I was raised as a military brat. My father was a colonel in the Marine Corps. As a teenager I rebelled and ran off with a hippie to Canada and the Yucatan. I’ve lived all over this country, including Oregon, Washington State and California, and I’ve traveled extensively in Europe, Mexico and Guatemala.
My husband, Vinnie makes his living shoeing horses and working as a cowboy. He works for a big ranch rounding up cows, checking for illness, roping then doctoring the cattle. He castrates bull calves, worms, inoculates and brands cattle. In the mornings, he saddles up one of our horses, loads it and the dogs into the gooseneck and goes to work. I often go with him. I get to work the hot shot (cattle prod), the squeeze chute, the wormer gun or the parting gates.
When Vinnie is not riding out to work the cattle, he shoes horses for a living. I go with him for this as well. His motto is, “I have succeeded where others have failed,” which basically means there’s no horse who’s hooves he can’t trim. We’ve roped them, choked them and drugged them. Vinnie believes drugging doesn’t work because they don’t learn anything and the next time you go to work on that horse’s feet, you start from scratch.
Vinnie and I live on a small ranch in rural Florida with three horses, 30 head of cattle and various assorted cow dogs. Living with Vinnie, I’ve learned to leg a bull calf, and go into a pen filled with cattle without feeling terrified. Well, most of the time I don’t feel terrified. In our house everything is counted by the head. We have five head of dogs, ten head of chickens, two head of cats and eight head of grandchildren.
Living with a real Cracker Cowboy has given me the insight to write my Cracker Westerns. A Cracker Western is a western based in Florida. Most people don’t know that Florida’s cow industry has been up and running since the sixteen century, long before Texas even thought about cattle. Florida’s cow towns were the last strongholds of wild, crazy cowboys in the U.S., hanging onto their bad reputations and lawlessness well into the twentieth century.
I wrote seven romance novels, some historical, some contemporary, before I became a reporter. I was a general reporter for ten years with two small-town newspapers. Working at the newspaper, I learned to be prolific, write tightly, edit my own material and take photos. I’ve won over ten awards for my writing, Florida Press Association Awards and CNHI company awards as well as many awards for my photos. Back when I was writing romance, I won many, many contests.
Since I retired from the newspaper business, I have time to write. Look for Alligator Gold on Amazon.com and at my publisher’s website PineapplePress.com.
I read thrillers by James Rollins, Matthew Reilly and Douglas Preston/Lincoln Child and I’ve read all the Cracker Westerns. Everything I write, especially thrillers, are character driven. I believe a good book should have diverse, interesting characters. And there’s always a touch of romance in every book I write.
Before I became a reporter and had free time, I attended a lot of writers’ conferences as a member of RWA. I enjoy speaking. My topics were: Using the Writers Journey to Plot a Novel, Creating Memorable Characters and Bad Guys are People Too.
My writing partner, Gabe Thompson, is a disabled vet. Thompson was in the Air Force stationed overseas. He is a military expert and a weapons expert. He adds depth, a masculine view point and youthful energy to the work.
Thompson was injured while in the service and is now attending college at the University of Florida studying creative writing and journalism. During football season, Gabe writes for the Gainesville Sun.