Judy Penz Sheluk is the author of The Hanged Man’s Noose (Glass Dolphin Mysteries) and Skeletons in the Attic (Marketville Mysteries) for Barking Rain Press. In addition to writing mysteries, Judy has spent many years working as a freelance writer and editor, and is currently the Senior Editor for New England Antiques Journal.
Judy is a member Sisters in Crime International/Guppy Chapter/Toronto, Crime Writers of Canada, International Thriller Writers, and the Short Mystery Fiction Society. Judy was also elected to the 2017-2018 Crime Writers of Canada Board of Directors, representing Toronto and Southern Ontario. You can find out more about Judy at www.judypenzsheluk.com, where she showcases other authors and blogs about her writing journey.
One of the first questions people tend to ask me is how long I’ve been writing, and the answer to that is, “for as long as I can remember,” albeit with this caveat: for many years, I wrote stories inside my head, on my way to and from elementary and high school, or later, commuting to and from work.
Now I know what you’re thinking: it’s impossible for someone to read a story that’s inside my head (at least I hope it’s impossible!) but let me plead my case. You see, for many years I thought everyone wrote stories in their head. And while I wanted to study journalism, circumstances led me to get a fulltime job in the credit department of an insurance company, while I took company-sponsored business courses at night. By age 23, I was the Canadian Division Credit Manager, the youngest Division Manager in the company’s history.
I followed that Credit Management path for several years, leaving the insurance company but finding success with others. And then one day I said to my husband, “I can’t do the corporate thing any more.” And he said, “What do you want to do?” And I said, “I want to be a freelance writer.” He told me to try it for a year. That was 2003. I’ve never looked back, though I have taken a couple of online certificate programs in Fiction Writing and Creative Writing, and I’ve worked hard to build a reputation as a reliable researcher who consistently meets deadlines.
After 10 years of writing and editing for magazines and newspapers, I began writing my debut novel, The Hanged Man’s Noose: A Glass Dolphin Mystery. The premise was one I’d seen in my own small town: greedy developer comes with plans to build a mega-box store, thereby jeopardizing the small businesses on the town’s historic Main Street. As for the Glass Dolphin, it’s the name of an antiques shop, and I come by my knowledge honestly: I’ve been the Senior Editor for New England Antiques Journal since 2007.
It took a while to find a “home” for Noose, and when I couldn’t bring myself to write the sequel to a book that hadn’t found a publisher, I started Skeletons in the Attic, the first book in my Marketville Mystery series. Both books are currently being published by Barking Rain Press, and can be found in print and e-book, as well as in audiobook on Audible, Amazon and iTunes.
I’m also happy to say that the sequels to both books are scheduled. A Hole in One: A Glass Dolphin Mystery #2 is coming out Spring 2018, and Past & Present: A Marketville Mystery #2 is coming out early 2019. Which means, of course, that now I’m working on the sequels to the sequels. Sometimes I think it’s a problem, trying to write two series concurrently, but trust me, as problems go, it’s a very good problem to have.
When I left the corporate world I didn’t know if my life as a freelance writer would work out, but something inside me told me to try, and I never regretted the decision for a moment. That same voice told me to try writing a novel, and here I am, four books written and two more in the hopper.
Amy asked me to include a few lines about an author I’d like to meet, and why. I don’t know how to narrow it down. Every author I’ve read, whether I loved or hated the book, has impacted me, and in turn, my writing. Because all the writing courses in the world can’t change one simple fact: reading truly is the best teacher.
Skeletons in the Attic
Calamity (Callie) Barnstable isn’t surprised to learn she’s the sole beneficiary of her late father’s estate, though she is shocked to discover she has inherited a house in the town of Marketville—a house she didn’t know he had. However, there are conditions attached to Callie’s inheritance: she must move to Marketville, live in the house, and solve her mother’s murder.
Callie’s not keen on dredging up a thirty-year-old mystery, but if she doesn’t do it, there’s a scheming psychic named Misty Rivers who hopes to expose the Barnstable family secrets herself. Determined to thwart Misty and fulfill her father’s wishes, Callie accepts the challenge. But is she ready to face the skeletons hidden in the attic?
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I'm generally pulled in a million different directions and I wouldn't trade it for the world. Here's a glimpse of my life - hope you enjoy it! And if there's a big lapse between posts, well, that's the way life goes in Amy's world.