Jean Sheldon


I began writing mysteries at the age of 53. It was 2004 and I longed for something to take my mind off the political and social climate that had become overwhelming. Starting a writing career might not have been the most socially responsible path I could have chosen, but it offered a distraction, one that I like to think helped me survive to fight again. But why mysteries? I have delighted in the genre since the 60s when I first held a Chicago Public Library card in my sweaty little hand. The image of a scrawny kid in pigtails, weighted down with books and shouting, "You can do it" from my over stimulated imagination made me believe I should try. That was 10 years ago, and writing has proved to be much more than a distraction. I have learned to look closer and listen harder, to find answers beyond my limited view of the world. Writing has helped me become a better person. I can only hope those changes contribute, as well, to my journey to become a better writer.

Smashwords Interview

Describe your desk
My desk, like me, is a worn but fairly stable vessel cluttered with bits and pieces of what was, what is, and what may yet be. A Habitat for Humanity cup holds objects for writing, cutting, editing, and drawing. A storyteller doll, two onyx fetishes, a bear and a turtle, and obsidian pieces found at Tent Rocks, are memories of my twenty years in New Mexico. A stack of books, some to be read again, some for the first time, all treasures and peaceful diversions from a busy, cyber-based existence. Post-it-notes to supplement a constantly tested memory. A variety of notebooks that keep thoughts and images from slipping into oblivion. A cup of coffee, pale with cream, atop circular stains from dozens of predecessors. It is, at times, where I create my characters, and at other times, where my characters create me.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I didn't start writing mysteries until 2004. I was 53 and overwhelmed by the political and social climate. I wanted a distraction. Since I loved to read mysteries, I thought I'd try my hand at writing one. That was almost 10 years ago, and I haven't stopped. Nor have I lost any of the passion I felt early on. Writing opens me to all the possibilities of the universe. That's a strong statement, but true to the core of my being. Writing helps me listen better. It forces me to become aware of the possibilities that lie beyond my limited view of the world. It nurtures my humanity. Does it get any better than that?
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Jean Sheldon online

Where to buy in print


An Uncluttered Palette
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 73,410. Language: English. Published: January 11, 2013. Category: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths
After an accident destroys her hand, art teacher Rayna Hunt begins the long journey to recover her skill. Her quiet, safe world is further disrupted when an anonymous call to the police draws her into a case of forgery and art theft. She and a group of friends and students work to prove her innocence and solve the crime.
The Woman in the Wing
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 70,660. Language: English. Published: January 11, 2011. Category: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Historical
A historical mystery that takes place in a defense plant. Although fictional, the well-researched book offers a glimpse into the lives of women who served at home during World War II, Rosie the Riveters, and sheds some light on the seldom told stories of the women who ferried military planes from plants to air bases around the country—Women Airforce Service Pilots—WASP.
Mrs. Quigley's Kidnapping
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 70,160. Language: English. Published: July 23, 2010. Category: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
When Mattie Draper opened her Chicago detective agency in 1968, she was one of a handful of female Private Investigators nationwide. For three months, her greatest challenges were finding lost pets and wayward spouses—until someone kidnapped Diana Quigley. In a race to find the missing woman, Mattie tries to untangle the helpful information supplied by a growing lists of suspects.

Jean Sheldon’s tag cloud

Smashwords book reviews by Jean Sheldon

  • Scattered Pieces on Sep. 07, 2011

    There are times when a single event can change a person's life forever. If it occurs in their latter years, the impact, though not lessened, finds fewer days upon which to cast its shadow. Scattered Pieces begins on May 15, 1946 when eight-year-old Katie Harris feels her younger brother Jimmy's fingers slip from hers in a crowded train station. He disappears. What follows in this nimbly penned novel is not as much an examination of the case, as a study of the effect of one split second on the lives of Katie and her family and friends. It is a book that I tried numerous times to put down at the end of a chapter only to find myself involved, concerned, and curious enough to keep turning pages. Lynn does a solid job of introducing complex psychological concepts and uses a well mixed and believable group of characters to portray human quarks and foibles akin to those we see in our own tribes. I was moved throughout the book by the depth of Katie's emotional struggles as she tried to maneuver through her life with the weight of her enormous and painfully human guilt. Scattered Pieces has it all, crime fiction, psychological drama, romance, mystery, and even some fairly comprehensive explanations of painting styles. Add this to your 'to read' list, but make sure you have the time to do just that!
  • Ebook Now: The Essential and Simple Guide to Creating and Publishing Professional Ebooks for Kindle and ePub on Sep. 26, 2011

    Folded, Mutilated, and Kindled I am one of millions of victims of information overload. Therefore, when I decide to tackle a new project, the instructions need to be clear, concise, and simple enough to wrap my brain around. 'Ebook Now' was just what the cyber Doc ordered. I have tried (repeatedly) to follow the instructions on Amazon, Smashwords, and various internet sites claiming to offer easy to follow instructions. THEY LIE, and the finished product never looks or works as it should. After following the simple steps in 'Ebook Now' I created great looking files that worked correctly in both Smashwords and Kindle on the first try.
  • Spirits of the Third Dimension on May 20, 2012

    An Enjoyable Journey into another Realm "Spirits of the Third Dimension" is a collection of three short stories that offer a look into common events that take uncommon turns. In "The Beechwood Encounter," the journey begins with a frightening ride on a spooked horse. What follows, an accident in the tangled woods, the appearance of a group of nuns, and a black cat whose green eyes peer into an unseen world, will keep readers wondering if, or perhaps when, they crossed into that world. In "The Tarot Cards," a con artist encounters an old woman who looks like an easy target and learns that she is not the only one with a few tricks up her sleeve. In the final story, "The Tree of Life," a young woman looks for ways to heal her relationship across the chasm of betrayal she felt at her husband's suicide. This is a delightful read, guaranteed to get you thinking about the serendipitous events in your own life!
  • Attempting to Define: Love on Feb. 09, 2014

    In the forward of 'Attempting to Define: Love', HM Jones writes, 'Love is continually being redefined by every person living.' The poems in this collection demonstrate that truth, and that the constantly changing emotion is often, if not always, dependent on our love of self. Jones writes: "I never loved me fully until I saw myself, beautiful, at the end of your fingertips." This is a satisfying collection that offers what love poems should, a look into the intimate space where heart and mind meet and make our relationships uniquely our own.