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I've written thirty-five fantasy, science fiction,
adventure, and mystery novels, and about a hundred short stories.
When I'm not writing-which isn't often-I'm editing…more than 100
magazine issues and a few dozen anthologies. My genre
writing includes military, urban fantasy, mystery, horror,
Western, and contemporary.
Calling on my newspaper background (covering courts and cops), I penned a true crime book with noted attorney F. Lee Bailey, When the Husband is the Suspect.
I originally hale from Ottawa, Illinois, a smallish town divided by the Illinois River. It's where I learned how to play the clarinet, to treasure used book stores, to love football, and to appreciate the company of dogs.
I attended Northern Illinois University, where I gained a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism, with an emphasis on geography and geology. That's where I learned to play Dungeons & Dragons. I still play games, but I use the Pathfinder system now.
My first full-time newspaper job was for the Quincy Herald-Whig in Quincy, IL. I met my husband in Quincy, played even more role-playing games than when I was in college, worked as a stagehand for the local theater group, and adopted a most-amazing grandfather from the Illinois Veteran's Home…my dog Duncan was named for him.
My newspaper career took me to Evansville, IN, where I ran the Western Kentucky news bureau for Scripps Howard. I played still more role-playing games, helped run local game and science fiction conventions, befriended Timothy Zahn, exposed a corrupt sheriff, was shot at on a country road while covering an embezzlement story, and traipsed through flea markets held at an aging racetrack.
Tiring of reporting on the assorted acts of violence people commit on each other, I applied for a job at TSR, Inc. in Lake Geneva, WI. TSR produced the Dungeons & Dragons game that I was still playing at the time. I interviewed one chilly February day for the position of RPGA Network Coordinator, and accepted the offer the following day. I worked for TSR nearly eight years, leaving to write fiction full time.
I've taught writing classes, ran the Gen Con Writer's Symposium for seventeen years, have mentored authors, lecture at conventions, fuse glass, play games…I love boardgames, read a lot, and toss tennis balls to Fable and Missy and our houseguest Jake. Wrinkles does not play catch.
I still appreciate the company of dogs...at the moment a young Labrador, a fiery Boston Terrier, and a dear aging pug--who makes an appearance in one of my mystery novels.
So…that's my story. It's filled with books and books and books and dogs and games and trips to museums and failed attempts to make an edible pineapple chicken stir-fry. I can make a fine pot of chili, however…and once upon a time won the chili cook-off at TSR (much to the astonishment of the folks in my department).