How long have you been a member of Celtic Hearts?
I joined Celtic Hearts 2/1/09
Share 7 fun facts about you that most people don’t know.
#1 I have had up to 41 foreign penpals since 1989. I joined an organization where I could make contract with English speaking people who wanted to correspond. It opened a very wide window to the world for me and I made a lot of dear friends. I still correspond with sixteen of them. Cristache from Romania and Erich with his wife Dagmar from Germany have been here to visit with us. While we visited in Scotland we visited with penpal Sue and her husband for three days.
#2 For thirteen years I was president of country singing artist Kevin Sharp's fan club. I put together fifty newsletters (one every three months), we ran meet and greets when Kevin and his band were in our area, ran a booth at Fan Fair in Nashville for five years, and one of the most wonderful experiences was standing on the stage of the Grand Old Opry (next to the orange barn) to watch Kevin entertain the audience with three songs. The next day we had so many people come by our booth and tell us he was the best. He was!
#3 I was a Camp Fire Girls leader for thirteen years. All the little girls in my group remembered I promised to make their wedding cake when they got married. It seems very few of them forgot my promise. I made many wedding cakes and gave them as gifts, including the one for my younger daughter. I have many of the cake pans of Disney characters that delighted lots of children. I was a stay-at-home mom when my kids were little so this is how I added to our income and satisfied my creative genes.
#4 My great-great grandmother Mary Kirk is supposedly the first woman to have had stories published in a magazine. Original copies are kept in the archives of the Sacramento State Library. In my third story I had a scene very similar to one of hers and two sentences that were worded almost word for word to hers. It makes me wonder if we can inherit our ancestors' dreams.
#5 When our older daughter was a junior in high school we had an exchange student from Sweden live with us for ten months. Magdalena is still a daughter in our hearts. We were lucky enough to spend two weeks with her in her parents' home in Malmo, Sweden, and were treated to a guided tour through her beautiful country.
#6 We also have our Dutch kids - we met Bert on a camping trip 30 years ago and he and his family are considered our children as well. We were in his wedding in a castle that had two moats and owned by the Fairchild family. It was quite an interesting day, especially when I embarrassed myself during the ceremony sliding across the hardwood floor in my new leather-soled shoes.
#7 I make quilts and give them away in honor of my daughter. Some are colorful flannel crib size quilts, book cover quilts, family photo quilts, and, of course, one Gerard Butler quilt for my daughter-of-my-heart who introduced me to the gorgeous Scot.
Have you ever been to Ireland, Scotland, Wales etc? Tell us about this trip and what you came away with afterwards.
Four years ago my husband and I spent 23 days driving in Scotland. It was magical and something I plan on doing again. Ken was worried at first about driving on the left and sitting on the right side of the car, but he only almost killed us once. I am sure the truck driver recovered after a few shots of whisky after he got home. I have never been to a more beautiful area before. When we were on a boat entering Loch Ness, I cried. I felt like I'd come home. My mother was almost a full Scot so I have plenty of genes who were happy to be there. The people were wonderful, the drivers were patient, and the people we met in the B&Bs were great hosts. In one sentence how would I describe our trip: We were so close to heaven we could almost hear the flutter of angel wings.
Do you belong to any other RWA chapters or writing groups?
My land chapter is Sacramento Valley Rose. My online chapters and groups are From the Heart, Hearts Through History, Writers Playground, Music City, Scandalous Victorians and Sweethearts of the West.
You’ve recently signed with a publisher. Tell us about your writing journey before and after this point in your life, and the details about your upcoming releases.
My writing journey started twenty-two years ago and finally on Christmas Eve reached its destination. I know, I've been accused of being stubborn but I would rather call it being persistent. I lived in a mountain community and it took me a half hour to drive to the property management office where I worked. Every day on the commute I ran my first ideas of a story though my mind, and then one weekend sat at my computer and typed for ten hours and had the skeleton of the entire story written. What did I know about writing a story -- absolutely nothing. I just knew I needed to write.
In November, 1999, I joined RWA and Sacramento Valley Rose and that is actually where my writing career started. I handed my manuscript to a friend with high hopes that it was so good...well, you know the scenario. She read a couple of pages and handed it back. "Don't you know what POV is?" Actually, I'd never heard of POV. From that point on I listened to writers, attended every workshop I could, started attending RWA National, taking online classes, etc. Fortunately for me, Carla Capshaw entered my life and with the patience of a saint and the skill of a great writer (she won two GH awards) I started to become a writer. I would suppose you can say that I am a writer because of the friends I have met in RWA. They never gave up on me. I listened and took constructive criticism well. I wanted to learn to write a good story. Low contest scores discouraged me, but I never gave up. Rejection was a big part of my years, but I finally started taking what I could learn and forgot the rest.
I had heard Desert Breeze Publishing was accepting submissions. Like with the others, I sent my best story to them without thinking anything would come of it. So, on Christmas Eve when I received an email at 10:30 pm with an offer for my series of five stories, I couldn't breathe. I sucked all the air out of the room saying, "WOW" for a long time. It was too late to wake the sleeping bear upstairs, way too late to call my critique partners in Florida and Texas. I had to crawl into bed without telling a soul - and, considering how much I like to talk, you can imagine how difficult that was for me.
I have five stories centered around or on the way to my imaginary town of Paradise Pines in the Sierra Mountains of California. The first three are centered around the Benjamin sisters and the other two are the MacGregor brothers during the gold rush era. Four of my stories are finished and I've started on the fifth. Night Angel will be epublished August 21st and the rest, Marriage Bargain, Forever After, Broken Promise and One-eyed Charly are to be released at six month intervals after the first.