Why I Started Writing:
I have always enjoyed being creative with stories, music, and art. Those interests led me to create skits for church, as a teen. When I became a music teacher and church musician, I wrote scripts and composed music for church musicals, school productions, and two community theater experiences. About four years before I retired, I decided to write a book. I took my manuscript to a conference and found out I had much to learn. I used those four years to educate myself by attending workshops, conferences, and critique groups. Since June of 2021, I have enjoyed retirement, grandchildren, and writing.
Authors Who Have Influenced Me:
When I was a young teen, my grandmother introduced me to Grace Livingston Hill's Christian romances. I became an avid reader and then got hooked on the Heartsong series. After reading those stories, I decided I wanted to write a book like the ones in that series.
I get a kick out of Mary Conneally's western romances. They are humorous and though my humor isn't quite as rambunctious, my critique partner has found places to laugh about the characters I've created.
As far as children's books, Laura Ingalls Wilder and Louisa May Alcott are authors I enjoyed reading when growing up. Jo was brave enough to become a writer, why couldn't I do the same. The drawings by Garth Williams in the Little House books have influenced my artistic style. I enjoy the illustrations in most picture books. As a child I loved the antics of Curious George and the adventures of Babar. If I had to pick a favorite picture book, it would be Where the Wild Things Are. The art and the story are truly classics. As a mom, I read that one over and over to my boys.
Books I Have Written:
My Christian romances include On Cue and Free to Love-a prequel to On Cue, published by Mt. Zion Ridge Press. On Cue is a contemporary romance about a couple forced to produce a musical together, which will save the local historical museum. Free to Love is the prequel which features the heroine from the first book researching poetic historical journals in order to write the musical. She discovers a romance that happened along the Underground Railroad, which is the main plot of this split time piece.
I have contributed art and worksheets for educational collections of lesson plans and have written the following work-for-hire grade-leveled readers. Sidetracked is a historical fiction chapter book about two boys and their troubles on an early American train. Skateboarding is non-fiction. It is a Hi-Lo book, meaning it has a limited vocabulary but the subject might be of interest to any reader from second grade to middle school.
From the Lake to the River is an anthology of Christian stories by Mt. Zion Ridge Press. My contribution was Fred's Gift. I also contributed devotionals to two collections by the Southern Christian Writers Conference. Those titles are: Christmas Blessings and Day by Day edited by Cheryl Wray.
What I'm Working On Now:
For Elk Lake, I am working on a chapter book with the current title, Dottie's Dream Horse. During WWII times Dottie wants a horse, but may have to settle for the mule that lives on their farm, if she can overcome her fear of heights long enough to take a ride. I'm brainstorming some other historical settings where a mule might be part of another chapter book. I am excited that my illustrations will be part of the book. Many other children's manuscripts are in progress and looking for a home.
For Mt. Zion Ridge Press, I am working on the third novel for the On Cue/Free to Love trilogy. I have several ideas to continue stories from the community I created for those books.