Author Sheyna Galyan


Welcome! And  . . . what is this?
This is the inaugural quarterly newsletter for Sheyna Galyan, author of the Rabbi David Cohen suspense series, currently titled The Newsletter Yet To Be Named. More on that in a second. You’re receiving this newsletter because you signed up with Sheyna personally (perhaps last summer at the Sisters In Crime booth at the Minnesota State Fair) or through social media. (Don’t worry—if you don’t want to continue to receive this newsletter, you can unsubscribe.)
Who is Rabbi David Cohen?
David is the fictional rabbi of the fictional Beth Israel synagogue in Minneapolis, Minnesota. With the support of his wife Sara and his three children, he has been the spiritual leader of Beth Israel for eight relatively uneventful years, marked by births and deaths, weddings and b’nai mitzvah, until a phone call awakens both his dreams and his nightmares. David begins an uneasy collaboration with Arik Zahav, an Israeli-born Minneapolis cop, and the husband of his colleague, Rabbi Batya Zahav. The son of a Holocaust survivor, David is challenged to find balance between work and home, congregation and family, a dilemma that becomes increasingly difficult as he spends more time chasing teenage runaways, dangerous stalkers, and potential murderers. Before he became a rabbi, David was a dissertation away from earning his doctorate in psychology, and he always figured he’d teach psych at a university somewhere. He drew more and more from Judaism for his psychology studies, and on the recommendation of his advisor, looked into the rabbinate. But maybe he wasn’t meant to be a rabbi either, because no matter how much shalom he pursues, he keeps finding himself yarmulke-deep in evil.
Who is Sheyna Galyan?
Sheyna Galyan is the author of the “Rabbi David Cohen” suspense series set in Minneapolis. Her second book, Strength to Stand (Yotzeret Publishing), will be on sale starting September 1, 2015. Sheyna’s most recent short story “Sketches for Cinco” is included in the mystery anthology Festival of Crime (Nodin Press, 2014), and her essays and articles have appeared in TCJewfolkAmerican Jewish WorldSt. Paul Voice, and various other publications. With advanced degrees in psychology and education, she has worked as a counselor, consultant, lecturer, journalist, and Jewish educator. She graduated in 2013 from the St. Paul Citizen’s Police Academy and now attempts to get her law enforcement fix from writing suspense novels.
Why is this called The Newsletter Yet to be Named?

Sheyna tried to come up with a nifty newsletter name, then turned to her 14-year-old son for creative inspiration. She nixed “From the Pulpit” because it sounded too serious, and might get mixed up with a newsletter from a real rabbi. (Plus, it’s already been used. A lot.) The 14-year-old rejected “The Rabbi’s Drash,” saying most people probably don’t know what a “drash” is (it’s like a sermon) and some might think it referred to the rabbi’s private parts (ah, 14-year-old boys…). They bandied about other ideas like “Snippets of Suspense,” “Sheyna’s Shpiel,” and the very cleverly crafted “Sheyna Galyan’s Quarterly Newsletter,” and after cleaning up the mess in the room after all the bandying, Sheyna decided she was too lazy to come up with a name, and it should be put to the readers.

So, if you’d like to help name this newsletter, send your idea(s) to with the subject heading “Newsletter Name” and if your idea is chosen, you will receive much acclaim in the newsletter that comes out after the name has been picked, Sheyna’s undying gratitude, and a free autographed copy of Strength to Stand.

From the r̶a̶b̶b̶i author

I paused at the mostly closed doorway. I hesitated to bother him, yet if I couldn’t get in to see David without an appointment, what did that say about our friendship? Out of respect, I knocked and waited.

“Come in,” he called absently. He looked up and smiled as I entered, looking a little relieved. “Sheyna! What brings you by?” He set his pad of paper aside, balancing it precariously on top of a stack of loose papers on the corner of his desk. The rest of his desk was covered by books, files, an assortment of office supplies, and an open bag of M&M’s. Standing, he offered his hand to me, and I shook it, once again acutely aware of his height in comparison to mine.

“I came by to see if you had your piece for the newsletter ready. This is the first newsletter and—” I watched as his face fell.

“I’m so sorry. With preparations for Passover, I’m afraid I completely forgot about it. When does it need to be done?”

“Well, yesterday would have been ideal.”

He grimaced. “I’m sorry,” he repeated. “How can I make it up to you?”

I sat down in a chair across from his desk and cast what I hoped was a stern gaze his way. “Be ready on time with the next one.”

“I can do that,” he assured me. “When is the next newsletter coming out?”

“On or just after June 30th. It’s a quarterly newsletter, though I might send out smaller ‘postcards’ to announce book events, since I may have some scheduled by then.”

“Okay. June 30th. I’ll have it for you by the 15th. Will that work?”

“That’ll be fine.”

“What else is going on? How’s the book release coming?” he asked.

“Everything’s on schedule, for once,” I said. “ARCs are being printed and will be sent out to reviewers and bloggers right after pesach.”

“What’s an ARC?”

I kept my face neutral. “It’s, you know, a big boat that Noah put all the animals on.”

David closed his eyes, sighed, and shook his head slowly. “Very cute.”

“It’s an acronym, short for Advance Reading Copy. It’s a bound pre-publication copy that’s sent out before any final edits are made, so that industry reviewers can read and review the book before the on-sale date.”

“And when is the on-sale date again?” he asked.

“September first.”

He looked quizzically at me. “You’re releasing it two weeks before Rosh Hashanah?”

“Yes. October felt too late, and I wanted to start creating buzz before November’s Jewish Book Month and any holiday shopping.”

“Are you worried that it will be an uphill battle between kids going back to school and holiday preparations?”

“A little, but it’s going to be an uphill battle either way. I’m still a relative unknown, and the Twin Cities Jewish community wasn’t very supportive with the first book.”

David made a face. “I’m sorry they weren’t more supportive. How can we ever generate new talent when we only support those who have already ‘made it,’ so to speak?”

“Exactly my point. So I hope that with Linda’s—my publicist’s—help, it will be different this year. And yes, the Jewish community might not notice until October or after Sukkot, but given their track record, I think perhaps I may have better luck with non-Jewish readers, especially those who love the mystery/thriller genre.”

“All right. You’re the expert on this.” He glanced at his watch. “I’m sorry, I’m late for a meeting. I’m really glad you stopped by. Don’t be a stranger, okay?”

I stood and shook his hand. “You got it.” As I left the building and walked to my van on 34th Street, I wondered why the conversation left me more stressed than I’d been just half an hour ago.

What’s new . . .
Strength to Stand

ARCs (Advance Reading Copies) are now being printed and will be sent out to reviewers and bloggers starting April 13th. A pre-order link will be available soon; you’ll receive a “postcard” (not a full newsletter) when the pre-order link is live. ARCs will also to to members of my “street team.” See below for more information on street teams.

You probably also want to know what Strength to Stand is about. Here’s the summary: When Rabbi Batya Zahav first suspects she’s the victim of an anti-Jewish stalker, she enlists the help of her colleague, Rabbi David Cohen. Soon her husband Arik, an Israeli-born Minneapolis cop, is also on the case. As the stalker’s anonymous persecution increases in violent intensity, it falls to David to identify the stalker before someone gets hurt, and before the stalker carries out the latest chilling threat.

Festival of Crime

Festival of Crime is an anthology of mystery and suspense short stories by members of the Twin Cities Sisters in Crime, and I’m honored to be included in it. My story, “Sketches for Cinco,” features an artist who gets far more than she bargained for when she sets up a sketching booth at the Cinco de Mayo festival on St. Paul’s West Side (District Del Sol) neighborhood. It was released in late 2014 in paperback, with an ebook coming soon from Nodin Press. You can check it out here on Amazon.

Street Team

I’m looking for a few good people. Or maybe a lot of good people. I’m looking to form a “street team,” a roving gang of readers who can do things I can’t for David, Sara, Batya, Arik, and the rest of the gang in the series. Here’s how it works:

What you get:

  • Your very own ARC to read and enjoy
  • Unfettered access to me (Sheyna) via email and, if enough people are on Facebook, a Facebook group
  • My undying gratitude
  • Gifts, giveaways, and discounts at my discretion (only available to street team members)
  • A chance to be a part of something bigger

What you need to do:

  • Read the ARC (note that there are errors in it. I’m aware of a few, which will be corrected before the final printing. If you want to share any typos you find (excluding comma placement), you may).
  • Do as many of the following FREE things as you can:
    • Post about Strength to Stand on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Shelfari, BookLikes, The Reading Room, etc.)
    • Review it on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Library Thing (may not be available until closer to the on-sale date)
    • Talk about it in Goodreads groups
    • “Like” my author page on Facebook if you haven’t already, and encourage your friends to do the same. BONUS: Click on “get notifications” (hover over “liked”) so you know when I post something
    • Comment on (don’t just “like”) my posts, which gives those posts greater visibility to others
    • Share my Facebook posts
    • Follow me on Twitter (@sheynagalayn) and retweet my tweets. Encourage your friends to do the same
    • Encourage your friends to sign up for this newsletter
    • Add me to your Google+ circles
    • Talk to me about my book when you see me (I don’t get sick of it, really)
    • Follow my blog (Books and Beliefs)
    • Include my book in a photograph of you or a friend. BONUS: post the photo on Instagram
    • Ask your local bookstores to order it (they can pre-order), and if you go on vacation, ask bookstores at your destination to order it
    • If you see my book at a bookstore, tell the owner/manager what you love about it—they might not have read it and aren’t familiar with it
    • Ask your local libraries to order it (and libraries at any vacation spot you might be at) and tell the librarian about it, and why you like it
    • Tell any book clubs you know about it
    • Ask your local book clubs, synagogues, churches, or other organizations to carry it in their gift shop (if applicable) and consider having me do a presentation, reading, and/or signing
    • Let me know if you see any good reviews, or post about them and tag me
    • Take a photo of my book in a bookstore and post it (and tag me) or send it to me and I’ll post it (it’s good publicity for the bookstore too)
    • Vote for Strength to Stand as one of your favorite books on any contests, especially through social media
    • Come to my launch party, either in person or my virtual launch party on Facebook
    • Attend my events, either in person or virtual. There’s nothing more disheartening than going to a signing and having no one show up
    • Write about my book or series, or interview me for your own blog, or ask me to do a guest post for your blog
    • Tell all of your friends
  • Do any of the following not-free things if you can:
    • Pre-order my book
    • Buy copies to give as gifts
    • Buy copies and donate them to fundraising auctions
    • Buy a copy to donate to your synagogue or church library (if applicable)

That’s it! Unless you think of more things, and then by all means, please do them. And let me know what you did, because I may add it to my list.

Remember, authors don’t make much money from book sales, and believe it or not, small publishers don’t make much either. If everyone bought books on Amazon or at bookstores, I would make $1.31 per book in royalties, so I need to sell A LOT of books to afford to travel to signings, give out author swag, and bring in money to the household so I can work on Book 3. The only way to sell A LOT of books is to have a lot of buzz and word-of-mouth publicity. That’s where YOU come in!

If you’d like to join my street team, just go to and request to join.

Upcoming events

I will be at Bouchercon (boucher rhymes with voucher) in Raleigh NC from October 8-11, 2015. If you’re there, drop me a line and we can plan to meet!

I’ll be having a fantabulous launch party for Strength to Stand, and signing events throughout the upper Midwest. Stay tuned to The Newsletter Yet to be Named and my website for more details on when and where.

I love to speak with book clubs, synagogue and church groups, and other organizations. I’ve spoken with groups as large as 100 and as few as 5. I can do a presentation, a reading, or just hang out with your group and talk books and characters and the stuff of life. If you’d like to find out more about having me speak to your group, please email me.

Funny Bits

While at the dentist recently for a “deep cleaning” (unrelated to Passover, I’m sure), they offered me nitrous oxide—laughing gas. Knowing that they’d be rooting around in my gums, I said yes. I’d never had it before, but figured it was better than white-knuckling it through the cleaning procedure.

It was actually quite pleasant. More than pleasant, it was almost addictive. I felt like I was swirling and flying and swaying and all manner of lovely feelings. I could imagine getting a hangover-free escape from reality with this. I could imagine making someone else docile and compliant with this. I could imagine this as a weapon.

So when I had control over my lips and tongue again, I started talking to the dental hygienist.

“Do you have to have a license to order nitrous?” I asked.

“I think so,” the hygienist said.

“Is it under strict control? Would anyone know if a tank went missing?”

The hygienist looked at me strangely. “I think we would know if one went missing.”

I persisted. “Do you suppose one could turn it up high enough to kill a patient?”

Now the hygienist looked alarmed. “Why? Are you planning something?”

I smiled. “Only on paper.”

Top Ten

Arik Zahav’s Top Ten Wishes

10. Israeli figs are widely available through the U.S.
9. People stop pronouncing “Arik” with the Americanized “Eric” and use the proper Israeli “Ah-reek.”
8. More men’s clothing comes in desert and earth tones.
7. People stop considering “peace” a four-letter word and make it a reality.
6. Legislate stupidity.
5. People would care more with their actions rather than just giving lip service.
4. Two words: gun legislation.
3. Mandatory military service, because it teaches lifelong lessons.
2. Voluntary military service, because #3 leaves you with a country full of people with PTSD.
1. Be nice to each other. Life’s too short to be mean.

Destined to Choose is the first book in the Rabbi David Cohen series. You can read an excerpt and find out more about it on my website.
Check out my website! You can read excerpts, browse information about writing and publishing, download press materials, read the FAQs, and visit my blog, Books and Beliefs.

Connect with Sheyna


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