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I love words. Like most writers, I collect them and jot them down in notebooks, little tablets, napkins, journals, whatever. My #1 favorite word for its meaning is "Imagine." My #1 favorite word to say is "Thwart." It's fun to say. Give it a try. It tickles a little...seriously.

Storytelling & Dolls

My love of words started before I could read. I spent hours playing in my room making up stories for my dolls to perform. Here I am with two of my favorites: On the left I am holding Annabelle. I was four-notice we are both pretty much bald-and Mom sewed us matching dresses. On the right I am six and holding my new Christmas present, Sweet Sue. My dolls were my first audiences and although they never clapped, they always smiled which was vastly encouraging.


The first most important discovery of my life was learning how to read. It changed everything! I still loved to make up my own stories, but now I could enjoy what others had imagined, too. I spent hours curled up with my nose inside a book. And looky here: I still enjoy spending time with my nose inside a book!


In these pictures I am hard at work daydreaming. Seriously. Daydreaming is an important part of an artist's life (maybe not so good at school or work). When you daydream, you open the door to possibilities. You relax, think and connect to where ideas and inspirations hang out, an imaginary place I call The Cosmic Goo. So take a walk or listen to your tunes or stand under a tree or sit on a beach-rocky or otherwise-and daydream. See where your thoughts lead you.


For many years I was a teacher. I taught preschool through fifth grade and one year at a middle school, grades six through eight. I have been a tutor at the Sylvan Learning in Redding, and have home-schooled two grandchildren during their fourth grade year, as well as teaching part time as the Gifted & Talented Enrichment teacher at the Redding District Home School. My motto: It's good to keep busy.

No matter the ages of my students, my favorite thing to teach them is Language Arts: how to use words in reading, writing, spelling and performing. On the left I am with one of my second grade classes after we finished our Fairy Tale unit. We had read many fairy tales, written our own and performed another. Notice the bulletin board behind us about the Writing Steps. On the right, I am dressed up as Viola Swamp (from the popular book "Miss Nelson is Missing! " by Harry Allard) for Favorite Story Character Day.


In 1997 when my husband and I moved to Maui, Hawaii, I abandoned teaching and began writing and marketing my works in earnest. After many, many rejections, one of my manuscripts, "The Blue Roses", hit the jackpot by winning Lee & Low Books first New Voices Award in the year 2000.

A traditional Cherokee myth says that stories first came to the People through dreams. "The Blue Roses" is based on a dream I had after my maternal grandfather, Edward Dargis, passed away. I was 30 years old at the time, about to have my third child, and couldn't travel the long distance for his funeral. I was heartbroken. One night, Grandpa came to me in a dream. He stood in a beautiful garden, which had been his real-life hobby. Grandpa told me he was happy and to stop being so sad. I awoke with a newfound sense of contentment, so I gave my Blue Roses' character, Rosalie, a similar experience in the book.

Death is a hard thing to explain, but I thought gardening would be a perfect metaphor: plant seeds, some grow and others die, but the dying plants produce seeds, the promise of the future. Wouldn't it comfort children and give them hope? These thoughts led to my book. In the picture on the left, Grandpa and I are standing in front of one of his gardens. I am wearing my First Communion dress and veil. In the picture on the right, I am sharing "The Blue Roses" at my former high school, Bishop Feehan High in Attleboro MA.


I have posted many pictures of my storytelling performances in the Program section of this website. Besides writing children's books and performing stories for kids, I also write grown-up stuff, mostly poetry. In fact, since December, 2011, my goal has been to write a poem a day, and I do or come mighty close! The first picture was taken in April, 2006, at the 5th Annual Pleasanton (CA.) Poetry Festival when two of my poems, "Pale Eyes, Empty" and "Cedar Songs, Left Behind" won prizes. In this picture I am receiving the awards from former U. S. Poet laureate, the renowned poet and my personal poetry hero, Billy Collins. In the next picture I am at Redding's Old City Hall Arts Center with my friend and talented musician, John Brandeburg. I am reading the poem, "Cedar Songs, Left Behind" and John is accompanying me with his interpretation in music.

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America Writes For Kids!
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