Monday, June 26, 2017

Why I Read and Write Cozy Mysteries by Joanne Guidoccio

Read to the bottom to find out how you can win an Amazon gift card!!
In 2004, I was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer. While receiving treatments, well-meaning friends arrived laden with gifts and bags of books.  An avid reader, I looked forward to discovering new authors and genres. That would dovetail beautifully with the advice given in the cancer literature: Cross-read and expose yourself to new ideas.

The advice was sound. By reading unfamiliar and challenging material, I could create new neural pathways in my brain and reduce the likelihood of developing the dreaded chemo brain.

But as I dipped into the bags overflowing with books, I experienced only disappointment. I could barely finish reading the first chapter of the religious, philosophical, historical, and comedic books.  I experienced the same frustration when I browsed through library and bookshelf stacks.

A friend suggested cozies...those delightful mysteries that include a bloodless crime and contain little violence, sex, or coarse language. Intrigued, I borrowed my first cozy and read it in one sitting.

I was hooked!

A voracious reader, I read two to three cozies each week. They were the perfect companion while waiting for treatments, sitting in the chemo chair, or recovering afterward. I was fully engaged in the storylines but not horrified by the details. I was also getting a full brain workout:  my right brain enjoyed following the characters and settings of unique fictional worlds while my left brain welcomed the challenge of solving the ‘who-done-it.’

Toward the end of treatments, I came up with a storyline for my own cozy.

What if...A woman wins a $19 million lottery and then returns to her hometown, 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?

I completed the first draft of A Season for Killing Blondes during my cancer year. Three years later, I revisited the manuscript and then started the query process.  In 2014, Johanna Melaragno of The Wild Rose Press offered me a contract. A Season for Killing Blondes was released in June 2015.

While awaiting publication, I came up with a premise for Too Many Women in the Room, Book 2 of the Gilda Greco Mystery Series. It was released on May 19 of this year.

Logline: 8 Women → 8 Reasons to Kill a Lecherous Photographer. One Woman Succeeds.
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?
Book Trailer

Buy Links 
Amazon (US):
Amazon (Canada):
The Wild Rose Press:
Barnes & Noble:

In 2008, Joanne Guidoccio retired from a 31-year teaching career and launched a second act that tapped into her creative side. 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.
Where to find Joanne...


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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Summer Listening!

If you're looking for some great books to listen to, look no more! You can pick from over 20 romance, mystery and thriller audio books from twenty different authors. Instead of wading through thousands of audio books looking for the right one, you'll find great authors and entertaining narrators here:

Monday, June 19, 2017

Always a Book or Two Ahead

I don't know how other authors operate but my mind is always working on the next books I'll be writing while I'm working on the current work in progress.

Even though not all my books are in a series, I like how I can think about the next book as I write a book in a series and drop in a little nugget that gives the reader an idea of what the next book in the series might be about.  It works well for the Shandra Higheagle books. I either leave a nugget about Shandra and Ryan's relationship or the possibility of who might be involved in the next murder that happens.

The same goes for series that are set in the same area or with the same ongoing secondary characters. While writing a book, I can think of a good premise for another book. It may not always be the next book, it could be one or two down the line, but I jot down the information and use it when I'm ready for that book.

Right now as I'm writing the first book of the Silver Dollar Saloon series and the secondary characters are coming to life, I can visualize the type of man each saloon girl will have for her hero, and I'm getting a good picture of the woman who will capture the heart of saloon owner, Beau Gentry. But he won't have his happy-ever-after until about book four. Why? Because the reader needs to get to know him better before they see the woman he falls for. ;)

Not only am I seeing the books that will come from the Silver Dollar Saloon series, I'm planning the next mystery and a contemporary western Christmas novella.

The next mystery will have a Halloween theme, with Lewis, the cat, mixed up in the murder. So be prepared for that one!  I have the premise sketched out and will be working on the suspect chart soon. I'm also figuring out how to work in a secondary character in a future Shandra Higheagle book who can be used in a new murder mystery series. It's the logistics I'm working on and whether to make the main amateur sleuth a male or female. Any suggestions?

And the contemporary western Christmas novella. I'm still puzzling that out. I'd like it to have something to do with the National Finals Rodeo because it happens in December but at the same time, I'd like to write a story that sticks to what I know, cattle. So it may be a story set on a cattle ranch. Any preferences?

That is how my brain works. Constantly flipping story ideas and characters around in my head, assessing whether they will work and if I can pull off what I'm aiming for in the story.

As I've heard several times from friends and family after I've talked about the process of writing a book, "I never realized how much goes into a story other than writing it." 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Fun in Deadwood!

I left last Wednesday with my sister-in-law and niece to attend the Wild Deadwood Reads author/reader event in Deadwood, South Dakota.
Hill where Custer was killed.
We stopped Thursday morning at the Little Bighorn battle site. I couldn't drive so close and not soak in and see how the event had unfolded in 1876, only two years before the time of my next historical western series in the general area of the setting of that series. My SIL had been to the site before it had become so commercialized. She said she'd felt more while walking through there then. It was a hot day, high 80's so we only took in the nob where Custer and his entourage were killed, the head stone for the military horses, the head stones for some of the Sioux killed in the battle, and the new monument to the American Indians who lost their lives and those who survived. We walked through the national cemetery that is filled with U.S. veterans and their families.

That evening we arrived in Deadwood. I was enamored as soon as we drove down the street looking for our hotel.

Before dinner we were entertained by the street players. They did a shoot out in the street in front of the hotel where we were eating. 
shootout actors

Fairmont Hotel Oyster Bar
The authors who arrived Thursday met for dinner before a ghost tour in the Fairmont Hotel Oyster Bar. The owner of the bar was our tour guide. He had tales of hauntings he'd encountered while living in the three story building by himself. He knew the history of the building and Deadwood. We then proceeded to climb stairs and visit the rooms where prostitutes had taken their own lives and were seen or felt in the rooms. The building had been a barber shop in the basement and a saloon on the first floor, with a brothel taking up the second and third floors. There was a back door to the barber shop that came out at a set of stairs that would take men up to the second floor to party with a woman. 

Our guide also showed us a door that led into the next building which also housed a brothel on the second floor. This allowed the clientele to move between buildings without being seen.  On the tour one author, who is known for feeling ghosts, had the feeling in one room and took photos of orbs in another. I took a photo that has a strange shadow, that can't be explained. Could it be the poor woman, Maggie, who haunted the guide's room after throwing herself out the window many years ago?

Is Maggie the shadow in the doorway?
Friday was a busy day. We took in the Adam's Museum. It had the history of the area and the unique characters who had lived and passed through Deadwood. I found this Indian tether interesting as I had just been introduced to the cavalry's version.

American Indian horse tether.
We boarded the bus to take us to the 1880's Black Hills train ride.

1880s Train Ride
Me conducting a game
As one of the sponsoring authors, I headed up a game of BINGO using book covers from the sponsoring authors and I emceed the game. The train ride brought back memories as we traveled by steam locomotive through ponderosa pine. The scent of the trees reminded me of riding my horse through the woods on the mountain behind our house. The tour guide dressed as a railroad worker, did a great job of explaining the area and the history.  On the bus ride back to Deadwood we played Black Jack.

With a brief respite after our trip to the train, we attended a PBR rodeo. The young bull riders tried their hardest to stay on the 1000 and 1200 pound animals but the animals got the best of most of the riders. It was a tough string of bucking bulls. The clown/entertainer gave a shout out to our group and posed for us to take photos for our book covers. LOL

Bull Riders
Saturday was the booksigning in the conference room of the Holiday Inn Resort Hotel. We had a steady stream of readers in the morning. It slacked off in the afternoon, but was a fun event.
My niece and I ready for the readers!
I met authors in person that I had only known via internet before and enjoyed meeting readers.

Sunday morning we loaded up and headed to Big Piney, Wyoming to spend the night with one of the school friends. We took her husband's advice and drove home via the scenic route he suggested and were glad we did.
Below Jackson, WY
If you're a reader or author and want to attend Wild Deadwood Reads next year, stay tuned to this blog and I'll let you know when they will start registrations for next year, June 7th-10th.