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.
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…
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.
“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.
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.
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
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…