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
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.
Fourth question for Author, Sheryl Hames Torres: Do you work any reality from your own life into your novels? If so, do you change it to make it more or less dramatic? How and why?
I’ve never heard that Peter Benchley ever out-swam big sharks, or William Peter Blatty had a family member whose hobby was spinning her head around, or for that matter that Michael Crichton grew dinosaurs in his backyard. However, like actors draw on events in his/her life to reflect emotion in a script, so does an author have to be able to connect with something in their lives to make his/her stories real.
In most of my stories you’ll find children because I believe they are the extensions of love, of growth and survival. I know what it’s like to love a child with the very essence of my cells, be terrified while praying like a manic priest the kid lands on his feet with his ankles still intact when he’s done taking flying flips off buildings.If there’s an argument between a married or dating couple I know just how to make him stubborn, and how far she can grind her teeth before she decides to thump him in the forehead. LOL I know what spring air/rain tastes like, what fall smells like. I know from spending July in Georgia what the backdoor of hell feels like, and I know claustrophobia from being stuck indoors for a couple of days when 3 feet of that horrible white stuff falls even though it’s not supposed to blanket Georgia backyards. So I put as much of that as I can in my stories.
Now 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?
“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.
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.
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.
Fourth of July cometh…
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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…