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The Long Journey

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I have been writing every since I can remember, reading since I was 2.  I have loved to read Shakespeare from the time I was old enough to remember. I began reading Nancy Drew books at the age of 5. I remember my Grandma King being concerned that I was reading things that were far too old for me. Children’s stories and cartoons never thrilled me.

Poems were the first thing I began writing. They were short, sweet and to the point. Writing was an escape for me. A way to express what I was feeling. I was an only child, surrounded by adults. I never really had any close friends. The closest person to me was my little cousin Chris.

I tried song writing, short stories and fiction but none of it was a fit. I took a creative writing class in high school which almost made me give up the dream. That same year I also took a mythology class. The teacher, Mrs. Marilyn Kissane, spoke with me about joining her journalism class the following year. I decided to sign up thinking that it would be an easy class that I might enjoy.

The year was 1985, AIDS was the hot topic. Ryan White had been diagnosed right in Indianapolis. I lived in Gas City. So, I asked if I could write a center spread on AIDS. The answer was yes. Mrs. Kissane helped me get information from the Mayo Clinic and the article, center spread, was published in January 1986 in the Smoke Signal the newspaper of Mississinewa High School.

That article launched my writing career.

I was scheduled to attend the Ball State Journalism workshops that coming summer. I was hoping to be editor of the school paper my senior year. I had even gone to work for the local paper the Twin Cities Journal-Reporter. Life was good. I had plans to go half a day my senior year so I could work at the Marion paper. However my plans were not to be.

My mother became quite ill. My dad had found a job in another town. We had to move. I was so sad. I was leaving my life behind, my dreams of being an editor, a journalist. My senior year was going to suck – and it did.

Before I left however I was awarded the first ever outstanding journalism plaque from Mississinewa High School. I did get to attend the Ball State J-Day Workshops and came in 1st runner up for a $300 scholarship.

We moved and I was enrolled in a new school. I signed up for yearbook, newspaper and radio. I was excited again. Within a short time I was told I had to give up the yearbook and newspaper classes. School rules did not allow you to take both and these courses required pre-approval from the instructors. I did not have, and could not get, that. Radio on the other hand was fun. I really enjoyed that class. It was the only class I enjoyed my senior year.

After graduation I went to the local paper in Huntington to get a job. I was turned down. I went to the weekly paper to get a job and was again turned down. I went back every time there was a job opening only to be turned away.

I kept writing poetry. I kept thinking someday, maybe.

In 1997 I moved to a farm and got my first computer. My boyfriend at the time had a Harley-Davidson. We were surfing the net one night when I saw an ad looking for a female with a Harley-Davidson who could write. He encouraged me to apply. I sent in my AIDS article and anxiously awaited a reply.

I was given the job. I was so excited. One article per month. I was writing and on a site where people could see my work. Wow. Soon other work came my way. I wrote on animals, plants, cards, leather, fashion clothing, you name it. Best of all I was getting paid.

By spring of 1998 I decided I wanted to write a book. I spoke with an editor at Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd. about working on an herbal calendar. I was excited. While waiting on the contract to arrive my mother passed away. The letter, with the contract, arrived the day of her funeral. I set it aside and forgot about it. A year later I found it.

Not knowing what to do, I picked up the phone and made a phone call. I explained who I was and what had happened. I told the person on the phone I really wanted to write for them, so an article was born “medicinal astrology.” It went in the 2002 Moon Sign Book.

I continued writing for Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd. for several years. I also continued working at various newspapers as a writer, editor and layout person, as well as writing for magazines and websites. Whatever work came my way, I took no matter how small the pay.

In 2007 my book of poems, the one I had been writing since I was ten was accepted for publication. It was published in 2008 under the title “Perspective Visions: Enigmatic Masterpieces.”

I also had a short non-fiction work “Magical Gardens” accepted into the Amazon Shorts program that year. On New Year’s Eve 2008 it hit #22 on the shorts best seller list. I was blown away.

In 2008 I also had a book accepted by LifeTips titled “101 English Garden Tips.” It was published in 2009.

This year has been an amazing year for me. I have four more LifeTips books coming out. One is on organic gardening, one is for beginning gardeners, one is on self-sufficiency through the garden and the one I am currently working on is on the secret life of a gardener. The first three are in the editing stages now, the fourth is being written.

If all that were not enough, this was the year I got the call from New York. A garden writer was needed to help finish a book. The book had to be completed in three weeks, no excuses. I said sure. The book, which will be coming out in February 2010, is titled “The Complete Idiot’s Guide To Year Round Gardening.”

I turned 40 in August this year. To date I have twenty books in various stages of release. I moved my writing shelf today and was amazed at how many websites, newspapers and magazines I have written for. There must be thousands of articles there. I have joined the ranks of professional writers at last.

What a great feeling that is!

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