When I decided to pursue my writing dream, I imagined one of the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne visiting each morning, taking my hand, and guiding me to the computer. There, she would remain, offering words of encouragement until I produced my daily quota of words.
That was the fantasy.
The reality was very different.
I was unprepared for the tyranny of the blank page. While everything was in place—business cards, new computer, dreams of a runaway best-seller—my writing muscles refused to budge.
Hoping for inspiration, I researched the writing rituals of famous authors:
- Alexander Dumas color coordinated his paper. He used blue paper for novels, yellow paper for poetry and rose-colored pages for nonfiction.
- Mark Twain and Truman Capote write lying down.
- Ernest Hemingway sharpened dozens of pencils before starting to write.
- Willa Cather read the Bible before writing each day.
- Before picking up his pen, John Donne liked to lie in an open coffin. (I wonder about this one!)
- Honoré de Balzac drank vast quantities of black coffee, ensuring that he could write all day and night.
- Maya Angelou rose at 5 a.m., gathered her legal pads, a bottle of sherry, playing cards, a Bible, and Roget’s Thesaurus and checked into a hotel room (stripped of all stimuli from the walls). She would write 12 pages before leaving in the afternoon and edit the pages in the evening.
Eventually, I came up with my own ritual. Nothing too dramatic, but it works for me.
While having a leisurely breakfast (one of my retirement perks), I don’t linger over that second cup of coffee. If I choose to have more than one cup, I do so while checking email and social media. At nine-thirty, I start writing. My goal is 1000 words a day. At first, I used the oven timer to keep me on task, but that annoying sound reminded me of incessant school bells, so I invested in a bird clock. Each hour, one of my feathered friends, among them the Downy Woodpecker, Belted Kingfisher, and Great Horned Owl, chirp and remind me to pace myself.
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 2008, Joanne 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 Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime, 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…