Spotlight on Judy Penz Sheluk

I’m happy to welcome back best-selling author Judy Penz Sheluk. Today, Judy chats about her writing journey and new release, A Fool’s Journey.

Here’s Judy!

It seems like only yesterday that I began writing Skeletons in the Attic, the first book in my Marketville Mystery series starring Toronto-to-suburbia transplant Calamity (Callie) Barnstable. When I started, it was simply a way to keep on writing while I shopped around for a publisher for what would be my debut novel, The Hanged Man’s Noose (book 1 in the Glass Dolphin Mystery series). You see, I couldn’t imagine writing book 2 in a series when no one was interested in book 1.

Except something unexpected happened: as someone who always wrote in third person, writing as Callie in first person was strangely liberating…and somewhere along the line, I “became” Callie. Now, I don’t mean that I suddenly became 36 again (wouldn’t that be nice) and I’ve never inherited a house, but she filled my thoughts in a way no other character had before. The result was that Skeletons in the Attic, first released Aug. 2016, became my bestselling title, and the sequel, Past & Present, released Sept. 2018, has been a strong second.

Fast forward to 2019, and Callie is back, this time in A Fool’s Journey, where, along with her team at Past & Present Investigations, she searches for Brandon Colbeck, who, at age twenty, left home in 2000 to find himself. No one has seen or heard from him since.

While Brandon’s case is fictional, it is by no means unique. In 2017, more than 78,000 adults went missing in Canada. While most such cases are solved within a few days, many are decades old, leaving friends and family waiting for answers.

And now, a bit about A Fool’s Journey:

In March 2000, twenty-year-old Brandon Colbeck left home to find himself on a self-proclaimed “fool’s journey.” No one—not friends or family—have seen or heard from him since, until a phone call from a man claiming to be Brandon brings the case back to the forefront. Calamity (Callie) Barnstable and her team at Past & Present Investigations have been hired to find out what happened to Brandon and where he might be. As Callie follows a trail of buried secrets and decades-old deceptions only one thing is certain: whatever the outcome, there is no such thing as closure.


Judy Penz Sheluk is the bestselling author of the Glass Dolphin Mystery and Marketville Mystery series, and the editor of The Best Laid Plans: 21 Stories of Mystery & Suspense. Her short stories can be found in several collections. Judy is also a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, the Short Mystery Fiction Society, and Crime Writers of Canada, where she serves as Vice Chair on the Board of Directors. Find her at

A Fool’s Journey, book 3 in Judy’s Marketville Mystery series, is available in trade paperback at all the usual suspects, and on Kindle.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

A natural storyteller, Ms. Sheluk skillfully drew me into the storyline and kept me hooked until the end. The premise—A young man leaves everything behind and embarks on a fool’s journey—captured my attention. Having taught many older adolescents, I could easily imagine the heartache that followed as parents and loved ones dealt with this unexplained absence of almost twenty years. Woven into the narrative are fascinating details about tarot cards, tattoos, missing persons, and Y2K technology.

Next, please!

10 Interesting Facts about The Best Laid Plans

I’m happy to welcome Canadian author and editor Judy Penz Sheluk. Today, Judy shares ten interesting facts about her first anthology, The Best Laid Plans.

Whoot! Today is release day for The Best Laid Plans, 21 Stories of Mystery & Suspense, the first anthology published by Superior Shores Press. Here are 10 facts about the book:

1. The original call for submissions went out October 18, 2018, with a deadline of January 18, 2018. Seventy-two stories were received for consideration, with authors submitting from Italy, Norway, UK, U.S., Canada, Australia, and South America.

2. Authors included in the collection come from the U.S., UK, Canada, and a German millennial living in Norway. Three are members of Sisters in Crime Toronto.

3. Stories range from 1,500 to 5,000 words. Each story is preceded by a one-page bio of the author, with a link to their website or social media site.

4. One author, Mary Dutta, celebrates her first fiction credit in the collection, with her story, “Festival Finale.”

5. For the cover, I wanted an hourglass seeping blood instead of sand, and commissioned S.A. Hadi hasan to do the illustration. I also wanted all the authors names listed, and not just the names of two or three well-known authors. Graphic artist Hunter Martin designed the final layout.

6. Scene breaks in the book are…you guessed it…tiny hourglasses.

7. Stories are set in a variety of locations, including a ski resort, subway station, hair salon, nursing home, art gallery, coffee shop, rural Oklahoma, China during the Ming Dynasty, and a suburban McMansion.

8. Protagonists include a computer programmer with a unique plan to “help” single women, an unhappy wife looking for ways to kill her under-employed husband, a widow desperately in love with a married man, a paid-for-hire hit man, a pair of ATVing brothers with robbery on their minds, a financial planner with a questionable client, and two best friends with a dubious go-fund-me plan.

9. Every story has an unexpected twist at the end; all tie in to the underlying theme of the best-laid plans.

10. After reading, you might never again drink another daiquiri, order another latte, eat another chocolate chip cookie, or look at seafood in quite the same way. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.


Whether it’s at a subway station in Norway, a ski resort in Vermont, a McMansion in the suburbs, or a trendy art gallery in Toronto, the twenty-one authors represented in this superb collection of mystery and suspense interpret the overarching theme of “the best laid plans” in their own inimitable style. And like many best laid plans, they come with no guarantees.

Stories by Tom Barlow, Susan Daly, Lisa de Nikolits, P.A. De Voe, Peter DiChellis, Lesley A. Diehl, Mary Dutta, C.C. Guthrie, William Kamowski, V.S. Kemanis, Lisa Lieberman, Edward Lodi, Rosemary McCracken, LD Masterson, Edith Maxwell, Judy Penz Sheluk, KM Rockwood, Peggy Rothschild, Johanna Beate Stumpf, Vicki Weisfeld, and Chris Wheatley.


Editor Judy Penz Sheluk is the author of the Glass Dolphin Mystery and Marketville Mystery series. Her short stories can be found in several collections. Judy is also a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, the Short Mystery Fiction Society, and Crime Writers of Canada, where she serves as Vice Chair on the Board of Directors. Find her at

The Best Laid Plans: 21 Stories of Mystery & Suspense is available on Kindle and in trade paperback at all the usual suspects, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Chapters/Indigo.

Happy Release Day!

10 Interesting Facts about Lake Superior

I’m happy to welcome Amazon International best-selling author Judy Penz Sheluk to the Power of 10 series. Today, Judy shares interesting facts about Lake Superior and her latest release, Past & Present.

Here’s Judy!

Earlier this year, I established my own publishing imprint, Superior Shores Press. As a traditionally published author, it was a decision I thought long and hard about, but after three years and three books, I felt ready to take the plunge.

Deciding on a name for the company was actually pretty easy. Although our main residence is in New Tecumseth, Ontario, we also own a cottage on Lake Superior, not far west of Sault Ste. Marie. Yes, it’s a long drive (7 ½ hours), but as you can see from the pictures, it’s a perfect writing retreat.

Sunset at Judy’s Cottage on Lake Superior

Gibbs Sheluk Enjoys the View

The first book released under the Superior Shores Press imprint is Past & Present, Book 2 in the Marketville Mystery series. And now, here are 10 interesting facts about Lake Superior.

1. Lake Superior is the largest of the Great Lakes, shared by Ontario to the north, Minnesota to the west, and Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to the south.

2. The Ojibwe name for the lake is kitchi-gummi or gichi gami, meaning great sea or great water. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote the name as “Gitche Gumee” in The Song of Hiawatha, as did Gordon Lightfoot in his song, The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

3. According to the University of Wisconsin, the Objibways believe Lake Superior is protected by Nanabijou, Spirit of the Deep Sea Water.

4. The average depth of Superior is about 500 feet. The deepest point in Lake Superior (about 40 miles north of Munising, Michigan) is 1,300 feet (400 meters) below the surface.

5. Superior holds about 3,000 cubic miles of water— enough to fill all the other Great Lakes plus Lake Erie three times over. Its volume is second only to Russia’s Lake Baikal.

6. The surface area of Lake Superior (31,700 square miles or 82,170 square kilometers) is greater than the combined areas of Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New Hampshire.

7. The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum approximates 6,000 ships and 30,000 lives lost in Lake Superior shipwrecks. Thanks to Gordon Lightfoot, one of the best known is the Edmund Fitzgerald, which lost her entire crew of 29 men on Lake Superior November 10, 1975, 17 miles north-northwest of Whitefish Point, Michigan.

8. Because of its location north of Lake Huron, which was discovered first by Brûlé, the lake’s name comes from the French word lac supérieur, which means “upper lake.”

9. The lake is about 350 miles (563 km) in length and 160 miles (257 km) in width. If straightened out, the Lake Superior shoreline could connect Duluth and the Bahama Islands.

10. In the summer, the sun sets more than 35 minutes later on the western shore of Lake Superior than at its southeastern edge.

About Past & Present

Sometimes the past reaches out to the present…

It’s been thirteen months since Calamity (Callie) Barnstable inherited a house in Marketville under the condition that she search for the person who murdered her mother thirty years earlier. She solves the mystery, but what next? Unemployment? Another nine-to-five job in Toronto?

Callie decides to set down roots in Marketville, take the skills and knowledge she acquired over the past year, and start her own business: Past & Present Investigations.

It’s not long before Callie and her new business partner, best friend Chantelle Marchand, get their first client: a woman who wants to find out everything she can about her grandmother, Anneliese Prei, and how she came to a “bad end” in 1956. It sounds like a perfect first assignment. Except for one thing: Anneliese’s past winds its way into Callie’s present, and not in a manner anyone—least of all Callie—could have predicted.


Judy Penz Sheluk is the Amazon international bestselling author of the Glass Dolphin Mysteries (The Hanged Man’s Noose; A Hole in One) and the Marketville Mysteries (Skeletons in the Attic; Past & Present). Her short stories appear in several collections.

Judy is also a member of Sisters in Crime International, Sisters in Crime – Guppies, Sisters in Crime – Toronto, International Thriller Writers, Inc., the South Simcoe Arts Council, the Short Mystery Fiction Society, and Crime Writers of Canada, where she serves on the Board of Directors, representing Toronto/Southwestern Ontario.

Find her at

Find Past & Present in trade paperback at all the usual suspects, and on Amazon Kindle for an introductory price of $2.99 (reg. $5.99) and Kindle Unlimited.
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10 Interesting Facts About Calamity (Callie) Barnstable

I’m happy to welcome Canadian author Judy Penz Sheluk to the Power of 10 series. Today, Judy shares ten interesting facts about the protagonist of her Marketville series. I enjoyed reading and highly recommend Book 1, Skeletons in the Attic, and look forward to future installments.

Here’s Judy!

Calamity (Callie) Barnstable is the protagonist in SKELETONS IN THE ATTIC, the first book in Judy Penz Sheluk’s Marketville Mystery series. PAST AND PRESENT, the second book in the series, is scheduled for publication in early 2019.

1) Calamity (Callie) is named after Calamity Jane, a Wild West frontierswoman of questionable repute, although her mother actually named her after the considerably softened Calamity portrayed by Doris Day in a 1950s movie of the same name.

2) Callie is the only child of two only children, whose parents disowned them, and by association, their only grandchild, when Callie’s mother got pregnant at the age of 17.

3) Callie worked in the fraud unit of a bank call center in Toronto until she inherited a house in Marketville from her father, who died in an “unfortunate occupational accident.”

4) Callie has also inherited her father’s black-rimmed hazel eyes, unruly brown hair, and stubborn streak.

5) When it comes to love, Callie believes she is a victim of the “Barnstable family curse.” Her last boyfriend dumped her on Valentine’s Day, when Callie was expecting an engagement ring. Enough said.

6) Callie’s favorite take-out comfort food is cheese pizza with extra sauce and hot peppers, though she does make a great homemade lasagna and mac and cheese. Maybe cheese is the not-so-secret ingredient here.

7) Callie’s favorite alcoholic beverage is Australian chardonnay. Her favorite tea is Vanilla Rooibos.

8) Callie is a runner who runs in temperatures from -30 to +30 (that’s Celsius for you Fahrenheit folks…translation -22 to 86+)

9) Callie is “addicted” to cocoa butter lip balm and has tubes of it stashed everywhere.

10) Callie is both fascinated and doubtful about tarot and all things psychic.


What goes on behind closed doors doesn’t always stay there…

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 existed. 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 is more than happy to expose the Barnstable family secrets. 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?


Judy Penz Sheluk is the author of two mystery series: The Glass Dolphin Mysteries (THE HANGED MAN’S NOOSE), and The Marketville Mysteries (SKELETONS IN THE ATTIC). Sequels to both series are scheduled for 2018. Judy’s short crime fiction appears is several collections.

Judy is a member of Sisters in Crime, Crime Writers of Canada, International Thriller Writers and the Short Mystery Fiction Society. She is also on the Crime Writers of Canada Board of Directors as the Regional Representative for Toronto/Southern Ontario (2017-2018).

Where to find Judy…

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon

Find Judy’s books at all the usual suspects, including Audible and the publisher Barking Rain Press.

From Facts to Fiction

Welcome to my Second Acts Series!

Today, we have Canadian author Judy Penz Sheluk sharing insights from her multi-act life and introducing her debut novel, The Hanged Man’s Noose.

Here’s Judy!


Act One: Childhood Dreams

I can remember reading Emily Climbs by L.M. Montgomery when I was about eight. It’s the story of Emily Starr of New Moon, Prince Edward Island, and her quest to become a writer/journalist. I remember thinking, “That’s what I want to be when I grow up. I want to be a writer.”

It wasn’t outside of the realm of possibility. I was an avid reader from an early age (my main fare was Nancy Drew; in high school I graduated to Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, and John D. MacDonald. I had good marks in English. I had a plan. Even better, I had a dream.

Act Two: Credit and Collections

The plan changed. Instead of going to school to study journalism, I went to work in the credit department of a major insurance company and took college night classes in business administration and accounting. I worked my way up the corporate ladder, becoming the youngest Division Credit Manager in the company’s history. I still thought about writing, emphasis on thought. I didn’t actually do any writing—unless you count composing collection letters as writing.


I didn’t stay with that insurance company (I wanted to move back to Toronto), but I did stay in the Credit and Collections field, going from company to company as the recession hit and middle management jobs were “right-sized.” I eventually landed at a company two miles from my house. The commute was great. The job was mind-numbingly boring. I started thinking about writing again.

Act Three: Creative Writing Courses

My husband, Mike, bought me a PC and enrolled me in an online Creative Writing school. I whizzed through the 20 course units. Entered and won first prize in a writing contest for beginning writers. Sold a magazine feature article for the princely sum of $75.

That’s when fate intervened. The day I received the check for $75 I received the news that my mind-numbingly boring job was being made redundant. I thought about the job-hopping over the past ten years and I knew I just couldn’t do it any longer.

Mike encouraged me to try freelance writing for a year. If I could earn something—not what I had been earning but at least enough to put food on the table—we’d look at year two.

That was May 2003. I’ve never looked back.

Act Four: Finding Fiction

My freelance writing career took off in leaps and bounds. Before long I was writing regularly for AntiqueWeek, Antique Trader, New England Antiques Journal, Antiques and Collectibles Showcase Canada. Worried I’d be pigeon-holed into writing only for the antiques market, I attended a home building conference in Toronto and landed a few freelance assignments for a handful of home building associations, including Ontario Home Builder and Home Builder Canada. I specialized in “green” building and energy efficiency. Those led to some features in other trade publications. Before long I was writing about farming innovations (I grew up in Toronto, Canada), travel in Manitoba (have never been there) and a host of other things.

In 2007, I was offered the position of Senior Editor for New England Antiques Journal (, a job I still have and love. In 2009, I was offered the position of Editor for Home Builder Canada ( That took some thought. It would mean giving up some of the freelance work. Then again, it was a sure thing. I accepted the job and continue with it to this day. The bonus of both these gigs is that I work from home and can work my own hours. As long as the work gets done, no one cares WHEN it gets done.

Along the way, I kept taking creative writing courses, both online and in workshop format. I wrote a few short stories, mostly bad, managed to get a couple published. But there was nothing of consequence. And then on Christmas Eve, 2012, I had an ah-ha moment. If I didn’t start writing my novel, it would never get written.

Act Five

With time off between Christmas and New Year’s from all my jobs, the time was right. I started writing The Hanged Man’s Noose on Christmas Eve 2012 and wrote seven days a week until I finished the first draft a few months later. I used to joke that if I was a plumber in my day job it might have been easier. After all, at the end of the day, a plumber (or whatever the job is) looks upon writing as an escape. I went from writing to writing. And yet, The Hanged Man’s Noose was an escape. The world and the characters I created became real to me, and I couldn’t wait to revisit them.

It took the help of a developmental editor and a copyeditor, along with two beta readers to get The Hanged Man’s Noose to the point where it was worthy of sending out for publication. Yes, the editors cost me, but I looked upon the expense as another creative writing course, and the investment was worth every penny. Not only did I polish up the manuscript, I learned what to do (and not do) for the future.

It wasn’t easy, but I landed a contract with Barking Rain Press in July 2014. More editing (this time paid for by the publisher) and in July 2015, The Hanged Man’s Noose was released to the world. You can read all about my publishing journey on my blog. Simply click on the archives, select One Writer’s Journey, and the subhead My Publishing Journey. Start at the beginning, if you dare. It’s all there, the hopes, the dreams, the cheers, the tears…



Small-town secrets and subterfuge lead to murder in this fast-moving, deftly written tale of high-stakes real estate wrangling gone amok.

Journalist Emily Garland lands a plum assignment as the editor of a niche magazine based in Lount’s Landing, a small town named after a colorful 19th century Canadian traitor. As she interviews the local business owners for the magazine, Emily quickly learns that many people are unhappy with real estate mogul Garrett Stonehaven’s plans to convert an old schoolhouse into a mega-box store. At the top of that list is Arabella Carpenter, the outspoken owner of an antiques shop, who will do just about anything to preserve the integrity of the town’s historic Main Street.

But Arabella is not alone in her opposition. Before long, a vocal dissenter at a town hall meeting about the proposed project dies. A few days later, another body is discovered, and although both deaths are ruled accidental, Emily’s journalistic suspicions are aroused.

Putting her reporting skills to the ultimate test, Emily teams up with Arabella to discover the truth behind Stonehaven’s latest scheme before the murderer strikes again.

The Hanged Man’s Noose is available at all the usual suspects, including Amazon.

You can also read the first four chapters free here.

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Joanne here!

Wow! I’m in awe of your diverse talents and inspiring journey. Best of luck with all your literary endeavors.