A cardboard box showed up on my doorstep earlier this week. Author copies of Moonlight & Misadventure.
I ripped it open and plunked down in my favourite chair to read my story Madeline in the Moonlight (again!) and then went back to the beginning and read the rest of the wonderful stories all linked by references to the waxing, waning, gibbous or full moon.
Moonlight & Misadventure edited by Judy Penz Sheluk is available on Amazon. If you’d like to pick up a copy click here.
I don’t know about you but I hate having my photo taken. The last time my smile didn’t look like it was painted on was in my grade 5 class photo. I had teeth like chiclets, blue sparkly cat’s eye glasses and curly hair (my mom went nuts with the curling iron).
So I wasn’t happy when I discovered I had to include a head shot with my bio for a project I’m working on.
First I enlisted my daughters. Armed with their cell phones they posed me around the house. I smiled into the camera and out the window trying to look arty and intelligent. I thought the shots were…well…okay. They said, Mom, you need a professional.
A professional? Who? And how—we’re in the middle of a pandemic after all.
By fluke I stumbled across the work of Barbara Blakey and booked an appointment. The next day I showed up at Barbara’s studio with three different tops and a briefcase stuffed with makeup and a hairbrush.
We chatted for a while in her studio, a long room packed with backdrops, photographic equipment, lights and reflective umbrellas, then it was time for me to perch on the tall metal stool.
Her camera fluttered like the ones you see in fashion shoots and she directed me to pose in positions she said might feel awkward but would create an interesting shot, for example, lift your chin, crinkle your eyes, and look as if someone is telling you a secret.
She took hundreds of shots. When she was done she asked if I wanted to see them all or was I okay with her selecting the ones she liked the best. I said I trusted her judgment.
Less than a week later I had my photos. They were fantastic. You’ll see more of them as this website evolves and on my book jacket when my book is published.
So that’s one more thing to check off my ‘to do’ list. Only a hundred more to go.
Evie Valentine is the protagonist in my Evie Valentine legal thrillers. Evie decided to be a lawyer when she was six years old.
I took a more circuitous route. I arrived at law only after test-driving anthropology and architecture. I drove my husband crazy as I tried and discarded these career options.
Anthropology was fascinating but I didn’t want to spend months and months away from home doing field work.
Architecture was cool but there were no rules, at least none that I could discern. One week the profs loved my designs, the next week they hated them. The low point was when a prof compared a house I had designed to a 7-11 store.
Law had always interested me but given my track record I decided to explore it further before making the commitment. I convinced a litigation lawyer to hire me as his legal secretary. All sorts of interesting cases rolled in the door. For an entire month it seemed like every new client was named after an animal, Mr Lamb was followed by Mrs Deere, and so on.
I wrote the LSATs and was accepted into law school. By then I was 31 and a bit concerned about my ticking biological clock so I had two kids before I graduated.
I articled and practiced litigation at a large law firm before moving in-house with an energy company. My work took me from the board rooms of Calgary to the streets of Beijing. It was a great career and now I’m ready to go back to writing.
I wrote my first short story decades ago. It was about a sleepy afternoon on the beach at Parksville. The publisher returned it to me. Apparently there’s only so much you can say about the waves lapping at your feet before it becomes boring.
So, lesson learned, no more mood pieces. Instead I’m creating stories that draw upon my legal experience. I hope they will entertain you as much as they entertain me.