Thank you all for your many votes for my cover for Kate’s House in Author Shouts’ Cover Wars. I’m thrilled you love it as much as I do, and Carol Fiorillo deserves so much praise for her talent. (She’s a sweetheart, too.) Please go to authorshout.com and click the Cover Wars tab at the top and keep voting. Four more days. One vote per day. Thank you again and sending big hugs.
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
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.
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?
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—
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…
Okay, I know that doesn’t read like a title to anything, but that’s what’s been going through my mind all day—I CAN BREATHE! My daughter and I have fought with super human strength and determination since Christmas NOT to get sick. We’ve downed enough garlic to ward off the entire vampire population—even the sparkly ones. (Okay, I will admit right here in public—and accepting the risk that I’m going to be so ragged on by Pam—I am one of those not ashamed to admit I enjoyed the Twilight Saga, books and movies, enough to overlook the injustice to the vampire world that is glitter.) Courtney’s spring semester was interminable with ups and downs for her and lots of in-the-car or finding-a-quiet-place-to-do-my-edits time for me. Spring break included no downtime at all, but a flash trip to Jacksonville and back to surprise her ailing grandmother, only to return to a whirlwind of activity, magazine premier, finals, papers, etc. The day after her last day of classes, I collapsed with an evil case of bronchitis. She managed to hold it off until the last week of school when she had paper after paper due and all she wanted to do was sleep and be puny. When she turned in her last paper, that was it. She succumbed to a bad chest cold and exhaustion. She, too, is slowly getting back to normal—faster, however , than her mama. And Dusty of the Endless Energy has been working like a mad man, tinkering with his Miata, and running non-stop. He was sick for two days. Oh, to be young again. Now, two entire weeks later and I’ve recovered quite a bit, and oxygen is making its way freely to my lungs, brain and blood. I’m almost caught up on sleep–still fighting fatigue enough that I have to force myself to take things in spurts, but the brain is clearer and the body is starting to cooperate again. I feel so much better, I’m considering writing to Mr. Webster and suggesting another definition for BLISS. So, now it’s time to get back to work, and work we have been doing. Mark is painting my living room and his office—read the place he claimed that would have been my formal dining room “if you were that kind of woman, honey.” It’s gorgeous! I’m so happy. Courtney has been working diligently to design my webpage for me. That’s gorgeous too, and I couldn’t be happier. I have been working on lists and lists and lists of things I have to do before SECRET INGREDIENT is released at the end of the month, and not succeeding in making the lists any shorter no matter how hard I work. Could be the fact that as I check things off the list, I make new lists at the end of the day. Sad but true. I have managed to update my Facebook page, create an author page, discovered, somehow, I already have one…deleted the old one..waiting for the whole system to break down because I hit a delete button. So far, so good. I’ll keep you posted. I worry about this kind of thing since mostly I look at my computer stupidly and ask…“huh?” So, the next thing on today’s list, my blog. Courtney has been good and not bugged me while I was sick, but I don’t give it too much longer before she starts giving me that LOOK. You know…the one she’s not supposed to be allowed to even know how to make until she has children but thinks she can use on me because she refuses to have children. I rise, walk across the room, reach my hand into the blog topic jar she created, smile at her as her eyes widen incredulously and choose a red slip of paper. “Have you ever heard or seen a random word or phrase and instantly wanted to use it as a book title? What would it be about?” Hmmm…Okay. I love one word titles. Short, sweet and to the point. So far, I have two: ILLUSIONS which will come out later this year, and am currently working on AGENDAS. Those two titles came about because of the characters. They just fit. But hearing a word that strikes me to write, that’s only happened once. The word was REIMAGINE. Wow. Perfect word. A step above Imagine which Disney, John Lennon, Tolkien, and Roddenberry took to the nth degree and few others have even come close. RE imagine. Taking what you’ve imagined and expanding, recreating, reinventing, pushing yourself and your mind. Or perhaps taking what you think you know is real and finding out that it’s all a ruse. (Hello, Neo.) The word is full of possibilities and sets my mind on fire. What about you, Dear Reader? What random word or phrase has set your mind on fire lately? Until next time, as always, I wish you enough to make soup.