A Time to Swill

Yesterday I sent off the copy edits for A Time to Swill. It’s the second Chloe Jackson Sea Glass Saloon mystery. Sending off the copy edits is always nerve-racking business for me. I want to smooth one more sentence. I want to read it one more time to see if I missed anything. I want ONE more day.

Copy edits are the last chance to make big changes and I did this time. The opening scene is an action scene. I realized that I’d slowed the action in several spots. It resulted in a complete rewrite of twelve pages of the manuscript.

I’d made some major changes in several sections before I turned it in last fall. I found a couple of errors in the copy edits because of that. Whew–at least I found them before it was too late. Now A Time to Swill is back at Kensington where it will get typeset–or whatever they call that process these days. Then I’ll get one last chance to go over the manuscript when the page proofs arrive, but at that point you can only make minor changes. (They send you a note with dire warnings about trying to make major changes at this point.)

Here’s the cover copy:

Saloon owner Chloe Jackson is after a murderer with skeletons in the closet–and one on a boat.


Chloe loves her new life pouring beers and mixing cocktails at the Sea Glass Saloon in the Florida Panhandle town of Emerald Cove. But on the job, the only exercise she gets is walking from one end of the bar to the other, so in the mornings she loves to run on the beach. On this morning’s foggy run, she spots a sailboat washed up on a sandbar. Hearing a cry, she climbs aboard the beached vessel to investigate and finds not only a mewling kitten–but a human skeleton in the cabin.

The skeleton is tied back to Chloe’s friend Ralph, whose wife disappeared on a sailboat with three other people twelve years ago. Believing his wife was lost at sea, Ralph remarried. Now he finds himself a murder suspect. Chloe is determined to find out who’s been up to some skulduggery, but her sleuthing will lead her into some rough waters and some bone-chilling revelations…

A Time to Swill is up for preorder and releases on July 27, 2021. Signed copies will be available at One More Page Books in Arlington, Virginia.

Part of the story is based on a real life happening in Destin, Florida, but I’ll write more about that later. Readers: Do you like books when the author uses something factual but then twists it?

27 Thoughts

  1. I know what you mean! I was terrified when I sent back the copy edited version of my book — it’s my first, so everything is terrifying, actually šŸ˜‰ — but saying, yes, this is exactly right, was not easy when you’re SURE there is something that you’ve missed. Glad to know I’m not the only one!

  2. I do! It seems to make the book come to life with events we can relate to by either being through them ourselves, having read about them or heard them in the news.

    “A Time to Swill” sounds like it’s going to be an amazing book. I know I can’t wait for the opportunity to read it!
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  3. I can’t wait to read it, Sherry! And I totally know what you mean about not wanting to send the book on its way. Also – I had no idea you had a skeleton in this book. I’ve just started writing a new book – with a skeleton in the wall! But she’s 100 years old…

  4. First, I want to say I am looking forward to spending more time with Chloe Jackson. When an author uses an actual historical event, with a twist, I’m “all in,” if they know and represent these things well: the local geography, local use of language, and local customs. It is fun to imagine ‘what if,’ and in the hands of a good writer (hat tip to Sherry Harris), I’ll buckle up for a good ride.

  5. Congrats on finishing your edits! And yes, I like when real-life events are incorporated into stories. Can’t wait to hear more!

  6. Iā€™m excited about the new Chloe Jackson book. I like when an author incorporates real happenings in books.

  7. Honestly Sherry, if you write it…I want to read it! To answer your questions more completely: it is fun to read a book that is based on a snippet of truth or a true event. Best wishes for a clean “page proofs” read!

  8. Can’t wait! Yes, I love it when the seed is from real life. Once I know that, I look up the original event. I find it always enriches the story. In reading your cover blurb I had visions of Rebecca. Very chilling!

  9. I do enjoy it when there is some basis of fact in a book, although I don’t need that to enjoy a book. I also appreciate it when the author helps separate fact from fiction at the end.

  10. Oh, goodie! Another Sherry Harris book. If you wrote, I know I will love it.

    I do like books based on some fact. Somehow it just makes the story so much more real.

    There was a murder on Cape Cod some years back that I never found out if the killer was found or anything else about the story. But all I read made it sound like a good cozy murder (except for the real victim, of course). If I were a writer, I would love to have used that as a basis for a book.

  11. Yes I do like it but not in every book they write. Once in a while is great!

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