Judy Penz Sheluk’s debut mystery novel, The Hanged Man’s Noose, was released in July 2015 by Barking Rain Press. Her short crime fiction appears in World Enough and Crime (Carrick Publishing) and The Whole She-Bang 2 (Toronto Sisters in Crime).
In her less mysterious pursuits, Judy works as a freelance writer, specializing in art, antiques and the residential housing industry; her articles have appeared regularly in dozens of U.S. and Canadian consumer and trade publications.
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.
NOW FROM JUDY
I’m beyond happy to be part of this blog series, but not necessarily for the reasons you might think. Yes, I’m here to promote my debut mystery, The Hanged Man’s Noose, but it’s much more than that. You see, back in the Winter of 2011, I took Mystery I through Gotham Writer’s Workshop and my instructor was Carole Bugge! I was working towards my Fiction Writing Certificate (which I received in July 2012), and, though I knew absolutely nothing about writing mysteries, it was a genre I loved to read.
Carole’s assignments focused on plot, character, dialogue and much more. She was always encouraging and supportive, while providing great feedback. Here’s one comment from Carole to my post in “The Booth” (a place where all the other students can a portion of your work and comment):
“I think you have a good strong premise and setting and protagonist, and once you start cleaning up some of the story details, you’ll be in great shape.”
Of course, the manuscript changed many times since then (I did, in fact, clean up the story details!) but Mystery I gave me a safe place to test the waters, learn more about the craft, and gain confidence as a writer.
Thank you, Carole, for making a difference in this writer’s life.
[You can read Judy’s Student Success Letter to Gotham here (LINK) ]