Camp Nanowrimo: Who is going to join me?

Camp-2017-Participant-Twitter-HeaderLast summer I wrote 50,000 words of my WIP progress, EVOLUTION, as part of CAMP NANOWRIMO 2016. Since then, I’ve added another 10,000 words.

I’d like this novel to be around 80,000 words, meaning I need to write another 20,000 words.

Doesn’t sound like much, except when I think about launching Feedback  (A New Online Tool That Guides Fiction Writers Through A Big-Picture Story Edit), releasing my latest novel, LOOK THE OTHER WAY, published by Imajin Books, and the rest of life that keeps interfering with my writing.

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I decided I would join Camp Nanowrimo with the modest goal 20,000 words, so I can finish this book. Then, maybe I can join NANOWRIMO in December and write 50,000 of another book.

So who else is doing Nanwrimo? I’d love to connect and encourage each other. Let me know in the comments below.

Here’s an excerpt from my WIP.

I shut the refrigerator door for the fifth time. Why did I keep looking inside the box for answers? Food wouldn’t solve my problems.

Fatigue wrapped its heavy blanket around my shoulders, muting my strength. The sound of the grandfather clock intermixed with sleet hitting the windows in the early morning hours made me want to lie down on the kitchen floor and never get up.

The clock chimed past the time of day I now hated. A family heirloom that had belonged to my parents and before that my grandparents. Somehow I’d inherited it. My guess was my dad didn’t want the noisy contraption in his house, so when Nick and I had moved into our home on Loughborough Lake, my dad had “gifted” it to me, Jaz Cooper. Some gift.

Two weeks ago I was happy. Today, well, today was different. My stomach tightened. I wasn’t sure I could move away from the fridge. I didn’t know how to spend my time. And who would care about what I did, anyway?

I’ve never been one to feel sorry for myself. That’s not who I was, and it’s not who I would become. I bit the inside of my lip, mostly to refocus the pain in my gut. It was too early to go to work, but coffee might help.

I plodded across the empty kitchen, the floor creaking underneath me with each step, and hit the power button on the coffee maker. The timer wouldn’t go off for another two long hours.

Coffee was my new habit. Nick and I used to drink tea together. But no more. I was slowly getting used the strong aroma that wafted from the beans and to the acidy taste. It was the caffeine I needed, not a feel good drink.

Out of habit, I opened the bottom cupboard door and reached for the dog food, then my mind caught up to reality. An overwhelming sense of loss ripped at my heart. That horrible knife of pain.

I slammed the cupboard door, walked to the living room, and lowered myself into the dog bed. I curled into a ball and inhaled Bandit’s smell, like that would bring him back. At night, he used to sleep in my bed, tucked behind my knees, soothing me with his deep breathing. During the day, he’d slept here. Most of my waking hours were filled with the company of dogs. I only had Bandit as a pet, but I ran a dog training school, so I could have many dogs in my life.

Unable to bear the real reason from my grief, I focussed on the dog. I’d always known I would grow old without Bandit. Dogs owners all know that awful truth. They don’t like it, but they live with the knowledge.The dog’s loss I could handle. The other would break me.

Through the tapping of the sleet on the living room window, I heard a howl. I held my breath and listened. The wind rattled the trees beside the house and drowned out any other sound.

I waited.

Another howl followed by slapping water. I shuffled to the window but couldn’t see anything. I stepped onto my porch, a mere thirty feet from the lake, and concentrated on the sound.

A bark. More slapping water.

The moon broke through the clouds, streaming light onto the lake.

A dog had gone through the ice. Without thinking, I bolted outside and ran toward the lake. My slippers stuck in the snow and were ripped from my feet. The sting of cold hurt my bare skin, but that didn’t matter. I reached the icy surface and kept running.

Daisy, the neighbor’s Great Dane, battled the edge of the ice. Her rump was underwater. Her front claws strained against the snow. Her nostrils were flared.

My heel slid across black ice, and I tumbled backward. My tail bone slammed onto the hard surface, and my elbow cracked. I rolled onto my side, then onto my stomach. I slithered forward, closer but not close enough to grab Daisy’s paws.

Daisy slipped backward and into the water.  Her head dropped below the surface.

I froze.

She burst through the surface, snorted water, and scraped her paws over the edge of the ice. She barked. Her nails clawed at the ice but couldn’t grip the surface. Terror in her eyes? Pleading? Whatever it was, the message was clear. Get her out of the water.

I crawled forward on my stomach, ignoring my throbbing elbow. I should have grabbed a rope. A hundred-pound, panicking dog was not going to be easy to get out of the water. Sleet soaked my back and neck. My pajama bottoms clung to my legs.

I grabbed one paw. Daisy’s nails dug into my arm, and I let go. The dog had power in her limbs. I knew I shouldn’t, but I had to get closer. I’d have to leverage her out of the water.

Her rump remained below the surface, but her head stayed above water. For now.

Another howl. Anyone listening would think I was torturing the dog. I slithered closer. I could join her. Slide past her into the water. Moments would pass, and the pain would end. But then Daisy would drown, too. Selfish.

I could pull her from the water, then drop in. The darkness below welcomed me.


The sound sliced through me. There wasn’t much time to save Daisy. One big shove with my feet, and my arms slid underneath her pits and around her shoulders. She dug her claws into the back of my neck. A warm liquid trickled across my skin. She’d cut me, but I didn’t let go.

I was living the nightmare of anyone who walked on a lake at the end of the winter season. Adrenaline pounded at my temples. My skin prickled. I felt her terror. The emotion was so strong, I gasped.

Daisy dug her claws deep into my neck and shoulders, gaining traction. She hefted herself out of the water. Her rear paws grabbed at the edge of the ice. She tumbled over my head, across my back, and away from the hole in the ice.

I knew I should get off the ice, but I couldn’t move. I lay on my back, panting. The black water called me. All I had to do was roll over and slide in.

Mystery Mondays: Jacqueline T. Lynch on The Scene Of The Crime

Today on Mystery Monday, we have Jacqueline T. Lynch, author of Cadmium Yellow, Blood Red.  She has also published short stories and non-fiction books. Today we’ll find out a bit about the “Cozy Noir” genre.

The Scene of the Crime: Postwar New England by Jacqueline T. Lynch 

cybr_printI love “cozy” mysteries and love classic film noir. In combing the two genres for a mystery series, I chose not a sinister Gotham or a fog-shrouded San Francisco, or a sun-bleached and cynical Los Angeles in which to set my characters and stories like those old film noirs. I chose Connecticut in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

I write in a variety of genres: nonfiction history (predominantly New England), classic film criticism, a biography of actress Ann Blyth, as well as novels, and plays.

My Double V Mysteries series protagonists are a young widowed heiress and an ex-con.  They are implicated in crimes in the first book, Cadmium Yellow, Blood Red, and join together to prove their innocence, and in later books become hired sleuths.  I’m currently working on the fifth book in the series, set in a summer playhouse on the Connecticut shore in 1951.  The Double V name comes from their surnames: Juliet Van Allen and Elmer Vartanian.

The books are written in what I suppose I would term “cozy noir.”  Much like 1940s noir films (Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, etc.), grim crimes and crime-solving situations are presented without strong language or sexual scenes.  There is a bit of humor here and there, but for the most part the couple cautiously navigates the series subplot: a tenuous romance.  They each carry a lot of baggage from their pasts and are wary about becoming too close — but they’ll get there in time.

New England is my home and I am more familiar with this part of the country, but as with many historical novels, the era, I think, is even more important to the tone of the books than the geographical setting. Books enfold us an intimate sense of time travel, but it is perhaps easier for some readers to become lost in the Middle Ages or in the Regency period than in the 1950s, where we must actually be more familiar with the history of that period to immerse ourselves in the story and believe it. We may accept tales of knights and lords and ladies without really knowing much about everyday life in those olden times; but though the middle twentieth century is not as distant; in terms of technology and cultural events it might as well have been a millennium ago.

In the post-World War II years New England found itself at a crossroads. The population was shifting; wartime industry lured thousands to our nineteenth century mill towns, who then left the cities for the new suburban world being carved out of our farmland. In the 1950s, a good deal of that industry began to head south. New interstate highways seemed to aid the exodus, skirting cities, or else piercing through the heart of them. The 1950s saw the heyday of the great downtown department stores in Hartford, Connecticut—the duo’s home base—and summer theatre in the country towns.

Times were changing, and though we reached for the promise of a great future to wipe away the memory of war and Depression, we were also afraid of letting go of the past. Elmer, who had spent the war years in prison and feels guilty for having missed serving in the war, and missed his daughter’s childhood, is baffled by ballpoint pens, frozen orange juice concentrate, supermarkets, and a nuclear age that makes him feel a bit like Rip Van Winkle. Juliet is his guide, and ours, to this strange new world. The fads and even great events of the day: backyard bomb shelters, drive-in movies, and vanquishing polio will have a place in future books in this series—and crimes to be solved around them.

The first book, Cadmium Yellow, Blood Red, is about a museum heist, a missing child, and a murder introducing the recent ex-con and even more recent widow.

In Hartford, Connecticut, 1949, Juliet Van Allen, an administrator at the Wadsworth Atheneum, a prestigious art museum, discovers that her avant-garde artist husband is having an affair with another woman. Juliet’s husband is murdered, and she is the prime suspect. Elmer Vartanian, recently released from prison, is coerced into helping scout the museum for a heist by a gang that has kidnapped his daughter.

Juliet, the rebellious only daughter of a wealthy financier, and Elmer, a lower-class ex-convict who has educated himself in prison, must partner to solve their separate crises, compelled to work together while dogged by the scandal-monger newsman, the shrewd police detective, and scrutinized by the even more judgmental eye of Hartford’s elite in world where Modern Art meets old-fashioned murder.

 Who is Jacqueline T. Lynch?

JLynch photoJacqueline T. Lynch’s novels, short stories, and non-fiction books on New England history and film criticism are available from many online shops as eBooks, audiobooks, and paperback. She is also a playwright whose plays have been produced around the United States and in Europe, and has published articles and short fiction in regional and national publications. She writes Another Old Movie Blog on classic films, and the syndicated column Silver Screen, Golden Years.


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Jacqueline T. Lynch






Farley’s Fridays: Are Wheaten Terriers Ever Sad?

Farley here,

Sad eyes, that’s what I have. The question is why. I’m standing in a beautiful creek. I’m off-leash.  What could be making me sad?

Farley In Creek

Kristina is telling me it’s time to get out of the creek and head home. I don’t want to. I love it in here. My tummy is cool. My paws tingle in the running water.

I put on my “best” sad eyes. They get Kristina every time. She can’t stand it if she thinks I’m unhappy, so she gives me more time to play in the water.

But to answer the question: “Are Wheaten Terriers ever sad?” Not a chance. I’ve been gifted with eyes that can look sad, but inside I’m all giggles. I know I’ll get my way, especially with a human like mine.

Woof Woof

DEADLY SHORE by Andrew Cunningham: Introducing The Audio Book Edition

Listen to this excerpt and you’ll be excited to buy the audio book!

About the Audiobook

fe1cfa9f-39d2-4dea-aaf6-261029657771Synopsis:  It’s July 5th, and the Cape Cod roadways are clogged with tourists heading home from the holiday weekend and trying to outrun an approaching potentially catastrophic hurricane. But in the blink of an eye, their lives are thrown into chaos when terrorists bring down the bridges to the Cape. Instantly, a half million terrified people have no way to escape. And when the terrorists threaten to release anthrax on the captive population if their demands aren’t met, fear turns to all-out panic.
With time running out, Marcus Baldwin, a private investigator and former CIA operative, and Sara Cross, a disgraced ex-homicide detective, are brought together by a sole clue to the identity of the terrorists. They quickly realize that they may be the only ones with even a chance at stopping the plot before it’s too late.
With Hurricane Chad barreling up the coast on a path for a direct hit on Cape Cod, it becomes frighteningly clear to everyone trapped on what has now become an island – one way or another they are probably all going to die.

Publisher: Andrew Cunningham⎮2017

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Release date: January 31, 2017


andrew-cunningham-facebook-photo-2I was born in England, but have spent most of my life living in the U.S.—including  25 years on Cape Cod before moving to Florida. A former interpreter for the deaf and long-time independent bookseller, I’ve been a full-time freelance writer and copy editor for many years. A 4th-degree Master Blackbelt in Tang Soo Do, I finally retired from active training when my body said, “Enough already! Why are you doing this to yourself?” I’m married, with two grown children and two awesome grandsons. My wife and I spend as much time traveling as we can, and are especially fond of cruising the Caribbean.

​I have been gratified by the response to my books. When I published Eden Rising back in the spring of 2013, I had no idea what to expect. When I sold my first few copies, I was excited beyond belief that someone was willing to take a chance on it. Numerous books and thousands of copies later, I am still humbled by the emails I get from readers telling me that my books kept them up late into the night.

In October of 2014, Wisdom Spring made me an official Amazon Bestselling author, a thrill I never thought would happen. But it still comes down to being able to bring a few hours of escape to a reader. That’s what it’s all about for me.


About the Narrator: Greg Hernandez

greg-hernandez-acx-72dpiFor more than 20 years I worked as a radio news reporter and news writer.  I spent half of my broadcasting career at ABC News Radio in the Washington, D.C., bureau.  I covered all the federal agencies as well as Congress and the White House.  I reported on a wide range of stories during my career, including financial and entertainment industry news.

I have worked as a federal government spokesman at three separate agencies for more than 20 years.  At the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA, U.S. Commerce Department), I introduced podcasting in 2005 just a few weeks before Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast of the United States.  The 19 podcasts I narrated and produced from August 2005 to June 2007 were downloaded more than 600,000 times during that period.  They’re still online at the following link.

I enjoy narrating audio books because it gives me great satisfaction bringing to life books of all genres, especially mysteries and thrillers.


Learn How To Self-Edit #AuthorToolboxBlogHop Emotional Impact of Setting

Nano Blog and Social Media Hop2Thank you, Raimey Gallant for organizing the #AuthorToolboxBlogHop. Today is the third post of this new series, and I’m very excited to be part of it.

This is a monthly blog hop on the theme of resources/learning for authors: posts related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, anything that an author would find helpful.

To continue hopping through other great blogs in the monthly #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join, just hop on over to Ramey Gallant!

I’ll focus this entire series on self-editing. The first blog in my series covers Why Learn To Self-EditThe second blog covered Characters In The Context of Editing.

Today’s topic is setting.


I once read a book where I didn’t skim any of the setting descriptions. Afterward, I wondered why. Engaging settings generate emotion.

I admit I’m impatient with too much description. To learn what captured me, I re-read the book and highlighted every sentence that described the setting. I realized the author only described things or places that were relevant to the plot.

That was the moment I went on a mission to learn everything I could about setting and how to use it to make my novels more enjoyable.


Location is the place where a scene happens. 

When describing the location, ask yourself: Is the location important to the plot, characters, or theme? If no, fewer details are required. If yes, be more generous with the details.

Once you’ve determined the location for each scene, ask yourself if the setting is the best place for emotional impact. This one little question helps you:

  • Increase or decrease conflict
  • Increase or decrease tension
  • Set the mood
  • Highlight emotion
  • Show characterization
  • Slow down or speed up pacing

Thinking about location in terms of emotional impact will wake up your creativity. Let me give you an example.

Suppose you have a character who is afraid of the dark. Imagine the character is about to have a confrontation with an employee. If the character feels confident being in his office and you want the character to be in a position of strength, then use the office as a setting.

If you want him to feel vulnerable during the confrontation, try locating him outside, at night, in an isolated parking lot. And make it very dark. The streetlight is broken. There is no moon. Maybe it’s windy, so a yell for help won’t be heard.

Do you see the difference? The location can help you bring out emotion in the scene by showing conflict, tension, mood, and characterization. Conflict is action that is happening. Tension is the suspicion/dread something will happen.

You decide what emotion you want the reader to feel, then decide how the location can help elicit that emotion.

If you think the location is not the best place for emotional impact, it’s time for a rewrite. Set the scene where you can elicit strong emotions, then rewrite the scene in that location.


More Self-Editing Advice


If you’re looking for more help on self-editing download the free eBook, BIG-PICTURE Editing 15 Key Elements of Fiction To Make Your Story Work and learn how big-picture editing is all about evaluating the major components of your story. We call these components the Key Elements Of Fiction.  Our eBook shows you how to use the key elements of fiction to evaluate your story and become your own big-picture editor.


Interested In An Automated Approach To Big-Picture Self-Editing?


Feedback Innovations (which I happen to be the CEO of) is building the Feedback app .

COMING AUGUST 2017! We are now testing with authors and you are invited to a free two-week trial. Just let me know if you’re interested.

Feedback is the first web app to help fiction writers evaluate their own work with a focus on story, not words.

With Feedback, you can focus on plot, character, and setting. You can evaluate on a scene-by-scene basis or on overall novel structure. Feedback will show you the most important structural elements to work on first.

Feedback will guide you through the rewriting process by asking you questions specific to your manuscript, enabling you to evaluate your own story.

Feedback helps you visualize your manuscript. Forget about yellow stickies or white boards. Feedback will draw character arcs, provide reports on scene evaluation, and show your rewriting progress.

Happy editing and thanks for reading…

Guest Post: Donna Galanti with 7 Reasons to Join Genre-Based Writing Orgs

Why you should join a genre-based writing organization
by Donna Galanti



Joining a genre-based writer organization can be key for any author.

There are many big genre categories for writers such as science fiction and fantasy, westerns, romance, horror, and mysteries. Do you write in one or more than one of these?

Take the time to research writing organizations in your genre(s) that provide representation for writers in that particular line of fiction. They provide many member benefits that can be extremely helpful to new and veteran writers. Before joining any writer’s organization, be sure to ask questions to ensure that the group is a good fit for you.

Not published yet? There are usually levels of membership based on published and unpublished, but all may have the same benefits. There can also be an annual fee. Why pay this if you write in one of these genres?

Benefits of joining a genre-based writing organization:

Private forums. In these you can ask advice of members on areas of craft, publishing, marketing, and book contracts.

Networking opportunities. These can be offered through local chapters, national meetings, conventions, and conferences.

Mentor program opportunities. You could be paired with an established author in your genre as a guide.

Strengthens your resume. Being a member of a genre-organization beefs up your author bio and shows you are serious about your author career.

Writing awards. Many genre-based writing organizations have prestigious writing awards that novelists can apply to win.

Member-only anthologies. These are great opportunities to submit short works and have the chance to be published alongside major authors.

Go the Extra Mile: Volunteer within an organization!

This is a great way to engage with editors, agents, publishers, writers, and veteran authors.

How? Volunteer to help at the organization’s affiliated conference, do social media, conduct interviews, do public relations, or work in recruitment. Think about where your talents lie and how you can benefit the organization.

My first volunteer role was within International Thriller Writers (ITW ) where I did social media for ITW’s debut authors. For several years now I’ve transitioned to the role as a contributing editor for ITW’s Big Thrill monthly magazine.

With both roles, I’ve had the chance to interview and meet many authors from debut to established, and most importantly – build connections. Many of these authors have blurbed my books, been guests on my blog, asked me to be a guest on their blog, advised me in my author career, been guests on my Facebook book launch parties – and more!

Writing can be a lonely profession and writer organizations give writers a chance to join with others who share common goals and experiences. I hope you can see the many benefits of joining a genre-based writing organization. Not only can it help build your author platform but it can also be a great community resource.

For more tips on building your author platform, check out my 4 proven steps to connecting with readers before your first book even comes out.

Element Triliogy twitter1
Donna Galanti
 is the author of the paranormal suspense Element Trilogy (Imajin Books) and the children’s fantasy adventure Joshua and The Lightning Road series (Month9Books). She is a contributing editor for International Thriller Writers the Big Thrill magazine and blogs with other middle grade authors at Project Middle Grade Mayhem. Donna has lived from England as a child, to Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer. She enjoys teaching at conferences on the writing craft and marketing and also presenting as a guest author at elementary and middle schools. Visit her at and She can also be found on TwitterInstagram, Facebook, and Goodreads.

Mystery Mondays: Joanne Guidoccio on Finding Your Writing Voice

Today on Mystery Mondays we have author, Joanne Guidoccio.  Joanne is the author of Too Many Women In The Room. Doesn’t the title just make you want to read her book?

Well guess what? Read on to the end, and you have a chance to $10 amazon gift card, and with that you can buy Joanne’s book!

How Toastmasters Helped Me Find My Writing Voice

When I retired from teaching in 2008, I was determined to create an oasis of calm. Three decades of teaching mathematics to adolescents had cured me of any “yang” tendencies. Or so I thought. After several months of luncheon dates, book club meetings, afternoon yoga sessions, and large blocks of reading time, I found myself suffering from “yin” overload.

In short, I was bored.

I toyed with the prospect of launching a second act as a writer and spent considerable time preparing for my new career. New business cards. New computer. And dreams of a runaway best-seller.

One problem – my underdeveloped writing muscles refused to budge.

On a whim, I visited Royal City Toastmasters. Not knowing what to expect, I relaxed when I saw twelve people in the room, most of them women. I felt an instant camaraderie with the group and volunteered to participate in Table Topics (one to two minutes of impromptu speaking). As I stood in the front of the room, I received many encouraging smiles. I took several deep breaths and started to share an anecdote. At one point, everyone started clapping.

Was I that good? That profound? Thinking back, I could recall only one example of students clapping during my classes: I had canceled a test. Later, I learned that clapping was a signal that I had gone beyond the allotted time limit.

At the end of my second visit, I joined the club, with the understanding that my attendance would be sporadic, and I would not be completing any of the designations or hopping on the leadership track. While I admired the rising stars in the club, I had no desire to share their ambitions. I was retired and didn’t need any unnecessary stress in my life.

All that changed on the evening of my Icebreaker speech. I felt the proverbial butterflies and panicked when I saw ten extra guests that evening. I also worried about my choice of topic, “Seasons of my Life.” Would the speech be too deep, too personal? My worries were short-lived. Everyone enthusiastically responded to my speech, and I received many compliments afterward. More importantly, I enjoyed the adrenaline rush. So much so, that I pestered the Education VP for more speech opportunities. Several months later, I joined a second Toastmasters club. With six meetings a month, I was well on my way to completing the ten speeches in the Competent Communicator manual.

While I continued to read voraciously, I found myself scribbling comments and insights that later morphed into book reviews. I polished one of those reviews and sent it off to the editor of a local paper. He published the piece and invited me to join the ranks of contributing reviewers.

The quality of my writing also improved. Fewer shrinkers (words like “just,” “actually,” and “almost”) and disclaimers (“I’m not an expert, but”). More action verbs. More sharing of personal anecdotes. And a bubbling curiosity about different topics, among them health and wellness, careers, money management, and personal growth and development.

A writing practice slowly emerged, and I watched with delight as my articles appeared in newspapers, magazines, and online. Buoyed by this success, I resurrected an old writing dream concocted during my high school years and penned a novel. Three more followed and, after many queries, four publishing contracts.

On the Toastmaster front, I went on to complete the Competent Communicator, Competent Leadership, Bronze, and Silver designations. I have also won and placed in five speech contests and held three executive positions.

Nine years into retirement, I still enjoy my “yin” pursuits, and I’m continually challenged (in a good way) by the “yang” addition to my life.



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TooManyWomenintheRoom_w11221_750 (2)When Gilda Greco invites her closest friends to a VIP dinner, she plans to share David Korba’s signature dishes and launch their joint venture— Xenia, an innovative Greek restaurant near Sudbury, Ontario. Unknown to Gilda, David has also invited Michael Taylor, a lecherous photographer who has throughout the past three decades managed to annoy all the women in the room. One woman follows Michael to a deserted field for his midnight run and stabs him in the jugular.

Gilda’s life is awash with complications as she wrestles with a certain detective’s commitment issues and growing doubts about her risky investment in Xenia. Frustrated, Gilda launches her own investigation and uncovers decades-old secrets and resentments that have festered until they explode into untimely death. Can Gilda outwit a killer bent on killing again?

Book Trailer

Buy Links

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Guidoccio 001In 2008, Joanne retired from a 31-year teaching career and launched a second act that tapped into her creative side. 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 cozy mysteries, paranormal romance, and inspirational literature from her home base of Guelph, Ontario.

Where to find Joanne…








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