Seven Days to Goodbye & Starting Over
by Sheri S Levy
GENRE: Young Adult- coming of age
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 worrying 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?
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.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
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.
ISBN: 978-1-935460-74-9 EBook- 978-1-935460-75-6
Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Sheri-S.-Levy/e/B00NSGMS0S
Writing is like a craving. I am possessed by words, places, and, people. In every aspect of my life I have enjoyed teaching students, observing their potential, and motivating them to push themselves. I hoped each child would learn they could be anything they desired.
Most of my students had trouble reading. My goal for each child was to make them fall in love with books. I read to my students first thing in the morning and just before the last bell of the day. As we sang along to their favorite songs, their fingers followed each word. Music actually helped them memorize new words.
The hardship that faced many of my students was not having parents who noticed when their child needed love and attention. They were wrapped up in their own desires and oblivious to what was happening inside their child. As a teacher, I encountered many sad episodes with family relationships and tried hard to give those children the attention they needed while in my classroom. There were also wonderful families that I’d like to model.
I hope as I write young adult novels, parents may reflect on their own parenting skills. Real life supports my writing about relationships, but I have relied on PAALS to guide me in my writing about service dogs. The volunteers with PAALS teach me the correct techniques on training service puppies, and how to incorporate special needs with their dogs.
My characters are a mix from the real world and from my imagination. This is the fun part of being a writer. I believed I was in complete control of each character, until they started talking back to me. Then my fingers and brain move on auto pilot, and I write stuff I had no idea would appear on the page. No, I don’t always keep what I write, but those thoughts may send me in a new direction.
In each story I have written, I have favorite parts that pull at my heart strings. In Seven Days to Goodbye, I enjoyed writing about the service dog, Sydney, and his magical connection with Logan, the young boy with autism. His mother’s fears shot out from nowhere, and the relationship with Chase and Trina brought a warm fuzzy feeling as I wrote.
In Starting Over, I used old memories from teens who had a rough family environment and used Trina’s family has the complete opposite. As different as each story is, the themes are about relationships, change, and making decisions.
A young adult novel should be a powerful force to make the reader identify with the story problem, and move them from being self-involved to self-discovery. My hope is the reader will relate to a character and decide on the type of person they want to become.
I have taken some spare time during the finalizing of Starting Over, and have written half of my first draft- For Keeps. It will follow Starting Over and have new conflicts and a new character or two.
Thanks for reading about my need to write. I guess, even as an adult, it is never too late to start a new chapter in your lifetime! Writing has definitely given me a new adventure.
Sheri S Levy will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Follow the tour here: