My Publishing Journey: The Beginning

929July 4, 2008: I’m sitting in the waiting room of the Southlake Regional Health Care Centre in Newmarket, Ontario, my husband, Mike, by my side. My Golden Retriever at the time, Copper, is at home, probably pacing. He always was an intuitive dog.

My cancer surgery is scheduled for 8 a.m. but we’re expected to be there 90 minutes before. Mike pretends to read the Toronto Sun. I’m reading Memoirs of a Geisha, desperately trying to finish it before the anesthesiologist comes. That’s when I make a pact with myself: I’m going to come out of surgery. I’m going to beat cancer. And I’m going to be an author. After all, it’s what I’ve always said I wanted to do. What I always wanted to be.

Eight years later, I’ve written a few short stories. Two books, with two in process, and a couple of novellas percolating in my head. I’ve done the Bermuda Triangle Marathon Weekend with my friend, Michelle, who never stopped believing. Completed the Steelhead Half Ironman Triathon in Benton Harbor, Michigan, with my friend, Donna, who talked me into it and trained with me in wind and hail and heat and humidity.

I even managed to finish the two-day 200+ kilometre (124+ mile) Ride to Conquer Cancer from Toronto to Niagara, raising the $2,500 to enter, thanks to a host of friends and colleagues too numerous to mention.

So screw you cancer. You don’t win.

I win.


*July has a special meaning for me. It’s the month of my birthday. The month I signed my first publishing contract. The month I realized that I wanted to live. Not just live, but LIVE. On my terms. Doing what I wanted to do. Being who I wanted to be.

Starting July 6th, I’m going to unplug, take 21 days off the grid. Recharge. Read lots of  books. Hold hands with my husband on the shores of Lake Superior. Drink fine wine and the best champagne. Eat Belgium truffles and Swiss chocolate. Pick wild blueberries. Swim, splash and play in the water. Hug my newest Golden Retriever, Gibbs, and silently remember all the Goldens who have enriched my life: Sandy. Einstein. Ranger. Copper.

I’ll be back, stronger and more determined than ever. Until then…


22 responses to “My Publishing Journey: The Beginning

  1. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thanks for all your support Joanne!

  2. Thanks for sharing your inspiring journey. Have a wonderful summer! 🙂

  3. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thanks June…you enjoy your time off as well.

  4. Enjoy your time off Judy, I’ll be back in the blogosphere in Sept

  5. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thanks Kaye. Cancer has a way of putting life in perspective :-). Happy 4th to you and your family!

  6. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thank you Grace. Happy 4th to you and I hope that you’re coming to Bouchercon Toronto 2017 so we can meet in person!

  7. You certainly have your priorities in order. BRAVA for ALL of this. Happy 4th!

  8. Grace Topping

    You are an inspiration to us all–not only beating cancer but writing and getting published. Have a wonderful time on your vacation.

  9. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thank you Vickie! Happy 4th of July to you and your family.

  10. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thank you Polly. I am so lucky to have co-workers like you!

  11. Beautiful post, Judy, for what you have gone throw and achieved, it definitely calls for great celebration!! Way to go, Cancer sucks, you WON for real.

  12. Wow, what an incredible journey. Thanks for sharing, Judy — and enjoy your time off!

  13. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thanks Karen! Sometimes we forget there was life before email and internet…Happy 4th to you and your family.

  14. Karen Pullen

    Inspirational! You’ve earned a respite. Unplugging=recharging.

  15. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thank you Beth. I just signed up for your blog — I didn’t realize you had one until just now. Happy 4th of July to you and your family. Hope to see you at Bouchercon Toronto in 2017 🙂

  16. What an inspiration you are, Judy! Glad I met you in person at Malice and online here in your wonderful blog! Hope to get my own writing journey jump started.

  17. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thanks Lourdes, your keen editing helped me get published … Happy 4th of July to you and your family.

  18. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thanks Val. Happy 4th of July to you and your family!

  19. Judy Penz Sheluk

    Thanks Sheri! Happy 4th of July to you and your family.

  20. eightpawswriting

    Yay! Judy. You go for it! You brought me tears of joy. You have done it all and need to celebrate. I will send a toast to you this evening. Enjoy-

  21. Enjoy your time off and celebrate your successes!

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