Posted in Creekside Cafe, interview

Welcome Nicole Kerr to Creekside Cafe

Bio: Nicole Kerr is an award-winning health and wellness expert. For the past 30 years, Nicole has worked in all sectors of society, including in government (the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), non-profit (American Cancer Society), military (United States Air Force Medical Operations), academia (University of Hawaii), healthcare institutions/hospitals (Adventist Health Castle and Queens Medical Center), corporate settings (Sea Ties, LLC), and private consultation. Nicole’s warm, engaging presentations have earned her a place in front of national and international audiences. Throughout her career, she has focused on supporting people from every walk of life to make realistic, meaningful, happy choices for lifelong health and well-being. She has appeared on CNN, PBS, CBS, ABC, the Food Channel, and a host of other TV and radio shows to share her unique perspective on wellness, lifestyle, and nutrition.  As a 19-year-old cadet at the US Air Force Academy, Nicole went through a transformative NDE. Her memory of the crash came back 20 years later, and it has taken Nicole almost another two decades to align her soul, spirit, mind, and body, proving healing is certainly a non-linear process.  Her pursuit of improving her own health led her to inspire others to reach the overlooked domains of emotional, energetic, and spiritual well-being. 

Sherri: It is awesome to welcome Nicole Kerr to my virtual café. Nicole, I’ve been reading information about you and your book, and I have to say you represent what I believe about writing. For me, writing was an outlet for a broken heart and later a way of dealing with trauma. I chose fiction but you have chosen to share your journey.

Nicole:  Hi Sherri, delighted to be with you and thank you for the compliment!  Mine is non-fiction and I chose to share it (mind you it took 13 years to write and publish) because I felt it was the best vehicle to share the clear message I was given by Spirit of, “Do not be afraid of death,” out into the world.  In the process I realized it was a way of healing for me.

Sherri: What was the most difficult thing about the writing and especially the publishing process when you decided to turn your journal into a book?

Nicole:  I came from a science background and had written for peer-reviewed scientific publications which is a completely different style/way of writing.  I had to learn how to write from my heart, that took hundreds of writing prompts and working with a writing coach.  Regarding publishing, I decided to self-publish so I could own the rights to my book and release it when I wanted.  I found the right group (by word of mouth) and so pleased with their help.  I still had to go through yet another round of editing to take the book from good to great.­­

Sherri: Why do you think we are so afraid of death? I have had a lot of death in my life and while I’m not ready to die, I can’t say I’m truly afraid to die. I’m more afraid of being in pain or missing out on things. I’m also afraid of losing my mom, she’s my last parent. So, what is it about death that is so terrifying for most people?

Nicole:  I feel it is the great unknown.  In almost every book written death is cloaked in a veil of gloom and doom.  Death has a cloud of depression and negativity around it throughout our culture and society.  Also given certain religious beliefs about death (going to “hell”), etc. imprinted at a very young age at some unconscious level you may still believe that.

Sherri: How well has this book been received? What are people saying about your book?

Nicole:  I am overwhelmed at the heartfelt comments I have received.  I am in so much gratitude that my book is having the effect I intended.  It went to #1 new best NDE book and is in the top 100 of all NDE books.  I have sold over 500 copies in 2 months and am officially a best-selling author. 

“No wonder it took the author 13 years to write this book, because she managed to condense three different things into one very readable combination…the story of her NDE (near-death experience); a dramatically candid confession that reads like a personal diary; and an overview of trauma.”

“As a cardiologist who watches people die quickly and slowly on a daily basis, I have never felt so connected to the patient experience and whole-heartedly have this author to thank for this. As she brings us through her journey, she teaches us the lessons that she needed to learn and explains why they were/still are important today. She has brought me closer to patients but also closer to God, a seemingly impossible task, she does it all.” 

Sherri: What is the goal of your book? What do you hope the reader feels when they finish reading it?

Nicole:  May this book help you with your fears about death.  May this book also support you through the loss of loved ones.  Above all may my book inspire you to live fully, truly loving yourself unconditionally!  I hope my words can in some small way help you find inside yourself what you have always been seeking.

Sherri: Do you have any plans to write anything else?

Nicole:  I had previously co-written a book on nutrition, as I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, called Eating the Rainbow without Lies, Hype or Calculus (revised 2005).  In You Are Deathless I am extremely vulnerable and honest.  I am not sure of next steps just enjoying the present and so grateful I got this baby birthed and out in the world.  Enjoying doing podcasts at the moment as well!

Sherri: Do you have any advice for those who wish to share their experiences?

Nicole:  Be authentic.  Be persistent.  Join a writing group if you need support.  If you have a limited income spend the money on editing.  Get to the root of the issue if you are procrastinating.  Love yourself no matter what happens!

Sherri: If you enjoyed this interview with Nicole Kerr be sure to visit her at the New Bern Farmers Market, Sunday, November 20th, 2022, 1 to 4 pm, for our Authors’ Event. If you are not able to attend in person, you can purchase Nicole’s book through the above vendors.

You Are Deathless

If death is an end, then I know for certain there is nothing final about it.

When Nicole Kerr hit the ground, she thought: I am going to die, yet death is not supposed to happen this way. I am just 19 years old. I still have things to do, places to go, deadlines to meet, so I cannot be dead. I don’t have time to be dead. Still, I think I am. This must be death. Rays of brilliant white light flood me from all sides. Streams of light cocoon me, wrapping every part of my being in a chrysalis of soothing waves. Instead of the pain of impact, I feel rocked and held. This is bliss. No fear.

Editorial Reviews


“You are Deathless reaches far beyond those who have had NDEs to people who are having near-life experiences. Guilt, shame, what ifs, shoulds, and traumas all leave us barely living and disconnected to Source.  Nicole creates lessons in her chapters that leave readers smoothly transitioning between her present voice, her memory of how her accident unfolded, and the invitations of each subsequent trauma that allowed her to develop another resource for survival. Her courageous disconnection from situations and people who caused repetitive emotional pain, her development of gratitude and peace that continues to grow, and her allowing of healing (instead of forcing) is a great example that fully living is possible after trauma.” ~ Dr. Megan Weigel – Author of Monday Mantras with Megan and Nurse Practitioner

“When we pick up a non-fiction book it is often to learn something about ourselves or something about someone else. You Are Deathless brings together both by unfolding as one woman’s journey of growth triggered by a single traumatic event. Yet the seeds were planted from her childhood experiences. We don’t all have that single pivot point in our lives, and yet the process of reaching adulthood with strong physical, emotional, and spiritual health, requires many of these same steps. Understanding our past, recognizing our strengths and weaknesses, taking the time to invest in our community/family, and continuing to learn more about our physical and emotional health. This book provides both a story of incredible strength and a guide for our own continued learning. Thank you, Nicole.”  ~ Sharon Owen – Captain (Retired USAF)

Published August 15th, 2022

In the book You Are Deathless, Nicole Kerr shares her journey about awakening to herself and the transforming work of aligning her soul, spirit, mind, and body. Through her own death, Nicole was forced to shed ascribed identities, such as being a people-pleaser, to instead develop an authentic, loving relationship with herself and God.

Her story proves that we can put to death the punishing, angry God that man created. This allows the beautiful God of love and acceptance whom she encountered in her own death to emerge and accompany us in day-to-day life.

Nicole beautifully presents how her NDE was actually an STE: A Spiritually Transformative Experience. This aligns with the ten most common NDE lessons (Source: IANDS 2020 Annual Report), the first of which is We do not die. Nicole has persevered through enormous suffering and pain to create the life she now loves.

Nicole has seen what awaits you at the end of this life because she’s been there, and she can assure you that it’s a new beginning more beautiful than you can now comprehend. A good death begins today, and with it, a great life. Through Nicole’s death experience, you can learn how to live your life to the fullest. You can engage in your own metamorphosis without having to die like Nicole did.






Buy links:

Barnes and Noble

Posted in Creekside Cafe, interview

Creekside Cafe Chat with Joanna Warrington

Welcome Joanna to my virtual café. If I ever win the lottery, I’ll build a real café on the edge of the creek where I can sit on the porch in warm weather and talk to fellow authors about books and writing. Right now, we are in the cold and rainy season here in eastern North Carolina. We rarely get snow so close to the ocean, but freezing rain can be worse. You are from Sussex, in the United Kingdom. How is the weather there in January?

Joanna: I love the idea of your Creekside cafe! Adorable! It’s very chilly here in Sussex. The trees are covered in frost. We can only go out for daily exercise at the moment, because we are in lockdown. Every afternoon people go for a walk in the park to meet friends and drink hot chocolate.

Sherri: Have you ever visited the United States? North Carolina? Well, if you ever travel to eastern North Carolina I suggest Bath and Beaufort during Pirate festivals, of course both are lovely especially in the spring. Fort Macon at Atlantic Beach is one of my favorite places, it always inspires stories and the Tryon Palace in New Bern as well as Union Point Park on the waterfront.

Joanna: Yes, I’ve been to California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, New York, Yellowstone, New Orleans and the Deep South, Baltimore and Virginia, Cape Cod, Boston, Salem. I absolutely love America! Best country in the planet and I am frustrated not to be able to travel at the moment. I love driving through the States. It’s easy and smooth. People are welcoming. My aim is to drive through more of your wonderful country, but I’m not bothered about the grain states like Kansas!

Sherri: Visiting the UK is on my bucket list. Where would you suggest I visit?

Joanna: England is small and could fit into one of your smaller states so you could easily get round and see much of it in a fortnight – however the traffic is always heavy. We are a crowded country. If you come here, go to Penshurst in Kent. It’s near lots of stately homes like Chartwell where Churchill lived and exquisite gardens you can visit such as Wakehurst as well as castles to visit like Sissinghurst. Penshurst is a historic village with a stately home and beautiful beamed buildings and quaint old pubs with roaring fires and stunning views over farmland. It’s where I grew up, in a medieval manor house, built in 1280.

My parents ran a bed and breakfast here for years and welcomed many guests from the States. Some of them invited us to visit them – I went to Louisiana and Mississippi to stay with one family. My parents built a lake in the garden. (I attach a Victorian drawing of the house as it appeared in a book on Kent architecture) Beyond our field was the river Eden and hop fields and apple orchards. (Hops were used to make beer). My love for Penshurst was the inspiration for my latest book, Don’t Blame Me. Although I’ve used a fictitious name for the village, it is Penshurst.

Sherri: Tell us about Don’t Blame Me. How is it different than your other books? How is it similar? Is it part of a series? Tell us about your other books?

Joanna: Yes, Don’t Blame Me is a family drama inspired by the first lockdown, Spring 2020 and its impact on family life. It was also inspired by the death of my first baby in 1994. It contains my diaries from that difficult time in my life woven into a work of fiction. Readers will be very moved by the story and several readers have already told me it was incredibly sad and inspiring too in terms of overcoming grief. The character finds solace in the countryside around her, reflecting on the past and coming to terms with the fact that you cannot go back and change the past – you must move on. So, it’s about moving on.

Sherri: Your novel is fiction, but it is a family drama dealing with grief and loss. Is it based on true life?

Joanna: All of my characters are realistic and believable and loosely based on a mish mash of different people I’ve come across in my life.

Sherri: Have you always written? What started you on your writing career?

Joanna: The loss of my baby in 1994 started me on my writing journey. I wrote about it in diary form and put the diary in my attic. My first book was called The D Word and that is based on a very difficult relationship I had in 2008. 

Sherri: What are the most relatable aspects of your characters? What was the most difficult part of their personalities to get right?

Joanna: It’s about a woman who returns to England from Australia when her father is dying. She moved to Australia 25 years ago when tragedy struck. Now she is forced to confront her past and the person who she blames for years of pain. It is part of a series, Sink or Sync but can be read as a standalone novel. It is more heartbreaking than my other novels although all my novels deal with family issues such as grief, divorce, addiction, teenage angst. My happiest novel is Holiday and Don’t Blame Me is the saddest novel!

Sherri: What was the most difficult scene to write? Which one was your favorite?

Joanna: Every scene is always hard. Even though you’ve experienced situations in life it’s always hard to put it across and make it believable. My favourite scene is an act of violence in Every Son’s Fear. I enjoyed making it shocking and dramatic.

Sherri: Do you have a favorite quote from one of your books?

Joanna: I can’t recall any one quote but The Catholic Woman’s Dying Wish (which was The D Word but renamed) is littered with so many phases I absolutely love!

Sherri: How has your own life and career influenced your writing?

Joanna: My novels are totally influenced by my own life – my gambling boyfriend helped me with A Time To Reflect. My son got addicted to cannabis and his story is partly woven into Every Family Has One. Holiday is based on a family trip we did. Every Mother’s Fear and Every Father’s Fear were inspired by my thalidomide employer and the information for the novels gathered by my attendance at thalidomide events and meeting thalidomides. I wanted their story to be out there. 

Sherri: As a multi-published author, what do you feel you have learned on your publishing journey? Are you traditionally published or an indie author, or are you a hybrid of both? What would you tell a new author as they prepare to publish their first book?

Joanna: I am self-published. My advice is not to be impulsive. Hold fire before publishing. Make sure it’s well edited. Make sure it is a great story. Don’t publish for the sake of it. There are far too many rubbish books out there already. Go on courses, talk to other authors, read David Gaughran’s books and other books about writing and publishing. 

Sherri: Joanna, it has been great to have you here at my Creekside Café. I wish we could meet in person. I wish you good fortune with your books and in life. Thank you for sharing your stories with us.

Here is the link to Don’t Blame Me:

Joanna Warrington Funeral Celebrant & Author

author website:

I am on Twitter as All Things D:

I am on Facebook as Joanna Warrington Contemporary Women’s Fiction Writer:

My page is:

Posted in backstory, Thoughts


Grief in reality versus grief in fiction.

I don’t know how to grieve. I tend to push my emotions down until they bubble over like a boiling pot. When my daddy died, I acted like a hostess during his funeral. I couldn’t keep still. I had to move around speaking to people, thanking them for coming. I couldn’t let go and deal with my sadness because I had to keep it all together for my mother and for my children.

I cried more at my best friend’s father’s service than I did my own father’s service. Her father died just a few months after my dad, and I think I felt a freedom to let go of my emotions and let out some of my grief that I didn’t feel at my dad’s funeral.

In reality there is no right or wrong way to grieve as long as you are staying healthy mentally and physically.

Like most people I know the basic levels of grief: the shock, denial, and guilt, the anger and acceptance. But I also know that for each of these aspects there are a myriad of emotions that twists and turns both character and real person with a tangle of confusion. Some of these emotions return over and over again even after a person feels they have graduated through that level of grief.  

Death is a big part of life. In one of my recent novels I killed off a favorite character. It was a difficult choice but when bullets are flying, and explosions are destroying the good are often swept up in the destruction along with the bad.

One of my first memories is the loss of my sister. I was just shy of my sixth birthday when my much-anticipated baby sister was born. She lived a month before she died. She never came home. I saw her once while still alive when my father, grandmother and I drove her from one hospital to another. (This was fifty years ago, and I can’t imagine a hospital allowing parents to transport a sick child from one hospital to another now.)

I don’t know how my parents dealt with their grief at the time. They were both in the mid-twenties, so young to deal with so much grief. Years later, when we talked about my sister’s birth and death, they both said they couldn’t go through that pain again. The fear of losing another child, kept them from attempting another pregnancy so I became an only child.

Grief shapes a person, changes them. I never got over my sister’s death. How different would I have been had I not known grief so early? Who knows? But in some ways my sister’s loss made me more sympathetic but I think it also hardened me in other ways. I learned to compartmentalize my emotions, hide them, and suppress them, because children can be cruel when they see weakness in another child.   

The next year after my sister’s death, my dad’s mother died, a couple years later his father…losing my grandmother was difficult but I didn’t know her that well. We moved back to North Carolina after my grandmother died and I was blessed to have a relationship with my granddaddy. His death was one of the most difficult to deal with because I was older, and I understood more what his loss meant.

Why am I writing an article on grief?

Early this month a dear friend gave up the good fight and passed away. She’d battled cancer and struggled to regain her strength. I didn’t know her health was failing. Her dynamic personality should have been enough to keep her going. She was a force to be reckoned with. But even as she was suffering, she was still giving. Her whole life was about giving to others. She was on the fire and rescue squad, a diver, she volunteered and supported her community in so many different ways. When I published my first book, I talked to her about my ideas for my second book and she took the time to talk to me about my ideas and shared her knowledge. When my son started diving, she loaned him her equipment until he could get his own. She lived life to the fullest. She never let fear stop her from trying something new. She was fierce and she leaves that legacy behind for all of us to emulate.

Later the same week I awoke to learn my newest grandchild had passed away. It is so hard to understand why one so young could be taken so soon. We hadn’t even had the chance to get to know him. This beautiful baby, just a little over a week old had seemed so perfect and strong. He was such a sweet little blessing but his stay with us was much too brief. Unlike my friend who had a good, long life, this child hadn’t even begun to live.

Grief changes us. The loss of a friend, the loss of a parent or spouse, a beloved grandparent, can change your life but the loss of a child…I don’t think you ever completely recover from this kind of loss. While you may learn to shove the sadness into a place you don’t explore often, it is still there, a shadow on your heart.

Reality or fiction, grief is difficult because no one grieves the same way.  

Posted in Thoughts, writing inspiration, Writing tips

How Do You Research Murder?

How do you research Murder? How many people did you have to kill to get it right? Uh! What, wait a minute…

Contrary to some the writing sources I’ve studied, you don’t have to write JUST what you know. You can figure somethings out by relating them with similar experiences, or by taking classes, watching YouTube videos or documentaries. You don’t have to kill your neighbors in order to write about it. I mean, you could but then you’d probably be in prison or on the run and then it’s really difficult to do book signings.

Okay, enough of the silliness, seriously, most writers are nosey by nature. We want to know how everything works or why it doesn’t. We will do extensive research over something that only shows up in the background of a story just so it feels right. As readers we know that we are most engaged when an author piques all of our senses. No you cannot see, taste, feel or smell any of the descriptions but if they are done right, you can almost…

The experts say smell is the greatest memory. There are some smells you never forget. Growing up in a rural community with no public works, we had to dispose of dead animals ourselves or just let nature take its course. Neither is a pleasant experience but it did give me some insight into the dead.

So how can we get it right when it comes to murder? Well, I know what a decomposing body smells like. It may have only been a deer or a racoon, there was even a stray dog that went off in the woods to die but the smell filled the community for several days, but I believe the description of the smell is something I can provide in detail with some accuracy and enough similarity that the reader will believe me. I can also tell you there’s a difference if a body is found down on the shore versus up on the road where it’s been baked by the sun, especially in July, in North Carolina. There are experiences we can relate to that of our fictional murder to make it feel real. From the sicky sweet smell of rotting flesh to the grotesque swelling that comes from the gases building inside of a decomposing body, or the swampy, putrid aroma of a body washed up on shore of a brackish country creek.  If you have ever come upon an older body nearly gone to bone in the woods, the loamy smell of flesh turning to soil.

I can hear people saying, “but animals smell different than people.” My Uncle Tucker would tell you that fish and relatives both stink after three days. Some don’t take that long. Death, human death may seem different especially in the cities or the civilized world of hospitals and home, but out in the wild it becomes more like the animals I’ve described. Check out the research from the Body Farm.

If you have ever watched a loved one die, you know that there are smells that go along with illness, medicinal odors, the scent of infection, decay or the stale, stagnate odor that comes with lack of movement and frequent washing. If you have visited a morgue or mortuary, you remember those distinct scents. Death has a smell, even the civilized, cleaned-up version of death most of us know just from life. But what about murder, what does murder smell like, how would it be different than death by illness?   

If you are researching murder the results can be slightly different depending on if you are focusing on the murderer or the one investigating the murder. From the investigators point-of-view we have many books, documentaries, classes, etc. to assist the writer with getting things right. If you are writing from the murderer’s point-of-view, it can be a little trickier to pull off.

Many of us know a bit about character development from our own personalities, interacting with and watching other people. We have seen first-hand romance dos and don’ts, relationships that work and those that just never should have tried. But how do we research murder and murderers? As I know I don’t know any murderers, at least not any who would admit it. So how do we know what it’s like to kill? How do we understand the way a killer thinks or feels or why they do what they do? How much of that matters?

Things have gotten a little easier thanks to the internet but before YouTube videos and online classes, I watched PBS documentaries and read books. I talked to prison guards and former inmates. With cable and satellite television I’ve discovered the History channel, Discovery, True Crime, not to mention all of the shows that are focused on forensics and murder.  

So how do you write it from the murders point of view? How do you develop the emotions the murderer is feeling before, during and after? Can we relate to them? Do we have similar circumstances we can draw from? I think much depends on why the killer has killed and how. Are they angry and this happened in the middle of a fight or was it premeditated? Are they a sociopath or psychopath? Is killing fun? Do they shoot, strangle, mutilate their victims? After doing all the research, it comes down to character development and imagination. What would your character do? How would they act and react? Have fun with it, but if you decide to experiment with murder, please, don’t come to my neck of the woods.

Posted in Thoughts

Change ling

The first thing I notice are her ears close to her head, large and nearly flat. She is dying yet I notice her ears. They are the largest I have ever seen. Are they evidence? Evidence of fairies, elves and trolls? Her nose is tiny, like a doll’s; a nub of a nose in her fine boned face. Her skin is pale, wrinkled and thin. She is dying and I wonder, is she perhaps a changeling, a fairy child raised by humans. Her arms and legs are shriveled and bruised, her body is deteriorating yet she lives on, it is as if she cannot die. She begs for mercy, for death to release her. Her fingers are all the same size in a hand too large for such a tiny body. Her feet too are large. Her body is shutting down, refusing to work, yet she lives on. She cannot die. Is this the proof we seek? Is this the evidence we need? Is she immortal, a changeling?

Posted in Thoughts

Death waits for her

I see her laying there, the pain intense upon her pale face. The blue veins of her eyelids look bruised as her eyes flutter with agitation. She groans in her sleep, restless and exhausted. Death plays her cruel joke teasing and taunting, it threatens to take her only to leave her in pain. What is worse to pray for death yet linger or fear it and be taken with it’s swift sword. Death waits for her, hovering just out of reach. Death waits for her.