Tag: Sherri Shackelford

Non-Traditional Christmas Traditions with Sherri Shackelford

I’m working on a Holiday book for next year, which got me to thinking about Christmas traditions. So many of our traditions are passed down from generation to generation. When I was growing up, we were always allowed to open one present on Christmas Eve. We spent Christmas Eve with family – one year with my father’s family, and the following year with my mother’s. Christmas Day was reserved for the immediate family. My mother’s family lived in Minnesota, and they were fond of a particular drink called a Tom & Jerry. The drink consists of a batter which is mixed with hot water and rum or brandy.

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You can find recipes for the batter on the internet (it’s a mixture of eggs, spices and powdered sugar), but I’ve been lucky – a local store in my hometown carries the mix around the holidays. (Although you have to order early, it goes fast!) There are special glass and bowl sets for the batter and the drink. I have to admit I like the drink better without the booze! The ritual of mixing the batter with hot water while the smell of nutmeg and cloves fills the air, instantly brings back memories of Christmas.

Tom & Jerry

I’m from the Midwest, so I associate Christmas with cold and snow. For a few years we lived in California. While I enjoyed our Christmases in California, I missed the changing of the seasons and the added communion of being forced indoors by the weather.

When I became a parent, I developed a bit of resentment for the holidays. Usually, the women in the family are the keepers of traditions. (Not always, of course!) And as the keeper of the traditions, we have the added pressure of making everything FESTIVE!

For the holiday book I’m writing, my heroine has no Christmas traditions. Raised by her father, they treated Christmas as a ‘day off’. No chores, no cooking, and no church. The day following Christmas, they traveled into town and bought each other a gift. (This ‘tradition’ started when the heroine’s father forgot Christmas, and had to make up an excuse on the fly.)

Naturally, when my heroine enters into a marriage-of-convenience with a ready-made family, her family traditions are a bit of a shock to my hero.

Which brings me to my questions – Did your family have any holiday traditions that were non-traditional? 

One commentor will win a $5 gift card from Amazon.

Here’s a sneak peak at the cover/blurb for my February book – this is definitely NOT a holiday book! The heroine is an independent suffragist, and I had a lot of fun writing her 🙂 This book kicks off the Prairie Courtship series. Here’s a hint – If you’ve read The Marshal’s Ready-Made Family, you’ll be happy to know that this is her brother, Caleb’s, story.


The Engagement BargainMake-believe betrothal
;

Rock-solid and reliable, confirmed bachelor Caleb McCoy thought nothing could rattle him; until he discovers he needs to pose as Anna Bishop’s intended groom. After saving her life, his honorable code bid Caleb watch over the innocent beauty. And a pretend engagement is the only way to protect her from further harm. 

Raised by a single mother and suffragist, Anna doesn’t think much of marriage;and she certainly doesn’t plan to try it herself. But playing Caleb’s blushing bride-to-be makes her rethink her independent ways, because their make-believe romance is becoming far too real.

Sticking With History

When writing historical novels, there’s always a balance between historically accurate and what many readers assume is historically accurate. History is not, in most cases, written in stone. For instance, the cowboy of song and story was much different in reality than in legend. Most cowboys were scruffy, illiterate, and often plagued with STD’s. Not to mention alcoholism was rampant. Not exactly John Wayne.

Native Americans once numbered somewhere near 100 million. Sometime after Columbus (surprise!) a massive plague wiped out 90% of the population, leaving 1 million Native Americans along with their rich, extensive culture still roaming the Americas. Their numbers were further decimated by smallpox, STD’s (thanks, cowboys) and genocide during the frontier period in America.

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The Wild West may not be nearly as wild as books and legend suggest. Rumor has it that Wild Bill was fired from Buffalo Bill’s show because his voice sounded too feminine. His nickname referred to his nose and he was originally dubbed ‘Duck Bill’. (Wild Bill sounds much more manly.) Billy the Kid claimed he killed 20 people, though historians put the number at closer to 4.

The Shootout in the OK Corral actually took place in a back alley and lasted about 30 seconds. I guess Shootout at the Back Alley didn’t play well with theater audiences. Historians once estimated the actual number of bank robberies in the old west at about a dozen. Homicide rates in the old west were lower than they are today – from 1870-1885 Dodge City had about .6 murders a year. Gun control was rigidly enforced Tombstone. Laws prohibited the carrying of firearms.

There you have it – the wild west wasn’t nearly as wild as we’d like to think. Although, when I write Westerns, my cowboys are handsome and honorable, banks are robbed early and often, and outlaws are super bad. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of The Cattleman Meets His Match, 4 1/2 stars from Romantic Times Magazine. Susan Mobley says, The characters are delightful and play well off one another.

The Cattleman Meets His Match

Here’s a fun youtube video on five common historical misconceptions:

 

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The Last American Suffragette

Miss Febb might have been a lesser known suffragette in 1920, but she soon became one of the most important women in the battle. After more than seventy years of fighting for women”s right to vote, ratification of the 19th Amendment hinged on Tennessee. The Amendment needed 36 states to ratify, and Tennessee was that state. Except, according to all the polls taken, it appeared as though the vote in Tennessee would end in a deadlock. While the Amendment had easily gone through the Senate, it had stalled in the House of Representatives.

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On the morning of August 18, 1920, a young man, Harry Burn, arrived for the momentous vote. He wore a red rose, signifying his opposition to the Amendment. More importantly, he also carried a letter from his mother, Phoebe Ensminger Burn, known to her family and friends as Miss Febb.  She had a very direct message for her son:

Hurrah, and vote for suffrage! Don’t keep them in doubt. I notice some of the speeches against. They were bitter. I have been watching to see how you stood, but have not noticed anything yet. Be a good boy and help Mrs. Catt put the ‘rat’ in ratification.”

Mr. Burn was 24. The youngest man in the senate. He listened to his mother and bore the wrath of his peers. But Mr. Burns was no fool. In defending his sudden change of heart, he stated:

 I know that a mother’s advice is always safest for her boy to follow, and my mother wanted me to vote for ratification.

Had Miss Febb not written her letter, who knows how much longer the battle would have raged.

Like all historical undertakings, the suffragette movement was not without controversy. There were plenty of women who believed that politics were best left to men. The famed society ladies of Boston”s Beacon Hill didn”t believe their fellow women should sully themselves with politics. Religion and the suffragette movement clashed, with both men and women citing Biblical references to deny women the vote. The group also split over the inclusion African American women.

Twice during the movement”s history, competing factions splintered into separate groups. While one side favored extreme tactics, the other side adopted a more moderate approach. Led by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the suffragettes took a hiatus during the Civil War. During World War I, the more radical arm of the movement remained active and endured hostility from all sides.  Women who protested before the White House were imprisoned, and some were even force-fed when they incited a hunger strike.

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As the years progressed, the friendship between Anthony and Stanton became strained, with Stanton  favoring a more militant approach. The two maintained a great respect for each other and despite their differences Stanton, who died first, requested a photo of Anthony on her coffin.

My fourth book, tentatively scheduled for early 2015, features a suffragette. Last evening I wrote the epilogue for her. My heroine arrives for the first official vote after the 19th Amendment is ratified. She”s in her 60″s and arrives early to find a long line already before the poling place. There”s more, but you”ll have to wait for the book!

It”s humbling to realize we”ve only had the vote for less than 100 years. While my grandmother could vote, my great-grandmother lived during a time when women were not considered sufficiently intelligent to participate in elections.  Hard to imagine, isn”t it?!

Available now!

The Marshal’s Ready-Made Family

The marshalGentlemen don”t court feisty straight shooters like JoBeth McCoy. Just as she”s resigned to a lifetime alone, a misunderstanding forces the spunky telegraph operator into a marriage of convenience. Wedding the town”s handsome new marshal offers JoBeth a chance at motherhood, caring for the orphaned little girl she”s come to love.

Garrett Cain will lose guardianship of his niece, Cora, if he stays single, but he knows no woman could accept the secrets he”s hidden about his past. The lawman can”t jeopardize Cora”s future by admitting the truth. Yet when unexpected danger in the small town threatens to expose Garrett”s long-buried secret, only a leap of faith can turn a makeshift union into a real family.

Coming in August:

The Cattleman Meets His Match

Galahad in a Stetson

Cowboy John Elder needs a replacement crew of cattle hands to drive his longhorns to Kansas—he just never figured they”d be wearing petticoats. Traveling with Moira O”Mara and the orphan girls in her care is a mutually beneficial arrangement. Yet despite Moira”s declaration of independence, the feisty beauty evokes John”s every masculine instinct to protect, defend…marry?

Moira is grateful for John”s help when he rescues her—and she can”t deny that his calm, in-control manner proves comforting. But she is determined not to let anything get in the way of her plans to search for her long-lost brother at journey”s end. However, can John show her a new future—one perfect for them to share?

What Do Writers Do When They’re Not Writing?

IMG_20140110_200735What do writers do when they’re not writing? They hang out with other writers! This past month my local romance writer’s group hosted a small regional conference. With my deadlines coming closer together these days, I have less and less opportunity to attend our monthly meetings. In order to give back to the group, I decided to chair the conference committee.  It’s a lot of work, but a lot of fun as well. This year we invited members of two other groups in our region to attend. We hosted workshops, enjoyed some meals together, watched a movie, and generally had an awesome time. Our very own Mary Connealy and Renee Ryan were in attendance as well as former filly, Cheryl St.John.

I confess, I made my first slideshow for this post…fingers crossed that it actually works!

The movie we watched was ‘American Dreamer’ with JoBeth Williams from 1984. If you haven’t seen the movie, it’s darling. A housewife wins a writing contest and the grand prize is an all-expense-paid trip to Paris. En route she’s hit by a car, and when she wakes up, she believes she’s the main character in a romance novel.

We didn’t have the proper cables to watch the movie on the screen, so we turned our suite into a makeshift theater. We threw a blanket over the tv and used our projector hooked to the computer. Not an elegant solution, but it sure was a lot of fun.

 

 

The Marshal’s Ready-Made Family is almost here! Available for pre-order on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. In February, look for the book on the shelf of your local Walmart The marshal's ready-made familystore. (Barnes & Noble and other retail outlets will order on demand. And if we demand enough, maybe they’ll even stock them!)

4 ½ stars from RT Magazine, Susan Mobley says, “A lovely marriage-of-convenience story, the interaction between the two main characters is a joy to start.”

Gentlemen don’t court feisty straight shooters like JoBeth McCoy. Just as she’s resigned to a lifetime alone, a misunderstanding forces the spunky telegraph operator into a marriage of convenience. Wedding the town’s handsome new marshal offers JoBeth a chance at motherhood, caring for the orphaned little girl she’s come to love.

Garrett Cain will lose guardianship of his niece, Cora, if he stays single, but he knows no woman could accept the secrets he’s hidden about his past. The lawman can’t jeopardize Cora’s future by admitting the truth. Yet when unexpected danger in the small town threatens to expose Garrett’s long-buried secret, only a leap of faith can turn a makeshift union into a real family.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy!

Reflecting on the Past Year

On January 3rd I’ll post a blog about goal setting and the coming year–but today I want to do something a little different. New Year’s resolutions are all fine and dandy, but I think it’s also a good idea to look back over the previous year and celebrate our accomplishments. Too often we focus on the negative, we put all our attention on what we failed to do. This year, instead of beating ourselves up, let’s  remember the good times we had!

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Me and Cheryl St.John on disco night.

In April, my critique group traveled to the Romantic Times Convention in Kansas City. We booked adjoining rooms and brought more chocolate and snacks than I’d care to admit.

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Author Ann Stephens and I share a table at an agent party.

We laughed and goofed off, taught a fabulous workshop, signed books, learned a little something, and generally had an awesome time.

This fall our local ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) group attended a quilt show.

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Author Cathy Richmond admires a quilt.

We also celebrated National Authors’ Day by having lunch together.

NAD1Authors Lorna Seilstad and Cindy Salzman share a smile.

 

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We celebrated Christmas along with a good-natured photo bomber…

 

Fourth of July 2013 195I swung from the St. Louis Arch.

Did I accomplish everything I intended? No. Not even close. But I sure had a good time trying!

How about you? What is your fondest memory from the past year? One commentor will win an advance copy of The Marshal’s Ready-Made Family.

The Marshal’s Ready-Made Family

Available February, 2014

A Marriage of Necessity 

Gentlemen don’t court feisty straight shooters like JoBeth McCoy. Just as she’s resigned to a lifetime alone, a misunderstanding forces the spunky telegraph operator into a marriage of convenience. Wedding the town’s handsome new marshal offers JoBeth a chance at motherhood, caring for the orphaned little girl she’s come to love. 

Garrett Cain will lose guardianship of his niece, Cora, if he stays single, but he knows no woman could accept the secrets he’s hidden about his past. The lawman can’t jeopardize Cora’s future by admitting the truth. Yet when unexpected danger in the small town threatens to expose Garrett’s long-buried secret, only a leap of faith can turn a makeshift union into a real family.

 

 

Writing with Emotion, Tension & Conflict by Cheryl St.John

Sherri here today, and I have a special giveaway. This is what I”m reading this week! Now, in the interest of full disclosure, Cheryl is a good friend and was kind enough to include an excerpt from one of my books on page 228. This is an incredible tool for either the beginner or the experienced writer.

Here”s the back cover blurb:

Today”s highly competitive fiction market requires writers to imbue their novels with that special something – an element that captures readers” hearts and minds. In Writing With Emotion, Tension & Conflict, writers will learn vital techniques for writing emotion into their characters, plots and dialogue in order to instill that special something into every page.

I believe in this book so much, I”m giving away a copy to one lucky person who comments. If you”re a writer, or if  you know a writer in your life, this book is a must have!

Here is Cheryl”s impressive biography:

Cheryl St.John is the author of nearly fifty Harlequin and Silhouette books. Her first book, Rain Shadow was nominated for Romance Writers of America”s Rita® Award for Best First Book, by Romantic Times Magazine for Best Western Historical, and by Affaire de Coeur readers as Best American Historical Romance. Since then she has received three more RITA nominations, a Writer”s Digest award for a feature article, and several Romantic Times Reviewers Choice awards. Many of her books made the Waldenbooks Top Ten lists, USA Today, and Big Sky Brides climbed to #35 on the NYT list.

Meet the Newest Filly, Sherri Shackelford

Before we get started– I hope this post works! This is my first “official” solo run on P&P

I was honored to be invited to joint the ladies on Petticoats & Pistols! I thought I”d take a minute to introduce myself and tell you a little bit about the journey that brought me here. I was never one of those people who dreamed of being an author. Come to think of it, I never wrote anything longer than a term paper for the first thirty-six years of my life. I did love to read. Voraciously. My drug of choice was romance. From an early age (too early) I secretly read my mother”s romance books. I was weaned on Kathleen Woodiwiss, Victoria Holt and Laurie McBain. When I was old enough to buy the books myself, I bought Johanna Lindsey.

Once out of college, I worked for a time in insurance. I became a stay-at-home mother when my kids were born. I had vowed to return to work when my youngest went to kindergarten and, in the spring of 2007, I realized that date was fast approaching.

I really, really didn”t want to go back into insurance.

HannahOn one of my many visits to a local paperback swap, I happened to see a book by Pam Crooks. Now westerns weren”t really my genre of choice, but the blurb (and the book) were too good to pass up. Imagine my surprise when I discovered Pam lived in in my home city. And she was a member of something called Romance Writers of America.

A real, live author actually lived in my hometown!

Suddenly the idea of writing a book didn”t seem so far fetched. But I had NO idea where to begin…

I immediately joined RWA and contacted my local chapter. I almost fainted when I realized Pam was the membership coordinator. I attended my first meeting in August of 2007–I had yet to write a single word. Not one word. I still had no idea where to begin. At that first meeting, I met Cheryl St.John. (Another stomach churning moment. She was the first real, live author I had ever met IN PERSON!) She graciously invited me to apprentice with her critique group. Six weeks later, the Friday Night Ladies invited me join their group permanently. (A choice I”m sure they”ve regretted on more than one occasion…)

dream team

Those ladies are amazing. They listened through reams of cringe-worthy material and gently guided me through the learning curve. For the first couple of years I wrote sporadically and experimented with different genres. Then I decided to get serious. I saw a scene vividly in my head: There was a woman having a baby, a blizzard, and Texas Ranger on the trail of a killer. I wrote that book and everything clicked. It was the first book I Avec le temps, la francaise s’est propagee a tous les autres pays europeens, evoluant doucement d’une francaise a une europeenne. ever *really* finished!  In August of 2011, exactly 4 years after joining RWA, I sold my first book, Winning the Widow”s Heart. (Cheryl St.John provided the title…Little known fact about Cheryl–she is the Title Queen.) In February, my second book, The Marshal”s Ready-Made Family releases. The third book in the series is awaiting a release date. Currently I”m working on another trilogy to kick off my fourth contracted book. I even had the honor of brainstorming with Pam Crooks for my new series!! Squee!!!!

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Winning the Widow”s Heart

Winning the WidowWhen 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.

 

(I was really hoping I”d have a cover by now! Soon…soon…)

The Marshal”s Ready-Made Family

Gentlemen don”t court feisty straight shooters like JoBeth McCoy. Just as she”s resigned to a lifetime alone, a misunderstanding forces the spunky telegraph operator into a marriage of convenience. Wedding the town”s handsome new marshal offers JoBeth a chance at motherhood, caring for the orphaned little girl she”s come to love.

Garrett Cain will lose guardianship of his niece, Cora, if he stays single, but he knows no woman could accept the secrets he”s hidden about his past. The lawman can”t jeopardize Cora”s future by admitting the truth. Yet when unexpected danger in the small town threatens to expose Garrett”s long-buried secret, only a leap of faith can turn a makeshift union into a real family.

Texas Fever . . . with Guest Sherri Shackelford

 

SherriShackelfordWhile many people assume the proliferation of railroads doomed the classic cattle drive immortalized in song and film, a much more insidious cause was also at play. In 1868 the Veterinarian Journal reported that a ‘very subtle and terribly fatal disease had broken out amongst cattle in Illinois. Called Texas Fever, the disease was traced to longhorn cattle driven from south Texas. The disease went by many names: Red Water Fever, Spanish Fever, Splenic Fever, but all these names led to the same fate for Midwestern cattle…death.

To protect their cattle, states along cattle trails began enforcing quarantines and restricting the movement of cattle to winter months–when the spread of the disease slowed. By 1885, Kansas had closed its borders altogether. This protective measure ensured the safety of Midwestern cattle, but doomed numerous cattle towns to stagnation. longhorns

For many years the cause remained unknown, therefore, complete quarantine was the only option. The Texas longhorns remained immune, but the disease was almost always fatal to Midwestern cattle. By the late 1800’s, scientists had discovered the Texas longhorns contained a pathogen that killed red blood cells. The pathogen was spread by ticks—which accounted for the slowing of the spread in the winter months.

Further research revealed that since the disease was widespread in southern Texas, the longhorn cattle had developed immunity.  All calves are born with a natural resistance and exposed during this time of protection which provided the cattle with antibodies. The Midwestern cattle, exposed as adults, lacked this immunity.

While the disease still flourishes in other countries, the United States eradicated the disease by an extensive program of ‘cattle dipping’. (Must have been a pretty big pool!) Northern cattle imported to the south were immunized.

So while droughts, blizzards, railroad expansion, barbed wire, settlements and embargos also played a factor in ending the cattle drives, Texas Fever played the dominant role. On a more productive note, the disease brought about the separate veterinarian division of the United States Department of Agriculture. Standards and regulations helped regulate the industry. When you look at Texas Fever through the lenses of history, this disease has directly affected each and every one of us.

If you have a hankering for a City Slickers experience, there are plenty of modern ranches willing to oblige—for a hefty price! I think I’ll just watch John Wayne in The Cowboys…

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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. Write to Sherri at P.O. Box 116, Elkhorn, NE, 68022, email at sherri@sherrishackelford.com or visit sherrishackelford.com.

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The Marshal’s Ready-Made Family releases in February, 2014:

A Marriage of Necessity 

Gentlemen don’t court feisty straight shooters like JoBeth McCoy. Just as she’s resigned to a lifetime alone, a misunderstanding forces the spunky telegraph operator into a marriage of convenience. Wedding the town’s handsome new marshal offers JoBeth a chance at motherhood, caring for the orphaned little girl she’s come to love. 

Garrett Cain will lose guardianship of his niece, Cora, if he stays single, but he knows no woman could accept the secrets he’s hidden about his past. The lawman can’t jeopardize Cora’s future by admitting the truth. Yet when unexpected danger in the small town threatens to expose Garrett’s long-buried secret, only a leap of faith can turn a makeshift union into a real family.

I’ll preorder a copy of the Marshal’s Ready-Made Family to one commenter along with a $5 gift card to buy something to read during the wait 😉

Sherri Shackelford: What is a Mentor?

Winning the Widow's Heart, Love Inspired Historical, June

What is a mentor? I searched out quotes on mentors to see what people had to say. Here are some of my favorites:

A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you, than you see in yourself, and helps bring it out of you.  Bob Proctor, Author, Speaker and Success Coach

The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to reveal to him his own.? -Benjamin Disraeli

Every Timothy needs a Paul; Every Ruth needs a Naomi.- Pastor Aaron Williams (Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Seattle WA)

I had always seen a mentor as someone to admire, someone to whom you aspire, someone whose advice you trust. As I read these quotes, I developed a more mature understanding. A mentor is someone who helps you discover and develop the talents already inherent within you.

When I first entered the career world, the wisdom of the time pushed people to discover their weaknesses, and attempt to strengthen them.  We took workshops and seminars, filled out assessments, and discovered our weaknesses. Then we set about changing ourselves. With mixed results.

Fast forward after a ten-year hiatus raising my children. The new wisdom had turned to ‘Strength Finder.’  The idea centered on finding your strengths, and exploiting your talents.  Suddenly it was okay that I was a loner! I didn’t have to force myself out of my shell.

I felt like a window had opened for me. Instead of fighting my nature, I could harness my strengths. For me, a true mentor is someone who helps you exploit your talents.

Almost five years ago, I joined Romance Writers of America, and my local chapter, Heartland Writers Group. I was terrified at my first meeting. I had never written a word. (Who joins a writers group if they’ve never written anything? Me, evidently!) When they asked me what I wrote, I misunderstood the question and thought they said, ‘read.’ The next meeting, my name tag had three lines: Sherri Shackelford, writes Regency, Victorian, some Contemporaries and the occasional Western.”

Yep.

Luckily for me, I met Cheryl St.John at that meeting. I still remember the peach shirt she was wearing. In a weird quirk of fate, I discovered that we had lived only blocks apart for many, many years. We bonded over the old neighborhood, and Cheryl invited me to join her critique group for a limited, six-week, learning session.

Had I realized the six weeks was an ‘audition’ period, I probably would have frozen in fear. Luckily for me, I’m kind of slow. After six weeks, they invited me to stay for good.  Cheryl gave me the best writing advice I’ve ever received: eventually, you just have to believe in yourself.

Cheryl trained me in writing, and when it was time, she kicked me out of the nest. The novel I submitted to Harlequin Historical wasn’t picked up, but I received my very first personalized rejection. In writing, that’s a win!

It took another year after Cheryl encouraged me to submit before I sold a book. Cheryl encouraged me the whole way, and taught me the most important thing a mentor can teach a mentee: Eventually, you have to believe in yourself. A true mentor gives you the power to discover your talents, and believe in yourself.

 

 

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.

 

Visit her website at: http://sherrishackelford.com/

Sherri Shackelford: Happy Groundhog Day!

Harkening back to 18th century Pennsylvania, and rooted in ancient lore, Groundhog Day is traditionally celebrated on February  2nd. Perhaps the most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil of Gobbler’s Knob, was immortalized in the 1993 movie Groundhog Day featuring Bill Murray.

Legend says if the groundhog sees his shadow, we’ll have six more weeks of winter. If it’s cloudy, and the groundhog doesn’t see his shadow, we’ll have an early spring. Records have been kept since 1887, and Phil has been correct 39% of the time.  Hmmm, I wonder how that compares to our local weather man….

The groundhog is actually a marmot, also known as a woodchuck or a whistle pig. (I’ve never actually heard of a whistle pig, but if you read it on the internet it must be correct. Right?) Personally, I think a holiday based on a rodent is awesome!

I’m the morale officer at work, and this year we’re showing the Bill Murray movie, and serving pulled pork sandwiches. (Ground hog, get it?) I tried to get the chef to wear a top hat and jacket like the gentlemen in Gobbler’s Knob, but that idea kind of got shot down.  I’m planning on showing The Three Amigos for Cinco de Mayo…I wonder if she’d wear a sombrero….

If you’re not familiar with the plot of Groundhog Day, Bill Murray’s character is forced to relive Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney until he learns a few life lessons. Time only moves forward when he figures out that you can’t cheat death, and you can’t fake love.

So here’s my question of the day: If you could live one day over again, what day would it be? (And you can’t pick wedding days or the births of your children – too easy.) Stretch your memory a little.

Here’s one of mine….Years ago I went to Puerto Rico with a friend. We took a catamaran off the coast, and snorkeled in the shade of the boat. I was young and poor, but I figured a little splurge was in order. One of the ship’s crew had spent time in northern Nebraska, and we shared our thoughts on the difference between our cultures. When we returned, the ship’s crew refused to accept payment from us. They wouldn’t even take a tip! I can still picture the sun sparking off the water, and hear the waves lapping against the boat. I’d relive that day, and take my family with me this time.

What about you?

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.

Her debut novel, Winning the Widow’s Heart, releases from Harlequin Historical Love Inspired in June. Visit her website at sherrishackelford.com, or email her at sherrishackelford@gmail.com.

 

 

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