Posted in Creekside Cafe, interview

Kaitlyn Kalor Visits Creekside Cafe

Kaitlyn Kalor is a 9-year Navy Vet, having spent most of the first decade of the century on active duty. She grew up in the Pacific Northwest, giving her a love of the mountains that she enjoys daily viewing as she now lives in Colorado. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Security and a Master of Business Administration that she earned after the Navy. She has the weaknesses of Vampires, having porphyria. Vampiric myths about their sun weakness were based upon this illness. She is also a Transgender author.

Welcome Kaitlyn Kalor to Creekside Café. I am so excited to be hosting my first author from Tea with Coffee Media Thank you for stopping by my virtual café.

Kaitlyn: Thank you for letting me come by.

Sherri: You spent nine years in the Navy? I have a son who has been in for almost two years. He has just finished his rescue swimmer certification. What was your job in the Navy? Do you use it now that you are a civilian again? Does your time in the Navy influence any of your writing?

Kaitlyn: I was a computer repair for the first 6 years of my time in the Navy. My last 3 was spent as one of their white hat hackers. As a repair person, I managed to half fill a passport in 2 years traveling all over the world to include catching a flight to a carrier from Japan and flying out from Hong Kong. When I left the military, I worked for a Software company that developed software for the Government but after I left that job, the only aspect I still use is the technical writing I did for the Government.

I have a point in the book where one of the characters visit a native city whose design was directly influenced by the time I spent 3 months in Naples and the cities I visited while doing a network install there.

Sherri: You grew up in the Pacific Northwest, I have not been that far west. I’ve only been as far as Wyoming and New Mexico. My niece is out in Washington, and I hope to visit her and her wife one day. My sister-in-law has been out there a couple of times. Do you set any of your stories in Pacific Northwest? Where are your stories set?

Kaitlyn: I currently have no plans to use the Pac NW in the series due to the cultures I am involving. While I have several books planned for the Americas, the time frame puts most of the north under 2 km of ice. The books start 400,000 years in the past, but with Earth looking a little different. The image below is what Earth looks like at the start.

Book one starts between Africa and Asia, in a location that eventually becomes the Middle East. I have a plan that is very very loosely based upon a few scientific theories that will bring the planet inline with how we know the planet to look like.

Sherri: You hold a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Security and a Master’s in Business Administration. No offense but they hardly seem like creative pursuits. How did you go from computer security and business to being an author?

Kaitlyn: At the time I picked up my degrees, I was heavily involved with both in my company. I started writing when I was 17, in the days of Dial up internet with a Star Trek Play By e-Mail Roleplay group. I started a book with a friend in 2003, but that was never finished due to life for both of us.

In 2015, my company let me go. My health at the time started to slide so I started to stream on Twitch until my pain was too much to focus. I will say this, writing good research papers did help my technical performance in writing.

Sherri: What does Pride Month mean for you?

Kaitlyn: I have no option for it. It’s taken decades for me to accept who I am and to figure it out that I am transgendered. This apathy is a side effect from growing up in a Super-Christian household who preached separation, so I disassociated a lot of things, from birthdays to all holidays as I just didn’t grow up with them.

Sherri: Do you know where your inspiration came from for your novel Dawn of Humanity or the series Generations of Humanity? Did you first get started with a character or scene?

Kaitlyn: The story idea came to me one day in early 2018 when I fell into that part of YouTube. The video suggested that Atlantis might have been in Western Africa, the Eye of the Sahara, or its other name, Richart Structure. By the time I had finished watching, I had a basic outline in my head, covering at least 25 books. It has undergone several revisions since then, but the primary story arc has remained the same.

Sherri: Are you a plotter or a pantser? How do you write? Is this your first novel? How long have you been writing?

Kaitlyn: This is my first completed novel that was started in 2018, but I’ve been writing since 1997, mostly Fanfiction.  I am a planster right now. Draft 1 was written by the seat of my pants, then I started using the snowflake method to plan out the rest of the series. Draft 1 was a dual timeline novel, with a group from today discovering the past and re-living memories of the Aliens. I ended up scrapping most of my first draft because the second half of the series didn’t work due to power creep, and I couldn’t find an interesting way to keep the current timeline involved with the past. When I went to do draft 2, I ripped out the modern timeline and everything slid into place.

Sherri: How many books will be in this series? What is the overall theme? What do you hope readers will think or feel when they finish your book?

Kaitlyn: The series is currently planned for 22 books plus an apocalyptic trilogy to wrap up everything at the end.

I am hopeful that my books have my readers looking into our history, learning about civilizations that helped create our current world. I have a plan to write worldwide cultures to include African and American Gods. Morimi is the Yoruba Goddess of Fire for example, and she will have a strong role in the series. 

Sherri: Tell me about some of your characters. How would you describe them? What is their theme song?

Kaitlyn: The series uses the concepts of the Yuga’s from Hinduism and Reincarnation. While my ages are shorter than the ones in Hinduism, the concept of the Earth going through Cycles is a key plot point. Right now, I plan on having 6 major ages.

With this in mind, we learn that Enki is a new soul, learning about the world for the first time, while his biological father, Enlil, has been reincarnated several times. Chronos as well. The Anunnaki and Annunaki Titans are Reptilian aliens. Think of the smaller creatures from 1993’s Jurassic Park (Their fake Raptors for example Dilophosaurus) but upright like Humans. They come in all kinds of shapes and sizes.

This is Papsukkal, Gaia’s bodyguard. He is dedicated to protecting her, as he protected her father and grandfather. He very much is like “Another One Bites the Dust” when defending his charges from attack.

Gaia, Khione, and Morimi are Humanaki, they can shift their body sizes from 3 meters plus to human size. They have powers of Earth, Water (Ice), and Fire respectively.

Enki’s Theme song is Immigrant Song by Led Zeppelin

F**kin’ Perfect by Pink is Gaia’s theme

Legendary is Chrono’s theme song.

Bad Blood by Taylor Swift is the theme when the two Sky Lords get ready to face off at the end.

Sherri: Kaitlyn, this has been fun. Give us 10 quick, fun facts about you.

Kaitlyn: I am one of the first Navy CTN ratting that was created in 2005. I am a Twitch streamer (when my health allows it), and a Twitch Moderator for a Twitch Partner.

I remember WebTV as my father was one of the few adopters of it. I was the kid who played Oregon Trail in computer labs on the old Apple IIe computers before I was homeschooled. I’ve used NetZero and Juno for dial up internet. My first home computer was a Commodore 64 where I’d end up playing games like F-14 Tomcat. I’d swipe the AOL floppy disc’s from the store entrance whenever I needed floppies.

Being homeschooled, I read a LOT of books. I’d ride my bike 10 miles to the local bookstore and spend the day reading, on most days back when Pagers were all the rage. I’d finish a paperback most days. That’s when I started my writing, via e-mail role play, but I never thought I would be good enough to become an actual author but here we are with my first book coming out 25 years later.

I love Tabletop RPGs, but I tend to be given the role of Game Master. I currently run a game based upon the book with a few from Tea With Coffee Media, for purely selfish reasons. They are helping me flush out the rest of the world.

As I live in Colorado, I grow my own cannabis in hydroponics for my pain management, but I’ve started branching out to grow things like Potatoes and other food in my grow tents.

Sherri: Congratulations on your debut novel. Good luck with your series. I look forward to hearing from you again.

If you all enjoyed this interview, check out Kaitlyn’s book “The Dawn of Humanity” available for pre-order, the links are below, follow her on social media and don’t forget to leave a review. Thanks again for stopping by.

Releases June 21st, 2022!

Book Blurb:

Thousands of years after their planet’s ruin, the Anunnaki and Titans led by Sky Lord An find their way to planet Earth. When this reptilian species lands on Earth, they discover a connection to their powers only described from the days of Olympus.

Sa-Tan Enki led a team of Anunnaki on a mission and set out to create a race of beings that mixed humanity with immortality. However, some of the Titans led by Chronos are unhappy with the creations. What happens when Chronos seeks revenge upon his brother Enlil? To cleanse the new planet of the bastard race, the Titans revolt against the newfound Olympians. Find out what happens in the first book of Generations of Humanity: Dawn of Humanity

My Social Media links are:

BookBub coming soon

Book Links Available for Pre-order! Releases June 21st!

If you are an author looking for a virtual coffee shop to hang out, stop by Creekside Cafe. We’ll treat you so many ways you’re bound to like one of them.

Posted in Creekside Cafe, interview

On The Porch With Kevin Lane

Welcome to my virtual café, author Kevin Lane. This is my daydream to have a coffee shop on the river to visit with my writer friends. The Netherlands is a long way from North Carolina, do you live on the coast?  

Kevin: No actually. I live rather close to the German border if I’m being honest!

Sherri: We have several Dutch communities in eastern North Carolina. My mother-in-law was raised in Terra Ceia, a small community near Pantego. She even worked on the tulip farm and tulips are still one of her favorite flowers. Do you live in the country or city? How does where you live effect your writing?

Kevin: I have lived mostly in urban areas over my life. I pretty much grew up in what is often called my city’s ghetto! It was interesting as it taught me early not to judge by first appearances and I reflect that in my work!

Sherri: How long have you been writing? When we were talking earlier, you said you’ve been planning your world since age six. Did you start writing your story then?

Kevin: The worldbuilding back then was mostly a way for me to deal with my home situation. I won’t go into too much detail, but it was pretty unpleasant back then. I did not start writing my story until about age 12. Those stories were bad, I cringe when I remember them. The current story did not enter its first version until I was 17 when the base elements started being created that makes my main hero and villain who they are!

Sherri: You’ve published a short story on Wattpad, is this part of your novel?

Kevin: It is not. It is supposed to be the start of a larger story based on the series RWBY. It is a very Great world which I feel more can be done with and I wished to try my hand at it. I’m actually planning a follow up and to create JADE as a proper mini writing series. Of course, I will be focusing on my main novel as a priority!

Sherri: Do you find it difficult to juggle real-life work and your writing life? How often to you write? Do you have a schedule?

Kevin: It is sometimes. I have trouble maintaining a schedule in combination with my work, but I would not want to quit because a writer is what I wish to really be!

Sherri: Is there a writing community in your town? I belong to a great local community and an international community they have been a big part of my getting published.

Kevin: There are very few local communities and the ones that exist are mainly book clubs and not focused on writing. Netherlands simply is focused on a pretty grounded living which does not often support creativity!

Sherri: You write fantasy, can you tell us about your novel? When do you hope to release it?

Kevin: It is more dark fantasy. It can be described as Game of Thrones meets Lord of the Rings as my dad put it. It takes place in a world ravaged by chaotic energy which causes natural disaster and beings called Remnants to pop up and with the lack of balance the world is slowly crumbling into the void. It is a very unforgiving world in which death is just a part of life. A religion actually spouts the importance of death to return energy to some Lord of Light. Much attention has been put into the political climate of my world as it is central to the story. I like to say Frostspire is the first chapter of a much larger story. As for a release date, I really can’t say. I still need to work on it a bit as I feel a few things don’t flow as I want them to. But my aim is a 2021 release if possible!

Sherri: I started writing at ten years old. A friend’s hurtful comment kept me from sharing my writing for several years. Another friend and my husband encouraged me to start taking my writing seriously and follow my dream. It takes a lot of courage to put our work out there for others to read. Are you ready to deal with good and bad feedback?

Kevin: I feel so long as it is about my work or my personal actions, I can be fine with it. Bad feedback is a part of putting yourself out there. I am rather shy and anxious much of the time which is why I tend to not show my face much. I believe my work should speak for me.

Sherri: You’re a gamer, what are some of your favorite games? Do they influence your writing? Have you considered writing for games?

Kevin: Video games are a medium I enjoy. Mainly ones that require tactical thinking. Fire emblem. Many JRPG’s (Japanese Role Playing Games). But of course, ones with a great story are my favorites. I love Pokemon, but that is one area it tends to lack in a bit. I have considered writing for video games at one point, but I decided that if I did a visual medium, I should do anime as it is more story driven.

Sherri: What do you love about writing? What has been the most difficult for you to learn?

Kevin: I love the ability for pretty much everyone to share their own Fantasies. Some want to write about an epic fantasy adventure to slay a dragon. others about a coming of age story. And others have more…. physical fantasies. Personally, I think it’s all great as we live in an age where writing is more accessible than ever before as back then it was hidden behind publishers; services like Amazon kindle have made the process much smoother.

As for what was hardest to learn, I would have to say accepting not everyone will like what I write! We as writers have an omnipotent view of our world and so everything is clear to us but to our readers it might seem confusing if we write with that assumption and so I had to learn to write as if I was reading it.

Sherri: I’m so glad we met on Twitter. The Shameless Self Promo group has been an awesome boon. I’m not sure if they’ve helped me sell books but they’ve taught me about marketing, and I’ve made some awesome friends.

Kevin: Yeah, the others are amazing. And I’m glad I met you and them! The promo group helped keep me motivated when I was not feeling well and I’m really grateful for that.

Sherri: Thank you Kevin for joining me on the porch of my Creekside Café. I wish you all the best with your career and thank you all for joining us for another Creekside Café Chat. If you enjoyed this interview you can follow Kevin on social media and keep a lookout for his upcoming novel.

Follow Kevin’s Links below



Posted in Creekside Cafe, interview

Front Porch Chat with Tom Kane

Tom Kane

Today I’d like to welcome Tom Kane to my virtual café. I’d say name your poison but after reading your bio I’m afraid it’ll be lethal.

Tom: Probably not as lethal as you would expect. I’m partial to a good dry Chablis if you want me to open up, otherwise coffee with cream… preferably Colombian. But don’t get me on the whisky, you’ll never shut me up until I fall asleep!

Sherri: I’m a whiskey gal myself. I love Kentucky Bourbon but I drink more coffee than whiskey.

Are you still an ex-pat in Cyprus or have you finally gone back home?

Tom: Still in Cyprus and I expect I may end up falling off my perch here. With the Pandemic still doing its thing airports are sort of opening up, but, well, who knows. Life is one long juggle and all my balls seem to have stayed in the air far too long.

Sherri: Doing research for this interview was definitely interesting. I’m not sure if I should approach with caution or dive right in. You have an eclectic list of books from serious historical to humor. I love both by the way. You even have a couple of “How Tos.” Tell me about the author Tom Kane.

Close-up portrait of a female student holding book in front of her face in the library

Tom: Now you’re on dangerous ground. Tom Kane is three authors. A little boy of 8 who always wanted to write a book and tried, unsuccessfully. A man (kid) of 24 who wanted to write a book, bought an early personal computer to write his book, found nobody had invented the word processor, so learned to write software in order to create a word processor. The author was subsumed into a programmer and never saw the light of day again until about 12 years ago. I don’t know where Tom Kane the author went, but I’m glad he’s back… just in time if you ask me.

Sherri: How do you go from writing historical to humor?

Tom: Deep down inside me there is a comedian, striving to come out. I see humour in many things.

Yesterday I was in a hospital in Nicosia collecting drugs for someone, it took hours in multiple queues, but as I left a man in full surgical gown was wheeling a large bin on wheels full of misshapen blue bags tied at the top in red. Body parts?

He caught my eye and I his and I simply said, “Hi Victor,” as I walked past. His confusion was sublime. I always wondered what happened to Victor Frankenstein and now I know. Mary would have been proud of me.

But to answer the question (I did warn you about the whisky) I see humour in all things, even history that is somewhat dry to others offers a glimmer of humour.

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

Tom: As I mentioned earlier, I only managed to take writing seriously about 12 years ago and it’s a big regret in my life. I was a journo for a PC magazine for a while, writing about business software, but that was soul destroying for a seriously silly writer like me.

Sherri: Two of your books feature World War 2, one was heavily influenced by your father but when I read the title, I thought at first it was a paranormal. How has that book done in the historical market and has there been any confusion? What is the importance of a title and marketing a book?

Tom: When I wrote Operation Werwolf I was somewhat naive about both book titles and genre. I knew nothing of paranormal books and Werwolf refers to the young kids and old men Himmler glued together to create a ramshackle partisan force to repel the allies from Germany.

However, it only caused two people to return their books. But it did prove another point because sales went okay, a couple of hundred, and so the vast majority of people who bought it actually read the blurb, but two didn’t. Point proven? There are more intelligent people in the world than dimwits.

Sherri: You are active on social media, how do you feel books and reading are perceived and promoted differently in the US versus Europe?

Tom: I have a love hate relationship with Twitter and Facebook, particularly Facebook. But it is what it is and we have to use these as tools to showcase ourselves. But the difference between US showcasing and UK showcasing is stark and very much the way we perceive each other. US is in your face and anything goes, whereas UK is more reserved, bordering on deference sometimes. As for Europe, I can only go on what I know of Cyprus, which is even more reserved than the UK and quite gentile… that is until you get into politics and then all hell breaks loose and there is much wailing and gnashing of teeth from all corners of the globe.

Sherri: With your list of books, what are some tips you would give new authors on publishing and marketing. What five things are the most important?

Tom: 1) Build an author platform that includes social media and a blog. Writing a blog will hone your writing skills if you write generalized stuff as I do, from short stories to reviews of other people’s work.

            2) Build your brand. Make your name something to be remembered. If people recognize your brand as being something worthy of paying attention to, you will do okay. It’s a big pond with some very large fish, don’t sink to the bottom and end up covered in silt, to be forgotten about.

            3) Read more, and read varied books. Not just fiction. Anything and everything. You need a broad scope and depth of knowledge. Knowledge is power, fill your head with knowledge.

            4) Never give up. Grit your teeth, get up at 4am, drink gallons of coffee, ignore family and friends, dedicate yourself to your writing.

            5) This is the hard part. Believe in yourself. Don’t doubt yourself. You need an iron resolve even to be mediocre. And I’ll give you another snippet of advice for free.

            6) Do not trust family and friends to read your work and believe what they tell you. It takes a very special family member of friend to tell you the truth. 9 times out of 10 they can’t help themselves and they lie. “Oh yes, I enjoyed that.” Sorry, no, you probably didn’t. Get reviews from paying members of the public or via places like Goodreads, but only from strangers. People who will tell you the truth.

Sherri: What advice do you wish you’d had as a new author?

Tom: One of my family told me I would never make money as a computer programmer and the same one said I would never be able to write a book. WRONG! That ‘advice’ spurred me on, but you may not have the luxury of a family member full of his own BS.

Be honest with yourself. It is bloody hard being a writer, even an unsuccessful writer has to work at it. A successful writer has it even harder because your next book has to be better than the last. Be brutally honest and ask yourself, can I do this?

Sherri: What writing project are you working on now?

Tom: My Brittle trilogy. The Brittle Sea is published, the second book The Brittle Land is ongoing as is the third, The Brittle Sky. It’s a family saga that is taking a lot of brainpower to keep all the characters in place and stop them wandering off for coffee breaks or taking a dump. Families are hard to discipline!

Sherri: What do you wish you’d done differently when you published your first book?

Tom: Paid more attention to the cover. It will attract people or it will make them wrinkle their noses and walk on by. Pay attention to what it is you are trying to sell.

Sherri: How do you feel your writing has grown? What has been the biggest change in your writing?

Tom: I’m a lot more relaxed with my writing. With that relaxation I find the storylines are flowing better. But with that comes more and more ideas. I have about 10 works in progress and another 120 ideas in the pipeline, time’s running out!

Sherri: What would you like readers to know about you as a person?

Tom: I’m human. I have all the good and bad traits any human has. All of my being, good and bad, goes into my writing in the hope that as you read my work, you may just see a glimmer of me from the corner of your eye.

Sherri: Have you published a new book recently?

Tom: Yes, The Brittle Sea has been out about a month and it’s a very slow process building traction. But, I have some good reviews (don’t get me started on Amazon refusing reviews) and good feedback from readers who I have sent copies to, so I’m hoping this Christmas may prove a good Christmas for me. Who knows… by the way, any whisky left?

Sherri: Tom, thank you for stopping by my Creekside Café. If I ever win the lottery, we will do this for real. If y’all enjoyed our chat follow Tom Kane through his social media and check out his books, he is sure to have something to interest you. Thank you again Tom, I look forward to seeing you on Twitter.


The Brittle Sea: –

A Pat on his Back: –

Operation Werwolf: –

The Demon Murders:-



Amazon Author Page: –

Blog: –



I was born in the corner of the living room, behind the TV, so my father said. That set the tone for the rest of my oddball life.

What is officially known about my birth is that it took place in England. My love of writing was borne from a need to create worlds I wanted to read about, so in some ways writing feeds my egomania.

MOTTO:  A Word Can Change a Mind. A Sentence Can Change a Life. A Book Can Change the World.  © Tom Kane 2020


Tom Kane

Posted in Creekside Cafe, interview

On the Porch with Tyler Wittkofsky

Welcome Tyler is so good to have you here at my virtual café. It is hard to believe we met in a Twitter group but live only a few hours up the coast from each other.

Tyler: Thank you for having me Sherri. I’ve met a lot of great people who live relatively close to me. It’s been a pleasant surprise to connect with so many like minded people.

Sherri: My oldest son lives in South Port. We drive through Leland on the way to visit him. It’s a beautiful section of North Carolina but then, I think North Carolina is one of the prettiest states in the Union but I’ve not yet visited them all. I have a few more trips to make.

Tyler: I love North Carolina. The beach, the mountains, lakes, and valleys, it’s all beautiful and almost picture perfect.

Sherri: When did you first become a writer? Is this something you’ve always enjoyed?

Tyler: I probably started writing stories from about 6 or 7. My grandmother was an English teacher and high school principal, so she worked with me a lot from an early age.

Sherri: Tell us about your grandmother’s influence. What did she tell you that still stays with you today?

Tyler: She loved working with me, reading my stories, helping me to craft new stories and she still does. Her love and care, the bond we built, was what influenced me to love writing. I loved her, and in turn I loved writing.

Sherri: In your book “(Not) Alone,” your character, Henry seems to have it all but just below the surface he is hiding the truth. He is dealing with mental illness, like many who suffer from bipolar disorder and other mental diseases, he can only hide it for so long before the truth comes out. This is a very touchy subject and one that is quite personal. How did you come to write “(Not) Alone?” Are you a psychologist, psychiatrist or therapist?

Tyler: No, this story is based on a true story. Henry is based on me. The stories from each chapter are based on different events that happened in my life. The characters are all based on real people in my life who have helped me along my journey and struggle with mental illness. I wanted to try and connect with people.

Sherri: What do you hope people will discover when they read “(Not) Alone?”

Tyler: I want to help people with mental illness realize they aren’t alone and help people who love someone with a mental illness better be able to help their loved one. Most importantly though, I want to start a conversation about Mental Health. It’s so stigmatized now, and people are afraid to talk about it, but it’s conversations we need to have.  I also have a clothing store on TeeSpring dedicated to mental health clothing. Most of the proceeds go to a local mental health nonprofit.

Sherri: Your other book is a poetry collection, were you first a poet and then a storyteller or have you always pursued both?

Tyler: My poetry collection is also a journey of my mental illness, but before I was diagnosed. I wrote those before I ever even had the thought about “(Not) Alone” but was scared to publish them until after the reception I got from “(Not) Alone”. But even from a young age, I wrote poetry more than story telling.

Sherri: What advice would you give to a new author just starting out?

Tyler: Dont be too hard on yourself. It’s easy to beat yourself up and struggle with your own writing, but lean on friends, family, a community like on Twitter, just anybody who values you and let them help guide you along the journey.

Sherri: What do you wish you’d known before publishing your first book?

Tyler: How hard it would be to promote it. I’m in the world of public relations and communications and have a degree in marketing, and It’s still like a second job promoting your book, finding ways to get the word out, etc. but once word does get out, it gets out.

Sherri: Are you working on a new book or other writing project?

Tyler: I’m working on two books right now, one is based on my grandma and her story of being the first female principal in a rural county. The other is a romance series based on mine and my fiancée’s relationship. I’m also writing as Minotauros for the “Legends of the Veil” blog, a supernatural multi-author blog that follows some really cool legends as we create new journeys for them. It’s really fun because the stories really coincide with one another, so it makes you connect to each character and want to follow each one of their blogs.

Sherri: Tyler, thank you for joining me at my virtual café, perhaps someday we’ll meet in person. If you all enjoyed my conversation with Tyler check out his books and follow him on social media, his links are below.

Social Media –

Stores –

Legends of the Veil –

Posted in Creekside Cafe, interview

Creekside Cafe Chat with Natalie Bartley

Amazon Page:

Welcome Natalie, it is so good to have you at my virtual café.

Natalie: Thank you Sherri, it’s a pleasure to be here.

Sherri: Natalie and I met through our Twitter group Shameless Self-Promo. I am so glad I got involved with this group. I have met some wonderful people.

Natalie: It has been a very supportive community, and I’m glad I found it.

Sherri: You are an author, poet, and priestess. Do these three connect?

Natalie: In my mind they do. I am a sea priestess by training and with that came a dedication to verse and poetry. But because of my novels, I’ve had to put the poetry on the back burner. I have been able to work some poems into my stories, generally by weaving into the tale by way of a spell, all my stories have magic in them some how.

Sherri: When did you first discover your love of writing?

Natalie: I first started writing poetry in high school, the stories were a bit later. Even though I enjoyed writing stories, I could never finish them A poem was quick (for me anyway), and it was done. I found I liked that, the immediate release from getting that which was in my head, out. When I got into college, the first time around, I started having recurring dreams, very specific, very repetitive dreams. I was forced to start writing them down. Most of the ones from that period (2005-2008) are lost, but a couple from my time in university (2008-2015) survived and I am working on finishing them. That in and of itself is exhilarating. Coming back to a project, realizing what I was trying to convey, and then having the voices return to get me to finish the project.

Sherri: When did you first become a published author?

Natalie: My first book, Love and Pain in Zion, was published on December 13, 2019 on Amazon.

Sherri: Are you indie published or traditionally published? What obstacles did you face when you first began your career as a published author?

Natalie: I’m independently published, through Amazon KDP. My main obstacle is marketing, honestly, I’m not very good at putting myself out there. Just publishing has been a nerve-wracking experience for me. But I’m trying, and I’m getting a few sales here and there. Having a couple more books up certainly helps.

Sherri: What are some of the things you’ve learned along the journey that you wish to tell others who are hoping to become published?

Natalie: Don’t stop. Don’t think you can’t do it. Because you can. Keep pushing forward, because the only person who is truly stopping you from doing what you want, is you.

Sherri: How do you juggle real life with your writing, publishing, and promoting?

Natalie: I haven’t, really. I wrote while I was in class, or working. Not so much that it distracted me from finishing my work or school work, but I wrote whenever I could. And now, with three books up on Amazon, I’m really working on the promotion and marketing aspects. I’ve been a little lucky. My job contract ended while we are in quarantine/lockdown, so I’ve been able to devote more time to my writing and promotion. But it has still affected my family life, I haven’t been as engaged in helping my stepson with his schoolwork, and it’s straining our relationship.

Sherri: Do you have any writing/business tips or tricks that have helped you that you’d be willing to share?

Natalie: Keep a book or a journal with you to scribble down ideas, because I’ve been out someplace and had an amazing idea for how to connect two plot points, and nothing to scribble on. And yes, I know that all phones have a notepad, I never seem to remember that. Then I lose the connection and must struggle later to recall it. Also, no idea is too silly. It may not fit with one story, but it may start off a separate one.

Sherri: Share with us one of your favorite moments as a writer/author.

Natalie: When my first book was officially published, I cried a little. Also, when I received the first author copy of “Love and Pain in Zion!”

My second favourite memory, was when my friend told me that he bought the eBook of Apotheosis, but then stopped reading it when he found out there was a paperback, and ordered the paperback. He put reading it on hold until the physical book came in.

Sherri: If you could turn back time, what would you do differently?

Natalie: I’d focus on finishing my stories earlier, get them published sooner, and focus more heavily on promotion and marketing. I think that if I had devoted more active time to my writing, I’d have more finished, and may be a little more along than I am.

Sherri: What do you have in the works now?

Natalie: The next one to finish, hopefully, is The Domed City (working title), is currently up on Wattpad, along with my other works in progress. I don’t see the end to it though, but I am enjoying the ride that Jillian is taking me on. Also, I would very much like to work on my poetry some more.

If you enjoyed our chat, follow Natalie on social media and check out her books. Her links are below:

Facebook/Instagram/Twitter: @NatalieBAuthor


Amazon Page:


Thank you for having me!

Posted in Creekside Cafe, interview

Cooking and Chatting With Nins the Writer

Sherri: I’m chatting today with Nina Romano, whom I know as @ninsthewriter from Twitter.

You know what they say about seven degrees of separation, well, we have a mutual friend, award-winning cozy mystery author, M. K. Graff. Since meeting Nina through Twitter, I have wanted to host her on my website. I am so excited to finally be able to welcome to my Creekside Café, the award-winning poet and author, Nina Romano. It is so good to have you at my virtual café.

Nina: I’m delighted to have this lovely opportunity, Sherri, of speaking to you on a subject dear to my heart: writing.

Sherri: I’m sitting here in awe and unsure how I want to begin. There’s so much I want to ask you. I love following you on Twitter, you are so uplifting. If you don’t mind, I think I’ll start with the basics. Have you always written?

Nina: First, let me thank you for that compliment. I always say: it’s the nature of the beast to try to be supportive and helpful. The simple answer to your question is yes, I’ve always written.The longer answer is that I always wrote poetry since I was a young girl and I always wanted to write fiction.

Sherri: The alphabet after your name is a bit intimidating. If I’d not had the chance to get to know what a gracious person you are and your willingness to help new writers, I would hesitate to ask you to join me on the porch of my cafe. You hold several degrees and have traveled around the world. How have these influenced your writing?

Nina: I like your phraseology of “alphabet” after my name. To tell the truth, I’m pretty amazed myself when I look back and see I hold four degrees, two of those are Master’s and one is an MFA in Creative Writing. The degrees gave me my love of teaching and my enthusiasm for the written word, but also the skills for critical reading and the ability to critique and revise writing.

Travel, on the other hand, is a complete education—when I think of it that way, I’ve accrued quite a few more degrees for every country, state, island, and place visited. What I mean is travelling exposes you to everything—geography, history, languages, religion, currencies, food, drink, morals, dress codes, mores, social etiquette, and behavior. Travel has certainly influenced my writing because I love history and various cultures. I write mostly historical novels, and narrative poetry. My short stories tend to be quite international. They say write what you know, but what is meant by that also encompasses writing what you can know by studying and learning—acquired knowledge.

Sherri: In reading your bio, I see you have had quite a bit published: collections of poetry and short stories, and novels. You’ve had individual poems, stories, reviews, memoir reminiscences, and other pieces of creative nonfiction published in magazines, journals and anthologies. It is truly impressive, tell our readers about some of your work.

Nina: That, dear Sherri, is a loaded question. I’ll try to simplify it as much as I can. Before I began having my novels accepted for publication, I always submitted some kind of writing for possible publication in a literary print or online magazine or journal. A fellow grad student and dear friend, Leonard Nash, a wonderful short story writer and professor, told me many moons ago, to always have from twelve to twenty pieces circulating if you want to publish. I did just that—every Friday, for months, even years, I sent out publishable material. I started to garner publications that I added to my CV and author’s bio, which is exactly what you need in almost every aspect of writing—most especially for query letters to agents, editors, and publishers.

What happens if you’re rejected is you simply repackage the piece or poem, revise, retouch it and resend it to some other editor or publication. Why? Because it’s all so subjective and you need to seek out the right editor or publisher for whatever it is you’re writing. In the meantime, of course, you keep writing, keep trying to buoy yourself if the rejections come hurtling at you too many at a time!  If you get any kind of a personal note that sounds a bit hopeful despite a rejection, you pay attention to it. You can answer direct questions, but you never, and I mean NEVER, write back to defend your writing on a submitted piece. That shows a complete lack of professionalism. You merely say, Thanks, and move on.

Examples of some relatively positive rejections:

  1.  This piece isn’t for us. Solid writing, but do you have an essay on mental health?
  2.  Your writing exhibits a lovely lyrical voice, but for this magazine we’re looking for   something more cutting-edge.
  3. This is well-written, but you used first person POV, and we’re looking for only third—

can you rewrite it?

  • Thanks. These poems don’t work for us. Have any others you’d be interested in submitting?

When you acquire enough published pieces, you begin putting together collections of poems, short stories, essays, novel excerpts, or whatever—in hopes of getting a larger segment of your writing in the form of a book or novel out into the public arena.

Sherri: Your Wayfarer Series is the first that caught my eye. The Secret Language of Women, was the first in that trilogy? From the Wayfarer Series to The Girl Who Loved Cayo Bradley they seem quite different but what do you feel a reader will take away from both?

Nina: They are all different—diverse cultures, countries, eras. However, they’re all historical. I do deep, investigative research so that everything about the time period and era I’m setting the novel in is as factual as possible. I think readers appreciate the systematic inquiry process I employ. I also try very hard to “cover my tracks” in that I like to blend and incorporate the research material so it fits the work and remains almost seamless. This isn’t an easy task, I can guarantee it! 

Sherri: On Twitter, I look forward to your writing advice. You were an adjunct professor at St. Thomas University, you’ve been on panel discussions, given talks and presentations at book fairs, in seminars and in workshops. You’ve spoken at several events, and given readings, signings, and “meet and greets” in bookstores. What bits of advice would you give to writers on the verge of publishing?

Nina: I appreciate you saying that you like my tweets on writing advice. Of late, I’ve been doing less and less of them, having been criticized and even blocked by people who disagree with my writing tips, prompts or advice!

To answer your question about writers on the verge of publishing, there are several crucial things to consider.

Editing is king! Never submit anything that isn’t a complete and polished work. Have your manuscript edited by people who write well and have a history of publication, people who know what they’re talking about when critiquing, and people whose opinions you value and trust.

Rewrite, revise and tighten everything as much as possible before submitting.

Delete extraneous words from dialogue, repetitious words, and any material that may be exquisitely wrought but isn’t appropriate to the work. This is that hated expression: “Kill your darlings!”    

Use a spell check, but be careful and cross-check words with a dictionary and a thesaurus.

Read your work out loud.

Find and use trusted beta readers.

Write a synopsis for the novel in the style of the novel is written in.

Question the validity of every chapter in the novel. What is its purpose? How does it serve the story? Does it propel the action forward?

For short fiction, keep it compact—here compression is vital! Evaluate the plot, story flow, character motivation, cause and effect, and denouement.

Be able to say in a sentence or two what the novel is about—this is known as the “elevator pitch.” Be able to speak about your novel in an intelligent, cohesive, concise way.

Practice reading or reciting aloud. Time yourself. Learn to look up and out at the audience. If you’re reading fiction and you have different characters in the scene, change the tone of voice and inflection for your various characters! Read as slowly and distinctly as possible. Use beats and pauses for poetry.

I could go on and on, but these points are among the important ones.

Sherri: I agree with everything you’ve said but especially the “elevator pitch” and reading your work aloud.

I’m a bit of a foodie, I love the recipes you post on Twitter, do you have one you’d like to share as we move into cooler weather. I know, here in the south, cooler weather is a relative term, but not as sweltering sounds a bit unwieldy.

Nina: Three dishes come to mind. The first one is Pasta Piselli—a soupy pasta dish made with olive oil, onions, peas and tiny elbow, ditalini, or broken up spaghetti or linguine pasta. Additions can be any of these: tiny meatballs, mushrooms, bacon, ham, or fresh tomatoes! Use grated parmigiana or skip it. I serve it with either a fresh Ciabatta loaf, or toasted Tuscan bread.

Lentils—vegetarian style: In Italy I used to get the lentils from the island of Ventotene—one of the Pontine Islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea. Now I use green, orange or almost any kind of lentils—I like Goya’s product. Add: olive oil, carrots, celery, zucchini, sweet potato, a golden potato, mushrooms, leeks, onions, garlic—any or all of these! If you eat meat, you can add cooked, sliced Italian pork sausage, or leftover pieces of lamb, beef steak or filet mignon. For some inexplicable reason, when I use lamb, I add a piece of very dark chocolate, which I call black like as a sinner’s soul!

Caldo Gallego (Galician white bean soup made with a nice chunk of prosciutto on the bone,

(I guess you could use a ham hock—I’ve never done that, but oh well—experiment!)

Add to the cooked beans: turnips, Yukon gold potatoes, and Swiss chard in that order. No salt, no pepper, no oil, no butter! It’s plenty rich!

Sherri: Are you traditionally published, indie or hybrid?

Nina: All of my books have been traditionally published by small, independent publishers.

Sherri: What are some of the struggles you have faced as an author?

Nina: Time to write is a big issue currently—my husband and I travel a great deal.

Finding beta readers I know and trust is difficult. I have one incredibly generous personal editor, Jane Brownley, who is always willing to read for me, and thank heavens she’s a veracious reader although she’s not a writer!

I struggle if I have to interrupt the flow of the writing because I feel I don’t know enough about a particular subject or thing. I stop writing to do more research. This can go on for days!

Sherri: What do you wish you’d known when you first started writing/publishing?

Nina: I should have trusted myself enough to have started younger.

Sherri: What is your next project?

Nina: My present WIP is one I began years ago and gave up on because it’s not my genre and it’s extremely challenging, although it is historical. Maybe this time I’ll finish it. The current stage of the manuscript is chaotic to say the very least. It’s set in the Soviet Union in 1956, after Stalin.

To conclude this lovely “chat”, please let me say a word about the in-depth quality of your interview—I’m so pleased you took the time to read my author’s bio and personal information about me before asking these profound questions. Thank you so much, Sherri. It’s been an absolute pleasure.

Sherri: It has been an honor to have you visit Creekside Cafe. I hope someday we can meet in person.

(To learn more about Nina check out her biography and links below.)


Nina Romano earned a B. S. from Ithaca College, an M.A. from Adelphi University, a B. A. in English, and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Florida International University. She is a world traveler and lover of history. She lived in Rome, Italy, for twenty years where many of her poems and stories are set, and is fluent in Italian and Spanish. Romano has taught English and Literature as an adjunct professor at St. Thomas University, and has interned for poets Marie Howe, Denise Duhamel, and C. K. Williams at the Palm Beach Poetry Festival.

Romano has facilitated poetry and creative writing workshops at the Ft. Lauderdale Main Library, the Sanibel Island Writers Conference, Bridle Path Press Baltimore, Lopez Island Library, Florida Gulf Coast University, Rosemary Beach Writers Conference, the Outreach Program of Palm Beach Poetry Festival, and Summit County Library.

Romano has presented several times at the Miami Book Fair International with her fiction and also with her poetry collections which include: Cooking Lessons from Rock Press, submitted for a Pulitzer Prize, Coffeehouse Meditations from Kitsune Books, She Wouldn’t Sing at My Wedding from Bridle Path Press, Faraway Confections, from Aldrich Press, and Westward: Guided by Starfalls and Moonbows from Red Dashboard, LLC. She has also had two poetry chapbooks published: Prayer in a Summer of Grace and Time’s Mirrored Illusion, both from Flutter Press, and a short story collection, The Other Side of the Gates, from Bridle Path Press.

She has been twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize in Poetry. She has co-authored Writing in a Changing World.

Her short fiction, memoir and poetry appear in numerous reviews and literary journals. Excerpts from her novel, The Secret Language of Women, appear in Dimsum: Asia’s Literary Journal, Southern Women’s Review and Driftwood.

Romano has published the Wayfarer Trilogy with Turner Publishing. All three of the historical novels of the series were finalists in book contest awards, and Book 1, The Secret Language of Women, set in China, won the Independent Publisher 2016 IPPY Gold Medal. The other two novels are Lemon Blossoms, set in Sicily, and In America, set in New York.

Two short stories: “A Risky Christmas Affair” and “Dreaming of a Christmas Kiss,” have recently been released as E-books, and the latter, along with two Christmas poems, has been included in a Christmas anthology, Annie Acorn’s Christmas Treasury 2018.

Her latest novel, The Girl Who Loved Cayo Bradley, a Western Historical Romance released in 2019. Currently, she is at work on a novel set in Russia.

List of all my published books


Historical, Literary Novels of The Wayfarer Trilogy:

The Secret Language of Women

 Lemon Blossoms

 In America

Historical, Western Romance:

The Girl Who Loved Cayo Bradley

Short Story Collection

The Other Side of the Gates (on Amazon, but no new copies—the publisher and I went our separate ways. I have new copies)

Poetry Collections

Cooking Lessons (on Amazon)

Coffeehouse Meditations (on Amazon, but no new copies—the publisher passed away. I have copies.)

She Wouldn’t Sing at My Wedding (on Amazon, but no new copies—the publisher and I went our separate ways. I have copies)

Faraway Confections (on Amazon)

Westward: Guided by Starfalls and Moonbeams (on Amazon)

Poetry Chapbooks (Unavailable on Amazon, but I have new copies)

Time’s Mirrored Illusion

Prayer in a Summer of Grace

Nonfiction book on Writing (a collaboration)

Writing in a Changing World (on Amazon)

My most recent book

The Girl Who Loved Cayo Bradley

Amazon Link:

Book Description

The Girl Who Loved Cayo Bradley

When Darby McPhee falls in love with Cayo Bradley, a wild cowboy from a nearby ranch, her world is ripped apart. Caught in a lifeless existence of caring for her father and brothers since her mother’s death, Darby does little else but work. But a death-bed promise to her mother to get her education now stands in the way of her heart’s desire to belong to the rough-and-tumble Cayo Bradley.

Darby is Cayo’s redemption from a horrific act in his past that torments him. After being captured as a young boy by the Jicarilla Apache, he now tries to settle back into white society—but how can he? If he loses Darby, he loses everything.

Darby is determined to keep her promise to her mother, but will Cayo wait for her? In this stunning tale of love and loss, Darby comes to understand that no matter what happens, she will always be THE GIRL WHO LOVED CAYO BRADLEY…

Blurbs from authors on book:

Romano’s story sizzles with the tension of lovers—one struggling to blend Apache ways and white, the other torn between East and West—searching for a way to join two lives going in opposite directions.

— Ruth Hull Chatlien, Blood Moon, and The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte

The Girl Who Loved Cayo Bradley, a superbly crafted romantic page-turner, is a deftly spun tale of ill-starred sweethearts in the American West. Darby, a charming farm girl, and Cayo, Apache raised, a secretive man with a disturbing past. Sparks ignite, burning intensely despite cruel circumstances to separate them—an expertly woven story with witty dialogue, fast-paced plot, and stunning, enchanting prose! 

— Michelle Cox, award-winning author of the Henrietta and Inspector Howard series.

The Secret Language of Women

Winner of the Independent Publishers Book Awards (Gold Medal, Romance)

Set in China in the late 1800’s, The Secret Language of Women tells the story of star-crossed lovers, Zhou Bin Lian, a Eurasian healer, and Giacomo Scimenti, an Italian sailor, driven apart by the Boxer Rebellion.

When Lian is seventeen years old, she accompanies her Swiss father, Dr. Gianluca Brasolin, fluent in Italian, to tend the Italian ambassador, at the Summer Palace of Empress Dowager, where she meets and falls in love with Giacomo.

Through voyage and adventure, their love intensifies, but soon is severed by Lian’s dutiful promise as the wife to another. Forbidden from pursuing her chosen profession as a healer, and despised because she does not have bound feet, she is forced to work in a cloisonné factory while her in-laws raise her daughter, Ya Chen. It is in Nushu, the women’s secret writing, that she chronicles her life and her hopes for the future.

Rebelling against the life forced upon her, she empowers herself to act out against the injustice and becomes the master of her own destiny. But her quest for freedom comes at a costly price: The life of someone close to her, lost in a raging typhoon, a grueling journey to the Yun-kang Caves, and a desperate search for beauty and love in the midst of brutality.


“Rich with history, The Secret Language of Women offers a beautiful and harrowing landscape of love found, lost, and hunted for – at all costs and with dire consequences. Like the bound feet, so idealized in her novel, Romano’s characters are broken and reformed into both the beautiful and the grotesque. Haunting.”  ― Barbara Wood, New York Times bestselling author

The Secret Language of Women is a powerful and enchanting read. A brilliantly well-written tale that takes readers on one woman’s journey. For fans of Romeo and Juliet fans this is a must read […] I loved reading Nina Romano’s stunning piece, and I recommend it to readers world wide.” –– San Francisco Book Review

“This is a beautiful story of hope and love stronger than any adversity. Very special historical fiction that is highly recommended!”  –– Historical Novel Society

“A stunning look at China at the turn of the twentieth century, this is a love story that crosses boundaries both cultural and geographic.”—Foreword Reviews

The Secret Language of Women is visionary, ambitious, and lyrically written. One comes to the end of it feeling as though she has traveled through a time machine, into a world so different, so vivid and real as to linger in the mind long after turning the last page.” –– Wraparound South

Book Description of The Secret Language of Women

This first book in the Wayfarer series from award-winning writer Nina Romano is a love story set against the backdrop of war and upheaval, an era infused with superstition, history, and exotic customs. The story explores the universal themes of love and the atrocities of war, affirming that even in the face of tragedy, enduring love brings hope.

A love story―set against the backdrop of war and upheaval, an era infused with superstition, history, and exotic customs―that explores the universal themes of love and the atrocities of war, affirming that even in the face of tragedy, enduring love brings hope.

Lemon Blossoms

2016 Finalist for Romance, Foreword INDIE

Angelica Domenico is born in a blossoming lemon grove, a prophetic fusion of sweet bloom and bitter fruit on an island governed by volcanoes and earthquakes.

In the continuation of Nina Romano’s epic Wayfarer Trilogy, an early childhood accident propels Angelica to battle trials in a world where proof of virginity is paramount. She suff ers the trauma of her aunt’s death in childbirth and is catapulted on a voyage towards the nunnery to seek refuge from a fear of intimacy. Fate intervenes on the Feast of Crucifixion when Giacomo Scimenti enters the family shop, and Angelica feels herself rent by lightning the instant they come face to face.

Lemon Blossoms is the story of Angelica’s struggle in pursuit of feminine identity and heritage while coping with the intricacies of loss, love, and yearning.

In America

2016 Chanticleer Media’s Chatelaine Book Awards Finalist

Beautiful, headstrong Marcella Scimenti has the affection of a handsome neighborhood boy, the love of her large Italian family, and serious dreams of singing in Hollywood. But the course of true love―nor the journey to finding one’s true self―never did run smooth.

In America follows the story of Marcella, the daughter of the characters at the center of Nina Romano’s continent-spanning Wayfarer Trilogy, as she comes of age in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, in the late 1920s.

In the trilogy’s heartwarming conclusion, Marcella must learn to balance new friendships, promising suitors, and life as a modern working girl with the expectations of her tradition-bound family, all against the backdrop of a looming economic depression and a changing world. Along the way, she unearths a devastating family secret that shakes her to her core and tests the boundaries of her love, loyalty, and faith.


Amazon Author:


Twitter: @ninsthewriter



The following 3 books of the Wayfarer Trilogy are in hard cover, softcover print, Kindle

Amazon: The Secret Language of Women  

Amazon: Lemon Blossoms

Amazon: In America

Amazon: The Girl Who Loved Cayo Bradley (Available in softcover print and Kindle)