Posted in Creekside Cafe

Creekside Cafe Chat with M. Lorrox

I’d like to welcome the awesome M. Lorrox to my Creekside Café. M. Lorrox and I are both members of the Heart of Carolina Romance Writers and I’m thrilled to have him at my virtual café.

M. Lorrox: Hi Sherri, I’m happy to be joining you, thanks so much for inviting me!

Sherri: If I ever win the lottery, I’ll build a café near the water where I can hang out with friends and talk about books when I’m not writing or reading. We’ve both been busy lately but if you’re like me you are seldom without a book. What are you reading right now?

M. Lorrox: Oooh, I’d take a lottery prize and start a cafe too, but it would be a half cafe, half rare-books library. I might call it Dusty’s Tomes or something, just for fun. I actually just started reading Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir. It’s wild and has elements of horror and romance–the two genres I write.

Sherri: I had to chuckle when I read your bio, raised in a barn in rural upstate New York. My father-in-law was raised on a dairy farm just outside Albany. He told me he got here as quickly as he could. He arrived with the Marines. How did you end up in North Carolina?

M. Lorrox: Hey, small world! Another New York ex-pat. I first ventured to DC, where I was a producer for a while and then a professor. My brothers ended up moving to the Triangle, and I visited a lot. I loved it down here, and after a few years, I was able to make the move.

Sherri: You are preparing to launch your first romance novel, but this isn’t your first writing career. According to your bio you wrote your first book in junior high. Although you didn’t publish that book, you have published other books. What made you decide to switch genres? Are you excited about your new venture?

M. Lorrox: I’m super excited! My first books were action & adventure stories with vampires and zombies…a real mashup. I decided to write romance, because I wanted to see more progressive heroes and heroines in love stories—people like me. I wanted to read about sex-positive people having great relationships, and I didn’t want any of them to be millionaires or shapeshifters, so I decided to write the stories myself.

Sherri: Tell us about your upcoming book. When does it go live?

M. Lorrox: Trashy Romance – Curbside Pickup is the stand-alone first novel in the Trashy Romance series of scorching, blue-collar, sex-positive, LGBTQ+ inclusive love stories. It’s about a high school economics teacher and the garbageman who services her neighborhood… It includes a pansexual character, some very hot scenes, and a teeny bit of domination and submission. But it’s a romance, not erotica. There’s ‘loads of love’ in it, tons of emotion, and because it’s an M. Lorrox novel, there’s also some suspense and action elements!

Sherri: I love your website. You’ve done a fabulous job with it. I’m so excited for you and your new author platform, . As authors, especially indie authors, our social media is a huge part of our identity. Your website shows you humor, intelligence and passion, it is very well done.

M. Lorrox: I really appreciate it! I have an MFA and was an artist before anything else. I’ve always loved web design, and I’m glad that I can use some of my visual arts skills in my writing career.

Sherri: You studied and taught Kung Fu? As a child of the seventies I grew up watching David Carradine and the show Kung Fu. I love the beauty and choreography of martial arts and the religious teachings. As an adult I’ve learned the falseness of television but with a Cambodian daughter-in-law who was raised with Buddhist parents, she has taught me more about the religion. Do you practice Buddhism? Do you still study martial arts?

M. Lorrox: I started learning Kung Fu in college, and it was a great fit. After a few years training, I started to teach for that school. It introduced me to Ch’an Buddhism, which is kinda like a Chinese precursor to Zen Buddhism, and from there, yes, I continued to learn about Buddhism. I don’t practice Kung Fu regularly anymore, but I do practice the forms now and then. More recently, I found myself teaching the kids of my friends some self-defense techniques, and it’s been quite rewarding to see them benefit from the ancient skills. Buddhism is important to me too, and I highly recommend that people unfamiliar with its deeper principles to read about it.

Sherri: You’re a motorcycle guy, crotch rocket or cruiser? We’re a motorcycle family. My husband is a mechanic. He restored an old Honda for me. I prefer a small bike, but he keeps trying to get me on a cruiser. Do you still ride?

M. Lorrox: Actually, I ride a naked adventure bike, which I like to think is the best kind of adventure, AND motorcycle! Ha! I used to ride a Honda Shadow though, a cruiser. It’s wonderful to feel the road beneath you, and although I don’t ride much on trails or gravel, my bike lets me, and it feels extra badass whenever I do! I ride pretty often, mostly on twisties or around town, but I always ride as safely as possible. Car and truck drivers: watch for us motorcyclists and don’t F-around on your phone while driving! Thanks. 🙂

Sherri: Your books are described as pan-sexual and non-monogamous, for an old-fashioned woman like myself, it is difficult to think of them as romance. How is the romance genre changing and how are we as members of RWA trying to be inclusive and accepting of more diverse romances? How do we interpret romance? Is it the traditional “Happy ever after” or “Happy for now” scenario or are we opening doors to something else? How do we reach the old-timers like me and open their eyes to other possibilities of what is romance?

M. Lorrox: Well, what is a romance story? Where people fall in love, right? There’s historical romance, gay romance, regency, inspirational, etc. These are just different settings that the romances take place in, or different themes, or different orientations of the people. Pan-sexuality is an orientation (for those unfamiliar with it, the big difference (to me), is that it rejects the notion of binary gender in bisexuality). Non-monogamy, I’d say, is a relationship style or choice. But they’re humans falling in love, and LOVE IS LOVE!

I think the romance genre is changing with more stories being published that reflect or highlight these alternative lifestyles. How to be more inclusive of these kinds of romances? Read them! Fall in love with the characters, even if they may not be attracted to the same gender of people, or if they choose to practice a style of relationship that’s different to you. Besides connecting with an interesting character with views different from the reader’s, the reader can experience a different kind of emotion as the characters face different kinds of challenges. Just like more traditional romances, the emotional journey of the characters is the most important. I think we should interpret romance genre stories as love stories, and so I don’t see why a story about person X or Y or Z or Q falling in love with _____ can’t be romance genre.

Sherri: As a member of RWA and Heart of Carolina we felt the impact of the recent upheaval and both of us along with many others debated leaving the organization. I know my reading habits are not as inclusive as perhaps they should be. When I read for pleasure, I want to read what I like but in the hope of educating myself and becoming more understanding of other authors and their needs, I’d like to widen my reading pallet. How do we go about finding authors of differing viewpoints, ethnicities and ableness in order to read and show our support?

M. Lorrox: First off, you’re doing it right now by asking questions and opening a door. There are plenty of people that want to walk through, but it’s so much easier if someone on the inside opens that door for them, especially in a historically not-inclusive situation. I’ll thank you again for inviting me on, because you’re doing the work that RWA aims to do!

I’ve got a great suggestion on how to explore these new kinds of stories, and it’s not just ‘read them,’ although that’s certainly key. That book I mentioned, Gideon the Ninth, was a huge success, and I’d be surprised if most readers hadn’t either seen the cover or read a blurb about it. It topped the charts, reaching #1 in various LGBT romance categories on amazon, but it was also a top seller in a number of other categories. By browsing the top seller lists, or Amazon or Goodreads, you’ll be exposed to books that other people are loving. While there’s no subcategory for non-monogamy or pansex yet, LGBT subcategories will suffice to give you lots of options for what kinds of inclusive stories other readers are loving–and that you might too! Bloggers who cover queer media are also a good resource for learning more about the community and its creatives.

The ARC is available until 11/15/2020. Links to it are on the site, and I’d love to have you, and any of your readers, read it!

Sherri: Thank you M. Lorrox for taking the time to talk with me and readers. Time is getting away from us quickly, if you enjoyed our chat follow M. Lorrox on social media you can find his links below and stay tuned for his upcoming book, Trashy Romance-Curbside Pickup by M. Lorrox due out November 15, 2020! Thank you M. Lorrox for stopping by my Creekside Café, I think it’s time for a drink. Name your poison.

M. Lorrox: I’ll have a kombucha cut with seltzer, please!

Follow M. Lorrox on Social Media!


That should have links to everything and possibly more info than you ever wanted. 🙂

Posted in Book Review, inspiration, my books, Thoughts, writing inspiration

Seven Favorite Books

I recently played a game on Instagram showing pictures of my favorite books for a week. Only one book per day, how could I limit my favorite books to only seven? I choose books that held a memory, a turning point or something that touched my life. I could only use pictures, no words to tell you how these books affected me. As a writer, I felt compelled to share why I chose these seven books. I could list so many books that have changed my life, given me hope or perspective, or simply opened my eyes. Perhaps I’ll do another article and tell you about more books and what they have meant to me.

Day one: Sabrina Jeffries’ “The Truth about Lord Stoneville.”6545791e-f532-4a3c-8c1a-b5b18efa2ec3-40633-00000a0270c53c39

I have been a fan of Sabrina Jeffries for many years but in truth, the love I have for this book is more about my husband, than about Ms. Jeffries. This is the book David bought for me after our house burned down. Now, many of you will question, why a book when we needed underwear and socks and so much more. I am a book-aholic. Books are the escape that helps me deal with the realities of life. Reading relaxes me and renews my spirit. I needed a book like a drunkard needs a drink.

I’d had tubs of books in our old house, many of which can never be replaced. David understood my need for a book and he took care of that need.  He took me, weary and half-crazed, to Books-a-Million and told me I could have any book I wanted. The display of Sabrina Jeffries’ newest book caught my eye. I’d read her School for Heiresses series and they always made me smile. I needed that levity in my life right then.

Disappearing into a book for a few minutes each day allowed me to regain my composure and prepared me to take on the next phase of our life. The pages of “The Truth about Lord Stoneville” entertained me and allowed me to travel to a time where someone else’s woes were more important than anything happening in real life, for a brief respite anyway. I loved this series, The Hellions of Halstead Hall, and appreciate all the hours of reprieve I was able to enjoy thanks to the talents of Ms. Sabrina Jeffries.


Day two: “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” by Betty Smith


I read this book as a young teen and discovered the strength of women. I was still under the illusion that my mother wasn’t very strong and wanted to rebel against her gentleness and humility. This book gave me a better understanding of women, my mother and even myself. I saw through Francie’s eyes the hardships women often go through and the things they will do or put up with in order to secure a better future for their children.

There are many correlations between Francie’s life and my own, though thankfully my dad wasn’t a drunkard, nor a singing waiter. My dad was an electrician who owned his own business and later began working construction. Anyone who has dealt with construction knows it is an insecure lifestyle. Dad once told me, when he still had his own business that, either everybody wanted you or nobody did. I also saw my parents, especially my mother work hard on a job then come home and work some more. I didn’t appreciate all they did to make a life for me until I too began making a home for my own family.

“A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” also opened my eyes to a different place, a different time and the sameness of life. It is the book that made me look at people and wonder at their stories. How was their life different from mine, how was it the same? There are still parts of this story that come to mind forty years later. It is a classic, for it still has wisdom to impart.

Day three: “Shanna” by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss


I chose this book because it was the first historical romance I’d ever read. It began my love for the genre and it was the first book I ever read that I was able to discuss with friends.

My friend’s step-mom, Jean, had just finished the book and I saw it. It looked interesting and I asked to read it. I devoured the book. I stayed up late at night with my lamp under the covers reading this book. My firefighter friends are freaking out about the lamp under the covers. I melted the back of the lamp. It was never the same afterwards, but then, neither was I.

I’ve heard a lot of people talk about the “bodice rippers” of the seventies and eighties. How romance gave us unreal expectations for life. The truth is, these books showed us what brave women might go through to gain their freedom. That a woman in history must learn to fight for what she wants and be willing to go against societies’ expectations. One of my favorite slogans is: “Women who behave, rarely make history.” I believe that is also true of historical fiction, but it is definitely true of change.

Gloria Steinem and the women’s movement were not the first women to fight conformity. All through history women have sought their independence, their right to an education, to own property, to become doctors, scientists, etc. Romance novels encourage women to be who they are. It’s okay to be a wife and mother and take care of the home, but it is also fine to do something different. Here, amid the pages of these books, we learn to believe there are other options. Romance novels are a feminist movement.

Day four: Corrie Ten Boom’s “The Hiding Place”


This book may surprise some of you who have read my novel “Chrome Pink.” Believe it or not, I attended three years of Christian private school and went to a Free Will Baptist college. These were both good and bad experiences. Attending a Christian school opened my eyes to religion in many ways. Unfortunately, it also created more questions and obstacles to my own faith.

Still, I consider myself a Christian, though I know I don’t always live up to that title. Thankfully, it is by grace and not my works that I am saved. Like all religions, it is about belief, faith and seeking understanding.

“The Hiding Place,” takes place during world war two. It is about the war and its atrocities, but it is mostly about a woman’s faith, strength and courage. Corrie Ten Boom and her family were Dutch. They rescued many Jews, believing it was their duty as Christians. They risked their own lives and their freedom to help others.

To do the right thing often comes with a high price tag. To risk it all for people who didn’t even believe the same as they did is mindboggling. The Ten Boom family were caught and incarcerated, most of the family died in prison. Corrie tells of the life before the concentration camps and after they were imprisoned. It is a moving story of love for her family, especially her sister, and a story that will inspire you no matter your religion. As a Christian, it was a measuring stick of faith, as a woman, it was a measure of courage.



Day five: “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett


My class read this book when I was in the third grade (just a few years ago). My teacher, Ms. Krigger had us do a craft project about the story. This was my first solo craft project and my first to explain a story. Crafting, reading and writing have been my loves ever since.

I’d always loved to have mama read me a story or listen when stories were read in class. I was finally developing the ability to read and understand big chapter books on my own and the world was opening up to me. Having a teacher that encouraged us to experience books in different ways: book reports, craft projects, discussion, etc. made reading even more fun. It is a love that has lasted a lifetime.

Day six: Jayne Ann Krentz’ “Eclipse Bay”


I’m not positive “Eclipse Bay” is the first book I read by Jayne Ann Krentz. I started reading Amanda Quick’s historical romances and loved them. I’d read through everything the library could get for me and wanted more. My friend, Robina suggest I read Jayne Ann Krentz, but she wrote contemporary romances. I didn’t read contemporary romances. The only books I wanted to read were historicals or histories. Then Robina told me Jayne was Amanda and urged me to give it a try. From there I was hooked. I also read her futuristic science fiction romance novels penned under Jayne Castle.

Not only did this open up my reading to more genres but it also opened my writing to more. I’d been trying to write a great historical romance, doing years of research and writing and then hiding it all under the bed, except for the one that disappeared inside the computer to never been seen again. This was before the cloud and before I’d learned to back everything up on disc and later thumb drives. It was because of Jayne Ann Krentz that I started trying to write contemporary romance, she is also the one who influenced my suspense/thriller side.

Day seven: “The Blue Virgin” by M K Graff


I debated adding “The Blue Virgin” to the list. There are so many books to name but the truth is, without “The Blue Virgin” there would be no “Chrome Pink.”

I have said it a few times, how Marni Graff is my mentor and without her I would not be published. I met Marni shortly before she published “The Blue Virgin.” She had started a group called “The Writers’ Read.” We met in a bakery on Main Street in Washington until the bakery closed. Marni, then moved the group to Belhaven. I and a group of friends started traveling to Belhaven every couple of months because we loved the format Marni used to help writers. Her critiquing and discussions allowed us to learn in a free flow of information and questions. Her encouragement, passion for writing and her willingness to proof read and critique were invaluable but the greatest gift she gave me, was her belief in me and my talent. She even pitched my story to an agent she met at a conference.

Marni, my librarian little sister Robina, my big sis Denise, my sons, my husband and our parents, friends and neighbors have all pushed, encouraged, listened and celebrated my first book. Each of them has had a part in seeing my dream come true. Each of these books I have chosen has been an influence on me as a person and as a writer. There are more books, more authors, more stories but that is for another today. I hope when you read a book, you will find solace, excitement, enlightenment and perhaps a little inspiration. If some day, that book is one I wrote, then I will have fulfilled a dream. Happy reading!