Once upon a time, I was a baby. My hobbies were sleeping, yawning, crying, and drinking from a bottle.
Before becoming a writer, I worked at various jobs, including being a waitress, a lifeguard, and a secretary. Being a secretary meant that I had to wear pantyhose (ugh), high heels (double ugh), and behave in a serious manner (triple ugh). I also had to type a lot, file boring papers, and make coffee for the boss.
Writing is magic. It's a miracle. Think about it: With just 26 letters of the alphabet, a zillion different books may be written! Books can carry you like magic carpets, to other worlds and into other people's lives. You can become a cowgirl in a sparkly hat or a girl detective or Catwoman. You can be a Roller Derby Queen or a wizard or King of the World. If I were Queen of the World, everybody would have an ocean, lots of good food to eat, a warm house, tons of love, and a room full of books.
A turning point in my writing career came in 1993, when I won a scholarship to attend the Highlights Foundation Writers Workshops at Chautauqua. I'm forever grateful to the John Crane Memorial Scholarship. Also, the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators is a great resource.
I'm no longer the only writer in my house: my son Zach, who's now 32, had a poem in the book "Dream Makers" published in September of 2003 by Boyds Mills Press. The book is illustrated by the illustrious Neil Waldman.
Zach's photo is on the left (it's REALLY old, but I love it). Sadly, Zach now struggles with some very serious illnesses, which is heartbreaking. Looking for a positive, though, I believe that the experience has given me more empathy towards all. We humans are fragile creatures, and everybody carries some pain.
I played in a basement band for a few years with a bunch of fun guys: Pierre and Perry and Clark and Rob. Clark flew away to play with the angels a few years ago, and he now jams with Jerry Garcia. (An old dead rock star, kids.) I played for a short time with an all-woman band. It was fun. I got to be a rock star for a little bit. I'm hoping to someday form a band of children's book writers & illustrators. I think we'll call ourselves the Fuzzy Bunny Slippers or something like that. Perhaps we'll throw out books instead of guitar picks. We'll have our pictures on the cover of the Rolling Stone. Groupies will follow us. Oprah and Katie Couric will call, but maybe we'll be too busy.
We live in the little town Bowmansville, Pennsylvania. We have a dog named Sasha.
Connor (and his parents) and The Grands
My son Justin is grown up, and he lives nearby. Justin's ex-wife Christine modeled (as the grown-up diving-horse girl) for my book "The Girl on the High-Diving Horse." Justin & Christine made me a grandmother ("M'Mere") on May 18th, 2004!!!!!
I love being M'Mere. (That's the French word for Grandmother. I'm not French, but I like the way it sounds.) We now have a gang of Grands, some biological and some not. In September of 2014, a 1-year-old angel named Harper Blaine flew into our lives. Now 4, she's our sunshine, lighting up our house quite often.
What I Love
I have a fun life. I like my life. It's a wonderful life. I get to be alone a lot, but I also get to travel sometimes. I like learning new things. Zach and I learned to ski when he was a teen. I'm not good at it, but I try! During the pandemic, I got back to bicycling and started kayaking and hiking. (See, something positive came from something bad.) I swam with dolphins for the first time in the summer of '04. It was magical and mystical.
In July of 2010, I graduated from Vermont College with my MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. Yay! In 2012, I was honored in England with the Sunday Times EFG Short Story award, and I got to stay at Oxford University. It was like being in a Harry Potter book. Writing can take you places you'd never go otherwise.
Sometimes you just have to kick off your shoes, put your hair in cornrows, and DANCE!!! Left to right: Robin, Me, Sharon, Patsy (my cousins & sister-in-law)