By Sherry — feeling happy in Northern Virginia
The winner of this giveaway is Lori Smanski! Look for an email from me! Monday, December 2nd was the fifth anniversary of the release of my first book Tagged for Death. It doesn’t seem possible that it’s been five years and that my eighth book, Sell Low, Sweet Harriet will be out on December 31. Look for a giveaway at the end of the post.
It truly seems like only yesterday (it was actually December 2012) when I found an email in my inbox from Barbara Ross on a Monday morning saying “my agent is looking for someone to write a garage sale themed cozy series for Kensington.” Barb went on to say something like “if you don’t know anything about garage sales watch a couple of those shows on HGTV.”
Garage sales? I LOVE garage sales. My house is full of things from garage sales, flea markets, and antique stores. But write a book about them? I’d been working on a series set in Seattle. My protagonist was a gemologist. I’d actually pitched the idea to Barb’s agent three weeks before at Crime Bake, but he wasn’t interested. I wrote Barb back saying I’d have to think about it.
I woke up the next morning and thought I have to try. I found the email I wrote Barb that morning:
I’m terrified but yes let’s proceed. I don’t want to let you down or John. I’ve been racked with doubts about my writing abilities. But I’ve also been thinking about characters and settings and complications all morning. How in the winter she can hit thrift shops and church sales and indoor flea markets. I’d already made her 38. I have an opening line. And yes I think she will turn it into a career. Thank you so much for even thinking of me. Your terrified friend! Sherry
By that afternoon I was in touch with John Talbot. He said that he needed a proposal fast. I had no idea what “fast” meant in the publishing world. But by Friday afternoon I sent in a 36 page proposal that included the first three chapters of Tagged for Death. The story and characters poured out of me like they’d been waiting in the wings for me to notice them. If only all writing was like that. John asked me to make a couple of changes but by early the next week the proposal was in the hands of Gary Goldstein, the editor at Kensington who wanted the series.
Pins and needles for the next six weeks. I didn’t know that the publishing industry more or less shut down over the holidays. By early February I had a three book deal with Kensington. I’d like to say and the rest is history, but it’s been full of fits and bumps and starts. Ups and downs. Highs and lows. But what a wonderful ride it’s been. Thanks to all of you – especially the Wickeds – for being there with me.
I’m giving away a copy of one of my paperback books or the first six ebooks to celebrate. Leave a comment for a chance to win.
I would like to have read about your gemologist, such a unique protagonist. But, you ended up writing a great ongoing series. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity.
Maybe one day I’ll blow the dust off the gemologist book and set it free!
I’m so glad you decided to write that first book. I always look forward to the next book — The Garage Sale series is one of my favorites!
Thank you so much, Christi!
Such a great series. We can all relate to garage sales, can’t we? (And I love those covers!) Congratulations on your anniversary. Can’t even begin to imagine how hard it must be to take that leap with writing. Thanks for the great giveaway and happy holidays.
Thank you for sharing your story. It sounds like fate! I have to say, I’m partial to Seattle settings, so I hope your first series ends up published someday too.
Oh, thank you, Marla! I love Seattle too — it’s such a dynamic city.
Not in contest but I am so happy you decided to give it a try. I love the books and I am such a lousy garage seller that I enjoy the vicarious experience of Sarah’s successes. May your success continue for as long as you still love her. I think gemology would be fascinating career for a mystery.
Thank you, Jeanie!
I’m so happy for you, Sherry! And hasn’t it been fun to be on this wild ride together?
I couldn’t have done it without all of you by my side.
Wow! Thanks for sharing your story – it sounds like it was fate! And congratulations on your upcoming release! Can’t wait to read more of this series!
It was fun to dig out and reread those old emails!
Own all the books, so not in the contest….merely congratulating you on five wonderful years of published success.
I have not read this book.It sounds like it pulls you right in the story from the start.
I hope so! Thanks for stopping by!
Sherry, congratulations on your fifth anniversary of the Garage Sale Mysteries! I loved reading the recap of your journey’s beginning!
Should I be selected as the lucky winner, I’d prefer the physical copy you offered.
Here’s to five more (and beyond) years with Sarah Winston!
Thank you so much, Jay!
I have read all of your books so I don’t need to win a contest, but congratulations on 5 years! Sarah’s story has been so interesting and I know that it will continue to be so in your capable hands! I look forward to each book.
Thank you for reading my books!
Happy book anniversary! I think I can speak for all of us when I say THANK YOU for accepting that challenge and starting our fabulous journey with the A Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mystery series.
Love your books and the covers! Hoping for many more adventures in the wonderful world of garage sales with Sarah. Greatly appreciate the opportunity to win on of your books.
2clowns at arkansas dot net
Kensington has done an amazing job with the covers!
Happy anniversary! Isn’t it funny the way things work out? Here’s to many more years of Sarah!
Thank you, Liz! And back at you with your series!
Hearty congratulations on your anniversary! what a great story of how the garage sale mysteries happened.
I’m glad you liked the history!
High five, Sherry! Congrats on reaching such a wonderful milestone and best wishes for many more 5-year writing anniversaries to you!
Thank you! The publishing industry is a challenge!
Congrats! Sherry. I love this series. Looking forward to the latest.
Thanks so much, Ginny!
Your mom is so cute in that picture! Congrats on a great five years of publication! May there be many more. #TeamSeth!
My mom is cute! Thanks for all of your great advice on the books!
Love your series and can’t wait for more books in it.
I can’t believe you found those emails! Mega-congratulations on a great run.
I can’t believe I did either! It took some digging — maybe I should clean out some old emails though!
What a wonderful ride we’ve BOTH been on for these five years. Meeting you over our shared Best First Agatha nominations is still one of the high points of my career. Love you lots, my friend. And congratulations on #8!
Back at you, Annette! I’m so glad our paths crossed!
Five years? Wow, does the time fly. I’m glad you took that leap since this is one of my favorite series. Congrats! (And, obviously, I don’t need any of the books.)
Thanks, Mark! And thank you for reading and reviewing my books!
Sherry, what a great story! Thanks so much for sharing it. And congratulations!!! It’s a WONDERFUL series. May you someday write a post titled “Ten Years Later.” xoxo
Make that “Ten WICKED Years Later!”
Thank you, Ellen! I hope both of us are writing that!
I love this series! Looking forward to reading book #8.
Thank you so much!
Hearty congratulations! I have loved this series from the very beginning and I own every book. For me, one of the biggest joys in reading “cozies” is the growth of the characters, their friendships and relationships. Thanks and can’t wait until December 31 for the new book! Wheeeee!
Thank you so much, Kimberly!
Sending you big congratulations and thanks for creating such a wonderfully real main character in Sarah. I’m still keeping my fingers crossed for the gemologist series. So happy for you!
Thank you, Shari! I love your books and look forward to your new series!
Why did you wait so long to start writing??? You obviously have all these little characters buried inside of you just waiting to crawl out and breathe life into them!!! Think how many may have grown old and shriveled up after all these years of no writing lol!
Laughing, Cindy! I wrote the gemology series over and over for so long which I think taught me to be a better writer.
Congratulations. This is a wonderful idea for a cozy mystery. A garage sale series. I would love to check these books out. Happy Holidays. quilting lady 2 at comcast dot net
Thanks for dropping by!
Would love to read this series
Wow! I can’t believe it has already been 5 years since I picked up your first book! I remember adding it to my TBB list when I read about the premise, and yes, I have a paper “publication date list” that goes with me everywhere so I don’t forget to buy something when it comes out. I love yard sales, flea markets, resale shops… whatever name others know them by, so I knew I would love reading this series when I read about it. I love that you have a picture of your mom with your first book when it came out. I’m sure she was very proud for you and of you. Thanks for keeping us entertained! Renee
Oh, thank you! This is lovely to read!
I enjoy this series and used to love garage sales.
Thank you, Candy!
I love this series! Thanks for a chance to win!
Thank you, Kristi!
I love the stories, despite my lack of experience in garage saling (is that a word?). What hooked me immediately was the military connection. My daughter is a Navy veteran and all the details about life on and off base, including the amazing support systems (that I know she experienced), really make the stories special for me.
Thank you for sharing this with me!
Five years! Amazing! It has been wonderful being able to be along for the ride with you!
I couldn’t have done it without you, Jessie!
Congrats on 5 years of such a fun series!
Congratulations on five years! And what a fun series–I think half of my house is furnished from estate sales. Always such wonderful finds–especially since the towns surrounding mine have residents much wealthier than I am. My favorite time for an estate sale is always around noon on the last day. The organizers are close to worn out and wanting their lunch. Deals abound. Sometimes, it’s hard to get away without taking the last thing the organizers want to push on you. So much for that small wing chair, half price if you also take the second one, the foot rest, and this shockingly ugly throw pillow!
My house is also filled with stuff from garage and estate sales. It’s so much fun!
You and your mum are very similar! Thank you for writing great books with characters I love welcoming to my home.
Thank you, Kait!
I’m so proud of you Sherry and December 31st won’t come soon enough. I absolutely love the picture of your mom!!
I love gems and shopping at garage sales/thrift stores so would love either of your book ideas, definitely want to start this series!
Thanks, Judith. It has been wonderful writing them!
I’d love to own one of your books. I get them at the library. They buy books when requested. It’s so much fun reading yours. It’s interesting reading about sales in your books. Thank you for the chance
Thank you so much for reading my books!
I’m a a garage / yard sale junkie too. Grew up having to get up early on the week-ends to read the ads & map for my mom. Got me hooked. I’ve always considered it treasure hunting & it hurts to pass by a sale or a sign without stopping. Would love to read these books.
Thanks for the chance to win &
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays to all the Wickeds.
I hate to got by a sale sign too! It is a treasure hunt — you never know what you will find.
What an interesting story – sounds like you were meant to pen this series! It’s definitely on my reading list, so I’d love to win the giveaway! Congratulations on the new release! email@example.com
Congrats. It’s good to see you so successful.
Wow, how awesome for you, seems like it was just the right time for you and a story of something you loved doing, going to garage sales! You sure can get some really good buy and some really good treasures at garage sales. Congratulations to you and I’m so very happy that you changed you mind and gave it a try! Your books sound like very good reads. Have a Great weekend. God Bless you.
They are all fantastic. We have loved vintage stuff since 1975. I loved the Hallmark Garage sale mysteries that I assume were patterned after your mysteries. Anyway, we use to do antiques shows and sell things and I have learned so much about the wonderful things that were created in America. It is sad the kids today don’t like old neat stuff. I learn a lot more from you when I read your books. I love it…
I love garage sales – my best friend and I used to go every weekend – we don’t live near each other any more – I miss her and our fun adventures – your books sound fantastic, thanks for the chance to own one.
Congrats on the five! The gemologist series sounds super. My sisters and I love going to garage sales! I’d love to win one of your garage sales books!!! nani_geplcs(at)yahoo(dot)com
This is a wonderful series. I have read them all and enjoyed them so much. Please do not enter me in your contest, as I have read your books and would want this to go to someone new to your books.
I have not had a chance to read your books but they sound right up my alley. I love cozies.
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