Tag Archive | daughters

“Cove Soup”


It’s a new year. Spring is on its way…though the weather here in Georgia has been…erratic. My daughter and I have been sick with upper respiratory since Thanksgiving. I was even pretty close to deaf for a month and a half.

But now we’re well-er.

It’s time to get back to work. It’s so hard to put your all into your work when you feel like you just want to stay in bed. Add that to this being Courtney’s last semester of college and all that goes with that, and her last magazine and all that goes with that, I’ve been in the car a LOT.

So, again, it’s time to get back to work.

As writers, we get to play creator. We build our characters, their lives, their worlds, and of course, something of ourselves–or someone we know–seeps into their personalities. But their worlds are a little more difficult.

We can sit still and look out our window and create from that, or travel a bit and set it somewhere we find interesting. But what happens if what we see isn’t what’s in our imagination. Unless we’re writing Fantasy or SciFy, or we’ve “seen” our character’s world in some tv show, movie, etc. making up the world can be a bit less than realistic.

This is what I’ve run into while trying to build Moonlight Cove, the mountain village where I’ve set my new contemporary series, Happily Ever After. I could see the village. I kind of knew where it would need to be–I knew I’d even seen bits of pieces of it before, but I had no idea where it was.

So, I began making soup.

Have you ever made soup on a cold, wet and blustery day? I’m not talking about opening a can of Campbell’s or adding meat to Soup Starter, but real soup–the kind where you start grabbing things out of the fridge and pantry and putting together a hearty, rich, bubbly pot of soup. The kind you eat with crusty bread and homemade parmesan crisps and drink Southern iced tea so sweet it makes your hair curl.

Well, that’s how Moonlight Cove was born. I took photos and film snippets that I’d taken on day trips around North Georgia and spliced them all together to create my “Cove Soup.”

Moonlight Cove is a make believe village nestled in North Georgia. The town limits run along a five mile stretch of divided highway, split by a white water stretch of river. A couple bridges cross the river to connect the two halves of the town built at the bases and up the sides of two mountains, Us Mountain and Them Mountain.

The people of the Cove live together as family, and like most families, they have squabbles, and friendships, and secrets, love each other and will fight fiercely for each other. Moonlight Cove is a strong and protective member of this family.

SOMETHING BORROWED,  book one of the HEA series comes out from Desert Breeze Publishing, Inc. and Amazon.com on March 12, 2016. I hope you find yourselves deliciously lost in the Cove like I’ve been while writing.

Join us and be part of the soup…

 

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Cover Wars at AuthorShout.com


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.

KatesHouseCoverArt72dpi

Announcing New Release and review


KatesHouseCoverArt72dpi Now available from Desert Breeze Publishing and Amazon.com, KATE’S HOUSE

When Katherine learns of her husband’s long time infidelity and other lies he’s told her over the years, she’s not sure which upsets her more: his duplicity or that she’s completely ignored the signs. Using his subterfuge against him, she acquires a quickie divorce, sole custody of their three children, and enough money to start a new life.

Finding an unusual and seemingly magical Queen Anne in the middle of a farm is the answer to her prayers–a place to teach her children that it’s okay to play and have fun–to be kids. She doesn’t count on falling love with the handyman who comes with the place–or dealing with his secrets–secrets that could destroy them all and their newfound happiness.

Excerpt~~

The heat hit them like a thick, wet blanket taken from the dryer way too soon. It made breathing a struggle.

Reggie put two fingers in her mouth and sent a piercing whistle into the gloom. “Hey, Ian, we’re here!” she bellowed.

There was no sound or movement for several seconds until, like a scene from a bad B movie, he appeared from behind the carriage house, moving in slow motion, pushing the fog out of his way. The sun chose that second to make a brief appearance long enough to shine down on his perfectly toned bare chest and arms as he quickly shrugged a gray tee shirt over it all.

Come on, seriously? No one really looks like that.

Katherine dropped her gaze to her feet, pretending to count the wild violets on the ground until she got the urge to giggle under strict control. A pair of bare feet peeking out from the hems of well worn jeans joined her feet in her vision of violets, and she looked up with a jerk directly into soft gray eyes, rimmed in charcoal lashes. His dark hair, thick and wavy, fell to his shoulders and was pushed straight back away from his face. Obvious from the fingers marks, he’d been out in the rain most of the day and the dampness fueled the waves already there. A heavy stubble darkened his chiseled chin, thick and well kept. The giggle bubbled up again when he spoke.

“Hello, I’m Ian Stuart.”

Of course you are.

The hint of an Irish accent crept from under his strict effort to control it. It was endearing and put her at ease. If he could be this beautiful and still feel self-conscious about something as innocuous as a slight Irish brogue, she was just fine.

She offered her hand. “It’s so nice to meet you, Mr. Stuart. I’m Katherine Jensen, and these are my children, Crysta, Willie, and Livvy.”

His eyes lingered on each child, and Katherine got the feeling he was memorizing their faces. When none of them squirmed under his perusal, he allowed a slight smile. “A fine lot you have here. I’d wager none of you fear the dark or imagine monsters under the bed.”

While Crysta and Willie’s eyebrows rose, Livvy took it in stride. “No, there’s nothing scary under my bed. Me and my animals have camp outs under there.”

He bent at his waist till he was eye-to-eye with her, no mean feat since he was well over six feet tall. “Then you shall be captain, my fine lass. Only the most fearless can be in charge.”

“Captain?” Willie scoffed. “She’s just a girl. And a baby one at that.”

“Age makes no difference. It’s strength that matters, Bodyguard.”

Her son’s eyes widened slightly. They stared at each other, some piece of information passing silently between them.

Crysta smiled. “And who am I to be, Mr. Stuart?”

“You are the balance,” Ian answered without hesitation.

So he had not only been listening to them the day they visited, he’d listened well. How else could he have sized up her children so fast?

“Well, I’m just the mama,” Katherine offered with a shaky smile and rushed on before he could bestow a title on her.

 

Review~~

Kate’s House offers a mixture of pain, humor, and romance as well as the supernatural, which adds dimension to this delightful novel. It is proof that redemption is possible even in the most trying situations and that love can be found when least expected.”  ~~Nancy C. LepriReadertoReader.com

Everyone should have a family reunion…


I’m a homebody. I don’t really travel. I like to go on day trips. Of course with my husband being on call with his job 24/365, day trips are about all we get…so, I like them. LOL

But staying home has a not-so-great-side. Stay at home and you’re not going to see anyone. You get so complacent that you don’t even realize you’re missing the people you don’t see. You know they’re missing from your life. They do cross your mind and you have nostalgic pangs of I-wonder-what-they’re-doing- right-about-now, and you miss them.

These days, we get so busy we don’t realize that with each day time is being eaten away by…well, passing time. Our jobs, daily chores and errands, stuffed full schedules get in our way, take up every minute in our days from dawn to night and we fail to notice another day has passed. Gone. Never to get back. Even when driving distance between close family members and friends is not so far away as to cost massive time and money, it’s hard to find time to do more than make do with the weekly phone call, or getting together on holidays when we can manage it. Then we realize how many of our loved ones we lose in a year. Five. Ten years. We think, how the hell did that much time pass? You find yourself remembering childhood memories of them because that’s all you’ve given yourself.

That’s just not right.

Last weekend, my mother’s family had a small family reunion. In the last few short years, she’s lost her brother and 2 sister-in-laws and a granddaughter. Her two remaining brothers, her niece and all their kids and grandkids are all the family she has left that she didn’t create herself…and she’s done a very good job of creating a massive family, six kids, sixteen grandkids, more than thirteen great grand children and I think 2 great great grandchildren. She and one of her brothers decided enough was enough and it was time for all of us to get together. Did we ALL make it to the reunion? Of course not. My sister’s daughter lives outside Seattle, one of my brothers lives in Virginia and his children and grandchildren live in North Carolina, and there were other grandchildren who couldn’t make it. Logistics of trying to get everyone off work and across state lines had to have been a nightmare, and yet, her brother managed to get two of his three daughters, and his one son to get time off and travel from Pensicola, Florida to Winder, Georgia. Seriously? We can bearly manage to get my husband, my kids and me all off and ready to go for out little day trips.

While it’s been years, and sorrowfully decades for some, since I’ve seen most of them, while I was looking at my “little” cousins’ children and thinking…why aren’t your mama’s still that size?…time fell away and everything was perfect. One of my cousins smiled and said, “Do you know who I am?” and I smiled back and said, “Do you know who *I* am?” Of course, we did, but that’s still pitiful, isn’t it?

And yet, seeing my mother’s smile as she slipped her arms around her “little” brothers’ waists, seeing this family that’s grown so large over the years, I drove home with a sense of reconnection and happiness, swearing that I wouldn’t get so swallowed up in the everyday goings on that I’d not talk to my sisters, my mother, my brothers only once a week. And yet, the week is over and we’ve all been exactly that, swallowed up in the everyday. My book, ILLUSIONS, was released on June first, and I’ve spent the week doing promotion, cleaning the house that was sorely ignored while I was writing and editing, and getting my daughter back and forth to her college classes, throwing away old copies of manuscripts now done and out into the world. I don’t see any light ahead and classes start back around the first of August. While we can call each other on the phone, trying to find little holes in our schedules to connect is sometimes impossible. Luckily, there is FB and email.

Sad.

Fourth of July cometh…

Thank God.

 

 

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…

The Last Weekend of a Lackluster Summer…


(or…The Countdown to a MUCH Better Summer…)

It’s eleven-forty-five on the first Saturday morning in almost four months that my family has been able to sleep in, and up until about fifteen minutes ago, my house has been so quiet. Everyone (including the fur balls and except Dusty) are just now waking up. It’s the next to the last official weekend of summer, and I stand and wave it off  as thrilled to see it go as houseguests who’ve overstayed their welcome.

I thought it’d never leave!

I have to say, after Spring Semester…yes, in our house we tend to count time passage in terms of semesters…which will forever be thought of as the Semester  From Hell, I had such high hopes for the summer. Best laid plans and all that. Since mid-May my husband has had a total of seven days off. Seven. SEVEN days out of the last one hundred ten to sixteen hour a day, the majority of which were at least twelve hours long. He comes home, smiles at me and says, “I remember you. You’re that girl who I see when I turn over in the middle of the night.” To say he’s exhausted would earn me the lifelong title, The Queen of the Understatement.

The beginning of summer involved bouts of near pneumonia for my daughter and I, then right into weeks of redecorating, followed by an exhausting but wonderful Fourth of July celebration with my family here at the house—one of Mark’s seven days off. I came out of that hectic pace oddly energized and ready to work, only to be informed that my publisher was restructuring their lines and was pulling two of the three book contracts I’d been recieved at the beginning of the year.

So instead of spending the latter half of the summer kicking butt editing those two books, I was thrown into a state of hardly wanting to turn on my computer. I got a lot of Words With Friends and Farmville 2 done. I guess that’s something.

Now, we are back into the school schedule. My daughter is overjoyed with her schedule and her classes. My son is back in college—Thank You, Jesus!—and loving it!—thank You again. My husband’s work schedule is winding down to some semblance of a normal human’s work schedule, and we can all say goodbye and good riddance to a very long, very dull summer. We have gone nowhere, done nothing since the Fourth, except an occasional spur-of-the-moment lunch out and one movie where the lead actress spent the entire film time staring at Tom Cruise with slack-jawed expressions that had she realized they made her so very closely resemble a camel, she would certainly have rethought the entire thing.

My husband and daughter have this weekend off. My son works all night tonight and until midnight tomorrow night, so the next two days will be spent catching up on sleep—and listening to Courtney hum while she cheerfully diagrams 50+ word sentences. (No, I didn’t drop her on her head as a baby, but I am wondering if it is a genetic condition for which there is funding or a study.) Next weekend, however, we have a three-day weekend. I will be turning off all cell phones, cross my fingers that Dusty can get Monday off, and we will head to the Smokies for a day of some much needed inspiration and rejuvenation.  Miracles have always happened for us up in those mountains. Maybe when we get back, I’ll have found my missing motivation to write again. Who knows?

What I do know is I’m so ready for Fall Soup.

Enjoy yours…

The Writing Process Blog Hop


Thanks to Elizabeth Delisi (http://elizabethdelisi.com) for tagging me in The Writing Process Blog Hop. Read about Elizabeth Delisi’s writing process here: http://elizabethdelisi.blogspot.com/2014/07/the-writing-process-blog-hop.html .]

At the end I’ll be tagging a few other authors, so please do follow those links to their blogs and interviews.

 

Purchase any of the books below at  (http://www.ellorascave.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=Sheryl+Hames+Torres)

 

SecretIngridient cover              ENCHANTED HOLIDAYS              One Touch cover

 

Now on with the hop!

 

What am I currently working on?

Oh so many things! LOL I never work on just one story at a time–in fact, I’ve got about ten WIP (works in progress) going on right now.  At present, though, I guess you could say I’m spending more time on a new 4-part series called Bridal Divas!

 

What makes my writing distinctive?

I tend to be a little irreverent. I find humor in the ridiculous, the abstract and things normal people find “everyday”. I completely believe in romance and the Happily Ever After, but I can’t stand taking things at face value, so my stories have a little bit of the “prove it” in them.

 

Why do I write what I write?

Ah, that’s an easy one. I live romance every day. I met my husband almost 34 years ago and married him three years later. Eight and ten years later we had our two incredible children, who’ve kept us constantly surprised and guessing ever since. I completely believe in enduring romance, but at the same time, I know that Happily Ever After is a daily thing–“We lived happily ever after yesterday, what’s today going to be like?”  I KNOW what being in love is, what it feels like, how it keeps you sane when you’re going through the worst things you can ever imagine having to survive. It’s strength and laughter, but it’s weakness and tears too, yet it doesn’t break. Being in love with my husband AND my two children, how could I not add romance to whatever I write?

 

How does the writing process work?

I never considered myself OCD in any way until my daughter accused me of being anal. This was a severe shock coming from her–she meticulously folds grocery bags and organizes my kitchen cabinets weekly. Do you hear me complaining? No. Will you? Never. I thrive in clutter. I can easily live in a house with dust…the needs-to-be-brushed-away kind, as well as my son, Dusty–and be happy with a super clean session once a month. I suppose that comes from growing up with a mother who not raised six kids in a house that looked like no one ever lived there. I live by the motto “she who dies with the most unfinished needlework projects, wins.” So, I’m not in the least anal…

…until it comes to my writing. When I begin a new story, I start with a couple of spiral notebooks, a stack of post it notes and a clean desk. That’s the last moment the desk is clean. By the time I type the first word onto the screen, I have a detailed description of all my characters, including casting photos and a history. Then I plot. Loosely on some scenes, more detail with others. I CANNOT write by the seat of my pants. If the plot veers a little bit, that’s fine, but just sitting down and not knowing where the story is going and letting it unfold as I go…mercy! I’d be all over the place. I look at it like this: I wouldn’t get in my car and drive from Georgia to Oregon without a map. If I see something along the way I’d like to see, I’ll stop, but I have to know the route I’m taking so I can get back on the right road to get where I’m going. Same with my stories.

What next?

LOL. I fix dinner. Himself will be home in an hour. Finish the laundry. Finish reading the last book of the Mortal Instruments series before Saturday. And in the moments in between being a wife and a mama, I work on one of my many stories. I lost my contracts on the other two books I had set for release because my publishing company decided to revamp their mainstream romance department and turn it into a place where old, out-of-print titles by well established authors have a place to retire, so next on my list is to look for a new publisher.

And the journey continues…

 

And now I’d like to tag the following authors. Please visit their blogs to read about their writing processes and please check back here as I will be adding authors over the next week or so.

 

 

Sharron Riddle Houdek     http://riddlemeastory.blogspot.com/