I'm a native of New England, raised in Northern Maine. But now I live in North Carolina with my husband and son. I'm also owned by a flock of seven birds.
I have a B.S. degree in Chemistry.
I started to write when my husband told my good friend Debbie that he felt I could really write. Upon her telling me this I mulled it over in my head during the summer of 2009. In the Fall of the same year I had two unrelated surgeries within six weeks of each other. Seeing I had time I began to write and it's been a passion of mine since.
I'm a member of four writing groups, one of which I formed, a member of the NCWN and also the SCBWI. In 2013 I won a literary grant from the Art Council for my county. In May of 2014 I was hired as a freelance writer and photographer.
Two of my short stories were published in the anthology, "Cassandra's Roadhouse." In September of 2013 my children's book “Jasper, Amazon Parrot:A Rainforest Adventure” was released by Fountain Blue Publishing. With members of the writing group I started, The Wonder Chicks, we released an anthology called " Dragons in the Attic."
Tell us about your latest book.
My first book is entitled “Jasper, Amazon Parrot: A Rainforest Adventure” which is based on my Amazon parrot Jasper.
The story is located in the Amazon rainforest where our main character Jasper, along with his brother Willie live. The book starts off with the hatching of Jasper as he is born, grows and soon learns to fly. Which is important, for once he can do that he can explore a place that has many adventures and dangers if he isn't careful. Along with his brother and his friends Charlie, a squirrel monkey, and George, a sloth, they learn about family and friends and what it means to belong.
What do you have coming out in the future?
I was fortunate enough that volume 2 to my Jasper series has been picked up and will be released hopefully in 2015. Also I will be releasing a self published book called “Squirrel Mafia” which is based on my true life war with my backyard squirrels and the havoc they have done to Jasper and me. I will be releasing this short novel in January 2015. An anthology of short stories has also been picked up by a small independent house and we hope to have that released in 2015.
This is such a good question. I draw it from gosh just about everywhere. In my home from just being around my bird Jasper, I created my Jasper series and the squirrels in the back I created “Squirrel Mafia.” In my environment, now that I am a writer, I look at things differently just like as a photographer I view my world differently. I see my world, wherever that may be at the moment, as opportunities to stories and adventures. I have a short story called “The Door in the Tree” which was part of an anthology that was released in 2014. I had seen a picture prompt and we were to write a paragraph on that alone. From that came the story. Give me a picture or photo prompt I will most likely make it into a short story if not a book.
The world and everything in it, if you look at it with new eyes and outside the book, will give you so many things to write about.
What kind of books do you like to read?
The authors you will see on my bookshelves are Stephen King, Agatha Christie, James Patterson and Bentley Little. I have majority of their works some I have all. I love horror, drama, mystery and action. Anything that will take me away from my surroundings and transport me to a new world any world. If a book can't do that for me, it won't get finished. I want to laugh, I want to cry, I want to be scared and I want to experience things I never would experience and I want all of this to happen when I read. I been an avid reader since the age six and it has been a fun ride.
I been reading and reviewing books since 2010, I started with Booksneeze but now I review for a few sites and also on my own. This has given me the opportunity to read books I would never even consider picking up. I love that. So my genre of books I read is expanding.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I love to read, sketch, take pictures, walk, exercise, go to the movies, and listen to music. I'm a budding bird watcher, and I knit on the side. If that doesn't keep me busy, I'm a huge sports fan of baseball, basketball, hockey, and football.
New cover forthcoming
When I first started writing my Jasper book it was meant for my future grandchildren. Attending my writer groups I started getting really inspired. I decided to go for it and try to find a publisher for the book. I did the research with the purchase of the Writer's Market and the Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market as I made a list of possible publishers to submit my manuscript to. I checked online for other list of people I could use.
Once that was done I had to learn how to do a query letter. I was fortunate that in my Twitter family there were wonderful editors, publishers, and authors who had gone down this road or who were in the position that they read queries and submissions. They helped me out.
I also researched online and in reference books. I wanted it I needed it to be perfect. I did the same thing to learn how to do a cover letter.
I didn't go with an agent, for I had seen that there were many publishers who took on writers without agents so that is the route I went.
My mentality then is still what it is today. My mantra is, “All I need is one yes, just one yes.” A phrase I tapped to my computer screen to remind me of my goal. The rejection letters came, oh boy they came. But you know what? I took that as a badge of honor. It meant I was still submitting, I was not letting the rejections slow me down or even stop me. I was determined as I kept on sending submission after submissions.
It took a while but I kept at it. I knew that I had a second plan in my pocket. I could always self publish, something authors a few years was unheard of or was just so expensive. But I was relentless to find someone who loved my manuscript as much as I did.
This is where having a nice social platform came in handy. From Twitter I found my amazing editor Nancy whose work has received praise from publishers I submitted to. That wasn't all. On LinkedIn, after joining related writing groups, I started seeing publishers mentioning they were open for submission. I compiled a new list.
At this point my folder of rejections was starting to grow. Happily in 2013, in March, a publisher from San Francisco wrote me. She wanted to see the first chapter. I complied. She wrote back, She wanted to see the next two chapters. I complied. Soon she asked for the whole manuscript. She had the afternoon free and her business partner and she wanted to read the entire book. Again, I complied.
To coin a phrase, “The rest is history.” In March of 2013 I received the letter I been waiting to receive since I started on this journey, I had found a publisher for Jasper. It took me a while but I kept at it and was the stage that I wanted to be at.
Is your book a stand alone or a series?
My children's book is a series. It was not meant to be a series when I first started writing it down on paper. But the adventures just kept popping in my head. At the moment volume two has been picked up for publication and volume three is about 80 percent done. In my head I have ideas for the fourth.
Do you read the genre you write for or do you prefer other genres?
I do read the genre I write in, primarily because I been a reviewer since 2010. So when books come across the site that is in the genre of my book I happily pick them up. It gives me a change to explore writers and read their techniques and styles which are different from mine.
I do love mystery, action and drama for I love the suspense of trying to figure out what is going to happen at the end of the book.
Yes I have and I recommend them highly to anyone who is a writer. My first group is run out of a local library and I been a member since day one. My second group I found through meetup.com while searching for my local area. Each of these groups meet twice a month. I formed my own writing group of ladies and we call ourselves The Wonder Chicks.
And if that wasn't enough I joined yet another group so at the moment I stand at four. They are very helpful and supportive and brings my work to the level it needs to be at.
What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?
Editing. I simply hate it. I rather be sitting down at my desk, in a chair, at a coffee shop, heck anywhere that does not involve editing. I am getting better at it but I am truly grateful for my editor Nancy who is a wonderful and talented woman. While I will do the best I can to get it in good shape for her, I am clearly not at her level. Plus who wants to waste time editing? I know there many people who do, but not me. I rather be writing, plotting, scheming and developing a WIP instead of taking time from to edit.
How would you describe your writing style?
I write everything by hand. It just works better for me, it flows better. I rarely plan much on any given project, or at least not to the extent that I have an outline or extensive notes per WIP. I could write anywhere, so long the ideas are in my head waiting for me. I write on what I know. That could be just one line and writing a story about it or it could develop into a novel where majority of the themes and plots I pull from experience. But it all comes down, for me, on writing what I know, regardless how much that is or isn't.
I don't carefully plan my stories per say. I tend to have the ideas in my head and just go for it. Before I even start on page one I know the ending and the ups and downs I want to include in the story. Granted, once I start writing there are times the story takes over and it decides where it wants to go, something I have not figure out how it does that. At most, I will write down short choppy paragraphs on what my chaos will be and the major events that needs to occur. I will do a slight bio on each of my main characters. This is something I learned in a character developmental writing class. It gives me or rather it helps coordinate the story that is in my head. So while I do write portions down I don't really consider it careful planning.
When did you know you truly wanted to give writing a shot?
When the stories in my head started begging me to let them out. The time came when all I wanted to do was write. I couldn't explain it to myself or to my family. It was only when I joined a writing group that I realized I was not alone. It's a need that is inside of me, to have all these story lines, characters forming scenes and epic battles to where my mind gets so crowded I need to release them. But now my stories won't let me stop at just putting them on paper. They want more. And soon so did I.
I think the only people who get this feeling, this urge, this need is fellow writers. You know, I started writing late in my life, never once considered myself a writer, an author even. But now I can't imagine me without this being a part of my life. Writing.