Tag Archives: Writers

On #Libraries, #Librarians, feelings of connection, and #books

Apparently, it’s National Library Week. This is one celebration I can get behind and actually enjoy. Enjoy writing about; enjoy celebrating.

I’ve mentioned many times before in this blog that I — for all intents and purposes — grew up in my local library. I was what was called ( during my youth) a latchkey kid, meaning, after school, I was on my own, home alone, because both the adults in my life had full-time jobs that didn’t let out until 5 or 6 each night. School let out at 3, so that meant five afternoons a week I needed a babysitter until I got old enough to be left on my own for a few hours, which in my case was at the age of 7.

I’m remembering what my daughter was like at 7 and am horrified that my mother believed it was an appropriate age for independent responsibility, but that’s another blog topic entirely.

Anyway….

Every day after school I would be dismissed after the bell and then trek to my local library to stay until it was time to get on home.

I loved the library.

I loved the safety of it.

I  loved all the books.

I loved loved loved the Librarians.

I loved the quiet.

Like Belle in Beauty and the Beast, all I wanted to do was read. I wanted to be transported to other places, live lives that weren’t my own;  be loved and cherished like a princess and rule a kingdom with wisdom and grace. I could be anything I wanted to be and I could explore everything. It was in the library that I discovered my imagination and my joy of storytelling.

Once I was through the library doors each afternoon, after a 15 block walk along city streets from my school, I’d let out a sigh, safe in the knowledge that nothing bad could happen to me here. I was secure now, protected. Bad people didn’t come into the library, only good ones. People who wanted to be educated,  and who wanted to escape from their everyday, boring lives and live richer, happier, more exciting ones. The library wasn’t the place where the bullies who tormented me in school “hung out.” I was free from the cruel insults, tormenting taunts, and physical violence that had become my daily life at school.

The Librarians all knew me by name and were my first, actual, REAL teachers. I learned facts in school. The Librarians taught me about life. They’d recommend books for me to read and once I was through the kids’ section selection, they moved me onto what would now be called YA ( young adult) novels. I may have been 8 or 9 years old, but I was reading about the lives of pre-teens and teenagers, living in their shoes as they drifted through life, and getting a feel for what was to come my way once I was their age.

The Librarians talked to me about books, asked me my opinion on ones I’d read. They actually valued my thoughts. They showed me the strength there is in knowledge and the beauty there is in imagination. They fostered in me that desire to tell a tale, tell it well, and change a reader’s life. They taught me how to be entertained, and in so doing, how to entertain. They taught me how to gather knowledge, the beauty there is in research, and how to prioritize. To this day, my home library follows a basic Dewey Decimal system. To some, that may be a bit extreme. But to me, it is a real tribute to the librarians who helped form my mind and fed my soul.

In the library, we spoke in hushed tones and whispers. We used the original inside voices. In my house, the voices were more often raised than hushed, loud than peaceful, tormented than quiet.

In the library, I found myself…as a girl, a person, a student, and, ultimately, as a writer.

Every day I thank God for the women and men who worked and still work in local libraries. They are unsung heroes to countless children and adults. Where some may think that the previous statement is a tad theatrical, it isn’t to me. The Librarians I knew as a child were my heroes. They kept me safe, loved and cared about me, and opened a world for me I never knew existed.

Heroes, every last one of them.

So, help me celebrate National Library Week. Support your local libraries by donating old, in-good-condition books, attend book sales and fund drives and become a Friend of the Library.  Encourage your children and grandchildren to get Library cards and to use them! Often and with enthusiasm.

Finding your local library is just a Google search away!

 

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Filed under Author, community advocacy, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, Literary characters, New Hampshire, research, Strong Women

#Reviews, #Comments, and saying “Not Nice” things.

I posted about this topic a few weeks ago, but it hit home for me yet again yesterday when I was reviewing another book I’d been given through Netgalley.

As I do, I read the other reviews posted that are either listed on the Netgalley page or on GoodReads 

to get an idea of what other people think of the book. The reason I do this is to see if I’m totally off the mark with my opinion of the work – which I can be,  no lie – or if I somehow missed something along the way that would make me not like the book I’m reviewing.

So. The book I read was really pretty weird. The story was told in three voices, all with their own consecutive chapters. Luckily, the names of the person “talking” appeared on the heading of each chapter, so at least I knew whose Point of View ( POV) I was in. The story itself was a depressing tale of family secrets, murder, and abuse. It was billed as a “suspense/mystery.” Well, I didn’t think there was any suspense, and I figured out the “mystery”  50 pages into the book.

Now, when a story just doesn’t resonate with me, I simply give it a 3 rating ( never less) and don’t write a review. This way at least I rated it in the middle of the curve ( 1-5 stars) and I don’t have to write any negative comments.

Not so much the other people who reviewed it – and I say “reviewed it” in the lightest sense. 10 ratings/reviews were posted ( not including mine). 6 people rated it DNF for did not finish, and then went on to explain why they didn’t. Every one of those explanations was….brutal. Really. Nasty, harsh, and on the cusp of bullying-speak. The other 4 rated it between 1 and 2 with equally critical words.

All I could think was this book was published by a big-name publishing house by a moderately well-known author who probably had an agent ( who read the book before sending it out to publishers) and editors who also devoted time to it, thinking it was worthwhile to publish.

Why? What did they think was so publishing worthy about the story that this random sampling of readers did not?

Out of 10 reviews, plus my own rating, no one had anything good to say.  What did this do to the books’ sales? What did this do to the author’s ego? Or sense of writing-self? I agonize over those answers because I’m a writer, too. I hate when anyone says anything derogatory or uber-critical about my words. I know I should let it flow – like water off a duck’s back – but I can’t! My ego is so fragile, (and God I hate how that sounds!)  but it’s true. I don’t like to hear bad things about my creative babies.

I wonder how the people who write such nasty, negative reviews would feel if someone they didn’t know wrote something really horrible about them, or something they did for a living? I really do.

And that question is what keeps me from writing a scathing review.

So…if you see my name attached to a review with a 3 rating, just know the book didn’t resonate with me as its reader. But it may with you….just saying

When I’m not losing sleep over reviews you can find me here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Editors, Netgalley Reviewer, Pet Peeves, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

My #word for 2017: #Compromise…

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Every year I take a theme or a word that epitomizes what I want to accomplish for the following 356 days. Last year, 2016, it was “the Year of YES.” Which basically meant I was going to be open to saying yes to things I usually knee-jerked a NO. A loud, emphatic, I don’t want to, NO!

It worked out pretty well. I did a bunch of stuff that I ordinarily would have shied away from or outright avoided. No one died. No one got maimed. And I didn’t have a stroke, heart attack, or lose my dignity.

Well….

Nevermind.

Anyway….

For 2017 I wanted to continue with the new, open, and willing to put myself out there mentality, so I’m going to be doing something I rarely– if ever– do. Compromise.

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The dictionary defines it this way: an agreement or a settlement of a dispute that is reached by each side making concessions.

My definition is a little more specific in that I will be the one making the concessions. Again, something I rarely, if ever, do. I’ve come to realize after viewing the turmoil this country has found itself in politically, spiritually, and morally, that I like many people, do not often see both sides of an argument. We, and by we, I mean me, tend to form an opinion based on whatever information we happen to see, and then stick with it, oftentimes becoming loudly obnoxious and righteous in expressing that opinion.

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Not anymore. If’ I’ve learned anything in 2016 it’s that every argument and stand has at least 3 sides: mine, the other person’s and the — wait for it — compromise position between the two.

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In 2017 I vow to see that third option as many times as I can and to make the effort to come to compromises which will benefit all sides, not just only my own. When you know better you do better.

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Maturity, thy name is Margaret-Mary. ( let’s hope!)

 

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#Christmas2016, done…#2017 #plans…

Well, Christmas  has come and gone with a bang. As has 2016.

Almost.

As I look ahead to the next year I see lots of interesting events on the horizon. I’m taking 4 trips this year for business/reading/writing.

New England (NECRWA) conference in April

RT Convention in May

RWA in July

and.. Fall in Love with New England Readers and Writers Conference in October.

Holy Cow!! That’s a lot of air fare, gas, and room rentals…but so worth it.I’ll be doing book signings, and in one case ( NECRWA) a class. Too much!!!

I’m also having 2 new books published ( so far!) with my new Publisher, Kensington/LyricalShine. The first is in April, COOKING WITH KANDY, available for preorder – just click the link. The second, (I believe) will be in October. Much more on that info in the coming months.

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So, as I kick 2016’s ass to the curb, the plans for 2017 are shaping up nicely, no?

You still have time to purchase my latest 2016 book before the New Year begins, though, so if you are looking for some light, fun, funny and family reading, give A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS a gander!

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And when I’m not planning trips, you can find me here:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

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Filed under A kiss Under the Christmas LIghts, Author, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Family Saga, Friends, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, Lyrical Author, NHRWA, research, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press

I get by with a little #help from my #friends..

and by friends, I mean books!

Every year I like to share the list of reference tools and books that keep me sane as a writer. Since I spend sosososososososos much time alone, writing and thinking about writing, I sometimes need tools to help me figure out plots, people, motivations, and dialogue subtexts. Here’s a list of my absolute favorites and the books that keep me sane when I’m trying to swim through the quagmire that is my imagination. Maybe if you haven’t finished making your Christmas and Holiday wish list yet, you’ll consider asking for one of these valuable tools. Believe me, it is money well spent and worth the cost.

1-4  The Emotional Thesaurus ( and amplifier) , The Postive Trait Thesaurus and the Negative Trait Thesaurus

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5.Goal, Motivation and Conflict by Debra Dixon. This is like a bible to most writers!thes8

6.The Romance Writer’s Phrase Book. Little snippets, words, and descriptions to tweak your dialogue and writing

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7. Master Lists. Every conceivable list you need for character, description, setting. Also fabulous as a reference when you play Trivial pursuit!

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8. The title says it all. Rated Triple H for hothothot!

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9.Nothing better for getting into the mind of your character and their inner conflicts and struggles

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And if you’re looking for a great little romantic fiction read for yourself or as a Holiday gift, well, here’s my newest ( shameful plug) A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS 

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When I’m not doing research I can usually be found in one ( or more!) of these places:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

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I need a little #writer and #RomanceReader help…

This is going to be a good test to see if anyone ever reads my blogs!!

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I told you recently that I’m all atwitter and discombobulated because I’m putting together a Power Point presentation for my local NHRWA chapter in March and then for the New England (NECRWA) Chapter in April and I’m learning (slowly) the ins and outs of the PP program.

That’s fine. No worries there.

But…

I need a little help from my romance writer and reader friends. Who ( what author) do you read who writes romance with heroines and heroes OLDER than 45 years old? I’m not looking for writers who write about the fabulous 20 somethings or terrific thirty-year-olds. I want romance titles and books written about folks in their middle years. If you read romance books concerning this age group, please send me book titles or the authors who write them.

I have a few in mind, but I want to explore more. Please.

I’ll say thank you in advance.

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Filed under Author, Author Branding, branding, community advocacy, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, NHRWA, research, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Strong Women

#RWA16 the final day….Whew!

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So I’m sitting right now at the San Diego airport waiting for my flight. it’s 4 am PCT and I am TIRED with a capital T! Yesterday was a whirlwind, but I’ll try to hit the highlights.

It started with another book signing. The total now is 72.( this picture isn’t all of them!)

rwa26And I did break down and ship some of them home today. I just didn’t want to be bothered having to lug them all in my suitcase and then back home. Then off to Elizabeth Hoyt’s Emotion workshop. If you don’t know Hoyt, you don’t know historical romance. Her heat level is lava worthy. Her male characters are each and every one the type of man I could so see myself with IF I lived in Regency times. She gave an in-depth workshop on exactly what is needed to give your characters emotional depth and substance. And she should know – she’s an award-winning writing chicita with the writing chops to go with it.

A quick lunch of Diet Mountain Dew and a mounds bar – honestly there is never enough time to actually sit down and eat something nutritious for lunch!! and then it was on to a talk with Kristan Higgins, Elizabeth Hoyt and  Alyssa Day titled Sex with the terrible trio… This class was a no holds barred laugh fest about how to write sex for any heat level from sweet, to  close the door, to down and dirty and hothothot.  I haven’t laughed so much nor learned so much from a lecture since I took anatomy class in nursing school and saw my very first ( dead, as in, cadaver) penis. Truly, these three would be a hoot to just hang out and have drinks with.

My last workshop of the day concerned the DARK MOMENT on your story, and I’m not referring to Voldemort’s tattoo! Lisa Kessler gave numerous examples in film and fiction of that moment in the story when all seems lost and hopeless, the h/h will never get their chance at a happily ever after and your heart is pounding. Excellent discussion on how to up  the stakes on your story to make that dark moment the one people remember..

Alas, I did not actually get to attend the RITA awards live because my shuttle bus was coming for me at oh0threehundred-dark for my flight. But I did get to watch up until Robyn Carr’s acceptance speech on my computer from the webcam streaming, so I feel like I hit the high points.

Now, as I sit here – tired, hungry, and yet elated, I am thankful to go home because really, you can eat only so much bad food for a week, and I miss my bed. And my husband – I need to say that! But I take away from this conference so many first’s as memories: My first RWA literacy signing, the first time I volunteered at RWA, the first time I moderated worskhops. The first time I really got up my gumption and talked TALKED with uberfamous and wonderful authors like Jill Shalvis ( fan girl sigh) Kristan Higgins, and Elizabeth Hoyt. My first publishing party at my new home, Kensington/Lyrical.

My fan girl moments in the hallways included a quick chat with Jayne Ann Krentz, who was walking along with all the romance rabble ( like me!) like she was just another gal getting to an elevator. I saw Nora Roberts twice – I almost wet my pants both times!! Sylvia Day, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, the amazing Brenda Novak…. so many faces for the writers I love  and worship.

In the next few days I will come down off this high and get back to the work of actually writing – I have deadlines now!!- but I will remember for years to come how wonderful, how supported, how inspired I was by everyone and everything RWA related.

Until next time…..be well, find your joy, and write your little hearts out.

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Filed under #RWA16, Author, Contemporary Romance, Historical Romance, Kensington Publishers, Lyrical Author, NHRWA, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Facebook Blog Hop

New Year Hop
Happy 2016!
The new year means it’s time to start anew and the best way to do that is to find a new author ( or 2, or 3!). The New Year New Author Facebook Hop is the perfect way to find new-to-you authors and also gives you a chance to win ebooks, gift cards, and more. So grab your laptop and start hopping along…
Today I’m giving away an e-copy of my 2/8/16 release 3 WISHES ( A CandyHearts Romance). Please read the instructions below carefully so you’re not disqualified!
 You must do all 3 things to be qualified to win:
1. Like this post.
2. Like my facebook author page: Peggy Jaeger, Author
3. Comment below by telling me your favorite book or the book you’re currently reading.  And wouldn’t it be nice if it were one of mine! ( Conceited, much?)

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A visit with Author Joanne Guidoccio

Today, Author Joanne Guidoccio is my guest.  She has new book coming out this week that promises to be a winner! She’s also having a giveaway – read on down to the end for a RAFFLECOPTER chance at an Amazon gift card.

Joanne, I’m so excited to have you here today.

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4 More Days!!

Peggy, thanks for participating in the countdown to A Season for Killing Blondes.

I consider protagonist Gilda Greco to be my literary twin. She’s approximately 70 percent of me and shares many of my interests. As non-athletes it took us a while to find a preferred physical activity, but once we discovered yoga, we were hooked.

In my case, it took over three decades of yoga trials…

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March 1984

The blonde willow was out of her comfort zone.

As she removed a borrowed parka, four sizes too big for her perfectly toned size zero body, she sighed deeply and tossed her Farrah Fawcett curls. The California yogini was not impressed by winter in March and seven less-than-enthusiastic students in Sudbury, Ontario. She spoke eloquently about her personal journey, and then demonstrated her pretzel-like ability to contort her body in unimaginable poses.

Impressed and intimidated, we dreaded the short lesson that would follow.

She did not consider our beginner status. Instead, she continued with her favorite poses, and we struggled to follow.

Within minutes, I developed a tickle in my throat and started coughing uncontrollably. I quietly left the room and closed the door behind me. I had a drink of water, but my cough still persisted. I assumed the walls were soundproof, but I was wrong. I found out later that my loud and persistent bark was heard throughout the remainder of the short yoga session. When I re-entered the room, I received several looks of concern and pity. As for the blonde willow…she had transformed into a blonde oak.

Fast forward twenty years.

After sharing the usual advice about portion control, exercise and stress management, my oncologist urged me to take up yoga. Memories of the blonde willow/oak still lingered and I tried not to show my frustration. But my oncologist persisted and I agreed to give yoga another try.

I bought the clothes—sleek, black yoga pants from Roots and several Life is Good t-shirts—and signed up for a weekly yoga class with a very charming (and highly recommended) instructor. He gave each of us individual attention during the first class. At the beginning of the second class, he distributed business cards and chatted about his multiple sideline businesses. By the third class, the other students were writing checks for his wonder products. I was not impressed and did not return.

A few months later, I heard about a new yoga instructor who was offering classes in her own home. When I called, she assured me the course was geared for complete beginners with no previous experience. She sounded surprised when I asked if she had a sideline business and stressed that yoga was her main focus.

Reassured, I showed up and was pleased to see only two students in the room. Within a few minutes, an active and poorly trained Boston terrier joined the class. She eyed me with interest: I was the new girl, fresh meat. The dog spent a lot of time circling and sniffing me throughout the hour-long class. As for what happened during Downward Dog…I shall leave that to your imagination.

Three yoga trials. Three strikes. Yoga was out.

All that changed during the second summer after retirement.

I had just picked up Wayne Dyer’s latest book, Excuses Begone! and read the entire book in two sitting. I was drawn to his suggestion for practicing yoga and imagined myself having a conversation with the motivational guru.

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“You must give it another try, Joanne. I’ve been practicing ninety minutes every day for the past four years and I’ve noticed a lot of positive changes. I got rid of all those aches and pains I inherited from three decades of running and tennis.”

“That’s wonderful, but I can’t see myself doing yoga every day. For one thing, I would have to take lessons. I don’t like following DVDs or books.”

“Take a few lessons. What’s the big deal?”

“I’ve tried that before.” I gave him a brief summary of my three yoga trials.

He shook his head. “You have to give yoga an honest thirty-day trial.”

“Thirty days!” I couldn’t imagine lasting that long. “Do you know how expensive that will be?”

He repeated, “Give yoga an honest thirty-day trial.” He added, with twinkle in his eye, “You’ll feel better and you may just stop making so many excuses.”He pointed to the cover of his book.

I was skeptical, but I had to admit he was right. I had not given yoga a fair trial, and I had a tendency to make excuses. I decided to wait until the fall and then investigate the different yoga studios in town.

A few days later, the following ad appeared in a local paper:
Unlimited Yoga during the months of July and August for $160

I imagined Wayne Dyer laughing and whispering, “The universe has spoken. No more excuses.”

I planned to attend three classes a week and see how I felt by the end of the summer.

I was hooked after the first week.

The classes were small and the instructors were able to work with me on an individual basis. I test-drove all the instructors and then zeroed in on my favourites: Amy, the social worker from Newfoundland who had completed her training in India; Claudia, the young mother who offered a structured class that appealed to my left brain tendencies; and Lisa, the quintessential (and kind) willow.

It was reassuring to discover that all my body parts were working and reporting faithfully for yoga duty. I felt myself growing healthier and stronger with each stretch, breath and positive thought. And I didn’t feel pressured or frustrated when I struggled with a pose. I kept repeating Lisa’s mantra: A yoga pose is a journey, not a destination.

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.

Namaste

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                                     A Season for Killing 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.

Trailer

Buy Links

Amazon (Canada) – http://is.gd/t0g1KZ

Amazon (United States) – http://is.gd/jADjPp

Amazon (United Kingdom) – http://is.gd/8mknFJ

Amazon (Australia) – http://is.gd/r843iX

Kobo – http://is.gd/BpO9gY

Rafflecopter

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/628069201/?

 

Meet Joanne:

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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…
Website: http://joanneguidoccio.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/joanneguidoccio
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorjoanneguidoccio
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/joanneguidoccio
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/jguidoccio/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7277706.Joanne_Guidoccio

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A visit to Jodi Hale

I’m visiting with author Jodi Hale today talking about why I like romantic fiction. Stop by and leave some love.

http://www.jodihale.com/?p=97

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