Photograph courtesy of John McLellan

Hello Reader!

Do you know that you are part of my dream come true? 

You are!

I am so glad you are here!

As a little girl, I fell in love with books listening to fairy tales, the adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh and Peter Rabbit, the poems of Robert Louis Stevenson in A Child’s Garden of Verses and the stories of Mrs. Goose.  A copy of this painting called “The Fairy Tale” by Sir Walther Firle hung in my house. It was really old-fashioned then, but my two sisters and I identified with the three little girls anyway. Even though I was the middle sister, I always thought of myself as the littlest girl on the right.

By the time I started school, entering first grade at the age of five, a brother and another sister had joined us on our couch. Our military family had already moved that couch five times from Fort Riley, Kansas to Rockville, Maryland to Ft. Benning, Georgia to Charlottesville, Virginia and on to North Springfield, Virginia.

I fell in love with school and reading and adored playing teacher. I even taught my best friend how to read. My favorite read-aloud was Charlotte’s Web. I couldn’t wait to get to school each day in third grade to hear more about Fern and Wilber and Charlotte.

In fourth grade I moved onto a Marine Corps base in Quantico, Virginia for a year and then was thrilled to sail aboard a troop transport ship, the U.S.N.S Patch, across the Atlantic to West Germany.

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We lived in a small German town where I made friends that I still have today (and who are still helping me with my German). In the winter we skated in the castle gardens of Schwetzingen.

When we moved onto Patrick Henry Village in Heidelberg, I was excited because I could walk to the post library. My sisters and I checked books out by the armload and discovered New Yorker cartoons that we read along with Peanuts. By the time we moved again to Butzbach, I was a practicing librarian myself, making library cards for my own library so my friends could check them out. I loved mysteries and collected Nancy Drew books like a pirate collects shiny treasure. I also became a big sister again.

We moved to Tampa, Florida then to West Springfield, Virginia where I graduated from high school.  I moved back to Europe, attended the University of Maryland in Munich, Germany, Universität München, where I studied in German, and even took university classes in Tehran, Iran. My love of literature led me to a B.A. in English that I earned back in the U.S. at George Mason University. Later I studied to become an English teacher and reading specialist at the University of Oregon. As an elementary reading specialist, I’ve been privileged to help lots of struggling readers find a pathway into books and a love of reading, too.

But I had other dreams as well–to shape the world with my own stories and share them with readers like you. I especially wanted to write stories about kids like me, who were army brats and global nomads.

While I was raising my own family and teaching, I wrote and wrote and wrote–everywhere–in barns and bookstores, bathtubs and beds, cars and coffee houses.  And I wrote everything from picture books, easy-to-read books, a chapter book series to several middle-grade novels. I attended writing workshops and conferences, participated in weekly critique groups sessions and discovered my tribe–SCBWI, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

Even with five published picture books and more to come, I will never stop being a student of writing and literature. And I will never stop reading!