CYBER CAFE: Judy Penz Sheluk

Greetings and Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Readers!

I’m delighted to welcome back fellow crime fiction author, Judy Penz Sheluk. Judy’s latest book, A Hole in One, has just been released by Barking Rain Press.


An Amazon international bestselling author, Judy is the author of two mystery series: The Glass Dolphin Mysteries (The Hanged Man’s Noose and A Hole In One) and The Marketville Mysteries (Skeletons In The Attic). Her short crime fiction has appeared in several collections, including Live Free or Tri. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, the Short Mystery Fiction Society, and Crime Writers of Canada, where she currently serves on the Board of Directors as the Regional Representative for Toronto/Southern Ontario.

Judy blogs regularly about her writing life as well as interviewing and showcasing the works of other authors. Check out Judy’s website and blog here.  

Welcome, Judy! Do give us a sneak preview of  A Hole in One.

Readers of The Hanged Man’s Noose will know that Arabella’s relationship with her ex-husband, Levon Larroquette, is complicated. It gets even more complicated in A Hole In One, especially once Levon is suspected of murder. Levon and Arabella meet in the Silent Auction room just before the charity golf tournament is set to begin…and before Arabella stumbles onto a corpse in the woods on the third hole.

A Hole in One is the second book in your series. What was easy to write? And what wasn’t?

You would think that the easiest part is that the world and main characters of my series are already  created. In some ways, it is, but the tricky part is not giving away anything that happened in Book One, especially when those details have influenced the actions or lives of my characters. It’s a balancing act. Not to be too repetitive so earlier readers get bored, but repetitive enough so that the new book can be read out of order.

This is your fourth book. Does writing get easier or harder for you with each book?

It’s getting harder, and that, I think, is because I’m becoming a better writer, but with that, my inner editor has become quite harsh. That said, it took me 18 months to write and revise HANGMAN’S NOOSE, a year to write and revise SKELETONS IN THE ATTIC, and about nine months to write and revise A HOLE IN ONE once I got into it.  So, I’m writing faster. Or maybe smarter.

I have another book coming out this fall, the sequel to Skeletons in the Attic, the first book in my Marketville series. Now I’m working on three books! Book Three in the Glass Dolphin series, Book Three in the Marketville series, and a standalone.  The standalone is really calling to me right now. Maybe I just need a brief break from my series!

And you also blog regularly! You have been supporting fellow authors through New Release Mondays. 

New Release Mondays has been well received by authors and my blog followers. My initial intent was to support other authors without me doing a lot of work (ha!ha!). It’s opened a lot of doors for me. Authors I’ve never met have been showcased on my blog, and many are willing to return the favor when I have a new release.

But what if someone does not reciprocate?

It’s disappointing when someone doesn’t share the post or respond to comments, but when that happens the author goes on my “naughty” list, meaning I won’t host them again. We absolutely have to support each other if we want to succeed.

You generously share your writing experiences through My Publishing Journey. What have proved to be the most popular topics?

The more raw and honest my posts are, the more people respond to them. My earliest posts on looking for an agent or publisher, and the rejection I faced, gained a lot of traction even though at the time I had very few followers.

Another series that did well was the one on Scrivener, a writing software program beloved by many authors. So beloved, in fact, that if you don’t like Scrivener, you start to wonder if there’s something wrong with you. For the record, I tried Scrivener and hated it. But that’s just me. I’ve been using Word since I started freelancing for magazines and newspapers in 2003, and it’s what I’m used to, and what works for me.

Most recently, I wrote a series of three posts on producing audiobooks. That’s been super popular with authors. I try for a mix of posts; some are geared to authors,  some to readers

What’s next for you – in your spare time (ha!ha!)?

I’ve been on the Board of Directors at Crime Writers of Canada (CWC) since June 2017, and have just volunteered for another year, though as a general board member versus as Regional Rep for Toronto/Southern Ontario. It’s a lot of work, but I’m learning so much and I’m able to help other Canadian authors at the same time.

I’m also on the Committee for a new mystery conference, which will be held in Toronto in late May or early June 2020. Right now we’re in the initial planning stages, but we’ll have our venue and date firmed up by June 2018. The idea for a conference came up at a CWC board meeting and I thought, “I have to get in on the ground floor of this.” The hope is that the conference will promote Canadian authors, and that it will become an annual event. That, of course, will depend on how successful we are year one.

And finally, readers, here’s an extract from A Hole in One – just before Arabella finds the body!

Levon smiled, the full-on one he tended to keep in reserve, and Arabella felt something tug inside of her. She had heard quite enough about Gilly Germaine and how amazing she was. It wasn’t as if she was jealous, exactly, more like she felt Levon slipping away from her little by little. They might not be married any longer, but she never stopping thinking of him as a friend, someone who knew her and loved her, blemishes and all. Since Gilly had arrived on the scene, Levon had become more and more distant. This past month he’d been all but absent. Today was the first time they’d spoken in two weeks.

It didn’t help that she’d recently split up with Aaron Beecham. For a small town cop, he seemed to be on duty more than off.

“I should get going,” Levon said, interrupting her thoughts. “Gilly is relying on me.”

I’m sure she is. “I better get going as well. We’re starting on number two.”

“Just remember not to hit the ball until the shotgun sounds.”

“Gilly’s using an actual shotgun? I thought everyone used sirens or horns these days.”

Levon laughed. “Gilly’s as much of a stickler for research as you are. She thought it would be more authentic if she used a shotgun, too. You of all people should appreciate that, Arabella. After all, isn’t that your motto? Authenticity matters?”

It was, but Arabella didn’t like it that Gilly had adopted the same motto.

She didn’t like it one bit.

Find A Hole in One in trade paperback and eBook on Amazon and at Barking Rain Press here.





CYBER CAFE: Meet Judy Penz Sheluk

Judy Penz ShelukI first met Judy through Toronto Sisters in Crime when she organized a crime writers' reading in East Gwillimbury. Judy's debut novel, The Hanged Man's Noose, was published in 2015 and her second novel, Skeletons in the Closet, this month, August, 2016.

Judy's short crime fiction has appeared in the anthologies: World Enough and Crime, The Whole She-Bang 2, Flash and Bang and Live Free or Tri.

Judy and I share a passion for sports. Did you know that she completed a half iron man? Wow! And she's also biked in the Ride to Conquer Cancer.

Do visit Judy on her website / blog, A Writer's Journey, where she generously shares her experiences with the writing life and interviews and supports other authors. Here is the link:

Your blog is called One Writer’s Journey, where you enjoy sharing your personal experiences as a writer.

Yes, my blog first appeared on April 2, 2013. I wrote about my experience having three flash fiction stories (not crime fiction) published in THEMA, a New Orleans-based literary journal. At the time, I probably had about 10 followers.

I publish once or twice a week, but I take most of July off all social media and recharge.

The most successful blogs are based on one’s personal passion. What passion(s) led you to create your blog?

When I was writing my first book, The Hanged Man’s Noose, I thought it would be easy to sell it. The protagonist’s sidekick owns an antiques shop, and I’ve been the Senior Editor at New England Antiques Journal since 2007. I had also developed a strong reputation as a freelance writer, with articles in dozens of U.S. and Canadian publications.

It didn’t make a bean of difference!

So, I wanted to let other writers know they weren’t alone in their journey of rejection (did you Kathryn Stockett’s The Help was rejected 61 times?). And I wanted readers to know I was honest and willing to share my experiences with them.

Tell us about your followers.

Most of my followers are in the US and Canada, but also in the UK. And I had a woman from Australia bid on my “Have Judy name a character in her next book after you” at the Bouchercon 2015 Raleigh fundraiser auction. So that was cool.

I like to think my followers enjoy the honesty about the writing journey. I do interview other authors, and I have introduced a New Release Mondays to showcase fellow authors, but people seem to love it when I say, “Hey, I’m just like you. My life isn’t perfect, either.”

What has been your strangest feedback?

So far, nothing crazy…crossing fingers that stays the same. But I remember doing a book signing at Chapters in St. Catharines, Ontario. A woman holding Louise Penny’s latest told me she wouldn’t buy my book because she didn’t read Canadian crime fiction!

What have proved to be your most popular topics?

Without question, my most popular blog was the one titled “Calling all Agents,” published February 15, 2016. (Do read it here )

Another of my most popular posts was called “The First Cut is the Deepest” where I talk about an agent I met at Bloody Words 2012 (Toronto) and the lessons I learned. I published it in January 2015. ( )

Polls also do well. I’ve done polls on where people write, where people read, and what format people read in. I use Polldaddy, which is easy and people seem to like voting. But you have to keep it simple.

You also interview many other authors on your blog. Do tell us more.

When it’s an interview with an author, I ask the author to tackle something about writing. For example, Cori Lynn Arnold wrote about setting her book, Northern Deceit in North Pole, Alaska (which is a real place). I’ve also interviewed publishers, and ask them what they’re looking for/not looking for/what excited them/turns them off.

Probably my favorite guest post was Guelph, Ontario, author Joanne Guidoccio’s post on Open Mic Readings. She gave straight forward advice and it came at a time when I needed it! (Here’s the link: )

What’s next for Judy?

My debut mystery novel, The Hanged Man’s Noose, was published in July 2015 by Barking Rain Press. Skeletons in the Attic, the first book in my Marketville Mystery Series, was published this August, 2016 by Imajin.

Skeletons in the Attic Front Cover

I’m always thrilled to have new followers for my blog (see the link above). I also put out a newsletter, at no fixed schedule, two to three times a year. Here’s the link for that:

Thank you, Judy. It was a pleasure to have you on Cyber Café. And congratulations on your new book!