I have always loved to write. As a girl, I exchanged lengthy letters with friends I met at Girl Scout camp, and I had a pen pal from Holland. In college, I wrote missives to my parents on the back of old syllabi and class handouts. (My college-age children find this hard to believe...)


When I began playing guitar in my early teens, songwriting emerged as a natural gift, and was my primary writing focus for years. I went to college in the mountains of North Carolina, where I learned to play clawhammer banjo, penny whistle, and mountain dulcimer.


In the years since, I performed in coffeehouses, played with a few music groups, recorded two children's albums, and performed as a children's musician.


Underlying all this was my abiding and deep love of reading. A good novel has always been my favorite way to relax. About ten years ago, I got a nudge that perhaps I, too, could write a book. This was followed by a mental nawww, and I let the idea go.


But it wouldn't go. I decided to take an adult education novel-writing course at a local community college. It consisted mainly of reading short chapters to the class and getting feedback. Both the class and the teacher were very encouraging, and the teacher urged me to finish my story and get it published. Alas, I didn't have a firm enough handle on plot and structure, and eventually gave up. The nawww was once again reverberating in my head.


What was interesting, however, was that I began noticing writing. I noticed styles and sentence structure. I had new appreciation for a well-turned phrase. I mooned over the writing of Barbara Kingsolver and Frances Mayes. I began returning partially-read books to the library because the writing bugged me.


Five years went by, and the urge to write a novel came back in a big way. I went "back to school" by devouring books on craft by Sol Stein, James Scott Bell, Donald Maass, and others. I read memoir-style books by authors such as Ann Lamont, which clued me in to the fact that even successful writers experience self-doubt. Things clicked and I spent the next three years writing my first novel. The learning curve was steep, but I was proud of my finished manuscript.


Then came the second curve--of learning about the publishing industry and querying agents. I subscribed to Writer's Digest, I began exploring online and found several writing blogs that I resonated with, such as Writer Unboxed. I subsequently launched my own website/blog in 2012.


After a year-and-a-half of querying--and learning a great deal from the process--I decided to shelve my first manuscript, take what I learned from writing it, and write an even better second one.


And that, my friends, is where I am now: wiser, more informed, clearer on my genre, and more determined than ever to write a great manuscript. While I'm

tight-lipped about my projects, I'll continue to post essays every three or four weeks.


Thank you for stopping by! And thank you for brightening the world with your own unique talents, whatever they may be.