All Good Things…

Ending a series is always hard on an author and most of us don’t like to talk about it. I’ve had a lot of readers reaching out and asking me when the next Sarah Winston Garage Sale mystery would be out. Sadly Absence of Alice is most likely the last book in the series. While writing is joyful, publishing is a business and sometimes a tough one.

On the bright side – I have nine books—NINE—in a series. I loved writing them all, but especially love Absence of Alice. I feel like I get to go out on a high note. Readers have always said each book has gotten better and I can’t ask for more than that.

Let’s take a little waltz down memory lane. On a Monday morning in December 2012, Barbara Ross reached out to me saying that her agent, John Talbot, was looking for someone to write a garage sale mystery series for an editor at Kensington – Gary Goldstein. Would I be interested in giving it a whirl? I told Barb I had to think it over. While I loved garage sales, I’d never thought about writing about them. The next morning, I woke up and thought, why am I hesitating? Of course, I want to try.

Barbara connected John and I via email. He said he needed the proposal fast. I had no idea what that meant, but Liz and Barb, both sent me their proposals and by Friday I turned it in. John had a few tweaks and sent if off to Gary who had a few tweaks and then boom, we had a contract signed for three books. I will always be grateful to John and Gary for taking a chance on an unknown me.

Tagged for Death came out on December 2, 2014. I will never forget how I alternated between scared and excited. What if everyone hated it? What if there were trolls who trashed it? Would I ever be able to show my face again? Of course none of that happened and three more contracts for two books each followed. The team at Kensington is amazing and I’m so grateful I got to work with them. Here are the original sketches for the cover of Tagged for Death. I still remember how thrilled I was to see them:

I’m so grateful to everyone who reads my garage sale mysteries. So many of you took the time write me notes saying how they helped you through a hard time or made you laugh or that you loved the sense of community and the strong, compassionate woman Sarah was. I loved highlighting a little bit of what military life is like as a spouse and touching on the amazing history of the area around Bedford, Massachusetts.

I also have good news! The muse is still inspiring me and I have several projects in the works including writing the fourth book in the Chloe Jackson Sea Glass Saloon mysteries. A Time to Swill releases on July 27th! Three Shots to the Wind, the third Chloe Jackson book, is up for preorder and comes out on March 29, 2022! I LOVE the cover and the story–I hope you will too.

Here’s the cover copy: Chloe’s Windy City ex-fiancé gets blown away in the Florida panhandle…
Saloon owner Chloe Jackson appears to have a secret admirer. She’s pouring drinks at the Sea Glass Saloon in Emerald Cove when an airplane flies by above the beach with a banner reading I LOVE YOU CHLOE JACKSON. She immediately rules out Rip Barnett. They are in the early stages of dating and no one has said the L word. Then a bouquet of lilacs—her favorite flower—is delivered to the bar, followed by an expensive bottle of her favorite sparkling wine. It couldn’t be…
Sure enough, her ex-fiancé from Chicago has flown down to Florida for an accountants’ convention. But is he trying to mix business with pleasure and win her back? Unfortunately he’s not in a hotel conference room, he’s floating facedown in the lake next to her house, clutching a photo of Chloe. Who murders an accountant on a business trip—it just doesn’t add up. When Rip becomes the prime suspect, Chloe is determined to find the secret murderer. But if she isn’t careful, it may be closing time and lights out for her…

Readers: What do you think of the new cover? I’ll giveaway one copy of any of my books to someone who leaves a comment.

136 Thoughts

  1. RIP Sarah Winston, Sherry – it’s indeed never easy for a series to end (I should know, I’ve done it three times…). But I love the cover and the premise of the new book! I predict the Sea Glass Saloon books will make even more fans for you.

  2. Very, very sad to hear that we won’t be hearing more about Sarah’s life. Loving the Cloe novels. Can hardly wait to see what’s ahead for you and your wonderful writing.

    1. Thanks, Vida! You had a big impact on the Sarah series from one conversation we had! And you’ve helped both series so many other times!

  3. The saying you can’t tell a book by its cover and I say bologna! It’s the cover this got to get you at the very beginning the even check out the inside. I definitely would buy the book because of the cover if it’s one of yours because I haven’t been wrong yet! Looking forward to reading it when it comes out! I will miss the garage sale series. Read every one of them enjoyed every one of them. But onto the new!

  4. I confess to having a special place in my heart for Sarah Winston since she and Zoe brought us together as first-time Agatha nominees, Sherry. (Good luck on your current nomination, btw). Love the new cover! And I wish you all the best on this and future writing ventures!

  5. While I’m sorry that the Garage Sale mystery series is ending because I know how fans of the series are going to react (having had to react to the premature ending of series I loved before), I am glad to see that there will be at least 3 more Chloe Jackson books in the offing.

    I love the look at the cover for book 3 and I’m really looking forward to A TIME TO SWILL at the end of July.

    Sherry, did the end of the Sarah Winston Saga come as a surprise to you or were you able to fashion a planned ending?

    1. At the end of every contract, I’ve always tried to leave Sarah in a good place. I’ve always thought I would have written a different ending for the third book, All Murders Final, if I’d known there would be more.

  6. Love the little hut-style bar right on the ocean!! I could totally picture myself sitting on a beach blanket, digging my toes in the cool dirt, sipping on a pina colada! Poor Chloe sounds like she’s got some serious sleuthing to do!

  7. I love the cover. I love beach scenes on covers and books based in Florida. Sad to hear the series is ending. Have to wait to see what your imagination comes up with next. Congrats on your new book!! Thank you for this chance at your giveaway. pgenest57 at aol dot com

  8. I love the cover! And Clhoe is a great character. I will definitely miss reading Sarah’s adventures, though. I know how hard it is for a series to end. I’m not sure I’m over the demise of my brewing series–Max had a lot more to do!

    1. The day I got the news about Sarah, Lori Rader-Day posted an article about Disenfranchised Grief. It couldn’t have come at a better time! I completely understand why you aren’t over Max.

  9. I love this new cover! It looks like a fun beach spot… as long as no dead bodies turn up!

  10. It’s always sad to see a series end after becoming friends with the characters and visiting their location (like a virtual vacation spot), but always good to see them end on a high note.

    Congratulations on the upcoming release of ” A Time to Swill” which is waited on with great excitement.

    LOVE the cover of “Three Shots to the Wind”! Looks like a white sand place I would love to vacation at – both in person and through the pages of the book. Great title too. On my TBR list, but that goes without saying. Now it’s just being patient until that an achievable goal.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  11. Your cover is so inviting. I could picture myself sitting on one of the stools enjoying a virgin coloda and people watching. It is always interesting to imagine the story behind each of them. Thanks for your wonderful stories. robeader53(at)yahoo(dot)com.

  12. I will miss Sarah Winston, it was one of the first cozies I read when I started reading them again several years ago. I am glad that you have begun a new series, although I am not caught up on that one yet. Good luck on your continued success.

  13. Sherry, nine books is such a great run. Thanks for this post. We don’t talk about ending series, or the business side of writing, enough. I know you’ve got several projects in the work, and I’m excited about them!

  14. I am heartbroken, I love Sarah and her journey so much. Every book in that series did get better and always left me eagerly awaiting the next. There is a serious void in my reading schedule going forward. I love Chloe and eagerly await her next adventure. Please tell us you will have something new coming soon, so missing Sarah and company won’t hurt so much!

  15. Oh, no… No more Sarah Winston books? Well, I have them all, so I’ll be able to binge re-read them. 🙂

    On the plus side, the Chloe series is off to a great start and the new cover is fab! Looking forward to all of them!

      1. Your beautifully written characters and engrossing plots have made that support a delight to give! Not many writers have a successful nine-book series, let alone another great one starting. Well done, Sherry!

  16. I am sad about the garage sale mysteries but i have them all so I will reread. I really like the new series snd this new cover looks great! I am looking forward to reading the next one!

  17. As much as I’m sad to not have any more Sarah books to look forward to, I think between 8-10 books in a series is a great number to have. Series that go on forever have to work hard to keep my interest and their plausibility. After a while, if the character is still the same and hasn’t matured or learned anything in 20 or so books, it loses its appeal. But it must be tough to say goodbye to a series that’s become such a part of you.
    Looking forward to more adventures with Chloe!

  18. Nine books in a series is an awesome run! I’m loving the Chloe Jackson novels!

  19. Love Chloe!! I can’t wait for book 2 and the cover for 3 looks amazing!!

    Also really enjoyed the Sarah Winston series.

  20. Love the cover! It seems to represent the flavor of the beach and a nod to the title. I am so disappointed about the Sarah Winston series ending – I loved it and really looked forward to each new one.

  21. Love the cover and the synopsis. Sad Sarah Winston is finished, but thrilled that you got nine books in the series. Woo Hoo!

  22. I’ll miss the Garage Sale series. But you know how much I LOVE your new one. The cover art for book 3 is fabulous, and all your books are, too!

  23. Noooo! I love the garage sale books. I am so sad. I am glad that the sea glass series will go on and I look forward to the new book.

  24. This is a very brave post, a part of the business of writing we don’t much post about. I will miss Sarah very much, but agree she’s gone out on a high note with Absence of Alice.

  25. I’m sad to see the Garage Sale mysteries end. I do love the new one and am excited to see there will be at least 4 in the series. Thank you for sharing your amazing talent with all of us readers.

  26. Sherry, you are brave and generous to share this news and give us an inside glimpse of the process. It is hard, as I know from experience, but as authors, we always know a series can end before we and the readers might be ready, for lots of different reasons. Sarah had a great run, including an Agatha Best First nomination! Congrats on contracts for more Chloe and good luck with the current Agatha nomination!

  27. Sherry, I found the series late and then loved every one of them. I hate that the series is ending but am excited by all the new books you will be sending our way. Thank you for sharing and letting us know. I like to believe Sarah is still off doing her thing we just aren’t able to follow her as she does it. The character isn’t dead her life has just become private with no more dead bodies. 🙂

  28. I haven’t read any of your books yet, but the cover of the From Beer to Eternity caught my attention. I love the cover and the title!! I read the description, and immediately put it on my want to read list.

  29. I love the cover! I can imagine sitting at the bar, listening to the ocean and feeling the warm breeze. I am so sorry that the garage sale series is ending. I will be taking my time to get through that last book with a heavy heart!

  30. I love the new cover and wish I were there. I also love garage sales and have added that series to my list of books to read.

  31. I am heartbroken about the end of the Sarah Winston Garage Sale mysteries but I understand. I received an ARC of “A Time to Swill” that I just started reading last night- I’m SO excited. I love that Chloe was a librarian- I always said my library patrons are very similar to bar patrons lol.

  32. I love the new cover! I have to get busy with your books. Why do you all have to be so good? My TBR mountain is in avalanche mode right now.

  33. Dear Sarah,

    I can’t tell you how desolate I was to learn from Sherry this morning that I’ll no longer be learning of your adventures. I always enjoyed stopping in on the painting classes for a glass of wine and then popping next door for some amazing pasta from your surrogate family. And I’m grieving that I’ll be hearing no operatic arias wafting through the walls as your landlady keeps herself ready for that next gig at the Met. I probably won’t miss coming by and seeing a 10-foot tall, six-foot wide neckless wonder sitting in the chair next to your door eyeing me up and down as a possible kidnapper.

    But Sherry, I really am so sad to be losing the joy of new tales of Sarah’s adventures. OTOH, we’re both very lucky to have Chloe available for consolation. As a waitress in a bar (do I dare call it a dive bar?) (and I wasn’t suggesting it was frequented by people in SCUBA gear), she’s undoubtedly used to people telling her their troubles. Perhaps I can stop by and tell her how much I’m already missing Sarah and her extended family.

    Maybe now you’ll be sorry you brushed off all those people who thought you WERE Sarah and wanted you to run garage sales for them. Who knows? You might have been grateful for the extra income!

    But if it had to come to an end, Absence of Alice was a real high note. And I’m really blessed to have Chloe’s adventures to turn to. All the covers have been excellent and the new one is no exception. I particularly like the sand castle and those ominous-looking clouds on the horizon.

    However, I must respectfully disagree with cathylundberg. I wish I had a nickel for every dud of a mystery I bought that had a great cover. Alas, it’s not only the well written that get to make use of the talents of wonderful artists and designers.

    At the moment, I have over 600 books in my To Read category on my Kindle. (I wish I were exaggerating, but it’s literally true.) Mostly new books that come out have to go to the back of the line and wait their turn. But there are a couple of authors whose books get to crash the line and come right to the head. You’re one of those authors, Sherry.

    I’m sure not being given another contract for Sarah hurts you much more than the hurt we’re all feeling, but think how many good writers never even get one series published, let alone two. And now you can devote additional attention to coming up with your third series!

    We’ll all miss Sarah, but we also know there’s so much else coming from you! Thank you for sharing this with all of us.

    Big Hug!!!


  34. I’m sorry to see the end of the garage sale mysteries, but I’m a sucker for a good mystery on the beach.

  35. I’m very sad that Sarah is taking a permanent vacation, and will miss her greatly. However, Chloe is a great person to know and I will happily continue to follow her adventures.

    I love the title and cover of Three Shots to the Wind. The falling down sand castle is a great metaphor for Chloe’s relationship with her ex.

  36. I just started rereading the series again. I love them and will miss reading about Sarah’s adventures. I enjoyed the first book about Chloe and look forward to the next one.

  37. I’ll be over here mourning the loss of Sarah. But at least we have more Chloe to look forward to. Although, I’ll have to try hard not to take the third book in that series personally.

    Signed, an accountant. 😉

  38. Oh Sarah, you entertained me and I felt like we were dear friends. I will miss you! Sherry, I feel so grateful to have Chloe and her beach bar buddies to read about in the future…for a very long time…at least nine books I hope and more! Whatever you write, I want to read. You are a favorite for sure! And, the cover is lovely with the “white horses of the sea” so prominent.

  39. Sherry, the cover of Three Shots to the Wind is great. I have the first Sea Glass Saloon mystery near the top of my TBR pile and I’d better get with it because here comes book 2, book 3 is written and book 4 is also on the way. Oh, wow. I have to read from the beginning of a series. Now I must find out about this ex-fiance who ends up a floater in book 2.

  40. I really love your new cover! I know whenever I am about to finish a book that I liked so much, I read slower because I don’t want it to end. Have a great rest of the week and stay safe.

  41. Love the title and the cover! I haven’t started this series yet. Looking forward to reading the series.

  42. I was hoping for one more Sarah Winston book but I love the Sea Glass Saloon and have read and loved both books. The cover for Three Shots to the Wind is great and not as dark as the 2nd book cover.

  43. Love the cover. Sad Sarah is leaving us, but on a positive—9 books is a wonderful series!

  44. OH NO!!!! Why??? I thought Absence of Alice was the best of all of the books and I just read Sell Low, Sweet Harriet right before. I hate to see it end. You should at least write one more to tie up all of the loose ends. I have you. I have the first of the Chloe Jackson ones, but have not read it yet. So that will be next on my list.

  45. I was so blown away by your news about Sarah that I forgot to tell you that the cover of Three Shots to the Wind is very cool! Reminds me some of the bars in the Florida Keys and it has a gauzy, sunny look to it. I shared Sarah with two friends and one has a library, so she keeps them all….. So we can re read Sarah forever.

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