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How did you find BBWO?
I was born October 10, 19… in good ole Queens, New York. I had a difficult childhood because I developed severe eczema and most of my schoolmates shunned me until high school. Books became my friend.
Early in life, I found myself fascinated by the macabre. I would actually set my alarm if one of my favorite Alfred Hitchcock, Rod Serling or One Step Beyond was coming on late at night. These kept me up ‘til the wee hours of the morning. Being raised in Amityville was the icing on the cake.
My biological mother died when I was thirteen, the age where puberty reared its ugly head. Needless to say, I was a wife and mother by the time I was seventeen, divorced at twenty. Then I met Fred, my second, current and final husband. We’ve been together 36 years. He helped me become an adult although I went kicking and fighting the whole way. Together, we raised six children. I’m now a Gramma of eight!
My oldest memories are of reading. I was always in a book, letting it take me places only I imagined. Sometimes I felt more at home in the author’s world than in my own. Stephen King and Dean Koontz are my ultimate tour guides and honorable mentions go to Jean Auel and Agatha Christie.
My Dad was an entrepreneur and I saw the only limitations you have are the ones you put on yourself. In the early 60’s, my father owned his own cab in NY, which was unusual for a Black man born in 1918 and armed with only a high school education. When he saved up enough money, while raising a family of 7, he bought a beer and soda distributorship right outside JFK airport. He and my Mom ran the store. My younger sister, Lori and I ran the little sandwich truck we used to push in front of the store each morning. In fact, that’s where I met my soul mate and husband of 36 years.
My father’s entrepreneurial spirit inspired me to try for goals folks said were out of my reach, like standup comedy and becoming an author, an idea some discouraged since I never graduated college.
Ace of Hearts” started 28 years ago in answer to a bet. Lori said, “You read so much, I bet you could write a book” and I answered, “I bet I could.” After many transitions, from sitting in a park writing it in longhand in 1980 to typewriter to word processor to computer in 2003, I learned the new technology and now thinks of my computer as my toy.
Five years ago, I had foot surgery and Lori suggested I get “Ace of Hearts” down, dust it off, do some editing and see if it would fly. She pushed me to print several copies of her manuscript and paid for my attendance at NBCC (National Book Club Convention) held in Atlanta annually, the first weekend in August. I handed my manuscripts out in a room full of Zane fans and soon book clubs were talking! I met my good friend and soon-to–be publisher, Diane Dorcé, owner and CEO of Firefly Publishing and Entertainment that weekend. Three months later, I signed a contract, went through the editing process one more time and “Ace of Hearts” was born!
The moral of my story: Never give up your dream.