I was born in Gainesville, Fl in 1956 (yeah, that makes me old). I grew up in Sunrise, a suburb of Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. I attended Piper High School (1970-1974) and Broward Community College (1974-1976). All of my life I wrote stories, poems, took photographs, learned to develop black & white photos, drew pictures and wrote guitar songs when I was in love.
In 1976 I met and married my wonderful husband. He had only been in the United States for about six months when we met. Six months later we were married. He is from Ireland and we have all had the pleasure of visiting The Old Sod a few times as he went home to see family. One day I’ll blog about the trips. They were magical.
So, after getting married we moved to Orlando and I attended University of Central Florida where I attained my BA in Elementary Education. (1976-1979)
My first job was teaching sixth grade at a very rural, very old school in Mascotte, Fl. I drove 50 miles each way for two years. But those were some of the best years I had teaching. It was during this time I first thought about the story that took 25 years to germinate before becoming the one I finally wrote. But in the meanwhile I taught 4th through 7th grades for the next 15 years. I loved teaching.
Then I took a break and raised the family that had begun to grow. In 1988 we adopted our first child. She was the cutest baby ever born and we were very happy in our little 1940’s cottage in Jacksonville, Fl with our new puppy, Cassiopea. But someone else had other plans and threw our first pregnancy into the mix. At first I was frightened, but as it progressed I loved the hormones and feelings of being special and producing life. Our second daughter was born in 1991 and I thought SHE was the most beautiful baby ever (what mom doesn’t?).
The house suddenly felt like a daycare center, so we started looking and found a house closer to the beach with a pool. In that house we had our first son, in 1994, and HE was too adorable for words. Then in 1999 we decided to round out the family and God sent us to Vietnam to pick up the absolutely most beautiful baby in the world, our youngest son. That’s another story for another blog!
Then, in 2003, I returned to teaching full-time in a special school for learning disabled kids. But in December my mother had a severe aneurysm and died immediately. My father was crushed and inconsolable, so we made the decision to move our family from Jacksonville to Wellborn, about 85 miles due west. We would live in the huge Victorian house my parents had spent seven years refurbishing and twelve years running as a bed and breakfast with collectibles shoppe in the original carriage house.
After about a year Daddy built a log cabin on the property because he found it hard at his age to deal with all of the activity of a busy family. He came to dinner every night and was always strolling the five acres. Then, in 2006, he died of a massive heart attack while we were away for the July 4th weekend.
Because my parents had been pack-rats and antiques collectors, it took over a year to settle the estate and sell what we wanted to sell. Finally, however, we got over the grief (although I still break down at times, like now) and on with our own lives. The problem became the housing market. We had just placed the house for sale when it collapsed!
My husband drives daily to and from Jacksonville. We adore our house and property. It’s truly an oasis and gorgeous. But the drive is costing us way too much in gas and car maintenance. But, we’re happy here until someone comes along to love this place as much as we do.
In the meantime we have one child in the middle of college, one is a senior in high school this year, a sophmore and a fourth grader! Plus we decided to use the cabin as a vacation rental for some extra income and since the house was just sitting empty anyway. What a great decision that was! Florida Black Bear Cabin is going gangbusters, but I always have a few dates available if you want a quiet weekend, week or month in the country.
I even wrote my first book there while setting it up and waiting for our guests to start finding us. Between the Dark and the Light had changed a lot over the years and I discovered I enjoyed the simple illustrations that suddenly came along with it. So after finishing the book I uploaded it onto Authonomy.com just to see what response I might get. After several months of critiques by published and aspiring writers, the book changed again, and again, but each time for the better. Finally, after another eighteen months of editing and revisions, I feel that I have a new style of heroine to offer the readers. But that can be told on another page.