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Thoughts and Musings

Life-long Love of Stories

The computer replaced the blackboard as my grownup creative tool for client projects; in retirement, I've used it to write a novel.





My earliest playtime memories are of drawing pictures with colored chalk on a small blackboard when I was four years old. Alone in the playroom, I'd draw a cat, dog, or horse and make up a story about it. I kept the stories in my head, since I hadn't yet learned to read or write.


One of my favorites was about a horse I named Champ. He was white with large spots that looked like coffee and cream stirred up, and his mane and tail were black with some white in them. He lived at the riding stable we went to, and in my story, I rode him all by myself on trails through the fields and woods. We galloped!


In reality, my older sister took lessons on a similar-looking horse, and my riding was limited to sitting in front of my father astride a safe old mare who only walked. I liked that, but what I imaged was much more fun!


Learning to read opened up delightful new worlds for me, and I'm always sad when I finish a book and the story is over. I love books so much that I always wanted to write them; by the second grade, I was folding sheets of paper and writing stories in "books."


My first job was writing a school news column and features for a local weekly newspaper. I loved having a by-line as well as earning good money. I attended the University of Missouri School of Journalism, and won an award for a business feature. However, I changed to advertising because it combined writing, art, business and psychology, and allowed for a more positive outlook. During college, I worked at the local radio station, and I still remember feeling thrilled when my boss introduced me as "a writer."


Upon graduation, I needed to earn a living. Ad agencies weren't hiring newbie copywriters during that recession, so I sold newspaper advertising, which paid well. My early career zig-zagged between low-dollar creative opportunities and sales gigs I took when I needed money.


I combined all of my skills when I started a marketing communications company to serve technical and business-to-business clients. For 20 years, I loved crafting their stories explaining how they could help their customers. I developed the concepts, did the writing, art direction and project management, working with photographers, graphic designers, and website developers. I often felt like the kid with her chalkboard as I created brochures, ads, or articles. But I had no energy to write fiction after-hours.


I retired early to write novels. As I wrote each scene, I felt pure joy! My first novel, Family of Choice: Raising Each Other, will be published by the end of 2023, and I'm eager to get started on the next book in the series.

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