Saturday, June 17, 2017

Read 'Em & Eat-Ladies Man

Clark Stevens has always had a way with women, but his teenage daughter despises him.  When his daughter comes to live with him fulltime, he enlists co-worker, Julie Wahl, to coach him on parenting skills.
As a single mom and paralegal, Julie, has successfully balanced family, work and swing dancing. After heartbreak on the dance floor, the last thing Julie needs is an office romance.  But she can hardly say no to a colleague in need, especially one with dark brown eyes and a killer grin.

Since Ladies Man is as much about raising teens as swing dancing, I’d recommend pairing it with Cincinnati-style chili which features two ingredients favored by kids, ground beef and spaghetti. My version is cheap and quick which are key factors when cooking for ravenous teens.

1 pkg chili seasoning
1 pound ground beef
1 can tomato sauce
16 oz spaghetti
Optional toppings: chopped onion, diced tomato, shredded cheddar cheese.
Cook spaghetti according to package directions while browning ground beef.
Drain any excess fat from the ground beef and stir in chili seasoning and tomato sauce.
Top spaghetti with chili and toppings and serve.
For a healthier vibe, use ground turkey and whole wheat spaghetti noodles.

I’ve also found that this recipe pairs well with a classic horror film or mystery particularly after a bad day at work.  There’s nothing like intrigue and chili to chase off the worries of the day.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Dance & the Mind

“Let us read and let us dance-two amusements that will never do any harm to the world.” Voltaire

As if I haven’t mentioned enough reasons why you should be dancing, here’s another one. A study by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine discovered that dancing reduced the risk of dementia more than any other physical activity, including cycling, golf, swimming and tennis. Apparently both the mental effort of learning new dance steps as well as the social interaction helped reduce the risk of dementia.

Sudoku and crossword puzzles are also reputed to be beneficial toward keeping dementia at bay. However pen and paper puzzles lack the awesome music and the people watching opportunities of the dance floor. Besides you're more likely to meet that special someone on the dance floor than noodling over a crossword.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Read 'Em & Eat-Package Deal

I’ve always liked dinner and a movie whether it’s on a date or the TV show.  You Tube’s, Cinema Sins, has added their take on the dinner/show by featuring professional chefs and their dishes inspired by a particular movie.  The chef talks about his favorite movie scene while the host and editing staff of Cinema Sins enjoy a delicious repast.  I’m always fascinated how one creative pursuit inspires another, so with that in mind, Read ‘Em & Eat posts will profile a delicious title flanked by a tasty accompaniment.

Package Deal was inspired by Reno’s Salsa scene.  While being one of my favorite dances, it is also the key ingredient in one of my go-to recipes.

Salsa Chicken (Can also use leftover Beef, Pork…Turkey you get the idea).
Cut leftover cooked chicken into smaller pieces and place into medium sauce pan.
Season with chili powder, salt and pepper.
Cover chicken with salsa and cook on medium heat stirring and adding salsa as needed.  When the chicken shreds, it’s ready to be used for tacos, quesadillas, nachos or even on top of a salad if you’re feeling virtuous. Even better this dish cooks up quickly, leaving you more time for reading (or dancing).

Package Deal-1st title in Rhythm & Romance series.

Widowed attorney, Liz Grant, buries her grief in a deluge of paperwork.  On whim she takes a free dance lesson at the club Eclipse where the mojitos are cold and the Salsa is hot.  She falls for Salsa’s spicy rhythms and Patrick Cavanaugh’s sexy grin.  But can Liz handle the dramatic change of tempo in her well-ordered life?  

Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Third Man (1939)

Poor Holly Martins, not only did his parents saddle the pulp Western writer with an odd moniker, but when he travels to Vienna at the invitation of a school chum, he arrives just in time for his friend’s funeral. Harry Lime’s death leaves his lovely actress girlfriend, Anna Schmidt, to grieve and Holly with many questions. Though warned by British MP, Major Calloway, that Lime was a criminal, Holly is determined to uncover the truth and clear his friend’s name.

Set post-WWII Allied-occupied Vienna, The Third Man has all classic elements of noir, a grieving beauty who knows more than she reveals, chase scenes down shadowy streets and a hero intent on discovering the truth.  A common pitfall of mysteries is too many plot twists and not enough character development.   Thanks to Graham Greene’s script, the British film has both mystery and distinctive characters.

“A person doesn’t change just because you find out more,” Anna Schmidt declares.  
A statement you’ll want to consider when you check out The Third Man.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Why You Should Be Dancing

"We should consider every day lost in which we have not danced at least once." Friedrich Nietzsche

If German philosophers aren't your thing, consider a University of London study which revealed that patients with anxiety disorders showed significant improvement when they participated in a modern dance class.

A study in the New England Journal of Medicine noted that dancing may boost memory and prevent dementia. The hippocampus (the part of the brain that controls memory) naturally shrinks as people grow older. Aerobic exercise (like dancing) can reverse volume loss in the hippocampus.

Plus dancing is a great way to meet people. Dancing attracts people of all ages from college to retirement from all walks of life. On the dance floor I've met architects, engineers, professional musicians even a doctor who kept her profession on the down low since she wanted to dance not diagnose on Friday nights at Salsa.

With one activity you can improve your memory, lose weight, reduce stress and meet interesting people. What are you waiting for?

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Author Interview-Judy Penz Sheluk

Tell me about your latest book.
Skeletons in the Attic is the first book in my Marketville Mystery series, which I envision as a trilogy. In the first book, Calamity (Callie) Barnstable inherits a house in the commuter town of Marketville from her father, who died in an “unfortunate occupational accident.” The catch? She didn’t know the house existed and there’s a condition: she must move into the house for the period of one year and find out who murdered her mother, a woman Callie believed had left, voluntarily, 30 years before, when Callie was just six years old. It’s what I would call a suspenseful amateur sleuth mystery.

What’s next for you?
I’m currently working on the sequel to Skeletons, as well as the sequel to The Hanged Man’s Noose, the first book in my Glass Dolphin mystery series.

Who are your writing role models?
Not sure I have a role model, exactly, but there are a lot of authors I read and admire. For example, Sue Grafton is a wonderful example of a prolific author who has improved with every book. Read A is for Alibi (a fine read) and then X (simply wonderful) and you’ll see how she has grown. I’ve read and loved every one of her books. John Sanford’s Prey series is a great example of how a character can grow and age over a series. And nobody paces a story as well as Sanford.
How do you balance your day-to-day commitments with your writing life?
Who said I could balance it? In all seriousness, it can get a bit crazy. For a while there my day jobs included freelance writing magazine articles, editing two magazines, plus writing fiction. I’m gradually evolving to just fiction writing and one day job. It’s tough, because I love writing fiction, but I also enjoy eating.
What are your other passions outside of writing?
I belong to two golf leagues. I’m not particularly good, but I am passionate. Unfortunately, I live north of Toronto, Canada, so our season is May through September. If you’re lucky, there are some days in October. But I usually put my clubs away October 1st.
I also enjoy running. I’ve done some marathons and half marathons, but lately I’ve been happy to run three to five miles 3 or 4 times a week. I’m dreadfully slow, but it’s about clearing the mind.
I have a golden retriever, Gibbs, who I enjoy walking the trails with. Basically, I love to be outside, though I prefer spring/summer/fall to winter!
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
I have a few short stories published in anthologies, and two self-published collections. If you enjoy short fiction, they’re all available on Amazon
I’m on the volunteer for Bouchercon 2017 in Toronto. Bouchercon is a mystery readers/writers conference that moves to a different city each year. In 2017, it’s Toronto. October is a nice time in Toronto. The weather is usually decent, without being too hot or too cold, and we have all sorts of cool things planned. Check it out at
Last, but not least, I’ve signed a contract to release Skeletons in the Attic in audiobook format. I’m not sure of the release date, so stay tuned!
Judy Penz Sheluk’s debut mystery novel, The Hanged Man’s Noose (Barking Rain Press), was published in July 2015. Skeletons in the Attic (Imajin Books), 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, The Whole She-Bang 3, 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  where she interviews other authors and blogs about the writing life. You can also find Judy on Facebook ( and Twitter (@JudyPenzSheluk) and on her Amazon author page,