I wish I could offer you a cup of tea, but the internet’s not yet that sophisticated! I hope you’ll feel as comfortable when you visit this website as if we were chatting over a kitchen table or hanging out at Starbucks over our double nonfat lattes.
An especially warm welcome waits here for all Elvis fans. My book, Graceland Express is specially dedicated to you.
For my fellow writers and would-be writers I hope this becomes a place for us to share our experiences on the rocky road to publication and also log in to some advice from professionals in the publishing world. Within this website, you can read about the various paths I’ve taken to publication and find valuable tips from editors, agents, authors and others with expertise in the publishing field.
Don’t skip my BLOG page! This is where we can exchange recipes or, who knows, talk about our favorite childhood memory, or tell why a particular Elvis song goes straight to our heart. You can respond to my blogs via email, and I’ll post your interesting and provocative responses for other readers to share.
My journey started in Owings Mills, Maryland, at that time just a tiny rural dot on the map some thirteen miles north of Baltimore. For most women of my generation, career choices were pretty much limited to teaching, nursing and secretarial work. I took the teaching route. At Maryland State Teachers’ College (now Towson State University) I took the required education courses while cramming in as many literature and writing courses as possible. I was lucky enough to spend an entire summer at Johns Hopkins University studying with Frederic Morton, the first professional author to make me feel my writing had potential.
It would be gratifying to say that from there I concentrated on writing and immediately became rich and famous. (A pause here so those of you who have experienced the tortuous path most writers must take to become published can laugh.) True, I began work on the Great American Novel, but to my disappointment no agents were standing in line to sign me up and no publishers came knocking on my door.
As often happens, life interfered in the form of marriage, six children, and numerous family and community commitments. The poems, short stories and novels I scribbled late at night when the house was finally quiet were read only by the dust mites who inhabited my desk drawer. Eventually, however, the kids grew up, and I matured as a writer.
My feature articles, book reviews and columns began to appear in The Baltimore Sun, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Washingtonian Magazine, Christian Science Monitor and various other publications. I got to explore lots of intriguing topics and met many fascinating people. An interest in oral history led to publication of my first book, Speaking of Our Past (Heritage Books, 1990) and a grant to update the history of a church founded in 1640 (The Garrison Church, 1995).
My marriage in 1993 to McCay Vernon, a psychologist prominent in the fields of deafness and forensics, led to our co-authoring two True Crime books. Deadly Lust (Kensington, 2005) is about a serial killer who found his victims in our hometown of St. Augustine, Florida. Our second book, Deadly Charm (Gallaudet University Press, 2010), is about the only known deaf serial killer.
Eventually, an interview with an Elvis fan left me completely captivated by her and the role Elvis and her fan club played in her life. The idea for a story about an Elvis fan fermented in my brain for a long time, finally emerging as the novel, Graceland Express (Dimenti Milestone Publishing, 2011).