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Author Interview seventh question


And the last, best, and most visual question for Author, Sheryl Hames Torres: Referring to either your most recent book release, or your current WIP, if you were to cast your characters, what actors would portray them? Tell us about the character, and why the actor/actress fits.

ROFL…my poor writers’ group members will tell you that I drive them nuts, not only casting my own characters, but almost forcing them to cast their stories as well. When I’m writing a story, I may cast someone by looks alone, or perhaps I’ll see him/her in a role that screamed my own. Often though, by the time you finish your story, that casted actor may be too old, may be starring in something else where you say, “What was I thinking??” I tend to cast because of movements or attitude. It always helps to SEE your character in motion, catch tics, mannerisms, even the speech patterns. That does not, however, mean if they have a southern accent, you can’t force them to use an Irish one. Also, sometimes I cast people from photos that fit, even though I may not have any idea who they are. I give you the cast of my latest release, Kate’s House.

Anson Mount as Ian Stuart(WITH the beard, his dimples drive me nuts. LOL)

Hair model as Kate

Skyler Samuels as Crysta

Colin Ford as Liam

Maggie Elizabeth Jones as Livvy

Jasika Nicole as Reggie

Blake Michael as Rocky Lando

Maria Cesaria Cordel Encantado as Jannette

Miss Cicely Tyson as Nannette

Desert Breeze Publishing, Inc.'s photo.Desert Breeze Publishing, Inc.'s photo.
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Author Interview sixth question


Next question for Author, Sheryl Hames Torres: What is the hardest part of writing for you?

TIME!!!! Before my children, I worked a sixty hour job as the manager of a needlework shop, as well as often taught classes on Saturday. After my daughter was born, I worked that same job and those same hours, and took her along with me. Six months later, my husband gave me the Stay-at-Home-Mom status. I did custom work and antique needlework restoration for various historical societies, even through my daughter’s illness and recovery, until she started college. She’s about to graduate with her third degree, despite not being confident enough to drive–just call me James. LOL So, through all that, I’ve managed to sneak in a little writing at a time. Most times I’m working on several stories at a time. It works.

Author Interview fifth question


Fifth question for Author, Sheryl Hames Torres: Pick five words to describe your writing style/voice… then tell us why you chose each word.

Irreverent–I’ve never been one to back down or believe or not believe something simply because that’s what I’m supposed to do. I draw characters who are the same way–be they children or old ghosts. Every character I create has at their core some belief system and they always follow it–good or ill. Which brings me to…

Emotional– All my stories are built around the character’s emotions. Their belief systems often drag them along from chapter to chapter and decide how they’ll react to whatever situation or other character they encounter. They will defend the things they think are important to the exclusion of many other “supposed to be important” things, and the resulting feelings–happy, sad, terrifying, and exhilarating–build the stories. This very often will include the emotions in the settings as well. I met an old lady once who smoked a cigar and drank moonshine. She was the most irreverent and the most fascinating woman I ever met. And that brings me to…

Lighthearted–In the immortal words from Legend, “there can be no good without evil….No love without hate….No heaven without hell….No light without darkness.” I take it a little further–“there can be no sorrow without happiness…not pain without humor” or you dissolve. Which brings me to…

Honest–While I adore fantasy, fairy tales and make believe, I can’t stand things or people who don’t ring true. I try very hard to make my characters breathe. I want them to walk off my pages, take my readers’ hands and pull them into the stories.

Southern–I am southern. I’ve lived in Delaware and Michigan, and still I came out southern. I lived in Florida and even though it’s south of Georgia, only certain parts of the state are really southern. Ninety percent of my characters are southern. Most bleed Georgia red clay, buttermilk and cornbread. There will be “sayings”. There will be accents–if not of the tongue, surely of the heart.

Author Interview second question


Second question for Author, Sheryl Hames Torres: Are you a full-out plotter? Are you a “let’s see what happens” pantser? Or do you think you fall somewhere in between? Describe your process in coming up with and executing a story idea.

Oh mercy, I’m a steadfast plotter! Before I start a new story, I spend months making a story file, complete with setting photos, casting photos, histories for each main character and some of the secondary characters. I have descriptions of every character right down to the quirks and mannerisms, and I know where all the moles are hidden. I have dates and family trees. If I create a town, I have several pages of history, historical figures and landmarks. Then I go into math mode–I will figure out how long I want the book to be, how many words, chapters, pages in each chapter, and what scenes are most important–and even write a few in advance to be fitted in when I get to their homes. Once I have all that done, I will take whatever I have jotted the original idea on–a napkin, back of a grocery list or receipt, even in tiny letters on the back of a fortune from a fortune cookie– and flesh out the story.

Update and Review for ILLUSIONS from Desert Breeze Publishing now available at Amazon.com


IllusionsCoverArt72dpiNow up for voting in Cover Wars at http://authorshout.com/cover-wars/  ~~ Please register and vote daily October 11-17!

Seventeen years ago, Lily had the perfect life — loving parents and grandparents, a best friend and a boy she thought loved her. An explosion and a disastrous decision blew it all away.

She endures her estranged husband’s brutality in order to protect her six children and paraplegic grandmother, hiding her bruises and terror as best she can. Her family will be safe, even if it means shrinking their world into a very small space.

Alex has been trying to figure Lily out since he returned to town. His teaching job has not only allowed him to get to know her kids as he floats from school to school teaching them music, it’s given him a reason to reconnect with Lily.

However, the new persona he created is all she sees. In her eyes, the boy he was has ceased to exist. Will Alex’s love save or destroy her family?

Excerpt~~

“I’m sorry, Lily.”

She searched his face, and he didn’t buckle under her scrutiny. There was something about those eyes, something that grabbed her and wouldn’t let go. Something that made her feel safe and weak all at once.

“For what exactly? For my marrying the wrong man or for having the power to make me tell you things I refuse to tell anyone else?”

“Both, I guess.”

“You are a puzzle, Alex Anderson.”

“Not at all. My agenda is clear.”

She shivered. Her breath came in gasps as he leaned closer to her, and her heart beat out of control.

“Aren’t you going to ask me what that agenda is?”

“I’m not sure I want to know,” she whispered.

He surprised her by sitting up straight and offering her a wide smile. “You make very good tea.”

“You think I’m a coward?” She stared at her hands. There were tears in her voice, and she felt ashamed.

“Oh, no, Lily.” He put his glass down on the island, stood, and moved to stand in front of her. Sliding his hands along the side of her face, she felt his warmth flowing into her. Putting pressure on her chin with the pads of his thumbs, he raised her eyes to his. “You’re the bravest woman I’ve ever known.”

She scoffed. “You don’t have a clue what kind of woman I am.”

“You’re wrong.” The sudden pain in his eyes shocked her to her very core, and the need to comfort him was jarring. His voice when he continued was gentle, quiet, and intense. “I know you. I always have.”

With those words, he placed a gentle kiss on her forehead, soft, non-threatening, comforting and strengthening. Her eyes followed him as he picked up his glass, walked to the sink, rinsed it out, then headed to the door. As he opened the door, he slipped the lock on the doorknob.

“Get some rest. I’ll see you Monday.” With that, he closed the door behind him.

Lily remained frozen in her chair despite a devastating urge to run after him and beg him to stay. What was it about this man that made her feel so secure? By all rights and purposes, she’d only really met him this afternoon. He was a virtual stranger.

And why didn’t she send him away? After all, once he found out all the truths in her life, he’d leave anyway.

 

Review~~

Five our of Five Stars: A gut-wrenching, yet delightful read!

By Nancy C. Lepri on July 21, 2015

Format: Kindle Edition

Lily Cabot is raising six lovable, well-behaved children while keeping Peter, her abusive ex at bay. She fearful of him, and her kids hold him in contempt, also, wanting no part of him.

Living with her wheelchair-bound grandmother and caring for the needs of seven, not to mention herself, Lily is selfless and strong, determined to create a happy family environment.

The young man she once loved, Zandie Anderson is but a memory, though she still has a soft spot for him in her heart. If only, she thinks…but if only never happened, so she deals with the cards she’s been dealt. Not only deals with them, but does an excellent job, too. She encounters many stumbling blocks, though they do not deter her determination for a better life for her young ones.

Zandie, now going by Alex, teaches music for the local school system. His appearance is very different from the Zandie Lily once adored. He offers lessons to her children–drawn to the rowdy, but lovable brood–though more so to the girl he still loves. Attracted to him, Lily perceives something familiar in him, but cannot discern what, for he is not recognizable from the boy she had known. However, a relationship is impossible. She has her young ones and grandmother to care for, and her worry of reprisals from Peter keeps her from enjoying a life of her own.

Can Lily ever escape the bonds that bind her and find the true love she deserves, or will she continue to live in fear?

Ms. Hames Torres pens her novel with flair and wit. Though tackling the difficult subject of domestic violence, her protagonist proves to be a tough, independent woman who is doing an extraordinary job raising her six precocious kids while living with her grandmother, a feisty individual in her own right. Humor mixed with the issue of brutality offers a light-hearted, delightful read plus the anticipation of more in this same tone from this author.

The Top Five Things I Discovered In 2014


We’re about to say goodbye to 2014. Each new year comes around and we measure the last with several different yardsticks. Did we accomplish the goals we set this time the year previous? Are we in better health than we were last year—physical and financial? How did our children fare? Our spouses? The rest of our families? Is our house clean? Does our car run, need work?

Are we happy? And if we are, more so or less so than the end of the year before?

Did we learn anything? About the world? About ourselves? Did we pick up any knowledge intensely valuable to no one but ourselves?*

We’re about to enter 2015, so how was my last year?

My family is doing well. Mark could be happier in his job, but he’s extremely good at what he does so even on days he thinks he’s not appreciated, deep down, he knows they’d be sorry if he up and left. There’s extreme satisfaction underneath the general frustration. So that’s good.

Courtney is happy. She has great friends who value her and whom she values. She’s good at what she does, and enjoys it—stress and all. This was the year she learned how to suffer fools—something I had hoped she wouldn’t have to learn for years off. She doesn’t enjoy it and she doesn’t suffer them well or because she wants to, but I won’t allow her to use my food processor to deal with them, so she doesn’t have much choice. I’m considering researching Voodoo doll construction for her.

Dusty has gone back to school, and is happier than he’s been in a long time. Thank you, Jesus. He’s happier and learned more in the first week of his first semester than he did the entire two and a half years at the other college in the other program. Does that mean he’s given up his music? Not at all, and my heart still sings when he plays me his newest composition.

Between my two babies, my home will forever be filled with art and music.

And me? Well, I learned a lot this year, about myself, my kids, and some things that are completely useless to everyone else but me.

Here are my top five:

 

  1. It’s the end of the year and while my house does not look like a murder scene it is by far not spotless. However, my kitchen is clean and my dishes are done, and soup is on. My bathrooms are clean. My laundry is done, mostly thanks to my sweet baby girl. My front room is presentable enough not to horrify people who come to my door. My floors need doing, but I’m not worried about that right now. If someone comes in and says, “Oh my hell, your floors are horrible!” I will hand them the cleaner and a mop, and we’ll have a lovely conversation while they are correcting the problem.
  2. I can rewrite and entire novel, creating an almost completely new storyline and edit it in 5 ½ weeks! But not without my right hand woman and professional ledge-talker-offerer…LOL Thank you, Pam. In addition, I have my very own—I don’t want to say bulldozer…LOL so we’ll just say…earth mover. She will not let me stand still or give up. She will not let me waste time grousing, and will not let me simply take what’s handed me. No, she goes out there and pushes me through the next door in my path, and if there isn’t one, she FINDS one. Thank you, Charly! And one can simply not survive without a cheerleader and I have one of the best. Thank you, Neva! I love you guys more than I can tell you. You are all three invaluable to me.
  3. Few people keep their promises and though we don’t like that they’re not honoring contracts or aren’t paying us like they should be, we can’t let it destroy our health. I’m learning to believe that Sister Karma bites everyone in the ass eventually. Their time is coming. Of course, the Voodoo doll research might come in handy here as well.
  4. I can still do my beloved needlework. I’ve not even tried to do any in almost  three years since I had a mild stroke. I figured if I, lover of words and trivia, have problems remembering names, dates and events, and can’t find certain words when I need them,  how on earth can I expect to remember how to take string and thread and yarn and create anything beautiful…or even not overly homely? In July, I finished a counted cross-stitch Paula Vaughn piece of a front porch swing. It was not only easy, it turned out very well. In October, I started a sweater for my niece–an intricate, heavily cabled, highly stylized jacket and matching hat. It was completely finished by the first of December, turned out just the way I intended, and not only fit her, but she loved it. And by the week before Christmas, I’d crocheted four purses with basinets and baby dolls inside for my great nieces. So, I consider that a major win.

 

*Side note that only knitters will understand or care about:  I started doing needlework when I was nine years old and after—we’ll just say –many decades of learning and teaching and doing, I would have thought I’d pretty much have learned it all, until Brittney’s sweater. I seldom work with knitting grid patterns, but this time necessity called for it. The intricate cable design worked with decreases from bottom to top, but the pattern grid remained the same size, and equal stitch graph from top to bottom. I discovered “ignore stitch” means exactly that when looking at legended stitches beside little blank squares. It’s all based on lace technique of making wrap stitches, or increases and decreases in the row previous. While it completely freaked out my holey, word-obsessed brain, once I “read” what the grid was saying, I was able to see it and had no problem. The key? TRUST the pattern’s author, because what you’re seeing in the grid, ISN’T what’s actually happening. Now that I’ve completely confused all you non-knitters, I’ll just say this was a monumental moment in my re-establishing my needlework capabilities…and we’ll return to subject at hand.

  1. I am a terrible, horrible, ridiculously BAD blogger. I SAY I’m going to blog every week. I promise my daughter that I’ll blog every week. She even goes so far as to write out little strips of paper with topics so all I have to do on weeks my brain’s not working or I can’t think of a topic, or am just to tired of lazy to come up with, I’ll have a topic at my fingertips. And still I am a horrible blogger. We’ve established I don’t particularly like blogging. And you can look at the few I’ve done and know, I am less than sporadic. Courtney just looks at me and shakes her head. She definitely has a better work ethic than I do. Now that said, her class schedule this next semester leaves me with a LOT less sit-in-the-car-and-wait time and a lot more potential writing time. And since I do have all those lovely colored topic papers, I will have less reason not to blog. Will I be able to push myself to blog more? Well, let’s just say, though I didn’t blog a lot last year, I did blog more than the year before.  So, there’s hope. There is hope.

 

Goodbye 2014. Thank you for the ups and downs, the good things and the bad things and the strength we gained from both. Thank you for the balance. God knows you’ve got to be tired and deserve your rest. 2015, I ask that you help us deal with the bad things some of us are carrying over in to the New Year, and the attention to enjoy all the good that comes our way.

I wish all of you readers love, strength, peace, enough happiness to overshadow whatever trials and sorrows you might face, and as always, enough of everything to make your life a fulfilling and satisfying one.

 

Time to get on with the soup…

I. AM. SO. SPOILED.


Sunday was such a gorgeous day. Grey and overcast, a delicious breeze and the high never even reaching seventy. The smell of impending rain filled the air. My kind of day. The kind of day that makes me want to plant my rear in my chair and pound away on my keyboard. So, my first thought when I got home from lunch with my sweetheart? “First email, then Facebook, then I write the afternoon away.”
Then I remembered. No internet.
First let me say, I am not a fan of change of any kind. When I get comfortable with something, I settle in and I stay there. I don’t change willingly and never without a lot of kicking, spitting, biting, and screaming. So when I tell you we’d been with the same phone company for more than twenty years and had our internet service with them for nearly that long, suffice to say, this is the truth. Did I like it? Well for a good long time, yes. It was just enough for my husband—who had only signed on to play PopIt!—and me with my classes and such.
Then the children grew up. By the time they got into high school there were some nights we had three computers going at once—usually after dinner because I demanded we have one meal together, at the same time, in the same room. By college, well, dinners together still happen occasionally, but my son, the recluse, usually spends his time off somewhere, working, tricking (that’s a form of parkour and obstacle course free-running, not what it used to mean), or playing video games in his room. The internet, however, spent its time breathing hard from trying to accommodate all of us on at the same time. My husband has discovered that he can play his games online, and now pays bills and balances his checkbook online as well. That’s huge people.
Add to all that, we all have cell phones now, so our landline which we needed in order to have internet service was an expensive waste of money for something we never used. The only time it rang was when solicitors would call at the crack of dawn explaining to me that they were exempt from the No-Call list because we used to have Sears/JCPenny, Macy’s/fill-in-your-favorite-credit-card-company, and since those big companies have hundreds of smaller companies, they’re allowed to call us, because whateverthehell company they belong to still considers us customers. Isn’t that nice?
NO.
So, with less violence than I expected, I decided to find an internet company that didn’t require a landline. Enter one who shall remain nameless. Word of advice: If you are offered a bang up deal but it includes a data plan, RUN! When they tell you that 10GBs a month will be more than plenty of data for a family of four adults who are constantly on the internet for one reason or another, call them bald faced liars. We were doing great for two weeks, then the data report shot from “You are within your expected data use” to “You have exceeded your expected use. Would you like to buy some more? But don’t forget, you have 10GBs of bonus data that’s good from 2-6 am.”
Needless to say, we’re changing again…NO violence this time. But until then…unless I want to get up in the middle of the night, I have no internet. I was cut off from the world. I couldn’t send emails, I couldn’t get emails, I can’t reach anyone on FB or keep up with anything that’s going on—
Wait!
Smart phone!!! I can do all that on my cell phone! Thank you, Jesus!
Okay. At that point, I realized something about myself, and it wasn’t pretty. I. Am. Spoiled. Not just spoiled, but ridiculously so. I can’t go a week without Facebook? I can’t take a few minutes out of my idiotically busy days (I don’t have my own schedule—I live by everyone else’s) to call my sisters or my best friends? Apparently not. Though, I do call them almost daily, it’s usually using my cell phone in the car with the speaker on.
Whenever I am off from the house and I discover I’ve forgotten my phone, my heart starts racing and my eyes immediately go to the “check engine” light and the “you’re out of gas, idiot” light. I have the overwhelming urge to pull over and check my tires. I mentally figure out where everyone is and what they’re doing, and remember that my husband got me a cell phone because there’s no such thing as phone booths with actual working phones in them anymore. What if I get in an accident? What if someone gets hurt or sick? How will I know? How will they get in touch with me? Not to mention, if they try to get in touch with me and can’t, what will they think? We’re talking bordering on panic attack.
After my freak out, no matter how far away I am, I turn myself around, drive back and get the phone, then start over again. That can’t be normal. Normal people don’t do things like that.
What happened to the farm girl I used to be? The one who would go off for hours some fifteen acres from my backdoor, and write? I never worried about how I was going to let anyone know if I got bit by a snake, or fell out of the tree I was sitting in with my pens and notebooks, or became trapped up in that tree by one of the wild boars I never saw, but everyone claimed were in the woods. I just trekked out there with a big stick and one of our dumber-than-dirt dogs—they’d have been no help at all—climbed the tree and sat on the branch bent into the shape of a four by one of Georgia’s famous ice storms, with my back against the trunk and my feet against the bend. I’d get lost in the words until I noticed it was getting dark, then trek back to the house. No cell phone. No Bat signal. Just me and a big stick, a denim tote made out of the leg of an old pair of jeans filled with my writing, and a dumb dog.
It’s sad to lose one’s innocence. To know what dangers lurk, and be so afraid of having to resort to big stick thinking that you turn around and go back for a little 2×4 piece of technology.
Still, I managed to get more words on pa—screen than I have in weeks. The weather is beautiful and fall’s on the way. I had a lovely lunch with my husband. My daughter called to see what time she needed to wake her brother for work. I talked to two of my best friends. And my son called me to let me know he got to work okay and to tell me he loved me.
Okay, I’m spoiled. I freely admit it, but maybe this technology thing isn’t all bad. Oh, and we get new internet service…without a data plan…on Friday. Yeah, baby!

Time to make the soup…