Tag Archives: Gwendolyn Cease

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Seriously, I'm getting that frame and putting it on my wall. LOL Mostly because, no matter the successes, the failures, and everything in between, I try. Despite things blocking my way, I try. No matter how many times I stumble, I try. Even when that stumble leads to a spectactular face-plant, I try. Even when it's my own mind trying to push me down, I try.

So all joking - and tongue-in-check mock cover - aside, I'm damned proud of that fact.


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin | Gwendolyn Cease
 Jessica De La Rosa | Kellie St. James

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Hey all. Time for another Musical Musings. I limited myself to 1-2 for each one... LOL And here we go...

SONG THAT MAKES ME HOPEFUL - "I Am the Doctor"

SONGS THAT MAKES ME HAPPY - "Can't Stop The Feeling" & "Best Day of My Life"

SONGS THAT MAKES ME CRY - "It's Quiet Uptown" & "Supermarket Flowers"


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin | Gwendolyn Cease
Kellie St. James | Torrance Sené

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In no particular order...

(10) Being outside in winter. I hate being cold.

(9) Commenting on Facebook. And every once in a while, I seem to forget why I avoid this, but don't worry, I'm reminded oh so very quickly every single time.

(8) All the "news" on FB that gets shared again and again. Kinda goes along with the previous one. Don't get me wrong, I love FB. Love being able to keep in touch with friends/family who live far away, rediscovering friends from years past... But I try very hard to keep it to just that and avoid the rest of it.  But there is always that one person who shares and shares and at the rate they are doing it? There is no way they are even reading the things - they just like the headline because it fits their view. *sigh*

(7) People who don't listen. Because they are always right. Don't think I have to elaborate there, do I? Nah, didn't think so. 

(6) Feet. Just...feet. I don't know what it is, but I don't like feet, don't like touching them, sure as hell don't want anyone near mine... No. Just no. And this is one top ten item, that is NOT getting a pic because...pics of feet? Avoid because they fall under the umbrella of "Feet", thank you very much.

(5) Bugs & Spiders - It's not going to shock anyone to learn that I'm not an outdoorsy kinda gal. It's mostly 'cause bugs, spiders and creepy crawlies...well, creep me out. And the ones that don't, are just plain annoying.

(4) Sometimes, I just wanna be alone. Alone and silent.

(3) Web MD -

(2) Toxic people - the drama-seeking, issue-creating, lie-to-your-face-and-everywhere-else-and-can't-keep-their-lies-straight, will-do-anything-to-satisfy-themselves-and-to-hell-with-you kinda people

(1) Negativity - This is a work in progress (and avoiding the toxic people? Biggest step I've taken in my life to avoid negativity) I've been trying very hard to be more positive and not let negative situations, negative people and negative thoughts overwhelm me. Not always easy, I'll admit, but it's amazing how differently I function when I focus on good things, on what I've accomplished rather than what I didn't get done... Does it make everything perfect? Do I only have good days, brightside-Barbie-ing my way through life? Nope, but I'm better for it - I'm happier and more productive because I do everything I can not to get sucked into the vortex of negativity.

 


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullen | Gwendolyn Cease
Kellie St. James | Kris Norris | Torrance Sené

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OMG, how February almost gone already?

Okay, checkin' in... First, I'm away from home right now. I'm visiting Bronwyn, and I get to see a bunch of my people this weekend as we do a mini-retreat. So super stoked about that.

Now, looking at the goals I set for February in my last check-in post *covers face and peeks through fingers*

  • Continue with the self care and house stuff - definitely makes a happier, calmer me. 🙂 This, I rocked. I have stayed on track with this really well, and that makes me incredibly happy.
  • Complete Safeword Protected (Bound series) and Into the Deep (Albion's Circle series) - so close on both of these, and since they have been on my plate, so to speak, for so long, getting these completely done and released will be a huge, huge thing for me. Um...okay, this may have been a slightly unrealistic goal for me. I don't think I took into account the other non-writing stuff that would take up my time. BUT, I have made writing progress, making time nearly every day to write, and I'm still on track to complete Safeword Protected by the end of the month. So, I'm going to say "Good job, Jarman. Not perfect, but not bad." 
  • Complete all scheduled blog posts for the month. OMG, so freaking close on this one. I missed one post - because of craziness with the day job and having 2 day job projects that needed to be finished ASAP, so taking time away to do the blog post didn't happen. But I did almost all of them, AND I did all the flash fiction ones. So I'm calling is good...

So, February - not perfect, but I did accomplish a lot, so I'm pleased with that. Going to focus on the positive.

Onward to March goals:

  • Keep on keeping on with the self-care and house stuff
  • Publish Safeword Protected
  • Complete Into the Deep
  • Complete March Newsletter short.
  • Complete all scheduled March blog posts.
  • Update Writing Bujo
  • Put together Publishing and Marketing Bujo
  • Fix mss. templates

Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin | Gwendolyn Cease | Torrance Sené

 

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Happy Wednesday! Today we're talking about...

My organization, particularly when it comes to writing...is very much a work in progress.

I have some things I do that helps me stay on track - and some of it may seem redundant but it works for me.

Number one on my list of things that help me organize my writing is my bullet journals. Yes, plural. I have a regular bullet journal that I track pretty much everything I do - house stuff, family stuff, self-care stuff, writing stuff, editing stuff, blogging stuff. It is really the go-to for me.

It is not fancy and pretty - though my cover is gorgeous (thank you, Bronwyn, for making it for me! You can see her own cover on the journal behind mine. She will be selling these and other gorgeous things at an Etsy store soon. Be on the lookout for Granola Girl Creations.)

My set up is pretty simple. You can see in the pic - the start of a week I haven't filled in yet - I have a page that is just a week at a glance, that's were I put appts for pretty much the whole family, and things like that. Then, each day gets half a page. This is where I list what I need to do that day and hope at the end of the day, I'm able to fill in all the little squares.  Again, simple, but it keeps me on track like nothing else I've tried before.

So, I guess my tip here would be to find a system that works for you - whether it's a ready made journal/planner or something you create yourself. It took me a while to find this way, but I'm so glad I did.

My second bujo is solely for writing. It's a traveler's journal that Bron modified to me - the booklets used to be stitched in, but she went to town on that bad boy, took the stitching out and put in elastics so I could put what I needed in there and then switch them out. I have a small notebook for every series.

In the notebooks, I put pics of what I imagine my characters to look like, track the progress of each book, put notes about the characters (physical descriptions, backstory etc) and plot out the stories themselves.

I also keep track of things on a spreadsheet. Some of it is a repeat of what is in my bujo, yes, but I use the spreadsheet for future planning - looking at big picture when it comes to scheduling -  and the lovely excel spreadsheet does all the math for me so I can track words written, edited, and blogged (weekly, monthly and yearly). I also have pages that has info on all my books - published and not yet published, notes on Bound books (usually typed as Bron and I are chatting), my blogging calendar, names I've used and names I just really like and may use one day in a book, and trackers from previous years. Nothing ground-breaking, but it works for me and like with the journal/planner, it took me a while to tweak it to work best for me.

Another tool? Pens. Seriously. Bron will tell you (I'm visiting her now and have several times in the past so she has firsthand knowledge), I cannot go in a store without meandering down the pen aisle (likely the notebook/journal aisle as well because you can never have too many notebooks). I always have pens with me, and I also use them in my main bujo. I color code the crap out of that things. Writing stuff is purple, editing stuff is orange, social stuff is blue....and so on and so on.

I can't be alone in my pen love, right?

The last thing I'll mention is writing friends and the power of holding each other accountable.

I have amazing writing friends, who are understanding and loving but never hesitate to give me a swift kick in the ass when needed. Finding ppl like this and building a support system - and being that support in return - is invaluable. And I'm lucky AF to have the group of friends that I do. I don't know what I did to deserve them, but I will never take them for granted.


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah MullinGwendolyn Cease | Jessica De La Rosa

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Hello! This month's song fic is based on "Glycerine" by Bush. Here is a video if you want to have a listen:

Oh this was a haaaaaard one. LOL But finally something popped into my head and I'm rolling with it. Have no idea if it truly fits the song, but either way, it's what came while I was listening so it counts. 😛 Here we go...


"Don't even think about it."

"Huh?" I didn't even look at my best friend, Lily, as she practically spit the words at me. No, my eyes were on my boyfriend...ex-boyfriend. He wasn't mine anymore. And that was a good thing. Though looking at him across the crowded room, it was hard to remember why. I wanted nothing more than to push my way through the people between us and wrap myself around him.

What can I say? When it came to Josh, I was fucking weak. After the last time we broke it off -yeah, the last in a long line of break-ups; like I said...weak - I had promised not to go back. Hell, coming to this party was supposed to be all about getting over Josh and maybe moving on to someone else - the last thing? Lily and our friend, Tom's idea. I didn't think hooking up while I was still clearly stuck on Josh was a good idea, but they had dragged me along. Obviously, they hadn't expected Josh to show up. I hadn't either. Parties weren't exactly Josh's thing.

"Dammit, Sam." Lily grabbed my arm and spun me around to face her. "Look at you - all freaking gooey eyed the second he walks in the room. You need to remember why he is bad for you. You broke up with him for a reason! Hell, a lot of really good reasons."

"Lil... It's not like he's a bad guy."  I glanced over my shoulder then yelped when her dainty, but amazingly strong fingers grasped my chin and turned my face back toward her.

"I'm not saying he's a bad guy," she said, not so convincingly. "But you two are wrong for each other. Your relationship was codependent, at best. The two of you together...do not make good choices. And the last time," she leaned forward and dropped her voice, "he hit you."

"We were drunk," I protested. "And I hit him, too."

"Yeah, and most of the time you're together, more often than not, you're drunk or you're high. See? Bad fucking choices, Sam." Her eyebrows shot up as she gave me "the look".

I hated that don't-disappoint-me look. I thought by moving away from home, i'd escaped it, but nay, nay, Lily kept it alive and well.

"But you constantly put all the blame on him," I pointed out. "And the problems we had, they're not all on him."

"No, they're not," she agreed. "You're both motherfucking idiots when it comes to each other."

I shook my head. She didn't get it. Even though I was the one who had initiated half our break-ups, I loved him. And I hated being alone, being without him. And it wasn't as if it was all screaming fights and arguments between us. There were a helluva lot of good times too. And I missed those.

"We have been," I said, mostly to get her off my back. "But..."

I looked back again, and my stomach jumped when I saw Josh weaving his way through the crowd toward us.

"No. No buts, Sam," Lily said, loudly enough that, even with the music blaring, people turned to look at us.

"You don't understand," I said, gaze darting between her and Josh.

"Fucking right I don't understand. I don't understand how you can choose to be miserable. How you can choose to be in a relationship that is no good for either of you. Hell, if you love him so damned much, think about him. Being together is not good for him. Do what's right for you and Josh." She spoke right in my ear and quickly, clearly wanting to have her say before he could hear.

"Sam."

And damn...damn, damn, damn. In what world was this fucking fair? How affected I could be by one word, my name, on his freaking lips... I turned and actually sighed like a little girl watching a Disney movie. He was too damned pretty for my own damned good. His full lips curved into the crooked smile I thought about more than I ever wanted to admit to anyone.

"Hey, Josh, what are you doing here?" Lily said bluntly. "You hate parties."

His expression fell. He glanced between us a few times, then his gaze landed on me. "I... Well, I was hoping you'd be here. I wanted to talk, but didn't think you'd answer my calls."

"That should have been a big clue. If he won't answer your calls, why would you think he'd want to see you?"

"Lily!"  I stared at her, stomach sour and heart racing.

"Dammit, Sam." She met my gaze, then lifted her hands and let them drop, slapping against her thighs. "I love you, but you're gonna do whatever the fuck it is you want to do anyway, and I don't have to watch it. Can't bear to watch it.  Just call me when it's time to pick up the pieces...again."

Without giving me a chance to respond, she turned on her heel and strode away. Cheeks hot and hands shaking, I faced Josh.

"Is she right? You don't want to see me?"

I cleared my throat, staring at him, wanting to do the right thing. Only problem was I didn't know what the right thing was when it came to him and me.

"Why would you even want to? A few weeks ago, you couldn't wait to get away from me," I choked out.

"I was stupid, fucked up on the pills and everything. I haven't..." He wet his lips and ducked his head, looking at me from beneath those insanely long lashes. "Haven't touched them since. Haven't had a drink. I even...I even went to the counseling center, saw someone. Been seeing them a couple times a week. Talking though a lot of shit. You know, about my mom and dad and stuff."

I nodded, heart aching for him. If I'd thought my home life sucked when I moved out, it was a fucking cake walk compared to what Josh had gotten away from.

"I just wanted to talk. I get if you don't want to be around me. That's fair. Grant - that's the counselor I've been talking too - said I shouldn't... Well, he didn't think it was a good idea to see you, again. You know, like we were. But I need to at least talk to you. I was a complete ass; I see that now. I'm so sorry, Sam."

"It wasn't just you," I protested. "I"m sorry, too."

"Can we get out of here and go somewhere quiet to talk?" he asked. "Please."

"Yeah, we can talk."

He grinned and grabbed my hand. As we dodged people and made out way to the front door, I promised myself to be strong, this time. We'd talk, put things to rest, maybe? Or maybe with the changes he was making and the help he was getting, he'd be in a better place, and we could make it work. Not now, of course, but in the future. Because I couldn't deny I wanted a future with him. Always did.

Ten minutes later, when my back hit the wall of Josh's dorm room and his lips were on mine, Lily's words sounded in my head - Wrong for each other... Codependent, at best... Bad fucking decisions... - but I shoved them aside. She didn't know. She didn't understand.

"Fuck, Sammy, I missed you," Josh murmured, trailing kisses along my jaw and down my neck. "Hate being without you. Feel so damned numb." His hands flexed on my hips as he pressed closer. "I can feel again, now. With you. Taste so fucking beautiful, babe. Love you so much. God, is it the same for you?" He lifted his head and met my eyes. "Is it just me?"

I cupped his face and pulled him in again then whispered against his lips, "No, me too. God, me too."


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah MullinGwendolyn Cease

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10 - First way to hook me? An amazing cover. Not saying a cover will make or break it for me, but if you can catch my attention with a cover...you have your foot in the door, my friend.

9 - Brilliant description - This is a fine line to walk. Some books give hardly any description, while others go a bit overboard - I really don't need a run down of every piece of furniture in the room, thank you very much. There needs to be enough that I can picture it in my head but not so much that it's tedious and obtrusive.

8 - Internal conflict - I'm more drawn to internal conflict. I find it more compelling. I don't know why, exactly, but I will usually choose an book that is driven by internal conflict over one driven by external conflictl. Maybe because it's more identifiable? I can relate and sympathize more? Well, whatever the reason...there it is.

7 - But...give me a really freaking good external conflict...I won't walk away. I can really dig a story where the character(s) is on the run from or fighting a big bad or having to survive a really horrible situation or environment.

6 - Angst... DUDE. Give me an angst-filled story.... Le sigh. I eat that stuff up with a freaking spoon every single time. I will ugly cry and re-read again and again. Yes, I will. 

5 - Good characterization -  Well written, fully developed believable characters that grow throughout the story is a surefire way to hook me. No too-stupid-to-live characters, no major alphaholes that have no redeeming qualities whatsoever... Hell, even a villain should be more than a flat, one-dimensional representation of a bad guy. Some of my all-time favorite characters are villains - usually ones I could identify with, sympathize with and understand why they were doing what they were doing even if it was horrifying and/or wrong. The biggest thing is they just aren't 100% evil to give the story a bad guy. They have layers, dammit.

4 - A good friends-to-lovers story. Oh, be still my heart. My all-time fave trope.. Seriously, I go looking for these, and I will hold onto the ones I love to go back to time and time again.

3 - Originality & Variety - Have you ever really loved an author but then after a while it seems as though are reading the same story again and again? That it's just slightly different look for the heroine or the setting is a bit different but it's basically the same story you read before? No one wants that. 

Or sometimes it's the same character (unintentionally) popping up in every book...with just a slightly different face.

Though I'd like to point out that in Doctor Who, even though each actor is technically playing the same character, they make the Doctor their own. Each incarnation has its own characteristics, mannerisms and quirks. And that's one of the things that makes it freaking brilliant.

Obviously, we all have our favorite types of stories. Like I said, friends-to-lovers is a big one for me. So are books based on Arthurian legend. I love me a good vampire or shifter book too. But what I really, really love is when an author puts new spin on it. They take something and make it their own. I think, as authors, we have a responsibility - not only to readers but to ourselves - to stretch ourselves, to move beyond our comfort zones. And that includes looking at our body work and making sure we aren't writing the same story or the same character again and again.

2 - A balance of information - There is a fine line authors walk when writing. The reader needs to be given enough information to follow the story and to (eventually) understand why characters are doing what they are doing, but they don't need to be hit over the head with every single detail or reason characters are doing something. It's playing in the middle ground, really. The reader isn't stupid and doesn't need to be spoon fed - which will just annoy and lead to a book being set aside - however, they can't be expected to make huge leaps of understanding with nothing in the book to support it - which leaves the reader scratching their heads and leads to a book being set aside.

1 - And finally... Write me a long, well-written, angsty as F&$k with lots of kinky sexy times (and no freaking slow-burn, thank you very much) Merthur fanfic, and I am yours.


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin | Gwendolyn Cease | Kellie St. James | Kris Norris

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A new feature! Woot. We're going to be blogging about music - our faves and our not so faves.

So this month we have...

FAVE SOUNDTRACK - I love a lot of soundtracks, but right now, in this moment? Hamilton (I know, I know, shocker, right?)

Absolutely love this cast album, and at least once a day, a random line is sung in this house. And not always by me!

SONG THAT MAKES ME WANT TO DANCE - "Time Warp" from Rocky Horror Picture Show

Okay, it's usually this parody that is in my head lately...but they both make me want to dance!

...but they both make me want to dance!

SONG I LOVE TO SING ALONG WITH - Oh boy, this is a tough one... My kids will tell you (with varying degrees of disgust and embarrassment), I sing along to everything, all the freaking time. LOL But one I particularly love? "Gang of Rhythm" by Walk Off the Earth


Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn Cease | Kris Norris | Paige Prince | Torrance Sené

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This month, I'm going to revisit some of my favorite boys - Michael and Aric - sort of. This is a snippet seen through the eyes of Michael's sister, Trina.

If you want to see the other pieces with the boys, here you go:

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

The prompt will be bolded in the story itself. 🙂


"I'm coming, for fuck's sake!" Trina called out, supremely pissed at whoever was banging on her door, interrupting her Criminal Minds marathon. The rest of her words - all cuss words, sure, but that wasn't important - died on her tongue when she yanked the door open and found her brother, Michael, standing on her doorstep in the pouring rain. With a huge shit-eating grin splitting his face.

"Hey, sister," he said, swaying side to side.

She grabbed his arm and yanked him inside, shutting the door behind them. "What the fuck, Mikey?"

He stumbled slightly and laughed brightly. "Oh shit, you were doing Criminal Minds tonight, weren't you? Sorry to interrupt your gawping at Derek Morgan times." Another laugh burst from his lips, and he covered his mouth, eyes wide as he stared at her.

"You're drunk...and you've got glitter..." She gave a vague gesture in his direction, because honestly, the sparkly shit was everywhere, and she'd probably be finding it on her carpet for years to come, now.

"I am, but not too drunk. Just...happy." His words were muffled against his palm as he nodded. He lowered his hand and continued, "It was a good fucking night. Until he got called back into work. And your place is closer to his so I had him drop me here. Figured you loved me enough to let me take your spare room for the night." He batted his lashes playfully. "Pretty please?"

She sighed and stopped herself from asking who "he" was. Michael never shared about the guys he hooked up with. Part of her was grateful - because who wanted to hear about who their little brother banged? - but another part was sad he didn't even try to find someone to be serious about. Then again, it was a Saturday night, and she was in her jammies, watching TV by herself. Who was she to judge on that point?

"Go on." She shooed him toward the spare bedroom. "Shower that shit off yourself, and I'll grab you some dry clothes. Then, it's back to Criminal Minds and Derek Too-Hot-For-His-Own-Good Morgan. You can join or not..."

"I'll join, but you know I'm more of a Spencer Reid man. Rowr."

She snorted as she strode into the laundry room to grab some sweats and a t-shirt from the stash of clothes Michael kept at her place.  When she went to the bedroom, Michael was standing in the middle of the room, bare from the waist up, still swaying slightly, Her eyes widened when she took in the marks on his neck and shoulders and the ones - definitely from rough fingers there - peeking from beneath where his jeans hung low on his hips.

"Fuuuuck, Mikey."  She whistled low and tossed the clothes onto the bed. "Did you send him to work looking like you? Sparkly and marked up?"

He didn't even startle, just looked at her, strangely somber, as his cheeks pinkened. When he didn't say anything, she prodded. Just a little.

"You normally don't go for the club scene." She walked up to him and thumbed some of the glitter from his cheek. "I'm assuming that's where your night started..."

"I normally don't," he agreed. "Neither does Aric, but he needed to let off some steam, and so did I." He sighed and lifted his shoulder in a weak half-shrug. "Dad called."

Fuck. No need to explain, she thought. Their dad had been mostly absent during their childhood, but when he bothered to show up, emotionally and verbally abusive, homophobic asshole didn't begin to cover it.

So she did what she had to do, to spare her brother more pain he didn't need. She sidestepped that particular landmine and grasped onto the other nugget of information he'd given.

"Aric? Are you actually seeing someone? Regularly enough to actually learn his name?"

He narrowed his eyes. "I always learn their names, I'll have you know."

"Mm hmmm." She crossed her arms. "But you never share them with me. So..."

His Adam's apple bobbed as he swallowed. "Been seeing him for about a month. He's...he's..." He looked at her, expression almost panicked. "I love him, Trina. Fuck me, but I love him. Enough to go to a damned club, get all sweaty and glitter-bombed just to see him freaking smile."

"Wow." She took a deep breath then grinned. "Okay, you go shower the stink and sparkle off. I'm going to pull out the wine, and you're going to tell me all about this Aric."

"I mean it, Trina. He's...he's it for me." He scrubbed his hands over his face then met her gaze. "That's the real reason I had him drop me off here. I needed you to know. You two are the most important people in my life."

Chest aching, she closed the distance between them, braved the glitter and kissed his cheeks. Then, grasping his shoulders, she turned him and gave him a push towards the bathroom. "Can't wait to hear about him, so hurry."

Once she heard the shower turn on, Trina went into the kitchen. She couldn't help but laugh as she opened a bottle of white. How does she find out her brother has found someone to love and be with? He showed up at her door, soaking wet, bruised and covered in glitter. So fucking typical...


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin | Gwendolyn Cease
Kellie St. James | Kris Norris | Paige Prince

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A new feature in 2017...monthly Top 10 lists. Woot.

This time, my top 10 is in no particular order.

  1. My kids. Can't quantify the pride I feel as I watch them grow. Incredibly proud of the young men and women they are becoming. 
  2. Putting priority on my marriage, when it's way too easy to get caught up in kids, day-to-day stuff, etc. 
  3. Choosing to do what I love - writing - even with the obstacles. 
  4. My persistence. 
  5. Making the daily decision to love myself - as I am now, not thinner, more successful, etc - and take care of myself. A hard won battle each day but very proud of it. 
  6. Pushing play and exercising regularly. I will never be one to love working out. That just isn't me, but it's still something I do for me, and I like how I feel because of it (just not during!) And I am proud because it's all too easy to make excuses...
  7. Doing things for me. And not like the time to shower uninterrupted. LOL Like big things...for me. For example, traveling to the UK & Ireland with my mom and SIL this past fall. In the past, I'd have felt selfish and never would have dreamed of doing it. But I did it (mostly) guilt free and had the most amazing time.

    Sneem, Ireland
  8. Finding a way to be organized (and keep my head on straight) that actually works for me - Bullet Journaling. Though admittedly it's still a work in progress but I'm doing it regularly and it's working.
  9. I'm proud of every book I've written and published. But if I had to choose one project I'm particularly proud of, it would be my Albion's Circle series. These are the books that made me fall in love with writing again, that pushed me out of my cozy and warm zone of comfort. 
  10. That I'm still here. That I didn't (and don't) give up. I've struggled with depression and anxiety my whole life. Still struggle with it. But damn it, I'm still here. I'm still fighting. 

 


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah MullinGwendolyn Cease
Kris NorrisPaige Prince |  Torrance Sené