How long have I been writing, you ask?

Well, no, you didn’t ask.  But since my name appeared on this year’s list of RWA Golden Heart® finalists, the question has come up.  It’s a tough one to answer.  I don’t think I was born with a pencil and a notebook in my hands.  Surely my mother would have mentioned that.  But she did teach me to read before I started school, sharing her life-long love of stories with me.

Before I wrote my stories down, I was directing my friends as we acted out tales at recess.  My cousins and I played out long, continuing sagas with dolls and porcelain animals on our bedroom floors.  By junior high I was writing what we’d call “fan fiction” now–back then it didn’t have a name or a venue on the Internet–based on long-forgotten TV shows.  I’m dating myself here (but I’ve posted my picture, so you know I’m no kid):  does anyone else remember Rod Taylor and Lloyd Bochner in a show called Hong Kong?  One season in the early 60s, and I loved it.  Or a Disney production called The Horsemasters, featuring Annette of the Mouseketeers, a lot of gorgeous horses, and, oh yes,  some boys?  I’m sure there were others even I have forgotten.

On to high school, where I learned to write research papers, college and graduate school and more papers, and then many years in the fields of archeology and history, writing survey reports and sections of environmental impact statements.  Somewhere along the line I realized that I could entertain people with my writing, although the scope for humor was definitely limited when dealing with the Army Corps of Engineers or the Bureau of Land Management.

In 1995 I joined a local writers group, the Bay Area Writers League, and in 1996 I found my way to the Houston Bay Area chapter of Romance Writers of America.  I had by then tried my hand at science fiction (most of which shall forever remain in my attic), and the science fiction romance subgenre popular in the mid 90s introduced me to romance novels.

By the late 90s I was taking writing classes and working on my first romance, the “Texana story,” a time travel tale that became Tempting Fate.  The “newspaper story” followed, eventually becoming Paper Hearts, my Golden Heart® finalist, although the manuscript sat at about 80 pages for several years, waiting for a middle and an ending.  Far Between grew out of one of those SF novels in the attic: the characters wouldn’t let me abandoned them, particularly after two of them fell hopelessly in love (against their better judgement, of course).  Jinn & Tonic started with the title and the opening sentence.

So how long have I been writing?  Several decades?  Fifteen years?  Does all that non-fiction count?  How about the essays that materialize in my head while I commute to and from work?  It doesn’t really matter.  I write because I don’t know how to stop.

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