Growing up in Southern California, allowed me to go to the beach, and snow ski on the local mountains.
After I married and had two young children, we moved to South Carolina. We have lived longer in the South than in California. I guess that makes me a southerner, without an accent!
I received my Special Education teaching credentials in California, one for Mentally Handicapped and the other for Educationally Handicapped.
As soon as we arrived in Greenville, S.C, I was offered a job with a Multi- Handicapped class in the same school my children attended. But I needed one more credential for Learning Disabilities. Once again, I attended evening classes twice a week and taught school during the day.
After sixteen years with Special Needs children, I taught an adult GED program for nine more years. My adults needed skills in reading and writing, and this spurred my interest in writing. As a young student, I always spent time writing, but had I never thought about writing novels.
As I taught my students, the desire to write began to fester. After I retired, I took online classes and joined SCBWI- (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.)
Adopting the First Dog
My husband and I adopted a neighbor’s German shepherd. She was our first dog, and the reason we had more dogs.
When Charlie died, we raised an eight-week-old White shepherd, and then our first Australian shepherd, Sydney.
When Sydney was six months old, a Black lab blew into our yard during a snow storm. He had been injured, and after paying the medical bills, he became ours. Sydney and Jake enjoyed many adventures together.
When both passed on, we continued with the Aussie breed. We now have Aussie number three and four; Mulligan, rescued at seven months old, and Slater, chosen at eight-weeks-old.
I trained each dog, but Mulligan required the most attention because of his stressful puppyhood.
My interest in special needs prompted me to research service dogs.
One afternoon, I met a young boy walking his dog who wore a cape in the grocery store. Because I had researched service dogs, I assumed he was a puppy raiser. I asked his mother for permission to speak with him, and I found out the dog was his own Diabetic Alert service dog.
I interviewed him and wrote my first article for Clubhouse Magazine and entered this story in the Dog Writers Association Contest in 2010. To my surprise, the story won in their Special Interest Category. This category was sponsored by the Planet Dog Foundation Sit. Speak. Act. Canine Service organization. This award gave me the confidence to continue writing.
Plot-line for Seven Days Through Research
My craving to write blossomed. I had taught children with autism, and found a reputable service dog organization, PAALS, close to my home.
A young girl, who worked as a puppy raiser with PAALS, allowed me to interview her. Her information helped create my story character and plot.
The setting takes place on my favorite beach, Edisto Beach, S.C., and I included Sydney. “Seven Days to Goodbye,” was born.
I support PAALS, and they promote my novels. It took three years from the start of writing of, “Seven Days to Goodbye,” to getting it published and entered in the DWAA contest. The novel won in their Special Interest Category in 2014.
Learning how to market the novels and promote myself.
Writing is the fun part. Marketing is very time consuming. I have been very fortunate to have support from friends and readers.
Having wonderful reviews has built my confidence. It does take a while after the first book is birthed to see success trickle out over time. All of the wonderful feedback has been very positive and encouraging.
One of my biggest thrills was to be asked to do a motivational Skype program with three high schools in Nigeria. Weeks later, I began teaching writing to different age classes. It is special to know I may be helping others.
To this day, I am thrilled to be able to share my series, ‘Seven Days to Goodbye,’ ‘Starting Over,’ and very soon to introduce, ‘For Keeps.’
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