Judy M. Kerr

"The more you read, the less apt you are to make a fool of yourself with pen or word processor."—Stephen King

Book Two and Onward

We’re nearly a third of the way through 2022. Time flies! Hopefully the pandemic will continue to wane so we’re able to safely gather together for events. The year has been an exciting one for me so far. In March my second novel was released! Silent Service is the second installment in the MC McCall series. It was a rough ride, but we got ’er done! And I’ve begun to make notes for book three. MC’s journey will continue.
In other news, another author and good buddy of mine, Jessie Chandler, and I have decided to embark on a new project! Woo hoo! We’re going to co-author a book (who knows maybe more than one!). For those who are intrigued by true crime, especially local true crime, you may be interested in our book. Our endeavor will be a true crime-inspired story. 1970s era crimes. The research for this project has been very exciting and darkly intense. We may have even trespassed—the only witnesses to that possible transgression were a herd of cows. Mooo…I mean, mum, is the word.
The nuts and bolts are scattered in piles that we need to sift through and begin to build the framework. In other words, we’re still in the research/discussion stage of the project. There are boxes of documentation to go through. Digital files from MN Historical Society to read. We’ve done a few interviews, in person and over the phone. Some of the research has been as mundane as a fleet of beige sedans, but there have been fascinating nuggets that sparkle like the tips of sun-drenched Lake Superior waves beckoning us to dive in.
We’re both enamored of all things crime—true or fictional—and the impetus for this project is to delve into how the victims, direct or indirect, of said crimes were affected by the events. We envision that the story won’t be focused so much on “who did the crime” (although that question will certainly be answered—or will it?), but rather how did the commission of the crime change those impacted. What was their life like before – and then after the horrible event? What was the world like in the time of the crime? Who will tell the story? These are a few of the questions begging to be answered.
Stay tuned for updates as we create our game plan.

2020: A New Year. A New Decade.

Here we are entering a new year and a new decade. Time flies. Last year was a whirlwind for me. I had another short story published in “Cooked to Death: Cold Cut Files,” which is Volume IV of this great series of anthologies edited by Rhonda Gilliland. So much fun to have my story included!!

Then…wait for it…yes! Finally. My first novel, Black Friday was published in July 2019. What a rush to hold that first physical copy of my book! I’m forever grateful to Lori L. Lake (Launch Point Press) for taking a chance on me. Black Friday will be the first in the MC McCall series. Here’s to hoping book two, Silent Service makes it off the presses in 2020. #Goals

Back in October 2019 good friend, MB Panichi and I did a co-launch at Once Upon a Crime bookstore. MB read from her latest book, Blood and Roses and I did a reading from Black Friday. We served snacks and had an animated Q&A session with the attendees. HUGE thanks to Devin at Once Upon a Crime for allowing us to launch at the best bookstore in Minneapolis!

I started out 2020 with a bang! The folks who coordinate the monthly Bookstube at the Bierstube event invited me to be the January author. And to promote the event (and my book!) I did an interview at KDWA Radio in Hastings, MN. Check out their website to listen to the interview. Or click on the link on my Home page.
Who knew radio interviews would be so much fun!! I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Thanks to Mo McNeary for putting this introvert at ease and making the experience a blast.

In March and April I’ll be participating in a few author panels along with fellow sisters (and brothers) in crime. See my Home page for details on all the panel events. Whew! What a busy year already! And dang, but I gotta get to work and finish the second book! Please buy a copy (print or Kindle) of Black Friday and leave a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads! Thanks for all your support!

Hope you all are having a great 2020!

That First Published Book Tho...

Is there any more exhilarating or nerve wracking a feeling than unboxing and holding a physical copy of your debut novel? I’m sure there is, but right now I can’t focus on anything beyond the fact that this thing—this piece of work—that I toiled over for so many years is out in the big bad world and I’m holding proof of its existence. Warts and all.

Now what? Well, the worries move in and take up residence in my head.

Will anyone buy/read it?

Will they love it?

Hate it?

Or be ambivalent about it?

The possibilities are frightening. Readers (hopefully many!) will grab a copy, but then they’ll have opinions about it—and probably about me. Am I ready for this? I’m living the introvert’s nightmare!

Doubts fill my head. But, alas, I brace myself and get ready for whatever comes my way. I realize my hopes and dreams are coming to fruition and I need to be prepared to take the positive along with the maybe not-so-positive. I’ve now joined the ranks of published authors and for that I’m beyond grateful.

Ruby Red Recovery

Breaking news! FBI. Extortion. US Attorney. Sting operation. Movie memorabilia. I cover all the things in today's blog post.

On September 4, 2018 the FBI, the US Attorney from North Dakota, and the Grand Rapids Police Chief held a press conference in Minneapolis to announce that, after thirteen years, Dorothy's Ruby Slippers had been found. The shoes were heisted from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, MN on August 28, 2005. Rumors of what happened to the shoes ran rampant over the ensuing years.

If you like mystery stories written by Minnesotans about events in Minnesota history, you may be familiar with a little short story called, "Ruby Red Heist," which is part of an awesome anthology published in May 2018 by
Twin Cities Chapter of Sisters in Crime. I am the author of said short story!

My prep for writing the story included reading massive amounts of information online and in magazine articles about the theft in 2005. Then I took a rad road trip to Grand Rapids and visited the Judy Garland Museum. I walked the museum and through the house where Judy Garland (Frances "Baby" Gumm) lived for the first four years of her life, which is now attached to the museum.

After the tour I chatted with a current museum employee, who wasn't an employee back in 2005, but…heck! Everyone from Grand Rapids knew the story! She told me that some folks in town thought it was teenagers pulling a prank or fulfilling a dare from peers. A straightforward burglary didn't seem to fit the bill because there had been a clear plastic box filled with cash donations front and center and that wasn't touched. In fact, nothing else in the museum had been disturbed other than the broken back door and the shattered glass case where the shoes had been ensconced. The only clues left behind by the culprit(s) were glass shards from the broken window, the protective case, and one lone ruby red sequin from a shoe.

I stood in the spot where the pedestal had sat back in 2005. I examined the back door. The distance from the door to the pedestal that had held the shoes had not been more than a dozen or so steps. In the following days, weeks, months, and years many leads turned into dead ends. Divers searched the bottom of the old pit mine turned lake, but that endeavor was a bust. Zilch. The heist was the biggest mystery to hit Grand Rapids, MN and was a huge blow to the museum.

But now…thirteen years later the slippers are once again safe and sound. Due diligence and perseverance (and some luck?) have paid off and law enforcement took possession of the sparkly red footwear. While several family members and friends contacted me on Tuesday to ask if my story helped solve the crime, I had to chuckle and (reluctantly) say, "no." Would that my little story had helped crack the case…Alas, it is not so. Although, should the FBI wish to speak with me, I'd be quite willing!


Not familiar with the short story, you say? Please, buy the book, Dark Side of the Loon: Where History Meets Mystery. The anthology is filled with great short stories by amazing Minnesota authors. The book can be purchased at Once Upon a Crime bookstore in Minneapolis or order online at amazon.com (available in Kindle and print version).


So far, law enforcement is being stingy with the details they are sharing with the public. They've dribbled bits about tips over the years, but one tip made in the summer of 2017 was apparently the key to breaking the case. Someone attempted to extort the insurance company that had insured the iconic memorabilia. A yearlong investigation by the FBI, including the Art Crime Team, the Laboratory, and field offices in Chicago, Atlanta, and Miami ensued. The ruby red slippers were obtained as a result of an undercover operation in Minneapolis this summer. The FBI, US Attorney from North Dakota, and Grand Rapids Police are asking for the public's help in gathering information on the actual theft that occurred in 2005. The shoes have come home, but the thief or thieves are still on the loose.

I invite you all to read my story to find out my version of this little slice of Minnesota history. Recent events may be enough impetus to write a sequel. Truth really is stranger than fiction. Or is it? 🕵🏻‍♀️

Introverts Step Outside the Box

This past Saturday I attended a workshop, “Publicity for Authors,” at The Loft Literary Center. Not because I found it in a catalog and felt I should attend. Oh, no. Apparently, I needed the voice of reason to wake me up.

My dear partner, once again, gave me a nudge, "Did you see this post Katie put on Facebook about a workshop she called 'life changing'?"

I blinked. "Nope." I blinked some more.

"I think you should sign up for it! It sounds like something beneficial for your writing."

"Um. Maybe, but i have a hair appointment that conflicts. Guess I'll have to miss out." Whew dodged that bullet—not.

"You could call and reschedule your hair cut. I'm sure Josh will accommodate you."

Dang. Drats. I picked up my phone and sent a text to Josh. Of course, he was more than happy to reschedule the appointment, just as my better half predicted.[She's ALWAYS right!] And so, before I lost my nerve, I jumped onto The Loft's Web site and registered for the workshop. Badda bing…badda boom. Done.

And that's how I found myself sitting in a classroom on the third floor of The Loft at 9 a.m. on a Saturday morning.

Just the word ‘publicity’ in reference to me makes me feel all clammy. I’m an introvert, not much scares me more than the thought of having to sell myself. Yikes! Sell myself? To other people? Out loud? To me, this is the ‘dark side’ of pursuing book publication. With that said, the workshop was fabulous! Linda White provided an excellent packet of information and hints. And she engendered amazing discussions of how we, as authors, need to begin the publicity prep early on.

There is so much more to this whole writing process. And I’ve been convinced the actual writing was hard. Keeping my butt in the chair. Pounding out the words. I’ve now been proven wrong. The hard part comes later.

opportunities do not happen

Agent? No Agent? Indie press? Traditional press? Self-publish? Launch party? No Launch party? Attend conferences? Take classes? Attend festivals? Keep up a presence on social media? So many things to do! Who has the time to write?
I won’t go into all the details that Linda shared because I think that in order to experience the full effect folks need to make the commitment to attend a workshop. Be on the lookout for another offering and jump at the opportunity. You won’t regret it. And you’ll come away with several pearls of wisdom to guide you on the publicity tour.

The other benefit to attending the workshop was meeting some amazing and talented folks. Writers, to me, are kind of like ‘bike people’—SUPER NICE! They truly care about your story and they’re ready with ideas and advice. What’s worked and what hasn’t, if they have experience. I’m usually pleased by the interaction I have with these types of people and this workshop was no exception. I feel like it’s a win-win if people are asking to exchange email addresses at the end! Yay!

I highly recommend this workshop to authors, especially first-timers that are closing in on publication. Plenty of good, solid advice on how to navigate the bumpy road to publication and beyond!


Thank you, Linda White. And thank you to all my fellow attendees.

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