I was born in Kansas City, Kansas, a few years before Dwight D. Eisenhower became President of the United States of America. I attended school in Wyandotte County through the eighth grade before being uprooted and thrust into the pre-Disney World Orlando, Florida—not a teen-friendly location.
As a first-year teenage girl, I felt obliged to hate everything about the experience. Eventually I calmed down, enjoyed dancing lessons, and finished high school. Coming to that point before educators started actively encouraging girls to go to college, I opted to enlist in the United States Air Force, which offered the benefits of the GI Bill among other things.
It was 1965 and the Vietnam War was just beginning (for most of us), but I knew I wouldn’t be sent to that Southeast Asian country with or without a rifle. Enlisted women were eligible for only medical, administrative, or communications fields and could not go into a combat area. By process of elimination, I picked the rather vague “communications” position, which turned out to be a telephone operator.
Eventually, I cross-trained to become a software programmer, back in the day when computers took up entire rooms and their “tubes” were larger than a really high stack of iPhones. We actually programmed in assembly language, very close to the 1s and 0s of the machines. As luck would have it my training and experience led to a successful career as a programmer and communications systems analyst in Washington D. C.
Creating fiction was a passion from my early school days, but becoming a published author was not a consideration until my early thirties. Unfortunately, my “day job” kept me from pursuing that dream. Yes, I know many published authors achieve their status while working a full-time job and raising children. Let’s just say, that wasn’t something I could pull off. (I didn’t even adopt a dog until 2009.)
After sixteen years in the nation’s capital, I stored or sold my possessions and headed west. My mother, who was living with me at the time, inspired the idea after watching me slowly burn out as I rose through the ranks of my federal-contractor-employer.
We hopped in an RV (not the best idea) and traveled for a while, coming to rest in Branson, MO. But it wasn’t THE Branson just yet. The year was 1990 and everything was still quite “small town.”
I worked in a few jobs while my savings was slowly sucked out of my IRA. The owner of the car dealership where I worked as Title Clerk allowed me to sell my RV off his lot—a kind gesture which plugged the hole in my bank account.
Through the 1990s I wrote several books, most of which now sit on a shelf in my office closet. Unsuccessful at finding an agent or publisher, I shut down my efforts as the new century approached.
In 2000, my mother passed away and my job became more and more important to my survival and more and more demanding. Although I dabbled in the writing game occasionally, it was not until I retired in July 2014 that I became more focused on becoming a published writer.