Central NY Woman March 2020
Women Who Inspire
I was born in 1966 in Indiana. I grew up watching Alfred Hitchcock
movies and a classic soap opera called Dark Shadows. In High School, I
loved Mary Shelley, Stephen King and V. C. Andrews. I then advanced
to Clyde Barker.
I was fascinated with horror, reading horror gave me a chance to escape.
I always felt that no matter how bad I thought I may have it, the poor
people I read in those horror novels always had it so much worse! Which
in turn, made me realize my life wasn’t that bad.
In 1985, I married and we moved to Chicago. We lived there for five
years, then back to Indiana for five years and then finally to where I am
now, New Jersey. Moving to Chicago and New Jersey was a real eye
opener for a small town girl like me.
But one, I am so happy I was able to experience! Chicago introduced me
to a whole new world and New Jersey simply added to my growth as a
person. Unlike a small town, I was exposed to a melting pot of different
religions, races and politics.
Settling in New Jersey when both my boys were just starting school, also
gave them the chance to get the same exposure. Which in turn, gave
them the flexibility of acceptance that I did not have growing up.
I started writing horror stories 16 years ago. This last year, due to a
charity event, I tried my hand at writing a children’s book. Something, I
had never planned on doing but have thoroughly enjoyed!
So much so, I do readings for the children in full costume, with my fairy
helpers and props. Children love it! And honestly, being able to connect
with the children, has been such a rewarding experience for myself!
My Unseen Beauty series became a symbol to me, due to my past.
Unfortunately, in my past, I was not given encouragement or even
acknowledgement of my own unseen beauty.
I had always seen it in
others and once I traveled outside my environment, saw it throughout
the world. And yet, my past, kept blocking what was within myself.
Only through encouragement from the people in my present, did I begin
to chip away at my insecurities. To realize, the past could no longer have
control over me. I had finally broken free of its ugly grasp!
With my Unseen Beauty series, my goal is to reach as many boys and
girls as I can, to make them realize no one should have the power to
keep their own unseen beauty hidden. Even if it seems that all the people
surrounding them are trying to suffocate it, abuse it, destroy it - it WILL
It will burst out and it will blind all those who doubted them, controlled
them. It will make the ones doing the emotional abuse to try and reach
out and bask in it, take credit for it but it will always be just a ray of
sunshine away. For no matter what, once you own your unseen beauty
within, you will become untouchable!
I had tried writing in the past but when I finally got the nerve to show it
to the people in my life at that time, they laughed at me, belittled me and
that was the end of it.
When I met my current husband, Paul, I came
across my story while moving in with him. Taking a big leap of faith, I
read him the story. He loved it! Was curious how I was going to end it.
Encouraged me to end it! For the first time in my life, I had someone
who believed in me. Which in turn, allowed me to believe in myself.
Paul and I have been married 15 years. A year and a half ago, he was
diagnosed with Stage 4 Colon Cancer. He was given 2 years to live. I
was devastated, he is literally my heart and soul. It was and is a dark
time we have dealt with and are winning. He is clear! They call him their
miracle. Although, it could come back at any time it all looks clear and
very promising, so we are only thinking positively!
I have to admit, it
was an eye opener. Paul and I have always deeply loved one another,
two halves making a whole, but since we have had to face this we
appreciate life even more. We live, love and laugh as much as we can.
Making as many memories, as we can.
Because the community, friends and his family were so supportive
during that dark time, I have been trying to give back as much as I can.
The children’s book has helped me accomplish what I want to
contribute. My son is in the Coast Guard, so I have donated books to the
families of active duty personnel. My husband and I participate in
motorcycle runs (yes, I ride my own Harley which I named Bling) for
the POW and other charity events. Although we are not members of any
clubs at this time, we prefer to be able to do multiple charities.
I also donated my books to Kenya. Which I am very excited about, a
friend of mine traveled to Kenya and took my children’s book there for a
new community building that was opening. They not only loved the
story but they listen to my reading of the story I had posted on
Facebook, from the Renaissance Fair, so they can follow along and learn
English. One day, I would love to go there in person and read to them.
I love contributing to libraries. In the small town I grew up, there was no
library. We had to wait on the Book Mobile to visit once a month. In
which, I was limited to what I could read. But I am proud to say all of
my books are in the new library back home in Indiana, library here in
New Jersey, Alaska, Oklahoma, Dominica Republic, Nicaragua, and
Paris. Believe it or not they have signed copies of my books in a Russian
Library too! Who would have ever thought a country girl from Indiana
would have her books in a Russian Library? (Full credit to friends I
have met over the years!)
I am an open book, hopefully my past will inspire other women to
believe in themselves. The only reason I list my age (53) is to show the
different era I was raised in and that it is never too late to start believing
in yourself. I am not ashamed of my age.
I am currently working on my ninth horror book, the next in my series
White Noise – Volume 3. I plan on there being a total of four in the
series. The White Noise series is my first collection of short stories.
Each book in the series contains 13 short stories, along with a main story
tying them all together. My first six horror stories published, are full
length novels and stand on their own.
Messages I try to convey through storytelling in my horror genre is, I try
to make my story one that allows the reader to identify with the story but
more importantly, escape from everyday living. I put a lot of research
into my horror novels. Not only to make the story more credible but if a
reader comes across something they may question, they can look it up
themselves and feel satisfied. How many of you, after seeing a movie or
reading a book, wonder if that really happened? Then you look it up, out
of curiosity, which in the end prolongs the story in your mind.
I also look for a fear factor. That being, something that can scare all
readers. My goal is to take the reader and place them in a situation they
may be able to identify with, in their own lives.
For my children’s books, I try to have a moral that doesn’t look like a
moral. A subtle way for a child to learn something without them
realizing they are learning. Fun easy stories with a catch, to get them to
want to pick up the book more than once. I have five children’s books
published, all dealing with the concept of “unseen beauty”.
The first children’s book explains what unseen beauty is and how to
look for it in others. The second book helps with finding unseen beauty
within. The third book is a vacation book, allowing the child to realize
unseen beauty is all over the world. I then have a children’s Halloween
book explaining spooky verses scary. My latest children’s book is on
how to make a friend. A story set in the winter with the “making” of a
snow friend out of snowballs.
I created my children’s books as “gender less” stories. I do not use “he
or she” throughout the books. My main character is named “Ani” which
can be a boy or girl’s name but also if you spell it “An1” can be
“Anyone” allowing the reader to be anyone. I use “Ruler” verses a
“King or Queen”.
I did this for the child so they can easily put their selves into the story.
Growing up in a society where there was a definite stigma gender based
agenda, I wanted to create new stories where there are no gender
characters. Where while reading the story, a child can feel like this story
relates to them or even the person reading the story to them. Allowing
the child to feel that the story is unique for them.
Growing up one of my favorite writers was Mary Shelley, author of
Frankenstein. Not only was it amazing that she wrote a horror story in
her day and age but also her political views were way ahead of her time!
Unfortunately, in the past there are very few examples of where women
were allowed to express their selves, political or otherwise. And yet for
a woman today, those women can become an important role model, even
though they are from the past.
In this day and age, there may not be just one woman’s name that will
come to mind in the future. Not one woman’s political idea or belief but
instead, a generation of women with different beliefs and ideas all
coming together. And that is a wonderful thing, for we all have different
beliefs and ideas but acceptance of all, is where we will gain our greatest
Some obstacles I try to overcome during my career is I find
cyber bullying to be a concern. It is a very fine line to walk. On one
hand, you want the freedom of expressing yourself, whether it be for
good or bad. On the other hand, there has to be a responsibility attached
to that expression.
You have to ask yourself, are you using your comments on line for a
personal vendetta or a legitimate complaint? I find it frustrating when so
many jump to criticism verses complimenting. Someone’s life long hard
work can be diminished in a paragraph from someone who has no idea
what it took for that person to even put their selves out there.
Perhaps as a society being kinder to one another, while still expressing
ourselves, would help us all grow.
Types of feedback I get for my books are, for the most part, people seem
to enjoy my stories. One of the more common compliments I hear, is
how easily the reader can relate to my characters in a story. For example,
in one of my horror stories, I have had several people say how well they
can identify with this one character.
They go on to say, “He reminds me of my boyfriend, husband or even a
neighbor”. Curious, I always ask them what the person looks like that
they are identifying the character from the story to, surprisingly enough
it looks nothing like the character I had in mind!
Why is that? Well, we all might know an asshole but they may not be fat
and balding! My point is, I think sometimes writers do not give readers
enough credit. Readers have placed their precious time, in our hands. As
a writer, we need to allow readers to think for themselves and be able to
relate to characters we have created. Readers have wonderful
imaginations, let them use it! Don’t get caught up in the details,
sometimes letting the readers fill in the details will make the story more
individualized to them.
Advice I would give to anyone who wants to become a writer is, I think
the first step is simply believing in yourself! Today there are so many
tools you can use to your advantage. The internet alone, will help you
find a wealth of information to help you enhance your story.
Personally though, I do think sometimes we overload ourselves with
rules and techniques on how to write. So much so, that you are almost
terrified to write that first sentence! Writing can come easy to some, no
different than painting for an artist.
My suggestion is to simply write, when and where ever you want. You
don’t have to be structured, you don’t have to have a quota of words like
steps we want to get in for the day. I find if you force yourself to write, it
can become harder to write.
Also, write the way you like to read. Meaning, if you like dialogue write
dialogue or if you like first, second or third person, write it that way.
Next suggestion is a classic, the old saying ‘write what you know’ is
great advice! Writing about something you know or are passionate
about, is always easier to write.
However, do not pigeonhole yourself into thinking it has to be
something you have experienced personally. It can be an experience
from another that was relayed to you as if you lived it or even a dream.
A dream may not be real but it still is something we have experienced,
you can draw from it.
Besides that, the most important thing that I cannot stress enough is, do
not write for the idea of making money. Writing is a priceless gift that
you give to yourself. If others enjoy your story, that is great! If you
make money from your stories, even better! But believe me that first
time you read or hold a story you created in your hands, is the most
satisfying gift you can give yourself!
Each and every one of us has a story to tell. Will you be able to tell it the
way you see it or feel it? Only you, will know if you did! It doesn’t
matter if others may not see it or feel it the way you did, it’s not their
story. It’s not their creation.
Create and own your story! A story has a beginning, a middle and an
ending. Just like life. Although this life you are creating, you have
control over and that gives you power! Power to help others, power to
help yourself, power to scare or comfort, power to express yourself, and
power to even question yourself. Writing is the power to take others to a
different place, if even for a short time, use that time to tell your story.