Tuesday, November 24, 2015


I started to seriously “strut” my literary stuff five years ago. Excited about my first novel, I anxiously awaited input from a visiting author. That conversation is still etched in memory:

Visiting Author: “You’ve got an interesting storyline here. And I like how you’ve developed the female characters. But…

Me: Spill it. I can take it.

Visiting Author: Most of the characters are over fifty. You need to bring in a couple of young’uns. Create a sub-plot with the protagonist’s niece. Why not introduce a hot young’un as the love interest. Cougar protagonists sell books.

Me: What do you mean by young’uns?

Visiting Author: Characters in their twenties and early thirties. That’s what selling now.
Since then, I have encountered different versions of this conversation whenever I participate in writing workshops and seminars. Several instructors urged me to downplay the “boomer” elements in my books.

“Don’t mention anything about age in your query letter.”

“It’s okay to have an older woman as a sleuth. She’ll be invisible and that works well for sleuths. But make sure you surround her with younger characters.”

“Stay away from retirement homes, senior homes, and nursing homes. Don’t dwell on all that negative stuff. Too depressing.”


Thankfully, the writers and producers of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Quartet, The Intouchables, A Walk in The Woods, The Intern, and Downtown Abbey did not consider such misguided advice. I can’t even imagine creating younger characters to replace Maggie Smith, Dame Judy Dench, Bill Nighy, Robert Redford, or Robert DeNiro in any of their outstanding roles.

I decided to ignore this “expert” advice and continued using boomers and their older siblings as protagonists in my novels and short stories. My determination paid off. In the fall of 2014, editor Johanna Melargno of the Wild Rose Press offered me a contract for 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.

Carlo had removed his suit jacket and rolled up the sleeves of his light blue dress shirt. His tie lay on the desk. The rumpled look suited him to a tee. And his large black-rimmed glasses accentuated those unforgettable blue eyes. Bluer than blue. Sky blue. Cornflower blue. Robin’s egg blue. Years ago, Adele Martino and I had come up with thirty-seven descriptions of Carlo Fantin’s eyes when Mrs. Gillespie assigned one of her Monday morning English composition exercises. As I tried to recall the other thirty-three, I realized that Carlo was speaking to me.

“…he’ll be taking notes as well.”

Darn! Another officer in the room, and I had missed his name and more importantly, his title. Was he a detective or a constable? I’m sure Sofia would know. In the meantime, I better stop daydreaming and start listening. I nodded in the direction of the beefy officer. Dark hair. Dark eyes. Expertly trimmed moustache. A big bear of a man who reminded me of Magnum P.I.

Carlo cleared his throat. He was ready to get down to business. Police business. “It appears that Carrie Ann was your first client. You haven’t opened this office for business yet. How did that happen?”

My heart raced as I spoke. “After Sofia and my mother left…I’m not certain about the time…um…I…I heard a knock at the front window. I looked up and saw Carrie Ann. Hadn’t seen her in ages.” I paused and then added, “Still wearing the same pageboy hair style and
that blonde color—”

Carlo waved his hand. “Stick to the facts, please.”

I felt myself reddening as those piercing blue eyes bored right through me.


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

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...
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


  1. So glad you stuck to your guns - as did the authors of the pieces you mentioned. Age becomes immaterial when you create a great plot and well-drawn characters.

    1. Hi Debra, I prefer reading novels that feature older protagonists. So, it would make sense to insert boomers in my own work. Thanks for dropping by. :)

  2. Those of us of a certain age are glad to have characters to whom WE can relate! Stay the course, Joanne! Great post, by the way!

    1. Thanks Linda! I couldn't agree more. I simply cannot get into the heads of 20something and 30something protagonists. :)

  3. I was so glad to read your post. I, too, have a very hard time relating to characters that are in their early 20's. Thank you for staying true to your vision and writing for avid readers who enjoy a character with has lived life.

    1. Hi Joan, We are a growing tribe of readers who know what we want. And I am always glad to discover authors who are writing for the boomer market. Thanks for dropping by. :)

  4. I am so happy to read your post! Why write only young people? Many young readers read books with older couples and have watched all the movies you listed.

    Your story is YOUR story. Someone may not like it for marketability sake, but someone else might.

    1. Hi Vicki, Good to see you here. When some of these movies came to my city, there were lineups of people waiting to get in during the opening weeks. And not all of them were over 50! I do agree - Your story is YOUR story and one must remain true to it. :)

  5. Happy you stuck to your guns. I enjoyed both your books with older protagonists and would read more. There are somewhere in the range of 93 Million baby boomers in North America (Born between 1946 and 1966) and stats show that over 50% of books bought are bought by women over 50! Our day is coming and you are on the leading edge.! Well done.

    1. Hi Mahrie, Thanks for your ongoing support! I've also enjoyed reading your books and look forward to more. Onward! :)

  6. Hi Joanne, thanks for sharing that tenacity can pay off!! I enjoyed the excerpt and have the book on my TBR pile :)

    1. Hi Jacquie, Good to see you here. I've often been compared to a dog with a bone. I simply won't let go of my writing dream and am determined to release at least one book a year. :)

  7. Always stay true to you passion, Joanne. The readers will feel it in your words.

    1. Excellent advice, Stanalei! As writers, we must honor our voices and write what moves us. :)

  8. Great post, Joanne! I learned a long time ago, never to listen about what's seling and what isn't.

    1. Thanks Ilona! As writers, we must learn to our hearts and try not to swayed by Top Amazon Picks. :)


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