My path through writing, editing, teaching
I’ve been a grammar stickler forever. I actually like diagramming sentences. I’ve been writing since I was in my teens. My mother has a picture that suggests I was writing stories as a first-grade student, but we’ll leave that for family albums. I was that 100% spelling test kid. I think I missed three words in seven years of weekly spelling tests, and I rarely studied. I wasn’t the spelling bee kid, though. I hated being put on the spot. I kept my head down and read. A lot.
As a reader, I devoured mystery, adventure, historical, fantasy, and science fiction of all lengths: short, long, series, standalones, and epics. Little House on the Prairie, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Trixie Belden, J.R.R. Tolkien, Anne McCaffrey, Terry Brooks, David Weber, and even Star Trek novels and movie adaptations were my preferred companions in my free time. In high school, I added romance, particularly becoming a fan of historical romance authors like Woodiwiss, Cartland, Lindsey, and Coulter.
And then I started writing
I started writing my own stories in middle school. I penned thousands of pages by hand (before computers) defying bedtime and writing until the early morning hours. I wrote short stories, poetry, and fan fiction. I tried my hand at fantasy. I shared it very rarely.
In 1992 I graduated from university with a bachelor’s degree in news/print journalism. I only worked for newspapers for a short time, but I honed practical skills. Research, interviewing, writing, publishing, marketing, and design skills would help me navigate the emerging industry of desktop and online publishing: websites, blogs, newsletters and, finally, book publishing.
And then I wanted to be published
By 2000, there were no longer just the “Big Five” publishers. Small presses had proliferated, and micro-presses sprang up on kitchen tables. These new publishers took advantage of print-on-demand (POD) technology so they didn’t have to buy warehouse space to keep books. Because these publishers wouldn’t need to print and sell a million copies just to “break even” they could take chances on niche ideas. This democratization of publishing was powerful. It was particularly uplifting for voices long marginalized by the mainstream publishers, like LGBTQ and POC.
Now, I was 30. By the time I was 40, I wanted to be published. While I wrote a lot of technical documentation in my day job, I focused my free time reconnecting with my creativity and imagination. In a writing workshop I penned literary short stories. By the time I was 35, I had several short stories in anthologies and a novel manuscript I had worked on for years. I had taken bits of it through writing workshops and shared drafts with a growing circle of writer friends. I edited, reedited, queried, and submitted. I received rejections. Four in all before I found a publisher who wanted the book, paid me an advance (!), had me work with their editor, and after publication sent me monthly royalty checks. They also picked up my second novel. I made a fair amount, but it was not full-time income.
And now I’m a professional editor
My editing experience grew organically from my editorial journalism degree and participating in peer workshops and mutual critique groups. I also taught English for ten years in public schools.
All in all, since that first novel was published in 2007 I have written, and had traditionally published, three novels and a dozen stories, most of which won awards of some fashion or another. I served as co-editor of a charity anthology, handling submissions, story editing, layout, cover design, and marketing. I have also become a senior judge for the Bisexual Book Awards.
Leaving the classroom in 2019, I turned full-time to writing and editing. Through my editing services, I use my passion for words to help authors clarify (and electrify) the stories we tell.