Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2020 – Looking Back at 2019 by Judy Penz Sheluk

Welcome to the current series of Posts from Your Archives in 2020 and if you would like to participate with two of your posts from 2019, you will find all the details in this post: New series of Posts from Your Archives 2020

This is the second post by author Judy Penz Sheluk and Judy shares the ear 2019 in review.. and very busy it was too.. It is a good idea to look back on all that you have achieved in the year and I do this around my birthday in February. Not everything is a success, but it is great to celebrate special moments and accomplishments.

Looking Back at 2019

I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions—if I want to do something, I generally set a more immediate goal than January 1st—but I do take the time to reflect on the past year. And so, in no particular order, here are some of the highlights of my 2019:

Left Coast Crime Vancouver: My first experience at Left Coast Crime and my first visit to beautiful British Columbia. I loved both the conference and the city of Vancouver, and thoroughly enjoyed playing tourist with a visit to Victoria and Whistler during my stay.

Goodreads Reading Challenge: I set a goal of 36 books (3 per month) and managed to finish off the year with 40, a nice mix of literary fiction, memoir, mystery, and suspense. It’s difficult to pick a favorite, but my top five (in no particular order) are: Neon Prey by John Sandford, The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, The Suspect by Fiona Barton, Graveyard Shift by Melissa Yi, and Every Little Piece of Me by Amy Jones. You can see all my books read and my reviews here. You might wonder why this is a highlight, but to quote Stephen King, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.”

Superior Shores Press Publishes First Anthology: It was a pipe dream and a financial risk, but I took the plunge and sent out the call for submissions in Oct. 2018, with the goal of publishing The Best Laid Plans: 21 Stories of Mystery & Suspense, in June 2019, under my imprint, Superior Shores Press. Thankfully, 72 authors believed in the project, and I’m proud to say that I’ve gone beyond the break-even point and the book has received great reviews, including this one by Catherine Astolfo, a bestselling author and two-time winner fo the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Crime Short Story: “Delicious! That word best describes the yummy bites of well written, crafty crime stories. Murder for hire, money, sibling rivalry, envy, infidelity. Murder of the wrong person. Killer acting and get-rich schemes…the clever twists are endless. A feast of delicious short bites that adds up to a very satisfying literary meal.”

Book 3 Marketville Not Such “A Fool’s Journey”: Writing the third book in a popular series comes with its challenges. It has to provide continuation in the story of the main characters, but it also has to work as a standalone for those new to Marketville. A work of fiction inspired by a true story, A Fool’s Journey proved to me that writing may be a solitary profession, but we are never truly alone. Thanks go to Lusia Dion, founder of Ontario’s Missing Adults, and my three beautiful nieces, Leah, Becca, and Ashley, for sharing their expertise, and to my phenomenal editor, Ti Locke, and Victoria Gladwish for her hawk-eyed proofreading.

The Alliston Two of a Kind Market: Being invited to participate in this inaugural event was a true highlight of the year’s many author events. A portion of all proceeds were donated to the MS Society, Simcoe Muskoka Chapter. This is a cause true to my heart, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to give back.

The end of Barking Rain Press: Five years after signing my very first book contract for The Hanged Man’s Noose with Barking Rain Press, the publisher announced it was closing. I wrote about the experience over several posts, though A Change of Direction probably sums up the early days best, while When Things Go South When You’re North sums up “the end.” You might wonder how this became a highlight, but I’d seen signs of change at BRP for several months before, and when the news came, I proved to myself that I’d prepared for the challenge. Within two weeks, my two remaining titles with BRP (Skeletons in the Attic and A Hole in One) were back on the market (under my Superior Shores Press imprint) with new covers and re-invigorated sales. Mega thanks to my graphic artist, Hunter Martin, who literally dropped everything to make it happen.

And last, but not least

Superior Sunsets: I’m incredibly lucky to have a writing retreat on Lake Superior. There’s something magical about those sunsets…

Thank you for following my journey. The best is yet to come…

©Judy Penz Sheluk 2019

About Skeletons in the Attic – A Marketville Mystery

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?

A recent review for Skeletons in the Attic

C.J. Shane 5.0 out of 5 stars  Intriguing Characters  Reviewed in the United States on December 19, 2019

Skeletons in the Attic is the first in Judy Penz Sheluk’s Marketville Mystery series. We meet our protagonist Callie Barnstable at her attorney’s office ready to read her recently deceased father’s will. She was reared by her father as an only child. Her mother had disappeared years earlier when Callie was only six. Much to her surprise, Callie learns that her father has left her a home in the small city of Marketville north of Toronto, a home that she knew nothing about. And, to add to this sudden mystery, she finds that she is required to live in the house for a minimum of one year. Her father made clear that he wants Callie to find out who murdered her mother during her time in the house. Callie complies, moves to Marketville, and immediately finds herself acting as an amateur sleuth trying to make sense of circles within circles of family and neighbor relationships.

This cozy mystery has specific strengths. First are the characters, many of whom are compelling personalities on the verge on being quite eccentric. Among them are a couple of tarot card readers, a very well-informed gossipy neighbor, a woman with man troubles, and a handsome contractor next door named Royce whom Callie hires to work on her fixer-upper, newly-inherited home. Sheluk has a gift for presenting characters that at times seem as allies to Callie, and at other times, potential threats. That keeps us guessing and adds an element of danger to the mystery. Along the way, Callie finds a series of clues in the form of physical objects that appear to be giving her messages: tarot cards, hidden jewelry (hidden but not too well-hidden), and a skeleton in her attic. Another strength is the setting. This is a part of the world I have never visited. My adventures in Canada have all been in the west. I consider setting to be an important part of any good story. Sheluk doesn’t fail in placing this story in environmental context.

This is a quite an enjoyable read for mystery lovers although the final pages left me with questions. We find that the mystery of her mother’s disappearance is linked to some rather implausible behavior on the part of a few family members. Or maybe not. Human beings behave implausibly all the time, especially when it comes to familial interpersonal interactions. Rather disconcerting, though, was Callie’s rather subdued, even flat, reaction to the revelations in the final pages. She appears to lack curiosity or any emotional reaction which seemed somewhat at odds with how she had reacted repeatedly to other unfolding events earlier in the story. I would like to have known more about she viewed the revelations and about she intends to go forward in the future. Recommended.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

A selection of other books by Judy Penz Sheluk

Read the reviews and buy all the books: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Judy on Goodreads: Goodreads

About Judy Penz Sheluk

An Amazon International Bestselling Author, Judy Penz Sheluk’s debut mystery novel, The Hanged Man’s Noose, the first in the Glass Dolphin Mystery series, was published in July 2015. The sequel, A Hole In One, is scheduled for Spring 2018.

Skeletons in the Attic, Judy’s second novel, and the first in her Marketville Mystery series, was first published in August 2016 and re-released in December 2017. Past & Present, the sequel, is scheduled for early 2019.

Judy’s short crime and literary fiction appears in several collections.

In her less mysterious pursuits, Judy works as a freelance writer and editor; her articles have appeared regularly in dozens of U.S. and Canadian consumer and trade publications.

Past editorial responsibilities have included the roles of Senior Editor, Northeast Art & Antiques, Editor, Antiques and Collectibles Showcase, and Editor, Home Builder Magazine. She is currently the Senior Editor for New England Antiques Journal.

Judy is also a member of Sisters in Crime International, Sisters in Crime – Guppies, Sisters in Crime – Toronto, Crime Writers of Canada, International Thriller Writers, Inc. the South Simcoe Arts Council, and the Short Mystery Fiction Society. In addition, Judy has been elected to the 2017-18 Board of Directors for Crime Writers of Canada, as a Director, and as a Regional Representative for Toronto/Southern Ontario.

She lives in Alliston, Ontario, with her husband, Mike, and their golden retriever, Gibbs.

Connect to Judy

Blog: Judy Penz Sheluk
Facebook: Judy Penz Sheluk
Twitter: @JudyPenzSheluk

16 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2020 – Looking Back at 2019 by Judy Penz Sheluk

  1. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up March 1st – 7th 2020 – #Backup larders #Jazz, Books, Guests, Humour and Health | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

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