Archive | January 2012

Requiem for Brick and Mortar


Last week we found out that the front and back ball joints in my husband’s work truck were shot. It would take the better of all day to have it serviced. Yes! Date day! Turned out date day turned into date morning as they were finished by one. So, we had a lovely breakfast and spent the rest of the morning at the bookstore.

Now, I won’t mention which bookstore, but suffice it to say, of the 5 bookstores we had a year ago, it’s the only one left in town…or in any town within a good 50 miles. This was and is not my favorite, but beggars can’t be choosers as they say. Still, it was a lovely morning. Over the last year, we’ve mourned the death of 4 of our bookstores, including one a Mom and Pop store that’s been a fixture in our town since I was a girl. There are still used bookstores, textbook stores, and Christian bookstores, but the rest are gone.

I’d forgotten how much I’ve loved spending hours in the bookstore, browsing through titles I was able to pick up and hold, being able to rifle through a stack of magazines to decide which I want to buy. The last time I was in a bookstore was right before Halloween, so I’m sure I contributed to the demise, and I’m heartbroken to think that it may not be long before this last vestige of the bound and printed word will be gone as well. I realize I can still pick up a magazine at the checkout counter at the grocery store. God knows, I can’t possibly live without knowing who’s sleeping with whom or who the Middleton sister’s latest designer might be. How long will it be before we have no where to get a book written on paper with a cover on it? Will our public libraries be next?

Now, don’t get me wrong, my books have been published digitally, and I’m grateful. But it has been my dream, along with many other striving authors, to hold my printed book in my hands, see it on bookstore shelves, library shelves. When my last publisher closed its doors right after Thanksgiving, many of my colleagues chose to self-publish…a practice that was utterly taboo not so very long ago. If you self-published, you were basically saying to everyone, “I can’t get a traditional publisher, so I’ll just do it myself.” While many recent self-published authors still fall squarely into that category, despite the big bucks they are raking in, these authors aren’t among those. They are talented writers, their books solid stories and they deserve the attention and the money. Self-publishing is no longer embarrassing. It’s “the wave of the future.” Seems they used to say the same about Epublishing and now it appears to be.

I’m grateful for my digital titles, but I’m the first to admit I don’t love my reader. I understand it–a device for storing many titles. When packing for a trip, it’s a nice space saver. Students who are developing severe back problems from carrying mega-pound backpacks loaded down with countless textbooks would be overjoyed if all those text books weighed less than a pound. THAT would be a common sense use for Ereaders. But when I’m reading a book from it, it doesn’t feel like I’m reading for enjoyment. It feels the same as working on my computer. Work. I remember musical progression from vinyl to 8-tracks to cassettes to CDs, and swearing I would never go to the next thing, and I admit I still have many vinyl records I horde, still play and love. But I also have a slew of CDs…when you don’t have any other choice, you have to pick your battles. It just seems odd that Hollywood is choosing to remake every old TV show and cartoon we watched as children, movies that our parents loved. They are spending boatloads of money to preserve old movies. How long before we are reading only digital because we have no other choice? Is this progress? Or are we all so convinced that the world’s going to end at the end of the year, we just don’t care?

I will go back to the bookstore next week and spend more time. I will buy a few hardbacks and a few paperbacks because I never know when this will all be gone.

And the irony continues…


I am clearly having a good week, as is my little book without a publisher.

Yesterday, I learned that along with the TRS CAPA nomination, I’ve been nominated for a P&E award for romance, and Kendra Egert has been nominated for my cover!  In the words of a dear friend…not bad for a little orphan book.  

If you’ve a mind to, please follow these links and vote for ILLUSIONS in the romance and in the ebook coverart categories.

Please vote for ILLUSIONS by Sheryl Hames Torres in the romance category at http://critters.org/predpoll/novelr.shtml
Please vote for Kendra Egert for excellence in cover art for ILLUSIONS by Sheryl Hames Torres at http://critters.org/predpoll/bookart.shtml

 

The Irony of Balance…


It’s been a few weeks since my last post, and laziness has had nothing to do with it this time.  I didn’t wear the orange t-shirt Christmas day, nor did I finish my son’s beanie, and the stroke had nothing to do with either.  My children’s winter break was the shortest ever, and the number of days had nothing to do with that.  They both finished their fall semesters on very high notes: Courtney on the President’s List once again, and Dusty finished his first semester as a college freshman with a good strong B.  They start back to school tomorrow and once again, my house will be filled with the blaring of the radio, the incessant chatter of the TV and any other noise I can find to fill the silence.  The only upside of that will be that it will drive the fur balls nuts, but they’ll find a corner away from the din and sleep.

Over the last year, I’ve gone through a gamut of emotions, from very high to very low.  I suppose God wanted to shake me up a bit.  The plan was a raging success.  Let’s just say, I am sufficiently shook

When I look back over the last month, I’m amazed at all the irony that has run rampant in our lives.  While I’m not a big fan or change, I’m not a fan of status quo much eiter. Lately, however, I’ve been wishing for just a little in the coming year.  I’m not talking boring, or uneventful, but more not so negatively eventful.  Granted, for all of the negative, I can find a positive to keep the balance… 

It’s 23* here this morning.  I am a happy medium girl.  I’d lobby on Washington for year round autumn if I thought it’d do any good.  God knows Washington fills my email inbox with crap I care about less.  Seems like turnaround would be fair play in this case, but, well, never mind. I’m making chili for dinner tonight and by Friday, it’ll be back in the 60s.  Balance.

Like I said, I didn’t finish my orange t-shirt for Christmas.  But while shopping for something to wear to my nephew’s wedding, I learned I’d lost 3 pant sizes and (men, cover your eyes…you won’t understand how monumentously wonderful this is) 3 ½ bra cup sizes.  Okay, I knew I’d lost a little weight, about 15 lbs since the stroke…on top of another 20 in the year before that, and I guess I should have been able to take the take-2-steps-pull-up-the-pants or the girls-bouncing-around-like-boulder-marbles-inside-the-bra hints, but truly I had my mind on other things.  I can tell you though, the bra fitting was a very emotional ordeal…as in I sat in the dressing room and squalled for a good fifteen minutes.  Note: Daughters are possibly the best salve for egos on every occasion.  I digress…sorry.  The garb bought for the wedding was black…no, I was not making a statement–the wedding was a Black and Silver affair…so I had to get something a little more festive fit for Christmas that actually fit. And because I’d had to buy space heaters due to the dead heat pump, I had bonus coupons to cover all but $20 of the wedding outfit and $15 for the new blouse and jeans(that fit).  Balance…big time!

The kids got out of school on the 6rd of December.  Tomorrow they go back. January 4th.  This has been the shortest month on record.  But we’ve been moving every second.  To measure how short it’s been my daughter informed me that last year during Winter break she read 4 books.  This year, she’d managed only 1 ½.  In addition to the holidays we had, the kids and I scrubbed down the house.  Actually finished the spring cleaning I was in the middle of in April before being so rudely interrupted by the stroke. My house is clean.  Today, we do the floors and bathroom, and a quick general clean after getting groceries.  The rest of the day, the kids will have to laze around, so Courtney can at least end Winter Break with 2 books read.  Balance.

Dusty finally got a car.  There are few things more gorgeous in this world than an 18-year-old boy who’s just made his first car purchase.  Gone was the balking about Mama forcing him to get full coverage on a 12-year-old Escort, because it gave him a good head start on the money for the replacement.  After months of having to use the family car, of scrimping to save every possible penny he could, (“hey, Mama, are you going to use these pennies for anything?”) after trying to go to school and perform concerts and still working as many hours as possible, his ten year old car is sitting in the driveway awaiting the final payment and new insurance…full coverage AND an extended bumper to bumper warranty.  Yes, Virginia, boys can learn.  An added bonus, it was HIS decision to not drive the car until he makes the last payment later this week.  Balance.

The biggest shake up for me this last month was both a very, very high, and a very low, and another very high, but irony in its best illustration.  First, I received a glowing review from The Romance Studio of ILLUSIONS, my novel that was released 2 weeks after my stroke.  Another extremely emotional day.  You work hard, you hope people will like your work, but to receive a review like that was beyond anything I’d hoped.

Then Sapphire Blue Publishing announced they were closing their doors.

Seven months after the release of my book, I was back where I started. Good book, great review, excellent marketing…no publisher.

Then, a couple weeks later I received news that the book without a publisher has been nominated by The Romance Studio for a CAPA, an “award for excellence in romantic fiction.” I’m thrilled!  I’m overjoyed!  I’m…wait, I’m publisher-less.

(insert the sound of crickets)

So…2012.  It’s beyond freezing cold on January 3rd in GA…and we’re having a heat wave…we’ve gone from 23 to 29 since I started this! Day before yesterday it was 60. Friday, it’ll be 64.  I guess that’s balance.

I take up less space, but I can no longer list “pulling my pants up while walking” as exercise.  But the girls no longer bounce on the knees either.  That’s balance.

Sapphire was the fifth publisher that I’ve been with over the last 15 years to close down.  What do I do with that?  I could blame it on small press, but Sapphire went out strong due to health issues of the owners and nothing else. They were more than gracious to their authors, going so far as not only reverting publishing rights but GIVING us rights to out covers.  I could chalk it up to my being a jinx, but I’m still listed with a strong publisher, though my other  books don’t fit with their needs.  So, where do I go from here?  My writing partners/sisters/friends tell me it’s time get busy, finish the other books that are already started and aim higher.  

So, 2012…I have six books started and close to finished.  Have MANY more started and farther from the goal.  This morning, I send this, then wake up the babies, grab a bite, and go grocery shopping.  I will come home, put on the beans, and we clean. This afternoon, I will start cleaning out my computer…aye yi yi!…and tomorrow, while it’s silent, I will start listening to the voices of my next book.  Goal? At least a first draft by Valentine’s Day, and hopefully a new publisher by Easter. Balance.

I wish all of you a wonderful 2012, filled with enough for all the joys you want, enough money for all you need, enough good heath and happiness to get you through your goals. I wish you peace. But above all, I wish you balance.

Sher