Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Guest Today! Judy Penz Sheluk on Mystery Conventions

I'm pleased to welcome Judy Penz Sheluk to my travels today. She has some of her own travels to tell you about! I'd known her online for some time, but was able to meet her at Malice Domestic this year.

One of the perks of being an author is that it provides an excuse to attend writers’ conventions in cities that I might not otherwise visit. When I signed the contract for my first mystery novel, THE HANGED MAN’S NOOSE in 2014 (published July 2015), I made a commitment to myself to attend at least one conference a year.

In the mystery genre, the selection is plentiful. Some conventions move to a different city each year, such as Bouchercon and Left Coast Crime. There are also many that stay in the same city. Examples of these include Killer Nashville, New England Crime Bake, Thrillerfest in New York City, and Malice Domestic in Bethesda, Maryland.

For my first conference as a debut author (The Hanged Man’s Noose, July 2015), I selected Bouchercon 2015, which was held in Raleigh, North Carolina. An annual four-day world mystery convention, what I liked was that Bouchercon had a Debut Author breakfast, and the location was an easy flight from Toronto.

I arrived in Raleigh the day before the convention to do a bit of sightseeing and loved the city. Lots of historic buildings, great people, and the weather was fantastic. As for Bouchercon, it did not disappoint. I met so many great authors (I was quite star-struck for much of the time), attended some terrific panels, and was even on my first panel as a published author, with Donna Andrews (Moderator), Maya Corrigan, LynDee Walker, and Tom Franklin, who was the American Guest of Honor. Talk about pressure! Fortunately, Tom and the rest of the panel were ultra-kind to me.

In 2016, I selected Malice Domestic. I’d never been to Washington before, and they also have a Debut Author breakfast. Furthermore, I knew that many other members of Sisters In Crime were going to attend. Once again I arrived a day early, navigated the Metro system (which is fantastic), and saw the White House, the War Memorial and other monuments. Unfortunately, it was cool and rainy, but the city is amazing. I’d love to return and see Arlington and the Smithsonian museums.

As far as the convention itself, Malice is much more low-key than Bouchercon, with fewer attendees. Think of Bouchercon as the big wedding with hundreds of guests, and Malice as immediate family only.

But smaller doesn’t mean not as good. Malice had great author panels, and an Awards banquet second to none. I was fortunate to sit at Ellen Byron’s table; her book, Plantation Shudders, was up for the Agatha for Best First Novel.

What’s in store for 2017? For sure Bouchercon, since it’s in Toronto and I only live a couple of hours away (in fact, I’m on the volunteer committee). If time and money permit, I’ll look for another place to travel. I’ve always wanted to go to Nashville…

Judy’s latest release is Skeletons in the Attic, the first book in the Marketville Mysteries:

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?

Bio: Judy Penz Sheluk’s debut mystery novel, The Hanged Man’s Noose, was published in July 2015. Skeletons in the Attic, the first book in her Marketville Mystery Series, was published in August 2016.

Judy’s short crime fiction appears in World Enough and Crime, The Whole She-Bang 2, Flash and Bang and Live Free or Tri.

Judy is a member of Sisters in Crime, Crime Writers of Canada, International Thriller Writers and the Short Mystery Fiction Society.

Find Judy on her website/blog at, where she interviews other authors and blogs about the writing life.


  1. Thanks for letting me talk about my travels, Kaye! I'm happy to answer any questions or to hear suggestions for other conferences.

  2. You might consider Left Coast Crime 2017 Honolulu Havoc, Judy. I'd be happy to treat you to a Mai Tai.

  3. I would love to, but from Toronto, it's just too expensive. Flight/hotel/food (Canadian dollar worth about .75US). Maybe I'll come into some money!

  4. Hey, what about the host, here, Gail? If I show up do I get Judy's Mai Tai? It's a long shot for me, too, but I keep buying Lotto tickets. Thanks for coming by, Gail.

  5. How interesting. I always go to Killer Nashville, because I live in the middle Tennessee area. I've never been to Bouchercon, but going to the one this month in New Orleans. I dream of making it to Malice Domestic and ITW, but I have to look at budget and time. I envy you for your travels.

  6. Linda, I envy you going to KN and NLO. I so wanted to go to New Orleans but it simply was not in the budget. I would love to hear about your experience there. Please email me at when you do! And I hope you can come to Bouchercon Toronto, my home patch and I'n a volunteer.

  7. I just got back from Killer Nashville. It's a seven hour drive for me but worth every minute. Try it next year.