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I knew I wanted to be a writer from the moment I realised that real people wrote all the books I loved so dearly. Every time I spied a shooting star, every birthday I blew out my candles, every coin I tossed into a fountain, I made this same wish – Please let me be a writer. I was such a dreamer! Luckily, my no-nonsense mama told me if I wanted to create stories, I'd have to sit down, pick up a pen and actually write.
My fledgling effort came when I was eight and wrote a short story about my, as yet unborn, baby sister. That opus went over big with the family, but no publishers came knocking down my door. I penned my first 'novel' when I was twelve (okay, so it was only fifty pages and it was a blatant Cady Woodlawn rip-off, but hey, I was only twelve). At sixteen, I wrote a short story for junior English that earned me an A+. Confident that I was the best thing since peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, I submitted the story to Alfred Hitchcock magazine and received a handwritten rejection letter encouraging me not to give up. I was devastated, not realising it was a good rejection letter.
In the meantime, my daddy told me I had to find a way to earn a living and dreaming of being a writer wasn't going to pay the bills, so at his urging I went to nursing school and became an R.N. I didn't do much writing in those busy college days but once I graduated, the writing bug came humming around again. Sixty short stories, sixty rejections and many years later, I followed the advice of a writing teacher and tried my hand at a novel. I decided to target category romance because the books were short and I wasn't so sure I could write anything longer.
My first novel did snag an agent, but it never got published. My second book, however, took the contest circuit by storm and garnered me nineteen awards. I sold Raleigh and the Rancher to Silhouette Romance in 1994. I wrote ten more books for that line under the pseudonym Laura Anthony before I found my real love – comedy. I wrote six books for Harlequin Duets until the line folded (I'm still heartbroken) and I moved on to penning steamy romps for Harlequin's super sexy Blaze line and romantic adventure comedies for Warner Forever.
I've been very, very blessed. The dearest dream I dared to dream all those years ago has come true. Now I'm fortunate to spend my days writing about the transcendent power of love. But none of this would be possible without readers. I want to express to each and every one of you who read and adore books how vital you are to the writing process. Thank you for sharing the fantasy.