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Lisa Jackson

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Maria Geraci
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I grew up in Melbourne, a quiet little beach town on the east coast of Florida. My parents emigrated to the US from Cuba post-Fidel Castro in the early sixties, at a time when south Florida was gutted with Cuban refugees. Melbourne was the kind of town where you could ride your bike anywhere, and all the Cubans (all couple dozen or so families back then) all knew one another. question). I replied, “I’m going to the pool everyday and I’m going to organize all the closets in the house!” He nodded in manly approval. I kissed him back and got in my car. I didn’t get a mile down the road before I was hit with a lightning-rod epiphany. Organizing closets was the highlight of my life? Really? I got home, fired up the old computer and began writing a novel- a historical romance titled "His Perfect Wife" (hmm... wonder where I got that idea from?) And so began my writing journey…Fast forward a few months. I discovered a wonderful organization called Romance Writers of America. At the time there was no local land chapter in Tallahassee, so I joined RWA Online, a virtual community that fast became my home away from home. It was there that I hooked up with my first critique partners who I truly credit with helping me learn the craft of writing. I entered my work in contests and had some success. I queried a few agents and editors, but I wasn’t getting great responses. Historicals were a hard sell, and mine didn’t stand out enough in the crowd. So I started dabbling with contemporaries. I tried a first-person women’s fiction manuscript, only to find out my plot fizzled out. Then in the summer of 2005, while I was at the RWA Convention in Reno, I had another epiphany. I was at Circus, Circus with a group of friends eating dinner and I was wearing my lucky Bunco bracelet. I’d played Bunco once a month since 1992 and loved it. It was my girls’ night out, my time away from the hubby and kids and the house and all the responsibilities of life. Playing Bunco for me was like finding a great novel. Pure escapism- only with Bunco you get to have your friends along for the ride. I looked at my bracelet and it was like “duh!” I knew then I had to write a book about a group of women who play Bunco. And I wanted it to be fun and romantic- the sort of book you’d take along to the beach and when you finished reading, you’d be smiling. I hope after reading my books, you agree. I went to Catholic school and did girl scouts and took ballet and fought with my sister Carmen. You could say I had a very typical all American upbringing, except for the fact that we ate things like arroz con pollo and frijoles negros, only spoke Spanish in our home, and had an Irish Terrier who answered to the name of Chico. As a kid, I always loved to read, but I never dreamed of being a writer. I did however, love to tell stories. Not made-up stories, but if something funny or dramatic happened at school, I’d retell it- admittedly maybe embellishing a bit- but only of course, for dramatic effect. Fast forward a few years. I now live in Tallahassee, am married, have 3 kids and work part-time as a Labor and Delivery nurse (okay, maybe I’ve fast forwarded more than just a few years). I’m still telling the stories. Only now my stories weren’t only about school, they were about anything that ever happened to me. Like the day I spent in jury selection, or the guy I accidentally ran into with my car (I swear I wasn't talking on my cell phone at the time). My life became material for anyone who would listen. Meanwhile, I kept reading. By now, I’d discovered romance. I couldn’t get enough of it. One day at work, my friend Rhoda and I decided we would write a book together. That lasted about a day. But the idea stuck. Then in the summer of 2002, my husband went to Israel on business. I took him to the airport, and as he kissed me goodbye, he asked what I planned to do with myself for 2 whole weeks without him (I have 3 kids, so only a man would ask this question). I replied, “I’m going to the pool everyday and I’m going to organize all the closets in the house!” He nodded in manly approval. I kissed him back and got in my car. I didn’t get a mile down the road before I was hit with a lightning-rod epiphany. Organizing closets was the highlight of my life? Really? I got home, fired up the old computer and began writing a novel- a historical romance titled "His Perfect Wife" (hmm... wonder where I got that idea from?) And so began my writing journey…Fast forward a few months. I discovered a wonderful organization called Romance Writers of America. At the time there was no local land chapter in Tallahassee, so I joined RWA Online, a virtual community that fast became my home away from home. It was there that I hooked up with my first critique partners who I truly credit with helping me learn the craft of writing. I entered my work in contests and had some success. I queried a few agents and editors, but I wasn’t getting great responses. Historicals were a hard sell, and mine didn’t stand out enough in the crowd. So I started dabbling with contemporaries. I tried a first-person women’s fiction manuscript, only to find out my plot fizzled out. Then in the summer of 2005, while I was at the RWA Convention in Reno, I had another epiphany. I was at Circus, Circus with a group of friends eating dinner and I was wearing my lucky Bunco bracelet. I’d played Bunco once a month since 1992 and loved it. It was my girls’ night out, my time away from the hubby and kids and the house and all the responsibilities of life. Playing Bunco for me was like finding a great novel. Pure escapism- only with Bunco you get to have your friends along for the ride. I looked at my bracelet and it was like “duh!” I knew then I had to write a book about a group of women who play Bunco. And I wanted it to be fun and romantic- the sort of book you’d take along to the beach and when you finished reading, you’d be smiling. I hope after reading my books, you agree.

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