It feels like forever ago that I began putting pen to paper, and in a sense it was if you consider that I have been writing for more than half my life. Yes, I am one of those writers who can say I wrote (or tried to write) my first book at a very young age. When I was ten, I penned an action/adventure story about my experience at horse camp and tried to get my mom to type it up on little book-sized pages.

I think every author has an incident or element in their lives which shaped them as a writer. For me there are two: one is a quote by Sydney Sheldon. Those words resonate with me because I fall into the “have to” category. When people learn I’m an author, often the response I get is “I was going to write a book once,” and I smile as I think of that quote.

The other defining moment happened one day while I was reading a romance novel during my lunch hour. In the foreword dedication, the author thanked the Romance Writers of America. At the time I had already been writing romance, though with no knowledge of the genre or market.

After my lunch break I looked up RWA on the web, and thought it looked really interesting. That night at dinner I told my husband I wanted to join. He said “Okay, just make sure it’s not a fly-by-night organization that’s going to run off with your money.”

I still laugh today when I think about that, because while I didn’t believe RWA was a fly-by-night organization that was going to run off with my money, I still had no idea just what kind of wild ride I was in for. I’ve never met such an outgoing, generous group of professionals so willing to share their secrets. In no other organization can one attend a conference where topics include writing query letters and synopses, finding an agent, market research, weapons and poisons, how to write a kickass heroine, and what makes a hot alpha male sexy.

Three months after joining, my local chapter president encouraged me to enter the Golden Heart contest for unpublished writers. I did, and my book was nominated as a category finalist. That year I traveled to Chicago for RWA’s national conference with three of my fellow finalists and attended the glamorous awards ceremony.

After that wonderful night my winning manuscript was picked up by Samhain Publishing. Since then I’ve published over twenty books under two pseudonyms and appeared on the USA Today bestseller list. My books are available in print and ebook formats, which in my opinion, is the best of both worlds.

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