Posted in Creekside Cafe, interview

On The Porch with C. S. Ratliff

Welcome C.S. Ratliff to my virtual café. It is so good to have you here. In eastern North Carolina summer has arrived with a combination of extreme heat and tropical rain but occasionally we will get the breeze from the ocean trickle down the river and it is lovely, until the mosquitos try to take us off to their lair to feed. But here in my virtual café the weather is perfect, the breeze is wafting, and the mosquitos have been banished to another universe.

C.S.  Thank you so much for having me. I live in Ohio so the weather is sporadic right now. 

Sherri: You and I met through the Shameless Self-Promo Twitter group. I have to say I am pleasantly surprised at the camaraderie I have experienced through this group. It has been a wonderful experience meeting everyone. I am so glad to have this chance to get to you better.

C.S.  Absolutely. I originally created the Shameless Self Promo group as a pay-it-forward system. At first, it was simply retweeting other’s work. It’s grown over the months and evolved into a very nice support system of around 40 authors. 

Sherri: You are an artist as well as an author? You’ve shared some of your artwork in our message group and I have to admit, I was impressed. Do you design your own book covers? They are fantastic.

C.S.  Thank you. Yes, I am an artist. I studied fine arts for years, and as I’ve gotten into writing, I knew I wanted to design book covers. I have created over 50 book covers, and that does include my own covers. 

Sherri: Tell us a little about your books, you write fantasy, is that correct? I know there are different subgenres within the fantasy genre, where do your books fit on the shelf? Do they crossover to other genres as well? I’ve started reading The Lighting Rod, you bring the reader into the world in the very first scene.

C.S. Yes, I write Fantasy. I’ve had trouble really pinpointing where my books fall within the genre, but I think Epic Fantasy fits best. There are definitely across different sub genres. A nice blend of High Fantasy and Coming of Age. I try to break the mold of texture in the genre but creating my own magic system and highly detailing the world, Gnariam. My action sequences are quite different from other authors as well. 

Sherri: I listen to a lot of YouTube videos and even though I don’t write fantasy, I find the writing videos insightful, especially on world building. Do you plan your world and magic system before you write? Are you someone who plots a book before writing it or are you like me and write by the seat of your pants? I have to admit, I have started doing a bit of planning especially as my series has become larger.

C.S.  I knew going into my first book, The Lightning Rod, that I wanted an extensive magic system. So I really created two systems, Elemental Magic, and Elemental Power, which is rare in Gnariam. I had a good idea of how I wanted the first book to go but I didn’t plan much. I planned out a lot more of book 2, The Thunder King. Now, I am writing book 3, The Tempest Fate and I’ve grown into a full on plotter. I spent a month of just planning the entire book. 

Sherri: How long have you been a writer? A published author? How did you get started writing?

C.S.  I’ve been writing for myself on and off for about a decade, little short stories here and there. I really ramped-up my focus to write professionally at the beginning of 2019. I published my first book in July, 2019. 

Sherri: Who has inspired your writing? Do you have authors that you admire and emulate, or did your stories come from somewhere else entirely? I write suspense thrillers with a bit of romance. For me, I base my setting, my imaginary town on my real hometown. My characters are a combination of family and friends, but my plots come from a variety of places from local stories, news and questions of “what if.” How about you? Can you pinpoint where your ideas began? Did you start with a character, a plot or a setting?

C.S. Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance Cycle was my first big love for Fantasy. I’ve been a big fantasy fan and nerd since I was young. In 2012, I was deployed to Afghanistan in the Army and we were stationed in an area where the Kunduz Mountain surrounded us. Everyday, I would visualize the mountain with dragons, swords and sorcery. I’ve also always had a tremendous love and awe for Lightning. So I think the idea just grew out of a combination of all of that. 

Sherri: What has been the most difficult for you since becoming a published author? Are you traditionally or indie published?

C.S.  I think the most difficult part for me, in the beginning, was finding readers. The Fantasy genre is vast, and easy to get buried in the masses. I chose to self publish through KDP. 

Sherri: With each book I’ve written and published I’ve learned something new. What have you learned with each book or since becoming published?

C.S.  I’ve learned a lot about the actual writing part of being an author. My prose has gotten tighter and cleaner. My descriptions are not only better, but vary much more. Over all, I think everything I do has consistently gotten better. 

Sherri: You have three books out now, is that correct? What are you working on? Will it be a part of the same world?

C.S. So far I have two books, and I am working on the third. They are all part of the Gnariam’s Fate Saga. I have six books planned for this series. 

Sherri: What, besides entertainment, do you hope your stories bring to readers?

C.S. I hope that, being in the YA Fantasy genre, my stories may inspire young adults, or even younger. I hope that the idea of perseverance can inspire people to push on, take on challenges and fight for what’s right. 

Sherri: Is there anything else you’d like to share? What would you tell a young writer with dreams of becoming a published author?

C.S.  I always like to tell anyone that wishes to become an author to simply try. Write the book you want. If you hit barriers along the way, find a way through it, or around it. Never give up on your dreams. You are never too young or old to become an author. 

Sherri: Thank you for stopping by my virtual café. I hope you’ve enjoyed your visit. If you enjoyed this interview then follow C.S. Ratliff on social media and check out his books, the links are listed below.

Thank you C.S. for sharing your story.

Media Links





Book Links

Posted in Creekside Cafe, interview

Creekside Cafe Chat with Rebecca Ridge


Welcome to my virtual café romance and erotica author, Rebecca Ridge. It is so good to have you here.

Becky: Hi, Sherri. It’s great to be here. Thank you for inviting me.

Sherri: I’ve dreamed of visiting England. Have you ever traveled to the United States?

Becky: No, unfortunately not yet. It is the first place on my travel plans. I have a lot of great friends who live there.

Sherri: How long have you been a published author? I published my first book in December of 2017, and it seems I’ve been on a roller coaster of writing, publishing and marketing ever since. Do you feel as if you spend more time doing the business of writing than actually writing?

Becky: I published my first book which was a festive novella called A Sprinkle of Love. I didn’t spend much time on marketing at that time as I had some personal issues. I intend to republish it this year, with a new cover and added scenes. I plan to promote it this year. Since releasing the pre order for my new book , I have done nothing but market and feel you may be right. This looks to be the future.

Sherri: What do you find the most difficult part of being a published author?

Becky: Definitely marketing yourself.

Finding the right advertising is difficult. It’s okay being published, but if no one knows your published your not going to get sales. Also I’m a resident author for an erotica publisher called Berlinable. I need to produce atleast one story a month and have found it challenging at times to write to order as I usually write through pure inspiration alone.

Sherri: You publish a variety of genres and manuscript lengths, tell us about your markets for your work and how you came to write for them.

Becky: As I mentioned I write erotica short stories for

They publish through many platforms in many countrys which is exciting. I won a competition on valentine’s day. Which is what led them to invite me to be a resident.

I also write for the legends of the Veil blog which is a fantasy blog. I voice the character of Lilith @TheDemonQueen00 on twitter.

Its a lot of fun. I’ve met some great people and the stories are fun to bring to life.

Sherri: What was your favorite story or character to write? What made them special?

Becky: My favourite character was called Jay, he was the leader singer in rock band Punk Nights out of my unpublished novel Broken.

When he started talking to me he came across like an arrogant get. But the more I got to know him, the more I unraveled his complex personality. The more I fell in love with him. Also he was the first character to ever show up in my head, that alone makes him special.

Sherri: What are you working on now?

Becky: Right now, I’m working on publishing my new book. Its book one in The Submission of Maizey Randall series. Its called Captivated it’s out for pre order now. I’m very excited for this book!

I’m also working on part 2 of The Submissive Diaries which is a Berlinable story.

Sherri: What writing or publishing advice would you give a newbie author? What do you wish someone had told you before you started this career path?

Becky: First and foremost, You can do it! It might feel like a never ending climb but the view from the top is amazing. Never compare yourself to others

I fell into this trap half way through my first book.

I realised that I am me! And my style is mine. I’m not better or worse than anyone else we are all ourselves. Being inspired by people is okay

But never compare yourself to them

Be original.


Sherri: “A Sprinkle of Love” sounds like a Hallmark Story. I can’t wait to read it.

Becky: Oh, wow, thank you so much. That has been said before and it makes me so happy. I wanted to create something warm and pure. Something my children could read haha. My daughter loved the story.

I’m a massive Christmas addict so writing festive is my happy place.

I plan on publishing one festive book every year.

Sherri: You have a new book coming out soon, tell us about it.

Becky: Yes! It’s the first in a trilogy that follows the lives of Theo a serious Dominant and Maize a very vanilla girl

She comes back home after a few years away in the Hope’s ro rekindle her childhood love and regain her life

But a lot has changed. Can she get her sweetheart back  Or will his brother Theo be a temptation she can not  resist. You can find the pre order on amazon

Sherri: Thanks Becky for joining me at Creekside Café. If you enjoyed our chat check out Becky’s books and follow her on social media, her links are listed below.

I have new release coming soon 

I should have a link for preorder in the next week. 

I’m a resident author for a publisher called Berlinable, where I write Erotic short stories.

I’m also on Goodreads

My website is

My other social media sites



My books are available on Amazon:

I look forward to hearing from you 

Kind regards Rebecca