Tuesday, June 16, 2009

SIS and Stuff

It's Tuesday. Why didn't somebody tell me?! Almost missed it... as far as posting here goes.

Never have I been so overwhelmed with personal and professional challenges, but I am energized. And I am happy. So there must be a silver lining.

A huge thank you to everyone who hopped over to
Sisters in Sync, a new bright and shiny blog featuring moi along with two of my five sisters. The turnout has been fabulous. So much fun! Tomorrow Brenda, the second to the oldest sister (me being the oldest, bleh.), shares her very first blog post ever. It's good. Really good. (I got a sneak preview). Please stop over and give her a shout. Oh, and I'm giving away books. See you there!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Where I'm At and Where I'll Be

Today I'm over at Babes in Bookland talking about some of the awesome places I've seen in my travels. Hop on over and for a peek at my adventures and if so inclined, please share one of your own!

Tomorrow is the launch day for Sisters in Sync. Read all about it in the post below. Please stop by and say 'hi'. Fun chat and free books! Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A New Venture and Free Books!

I'm thrilled to announce that on Monday, June 15, I'll be joining with two (out of my five) sisters to launch a joint venture. A new blog entitled Sisters in Sync -- Creative Chaos. Here's a blip about us...

Three sisters traveling the same artistic path. Beth, Brenda, and Barb are professional singers who are now pursuing a joint passion in publishing. Join us as we discuss the entertainment industry--music, movies, and books--as well as our struggles and triumphs as writers.

You can read more about us at SIS Scoop.

I know. I know. Like the world needs anther blog. But this will be informative and fun. Plus it's not just about us. It's about music, book, and movies in general. Join us and put in your two cents on our reccomendations, plus chime in with your own. Barb starts the fun on Monday plus I'm giving away signed copies of my books. Mark the date and join the fun!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Magical Weekend, a Birthday, and a Venture

Life is a whirlwind. As usual. Last weekend I attended the BEA Tradeshow in NYC. I had a lovely lunch with my agent and editor, and later an inspiring meeting with my agent. I visited with author friends and friends at HQN and Medallion Press. I stood in really long lines and got books for my sister and husband. Oh, and a couple for myself. I was bummed about missing Neil Gaimon and F. Paul Wilson but it couldn't be helped. As always BEA was overwhelming and, because of all the walking and standing, a killer on my bad knees. Still, I wouldn' have missed it.

As a bonus my husband came to NYC with me. We booked a lovely suite with great view. We spent quality time with our very good friends, Chris and Kim, and our brother and sister-in-law, John and Nikki. We dined at two superb restaurants and . . . Steve and Chris surprised us all with tickets to Billy Elliot! The show was FANTASTIC! So inspiring!

Also, get this, Chris saw one of my favorite screenwriters standing on a busy street corner. He called Steve, "You know that Silent Bob, dude? I'm standing right next to him." Stevesaid, "That's Kevin Smith. You have got to get his autograph for Beth." Chris didn't have a pen so he bought one then caught back up to that Silent Bob dude.

I am now the proud owner of a generic brown shopping bag with the penned message: Beth, I love you. ~Kevin Smith.

Love is actually a heart. Hee!

It was a magical and much needed weekend.

Reality hit hard when I got home. I am deep, deep, deep in revisions. And I will remain deep within my writing cave for several weeks... except for tonight.

It's my husband's birthday! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, STEVE!!!!! We will spend the evening celebrating in our quiet, but romantic way.

Lastly, I'm proud to announce that I'm uniting with my talented sisters, Barb and Brenda, for a joint venture that launches Monday, June 15. Check back for more details and the link in a couple of days.

That's the scoop with me. What about you? What's the most exciting thing that's happened to you recently?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

What's In a Name?

Per my post last week, this week I'm featuring a guest blogger. I'm so thrilled that my sister, Barb (a fabulous singer, performer, mom, and now--also--writer), volunteered to be my guest. Okay. She didn't volunteer. But since she made the suggestion, I snagged her. See what happens when you have a bright idea? *g*

If any one else would like to guest blog here, just say the word! Meanwhile.... meet Barb!

What’s in a name?

I was born Barbara Jean Miller. My sister Beverly JoAnn and I were named after our two aunts, Barbara JoAnn and Beverly Jean. My parents were so clever weren't they?

Not really.

I understand honoring family members by using their names but you have to think of the children. While everyone around us was getting named Jennifer, Kimberly and Melissa and getting cute nicknames like Jenny, Kim and Missy, I got stuck with Barbara, which of course turned into Barbie and Beverly got stuck with B.J. or Beaver. Ugh.

Does anyone love the name they’re born with?

My sister Brenda Lou named my younger sister Brandy Sue. I think Brandy is a beautiful name (not sure about Sue) but of course Brandy hates it. She thinks it makes her sound like an “exotic dancer”.

My friend Teri is actually Teresa Jo but she hates that, hence…Teri. Even that is changed from Teri-dog to Tressa to Jo Jo and sometimes, Phoenix. (don’t ask)

Later in life, I followed in the footsteps of both Beth and Brenda and started my singing career. I absolutely hated being announced as Barb on stage so I bought a baby book and christened myself Justen, pronounced just like the male name Justin. Don’t ask me why, but I loved that name and thought it made me soooo cool.

Then I met my future husband Larry, who prefers to be called L.J. for Larry Jr. He only refers to people by the 1st syllable of their name. Brenda is Bren, Brandy is Bran, Teri is Ter, I’m… Just. You get the idea. Anyway, he suggested I have my name legally changed to Justen. I was torn. I didn’t want to offend my mother, but I detested Barbara. I compromised. After a quick court session I became Barbara Justen Miller and later Barbara Justen Hisle.

Now I’m starting my new endeavor and following in Beth’s footsteps once again. I’ve begun writing. Of course the thought of a Pseudonym crossed my mind as a way to change my name yet again.


Time for me to be clever! My daughter's name is Logan and my son is Jax, so I thought I would take the 1st letter from each of their names and become Elle Jay. Get it? Like I said…clever. Except it wasn’t. I googled the name Elle Jay and there are a bazillion and two of them out there, so I guess I’m back to the drawing board.

So my question to you is… Do you like your name and if you could change it what would it be?

Oh, and feel free to suggest a pen name for me!