Posted in Blog Tour, Guest Post

Guest Post, Blog Tour, and Giveaway for Where There’s A Will, A Glass Dolphin Mystery by Judy Penz Sheluk

Creating a Fictional Town

Judy Penz Sheluk

When I started writing my Glass Dolphin cozy mystery series, I wanted to create a fictional town that readers could believe in, and to do that, it had to be modeled after a town I could relate to. Now, I was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and I’ve lived within two hours of that city, mostly in small towns, for all of my adult life. Add to the mix that I’ve never been much of a traveler (I don’t count a week in the Bahamas or the occasional writers’ conference as being a “traveler”) and I couldn’t imagine setting my book in a fictional U.S. town. After all, just like the people in them, every small town I’ve lived in has had its own distinct personality.

And so, I set the Glass Dolphin mysteries in Lount’s Landing, a fictionalized version of Holland Landing, where I’d lived for twenty years. Instead of the Holland River, the Landing (yes, Holland Landing folks refer to it as “the Landing”), I’ve got the Dutch River. Instead of neighboring Newmarket, I’ve got Marketville (though I did borrow its Main Street of indie shops and restaurants for Lount’s Landing).

Why Lount’s Landing, you might ask, and the answer is simple. When I first moved to the town in 1990, one of my first stops was the Holland Landing Public Library. Outside, there was a historical plaque commemorating Samuel Lount, who’d been hanged for treason in 1838. Fascinated, I researched Lount’s story. His history, and his hanging, is an integral part of The Hanged Man’s Noose, book 1 in the series.

In book 2, A Hole in One, Glass Dolphin antiques shop owners Arabella Carpenter and Emily Garland decide to sponsor a hole in one contest at a charity golf tournament in hopes of promoting the store. Unfortunately, finding a dead body in the woods has a way of mucking things up, but the golf course, and the third hole where the body is discovered, is based on Silver Lakes Golf Course in…you guessed it…Holland Landing.

Where There’s A Will, book 3, wraps up the series with Emily getting married and house hunting, and Arabella and her ex-husband, Levon, hired to appraise the contents of an estate. Once again, the setting of Lount’s Landing is integral to the story.

One of the best compliments a reader can give me is to say, “I felt as if I were right there,” because that means I’ve been successful in creating a believable fictional town. And today, when most of us aren’t traveling, isn’t it fun to think you can visit a small town in Canada, where most people are good and those who aren’t eventually get their comeuppance.

Where There’s A Will: A Glass Dolphin Mystery
by Judy Penz Sheluk

About Where There’s A Will. . .

Where There’s A Will: A Glass Dolphin Mystery
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Publisher: Superior Shores Press (November 10, 2020)
Paperback: 210 pages
ISBN-10: 1989495273
ISBN-13: 978-1989495278
Digital ASIN: B08KFLQ6KH

Emily Garland is getting married and looking for the perfect forever home. When the old, and some say haunted, Hadley house comes up for sale, she’s convinced it’s “the one.” The house is also perfect for reality TV star Miles Pemberton and his new series, House Haunters. Emily will fight for her dream home, but Pemberton’s pockets are deeper than Emily’s, and he’ll stretch the rules to get what he wants.

While Pemberton racks up enemies all around Lount’s Landing, Arabella Carpenter, Emily’s partner at the Glass Dolphin antiques shop, has been hired to appraise the contents of the estate, along with her ex-husband, Levon. Could the feuding beneficiaries decide there’s a conflict of interest? Could Pemberton?

Things get even more complicated when Arabella and Levon discover another will hidden inside the house, and with it, a decades-old secret. Can the property stay on the market? And if so, who will make the winning offer: Emily or Miles Pemberton?

About Judy Penz Sheluk

A former journalist and magazine editor, Judy Penz Sheluk is the author of two mystery series: the Glass Dolphin Mysteries and the Marketville Mysteries. Her short crime fiction appears in several collections, including The Best Laid Plans and Heartbreaks & Half-truths, which she also edited. Judy is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, the Short Mystery Fiction Society, and Crime Writers of Canada, where she serves as Chair on the Board of Directors.

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December 1 – Dee-Scoveries – SPOTLIGHT

December 1 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT WITH EXCERPT

December 2 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

December 2 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

December 3 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT WITH EXCERPT

December 3 – I Read What You Write – GUEST POST

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December 5 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT WITH EXCERPT

December 5 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – RECIPE

December 6 – Cozy Up With Kathy – CHARACTER GUEST POST

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December 7 – Thoughts in Progress – SPOTLIGHT WITH EXCERPT

December 8 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

December 8 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW

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Posted in Author Spotlight, New Releases

Author Spotlight of Mystery Author Judy Penz Sheluk

I’m pleased to have fellow mystery author Judy Penz Sheluk here to chat about herself and her writing.

Nice to have you here, Judy. How long have you been published? What titles and/or series have you published and with which publisher: Have you self-published any titles? Please give details.

My first novel, The Hanged Man’s Noose: A Glass Dolphin Mystery, was originally published in July 2015 by Barking Rain Press (BRP). BRP has also published book 2 in the Glass Dolphin series (A Hole in One) and book 1 in my Marketville Mystery series, Skeletons in the Attic.

In Feb. 2018, I started Superior Shores Press, my own publishing imprint. I have since published The Best Laid Plans: 21 Stories of Mystery & Suspense, a multi-author anthology where I worked as publisher and editor and two more books in the Marketville series: Past & Present (Sept. 2018) and A Fool’s Journey (Aug. 2019).

Very nice. Tell us a little bit about your books — what genre you write, if you write a series, any upcoming releases or your current work-in-progress. If you have an upcoming release, please specify the release date.

I write amateur sleuth mysteries without the cats, crafts, or cookie recipes. The plots are a bit more complex than a traditional cozy, but they don’t contain bad language, violence or sex. My most recent release is A Fool’s Journey, which releases on Aug. 21.

Interesting. I always thought my mysteries, although they always contain cats, are non-traditional cozies, too. I envisioned the first book of my Cobble Cove mystery series, A Stone’s Throw, as a romantic suspense novel. Readers felt differently, and so began the cozy mystery series.

Describe your goals as a writer. What do you hope to achieve in the next few years? What are you planning to do to reach these goals?

I’m currently working on the third (and final) book in the Glass Dolphin series; I love the series, but I know where I want the characters to end up in their lives. Sometimes it’s just time. I plan to continue the Marketville series, and I’m working on a standalone suspense. I hope to publish another anthology next year, if The Best Laid Plans is successful.

I have a few stories in anthologies. I like to write them along with my books. I have 4 books in my series and hope to write at least another one. I also have plans to start a new series. So many ideas, so little time. I know you can relate to that.

What type of reader are you hoping to attract?  Who do you believe would be most interested in reading your books?

Anyone interested in clever cozies and mainstream mysteries, age 14 to 140.

A large audience.

What advice would you give other authors or those still trying to get published?

Don’t give up. Rejection is part of every writer’s life. Believe in yourself, and in your story.

Excellent advice.

What particular challenges and struggles did you face before first becoming published?

The usual, I’m sure. Self-doubt and rejection topped the list. But I knew this is what I was meant to do.

That’s so important.

Have you taken any writing or publishing classes? If so, please provide information about them and if you feel they helped you further your professional skills.

I’ve taken writing workshops, and have a diploma in Fiction Writing from Gotham Writers Workshop and a diploma in Creative Writing from Winghill.

Good for you. I participate in a writer’s workshop at my library. I’ve taken several online courses and am currently taking two Sisters-in-Crime classes. They are very helpful.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

I love to golf in the summer, walk my dog (a three and a half-year-old Golden Retriever named Gibbs) year round and try to read at least one book a week. I also love hanging out at our camp on Lake Superior – but only in the summer and fall. Winters in Northern Ontario are brutal!

I also like walking. When I can’t do it outside, I do exercise videos. I can’t walk my cats, but I play with them. I enjoy running after the two young ones. I wish I could read a book a week. With my full-time job at the library and my writing, I find it hard to read a book a month.

What do you like most and least about being an author? What is your toughest challenge?

I love the writing part best. I also enjoy doing local events, speaking engagements, and going to book clubs (either by an online Zoom meeting or in person). I don’t love shameless self-promotion, but I also understand that it’s part of the job. And to be honest, if I wasn’t an author, I probably wouldn’t have any social media presence.

I relate to that. I find marketing and promotion time-consuming and frustrating, but, like you, I know it’s necessary.

Please list your social media links, website, blog, etc.








Blurb for 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.


Poplar Street was a mixed bag of retail, commercial, and questionable residential. Real estate ads liked to suggest that it was a neighborhood in transition, though which way it was transitioning was uncertain.

Trust Few Tattoo was sandwiched in with Triple P Pizza, Pasta & Panzerotti, and Totally Tempting Thai. The building itself was narrow, with a red brick façade and charcoal board and batten framing a gilt-lettered window and canary yellow door. Food smells from both restaurants wafted out to the street and I knew I’d be getting takeout for dinner.

I opened the door and was greeted with the droning sound of a tattoo machine. My senses were further assaulted with the sickly-sweet smell of industrial strength sanitizer and walls completely covered with framed pages of brightly colored tattoo designs.

The front desk attendant was leaning on a glass display case full of various jewelry items, half of which I wouldn’t know where to put. She glanced up from her smartphone when I walked in. I wasn’t sure if it was the head-to-toe look she gave me, or her heavily tattooed hands and fingers that made me feel slightly out of place. She stood up and favored me with a gap-toothed grin.

“Hey, welcome to Trust Few. I see you’re checking out the flash. What can we do for you?”

The flash? The dazed expression on my face must have given me away, because the shop assistant’s grin broadened.

“The generic drawings,” she said, waving her intricately patterned hands. “They’re called flash. Not as popular as they were once, if I’m being honest. Most of our clients are looking for custom work, unless, of course, they’re underage or impaired. Sam won’t work on either. But flash still makes nice wall art, don’t you think?”

I nodded and then got straight to the point. “I have some questions about a tattoo.” I felt a flush of embarrassment creep up my neck. Why else would I be here, if not about a tattoo? “I was hoping you could help me.”

“Sure.” She pulled a large day planner out from behind the jewelry-filled display case, and her arms opened to reveal a tattoo of a bear trap inside her left elbow. I winced, thinking of the pain.

The assistant caught my look and laughed. “Don’t worry. We never do ditch tattoos on newbies.”

Ditch tattoos? Once again I must have looked clueless, because she elaborated.

“Inside the crook of an elbow is called a ditch tattoo, and yes, it hurts like hell. Not as much as this one did, mind you.” She raised her right arm to reveal a black rose covering her armpit. “Anyway, Sam’s with a client right now, but I can probably slip you in for a consult in a few minutes. When and what were you thinking of getting tattooed?”

I shook my head. There was nothing in this world that I cared enough about to have it permanently inked on any part of my body. “The tattoo isn’t for me.” I reached into my bag for the photocopy I had brought of Brandon’s tattoo. “I have some questions about someone else’s tattoo, and I was wondering if you could help me?”

The shop assistant eyeballed me further, her former grin transformed into something resembling a scowl. “Like, what kind of questions? Is it infected or something? Because we usually recommend the person comes in so we can look at it…”

I placed the photocopy of the tattoo on the counter as the girl trailed off. As she spun the image around to face her, I was able to make out the tattoos on each of her digits—what initially had appeared to be random shapes and lines were actually symbols of the Major Arcana. Thank heavens for Pinterest.

“I like your finger tattoos,” I said, quickly realizing how hokey the words sounded.

“Thanks.” She extended both hands so I could take a closer look. “Sam is big on mystical things. She wanted to practice, so I said she could give me a few finger-bangers.”

Flash. Ditch tattoos. Finger-bangers. I was getting a primer on tattoo talk. I wondered what kind of monopoly you placed on your own skin to let someone randomly practice tattoos on a place as visible as your hands. I also felt my pulse quicken as I realized that I’d made the right choice in selecting Trust Few, though I felt moderate surprise at the fact that Sam was a woman. I’d expected Sam Sanchez to be a big, burly, intimidating biker-type. It served as a reminder to let go of any preconceived notions. That type of thinking could block an investigation. I pulled myself out of my thoughts when the shop assistant spoke.

“What do you want to know about this tat…oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t get your name?”

“Callie,” I said, extending a hand. The assistant shook it, and I was surprised at how soft her hands were, despite their harsh exterior.

“Tash,” she said. “Nice to meet you.”

“Likewise. As for the tattoo, I’m curious about the young man who got it. That is, if he got it here.”

“It looks like it might be Sam’s style, but she’d be the expert on that. C’mon around and we can ask. Like I said before, she’s with a client, but they’ve been at it for quite a while. I’m sure they can both use a break.” Tash waved me around the desk.

I picked up the photocopy and followed her down a narrow hall. More tattoo flash was on the walls, along with a neon Jägermeister sign and a framed poster of The Tragically Hip’s Man Machine Poem final concert in Kingston on August 20, 2016. Three small offices opened into the hallway; the one at the end of the hall had its door slightly ajar and I could hear laughter mixed with rock music and the buzz of the tattoo machine. Tash rapped on the door three times and pushed it open.

“Hey, Sam, sorry to bug you, just wondering if you can help this lady out with a question about a tattoo?”

The buzzing stopped. “Sure.”

Tash moved out of the way and I took it as my cue to step into the doorway. A thirty-something woman wearing combat boots, a sleeveless black Nine Inch Nails T-shirt, and torn jeans with more rips and holes than denim looked up at me and nodded. A tattoo of a woman on a bucking brown horse took up most of her lower right arm. The words “Cowgirls don’t cry” were written above it, with a green heart below circling “We can be heroes.” The image reminded me of the 1950s Calamity Jane movie poster I’d discovered in the attic of Snapdragon Circle, and I wondered if there was an equally personal meaning behind her artwork. There were countless other tattoos on her legs, arms, chest, and I imagined, on body parts I couldn’t see or begin to imagine, but I didn’t want to stare.

“Hi,” I said, holding out my hand.

“Ah, sorry. Sterile environment.” Sam held up two latex-gloved hands. Her current client was lying facedown on a padded table, and turned her head away from the wall to face me. I tried to look at what was being tattooed on her lower back, but couldn’t make it out. Sam put the tattoo machine down on a stainless-steel countertop, the surface covered in industrial grade paper towels, and gave me her full attention. Her cornflower blue eyes were in stark contrast to her long dark hair, which had been shaved on one side. Under the buzz cut I could see “Sanchez” and I found myself wondering how much getting your scalp tattooed would hurt. I figured a lot, maybe as much or more than a ditch tattoo, maybe even more than one under an armpit. I had no plans to get any of them.

“Tash says you have a question about a tattoo?” Sam smiled, showing off a row of perfect white teeth, made whiter by the deep plum lipstick she was wearing. I wondered what made her eyetooth gleam so brightly until I noticed the tiny diamond adhered to it.

I held up the photocopy of the partly finished tattoo. “Do you recognize this?”

Sam cocked her head and peeled off her gloves, throwing them into the trash. She took the photocopy from me, her expression serious as she studied it from every angle.

“This might help to jog your memory,” I said, and offered the newspaper photograph of twenty-year-old Brandon Colbeck. “It was taken a few years back.” I omitted the year. Sam either remembered Brandon and his tattoo, or she didn’t. There was no point planting seeds that might otherwise not be there.

Sam looked up at me, then turned her attention back to the photocopies, her fingers tracing the outline of The Fool tattoo over and over.

“Yeah, I remember this tattoo,” she said, finally. “I never got to finish it, though…”

Now available for pre-order, A Fool’s Journey, book 3 in Judy’s Marketville Mystery series, will be released on August 21 in trade paperback at all the usual suspects, and on Kindle.


Barnes & Noble

Posted in Author Spotlight, Blog Tour, Cozy Mystery

Author Spotlight of Judy Penz Sheluk, Author of Past and Present, a Marketville Mystery

I’m pleased to have author Judy Penz Sheluk from Alliston, Ontario, Canada here to speak about her writing and new release, Past and Present, a Marketville Mystery.

Welcome, Judy. Please tell us how long you’ve been published and what titles and/or series you write

My first short story, “Sylvia’s World,” was published in the Spring 2004 issue of THEMA, a New Orleans-based literary journal. My first novel, The Hanged Man’s Noose: A Glass Dolphin Mystery (#1) was published by Barking Rain Press in July 2015. The sequel, A Hole In One, was published in March 2018. My second novel, Skeletons in the Attic: A Marketville Mystery (#1), was first published by Imajin Books in August 2016, and re-released by Barking Rain Press in November 2017. The sequel, Past & Present, is being published on September 21, 2018 by Superior Shores Press, which is my own publishing imprint, established earlier this year. I also have two short story collections (Unhappy Endings and Live Free or Tri) and a few stories published in anthologies. Three of my books (Noose, Skeletons, Live Free) are also available in audiobook on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.

Very nice.

Tell us a little bit about your books — what genre you write, if you write a series, any upcoming releases or your current work-in-progress. If you have an upcoming release, please specify the release date.

With the exception of my three short stories (literary fiction) published by THEMA, I’m mystery/suspense all the way. As noted earlier, Past & Present will be out today, September 21st. It’s currently on pre-order in trade paperback and at a special introductory price of $2.99 on Kindle.

I’m currently working on book 3 on both my series (Glass Dolphin and Marketville).

That sounds wonderful. Good luck to you.

Describe your goals as a writer. What do you hope to achieve in the next few years? What are you planning to do to reach these goals?

I have a lot of ideas. I’d like to put together an anthology of mystery stories under the Superior Shores Press umbrella and I’m now in the planning stages for that. I’ve started researching a non-fiction novel (not a mystery). I have a rough outline for a novella prequel for Marketville, and another rough outline for a standalone suspense. How am I going to reach those goals? Hard work. The harder I work, the luckier I get.

I love your positive thinking.

What type of reader are you hoping to attract?  Who do you believe would be most interested in reading your books?

My mysteries don’t contain overt violence, sex or bad language so they can be read by any age. They can be classed as “cozy” but there are no cats, crafts, or cookie recipes. I like to categorize them as “amateur sleuth with an edge.”

Interesting. There are so many subgenres of mysteries including cozies.

What advice would you give other authors or those still trying to get published?

Don’t give up. The Help by Kathryn Stockett was turned down 61 times and it’s brilliant. Hire a professional editor – developmental and copy. Your English teacher, best friend, spouse, writing group etc. are all great resources, but they cannot replace a professional. Consider the amount spent an investment in yourself – much like a college course. Accept constructive criticism and learn from it. Write every day, even if you only have 15 minutes to do it.

Excellent advice. It saddens me to think of all those writers who gave up and had so much to offer readers.

What particular challenges and struggles did you face before first becoming published?

I’d been a freelance writer/editor for 10 years when I started shopping around The Hanged Man’s Noose. I thought that my reputation, especially my role as Senior Editor for New England Antiques Journal, would help. It didn’t. But I didn’t give up, and Barking Rain offered me a contract in 2014. I’d had about 18 rejections before that. It’s a humbling business.

That it is.

Have you taken any writing or publishing classes? If so, please provide information about them and if you feel they helped you further your professional skills.

Absolutely. My first Creative Writing Workshop led me to writing the short story in THEMA and I’ve taken a few Creative Writing workshops early on. I also have a Creative Writing Certificate from Winghill Writing School (2003), and a Fiction Writing Certificate from Gotham Writers (2013).

I’m sure you’ve benefitted from all of those.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

I’m a passionate, if poor, golfer, and belong to two ladies leagues. Of course, our season is short – May to October. I used to be an avid runner, but now I’m more of a distance walker, though I still run 3 miles a couple days a week. I love to read and my goal is 40+ books this year. Reading is the best teacher.

I agree. As a librarian, I have my choice of books which is like being a kid in a candy store. Unfortunately, working full time and writing, I can’t read as much as I’d like to.

What do you like most and least about being an author? What is your toughest challenge?

I love just sitting down and writing, letting the words flow and surprise me. I don’t love marketing but it’s part of it. The toughest challenge is finding the time to do everything I want and need to do. It’s a question of balance.

That’s so true. I also love to see where my characters lead me in my books. As for marketing, most writers find it a challenge and have difficulty fitting it into their tight schedules

Please list your social media links, website, blog, etc. and include some book cover graphics and author photos if possible.








Blurb for 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.

Past & Present is available for pre-order in trade paperback and at a special introductory price of $2.99 on Kindle. Publication date Sept. 21, 2018.

Thanks so much for the interview, Judy, and best wishes on your new release and future books.

Posted in Author Spotlight, Blog Tour, Cozy Mystery

Author Spotlight of Judy Penz Sheluk, Author of A Hole in One, the 2nd Glass Dolphin Mystery

I’m pleased to have author Judy Penz Sheluk here from Ontario, Canada, to speak about her writing and new release, the second of her Glass Dolphin cozy mystery series, A Hole in One,  which is on blog tour with Escape with Dollycas Into a Good Book.

Welcome, Judy. Please tell us how long you’ve been published and what titles and/or series you write.

I have two mystery series: the Glass Dolphin Mysteries and the Marketville Mysteries. My debut novel was THE HANGED MAN’S NOOSE, book #1 in the Glass Dolphin series, and it was released July 2015 by Barking Rain Press (BRP), a small, but MWA approved, publisher based out of Vancouver, Washington. The second book in the series, A HOLE IN ONE, was released on March 6, 2018.

Imajin Books originally released the first book in the Marketville Mystery series in August 2016. It was re-released by BRP in December 2018. The sequel should be out Fall 2018. All my BRP titles are available in trade paperback and all eBook formats (Kindle, Kobo, Nook, iTunes, Google Play).

I have one self-published collection of three short stories, titled LIVE FREE OR TRI, which is available in print and Kindle only.

NOOSE, SKELETONS and LIVE FREE are also available in audiobook on Audible, Amazon and iTunes. I self-published the audiobook versions of those books using ACX, and hired a different narrator for each book. I hope to publish A HOLE IN ONE in audio later this year, but there’s a lot involved, so we’ll see.

Sounds like you have a lot going on. Congratulations on your new release and upcoming titles.

Tell us a little bit about your series.

The Glass Dolphin Mysteries take place in the fictional town of Lount’s Landing, Ontario, which is very loosely based on Holland Landing, where I lived for many years…and I do mean loosely based! The Glass Dolphin is an antiques shop on the town’s historic Main Street. The main characters include Arabella Carpenter and Emily Garland (co-owners of the Glass Dolphin) and Levon Larroquette, Arabella’s ex-husband, who is an antiques picker. Let’s just say Arabella and Levon have a complicated relationship. I classify the Glass Dolphin Mysteries as “Amateur Sleuth with an Edge.” There’s the requisite small town, no overt sex, violence or bad language, but there is also no cats, crafts, or cookie recipes, and the plot is a bit more complicated than a traditional cozy. The second book in the series, A HOLE IN ONE, was just released March 2018, and I’m currently writing book three in the series. In my head, it’s always been a three-book series, and I know how and where I want to leave my characters. But things could change!

The Marketville Mysteries take place in Marketville, a fictionalized version of Newmarket, Ontario, the town immediately south of Holland Landing. Again, great liberties were taken. Unlike the Glass Dolphin series, which is told in third person, alternating points of view, the Marketville series is told entirely in first person by the protagonist, Calamity (Callie) Barnstable.  SKELETONS IN THE ATTIC is what I’d consider a slow-burn mystery suspense. The basic premise is Callie inherits a house from her father with the condition she finds out who murdered her mother 30 years before. A house she didn’t know existed, and a mother she thought had up and left when Callie was six for the “mailman or some other male equivalent). The sequel should be released Fall 2018 and I’m just starting to mull over ideas for book three.

They all sound great.

Describe your goals as a writer. What do you hope to achieve in the next few years? What are you planning to do to reach these goals?

I recently read a quote by Flannery O’Connor that really resonated with me: “If I quit now I will soon go back to where I started. And when I started, I was desperate to get to where I am now.” Now, I’ve never thought of quitting – writing is in my DNA—but sometimes we forget to celebrate how far we’ve come, instead choosing to focus on where we want to be. I’m not saying I don’t have a long-term vision, but I don’t want that vision to spoil the journey or the celebration. Besides, I’m terribly superstitious. If I tell you, maybe it won’t come true.

Those are very interesting points, and I think important for writers to consider.

What type of reader are you hoping to attract?  Who do you believe would be most interested in reading your books?

My books don’t contain bad language (there is the occasional hell or bastard, but nothing stronger), sex or violence, so they really can be read by anyone. That said, there isn’t a lot of romance, so if you crave a good romantic yarn, my books probably wouldn’t be for you. Mind you, A HOLE IN ONE does have more romantic elements than my other two books!

Most mystery readers like a bit of romance but nothing that overshadows the mystery.

What advice would you give other authors or those still trying to get published?

I always quote Agatha Christie when I’m asked this question: “There was a moment when I changed from an amateur to a professional. I assumed the burden of a profession, which is to write even when you don’t want to, don’t much like what you’re writing, and aren’t writing particularly well.”

I see you like quotes, and you choose good ones. Great advice from a mystery master.

What particular challenges and struggles did you face before first becoming published?

Rejection. I mistakenly thought my solid reputation as a journalist (since 2003) and the Senior Editor of New England Antiques Journal (, since 2007) would pave the way to a publishing deal, but neither of those things mattered. I spent a lot of time looking for agents and publishers, and had my heart broken more than once. I wrote about my experience quite honestly on my blog in January 2015. Here’s a link:

I really identified with your post, as I’m sure other authors will when they read it. I’m in the querying process now for a new cozy mystery; and, although I don’t believe I’ve made any beginner mistakes and have built up a social media presence, I hated writing the synopsis and couldn’t get it down to 1 or 2 pages, but I did the best I could and am hoping for good news soon.

Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?

I belong to writing associations – Sisters in Crime (International, Guppies, Toronto), International Thriller Writers, Short Mystery Fiction Society, and Crime Writers of Canada, where I serve on the Board of Directors. I’m a big believer in joining associations for the knowledge and networking. But I’ve never belonged to writing group, where I’d meet x times a month or year and read something I’d written. Until I’m ready to go full-ond “Beta-reader” I’m a very private writer.

You belong to two of my groups – Sisters in Crime and International Thriller Writers. I also belong to my local Long Island Authors Group and the Cat Writer’s Association. I participate in a writing group at my library, as well.  I agree that associations are important for exactly the benefits you mentioned.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

Judy’s Dog, Leroy Jethro “Gibbs”

In the summer, I enjoy golfing and belong to two ladies leagues. I love to walk, and I have a 2 ½ year-old Golden Retriever, Gibbs, who helps me in that pursuit. I used to run marathons (26.2 miles) and half-marathons 13.1 miles), but now I’m more of a three-mile, three times a week kind of runner. And I’m an avid reader. I set my Goodreads reading challenge to 30 books this year, and I’m already three books ahead of schedule.

It’s important for authors to keep up their own reading. I also read because I’m a librarian and order the fiction books for our collection and write a monthly staff picks review. I also enjoy walking, although I don’t have a dog. I’ve never gotten into running, but I’m sure it’s great excercise after sitting hours writing at the computer.

What do you like most and least about being an author? What is your toughest challenge?

It’s quite cathartic to take a negative experience and exorcise it. In LIVE FREE OR TRI, for example, there’s a short story called LIVE FREE OR DIE. The experience in that book is directly culled from something that happened to me as a young woman. Let’s just say “Jack” may still be alive somewhere…but not in my story!

Challenges – sometimes the words just don’t flow. Or you spend a week or more writing and one day you realize – “this isn’t going to work.” And it’s DELETE and start over. That’s tough. And marketing and promotion, which is time consuming and often exhausting, because you’re putting yourself “out there.” But it’s all part of being a writer and I feel very blessed to say, “this is what I do for a living.”

Very true.

What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?

Cozies are fair in a world that isn’t always fair. That’s comforting to me.

I believe it’s comforting to cozy readers, too, and is part of the attraction of the genre.

Can you share a short excerpt from your latest title or upcoming release?


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.

Great exerpt. Thanks for sharing.

Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about you or your books?

If you’re in a book club, I’d be happy to mail bookmarks to your club, and I’m also happy to answer questions from your book club if you select one of my books. Contact me at judy at judypenzsheluk dot com and we can sort it out.

That’s a nice offer.

Please list your social media links, website, blog, etc. and include some book cover graphics and author photos if possible.

Social Media Links


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Buy Links for A HOLE IN ONE:


Barnes & Noble:


Google Play:


Barking Rain Press: – 1473022241950-de2dbbf6-9e98

Thanks, Judy, and best wishes on your blog tour, your new release, and upcoming books. For those who would like to enter the your blog tour’s rafflecopter, here’s the link: