Posted in inspiration, Thoughts

The Knowledge of Good and Evil

The Burden of Knowledge whether Good or Evil

From my earliest Bible study, I remember wondering why God didn’t want man or woman to know things. Why would he care if we ate from the Tree of Knowledge? Why shouldn’t we know what God knows? As an adult I’ve learned things that were once outside of my tiny sphere of knowledge and experience. Things that I cannot NOW unknow. Not all were the horrors of people’s mistreatment of other people, though, that was devastating to learn. Some of what I had to face were my own prejudices based on my limited understanding. The hardest thing to unknow is your own failings as a human being.

Growing up in a small town I was insulated from many of the world events, and I was secure in my tiny bubble that this was what the world was like. Like a tiny child who is loved and protected, my understanding of the world was limited to what I could see, feel and hear. Over the years my tiny bubble has grown to encompass a larger world and hopefully a greater understanding. I have experienced the world through life events, the media, entertainment and relationships. Each of these contacts have brought with them a different point of view, a new set of questions and a widening of the world I’d previously known.

As a writer, I’m constantly seeking to expand my characters’ base of understanding but also create in them their own tiny bubble. Every character has to deal with a personal lie in order to experience growth and change, which brings about story. Exploring backstory, watching real people and studying psychology have allowed me better understand what a character will do and how they will react to certain circumstances. Yet even as I try to step out of the story, much of what I write is filtered through the lens my own truths, my own tiny bubble.

A somewhat bizarre conversation with my teenaged grandchildren over Easter opened my eyes to another perspective that I’d previously missed. It is amazing and frightening how much they know and understand at their young ages, more than I do in my advanced years. There have been things I’ve learned that I wish I could unknow because the knowing changes me and not always for the good. While there are somethings I’m thankful to have untangled; there are even more that the knowledge of does not bring me comfort. It has made me realize that perhaps God didn’t want us to eat from the Tree of Knowledge, not because he didn’t want us to know the things he knows but that he didn’t want us to be burdened with that knowledge.

My grandchildren impressed me with their knowledge of the world’s hurts. Their comprehension of the cause and effect trauma and abuse has on a person, is even greater than my own after years of study and life experience. It makes my heart hurt that this knowledge is part of them already, for it will color how they view the world. We cannot unknow something we’ve been exposed to. We can choose to ignore it and call it a lie but the only person we’re deceiving is ourselves. Like the characters I write about, some have seen or experienced some of the ugliness in the world, others are aware through friendships and relationships, each reacts from their sphere of knowledge, their tiny bubble of understanding. As writers, we hope to give readers a new way of experiencing the world without having to go through all of the trauma and drama themselves, open your heart and mind, READ.

Posted in audio books, Book Review

How to Fail at Flirting

How to Fail at Flirting by Denise Williams Narrated by January LaVoy

By the title I expected “How to Fail at Flirting” to be a lovely rom-com, and while Ms. Williams entertained with a few palm-to-the-forehead moments, it soon became apparent that this was a serious story of one woman’s journey of trust. Dr. Naya Turner should have it all. She is a strong, beautiful professor of education, not only intelligent, she is also kind and funny, but she has a dark secret. Author Denise Williams shows readers how anyone can become a victim of relationship abuse. It doesn’t matter what race, economic status or education, our desire to be part of a couple, to please another person, can be used against us.

When Naya decides to take a chance and learn to live her life again, she meets Jake. He was supposed to be a one-night stand, but his kindness and goofy humor are addictive and soon they become entangled in a relationship that could set her back professionally. Even as Jake reveals his own weaknesses and fears, Naya cannot admit to her own until it’s too late.

I admire Ms. Williams for telling this story, for empowering women to take back control. Every woman has the right to be the heroine in her own story. It’s not easy to fight back whether it’s seeking legal advice, sharing our stories with a counselor or confronting our abuser, but with the help of those who love and care about us, we can find the strength and courage to end the cycle. While this was a difficult subject Ms. Williams told the story with the right blend of levity, grace and reality allowing the reader to see several insights into the effects of abusive relationships.  

Posted in Creekside Cafe, interview, Uncategorized

Welcome Daines Reed to Creekside Cafe

Welcome to Creekside Café Daines Reed the author of Trust and Good Morning Beautiful. It is so good to have you here at my virtual café.

Daines: Sherri! This is such a cool way to connect! Thank you for inviting me.

Sherri: Daines and I met at the North Carolina Book Festival in Raleigh. We were seated back to back with our partners and struck up a friendship. Meeting you and Yesenia was one of the best things that happened at the festival. Did you enjoy the event? Where are you from?

Daines: I knew you’d be a fun neighbor as soon as I saw you. Besides meeting new readers, the best part about these events is connecting with other authors— especially in different genres.

I’m a North Carolina girl, but I had not heard of the North Carolina Book Festival until this year. As a local author, I try to support and participate in as many local events as possible. North Carolina is my home, so I have a lot of fun at these events.

Sherri: It was the first I’d heard of the North Carolina Book Festival, too.

I purchased Trust when I came home. Your words paint a picture I recognize all too well. I started reading just to get a feel for your story and found myself turning pages. Tell us where this story came from.

Daines: Thank you for your purchase! My goal was to write a book that you could fall right into— you know— get right into the meat of the story. The story is the culmination of many events—a conversation with my brother about our family’s future, ideas about legacy-building, an invitation to join a book club— these things all happened at once, and I was struck by an idea to turn it into a story.

Sherri: It is very often our work family and our gal pals who help us through the worst parts of our lives and are there to celebrate the best parts. I’m so thankful for my friends and family. Were your books inspired by your friends?

Daines: My books were absolutely inspired by my friends— especially a core group of phenomenal women whom I worked with for nearly 10 years. We were fortunate to work in an environment where we could create a strong support system for ourselves. As our friendship grew into sisterhood over the years, work became a place of refuge for us and we were able to see the value in that.

For this story, I wanted to really highlight the blessings that happen when friends become your family.

Sherri: I can’t believe it’s your first book. Trust is beautifully written. Good Morning Beautiful is your sequel to Trust, tell us a little about it. Will you have another book in this series? What are you working on now?

Daines: I wrote Trust with the goal of sharing a particular story. However, as the book progressed, I knew that each character needed to tell her own story. Isn’t that how real life happens? We may have a collective story, but we also have individual stories that place us on the paths we travel.

Rather than cram all of these important details into one book, I decided to write a series of books, allowing each character the proper space and time to tell her own story. This will be a five-book series.

Sherri: I’m looking forward to reading more of your work. You are such an inspiration. I hope we run into each other again someday soon and please tell Yesenia I’d love to have her on my blog as well. It has been delightful to speak to you again. I wish you much success with your books. I enjoyed our interview you can follow Daines through her links below and don’t forget to check out her books. Her third book The Pin will be coming out in August 2020.

Thank you for stopping by Creekside Café.

Social media links:

Posted in Book Review

Schooling the Duke

by Christi Caldwell, narrated by Tim Campbell

When former soldier, Graham Linfor, now a Duke becomes the guardian of a young woman, the natural daughter of the man who once saved his life. He has to do his best to see she is educated and readied for polite society. In searching for a companion and instructor, he is reunited with the woman who betrayed him.

Mrs. Rowena Bryant is a dragon. The best instructor in the finishing school, despised by her students and fearful that anyone might learn of her dreadful secrets. Forced by the deception of the man she loved to leave home and fend for herself, Rowena has learned to trust no one but herself.

When faced with the man she once loved and forced by her headmistress to accept his offer as companion to his ward, Rowena must fight her unruly heart and the desire he still inspires in her.

They each have demons to battle but when the truth of their separation is revealed the past threatens to boil over and they risk being burned by their own passions.

You cannot go home again, they say, but you can start anew, if you are willing to take a chance.

Christi Caldwell makes us fall in love and suffer heartache right along with her characters. I was laughing and crying through out this story. She gives us strong characters who capture our hearts. A great historical romance.