Guest Chick: Judy Penz Sheluk

It’s always great to host awesome author Judy Penz Sheluk on Chicks. Today’s she’s sharing her take on a very interesting topic and how it relates to her latest release…

Crossover Characters

TV shows have long used crossover episodes/characters to launch a spinoff. Classic examples include All in the Family/The Jeffersons/Maude; Mary Tyler Moore/Rhoda; and Happy Days/Mork & Mindy.

But television isn’t the only place you’ll find crossover characters or the occasional spinoff. Irish author Tana French excels at this technique in her Dublin Murder Squad series. John Sandford’s Virgil Flowers series stems from his much loved Prey novels. Michael Connelly’s Detective Harry Bosch found a half-brother, Mickey Haller, in his Lincoln Lawyer series, and FBI Agent Rachel Walling is a recurring character in a number of Connelly’s novels.

Now, at this point you might be thinking…wowza, this woman is big on crossover characters, and you’d be right. That said, when I first wrote about Arabella Carpenter, the irascible owner of the Glass Dolphin antiques shop (in The Hanged Man’s Noose: A Glass Dolphin Mystery #1), it never occurred to me that one day she’d be part of my Marketville Mystery series. To a lesser extent, to be sure, but her role as an antiques advisor to protagonist Calamity (Callie) Barnstable is an important one in all three of the Marketville books so far. In the most recent Marketville book, A Fool’s Journey, Arabella’s ex-husband, Levon, an antiques picker by trade, also comes to the fore, providing Callie with invaluable information about tattoo flash art.

But the reverse…a character in the Marketville series crossing over to the Glass Dolphin series…well, I hadn’t considered that. Until Where There’s a Will, the third and final book in the series.

As the title suggests, there’s a will (actually more than one) and somewhere along the way Arabella gets tangled up in things (as she is prone to do) and decides to consult with a lawyer. Now, she could have consulted with a lawyer in Lount’s Landing (where the book is set) but what fun would that be? Instead she pays a visit to Leith Hampton, the Toronto lawyer first introduced in the Marketville series.

Readers of both series tell me they love the “guest appearances” and wait for them to happen. Does that mean I’ll be writing a spinoff of the Glass Dolphin series, now that the series has wrapped up? All I can say is anything is possible…after all, where there’s a will, there’s a way.

What about you, readers? Do you have a favorite series that features a crossover character?

About Where There’s A Will: Emily Garland is getting married and looking for the perfect forever home. When the old, and some say haunted, Hadley house comes up for sale, she’s convinced it’s “the one.” The house is also perfect for reality TV star Miles Pemberton and his new series, House Haunters. Emily will fight for her dream home, but Pemberton’s pockets are deeper than Emily’s, and he’ll stretch the rules to get what he wants.

While Pemberton racks up enemies all around Lount’s Landing, Arabella Carpenter, Emily’s partner at the Glass Dolphin antiques shop, has been hired to appraise the contents of the estate, along with her ex-husband, Levon. Could the feuding beneficiaries decide there’s a conflict of interest? Could Pemberton?

Things get even more complicated when Arabella and Levon discover another will hidden inside the house, and with it, a decades-old secret. Can the property stay on the market? And if so, who will make the winning offer: Emily or Miles Pemberton?

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About the author: A former journalist and magazine editor, Judy Penz Sheluk is the author of two mystery series: the Glass Dolphin Mysteries and the Marketville Mysteries. Her short crime fiction appears in several collections, including The Best Laid Plans and Heartbreaks & Half-truths, which she also edited.

Judy is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, the Short Mystery Fiction Society, and Crime Writers of Canada, where she serves as Chair on the Board of Directors. Find her at

34 thoughts on “Guest Chick: Judy Penz Sheluk

  1. Judy,
    Yes, as a reader, I do enjoy it when characters make “guest appearances” in another series by the same author, but it does need to make sense.

    Jenn McKinlay writes 3 mystery series. The Cupcake mysteries are set in Scottsdale, AZ, the Library Lovers mysteries take place in coastal Connecticut and the Hat Shop mysteries are set in London, England. Jenn did find a way to have characters from all 3 series “meet up” in the same book. You do have to suspend disbelief about the odds of this happening, but it worked.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi Grace, I think as cozy readers, we are very good at suspending disbelief, but you’re right, it has to make sense. But Jenn seems to have managed it!


  2. It’s always fun to see a guest appearance. Annette Dashofy needed Pete to venture into Fayette County in one of her books, UNEASY PREY, where he meets up with a member of the Pennsylvania State Police. She could have invented a character, but she asked if she could use Jim Duncan. Of course I said yes. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Judy, I love the idea of crossover. I’m putting an Easter egg into the first book in my new series that will entertain readers of the Cajun Country Mysteries. Different publishers, so I need to walk a fine line but I’m looking forward to people getting a kick out of it. I hope!

    Thanks for guesting today!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I just read a great example a few months back. In DEATH IN THE STACKS, one of the Library Lover’s Mysteries from Jenn McKinlay, she brings in the characters from the Cupcake Bakery Mysteries and the Hat Shop Mysteries. Their scenes are a riot, and it is fun seeing all of them interacting with each other.

    I had read all of the Lincoln Lawyer books, and now I’m going back and reading all of Michael Connelly’s books in order, including rereading the Mickey Haller books. I’m enjoying seeing how they all connect. I just got to the second Mickey Haller book, aka the first time that Bosch and Haller meet. Interesting to see that again with different eyes. (And Bosch was a jerk in that book.) Interesting side note: Mickey Haller is actually mentioned in the second Bosch novel. While I doubt Michael Connelly planned to have him be such a big character back then, it is interesting to see how far back the seeds for the character were planted.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I remember that mention, Mark. I’m a huge fan of Connelly’s work. It’s fun to do that as a writer, as well. In my first 2 Glass Dolphin books, there was mention of Poppy Spencer, a real estate agent. By book 3, she has a much larger role. Super fun!


  5. Hi Judy! I love crossovers … so much fun! I’ve done a tiny crossover in my books. I have two series, both set in the Denver area. In one, the main character is a mystery writer, so in the second, I have a character stopped in front of a bookstore looking at a poster with an upcoming author appearance where she’s listed. Readers who’ve read both comment that it made them laugh, so I feel like it was a success!

    Good luck with the new book!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. The Mystery Writer’s Mysteries (#3 launches Jan 15) is the one about the writer, (although I guess that’s pretty obvious), and the new series is the Crossword Mysteries, with Puzzling Ink the first one out. Thanks for asking!


  6. Hi Judy! What a great post and topic. I do love a crossover, in books and movies/film. It’s so fun to see familiar characters pop up in new contexts. 🙂

    Thanks so much for visiting us today and happy new year!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Congrats on your latest release, Judy!

    I’ve been dabbling with tiny mentions in my stories. I know that Naomi Hirahara often makes connections across her books.

    My kids also like Wendy Mass, and she often has characters cross to different books–but there needs to be some suspension of disbelief.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jennifer. But isn’t that what fiction is? A suspension of disbelief? How else can one explain Die Hard 2 🙂


  8. Welcome, Judy, and congrats!!

    I’m a big fan of crossover characters. When I come across them, it feels like running into an old friend at the grocery store. Such a nice surprise!

    You’ve named some of my favorites. Jonathan Kellerman also does some character crossovers, which I very much enjoy!


  9. So enjoyed this post, Judy. Sorry I am late to the party. And I love cross-over characters–ever since my days editing joint Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys mysteries. Your new book sounds great–awesome title, too. Congrats!

    Liked by 1 person

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