Friday, April 30, 2010

A Special Treat

Friday, April 30, 2010 2
Hello everyone. Happy Friday to each and every one of you. SIS Beth is at the Romantic Times Convention this week. I asked if I could steal her Friday so I could announce some very exciting news. She said, "steal away!"

My news: The wonderful M.J. Rose will be our guest here at SIS on Monday, May 3rd. Make sure you stop by on Monday and offer her a warm welcome. Also, she will stop by periodically that day to answer any of your questions.

Her latest book, the highly anticipated, THE HYPNOTIST, is available now. The official release date is May 1st, but Amazon and many bookstores already have it on their shelves. I'm grabbing my copy today.

About M.J. Rose: M.J. Rose, is the international bestselling author of 10 novels;Lip Service, In Fidelity, Flesh Tones, Sheet Music, Lying in Bed, The Halo Effect, The Delilah Complex, The Venus Fix,The Reincarnationist, and The Memorist.

Rose is also the co-author with Angela Adair Hoy of How to Publish and Promote Online, and with Doug Clegg of Buzz Your Book.

She is a founding member and board member of International Thriller Writers and the founder of the first marketing company for authors: She runs two popular blogs; Buzz, Balls & Hype and Backstory.

Read more about M.J. here.

I have read The Reincarnationist and am in the middle of The Memorist. I highly, highly recommend both.

You won't want to miss this. So, mark your calendars and make sure to drop by SIS on Monday!

SIS Barb aka Elle J Rossi

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Wednesday, April 28, 2010 15

Our mom hit the big 7-0 this week. 70! That's crazy. In the words of SIS Barb, "Are you effin kidding me?" I remember when I was 10 and she was 35 and I thought she was so old. So what is she now? She's like...ancient!

Well, not exactly. She still works and keeps up with numerous grandchildren. She's not ancient at all. It's just a number really and besides, 70 isn't quite as old as it used to be.

I don't really think about age all that much. Most of the time, I don't even know how old I am. I have to consciously think about it and then I still can't believe it. It's amazing how quickly the time goes. In my mind, I'm thirty-something and my mom is in her 50's. Now if I could just convince my body of that.

My mom turning 70 has forced me to look back on my life (and hers) and think about what I have achieved. I look at my successes and my failures and what I've learned from them. Some things I still can't figure out, but I'm sure there's a lesson in there somewhere. The past is exactly that...the past. I can't do anything to change it, I can only draw from my experiences and apply them to life today and in the future.

I have high hopes and big dreams for my future. But all the hoping and dreaming in the world won't make them reality. I need to dig in deep and push hard and earn the things in life that I want. I hope that when I reach the big 7-0, I will look back at my life and think "Wow! What a fantastic ride!" I never want to look at my age and think, "God, I'm old".

I also don't want my life to be a big blur. I never want to wonder where all the time went. I want to always look back on my life and know that I lived it to the fullest. I think it's easy to fall victim to our humdrum routine lives. You know, get the kids off to school, go to work, come home and cook dinner, do the laundry, walk the dogs, and so on and so on. But somewhere in all the chaos, we need to take the time to do something that really counts. Maybe it won't mean anything to anyone else, but something that gives us that feeling of "Hey, I did it!".

So, here's to making each and every day count. Here's to experiencing life and not just watching it pass me by! I am flying to Indiana on Friday and I'll be driving my mom back to Florida with me. While she's here, I hope to help her experience new things, like maybe catching a shark, or better yet...parasailing! Ha! Not a chance!

How does your age affect you? Do you look back on your life and think "I wish...."?

SIS Bren

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Scared Much?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010 9

There are many things that just really scare me and freak me out. Some of them are the big things like worrying about something bad happening to my kids and such. Today, I am talking about the little things though.

I hate spiders. They give me the willies. Any kind of them!! I can't even watch shows about them because I am guaranteed to have a horrible nightmare that night.

Same goes for snakes. They just seem evil to me. The way they look, the way they slither around, and thoses fangs..... oooh makes my hair stand up just thinking about it!!

Bats really get me too. That's probably because a few have gotten in my house. They make me so nervous. My stomach instantly curls into the tightest ball ever.

People have all kinds of phobias. Some are about creatures like mine are. Other people have a fear of heights, closed spaces, the dark.... the list can go on and on.

What are you scared of? What makes you get nervous, gives you the creeps, and makes your stomach churn?

SIS Brandy

Monday, April 26, 2010


Monday, April 26, 2010 24

Anyone know what we're talking about here at SIS today? Yep, you guessed it. Swearing. Cussing. Cursing. Foul language.

I'm a cusser. I'm not even shy to admit it. I don't even think about it. Those words just come out of my mouth. One of my favorites is probably, "Are you effin' kidding me?". Please insert the actual curse word in the appropriate spot.

Growing up, my parents didn't use the "F" word, but all the others were tossed around throughout the day. My mother loved to call people "Jackass." My dad said "goddammit" a hundred times a day. I didn't think anything of it. This was just part of their everyday language.

I can control myself. There are many situations that call for me to be proper, classy and maybe a little prudish. I can do it. I have done it. Yay, me!

Why am I talking about all this? Well, it all has to do with writing and reading books. The heroine in my paranormal WIP cusses. Not a lot, but it's there. She uses the "F" word occasionally. My hero also uses this word, though much more often. Recently, someone mentioned that they don't like books where the heroine swears and especially if she uses that word. They said it's too manly, very unfeminine, too strong. Another person pointed out that both the hero and the heroine use this word which makes their speech pattern too similar. Really? Everyone I know, excluding SIS Beth, both male and female use this word.

I've read many books where swearing is part of the dialogue and the thoughts. It's never bothered me. It never seemed forced. It made it more real.

How about you? Tell me what you really think. Do you cuss? How often? Does it bother you to hear a woman cuss? Does it bother you in books? Consider this my research for the day!

SIS Barb aka Elle J Rossi

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Generally Speaking

Saturday, April 24, 2010 5

I was watching 'The Daily Show' this week, and host John Stewart was calling out Fox News for criticizing people for making negative generalizations about Fox when they themselves were guilty of the same thing. It made me stop and think for a minute, and I realized just how common negative generalizations are .

Whether they are used to further a political or personal agenda or sell us something, negative generalizations are present in every form of media nowadays, and are applied to people from every walk of life. All liberals are bleeding heart tree huggers. All conservatives are bible thumping fear mongers. The Tea Partiers are racist lunatics. This diet plan or exercise equipment will keep everyone who buys it from being an unattractive, lazy slob. And on and on.

As much as I like to think of myself as open-minded and tolerant, I too generalize much more than I should, some of it negative. For the most part it's not intentional, yet I find myself consistently doing it unless I make a concerted effort to be aware of it. I know that negative rationalizations are almost always false and unproductive, yet I can't seem to stop myself from thinking them from time to time.

Do you generalize too much? If so, why? How much of your generalizing is negative?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Convention (not convential) Mania

Friday, April 23, 2010 12

I’m changing my middle name to ‘Chaos.’ Beth Chaos Ciotta. Yep. Sounds right.

So… this week I’m cramming to prepare for the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention. I leave Tuesday afternoon after a half day of work.

Friday I’m speaking on a workshop panel. As of today, I’m not prepared.

Friday evening I’m appearing in Heather Graham’s musical extravaganza. I need to memorize my lines and blocking. Working on it.

Saturday I have a booksigning at the humongous book fair. Sort of, kind of prepared.

Saturday evening, I am the co-host for the Mr. Romance Competition. I have a partial script. I need to augment and memorize. So not prepared. BUT, I’ve done this before so I know what to expect. That’s something.

Wednesday-Friday there are several workshops that I’d like to attend, but I’m obligated to rehearsals for the aforementioned special event shows. Will squeeze in as much ‘learning’ as possible. All in all next week will be a blur, but . . . I do have my wardrobe and costumes in order. That’s something. I also have an agenda. To network with new industry professionals and to reconnect with old friends. Aside from being a bit nervous about the networking thing, I’m really excited about next week.

I’ve been attending the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention since 1994. RT has been a major and influential part of my writing career. Breaking it down, everything wonderful that has happened for me, all doors opened, came out of RT. More on that next week.

This week I’m scrambling to prepare for the upcoming mania. Did I mention Friday night I have to wear pink tights, a tutu, andsome sort of bizarre Flamingo headdress?

The things I do/have done to garner name/face recognition in order to sell/share my stories.
Speaking of RT, I was invited to participate in the launch of the new RT Book Reviews website! The site launched yesterday. Click here to see my feature!

SIS Beth

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Thursday, April 22, 2010 7
Founded by Senator Gaylord Nelson in 1970, Earth Day is celebrated on April 22 in more than 175 countries. Some people celebrate Earth Week running from April 16 to April 22. I personally think every day should be Earth Day and I think a lot of people feel that way. When I am at the park or on a nature hike with my children we pick up as much trash as we can. It makes us sad that people just throw trash everywhere.

Both of my girls are doing things in school to celebrate Earth Day. My oldest is spending the day cleaning up the outdoor science lab. They are going to plant tree's there. My youngest has talked her entire Kindergarten class into skipping recess and instead walking the neighborhood to pick up trash. She is proud of herself for talking them all into it. I plan on picking up trash in the wooded area close to our house. Of course to clean it all out I will need a dump truck. There are tires, pop bottles and even a big pleather chair. I might need a little help with that one.

If everyone in the world would pick up just one piece of trash today, it will be a successful Earth Day in my book. So help out Mother Earth and reach down to pick up some trash.

(click here for more ideas on how you can help!)

SIS BJ aka Aleena Ravenwood

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

At the movies

Wednesday, April 21, 2010 14

I rarely get the chance to watch movies, so when I do, I try to choose carefully. I’ve gone to the theater too many times and after shelling out a small fortune, have been highly disappointed. We usually just wait for movies to come on pay per view now…or better yet, Blockbuster has a rental machine at our local grocery store where you can rent new releases for just $1. There is also something called The Red Box (at Walgreen’s here) that offers the same.

Sunday, we decided to watch 2012. My husband thought it would have a lot of great special effects and I thought maybe it would delve deeper into explaining the beliefs of the Mayans. He was right and I was wrong.

The movie was unavailable at the Blockbuster kiosk, so we purchased it on pay per view for $4.99. It was about two hours long. There’s $5 and two hours of my life that I wish I could get back.

Yes, the movie was full of special effects and action, but the rest of it was so lame that I sat there rolling my eyes the entire movie. I love John Cusack and was really surprised to see him in such a lame movie. Probably the highlight for me was Woody Harrelson as a border-crazy man DJ. I thought he portrayed his role quite well.

Oh well, you win some, you lose some.

Monday night, I finally talked my husband into watching Sherlock Holmes. This one, I really enjoyed. I loved the slow motion scenes, the action, and the chemistry between Robert Downey Jr. as Holmes and Jude Law as Dr. Watson. I can definitely see sequels to this movie. Sort of like the James Bond movies.

So, what movies have you watched lately? Have you seen either of the two movies I mentioned and what are your thoughts on them? What are your recommendations?

SIS Bren

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Being Pampered

Tuesday, April 20, 2010 6

First of all, how did I miss yesterday's blog?!? I always miss the good stuff. I have one thing to say... Sex scenes? LOVE THEM!!!

Something else I love is being pampered. Unfortunately, that doesn't happen very often. I had the chance to get a little of it last Friday, and it was wonderful!!

For my birthday (in Feb) Omar and the girls got me a gift card to a spa. It was due time that I used it! I was in major need of some pampering!!

I had all kinds of things done. I started off with a body wrap. Some sort of herbal stuff that is supposed to help tighten your skin. I think it worked but maybe it's just in my head. At least it was relaxing though. Then I got my eyebrows waxed. They were getting pretty scary!

After that, I got my hair cut. I was a little worried about this part because I had no clue how good the lady would do on my hair. I have lots of it, and it seems like some stylist don't know what to do with it. She did awesome. Everything I asked her to do she did perfectly!!

The day was finished with a pedicure. It feels so good to have one done. I don't know how people that are ticklish get through it though. The chairs you sit in are heaven! I need one for at home.

I left the salon happy and relaxed. I feel like a new person. We need to try to find ways to do things like this for ourselves more often. A lot of the time we get to busy pampering everyone else. We forget about ourselves.

Have you been pampered lately? What do you do to pamper yourself?

SIS Brandy

Monday, April 19, 2010

Dr. Ruth Anyone?

Monday, April 19, 2010 16
Let's talk sex. Or to be more precise, sex scenes in books. Do you read them? Skip over them? Enjoy them? Hate them?

At my writing meeting this weekend, we discussed how to make sex scenes count, which led us to a discussion on how sex in books has changed over the years. It used to be that implied sex was called sweet. Now they tell me that books with only one sex scene are considered sweet. I guess the norm used to be just one sex scene if any. Now? Those rules absolutely do not apply.

Are writers putting them in just to have them or is there meaning behind each and every one? Is the scene character driven? According to our guest speaker, Ann Voss Peterson (who was amazing, I might add), it must be. If it's not, that's when readers skip over it because they can tell it's forced, faked. And not just the "sex" scenes. Each "love" scene must transform our characters in some way or at the very least, give us a glimpse into their inner fears, conflicts and turmoil. We all have such things that exist within us, so why wouldn't our characters?

Some books in mainstream romance have multiple and I mean MULTIPLE sex scenes. Many times it is done well and I get the realness of each one. I think paranormal is more apt to do this because we are often dealing with otherworldly characters and sex can be a major part of their existence. If there were a book written about a vampire or a demon with little to no sex scenes, I for one would be sorely disappointed.

For me, these type of scenes are not easy to write. There are so many things to take into consideration. What will people think? Is it too much? Not enough? Too raunchy? Too vanilla? Will people talk in whispers when I walk by after reading my book? These things shouldn't matter. I should write them in accordance with what my characters would do. How they would act and feel based on who they are and what is inside them and how it will change them.

So how about you? Does it bother you to read sex scenes? Do books have too many? Not enough? Have we gone too far?

SIS Barb aka Elle J Rossi

Saturday, April 17, 2010

One Good Deed

Saturday, April 17, 2010 9

I've been a cynical person for as long as I can remember. I don't expect the best out of people and I'm usually not disappointed. The news we hear nowadays is mostly bad and doesn't surprise me in the least. What does surprise me, in a positive way, is the occasional good news I hear and those rare occasions when I actually witness something inspiring and uplifting in person. To kick the weekend off right, I'd like to tell you about a couple of things I've seen.

The first happened about a week ago. My wife and I were at a local Steak-n-Shake and I noticed a girl about 7 or 8 years old. She made several trips to the coin-operated claw machine before she was able to win a stuffed animal. She walked back to her table and sat down. She then turned and handed the toy to a little girl, about 3 or 4, who was sitting with her mother in a booth next to her. No second thoughts, no questions asked, just here you go. The fact that the older girl was white and the younger girl was black shouldn't be relevant, but for someone to be kind, generous and color blind at that young age really shows that there's hope for this world yet.

The other one was several years ago. I was at a club on the beach a couple of nights in a row one weekend, and each night I was there I couldn't help but notice another guy that was also there. His name was Patrick, and he was visiting from Ireland with his family. I couldn't help but notice him because he was the life of the party, having a great time and in the process helping everyone else have a great time as well.

One of the main reasons Patrick was having such a good time was because of the lead singer of the band that was performing at the club. Because of her, Patrick was made to feel at home and allowed to be himself and let loose. His personality came through and made everyone in the club smile. It didn't matter one bit that he had Down's Syndrome, especially to the the lead singer of the band that showed him such a great time.

Did I get the story right, Brenda?

Now it's your turn. I want to hear about a personal experience that had a strong positive effect on you.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Book Winners!!

Friday, April 16, 2010 7
Beth here. Beth, who's so immersed in a writing proposal, she forgot the day of the week and hence forgot to write a post. Instead I'm anouncing the winners in our Julia Templeton Book Giveaway! Congratulations.....

Tori L
Alyson R
Edie R

You've each won a copies of SINJIN and VICTOR, the first two books in The Rakehells of Rochester series! Please email your mailing address to us at: and we'll forward the info to Julia. Act now to get your awesome reads soon!

Leaving you with a writer's quote that's getting me through my current propopal. Make my day and share one of your favorite motivating quotes!

"Writing a book is like driving a car at night. You only see as far as your headlights go, but you can make the whole trip that way.
— E. L. Doctorow

SIS Beth

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Thursday, April 15, 2010 20
My perseverance on my temp job has paid off. I worked my ass off for ten straight days and I must say it was worth it. I will be working at the store I helped remodel for one more week and then I will start working at the store that is closer to my home after that. Both store managers came up to me Wednesday to give me the good news. I am so happy that I don't have to file for unemployment.

This might not be a dream job but I think I will truly enjoy it. I like working with the public and enjoy helping people out. In this economy I can't complain. I was lucky to find a job so quickly. I didn't miss one day of work. Of course, I wanted to find a job. Some people who lose their jobs take unemployment for as long as they can. It would drive me crazy to not work.

Enough about my good news. Does anyone else have good news to share?
SIS BJ aka Aleena

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Heroes That Stick With Us

Wednesday, April 14, 2010 31
SIS is proud and thrilled to present guest blogger, Sensual Romance Author (and super-cool, super-close friend of Beth's) ..... Julia Templeton!

I'm one of those authors who has a relatively easy time letting go of my characters. I finish their story and move on to the next book...and honestly, by the time I write "THE END", I'm ready to move on. But for some reason I had a tough time saying goodbye to Victor Rayborne, the middle brother of the infamous rakes of Rochester.

For those of you who are not familiar with the The Rakehells of Rochester series––the Rayborne brothers have a horrible reputation as scoundrels for sleeping their way through London and Rochester. When the brothers are given an ultimatum from their parents to marry or lose everything, they begin their search for brides. Easier said than done when they have a well-meaning mother who is constantly throwing the wrong woman in their path.

From the moment I started writing the first book in the series, Victor stood out for me. I loved his sarcasm, his wit, and the fact that he absolutely owned who he was. He made no apologies, offered no explanations, and never took himself too seriously. I think that's what I loved most of all. He was different than any other hero I had written, and that was also part of his appeal. I wrote his story over a year ago...but I think he'll always hold a special place in my heart.

So my question to you is this––is there a hero who has stuck with you long after finishing a book?

I have a ton of books on my keeper shelf, but I'll start with one of my favorites--Karen Marie Moning's Barrons from her Fever series. OMG, that woman writes magic!
For those of you who answer, your name will be going into a drawing to win signed copies of SINJIN & VICTOR, books one and two of The Rakehells of Rochester series.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Tuesday, April 13, 2010 11
Once again, I have writer's block!! Lets just ramble on today...

My oldest leaves for DC today. I am very excited for her. I never was able to do anything like that growing up, so I want her to have a great experience. At the same time, I am nervous as can be!! She's never left us like this :( I am sure it will be a fantastic trip for her - she'll have wonderful memories.

I've said that I need to make some changes with work. Wish me luck!! I am determined to make these changes and be successful. Do you hear that? That's my brain focusing on the task ahead of me - the wheels are turning. They have been a little creaky this last week or so, but their all oiled up now and ready to do it!

It is so nice to have some good weather. I think we can put that nasty cold crap behind us. It's great to feel the sun.

I keep finding more gray hairs!! This is bull crap. I am too young for this! Well, maybe not... but I'm gonna keep telling myself that!! At least I still look pretty young otherwise. If it gets much worse, I'll have to let you guys help me pick out a hair color like Beth did.

I have been a reading fool this last week. In 8 days, I read 7 books!! What is wrong with me? Oh, and speaking of those books, I am gonna have to come steal that last one from you! It's driving me crazy. I need to know what happens!!!! One of the books was Beth's new one. I really like it. You did a great job again. Can't wait for the next one.

Ramble on... What's on your mind. Scream if you need to, we'll listen.

SIS Brandy

Monday, April 12, 2010

In The Name of Research

Monday, April 12, 2010 16

There's all types of research. Searching the web for factual sites on our topics, hitting the library, joining a class, asking the experts and so on...

But I've found that the best research comes from real life. I think what separates one book from another is how the author captures emotion. When they get that right, the reader goes through the roller coaster with the character. That's what we want. We want to feel what they feel.

As a writer, we need to draw from our own experiences, watch others to see how they handle situations and then somehow get it down on paper. That is so much easier said than done. But it can be done. It has been done.

Yesterday was a very emotional day for me. My heart pounded, my hands shook, my leg jumped, my ears roared, the tears flowed, my head ached and then my body shut down. It crashed. It had to. A person can only go through so much emotion before it needs to rest and rejuvenate. I've rejuvenated. Today is a new day. A good day.

I'm not sharing this so people will feel bad for me. I'm sharing it because we've all been through it. We've all had those kind of days, those kinds of moments. It's how we come out of them that make us who we are. I plan to remember those emotions, my bodies reactions to them and pour that emotion into my story. I want my characters to feel. I want their bodies and their minds to react. And I want it to ring true.

On a lighter note...

My husband and I found a show last night that both of us could enjoy. That's rare for us, but this one definitely fit the bill. Deadliest Warriors aired on SPike TV and apparently it's an ongoing series.

This one was Knights vs. Pirates. Who would win in a head to head challenge? They demonstrated each of their weapons and that was truly amazing to watch. I'd love to get my hands on a couple of authentic ones. Anyone have any idea how much an authentic morning star would run me?

Anyway, it was a great show. I can't wait to watch when William Wallace vs. Shaka Zulu!

Do you use real life as research?

SIS Barb aka Elle J Rossi

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Sense and Sensibility

Saturday, April 10, 2010 9

I like to think of myself as a sensualist. Before I lose you, let me explain. I don't mean in a sexual way; That's a discussion for another blog entirely. I mean that certain sights, sounds and scents evoke a strong emotional response in me, either positive or negative.

For example, visually I like deep, rich colors like burgundy, hunter green, purple and of course, black. Gothic visuals like old cemeteries, cathedrals or fog-shrouded landscapes also appeal to me. I like gazing at the night sky, fireplaces, campfires and candles. Underwater scenes on TV and aquariums can mesmerize me.

My least favorite colors are bright yellow, orange and pink, which is a little odd because I love the fall foliage in North Carolina in October, which is yellow, orange and red. Frenetic fight scenes, car chases or flashing lights on TV and in movies drive me up a wall, as do a lot of today's TV cartoons.

As far as sounds go, I like a variety of music, from 80's hair metal to classical. It depends on my mood, but some sounds I love or hate consistently. I'd have to say my favorite sound is Wendy's heartbeat. Rain and running water is always a good thing, even after the wet, miserable winter we had. So are crickets and frogs at night, and a cat purring. The sound of a wolf howling sends a shiver through me!

On the flip side, a playground full of kids running, jumping and yelling at the top of their lungs can make my head explode. Too bad our apartment is right next to one. Fire alarms, car stereos and babies crying will also do the trick.

Night blooming jasmine is one of my favorite scents because when I was a child we had one in our backyard. Natural patchouli, not the synthetic stuff, is also a favorite. Yes, I can tell the difference. The smell of the beach brings back fond memories, as does the smell of baking bread and cookies.

Conversely, freshly cut grass is a scent that I can't stand. I cannot walk down the detergent aisle at the grocery store, and garlic and reclaimed water used for city sprinklers are also no-no's.

Are there any sights/sounds/smells that cause a strong positive/negative reaction in you? Do you find that you use them in your creative endeavors?

Friday, April 9, 2010


Friday, April 9, 2010 7
I'm currently working on a story proposal that I'm incredibly excited about. One aspect concerns the heroine's desperate need for solitude. I knew with blinking where she'd spent most of her life. Wyoming. Last fall, Barb/Elle and I spent an amazing week in that beautiful state. One thing that continually amazed us: The solitude. Miles and miles of nothing. Miles and miles of natural beauty.

Here's a line from my proposal....

I cracked open the Red Bull and looked out my kitchen window, at the vast expanse between my isolated cabin and the Grand Teton mountains. I soaked up the beauty and serenity and braced for a storm.

Here's a pictureof Barb and I after we hiked 3 miles UP. The beautiful mountain behind us are the Tetons. Ah. Inspiration.
Inspiration leads to creativity. If you'd like a peek into my manic process, please click here and meet me at RomCon!
SIS Beth

Thursday, April 8, 2010

What's Up?

Thursday, April 8, 2010 13

Good day all. I have been very busy this week with a new temporary job. I lost my job of 8 years due to the business closing. I was lucky to find this current job and hope it leads to something permanent. I am trying to avoid unemployment. It seems like such a hassle to mess with. This new job is fun, but very hard work. We are remodeling the store. I can tell you, my muscles are killing me. We are moving shelves that are still full of merchandise. Moving items and stocking the empty shelves isn't so hard until you get to the bottom shelves. I don't want to look like I'm sitting on the job, so I squat to stock the shelves. My calves are feeling it.

The hours are long, so I'm falling behind on house work and I haven't written a thing all week. Hopefully by next week my body will be used to the job and I will feel like doing more. I'm sure my house and family will thank me for it.

So, what's going on with you this week? Please share.

SIS BJ aka Aleena Ravenwood

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Let the Games Begin

Wednesday, April 7, 2010 19

I love games. Any kind of game really. I love board games, strategy games, card games, trivia games, brain games, word games… you name it, I probably love it. I mostly love the challenge of figuring things out. It gives me great satisfaction when I can figure out “whodunit” before anyone else while playing a game of “Clue”.

I also love those word jumbles in the newspaper and playing along with “Wheel of Fortune”. One of my favorite game shows is “Cash Cab”. It’s a trivia game played in a NYC taxi cab. The host is hysterical and the questions range from basic knowledge to “who in the world would know that?”.

Both of my sons enjoy playing games too. Family game night can be a real hoot at our house. I tend to get a little competitive and it seems to be rubbing off on them, so sometimes the emotions can run a little high, but all in all, we have a great time.

The “Cranium” games are great fun and of course the classics like “Uno” and “Sorry” still bring me great joy. Happy and I have found a web-site full of brain games that we enjoy playing. I think it’s . Check it out if you get the chance.

What games do you enjoy? Do you consider yourself to be a competitive player? What T.V. game show would you like to play and win the big bucks?

Today, I’ve jotted down the beginnings of some famous quotes and leave it to you to finish them. Be as creative and unique as you possibly can. The best one wins nothing, but I hope you’ll have fun playing along, he he…

If you love something, let it go. If it doesn’t come back…

A bird in the hand is…

You can lead a horse to water, but…

If at first you don’t succeed…

SIS Bren

Shameless Promo

Hi all!
Sneaking in on Brenda's day with a shamelesspromo plug. After you enjoy Bren's post, please hop over to Over Coffee. I'm being interviewed by the awesome Sia McKye! What fun! Please join us!

SIS Beth

Monday, April 5, 2010

Good Reads

Monday, April 5, 2010 11

Happy Monday to all. I'm still visiting family in Indiana and we all know what that means...sketchy to zero internet access. Yee-haw. As you can see, I can't even get my avatar up for today. Oh well. If that's all I have to complain about, life is good.

Today, I'd like to recommend a couple of books I've been reading.

Found Beth Ciotta's (yep, our SIS) Out of Eden at the local KMart here. We bought them out after screaming, dancing and woo-hooing in the aisle. Such a fun and exciting read.

I'm currently reading Heather Graham's The Killing Edge and I absolutely love it. It's full of suspense, romance, a cult, ghosts, murder and fantastic characters. A must read!

I also brought my copies of Ms. Graham's Flynn Brothers Trilogy for SIS Brandy to read. She's devouring books and I'm getting a kick out of fueling her fire. Too much fun. Plus, I love discussing books with people. I've thought about joining a book club, but who has the time?

I just had to turn SIS Brandy onto the Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning. Who can resist Mac and her MacHalo? Come on. For those that haven't read this series, you are truly missing out on one of, if not THE best urban fantasy series of all time.

I am now caught up on Terry Spear's Werewolf Series. I'm eager for the next release. Terry knows wolves inside and out and thankfully shares her vast knowledge with us through her incredible characters and all their intricacies. She makes me want to join a pack. She's that good!

And last, but certainly not least, I'm reading Kimberly Frost's Southern Witch Series. This series is more fun than grits on a Sunday morning, four wheelin' on Friday and a hog roast on a Saturday night. Check 'em out. You'll find yourself in a world full of magick, crazy characters, an enormous "cat" and she even throws in some steamy romance. Well, not just some. The romance is tense, frustrating and oh so real.

Let me know if you've read any of these. I'd love to hear your comments. And recommend a few to us! We're always on the look out for good reads.

SIS Barb aka Elle J Rossi

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Renaissance Man

Saturday, April 3, 2010 10

I was recently asked to blog about the Renaissance Festival, which I've attended every year for the last 25 or so. It is a recreation of a Medieval village, complete with costumed actors, performers, merchandise, food and drink. In order to convey what it is about RenFest that intrigues me, allow me to be your guide back in time. Sit back, relax and prepare to enter another place and time...

Approaching the village, you notice is the large, wooden stockade and entrance gate, and the surrounding wooden fence that keeps out intruders. A multitude of people mill about outside, including hoity-toity lords and ladies in their finery with their noses in the air, crass peasants covered in muck looking for that day's meal, well-built knights in not-so-shining armor, and of course the patrons, who are encouraged to dress in medieval garb (No real weapons, please). Adding to the authenticity, all characters speak the King's English, replete with "thees" and "thous"

Entering the village brings forth a multitude of sights and sounds. There are more of the aforementioned people, including the King and Queen of the village and their court. Music drifts on the breeze from the many stages offering performances from comedians to acrobats to minstrels. Brightly painted wooden stalls house the many merchants hawking their wares, including incense and soaps, jewelry, period clothing and weaponry, children's toys, and occult/pagan items. Ignore the occasional ATM or airplane flying overhead and you might just believe you have stepped back in time.

And who could miss the myriad aromas of food drifting through the air? It's all here, from traditional fare like hot, juicy turkey drumsticks, scones and fish and chips to more modern items like kennel corn, chicken wings and corn dogs. Don't forget to try the King's nuts; they're delicious and come in three varieties: cinnamon roasted almonds, cashews or pecans. I've heard the Queen loves them. Wash it down with your choice of a soft drink, a variety of beers and wines, mead or ale. Huzzah!

What's this? It look like a human-sized chessboard, and that's exactly what it is. What better place for the King and his rival to settle their differences with a friendly little game of live combat chess? Instead of pieces being removed from the board, people actually 'fight' with real weapons until there's a winner. Throw in some witty banter and one-liners and you have an enjoyable experience, if you enjoy comedy and violence that is.

Also for your entertainment there's real jousting on horseback and a plethora of games of skill and chance, including crossbows, archery, and even a peasant dunk tank. But if you're like me, it's the characters that add the real flavor and make RenFest truly enjoyable. There are tryouts several weeks before the opening for anyone that's developed a character and wants to get in on the fun. If you've stuck with me this far, here's my question:

If you were going to try out for RenFest, what type of character would you have and what would your audition be like? The only limit is your imagination!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Beyond the Bookstore

Friday, April 2, 2010 10
Yesterday was the official release day of OUT OF EDEN. I spent the day guest blogging at Loud Whispers and shouting the word from my personal blog as well as Twitter and Facebook. It felt a tad anti-climatic since copies had been available on and for a couple of weeks and also because I'd already received several reviews. So I wasn't exactly on pins and needles wondering whether or not the book was going to be loved or slammed by readers. So far the feedback has been incredibly favorable. Yay!

However I was, and still am, on pins and needles wondering how the book was/is going to sell. On the business side of things, 'numbers' are everything.

I won't know for several months how well OUT OF EDEN is selling, but I'm encouraged by all the emails I got yesterday from readers who said they were on their way out to buy the book (now in bookstores!) or that they'd just downloaded it to their Kindle (whoosh!). I have to say though, that the high point of my day was when a friend/reader emailed to tell me she found OUT OF EDEN in Kmart!! Which means there's probably a very good chance that it can also be found at Wal-Mart. Woo-hoo!

You may be wondering why I find that so exciting. Let's put it this way. Not everyone is comfortable ordering a book on-line. And not every town in America has a Borders, Books-a-Million, or Barnes and Noble. Some don't even have an Independent bookstore. But mostly everyone is within driving distance of a Kmart or Wal-Mart. These stores usually offer books at a discount, which is appealing to shoppers. And even though someone might have only gone into the store for curtains, jeans, shampoo, or an economy case of soda, if they pass by the book/magazine section and my cover catches their eye, my book may just end up in their cart.
The impulse buy is a mighty huge factor in overall sales.

The only thing more exciting than my book being in Kmart and Wal-Mart is if it also showed up in groceries or drug stores. If airports stock it then... I have arrived.

So... while you're out and about, even if you're not buying a copy of OUT OF EDEN, will you please keep an eye out? I'd be thrilled to hear about any sightings. Bookstore, department, grocery or drug store? Let me know!

Question of the day: Where's the oddest place you ever purchased a book?

SIS Beth

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Thursday, April 1, 2010 34
All I can say is good bye.
Please forgive the short notice.
Really sucks that things aren't working out.
I hate to go.
Leaving this blog is so hard.
Forever will I be grateful.
Our chats have been fun.
Of course I will visit.
Lost I will be.
So long.

SIS BJ aka Aleena Ravenwood