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HOW I BECAME AN AUTHOR:

I was born one morning in January during a Missouri blizzard to a father that had been a professional football player who had previously supported himself by decorating windows in high priced department stores and to a mother who loved romance languages and the performing arts. My maternal grandfather was a circuit riding preacher. My maternal grandmother was a James, cousin to Jessie and I have been told my paternal lineage included Henry VIII.

When I was two weeks old we moved to Iowa where I grew up in a lovely small college town. It was usually in the summertime we’d all sit on the front porch on warm balmy evenings while taking turns making up stories, reading books out loud, or ending up at the movies. Swimming and picnics at the lake were also a family pastime. My two sisters and I loved to dress up and walk to hear a band concert held in the gazebo bandstand in a park located in the center of the town. I spent a lot of my youth on horseback. My friend and I would pack our saddlebags with peanut butter sandwiches and canteens filled with cold fruit punch. We’d pretend we were Mountain Sal and Cactus Lil traveling in search of adventure on our trusty mounts along the dusty Iowa country roads. I also remember having a rather large bug collection on our screened-in back porch, caught to make homes for them in glass canning jars. I loved to play hide-and-seek and chase lightening bugs in the dark with the neighborhood kids. My father would go fishing for bass and catfish with my uncles who were also great story tellers. It was during this informative growing up time that I learned to love the many ways in which a story could be told. More formal training included lessons on the piano, dancing, the cello, and singing; recitals for piano and dance, a traveling string quartet and musicals were the culmination of such training. The cello didn’t last too long because I didn’t like lugging it around and often wished it had wheels. I did manage to perform for a year or two in a fun loving string quartet. I’d sing solos in the church choir, for a wedding, and played the church organ.

By age twelve for school I had written and directed my first play; a Christmas play that was such a melodrama it made some of the mothers cry. While in highschool, I performed leading roles on stage and won state contests in interpretive readings. As a highschool graduation gift, I took a train to California and studied at the Pasadena Playhouse. Though it was a successful venture and I was offered a return scholarship, mother was determined that I should go into nursing. The fall of that same year, I was sent to a Big Ten university. While there, I was drawn like a moth to the university theatre department and performed in a lot of senior plays. My grades, however, decided the length of my stay and that I was definitely not a welcome candidate for a career in medicine. I was rescued from my failure by a handsome hometown college recruiter who picked me up in a limousine at my dorm, took me to dinner and offered me a full drama scholarship. During this college scholarship, I appeared in plays and musicals, wrote, directed, and televised my own show. I also won a scholarship to the Black Hills Playhouse for the summer of my senior year and a return scholarship for the following summer. These ongoing opportunities continued to make my mother unhappy. Realizing her affections were becoming ever more alienated, I moved away from home and traveled to Washington D.C. where I worked for WTTG, Channel 5 and an executive placement service.

Longing to return to California, I finally made it back and taught for John Robert Powers and Don Loper finishing schools. An opportunity was set up for me to screen test for Paramount Studios, but once more impossible obstacles of life intervened. As the years went by, I worked as a corporate secretary, married and had children -- a son and a daughter. When my daughter was in her teens, both she and my husband talked me into going back to school. I felt so hopelessly out-of-it that I sat on the sofa believing there was no way I could do this. My daughter was especially positive and persuasive. To make a long story shorter, I finished my bachelor’s degree, went straight on to my master’s degree, and completed my doctorate. I still look back and wonder how I did it, especially through horrendous life diversions. However, in the doing, I discovered my eclectic background had a purpose. It provided the direction from all the closed doors of the past – writing!

To this very day I still live and write (yes, even through life’s diversions) in California in a tri-level 1918 cottage with my daughter and husband, a silver miniature schnauzer named Sasha and a tiny Yorkshire Terrier/Shi Tzu called Truffle. We have a huge garden with a natural creek, a blue tile reflection pool, and two Koi ponds - one pond has a foot bridge at the bottom of a waterfall. There are rose arbors under which can be found alabaster wrought iron settees. Oaks, Italian cypress, junipers, decorative plum, crepe myrtles, avocado, lemon, lime, orange, and camellia trees grow along a hillside brick staircase lined with tall white French lamps. Cozy nooks with classic sculptures and fountains, a garden house, tool sheds, and a summer house all enhance the garden's pleasure. Close is a refuge park that provides us with a wonderful array of natural California flora and wildlife that all who live near work diligently to protect.

The books I write are based on the fact that I have been a romantic all of my life. I have a longing to write stories that last through more than one hundred pages and are hard to put down. This is the premise for my novels. Finding this niche for historical writing happened to me only in experiencing an arduous journey sustained by the passion for life I inherited from my father and belief in the promise sent by God to all of humanity. To me, few individual earthly joys can surpass a garden, soft music, and a good book. It is my fondest wish that you will find this special time away from the burdens and cares of your day in the stories I have to tell.
 

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