Contact MeEmail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: 562 628-9688
You can see right away that this web site is not your typical site. It’s not all flashy graphics, though I think some of the photos are pretty nifty. It's not filled with lovely scenes from nature, either. I'm a city witch. I don't like to get the outdoors on me. Don't get me wrong--I love our Mother Earth; I'm just not convinced that the great outdoors needs my footprints in it. Yes, I'd rather stay indoors. With a good book. A good computer. Interesting work to do on that computer.
I’m a writer. An editor. I work with words. Read on.
After I spend a morning editing prose that my authors want me to improve, I crave good books. I read a lot of historical novels and mysteries written by women, plus books on history and musical theater. When I was called to jury duty a year ago, I took Terry Pratchett’s The Colour of Magic with me. That was in early October. I wasn't selected to sit on a jury, but I kept reading Pratchett. It took me until past Christmas to read straight through all thirty-odd Discworld novels.
I started writing early on, too. I’m told that when I was in the second grade I wrote a story and gave it to my father for his birthday. I remember writing a puppet show based on The Littlest Angel (and playing said angel) when I was in the fifth grade. In high school, I was the only member of the Creative Writing Club who had a new story for every single meeting. I can still remember Miss Nichols, my sophomore English teacher, taking her own time to drive me into downtown St. Louis to meet with a representative from a vanity press. (That venture, alas, went nowhere.)
I was such a good writer by the time I got to college that Professor John Bierk, my freshman comp (8 a.m., MWF) teacher, invited me to be on the yearbook staff. Forty years later, John and I are still friends. Here’s a recent photo.
John was my very first college teacher. After several weeks of class, he asked me to come to his office. When I obediently showed up, he praised my writing again. I joined the yearbook staff. A dozen years later, while I was working on my M.A., I helped edit and proofread John's Ph.D. dissertation. When I flew back to Cape Girardeau for homecoming in 2006, I stayed with another friend, and John came to dinner. I gave him a signed copy of Pagan Every Day, in which I wrote, Is this where English 101 ends up?
In an email, John wrote, "I appreciate your compliment concerning my influence on you, but the hard fact is that you wrote very well when you got to me; thus, all I can claim is that I gave you a further chance to express yourself in writing."
"Thank you for the autographed copy of your new book," he wrote later. "I was impressed by your scholarly approach to stories about pagans and the history of pagan gods and spirits, but except for psychological insights, I long ago became quit with fictions which are presented as a description of reality and/or a blue-print for final meaning….
"With all that said," he added, "your approach to pagan gods, goddesses, and ritual is of an entirely different nature. Your purpose is the celebration of life, and you use paganism as one way to accomplish this end. Whatever works is my motto--as long as the method never hurts, marginalizes, and destroys others who approach life differently. … Isn't it amazing that time simply evaporates when after some thirty years two good friends meet face to face? Ah, it's like finding the extraordinary in our ordinary lives."
I still give John credit for validating the writing talent of a shy college freshman. Perhaps he's a sort of grandfather of the work I'm doing now.
As an English major with three degrees, I wrote term papers. Lots and lots of term papers. And I made sure to insert at least one pun in every one of them. (A psychologist I’ve known for forty years attributes this tendency to pun to a busted synapse in my brain.) I titled one term paper, which compares the Oedipus plays of Sophocles and Hugo von Hofmannsthal,“Complex Oedipus.” I still have all my term papers. Stacked up, they’re taller than I am. Crowning the stack, of course, are my master’s thesis, which compared the use of the neoclassical unities of time, place, and action in four plays each by Shakespeare and Molière, and my doctoral dissertation on the plays in English about Cleopatra (1592 to 1898). I wrote the first feminist, first-person dissertation for an English department afflicted at the time by terminal macho. Passed with honors!
In 2006, I went back to Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, where I earned my bachelor's and master's degrees. They said they wanted all living graduates from all years who'd earned doctorates to make a circle around Kent Library and they'd have a helicoptor up above to take a picture of us. Unfortunately, not enough doctors came, so they just lined us up (in four rows) on the steps. I managed to have a nice little talk with one of the librarians ... and Kent Library now has the books I've written (all signed) on its shelves. That's one thing an author learns--never miss an opportunity sell books. I had also arranged to have a book signing (during the football game) at the campus bookstore. This sign outside the bookstore was a happy surprise. My friends and I saw it as we were walking up the hill after the homecoming parade.
You can read samples of my nonfiction and short fiction elsewhere on this site.