Family Collage

Family Collage
Lots of Love in this Bunch!
*The compositions herein are not to be copied, reproduced, printed, published, posted, displayed, incorporated, stored in or scanned into a retrieval system or database, transmitted, broadcast, bartered or sold, in whole or in part without the prior express written permissions of the sole author Tory Williams. Unauthorized duplication is strictly prohibited and is an infringement of National and International Copyright Laws.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Moment Of Sudden Revelation!

Just when I was getting my writing groove on and making significant progress in book #2, WHAM! Something new, an epiphany perhaps, took precedence over my WIP and shifted me in a direction like never before. I assure you, this unique and poignant project will consume most of my spare time in order to make it a success for everyone involved. So as my blogging days become sparse, if not absent in the coming weeks, please understand that something amazing is in the works.

Until next time, goodnight everyone! Love, Tory

Saturday, October 9, 2010

R & R and Homecoming Week at MHS!

Soon after I embarked on this adventure to become a published author I made three promises to my family and friends: 1. To set practical goals. 2. Not expect too much too soon. 3. Never give up.

So, a few days ago, when each promise was seriously reconsidered, the words "Revise & Resubmit" entered my vocabulary, as one of the Super Agents with the full of my manuscript asked to see my story again after revisions were made.

At first, the thought of combing through each line in my 400 page novel felt, well, like climbing Mount Everest barefoot. But after realizing this was the closest I'd come to gaining representation for my story, it seemed as if a match had been struck beneath my bum, forcing me to get busy editing EVERY.SINGLE.WORD.

So, onward and upward I go, moving one step closer toward representation for book #1. Hopefully, at the end of this journey, my family and all of you will have the opportunity to read this exciting tale of Callie and Scott.

In closing, I'd like to share more pics from another great week with the family! Have a fantastic weekend, everyone! Tory

Homecoming week at Millry High School. This photo was taken on "tacky/nerd day," and let's just say that Conner felt mortified wearing this tacky outfit & ridiculous hairstyle!

Catie before the parade.

Hoping to fill their bags full of candy and beads, Carlie and Conner listened carefully for the parade to begin.

"Throw me some candy, please!" Court begged!

It was such a fun week for us all! Go Wildcats!!!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A Week In Review!

Apologies for the lack in blogging lately. It's been one of those busy weeks in which the days have passed too quickly and the weekend has crept upon me.

The remedy I've found for such chaos? A book...a very good book!

It seems the more tumultuous my life becomes, the more I find comfort in reading or writing, hence the reason I stayed awake 'til midnight this week reading THE HELP by Kathryn Stockett.

One of my dearest friends, Tarah Olewski, loaned THE HELP to me a few weeks back, and now after finishing the page-turner, I understand her motivation for recommending it. Tarah knew I'd appreciate the brazen main characters, Skeeter, Minny, and Aibileen! Oh, just thinking of these characters now makes me want to start all over again. So Tarah, thank you so much for encouraging me to read this beautifully written story. Without a doubt, Stockett's debut novel has stirred every emotion possible, particularly those of true friendship and love for mankind.

Before leaving you today, I'd like to share some photos from another exciting week at the Minus household.

For me, there's an escape unimaginable in the written word. Just as the renowned Canadian laureate, Margaret Atwood, wrote in her poem, SPELLING, "a word after a word after a word is power." And after witnessing our twins, Carlie and Conner, read their very first book with 100% accuracy, I couldn't agree more with Ms. Atwood. A word after another is power!

Doing "homework" with her big brother and sisters, Courtney (in the middle chair) entertained us with her three-year-old version of MAX THE CAT.

No time for sleeping in this morning, Catie and the other cheerleaders travelled south to Bulldog Country for a fun-filled day of cheering for the midget football team!

Trae surprised our children by bringing home their favorite quarter horse from Sumter County. Conner did his best to ride Honeybun like a real cowboy and succeeded beyond epic proportions (note the toy pistol tucked beneath his belt).

During the past two months, Catie has taken riding lessons at an equestrian center in our area, and is now able to loap independently on Honeybun. Of course her love for riding horses has put a huge smile across her daddy's face. She is counting the days until SECRETARIAT, a movie based on the Triple Crown Winning horse, premieres next week on the big screen.

Catie enjoyed leading her sweet cousin, Madalyn, on Honeybun.

And just like her mommy, Courtney Erin is completely worn out from all the fun and excitement that this week had to offer! Zzz... Have a great weekend, everyone! Tory

Monday, September 20, 2010

Rocket City Adventure!

Hi, friends! Just popping in to share some photos from my birthday weekend in Madison, AL. Hope you enjoy!

Just five miles east of our hotel, there was plenty to do at the U. S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville. Truly an amazing attraction!

Spent the majority of Friday evening shopping in The Bridge Street Town Centre - Home | Bridge Street Town Centre. This was such a nice place to visit, not only for couples enjoying a date-night, but also for families with young children. Even pop-sensation, Usher, owns a townhouse in this luxurious shopping district. You, too, can own one, but it's going to cost you somewhere around $500,000.00. WHEW!!!

After purchasing a few surprises for the kiddos, we settled inside for dinner and a movie at Monaco Pictures. It was really fun trying sushi for the first time!

The carousel near the lake was absolutely beautiful!

Talk about Southern charm, the Anderson Brothers Hardware store is virtually unchanged since its opening in 1879. Nostalgic hardware, gifts and local crafts are sold here in Alabama's oldest hardware store.The store's interior retains much of its original furnishings, such as rolling ladders to reach tall shelves, and a pot-bellied stove that still warms the building in winter and a hand-operated rope elevator.

Me standing near the checkout counter purchasing a few "happies" for the exhausted babysitters back home.

Upon arrival at home, I noticed these beautiful Mums on our doorsteps given by my thoughtful nieces, nephews, and siblings.

Once inside, Carlie and Conner helped me tear into the beautifully wrapped presents.

This lovely charm bracelet was a gift from Catie, Carlie, Conner, and Courtney!

Given that we share the same birthday, a special lady from our church, Mrs. Naomi Black, and I always exchange presents on our special day. As always, she knew exactly what I'd like: a book, of course, In The Eye Of The Storm written by Max Lucado.

There was no better way to end a fabulous weekend than enjoying delicious cupcakes made by our sweet Carlie Elaine! Yum, Yum!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Birthday #33...Ready Or Not, Here I Come!

Bags packed. Check. Babysitters (a.k.a. parents & in-laws) mentally prepared - (Is this possible?) Check. Reservations confirmed. Check!!!

Yes indeed, I'm one excited lady today! The reason? In less than twenty-four hours, Trae and I will be en route to our weekend getaway (Sunday is my 33rd birthday) where we plan to rest and relax, do a little sightseeing, and enjoy a dinner & a movie Friday night!

So please check back early next week to see how I celebrated this special day.

Have a great weekend, everyone! Tory

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Spontaneity At It's Best!

Well my friends, after years of travelling to the white sandy beaches of Gulf Shores, AL with an entourage of family and friends by my side, helping me with troublesome umbrella strollers, countless suitcases, bulging diaper bags, etc..., I was brave enough to "go it alone" this past weekend and drive my children to the beautiful "oil-free" coastline for a few days of fun in the sun.

This wasn't a planned vacation for me and the kiddos. You see, just before dawn broke on Sunday morning, I stirred from a peaceful night's rest to the sound of my husband getting ready in the master bath nearby. After being out of commission from work for three days due to a vicious stomach virus, Trae was anxious to return to his hay bailing responsibilities in Sumter County. Apparently, two-hundred bails worth of hay on the ground was plenty incentive to get Trae showered, dressed, and out the front door within a matter of minutes.

So, with the house completely silent, I flipped on the table lamp in our bedroom and began to ponder how the kids and I would spend the remainder of our holiday weekend in Millry. There was plenty for me to do at home: laundry (ew!), finish painting the trim work in our upstairs hallway (double ew!), or I could remove the wilted summer plants from our flower beds (ew, ew, ew!). Hmmm... Each chore seemed extremely productive but also sounded exactly as A DREADFUL CHORE!!!! And then I asked myself, "Isn't Labor Day intended to be a day of rest and relaxation, surrounded by those you love immensely (or completely alone if you enjoy solidarity)?" The wheels began to turn inside my head, contemplating the perfect day of relaxation for our family.

A few hours later, after Catie and Conner arrived home from a sleepover at their cousin's, the first words that rolled from Catie's lips, "Um, Mom? Can we please spend the night at the beach?" As you can see in the images below, it didn't take much for Catie to convince me to pack our bags, throw some snacks and drinks in a cooler, and make last-minute reservations for our over-night stay in Gulf Shores. And I must admit, being spontaneous with these youngsters felt absolutely INCREDIBLE!

I hope you enjoyed a wonderful Labor Day weekend, too! Tory

Monday, August 30, 2010

What A Weekend!

Conner was nothing but smiles during the football game at Wildcat Hill!

Catie's favorite cheer: Our team is D-Y-N-A-M-I-T-E!

Carlie loved watching her big sister cheer for the Wildcats!

Carlie, Courtney, Catie, and friends from school giving each other manicures and pedicures!

After spending the majority of Saturday afternoon watching Catie cheer at Britton Field and then back home to a house full of rambunctious youngsters, I had every intention of mopping floors today and catching up on some much needed laundry. Unfortunately, due to a vicious stomach virus that crept into our safehaven, little Carlie is home from school with a terrible tummy ache.

When Carlie's symptoms began yesterday afternoon, I felt certain her loss of appetite and sudden fatigue was a result of intense play with her big sister and friends from school. But when I heard her feet scurry across the upstairs bathroom in our home, I knew it was something more. Throughout most of the night, I was nurse-made to little Carlie, changing her sheets after an accident occurred and refilling her water cup in order to prevent dehydration. WHEW! This definitely brought back memories from years ago when the twins were infants. To this day, I'm still not sure how we survived those first months of sleepless nights and around the clock feedings.

With less than a few hours of sleep, I rolled out of the bed this morning feeling as if a freight train had struck during the middle of the night, while Carlie awoke in the best of spirits. She is definitely showing signs of improvement, cracking jokes with Courtney and keeping a birds-eye-view on her little sister as she puts together a Dora puzzle on the floor nearby.

So as I look back on the past twenty-four hours with Carlie, I realize that even though my laundry pile has tripled in size, I'm so thankful for being able to care for my little munchkin.

Hopefully, if your Monday has kicked off to a crappy start, this post will help you see that it's best to find the good in times of distress rather than dwell on the misfortune in your day! Happy Monday, everyone! Tory

Oh, one last thing before I go! Still no rejection emails from Dear Super Agents:) YEAH!!!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

No News Is Good News!

Okay, friends! Quick update: Still no word from the SUPER agents who have requested the complete manuscript and partial for Book #1. As the old saying goes, "No news is good news!" so their lack in response gives me great hope they are seriously considering my project.

Now, those of you who know me best, understand why these requests could not have come at a better time, so please keep me and my family in your prayers! I assure you, regardless the outcome I WILL continue pushing forward with a smile across my face. You see, the words "give-up" and "throw in the towel" simply have no meaning in my vocabulary.

Also, two wonderful blogger friends of mine, Lindsay Currie and Julie Loden, are biting nails like me as they anxiously wait for a response from the three agents who requested their co-authored YA novel, HARMONY. I encourage you to follow their blogs Tiptoe Kisses , Julie Loden. I just know something GRAND is coming down the pike for this remarkable duo!

Have a great evening, everyone! Tory

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Excitement In The Air!

After an adventurous (and a bit stressful) week of shuttling the older children to and from school, helping w/ homework, entertaining Courtney at home, cooking, cleaning, yadda, yadda, yadda, I have some pretty exciting news to share with all of you.

Over the past few days, I've been extremely busy preparing email submissions for my first young adult novel because TWO remarkable agents have taken interest in the concept and have requested the full of my manuscript! *squeals loudly and does a happy dance in the kitchen* This now brings the total of requests to 5 partials, 4 fulls, and plenty of rejections and no responses in between. But as the old saying goes, "It only takes one YES to become a published author."

Take the story of Theodore Geisel for example (used from Adventures in Agentland). Theodore had written a picture book manuscript called THE HOUSE ON MULBURRY STREET. He shopped it around. He sent it to twenty-two editors and, after that twenty-second rejection, Theodore decided he would go home, shred his manuscript, and give up his dream.

On the way home, he ran into an old friend of his, who had become an editor. His editor friend convinced him to let him see his manuscript. The editor changed the name of the book to THE CAT IN THE HAT, and Dr. Seuss was born.

Once again, thanks for all your support! In more ways than one, your kind words and encouragement have kept me chasing the dream of becoming a published author. I promise to update as soon as I hear from either agent. Have a great weekend, everyone! Tory

Monday, August 9, 2010

It's Okay To Say Goodbye!

The alarm clock sounded at precisely 6:15 this morning, and as I glanced around our dim-lit bedroom, I couldn't believe a new school year was only an hour away. I slid from the covers and slipped on my fuzzy pink houseshoes, then tiptoed softly past the children's bedrooms where their snoring and heavy breathing gave assurance the alarm clock had stirred only me. As I sluggishly made my way down the staircase, the children's portraits cascading down the walls somehow grabbed my attention.

Suddenly, I was struck by the fact that these youngsters had grown entirely too fast - Catie, now a 4th grader at Millry Elementary; Carlie and Conner in Kindergarten; Courtney, becoming more and more independent each day. Jeez! I was in desperate need of a rewind button.

After choking back the tears, I collected my thoughts and said a quick prayer asking God to watch over these precious children and protect them as they entered this new chapter in their lives.

Moments later, with a soft rustling noise over my shoulder, I caught a glimpse of Courtney Erin peeking around the doorframe of her bedroom with a somber expression across her face. In that moment, I knew she felt it too. She felt the same empty nest feeling that burned at my core. Yet after a quick wink and a smile, I managed to get one of the sweetest grins ever from my little caboose!

Catie, Courtney, Carlie & Conner - dressed for the BIG day at Millry Elementary!

Upon arrival at Wildcat Hill, Carlie and Conner braced themselves in the backseat of our SUV as Courtney's tearful whimper turned into a shrilling wail. The twins stared at one another, not sure who should open the door, when Catie leaned from the front and said to her baby sister, "Court, Court, it's okay to say goodbye!"

Now, those of you who know Catie Minus, know that she's one of the most compassionate nine-year-olds around. And thank God she spoke up when she did because the tardy bell was only minutes away, and I couldn't bare the thought of my kids being late for the very first day of school...*ahem* - We live just .3 miles from campus, so there really is no excuse!

Whew! Just in time, and thankfully, no tears shed on the "Welcome" mat outside Mrs. Becton's classroom! Carlie Elaine was so excited to see her friends from pre-school and meet her new teacher, Mrs. Becton.

Geared up for some much needed "male" time, Conner was thrilled to see his friends from T-ball and church.

So, in closing with this post, you can easily see that It's Okay To Say Goodbye! Wishing all of you at MHS (and abroad) a wonderful new school year! Have a great day, everyone! Tory

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Bundle of Joy!

Little Benjamin Edward Massey made his "grand" entrance on August 5th, 2010 weighing in at 8 pounds 3 ounces and 22 inches long. He and Mommy are doing fabulous and are scheduled for patient discharge this afternoon.

Dana and I posing for a few pictures pre-delivery. She amazed me by her calmness and ability to go without pain meds during some very intense contractions.

Other than Catie, Benjamin is the most pleasant newborn I've ever held! Spending more than thirty minutes with Benjamin and his proud family, I never once heard him whimper. And boy does he have some really BIG feet and hands; his daddy sees great football potential, I'm sure!

Catie was so happy to finally get her hands on Benjamin. She was mesmerized by his sweet face, and of course, already trying to play matchmaker!

Though I have plenty experience with newborns, it took a few seconds to position Benjamin comfortably in my arms. He is such a blessing, and I can't wait to watch him grow & become a young man.

Aunt "TaTa" getting her share of kisses from baby Benjamin. As always, Tarah entertained all of us in the waiting room with her hilarious story of passing out in the delivery room during her niece's birth. Seriously, there was not a dry eye in the room!

Congratulations, Dana & Chris, and big brother, Dixon!