It’s been a year since a women I admired, loved and had the great joy to call friend, lost her battle to brain cancer. I still think of her every day and the profound influence her tenacious spirit had on my life and writing. I miss her. I wish you could have known her.

But the woman who maybe knew her best, my friend Sharon Wray, wrote this beautiful tribute and even if I tried, I couldn’t do better.

Be inspired. I know I am. Always.

Kiss and Thrill

March 4, 2014, I lost my best friend to brain cancer. She was barely 50 yeas old.

Since it’s been almost a whole year, and I still think about her every day, my Kiss and Thrill sisters have graciously allowed me to post the eulogy I wrote for her funeral.

I hope it gives you the courage you need to prevail in your own battles.
KEMJ picture_cropped (JPEG)Nine years ago, I stood in Starbucks with a latte in one hand and my laptop case in the other, eyeing two empty seats near the window.

And I hesitated.

The last two free chairs were flanked by sketchy-looking men. The one on the left, in black jeans, dirty boots and leather jacket, was working on his laptop with files and a motorcycle helmet spread out on the empty table next to him.

So, to sit there, I’d have to ask him to move his…

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I was delighted to share my thoughts on writing setting with the terrific folks at WRITERS IN THE STORM blog. Hope you enjoy!

It’s been weeks since you’ve heard a peep out of me. The holidays brought lot of drama to my house, from concussions to allergic reactions to the death of a beloved family pet that really almost did us all in.

But the New Year is bringing exciting and challenging new journeys for me. I’m hard at work on my next novel and…With the launch for THE RIVER WITCH coming up soon, I’ve been lucky to find so much support within the writing community, had many generous offers of advice for promotions, reviews, all the ways a girl has to reach out through social media and to traditional media (something I’m still working up my nerve to tackle) and basically keeping me from losing my mind as I’ve been busy building a new website.

So this post is first, to say thanks. Because as isolating as the writing life can be, I’m finding that some of the friendships I’ve found in the last year are among the most cherished of my life. And I figure this way, when I crack up on you guys in a few months, you’ll forgive me and take pity and send me good things to eat.

And then, I wanted to announce that there’s a new website! You can find me, all things to do with my writing and my blog, at!

I hope you’ll all visit the new website where this blog’s posts have all been transferred and reconnect with me there! Be patient, as the graphics will be changing while I work on getting things just right. It’s all still a little clunky, but I just couldn’t wait to share with you. And if you have the time, I’ve posted a couple of chapters from THE RIVER WITCH underneath BOOKS. Take a peek!



When the River Meets the Sea

December 22, 2011

I’ve just finished revisions on my novel and my thoughts are very focused on the magic that brings themes together, the essence of the human story, actually. We’re all in this together, connected, eternally changing and learning and growing, and still ever the same. There is wonder in being part of something larger than ourselves, and comfort in the cycle of all living things.

Christmas decorations are up and I’ve been baking up a storm. But today I put on my favorite Christmas album to find a little peace in the middle of all the activity. It’s nearly seventy degrees outside in north Georgia, and a murky morning, but I’m drinking my coffee and feeling tucked in a warm cocoon in the soft glow of my Christmas lights.

It’s corny, I know. But that’s why I love it. So I’m sharing a song with you today and I hope you’ll take a minute to listen and ponder the words and what they mean in your own lives. Because I find that after all my hard work and hours of searching, it turns out maybe the Muppets knew what the season — and the story — were about, all along.

Merry Christmas.

When The River Meets the Sea

Sometimes a story comes along that immediately connects with us in a secret place. Some way or other, this author, a stranger, has found out your inner workings and put them on a printed page. Even better, when a story makes you aware that those experiences we work so hard to hide or deny, are universal. You’ll find yourself calling a friend or turning to a spouse or chatting online, because a door has been opened. It’s like we’ve been given permission to explore, to speculate, to share and to cherish that which, of course, turns out not to be so hidden or secret after all.

Author Sheila Deeth’s latest novel, FLOWER CHILD, is one of those stories; a brave exploration of the “curious relationship between a grieving mother and an unborn child who’s not quite ghost or angel.” The novel begs many questions. In the midst of such loss, do emotions distort reality? Could you let yourself believe the impossible if it could restore the one you loved? You’ll lie awake contemplating to what lengths you might go to preserve your own life, and whether you’ve known love great enough to lay down that life for someone else? Deceptively simple and poignantly effervescent, this gentle novel speculates over the limits of memory, the fine line between faith and fantasy, and that place where intellect fails us, revealed only in dreams.

Recently, Sheila said something to me in an email that I believe will represent the wisdom and unique perspectives found in this beautiful piece of fiction.

“Sometimes I think reading is a window into the needs of other souls.”

I couldn’t agree more, Sheila. I’m so glad you’re here today for this interview. Welcome!

What is your favorite quality in a person?   Trust probably. I admire people who are trustworthy, and admire them more if they’re also willing to trust.

What is your least?  Always expecting the worst is probably my least favorite quality–in others and in me.

As a child, did you dream of becoming a writer?
Once I got over dreaming of being a trapeze artist (it was never going to happen) I decided to be a writer. Somehow I became a mathematician instead, but I still had dreams, and stories.

Who/what influenced you to pursue your dreams? My Mum influenced me a lot–she’s always been my greatest fan. My oldest son insisted that if I was going to tell bedtime stories they had to be in a book, so I guess he influenced me to believe it was worth writing something–not that he’d dream of reading my writing now. And the author Jane Kirkpatrick influenced me–oddly enough, I “won” an hour of her time a few years ago and she told me I was a writer. Her encouragement helped me keep going when the rejection slips stacked up.

What is your greatest love?  My faith I think. With a Catholic Dad and Methodist Mum it was something I always had to think about, and it always seemed to reward the time I spent thinking. I love reading the Bible. I love science and math and history. I love words. I love telling stories. Oh, and I love dogs!

What is your greatest fear?  Rejection–that’s a crazy fear to have as a writer–those rejection slips do pile up. But rejection’s always been my greatest fear. Of course, I’m also scared of spiders, moths, wasps and other such things.

What is your favorite place? Anywhere I can curl up with a book? My Mum’s favorite place is that path in Yellowstone where you stand right on top of the waterfall–not a good location for reading, but it’s probably one of my favorite spots too. And the glaciers in Alaska–I saw them for the first time last month. And the Grand Canyon… How many answers do you want? The advantage of curling up with a book is it can take me anywhere.

If you could give a bit of sage advice to novice writers, what would it be? Keep writing. Keep reading. And never be afraid to delete something.

Where to find Flower Child:
Her website

About the author:Sheila Deeth grew up in the UK and has a Bachelors and Masters in mathematics from Cambridge University, England. Now living in the States with her husband and son, she enjoys reading, writing, drawing, telling stories, running a local writers’ group, and meeting her neighbors’ dogs on the green.
Sheila describes herself as a Mongrel Christian Mathematician. Her short stories, book reviews and articles can be found in

VoiceCatcher 4, Murder on the Wind, Poetic Monthly, Nights and Weekends, the Shine Journal and Joyful Online. Besides her Gypsy Shadow ebooks, Sheila has several self-published works available from Amazon and Lulu, and a full-length novel under contract to come out next year.

Find her on her website:

or find her books at:

Last week I was surprised to be challenged by fellow bloggers extraordinaire, Jolina Petersheim and Julia Monroe Martin, to the 7 Links Challenge. Well, folks, the first challenge was to figure out how to link something to my blog. Yes, it’s true. I am lost most of the time when it comes to point and click. So, see those little highlighted names back there? I’m proud of that. Hope it does the trick.

Now that I’ve already broken a sweat this morning, here are my seven links — a true feat, considering my blog is fairly new and I’m just happy to be here, telling my stories!

Thanks, Jolina for such a sweet encouragement!

Most Beautiful Post: The Wonder That’s Keeping The Stars Apart

I was pleased with this post and found so much beauty in the legacy of this woman. The image of her, looking beyond herself and her world in search of something greater, moved me.

Most Popular Post: What She Would Have Said

I’d like to think it was because of my wit and deft command of language, but really this post was most popular because it was my first and many friends and family came out to support the new blog. Either that, or people liked the picture of this tough little woman.

Most Controversial Post: A Story That Seeps To The Bone — Alma Katsu Interview

Now, the interview itself may not be controversial. But Alma is one of a kind and that tends to turn hairs. Her novel may not be for everyone, it may be a tough read, tackling the darker natures of mankind, but that’s why I chose to celebrate her. She is a strong-minded woman who is a gifted writer and her work may make you cringe or turn away, but I guarantee it will also make you think.

Most Helpful Post: Endurance And Authenticity — Jessica McCann Interview

While all of my interviews are helpful, this post exemplifies what I’ve found most authors have in common — not only the kind of characteristics that I believe can make you a successful writer, but also a successful person. People like Jessica, improve the world.

Most Surprisingly Successful Post: Hemingway Would Have Bought Her A Drink

Apparently, ghosts and Hemingway and drinking will get you some attention. I had a good time sharing the account of watching this woman at the Hemingway Bar in Paris. Here is the seed of a story. She still enchants me.

Post That Didn’t Get Attention: The Band Played On

All right. I know. It was a sappy memory. But it was one of those posts that sneaks up on you, unplanned. And it made me cry, listening to that old recording.

Post I Am Most Proud Of: She Began To Sing To Me

I probably should have been most proud of the post where I mentioned my wedding anniversary, but that would have been a post about my greatest blessings, not a matter of pride. So, I chose this post, which includes the first excerpt from I’ve shared from my upcoming novel. If you know me, this is a big deal. I’m just learning to talk about my writing with others.

And now here are five other bloggers (boy, this was hard!) who I enjoy reading and who I now nominate for the continuation of the 7 Links Challenge:

Amy Sue Nathan: Women’s Fiction Writer’s

Erika Robuck: Muse

Robin O’Bryant: Robin’s Chicks

Misty Barrere: Writing And Research: What Have We Gotten Ourselves Into

Susanna Kearsley: Not-A-Blog

Careful what you wish for. That’s what Alma Katsu’s book THE TAKER whispers long after the cover has been closed. You’ll hear it, a small voice on a breeze. A cool warning to check your motives and expect them to find you out. Think twice about obsessions that lead you down winding paths. Inspect the lessons in your life and see if they hold true. And most of all, take courage. True love can overcome our greatest fears. Perhaps even conquer death. If you’re willing to pay the price…

Alma’s dark and lascivious story may not be for everyone — and folks, it will turn some hairs white and make some skin crawl, and probably offend the gentler souls among us. But the writing will transport you. It will make you look over your shoulder. And like all genius storytellers, Alma’s gift to the reader is a story that seeps into the bone and becomes your own. Like it or not.

I’m honored to have you here today, Alma. Welcome!

“Alma Katsu takes the reader by surprise in the first chapter of her mesmerizing debut and never stops delivering. What a wonderful book! A dark, gothic, epic worth savoring. A sweeping story that transcends time as it moves effortless from the tempestuous past to the frightening present. Enchanting and enthralling! No question—I was taken!”
—M.J. Rose, international bestselling author

“Alchemy and love prove a volatile mix in Katsu’s vividly imagined first novel, which toggles between the present and the past… Katsu shows considerable skill in rendering a world where Adair’s unspeakable evilness and Lanny’s wild passion make the supernatural seem possible. The result is a novel full of surprises and a powerful evocation of the dark side of romantic love.”
—Publishers Weekly

“Alma Katsu’s THE TAKER is a frighteningly compelling story about those most human monsters—desire and obsession. It will curl your hair and keep you up late at night.”
—Keith Donohue, NYT bestselling author of The Stolen Child

What is your favorite quality in a person?

I don’t think I have a favorite quality. I don’t mean for this to sound flip, but I try now to appreciate people for who they are. I’ve had to work at this. For many years, I was shaped by my career, where I had to manage teams working under very high pressure, and tended to view the people in terms of what I needed from them (which was the ability to work under high pressure!) Now I realize that just about everyone has something interesting and unique to share with the world if we slow down & pay attention. I don’t mean to sounds Pollyannish. I realize there are some people who don’t deserve your attention, but you have to at least give them a chance. I also try to learn something from everyone I meet.

What is your least?

Close-mindedness. The world is a big place, full of things you haven’t even begun to imagine. I don’t understand people who think they have the answer to everything.

As a child, did you dream of becoming a writer?

Oh yes, from elementary school. I had no idea how to do this, though, no role model. The only job I saw (at the time) that paid you to write was as a newspaper reporter, so that was how I started. It was helpful in that I got to be around writers. But making the jump to fiction seemed like an impossibility.

Who/what influenced you to pursue your dreams?

I grew up in a very practical family, so I wasn’t encouraged to be a writer. I’m from the generation that was told not to take risks and to get a safe job. I’m not saying I got me bad advice: my father lived through the Depression, my mother was a child in Japan during WWII. They knew firsthand that life could be tough and uncertain. I ended up following their advice and as a result, had a long government career. Luckily, it turned out well.

But at a certain point in my life, I wanted to try again to write fiction. I didn’t think I’d get published; I just wanted to see if I could master a craft that was so complex and unquantifiable.

What is your greatest love?

Wow, that’s a tough one. I’d have to say my husband. We’ve been together over twenty years and I’ve learned a lot about life from this relationship. But if you asked what my purest love was, I’d say my dogs. Especially the one I raised from a pup. That’s probably the closest thing I’ve felt to unconditional love, because it’s impossible for them to hurt me.

What is your greatest fear?

I try really hard not to be afraid of things. What’s the worst that could happen? You experience pain, maybe you die. You’re going to die anyway. I’ve had to face some terrible fears in my life and luckily, I was young & strong enough to deal with them. I know I probably won’t be so lucky when I’m older.

What is your favorite place?

Lying on the couch in my office where I write, preferably with my dogs. It’s so comfortable.

If you could give a bit of sage advice to novice writers, what would it be?

It’s about the journey, not the destination. Trite but true. You’ll have the most fun figuring out how to write your story, so try to concentrate on that and not let yourself get anxious over finding an agent and selling your book.

The Band Played On

October 5, 2011

There’s a song in my head since I woke up this morning. I haven’t heard it since I was a little girl, a long while now, but it’s still there. Just as clear as a bell. I know every lyric and I am taken back to a time when I twirled in sock feet across the slick top of my grandmother’s living room coffee table. She had an old record, so thick and stiff it was like glass. I loved the sound of it, the hissing and scratching when she’d put it on the enormous record player, the needle touching down with a little gasp before the music would start. And then, I’d watch my grandmother’s face. One breath, two. No matter how many times I made her play that song, or how she protested and begged me to settle for a different tune, no dice. Because none of her other records did what this one could do. With the first strains of that melody, the corner of her mouth would lift.


There was a story in the song. It was simple: a boy and a girl, dancing, thrilling to one another. That was enough to make me love it. And trust me, I didn’t need an excuse to get up on that table and perform waltz after waltz, all dolled up in my grandmother’s square-dancing slip, delighted with the way those skirts billowed out around my little legs. I knew my grandmother was smiling at me. I was a little queen, then. But she had another smile, a secret smile, one I’d never seen before. It puzzled me and bothered me and made me dance harder and wilder, trying to pull her attention back to the wonder of me.

For the first time, I must have realized the woman in the little farmhouse – the person I thought I knew everything about, whom I believed had set her days to revolve solely around our family – had lived a life before us. Each time she played the waltz, I caught a glimpse of that girl. A stranger. A mystery. A pure wonder.

She taught me to make biscuits. She taught me the Lord’s Prayer. She taught me other things, too, like how to manipulate or regret decisions. She was quick to laugh, quick to judge, full of such pride in her family and weighed down with sorrows for brothers she couldn’t redeem. She loved her work, but never felt she was a smart woman. She loved her husband, and they were a gruff pair. She could work like a man in the summer garden, always lamented that she couldn’t grow a rose, and she never missed an epidsode of ‘Dallas,’ come Friday night. I knew all of this and I remember her that way to my children.

But today, I’ll put on a waltz. Because I know the corner of my mouth will lift, so like hers. And my daughter will wonder. She’ll watch me and weigh all the things she understands about my life against all the things she fears and hopes for her own, and she will tuck away the seed of what my grandmother’s waltz taught me.

She had a secret…

The Band Played On

It’s rare that you’ll come across an individual like Kathryn Magendie — in fact, I don’t believe you’re likely to find another. She is unique in many ways, a quirky little soul who is kind and full of laughter, bubbling with energy and a quick wit. She looks at the world (and believe me, she is looking) with a twinkle in her elfish eye. Don’t let her fool you. Her stories are described as unflinching, bittersweet, haunting and poignant. And I would say the same of this wise mountain woman, herself.


I’m delighted to share this interview with you because I love Kathryn’s spirit and I love the way that spirit inhabits her books.

Welcome, Kathryn!


What is your favorite quality in a person?


Honesty. And that word means more than first apparent, because, to me, honesty means being authentic and respectful, among other things. It doesn’t mean someone uses the word “honesty” to spout off hurtful words to others under the guise of “I’m just being honest with you because I’m just the one to do it; you know, dear, if you can’t take a little criticism why don’t you grow a backbone, bless your heart . . .”


Really, if one were to pick apart some “honesty” or “let me tell you what I think because apparently you aren’t aware of what everyone thinks about you” they’d find some hidden motivations—envy/jealousy, lack of respect, fear, etc.


You’ll know Respectful Honesty when it inspires you to be a better person, when you feel positive and alive instead of negative and discouraged.



What is your least?


Lack of respect/dishonesty. Dig into the words and find the truth/honesty of them and discard the rest as rubbish (I just love saying/writing “rubbish” – it’s such a British term and makes me grin.)


As a child, did you dream of becoming a writer?


Naw, I don’t really recall it. However, my mom says I did and if a mom says something, then it has to be true, right?  I vaguely remember winning a first-place prize for a short story I wrote in eighth grade, but I do not remember what it was about. No one really said anything more about it, so I suppose I just shrugged it off. But I also remember somewhere around that time writing a horror story and the school called my parents, alarmed about its content—lawd! My parents called me into their room, all serious, and I was so baffled. I said, “It was just a story. I just made up some stuff.” I don’t write horror because apparently I can tap into some awful dark stuff *laugh*


When I was a child, it was all about books and libraries and the book-mobile. I was a reading fool. I lived for books—my sanctuary from a chaotic life was the library, and the books inside were my friends and comforters and the ones to take me away to places where I’d rather be with the characters than where I really was (and oft-times the characters were animals—I went through a mighty dog, horse, wolf stage!).


Who/what influenced you to pursue your dreams?


My mother often said, “You can do anything. You can be anything.” But I didn’t believe that because . . . well, because of other influences in my life. Three things started me on this journey to believing in myself and what I do, even if I was in my forties before it all clicked.


The first were English instructors Barbara Gray and Robin Becker, who both strongly, emphatically, advised me to write fiction. So I did begin to pursue it, and something awakened in me long sleeping.


Then, I connected with a group of women writers who supported and encouraged each other. With the groups’ further encouragement, I began to think I may have some kind a “gift.” I am still friends with these women years later and we still support each other.


But I have to give credit to my best friend Angie Ledbetter, before we became besties, for kicking my butt repeatedly until I wrote my first novel, what would become Tender Graces—until she did that, I never thought I could write a novel, and now here I am working on novel four. Though I say this about her often, I don’t think she recognizes just how danged glad I am I met her and she kicked my sorry butt.


And all during this time, my husband GMR (Good Man Roger) has supported me in so many ways, and without that, I may not have been able to pursue this writing life.



What is your greatest love?


You know, always I used to say “the words, the language, the writing, the books,” because it consumes my life and I know with a bit of sadness and a bit of “you are so self-indulgent, Kathryn!” that I have sacrificed family and friends to do this thing. But when it comes down to it, if some Great Powerful Poombahdoo came down and said, “Choose between your books/writing and your family/friends! Choose Low-ling Human!” Well, one look at my loved ones faces would have me choosing right quick, even if I’d become Not Who I Am without my words. But since there isn’t some Great Powerful Poombahdoo from the Planet AngryArseButt, I don’t have to choose. I can have my books/writing and my family/friends too! Ain’t life grand?


What is your greatest fear?


Losing what and who I love:


Something interfering with my ability to write and/or read; I just can’t fathom that kind of loss.


But losing a loved one is my greatest fear of all. I’ve lost dearest loved ones, much too soon and unexpectedly (including a brother and half-brother), and it is terrifying. “Lost” sounds so strange, as if they are somewhere and I’ll stumble upon them, “Oh, there you are. Where have you been?” Well, if wishes were horses, I’d ride off to find them and bring them back home.


What is your favorite place?
I have three, if you don’t mind, because it is hard to separate them. One is where I live my life and find my peace when I walk amongst these mountains and nature and serenity: here in my cove at Killian Knob in the Great Smoky Mountains in Haywood County. When my friends and family I miss so much visit here, there is a hole patched in the universe.


But, a big poignant gigantic piece of my heart and longing remains in Oregon where my son, daughter in law, and my granddaughter live.


Writing is a safe place. Writing is sanctuary just as the library used to be. Writing is the only place my brain is quiet—as strange as that sounds, it is true, for when I’m writing, other “people” take over and my brain with its random swirly chaotic thoughts goes to sleep, thank gawd!




If you could give a bit of sage advice to novice writers, what would it be?


Every time I write the answer to this question, it is several paragraphs long! *laughing* So let me try to be brief this time: Beware of published authors giving out advice—okay, not really, but kind of sort of really. We are giving advice from the perspective of having already been published, so we can be a little jaded along with feeling as if we can be big sisters/brothers to writers who haven’t yet published.


So take our advice and tear into it to see what fits you. As well, when we say something like, “Look, things aren’t going to be as much fun as you think if you don’t slip on a thick skin, if you don’t set the bar too high, if you don’t find a way to handle the stresses you don’t know about now but oh you will, hahahahhahaha!,” you just go on and have FUN and do your thang, because we all did/do that, we all had/still have, our FUN and did/do our thang, and whatever happens once that contract is signed, well, it’s icing on an already iced cake if you are doing what you love. Enjoy all the moments of wherever you are. Aw, lawd, this is becoming too long again! Dang my hide!


Thank you, Kimberly – I enjoyed this so very much. I love interviews because they most always show me some insight about myself I hadn’t realized until I answered a question.


Kathryn Magendie, a West Virginia native and adoptive daughter of South Louisiana, lives in a little log house with two dogs, a husband, and a ghost dog, tucked in a cove in Maggie Valley, western North Carolina Smoky Mountains. She spends her days writing prose and poetry, photographing nature, and as co-publishing editor of The Rose & Thorn. Her short stories, essays, poetry, and photography can be found in online and print magazines.Visit her website at
or Twitter at @katmagendie




Her Books From BelleBooks/Bell Bridge Books:

The Firefly Dance
Secret Graces
Tender Graces


From the first moments I became acquainted with historical fiction author Jessica McCann, I have been impressed with her incredible authenticity. She is a true voice in a world where people throw around gratitude and compliments so liberally that they tend to lose their value. I admire her as a woman of integrity and a consummate professional, but read her fiction and you’ll understand why I’m honored to post this interview. You will be transformed in your thinking. She raises your expectations of yourself and of others. And somehow, just when you should be most disappointed in humanity, you will find instead, that you feel hopeful.

All Different Kinds of Free, released in April 2011 by Bell Bridge Books, was inspired by a true story. It is about Margaret Morgan, who was kidnapped in 1837, along with her free children, and sold into slavery. Although she fought hard to regain her freedom, Margaret endured tremendous loss and hardship. Her ordeal led to one of the most important yet least-known Supreme Court cases of the era, Prigg v. Pennsylvania.

Text books will have you believe the story of Prigg v. Pennsylvania is important because it ended in controversy and fanned the early embers of the Civil War. This book will have you believe the story is important because it began with Margaret.

All Different Kinds of Free won the 2009 Freedom in Fiction Prize. As a novel-in-progress, the work also was a semi-finalist in the 2004 Dana Awards and the 2005 William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing competition.

Thank you so much for taking the time to share with us and for your beautiful work, Jessica. Welcome!


What is your favorite quality in a person? Integrity. My definition of that means striving to always do the right thing, not necessarily the easy thing.



What is your least? Self-pity. I have very little patience for someone who wallows in their misfortune. Time is much better spent being grateful for the good in life, because there is always good to be found, no matter how bad things get. When I slip and start feeling sorry for myself, I remind myself there is always someone out there suffering more than me.



As a child, did you dream of becoming a writer? I didn’t dream of it, necessarily. I just always was a writer, really without even knowing it. I was the kid whose heart raced with delight when the teacher would announce a research report or essay homework, while my classmates moaned and broke out in a collective cold sweat. Now we’re all grown up, and I do freelance writing for all the people who still moan and agonize over writing projects!



Who/what influenced you to pursue your dreams? Without a doubt, my husband has been the biggest influence on my success as a writer. We’ve been together for my entire adult life, and in all that time he’s been my biggest fan, my loudest cheerleader. He puts up with me blurting outcome predictions of our favorite TV shows, and he listens to my musings about people and motives when we watch the nightly news. His patent response is often, “You should be writing this stuff down!” Thanks to his encouragement, I am!



What is your greatest love? My family and all that encompasses — hosting family gatherings, going on camping trips, driving the kids to the mall, walking the dogs, sitting together on the couch watching TV, knowing we’re there for each other through thick and thin.



What is your greatest fear? That the people I love and admire and appreciate might not know it. About five years ago, we had a tragedy in our community, in which a man we knew through our children’s school murdered his young sons and took his own life. To this day, I can’t reconcile how the man I knew could have committed such a horrible act. Did he know how much I valued his friendship, how much I admired him? We can’t always prevent terrible things like this from happening in the world. But can reach out to those around us, every day, and let them know how important they are and how thankful we are to have them in our lives.


What is your favorite place? As a child, it was the Phoenix Zoo. I spent many, many hours there, walking the trails, observing the animals, connecting with something “wild” even though I lived in the city. That helped foster my love of nature and wildlife. As an adult, whenever I feel the need to connect with something bigger than myself, when I need inspiration, I still gravitate to the outdoors.



If you could give a bit of sage advice to novice writers, what would it be? Write for yourself first. If you don’t love what you’re doing and what you’re creating, no one else will either. Write for your reader next. If your writing is something you want to share with others, then you must read it through their eyes and have the fortitude to revise and rewrite when necessary.

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