I was born and raised in Charlotte, NC by parents with limited education.  They taught me to value learning as my ticket to a better life and to settle for nothing less than my best.  All they could afford for me was a now-tattered set of orange and black Child Craft books and one year at a state university.  The rest would be up to me. 

I have a distinct memory of curling up beside my father while he read for hours from the first volume of that Child Craft set—poetry and rhyme, beginning with Mother Goose rhymes.  That early experience would evolve into my love of words and poetry.  My family also attended, as most did during that era, the annual family reunion.  Family reunions provided an opportunity to renew family ties, to celebrate births and marriages, to mourn members who had passed on.  For me, it was my immersion into story.  As I eavesdropped on the adult conversation, I learned all the secrets and sins of the family.  I memorized the twisted plots and subplots of the clan characters.  When soap operas debuted on early television in the 50s, I watched every show with my mother—following the character developments and the plot surprises, soaking in every nuance of the writing. 

Reading came alive for me as a first grader at Merry Oaks Elementary School.  Suddenly, the squiggles on the pages of Dick and Jane and See Spot Run made sense.  I began a life-long journey as a reader.  Books became my obsession, my teachers, my escape.  I read my way through my elementary school library, one book at a time. If life was disappointing or troubling, I simply ran away between the pages of my latest book.  I especially liked historical fiction and biographies.    

Great teachers through the years taught me to love literature and encouraged me as a writer.  As a child, I did not keep a diary or a journal.  I kept my thoughts locked inside my head.  I wrote what was required of me in school—stories, essays, term papers, themes.  But still the stories were locked inside.  I began sharing them by writing letters to friends.  Yes, before texting and blogs, people actually put pen to paper and wrote letters.  

Colleagues along my life-path have continued to mentor me as an adult.  It is because of their encouragement that I began to write for children.  So, I am still reading and still writing and still loving both.   I write poetry for children and adults and fiction for children.  I love being with young writers and children of all ages.  I think children are much more interesting than adults! 

I am married to my high-school sweetheart, John.  We are blessed with two adult daughters, Jennifer and Kate–both beautiful, strong women–descendents from a long line of “steel magnolias”.  They are both fodder and inspiration for my stories.  So far, I have been:  a wife, a stay-at-home mom, a teacher, a church school teacher, liturgical dancer, tap dancer, a medical office manager, school volunteer, gifted students mentor, choir singer, workshop facilitator for teachers, Vacation Bible School director, switchboard operator, and writer.  I have moved 18 times in the past 37 years.  I figure that I have at least two more moves to go.  

I am southern to the core, speak in Southronese, and fry just about everything.  And yes, you will find a container of bacon grease by my stove. 



BA in Elementary Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro

M. Ed. from the University of Louisville.  

I taught third grade at Kentucky Country Day School, fourth grade at Louisville Collegiate School in Louisville, KY and both grades 3 / 4 at Jenkins Elementary School in Hickory, NC. 

At Louisville Collegiate School, I directed Battle of the Books for grades 4 and 5; co-directed Young Author’s Week and hosted visiting authors; co-directed Young Poet’s Week; and co-directed Writer’s Workshop for grades 3, 4, and 5. 

Three of my KY students in 2004 were national winners in the Cricket Magazine writing contest.  Three more of my NC students were again national Cricket winners for poetry in 2007. 

I attended summer workshops in New York at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project (Columbia University).  In 2005, my short story “Southern Fried Surprise” was selected as a reading for the closing assembly of the conference. 

I trained as a facilitator in teacher education with All Kinds of Minds.  I have facilitated summer teacher workshops for educators across the nation. 

I am an active member in SCBWI.


I enjoy the challenge of writing in many genres:  picture books, middle-grade novels, short stories, and poetry.  For me, it’s all about the story.  And I have many stories to share.

Fast Facts 

  • Favorite color:  blue, specifically a Carolina blue sky 
  • Favorite food:   anything except liver!  I love to cook and love to eat all kinds of food. 
  • Favorite place:  either the beach or the Smoky Mountains in the fall 
  • Favorite childhood treat:  Sugar Daddy; also Zero Candy Bar with a Coke 
  • Things I like to do:  scrapbook, spend time with my children, shop, cook—especially new recipes, read, write 
  • Least favorite thing to do:  packing, moving, and unpacking 
  • Favorite movies:  love, love, love old black and white movies.  Any musical or movie with dance in it. 
  • Favorite music:  I was raised on country music and still like that.  I love old songs that tell a story.  I like almost all genres of music except rap—just not into that. 
  • Favorite children’s writers:  this list could be endless!  But…Sharon Creech, Ralph Fletcher, Jane Yolen, Carolyn Haywood, Jacqueline Woodson, Christopher Paul Curtis, E. B. White, Scott O’Dell, C. S. Lewis, Patricia Pollaco, Richard Peck, Cynthia Rylant, Roald Dahl, Patricia MacLachlan, Aliki, Judy Blume…I will stop, but that is not all! 
  • Oldest child; have one sister 
  • Grew up in a house with one bathroom and no air-conditioningMy family also had one car, which my father drove to work, one TV, and one telephone.
  • Favorite entertainment as a child:  riding my bike and roller skating
  • Things I did  not have as a child:  McDonalds, fast food of any kind, air-conditioning in the house or in the car, allowance, computers, cordless phones or cell phones, microwaves, tights or pantyhose, electric can openers, ice-maker on the refrigerator, cable TV or 24-hour television, CDs, DVDs, diet drinks, 2% milk, Velcro, and video games.
  • When I was a teacher, I had three rules for my students:  try your best at all times, show respect for yourself and your classmates, and be honest.  I still think those three rules just about cover it.

This is my fifth grade picture. I thought those glasses were the "cat's meow".