Friday, July 3, 2015

Behind the Scenes

It is less than a week until the release of WOUND UP IN MURDER. The guest blogs have already started to appear. I saw the first review and it was a good one. I will sign books in Chicago next week. I will be signing books at the Knit and Crochet Show in San Diego on Saturday, July 25, from 1:30 to 2:00 in the Crochetville booth.

Thanks to the suggestion of my friend Linda, I may be a guest on a yarn podcast. In August I will be going to Writers Police Academy. This time it’s going to be in Appleton Wisconsin. I won’t be signing books, but I will be donating some for silent auction baskets.

Promotion is always the hard part for me. Since there is a pattern for the Worry Doll in the book, I have been using the finished product for Facebook postings. Her “interviews” have been continuing. It has been a lot of fun writing the posts to go with the pictures. It has also been fun deciding who was going to stop by. Time is almost up and I still have plenty of dolls including Albert Einstein, Puss in Boots, the Eleanor Roosevelt, Jane Austen and Virginia Wolf finger puppets, Martha Washington, Leonardo Di Vinci and a crocheted Paddington Bear.

Today we had Miss Marple, if after midnight counts as today instead of last night. Well, the doll didn’t come with the name, but I thought she looked the part. In case anyone is interested in the behind the scenes story of the doll here goes. My mother accumulated some really interesting handmade dolls, including the very large one I often use as a model. I don’t know where “Miss Marple” came from. I found her after my mother died and the doll was very comforting to hug. I flew her out here and she joined my eclectic assortment of dolls. Somehow she ended up near Barbie the detective and Wishbone the Dog dressed as Sherlock Holmes. So, when I was thinking famous detectives, she seemed perfect for Miss Marple.

However when the day of her shoot came, I noticed that she was losing her head and needed immediate neck surgery. I thought she was winking, but realized her eye had fallen out. It took a little while, but with her head secure and a new eye, she was ready. Almost. Miss Marple would be knitting. As I sensed myself getting more and more behind in my day, I created her knitting and ball of yarn. I wanted to attach the needles to her hands, but time was running out. I do have other things to do.

The light wasn’t cooperating –surprisingly, it was humid and gloomy – but I took the photo anyway. I sent it off from my phone and it disappeared in cyber space again and again. Thank yo AOL. Finally, I sent it to a business account email. The photo arrived, but sideway. By the time I figured out how to get it right side up, it was very late. I posted it to Facebook anyway, since I don’t know when things show up in the news feed.

And it all looks so easy. LOL!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

A Yoga Oxymoron

Hi all!  Please welcome Joanne Guidoccio to Killer Hobbies today.  Like mine, Joanne's mystery contains a yoga teacher with anger management issues.  Hmm...Could this be a new trend?  Take it away, Joanne!

Tracy Weber

I collect oxymorons—or to be more technically correct, oxymora—and like to pepper my conversations with same difference, random order, and open secret. When I use less common oxymora such as planned spontaneity, controlled chaos, clean dirt, and pontificatory salvos, I enjoy watching the puzzled expressions on the faces of listeners who wonder whether they should laugh or not.

But I was taken aback by the yoga oxymoron that suddenly appeared in the pages of my cozy mystery, A Season for Killing Blondes. While creating a character sketch of Gilda Greco (protagonist), I decided to include her interest in yoga. I had originally intended for yoga instructor Jean Taylor to be a minor character, but she decided to misbehave, and in doing so, found herself embroiled in a murder investigation.

In the early chapters, we hear only positive comments about the calm and thoughtful yoga instructor who lights candles and radiates kindness and goodness. She takes an active interest in the lives of her students and goes out of her way to make them feel welcome and at ease in her classes. Able to effectively lead classes of five or thirty, Jean supports a spontaneous, intuitive style of teaching. Quietly, she works the room, letting each of her students know she is watching and paying attention to their moves while stopping to give a gentle nudge, a firm adjustment, or a high-five.

And she thinks nothing of extending that positive energy beyond the walls of her yoga studio.

Weeks before the opening of Gilda’s ReCareering office, Jean researched and ordered a River Rock Lucky Bamboo plant. Unable to restrain herself, Jean gushed to everyone about the three symbols—wealth, happiness, longevity—inherent in each plant.

Without giving too much away, I’ll say that Jean experienced an abrupt change of plans when she decided to personally deliver the plant on the eve of Gilda’s Open House. Thrown off kilter, she retreats to her aunt’s cottage and resurfaces several days later in an altered state.

Short excerpt...

“Stay out of my life, bitch!” A blast of cool air accompanied a loud, vaguely familiar voice.

Jean Taylor stood in the doorway, clutching a pair of scissors in her hands. The normally well-groomed yogini wore baggy gray sweats. Her blonde hair hung in disarray and looked like it hadn’t been washed in days. Jean’s angry eyes surveyed the room, and then she walked briskly toward the bamboo plant. She savagely cut the stalks and threw them on the floor. “May you have decades of bad luck.” She slammed the door and ran out.

A yoga instructor with anger management issues – Could she have murdered four blondes?


Hours before the opening of her career counseling practice, Gilda Greco discovers the dead body of golden girl Carrie Ann Godfrey, neatly arranged in the dumpster outside her office. Gilda’s life and budding career are stalled as Detective Carlo Fantin, her former high school crush, conducts the investigation.

When three more dead blondes turn up all brutally strangled and deposited near Gilda’s favorite haunts, she is pegged as a prime suspect for the murders. Frustrated by Carlo’s chilly detective persona and the mean girl antics of Carrie Ann’s meddling relatives, Gilda decides to launch her own investigation. She discovers a gaggle of suspects, among them a yoga instructor in need of anger management training, a lecherous photographer, and fourteen ex-boyfriends.

As the puzzle pieces fall into place, shocking revelations emerge, forcing Gilda to confront the envy and deceit she has long overlooked.


Buy Links

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In high school, Joanne dabbled in poetry, but it would be over three decades before she entertained the idea of writing as a career. She listened to her practical Italian side and earned degrees in mathematics and education. She experienced many fulfilling moments as she watched her students develop an appreciation (and sometimes, love) of mathematics. Later, she obtained a post-graduate diploma as a career development practitioner and put that skill set to use in the co-operative education classroom. She welcomed this opportunity to help her students experience personal growth and acquire career direction through their placements.
In 2008, she 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 Sisters in Crime, Crime Writers of Canada, and Romance Writers of America, Joanne writes paranormal romance, cozy mysteries, and inspirational literature from her home base of Guelph, Ontario.
Where to find Joanne...




Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Topic Needed

Happy July, everyone! 

Yesterday, when I started plotting what I'd write here today, Tuesday felt like a weekend day.  Why?  I'm not sure--especially since, as a writer, I don't really get weekends or holidays off.  Even so, I let my mind swirl around possible blog topics for today--and really didn't zero in on one. 

I could have focused on my continuing project of baking some samples of the dog treats whose recipes I hope to include in my next Barkery & Biscuits Mystery.  But other things have kept me from working on that regularly.   

My class on Kiss Me or Kill Me: Writing Cozy Mysteries 101 for Romance Writers has been going well.  It has passed the halfway point, and I check for responses to homework assignments a couple of times a day.  Not everyone participates, but it's fun corresponding with those who do. 

I'm currently drafting my third Superstition Mystery, so plotting and writing remain in my schedule.  Then there've been some family and car related things going on that take up brain power and energy, so my writing progress is currently slower than I prefer. 

Plus, my long-time webmistress is retiring so I'm looking around for a replacement.  I have several leads but need to spend more time following up on this, too.  If you have any suggestions, please pass them along! 

We're making plans to hopefully be with friends for fireworks on the Fourth of July, but that may depend largely on traffic and parking that evening. 

And did you enjoy our leap second?   It occurred at 8 PM last night eastern time, so it was 5 PM here in LA.  It didn't change my schedule, though. 

So... I've done a lot of writing here about not having something to write about.

Anything you'd like to hear me blog about next time?

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Man From Nantucket

I can't believe I forgot to post this this morning.

Not all the Nantucket limericks are naughty:
    There once was a man from Nantucket
    Who kept all his cash in a bucket.
        But his daughter, named Nan,
        Ran away with a man
    And as for the bucket, Nantucket.

    But he followed the pair to Pawtucket,
    The man and the girl with the bucket;
        And he said to the man,
        He was welcome to Nan,
    But as for the bucket, Pawtucket.

    Then the pair followed Pa to Manhasset,
    Where he still held the cash as an asset,
        But Nan and the man
        Stole the money and ran,
    And as for the bucket, Manhasset.

The Antiques Roadshow was fun, even though it turns out nothing we took is really valuable.  The antique doll is worth $180 – 200, and – very disappointing – the chair, while Hepplewhite in style, was made in the 1930s and is worth perhaps $100.  The water cooler, found in Mississippi, is actually a Red Wing product (from Minnesota) and is worth over $300, and created a stir of interest.  But because it isn’t ours, but was brought for a friend, it didn’t get picked to be televised.

Worst of all, on our way home I somehow mislaid my wallet.  I called around, but no one had it, and I was depressed to think of all the places I’d have to call to cancel cards and my driver’s license.  But Hurrah!  Our car insurance agent called.  Someone saw the wallet beside the entrance ramp to I-80/I-35 and picked it up.  She called the 800 number of the insurance company, and the agent called me, and I called her.  She is putting it in the mail to me.  So life is good, think nice thoughts about a woman named Terry.

I also got a phone call from Once Upon A Crime, a Minneapolis Mystery Bookstore (and one of the best).  A lodge up on the north shore of Lake Superior called Naniboujou has ordered twenty-five more copies of Unraveled Sleeve, the mystery I set at the lodge, and could I drop by and sign them?  Certainly, it was a very happy break from writing! 

I’m still writing Knit Your Own Murder, but it’s a complicated plot, and I’m afraid the novel I submit mid-July is going to be sketchy in spots.  It’s a good story, but there’s an awful lot of detail and a couple of sub-plots to fold into it.