyone noticed that a big percentage of the population can no longer spell? It drives me insane. Absolutely, flipping insane.

I understand the need to shorten things, but in my opinion--or should I say, IMO, it has gone so far beyond that and verges on taking over the English language.

I have been known to throw out a WTF every now and again but it is few and far between. But other than that and the clinical abbreviations we use at work, I still tend to spell everything out and yes, I CAN SPELL.

It goes beyond abbreviations but I have to wonder if that's what started the non-spelling snowball. I am amazed at the errors I see when I read some of the notes that are written at work. Such as--and I am not kidding here--Road Island, soar instead of sore, kemotherapy, Vinissuala, ruff instead of rough, netime (that's anytime folks), definately instead of definitely (that's a very common mistake but still WRONG). There are many, many more.

We are in the process of hiring personnel at the office and read numerous amounts of resumes a day. We throw 99% of them in the garbage due to typos and spelling mistakes. We could be throwing a wonderful employee in the trash but if they can't take the time to check their own resume, are they really worth our time? We have had so many bad spellers over the years that we now ask, with a laugh, during the interview, if they can spell. They all laugh right back and say, "of course." If it were up to me, I'd set up an impromptu spelling bee right then and there because 9 times out of 10 they prove to be terribly horrific spellers and it drives me CRAZY!

So, no. I am not LMAO or ROFL. I am instead, shaking my head in shame and wondering what is happening to our world. Yes, I think it's as big as that.


SIS Barb aka Elle J Rossi

By the way, the title stands for...You Have Got To Be Kidding Me. I really wanted it to say, YHGTBFKM, but I decided to leave out the expletive.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Love is in the Air

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Happy Valentine's Day!

Here's to love and laughter!

Have any special plans for the day?

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

Saturday, February 13, 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:
This week I am recommending upcoming movies I would love to see.

ALICE IN WONDERLAND: From Walt Disney Pictures and director Tim Burton
Starring: Mia Wasikowska as Alice
Johnny Depp as The Mad Hatter
Helena Bonham Carter as The Red Queen
Anne Hathaway as The White Queen

Not only does the Theatrical Trailer look amazing I love Johnny Depp and any movie that is directed by Tim Burton.

ROBIN HOOD: Directed by Ridley Scott
Starring: Russel Crowe as Robin Hood
Cate Blanchett as Lady Marion

I am hoping that this portrayal of Robin Hood is better than those in the past. I love Robin Hood almost as much as I do King Arthur.

PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME: From Walt Disney Pictures and director Mike Newell

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal as Prince Dastan
Gemma Arterton as Tamina

What's not to love about a hot prince out to save the world.

My Upcoming Movie Pick of the Week: ALICE IN WONDER LAND: March 5, 2010
ROBIN HOOD: May 14, 2010
PRINCE OF PERSIA: May 28, 2010

SIS Beth says:
Valentine's day is around the corner. Actually, it's tommorow! Why not snuggle with your honey on the couch, drink champagne (or the beverage of your choice) and watch a romantic movie? Personally, I'd go for a light-hearted or tender love story with a happy ending. Sorry. I don't consider movies, although they maybe labled as love stories, where the hero or heroin DIE as ROMANTIC! But, that's just me.

My Stay-At-Home Valentine Movies of the Week: While You Were Sleeping, French Kiss, You've Got Mail, Two Weeks Notice, Only You, Princess Bride, Jerry MaGuire, Notting Hill, Bridget Jone's Diary, Wimbledon, and Practical Magic

SIS Barb says:
My recommendation is short and sweet. Vancouver 2010! I plan to watch these winter Olympics every chance I get.

Go U.S.A.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Published Juggler

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One of the things I never realized before I was published was how many projects a writer has to juggle after they're published. It's not simply a matter of writing a story, turning it into your editor and then off to production it goes. There are a few editorial steps. How many and the exact process depends on the publishing house. Mine go like this...

1) I submit a proposal (synopsis and first three chapters--sometimes just the synopsis. Depends.) and wait to hear whether the pub approves of that story. If I get a thumbs up I...

2) Write the story. This takes me anywhere from 6-9 months. (In today's market, I'm considered a moderately slow writer.) I submit the manuscript to my editor and wait for revisions. Meaning my editor reads the story and sends me a letter (or calls) with her suggested changes. I've waited for revisions anywhere from 2 months to four. Meanwhile I...

3) Initiate and create promo for the book that's ahead of this one and close to hitting the shelves and/or work on the synopsis for the next book I'm contracted to write.

4) Never fails that I get the revision letter about the same time I'm knee-deep in the next project. So I set that proposal aside to revise the current manuscript. Sometimes revisions have involved a massive rewrite (whereas I hyperventilate then suck it up and attack) and sometimes I'm asked to make very minimal changes (whereas I happy dance) OR, like the phone call I got yesterday, basically no changes BUT I need to strengthen things here and there, and in the case of this particular story beef up the word count. Meaning the story's too short and additional scenes and chapters are required. Work, yes, but nothing like a massive rewrite. (Still worthy of a happy dance)

5) Typically I have anywhere from 3-4 weeks to do the revisions and while I'm doing those there's also still the 'new' book to promote.

6) Once I turn in the revised manuscript, I return to the new proposal or WIP waiting for line edits on the 'finished' manuscript (editor makes/suggests very specific changes, additions, or clarification line-by-line). When I get those I set aside the WIP to attack the line edits. Once I do those I send back and wait for the gallies. (Meanwhile working on the WIP) This is after the manuscript has gone on to the copy editors who check to make sure details (grammar, research, etc) are correct. This is where I read the manuscript with an intense eagle eye to double check for typos or other weird/glitchy stuff that sometimes happens in the typesetting process. I usually dig in and do this in 2 days.

7) That's the last time I see that maunscript until it's in 'book' form, but now I'm working hard on the WIP (next story). Oh, but then it's also time to promote the next 'release'.

Is your head spinning? Are your eyes crossing? Imagine what it's like for a prolific writer who turns in a story every 3-4 months (and there are a lot of writers who can do that). Imagine how many balls/books they're juggling. All those steps/phases of the editing and production process overlapping! So, yeah, sometimes I feel a little overwhelmed, but it could be worse!

My current status is actually somewhat relaxed because I wrote the last book of my contract and don't have a deadline for 'the next book' looming. Although, of course I hope that changes soon. Presently, I'm....

*Promoting Out of Eden, my 4/10 release.
*Revising (embellishing) Into the Wild, my 9/10 release (revisions due 3/1)
*Waiting to hear if my publisher is interested in contracting me for two more books based on a synopsis my agent just submitted for me. (The synopsis I wrote last week. Working Title: Her Majesty's Man)

One of the most challenging things for me is getting my head out of one story and into another very quickly and then bouncing back to the former a few weeks later. What about you? Are you able to switch gears quickly? Are you good at multi-tasking? Any stories/advice to share?

I'm listening!

SIS Beth

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snow Day

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For the last two days, my children have had snow days. Fun for them, not so much for me. I have been trying to keep them quiet while dad is sleeping( he works thirds). As you can imagine, it is very hard to keep them quiet. We have gone outside to play in the snow. We played games and finished making valentines. The downstairs is a mess because they have brought many toys down to play with. I can't seem to keep up with them. Today they are doing science experiments in the kitchen. yet another mess to clean up. At least they are doing it quietly.

Hopefully they will be back in school tomorrow. I can finally get the house back to normal. I will have to admit that I have enjoyed the time we have spent together these last couple of days. I normally work on weekends so I don't get to spend a full day with them very often.

What do you do on Snow Days?

SIS BJ aka Aleena Ravenwood

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Blah Blah Blog

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Nothing. I’ve got nothing. Nothing to write about, nothing to complain about. Actually, I have plenty to complain about, but who wants to hear that?

Good things? Sure. There are good things happening too, but nothing so exciting that I feel the need to write about them.

We could talk about the weather, I suppose. It’s cold here and cold there and lots of snow there and none here. Okay, covered that.

We could talk about American Idol. I was so glad to finally see Ellen Degeneres on the show. She’s hysterical. I really enjoy her comedy and I think she will add much to the show.

Um….Oh! Happy was voted most honest in his class. He’ll receive an award at the school assembly later this month. Barb asked him if he voted for himself. “Yes”, he said, honestly. That’s my guy!

I guess that’s it. We’ve been working 16 hour days so it doesn’t seem as though I’ve been experiencing much life lately. No time to think, no time to relax, no time to be inspired I guess.

Oh, one more thing. I used a jack hammer the other night. It’s my second time actually. I guess that’s something that not a lot of women can say. I’m not sure it’s really something to brag about, but it is definitely something everyone should experience.

How’s your day? What’s going on in your world?

SIS Bren

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Hi my name is Brandy, and I am an addict...

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They say that the first step to curing a problem is admitting that you have one, right? So here goes... I must confess I have a major addiction that I can control. Reading!

I think the next step (at least my next step) is to point a finger at who the major contributors are to that said problem. I have one word for all of you - BARB!!! She sent me The Black Dagger Brotherhood series and since then I have been totally lost in the stories. I have been neglecting loved ones, not doing my hair, and barely sleeping. It's all her fault. Ok fine, I place some of the blame on the author J.R. Ward. These books are great!!

Maybe I'll have to stop reading again! I made it just fine avoiding books in the past, and now I remember why I quit reading. I have way too many obsessive tendencies. Shoot, I've broke my phone twice because I get obsessed with the bubble breaker game that's on it. And if I find a particular food I like, I could eat it every day if I was allowed. Good thing I've never tried any hard drugs - I'd probably be in real big trouble!!!

Do you have any addictions? And by the way, coffee doesn't count. We covered that problem yesterday.

SIS Brandy

Monday, February 8, 2010

Non-Fat Vanilla Latte With One Pump Raspberry

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Coffee has taken over the world. There was a time when I said I would never touch the stuff, yet I've been sucked in along with everyone else. It's become a habit. One I look forward to every morning and lately, in the evening too. (It's always fun to add Bailey's at night!)

Coffee time has become an event. Sharing a cup with friends and family is always wonderful but I've found it equally pleasing to have a cup with no one but my own company. I drink it when I write, read, put on my make-up, soak in the tub, drive in the car, at work and at my favorite coffee shops. Which leads me to my favorite flavors.

At Caribou, I enjoy a large non-fat vanilla latte with one pump of raspberry or their scrumptious Mint Condition.

At Starbucks, I'm still, after all these years, hooked on their Venti Caramel Macchiato.

At home, I love french vanilla creamer with my hazelnut coffee or a chai tea latte. The options are endless!

I have this fantastic idea, one I probably shouldn't share because I think it could make me rich but alas, I don't have the time to pull this off. One of these coffee shops should offer alcoholic coffee drinks in the evening. Imagine going to dinner with your husband or a friend and then heading over to a wonderfully rustic coffee-shop for after dinner drinks. Light music, comfy chairs and great ambience. I so see that being successful, but that's just me.

So tell me...Do you coffee? When, where, what, why and with who?

SIS Barb aka Elle J Rossi

Saturday, February 6, 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...
They're cozy. They're soft and warm, funky looking and amazingly comfortable. They look great with jeans and just as great with a tunic dress. I can wear them folded down to my ankles or strectched high to my knees. Although there are several brands, I paid a little more for a quality brand that would last long and offered cushy insoles. I love them and wear them a lot!

My Fashion Trend Pick: Bearpaw Sweater Boots

SIS BJ says:
Set in the time of King Arthur Pendragon the movie Mists of Avalon, based on the novel of the same name by Marion Zimmer Bradley, takes you on a visionary journey during a time of shifting beliefs. Viviane, played by Angelica Huston and Morgaine(aka Morgan le Fay), played by Julianna Marguilies try everything in their power to keep the belief of the goddess alive. Love and betrayal throughtout the movie hamper their efforts to succeed in their battle.
I like this movie because it is told from a womans point of view. It is set in a time that I dearly love. A time full of magic and romance.
My Movie Pick of the Week: Mists of Avalon

SIS Barb says:

Last night we took the kids bowling along with another family. The theme was glow in the dark and the music was a wide range of artists, from Prince to the Black Eyed Peas to Miley Cyrus to Jodee Messina. It was a blast and while none of us are very good bowlers we still made it a fun competition. I'm not sure how long bowling has been around but what a fun way to spend an evening. Thankfully this was a non-smoking venue which is the only way to go, in my opinion.

So grab your family or a friend or two and head out for 10 frames of fun.

My Rec of the Week: Bowling!

Friday, February 5, 2010

On the Bright Side... Advice from Grisham

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A pox on evil computer geeks who have nothing better to do than create vicious viruses that infect and DESTROY other people's computers!

Just had to get that out of my system. Yes, my laptop got slammed with a virus five days ago. It's still not up and running. Thus far all of my files, personal and professionl, are lost. My brilliant, wonderfully techy husband is pretty sure he can retreive my most important files via some external hard drive do-hicky. He ordered said do-hicky and hopefully it will arrive today. Meanwhile I have spent the last few days trying to reconstruct the synopsis I'd been working so hard on. A synopsis that my agent and editor are anxious to read. So far I've rewritten 6 of the 12 pages. Still, I'm way behind schedule now thanks to that blasted virus.

On the bright side....

While wrestling with pacing and plotting for this new story idea, I remembered that I had a to-do list of John Grisham's. What to do when you're constructing a novel. I tracked down that list because I remember finding it very helpful. Maybe you will, too. Behold...

John Grisham's Ten Commandments

1. Start with action. Explain it later.

2. Make it tough for your protagonist.

3. Plant it early. Pay it off later.

4. Give the protagonist the initiative.

5. Give the protagonist a personal stake.

6. Give the protagonist a short time list. Then shorten it again.

7. Choose your characters according to your own capacties as well as his/hers.

8. Know your destination before you set out.

9. Don't rush in where angels fear to tred.

10. Don't write anything you wouldn't want to read.

SIS Beth (and John Grisham)

Thursday, February 4, 2010


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I'm not a huge football fan, but when my home team is in the Super Bowl I get just as excited as everyone else. This Super bowl Sunday I will be rooting for the Indianapolis Colts. Of course I will enjoy watching the commercials as well. There are usually a few that I get a big kick out of.

As much as I want the Colts to win, I won't be disappointed if the New Orleans Saints win. After hurricane Katrina they deserve something great to happen. I could imagine the parties they will have if they win. They will fit right in with Mardi Gras.

What ever you do, don't tell my husband that I would be okay with the Saints winning. He might be able to turn this whole state against me.

Who are you rooting for in this Sundays Super Bowl?

SIS BJ aka Aleena Ravenwood

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


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With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I started to think about all of the Holidays or just Special Occasion Days you find on the calendar. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather receive a card or a bouquet of flowers from my husband on an ordinary day. I’d know that he was thinking of me and just wanted to do something nice for the heck of it. Not that he wouldn’t be thinking of me on Valentine’s Day, but it’s almost an obligation that you get that special someone in your life at least a card on Valentine’s Day.

There seems to be a day for just about anything. Secretary’s Day, Boss’s Day, Sweetest Day, Mother-in-Law Day, there’s even a Bathtub Party Day. There’s a National Ice Cream Day and a National Lemon Cupcake Day. Who decides on these things?

So, I was thinking, if I could create a day for the nation to celebrate, or at least the people who have nothing better to do, what day would I create? What would I want to celebrate? Maybe it would be something silly like mismatched shoe day. Every one would wear the most outrageous, crazy combination of shoes they could think of.

Or maybe it would be bed head day. Every one would just get up in the morning, brush their teeth and then take no further actions to make themselves look presentable. I know some days, my hair is quite hysterical in the morning. It would be fun to see just how awful every one else could look.

What would your day be? And would you create greeting cards for that day?

Have a Wonderful Wednesday!

SIS Bren

Monday, February 1, 2010

Dream Big

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Lately I've been having vivid dreams. Intense, vivid dreams. Draining, intense, vivid dreams.

I can't explain why. I've never been big on analyzing dreams. Although I do find it interesting that the people in your dreams aren't really who the dream is about. Really? So when I dream about my husband, I'm really dreaming about someone else? And if we should talk in our sleep and happen to say someone else's name, we can just tell our significant other that even though the person didn't look or sound anything like them, we were, actually dreaming about the significant other? Make sense? Yeah. Not to me either.

Anyway, let's get back to my most recent dream. It could have been because I'd just watched Twilight (again) and was discussing it with a friend. She's seen New Moon as well and I asked her if it was as good as Twilight. She assured me that it was/is and that I have to make sure to watch it when it comes out on DVD. She went into more (physical) detail about the wolves in New Moon. Sounds delicious!

So last night I dreamt of wolves. But not the shapeshifter kind. These were very real, very threatening wolves. In the midst of this dream, one leapt up to attack me and I blocked him hard with my forearm. When I woke up the next morning, my forearm was throbbing. I actually had to take ibuprofen to ease the discomfort but it was persistent. I'm sure I must have slept on it wrong but all I can think about was how painful it felt when I fought off the wolf. Weird? Yeah. I thought so too.

How about you? Ever have any lingering effects after an intense dream?

SIS Barb aka Elle J Rossi