About Me

My Books

Crazy Story Starters

School Visits

Favorite Links

Contact Me

Awards & Letters:

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Love to read


     Huckleberry Finn
     Any library
     Chocolate chip cookies

My favorite writing reward


I'd rather be reading by the fire!
Me in Snowy

I was born in West Virginia, but moved to Cleveland, Ohio, with my parents and my brother Roger.  I was two months old at the time and slept in an open dresser drawer my first night in Cleveland. 

I grew up on Ardmore Avenue and had friends who were Italian, Syrian, Polish, German, and Irish. What a great neighborhood!

Visiting farm in WV
My Brother and Me

The idea for my book, The Best Bet Gazette, sprang from a neighborhood newspaper my friends and I wrote in my garage.

One day in the 6th grade I wrote in my notebook, “I know what I want to be when I gArdmoreTimesrow up – a writer!” 

Our Neighborhood
I got that crazy idea from all the books I had been reading from first grade on.  I loved books!  One of my happiest days was when the “library lady” from the Cleveland Public Library came to Memphis School and took my class to the library.  I got my first library card.  I was as excited and happy as Rufus M. Moffat in Rufus M. when he got his first card.  I spent a
Biking to library
Off to the Library
lot of time in that library, reading Huckleberry Finn, Robinson Crusoe, Homer Price, Miss Hickory, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books, Eleanor Estes’ books, fairy tales, and much, much more.  It was a treasure trove.  And free!

While attending James Ford Rhodes High School, a teacher complimented me on something I wrote.  She asked to keep it to show her friends.  (Little things like that can light a fire under would-be writers!)  Another teacher, Mr. Lawrence, sparked my interest in history.  He was so enthusiastic about early America and the founding fathers.  His love of history was contagious! 

Air Force days
Werner and Me
Nowadays my husband, Werner, and I often visit historic sites such as Walden Pond, Paul Revere’s home, and even the streets of ancient Pompeii and Assisi!  Lately I have been writing about
My Kids
My Kids - Lisa, Stephen,
Amy and Kathy
the historical events Mr. Lawrence talked so much about. I earned a BS in Education at Ohio University and then took time out to raise a family of four children -- Lisa, Steve, Amy and Kathy. Besides my own childhood, my children supplied endless ideas for magazine stories and books.  In 1985, I wrote one of the Strawberry Shortcake books, followed in 1986 by Who Needs a Bratty Brother?, winner of the Kentucky Bluegrass Children’s Choice Award.  I enjoy writing fiction.  I like making characters come to life and get into all sorts of predicaments.
Ideas for books
My Kids Give Me Ideas

I earned a MA degree in Education at Northern Kentucky University and taught  writing classes at NKU, as well as Language Arts at South Dearborn High School in Indiana.  For several years, I served as a substitute teacher in elementary and middle schools in Kenton County, Kentucky.  Of course, my favorite activity as a substitute was pulling a good book from the shelves and reading it to the kids. 

When I was a child, I guess I thought all writers lived on clouds somewhere.  One of the fun things about being a writer is the opportunity it gives me to visit schools and talk to children about my books.  They discover that writers are just like them. 

Ockerman visit
Visiting Ockerman School
I’ve given presentations in almost 200 schools and libraries, talking about the writing process. I have also been a presenter at numerous conferences, including the Ohio Educational Library Media Association, the Indiana University SCBWI Conference, the Midland, Michigan Writers’ Conference, the AIME Conference, the Xavier Children’s Literature Conference, and the Bluegrass Award Conference.

My Dog, the Future
Brutus the Wonder Poodle

I enjoy fiction, but lately I’ve been writing more nonfiction.  I always loved school, and writing nonfiction is sort of like being a student all over again.  It is so much fun to learn about the people, places, and historical events that I write about. 

Of course, there are other perks to the writing life. I get to work at home and don't have to get up early and drive through ice and snow. I can work in my pajamas. And best of all, I can eat cookies while I work.