Dealing with Writer’s Block

After spending over three decades dreaming about the novels I would write during my retirement years, I was totally unprepared for the tyranny of the blank page. Thankfully, that first bout of writer’s block didn’t last too long. Inspiration came a month later at a creative writing workshop.

Several other bouts followed, some longer than others. Workshops and seminars definitely helped and so did the following strategies:

1. Change it up. Use pen and paper instead of a computer. If you’ve always written in the morning, switch to evening writing. Find a new writing café or create a new workplace in your home.

2. Improve your writing circumstances. Change the lighting, keep a coffee or tea pot nearby, declutter your desk, or hang up an inspirational poster.

3. Write something that comes easily–a letter, a recipe, a poem–and then return to your original project.

4. Move your body. Dance, run, practice yoga or Tai Chi, revisit a sport or fitness activity. Get your body into flow and your mind will follow.

5. Take up a new creative pursuit: painting, scrapbooking, decoupage, woodworking, quilting, weaving…If you’re stuck, buy an adult coloring book stock up on colored pencils, and start coloring.

6. Journal or free-write for 15 to 20 minutes each morning. You can write about random subjects or personal issues. Don’t worry about grammar, spelling, or punctuation.

7. Sign up for a Continuing Education course that is out of your comfort zone. You could learn a new language, practice karate,  or take a Japanese cooking class.

8. Make a list of all possible directions in which your manuscript could go. Don’t exclude any ideas, even silly or unworkable ones. Try out one or more of these directions until something clicks.

9. Set a reasonable deadline and offer yourself a substantial reward for finishing the manuscript. Share with a friend who will keep you accountable. 

10. Participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). During the month of November, writers worldwide commit to writing 50K words in one month. I participated for the first time in 2016 and wrote 51K of a cozy mystery,  A Different Kind of Reunion (released by the The Wild Rose Press in April 2018). In 2017, I wrote 55K of a stand-alone novel. I connected with a local group and met regularly throughout the month. It was a great experience!

Any other tips to share?

 

Where to find Joanne Guidoccio…

Website | Amazon | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Goodreads | Pinterest

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Your Life in Six Words

By Joanne Guidoccio

Whenever I attend workshops, I take note of any icebreakers. While some participants may groan, I find these short, introductory exercises very effective in creating community and stimulating creativity.

One of my favorites is the “Six-Word Memoir,” a spinoff of the challenge once given to Ernest Hemingway: Write a story using only six words.

His reply was quick and succinct: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

In November 2006, Larry Smith, founder of SMITH Magazine, asked his fans to describe their lives in exactly six words. Intended to be a one-month contest, the project took on a life of its own. Since that time, Smith has received millions of responses, from the hilarious to the bittersweet to the inspirational. You can find out more here.

At the workshop where I was first introduced to this project, the facilitator shared the following examples:

“Married by Elvis, divorced by Friday.”

“I still make coffee for two.”

“Cursed with cancer, blessed with friends.”

And these from celebrities:

“Seeking the fullest expression of self.”  Oprah Winfrey

“Healed with steel, then got real.”   Dr. Mehmet Oz

“Me see world! Me write stories!”  Elizabeth Gilbert

“The miserable story leads to royalties.”  Frank McCourt

“Fear not, live in the now.”  Goldie Hawn

“Secret of life: family, friends, bacon.”  Katie Couric

“Divorce your story, marry the truth.”  Tony Robbins

 

Here’s my six-word memoir:

“Enjoying the process of reinventing myself.”

 

Any other six-word memoirs out there?

 

Where to find Joanne Guidoccio

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10 Interesting Facts About Parry Sound

By Joanne Guidoccio

Having grown up in what is often called the “Other Ontario,” I thought it was time to let cozy mystery readers discover the beauty and tranquility of the North. Or maybe not so tranquil. Seven murders have already taken place in the first three books of the Gilda Greco Mystery Series!

Books 1 and 2—A Season for Killing Blondes and Too Many Women in the Room—are based in Sudbury.

Book 3, A Different Kind of Reunion, is based in Parry Sound. Today, I’m providing ten interesting (and not so well-known) facts about this picturesque town on the eastern shores of Georgian Bay.

1. Located 160 km (100 miles) south of Sudbury and 225 km (140 miles) north of Toronto, Parry Sound epitomizes the best of small town life and summer fun. A winter population of 6,500 grows to 35,000 during cottage season.

2. Discovered by Captain Henry Bayfield in the 19th century, the town was named in honor of the Arctic explorer Sir William Edward Parry.

3. During the early part of the 20th century, Tom Thomson and the other members of the Group of Seven painted many of their scenic artworks in this area

4.Parry Sound is part of the 30,000 Islands region, the world’s largest freshwater archipelago.

5. Home to more than 100 “at-risk” species of plants and animals, Parry Sound houses the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve, a globally-important region designated by UNESCO in 2004. GBBR is a non-profit organization that works with dozens of community partners to provide environmental education through conservation, and to create vibrant and sustainable communities.

6. Hikers and campers can visit one or more of the seven provincial parks in the region: Grundy Lake, Sturgeon Bay, Massasauga, Killarney, Killbear, Oastler and Six Mile Lake.

7. A boater’s paradise, Parry Sound can be explored via sailboats, canoes, kayaks, and motorized pleasure crafts. Or you could book a tour on the Island Queen Cruise.

8. Operating from May to October from the downtown waterfront, Georgian Bay Airways offers a bird’s eye view of the area’s remarkable ecosystems.

9. If visiting during the summer, consider taking part in the Festival of the Sound, one of the Top 100 Festivals in Ontario. In its 39th season, this festival of chamber and classical music runs from mid-July to mid-August each year. During the rest of the year, performances of all types (pop, rock, folk, blues, jazz, country) are presented.

10. Former Boston Bruin defenceman Bobby Orr is Parry Sound’s most famous citizen. An interactive hockey museum, aptly named the Bobby Orr Hall of Fame, can be found in the Charles W. Stockey Center for the Performing Arts. Exhibits include Orr’s NHL rings, trophies and awards, and a pictorial history of his career.

 

Blurb- a different kind of reunion

While not usually a big deal, one overlooked email would haunt teacher Gilda Greco. Had she read it, former student Sarah McHenry might still be alive.

Suspecting foul play, Constable Leo Mulligan plays on Gilda’s guilt and persuades her to participate in a séance facilitated by one of Canada’s best-known psychics. Six former students also agree to participate. At first cooperative and willing, their camaraderie is short-lived as old grudges and rivalries emerge. The séance is a bust.

Determined to solve Sarah’s murder, Gilda launches her own investigation and uncovers shocking revelations that could put several lives—including her own—in danger. Can Gilda and the psychic solve this case before the killer strikes again?

Excerpt

“Gilda, could you drop by tomorrow?” Constable Mulligan said, his voice cracking. “I’d like to wrap up this investigation as soon as possible. Give her parents some closure.”

Did he think he could wrap it up in a day? And what on earth could I contribute to the investigation? It didn’t make any sense at all. “Uh…I’m sorry. I’m having trouble with all of this. I don’t know—”

He cleared his throat. “We could meet for lunch at Trapper’s Choice Restaurant. They have fresh pickerel on Fridays.”

“I have clients scheduled for appointments all afternoon.” Or most of the afternoon. I liked to close the ReCareering office early on Friday afternoons.

“You’re still working?” he asked, surprise overtaking his previous gruffness. “I didn’t think you’d need to…I mean, you should be okay…”

He knew about my lottery win. Not surprising, since the lottery people had plastered my name and face everywhere when I won nineteen million dollars in Lotto 649. A quick Google search would have revealed my four-year-old lottery win. Old news, but still there on the second and third pages.

Tempted to end the conversation, I realized I couldn’t turn my back on Sarah or any of the others who might still be in danger. I mentally scanned my calendar. I had a two o’clock appointment and would be free to leave around three. I calculated the distance and figured I could drive to Parry Sound in ninety minutes or so. I added an extra hour and shared my plans.

“Great! You’ll have a couple of hours before the séance.”

“What séance?” Were Friday night séances a regular occurrence in Parry Sound? And why would someone like Constable Mulligan, who didn’t sound like a touchy-feely type of guy, attend one?

Buy Links 

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It’s OK to Fall Out of Love

By Joanne Guidoccio

We can all recall that magical moment when we typed the last words of our manuscript and lovingly glanced at the neatly piled pages on the desk. Head over heels in love, we could easily visualize literary agents and publishers emailing us within hours of receiving the manuscript.

That is the fantasy.

The reality is very different.

That first draft is never ready for publication. Some manuscripts require major surgeries such as changing POV and adding more sub-plots and characters. Longer manuscripts with over 100K words may need to be pared down. All manuscripts need to be checked for grammar, punctuation, and spelling.

At a workshop, creative writing professor Brian Henry suggested we put our manuscripts aside for a while before starting the editing process. He did not specify a timeline but stressed the fact that we cannot improve our work until we fall out of love with it.

Over the years, I have attended many of Brian’s workshops and read several books on editing and proofreading. Here are some of tips and quips I’ve gleaned from my research:

Tips

• Perform a spelling and grammar check using the appropriate feature in your word processing program. Be aware that your spell checker can tell you only if a word exists, not if it’s the right word. If you are uncertain, refer to a dictionary.

• Use the Search and Replace function to find and eliminate repetitive words and extra spaces. To cut back on the number of adverbs, search for “ly” and replace with “LY.” As you approach each highlighted section, decide whether to keep the adverb, eliminate it, or replace it with an appropriate action tag.

• Double-check all facts, figures, and proper names. This is especially important if you write nonfiction or historical fiction.

• Print out your text and review it line by line. Use a ruler or a blank sheet of paper to keep your focus on one line at a time.

• Read your text aloud. This will help catch missing prepositions, repetition, run on sentences, and awkward phrasing.

• Read your text backward, from right to left, starting with the last word. While I have never used this particular tip, several English teachers recommend this method for anyone struggling with spelling.

• Change the font and font size before the final edit. The altered appearance may help you see the manuscript with fresh eyes.

• Ask a friend or fellow author to proofread your text. And offer to return the favor.

Quips via Brian Henry

• If you revise the same page too many times, you are probably ignoring a major problem in your book.

• When the characters start misbehaving, don’t get rid of them. Go with the flow and make the appropriate changes.

• Write with passion, revise at leisure.

• Puke it out, mop it up.

Any other tips (or quips) out there?

 

Where to find Joanne Guidoccio…

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Idea → Sticky Idea → Premise

By Joanne Guidoccio

Writers  can find inspiration almost anywhere, and they don’t have to go too far to find those ideas. Checking Twitter or Facebook feeds, reading a daily newspaper, watching a television program, visiting an art gallery, eavesdropping on conversations…

Which ideas work best?

Sticky ideas…those ideas that simply won’t go away.

Once that idea takes root, it’s like a song that you can’t get out of your head. You wake up thinking about it, dream about it, and fantasize about it. You can even imagine the A-list actors who will star in the screenplay based on your novel. You may seek validation from family and friends: “Don’t you think that would make a great novel?” Unfortunately, too many ideas remain fantasies and don’t make it to the next step: transforming an idea into a premise.

What is a premise?

A premise is an idea fleshed out with details. You should be able to state this premise in two to three sentences while answering the questions: Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How.

Here is one of my examples:

During my cancer journey, I read two to three cozy mysteries a week. I enjoyed these well-plotted novels in the tradition of Agatha Christie and Murder She Wrote. The crimes takes place “off stage” and very few graphic details are provided. That is, the novels contain little violence, sex, or coarse language. The majority of the cozies I read were based in the United States and England.

Halfway through chemotherapy, I started imagining a cozy based in Ontario. That was the original idea, and it wouldn’t leave me. But it wasn’t enough to start writing the novel. I continued reading cozies and let the idea percolate. Slowly, I added details about the protagonist and setting: A50something woman. Italian Canadian background. Mathematics teacher. Lottery winner. Based in Sudbury. Four dead blondes.

I came up with the following premise: What if a teacher wins a $19 million lottery and returns to her hometown of Sudbury, only to find herself the primary suspect in the murders of four blondes. Can she prove her innocence and solve this case before it’s too late?

Once I had the premise in place, I started writing A Season for Killing Blondes.

In June 2015, The Wild Rose Press released A Season for Killing Blondes.

Last month, the cozy was included in Murder & Mayhem,  a boxed set featuring over 1200 pages of reading pleasure from six  Wild Rose Press authors: J L Wilson, Misty Simon, Michelle Witvliet, Vicki Batman, Cindy Davis, and Joanne Guidoccio.

Buy Links

Amazon (Canada) | Amazon (US) | The Wild Rose Press

excerpt from A Season for Killing Blondes…

Carlo had removed his suit jacket and rolled up the sleeves of his light blue dress shirt. His tie lay on the desk. The rumpled look suited him to a tee. And his large black-rimmed glasses accentuated those unforgettable blue eyes. Bluer than blue. Sky blue. Cornflower blue. Robin’s egg blue. Years ago, Adele Martino and I had come up with thirty-seven descriptions of Carlo Fantin’s eyes when Mrs. Gillespie assigned one of her Monday morning English composition exercises. As I tried to recall the other thirty-three, I realized that Carlo was speaking to me.

“…he’ll be taking notes as well.”

Darn! Another officer in the room, and I had missed his name and more importantly, his title. Was he a detective or a constable? I’m sure Sofia would know. In the meantime, I better stop daydreaming and start listening. I nodded in the direction of the beefy officer. Dark hair. Dark eyes. Expertly trimmed moustache. A big bear of a man who reminded me of Magnum P.I.

Carlo cleared his throat. He was ready to get down to business. Police business. “It appears that Carrie Ann was your first client. You haven’t opened this office for business yet. How did that happen?”

My heart raced as I spoke. “After Sofia and my mother left…I’m not certain about the time…um…I…I heard a knock at the front window. I looked up and saw Carrie Ann. Hadn’t seen her in ages.” I paused and then added, “Still wearing the same pageboy hair style and that blonde color—”

Carlo waved his hand. “Stick to the facts, please.”

I felt myself reddening as those piercing blue eyes bored right through me. “Oh, sorry. Um, I let Carrie Ann in.”

“And?” Carlo said when I hesitated.

I shrugged. “We just talked for a while, then, uh…” I closed my eyes and tried to recall the conversation. But nothing concrete came to mind, only Carrie Ann’s infectious laugh and bubbly compliments about the decorating scheme. When I opened my eyes, the other officer offered me a water bottle. I thanked him and gulped down half the contents.

“You scheduled her for a session tomorrow morning,” Carlo said as he held up my appointment book. “Carrie Ann is…was considered one of the best interior designers in town. Why would she need counseling from you?” His dark brows drew together in a suspicious frown. “Were you planning to tell her to give it up?”

Where to find Joanne Guidoccio…

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A Unique Perspective on Groundhog Day

By Joanne Guidoccio

Each year, I join in the fun and anticipation surrounding Groundhog Day, hoping Wiarton Willie (Ontario’s groundhog) will predict an early spring. A feeling that I believe is shared by millions of Canadians and Americans who are focusing on their respective groundhogs, among them Punxsutawney Phil, Shubenacadie Sam, Balzac Billy, and Buckeye Chuck.

Several years ago, I came across a very different perspective on Groundhog Day, one that forced me to stop and reflect upon my own personal barometer.

Here’s the post from  Editor Bob’s newsletter:

In New York City, we crave the luminous skies and warm weather which are still months away. I am recovering from the cabin fever. All is frozen outside but certainly not my heart.

As a curious explorer in school, I used to enjoy weather forecasting by observing the activity of a groundhog at Staten Island Zoo where on February 2, the groundhog comes out of the burrow all day and the ceremony is open for all.

As it looks at its own shadow it indicates the continuation of cold dry winters while if there is an umbrella of clouds, it stays outside predicting the arrival of spring. The behavior of this intelligent rodent helps in predicting the waning of winter or the onset of spring. I find this phenomenon fascinating.

Last evening as I was sitting with Fred, my retired, reformist friend, at the pub, he enlightened me with his perspective of the Groundhog Day which was rather unique and interesting. It gave me a new insight.

Fred said, “You know Bob this day reminds me of my lonely days.  I emerged from my coldness only to find my own shadow which was as solitary as my pride. My seasons never changed till I transcended my attitude and eventually, I made great friends who enveloped me in love and warmth. When I open myself to camaraderie, the springtime of my life continues.”

The only prerequisite for long-lasting happiness is to stop walking in your own shadow. We are the weather prophets of our life.

Are you warm or cold today?

 

Where to find Joanne Guidoccio…

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Sharing a Christmas Poem: Amazing Peace by Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou read this beautiful poem at the White House Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in 2005.  In it, she affirms the goodness of life and encourages us to embrace the peace and promise of Christmas.

Thunder rumbles in the mountain passes
And lightning rattles the eaves of our houses.
Flood waters await us in our avenues.

Snow falls upon snow, falls upon snow to avalanche
Over unprotected villages.
The sky slips low and grey and threatening.

We question ourselves.
What have we done to so affront nature?
We worry God.
Are you there? Are you there really?
Does the covenant you made with us still hold?

Into this climate of fear and apprehension, Christmas enters,
Streaming lights of joy, ringing bells of hope
And singing carols of forgiveness high up in the bright air.
The world is encouraged to come away from rancor,
Come the way of friendship.

It is the Glad Season.
Thunder ebbs to silence and lightning sleeps quietly in the corner.
Flood waters recede into memory.
Snow becomes a yielding cushion to aid us
As we make our way to higher ground.

Hope is born again in the faces of children
It rides on the shoulders of our aged as they walk into their sunsets.
Hope spreads around the earth. Brightening all things,
Even hate which crouches breeding in dark corridors.

In our joy, we think we hear a whisper.
At first it is too soft. Then only half heard.
We listen carefully as it gathers strength.
We hear a sweetness.
The word is Peace.
It is loud now. It is louder.
Louder than the explosion of bombs.

We tremble at the sound. We are thrilled by its presence.
It is what we have hungered for.
Not just the absence of war. But, true Peace.
A harmony of spirit, a comfort of courtesies.
Security for our beloveds and their beloveds.

We clap hands and welcome the Peace of Christmas.
We beckon this good season to wait a while with us.
We, Baptist and Buddhist, Methodist and Muslim, say come.
Peace.
Come and fill us and our world with your majesty.
We, the Jew and the Jainist, the Catholic and the Confucian,
Implore you, to stay a while with us.
So we may learn by your shimmering light
How to look beyond complexion and see community.

It is Christmas time, a halting of hate time.

On this platform of peace, we can create a language
To translate ourselves to ourselves and to each other.

At this Holy Instant, we celebrate the Birth of Jesus Christ
Into the great religions of the world.
We jubilate the precious advent of trust.
We shout with glorious tongues at the coming of hope.
All the earth’s tribes loosen their voices
To celebrate the promise of Peace.

We, Angels and Mortals, Believers and Non-Believers,
Look heavenward and speak the word aloud.
Peace. We look at our world and speak the word aloud.
Peace. We look at each other, then into ourselves
And we say without shyness or apology or hesitation.

Peace, My Brother.
Peace, My Sister.
Peace, My Soul.

Happy Holidays and all the best in 2018!

 

 

 

Where to find Joanne Guidoccio…

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 The Sisterhood of Suspense's

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The Intrepid Women Collection (books 1-6) by Kathryn Jane (e-copy edition)

Maggie’s Revenge by Jacquie Biggar (e-copy edition)

Partners: Odyssey of The Phoenix by McKenna Sinclair (e-copy edition)

Season of Promises by Vicki Batman (e-copy edition)

A Midnight Clear by Jeannie Hall (e-copy edition)

Too Many Women in the Room by Joanne Guidoccio (e-copy edition)

Truth Be Told by Marsha R. West (e-copy edition)

$10 Amazon Gift Card donated by Marsha R. West

Sharing #NaNoWriMo Success Stories

Completing 50,000 words in thirty days is a major achievement, one that hundreds of thousands of NaNoWriMo participants have set as their November goal for the past eighteen years. While the end result will be part unreadable, part unfinished, and more than likely, error-ridden, the process often continues well beyond November. Many published books–including some very successful ones–started off as NaNoWriMo projects.

Here are four spectacular success stories:

 

 

 

 

 

Sara Gruen devoted two separate NaNos to writing Water for Elephants and then sold her work to Algonquin Publishers for $55,000. In 2007, the book topped the New York Times Best Seller list and hit the big screen with Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson in 2011.

Erin Morgenstern began writing The Night Circus in November of 2004. That first year, Erin ended up with 50,000 words of unconnected scenes and imagery. She then spent the next two NaNos adding to the story. In 2008, she took the 100,000+ words and formed them into an actual plot. She didn’t have a workable draft until 2009. In 2011, she received a six-figure deal from Knopf Doubleday Publishers. The movie rights were snapped up by the producers of the Harry Potter films.

Rainbow Rowell had already published two novels when she sat down to write Fangirl during NaNo 2011. While writing, she moved away from her usual pattern of rewriting the previous day’s work and kept moving forward. She considers the book her “bravest writing”…New York Times agreed and designated Fangirl a 2013 Notable Children’s Book.

Hugh Howey wrote three of the novellas that later made up Wool in November 2011. When he self-published the book, he sold 1000 copies the first month. After selling tens of thousands of ebooks directly to readers, he signed a six-figure deal with a major publisher. The movie rights have been purchased by 20th Century Fox.

ONWARD ♦ AVANTI ♦ EN AVANT ♦ WEITER ♦ ADELANTE

 

Where to find Joanne Guidoccio…

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Season of Promises by Vicki Batman

A Midnight Clear by Jeannie Hall

$10 B&N gift card donated by S.A. Taylor

$10 Amazon gift card donated by Marsha R. West

Vermont Escape by Marsha R. West (e-copy edition)

 

On a Greek Culinary Journey

Gilda Greco, protagonist of Too Many Women in the Room, and I have a special fondness for Greek cuisine. We appreciate the simple and elegant flavors of foods and beverages that can be traced back to Ancient Greece.

Here are ten milestones from Greek culinary history:

  1. Feta cheese is said to be about 6,000 years old, making it one of the world’s oldest cheeses.
  1. In Greece, cheesecakes were considered excellent sources of energy and served to athletes during the first Olympic Games in 776 B.C. Greek brides and grooms celebrated their nuptials with cheesecake.
  1. The first “cookbook” was written by Greek poet and gourmand, Archestratos, in 330 B.C. His humorous didactic poem Hedypatheia (Life of Luxury), written in hexameters but known only from quotations, advises the reader where to find the best food in the Mediterranean world.
  1. In the Middle Ages, monastic brothers who prepared food in the Greek Orthodox monasteries, wore tall white hats to distinguish themselves from regular monks, who wore large black hats.
  1. Many ingredients used in modern Greek cooking—bananas, potato, spinach, tomato—were unknown until the discovery of the Americas.
  1. Dishes with names like tzatziki (from the Turkish “cacik”), hummus (from the Arabic word for chickpea) and dolmades (from the Turkish word “dolma”) also found a home in Greek cooking.
  1. The Greek Frappe (similar to an iced coffee) was invented at the Thessaloniki Trade Fair in 1957.
  1. Greece’s climate is ideal for growing olive and lemon trees, producing two important elements of Greek cooking. Spices, garlic, and herbs such as basil, mint, oregano, and thyme are added to create blends of tangy seasonings.
  1. Lamb, which is usually spit-roasted, is the most popular meat served in Greek homes and restaurants. Other meats include chicken, pork, beef, and fish. All of these meats can be used in souvlaki.
  1. Filo dough, ultra-thin, flaky pastry, forms the foundation of many popular Greek recipes, including Spanakopita (spinach pie) and Baklava (sweet pastry with nuts).

Blurb

When Gilda Greco invites her closest friends to a VIP dinner, she plans to share David Korba’s signature dishes and launch their joint venture— Xenia, an innovative Greek restaurant near Sudbury, Ontario. Unknown to Gilda, David has also invited Michael Taylor, a lecherous photographer who has throughout the past three decades managed to annoy all the women in the room. One woman follows Michael to a deserted field for his midnight run and stabs him in the jugular.

Gilda’s life is awash with complications as she wrestles with a certain detective’s commitment issues and growing doubts about her risky investment in Xenia. Frustrated, Gilda launches her own investigation and uncovers decades-old secrets and resentments that have festered until they explode into untimely death. Can Gilda outwit a killer bent on killing again?

Excerpt

“I’m a nobody here,” David said, glancing down at his plate. “And with my credit rating, none of the banks would endorse a loan. I’m screwed.”

“What if I backed you?” I couldn’t believe I was speaking so casually, all the while my heart beat at an alarming rate.

David rubbed a hand over his chin and flashed a grin at me. “Gilda, darling, you’re sweet to offer, but I don’t think you know what’s involved here.”

Susan nodded in agreement.

Were they playing me, I wondered. Since winning nineteen million dollars in Lotto649, I had encountered many sharks who hoped to prey on my easy-going nature. A quick Google search would have revealed my three-year-old lottery win. Old news, but still there on the second and third pages.

“Would one hundred thousand dollars be enough?” I asked. “In case you don’t know, I won a major lottery several years ago.” Since winning, I had received many proposals from across the province and had backed three local ventures. In each case, I had chosen to remain a silent partner.

David’s right hand trembled as he poured himself another glass of wine. Susan’s mouth dropped open, and she gave a little gasp.

“I take it that’s a yes,” I said.

More mild protests followed, and another bottle of wine disappeared. We were all a bit tipsy when we shook on the agreement. And so Xenia was born.

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All She Wanted by Kathryn Jane (e-copy edition)

The Rebel’s Redemption by Jacquie Biggar (audiobook edition)

Partners: Odyssey of the Phoenix by McKenna Sinclair

A Midnight Clear by Jeannie Hall

Hearts Unloched by Claire Gem

Too Many Women in The Room by Joanne Guidoccio

$10 Amazon gift card donated by S.A. Taylor

$5 Starbucks gift card donated by Vicki Batman

Act of Trust by Marsha R. West

 

Inspiration from My Favorite Mystery Authors

Collecting quotations has been one of my lifelong hobbies. In the pre-computer days, I would jot down quotations on slips of paper and toss them in a desk drawer. Once a month, I would type them up and place them in a special file folder. I’ve kept the folder but now use Pinterest and Goodreads to store my quotations.

Here are ten inspiring quotations from my favorite mystery authors:

Approach your lives as if they were novels, with their own heroes, villains, red herrings, and triumphs. Mary Higgins Clark

Crime is terribly revealing. Try and vary your methods as you will, your tastes, your habits, your attitude of mind, and your soul is revealed by your actions. Agatha Christie

Do no harm and leave the world a better place than you found it. Patricia Cornwell

Somewhere along the line, I realized that I liked telling stories, and I decided that I would try writing. Ten years later, I finally got a book published. It was hard. I had no skills. I knew nothing about the business of getting published. So I had to keep working at it. Janet Evanovich

Both back when I was acting and now that I’m writing, I’ve always wanted the same thing out of my career: to be able to get up in the morning and do what I love doing. Tana French

The English tradition offers the great tapestry novel, where you have the emotional aspect of a detective’s personal life, the circumstances of the crime and, most important, the atmosphere of the English countryside that functions as another character. Elizabeth George

I don’t want to write formula. I don’t want to crank these books out like sausages. Every book is different, which takes a hell of a lot of ingenuity on my part. Sue Grafton

I had to learn compassion. Had to learn what it felt like to hate, and to forgive and to love and be loved. And to lose people close to me. Had to feel deep loneliness and sorrow. And then I could write. Louise Penny

You don’t find time to write. You make time. It’s my job. Nora Roberts

What I’m doing is writing stories about women who care about justice…who think about the difference between right and wrong, what’s legal and illegal, ethical and unethical, moral and immoral.  Lisa Scottoline

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Where to find Joanne Guidoccio…

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More Than I Wished For by Marian Lanouette

Unexpected Holiday Bonus by Marian Lanouette

Spirits of the Heart by Claire Gem

Partners: Odyssey of the Phoenix by McKenna Sinclair

Second Act by Marsha R. West

A Midnight Clear by Jeannie Hall

Touch Me by Kathryn Jane

Bug Stuff and Other Stories by Vicki Batman

Too Many Women in the Room by Joanne Guidoccio

Snowed by Veronica Forand

Hold ‘Em in audiobook format by Jacquie Biggar

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