Monday, July 17, 2017

Straight Browsing from the Library: Starting Over by Sheri S. Levy

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Sheri Levy will be awarding a $15 Barking Rain Press GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


As a child, I read whenever I wasn’t playing outside. My parents took me to the library often, and I borrowed as many books as allowed. I read underneath my covers with a flashlight until my eyes gave up.

Many years have passed since I was a young reader. To answer these questions, I needed to refresh my memory and research older books from childhood. I read every Nancy Drew book available, but my other favorites were Lassie, Little House on the Prairie, Heidi, Beverly Cleary books, Old Yeller, and many more.

Today, I love reading contemporary dramas, stories with special relationships, historical fiction and time travel, but my favorite stories are set on a beach. One of my favorites is Mary Alice Monroe’s Beach House series, and Anne River Siddons, Outer Banks. Since I’ve spent a lot of time on a small, remote island, I found myself using Edisto Beach for my own settings and creating scenes with the beach eco system.

Being a member of SCBWI, I support my writing friends and thoroughly enjoy reading middle grade and young adult stories. Their novels cover different genres and are immensely entertaining. I prefer reading a print book, being able to hold the book and turn the pages, but there is definitely a convenience reading on a Kindle. One click, and the book is delivered. I can turn off my light and read without keeping my husband awake.

I read only one book at a time, usually in the evening before bed, and use a book mark to hold my place for the following day. I could never dog-ear a page. I want my book to be in tip-top shape for every read. I love sharing my books with friends and having discussions about the stories. If they are not returned, I’m not bothered. I just hope the books get passed on to another interested reader.

When I get bored with a new book, I force myself to read farther to see if I’ll find something interesting. I have a hard time giving up on a book. And occasionally, I make it to the end of a doubtful story, and am thrilled I had continued reading to the end. But past the middle of the story, if I still don’t enjoy the characters, or the writing isn’t catching my heart, or there is too much violence, I sadly close the book.

I don’t usually reread, but I love having a collection of books in my writing office. As the books fill my shelves, I enjoy sharing them with schools who are in need of books. It is special to know I may impact new readers. My hope is to awake an appreciation of reading. Maybe they’ll find an exciting adventure and become eager to escape into another new book.


Trina Ryan’s challenging summer starts off with puppy-fueled energy burst as she takes on another service dog for training-an eight-week-old black Labrador named Colton. And to help explore another dream, she’s taken a job at the barn next door in exchange for riding lessons with the barn’s schooling horse. It doesn’t take long for Trina to butt heads with Morgan Hart, an award winning rider with a gorgeous thoroughbred named Knight- and a demanding, nasty demeanor with both people and her horse.

Adding to the list of frustrations is the difficulty in maintaining a long distance relationship with Chase, her first boyfriend from last summer, while trying to deal with unwanted attention from a new boy in her puppy training class.

At least best friend Sarah still has her back, but Trina wearies of Morgan’s constant insults and her heartless treatment of Knight, she decides to use her dog training skills to look underneath Morgan’s hostile attitude and develop a sense of trust.

Slowly, Morgan’s angry shield cracks enough to where she’s able to share a troubling family secret. Can Trina help Morgan confront her family problems and make a fresh start?


“Mrs. B said she’s in the ninth grade.” As the commotion lessened, I added, “Ooo! I can’t wait to see her ride. Maybe, she’ll even ride with me.”

The engine turned off, and a tall, dark-skinned man leaped from the driver’s side. At the same time, a long-legged, skinny girl in black riding pants and shiny black boots stepped down from the front passenger door. The sun gleamed on her brown face, poufy bangs, and ponytail.

She waved her dressage whip in the air as if it were a sword.

The girl’s voice boomed through the trees, “Dad, what are you doing? Look! You’re too close to the fence. Pay attention!”

I turned a wide-eyed look at Sarah, whose mouth hung open. Without a word, Sarah grabbed my arm and pulled me closer.

Her father opened the trailer’s top half doors and latched the panels to each side. From the rear of the trailer, a stately, black horse kicked and neighed.

The girl climbed in a side door to untie the horse. He put one hoof a couple of inches behind.

She screamed at the horse. “Knight, walk! Get off the trailer!” Her whip slapped at the air. “What’s wrong with you?”

Without warning, the horse threw his head, showing the whites of his eyes as he bolted backward down the ramp. White foam lathered his glossy chest.

Her voice raised an octave. “Dad, he’s getting away!” Then she shrieked, “Move! You’re no help!”

The father rushed over and pulled the whip from the girl’s hands. “Morgan, quiet down! You’re frightening Knight. Give him a chance.”

She jerked the lead line. “Knight, you stupid horse! You know better.”

“Oh my gawd!” My eyes widened, and I shook my head. “How could anyone treat their horse like that?” I patted my chest. “And what’s she doing at my barn?”


Sheri S. Levy is the author of an award-winning debut novel in her series, Trina Ryan’s Dogs in Training. Seven Days to Goodbye, won in 2015, and her magazine article, Scent with Love, won in 2011, with the Dog Writers Association in the Special Interest category. She is an active member of SCBWI and SIBA.

After a twenty-five-year teaching career in special needs, Sheri remains active with tutoring teens in reading and writing. PAALS, (Palmetto Animal Assisted Living Services), has helped with her research on writing about service dogs and how they change lives. Sheri, in turn, shares her book proceeds to support

Sheri enjoys doing author visits and teaching writing workshops. When she is not writing, she reads, plays with her two dogs, listens to music, and hangs out with her husband and family.

You can find more information on her website:, Facebook: http://www.Sherislevyauthor, and Twitter:


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