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.


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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...





Joanne Guidoccio said...

Thanks for hosting me, Tracy :)

Ashantay said...

Oh, I love this excerpt! Best wishes for lots of sales!

Joanne Guidoccio said...

Thanks Ashantay! I had fun with this character. Joanne :)

Linda O. Johnston said...

Welcome to Killer Hobbies, Joanne. And how fun that you collect oxymora!

Joanne Guidoccio said...

Thanks Linda. It's a hobby (habit?)I've enjoyed since my high school days. Joanne :)

Susan Coryell said...

I, too, love oxymorona but have, so far, only used them in cheeky anthologies dreamed up by my Lake Writers group. My zen yoga instructor never falters--yours made me laugh!

Joanne Guidoccio said...

My yoga instructors have also impressed me with their Zen calm. But when Jean Taylor decided to misbehave, I gave her free reign. I plan to include her in Book 2 of the series. Thans for dropping by, Susan :)

Rolynn Anderson said...

I am also an educator (English teacher and high school principal) who started writing after 30 years of herding teenagers. Ah the joy of quietude and no alarm clocks!. And then we create mayhem in our novels...yippee! Your book sounds like it's rife with fine conflict/contrast. Good luck!

Joanne Guidoccio said...

Hi Rolynn, I couldn't help but smile at the image of "herding teenagers," not always a pleasant task. Like you, I'm enjoying the peace and bliss of retirement. As for creating mayhem...nothing wrong with controlled chaos. Thanks for dropping by. Joanne :)