Tag Archives: Reunions

A visit with #CozyMystery author Joanne Guidoccio

Today I’m thrilled to host one of my favorite people and authors again, my Wild Rose sistah JOANNE GUIDOCCIO. I’ve loved her Gilda Greco mysteries since the very first book came out and now, she’s got a new one that’s rising on the book reading charts of fans everywhere. Sit back and learn a little about Joanne, Gilda, and the series.

Here’s Joanne….

All About Baci Perugina

When a book blogger asked me to compare the Gilda Greco Mystery Series to chocolate, I had no problems coming up with the perfect answer: Baci Perguina, the most famous chocolate brand in Italy and popular with Italians worldwide. Perugina’s signature recipe includes whipped milk chocolate, gianduia filling, and chopped hazelnuts all in bittersweet chocolate. Each bacio (kiss) comes individually wrapped in silver and blue packaging and hugged by a poetic love note.

The three books in the series—A Season for Killing Blondes, Too Many Women in the Room, A Different Kind of Reunion—contain romantic elements, humor, and bittersweet moments…A perfect fit for Baci Perugina!

While researching the history of this famous chocolate, I discovered an intriguing back-story.

In 1922, a young chocolatier named Luisa Spagnoli fell in love with Giovanni Buitoni, one of the founders of the Perugina Chocolate Company. He felt the same way but couldn’t pursue the relationship. Luisa’s husband was the other founder!

Luisa decided to create a special bonbon to honor her beloved. She came up with a rounded shape, an entire hazelnut in the center, covered by a dark chocolate exterior. She named it a cazzotto (punch) but Giovanni changed the name to bacio (kiss).

Each chocolate was wrapped in a billet-doux—a love note—that Luisa would send to Giovanni. That simple gesture between the star-crossed lovers spread throughout Italy (and the world), continuing for decades afterward. In the 1960s, English and French translations were added to the original text in Italian. Today, more than 390 inspiring messages can be read in six languages: Italian, English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, German, and Chinese.

Here are some examples:

In dreams as in love all is possible. (J. Arany)

I loved you at first sight. And you smile because you know it. (A. Boto)

Love is like luck: it doesn’t like to be chased. (T. Gautier)

Loves can live on kisses and water. (English proverb)

Till I loved I did not live enough. (Emily Dickinson)

Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind. (William Shakespeare)

More interesting facts:

 

  • The Baci box was designed by Frederico Seneca, an acclaimed commercial artist of the 1920s. He was inspired by the painting “Gli Innamorati” (The Sweethearts) by Francesco Hayez
  • Baci Perugina chocolates were introduced to the United States at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York City.
  • Perugina opened a retail store on Fifth Avenue in New York City circa 1939.
  • Frank Sinatra, Rudolph Valentino, and Clark Gable helped spread the word about Baci to the United States.
  • Baci Perugina chocolates appeared in “Love Story,” one of the most romantic films of the 1970s.

 

A DIFFERENT KIND OF REUNION

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?

Excerpt

Jim whistled. “You sure don’t like it easy. With all your millions, you’d think this crap could somehow miss landing on you. But you do seem to attract it.” He chuckled. “Might be something to address with a therapist or maybe the psychic you’ve just met.”

“I didn’t just meet Cassandra. I got to know her and her parents very well during those seven months I taught in Parry Sound. They’re good people.” I could tell by his tone that he was dismissive of Cassandra’s psychic powers. While I was also skeptical, I did feel the urge to defend her. She had been so sincere and so open. I couldn’t fathom the notion of Cassandra faking or putting on the airs of a psychic. It wasn’t in her nature to be deceitful.

“I’m sure they are,” Jim said. “But let’s face some facts here. Most psychics need to make a living. I don’t doubt this lady has some intuitive ability—as many women do—but I don’t think it’s enough to catch a murderer. The constable is grasping at straws. What did you say his name was?”

“Leo. Leo Mulligan.”

“Tall, dark-haired guy. Good-looking and a bit of a rascal.”

“He’s evolved.” I immediately regretted my response. Knowing Jim, he would pounce and tease me.

“And you’re interested,” Jim said, chuckling. “What does your boyfriend think about this cozy reunion you’re having with a more evolved constable?”

Trailer

Giveaway

Click on the Rafflecopter link below for your chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card.

Buy Links Amazon ( Canada) // Amazon (US) // The Wild Rose Press 

Bio

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 Guidoccio

Website // Twitter // Facebook // LinkedIn // Pinterest //

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Attending your High School reunion…yes or no?

So the other day I got an email inviting me to my 40th High School Reunion.

Yeah, I know. That was my reaction, too. I was like, 40 years??!!! You’ve got the wrong chick, dude. I graduated, like, a minute ago.

Um. No. No, I didn’t. The invitation was correct, much to my disgust. I really did graduate from high school in 1978.

Egads. Where did that time go? That’s best left for another blog post, I feel.

Anyway, the invitation.

I’m gonna be honest and tell you my gut instinct was to delete the email. I haven’t gone to one reunion yet and seriously, don’t plan on ever going to one. High school was an absolutely miserable 4 years of existence for me that basically just dragged on until I could graduate, get the hell out of there,  scream “See ya, soul-suckers,” at my classmates, and start the life I’d been dreaming of. Why, oh why, would I ever want to go back to revisit that horrible time?

My teen years were not, to be brutally honest, my glory days. I was grossly overweight; wicked smart; the teachers liked me because I was smart and the kids all hated me for the same reason. I had no friends to hang out with during or after school. Needless to say a boy never liked me as a girl. In truth, no boy even ever pretended to like me so that I would help them with their homework, or study for a test. It kind of makes a huge statement when a guy doesn’t even pretend to be nice to you so he can get something out of it. Think about that.

I wore thick, ugly, cheap eye glasses because we couldn’t afford anything nicer; I’d never been able to have my ugly, mal-aligned teeth straightened because we couldn’t afford braces; and my last name was different from my mother’s during a time that wasn’t the norm. Most of my clothes were bought at the Salvation Army or GoodWill, and my hair was not what it is today: namely sleek and cared for. Back then I went completely gray at 16 and had begun dying my hair using crap over the counter products that would lead to my loosing all my hair years later. Again, a blog post for another time.

So. High School. Not my favorite part of life.

When the 10th reunion invitation came in the mail ( and yes, it came via pony express because no one had email in 1988) I tore it up and tossed it immediately. I was 28, newly married, and couldn’t be bothered reliving those horrific days.

When the 20th came along, I was 38, a mother and couldn’t even think of leaving my young daughter or my husband for a weekend in which I’d feel all those feelings of inadequacy again. Same thing when the 30th rolled around.

I did toy with idea of going to the 30th though, but it was for all the wrong reasons. It wasn’t to reconnect with old friends ( didn’t have any, remember?) No, if I was going to go it was purely to shove in the faces of everyone who’d been mean to me  back then what my current lifestyle was. Gone was the obese, myopic, shy and scared teenager of old, replaced by a thin, confident, contact lenses wearing, spouse of a famous and revered doctor and a respected member of my community. I’d sat on several boards of directors; I’d gotten my Masters degree; I was a many-times over published non-fiction/magazine article writer. I was a success. And I wanted to go to rub their noses in it. I wanted those cliquey- uber popular, cool-set girls to choke on all the nasty names they’d called me, gag on the times they’d whispered and laughed about what I was wearing, and to basically feel less than, just as they’d made me feel all those years ago. I wanted all those boys who’d never noticed me to, well, notice me now!  I wanted to tell them: see? Look what you missed out on, dude. You could have had all this! But…I didn’t  because those were the wrong reasons to go. I’m not a spiteful person, or at least, I try not to be. If I’d gone with that attitude I figured I was mimicking all that bad high school behavior I despised, so I stayed home instead.

 

Remember I told my initial reaction when the 40th invite came was to delete it? I didn’t. I let it sit in my email box for a few days before I opened it. Then I clicked on to the electronic RSVP. Attached to the invite was a list of people who’d already committed to going. I scrolled through the hundreds of names and you know what? I didn’t recognize one of them. For the women, the maiden and married names were listed, so I was able to see the name they’d had back then. Not a single name -nor picture – was familiar. I dug out my high school yearbook from the old trunk I’d stashed it in years ago and put the back-then faces to the names and faces on the rsvp. Still, no recognizable ones. I started to think about what I would do if I did, in fact, recognize someone who’d been mean to me back then. Time and wisdom are amazing, because it dawned on me that I’d feel nothing. Nothing acrimonious, nothing negative. These people don’t mean anything to me. They didn’t then and they don’t now. So, I asked myself, why? Why would I go? Why would I give up a weekend to sit and visit with people who mean nothing to me? It would, in all honesty, be a waste of my precious time. Time I could spend with the people who do mean something to me.
The answer is : I Wouldn’t.

I deleted the invitation after ticking off the RSVP box that said:  NO/Will not attend.

It was the right thing, for me, to do. It will be interesting to see how I feel in 10 years when the 50th rolls around.

Hmmm…. another blog post for sure about that.

I can’t be the only person on the planet person who hated high school, nor can I be the only one who’s never gone to a reunion.  Thoughts? Stories? Comments? Feel free to comment below.

 

And if you’re ever looking for me, I’m usually here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

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