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I have lived my entire life in the small town of Azle, Texas. It's located just northwest of Fort Worth, so while I can live the small town life, I have the big city just a few miles away.
My parent were both stay at home parents. They both went to beautician school and got their licenses while they built onto their house so they’d have a place to work and raise their children. I grew up with the smells of hair dye and permanents, but I also had both parents anytime I really needed them.
My parents didn’t close the shop until Bruce, Arlon, and I were old enough to manage on our own. My father went back to work at General Dynamics and my mother went back to school to get her teaching degree. She then taught first grade for twenty six years.
James Reasoner came into my life through my oldest brother, Bruce, and we started dating when I was a senior in high school. James was writing his own fiction even back then, and I stumbled into the business after we married. Our careers grew as our family did and we were blessed with two beautiful daughters. For almost thirty years we lived in a house we built ourselves with the help of family. We did everything from the pier and beam foundation poured with buckets, to shingling the roof. I found that I love carpentry and tools. James has it easy for presents; all he has to do is buy the latest tool I’ve been yearning for.
Tragically, on January 29, 2009 we lost our home and studio to a wildfire started by a neighbour burning trash. James was home alone while I was just a few miles away helping my parents. The winds were gusting at sixty mph, so it didn't take long for everything to burn to the ground. All he had time to grab was our little dog. Our larger dog was able to get out of the fence and managed to save himself, but we sadly lost all our other pets. We lost all our computers, manuscripts, books, photos… well, you get the picture. Throughout all of this we had to keep reminding ourselves that it could have been much worse. Currently we live in a mobile home on the property. We no longer have offices, so we work in the living room, dining room, or bedroom, depending on what's going on at the time. It hasn't stopped us from writing. It slowed us down a little, but we didn't stop. We were offered help everywhere we turned. We are all touched at the kindness everyone has given us.
Backing up to my writing history: My first story, The Lord Will Provide was published in 1978 in Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine. My first novel was published in '83 by Fawcett under my pseudonym Livia James. In the eighties I had several westerns published in hardback by M. Evans, while I was writing mysteries for Tor Books under my maiden name Washburn. My first mystery Wild Night was reprinted by Five Star Mysteries, and is now available as an eBook on Kindle along with the rest of the books in the series, Dead Stick and Dog Heavies. Wild Night is set in Hollywood during the 1920's, featuring Hollywood stuntman Lucas Hallam. Wild Night was the winner of The American Mystery Award and The Private Eye Writers of America's Best Original Paperback Award.
This the same time as when both our daughters were born, and we became the stay at home parents. Our writing careers had progressed to the point we could both work full time. James and I wrote several historical novels under the pseudonym J.L. Reasoner, one of which was nominated for a Spur, the Western Writers of America award. My first small town romance, Mending Fences, an Our Town book, was published in January of '98 by Jove. Under the name Elizabeth Hallam, I published Spirit Catcher by Jove, July '98 in their Haunting Hearts series and during the summer of '99 my medieval paranormal Alura’s Wish, which is now available on Kindle, was followed by Time Passages: Yesterday’s Flame, a time travel romance that came out in February 2000.
Recently I have returned to my first love – mysteries.