OK. I know the first thing that people wonder when they want to know about somebody is what they look like, and that it’s de rigeur in our age of digital media to have a photo of yourself on your blog or website. Let me state, emphatically and for the record, that I detest having photos of myself taken only slightly less than having them viewed. So I post this photo more as a “gotta do” than as a “wanna do.” Here’s what I look like, more or less, and the photo makes me look thinner than I actually am, so we’ll go with that. What I do like about this photo, as such things go, is that it pretty well represents my style. I’m sitting at a cafe in a casual sweater and minimal make-up, having lunch with a dear friend who snapped it with her iPhone on the spur of the moment. That’s one of my ideas of fun — hanging out with laid-back friends who you can just be yourself with. So now that the dreaded photo thing is out of the way, let’s move on.
Next up: the resume. I landed my first professional writing gig at age 19 and have written professionally ever since. My background is old-school journalism (a bachelor’s degree in journalism from LSU), and I began my career at a newspaper owned by the New York Times. I spent several years in the newspaper business covering beats such as education, health, politics, prisons, agriculture, police and feature writing before moving into trade publications. I’ve won awards from the Associate Press, Gannett Co. Inc., the Newsletter Publishers Foundation, and state societies. Somewhere along the way, I completed a seminar in International Media Studies from the University of London. As my writing experience grew, professional editing opportunities opened.
My approach to editing is simple: the editor is the reader’s advocate. Audiences begin books or magazines or articles because they want to read them. The writer’s job is to keep them invested all the way through the final sentence. Why ask readers to start something they won’t finish? The editor’s job is to help writers lure readers to the final destination.
I continue to write and edit for global mass media. I’ve ghostwritten four books, edited seven, and write fiction for leisure. Poems occasionally awaken me in the middle of the night and demand to be written before they evaporate; short stories and novels are always in progress. Fiction or nonfiction, it’s all storytelling. I love the artistry of good writing, when words are strung together like carefully selected pearls. I’m awed by the written word’s power to inspire, to elicit physical reactions such as a laugh or a tear, to immortalize even the most marginalized people in a society, to repel (or enable) tyranny.
I have master’s degree in teaching secondary English education, and teaching 6th and 9th grades was among the most profound experiences of my life. I stuck with writing and editing as a profession rather than teaching, although I still consider myself a teacher. After all, there are many ways to teach, right?
I love books, movies, travel, writing and community service. My journey has led me to orphanages in Russia, the crags of the Andes, the mountain creeks of North Alabama, the sorghum fields of Louisiana, cozy homes in the UK, Jim Morrison’s grave in Paris, and once, unexpectedly, sailing across the Baltic Sea with 2,500 Swedish Harley-Davidson bikers.
But I’m just getting warmed up. Your feedback and inquiries delight me. Email me at email@example.com. ☮