In addition to writing Young Adult Contemporary Fiction, I’m a high school English-Language Arts teacher and I frequently draw on my experience as an educator to write my books. I have a B.A. in English, Minor in Secondary Education, and an M.Ed. in Reading. I began Library Science classes a few years ago, but I realized I was not ready to leave the classroom because I have a passion for teaching writing. Every time I do a school visit, though, and hang out with librarians? Man, do I want THEIR jobs! Awesome.
I am a featured author on the 2015-2016 Spirit of Texas Reading List- High School for the Kirkus Starred Reviewed Big Fat Disaster (Simon Pulse/Merit Press). Hope in Patience, the 2nd book in The Patience Trilogy (Courage-1, Hope-2, and Truth-3), is a 2011 YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers.
My latest work, Trauma Recovery: Sessions With Dr. Matt, half-novel/half-teaching, is written for trauma survivors, mental health professionals, and those who seek a greater understanding of trauma recovery and PTSD. It’s my first foray into creative non-fiction (Ayni Books/John Hunt Publishing).
I am building the foundation of a freelance developmental editing & copyediting business, specializing in assisting authors of teen fiction tell the exact story they envision. There’s a page link on the menu at the top of this page, and you can contact me through the form under the Bio tab. When I retire from teaching in a few years, I will be freelance editing and writing full-time.
I’m a member of the RAINN (Rape , Abuse, Incest National Network) Speakers’ Bureau. I have a following in the young adult literature world and also among survivors of sexual abuse because of my work with victims’ advocacy groups.
I’ve been the keynote speaker at the National Crime Victims’ Week Commemoration Ceremony at the Hall of State in Dallas, Texas and a presenter for Greater Texas Community Partners, where I addressed a group of social workers and foster children on the subject of “Hope.”
I’m in-demand as a panelist, having presented/appeared at the Texas Library Association Annual Conference, the American Library Association’s annual conference, YALSA, and N.C.T.E./ALAN. I’m a member of The Author’s Guild, The Texas Library Association, the Editorial Freelance Association, Kate Brauning’s Breakthrough Writers’ Boot Camp, and the Texas Federation of Teachers.
I’m a survivor of a traumatic childhood, like Ashley’s in The Patience Trilogy, and I’m a day-to-day manager of an eating disorder much like Colby’s in Big Fat Disaster. These life experiences give me a unique perspective, and I writes her characters’ stories in a way meant to inspire hope. Check out “I Am a Rock Star,” which is a very cool site for sexual trauma survivors, and my story’s on it .
I live with my family in the woods of East Texas.
11 Random Things About Me:
- I’m an animal lover. Inside, we have 3 dogs (“Chase, Kevin, & Jake”), 1 cat (“White Kitty”), and in my backyard, I have 2 Nigerian Dwarf Goats (“Onslow & Daisy”). Elsewhere around here, there is a raggedy old possum we call “Possum Don’t Give a Shit,” because he/she does not care if we emerge from the house: “PDGaS” doesn’t pause in snacking on the cat food or bird seed. My husband once even scratched “PDGaS”‘s back, and received the classic possum hissy-face in return. (But no bite. So there’s that.) There is an Outside Cat Who Hates Us, but his official name is “Black Kitty,” AND, a recently-arrived super-scrawny raccoon (or maybe he/she’s just not fat yet), who I am considering calling “Ruby,” because he/she frowns like my great-aunt Ruby did. “Ruby” has moved into “Black Kitty”‘s house on our porch, and frequently lounges beside the window while I’m writing. (Note: I’m inside. Ruby has teeth, and I’m not a dummy.) I also feed the birds, but I gave up on separate feeders for the squirrels, because they just raid the feeders anyway. Recently, something absconded completely with one of the feeders. (BTW my daughter thinks my propensity for writing Facebook posts about my animals is either fantastic or sad. I can’t really tell. But friend me on Facebook anyway, if you want to read them…)
- I advocate for children and abuse victims, sometimes quite fiercely.
- I sometimes snort when I laugh.
- I have NO sense of direction.
- I have been a teacher for over twenty years, and my students inspired me to sponsor a Creative Writing Club that recently published a school-wide anthology of stories, poems, and art. I’m as proud of this accomplishment as I am of the books I’ve written myself. Mostly, though, I’m proud of my students/kids.
- I mostly listen to podcasts when I’m driving or cleaning the house. I’m big on “story.”
- I LOVE music; I am a huge fan of The Avett Brothers & Alternative Folk…but anything with a powerful message? It’s got me.
- I’m a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and I began writing The Patience Trilogy when I was still in therapy. I wrote all 3 books over the time I was in treatment.
- I have Binge Eating Disorder and I drew on a lot of my own experiences to write Colby’s story in Big Fat Disaster.
- My sixth book, currently in the “progress” stage, is tentatively called Find the Moon.
- I am HORRIFIED by what Donald Trump and his enablers are doing to our country. I will never pretend to be otherwise.