Friday, June 8, 2012

Seekerville Welcomes Guest Sherri Shackelford

So you’ve finaled in the Genesis, what now?!

First off, I hope you’ve jumped up and down, celebrated, and called your eighth grade English teacher to gloat. (Whose prose is stilted and pretentious now, huh?)

Once you’ve basked in the glow, it’s time to get down to work.

Invest in a Professional Photo

Believe me, you don’t want to be on the jumbotron, with an arms-outstretched-duck-faced-self-portrait. On the jumbotron, that copy of Faking It: How to Seem Like a Better Person without Actually Improving Yourself sitting on the bookshelf behind you is readily visible.

Get Ready To Come Out of Your Shell

People will find you. They will find you on facebook, they will find you on Goodreads, they will find you on Google Circles – even if you’ve never actually heard of Google Circles. They’ll still find you. I mean, all along you’ve known that you’ll need an online presence once you sell—but that was years away, right? And it feels a little awkward accepting the congratulations. You feel like you should add a disclaimer: Thank you so much, but you should know, chapter five drags, and I sometimes eat frosting out of the can with my finger.

Have You Finished the Book?

Oh dear. That’s right. Those agents and editors are going to want to read your book. The WHOLE thing. Even if chapter five drags, and there are frosting streaks on the title page.

If I Get Disqualified, Did I Win or Lose?

Being grouped amongst such talented company is the true win.

The Genesis is unique in that if you sell because one of those fabulous editors judging the contest wants to buy your book, they disqualify you. (Which always seems strange to me. I mean, that’s the point, right?) Either way, that’s the rule. I was disqualified because my book sold a month before the winner was announced. Luckily for me, the Genesis judges were kind enough to enough to announce to the entire world, “Don’t worry, dear, you would have lost anyway.” Which probably should have made me feel better than it did. But it was such a gracious gesture toward the actual winner, Sarah Ladd, that I would have been a schmuck to feel bad.
The Conference

Do I get preferential treatment
for agent and editor appointments?
No. You get first pick of a table at the Awards banquet in a very refined stampede.

But that’s not all! Polish up your query letters and hit ‘send’. Having ‘Genesis Finalist’ in the first paragraph of the query letter will open doors. Agents who had passed on me before, were suddenly interested in taking a look at my manuscript. That’s worth more than a front-row seat at a chicken dinner any day!

If you win your category, you get first choice of agent/editor appointments at NEXT year’s conference. All the other contests I’ve been associated with allow you first pick as a nominee. (I’d love to see the Genesis Coordinators rethink this. Everyone in the historical romance category, 2011, had a book deal along with an agent before the 2012 conference.)

And because the contest will now require a completed manuscript , I think it would be great if the nominees could take advantage of the momentum generated by the contest final.

It’s An Honor Just to be Nominated.

It’s cliché, but it’s true. It’s a huge honor to be included in such great company. Your fellow nominees will become your friends, your confidants, and your biggest cheering section. You suddenly realize you want their success as much as you want your own.

This business is full of rejections, bad Amazon reviews, and crippling insecurities. Having that moment when someone says, hey, this is good, is worth the entrance fee any day.


Now get back to work…That agent/editor is going to want book two soon!!

[P.S. I googled the most ridiculous self-help book titles to find Faking It: How to Seem Like a Better Person Without Actually Trying. That book actually exits! And is available on Amazon.]

Leave a comment to get your name in a drawing for one of three copies of Winning the Widow's Heart--Sherri will send books to the US and Canada and overseas winners can receive an ebook.
Winning the Widow's Heart--In Bookstores Now

Elizabeth Cole finds herself in the care of a lawman
When Texas Ranger Jack Elder stormed the isolated Kansas homestead, he expected to find a band of outlaws. Instead, the only occupant is a heavily pregnant woman-and she's just gone in to labor. A loner uneasy with emotion, Jack helps deliver widow Elizabeth Cole's baby girl and can't get back on the trail fast enough. The robber and murderer he's after killed one of Jack's own, and he vows to catch the man. But when he returns to check on Elizabeth and her little one, he discovers that she may hold the key to his unsettled past-and his hoped-for future.
A wife and mother of three, Sherri’s hobbies include collecting mismatched socks, discovering new ways to avoid cleaning, and standing in the middle of the room while thinking, “Why did I just come in here?” A reformed pessimist and recent hopeful romantic, Sherri has a passion for writing. Her books are fun and fast-paced, with plenty of heart and soul.
Sherri's debut novel, Winning the Widow's Heart, is a June 2012 release from Harlequin Love Inspired Historical.


  1. Sherri! You're book is available on amazon! Did you know that? :)

    I remember how excited we all were waiting in the chat room to give our pitches to TINA JAMES. That was so much fun.

    (Of course you went on and let the rest of us in the dust but I won't hold that against you.)

    I'm so happy for you! I'll be reading your book one way or the other, so please put my name in the hat.

  2. Congrats again to all the finalists!!!


    I think they changed that rule this year, Sherri, about being disqualified if you sell. I think it's just "before the entry deadline" - have a friend who didn't final but has sold and wasn't disqualified at that point. Don't THINK she would have been as a finalist either...

    Anyway... In some ways I hope to final next year. But really I'd love to be ineligible. Of course, since I'm now gliding along the historical tracks, I know my competition is insane [not that it's not insane in contemp] - and I mean insane with the utmost respect, a bit of fear, a ton of awe, and big huge dollop of "What makes me think I can compete with THOSE WONDERFUL PEEPS?!" ;)

    Congrats, Sherri! I've seen this in my Walmart but my book buying line in my budget is nil this month - would love to win!

  3. First of all, I love your book cover, Sherri. The story sounds delightful. (Feel like I was describing a dessert.)

    You feel like you should add a disclaimer: Thank you so much, but you should know, chapter five drags, and I sometimes eat frosting out of the can with my finger.

    LOL. I already do this when I go to critiques and I start reading my work. It's like I can't stop myself from adding disclaimers and then I get irritated w/myself. I need to let the work stand for itself w/no explanation, but that takes confidence.


  4. Hi Sherri,

    We have some of the same hobbies!

    Your book sounds wonderful, It will be a very good read,and I love the cover I love men holding babies. I will put it on my ever growing list.

  5. Sherri, thank you for this.
    Invest in a professional photo... check. =) He did great, didn't he?
    Come out of my shell... I was born without one, LOL.
    Finish the book... check. Polished and ready to go. I was waiting to start the sequel until this one was at least under consideration but the final re-fired my passion and it's in the works now.
    My friends keep telling me they hope I win and I keep saying it's a lot like American Idol. The top three is the win. =)

    I hope for another Amanda Hugandkiss interview one day soon. And I would absolutely love to be entered for your book.

  6. Hi Sherri I have to say I LOVE the cover its makes me want to know more.
    (dont enter me this book is also preordered. Gotta love book depository.)
    love reading these posts I learn so much. You know someone should write a book with the heroine who wants to write and enters these contests.

  7. Sherri, you made me laugh which means a great deal this early in the morning with only one cup of coffee internalized into my pre-dawn vascular system.

    Good job, kid.

    I can't disagree with anything you've said, and since I'm a disagreeable person by nature, I'm a bit miffed and might have to eat some of these chocolate chip/peanut butter chip/M&M cookies to ease the sting of your wisdom. Rarely do I admit that people are smarter or funnier or better-looking than me...

    You're a "three-fer"... three for one.

    Dagnabbit, I probably have to pretend to be nice. I just hate that.

    But I LOVE the Genesis/Noble Theme contest. I do agree, disqualifying someone after they've entered for having the audacity to sell is silly. Really silly.

    But I loved the feedback, I loved being able to shine in front of industry professionals, and to make fun of Seekers. Win/Win/Win, right?

    Great post, thank you! Can't wait to read this book... I'm lovin' Love Inspired Historicals!

  8. Sherri, good to see you in seekerville, now which is better to get an award or to have the book published and our there for everyone to read? I would say you are the winner-first and formost.
    enjoyed your post today,you are in good company.
    I am looking forward to reading the books that you bring us on your journey-have fun.
    Paula O(

  9. Sherri, congrats on your debut! I keep seeing your name and book title everywhere, so your promotional efforts are working! Your advice is good for all of us who tend to think "this contest final is a fluke," and will admit yes, I eat frosting out of the can :)

  10. Good Morning Seekerville!!
    Ha, you're pretty funny Sherri! Would LOVE to read the book (hopefully there's humour included?) The description sounds great, though.

    Thanks for the post and congrats on the novel!


  11. Nice pic too :)

    Btw, Audra yours in yesterday's blog was lovely too.

    I agree that more authors need lovely pics! I'm pretty sure I'm not the only reader who appreciates them. =)


  12. Good Morning, Sherri.

    Welcome back.

    I finaled in the Genesis once.

    At that time it was not called the Genesis and submissions were on stone tablets.

  13. Sherri,
    Congratulations on your new release!

    And congrats to all the finalists.

    Your picture is beautiful.

    I didn't enter the Genesis, but I appreciate your helpful hints.

    Thanks for sharing and please enter me in the contest. Thanks.

    Jackie L.

  14. Good morning Sherri, Welcome to Seekerville. Love your photo and you're so right. It's best to have one before you sell so you have it right on hand when the local newspaper announces your first sale. Hooray.

    Congrats to the Genesis finalists. How exciting. And how brave you all are. Great going.

    Have fun today, Sherri.

  15. Jamie, someone else from that pitch session sold recently! Stacy Henrie - I think...

    Which goes to getting your name out there early and often. I entered that same first chapter in Harlequin's, "So You Think You Can Write" contest, and they passed.

  16. Carol, It's weird isn't it? Of course we want to be published, but is winning so bad?

    I'm glad to hear they changed the rules. I think I saw an email about editor pitch appointments this year too - so I hope that changed also.

    Do you know I have yet to see my book in a store?! They haven't stocked the shelves here.

  17. Connie, when I sign the book, I always say, "Stick with me, I promise I'll get better!"

  18. Welcome to Seekerville, Sherri! Congratulations on the release of your debut. The story sounds great! Must get to Walmart tonight.

    I was disqualified for selling another manuscript than the one that finaled in the Genesis. The sale was more important than a chance to win, but I'd like to see that rule changed, too.


  19. Mary, I'm always amazed by people who actually have hobbies! I can barely keep up with this stuff.

  20. Yes, it's a big honor to final in the Genesis. Congratulations to all those who have done it from one of the MANY who have attempted. We all enter with high hopes.

    it's great to know how many finalists go on to be published.

    thanks, Sherri

    happy Weekend everyone! Woo hoo!

  21. Nancy, Good luck! Your photo is awesome! You won't be sorry. I got mine through a groupon sale! Once I told the photographer what I was using it for, she did some extra photo-shopping. I love touch-ups!

    Jenny, Hello! I think I'm going to Australia next year on a business trip with the hubby. While I'm sure I'll end up across the country, I'll send you a package. The postage has to be cheaper, right??!!

    Good morning, Ruth! I ran this post by some of my friends because I didn't want to seem like a whiner, We all finally agreed that if I could inject some humor, and maybe help the next group along, it was worth it. The Geneses Contest opened up a whole new world for me - and I'll forever be grateful!

  22. Paula, I'm grateful to have been grouped with Naomi Rawlings and Sarah Ladd. The more famous they get, the more I will stalk them!

    Mia, frosting out of the can is amazing! A lot of people are surprised to find I like vanilla, but it's that chemical aftertaste I crave. Yum! Even after selling, I still think it was a fluke. But it's important to get your name in front of those agents and editors whenever you can!

    Anonymous, that's the one thing my friends are requesting: More humor!

  23. Tina, didn't Mary C. also final/win in that long ago contest...The name is on the tip of my tongue...

    Jackie, again, gotta love photoshop!

    Sandra, my local newspaper actually published a photo and a blurb when I was a semi-finalist! You're right - it's best to be prepared.

  24. Connealy? No she just wrote a book and sold it at conference. In front of God and everyone at a luncheon.No big deal. Not one bit.

  25. Noble Theme, that was the name, right? And of course Mary nabbed a contract in front of a cheering crowd! Didn't they change the rules that year to give out two contracts because she was so fabulous?! It's all coming back to me...

  26. Sherri, super huge congrats on your debut! There is nothing better than hard work and great stories filling the market. I'll be making a Walmart run this evening to be sure : )

    I loved the Genesis AND I loved using it as promotion in my query letters!! Genesis finalist - Genesis winner. Ah, did my heart good.

    Congrats to all the Genesis finalists this year. Can't wait until conference to give you a big ol' hug along with my ear splitting YAYAYAYAY!!!

  27. Congrats to the finalists!
    another book added to my tbr list!
    Thanks for giving us an opportunity to win a kindle. How awesome is that?! AND it will already have books on it? Cool Beans!


    "It’s An Honor Just to be Nominated."

    LOL, I love this because, YES, as cliche as it is, it IS so very true, isn't it, especially with the Genesis or the Golden Heart and the Carol Award, the Rita or the Christy.

    Like you, Sherri, I sent out 25 queries to agents after I finaled in the GH seven years ago, even going so far as sticking little gold stickers on the outside of the envelope that said: "2005 Golden Heart Finalist." I figured to make hay while the sun shined. And good thing I did send out so many because I only got one positive response, but it only takes one, and within weeks, I was signed by one of the best agents in the business, Natasha Kern. So, YES, it is an honor just to be nominated ... and a GREAT promotional tool as well! ;)

    Great blog today, Sherri -- thank you!!


  29. Sherri, congratulations on your new book! Welcome to Seekerville!

    I think Mary sold her first book in 2005 and it was announced at the conference. Right, Mary?

    The rest of the Seekers finaled in the Genesis (called Noble Theme) that year or in the Golden Heart. Or maybe both. That's how we got together. Actually, I think it was Ruthy who asked all of us if we'd like to form a group. Brilliant idea!

    So we all appreciate contests!

  30. Sherri, Your book sounds awesome. It's on my TBR list.

  31. LOL, Sherri! Such a cute post. But so true!! Thanks for sharing, with humor, about the experience of being a finalist.

    I'm still laughing about the book title on the jumbotron! :)

    Congrats on your release!! Woo hoo!

  32. Debra, I'd like to run the numbers on the percentage who get published. Our category had 100% last year, which is a testament to the quality of the contest itself.

    Audra, 'Genesis Finalist/Winner' is huge in the industry! You gotta take advantage, don't you?

    Beth, I hope all the finalist are going to the conference. It's a wonderful experience.

    Julie, I remember when we were selling our house and the Realtor said, "You only need one buyer." You're right, it's the same with querying!

  33. Cara, you need friends in this business who understand, don't you? What a great group you have!

    Bridgett, Thank you! Remember, stick with me...I'll get better...

    Missy, Not only is your face HUGE, but they stream the video all over the country. *shudder*

  34. Hi Sherri, would be cool if you come to australia, (if its Adelaide or Melbourne I can get there).

    Dont count on cheaper postage here. its cheaper then us sending to America but our standard costs are not the cheapest.

  35. Sherri,
    So fun and exciting having you join us in Seekerville today. Love your blog post, your cover and your blurb! Sounds like a book I HAVE to read!

    So, how did the hunky hero who loves babies help deliver the infant in a LIH? Especially in an historical.

    I know, I know. Sounds like a question our own dear Ruthy would ask, but I am wondering about the actual delivery. And body parts. :)

    Huge congrats to all the Genesis finalists!

  36. Congrats to all the Genesis finalists! This is your year to shine. It's so exciting to be a finalist, and especially the night of the awards banquet.

    The last time I was up for The Genesis before I sold was so magical.

    There are SO many magical moments of that summer, but a couple stand out:

    One editor sent Steve Laube (my agent) an email during the awards ceremony from her iPhone. She had just found out that I had signed with him a month or so earlier, and she mentioned that she liked my work and was interested in working with me some day.

    A publisher I respect a great deal made a point to find me in a crowd of 700 to congratulate me on my win.

    Okay, Chip did too, but I think he got caught standing in front of me, and kinda sorta had to. lol Just kiddin'. The fact is that I remember Chip congratulating me on my Genesis win. And it makes me smile.

    And goodness gracious gravy, that's just a handful of industry professionals that I specifically remember. All my friends were there, screaming, laughing, taking pictures, just having a ball.

    Genesis finalists enjoy this time, and if at all possible, get thee to the ACFW Conference in Dallas in September. You won't regret it!

  37. Just a fyi...the rule about being DQ'd if you sell the ms. has changed:

    If you receive a publishing contract on the manuscript that you entered in the Genesis Contest at any time AFTER March 2, 2012, you do not have to withdraw the manuscript. Contracts established BEFORE March 2, 2012 will require that entry to be withdrawn from the contest and your entry fee will be forfeited for that particular manuscript.

  38. /waving/ Sherri - got your email and DH is at the store now. Whether or not he'll pay any attention to my text [complete with pic of the cover ;)] is anyone's guess :D.

    I'm still trying to convince myself that "Genesis semi-finalist" sounds nearly as good as "Genesis finalist/winner" but it's not going so well ;).

    I do have several other contest finals/wins under my belt, but none quite so prestigious.

    I did check the rules and they say this:

    Any author contracted for publication before March 2, 2012 is not eligible to enter the Genesis Contest. After March 2, 2012, if an entrant receives a contract on a manuscript entered in the Genesis Contest, the manuscript may remain in the contest.

    So they've changed it - at least for this year. Not that I've been around that long, but the rules last year were different than the rules the year before iirc so... could change again I suppose ;).

    Still waiting to hear results from Duel on the Delta which is the only contest still out for me...

    Okay - back to packing! Spur of the moment weekend trip to see family a couple hours away. :D

  39. First of all, I too want to congratulate those who finaled in Genesis. Great job!

    Sherri, I love your voice! When I read that you are a collector of mismatched socks, I thought, "She must be a mother of boys." :) True or not, I've acquired quite a collection too. :) Your book sounds fabulous.

    Though I didn't even semi-final in Genesis this year, these tips are good. I appreciate your humor as you shared your thoughts. I was thinking if you get disqualified, it's still a win-win, right? You have the title, "finalist" even if you don't win or you get to sign on the dotted line of a contract, right? :)Fun thoughts. Also, loved the picture of the refined stampede at the banquet. I'll be watching out for horns when I attend as a newbie this year. :)

    Thanks for sharing your experience and wisdom, Sherri.

  40. Sherri, the book sounds delish! I'm making a Walmart run today to see if they've restocked yet. They hadn't as of two days ago. There are several LI books I want this month including Ruthy's. :-) (Hurry up, Walmart!)

  41. HI Sherri,
    Great advice. Love your professional photo and the book jacket. Sounds like a terrific story.

    Recently, when I handed out my card at a local meeting, the recipient stopped and examined it before looking back into my face. I suddenly felt like I was being scrutinized by the TSA. Then it occurred to me that I look completely different this year. My hair is longer and I have different glasses. I'm investing in new photos and cards this year!

  42. Sherri,

    Fabulous blog, fabulous advice, super fabulous BOOK!!! Many congrats on your sale. You deserve the success. And, hey, I get to say I knew you when. ;-) Looking forward to lots of new releases from you. WOOT!

    ~Renee Ryan~

  43. Pam, Thanks for the info! I'm so glad they changed the rule about getting published. I'll need to publish a disclaimer now :)

    I'd still like to see them change the editor/agent to first pick for the finalists that year. Not everyone can go to a conference 2 years in a row. I know the Golden Heart gives first pick to the finalists. (You can't blame a girl for trying!)

  44. Sherri....whose prose is stilted and pretentious now?

    LOL I spit diet coke on my computer screen.

    Give me a minute clean this up and I'll read the rest of your post.

  45. Debby, I had to bring in an extra character to keep my hero from being too close to the birthin' process. He was an awesome coach, though!

    Carol, good luck with the Duel on the Delta! That one has a special place in my heart.

    Jeanne, I have two boys and a girl. I have had to say, on more than one occasion, "Everyone in this family wears underwear! No exceptions. None."

  46. Good morning, Mary! It's a good day if I can get a laugh out of Mary :0

  47. What'd be cool is, if they disqualify someone for selling, to bring up the next closest contestant. there would be time to do that up to say....a month before the contest.
    Sherri, I remember you and Sarah Ladd and Naomi Rawlings finalling and I knew you and Naomi had sold and thought how much Sarah needed that win more than either of you. but I didn't realize you'd been disqualified BECAUSE you sold. I guess I knew that rule but I'd forgotten.
    It's actually a very pro-sell approach, get the one who needs the sale up front.
    Sarah has sold since then, too, btw, how great does that make the Genesis???

  48. AND I'll add here that if I was a SEMI-FINALIST for the Genesis, that would forever be in my signature line and in my resume. THat's an accomplishment, too. Don't let anyone tell you it's not!!!!

  49. I did win the then-Noble Theme contest the year before I sold.
    I won with Petticoat Ranch and came in third with Montana Rose.
    I got fifteen requests for five different books and managed to snag an agent out of the deal.
    The next year I got a contract from Barbour for Golden Days.

    One of the sweetest moments of my life. Honestly. I have a picture of myself from that night. I looked like I'd been hit by a semi and dragged a few blocks.
    But then what editor buys a book based on an author's looks, huh?????

  50. Wasn't it the Noble Theme contest that brought the Seekers together? Or was it the TBL combined with the Noble Theme, when we realized it was the exact same group of women nominated for both, almost the same crowd and we'd already known each other from other contests.
    We formed a street gang and have been together ever since.
    We probably need matching tattoos.

  51. Welcome, Sherri! What a distinction--getting disqualified from the Genesis because you SOLD!

    And yes, I remember the year that happened to our own Janet Dean. We were both thrilled about her success and regretful that she wasn't recognized for finaling. Truly a mixed blessing.

  52. SHERRI!! I still go so excited every time I see your cover!! I could not be more thrilled for you!! Great cover, great story, great writer, and I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy.

    By the way ... did I mention that I think you are awesome?? :)


  53. Lyndee, I told my husband to use that picture if I'm ever on the news as a missing person - and he said, "But honey, they'll never find you!"

    Renee, can't wait for Anaheim!

  54. Mary, good point! Semi-finaling is an honor! Shout it proud.

    Sarah Ladd sold in a THREE BOOK CONTEST. How's that for a debut author??!!

  55. Thank you for this post! So timely, fun, and I learned something from it :) Silly me, I sent out a lot of queries before I found out I finaled--actually before I found out I semi-finaled--but it's still nice to be able to add that to my bio. This manuscript is done so now my goal is to write another one that's even better! Thanks again for this post!

  56. Sherri, Congratulations on your debut novel! What a thrill! And I love the cover. How could anyone resist picking your book up?

    And thank you for the terrific Genesis advice. Guess it's time to dust off and beautify those query letters.

  57. Sarah Ladd sold in a THREE BOOK CONTRACT (not contest) I've got contest on the brain this morning. Congratulations and I can't wait to read the whole thing. We were all blown away by chapter one.

    Congratulations Cindy and Brenda!!

    Cindy, Good luck with the queries! When you get nibbles, that's a good time to ping the others.

    Brenda, get out those query letters and get 'em out there. It's amazing the difference 'Genesis Finalist' makes on an agent query letter. Especially if you can that you've gotten some editor requests...

  58. "stick with me...I'll get better..."

    That is priceless!

    Congrats on the new release -- and the nice cover. The story sounds like a good read. I mean really ... who can resist a big strong (might I add 'nice looking') sheriff holding a baby?

    Nancy C

  59. It's true, Nancy, it's true...

    Good morning, Cheryl! Can't wait to meet tonight :)

  60. CINDY WILSON use the final as an excuse to contact all the people you subbed to, a very polite, "Hey, I want to let you know I can update the resume I sent you to add a contest finalist."
    Don't demand anything of them. Don't ask if they've read what you subbed, just give them this tiny fyi email, it'll maybe make them look a bit closer that what you sent.

  61. I'll be taking a break for a couple of hours for the ol' day job. We're having our second quarter party and the ice cream man is coming! Woo hoo. Keep leaving comments and congratulate the Genesis winners!

  62. Thanks for a great post! The book sounds awesome. Congratulations!

  63. Good for you, Sherri! I knew you were tactful with your details. :)

    Glad to know you plan to attend RWA this summer. Looking forward to seeing you there.

  64. Great post Sherri.

    Jodie Wolfe

  65. Congratulations Sherri!

    I just checked to see, my post from this morning didn't make it?! Drat.


    This was very interesting on the various rules. Good road map you gave us here.

    Thanks for being in Seekerville today!

  66. Miss Mary
    May here.

    We can help y'all with tattoos. I just had some made... The first recipients received them yesterday!

  67. isn't it interesting how each contest can be so different? But definitely, semi-finalists and finalists need to shout it to the world. That in itself is a major accomplishment!

    hmm, too bad the contest I won isn't around any more--I doubt anyone would remember it besides me. :)

    But I have been a finalist--and it feels good.

  68. What a fun back-and-forth... Sherri, your sense of humor shines through everything you say. Just delightful. And I love that you don't take yourself too seriously.

    And to have you, Naomi and Sarah final together... That was like glimpsing fate in the making. Awesome talent X three.

    Hey, sunny afternoon here in upstate and some cute studmuffin from Panera just dropped off (yes, a total "Diet Coke" moment of respect for his, well... everything should be had here) an array of carb-rich delights including sandwiches, Danish and a monster tray of their fruit and cream topped pastries...

    Fresh sweet tea on your left... Plain on your right.

    And the Keurig is re-stocked with a variety of caffeine-loaded pleasures!

  69. What a timely post! I agree about rethinking the Next Year thingy. Being a Genesis nominee was very exciting. I'm looking forward to reading your book!!

  70. Sherri, DON'T get me started on the underwear battles in this household. :)

  71. NANCY K--forgot to tell you earlier--your pic is beautiful!

  72. Sherri said:
    Jamie, someone else from that pitch session sold recently! Stacy Henrie - I think...

    That is great news! I'm was feeling pretty good about my current situation and then yesterday I read where someone said 'the closer you are to the carrot when the rejection comes the greater the pain.'

    I paused for a moment but have decided not to let that stop me from trying.

  73. I stopped by Walmart on my way through town this morning to see if they'd restocked the bookshelves, and now I'm pouting. They had the cart loaded with unopened boxes just sitting there begging me to open them and dig through them. But I resisted. Aren't I a good little girl? Maybe by the time I get off work, they'll have gotten their act together and put the books on the shelf.
    Is two trips to Walmart in one day too much? Nah!

  74. What a great post - and the comments are even better!

    The Genesis passed me by, but other contests have been good to me this year. I can understand how easy it would be to become a contest junkie.

    And y'all, I'm re-learnin' how to talk Texan, cause I registered for Dallas last night! I can hardly wait!

    (And Pam - you be quiet.)

  75. YAY, Jan! Looking forward to seeing you at ACFW!

  76. Ditto Jeanne about Nancy's new pic!!! Lovely you. Lovely pic.

  77. Grabbing a Panera sandwich and glass of iced tea, unsweetened.

    Thanks, Ruthy!

  78. Hi Sherri,

    What a coincidence! I just finished your book last night and really enjoyed it!! Congratulations!

    Great advice about the Golden Heart. I finaled in 2008 without having a clue what it really meant. Your advice would've been great back then!

    Wishing you much success!


  79. Thank you Debbie and Jeanne T. My younger brother is a professional photographer. We did it all in an hour. This is what he said after choosing that photo and touching up the taco bell from my shirt and some fly away hairs that he assured me would show like flashing beacons on a projector.
    I said, "Wow. I look so good!"
    He looks right at me, does the head to toe, and goes "You really do. So be sure you look reasonably close to this while you're there so people will know this is you."
    So I can relate to your hubby's comment, Sherri, LOL.
    I better make sure the full Mary Kay arsenal and blow dryer, flat iron and curling iron are packed for Dallas.
    Julie, thank you for sharing about your queries (and Tina and everyone else with similar words) that you only need one yes. =)

  80. Nancy, LOL! That sounds like something my younger brother would say. And after I get done pounding on him, we're best friends again! :-)

  81. Nancy don't worry about the Mary Kay arsenal. In fact when your face goes up on the jumbo tron if you don't look as good as your picture, everyone will just respect you more. You say, "I paid extra to look way better than myself." Then pass out your brother's business cards.

  82. I'm back!

    Good afternoon, Sally!

    Debby, I'm not sure tactful fits...but I'll take it :)

    Thanks for stopping by, Jodi.

  83. KC, the gremlins are always out in computer-land!

    *lizzie, You'd smoke the contest circuit!

    Ruthy, thanks for the refreshments!

    Jessica, I do think they should change that rule. All the other major contests have the agent/editor appointments the same year.

  84. Jamie, great quote! Hang in there, you're gettin' close!

    Thanks for visiting, Eve Marie. Loved the pics of your book signing.

    Clari, I haven't seen any June books in my city. Don't they know authors pay attention?!

  85. Debbie, Thanks for keeping the conversation going!

    Susan, I'm so glad you enjoyed the book! Remember, stick with me...I'll get better

    Jan, positive feedback is always addictive! There's just so little of it in this business sometimes.

  86. Nancy and Mary, We're all beautiful on the inside :)

  87. Sherri, I have your book in my hot little hands. Walmart had stocked it this afternoon. :-)

  88. Wonderful post. The book sounds exciting and the cover is very pretty.

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  90. Congratulations on the release of your debut novel, Sherri. The cover is wonderful! I've never entered the Genesis... my reasons being along the same line of Carol Moncado's "What makes me think I can compete with those wonderful peeps?!" But maybe one day.

  91. Late to the discussion, but I wanted to answer Carol Garvin. Don't ever think that way. II did, but I entered anyway and ended up winning last year. Still pinching myself!

    The season is, you just never know what will catch someone's interest. Go for it!

  92. Oh goodness! We're talking Genesis finalist, and I missed the party. So sorry to be chiming in late.

    Sherri! I loved what you said about . . . "Luckily for me, the Genesis judges were kind enough to enough to announce to the entire world, “Don’t worry, dear, you would have lost anyway.” Which probably should have made me feel better than it did. But it was such a gracious gesture toward the actual winner, Sarah Ladd, that I would have been a schmuck to feel bad."

    Yeah, I felt the same way. After three months of telling myself I didn't need to get nervous during the awards ceremony because I'd been disqualified, the ACFW people says "Hey, don't worry about the two that got disqualified, because they would have lost anyway."

    I was like, "Oh yeah, thanks." But then I was super happy for Sarah, so I didn't actually feel bad or anything.

    AND did you know they changed the disqualification rules this year? Yep, they did. You can't get disqualified for selling now. That's good news for all of this years finalists!!!

  93. Naomi, when they said, When they made the announcement about the results - everyone at my table burst into laughter!I like to think the point spread was pretty tight...

  94. sounds so interesting!love to win the book

  95. Oh, wow, such interesting insider information within this post. I couldn't stop reading...which tells me I'm going to love your book, of course. :) Thanks for this, Sherri!