I was born in Kansas a few years before Dwight D. Eisenhower became President of the United States of America. I attended school in Kansas through the eighth grade before being uprooted and thrust into the pre-Disney World Orlando, Florida—not a teen-friendly location at the time.
As a first-year teenaged 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 the medical, administrative, or communications fields and normally did 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 cell phones. We actually programmed in assembly language, very close to the ones and zeros of the machines. As luck would have it my training and experience led to a successful career as a programmer—and later a 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 a family. Let’s just say, that wasn’t something I could pull off.
Eventually—after sixteen years in the nation’s capital—I sold everything and headed west. It was my mother’s 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, MO, 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 from 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 garage. 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 serious about a writing career.