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Many writers will tell you they began writing stories the moment they learned to wield a pencil. I’m no exception. But even as a child, I didn’t write “kid” stories. I preferred something more dramatic. Something that didn’t include Dick, Jane, and a dog named Spot. I wanted my dogs to have names like White Fang or Cujo. I’ll always have my parents to thank for that. They never censored my reading material (though I suspect that if they had truly known what was between the covers of some of the books, they’d have been a little more careful,) so when other girls my age were reading Laura Ingalls Wilder and Judy Blume, I was immersing myself in Stephen King and Jack London.
Considering my fiction preferences, it came as no surprise to anyone that my first short stories were tales of horror, and my first novel, penned at the age of 12, was an Alaskan wilderness story with a wolf hero.
Eventually, my interests changed. Oh, I still enjoy a good Stephen King novel, and Jack London remains a favorite, but I discovered some new favorites while I was in college. Robert Jordan. Marion Zimmer Bradley. Mary Stewart. Oh yes, I’d found fantasy. I devoured every novel I could find, and in time I started writing my very own fantasy novel. That novel is still a work in progress, thirteen years later.
Eventually, after I’d read just about every fantasy novel published, I had to switch to something else. That something else was straight historical fiction. Again I exhausted my supply, but my longtime friend from my Air Force days, Karen, came to the rescue with something I never thought I’d read. Something I made fun of her for reading.
She made me read a historical romance.
Thus began a passion for, well, passion. I wanted to write romances, and I wanted to see them in print. To help fulfill that dream, I joined RWA, writers’ lists and critique groups. In order to build some writing credits, I worked on some military and NWS technical manuals. As my writing improved, I began to sell my work to print magazines like The Canine Journal and Dog Fancy, and to online publications such as Writing-World.com.
Then, in February of 2006, while in the middle of recovering from hurricane Katrina (and after nearly giving up on writing,) I made my first sale to Red Sage Secrets. A couple of weeks later, that sale was followed by a sale to Bantam Dell with my collaboration partner, Stephanie Tyler. We write together under the pseudonym of Sydney Croft.
More recently, I sold a series of dark paranormal romances to Warner, a sale that was extremely satisfying because I am finally able to combine my love of romance with the darkness that creeps into my voice, thanks to my youthful and still-present love of horror novels and dark fantasy.
My most recent sale was to Samhain, a wonderfully supportive publisher with a great list of authors.
For more on my journey, check out my FAQ page and my For Writers page under articles.
Oh, and the friend who got me addicted to romance? I paid her back by getting her hooked on Star Trek. Live long and prosper, Karen! (One day I WILL write that Star Trek novel!)
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