*As part of the Sarah trying to stop the killing of Sarah through overwriting (particularly when it doesn’t begin to be the stuff I get paid for) I invited four friends to blog once a month on Monday. You’ve met Dave Pascoe (aka Kilteddave) and Cedar Sanderson, and now you should meet Amanda Green. Amanda periodically lets me haunt her sofa while I finish a book, and I love her mom and her dog (the dog REALLY is neurotic. Also, adorable.) The cat I have issues with because she doesn’t like me. Which is sad, since her name is Athena. I attest to the haunted table and lamp but I’m okay as long as nothing flies at my head as in the house three houses ago. And yep, my husband still thinks this “Amanda Green” thing is a complex ruse whose point he doesn’t get. This despite meeting her. — Oh, btw, if you’re not one of the Raiding party this doesn’t mean you’re not welcome to do a guest blog for me now and then. I figure 10k of non fiction a week — between here and PJM — is enough!*
When Sarah asked me to do an introductory post, my first thought was “Huh?”. Then it was “Crap.” There are few things I hate doing more than writing about myself. Part of the reason is because I don’t think my life is all that interesting. After all, I don’t skydive – why jump out of a perfectly normal airplane if you don’t have to? – nor do I bungie jump – again, why jump off of something very high held with nothing but a large rubber band to keep me from plunging into the ground? I never wanted to be Wylie Coyote.
So who am I?
If you look at the author bio at the end of my books, here’s what you’ll see:
I’m older than 20 and younger than death and that’s all you’ll get from me about my age. After all, it’s not polite to ask a woman how old she is. I’m a mother, a daughter and was a wife. I’ve spent most of my life in the South and love to travel. The only problem with that is my dog always thinks I’ve abandoned him when I do and it takes weeks to reassure the poor thing and my cat resents the fact I came back before she could figure out a way to kill the dog and hide the body. My house is haunted — it is, really. I swear it. What else explains the table that plays music and the light that comes on by itself? — but it’s mine and I love it. Okay, I’m a little strange. But that makes life interesting.
All of that is true, for any given value of true. I am older than 20 and have not yet reached death (and I hope it is a very long time before I do). The bit about it not being polite to ask a woman her age is something I grew up with. I might have grown up in Texas, but a lot of the “Southern” sayings were a part of my upbringing. Just like we never talked politics or religion at the table. Religion because the immediate family pretty much agreed about it – at least until I was old enough to start asking questions our priest didn’t want to answer. Politics was something else. Until I was old enough to vote, my parents always cancelled each other out on Election Day.
I’ve been lucky enough to travel much of the world, including getting to see Communism at its heyday in Soviet Russia. I’ve seen the resentment my parents’ generation still feels in the country formerly known as Czechoslovakia because Churchill and Roosevelt agreed to let Comrade Josef “liberate” the country instead of the rest of the Allies. I’ve been blessed to be able to talk with survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto, both here in the U.S. and overseas. What I’ve learned is that our country might not be the perfect place to live, but it is damned better than most everywhere else in the world. That’s why I’m willing to fight for what it stands for and why, at times, you’ll see me blogging about what the idiots in Washington have done and why we need to take the Capital and the country back from the politicians.
Beyond all that, I’m a writer. Growing up, I was always telling myself stories. The first time I ever showed anyone anything I’d written was in the 7th grade. Mrs. Winslow, my English teacher, basically caught me writing what I’d later learn is fanfic. Instead of embarrassing me by making a big deal out of it, she simply kept walking down the aisle of desks and didn’t say anything until after class. Then she asked if she could read what I’d written. Not about to tell a teacher “no”, I handed over my notebook and then went looking for a hole to bury myself in. Imagine my surprise when she came back a few days later and encouraged me to continue writing.
It was around that time I found out that my great-grandfather edited a newspaper in Canon City, CO. My Great-uncle Jack was the youngest linotype operator in the country at one time. He continued in the newspaper business after the family moved to Kansas. His brother, Herb, wrote plays. As for the rest of the family, well, Mom and I have always laughed about how we come from a family of liars and prevaricators.
In other words, a family that loves to tell a good story.
So I wrote.
And put it in desk drawers and under my bed and in the back of my closet. I’d tried at one point to get an agent but without luck. The couple of writers groups I’d been in had been toxic – everything Sarah has ever warned about here and on Mad Genius Club. So, not wanting to expose my “baby” to the evil world, I kept it secret and tried to figure out what I wanted to do when I grew up.
Along the way, I’ve been a teacher, worked at an ad agency and in a dental office, I’ve worked at Baylor Medical Center in various positions and even spent some time in a law enforcement-related field. I’ve also taken and taught martial arts. Plus I’ve raised a son I’m proud of who is currently serving in the military.
Then I met Sarah. I’d been lurking in her forum on Baen’s Bar for some time before finally gathering the courage to speak up, so to speak. Over the course of the next few months, we began exchanging emails and talking on AIM and it was like we’d known each other for years, not for months.
And that’s when I slipped up. In a moment of weakness I admitted I wrote. Before I knew what happened, she’d convinced me to send her something. Then she wanted to know why I kept putting it under the bed instead of trying to polish it for publication. I tried to tell her it was good only for bonfires – I really like bonfires, you see – but she forbade me having any more that used my work for fuel.
Then came the day she told me to write a short story to submit to her husband for an anthology he was editing. No promises, she said. But he’d at least look at it and give me some honest feedback. Well, being me and not being confident in 1) my writing and 2) writing a short story, something I hadn’t done in years, I submitted two stories I pulled together over the course of the next few days. From what Sarah tells me, Dan came in and accused her of making me up as another of her pen names. I say he was insulting her but she says no. Long story a bit shorter, he bought one of the stories and I had my first sale.
Since then, Sarah has been on me to keep writing. Which I have done. I also blog – hopefully on a more regular basis now than in the past. When I blog on my personal blog, Nocturnal Lives, it’s a mix of politics, current events and writing. For Mad Genius Club, it’s about publishing. Here, well, I am a Hoyt’s Hun so that means you’re as likely to get politics – with a libertarian Texan slant – as you are something about publishing.
As for the rest of it, my dog is neurotic. He’s afraid of the refrigerator and the washer/dryer. If Mom or I leave town, he won’t eat for at least two days. When we return, you can see in his eyes that he just knew we’d run off and abandoned him – to the cat. The same cat who is staring at us and letting us know in that way only a cat can that she was this close to killing the dog and hiding his body and why did we come home so soon.
And, yes, I do have a haunted table if not a fully haunted house. At odd times the table will play music – without anything on it or in it that has musical capabilities. At least it’s Ode to Spring and not something from a death metal band.
All the rest, as I say in my bio for my books, is subject to change.