Secrets about My Favorite Genre by Sheri S. Levy – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Sheri S Levy will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Secrets about my favorite Genre

As a Special Ed teacher, I enjoyed reading aloud to my students every morning after we settled into class. Many of my students did not have a reading environment at home. They would lean forward in their chairs and listen intently as I read a few chapters. Then at the end of the day, I’d read another chapter and leave them hanging on what was going to happen next. The students would return to class the next day, eager to hear more about their favorite characters and how they overcame their next conflict.

If parents take the time to read to their children, they will mimic their parent’s behavior. When I watch a pre-school child sitting in a doctor’s office, pretending to read out loud, I know they have been influenced by their parents, or grandparents, maybe a sibling. They have a head start on wanting to be a reader.

Before I retired, I started a bucket list of what I wanted to do with my free time. The desire to write won the first line on my to-do list. I had written down a few other things that might be interesting to try, but I never moved past the craving to write. I began with writing picture books, and found that was not my voice.

My students loved animal stories and as I brain-stormed, my writing-voice headed toward coming-of-age, young adult, contemporary-dramas. I loved reading this genre and found myself relating to my own life as a teen.

Teens are still self-involved and move through life in stages. Each person develops in a different way and at their own pace. For them to enjoy reading, they need to identify with the story characters and understand their problems.

The topics in a YA story should cover complex themes and connect the reader to some type of emotional truth. If written well, the story can be a powerful force for self-discovery and help the teen decide on the type of person they want to become.

In Seven Days to Goodbye, my characters grow at a different pace, and have varied interests. This is the catalysts for conflict in the story and allow my reader to identify with their own problems.

Trina, at age thirteen, has already determined her purpose. She wants to help others and becomes a puppy raiser to train service dogs. Her best friend has changed overnight and is now interested in flirting with guys.

Trina’s dog meets Logan, a young boy who has autism, and her trained service dog makes a magical connection with him. To Trina’s surprise Logan has two older brothers. This throws another kink into the story as Sarah is interested in the same brother who likes Trina.

For the sequel, I have chosen to write about another problem. Starting Over is about life changing decisions. As teens, they physically and emotionally change in different degrees which moves them in different directions. Even though Trina believes in herself, and trains service dogs to help people with special needs, she is shy and not confident. She decides to risk her safety to help Morgan, the new angry girl at the barn, overcome whatever issues she’s hiding. Morgan has money, a beautiful and talented horse, and competes in horse trials. How can she be so mean and unhappy?

These are fun stories to create. I do my research with teens, and ask them questions on plot and conflict. Even as an adult, I can go back to my memories and relate to today’s teens problems growing up.

Young adult novels are becoming more popular with adults and helping the genre to flourish. It also helps the relationship with parents and teens. If a parent reads the same novel, and discusses the conflicts, a dialog develops. This is a round-about way of learning how your teen views themselves and their friends.

Go ahead. Check out the list of novels your teen is reading and surprise them with your questions. These stories can be humorous, thought provoking, and even gripping, but they will have an impact on their decisions in life. Be there to guide them along the way!

Thirteen year old, Trina has chosen to raise service dogs and have puppy after puppy. But during her seven day beach vacation, Trina struggles with having to return Sydney at the end of the week and worries about her best friend changing into a stranger. To complicate the week, Sydney, meets a young boy with autism and the girls meet his two older brothers. Tension is raised over the guys, and Trina fears she’ll lose more than her service dog. Will Trina’s lose her best friend, also?

Enjoy an Excerpt

Sydney climbed on my lap and licked the corners of my eyes. I buried my face in his soft fur and scratched under his chin. He leaned into my hand as I whispered, “We’ll have fun with or without Sarah. We just have to.”

Staring through the side window, a deep-blue summer sky flickered between pine trees covered in kudzu. Sarah’s car passed on the right. I turned the other way.

Off the freeway, we headed east and then south down a two lane road through sleepy little towns one after the other. Twenty minutes later, I leaned forward between the front seats, “Wow. Look.”

Branches from gigantic live oak trees slanted towards the middle of the street. The trees looked as though they were trying to touch each other and some did. They reminded me of my cozy canopy bed where Sarah and I had spent many nights, giggling and whispering. But this canopy was made of tree limbs in different shades of green, dripping with grayish, Spanish moss. The moss hung like ghostly long arms swinging in the wind.

“This is kind of spooky beautiful. It’s like being in a green tunnel.” I cracked my window.

A whiff of salty ocean filled the car. Sydney lifted his head as the trees whizzed by. His nose twitched. “We’re getting close, Syd.” He squeezed into the same space with me and gazed out the front window.

Suddenly, the trees disappeared. The cloudless sky stretched with no end in sight. Pelicans flew in an upside down, V formation. On both sides of the road, squiggly tidal creeks flowed through green marshlands. White birds with skinny legs stood statue-still in the shimmering water. This was a place I’d only seen in postcards.

Pelicans flew in an upside down, V formation. On both sides of the road, squiggly tidal creeks flowed through green marshlands. White birds with skinny legs stood statue-still in the shimmering water. This was a place I’d only seen in postcards.

About the Author:Sheri, originally from California, moved to South Carolina with her husband, two children and a Siamese cat. Soon they adopted their first rescue dog who influenced their need to continue living with dogs. Sheri taught a multi-handicapped Special Ed class, and then a GED-parenting class, which included home visits. Because of her love of reading, Sheri found unusual ways to encourage children to read. After her rescue of a difficult dog, Sheri enrolled in dog classes to change his behavior. Her dream of writing, Seven Days to Goodbye, came from the culmination of her beach experiences, her understanding of behaviors, and from research with PAALS, a service dog organization.

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  1. Thanks for hosting!

  2. Thanks for the tour stop and chance to win! Good luck with your book!

  3. Lisa Brown says:

    Congrats on the tour and thanks for the chance to win 🙂

  4. Astilbe says:

    This book sounds fantastic.

    I think it’s wonderful that you read out loud to your students every day. What a great way to get them interested in reading.

  5. James Robert says:

    Thanks for the excerpt and giveaway.

  6. Rita Wray says:

    Sounds like a great read.

  7. bernie wallace says:

    Which writer had the biggest influence on your career? Thanks for the giveaway. I hope that I win.

    • Hi Bernie, I believe every book I read had an impact. So many genres, and so many styles. I have found when you start writing, your own voice takes over.

  8. Victoria says:

    Great post – I loved the excerpt. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Thanks for reading my thoughts! If you enjoyed the excerpt, I hope you get a chance to read Seven Days to Goodbye. The sequel, Starting Over, is due August 1st.

  9. Kim Pickett says:

    Really enjoyed that excerpt!

  10. I also enjoyed the excerpt. Looking forward to this!

    • Thanks for reading the excerpt. I hope you get a chance to read the rest of the story! The sequel, Starting Over is due August 1st. I will be sharing pre-order information-

  11. Gwendolyn Jordan says:


  12. Hope you are having a fabulous weekend! Looking forward to checking out this book!

  13. Congrats on the new book and good luck on the book tour!

  14. Just stopping by to say hi! Looking forward to checking out this book!

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