Saturday, March 3, 2018

Golf? Or Not?



HANK:  Little known fact? Years ago, YEARS, before I knew anything about any of you, I tried to write a mystery—which I titled Greenskeeper. It was about—golf.  The setting was a golf course, and the main character Jane MacAnnally (!) was the first female golf pro in Boston.

What a great idea, right? Wrong. It was hideous, mainly because I had no idea about golf. (Or, as I see now about point of view.) But that’s another story. 

The first time Judy Penz Sheluk joined us was August 2016, when we celebrated the release of SKELETONS IN THE ATTIC, the first book in her Marketville Mystery Series.  Today, Judy (in the white visor) shows she’s nailed the golf world. Her new HOLE IN ONE, the second book in her Glass Dolphin Mystery series, is about to hit the shelves.

Yay, Judy! Tell us a bit about A HOLE IN ONE and the inspiration behind it.


JPS: The title is a play on words. Arabella Carpenter and Emily Garland, the co-owners of the Glass Dolphin antiques shop, decide to sponsor a hole in one contest at a local charity golf tournament. Unfortunately, the positive press they hoped to gain quickly goes south when Arabella’s errant tee shot lands in the woods – next to a corpse with a gunshot wound in his chest.

JRW: Ha. A hole in one. (Ouch.) So do you actually play golf?

JPS: I’ve been golfing for the better part of fifteen years, might even be twenty by now. While I’ve never had a hole in one (hope springs eternal), I’m always dreaming up new plotlines…even when I’m golfing. One day my ball landed in the woods, and while I was rooting around for it with my putter (fearing poison ivy), I thought, “What if there was a dead body in here?” What can I say? My husband tells me he’s taken to sleeping with his eyes open!

JRW: So--who do you play with?

JPS: I belong to two ladies golf leagues, one of which is called the Lady Duffers, an apt description, I assure you. The thing is, the Duffers put their names in a random draw, so each week you play with different people. One week, I’m playing with three ladies I’ve never met before, and there are homes all around the perimeter of the golf course, and the roofs are being re-done. There’s this pop-pop-pop of a pneumatic nailer and I turn to these ladies and say, ‘You know, you could shoot someone and everyone would just think it was the roofers nailing.” Let’s just say they wondered about me…



JEW: Seems like there’s a theme here. How did you end up writing two different mystery series? This and the Marketville mysteries?

JPS:  Ha! Here’s the truth: I was shopping around for a publisher for THE HANGED MAN’S NOOSE, the first book in my Glass Dolphin Mystery series, and facing the usual rejection. Everyone told me I should write book 2 in the series, but I couldn’t bring myself to write the second book in a series no one seemed to want. Writing SKELETONS IN THE ATTIC was such a different experience from writing NOOSE. It was told in first person, vs. alternating third person, and it’s more of a slow burn suspense than a traditional amateur sleuth mystery. Happily, I sold the Glass Dolphin series too, and NOOSE was released in July 2015.

JRW: The really scary thing about a new book—you have to ask your fellow authors for blurbs.  It’s incredibly nerve-twisting. You send a request, and then..you wait. It’s such a big dealt to ask-it takes a chunk of time to read a book. And it’s their name on the cover!

JPS: Yes, I’m still pinching myself.
I first met Ellen Byron at Bouchercon Raleigh when we were both debut authors, and of course, I’m a huge fan of her award-winning Cajun County Mystery series. I met Jane K. Cleland at Malice Domestic in 2016. During the banquet, I sat at her table, and she won the Agatha for Mastering Suspense, Structure & Plot. It was such an honor to be there while she celebrated with her husband, and of course, I’ve been reading her Josie Prescott series forever. So imagine my surprise when she turned to me and said, “Send me your book when it’s ready. If I like it, I’ll blurb it.” Talk about a generosity of spirit.

 I’ve loved Lea Wait forever, too, but I’ve never met her. I decided to take a flyer and emailed her, asking if she’d read my book. Honestly, I didn’t expect a yes, but nothing ventured and all of that. To my surprise, she replied within hours with a “love to.” It seems she reads New England Antiques Journal (I’ve been the Senior Editor for NEAJ since 2007). The mystery community is so wonderfully inclusive.

JRW: Oh, so true. If you had one piece of advice for aspiring authors, what would it be?

JPS: I love this quote from the legendary Arnold Palmer: “The most rewarding things you do in life are often the ones that look like they cannot be done.”

JRW:  So we know about Lucy/Roberta, who wrote about golf out of love and passion. And who actually played! Then, as you know there’s gold-baffled me. Then—Judy! Another aficionado.

How about you, Reds and readers?  Tell us what you think about golf—and Judy’s here to answer your questions about the mysteries of slices and hooks. And mystery!





Find Judy on her website/blog at http://www.judypenzsheluk.com, where she interviews and showcases the works of other authors and blogs about the writing life.

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.


A HOLE IN ONE is available for pre-order at all the usual suspects, including the publisher, https://barkingrainpress.org/a-hole-in-one/ - 1473022241950-de2dbbf6-9e98, and will be released on March 6th in trade paperback and all eBook formats.









42 comments:

  1. Congratulations on the new book, Judy. I know absolutely nothing about golf, but “A Hole in One” sounds quite intriguing, so maybe I’ll learn something about the game from reading the book???

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    1. Hi Joan, you don't have to know anything about golf to enjoy the book, and I'm afraid the golf lessons are quite sparse, though poor Arabella is trying to learn to play the game. What a way to start!

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  2. I have only mini-golfed, and I'm not good at that. Something about me and spheres of any size... But I love Judy's writing, as she knows, and I'm excited to read the new book!

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    1. Thank you Edith...you know mini-golf is a great way to practice putting! And not nearly as much walking involved. I hope you enjoy the book.

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    2. The walking I can handle, Judy!

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  3. Two series?? I'd say that's the equivalent of a hole-in-one! Congratulations, Judy!I can see the draw of the game--friends are passionate about it--every time you play, you are challenging yourself to improve--and then there's the camaraderie and competitiveness of playing with others. Once a summer I would take the boys to play goofy-golf (attached to the local ice cream stand)--great fun, if not golfers! I'll be looking for your books and if there's a bit of humor, I'll feel like I've managed a hole-in-one (thanks to JRW) in finding a new author!

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    1. Thank you Flora. There's definitely humor in all my books. My friend, Michelle, is always pointing things out that I've written, saying, "I laughed out loud at that. I could hear you saying it." Some of ourselves always comes through. I hope you enjoy the book and be sure to let me know!

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  4. Congratulations on the new book, and on your ability to juggle (and sell!) two series at once! My husband came from a golfing family. For many years, before I met him, he and his brothers would make up a foursome with their dad nearly every week. His next-younger brother still would rather go golfing to make his spiritual connection with a higher power than go to church.

    Warren was past his golfing phase by the time I came into his life, sidelined by back problems, but he still loved to watch golf on TV, so I spent many a weekend following the Masters, the Open, the British Open, and, naturally, Fort Worth's own Colonial golf tournament, where Warren's dad was a course marshal. In all those years, I never picked up a club. Now both Warren and his dad are gone, and I only follow golf from a casual distance, but I do understand the draw.

    I love the idea of using plot ideas as ice breakers with a group of strangers out on the course. They may not have understood where you were coming from, but I'm sure all the Reds do!

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    1. Thanks Gigi. My dad golfed, but he died when I was quite young, and my mom golfed, but stopped long before I started because of health issues. Well, I did play with her a couple of times, before I actually learned to play...but I can't really count that. I'd love to play a round with both my parents, both gone, but very much missed.

      The Masters is my one must-watch golf tournament, and of course the the US and British Open rank right up there. Maybe one day you'll pick up a club...it's quite addictive.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

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  5. Thanks Hank for the great introduction and for inviting me to be on Jungle Red Writers.

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  6. Judy, how long did it take you to get good at golf? People who play really love it… And hate it at the same time right? It is so difficult!

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    1. Good? Definitely not good! I like to say I'm good enough not to seriously annoy the really good golfers, and bad enough not to intimidate the really bad golfers! The great thing about golf is, as long as you follow the etiquette and keep up with the pace of play, you can probably play with all abilities.

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  7. And you said above that you don’t have to know about golf to enjoy these books… What kind of a challenge As a writerwas that?

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    1. I knew going in that not everyone out there golfed, and in fact, my editor at Barking Rain Press had never golfed or watched golf. So when she understood a scene, we knew it would work.

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  8. When I was in high school, my dad, an avid golfer, really wanted me to learn the game. Being that age, walking around on a golf course with my father was, um, not entirely appealing. I didn't care enough to try to be good at it, and so he would always be "helping" me to improve--no thanks. On the other hand, he still plays nine holes now and then at 94, so maybe it's good for longevity.

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    1. Jim, golf is so great because of that. You can be super young (the best age to learn) and fit, or 94 and carting it...but you're out in the fresh air, getting a bit of exercise, and hanging with like-minded folks. What more can you ask for? It's never too late to take up the game!

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  9. I met Judy last year at Malice Domestic when we were the only two at our 'speed dating' with authors table - only ones for a while at least. I'm so happy to hear about this book! My husband is an avid, avid golfer. Me, not so much. However, because of his interest (and he'd love for me to become interested), I know a bit about it. Loved the part about roofer nails and gunshots! Did they play with you again? Ha!

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    1. Hi Kay, yes, I remember that speed dating...well, we got lots of swag! As for the other ladies, when they learned I wrote mysteries, they treated me like a bit of a celebrity. Now, when I golf with people in the league and I introduce myself, I get "OH you're that mystery author!" My minor claim to fame...hahahaha

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  10. My mother took up golf in her early forties, after remarrying a man who loved the game. She got quite good at it, and even started the first women's golf league at the big insurance company where she worked for over thirty years. She is an avid mystery reader, and would love this series. I'm always looking for new books for her, since she goes through so many a week.


    Me? My husband used to ask to go to the local range every year on his birthday. He always got to laugh at my whiffs and other lousy attempts to hit that infuriating little ball. However, last year our youngest daughter's new husband, a well-rounded athlete, showed us all how to do better at hitting the ball, and with more power and accuracy. His instruction wmade a big difference, and I consistently hit well. So, bring it on!

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    1. Karen, thanks so much for introducing my books to your mom. That's so kind of you. And yes, lessons are the #1 thing that will help a golfer. Even the pros still take lessons. But I always say to people, "if you have an ego, golf will knock it out of you." It's a humbling game.

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  11. Hey, Judy, great to see you here among the Reds today.

    Golfing? Not lately, though my next date is mini golf at an upcoming Miniatures conference, which has a Scottish theme.

    I'm looking forward to reading your new book.

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    1. Good to see you hear, Susan. Maybe we can golf together some day! Hope you enjoy the book.

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  12. I'm really good at mini golf, but had to give up the real thing years ago when I got a damaged disk in my spine. This was lucky as I'd never find time to play a game that takes so long.
    Good luck with the new book, Judy

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    1. Thank you Rhys. I only play 9 holes vs. 18 because of time -- you can get 9 done in about 2 hours. Just a perfect break from reality and then back at it.

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  13. Congratulations on the new book! I'm afraid that when it comes to golf, I'm with Mark Twain: "Golf is a good walk spoiled." My son wanted to try it, but became discouraged. "It's kind of hard to do." But he's a caddy at a local course and he likes to go with friends on the days the course is closed. Just the guys having fun.

    Asking for blurbs - that's the one thing I'm terrified to do and I'm going to have to do it in a couple months!

    Mary/Liz

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    1. I've heard that saying, but I just love the game. Most days!
      Asking for blurbs is always scary, but early on I was given this advice: "Aim for the stars and only come down to earth if you are absolutely forced to." Fortunately, I've been lucky -- the stars keep aligning for me. We are part of such a great community.

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  14. What I know about golf you could balance on the head of a... golf tee. I loved Lucy's golf series. Judy, congratulations on yours! So exciting!! Sounds as if you're off to a dynamite start.

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    1. Thank you Hallie! We're guardedly optimistic :-)

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  15. Hi Judy! Congratulations on both series!!

    I grew up with golf. It was my parents' church. They absolutely loved the game, although neither ever became particularly good. Unfortunately, I had no aptitude for the game whatsoever, but I did trail around with them over many golf courses over the years. My favorite were the British ones, especially the one in Dartmoor where the golfers have to give way to the wild ponies!

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    1. Hi Deborah, I see those British courses on TV, the bunkers have ladders! I'd have to set up camp :-)

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  16. Congratulations on the new book Judy. I look forward to it.

    I'm loath to tell you how long it took me to figure out who JRW, the interviewer, was, particularly when one called JEW chimed in. I never ever think of the Reds as JRW. But next time I will know.

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    1. Hahaha...a little mystery to start your day Ann.

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  17. Congratulations on the new book! I look forward to reading it.

    Believe it or not, reading about your book today may have spurred me to take golf up again this summer. I tried it for one summer about 25 years ago. I liked it, kind of, but I could tell it would take a huge investment of time to get good enough for it to really be fun. I got pregnant soon thereafter, and decided to leave golf to my husband, who had taken it up around the same time. He has continued to play and grown to enjoy it very much, so now that I'm an empty-nester, I think it is time to take it back up so that in our retirement, we can enjoy it together. And reading about your book triggered the realization that the time is now -- so thank you!

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  18. My Dad loved golf and when I was five he decided it was time for me to learn. Armed with a whiffle golf ball and a child sized club (no idea what club) we took off for the local park where a squad car soon pulled up on the grass and told us the game was not allowed. End of golf for me. When Dad took me to the club for lessons I looked over my shoulder at the height of every swing looking for the cops! Never did learn.

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    1. Ha Kait, that's too funny. Thankfully I've not had any cops chase me off the course!

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  19. Congratulations on two series, Judy! When do you have time to golf?! I've never golfed but my in-laws golfed a lot. It's always interested me that it's both a very social game, but also a game that requires a lot of focus. Has that been your experience?

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    1. Hi Ingrid, In the summer, writing can be tough...but I work around it to golf! It is social, but what I like is that you are only playing against yourself week to week -- I'm not a competitive person by nature but I do like to see improvement in my own game (which doesn't always happen). It's very much a mental game. Thanks for the congrats!

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  20. One of the activities I wish I'd continued from my younger, teenage years is playing golf. (The other is playing the bassoon.) I wasn't a great golfer, but I was on the high school golf team, and I actually made a hole in one once. That was quite the thrill! When I went to college, I didn't continue playing, then I got married and had babies and taught and worked in my husband's business. Still, I should have made time for golf. My advice to my daughter when she married was to make time for herself, too, and she does with her exercising classes.

    Congratulations, Judy, on Hole in One, and it sounds like something I would love to read, taking me back to the old days on the golf course, and I love antiques. I happy for your success with not just one, but two series.

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    1. Too bad you gave up bassoon, Kathy. There's a lot of scholarship money out there for high school bassoonists who want to go to college. Bassoonists are smart people!

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    2. Kathy, thank you for your congrats -- I hope you get a chance to read the book and that you enjoy it if you do. You know, it's never too late to take up golf. Why not take a few lessons? Most, if not all, golf courses have ladies golf leagues. The only rule is to have fun! I belong to 2 nine-hole leagues. And I've NEVER gotten a hole in one! As for the bassoon...it may be a bit late in the day for that one!

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  21. Congratulations, Judy! It's always nice to write about something you love, isn't it? I'm not a golfer but I did date one for many years. I do love the driving range. Thwacking a ball as far as you can is very therapeutic, I think.

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    1. The driving range can be therapeutic! Think of someone who annoyed you and THWACK!

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