Guest Chick: Judy Penz Sheluk

Lisa here, delighted to welcome amazing author, anthology editor, publishing entrepreneur, and our good friend Judy Penz Sheluk to Chicks today. Even though we can’t imagine the prolific Judy ever procrastinating on anything, she’s sharing a little secret…

Procrastinating with Meat Loaf

by Judy Penz Sheluk

I was working on my latest book, Before There Were Skeletons, and having one of my “Agatha Christie Days”—and by that I don’t mean channeling my inner Miss Marple, but rather attempting to follow Dame Agatha’s sage advice, which is “to write even when you don’t want to, don’t much like what you’re writing, and aren’t writing particularly well.”

And while I sat there staring at the blank page, the radio playing softly in the background, a song came on that changed everything. Oh, not right away…that would have been too easy. But it did allow me the blocked writer’s greatest gift: procrastination in the name of research.

The song was Paradise by the Dashboard Light by the late Marvin Lee Aday, better known as Meat Loaf. Included in his 1977 bestselling album, Bat Out of Hell, the song has remained a cult favorite for decades. At the time, however, it would have been revolutionary, and as luck would have it, my protagonist, Calamity (Callie) Barnstable was in the midst of researching the disappearance of a pregnant seventeen-year-old who disappeared in Toronto in the spring of 1978.

It might be a stretch to call a song coming on the radio an omen, but it was certainly enough to get me googling “Meat Loaf concerts 1978.” And here my luck continued. Turns out that Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell concert tour took him to Toronto’s Massey Hall on Friday, April 21, 1978. A bit more googling and I found a ticket stub for that same concert on eBay (even went so far as to look at a Massey Hall seating chart) and then found a vintage t-shirt from that same concert. Procrastination at its finest.

Naturally, Callie makes good use of my Meat Loaf finds, but I’m afraid that’s as much as I can tell you without a spoiler, though I can share this YouTube link to the official music video:

You can find out a bit more about Before There Were Skeletons below!

Readers, what’s currently your favorite way to procrastinate? (Reading doesn’t count, because that activity is never a “waste” of time!) Let us know in the comments below.


The last time anyone saw Veronica Goodman was the night of February 14, 1995, the only clue to her disappearance a silver heart-shaped pendant, found in the parking lot behind the bar where she worked. Twenty-seven years later, Veronica’s daughter, Kate, just a year old when her mother vanished, hires Past & Present Investigations to find out what happened that fateful night.

Calamity (Callie) Barnstable is drawn to the case, the similarities to her own mother’s disappearance on Valentine’s Day 1986 hauntingly familiar. A disappearance she thought she’d come to terms with. Until Veronica’s case, and five high school yearbooks, take her back in time…a time before there were skeletons.

Universal Book Link:


A former journalist and magazine editor, Judy Penz Sheluk is the bestselling author of two mystery series: The Glass Dolphin Mysteries and the Marketville Mysteries. Her short crime fiction appears in several collections, including the Superior Shores Anthologies, 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 served as Chair on the Board of Directors. She lives in Northern Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior. Find her at

34 thoughts on “Guest Chick: Judy Penz Sheluk

  1. There are so many ways for me to procrastinate. Spending time on my laptop, watching tv, going in the pool, taking a nap, just anything to put off something that I don’t want to do. Then I end up rushing at the last minute to get it done on time.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks for your thoughts, Judy. Here’s my take.
    Why do writers have such a fixation on word count? If I have a choice between spending my morning writing dreck, or doing research (surfing) or outlining and plotting, which is more productive? Inspiration can come from many places – even running errands, watching TV or reading can provide a spark to get me past a difficult spot in a book.Sometimes we have to realize that a particular piece of writing has it’s own schedule, which may not necessarily jibe with mine.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Very true, Tom! Although some of us (ahem, moi) need a little extra discipline to write all those inspiring thoughts down.


  3. I love your book blurb, Judy! Procrastination — another way to enjoy my retirement. 😎 And then there’s research — a hobby turned into a profession (aka writing).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Reading, of course, is a major form of procrastination for me, but a close second is knitting. Alone or with one of my knitting groups, I can spend hours working on a project. One more page becomes one more row!

    Your new book sounds wonderful, the Bat Out of He’ll album at high volume is a great accomplishment to housework! I saw the Broadway show pre-covid, so much fun to have a story to go with the songs.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Reading is never procrastination — it’s learning! And knitting is an art. I tried to learn – my mom was a great knitter and crocheter, but she gave up on me. I just got knots! Thanks for commenting Judith.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Fixing lunch is my favorite way to procrastinate. Though since it’s usually when I’m writing about my characters eating or cooking that I get hungry and stop to eat, perhaps it’s all part of my research!

    Thanks so much for visiting the Chicks today, Judy, and congrats on your latest book!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Judy, hi! I swear, I’ve gotten some of my best ideas from procrastinating. I even wrote a whole Chicks post about it: The Zen of Picking Up Dog Poo. LOL! I think what Mark said is right – your brain needed a break. At least that’s the excuse I’m going with. 😉

    The new book sounds great. Looking forward to it.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Hi Judy! *waving madly*

        I don’t take Nala on walks, but I do find myself suggesting she go out on Walkabout so that I have a reason to sit on the back patio for a bit. Procrastination? Nah … just taking care of the pooch!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Becky (waving back) – our pets are never procrastination, they are our sanity savers!
    Thanks Jennifer — I’d love to bake but I have no self control over eating it!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Watching old movies and working jigsaw puzzles. But besides procrastinating, they relax me. It will all get done sometime.


  10. Judy, every book can use a soundtrack — and Meatloaf is an excellent choice! And I don’t think you were procrastinating. Sounds like serendipity to me. Thanks for visiting with the Chicks!


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