It had to be—this writing thing. When I was a skinny, somewhat daffy seven year old, I submitted a poem to a writing contest for children sponsored by a local radio station—and won. I recited my rhyming masterpiece on the air and actually received a big prize—a peddle car which I promptly gave to my younger brother because it seemed babyish,(later regretting that decision). During the seventh and eighth grades I managed to garner a bunch of good grades for creative stories due to an imagination that galloped in all directions, prompting the year book to foretell my future as a successful author. Another poem won first place in an all city contest my senior year at Garfield High School in Seattle. That one I read on stage during a general assembly before several hundred classmates (many of whom I’m certain did not appreciate poetry). My knees trembled, my voice wavered, but all the while, my confidence in my writing ability climbed.
All this creativity got squashed with life (one husband, three children); however, the itch to write never really went away. I guess it was hibernating and I knew that someday it would wake up. Upon turning 50, I was the one who woke up, asking myself, “Hey, when is someday?”
A story had been simmering in the dusty corners of my brain for sometime. I attended a writing workshop at the local community college; then signed up for a six week class on creative writing through the parks and recreation department. My romantic suspense novel progressed and when I enrolled in the class for the third time, the instructor took me aside. “I can see you are serious about this,” she said, and invited me to join a small group of dedicated writers that met in her home once a week.
That book is still in manuscript form in a box, yet the writing urge then fully awake, prompted me to return to college for journalism classes. Before I could complete the course of study, my husband and I moved from Southern California to eleven acres with a view in the Central California foothills.
In Mariposa I found a critique class for freelance writers and began selling articles to various magazines. I also took a Merced Community College class on writing where I met Gae Crose, a charming lady who had actually written two books. She encouraged me to attend a meeting of the San Joaquin chapter of Sisters in Crime, an international organization for women who read and write mysteries. It was at these gatherings I connected with Lisa Dorman Stubbs. She worked for the Fresno Bee and had just been assigned editor of a new weekly called Sierra Gateway Neighbors catering to the foothill communities in three counties. I wrote a story for the premier edition and continued contributing to that paper during its four years in publication. In addition to features, I wrote a column which I dubbed Foothill Reflections. Later, I wrote a column for the Visalia City View, also a product of the Fresno Bee—vignettes of my childhood years living in that community.
In the meantime, I joined a small group of women who write for children. Getting published in the children’s market is not easy, but we each found success in some manner, mostly in children’s magazines. Fate intervened with these endeavors when I fell heir to a box of family documents that had been tucked away in closets for over a century. At that point my writing life took a new path it was the beginning of THE BOOK,and Elnora King’s book writing class in Fresno guided me through this journey.