Posted in audio books, Book Review

The Trackers Series by Nicholas Sansbury Smith

This was an awesome series, probably not the best books to listen to in the middle of a pandemic but I truly enjoyed them. I’m not sure if part of the enjoyment wasn’t sharing the experience with one of my sons but I thoroughly enjoyed the audiobook series. It made me want to be a prepper and get away from the east coast but other than that, I enjoyed it.

Most dystopian novels start after the event when the world is already destroyed and nearly barbaric. Smith gives readers a fresh take on things by starting with the incident that sets the world back. When an EMP strike is launched on the US, it is up to a few brave soldiers and politicians to bring the world back.
The Tracker has almost super-powers as a former Marine and native American he uses his knowledge and training to help others. His personal growth throughout the series shows a troubled young man who returns from war scarred and angry, but he grows to be a leader and a man of honor.

Posted in Book Review

Shelter in Place

By Nora Roberts

This was a hard book to start. Nora Roberts writes her characters so well that I felt as if I were the fifteen-year-old girl hiding in the bathroom while her friends were shot down in the mall theater. Simone Knox kept her head and dialed 9-1-1, her early response saved lives.

Reed Quartermain was home from college working at the mall and hoping to get a date with the girl at the sunglasses kiosk when all hell breaks loose. Two guys come into the mall and start shooting people. He rescues a kid and hides out in the same kiosk with the girl’s blood pooling at his feet.

A young female police officer is one of the first responders. She takes down JJ Hobart in the theatre. Her quick response and caring changes lives. It makes a huge impact on the college kid, Reed, who because of that night, because of Essie, he decides to join the police force.

Simone doesn’t know how to live. She just wants to forget. Mi-Hi Jung wants her life to mean something, both mourn the loss of their friend, Tish. It is her one constant, her grandmother CiCi, who sees what she really needs and helps her to find it once she is ready to start living her own life.

Cici, a renowned artist, gives Simone the tools to find her own path. Even as she battles her parents and sister, their relationship strained at best, Simone begins to find herself.

As one thing leads to another, Reed makes detective and becomes partnered with his mentor and friend. He is constantly seeking information about that night. He’s always felt there was something missing.

Things heat up when he realizes the three boys were not the masterminds behind the mall shooting, and someone is finishing off the survivors from that night.

Roberts ratchets up the tension as more people start dying and Reed tries to build his case. When he becomes a target, he knows those he cares about could be hurt as well.

As the newly hired chief of police of Tranquility Island, he hopes to stand his ground. When lives are on the line, a simple mistake could be a costly one.

Will they catch a psychopath before other innocents die or will Reed be too late?

A fantastic story that kept me on the edge of my seat.

Posted in Book Review

A Rogue by Any Other Name

by Sarah MacLean Narrated by Rosalyn Landor

Cast from society with nothing but his title, the Marquess of Bourne has become partner in the most exclusive gaming hell in London. Cold and ruthless, he’ll stop at nothing to reclaim his inheritance, even compromise his childhood friend, Penelope Marbury, forcing her to marry him.

A wager lost him everything, another might win him more than he ever imagined possible, if he is willing to take a chance on love.

A second chance romance, redeeming a rake, Sarah MacLean loves her bad boys. She makes them bad enough to be interesting but with those honorable qualities that make a reader swoon. Bourne is definitely swoon worthy, but he is not to be out done, Penelope Marbury is more than a match for the Devil.

MacLean tosses us into the gaming hells of London, bringing to life a world on the edge of society and the daring, often desperate people who patronize the clubs. This is a book for all of your senses. If you want to be truly immersed in a story, you won’t want to pass this one up.

Posted in Creekside Cafe, interview

Chatting with Miranda Jameson

I’d like to welcome my new friend, author Miranda Jameson to Creekside Café. I started doing these interviews to help cross-promote my own books as well as introduce other authors to my friends and readers. Thank you for joining us here at my virtual café.

Miranda: Absolutely, Sherri! It’s all about networking. I’m Indie published. It’s not an easy choice, but for most newish authors, trad publishing isn’t an easy choice either. These days, no one does your marketing and networking for you unless you’re an established name. 

Michael Anderle, a highly successful Indie author, advises Indies to ‘Patterson the s@** out of your career’ – referencing James Patterson’s excellent marketing skills! Now, I might not be Pattersoning (haha – invented a new word) but for better or worse, I have control over my own publishing journey. 

Sherri: I think most of us who are indie published or as you say, traditionally published but not yet a big name, have learned to get creative to let readers know we’re here. So, what interesting things have you tried to promote and market your books? Anything you want to share with our readers?

Miranda: It isn’t easy being Indie. It’s a 24/7 job. I made many mistakes, learned a LOT, and became part of the awesome Indie writing community. I received a tonne of help and guidance and try to pay that forward. This year, I plan to boost my marketing beyond organic growth. I have enough books out for a better return on investment. It’s daunting, but doable. 

Sherri: Miranda and I met through the New Romance Café readers and writers’ Facebook group. It’s great to have a supportive and fun online group. 

Miranda: Yes, we met in the Romance Café, of course! It’s a friendly, virtual place where the virtual cake and coffee have 0 calories. Working on our joint project has been great fun. 

Sherri: I’m so excited about the anthology. You and Andi have put in so much work to see this project come to fruition. What are you plans for the future?

Miranda: I have four books planned this year. The first two – Zephyr and Deimos – will complete my Empaths of Venice trilogy. The third one will loop back to before my Warriors’ Council trilogy – and hopefully lead new readers to those books. This story will be set on the Western Front during WW1, so there’s a fair bit of research to do. Its hero and heroine are the two characters in my Love in Bloom story. Henri and Ysabeau appear as supporting characters in all my books. My readers love them and wanted their story. This is another good thing about being an Indie – having direct conversations with readers. 

I like mixing history into my paranormal romances; after all, if you live hundreds of years, you’ve witnessed seismic world events. The last book this year – London Symphony – will be part of my spin-off PNR series set in the 1940s. All my books can be read as standalones, but the stories, events and characters are connected. Readers love cameo appearances by their favourite characters from the other books. 

Sherri: History with the paranormal, that makes sense to me and makes me want to read your books. I too, love history, something I shared with my father. What or who has influenced your writing?

Miranda: Well, I was born in England, grew up in India immersed in stories of gods, goddesses, elephant-riding princes and bejeweled princesses. I studied in both countries, and now live permanently in England. My home is in North Yorkshire, a beautiful part of England steeped in history (which I love).

Like any writer who has read thousands of books, my writing must be an amalgam of all of them – good, and bad. I would encourage every writer to read. You always learn new ways to tell a story better.

Sherri: Have you always been a writer? 

Miranda: Yes, always, but never with any serious intent. It tended to be a clandestine thing. I’m quite a private person and putting my work out there makes me feel exposed and rather vulnerable. After all, writing is a window into a writer’s head. Good reviews take me by surprise because I secretly think my writing is crap! Imposter syndrome – moi?

Sherri: We share the same affliction. It’s exciting when someone likes your work but it’s also a bit surprising and terrifying. I suffer from what if the next book isn’t as good. I try to quiet the voices in my head with creating characters who are more confident, stronger and smarter. Writing is a way for me to speak my mind. I could no more stop writing as stop breathing. What is your favorite thing about being a writer?

Miranda: Creating worlds. Sounds grandiose, doesn’t it, but that’s what writers do. It’s as close to magic as it’s possible to get. Writing is my solution for coping with life’s challenges. It’s also about control. My stories are one place where I get to decide what does or doesn’t happen. Characters become real. Their stories clamour to be told. When I finish writing a novel, I get a real slump because I miss my people!

Sherri: That’s why I write sequels or if you prefer, series. I like bringing characters back for an ovation. Unfortunately, there are also the not so fun things about being a writer. When you start working towards getting something published or sending it to a contest, you are no longer writing for your own pleasure, you are writing for an audience and there are certain expectations between a reader and writer. I suffer the bobble head syndrome. I mean really, how many times can someone nod their head before it rolls off into oblivion. And I reuse the same words and phrases…

Miranda: Oooh! Those gluey glue words. ‘Just’ – why does it pop up everywhere? And what’s with the ‘really’? Delete. Delete! Repeat phrases are something I have to keep my eye on. Thankfully, they get banished during editing. I’m a loose plotter. I have a direction the story has to go and I know the end. I plan plot points and pinch points, but things may change and it’s usually for the better.

Sherri: You mentioned this earlier and I say it to beginning writers all the time, if you want to be a good writer you must first be a reader. Learning what works and what doesn’t by reading other people’s work, developing good techniques and learning the craft of writing, these are important skills that take time to build. What do you think is your greatest strength as a writer? 

Miranda: As for strengths, that’s hard to say. I’ve learned to trust my gut and perhaps that’s a bonus. If my gut tells me a scene isn’t working, it isn’t. I dump it and begin again. I try to create pictures in readers’ minds without miring them in long paragraphs of description. Sight, scent, sound – all those things add layers and make the scene immersive. One reviewer said she felt she was really living in the alternate reality I’d created. Another loves the ‘feels’ in my stories. I like my romances to be romantic. My characters struggle internally, however confident they appear on the outside. Their happily ever afters come with meeting someone who makes them feel right, whatever their flaws. It’s not about feeling ‘completed’, it’s about finding a person who encourages you to be yourself, and loves you despite everything.

Sherri: Yes, anyone can love the beautiful, perfect character but show me the person who loves the recovering addict, the person who is scarred whether inside or out by life’s trials, the person no one else has bothered to really see, that’s real romance. I can’t wait to read your books. 

Who are some of your favorite authors or your favorite genres?

Miranda: I prefer historical and paranormal romances. Probably because I love history, and I love the possibility of powerful, magical beings living alongside us. For historical, I’ve recently discovered Sarah McClean and, through the Romance Café, Lara Temple and Tabetha Waite. As for paranormal, I’ve read all the usual suspects – Larissa Ione, Nalini Singh, J R Ward, and recently, I.T. Lucas. And let’s not forget Anne Rice. Apart from reading romance, I’m a huge fan of mysteries, and historical whodunnits. I blame an early addiction to Agatha Christie. My list of favourite authors is unbelievably long, but if I ended up on a desert island with only two books, I’d want a poetry collection (including Keats and Elliot), and the complete works of Carlos Ruiz Zafon.

Sherri: Wow, the time has just flown by. I hate to bring this visit to an end but I should get back to work on my novel and it sounds like you have a schedule to keep. If you ever get to North Carolina, please look me up. 

Miranda: I have never visited the United States. Can you believe it? It’s a big gap in my travels I hope to fill in the future. Especially since most of my current readers reside in North America. I’d love to see the famous autumn (fall) colours, and I’ve always wanted to visit San Francisco. I’m also a fan of Ina Garten’s cooking shows and enjoy her visits to California’s Napa Valley. Ideally, I’d hire one of those huge RVs and tour around.

Sherri: Now that sounds like an adventure. Let me know when you go visit Ina Garten, I’d love to tag along. 

For those of you who’d like to know more about Miranda or buy her books, here are the links to do just that. 

Miranda’s Bio:

Miranda Jameson grew up in India immersed in stories of gods, goddesses, elephant-riding princes and bejewelled princesses. She firmly believes there is magic all around us if we only take a minute to look.

She now lives in North Yorkshire, England, where she translates her passion for art, history, mythology and travel, into writing action-packed paranormal romances with all the ‘feels’.

 She loves honourable badass heroes with undiscovered depths, and smart dauntless heroines who can save themselves. 

When not clicking away on her laptop, she runs mum’s taxi service and the bank of mum. In other words, she’s got kids. Coffee, gin, and good friends, keep her sane.

Here are my links:

The Warriors’ Council trilogy

Gabriel –

Javier –

Rafe –   


The Empaths of Venice trilogy

Alexis –


Warriors’ Council World prequel novels

Berlin Nocturne –

Berlin Nocturne is also available as a bonus when you sign up to for Miranda’s Inner Circle monthly newsletter

Paris Prelude –


Follow Miranda Jameson on Facebook for updates, sneak peeks, and offers –


Posted in Uncategorized

When Fiction Becomes Real Life

If you have been following the news lately, you know that a little boy in our area disappeared from his home. Several days passed before he was found. Thank God, he was found safe and sound. I do not know the little boy who was missing but I know his family and felt guilty because what I’m writing is so similar to what they were experiencing. I would never wish to profit from someone else’s tragedy, thankfully, this little boy’s story ended on a happy note.

As I continue to work on this story, I hope to show respect to the families who have had to go through this kind of trauma. I hope to honor the first responders and searchers and the volunteers who spent hours away from their homes and their own families. There were a lot of heroes who devoted hours to searching, serving, praying and watching for this little boy’s safe return.

If this true story has showed me anything, it is that there are still good people in this world. The companies who sent food for the searchers and volunteers, those who came out and offered to help, those who prayed and kept the faith. Living in a small town where everyone is connected to each other, it is that connection that inspired me to write my small-town stories. But like the rest of the world, we have our dark side. We must not get complacent and believe tragedy cannot strike here. While we may not be hot bed of criminal enterprise here in eastern North Carolina, the bad stuff still reaches out to touch occasionally. I’m rejoicing over a little boy I do not know while plotting the peril of a fictional character but don’t worry readers, I believe in happy endings.

Posted in inspiration, my books, Thoughts

Bringing Characters to Life

I have had people ask me about my characters. Most who know me are surprised by the rough language my character, Rae Lynne Grimes in Chrome Pink used. I’ll be honest, Rae Lynne wasn’t always easy to write. She had a dark side filled with a lot of pain that was often difficult to tap into. But I wanted to be honest with my readers, Rae Lynne, a rape survivor, would not be all sunshine and roses. It was important to me and anyone who’d been through something like this, to have a character who was believable. I hope I did that. I also hope, that as people read this story, they realize there is hope. Rae was able to put the pieces back together again with the help of the people she loved. She would never ‘get over’ the rape. It would always be a part of her. But she didn’t have to let it define her. With therapy, support and time, she would learn to trust again. Most importantly, she’d learn to trust herself.

While Rae Lynne is a bit of a ball buster, I like her because she is tough. She went through some terrible things, but she dug her way out of the pit and found her peace. I felt it was important for Rae to already be on her journey to recovery before introducing a man into her life. While I love a hero, the truth is, we have to learn to save ourselves. Logan entered her life at a time of change. He didn’t change her. He believed in her, and to me, that is what a hero is. Logan saw the beautiful woman she tried to hide with piercings and tattoos.

Rae was at her core a good person. She did not always do what was right or smart. Too many times alcohol and drugs made her decisions for her, but clean and sober, she has shown us the beauty, strength and courage of a survivor.

Dana Windley, like Rae just wants to be loved for who she is. She is a strong, vivacious woman. The kind of woman any man would be proud to call his yet all she seems to be finding is losers and bed buddies. She knows she deserves better but the fish in her pool seem to be stagnated.

Dana was fun to write and easier because she’s a bit of a people pleaser. She genuinely likes people but she strives hard to make people like her as well. Like Dana, I’ve had to learn that not everyone you meet will like you and sometimes, it won’t matter what you do.

Dana and Jake seem like opposites, at first, but as we delve deeper we find that, like Rae and Logan, they have unique things in their pasts that make them the perfect match for each other. I believe the perfect couples are those who give each other strength. They build each other up, encourage and cheer one another on to be the best they can be.

Dana likes to be busy. Her thwarted acting career must be channeled into a menagerie of interesting activities. She has a lot of creative energy and uses it for the betterment of her community. Like the women who inspired this character, she is a force of nature and without her the would suffer.

While Dana is confident and competent in many parts of her life, her love life doesn’t measure up until she runs into the one man who truly values her. Isn’t that what we all want; to be valued for who we are?

When my husband and I started dating, I didn’t know he drank. He didn’t for a long time, maybe a beer or so after work. He knew I wouldn’t tolerate a man who drank a lot. I didn’t ask him to change. He changed because he wanted to be with me. He said I was worth it. It is the one thing that surprises his family and friends, I never asked him to stop drinking because I didn’t know he did. In the twenty-seven years we’ve been together I’ve never seen him drunk and only known him to over indulge twice, both times were with our sons after they were grown.

My advice to a man or woman who is looking for someone to love? Find someone who makes you want to be the best you can be but believes you already are.

Posted in my books, Thoughts

I Need a Hero

What Makes a Man a Hero?

I have six sons, a loving husband and several male relatives, all could be romantic heroes, at least to those who love them. We have military men, construction workers and volunteer firemen, first responders, dedicated fathers and Scout leaders, all embody the manly men who set feminine hearts aflutter. They are all good looking too, of course I’m probably a bit prejudice in saying so.

When writing the characters for my stories I don’t set out to use a certain person as a model. Often, traits, events or actions from friends and family members drift into my stories. If you are looking closely, you can see a piece of one son or another, my husband, my best friends, but unlike the characters in my stories, I do not know what is in the heart and heads of real people. In truth, I find it more liberating to create my characters and play inside their skins until I feel I have a real person on the page. While I don’t purposely steal my characters from real life, I am well aware that those around me influence my writing, my building of characters and worlds.

It wasn’t until I was preparing to publish Chrome Pink that I realized how much I’d borrowed from real life. Logan, the hero in Chrome Pink was difficult to write. I wanted him to be understanding and kind, but not wimpy. He had to be strong enough to hold up against a character like Rae Lynne. To find the balance between masculine charm and alpha-male, I looked to the men around me. My sons, husband and assorted relatives are mostly alpha-males. They are strong willed, opinionated and ready for battle but they are also gentle fathers, romantic husbands/lovers, and kind friends. From each of them I was able to see how a man handles the baggage of a traumatic childhood with the strength and character of a man who wants to do and be his best. I hope that I have captured these elements in my characters. I want them to feel real but they are not, they are characters from my imagination, influenced by those around me.

I have thrown everything into this story but the kitchen sink, oh wait, I have that too. My friend has a plaque over her kitchen sink, “No man was ever shot while doing the dishes,” it influenced one of my scenes. What could be sexier than a man doing dishes?

What do you want in your fantasy lover? What makes a man a romantic hero?



Posted in Book Review

Sacrifice by Brigid Kremmerer

The Elemental Series by Brigid Kremmerer
The latest book in this series Sacrifice is a hang onto your seat, fingernail marks in your palms, story of action and emotion that will have you reaching for the box of tissues.
This YA (young adult) series has been an intense rollercoaster ride of romance and excitement. It isn’t a teen anxiety dump of over emotional reactions, this is a real issues with a paranormal twist. Kremmerer gives credence to the difficult life of today’s teens, this isn’t a “Leave it to Beaver” world. While it is enjoyable fiction, it is so well written that is feels real. You remember what it was like to be a teenager, relating to the Merrick brothers and their friends as if they are part of your life. If you have not read this series, what are you waiting for?
Four orphaned brothers with powers of the elements and little else. Trapped by well meaning adults, a system not set up to handle special needs and circumstances, their own kind trying to kill them, add in normal teen choices and difficulties and you have a series that reaches out and grabs you.
Sacrifice is focused on the oldest brother Michael Merrick, he has giving up his own childhood to raise his brothers. He is the interpretation of a true hero, he tries to do what’s right even when it would be easier to walk away and never look back. Michael struggles to keep it all together, protect his brothers and do what he believes his father would expect him to do. He opens his heart and home to others and is the kind of man you want in your corner.
Fall in love with the Merrick brothers, read this amazing series and tell me what you love about it or what you don’t.

Posted in poetry

Changes by: Mom

This was written for my son Jason just after his first deployment. This week is his birthday and I thought I’d post this poem. I love you Jay-bird.

Winter, spring, summer and autumn
Leafless trees to flowering bud
New birth, new growth
Fresh flowers.
Spring showers
Every thing is new
Once more
Little boys flying kites
Sailing boats
And swinging high
Grow to be young men
Men of Valor
Men of Honor
Leaves of autumn
Leaves of fall
Changing colors
Dancing in the wind
Like the seasons
Life circles around
All is new again.