Author Assistant: Judy Penz Sheluk’s Trusty Companion, Gibbs

Fun Fact:  Some authors write in a coffee shop, others to classical music, country or rock. Judy writes to talk radio, even listening to weekend paid programming. She can tell you what to do or not do if you want to buy a car, how to hire an employment or injury lawyer, or invest in fancy colored diamonds.



Gibbs is a three-year-old Golden Retriever, named after Leroy Jethro Gibbs on the TV show, NCIS. For those unfamiliar with the show, Gibbs is a former Marine turned special agent who commands a team with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

My Gibbs spends most of his days lying under my desk as I write. He’s even been known to listen to me practice an author reading, though I’ll admit his feedback is minimal. But perhaps his greatest role is that he gets me out walking, and it’s on those long walks that I often come up with my best ideas.

Finally, I love that the U.S. Marine Corp’s motto is Semper Fi, which means “always faithful” in Latin. Perfect, right?


pnp3Judy Penz Sheluk is the Amazon international bestselling author of the Glass Dolphin Mysteries (The Hanged Man’s Noose; A Hole in One) and the Marketville Mysteries (Skeletons in the Attic; Past & Present). Her short stories appear in several collections.

Judy is also a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, Inc., the Short Mystery Fiction Society, and Crime Writers of Canada, where she serves on the Board of Directors, representing Toronto/Southwestern Ontario. Find her at

Stuart R. West’s Beloved Pit-Bull mix, Zak

Secret Society cover2

Fun Fact: “A decade or so ago, I was in a “country-funk-alternative-comedy-improv” band. We actually achieved a bit of notoriety in Kansas City for our short shelf life. I took the stage in pajamas, ate cereal and kitty litter, wore a variety of hats, sung, and “tried” to play the saxophone.


Many authors have a trusted four-legged friend who supports them (or disrupts them) during their writing day. Tell us about your author assistant.

0618171158-00Oh, man, you had to ask this question. Yes, I used to have a four legged assistant. Zak was special. From day one when we adopted him (found rummaging through a trash bin), he stole our hearts and the upholstery on our furniture. As a half pit-bull terrier, he had an uphill struggle, much prejudice wherever we walked. But he never bit anyone. (Well, there was that one cable guy, but he SO deserved it).

I became a full-time writer five years ago, sorta dropping out of society. Zak was my loyal, loving companion, always at my feet through eighteen novels. Yipping at me when he deemed a walk was necessary. I knew him better than anyone and he knew me and my schedule.

Last year was rough. He tore a ligament in a back leg that couldn’t be healed. Six months of operations, constant watch, and keeping him confined didn’t pay off. He lost the leg. For two months after that, he was happy and healthy again. Then it happened to the other leg.

zak with haremStill a healthy dog, we put him through another operation to repair the ligament with bolts and surgery. Again, it got infected.

The saddest day of my life, we had to put him down. For six months, I couldn’t write, not without him at my feet. I still mourn, still cry over my lost writing companion. But he lives on in my heart and I’d like to think somewhere else as well.

I miss you, buddy. Please raise a glass to my faithful friend, Zak. “Tink.”

Check out Stuart’s interviews about Secret Society and Ghosts of Gannaway

_MG_0556 - Version 2Stuart R. West is a lifelong resident of Kansas, which he considers both a curse and a blessing. It’s a curse because…well, it’s Kansas. But it’s great because…well, it’s Kansas. Lots of cool, strange and creepy things happen in the Midwest, and Stuart takes advantage of them in his books. Call it “Kansas Noir.” Stuart writes thrillers, horror and mysteries usually tinged with humor, both for adult and young adult audiences.

If you’re still reading this, you may as well head on over to Stuart’s blog at:

(Psst…for those easily bored, read this aloud in a Morgan Freeman voice. I promise we’ll get through it easier that way.)