I was born on June 14th, smack dab in the middle of the 20th century in Evansville, Indiana. As the second of five children with an enormous extended family, my needs and wants have always reflected my Gemini personality. For years, all I craved was a little bit of attention and a quiet place to read and write.
The first books I can remember choosing were Nancy Drew mysteries, and my own first attempts at writing were about a wide-eyed young girl named Nadine Malone who performed glorious and brave deeds with absolutely no forethought, training or education. After I moved beyond Carolyn Keene’s insidious influence, I advanced to an incongruous reading mix of J. D. Salinger, Grace Metalious, Robert Heinlein, Georgette Heyer, and Erich Segal. During my teen years, my alter ego—Brooke Barrett--wrote and illustrated a slim volume of poems called ‘The Daisy Book’ which has sadly been lost or destroyed, along with many short stories that were filled with the earnest, yet hopeful angst of first loves, lost loves, and loves that were thwarted by a cruel and twisted fate.
At my first real job—in a library, actually—a good friend and co-worker introduced me to her gorgeous and brilliant brother. While the meeting wasn’t, strictly speaking, love at first sight on either side, it was certainly the beginning of a friendship that developed into a flirtation, that expanded into a deep and abiding love that has lasted a lifetime.
With love and marriage, real-life intruded, bringing with it real jobs, two very real and beautiful children, and corporate moves throughout the mid-west that uprooted us every couple of years. After stops in St. Louis, Iowa City, and Indianapolis, we landed in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1991 and have been here ever since. While I’ve tried my hand at any number of jobs and professions, activities and hobbies, reading a good book has always been a favorite past time, and my dream of being a published author never entirely faded.
One day I read in the Cincinnati Enquirer about a local writers’ conference. I called the number listed in the paper, talked with the enthusiastic president of the Ohio Valley chapter of the Romance Writers of America, and made a reservation to attend. After that first conference--featuring Mary Jo Putney and Patricia Rice--I was totally revved up and determined to dust off my imagination and my writing skills and see if I could do it—if I could write a book. Come to find out, I could. I could write more than one.
Since joining RWA and OVRWA my goals have changed over the years from attempting to write a book, to learning the craft of writing, to seeing if I could sell a manuscript. Real life still intrudes a little more often than I’d like, but somehow, I’ve managed to complete six contemporary novels and attend more local, regional, and national conferences than I can remember. And for my efforts, I have drawers full of rejection letters, but also, I’ve been blessed with more than my share of talented and supportive friends as well as a rewarding number of writing-related accomplishments. If I haven't mentioned it yet, I have been lucky enough to have been named a Golden Heart finalist five times and I’ve been the recipient of two GH wins, the Maggie Award of Excellence, as well as winning and placing in many other local contests.
And I’m still determined. Each year: I strive to write the best book I can. I strive to improve my writing and story-telling skills. Each year I dream of signing my first book contract. My group of author friends runs the gamut from the unpublished slogging their way through their first chapters to the multi-published ones camping out on the New York Times bestseller’s list and to every level in-between. It’s been my observation that the driving forces necessary to achieving a career as a professional writer are perseverance and confidence. I can do it.
I know I can.