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Wednesday, 24 February 2016

NBTM & #GIVEAWAY - The Hanged Man's Noose: A Glass Dolphin Mystery by Judy Penz Sheluk





Small-town secrets and subterfuge lead to murder in a 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 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 the Glass Dolphin 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.

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Arabella Carpenter arrived at the Glass Dolphin to find a slender woman in a thin coat shivering by the front door. Arabella had made similar wardrobe miscalculations in November, a month where the prevailing Lount’s Landing winds could be as unpredictable as an eBay auction.

“Sorry to keep you waiting, but we’re not open until Saturday.” Arabella pointed to a sign in the window. Something was vaguely familiar about the woman, though she couldn’t stick a pin in it. Early thirties. Hazel eyes with a bit of a fleck. Dark brown hair tied into a ponytail, a red knit beret sloped back from her forehead. She wears it well, Arabella thought with a touch of envy. Her own attempts at beret wearing had resulted in the rather unflattering look of a Victorian shower cap crossed with a tea cozy.

Mind you, the Coach handbag Beret Girl carried was definitely a knockoff. The single rows of Coach’s signature C’s, versus double, the way the C’s didn’t quite line up at the center. It was a dead giveaway.

Arabella prided herself on her ability to spot the real from the reproduction. The antiques world was full of fakes. But not the Glass Dolphin. Within her walls, everything would be original, from the exposed beam ceiling and the carefully restored pine plank floors to the merchandise she sold.

Authenticity mattered.

Amazon UK  |  Amazon US  |  |  B&N  |  Chapters.Indigo  |  Kobo

Judy Penz Sheluk will be awarding $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. 

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here


I was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and have lived within a two-hour drive of the city ever since. I currently live in Alliston, a small town about 65 miles north of Toronto, with my husband, Mike and our four-month-old Golden Retriever, Gibbs.

What do you do when you’re not writing?
I’m an avid reader, at least one book a week, mostly mysteries, but I also read other fiction. I join the Goodreads Challenge each year for 52 books – it helps me keep track!
I’m a runner (well, plodder might be a more accurate description). I’ve completed four marathons, several half marathons, and 10Ks. And I do mean complete. You won’t find me on the podium! These days, I’m content to run 3 miles, 3-4 times a week.
I’m also a passionate (if very mediocre) golfer and belong to two ladies golf leagues.

Do you have a day job as well? I’m the Senior Editor of New England Antiques Journal (since 2007) and the Editor of Home BUILDER Magazine Canada, which is the voice of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association. A lot of people think being an editor is just as it sounds, editing articles, but it’s much more than that. It’s assigning freelance content, pulling it altogether, editing, managing the freelance budget, and writing a lot of the content. Most of the non-bylined content in both magazines is written by me. Until very recently, I was also under freelance contract with a publishing firm in Winnipeg, Canada, but I gave that up to concentrate on writing my fiction. There are only so many hours in a day!

What was your favourite book as a child?
Emily Climbs by L.M. Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables). It’s the story of Emily Starr of New Moon, Prince Edward Island. Emily wants to grow up to be a journalist – and succeeds! The book was a Christmas gift when I was about eight and I still have it on my bookshelf. It really did instill the dream of wanting to be a writer inside of me (though it would be many years before I explored that dream). When I started to write The Hanged Man’s Noose, I decided to name my protagonist Emily. It seemed fitting.

When was that point in your life that you realized that being an author was no longer going to be just a dream but a career you were going to turn into reality?
It was Christmas Eve 2011. At that time I had two magazine editing jobs and I was doing a lot of freelance writing for other magazines. But I had ten full days off and nothing planned beyond a couple of family/friends visits. I decided to take a short story I’d written in a Creative Writing class and see if I could expand it into a novel. At the end of the ten days, I had quite a few chapters written, and I was hooked. I worked on The Hanged Man’s Noose every day until the first draft was completed in June 2012.

What book do you wish you had written? The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. I read that book shortly after my Golden Retriever, Copper, died at the age of 12 ½ and it gave me such comfort. It’s the sort of book that makes you cry, cheer, believe…


When did you start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I’ve been dabbling in fiction writing since 2003, and have had a few short stories published. The Hanged Man’s Noose took me about 15 months to complete all in. There’s always a lot of revision after the first draft, at least for me, because I’m such a pantser. So in a way, the first draft is my outline, my way of telling myself the story. But I’m getting faster. You learn with every story, with every book.

How did you choose the genre you write in?
I love reading mysteries—short, novella, long. I especially enjoy series, such as Sue Grafton’s alphabet series starring Kinsey Millhone. I wanted to write a book I’d like to read. To create something that could become a series. When it comes to short fiction, I’ve written “literary” and “mystery,” but it’s just more fun to write the twists and turns.

Where do you get your ideas? From life. Everything I experience or see is stored in what I like to call my “What If” file. For example, the premise behind The Hanged Man’s Noose is that a greedy developer comes to a small town with plans to build a mega-box store and the local shopkeepers are none to happy about it. We see this sort of expansion in all sorts of communities, with similar uproar. I merely took that premise and said, “What if someone was willing to murder over it?”

Do you ever experience writer’s block? I do, though I think it’s my brain’s way of telling me I’m taking the story in the wrong direction. And sometimes I think, because I write in my day jobs, I just need a break from it all. But I usually try and work through it, even if only for fifteen minutes a day.

Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
I’ve blogged about my journey extensively, the hopes, dreams, tears and cheers, on my website. Readers can find all the posts here: The first in the series is titled “The First Cut is the Deepest.”

If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change? I’d have started sooner, instead of telling myself, “One day I’m going to write a book.” That “one day” took many, many years.

How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
My least favourite part of being a writer! But yes, I do try. I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, Amazon Author, and Triberr. I think Facebook gets the most attention. The others are about equal, with the exception of Triberr, which has been a huge disappointment.

How did you come up with the title? The Hanged Man’s Noose is the name of the local pub in Lount’s Landing, where the book is set. The town is named after Samuel Lount, a real life 19th century Canadian politician who was hanged for treason. The owner of the bar is a history buff.

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Agatha Christie said, “Write even when you don't want to, don't much like what you're writing, and aren't writing particularly well.” It’s great advice and it certainly worked for her.

What sort of writing environment do you create? I.e. music or not? Pen and paper or laptop/PC?
I mostly listen to talk radio. Newstalk 1010 or Talk 640 Toronto. I have my favorite hosts I listen to, though I’ll switch back and forth if the topic isn’t of interest. I get a lot of ideas from talk radio.

Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans? I’d like to thank them for taking a chance on a debut author. And if they like the book, to leave a rating and comment on Goodreads or wherever they purchased the book (i.e. Amazon). Positive reviews and ratings mean a lot, especially on those days when the writing isn’t going as well as I’d like.

Do you read your reviews? Yes, I do. I appreciate that someone has taken the time out of their life to write about my book.

Judy Penz Sheluk’s debut mystery, The Hanged Man’s Noose: A Glass Dolphin Mystery was released in July 2015 through Barking Rain Press. Her short crime fiction appears in The Whole She-Bang 2, World Enough and Crime, and Flash and Bang. In her less mysterious pursuits, Judy is the Senior Editor for New England Antiques Journal and the Editor for Home BUILDER Magazine. 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, where she blogs about the writing life and interviews other authors.

Social Media Links

Twitter: @JudyPenzSheluk


Tour Organised by: 

Goddess Fish Promotions


  1. What was the worst movie adaptation of a book?

    1. Hi Mai, there have probably been a lot, but in recent memory, Shutter Island. I loved the book by Dennis Lehane (if you have not read it, you must) and so I was really looking forward to seeing it. As always, Leonardo DiCaprio was exceptional in the main role, but the story has a complex plot and the screen version just didn't work.
      Best adaptation (not that you asked) is Stand By Me based on the Stephen King novella, The Body. That movie is decades old and still stands up as if it were made yesterday. So books can be made into movies successfully.

  2. Thanks for hosting me and for asking such great questions!

    1. Our pleasure - good luck with your book and the rest of your tour :)

  3. Excellent interview! Best of luck with sales, Judy :)

  4. Replies
    1. Thanks Rita. I'll admit, Arabella is a little bit like me. I also believe authenticity matters!

  5. Great post! I enjoyed reading the interview, it's always fun learning about the authors who write the books I plan to read :)

    1. Thank you Victoria. These interviews are actually difficult for me, because by nature I'm a private person, but I'm learning. I hope you enjoy the book. You can read the first four chapters free at -- that will give you a good feel for the book, and whether you would enjoy it.

    2. I completely understand, I also consider myself a private person. So I appreciate you taking the time to do it... but it's all in the name of love for reading/writing right?! :)

    3. And hoping folks will connect with me and in so doing, consider buying my books :-)

  6. Great excerpt,thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you Karla. The excerpt is from chapter 3, when the reader first meets Arabella Carpenter.

  7. Enjoyed the excerpt and the interview, sounds like a great read, thanks for sharing!

  8. Where is your favorite place to read?

    1. In the summer, on the deck at our cottage or on the back porch if I'm at home. I love being outside when it's warm. This time of year, in my chair in the living room, where I can look out our patio door onto the ravine and feel cozy while the snow flies.

  9. Thank you for the terrific post and great giveaway!

    1. Thanks Betty, appreciate you taking the time to read it and comment. Good luck!

  10. Happy to be a part of this tour, thank you for sharing!

  11. This sounds really good! Thank you for the giveaway

  12. I really enjoyed the excerpt and the interview. I am looking forward to reading more of the book. Thank you for sharing.

  13. I loved the excerpt - especially the part about Arabella being able to tell that Emily's handbag is a knockoff - that is a skill I want to develope (I have a slight thing about handbags!). I love the sound of this book and look forward to reading it - huge mystery fan. Thanks for the giveaway!

    1. Thanks Maria -- and yup, that's how you can spot a Coach knockoff. Now you know! If you handbags, you might want to check out Vicki Batman's Blog, Handbags, Books, Whatever: She has a Handbag Monday which is great fun -- authors sharing their favorite handbags.

    2. Thank you, Judy, for the shout out. Handbags rock my world as do books; so why not combine both and share!

  14. Hi Judy. Don't know why, but when I clicked on this link, I was warned: ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT TO GO THERE? Yup.

    Ha! Sounds like a title of a story.