A little about me...
WHY I LIKE TO WRITE...
I've always loved a good story.
Growing up, Judy Blume was one of my favorite authors. I felt so connected to her characters, I felt she wrote her books just for me. I loved the series All of a Kind Family by Sydney Taylor, about 5 sisters and their baby brother growing up in the early 1900's. I also loved Zilpha Keatley Snyder's books, especially The Changeling and The Headless Cupid. The magic realism, along with the wonder and mystery of her books, always fascinated me.
One of my favorite short story authors is O. Henry. I love the surprise ending. My favorite short story is called The Last Leaf. It's both happy and sad with great irony and an "ah ha" ending. I still love that irony, and many of my own stories have that twist ending.
SCHOOL DAYS ...
I grew up in New Jersey, the youngest of three children. I remember writing stories and poems in elementary school - and I really loved it. I wrote a 'novel' in 5th grade (not published.) I became editor-in-chief of my high school newspaper, but my favorite class was creative writing, with the most encouraging teacher ever - Thank you Ms. Earl!
I attended Arizona State University where I majored in journalism and broadcasting. I interned at the local PBS station on campus.
THE 'REAL' WORLD...
At my first job after college, I wrote for a daily newspaper in Escondido, California. I began as an editorial assistant and learned a lot about the newspaper business - especially the fine art of writing the obituaries! Later, I became a feature writer/reporter.
At another job in New York City, I wrote catalog copy for an advertising firm that sold business gifts and awards as well as imprinted pens, cups, shirts, etc. I wrote about these products to make them sound as 'exciting' as possible (not always an easy task -how many exciting things can you say about a plastic floppy keyfob? - in a choice of 10 different colors and 3 different sizes?!)
MY FIRST PUBLISHED STORY...
I moved back to New Jersey after I had my first child. Then I had more time to concentrate on my real writing passion - writing for children.
I wrote many stories, joined writing groups, attended writer's conferences, and learned as much as I could. I wish I could say I became published shortly after I started, but it didn't happen overnight.
About five years later, amidst all the publishers rejection letters, I finally received a letter from a children's magazine with a small check (very small). The editor wrote that she loved my story and would like to publish it. I ran around my house ecstatic - thrilled that I finally made it! That first published short story, The Gift, is still one of my favorites.
And now I have many published picture books, elementary and middle grade readers, chapter books, and activity books. My short stories have been featured in a variety of children's magazines.
My books are included the Jr. Library Guild and have received Garden State Book Award Honors and Learning Magazine’s Teachers’ Choice Awards.
I am a council member of the Rutgers University Council on Children's Literature, and a member of The Authors Guild and the Society of Children's Book Writer's and Illustrator's.
I love visiting schools to talk to the students about stories, writing, and the power of their imaginations. The children learn more about themselves - and their own unique 'stories' - in the process. I speak to educators, offering tips and practical suggestions on sparking their students creative writing abilities. I also present children's literacy programs to educators and parents, providing engaging strategies and activities families can easily integrate throughout their busy day to foster and improve children's reading and writing skills.
Click on 'Presentations' above for more information about my school visits and other presentations.
Along with my own three children - one in college and two recently graduated - and my work at a state university - days are never dull! When I'm not writing or visiting schools, I like to play tennis, travel, read, listen to music, see a variety of film/shows, learn something new, and eat as much chocolate as I can.
When life gets busy, and the pressure is on, I like to think of my stories - one in progress - or one almost finished - or one just forming in my head, and I remember why I enjoy writing so much in the first place!