1. I'm a real-life psychologist in private practice in the northeast. (No, not a cat psychologist, but the picture was so cute, I had to post it.)
2. I once worked as a copywriter at a wild and wacky radio station in Nashville. The station had been a country music station for years but turned to rock the year I joined. The stories I could tell (if only!) I met all sorts of celebs from "Colonel" Tom Parker (he was Elvis's manager, remember?) to Roy Clark (hysterically funny and kind) to Dolly Parton (also a sweetheart, warm and generous) to some big-name DJ's who did outrageous things on and off the air. Sadly, my lips are probably sealed on their exploits. I had my own weather report (Wendy the Weather Girl) for about a week, and then management decided I needed to get my fingers back on the keys, churning out ads for 90 (!) accounts. I learned to write fast (no excuses, no waiting for inspiration) which was probably good training for being a novelist.
3. I wrote over 35 middle grade and young adult novels for Scholastic before turning to mysteries. I won a $6,000 grant and award from the National Endowment of the Arts for one of my Penguin YA's (MOVIE STAR) and you can find some of my middle grade novels and YA's on my website. At the moment, they're available as e-books.
4. I love all things Florida and go to Ft. Lauderdale every February. Oceanfront condo, a quiet section of beach. It's the perfect time to clear my head and plot new mysteries. Here's a photo I took from the balcony.
I set my Talk Radio Mysteries in a fictional town in south Florida called Cypress Grove. The first title is DEAD AIR. It combines talk radio, mystery and psychology. "Dr. Maggie" is a psychologist turned radio talk show host who solves a murder in every book. And she works with a zany crew at a station called WYME-Radio. (Yes, I borrowed heavily from my Nashville experiences!)
5. Here's a wild card, something that I am 100% sure you don't know about me. Next to Florida, I love Paris (or maybe I love Paris first, it's a toss-up). What was my greatest faux-pas in the City of Light? I ordered something that sounded exotic and interesting on the menu of a cute little French restaurant. Pied De Veau.
Hmm. It has a ring to it, doesn't it. But this is what it was. VEAL FOOT! It was hardly disguised and it had--I kid you not--toenails!! Very high on the ewww factor. Luckily there was a deserving dog under the table and I quickly placed the plate in front of him. I could hear him "crunching" all through dinner.
So now you know some of my secrets. I think next week I'll do a blog on funny and outrageous things people have said to me. Stay tuned! And have a happy T-Day.