Who Am I?

I live on a dirt road in upstate New York where the number of cows still outnumber the people!  My husband and I have three loud and adorable children, a beagle that smells like rotten feet, a sassy cat named Cupcake, a flock of cackling hens, and an amazing array of animal neighbors living in the forest around us.

I'm a bit of a naturalist.  Some of my favorite things on the planet live under rotting logs.  When I'm not writing, I love spending time in the woods with my family, exploring the canvas of the forest floor and herp hunting for red efts, spotted salamanders, and wood frogs.  I am also a huge fan of giant silkmoths, and my husband is thrilled nearly every summer to find buckets full of ginormous caterpillars and cocoons on our porch.  I enjoy raising moths and studying the life cycles of the cecropia, imperial, polyphemus, and luna moths that inhabit this area.  Below is one of my cecropias I raised from an egg no bigger than a seed of unpopped popcorn.  Gorgeous, huh?  (Note:  The pic on the home page is the offspring of this moth, one year later, growing bigger than my thumb on my apple tree!)

Writing and moths aren't my only passions.  I am an elementary teacher, with prior experience as a high school English teacher, and as a Remedial Reading teacher.  I hold permanent New York state certificates in all three of these areas, and currently teach kindergarten and first grade. 

In 2005, I achieved national certification status as an Early Childhood Generalist, through the NBPTS.  To achieve this distinction, I had to do a great deal of self-reflection on my years of teaching, my knowledge of curriculum and standards, and my interaction with my students.  I also had to demonstrate a high level of competency in each of these and other areas.  It was a difficult and rigorous process that has benefitted me enormously in my classroom, and has also benefitted my writing.  In addition to writing children's literature, I am now writing for hire for various educational publishers.

A few years ago, I was fortunate to connect with a critique group.  This was a critical step for me in evolving as a writer.  For more information on critique groups, and to get to meet some members of my groups, please visit my Critique Groups page. 

Ten quirky truths and a lie about me:  (Can you find the lie?)

  • I prefer snakes to puppies.
  • My first name is in the dictionary.  (Made ja look, didn't I?)
  • I'm a Pisces, like Jon Bon Jovi.
  • I've never been on an airplane, and it's not on my Bucket List.
  • I hate dark chocolate.  I loathe its very sight and smell, and its inherent antioxidants.
  • I sing, play the flute, and on a really good day, I can play the piano - sort of.
  • I believe that Hogwarts really does exist.
  • I'm allergic to mangoes, but really, really want to eat one.  Now.
  • I once massaged a hamster out of hibernation.
  • I have a jar of pickled mice that belonged to my grandfather.
  • Five is my lucky number.  (And that's the only hint I'm giving about which sentence is the lie!)