Hello! (aka “Why I’m a Writer and Why I Had No Choice but to Hire My Cat as My Assistant”)

First of all, if you’re visiting this website—THANK YOU! If you’re not family—DOUBLE THANK YOU! Creating an author website makes it all feel legit and your choice to engage with me here gives me the *legit* feels.

A 50pt., bold clapping emoji to the team at @uthors on the Web for taking my Type A website brief and turning this site into the genre-bending, heart-shaped creep show I hoped it would be. But more on why I hired a web developer later…

…because, as a pre-published author, this first post is supposed to be about WHY I BECAME A WRITER. Well, it’s a funny thing. A thing NO ONE in my life would have expected, much less this girl. A thing that made me completely change my requirements for each new place we live (i.e. requisite office with a view, room for 8 bookshelves of comps and TBRs and favorites, storage for boxes of abandoned book ideas). A thing that’s brought me and my kitty, Reina, closer together—literally and figuratively! And a thing that I’m wholeheartedly embracing day by day, week by week, month by month, and, now, year by year.

So, here is my years-long journey:

2011: My husband, Gary, got a job in Sarasota, FL. I left my amazing job at Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati, OH with no plan other than to stalk Stephen King and read the entire GAME OF THRONES series by the pool. Both of those things happened. And then I got bored (and the love bugs came…YUCK!). So, I got a job at the Home Shopping Network marketing their beauty portfolio and working with their wonderful brand creators and partners to grow their brands.

2012: My job at HSN ran its course and my husband’s company reorganized. While I looked for a new job, I dug into my family’s genealogy. Picking up where my great-Aunt left off, I traced my family’s immigration from Belgium in the late 1700s to New Orleans. At the time of Marie Laveau, the Queen of Voodoo! Cue story idea. I researched, outlined, and began to write my first young adult (YA) series. No writing experience, no support. Total newbie naivete.

2013: We moved to Stamford, CT where I managed the Snuggle fabric softener brand. There, I worked with an awesome team to reinvigorate the beloved brand by telling classic brand stories in the context of new products and innovative marketing tactics. But, working with a high-maintenance puppet (haters called Snuggle ‘nightmare rocket fuel’) left me little time to write.

2016: My husband got a new job in Chicago—yay! The closest either of us had been to our midwestern roots since we left for college 15+ years prior! But, if you’ve been following along, you’ve started to see a theme. We move. A LOT. We both couldn’t stay on the executive track and I had been battling on-going, worsening health issues. Time for a change that allowed me to have more time, energy, and location flexibility. As I surveyed my marketing options in Chicago, I dug out my old manuscript. Joined SCBWI. Found two amazing critique partners. Decided to consult while I wrote. And wrote. And wrote.

2018: After three years of NanoWriMo, two summers workshopping at Univ of WI Write by the Lake, endless critiques at endless conferences, and a professional edit, I finished my first novel! Nope, it’s not the LORE x HARDY BOYS series I had started in ’12. It’s a YA coming-of-age romance. And it stars a cat. Because once I started working from home, my cat became my constant companion and now I believe that every book should have a cat. What can I say? She brainwashed me. I had planned to do a final edit before querying when…

2019: My husband’s company moved us to Suamico, WI. Yep, our 5th city in 9 years. Now we live less than an hour from where I grew up (total coincidence!). I’ve joined the local SCBWI chapter, found a local critique partner, and settled into the writing office of my dreams. And now I’m working on my second novel. I left the SKY IS EVERYWHERE x FOR KEEPS novel in its boxes in the basement while I fleshed out my new WIP. It has already won two first-page contests! After attending the Big Sur Writers Conference in Dec, I hope to edit in Q1/Q2 2020 before querying next fall.

The moral of the story: I let my heart lead the way.

To new towns.

To new stories.

And someday, those stories will reach my audience. You.