About Me

I spent the first half of my career as an Ob/Gyn in the Air Force and then the private sector. Military habits are hard to break. I continued to be a rolling stone.

In 2010, I left Arizona to join a small practice in Northern California near Humboldt State University in the city of Arcata. While I was there, I commuted to Oregon once a month to attend Willamette Writers monthly workshop. I met speakers who eventually became big in the industry, like Ray Rhamey, Larry Brooks, Jessica Morrell, Robert Dugoni, and Ursula K. Le Guin before she passed on.

Arcata's weather was too much like London for my husband's tastes. We moved back to Flagstaff, Arizona in 2017. I soon discovered the large writing group in Arizona had just collapsed. I decided if I wanted a writing group, I was going to have to create one. With two other local writers, I co-founded Flagstaff Writers Connection. We do about two workshops a year to fund the group and offer all our other services for free. No membership dues required. Through the group, I started a Critique Circle and a support group for those trying to publish, the Pub Club.

I did this while I worked 50 hours a week for a local multi-specialty group, and continued to work on my own writing projects.

That’s how things were until 2021 when, by all accounts, I started acting odd. I went from reasonably fit to eating all the sugar I could get my hands on. Pop Tarts became my favorite meal. I shuffled my feet. I developed a tremor in both hands, slurred speech, and complained of exhaustion no matter how much sleep I got.

Obviously those symptoms aren’t conducive to being a surgeon. My employer asked me to take a break. (Hint: Employers of surgeons will do almost anything to keep them from taking a break.) The request was a hard slap in the face. Up until then, despite all my signs and symptoms, I thought I was just fine. “It’s just menopause,” I told myself. Really. I’m not sure how I blew off a bilateral hand tremor, but in my altered state of mind I did just that. My employer's request made me realize this wasn’t just menopause. I needed help.

A thorough neurologic exam and MRI revealed I had a grapefruit sized tumor crushing the right frontal lobe of my brain and starting to work on the left frontal lobe. Thus the tremor in both hands. Luckily it had grown slowly, and my brain had a long time to compensate so I was still walking and talking … sort of. By the time I got surgery, though, I was as emotionless as Spock. I didn’t even have enough emotion left to be afraid of an emergent open craniotomy.

The surgery took place in early Nov, 2021. The first 8 weeks post op were pretty hairy. Emotions that had been placed in suspended animation suddenly woke with a vengeance. I cried at the dilemmas posed by TV advertisements. I had some significant chunks of memory missing and one night, I caught an episode of Young Sheldon. The kids were so much older than I remembered. I burst into sobbing.

I’m feeling so much better now, and by all accounts, I am better. I still have memory issues and weird, irrational, but very brief, bouts of anxiety. I doubt I will be able to resume being a surgeon, so I’ve shifted my focus to writing as my full time career.

I started writing in 2008. I was living in AZ and most of the people around me didn’t believe the climate science. I had endless conversations about how there was no global warming because it snowed heavily in … blah, blah, blah. Similar to the conversations I have now about how vaccines don’t really protect against Covid. Or worse, the government is secretly injecting us with tracking devices. Kid you not.

G. W. Bush was president in 2008 and he ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to delete articles on their website that pertained to global warming, or even mentioned global warming. Unfortunately, the internet was where that information was kept. The EPA staff furiously tried to download the information, but the Bush admin started laying off or transferring huge numbers of them before the deadline to take down the site. Though the EPA staff got more than half of the information downloaded and safe, the Bush admin was successful in destroying irreplaceable files.

I was raised to revere books and knowledge. This was the modern equivalent of a book burning. I started a political blog on climate change.

Then 911 happened. Suddenly Bush flunkies were saying that tortures invented by the Nazis were not such a big deal. They called these “enhanced interrogations.” I was morally outraged and ashamed for my country, but some of the people around me were all for it!

I realized nonfictional personal essays full of facts (blog posts) weren’t going to change anyone’s mind. I needed to connect with people’s emotional core in order to change their minds. I started to study fiction and writing craft, and I wrote the first of several versions of the story I’m about to send to agents.