I’ve been a Buckeye all my life; the four years in Wyoming during hubby’s Air Force career couldn’t change that. Six years ago, hubby and I uprooted, downsized and relocated to southwest Ohio to begin the second half (read: empty-nest) portion of our life. It’s been an adventure.
My writing career, long-neglected with the demands of full-time employment and raising children with all the incidental demands of parental booster for Scouts, youth sports, marching band, dance lessons and drama, was finally given free rein. I dusted off my portfolio, which at that point contained three published short stories and maybe a dozen news articles and magazine pieces, and soon after found work stringing for Cox Publishing. I wrote for the Dayton Daily News and the Western Star newspapers for nearly eight months. During that time, I slowly began building a clientele of marketing clients and widen my production to include web design and public relations. I also found the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) event online and survived the grueling challenge in 2005 and 2006, creating two fifty-thousand word drafts which have served as the basis for my first mystery novels. I am, far too often, a glutton for punishment.
I went back to school, attending the degree completion program at Antioch University McGregor (now Antioch Midwest), and survived their masochistic but life-changing World Classics Curriculum to earn a bachelor’s degree in humanities just three months before my fiftieth birthday. In April of 2008 just prior to graduation, I signed a work-for-hire contract to write a full-length non-fiction book as a fundraiser for the Heritage Advisory Council, a local non-profit on which I served as publicity chair. I spent the next eighteen months engrossed in the history of Warren County from 1796 to the present day. In the middle of that, I started graduate school.
As I said, masochist. In the midst of all that, I realized a long-time dream of attending the Antioch Writers Workshp, an amazing experience in itself, and I made it there two years in a row. The week-long sessions not only improved my writing skills, but they have connected me with a fabulous group of fellow writers for general feedback, pointed critique, and much needed support when spirits flag.
photo by Thomas E. Smith
I survived graduate school as well and now hold a master’s degree in creative writing. My thesis is a much-improved version of the first NaNoWriMo effort; I’m now in the editing and rewrite stages to take Ties that Bind from academic quality to marketable manuscript. After publication of my non-fiction Historic Warren County: An Illustrated History (see tab above), I returned to the second NaNoWriMo draft and spent another year rewriting that project. Forty and Out is currently in submission stage as I shop for an agent to represent my publication efforts.
I continue to produce and publish other pieces from short stories to essays and book reviews. I gave up web design and marketing in order to concentrate on my writing, only to find I need both those skill sets to support my efforts.
Funny how things come full circle, always returning to my writing.