In 2008, Joanne Guidoccio took advantage of early retirement and decided to launch a second career that would tap into her creative side and utilize her well-honed organizational skills. Slowly, a writing practice emerged. Her articles and book reviews were published in newspapers, magazines, and online. When she tried her hand at fiction, she made reinvention a recurring theme in her novels and short stories. A member of Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime, and Romance Writers of America, Joanne writes cozy mysteries, paranormal romance, and inspirational literature from her home base of Guelph, Ontario.
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After 31 years of teaching, I was ready for a change. So, I put pen to paper and revisited a writing dream I had concocted during my high school years. When I shared my new career direction and goals with family and friends, I was taken aback by their comments.
“Why don’t you write a math textbook instead?”
“Are you sure you want to put yourself through all that stress?”
“But you have a math degree!”
As the months turned into years, I continued to share my experiences but started to notice glazed expressions in the middle of conversations. While my friends were supportive, they simply didn’t understand the struggles and slow progress of a writing career. First drafts don’t automatically evolve into polished manuscripts that are picked up by enthusiastic agents. And most published novels don’t land on best-seller lists.
I imagine many of them wondered why I even bothered to write.
Undaunted, I decided to look elsewhere for support and encouragement.
I started with local writing groups: Guelph Writers Ink and Guelph Write Now. Over a four-year period, we met for dinner on a monthly basis to discuss our writing journeys. Our motto at Guelph Writers Ink: We will inspire and encourage each other to write on a regular basis. Animated conversation and advice floated around the table as we discussed e-publishing vs. traditional publishing, literary vs. commercial fiction, writing tips, editing, agents, and social media.
On a whim, I signed up for a series of workshops at the Guelph Public Library. Impressed by the work ethic of science fiction writer—Sarah Totton—she entered the “Writers of the Future Contest” seventeen times before winning—I came up with a storyline for my first novel, Between Land and Sea. The following year, I joined seven other participants in a three-month Memoir workshop facilitated by librarians Karen Cafarella and Deb Quaile. A collection of our touchstone events was compiled in Memoirs 2013.
While awaiting publication of my cozy mysteries, I joined Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime, Romance Writers of America, and several Yahoo groups, among them Soul Mate Authors, The Wild Rose Press authors, and Sisterhood of Suspense. I took advantage of the online courses offered and further developed my writing skills.
I’m also active on social media—Twitter, LinkedIn, Goodreads, Pinterest, and Facebook.
In seven years time, I have succeeded in creating a network of friends, fans, followers, and fellow creatives—IRL and online—who provide advice and support when I’m struggling and help spread the word when I have a new release. In turn, I support their efforts, promote their work on social media, and feature many of them on my blog.
I have found my tribe.
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?