On Stepping Out of Time

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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A non-athlete, it took me a while to find a preferred physical activity, but once I discovered yoga, I was hooked.

That was nine years ago.

Since then, I’ve gone off the “yoga wagon” several times—interestingly enough right before prolonged writer’s blocks—but have now settled into a practice that both challenges and centers me.

In the early days, I struggled with some of the poses and wondered if I could ever duplicate (or even approximate) the pretzel-like abilities of the lithe and limber instructors. Thankfully, my instructor, who also exuded a Zen-like calm, encouraged me not to give up. I can still recall her advice: “A yoga pose is a journey, not a destination.” How reassuring to learn that I didn’t have to get it right the first time, the second time, or the fourteenth time. What matters is that I find the courage to keep trying and failing.

Relaxing into the slow movements and poses, I have experienced gradual stretching of muscles and improved range of motion. I am amazed by the difference yoga has made in everything from my flexibility to my posture to my enhanced creativity.

Yoga has taught me to be still when I’m uncomfortable and to breathe through the twinges of pains I experience in some of the poses. If the pain persists, however, I know when to stop and try alternate poses or reach for a bolster, strap, or foam block. With my writing, I’m becoming more aware of my limits, realizing when to stay at the edge and when to back off and rest.

The meditative quality of yoga has also helped with my moods. The life of a writer is filled with ups and downs—good and bad reviews, contracts and rejections, flows and blocks—that can be alleviated by a short session on the mat. Those twenty minutes or hour I spend on the mat help quiet my monkey mind and imagine possibilities beyond my present circumstances. At times, the session acts as a writing prompt, and I find myself rushing back to the computer.

I still have my personal challenges, but I am less reactive and more inclined to let things go. Instead, I gravitate toward that beautiful place where I can step out of time and leave all my concerns behind.


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?



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