Past & Present: A Marketville Mystery
by Judy Penz Sheluk
I am so happy to welcome Judy Penz Sheluk to Escape With Dollycas today!
Public Speaking: How I went from petrified to panelist
by Judy Penz Sheluk
My earliest memory of public speaking goes back to the eighth grade when I stood in front of the class and mumbled my way through a dry dissertation on Sir Isaac Newton. Years later, I’d think, I should have brought an apple, tossed it in the air, let it hit me in the head… that would’ve got their attention, but alas, I wasn’t nearly that inventive. The end result was a deadly dull presentation that had my teacher and fellow students falling asleep in their seats—or even worse, feeling sorry for me—and a fear of public speaking that carried on for decades.
It didn’t matter, for a long time. And then in 2015, my debut novel, The Hanged Man’s Noose, was published. I was invited to be part of a two-author event at a local library. Of course, I went—I couldn’t pass up the opportunity because I was terrified, could I?
The other author, whose fantasy novel about an aboriginal child fascinated by wolves, was up first. He spoke eloquently, read like an actor flawlessly reciting his lines, and basically had the audience (thankfully small) in the palm of his very capable hands. Later I’d find out he did presentations as part of his day job, but I didn’t know that then. Shades of Sir Isaac Newton came flooding back to me and I all but begged the librarian who had arranged the event to read for me.
She did. Badly. I left that day determined to do my own reading the next time I had an opportunity. After all, I couldn’t do a worse job than the librarian. Could I?
Next up, Bouchercon Raleigh 2015. My first Bouchercon. My first novel. My first panel. Knowing that the American Guest of Honor, Tom Franklin, was also on the panel only served to frighten me all the more. I was pacing the hall outside my hotel room, trying to summon up the courage to go to the conference room, when another author walked by. I’ll never know why she stopped to talk to me. Maybe it was because I was green around the gills, or maybe because I looked desperate for a friendly face. Whatever the reason, her random act of kindness changed my life. Because she told me the one thing I hadn’t considered: No one wants you to fail. The audience is rooting for you. They want you to succeed.
The panel, about writing stories set in small towns, went reasonably well. I wasn’t perfect, but as I answered the moderator’s questions, I found myself gradually gaining confidence.
Since then, I’ve been the guest author at a few library events and regional clubs/groups and managed to read from my book each time (see sidebar for tips). I’ve also been a panelist at Malice Domestic, twice, in 2016 and 2017.
My last conference appearance was at Bouchercon Toronto in October 2017, where I was assigned to moderate a panel of esteemed reviewers. Consider this line-up: Margaret Cannon (Globe & Mail), Erica Ruth Neubauer (Publisher’s Weekly), Steve Steinbock (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine), Marsali Taylor (UK reviewer) and Andrew Gulli (The Strand). Instead of being petrified, I looked at it as the incredible opportunity that it was: A chance to meet some amazing reviewers, and hopefully, make a good impression. Besides, this panel wasn’t about me, the moderator, it was about the panelists. That’s who people were coming to see. Remembering that made it easier.
Was I perfect? No. Would I do some things differently? Yes. But I left that panel proud of how far I’d come. And sometimes, that’s enough.
Photo: Judy (purple and black sweaters) with other members of Crime Writers of Canada at the Ontario Library Super Conference, Toronto. Judy acted as emcee and introduced each author, and also spoke about her latest release.
About the Book
Past & Present: A Marketville Mystery
2nd in Series
Superior Shores Press (September 21, 2018)
Paperback: 232 pages
Digital ASIN: B07FYZ6HPF
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.
About the Author
Judy Penz Sheluk 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). Judy’s short crime fiction appears is several collections. 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. Find Judy on her website/blog at www.judypenzsheluk.com, where she interviews and showcases the works of other authors and blogs about the writing life.
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