Born in Memphis, Tennessee, I grew up in Parsippany, New Jersey, where I loved to draw, practice piano, and play in our garden and flower-filled yard with my three younger sisters. Most of all, I loved to read—so much so that in high school, while working at the Parsippany Library, I read the entire science fiction section from A to Z.
I continued reading literature and poetry—my true love!—in college, and graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in English (minoring in French lit) from the University of Pennsylvania in 1986. Since then I’ve worked with words—sometimes freelance, sometimes for newspapers or on books, but until 2018, mostly as managing (and, toward my tenure’s end, poetry) editor of the quarterly journal Academic Questions.
Along the way I returned to school, enrolling in a new low-residency MFA program in poetry with an emphasis in formal verse at Western State Colorado University. Studying scansion and metrics was life-changing! I set aside formal classwork, however, as the oldest in our blended family of four children began entering college.
Taking what I’d learned, I turned to children’s writing. In 2013 Pick a Circle, Gather Squares: A Fall Harvest of Shapes appeared, published by Albert Whitman & Company and illustrated by Susan Swan. Cheers for a Dozen Ears: A Summer Crop of Counting (Spring 2014), Sugar White Snow and Evergreens: A Winter Wonderland of Color (Fall 2014), and Sun Above and Blooms Below: A Springtime of Opposites (Spring 2015) completed this series of rhyming seasonal concept books inspired by visits to farms in Hunterdon County, New Jersey, where my family lives.
Albert Whitman also published the rhyming From Apple Trees to Cider, Please! (Fall 2015), illustrated by Julia Patton, and my first prose picture book, The Boy Who Said Nonsense (Spring 2016), illustrated by Nicola Anderson, which was inspired by and dedicated to my nephew Christopher. It’s a modern fable about a boy who loves numbers, especially 11, and can count things just by looking at them. I hope this tale, which takes a lighthearted tone, encourages readers to celebrate the children we know and love who communicate in their own fashion.
I still have the first book I picked from a Scholastic Books flyer—The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats—and I’m delighted that my seasonal concept series is available in paperback by Scholastic and has been featured in Scholastic fliers as well! From Apple Trees to Cider, Please! is available in French under the title Une journée au verger (Éditions Scholastic, 2016), and several of my books are slated to be republished in Korean.
Today I write and edit freelance full-time, and work with a growing number of aspiring authors and poets who want to see their writing through to publication. I’m a metrics maven and specialize in academic and children’s writing, as well as helping authors navigate the self-publishing labyrinth. Contact me if you are looking for a writing and publishing guide!
Finally, I’ve returned to seeking publication for my own work. You can find links to newly published poems and short stories on this site. Hopefully, new picture books and a novel will appear on the horizon.
It’s a big world. Some of us can’t stop reading and writing about it!