Like many writers starting out, my dream was to write a book, sell it, and get famous.

I tried that, but, alas, several sticking points presented themselves right away.

First, I had to learn how to write—how to lose the unnecessary adjectives and adverbs; how to find that perfect first sentence; how to decide on a through line....And of course there were those niggling rules of grammar, punctuation, and spelling to attend to.

So I practiced and got better. When I began to get published, I also learned to stick to the assigned word count and to get my work in before the deadline.

My first published piece, in my local newspaper, earned me $15. From there, I spent years honing my skills as a freelance, non-fiction writer for magazines and newspapers.

Finally, I began writing for a younger audience and discovered that this is the writing I love most of all. The Abode, a fantasy for readers 8 and up, is my first full-length book.