My favorite place in the slow-moving, Tennessee farming town where I grew up was the old train depot. The tiny, clapboard building was erased from the railroad’s stop schedule years before I was born; its peeling exterior later painted yellow with green trim. The bright, beckoning colors created a perfect backdrop for a sign that shouted out in huge letters….LIBRARY.
I read my way through all the series revolving around horses. Black Beauty. Thunderhead. The Black Stallion. Flicka. They were beautiful, breath-taking steeds that made my heart race as they pounded across mountains and meadows. Next came every other animal book I could find on the sagging, tightly packed shelves; constantly begging the elderly librarian for more, more.
Reading all those words picked me up and moved me around the world and, by the third grade, I knew I wanted to be a writer.
After graduating with honors from the University of Memphis in journalism, English literature and psychology, I moved to southern California where I became Editor of a high-profile architecture, design and fine arts magazine for seven years. The next seven years led me throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico on assignment for a number of magazines.
I was recruited to establish a special interest, weekly publication, which meant relocating to Texas. Next, I was recruited by the national/international Speedhorse magazine (racing Quarter Horses) to serve as editor and then as editor-in-chief. I received the industry’s first-ever Sprint award for journalistic excellence in a controversial column titled “Take Five,” followed by four additional awards for the same column. My work was also cited in “Best American Sports Writing,” referenced as “the premier sports anthology” and published by Houghton Mifflin.
I was later commissioned to write a special interest book called Legends, followed by many contributions to animal anthologies published by the Chicken Soup for the Soul books, as well as a 20-volume anthology titled Listening to the Animals, published by Guideposts. One of my current projects is an inspirational book titled Butterflies for Zechariah, about my Cocker Spaniel who educates me daily in the ways of God’s universe. I learned a very long time ago that to wonder in amazement at an animal provides a sweetly unique perspective on the world.
I am truly blessed.