Posted in Creekside Cafe, interview

Welcome BT Harris to Creekside Cafe

Welcome BT Harris to my daydream. If I ever get rich, I’d like to have a readers and writers café on the waterfront of my hometown where I can drink coffee or something stronger and talk about books and writing all day long.

What is one of your dreams if you get rich?

BT: One day I hope to start my own nonprofit charity organization called Igor’s Children, which will help mentally ill minors get the treatment they need, including medicine and doctor referrals.

Sherri: That’s a lovely dream and one that is definitely needed.

You recently published your second novel, what was your inspiration? How did you come up with the idea for Beyond Olympus?

BT: The idea came from a very intense and vivid dream. I fell asleep over exhausted, and I was listening to Buddhistic chants and hums. I dreamt I was flying through space and eventually became a star. I woke up and wrote down the contents of the dream and started writing a story the next day.

Sherri: The book trailer made me think of a comic book, is that the direction you want to go? Do you have plans for a comic book or a graphic novel?

BT: A graphic novel sounds like an interesting idea, but we will wait to see how well the book is received.

Sherri: Your main character Kristina is an astronomer and Buddhist. What else can you tell us about her? Why is she being entrusted with such cosmic importance?

BT: Kristina is the first human since Buddha himself that had this remarkable potential for growth. Others have tried to learn from Umun (our Sun) but failed to prove themselves completely. These failed students, as we know them, are the ancient gods.

Sherri: I read on your social media that you are also a poet. Which came first, poetry or prose?

BT: I started with both. Most of my early stories are in poetic stanzas. My first book was actually completed thanks to a massive epic poem I wrote to guide me.

Sherri: Do you think poetry helps you write better fiction? I’m always amazed by the way a poet can say so much with so few words.

BT: Oh, certainly. I would not be surprised if there are many smaller forms of writing that writers can practice their skills while trying to finish their first draft.

Sherri: What is it you love about writing fantasy? Do you enjoy creating worlds, unique characters or using magic, or is it something else?

BT: Moreso, the escape into a world where even I have difficulty navigating. A character will speak to me saying that this is over our heads. ‘You mean this is far too much fun for the both of us, let’s bring some enemies in.’

Sherri: It is said that all artists are a bit broken because only the imperfect can create something that will touch your heart. Writing became a way of expressing myself that I wasn’t able to do in real life. Has your writing helped you as well?

BT: No one is completely whole and no one is perfect. Some of us feel on a deeper scale, but who better to quote than Socrates when he said, “The real philosophers are those who love to see the truth.” If I was to broaden his statement to the emotional understanding. If we learn to recognize what we feel inside of us, and how appreciative we are of those who see as much, our hearts can be touched in a remarkable way. Sometimes I am afraid to admit the more I develop a character, they become one of those people I learn to appreciate.

Sherri: When I published my first book, I was terrified and sometimes, I am still afraid, but I make myself do it anyway. Were you afraid to publish your new book? How did you overcome your fears?

BT: I was not afraid to publish. I was afraid of what may come afterwards. There is no overcoming fear, no matter how strong you feel. By accepting the fear, you carry it with less weight.

Sherri: How was it working with Tea with Coffee Media? What was your favorite part of working with TCM? What was your least favorite part? How was it different than when you self-published by in 2015?

BT: TCM was the best experience I had when it came to publishing. My favorite is sharing the responsibility of the book than feeling smothered by all the control through self-publishing.

Sherri: What advice would you give a young author on the verge of publishing their first novel?

BT: Never, never, never, quit. Take a break if you need one. Enjoy life if you think you should grasp it. Just don’t quit.

Sherri: Thank you, BT for sharing your author journey. Best wishes for your writing and the success of Beyond Olympus. If you enjoyed this interview, you can find BT’s book links and social media links below.

Twitter @harrisbtauthor

Facebook BT Harris- Author

A link to Beyond Olympus and its trailer:

Books2Read eBook link:

Posted in Creekside Cafe, event, interview, promo

Welcome Veronica Krug to Creekside Cafe

Bio: Veronica Krug, an active member of Carteret Writers, North Carolina Writer’s Network and Seascribes has lived and worked in Eastern NC for the past seven years. She has four self-published titles as well as a calendar showcasing her work as a sand artist on the beach of Emerald Isle. Originally from Akron, Ohio, Veronica taught Middle School art and reading for over 25 years and was a director of recreation for ten years before that. 

Sherri: Welcome Veronica to my virtual café. My dream is to one day have a place where I can meet and greet authors, drink coffee or tea and be surrounded by books and the river. As chairperson for the Pamlico Writers’ Group, I have had a lot of interaction with members of the Carteret Writers, we are sister groups I feel and support each other. I wish I could attend more events. Maybe when I retire. You are a retired Middle School teacher, are your books written for that age group?

Veronica: Two are for eighth graders and up; Good Beasts Bad Creatures, and The Siren and the Crow. Mainly because there are some scary parts in them. A bit of gore as well, but I know middle schoolers dig that kind of thing. They showcase North Carolina folklore and are educational without being pushy about it.

Sherri: You mentioned your calendar of your sand art, I look forward to seeing it at the book festival. How did you get into doing sand art? Do you photograph it? Are you also a photographer? What other art projects do you enjoy, and have you considered writing about them or using them for a calendar?

Veronica: Well! Being an artist, I saw a huge canvas of sand in front of me at low tide. A California artist, Andre Amador, inspired me and thought I’d try it. He uses a rake. When I tried that on our beach, it looked terrible. My husband had a PVC pipe he used for holding his fishing pole up. The end of it looked like a pencil, and bam…beach art. It’s really a Zen thing for me when I’m doing it. I never dreamed so many folks would like it so much. I incorporate my love of writing into my photos by inserting a quote; and no, I am not a professional photographer. I have been a watercolorist for over 40 years and mainly work on them when I take a break from writing.

Sherri: Tell us a little bit about your novels and the characters. This is a fantasy series based on North Carolina folklore. I love folklore and often enjoy reading young adult fiction.

Veronica: Both of my low fantasy novels include a group of four friends, Kayla, Jerry, Sarah, and Nick, who have a mystery to solve. The first, Good Beasts Bad Creatures, focuses on Kayla, Jerry, and Grimalkin; a panther who escapes a farm and is the progeny of the Beast of Bladenboro. The Beast of Bladenboro was a creature who terrorized the town in the 50s.

     The second story, The Siren and the Crow, features Nick and a dog named Shep. They camp by the French Broad River in Asheville. Nick is kidnapped and his friends must solve a murder before he becomes the next victim. In the process, Nick discovers his heritage. The story is based on the siren, Tzelica, who pulls men to their deaths…but she is not the murderer.

Sherri: You are published through Lulu. I have seen their advertisements but I’m unfamiliar with the company. What was your publishing experience with them like?

Veronica: Good. I believe it’s the best way to publish for little money. It’s a print on demand company, but it only takes 10 days to receive your book after ordering. It’s a learning process at first, and they have switched book cover design to Canva. But, after some practice, Canva is really good. eBooks are pretty easy. They take any word document, but for paperbacks, you must save your word to a PDF. The only charge is to purchase a book at cost to make sure the layout and print is correct. I learned about it at Carteret Community College before Covid hit. I would imagine the class will return. It is really worth it.

Sherri: Have you always been a writer? When did you start writing and when did you decide to publish your first novel?

Veronica: I’ve always loved writing, and had many articles published in magazine and won competitions. My favorite was an all-expense paid trip to New York City for me and a friend. The contest was to write about a special friend. Man, did we have fun. We even had a driver whenever we wanted. We just called down for him. I didn’t get serious about writing a novel until about 15 years ago when my students told me I should write about Lorenzo DiMedici. His story really intrigued my middle schoolers. Back then, there wasn’t much about him, and I had to go to the Library of Congress to get any real information. When Assassin’s Creed came out, my students were so excited, because they knew all about the DiMedicis. I wrote A Magnificent Man first as a screenplay and actually won an award for it, but nothing happened, so I wrote the book. I finished it in 2017 and had retired by then. So much about him is out now.

Sherri: Who are some of your favorite authors?

Veronica: I loved Stephen King so much so that when I was in college, the professors compared my style to his. I also love Erma Bombeck’s humor. I used to go straight to her columns in the paper. She was relatable. Now, I enjoy Fredrick Backman books; my favorite being A Man Called Ovi, which will soon be a movie called, A Man Called Otto starring Tom Hanks. He has humor mixed with the challenges of getting older. His work inspired me to write my newest title, Toasted Marshmallows. It’s about a summer camp for senior citizens, and a bear named Rizzy. I’m in the process of editing and looking for an agent. This is totally adult humor. A break from my YA tomes.

Sherri: What advice would you give to beginning authors?

Veronica: Keep at it. It helps to join a group suffering the same as you. LOL Also it helps to remember it takes time. Expect to make several edits of your stories before you can put them out there. Listen to helpful critiques. Thank you, Sherri, for talking to me. I enjoyed answering your great questions.

Sherri: If you enjoyed my interview with Veronica Krug, you can meet her in person at the New Bern Farmers Market Author Sunday Book Festival, November 20th, from 1 to 4 pm. Books make excellent holiday gifts or escapes from the chaos of the season.

If you are unable to buy Veronica’s books at the festival you can purchase them online, the links are below.

The novels I am featuring at the fair are Good Beasts Bad Creatures and The Siren and the Crow. Both Young Adult mystery thrillers take place in North Carolina based on folklore in the state. In Good Beasts, it is the progeny of the Beast of Bladenboro; and in The Siren and the Crow, the story is based on Tzelica, the siren of the French Broad River in Western NC. Both novels feature the same group of friends, their efforts to survive these creatures, and solve a murder mystery at the same time. The paperbacks are a special festival price of $15. each. 

You can purchase Veronica’s books on and through her website,

“The pacing in Veronica’s stories are impressive, and it keeps them moving forward at a strong clip.” -International Screenwriters Association

Posted in Creekside Cafe, interview

Welcome Sarah Maury Swan to Creekside Cafe

BIO: Sarah Maury Swan is the author of three novels, the last two of which she is selling at the upcoming Authors’ Sunday. She is pleased the say she has written stories for the Next Chapter Literary Magazine since its inception in January 2020. At the moment, she is working on a chapter book entitled SPACE JUNK, a young adult novel entitled BAD HAIR DAY, her first ever grown-up’s cozy mystery entitled SERENDIPITY’S CONUNDRUM, and a short story entitled FAIRY’S TOOTHBRUSHES. She lives in Fairfield Harbour with her handsome devil and their cat.

Welcome Sarah Maury Swan to Creekside Café, she might look like a sweet little old lady but she’s a dynamo. She is hosting 34 other authors, myself included at an Authors’ Event at the New Bern Farmers Market, Sunday, November 20th. Sarah, it is so good to have you at my virtual café.

Sarah: Aw shucks, Sherri. You’re definitely a dynamo yourself considering how you took over the reins of Pamlico Writers so seamlessly. And thanks for the delicious cup of herbal tea; the virtual scones were perfect.

Sherri: Well chai tea is one of my favorites. I think you are amazing. You didn’t grow up with computers like today’s kids but you’re fearless about trying new things. Congratulations on your website and blog.

Sarah: That’s because you’re not close enough to hear how much and how often I yell at my computer.



Sherri: I’ve yelled at mine a few times too. I’m very grateful for grandchildren who fix whatever problem I’ve created. How did you and the handsome devil end up in eastern North Carolina?

Sarah: We had a lovely horse farm up in Maryland, but we had to put down three horses, 2 dogs and a cat in the 22 years we were there. The three horses were in the last 5 years we were there. Dale was ready to retire from the consulting business he’d started 30 years earlier, but we both knew he’d never quit if we stayed in Maryland. We had friends who had moved to New Bern, which made the area even more enticing. We’ve loved it ever since we moved here in December of 2010. Of course, not having to deal with blizzards also made this area more inviting.

Sherri: You’re very active in the local writing community, just like organizing this event. What groups do you belong and what else do you do?

Sarah: I belong to the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators, HTTPS://; North Carolina Writers Network, HTTPS://; Carteret Writers, which I was the president from 2012 to 2014, HTTPS://; HTTPS://, and locally, I belong to 3 critiques groups: Seascribes, where I work on my Young Adult and Middle Grade novels, plus short stories, etc; Kitchen on Trent critique group where I concentrate on short stories and my first ever “grown-ups” novel; and Bogue Group, which is my children’s’ books/stories critique group. Because of COVID, I’ve become fairly proficient on running the groups via Zoom. When I’m not writing, I try to do “retired persons” kinds of stuff like going out to lunch and having my weekly manicure. I read a lot and play some computer games, and I ride my tricycle which I named Gertrude. By the way, Veronica Krug, who is also going to be at the Authors’ Sunday event, is a member of Seascribes as well.

Sherri: Oh, my word, you’re as busy as I am.

On your blog you mentioned you review books for the Children’s Literature Comprehensive Database (, what is the CLCD and how did you get involved in this?  

Sarah: CLCD was founded early in this century to review children’s books for various publishing houses and sending the reviews to libraries and schools. I started reviewing for the company in 2006. At the beginning the books had to be traditionally published, but nowadays self-published/indie books are being considered. I got a 5-star review through the organization for my novel Earthquakes. I did a happy dance then. It’s a very good way to learn what is accepted by publishers and what book buyers are looking for.

Sherri: You’re a horsewoman, is that correct? You mention on your blog that you and the handsome devil had a small horse farm in Maryland. Was your book Emily’s Ride to Courage inspired by true events?

Sarah: I wrote Emily’s Ride to Courage because we had to put a 9-year-old horse down. That’s very young and he was a sweet horse. Putting any animals down is sad, but horses are big and don’t necessarily go down easily. So, I’m in the house grieving and Grandpa’s voice pipes up in my saying, “Won’t have me no white-hoofed horse. White hooves is weak.” I said to him: “I don’t write for grown-ups, Grandpa,” and made-up Emily. The horse had to be a blood bay because the handsome devil always wanted a bay and we never had one.

Sherri: Have you always been a writer? When did you start writing and when did you first decide to publish?

Sarah: I come from a long line of writers/readers and started telling stories when I was not even a teenager. My career jobs all had to do with writing one way or another, but I didn’t actively try to get published until I was in my late 60s. My first successes were with magazine like Country, Country Extra and also their cookbooks, and the “Fun For Kids” magazines.

Sherri: Are you self-published or traditionally published?  

Sarah: I eventually went the self-publishing route because I’m too old to wait around for traditional publishing to publish my books. Emily’s Ride to Courage was the first novel I finished but the second one I published. I sent to Dutton first because I had friendship with one of publishers there. He liked it so well he sent up through all the editors there and they sent it to the marketers who said, “Good book, but we already have a horse book series in the works.” Now if you’re going to get a rejection, that’s not a bad way to get one, so I sent it to Peachtree in Atlanta. The editor there said, “I like the story line and I like your writing, but I’m not connecting with Emily.” I rewrote it in first person and again it went all the way up to the marketers who rejected it because they already had a horse book in the works. Sigh. But at least I knew I had a good story on my hand. Then I wrote the book I published first, Terror’s Identity, which is, at the moment, only available as an e-book through Amazon. Then I published Emily and now I’ve published Earthquakes.

Sherri: I was reading the information for your first novel, Terror’s Identity, it sounds like an interesting read. I had hoped to get a print copy when we meet for our Authors’ Sunday, but I’ll have to settle for eBook. Tell us how you came up with this idea for this book, your research and any other details you’d like to share.

Sarah: Terror came to me after 9-11 when people were being so nasty to any Muslim they come across. So, I wrote the story to make the point that not all Muslims are terrorists. I was very lucky to a have Secret Service agent living behind us and he was quite helpful in learning the way they run things. I wanted the main character to have a lot changes in his life, so I started him in Lake Forest, Illinois, because it’s quite ritzy, and then sent him to Dundalk, Maryland, which most decidedly not ritzy.

Terror’s Identity, Sixteen-year old Aidan Knox’s life turns upside down when he, his sister and his mother enter a witness protection program and begin a dangerous new life because of his father’s work investigating a terrorist organization operating in the U.S. How will he remember the details of his new life with a new name and a made-up past? And will he be able to settle into a new school and all that entails? Whom can he trust, and can he keep his mother and sister safe?

Published January 2016 and is for sale as an e-book through Amazon Books

Sherri: It takes a lot to be a published author these days, especially having to wear all of the hats from writer, editor, formatter, publisher, marketer, and promoter. What is your key to keeping your sanity in this business?

Sarah:  What? Me sane? I’m glad I have a lot of computer savvy friends who are willing to enlighten me. I also use publishing houses like Sable, Amazon and Jera because they will do a final edit for me. Of those, I liked Sable and Jera. Amazon is quite fond of squeezing as many nickels and dimes out of you as they possibly can. Sable doesn’t have the marketing arm that the last publisher I used has. Jera has connection with IngramSparks/LightningSource which has a page in national/international publishing magazines.

Sherri: I have to ask, what is the weirdest pet you’ve ever owned. We had ferrets and they were unique and stinky, but they had funny personalities. We had a dog we nick-named Houndini because he wouldn’t stay in a pen or on a lead. He got out of his collar, a harness, and even escaped from the local pound when he was picked up for not having his collar.

Sarah: A quirky animal we had was my dressage horse that I had trained from the time he was 4 months old. But he was lots of fun to ride and ended up his life as a therapeutic riding horse. You should have a photo of him there. I took our Tennessee Walking Horse, Rippy, to a clinic one time because I didn’t know much about the breed and what to do with it. Everybody fell in love with him. Turns out you can do just about anything you want to with them, especially jumping. Our dogs were always characters and loving, including our last dog who was a spectacular bird hunting German Shorthaired Pointer named Jake. Now we have a calico cat named Pandie because she was born in August of 2020. Guess why she’s named Pandie.

Sherri: I love World War 2 stories. Your story, Earthquakes sounds like a thriller. Do you like scary stories? Have you ever been in an earthquake?

Sarah: I hate earthquakes. They scare the livin’ bejeezus out of me, but I do like scary stories. I wrote this one in part because it has elements of my mother’s life and my life because I was born in May of 1941. My mother graduated from M.I.T in 1934 with a degree in Physical Chemistry, and then married my father whom she had met through her brother Bill at West Point. After Daddy was shipped to the Philippines the day after I was born, we moved from Ft. Lewis, Washington, to Los Angeles, California. When war broke out my mother went to work for Lockheed and became their first female Tool & Dye designer. She became a “Rosie the Riveter” and was used in all kinds of roles to promote the “War Effort.” After the war she was fired for no other reason than she was a woman taking a man’s job. She was told the men would need to support their families and she should go back to being a housewife. Her question was, “I’m a widow with four children to raise. Who’s going to support us?” Fortunately, she had friends in the Washington, DC area who were instrumental in getting the Cancer Chemotherapy project started at the National Institutes of Health. So, off the Maryland we went. That’s the state I consider my home state.


It’s hard enough dealing with the effects of World War II sending his father and grandfather to the Pacific theater, but now seventeen-year-old Jonathon Thomas has to deal with real and imaginary earthquakes. To make matters worse his school principal has warned him and his schoolmates of potential spies in the neighborhood. How’s he supposed to recognize a spy? And why are his neighbors being murdered? And why are people sneaking into his house to search for something? The only comfort Jonathon finds is when he talks with his girlfriend, Jennifer Murphy. What’s he going to do when he’s banned from leaving his home? Will his recurring nightmare of being swallowed up when an earthquake splits the ground open under his feet turn into reality?

Sherri: If you enjoyed this interview with Sarah Maury Swan join us at the New Bern Famers Market, Sunday, November 20th 1-4 pm for Authors’ Sunday with 35 local authors.;


Emily’s Ride to Courage


The Rosie the Riveter photo is in Earthquakes and is a photo of my mother doing a Rosie the Riveter event.  The photo of me riding my horse is for Emily’s Ride to Courage.

Sarah Maury Swan, author of Terror’s Identity, Emily’s Ride to Courage, and Earthquakes

Posted in Creekside Cafe, interview

Welcome Destiny Swallows, to Creekside Cafe

Welcome Destiny Swallows to Creekside Café. Destiny is the other half of the writing duo of the debut novel, The Lost Maidens.

10 facts:

1: This is my first Romance novel. 

2: I made that helmet behind my head in my photo. 

3: I have autism.

4: My wife calls me Loki spawn, so it would be fitting that I’d end up writing an agent of chaos.  

5: I did 3 tours of duty in the Navy, which allowed me to travel around the world. 

6: If I had another chance, I’d love to return to Germany. I only spent a week in the nation. 

7: I can still hear the dial-up sounds, and you got mail when someone says anything about it.

8: As a panster, working with an outliner was interesting, to say the least. Having to plan out the chapters with Ruby was quite the experience. 

9: I hold a Batchelor of Science in Computer Security and a Master of Business Administration that I earned in the early 2010’s. 

10: I grew up in Portland, Oregon but now live in Colorado. The climate shock between almost a rainforest to the high desert has been interesting.

Bio: Destiny was kidnapped and forced to write this at writer point by Ruby. Having written privately for years, Ruby convinced her friend to share her work with the world. She’s traveled around the world, seeing far-off places that inspire the worlds she writes.

According to your bio you were held at ink point to write this novel. Tell us the truth, we won’t tell a soul. Is Ruby a vicious task master?

Destiny: No, she isn’t. Once she got me to start the project, I was the one with the whips.

Sherri: As a pantser myself, I understand the difficulties you must have faced working with one who plots and outlines. I do try but I’m not consistent. What was the most difficult for you?

Destiny: I tend to have an idea of where I want the book to start and end. From there, I tend to let the characters lead the way, often changing the ending I wrote down. I will build scenes in my mind before I sit down to write, as I feel like outlines are double the work. If you’re writing details already, might as well just write the draft.

Sherri: Oh, I agree. I fast draft, which is like an outline, before going back to hand fruit.

Destiny: Ruby is the type of writer that needs to have an idea what chapter is covering what. To have road signs as she writes and to have the details already worked out.  

Sherri: From Ruby’s interview, I know the two of you met through an online writers’ group. What do you usually write?

Destiny: I tend to write Sci-Fi, Historical Fiction, and Mythology. It’s wide selection of genres, but they are interesting to research how to provide realism to my novels. I love learning about the subjects I am writing.

Sherri: How did the two of you divide the writing?

Destiny: I wrote for Kaitlyn, while she wrote Alva. We shared the descriptions and NPC’s. As we both are Tabletop RPG players, we let the dice dictate how our combat actions, with a few exceptions for the plot.

Sherri: Tell me about the helmet in the photo. What was it for? You said you made it.

Destiny: I made it for my wife. It is the Lich King Helmet from World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King. In 2015, she wanted to go to DragonCon, in Atlanta, as Elsa, the Lich Queen. We made her the helmet and sword, Frostmourne, for her to cosplay. We took cardstock, cut a pattern out for them, glued the pieces into a 3d model. From there, we fiber glassed them and used Bondo (for cars) to harden it and provide shape. My daughter airbrushed both for us.

Sherri: My daughter-in-law and grandchildren took me to a comicon. I enjoyed dressing up. I wish I’d known about using Bondo to fabricate my costumes. He’s a mechanic.

You said you hope to return to Germany, what adventures do you hope to do when you return?

Destiny: As a historical writer, I would like to see the rich history of the area. There is only so much you can understand from books, but physically seeing what happened in the old USSR state, to see the buildings that the Holy Roman Empire was ran from, to see the hills where the Celtics and Romans fought would help me translate that into my novels.

I’ve been to Italy, which allowed me to see the Vatican, Rome, Naples, and other towns on the Mediterranean. I’ve been to England and Ireland. I rather enjoyed their history as well.

Sherri: I love history as well and envy your travels.

The Lost Maidens is a historical, sapphic romance. I know you are married and have your own sapphic romance, but you said you’d never written romance, so how did this come about? Why romance? Why historical? How did this story evolve?

Destiny: Ruby was visiting my wife and I, and we started tossing ideas back and forth. The basic idea came rather quicky, one of us suggested Viking, which lead to a lesbian romance of the pair lost from their tribes. Ruby writes romance, so she talked me into adding it into the story.

Alva and Kaitlyn were not originally enemies to lovers. At best, they didn’t know each other but turned out that the healer cared more about making sure Alva would live than being nice. 

Sherri: How did you and your wife meet? And why does she call you Loki?

Destiny: I met her on one of those sites in 2012. We had dinner, and I pretty much never left. It was like magic, as we are both pretty closed off people, that we opened to each other. We’d spend every night after work smoking (bad habit, quit later) and talking on her back porch. We were married in 2015.

I am Loki spawn because if I can cause chaos, I will, just to see what happens. Loki’s role within the Gods was to be an agent of change. I tend to also push my friends to become the best they can be. Because of this, I earned the nickname.

Sherri: Do you use your education in your career?

Destiny: I use my MBA in my career, but my Computer Security degree, I haven’t worked in that field in 7 years. It is a very competitive field.

Sherri: With a degree in computer security, yet you have no social media presence. Has the knowledge kept you from setting up an account?  

Destiny: Mostly. I used to use social media a lot, but a few years ago, I said I don’t need this kind of negativity in my life. I walked away from most of them. I rather enjoy the person I am now that I’m not chasing likes and spending so much time doom scrolling. I also kinda forgot to make a Twitter account to promote my books until you asked.

Sherri: Now that your debut novel is ready to go live, what is next? Do you have other books ready to publish? Will The Lost Maidens be part of a series?

Destiny: I don’t have any more books ready to publish, but Ruby and I are talking about writing starting a WW2 Spy Novel series, taking place in the early days of the war in France. We want to tell the stories of the woman who spied for the allies, like Virginia Hall. She had a wooden leg, and managed to cross the Pyrenees mountains, twice with it. She had named it Cuthbert, and her handlers once told her to cut Cuthbert loose if he’s giving her too much trouble.

There are many women who helped the Allies stop Germany. From France, Italy, Russia, and many other places. I hope in the series that we can include stories about the Night Witches (A WW2 Female only Bi-Plane Bomber squadron) and Lyudmila Mikhailovna Pavlichenko, was a Soviet sniper in the Red Army during World War II, who was credited with 309 deaths, making her the most successful female sniper in recorded history.

Sherri: Ah, you are talking to my heart with WW2 stories, especially female spies. I will be happy to do another interview when you get that series up and going.

Thank you for joining us at my Creekside Café. I wish both you and Ruby great success with your debut novel.

If you enjoyed this interview, check out The Lost Maidens pre-order now, it goes live July 19th.

Book Links: Ebook:
Print Book Link:

Book Blurb:

Alva and her wife Lise are on a mission to lead the sassy Princess Kaitlyn to a new land. They will combine clans through Kaitlyn’s marriage to the son of Alva’s chief. Standoffish at first, the pair quickly draw a disdain for one another, unmatched by any sense Thor and Loki.

However, when a storm rocks their world and capsizes their boat, Alva and Kaitlyn are the sole survivors. They are left with the tasks of exploring not only a new world, but also their newfound desires for one another. When the pair comes across a village hidden in the cold Canadian arctic, they embark upon creating a new life with the native people.

As they become one with the Inuit, how will these shield maidens prepare for their biggest threat yet? Will Alva be able to find Lise in their new village? Or will she seek comfort in the arms of Kaitlyn? Will the shield maidens be enough to protect the village from Frost Giants?

Find out in The Lost Maidens

Book Links: Ebook:
Print Book Link:

Posted in Creekside Cafe, interview

Thomas Kane visits Creekside Cafe

Bio: After growing up in the woods of Maine, I spent eighteen years teaching international relations at Britain’s University of Hull. Now back in Maine, I draw on my studies to write fantasy novels full of spies, secrets and high-stakes political intrigue. 

Welcome to Creekside Café Thomas Kane. Are you an early morning riser or a late-night rambler? I work until 6 or 7 pm at my “real” job so by the time I fix supper and sit down to the computer it’s late. I’m lucky to get to bed by midnight. I really do try to quit writing and go to bed but it’s not easy. How about you?

Thomas: Late night. I used to think I wanted to go to bed and get up very early, in order to have the dawn hours to myself. Even when it has technically been possible, I’ve never made that work for more than a day or two at a time. I’ve heard that the human body clock is set for more than a 24-hour day, and that’s certainly my experience.

Sherri: Do you go by Tom or is it, Thomas? I am just plain Sherri.

Thomas: Tom is great, thank you! Thanks for letting me know what to call you.

Sherri: Living in a small town I forget that not everyone knows me. It’s great to have you at my virtual café. If I ever win the lottery, I’d love to open a little coffee shop where writers and other creatives can hang out and talk about books and drink coffee.  

I have a bad habit of drinking coffee late at night. It relaxes me. While I rarely have trouble with caffeine keeping me awake, I’m at that age where sleep is somewhat elusive, so I’ve gone to half decaf. What is your drink of choice?

Tom: Half decaf sounds like a good solution, if it tastes good. I like coffee too. I also drink a lot of green tea, although seriously I do it more for the health benefits than because I like it.

It’s 3:45 AM, which, for better or for worse, is a normal time for me to be awake. Even though it’s June, it’s chilly at this time of night. I’m drinking Celestial Seasonings Bengal Spice tea, which warms me up, has body to it, and won’t stop me from getting to sleep.

Sherri: What age is your ideal reader? Who are you marketing your books to?

Tom: I write for adults. My books feature complex political situations and a few big words. However, the main character is a child in Book One, so sometimes people get confused. Since a lot of adults read YA, I sometimes wonder whether I should just go with the flow and market to that audience.

Sherri: Are you self-published or traditionally published?

Tom: I’ve published about 27 books traditionally, and I’m publishing my fantasy novels as an indie. Indie publishing seemed like a way to retain creative control and cut out the people in the middle.

Sherri: I know what you mean about creative control. I always wanted to be traditionally published but after self-publishing I don’t think I could relinquish that control.

Your books are a bit of a genre blend but mostly fantasy, is that correct? Are they contemporary or historical?

Tom: Yes, you’re right. They’re set in an imaginary world similar to Europe in the sixteenth century. Cannons and ocean-going galleons are new technology. The government persecutes people accused of being witches, but the main character is working to change that.

Sherri: Tell us a little about your main character?

Tom: Mara thinks a lot, and she asks questions about things other people take for granted. When no one else is doing anything about a problem, she takes the lead. As she grows up, she makes close friends, but she’s often at odds with the authorities, and she’s often an outsider.

Sherri: Who are your favorite characters?

Tom: Mara is pretty close to my heart, for sure! And I liked her formidable lawyer mother enough to write a book just about her. Other fun characters include Princess-Consort Cordelia, who is close to inventing calculus, Horace, Cordelia’s pet lizard, Euclid Fisher, an aging spy who sees Mara’s potential and Gretchen, whom one reader described as “the moxie girl.”

Sherri: Do you have a favorite scene, one that just feels really right? Tell us why.

Tom: There’s one in which eleven-year-old Mara figures out that people are unjustly accusing her aunt of witchcraft because she’s challenging the authorities and says “That was how I learned what a witch is. A witch is someone who scares people. I always knew that, sort of, but then I understood it in a different way. You can become a witch without meaning to. You can become a witch by being right.” I like to think my depiction of a child figuring out something disturbing about the adult world hit the right notes.

Sherri: For the writers in the group, what is your writing process? Are you a full-time writer?

Tom: Well, I revise as I write, which I know a lot of people say you shouldn’t do. I think a big part of my writing process is auditory. When I can imagine a line of text and hear the cadences in it, I feel as if I’m on the right track. And yes, it feels weird to say, but I am a full-time writer.

Sherri: What do you wish you’d known before you started publishing?

Tom: Running Amazon ads does not need to be that difficult or expensive. I found them intimidating for a long time, but I took Bryan Cohen’s free course, and it helped a lot.

Sherri: What are you working on now?

Tom: I’m finishing work on a fantasy legal thriller called The People vs. Abigail Bennet. Seventy-eight-year-old lawyer Abigail comes out of retirement to defend a teenager against charges of murder. Readers of my Mara of the League series will remember Abigail as Mara’s mother. People will be available in late 2022 or early 2023.

Sherri: Thomas it was so good to have you visit my Creekside Café. If you guys enjoyed this interview, follow Thomas Kane on social media and check out his books. The links are bellow.

Ten Facts about me and my Books

1. My Mara of the League series is an emotional story which follows an introspective woman’s life from childhood to middle age. Mara discovers secrets about her family and her world which send her on a personal mission to save her country from invasion.

2. Mara of the League begins with The Witches of Crannock Dale, in which eleven-year-old Mara tries to save her aunt from trumped-up charges of witchcraft.

3. The story continues in The Rebels of Caer City. Mara is a teenager now, and miserable at a strict boarding school When her best friend vanishes, she risks everything to find her. To succeed in this quest, she must learn to trust her bold classmate Gretchen, and to navigate her first turbulent romance. Mara and her companions end up confronting a conspiracy involving some of the most powerful people in their world.

4. Mara’s school companions move on from political intrigue, but she does not. Book Three, The Hideous Garden, follows her adventures into adulthood. By her forties, she has become head of her country’s off-the-books spy services and close friend to the mathematically gifted Princess Cordelia. Mara and Cordelia uncover an enemy plot that threatens their realm.

5. Mara races to save her country in Book Four, The Rending of the World. To succeed, she must cooperate with her idealistic but misguided former lover. Meanwhile Cordelia’s daughter, the teenage Princess Deborah, finds herself unexpectedly on the throne.

6. The complete Mara of the League series is available in e-book and paperback format.

7. Book One, The Witches of Crannock Dale, is available as an audiobook narrated by the awesome Stevie Marie. The rest of the series will be coming out in audio in coming months. 

8.I am currently finishing a stand-alone fantasy legal thriller featuring Mara’s seventy-eight-year-old mother Abigail. Abigail, a lawyer, comes out of retirement to defend a teen accused of murder.  This novel, to be titled The People vs. Abigail Bennet, will come out in the fall of 2022.

9. The Hideous Garden features a bearded dragon named Horace. I’ve never had a pet reptile, but after researching them for the book, I’ve sort of fallen in love with them. 

10. I recently discovered Gillian Flynn’s thrillers Sharp Edges, Dark Places and Gone Girl. Really amazed by Flynn’s writing!


Mara of the League: The Complete Series 

Book One: The Witches of Crannock Dale

Book Two: The Rebels of Caer City

Book Three: The Hideous Garden

Book Four: The Rending of the World

Audiobook: Mara of the League Book One:The Witches of Crannock Dale

Social Media

Facebook: @thomasmkaneauthor

Twitter: @thomasmkane11

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Join the conversation! Discuss the Mara series and other thought-provoking stories in the Facebook group Kane’s Coffeehouse

Posted in Creekside Cafe, interview

On The Porch with L C Larsen

I’m here with L C Larsen the author of the new novel, Some Men Deserve to Die. Lars is a member of the Pamlico Writer’s group. After years of working as a doctor and instructor, why would you embark on yet another career?

Lars: I had wanted to write a short novel for about two decades before I retired because of the joy I’ve experienced from reading them during times of stress during my life and career. I mean, we all have difficult times in our lives or times when we’re just overwhelmed and there’s no better way to escape those pressures than to curl up in a chair and read a good novel. I retired and decided to try writing a novel and, hopefully, provide some happiness to my readers. It also would provide a meaningful project I could work on with my adult children—I spent so much time working as a physician that I hadn’t worked with them as adults on any projects where we could function as peers, to interact as equals and strengthen our relationships accordingly. However successful the novel turns out commercially, the final outcome in that regard has been fantastic.

Sherri: That wonderful Lars. My husband and sons have all helped me with my novels and it’s so much fun being able to share our passions and learn from each other.

What genre is your new novel? 

Lars: Murder mystery, with a physician-detective protagonist. It could also be classified as “murder mystery adventure.”

Sherri: Why did you choose to write a murder mystery?

Lars: I have always enjoyed classic murder-mystery stories, those with thoughtful and observant protagonists like Hercule Poirot and Sherlock Holmes. As a former physician with roughly four decades of clinical experience caring for patients from all walks of life and hearing their deepest secrets, I felt my medical knowledge and insight into human behavior would provide a solid foundation for weaving an interesting story about the worst of crimes, about killing a person, and how possibly to get away with it.

Sherri: Tell me something about your main character, Jack Damen, that is not in your book? 

Lars: An important aspect about Damen that’s not explicit in the book is that while he’s different from the great majority of readers, he is similar in a very human way: he’s flawed with a dark side but works hard to overcome it and be productive in his life. Also, he has done terrible things in his life and has sought redemption but it seems to escape from him time and time again because of the choices he makes, as it often does for many of us. I named my self-publishing company, Three Choices Press, after that phenomena: we all make choices, some good and some bad, and many times we make choices that don’t neatly fit into either category but work out for us nonetheless.

Sherri: How did you come up with your title, Some Men Deserve to Die?

Lars: I’ve always been an observer of people and their actions. As a physician and in my non-medical life, I have witnessed firsthand the depravity in humankind’s soul; in my experience, it’s been primarily in males.

Sherri: How long did it take you to write this book? What was your process?

Lars: Five years, writing two hours daily, five days per week, nine months each year. The best time for me to think and write creatively is in the morning after breakfast before reading the news or being distracted by anything else. I have a comfortable chair in our family room where I would sit with my “lap desk” and laptop, coffee on the side table, and go at it until mentally exhausted about two hours later. That’s also the maximum amount of time I could isolate myself from Pat, my wife, without negatively affecting our relationship.

Sherri: In crafting your characters, do you fashion them on people you know? 

Lars: No, not really, not on individuals I’ve known. All of my characters are blends of people I’ve met or observed with imaginary attributes I assign to them for their roles in the novel.

Sherri: What do you wish you’d known before publishing this book?

Lars: How difficult it is to be a creative writer and how long it would take to write this novel. I had done a fair amount of scientific and academic writing in my career but transitioning to creative writing was the hardest thing I’ve done since medical school. The first three years of writing this story were trial and error, learning my mistakes and studying to correct them. Coupled with the time and mental effort required each day to just “put the story down on paper”—conceptualizing scenes and typing them—it was a major challenge but one I enjoyed as I progressed through the process.

Sherri: What do you hope to do different with your new book?

Lars: The plot will be better established before I begin writing. In Some Men Deserve to Die, I initially formulated the beginning and end of the novel but the body of the story and its characters evolved as I wrote it. Also, it was designed to be the first in a series of Jack Damen books so writing the sequel should be easier now that the characters have been developed. In fact, I’ve already determined a plot for it—so exciting!

Sherri: What would you tell a new writer?

Lars: Be prepared to work twice as hard and long on your book as you anticipate and be prepared to learn unexpected things about yourself, aspects of your personality that will help and hinder your creative writing. For me, having had narrow focus and linear thinking allowed me to be successful as a physician, but these are traits I’ll always have to compensate for as a creative writer.

Sherri: What character was the most difficult to write? Which one was the easiest?

Lars: My protagonist, Jack Damen, was the most difficult because his personality is so multifaceted. Also, I wanted readers to discover more about him as the novel progressed, personal traits that would resonate with them. I felt really good when one reader sent me a letter with their revelations about him.

Dr. Michelle Lewis was the easiest because I’ve known so many people like her: really smart southern women who’ve been underestimated because of their genders and communication styles.

Sherri: Is there a scene you removed from the final edit of the book? Why did you take it out? 

Lars: Yes, I removed a scene about an abusive, alcoholic father and his subsequent relationship with adult children. I took it out because one of my preliminary readers felt it cluttered up the plot. It was a powerful segment, though, and I’ve saved it for a sequel.

Sherri: Did you do the publishing yourself? Was it difficult? 

Lars: I did the publishing myself through KDP Amazon. It wasn’t difficult but learning how to do it took quite a bit of time. KDP provides a software tool, Kindle Create, that can be downloaded onto your personal computer along with a working copy of Pride and Prejudice that you can practice on—editing, formatting, etc. After that has been mastered, you enter your manuscript into the software, edit it, and upload the final product into the KDP server. Choosing a book cover is the final step, one made easy by software on the KDP server. Having already done it, I feel it will be a piece of cake the next time around.

Sherri: Thank you for stopping by and sharing your story. 

Available in Kindle and paperback formats at

My website is
My business email is
My business page on Facebook is L.C. Larsen (found most easily in Facebook by searching my username:  L.C. Larsen@ThreeChoicesPress)

Posted in promo, writing inspiration, Writing tips

A Free Writers’ Conference! Oh Wow!

Pro Writing Aid is hosting a conference. October 11th – 15th will be Romance Writers’ Week. The first four days are free to anyone who signs up but the last day, the 15th is just for those who are premium members of Pro Writing Aid.

I have been a Lifetime member since 2019 and I don’t regret it. The analysis and reports provided by Pro Writing are fantastic. There is even a setting to let them know you’re writing romance. Some of the programs assist with grammar, style, readability and structure. You can even check for overused words, words used incorrectly, cliches and passive voice. If you want to sign up for Pro Writing Aid and enjoy all the editorial benefits of this program plus have access to Friday’s fabulous line up just click the ProWriting link below.

Isn’t it time you fired up your passion for romance? Writing it, that is? Fall in love with love and writing, join ProWritingAid and our line-up of authors, publishers, editors and more. October 11th through 15th, 2021 for our first ever Romance Writers’ Week.

You’ll join hundreds of other romance writers to learn what makes a romance novel swoon-worthy. Whether you’re writing contemporary, paranormal, historical, or speculative romance (or something in between), you’ll find practical, actionable sessions to help you plan, write, and market your romance story.

Learn from bestselling authors like Tia WilliamsTalia HibbertLouise Dean, and Carolyn Brown, as well as romance writing experts from Pages & PlatformsSimon & SchusterHarlequinRomance Writers of America, and more.

Romance Week Full Schedule

Monday’s Sessions

The Secrets of The Romance Genre

Presenters: Rachelle Ramirez and Anne Hawley from Pages & Platforms

Do you have an idea for a sizzling romance story but don’t yet know how to structure it? Got the perfect “meet-cute” (that charming/humorous scene in which the two people who will form a future romantic couple meet for the first time) and some scenes that don’t really entertain or work together yet? Want to introduce moments of heightened passion and emotional conflict into your writing? You’re in the right place. In this webinar, you’ll learn the romance story essentials so that you can create intrigue for your readers and have them recommending your story to others.

The Inside Outline: How to Outline Your Romance Novel

Presenter: Jennie Nash, Book Coach

The Inside Outline helps you define the foundational elements of your story before you start writing—which means understanding your motivation as a writer, considering your reader’s expectations, and making sure your story has a solid structure that will hold up inside and out from beginning to end. This clarity is what gives a novel its power and a writer their confidence. In this session, book coach Jennie Nash teaches you how to use the Inside Outline method to outline a romance novel your readers can’t help but fall in love with.

Romance Writers of America Panel: The Voice of Romance Writers

Moderator: RWA President LaQuette

Romance Writers of America (RWA) is a nonprofit trade association whose mission is to advance the professional and common business interests of career-focused romance writers through networking and advocacy and by increasing public awareness of the romance genre. RWA works to support the efforts of its members to earn a living, to make a full-time career out of writing romance—or a part-time one that generously supplements their main income.

Panelists include:

  • Clair Brett
  • Kenya Goree-Bell
  • LaQuette
  • Siera London
  • C. Chilove
  • Laura Alford

Tuesday’s Sessions

An Interview with Author Julie Cohen

Julie Cohen is a bestselling author of romance and book-club fiction. Her award-winning novels have sold over a million copies worldwide. She is a vice president of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and founder of the RNA Rainbow Chapter. Her bestselling novel Together has been translated into eleven languages and optioned for television adaptation. She lives in Berkshire with her family and a terrier of dubious origin.

An Interview with Author Dorothy Koomson

Dorothy Koomson is the award-winning author of 15 bestselling novels. Her third novel, My Best Friend’s Girl, sold 90,000 copies within weeks of publication and was chosen for the Richard and Judy Bookclub in the UK. Since then, her books have continued to sell hundreds of thousands of copies, been translated into over 30 languages, and adapted for television. Dorothy also hosts The Happy Author Podcast, where she demystifies the publishing process in a writing guide for aspiring authors and anyone who loves books.

An Interview with Author Carolyn Brown

Carolyn Brown is a New York TimesUSA TodayWall Street JournalPublisher’s Weekly, and Washington Post bestselling author. With more than 100 novels under her belt, she’s a RITA finalist, a recipient of the Bookseller’s Best Award, and the prestigious Montlake Diamond Award, as well as a three-time recipient of the National Reader’s Choice Award. Carolyn’s books have been published for more than 20 years and translated into 19 languages.

Your Five Plotting Non-Negotiables

Presenter: Dana Pittman, Bestselling Author and Editor

Plotter? Pantser? Plotser? Okay, we totally made the last one up. During Your Five Plotting Non-Negotiables, presenter and developmental editor Dana Pittman shares how every writer is a plotter and gives five must-haves to get from the beginning to The End of your writing project.

Copyright Law for Romance Writers

Presenter: Bob Pimm, Literary Lawyer

Romance writing isn’t all meet-cutes and happy-ever-afters. The legal side of writing is just as important as the words on the page. In this session, literary lawyer Bob Pimm will walk you through a basic introduction to copyright law, so you know where you stand. You’ll find out what copyright is and what is/isn’t protected by it, who can claim copyright, what you can do if someone violates your copyright, and much more!

Whether you’re a new writer or have been publishing for years, join us to learn what you can do to protect your creative output.

An Interview with Author Camille Perri

Camille Perri is the author of the novels The Assistants and When Katie Met Cassidy, both of which have been optioned for feature films with her attached as screenwriter. She is a former editor at Cosmopolitan and Esquire and her essays on queer identity and culture have been widely published. Camille holds a bachelor of arts degree from New York University, where she majored in English and gender and sexuality studies, and a Master’s degree of Library Science from Queens College.

Wednesday’s Sessions

An Interview with Author Elaine Everest

Elaine Everest, author of bestselling novel The Woolworths Girls and The Butlins Girls, was born and brought up in North West Kent, where many of her books are set. She has been a freelance writer for twenty years and has written widely for women’s magazines and national newspapers, with both short stories and features. When she isn’t writing, Elaine runs The Write Place, her successful creative writing school in Kent, UK.

An Interview with Author Talia Hibbert

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Talia Hibbert is a Black British author who lives in a bedroom full of books. Supposedly, there is a world beyond that room, but she has yet to drum up enough interest to investigate. She writes sexy, diverse romance because she believes that people of marginalized identities need honest and positive representation. Her interests include beauty, junk food, and unnecessary sarcasm.

Romance and a Sense of Place: Home Is Where the Heart Is

Presenter: Louise Dean, Bestselling Author and Founder of The Novelry

Place is vital to romance. The setting you choose for your romance novel adds color to your plot and characters by tying intimacy to geography and giving your reader a place to land. In this session, award-winning author Louise Dean explores how you can use setting to create unique romance situations, how enforced proximity makes sparks fly, and why linking your setting to relationship development helps create a richer experience for readers.

Marketing Your Romance Novel

Presenter: Sue Campbell from Pages & Platforms

One of the toughest parts of being an author is tackling your own marketing. Too often, writers rely on tactics without having an underlying strategy.

Book marketing and mindset coach Sue Campbell of Pages & Platforms will help you understand the foundation of every good book-marketing plan. Sue works with award-winning and bestselling authors, traditionally published and self-published, to help them build an engaged audience, spread their message, and sell more books.

Indie Authors’ Guide to Indie Editors

Presenter: Jen Graybeal, Editor

Editors are the not-so-secret sauce that helps authors take their book to the next level. Everyone knows you need one, but finding the right editor for your project can be a challenge. Jen Graybeal has worked with indie-published romance authors for years and is sharing the top ten things you need to know about finding, hiring, and working with freelance editors.

The Five Principles of Creating Clarity in Your Romance Novel

Presenter: Hayley Milliman, Head of Education at ProWritingAid

As writers, we often spend too much time focusing on what our ideas are instead of how to communicate those ideas most effectively. If we don’t sharpen our sentences with our readers in mind, then our ideas will get lost and our writing will be less engaging.

In this actionable presentation, Hayley will walk you through five key ways to improve the craft of your writing. By the end of the session, you’ll know exactly how to tackle your work to make it more powerful for your readers.

Thursday’s Sessions

How to Perform a Story Edit on Your Romance Novel

Presenter: Kristina Stanley, Award-Winning Author and Founder of Fictionary

A story edit is the first step in the self-editing process. We’re not talking about copyediting or proofreading—that comes later. Story editing is what’s also known as structural editing. In a story edit, you analyze your story from a high-level perspective and make sure that the structure makes sense, the scenes are tense, your characters are engaging, there are no plot holes, and you haven’t left any subplots unfinished.

In this session, Kristina will help you make sure your story hits all the right beats in order to truly resonate with your reader. You’ll leave with practical advice you can apply right away to your story. Before you share your book with anyone else, you owe it to yourself to make it the best book possible. Learn how to story edit, and you’ll create a story readers LOVE.

The Three Elements of Electric Love Stories: Mind, Body, and Heart 

Presenter: Mary Adkins, Author and Writing Coach

Mary Adkins is the author of When You Read ThisPrivilege, and Palm Beach. A native of the American South and a graduate of Duke University and Yale Law School, her writing has appeared in the New York Times and The Atlantic.

As a writing coach, she loves to help aspiring and established authors write through resistance and finish their books by finding a creative process that works for them and their lives. In this session, you will learn how to:

  • Write a love story with complexity
  • Layer love stories to enrich them
  • Play to different types of love
How I Launched My Career as a Romance Writer on Wattpad

Wattpad is home to more than 90 million readers and writers worldwide and is the digital space where romance stories thrive. From teen love stories to Muslim romances, paranormal LGBTQIAP+ affairs, and everything in between, there’s a love-laden story for everyone on Wattpad. So, what does it take to launch your career as a romance writer on Wattpad?

Join us for an intimate virtual conversation with three successful romance writers who’ve had hit stories on Wattpad: How they did it, what they learned, and tips and tricks for success.
An Interview with Author Tia Williams

According to NBC News, Tia Williams “is a writer’s writer with a fashionista twist.” In 2016, her novel The Perfect Find won the African American Literary Award for Best Fiction—and garnered rave reviews. Tia’s latest novel Seven Days in June rocketed straight on to the New York Times bestseller list in summer 2021 and Reese Witherspoon chose it for her June book club read. Currently an Editorial Director at Estée Lauder Companies, Tia lives in Brooklyn with her daughter, her husband, and several half-written manuscripts.

An Interview with Kristen Zimmer

Kristen Zimmer’s first novel The Gravity Between Us, a contemporary New Adult Romance, was included in “10 of the Best LGBTQ+ Books to Read for Pride 2018” by USA Today’s Happy Ever After book blog and was Amazon’s #1 Best Seller in Lesbian Fiction and Romance for over eight weeks. Her second novel When Sparks Fly debuted at #1 in the same categories.

How I Got Published With Harlequin

Harlequin is the world’s largest romance book publisher. In this highly actionable panel, hear from a series of Harlequin writers on how they kickstarted their romance writing career and ended up published with Harlequin.

  • Marcella Bell, Author for Harlequin Presents and HQN Books
  • Carol Dunsmore, Author Communications & Events Manager
  • Katie Frey, Debut Romance Writer for Harlequin Desire
  • Sera Taíno, Debut Romance Writer for Harlequin Special Edition

The final day of the conference is open to ProWritingAid Premium subscribers only. If you’re not a Premium subscriber yet, don’t worry! Sign up before midnight EST on Thursday to receive your exclusive access.

Friday’s Sessions

Interview with Author Milly Johnson

A Sunday Times bestseller, Milly Johnson is one of the Top 10 Female Fiction authors in the UK with millions of copies of her books sold across the world. In 2020, she was honoured with the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Outstanding Achievement Award and was a featured author in the Reading Agency’s Quick Reads and World Book Night campaigns.

A writer who champions women and highlights the importance of friendship and community, Milly’s characters are celebrations of the strength of the human spirit.

Q&A with the Publishing Team at Simon & Schuster UK

Presenters: Simon & Schuster’s Publishing Director for Adult Fiction Clare Hey and Commissioning Editor Molly Crawford

We are thrilled to have two of Simon & Schuster’s top publishing executives joining us for an interactive Q&A. Get your questions about how to break into traditional publishing answered by these two industry insiders.

Your Romance Editing Roadmap

Presented by: Hayley Milliman, ProWritingAid’s Head of Education

As nice as it would be, writing your romance novel isn’t over when you type “The End.” In fact, the actual work is just beginning. During the editing process, your novel will go from rough first draft to thrilling final manuscript. In this workshop, Hayley will walk you through the most important edits you should make to your manuscript to ensure it’s publish-ready.

Interview with Author Lyssa Kay Adams

Lyssa Kay Adams is the author of the Bromance Book Club series. She read her first romance novel in eighth grade after swiping one from her grandmother’s bookshelf and was hooked forever. After a nearly 20-year career as a journalist, her dreams of writing and publishing her own happy-ever-afters came true in 2015 with the release of her first novel Seventh Inning Heat, followed by the RITA-nominated novella Wild in Rio. Today, she writes full-time from her home in Michigan with a pesky, fluffy K9 assistant named Domino who spends most of his day snoring on her desk (that is, when he’s not burying things around the house).

Power Up Your Book Marketing Strategy with the BEN-P Method

Presenter: Siera London

Writing better books doesn’t equate to selling more books. Do you need a simple strategy to power up your book marketing plan and increase your sales?

This session offers a straight forward approach, the BEN-P Method, to build your author brand, reader engagement, professional network, and book promotion plan. The BEN-P method teaches you how to create a cost-effective annual marketing plan in manageable intervals.

Posted in Creekside Cafe, interview

Creekside Cafe Chat with Kimberley O’Malley

I’m so happy to welcome author Kimberley O’Malley to Creekside Café. Thank you for stopping by my virtual café, my dream is to someday win the lottery and build a real café on the water where I can invite writers and other interesting people to stop by and chat, but until then it’s a good thing I have a great imagination. Can I get you a drink or something before we start? 

Kimberley: I do happen to be a caffeine addict, although I don’t drink coffee or tea…which confounds most. Diet Mt. Dew of Hot Chocolate works, thanks!

Sherri: I don’t know if we can be friends. I might be able to forgive your dislike of coffee but pineapple on your pizza, I don’t know if I can forgive an offense like that. Just kidding, everyone has the right to eat their pizza however they want even if they’re wrong. We have this battle with the family all of the time. I love pineapple just NOT on my pizza. 

Are you a foodie? 

Kimberley: I am really not a foodie. And the pineapple on pizza thing is a very personal choice, so I am not at all offended… I have been eating very healthy this year, so my diet is mostly now lean protein, veggies, etc.

Sherri: You’re a transplant to North Carolina? I guess technically I’m a transplant too, I was born in Louisiana while my dad was in the service although my parents are both from North Carolina. How did you end up here? 

Kimberley: My husband’s family all lives here, although no one is actually from here. We started coming a couple times a year to visit in 2010. I was so done with cold and snow. After an 18 month campaign, I wore him down, and here we are!

Sherri: Are your books set in North Carolina? Tell us about your series. You have two series is that right? Are they both in the same genre? 

Kimberley: I currently have one finished series, one ongoing, and a brand new series. I write Contemporary Romance and Cozy Mystery. My completed series, Windsor Falls, is set in the Blue Ridge Mountains (think Asheville). My CM series has 4 books and 1 coming next week, and who knows how many more…This is set at the NC coast (think Oak Island). My newest CR series, Palm Harbor, is set at the beach in SC. The debut for that series, The One that (Almost) Got Away, released in July.

Sherri: Death by Chocolate sounds like my kind of book. Tell us about it. It’s your fifth book in your Addie Foster Mystery Series. This sounds like a fun series.

Kimberley: Fun to write!!!! So, I had the idea in my head (and notes app in my phone) for months but didn’t think I’d have time to start it. This was in 2018. The idea literally came to me at a red light. Then, I lost my Mom that July to Alzheimer’s after a long battle. I was in a hotel in Pennsylvania, trying to write Coming Back, the last book of my Windsor Falls series, but that book is about grief. And I was already living it. So, I moved onto Addie and never looked back.

Death by Chocolate is about what happens when Addie and her detective BF, Jonah, try to take a French cooking class. Addie has prophetic dreams which start each book. There are also a few backstory threads running through the series.

Sherri: You have a new book and new series coming out, tell us about The One the (Almost) Got Away. Where is Palm Harbor? Is it set in North Carolina as well?

Kimberley: The mythical Palm Harbor is set on the SC coast between Myrtle Beach and Charleston. The book was originally meant to be a standalone (what was I thinking?)… Like most of my books, this came to me as an idea, which I put in my notes app. What would I do without that?? It’s about Jamie, an independent woman in her 30s, who thinks about the ‘one that got away’ when she gets a reminder for her high school reunion. She joins a gym to ‘better herself’ before attending. There she meets Griff, said gym owner, who helps her out and goes as her plus one. It’s funny and a bit lighter than my first series.

Sherri: Have you always been a writer? When did you write your first stories? How long have you been published? Are you indie published or traditionally published? 

Kimberley: I am a voracious reader since single digits who never aspired to write. But writing has always come easily for me in college, etc. I am an Indie author all the way!! I wrote the very first, and terrible, version of Coming Home in 2002 while my husband and I waited to travel to Russia to adopt our daughter. Writing is therapy for me, and I poured out all of my longing, frustration, and fear into that book.

Sherri: Which character from all of your stories is your favorite and why? I know, that’s like asking which child is your favorite, isn’t it? I know for me it often changes depending upon my mood. How about you, do you have a firm favorite?

Kimberley:  Hmmm I always find this question challenging. Elizabeth from Coming Home holds a special place in my heart because she was my first and saw me through that time in my life. But I also love Addie and her ridiculous cast of characters who make me laugh as I write.

Sherri: What are three things you wished you’d known before becoming a published author? If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your pre-published self?

Kimberley: Only three? Give yourself a break! Rome wasn’t built in one day and neither will your publishing career be. Listen to others, but don’t let them talk you into, or out of, anything. Believe in yourself!!!

Sherri: Tell us a little about the settings for your stories. Why there? What makes Windsor Falls, Ocean Grove and now, Palm Harbor the right places to set your stories? 

Kimberley: I love the beach and the mountains. My Windsor Falls series was originally set in Vermont. We lived up North and loved to vacation there. The settings, like the characters, come to me. I love small towns and can almost guarantee my stories will always take place in them.

Sherri: What do you hope a reader gets out of your stories besides entertainment? 

Kimberley: I write from my heart and own life. I want others to share those things and take away what they need from each. The best compliment I can get from a reader is that one of my books touched them. My Windsor Falls series is much ‘heavier’ in that it deals with all kinds of tough real-life stuff. But each book has a guaranteed HEA; something life cannot always provide!

Sherri: Oh wow, it looks like I’ve monopolized your time enough, but it’s been so much fun getting to know you. If you’re ever out on the coast stop in I promise not to feed you mushrooms or force you to drink sweet tea. 

If y’all enjoyed our chat follow Kimberley O’Malley on social media and check out her books, I know I am. 

Thank you all for joining us and see you next time at Creekside Café. 


Kimberley O’Malley is a transplant to Charlotte, North Carolina from the frozen North.

She is learning to say y’all but draws the line at sweet tea. Sarcasm is an art

form in her world. When not writing, she is a full-time nurse and part-time

soccer Mom, but not necessarily in that order. She shares her life with an

amazing husband of almost twenty-five years, two teenagers, and two mischievous

Shetland Sheepdogs, Molly & Callie.






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