I am happy to have a guest post by author Joanne Guidoccio, as she shares...
Life Lessons from Maeve Binchy
When I attended my first critique group, one of the writers commented: “Your stories remind me of Maeve Binchy’s books. Have you read them?”
Like many of her fans, I mourn the fact that there will not be another Maeve Binchy novel. I will also miss Maeve’s wonderful advice.
Here are my favorite life lessons from Maeve Binchy:
Maeve was blessed with parents who thought “all their geese were swans.” As an overweight child who did not excel athletically, Maeve appreciated the warmth and positive feedback she received. Later, she met and married Gordon Snell, a writer who also believed that Maeve could do anything.
In her novels, Maeve extended this positive reinforcement to her characters. She once explained: “I don’t have ugly ducklings turning into swans in my stories. I have ugly ducklings turning into confident ducks.”
Accept all gifts
In the early 1960s, Maeve worked in a Jewish school in Dublin where she taught French to Lithuanian children. At the end of the academic year, the parents gave her a trip to Israel as a present. At the time, Maeve had no spending money, but she went on the trip anyway and worked in a kibbutz—plucking chickens and picking oranges.
To reassure her parents, she regularly describing her adventures. Impressed with her writing, her father cut off the “Dear Daddy” bits and sent the letters to The Irish Times. Equally impressed, the editor published her letters as travel articles and later hired her as a columnist.
When Maeve began writing stories and novels, she was still working as a journalist. She woke up each day at five-thirty and worked for three hours at the typewriter before going to work. To motivate herself on those dark mornings, she started to visualize the launch party for her first book. She imagined large crowds of people gathering and paying her compliments.
After several rejections, her first novel (Light a Penny Candle) was accepted, but the publisher had no intention of hosting a launch party. Maeve didn’t miss a beat. She spent two hundred pounds, one-fifth of her advance, and organized her own party in a room over a pub, complete with wine and crisps. She invited family, friends, booksellers, and the publisher “who cringed with the shame of it all.” In the end, it was such a good experience that Maeve sat down and wrote another book.
Success is not a pie where everyone who gets a slice has somehow diminished what’s left for everyone else. Maeve believed that success was “more like a cairn, a heap of stones where the more each person gets, the more it adds to the general body of work out there.” She urged aspiring writers to “borrow” the techniques of successful writers and present them in their own unique voices.
And, most important of all, keep at it.
by Joanne Guidoccio
GENRE: Paranormal Romance
On the day of her engagement party, an ex-mermaid’s life is disrupted by the unexpected arrival of another mermaid—a sister she has never known. Under normal circumstances, Barbara Davies would be overjoyed, but her special day is already wrought with tension. While Barbara is not the first mermaid from the Mediterranean kingdom to settle in small town Ontario, she has yet to reveal her origins to her fiancé. So when Arabella, the gorgeous sister whose disturbing black eyes banished her to the island of Crete, saunters into her life, clutching the arm of Barbara’s discarded lover, a powder keg of emotion is released.
Relationships falter and careers stall as envy stirs in the hearts of the sisters. On the verge of meltdown after her fiancé leaves Canada for a teaching job in Vermont, Barbara flees to Arizona hoping for a reprieve. There, she finds solace at a retreat for ex-mermaids and a second chance at love with a charismatic preacher. As she contemplates a new life in the desert paradise of Sedona, shocking secrets emerge and tragedy strikes. A stronger and wiser Barbara rises up to face these new challenges and embrace the best parts of her mermaid heritage.
Arabella threw back her shoulders and gazed down at Barbara. With her heels, she was almost a head taller. “What I need is a relationship with you.”
“A relationship with me?” Barbara repeated. She had been prepared for almost any response but not that one.
“That’s right. BFFs, soul sisters, whatever you want to call those tight bonds these humans have.”
Barbara’s eyes widened. “Do you even know or understand the concept of BFF?”
“Of course, I do. A BFF is a best friend forever. You’re my twin sister. You can’t get any closer than that.”
“It doesn’t work that way,” Barbara said. “You can’t order up BFFs. Friends have the same value systems and look out for each other. I can’t imagine you doing that for me.”
“Or you doing that for me,” Arabella said. “Mama’s explained all the reasons you’ve been avoiding me, and I do understand the envy and bitterness.” She shuddered. “I can’t imagine losing everything like you did. I don’t know what I would do. But that’s neither here or there. I’m a part of your life, whether you like it or not. And I’m not going anywhere. So, you better start being nice to me.”
“Are you threatening me?”
Arabella smiled and tossed her hair. “Everyone in your circle likes me. How would it look if you ignored me?”
Buy Links for The Coming of Arabella
by Joanne Guidoccio
by Joanne Guidoccio
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
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.
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