If you have traveled to my web site, first off, I thank you. Maybe you wandered here by mistake or by sheer coincidence, but I like to imagine there's a strong probability that you have read or are reading my novels, which means we most likely share a love of Victorian imagery, gothic atmospheres, New Orleans folklore and an expanding curiosity of the metaphysical and the possibilities of a limitless universe in which we all coexist. In other words, you might be a seeker or an admirer of those who question this physical and nonphysical life. Or perhaps you just have a great imagination and appreciate a fun story. For any or all of these reasons, I feel a kinship with you and would like to share some of my personal history.
I have never been a writer by profession, but I have been a writer, nonetheless. In my 20s I dabbled in poetry and attempts at songwriting, but it was in my 30s that I found a real desire to put down into words an experience I had as a young woman in the Air Force. It was that desire that drove me to finish a 220-page accounting of a year in my life and really got me interested in storytelling. Once I got a personal computer, poetry became an every-night ritual.
My Early Life:
I was born in Portsmouth, Ohio and soon after my parents moved with my sister and I to Carey, Ohio. I graduated high school there.. After a year at Findlay College, I enlisted in the USAF. It was the Vietnam era and the military was not a popular choice. But it was my choice because of a burning desire to travel and experience the world outside of my home town. It was a good choice. I became a medic. After serving at Wilford Hall Medical Center and getting my heart broken by a 15-year-old who died of leukemia, I was transferred to the hospital ER and then transferred again, happily ending up my tour of duty in Misawa, Japan. During those four years of service I traveled extensively, and eventually the young patient I had cared so deeply for became the subject of my later first book (that remains in my drawer) and then the inspiration for Hollister House. And as a natural result of living on the economy in a small Japanese village I became a student of metaphysical thinking that I continue to this day.
My Early Music Career:
I started singing at a very young age in Carey, Ohio and was a soloist in chorus and vocal ensembles. Because of my musical influences, I went on to minor in music at Findlay College. But instead of joining the jazz band and continuing my education there, I enlisted in the Air Force. It was in Misawa, Japan that I got in a band for the first time. It was called "The Versatiles" and, as the name implied, we kept to a varied and classic playlist. After that group, I got top billing in "Joan and Yankee" and we performed rock 'n' roll for the locals at Japanese businesses.
After being discharged, I returned to Gahanna, Ohio because my family had relocated to the Columbus suburb, and it was there that I auditioned for and joined a local Top-40 band called "Highway 40." During this period I attended OSU and took music theory. I would have liked to continue my education, but the road called.
My husband and I met through a musical agent in Columbus who was putting together a band. Robin and I became close friends, and then got closer and the rest, as they say...
We spent the next years traveling solely on the road in different bands. During those years the home club for us in the Cincinnati area was the Drawbridge, where we became a part of the Tommy Behle management family. He was good to us and we culminated that relationship by getting married on his dance floor at the Conservatory Restaurant years later. When our last group disbanded, the years of travel came to an end and Price Hill in Cincinnati became home. I enrolled into a court reporting course at U.C. while Robin continued to travel in bands off and on. I found pickup music work and Robin became lead singer for a house band at a club called Easy Street in Sharonville. That job lasted five years. During this time I worked with various piano players singing standards at the The Conservatory Restaurant. But basically this was the time that I withdrew from music and really began to write. But music would come back to me.
in 1988 Robin and I traveled to New Orleans and fell in love with Zydeco music. We came back home and shook up the musical community with this Louisiana-based music that brought accordion to a stage, that was not German, in Cincinnati for the first time. Thirty years later we are still playing this extraordinary music, which has evolved into our own unique sound. Please visit the band web site for further exploration into this joyful chapter of my life. In the '90s we got lucky with a DOD agent who booked us on tours allowing us to travel through Europe and even the Middle East performing for servicemen and women. It was a surprising gift that came from our music.
The Hollister House Trilogy:
In 2001 the world changed with 9/11 and in Cincinnati we faced an upheaval in our own city resulting in racial riots. At the time Robin and I lived in the the City and the atmosphere was frightening and depressing. It was that year that I started walking in our old neighborhood. It inspired me to write a short piece for the paper that was published under a "local voice" section. After reading my article a friend suggested I should write a novel. At the same time a psychic friend advised I should write children's books. So I set out to just that. Again, I went back to that boy who had died while I was a medic in the USAF. My idea for a book: A young boy who has cancer is miraculously cured by a ghost in a haunted house. That the idea and that's where I began. Years later, of course, that idea evolved into the full-blown trilogy of Hollister House.
I am still writing and my latest work of fiction is entitled "Sorry's Run." And just this year my foretold destiny found a reality in the publishing of a children's book, "Jack and Remy & Their Bayou Band" published by River Road Press in New Orleans. That journey brought me to Debbi Kern, (www.penandink.com)illustrator extraordinaire and a good friend to boot. So you might say my writing has come full circle.
And the band continues and I am working on a fifth novel. Wish me luck with getting it completed in this next year. I will from time to time publish some of my poetry and maybe a short story or two on this web site, and of course my hope is that you and I will develop relationships about my writing and perhaps your writing and that this will become an interactive site with new and old friends.
In the meantime, I believe I have more stories to tell and I hope that you will enjoy going there with me.