Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Wednesday, March 31, 2010 7

Brandy’s post yesterday has me thinking about how much everything changes over the years. Not just changes in our personal lives, but changes every where you look.

The cars today are completely different than the cars of twenty years ago. Some are much more fuel-efficient while others are guzzling more gas than ever. They’re much more sleek than they were in the 80’s.

Fashion is something that changes yearly, sometimes even seasonally. What’s “in” today will surely be a fashion faux pas by next year. Of course it all comes back around in due time. Some of it should have never been considered fashion, but we buy it and wear it, wanting to look hip and with the times.

Music has changed so much over the years that it now has me sounding like an old fogey with my “They call that music?” remarks. Every generation has their own sound I guess. I’m so glad I’m old!

But, in the music business, you have to keep growing and changing with the times if you want your career to sustain. You have to keep re-inventing yourself in order to stay on top. You need to be current.

Barb sent me an article not long ago about the changing trends in the publishing world. One thing they mentioned is how they expect sales for adult books to decrease while books for young adults will be on the rise. Young adult books are hot right now and they predict they will continue to be hot for some time.

As writers, published or not, do you think that you would change your writing style or genre to accommodate the changing times or do you think you’re better off to just stay with what works for you? Are you willing to re-invent yourself?

And for those of you who don’t write, would you be willing to change aspects of your life, either personally of professionally, in order to be considered hip and relevant?

SIS Bren

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Tuesday, March 30, 2010 15
OOOPS!! I almost forgot my post again. I have been so scatterbrained lately!!!

All I seem to be thinking about right now is how much change is coming in my life. Alot of it is very scary to me. I don't like the idea of pretty much starting over... and that's what it feels like I am doing.

As I wrote about last week, I need to make some career changes. What I am doing right now just isn't working. I need to focus on different ideas.

I will be moving soon. Don't know where or when but it will be soon. This house is way too big for us. It is too expensive... I can't do it anymore. I would like to move somewhere far away and really get a fresh start. There is a lot of hurddles to overcome for that to happen.

I even have to turn in my vehicle soon. The lease is up in less than 2 months! I like my ride and have no clue what I am gonna get to replace it. Things aren't so easy now in that department.

So here I am freaking out!! I just keep telling myself that change can be a great thing. Surely I will come out of all of it stronger, right?

What kind of change is going on in your life? What changes are needed?

Monday, March 29, 2010

I Think I'm A Man

Monday, March 29, 2010 23

Well, not really, but sometimes, I swear I think like one. A man, that is. What brought this on? My WIP. I had a phenomenal writing weekend. I kicked major butt as my fingers soared across the keyboard. My word count meter climb. Phew! I needed that. My inspiration? My hero. I click with him. I know him inside and out. His scenes are always super easy, well easier, for me to write and in my opinion, they are some of the best in the story.

This weekend I decided to channel that. I started out a scene writing in his POV knowing that would get my momentum going. I wasn't wrong. When I switched to my heroines POV, I still kept the hero in mind. Is that wrong? Quite possibly, but it really seemed to work for me. I was afraid that when I went back and read over it, Meera (heroine) would have developed some of Ghanem's (hero) traits. She didn't. I think I just used him to push me, make me want to get back to his scene, but I couldn't do that until Meera got her fair share.

By doing this I propelled the story forward. I need to go back and add a few "scenery" details here and there, but for the most part, the bones, organs and muscles are all there. I just need some pretty skin to cover them.

Which brings me to one of my favorite parts of writing. Adding flavor. Layering. It's amazing how just a couple of descriptive sentences here and there can really give the reader a better view into the environment I've created. Whether it be a mossy canopy of trees over a moonlit road, or a dumpster in the back alleys of Chicago. Those details set the tone, add the flavor for all the dialog and emotion we've sweat out. And yes, I do mean sweat. Writing is a workout. Not only for the brain, but for the soul. Writing takes every creative gene I have and wrings it out over and over again, extracting all the juices until I'm all dried up for the day. A break now and then, whether it be 5 minutes or overnight rejuvenates my entire system allowing me to get right back on the bull and ride the heck out of him. Hold on tight! This is one wild ride.

So what is your favorite part of writing? Reading? When is the last time you rode a bull?

SIS Barb aka Elle J Rossi

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Unsolved Mysteries

Saturday, March 27, 2010 16
As a kid growing up, I can remember always liking a good mystery. I'm not talking
about the kind of mystery that the hero or heroine of a mystery novel or television show
solves at the end, but real life mysteries: Are we being visited by aliens from other
planets? What happened to the ships and planes that disappeared in the Bermuda
Triangle? Do ghosts, Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster really exist?

When it came to real life mysteries, I would leave no stone unturned in my quest for
answers, reading every book and news story I could get my hands on, and watching
every documentary that television had to offer. More often than not I came away
disappointed as the latest "evidence" was offered and easily dismissed. In the years
since I first started my quest for the truth, one mystery has consistently stood out and
piqued my interest: Who was 'Jack the Ripper'?

Of all the mysteries to latch onto, I still can't explain why this one. Sadly, there are
countless unsolved murder cases out there. Perhaps it's the Victorian London
backdrop, or the 'first modern serial killer' angle. Whatever the reason, I know that
I would feel a great deal of satisfaction if I were to somehow solve it. I would even
be satisfied if someone else did; just knowing the truth would be enough.

Is there a real-life mystery that captured your interest? If so, what about it interests
you and why?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday Frenzy

Friday, March 26, 2010 12
I can't decide on a topic. Probably because I have too much on my mind. 'Focus' is not in my vocabulary this moment, so instead you will get a peek into my chaotic brain. Behold a frenzy of thoughts.

*I finished the line edits on INTO THE WILD and turned them in on time. I have to say I had a fabulous time writing that story and though I don't like to name favorites when talking about my stories, ITW is one of them.

*Though the official release isn't until April 1, OUT OF EDEN is already on sale (subliminal message: buy your copy now) at and

*Over the last couple of weeks, more fabulous reviews have rolled in for OUT OF EDEN. Here's the latest from Romance Junkies!

"OUT OF EDEN is a sexy and charming story that held me enthralled from the very start. Author Beth Ciotta has definitely caught the pulse of life in a small town with all of its quirks and characters. The story flowed quickly and I really enjoyed every moment, particularly the interaction between Kylie and the other residents of Eden. I can’t wait until September 2010 and Ms. Ciotta’s next book, INTO THE WILD, which is about Kylie’s older, and very adventurous brother, Spenser." -- 4.5 Blue Ribbons, Cheryl McInnis, Romance Junkies

Excuse me a moment while I happy dance.

Back now.

*Although I'm hard at work on promotions and creating new story proposals, I'm not on deadline and therefore have been able to catch up on a few movies.

The Ugly Truth -- Although it got horrid reviews, I thought it would be worth it simply to see Gerard Butler (who I adore) in action. I was wrong.

Inglorious Basterds -- Brilliant. Yes, I had to close my eyes during a couple of disgusting, violent parts, but the acting was top notch and the writing--imaginative and well-crafted. As a writer, I was inspired!

State of Play -- Thumbs up! A political thriller that had me hooked and intrigued from beginning to end. Kudos to actors Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck, Robin Wright, and Rachel McAdams. Impressive.

9 -- Charming! I'm not sure I understood it 100%, but it didn't matter. I was mesmerized by this imaginative and tender story. A rag doll that awakens in a post-apocalyptic future holds the key to humanity's salvation. I mean, come on!

*Barb/Elle invited some powerhouse guest bloggers to SIS. Not to be outdone, I followed her lead. Stay tuned for posts from dynamic authors, M.J. Rose, Terry Spear, and Julia Templeton! Coming in April and May!

*And lastly... Barb/Elle turned me onto a post that I have to share. If you're a writer, no matter where you are in your career, The Things You Choose is a must read. (Thank you for sharing your wisdom, Laura Resnick!)

Thus ends my Friday Frenzy. What about you? Thoughts on my thoughts? Thoughts of your own? The floor, er, blog, is open.
SIS Beth

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Thursday, March 25, 2010 13

I have stated before that I would like to have at least one poem published this year. I have been writing many poems. Some okay, some very bad. None of them are great. After reading many poems from on-line poetry mags, I realize that I have a lot of work to do. The other day while I was at the book store, I made it to the poetry section in search of how-to books. The poetry section was very small. I was able to find only one how-to book.

The Complete Idiot's Guide To Writing Poetry by Nikki Moustaki. For a guide for idiot's, the book is full of helpful information. There are many fun exercises and a lot of good advice on how to write and not write poetry. There is a chapter that tells you the best way to get a poem published.

I am hoping that this book helps me out. I am on the look out for more how-to books that might prove to be more helpful. Do you use how-to or self-help books? Do you find them to be helpful?

SIS BJ aka Aleena Ravenwood

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Undisputed Passion

Wednesday, March 24, 2010 16

My husband and I watched a show not too long ago about Scott Hamilton. You know, the figure skater who won gold at the Olympics and is known for his back flips on the ice. What a great and talented guy he is…and inspirational too.

He was adopted at six weeks and at two years old “contracted” a disease that kept him from growing. He wore a feeding tube up his nose as other children might wear head gear for their braces. The disease was never correctly diagnosed, but at a very young age, he began to skate and suddenly began to grow again. He only grew to be 5’ 2 ½ “ tall but was a very healthy man.

In 1997 he was diagnosed with testicular cancer and successfully beat it. He continued to skate professionally until 2001. Soon after his retirement, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. I don’t remember what they called it exactly, but it had something to do with his pituitary gland which controls many things, including producing growth hormone for normal development of height.

In Scott Hamilton’s words, when he found skating, the disease went away. When he stopped skating, it reared its ugly head again. He beat that cancer too, and went back to skating and performed that back flip at the age of 51 (I think). I’ve never been able to do a back flip.

I think we all have something in our life that is healing. I mean a passion, something that gives you pure joy. Something that makes everything okay. Something that you can totally lose yourself in for hours and hours. For some it may be photography, or antique collecting, or sailing, or gardening, or writing. In my case, it’s singing. When I sing, I am at peace.

I started singing professionally when I was 19 and continued until around three years ago. At the time that I quit, it was a good decision. I no longer found that peace in singing. Several different circumstances had sucked the joy and fun right out of it. It became a chore rather than an outlet for my creativity and passion.

But, I am happy to say that I have started a new venture with an incredibly talented pianist (keyboardist) friend of mine. We’ve worked together in the past and I am thrilled to be working with him again and once again enjoying that “something” that brings me pure joy.

I was a little nervous at first, just because I’m a little rusty. If you don’t use your voice in a singing capacity for a time, well, you have to whip it back into shape just like you would any other muscle that you might neglect. I’m still whipping away.

We have our songs, we have our business cards, we have our web-site, and we almost have our demo. Now it’s time to get out there and start shopping it around. Keep your fingers crossed for us.

My question for the day…What is your passion? What makes you forget about everything? What can you totally immerse yourself in and come out feeling like a million bucks?

SIS Bren

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Cranky Brandy

Tuesday, March 23, 2010 8

Right now I am sitting in the Atlanta airport. I just flew from Seattle to here overnight. That flight was horrible. Now I am waiting to board my next flight to Richmond. From there, I will make a two hour drive to where I will be working. After cleaning up, I will be working until at least 9 tonight.

My brain is fried. My body is fried. I am so tired of my job!! Really, I am just plain done. I am fed up with the constant running... the stress... the uncertainty of everything. Something has to change - I can't do it anymore. I have a lot of decisions to make.

So anyway, that is my bitch for the day!! What is yours? What are you fed up with? What needs to change in your life?

SIS Brandy

Monday, March 22, 2010


Monday, March 22, 2010 15

Ever heard that saying, 'So much to do, so little time'? That's how I feel right now. I've barely had the time to breathe, let alone write, and I can tell you, while some moments have their highlights, for the most part I feel guilty, frustrated and downright grumpy about it.

This weekend I managed to squeak out a whopping 20 minutes of writing time to devote to my paranormal. I'm happy to say I accomplished a page and a half in that amount of time, but still, my word counter is barely climbing.

So what's a girl to do? Prioritize? I've tried. Skip out on important things? I have. Cuss up a storm? Many times over the past few weeks.

Others must feel like this sometimes? Our lives get so incredibly busy that it all starts to run together. Everyone and everything needs our attention. If we say no, the world may crumble. At least that's how I feel about it. I'm not saying I'm a superhero or miracle worker, but darn it, I'm close!

So today, after I mark off the one hundred things on my to do list, I'm gonna put out the 'writer at work' sign and then cross my fingers that I'll get just a little time for me. A little time to write. My characters miss me. They want their story told and no one can do that except me.

What do you do when 'life' gets in the way? I'll take any and all suggestions!

SIS Barb aka Elle J Rossi

Saturday, March 20, 2010

My Secondest Blog

Saturday, March 20, 2010 5

We all have certain issues - social, political and moral - that we feel strongly about.
Chances are that our opinions on those issues were in large part formed by our life
experiences. But we also form opinions based on information that we get from
different forms of media - books, television, radio, newspapers and the Internet.

No matter which form(s) of media we choose to inform ourselves, there are always
inherent biases. Authors have motives other than profit for writing books. Newspapers
and radio and television stations are usually owned by larger corporations with
political and economic agendas of their own. Anyone with an opinion can
anonymously express it to the whole world via the Internet, with little or no regard
for the truth or the real identity of the source.

In today's fast-paced, technologically advanced society, faster and more convenient
doesn't necessarily mean accurate or true. There is a saying among computer
programmers, "garbage in, garbage out", and as consumers, we are all familiar with
the phrase 'caveat emptor', which means 'let the buyer beware'. We are all ultimately
responsible for the quality of what we consume and how we use it, and that
includes information.

How much time and effort do you invest in learning about issues that are important
to you? How confident are you in the accuracy of the information that you learn? How
would you know if it wasn't accurate? If you discovered information that you were
confident was true but contradicted your opinion, would you modify your opinion
or try to find some fault with it and cling to your belief?

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Waiting Game

Friday, March 19, 2010 12
Waiting . . . Anticipation . . .

Exciting sometimes. And other times . . . torturous. If you dwell on whatever it is you're waiting to hear about, you could drive yourself nuts.

Did I pass the test? Score that raise? Get the job? Win the contest?

Hard enough when you have to wait a few days to learn the outcome, but what about when it stretches to weeks, or--horrors--months? Pacing, pulling your hair out, or biting your nails are all options, of course. Nagging whoever it is you're waiting to hear from is an option, too, but then you risk ticking them off and not getting the joyous news you waited so darn long for. Maybe no news is possible good news. At least it's not bad news. Although if you obsess on the matter, in your mind you could easily spin no news to bad news.

Since I started writing professionally, I've had to learn how to deal with nail-biting anticipation. Once I enter my work in a contest, it usually takes months to get the results. Once I finish a manuscript and turn it in to my publisher, I could be waiting any where from one month to four for the revision letter--depending on my editor's work load and the production schedule. That's one to four months of waiting to learn what my editor liked or didn't like about the manuscript and what I have to change.

There's also the period of time before your book comes out.... waiting for reviews.

Oh, and here's a biggee, waiting to hear whether the partial or full manuscript you submitted was accepted . . . or rejected. Once upon a time I received a rejection from a major publisher two years after I submitted it. Can you imagine? That's excessively long and a little unusual, but it does happen. Obviously, I didn't 'wait' around for their answer. No, sir. And here's the kicker. By the time I received that rejection letter, another publisher had already bought and pubbed that story!

So here it is. How I deal with 'waiting'.

I keep moving.

I pour my time and energy into another project. I work on a new story proposal or redesign my blog or website or enter additional contests or write a short story or query new sources. Keep busy. Keep moving. That's not to say I don't obsess in patches about whatever I'm 'waiting' to hear about, but I don't allow it to consume me. I keep busy. Keep moving. And before I know it, I learn the outcome. Good news, hopefully. But if it's bad, more often than not, because I spent my waiting time being productive, other doors open.

What about you? How do you deal with 'the wait'.

SIS Beth

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Thursday, March 18, 2010 8

I have heard many times that supposably is not a real word. If it is not a real word then why do I hear people use it all the time? I don't just hear it from everyday people, I hear supposably being used on the radio and T.V. A few weeks ago I was watching The History Channel. It was a UFO show about Roswell and Area 51. Several times during this program I heard the word supposably. It wasn't used by the people who were interviewed, it was used by the narrator. Now, I was very sick when I watched this show so maybe I heard the guy wrong. He could have said supposedly,which is a real word.

I looked up both words to see if I could find definitions for them. This is what I found on Wiktionary:

Supposedly: adverb; as a matter of supposition; in the beliefs or according to the claims of some people.
Exp. People from other planets have supposedly visited Earth in flying saucers.

Supposably: adverb; able to be be supposed or conjectured.
Exp. 1914 Emily A. Smith, The Life and Letters of Nathan Smith
The portrait here is supposably the well-known one of Samuel Finey Breese Morse....

If supposably is not a word, it is a 'fake' word that has been used for almost a hundred years according to the example above. I found a discussion on the Internet about these two words. According to one person, both words are real. He found them in the Oxford English Dictionary. I don't have that dictionary, so I can't verify it.

Is supposably a real word? I don't know. I have used it myself from time to time. I try to correct myself when I do. What about you? Do you think supposably is a word? Have you ever said it in place of supposedly?

SIS BJ aka Aleena Ravenwood

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Mother Nature

Wednesday, March 17, 2010 12

I love this time of year in Florida. It's starting to warm up (we've had an unusually long and cold winter) and I have this great urge to be outside. There aren't that many months down here where it's actually comfortable outside. Well, unless sweating profusely makes you feel comfortable.

We have a great new dog park close to our house. There is an agility course which is great for my little Bichon, Dizzy. He is excellent at running up and down the ramps and through the tunnels. Moose, the extremely large, dopey puppy, follows right behind him through the tunnels.

We also found a park close to our new house that is in development stages. It seems as though they have cleared a lot of brush and it's pretty much nothing but dirt and great big holes that I assume will be lakes. The dogs really enjoyed running free and exploring these new trails. We walked for quite a while and it made me appreciate these special spots of nature. Our county in Florida is so developed and it seems as though more and more houses and business are going up every day so it was nice to find this park.

I also have this great urge to be out working in the yard. I'm ready to plant some flowers and mulch the's just beautiful outside!

I'm not sure how the weather is in your part of the world, I've been too busy outside to look at the weather channel. But, what are your plans when your weather starts warming up and everything starts turning green and the trees begin to grow their leaves again? Will you be outside or do you enjoy the cozy comfort of your home?

SIS Bren


Monday, March 15, 2010

I Fall To Pieces

Monday, March 15, 2010 16

Occasionally an opportunity comes along. An opportunity to do something for someone else. An opportunity that may make you a little uncomfortable. It's not always easy to step out of that comfort zone, but if we can, if we do, it may just make a difference.

There are times we receive phone calls that can change our lives. Phone calls that a love one is sick or has passed away. What do you say? What do you do? What if it's not directly related to you, but what you choose to say or do can ultimately impact those that are grieving?

Is it uncomfortable to call someone who just lost their pet of many, many years. Yes, it is. You know they'll probably cry and that you might to. But just maybe you can make them feel a little better by uttering two simple words...I'm sorry.

And what if it's our loved one who is sick? They're changing before your eyes. You look at them and your eyes fill with tears. You don't know what to say. So you say nothing? You avoid them? Wrong. You call, you visit, you crack jokes, you sit and watch TV with them, you order a pizza and have it sent their way. You invite them over and you invite yourself to their house.

My friend called me on Friday and said that her father was in the hospital and that he probably wouldn't make it. My heart went out to her. My mind panicked. I didn't want to go to the hospital. Her dad reminds me a lot of my dad, which reminded me of when he was in the hospital and that he didn't make it. But she needed me. I had to go. I left work early and drove to the hospital. I sat with her and we sat with him. I talked to him about Jerry Springer and Maury Povich. I asked him if he agreed with who was voted off of American Idol. He loves these shows. He didn't answer my questions. He couldn't. But we sat with him for a long time.

I went back the next morning and met my friend and her sister. I brought him a radio so he would have something to listen to when we weren't there. My friend asked him if he wanted us to turn the radio on. He opened his eyes, shook his head no and pointed to me. He pointed to me again. She asked him if he wanted me to sing and he shook his head yes. I'm not normally nervous when it comes to singing, but this time I was. I wanted to bow out, make my excuses and leave. He looked me in the eye, I opened my mouth and out came Patsy Cline. After that I moved on to Elvis and his daughters joined in. A little Miranda Lambert and the nurses were standing at the door, smiles on their faces. Sugarland was up next and I tried to sing quietly, but its Sugarland and I had to do Jennifer Nettles proud. So I belted it. I watched him the entire time. He laughed when we messed up the words and cried when we sang well. I asked him if he wanted me to stop after each song and he shook his head no. We sang and sang until he started to fall asleep. It was time for a nap. I think all of us needed one.

I'm happy to say that things are looking up. They just moved him from ICU to a regular room. I'd like to think our impromptu concert helped with that. Who knows? Maybe he got better so we wouldn't sing anymore. We can be deadly on the ears at times!

Difficult? Yes. Worthwhile? Absolutely?

I'd love to hear your stories? Ever done something difficult but extremely worthwhile?

SIS Barb aka Elle J Rossi

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Book Of You

Saturday, March 13, 2010 12

One day you receive a brown paper wrapped package in the mail. There's no return address and inside the package is a thick leather-bound book with your name in large letters on the front cover. There is no author or other information of any kind on the book or inside the covers. Since you're curious, you open it to the beginning and start to read.

The book is a hand-written biography of yourself, starting with the day you were born. It is completely accurate and contains information you thought only you knew. It is neither critical nor flattering of you, simply offering the facts of your life as they happened. By the time you've read the book to a point a few years ago in your life, you are totally convinced that this book accurately portrays your life in detail.

Do you keep reading?

If you do, suppose that the book is blank after the point at which it catches up to the present but the pages are lined. If you believed that what you wrote on those pages would actually happen, what would you write?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Overbooked and Overjoyed

Friday, March 12, 2010 15
The past few days have been a blur. Anyone who follows me on Twitter or Facebook knows I unintentionally overextended myself this week. Different projects--two of them friend related, three of them work related--popped up and needed to be done this week. All of them involve writing and all are important. But it's all good. Great, even.

I'm still working on the 'friend' projects. Hope to wrap those Saturday. Tuesday I tackled desperately late updates for my website and sent those to my web designer. Thank goodness she's a dynamo. As of today those updates are live. Please click here to see what critics are saying about my April release OUT OF EDEN. To say I'm over the moon is an understatement. Also, bonus, we posted an excerpt so you can get a glimpse into this quirky, sexy mystery!

Where was I? Oh, yes. Projects. I finished revisions on INTO THE WILD (Sept. 2010) this past weekend. My editor, also a dynamo, told me to expect line edits this week. I'm thinking they'll come today or tomorrow with a quick turn around.

Meanwhile, I still have those two friend projects to finish...

Lastly, I think, I needed to update the SIS blog. Why? Because we have a new member joing the fold! Brace yourself. It's a man! Our honorary BRO, Krys, aka Chris Behrens. Krys has been a frequent visitor and commentor for awhile. He guest blogged last week. He's been a friend of Bren and Barb's for eons. We thought it would be a hoot to add a 'guy' element to SIS and Krys is a perfect fit! Please tune in tomorrow for his launch blog post and follow him here every Saturday.

Since Barb and Bren know Krys so well, I asked them to write up a short intro. Here we go.....

From SIS Barb/Elle...
Recently, someone told me I've know Krys for about 17 years. I had no idea it was that long. Granted, we may have lost touch for a few of those, but I always knew we would reconnect. I can thank Krys for that. He found me.

I met Krys when I was what some would call young and dumb, but from the onset he treated me with respect and kindness. I'll admit, there were times when I took our friendship for granted, but a few years and many life lessons taught me that he is the type of friend that should be cherished. Our friendship will last a lifetime.

Everyone here is going to love Krys. He's incredibly intelligent, funny and never afraid to be honest. What you see, or in this case, what you read, is what you get. Krys is one person who I can always count on to be genuine!

Welcome aboard, Krys. I am proud to have you as my honorary BRO!

From SIS Bren...
Krys has been a friend of mine (and Barb's) for somewhere around 17 years. We met one night while I was singing in a club in Clearwater and became fast friends. We have seen each other at our best and worst (ask him about his keys in his socks) and had conversations about anything and everything including tarantulas (not mine, his) suicide, cemeteries, and even love. He is an incredibly bright, humorous, and interesting person and even when we haven't talked for months and months, we always pick up right where we left off...which is usually insulting each other in the most loving way. I have greatly enjoyed his contributions here at SIS and am so excited to include him as our honorary brother. We hope you'll stop by on Saturdays to read what Krys has on his very complicated mind!

There you have it! How can you NOT stop by here every Saturday?

Peace and joy, Cyber Sistas!

SIS Beth

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Leanan Sidhe

Thursday, March 11, 2010 18

The Leanan Sidhe (shee) is a faery or spirit who inspires artists, poets, writers, and musicians. You can think of her as a faery muse, but she isn't your average muse. She will bring you great genius but can cause you to go mad or die young.

There are a few artists I can think of who might have been touched by The Leanan Sidhe.

Vincent van Gogh: Great artist. Went mad and cut off his own ear(maybe). Died at the age of 37 from a self inflicted gunshot wound.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Genius composer. I'm not sure if he was mad or just deliciously crazy. Died at the age of 35.

Elvis: King of Rock and Roll. One of the greatest singers ever. Died at the age of 42 after a great career as a singer and actor.

Michael Jackson: King of Pop. Another great singer. Died at the age of 50 after a turbulent life.

There are many more artists that I can name that may have been touched by The Leanan Sidhe. These artists names will live on forever.

Can you think of anymore artists who may have been touched by The Leanan Sidhe? If she came to visit you, would you let her in or would you tell her "No Thank You"?

SIS BJ aka Aleena Ravenwood

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Wednesday, March 10, 2010 22

I was having a chat with Barb yesterday morning and we got on the subject of tipping. Now, I’m a firm believer in leaving a great tip for great service, but it seems as though every one is asking for a tip these days.

When we order a pizza and have it delivered, we always tip the driver. But when we order a pizza and then go in and pick it up ourselves, I’m always a little confused as to why there is a tip bucket sitting there on the counter. Who am I supposed to be tipping? Am I tipping the cashier for taking my money or am I tipping the person who made my pizza? If I were sitting in a restaurant having a meal, should I not only tip the server, but tip the hostess and the chef too?

I’ve seen tip jars at the drive-thru windows of coffee shops too. Is this strange or is it just me? When I see these tip jars, it almost makes me feel obligated to leave a tip even though I drove up to the window and picked it up myself.

There’s a restaurant around here where you walk in and order your food and they assemble it for you right there while you stand in line. You walk down the line telling them what you want and then get to the cashier to collect your food and pay for it. And what is sitting right there? Yep. A tip jar, only this one is cleverly disguised with the words “Gas Money” written on it.

I understand tipping servers and bartenders. I know that their hourly wage is very low and that tips are how they really make their living. I’ve worked in nightclubs and bars most of my life and have seen these people bust their butts and put up with a lot of abuse to serve the drunken patrons. So I never have a problem leaving a tip for good service.

We tip our hairstylists, our nail techs (not that I have one), the Chinese food delivery person, the dog groomer and I’m sure a lot of other people I can’t think of at the moment.

What are your thoughts? Do you think that tipping has gotten out of control? Do you feel obligated to tip just because you see a jar sitting there?

SIS Bren

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

It was just meant to happen...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010 11

Last week, there was a lady that came in to buy a car. Before signing papers, she wanted to show her fiance. I tell her no problem...

Awhile later, her salesman comes to me and tells me that she just got back and was bawling. I, being the only woman, got the awkward job of having to go out and talk to her. She was devastated. Taking that vehicle to her fiance put a big wrench in her wedding plans.

She had walked in on her fiance and another woman. How uncomfortable? I'm feeling bad for her, but how do I try to comfort someone I don't even know. What am I supposed to say? She had even all ready bought her dress!

All I could tell her is that everything happens for a reason. She was meant to show up at her fiance's apartment at that exact time. Better things are in her future.

Think of how quick our lives can be changed. Whether in a good way or bad, all it takes is a split second to change our course. Being in the right place at the right time can make life terrific. You could land a great job, buy the right lottery ticket, bump into the love of your life. Being in the "wrong place at the wrong time" can be horrible. You could get hurt physically or you could have your heart broken.

What are your thoughts? Do you think there is such a thing as being in the "wrong place at the wrong time?" Have you ever had anything great happen to you by being somewhere at the perfect moment?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Giving It All Away

Monday, March 8, 2010 26
Oh, the times, they are a changing. The internet is a wonderful resource. We can learn about anything and everything with just a few taps on the keys. Book a flight? Yep. Check the spelling of a word? Yep. Search for a new home? Yep. Shop? Absolutely? There's not much that you can't do anymore.

Here's my problem. Some people, adults, teens and children alike, are putting their entire lives out there for people to see. Nothing about their life is private because they've given it all away. They share pictures that are better left in a lock box. They share opinions that are better left unsaid. They tell us that they're getting a cup of coffee to drink and then heading to the bathroom. They tell us how excited they are that their divorce is finally final and how sad they are that their boyfriend just slept with someone else.

It's too much folks and it's getting some into a world of trouble. For instance, I was getting my hair cut yesterday and my stylist and I were talking about this. She told me that one of the other stylists was on her Facebook page while at work and updating her status about how bored she was. Apparently, she forgot that she'd "friended" her boss, who saw this and then fired her.

Prospective employers are checking MySpace and Facebook along with other sites before they offer someone an interview. Who do you think they'll hire? The one with a nice smile on their face or the one sucking face with a man in their profile pic? You think I'm joking? I assure you, I'm not. People complain about their bosses, make fun of them and then wonder why their stuff is in a cardboard box on top of their desk the next day.

My husband told me there is a new "site" that tells people where you are at all times. People actually sign up for this. I'll have to ask him the name and get back to you about this. I guess this would be a robbers paradise!

Enough is enough. Sometimes everything can be way too much. How about you? How much do you put out there? Have any stories of someone going too far?

SIS Barb aka Elle J Rossi

Friday, March 5, 2010

My Kooky (er, quirky) Grandparents

Friday, March 5, 2010 10

I'm finishing up revisions on my September release INTO THE WILD, an Indiana Jones type romantic adventure. So much fun! At one point the heroine, River, is reflecting on her Grandma and Grandpa Franklin's quirky ways and how they rubbed off on her. That got me thinking about my own grandparents. Each of them were quirky in their own ways. If I'm known for anything as a writer, it's my 'quirky' characters. Maybe I have my grandparents to thank for that!

Some kooky, I mean, quirky memories....

Grandma Childers
*put salt in her beer
*made grilled ham and cheese sandwiches in a waffle iron
*hung clothes out to dry on the line in her backyard wearing bermuda shorts and her bra (yup-- just her bra)
*Never learned to drive
*once made me cut a necklace off of her because she couldn't get it unclasped and was having a panic attack (yup--clausterphobic)

Grandpa Childers
*smoked pipes and stinky cigars
*loved to watch wrestling on TV
*read the newspaper everyday (as an adult I learned that he couldn't really read, just some very basic words. So I guess he was looking at the pictures?)
*had a pet chicken that sat on the back of his recliner (yup--a real chicken)

Grandpa Miller
*Drank Wink a lot (kind of a Mountain Dew sort of soft drink)
*Played Solitaire a lot (and cheated)
*Rolled his own cigarettes (and taught me how to help)
*Played harmonica (badly)
*Dropped my grandma (and us kids) off at church every Sunday, but wouldn't go in. Said the people attending were hypocrites. (Don't think he meant us)

Grandma Miller
*Used to roll my hair in skinny, metal curlers every Saturday, so I'd have curly hair for church.
*Made Bo-Bo clown out of socks
*Was addicted to Mitch Miller (his TV show and records)
*Had a cool stash of Avon lipstick and perfume samples and a neat collection of old hats she used to wear to church
*Never learned to drive
*Incessant coupon clipper. Made Grandpa drive her to three different grocery stores to get the best bargains
--Hmm. Actually, those aren't all that kooky, I guess. Grandma Miller was the most straight-laced person out of all my grandparents. Although that in itself is a 'character'.

What about you? Have any quirky memories of your grandparents?

SIS Beth

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Born in the Wrong Time?

Thursday, March 4, 2010 17
Do you ever feel that you were born in the wrong place or time? I do. When I watch movies like 10,000 BC, I get chills because I feel that I belong there. I believe that I should have been born in a time when we lived in tribes. When everything we did was for the benefit of the tribe. When we hunted for food it was to feed all not just me. Children were raised not just by the blood family, but by the whole tribe. Maybe when I watch these shows I am thinking of a time when I lived before. I just know that it feels like home when I watch them.

There are other times in which I feel like I belong. Like during the renaissance period. I can picture myself in the clothing and the settings. Of course, I'm sure I was just a peasant back then, but that's okay, I don't mind.

What about you? Do you ever feel that you belong in a different place or time?

SIS BJ aka Aleena Ravenwood

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

SIS Chris?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010 12
Holy cow, I'm so busy! I'm not only burning the candle at both ends, I've just thrown the whole darn thing into a scalding pot and melted it into oblivion! So, today I've asked a very good friend to guest for me. He's been a friend of mine and Elle's for around 17 years now. Wow, I'm old! You've heard from him here at SIS lately and I've loved to hear his take on things, so when thinking of someone who could sub for me, he's the first person that came to mind. Soooo....without further ado.....Meet Chris!

Although I'm not what I would consider to be 'old', as I'm getting there I find myself thinking more and more about my past and my future, and the past and future in general.

People are always talking about 'the good old days' and lamenting what the future might bring, especially in light of the current situation our country finds itself in economically and events happening around the world.

I can remember as a child how much undeveloped land there was around my neighborhood and how we always had natural places to run, explore, play and just be kids. We didn't have to worry about pollution, terrorist attacks, or if the neighbor was a criminal. People seemed more friendly, trusting and willing to lend a hand.

On the other hand, there weren't nearly as many technological advances as there are today. Communication with distant friends and family was slow and limited, and there were three options for news of the world: The 6 and 11 o'clock news, radio and newspapers. People routinely died from things that today are very treatable.

Do you think the world has become a better or worse place since you were a child, and do you think things will be better or worse 100 years from now?


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Me Myself and I

Tuesday, March 2, 2010 16

I'm all alone this week and I don't like it! My job forces me to travel all over the country. I miss my girls during the weeks that I am gone. My man Omar is always with me, though. That helps me feel better. Not this week!! I am running an event all by myself. No Omar, no girls... I am afraid I'm going to go crazy.

It's nice sometimes to have alone time. Relax, read a book, take a nap. But this is way too much alone time! I'm a pretty independent woman normally. Being in a different part of the country than all of my loved ones is making me feel a little weak!

I have a very full work load for the week. My schedule is crazy. 9 am to 9 pm. I guess it's a good thing because it should help keep my mind off of the loneliness!

Do you like your alone time? How would you feel being in a strange place all by yourself?

SIS Brandy

Monday, March 1, 2010

Swingin' On Vines

Monday, March 1, 2010 21

There are times when I wonder what it would be like if I was a completely different person. Who would I be? A successful CEO that jets their way around the world, conducting business meeting after business meeting in my Armani suit? A diamond broker? A grocery store clerk? A famous singer? I think about that last one a lot. Go figure.

As a writer of romantic fiction, the possibilities are endless and not only do get I to live through my heroine, but I get to live through every character on each and every page. I can have millions of dollars, be able to pay all my bills, have everything I could ever want, only to worry if my spouse is cheating on me with the tennis instructor. I can be a witch with immense powers, fighting a battle for good against a terrible evil only to find out that I must choose my life or that of the one I love. (Okay--that one is my story.)

I can clean teeth or be a storm chaser. Sell cars or traipse through the jungles looking for lost civilization. Own a restaurant or be brave enough to try exotic foods in every country. Send my kids to boarding school or find creative ways to teach them at home. Look in the mirror and apply make-up for a photo session or stare into the mirror and see the wizard of my dreams standing behind me with his wand in hand. Excuse me, um, sorry about that. I've gotten a little carried away.

As children, we dared to swing on vines in the woods, jumping from ravine to ravine, not thinking about the danger of the what-ifs. We held on to that rope and swung out over the river. We dropped with a yee-haw and never worried about hitting the bottom.

I guess my point is this. We can be a million and one things, yet most of us probably chose the path to success. What job would get us there quickly. But we lost the adventure of life along the way. I asked my friend Chris Behrens for some topics to blog about. His list was about a page long. Interesting fellow! This one struck a part deep inside me, made me think, made me wonder. I hope you will too.

Would you rather have an extremely successful professional career and unexciting private life or the other way around?

SIS Barb aka Elle J Rossi