Posted in audio books, my books

I Tried Something New!

I tried something new. While listening to a Draft2Digital YouTube video with Google Play’s Ryan Dingler, I learned that Google Play offers to create free audiobooks for authors using AI (artificial intelligence). I have always wanted to get my books on audio but it is so expensive and I did not feel that my sales were to a place that I could leap out and pay a couple thousand dollars to have an audiobook made.

When I heard about Google Play’s offer, I uploaded my books to Google Play and began looking or rather, listening for the right voice. Now it doesn’t sound exactly natural but it’s not bad. I played with it, speeding up the reading until it felt comfortable to my ear. I’m giving away 1000 copies of Chrome Pink audiobook and hope to receive some feedback. Should I upload all my books to Google Play’s AI audio? Free code to try Chrome Pink Audio Q5B0LUDH80TD7

For anyone who is an indie author, whether you publish with Draft2Digital or not, I suggest you check out their blog and their YouTube videos. They are a great source of information. And if you’re not publishing with D2D, why not? They make life so much easier.

Posted in inspiration, Thoughts, Writing tips

Sex Scenes versus Love Scenes

How much sex should there be in a romance novel? Are you a less is more or give me all the nitty gritty?

If you are a romance writer, you have heard the debate over the term “clean” romances. For those who aren’t familiar with the name, it’s about romances with no sex what-so-ever, usually Christian romances. Now I’m not knocking the Christian romance genre or even the choice to have no sex in the story, I love Hallmark movies and they barely even kiss. I like everything from chaste romances to the more erotic motorcycle club romances.

My biggest problem with clean romances, other than the name, is that they take out the sexual tension. Even the squeaky-clean movies of the 1950s had a little tension in them. I just don’t think it’s believable to have a romance with no sexual tension. Even Christians planning to abstain from sex until marriage should desire their person. To do honor to their vows of chastity, we should see their struggle. What do they do to ensure they remain celibate? Do they employ a chaperone to avoid temptation? Do the abstain from touching one another? What is their reaction when they do touch? Do they blush or jump apart when someone comes around? Innocent touches, holding hands, and longing glances show their desire. I believe you can honor the genre and give respect to the real people who are trying to remain chaste by showing honestly the effort to battle “the desires of the flesh.”

But romance isn’t just about sex, it’s about falling in love. While sexual tension is a big part of romance, it is also those tender scenes where the couple is getting to know each other. It’s that ah-ha moment when they realize this is their person, and learning their true heart. It is the emotional and well as the sensual that makes a believable romance.

So, whether you’re reading or writing a chaste romance or something a little dirtier showing the journey to falling in love is an important part of the process. For me, I like to see the couple becoming friends or learning to respect each other, and I definitely want to know their hot for each other. What is most important part of the romance story for you? Do you want sexy, sexually tense or chaste romances?

Posted in interview, promo

My Interview with Awesome Gang

Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I have published eight books, nine if you include the box set for my first three books. I’m currently working on three books, two are part of my current series, The Harrell Family Chronicles. The third book is something totally different, a historical series I’ve been playing with for several years.

What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Willow’s Retreat released in September, the main character Dr. Willow Rider is estranged from her family. She wants a second chance with her husband and sons but when ghosts from the past threaten them she will sacrifice herself to keep them safe. She is surprised to learn they are willing to do the same for her. After the family’s home is attacked by a motorcycle gang, Willow comes to terms with her own failings and instead of retreating as she has in the past, she faces them and gains all she has been hoping for, a home and family. With the help of those she loves she starts a therapy ranch, thus Willow’s Retreat takes on another meaning.

Do you have any unusual writing habits?
They aren’t unusual for me. Since I’m still employed full time and have a very large family, six sons and twenty-one grandchildren, I’ve learned to carve out time wherever I can. I write on my phone, usually just scenes or notes, on my laptop at work or when I take my mom to doctors, and although I don’t outline, I do plan parts of my story and I fast draft. I think fast drafting is a lot like an outline but it works as my first draft. It’s a rough, bare bones story which I later go back and add details and emotions.

What authors, or books have influenced you?
Oh wow, so many… being a part of several writer’s groups I have had the pleasure of meeting some wonderful authors in person: Reese Ryan, Virginia Kantra, Sabrina Jeffries and Maya Rodale, but one I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting but would love to is Jayne Ann Krentz. JAK made me believe that I could write historical or contemporary books because she wrote successfully in both worlds.

What are you working on now?
My main focus at the moment is a Christmas novella for my current series. I’m hoping to get it out the first of November.

What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I use Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn. I believe Twitter is reviving again, while Facebook is losing traction. Instagram seems to be holding steady but LinkedIn has begun to pick up notice. I have also gained more attention with my website. I haven’t taken the time to learn any of the newer methods, it’s already a juggling act to be present on these other sites.

Do you have any advice for new authors?
Don’t wait until you are ready to publish to start gaining followers on social media. Build your audience early. Share your writing, research, interest, etc. It will be only friends and family at first but you will be surprised by how it builds.
Do not be afraid to write your truth even in fiction. Someone needs the story you are writing. Write and rewrite until it’s good but remember it will never be perfect but that’s okay, publish it anyway.

What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Not just for writing but for life, do what scares you. If you aren’t a little afraid, do you care enough? Write, do what you are passionate about not what everyone expects or what is popular.

What are you reading now?
I’m reading a debut suspense novel by L C Larsen “Some Men Deserve to Die” and a historical romance by Erica Ridley, “The Duke Heist.”

What’s next for you as a writer?
I am planning another book in my Harrell Family Chronicles and plan to get my historical series finished and launched next year.

If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
I don’t know how to answer that question, the practical side of me says I need a survival guide, maybe something by Bear Gillis, I’d want a journal to write in, a Bible to give me hope and comfort, and one of my favorite authors, Jayne Ann Krentz or Sabrina Jeffries, maybe Reese Ryan.

As an indie author I’m always looking for ways to promote my books that doesn’t cost a fortune. My friend and fellow author, MK “Marni” Graff told me about Awesome Gang. Their author interviews are free and their promo prices are reasonable. Here is a link to their author resources.

Hi Awesome Author Tomorrow is National Coffee Day! I love coffee to say the least. I probably drink 7-10 cups a day. (yeah I know that’s a lot) Even though it really starts tomorrow I was thinking we send out a coupon to celebrate our love of coffee. It has been a hot minute since I have sent out a coupon for Why not use this Holiday to perk things up. (Sorry for the pun – not really)  For a limited time if you go to and use coupon code COFFEE you will save 25% off our regular $65 price. Remember to hit apply after submitting the coupon to see the new total. This will only be good for 48 hours or 50 book submissions whatever comes first.  Thanks for being awesomeVinny PS. Remember to use the hashtag #nationalcoffeeday today to get more buzz for your social media post. 

Author Websites and Profiles
Sherri Hollister Website
Sherri Hollister Amazon Profile

Sherri Hollister’s Social Media Links
Goodreads Profile
Facebook Profile
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Posted in backstory, inspiration, my books, promo, Thoughts

What is Romance?

What is romance? I’ve been married for thirty years, and my husband is more romantic than I am. I tend to be more practical. Which is funny since he is the rough and tough biker dude and I’m supposed to be a romance writer. Growing up I was always a hopeless romantic, in love with the idea of being in love. As an adult with children, I learned that romance is the little kindnesses we do for each other to make our lives better.

My husband brought me a silk rose with a Tasmanian Devil clutched to its stem, just because he saw it when he was getting gas and thought it would make me smile. Even the memory of it, having lost it in the house fire, still makes me smile. The sweetness of the gesture is just one of many over the years my Sexy Mechanic has shown me. He used to pick wildflowers and bring to me until my allergies got so bad, he had to stop. He’d find something in a store, on the road or at a friends’ house and he’d get it for me just because he thought I’d like it. It might cost a dollar or hundreds of dollars, but the premise was the same, he thought about me for no reason. In the above collage are two very special gifts: one, a purse made from a license plate he purchased when he drove three hours to take our first granddaughter to her Princess Ball, the second, a license plate to commemorate the publishing of my first book. One was an impulse buy but the other had to be planned ahead, each is special because they show what a caring person my husband is.

In writing romance, I often forget to add these little gestures. I read The Dating Dare by Jayci Lee where the couple planned to go on four dates with the promise, they would not fall in love with each other. Seth Kim gets it right when he gives Tara Parks a unique, big gesture, proving he listened to her, and he gave her something that was meaningful to her. How many couples get it wrong because they do what is expected or what society says they should instead of giving the person something that is unique to their personality. I remember the old television show, The Facts of Life when Jo’s boyfriend brings her a bouquet of flowers with wrenches added into the mix. He understood what his girlfriend enjoyed and while the gift was somewhat traditional, it had a little spin to make it special.

In Willow’s Retreat one of the biggest problems John and Willow face is he gives her what he thinks she wants but doesn’t take time to find out if it really is what she wants. He is too afraid to hope she really wants him.

What grand gestures or special gifts have you received from you special someone? Why was it so special? If you have a photo, share it. Anyone sharing a special gesture or gift will be put in a drawing for a signed copy of my latest book, Willow’s Retreat. So, share the romance. Who knows, I might even use your ideas in one of my stories.

Don’t forget Willow’s Retreat launches August 24th, please help me celebrate my book birthday!

One lucky winner will be drawn August 31st, I’ll contact you for mailing information. Don’t forget to post!

Posted in my books, promo

Willow’s Retreat

Willow wants to repair the relationships with her husband and sons. When someone from her past threatens her family, she doesn’t have time to waste.

Dr. Willow Rider may not be a good mother or wife, she is an awesome psychiatrist. It is time she takes her own advice. She must face the ghosts of her past to make way for the future. Will she mend or family or move on without them?

Rider Harrell has no intention of coming out just yet. He likes things just the way they are. He’s well thought of in the community, on his job and he loves being a volunteer firefighter. When his cousin dies, he becomes the target of his former aunt’s revenge. It’s not enough that she tells the world he’s gay but she makes everyone believe it was his fault Bobby died. When the town of Leeward and the volunteer fire department is targeted, everyone blames Rider. It soon becomes evident that the whole Harrell family is in jeopardy.

Pre-order price for eBook is 99 cents.

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Posted in event, my books, News, promo

New Book Launching Soon!

Thanks to my daughter-in-law, Brandi Lupton for finding a friend willing to share a photo with me for my upcoming cover! Thank you Linda and Lee Major, and Flame for allowing me to use your image!

Every time I think I have learned what it means to be an indie author I discover there is something else I didn’t know, didn’t do correctly or forgot. Of course it doesn’t help that I’m often publishing in the middle of the night because I have to go to work at my bill-paying-job the next day, or I have this amount of time to write or learn how to do something, let’s write. Too often I feel there are only a few hours in the day I can devote to being an author and I have to divide them into writing, editing, marketing, publishing, etc.

Being an indie author is much like any other small business owner. As the owner everything falls to you and until you make money you can’t afford to hire others to take up some of the slack. So, you juggle all of the jobs that have to be done and too often you find out the hard way what you don’t know. For me, it’s marketing. I don’t want to go around shouting buy my book, buy my book! But please, buy my book!

But how else do you market if you don’t shout out here’s the book buy it? I don’t know. I just want to write. I take classes both online and in person. I belong to several writers’ groups, and I study what I see others doing. But while money is a problem, it is also the limit of time. How best to spend my time as well as my dollars?

In writing this new book, Willow’s Secrets many of you will be surprised that it is Book One of The Harrell Family Chronicles. This is because of one of those things I didn’t know. When I finished The Leeward Files series with Book Five Red Steel, I thought it could also serve as my Book One for The Harrell Family Chronicles, B-U-T it doesn’t show up that way and if I want new readers who may start at the new series, I need a new number one that would begin the series in such a way as to let readers know enough of what happened before but not bog them down. If they are interested enough they might want to go back and read the first series but if not, they could just wander through the new one. UGH! The things I do to myself.

If you have followed me for any length of time, you know I’m basically a pantser. I write by the seat of my pants, heck, I live by the seat of my pants. With six sons and my husband, no matter how many plans I make, I often have to adjust them. It was difficult at first and then it just became my normal.

About The Harrell Family Chronicles new book, Willow’s Retreat, I didn’t want to interfere with the stories that were already published but felt I needed an origin story. I looked to the older adults to give me what I needed to write book one. Willow’s retreat combines the loves and marriages of the three Harrell brothers who inherited the farm from their father: John, Charlie and Robert, told from the points of view of John, his wife Willow and their son, Rider.

Book Description

The farmer and the psychiatrist. Willow and John should have never met, much less fallen in love, but they did. Thirty years later their relationship is in limbo. When her nephew dies in a tragic fire, Dr. Willow Rider knows she has to repair her relationship with her husband and sons before it’s too late. She is a terrible mother and an awful wife but she’s an awesome therapist. Can she take her own advice and save her family?

Saint John, the oldest of the Harrell brothers has sacrificed everything to ensure his family’s happiness. Isn’t it time he grabs his own happiness? He is willing to do anything for a second chance with Willow, even take her crazy bet. But as he makes the same stupid mistakes, he pushes her farther away.

When a motorcycle club believes the only thing keeping them from gaining control of the local sex trafficking cartel is the Harrell family, they are their town come under attack.

Willow and John’s second chance at happiness may go up in flames as they find themselves at war with the Steel Marauders.

Cover Reveal August 1st


Cover Reveal Sunday, August 1st, 2021

Book Launch Tuesday, August 24th, 2021

Book Blog Tour Tuesday, August 24th – Thursday, August 26th, 2021

If you would like to be a part of the Blog Tour you can sign up here. (Just click on the link)

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Posted in News, Thoughts

Remembering Adrienne

I have told this story before to sell books but my telling it now has another purpose, to honor a friend. Adrienne Dunning was a fantastic, funny and feisty woman who lived up to her hair color. She died in a tragic accident the morning of July 5th. We’d just started making plans to return to Murfreesboro for a second writers’ retreat.

It was nearly two years ago, my friend, Adrienne Dunning and I were going to a writers’ retreat in Murfreesboro. I had known Adrienne for several years through the Pamlico Writers’s Group and our work on the writers conference. We’d become closer as we worked more closely together on projects for the Pamlico Writers. Like me, Adrienne had a lot of ideas and together we were looking forward to making them happen. We were still getting to know each other on a personal level, but we liked and respected each other’s work and writing so had made plans to attend several events together or meet up at a couple. The first was our trip to Murfreesboro.

Adrienne drove, and she and I shared stories about ourselves on our trip. I’d left my husband home with no electricity after a hurricane. He had told me to go, no need for me to cancel my plans since everything else was okay. Adrienne pointed out familiar places as she’d grown up in the area. She took me on a quick driving tour of the college and down town before bringing me up to the renovated house where I’d be staying. Adrienne would stay with her parents since they lived nearby and come in for the meals and meetings.

The event’s coordinator and owner of the house, Ruth Akright, had serval authors and a illustrator who would come in to do presentations. While I truly enjoyed the events and meeting the other authors, it was our impromptu discussions about writing that made the weekend the most memorable for me.

I was struggling to write my fourth book feeling frustrated that I just couldn’t get it right. I wanted a true romance without all the murder and explosions. Adrienne pointed out that I was struggling because I was trying to force the story. That instead of trying to make it be a romance, just write it. And if I had to blow things up or murder a few people, well just go with it. I’d already written three romantic suspense stories, evidently that’s what I enjoyed writing.

Being true to yourself… true to your passions. Adrienne loved romance and Scotland, combining the two and finally checking Scotland off her bucket list was what she dreamed of! She enjoyed sharing her books with her readers but helping other writers was another passion.

I will miss Adrienne as a friend, fellow writer and her dedication to the Pamlico Writers’ Group. To her parents, family and friends I add my condolences. To her readers and fans her light was extinguished too soon. To those of us who were just getting to know the wonderful, talented woman, the loss is greater for the regrets, we believed we had more time.

Posted in contest

Enter My Spring Fever Contest

Welcome to my Spring Fever Contest. If you are as tired of winter as I am, then how about breaking the monotony with a little contest? Here in eastern North Carolina we’ve not had to shovel snow but I’ve been thinking of building an ark. We’ve had so much rain I think I’ve sprouted gills and a tail.

I would like to share with you two of my favorite things: coffee and chocolate! Since I can’t buy you all a cup of coffee and I don’t have enough chocolate to go around, I thought why not a contest.

A $10 Starbucks gift card and a collection of Ferrero Rocher chocolates value $12.