I was born and raised on Chicago's south side, into a family of staunch White Sox fans and Democratic Party bosses...and much to their consternation, I'm not a White Sox fan and I refuse to discuss politics. (Some things are much better left unsaid.) I also grew up with a steady diet of syndicated Western television shows, John Wayne movies, and the Sunday night staple of Lassie. I blame those television shows and movies for my lifelong love of the American West and Collies. Only after researching the breed did I learn two very important things about Collies. One is that Lassie is really not a beautiful collie (as far as confirmation goes) but he (yes, HE) has been the best PR my breed could ever ask for. And secondly, Lassie lied...Collies are not that smart.
By the time I was legally an adult (I refuse to grow up), I couldn't wait to get out of Dodge, so to speak. I moved first to the wilds of central Wisconsin and then to south central Indiana to the middle of a corn field, where I currently reside with my best friend, biggest supporter, and husband, Ken. We have a beautiful piece of property in the woods of central Tennessee I escape to every chance I get. Now, to just convince hubby it's time to put away the veterinary practice and become a backwoodsman in Tennessee. Does he really think I was learning all those survival skills because I'm expecting an apocalypse of biblical proportions? (Don't answer that, Dear Heart!)
I'm a hybrid, in that I'm published both traditionally and I'm self-publishing. I wrote my first published novel while working on the critical introduction of my creative project for my master's degree. It wasn't the most perfect timing but my Muse isn't the most cooperative, either. She dropped Colt and Amelia into my head and insisted I write their story. So, I tried to reason with Her. Yeah...that wasn't going to work either. In between writing pages of that critical intro, I kept a second document open and wrote their story.
All of my published novels are western historical romances. My traditionally published romances are set in/around a little town called Federal, in the Wyoming Territory. Federal was actually a town at one time and it still shows up on the state maps handed out by the Tourism Commission in Wyoming. However, Federal isn't even a wide spot in the road anymore. Other than a small wooden sign denoting "Federal" on a spur of the Burlington-Northern Railroad line, there isn't much left of Federal.
I love this period of our nation's history. The national psyche was recovering and healing in the aftermath of the American Civil War and the westward expansion helped to heal that psyche. The research I've had to do with each novel makes the history geek in me totally giddy. Those weren't survival skills I was learning. I was researching how my characters would have lived.
When I'm not writing, I show those Collies I first fell in love with as a child. I've bred or co-bred more than thirty champions and am currently campaigning my smooth boy, Vander (known to his closest friends as "Lavender Larry Princess Paws"). For the past six years, he has been ranked in the top ten. He's on track to finish his last year being campaigned in the top ten, again, though this time with all his wins from the veteran's class. The greatest thrill of my life showing this boy was to win Best of Opposite Sex to Best of Variety at the National specialty show.
I also make beaded "bling" leads to sell to help support my dog show addiction/habit. Dog shows are the reason I don't have too many vices--I can't afford another habit.