Jacket flaps and “About” menus are an absolute fascination to many after reading an author’s words. A quick peek into the lives of someone who held our attention for either ten minutes or ten hours can leave you scratching your head or itching for more.
I’m often awestruck by folks who have a string of accomplishments that take longer to read than the amount of time it takes to catch a fish in your bathtub. I cringe at the thought of having to come up with my own bio. Nope, I’m not an award-winning screenwriter, folklorist, or congressional historian. I’ve not advanced science or medicine while brushing shoulders in the lab with MIT professors and pharmaceutical giants. And I’ve not opened any gastropubs, cupcakeries, or food hubs for local farmers.
My life is pretty plain Jane and average Joe, which suits me fairly well. I’m in charge of full bellies and clean underwear—tasks I take with an element of humor and pride. I’m doing my utmost to find success in small places, whether that be getting through a yoga class without making a mental grocery list, or reading at least the first chapter of a long anticipated library book before it’s due back at the branch because fifteen of them came in all at once from my hold list.
Every day that I haven’t killed the plants in my veggie patch is one to be celebrated. Each furry nose that reaches in the direction of my hand for a comforting touch brings a velvet present. The fact that my children occasionally still make eye contact with me when surrounded by their friends is a unique and reassuring gift in and of itself. I may not have an impressive resume of accomplishments, but I’ve managed to collect a few experiences that I’d not trade in for an Oscar, a Pulitzer or the Presidential Physical Fitness award—except I really worked hard for that last one all through middle school, so it might be debatable. I guess I’m still happy I’ve not won a Darwin, but I’ve got a few solid gold plastic trophies somewhere in a box that could suitably fit into a similar category.
My experiences are prolific, my hopes still abundant and my realizations wishfully profound. It is what we make it.
I live on top of a small mountain on the edge of the Blue Ridge in Virginia with my two children, who are far less fond of me than I am of them, but I’m fairly certain (and hopeful) that this is strictly teenage territory.
Two live inside with us, Haggis, our dog, who is part sheep, part Highland cow, and Smudge, a cat who would prefer that we leave her the hell alone, but is sadly dependent upon us because she cannot work a can opener.
There are two sheep: big, fat woolly boys named Toot & Puddle, who seem to have a deal on an outside source of food, as that would explain their sudden launch into Pudgeville. Seriously, these fellas could get night work as bouncers for a bar. They’re like short cows. But it could be the way they’re styling their hair. And as is commonplace for anywhere that sprouts more trees than people, we have our fair share of winged and four-legged varietals that make their way from one end to t’other of the Shenandoah Valley. If desperate for cash, we could probably host a National Geographic special up here, but I figure, in truth, we’re the interlopers. Surely they got dibs on the place before we started pounding in our stakes.
I live to write, and, in fact, spend every spare minute not assigned to something else absorbed in the act. I have four finished novels all YA and middle grade. The first is called Dear Opl (Sourcebooks August 2015), a story about a cheeky, overweight thirteen-year-old girl who struggles with surviving loss everywhere but on her body. The second is two-part YA historical, The Freemason’s Daughter (HarperCollins 2017 & 2018), the tale telling of a sixteen-year-old Scottish girl involved in a deadly smuggling operation during the early 18th century with the intent to help James Stuart reclaim the British throne. And finally, The Selkie’s Gift, a humorous story of a nosy teenaged fairy, who is determined to save the world by claiming the title, “Nancy Drew With Wings.”
I cook with fervency and hope to share the bountiful ideas that come my way as a result of an overflowing garden and my unquenchable thirst for the healthiest, smartest and most enjoyable way to live.
And speaking of unquenchable thirsts, I challenge anyone to stay awake and look interested as I wax lyrical on all things whisky-related. My twenty years of learning are coming together as a collection of essays; a manuscript in the making. From tasting the finest spirits, to visiting the land of their births, my journey is ongoing and the research keeps me steeped in smoke, brine and peat. Three scents I would like to be buried with.
Lastly, I’m still fairly determined to churn out two young human beings who, after being released from their illusory cages, will be capable of balancing their checkbooks and paying their taxes.
Life is good. Whisky’s better. Amen.