Posted in Creekside Cafe, interview

On the Porch with North Carolina Author, Sandra Cox

Today I’d like to welcome fellow North Carolina author, Sandra Cox to my virtual café. Welcome Sandra to Creekside Café.

Sandra: Thanks, Sherri, I’m thrilled to be here.

Sherri: It is kind of funny that you and I met on Twitter through writer friends that live all over the country, some even out of the US and we’re both in North Carolina.

Sandra: I love it: It amazes me how many North Carolina writers are out there.

Sherri: I read your ebook Queen of Diamonds and I loved it. What a fantastic twist. Do all of your books have an element of suspense and romance?

Sandra: Yes. I like an action/suspense storyline with a romance woven through it.

Sherri: If I’ve counted correctly, you have 38 published books.

Sandra: I blush to admit, I’m not sure.  I’ve retired quite a few and republished others.

Sherri: And your latest book is a western, is this your preferred genre?

Sandra: It is. Everything I write now from the old West to paranormal has a Western theme.

Sherri: Tell us about Keeper Tyree. Who is he? What is his code? How does he end up mixed up with this interesting cast of characters?

Sandra: Keeper is hard, no-nonsense and crusty, and believes a man’s word is his bond. But beneath the hardness, he’s got a soft spot for youngsters and respects women.

He can’t walk away from a woman or child in peril.  Men are another matter. He’s a big believer in minding his own business. Cathleen has other ideas and when she digs in her heels, she usually manages to get her way.

Sherri: Who is your favorite character in Keeper Tyree? Who was the most fun to write and who created more of a challenge? Or are they the same?

Sandra: As far as my favorite character and fun to write, it was definitely Keeper. I enjoyed his discomfort as he falls hard for a ‘good woman’. So did his friends and traveling companions. My challenge was fleshing out Cathleen O’Donnell’s character. Keeper’s was larger than life and no problem to write.  Cathleen was more withdrawn and kept parts of herself hidden.

Sherri: Have you always been a writer? When did you first start writing?

Sandra: I’ve been writing forever. I was first offered a contract in 2006 or 2007. Remember Ellora’s Cave? They had a sweet line called Cerridwen Press. They published THE CRYSTAL.

Sherri: Of all your books, is there one that still holds your heart?

Sandra: That’s a tough one. As far as holding my heart, I guess I’d have to say The Catarau Series. When I lost my twelve-year-old cat to cancer, I grieved and wanted him back. So, I wrote a fantasy story where he used one of his lives to come home.

Sherri: Who is your favorite all-time character in all of your books? Would you write another book with them in it?

Sandra: At the moment, Keeper. He’s a keeper after allI’m toying with writing a sequel that takes up where KEEPER TYREE leaves off.

Sherri: If you enjoyed this interview with multi-genre, multi-published author, Sandra Cox, come back June 23rd when I will be doing an interview with Keeper Tyree. Unfortunately, the gunman is a bit busy and won’t be able to make out to the café. No planes, trains or automobiles in the old west, so, I’ll be taking the old mare out and see if I can meet up with the man on the trail. Here’s wishing you all Happy Trails.

All Things Western

By S. Cox


By Sandra Cox

Western Romance

Gwen Slade, Bounty Hunter



Time Travel Western Romance

Montana Shootists


Shapeshifter Modern Day Western Romance

Mateo’s Law


Romantic Suspense with a touch of Paranormal

The Crystal

Paranormal Romance

Tall, Dark and Undead

Romantic Suspense

Queen of Diamonds

About Sandra Cox

Sandra is a vegetarian, animal lover and avid gardener. She lives with her husband, their dog and cats in sunny North Carolina.

Her stories consist of all things Western and more. She is a category bestselling Amazon, and award-winning, author.

Follow Sandra on social media and don’t forget to come back next week when we’ll meet up with Keeper Tyree. 

Posted in audio books, Book Review

Close Up

Close Up by Amanda Quick aka Jayne Ann Krentz

Narrated by Morgan Hallett

I caught part of Jayne Ann Krentz’s Facebook live a few days ago. I was surprised that people were complaining about the era she is setting her historical romances in now. The last few books have been set in 1930s in a resort community just outside of Hollywood. Don’t get me wrong, I adored her regency romances, but this time period in history is so full of interesting breakthroughs in science and politics, music and technology.

The town of Burning Cove just outside of Hollywood is a hotspot for the rich and famous. Amanda Quick has crafted a town peopled with characters we’ve all come to know and love. Close up brings art photographer, Vivian Brazier to the cove when she becomes the target of a killer.

Nick Sundridge uses his talent to protect others. When he is sent to Vivian after she is attacked by the “Dagger Killer,” he knows there is more to this job than just protecting a stranger.

Vivian’s vision with the camera allows her to see the story inside her subjects. It makes her photographs more personal. It also allows her to see the darkness of a murderer, but will she realize too late the danger she is in?

The action-packed romance is in true Amanda Quick style, a little paranormal, a little suspense, a lot of drama, some humor and romance, wow, this is another example of why Amanda Quick/Jayne Ann Krentz is one of my favorite authors.

I’m addicted to audiobooks and Morgan Hallett did a fantastic job of narrating Close Up. She lent her talents to bringing this story to life, allowing us to see and hear the characters as if we are watching it on screen.

Posted in audio books, Book Review

The Vanishing, An Audiobook Review

The Vanishing #1 in the Fogg Lake Series, by Jayne Ann Krentz

Audible Narrated by Sandra Michelle

I’ve made no secret of the fact that Jayne Ann Krentz is one of my favorite authors. One of my bucket list goals is to meet Ms. Krentz, of course I probably won’t be able to talk to her and will end up embarrassing myself, but I’ve already told my niece I’m coming to visit just so I can stalk JAK. You’re safe for now I’m too broke to travel but one day…

The Fogg Lake series is starting out to be another hit, I can hardly wait to read the next book. As a reader I find myself falling into the world Jayne creates and feeling like I am a part of it. Her characters are familiar friends who come to call and when they leave, I miss them. It is one of the great things about listening on audio, I can play it again, Sam. Sandra Michelle has the perfect voice her narration of this book added a feeling of Cinema to the already wonderful story.

As a writer, I’m in awe and a bit jealous of the ease in which Jayne Ann brings her stories to life. Whether it’s her historical Amanda Quick books, her modern JAK’s or her science fiction futuristic Jayne Castle stories, she gives us strong characters. I especially like her strong female characters who often save themselves and even their hero.

In The Vanishing, the two young women, Catalina Lark and Olivia LeClair, define strong modern women. They set their goals and priorities and refuse to let men or circumstances derail them. When Olivia goes missing, Catalina starts searching for her. While admittedly, she might need help, Catalina is no damsel in distress.

When Slater Arganbright shows up at their office the day after Olivia is taken, the two team up to uncover a more serious plot. Equals, each respecting the other’s strengths and willing to offer theirs where the other is weak, Slater and Catalina soon find themselves discovering more than an evil plot to control a missing lab.

Olivia and Catalina along with Slater and the Foundation will have their hands full in this series as one family tries to regain control of the lab for psychic experiments and all of its assets.

This is a fun blend of mystery, intrigue, paranormal and romance. I can’t wait for the next book.

Posted in Creekside Cafe, interview

Interview at Creekside Cafe with Donna Steele

In lieu of new author interviews during the weeks leading to Thanksgiving, I’d like to thank the authors who first gave me a chance to interview them for my Creekside Cafe. Donna Steele was my first interview and I’d like to take a moment to honor her kindness and friendship as well as update her interview. Those of you who read the original interview, thank you, I hope you enjoy the new additions. To those who missed it, this is how it all began.

Interview with contemporary romance author, Donna Steele, Women strong enough for love is the theme of her stories.

Happy Martin Luther King’s day. It’s cool on the river in January and today is downright cold. But it’s a beautiful, sunny day. When the sun is shining in through the windows of the café and a there’s a fire burning in the old wood heater, we can grab a big mug of something warm, and visit with a good friend, everything is cozy.

My guest today is Donna Steele. We’re sipping hot Russian tea with a little extra ginger. I love ginger. It’s really warming. Great for a day like today. What a great idea Donna. We are here in my virtual café looking out at South Creek.

Donna Steele is the author of twenty-five books from Sci-fi romance to contemporary. We are both members of the Romance Writers of America and the local branch, Heart of Carolina. Welcome to Creekside.

Donna: It’s nice to be here.

Sherri: I have to say, I’m impressed. How did you manage to write twenty-five books?

Donna: Lots of Sundrop. That’s my caffeine of choice. I’ve been writing for over ten years. I started with fanfiction. I’ve been published for seven. I’m now retired and I can devote more time to my writing. I wake up around 6 am, start writing about 7:30. I try to write until noon. If the words are flowing it might go a little longer but usually the juice seems to cut off about then.

Sherri: I read your book Cancun Memories and recently started your newest book, Don’t Look Back, The Conall Clan series, I love your characters. You have a great way with dialogue. Where did you learn to write such great dialogue?

Donna: I love writing dialogue. Stephen King is one of my favorite authors. His dialogue reads like people are really talking. When I’m reading one of his books, I even dream about them. I think he has been the biggest influence on my writing. His characters are definitely three dimensional.

Sherri: Stephen King is one of your favorite authors? Who else do you like to read?

Donna: I read any fiction—sci-fi has always been my go-to, then paranormal. I prefer contemporary to historical, but now authors are giving those women strength. Sherri Tepper, Larry Niven, Sherrilyn Kenyon, and I’m getting so many more by reading local authors in HCRW.

Sherri: I’ve started reading more variety. If you could suggest one book to a reader, what would it be?

Donna: Gibbon’s Decline and Fall by Sherri Tepper should be required reading for every woman.

This is from the description of Gibbons – A wave of fundamentalism is sweeping across the globe as the millennium approaches, and a power-hungry presidential candidate sees his ticket to success in making an example out of a teenage girl who abandoned her infant in a Dumpster.

She’s an incredible feminist writer.

Sherri: Your own characters, especially the females are strong women. Often, they are stronger than they realize. Your newest book is the first in a shape shifter series. It’s a bit of suspense, romance and paranormal. Tell us about it.

Donna: Megan Sullivan is trying desperately to escape her stalker. When Detective Wesley Conall suggest she move, at least temporarily, to Sweetwater, North Carolina to disappear, it sounds like a plausible idea.

Lou Conall, Sheriff in Sweetwater, is less than enthused when his cousin foists a victim on him, but he can’t say no to a woman or child that needs protecting. This one shouldn’t be that much of a bother and no way could her stalker track her to this location.

At least that’s what he think until he meet her.

Sherri: I have to laugh because you start it off with a bang. Poor Lou doesn’t see her coming.

 Of your twenty-five books, you are both traditionally published and indie published. What do you think is the hardest thing about publishing a book?

Donna: I’m a Hybrid author. I was with Rebel Ink until they closed, now I’m with Soul Mate Publishing and Indie. The hardest thing about publishing a book is advertising it once it’s finished. There’s so much competition it’s hard to get people to see yours in the crowd.

Sherri: So true. So where can readers find your books?

Donna: Everything is at Amazon –

And Don’t Look Back will remain on sale for $.99 through January. Book two Family Ties, comes out February 1  –

Sherri: for more information about Donna Steele  check out her webpage –

I have read a reviewed all of Donna’s Conall Clan series except the last which I will be starting soon.

Thank you all for joining us.

Low-Calorie, Slow-Cooker Russian Tea recipe:

One pot steeped, strong tea, discard tea bags and add to slow cooker


3-cups orange juice

1-cup lemon juice

I don’t measure the spices, I like a lot of spice



Cinnamon sticks

When ready to serve, strain and put into pot to keep warm

Sweeten to taste with preferred sweetner. (I prefer honey)

Garnish with orange slice

Posted in audio books, Book Review

Angels’ Blood by Nalini Singh, read by Justine Eyre

Chirp Audiobook

Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux is the best at what she does but she’s not prepared for the Archangel Raphael or the mission he has for her.

In a world where the monsters are real, and vampires and angels are interdependent upon each other, a human has little chance of survival. Thankfully, Elena is a little more than human. A born hunter, she heals faster and has a greater ability to hunt, smell, and decipher clues than a regular human.

The sexual chemistry between Elena and Raphael threatens to set the city of New York against itself. He is the most powerful being in New York city and she is the estranged daughter of one of its wealthiest families, both are haunted by nightmares.

Raphael is in danger of becoming one of the monsters. Falling in love with Elena could mean the loss of his mortality. Could one’s weakness bring greater strength? As their romance heats up so does the case that brought them together. The two risk everything, including their own lives to stop a true monster and rescue a city endangered by darkness.

The twist of fate that Nalini Singh creates at the end of this story is truly a stunning feat of fictional writing. I loved it. This is an action adventure paranormal, with tough, strong, dynamic characters. I am in awe of Nalini, her craft, style and fictional world.

Justine Eyre is a fabulous narrator, I’ve enjoyed her reading of several different books. Her reading of Angels’ Blood was fantastic. She brought the characters to life and made it seem as if I were inside the book. I could see, hear and feel the world around me. Justine was a great choice for this work and added another layer to the entertainment.

Posted in Creekside Cafe, interview

Sipping Lattes with Author, Clara Winter

Book signing

I met or discovered Clara Winter through Instagram. We were both participating on an author loop, I saw her book covers and decided to check out her books. In my true bass-akward fashion, I read King of Kings, the third in the Immortal Kindred Series. I fell in love with her writing and asked her to be a guest on my virtual café. Welcome to Creekside Café, Clara.

Check out my review previously on my website, on Amazon, Goodreads and Bookbub

Clara: Thank you so much! I’m happy to be here.

Sherri: Have you ever been to eastern North Carolina? That is where my imaginary café exists, I can picture it on the banks of the Pamlico River, on the Inner Banks of the sound.

Clara: I lived in Charlotte, NC for about four months, many years ago. The farthest east we made it was Raleigh. I’ve heard it’s beautiful, though!

Sherri: It is but it’s hot and humid here in the southeast, still, I enjoy hot coffee on the porch. If the mosquitos don’t get us, sometimes, we can catch a bit of a breeze. One of your posts said, “You’ll never survive an apocalypse if you can’t drink hot coffee in the summer.” It cracked me up. Can I get you a cup?

We’re tough, we drink hot coffee in 90 degree weather

Clara: Yes! A decaf latte, please. I live in Southern California and the baristas at Starbucks look at me like I’m crazy when I order a hot coffee in 90-degree weather. 

Sherri: I was very impressed with King of Kings, is it really only your third novel? It is so very well written.

Clara: Thank you! King is my third full-length novel, yes. My fourth if you count a novella that came out at the same time as the first book in the series.

The Immortal Kindred Series

Sherri: Tell everyone about your Immortal Kindred Series.

The first book is Deepest Midnight? How did you come up with the idea for this series? Did it start with this first book or did you have the whole idea at once?

Clara: The series began with the first book and was originally meant to be a stand-alone. But, as I finished, I realized how in love with these characters I’d become. They each deserved to have their story told, so that’s what I did. Books one through four tells the specific story of one character. The others make appearances, of course. The fifth and final book will bring them all together.

Sherri: Tell us about your characters. I loved Alexandre. He was flawed but still enticing. From the very beginning of the story, he was sensual, sexy and intriguing. I had to keep reading. Don’t reveal too much but give our readers a little insight into this <ahem> person.

Alexandre is so sexy!

Clara: It’s so hard to talk about Alexandre without giving too much away. He has a big job in Deepest Midnight, but then we get his backstory, plus a little more in Book Three. Most of Alexandre’s life has been spent as a selfish bad boy with a wicked sense of humor. He’s a much more mysterious figure in the first book, which is why I don’t want to give away too many details.

Sherri: You have non-stop action. I love that. You book is definitely NOT boring. Who do you like to read? Who or what inspires your writing?

Clara: Thank you so much. I read absolutely everything! I’ve been a voracious reader since childhood when I devoured the Babysitter’s Club, Anne of Green Gables, and Nancy Drew. My teen years were occupied with Anne Rice and all the classics; the Bronte’s, Austen, etc. I told you I read everything! Now, I still read all the above, but also romance, suspense thrillers, and murder mysteries.

Sherri: Have you always been a writer? Obviously, these aren’t your first stories. What else have you written? What do you have on your resume?

Clara: I was not a serious writer until Deepest Midnight. There a couple of children’s stories I wrote years ago, but really DM was my first foray into serious writing. In addition to the three books from the Immortal Kindred series that are out now, there is a romance novella from a collection called Once Upon a Summer. I have been recently branching out into YA. My first published work in this genre was a short story in the anthology titled Magical Realism. I also have two YA novellas that are paranormal, fairytale retellings. The first, Blood Rose, is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast and was released last month in paperback and in ebook as part of an anthology with Enchanted Quill Press. The second, Blood Dream, a Sleeping Beauty retelling, releases next month. It was such fun writing those stories.

Sherri: I’ll have to look for these stories as well.

Your covers are gorgeous, I saw on the title page that Najla Qamber did the cover art, did you have a say in the design?

Clara: I did. Najla is a wonderful artist to work with. She really wants to capture your vision while creating a cover that will speak to the current market. I absolutely love working with her.

Sherri: I’m not familiar with Inkspell Publishing. How did you get discovered?

Clara: Through querying. When Deepest Midnight was completed, I made a list of about fifteen publishers. Inkspell was the second publisher I queried. I feel so lucky to be involved with this company. They truly value their writers and are so incredibly conscientious and honest.

Sherri: Will there be more to the Immortal Kindred Series or do you have something else in mind?

What are you working on now?

Clara: There will be five books total. Book Four, Goddess of the Moon, is coming in December, and the final book, Dark Star is releasing soon after, in January. Currently, I’m working on a new YA, paranormal project.

Sherri: Oh wow, young adult is difficult to write, I love reading it but I don’t think I’m ready to try writing it.

Clara, it has been great having you here at the café. I look forward to reading your other books. Thank you for joining us and maybe one day, we can do this again, in person.

Clara: I had a blast! Thank you!

Clara’s spirit animals.


Clara Winter grew up reading Anne of Green Gables, The Secret Garden, and Alice in Wonderland, while watching Buck Rogers, Star Trek, and Doctor Who. Writing her own stories naturally ensued. She is a wife, mother, and former school counselor, with a Master’s Degree in Counseling. Clara is from Colorado Springs, Co and currently resides in Southern California.

Social Media Links:

Book Links:

Deepest Midnight

Rebel Heart

The King of Kings

Blood Rose

Posted in Book Review

Discovering a New Author

I belong to several on-line groups both on Facebook and Instagram, through these groups I’ve been exposed to new authors. Some authors’ books have been suggested by fellow members of the group and others are members of the groups themselves. I found Clara Winter while we were both participating in a writers’ loop. In the loop we follow each other, check out each other’s posts, social media, etc. I liked her posts and found myself intrigued by her books.

King of Kings is the third book in her Immortal Kindred Series, and I know, starting a series with the third book can be difficult at best and complete chaos at worst. Clara Winter did an excellent job of making King of Kings stand on its own. While now I want to go back and read the first two books, I didn’t feel as if I missed anything with starting with this third book.

King of Kings was more than I thought it would be. From the very beginning it was a very “sexy” book. Not sexual, but sensual. Even before the sex/lovemaking begins, there is a sexiness to this book that pulls you in. It starts with action, and while this action is in the past, it doesn’t cause the story to lag. You get Alexandre’s backstory while being a part of it in interesting glimpses and heart-pounding action.

Alexandre is difficult to like but I fell in love with him from the beginning. He is a bit insolent but he’s deeper than he allows people to see at first. When he is contacted by the very tough Irish woman, Bria, you know that sparks are going to fly. While I didn’t see a romance blooming, I definitely saw some fun moments of clashing wills and personalities.

The history, mythology, action, adventure and fantasy that make up this book is worth the price of admission. I could see this as a movie. I want to see it on the big screen!

If you haven’t discovered Clara Winter yet, you are missing out. This book isn’t just about vampires, it’s a whole lot more. I cannot believe this is only her third novel, she writes like she’s been doing this all of her life. I am in awe and green with envy. Excellent book.

If you like action, adventure, monsters, mythology, history, vampires, romance, relationships, strong characters, women who kick-a$$ and take names, then check out this book. I’ve got to get a bigger book allowance!

Posted in Book Review

Revolution by Adrienne Dunning

A Revolutionary War ghost, a woman on the run and a man burdened by grief are brought together by a spunky old lady and an old house in need of restoration. “Revolution” is set on the boundary of Yorktown’s historic battlefield. Adrienne Dunning does a fabulous job of bringing the past to life as the ghost of Nate Emerson’s grandfather, William Nathaniel Abbott returns to protect the next generation in the Abbott’s long lineage.

Struck down too soon, William Abbott longs to be reunited with his wife Anna. The stranger, Meg, reminds him of his wife and he feels a connection to the wounded woman.

The ghost, William Abbott is as well developed a character as are Nate and Meg. William and grandma Clarissa are my favorites, their love of family transcends time and death, but it is the friendship and romance developing between Nate and Meg that makes me love reading romance.

This is a second chance romance but it is also about a second chance to do the right thing, a second chance to help another person, second chances to stand up for yourself, a second chance to live and love and make a difference.

Posted in audio books, Book Review

An Audible Original

How To Date Your Dragon by Molly Harper, narrated by Amanda Ronconi & Jonathan Davis  (An Audible Original)

This is the first of the Mystic Bayou Series. I am so thrilled to find this series on Audible. While I’m not a big paranormal romance reader, I fell in love with the charm and quirky characters in this book and can’t wait to listen to the next one.

Molly Harper has written a delightful community in the best place in the world for strange and supernatural characters, the Louisiana bayous. I didn’t just fall in love with Sheriff Bael Boone and Dr. Jillian Ramsay, but with the whole town of Mystic Bayou and all the strange and wonderful characters that give it charm.

Ms. Harper is quirky, funny and down right evil in a good way when it comes to the love/hate relationship between Sheriff Bael and his boss, the mayor, Zed Berend, but she does a wonderfully believable job of switching gears when the two men have to deal with murder. As Dr. Jillian observes, Zed’s actions during the investigation and his ability to work cohesively with the sheriff explains why he is mayor. The two men make a great team.

Jillian and Bael struggle to find the right path between human and Majick. While Bael wants to make her part of his treasure, Jillian has worked too hard to give up her dreams of being an anthropologist. Can they have it all? Well this is romance and Mystic Bayou, hold onto your hat and get ready for a bumpy ride.

Narrators Amanda Ronconi and Jonathan Davis breathe life into these wonderful characters, making their words and actions dance and sway to the rhythm of a Zydeco band.

If you like sassy and sweet with a lot of heat, you need to read this series. I know I am.