taken in SeattleSince I'm writing this myself, it's really more-or-less an autobiography.  More or less depending on my memory.   So given that, perhaps a more accurate phrasing is this is my speculative autobiography.  But that probably describes all biographies to an extent.  I mean, how OCD does someone have to be to record every minute of life from birth?

As fair warning, you'll likely find my opinions and philosophies scattered throughout this document.  Mostly you'll get anecdotes and events from my life . . .  as I remember them . . . today.

I'll begin at roughly the beginning, but the odds are this biography won't be told in chronological order.  I'm not a linear thinker.   I'm more of a cluster thinker, if you allow the clusters to spider web outward and link in a complex tree structure.  So expectsome jumping back and forth.

To start at the beginning, I was born an Air Force brat at a little hospital that also served the local Piute Reservation.  Since I was about six weeks early, my dad says I looked just like the Piute babies, my skin very red and I had a full head of black hair.  Then, while I was young, my hair just turned blonde overnight.  It didn't fall out and come in another color; it just changed.  Apparently, other members of my family tree  have experienced their hair drastically changing color too.  An aunt's hair had been blonde into adulthood before it rapidly turned bright red.  My friends tell me this is an "alien" gene.  Or, they say my hair change was just a sign I'd been swapped out, making me pure alien.

 We moved a lot, so I grew up traveling.  When my brother was born, my dad was running theOne of my school photos from Okinawa computer end of some Air Force exercises.  So my mom's off the to hospital and he doesn't know about.  Since I'm a toddler, I have to be somewhere, so the base commander babysat me.  Then my father first hears he has a son over the radio as the pilots had apparently heard the news first.  All that became a line of being babysat by commanders, including once by a Naval commander aboard a submarine.

We stayed put for about 5 years on Okinawa.  Although my dad was TDY for part of it, as he went off to the Vietnam War.  As well, he had a tour in Thailand.  While on Okinawa, my brother I supposedly learned fluent Japanese . . . fluent for kids.  We watched local television all in Japanese and played with our Okinawan neighbor kids, since we lived off-base for a while.  From the base's broadcast, we received American programming, but it was translated into Japanese.  To hear the English, we tuned in our radio and so our programs were done in simulcast.  Without the radio, shows like Bonanza were really strange in Japanese.  However, Lost in Space worked in both languages.

I started grade school in Okinawa, so I had a kimono and on Girl's Day, when the coral-pink fish was flying--it looks like a fish shaped windsock--we'd wear our kimonos and we'd do demonstrations of Oriental dancing and such.  So that's probably where I developed a love of "costumes" and for fans.  There was a similar day for boys as well.

My brother going off to KindergartenMy childhood was relatively normal.  We kids often played along an escarpment where we'd find caves.  Sometimes we went all the way down to the beach to chase blue sand crabs.  In combing the caves we once found a lot of bones.  Being kids, we pretended we'd found dinosaur bones and we were archeologists.  Don't all kids go through a dinosaur stage?  To be honest, I still find the big lizards pretty cool.  Anyway, parents didn't believe our stories, because they know there wouldn't be dinosaur bones on Okinawa.   The island is really a big rock.  So it's not until one of the enlisted parents mentions our "find" at work--which was inside Quonset huts--that they piece it all together.  Sure enough, we'd found a caves with bones from WWII.  I don't recall if the remains had belonged to soldiers or women and children, who walled themselves inside rather than be taken prisoner.  Had we explored past the bones, we'd have found an old ammo dump.  That's another thing about Okinawa is that ammo dumps were everywhere.  Once my dad and his buddies found a dump beneath a Quonset hut.  And yes, I've actually incorporated much of these facts in a short story . . . but I haven't really found anyplace to send it.   One day I'm sure to discover a perfect home for it.

 I'm sure finding and playing with human bones has absolutely nothing to do with why I like to write horror and such.  Hmmm.

 I went to school in a Quonset hut.  We had skating rinks and even carnivals that the G.I.s set up.  One of my favorite rides was a large cage suspended from a crane.  A lot of us were loaded into the cage then hung on to whatever you could find while the crane swung us around.  Another great ride involved climbing to the top of a pole where we got into a harness.  Then we jumped off the platform and slide down a guide wire.  At the bottom, a couple of G.I.s caught us before we slammed into another pole.  I think that was a parachute jumping training platform.

My brother and I playing with parachute

Thinking about parachutes, that was another of my childhood toys.  We'd play with a parachute, letting it fill with wind then drag us across the grass.  Okinawa is pretty windy.  We flew kites practically year round.  And we flew fancy ones . . . box kites and dragon kites, some with rounded edges, and you name it.  We shot off firecrackers and slid down hills in cardboard boxes.  So a pretty normal childhood really.

On base in PickstownAfter Okinawa we moved to the States where I lived in Pickstown, South Dakota, alongside another Indian Reservation.  I used to go on the reservation to play with the kids there. Our duplex was near a forest, so I did a lot of climbing into sticky pine and evergreen trees.  In winter, we waded through snow, which isn't something I see a lot of anymore.   So the move was a real change from the rocky, island tropics of Okinawa.

I remember lots of typhoons while living in Okinawa.  We'd use heavy duty tape--duct tape, I think, although we called it typhoon tape--to tape up the glass windows.  Being on an island, you got the full wind, eye of the storm, then the reverse winds as the back half of the storm passed by.

field of sugar caneBecause Okinawa was the first real place I remembered living in, moving back to the States felt more like moving to a foreign country.  I'd grown up eating fresh pineapples and coconuts.  For a treat, we ate persimmons and chewed on sugar cane.  So mainlining sugar is a quick-n-easy dessert to me.  If you like bubblegum, the gum I bought from a local vendor was so much sweeter and softer than anything I've ever found elsewhere.   The closest I've found is at Asian markets.

We bought sugar cane and fresh fruits sometimes off a papasan's back.  You saw Okinawans carrying a bundled load while walking or riding a bicycle.  Or you saw a three-wheeled truck carrying a load down a narrow street.  Back then driving down Highway 1 was a long trip between Naha and Kadina.

My dad's stories are all amazing.  In Korea he did aerial photography.  In Vietnam, he set up RADAR sites.  Maybe one day I'll devote a page to the stories he's told about his various tours overseas.

So, I'm back in the states and we're moving so often I didn't finish full year of school in one place until after my dad retired.  Sacramento was lovely.  While living there we went camping at Yosemite National Park.  If you've never seen the giant sequoia trees, try to.  They're incredible.   There's a few hollowed out that cars drive through.  We had some friends who were transferred along with my dad, so when we moved, our friends, the Van Horns, moved with us.  And we went camping together.   I liked camping because I missed the forest in South Dakota.  So I would get up early and go into the woods to sit.  One of my best memories is of sitting on an old stump when a family of deer, a buck, a doe and a fawn, walked over to nibble grass.  They were so close I could've touched them.  Of course, my brother and the Van Horn boys came barreling out, making a ruckus that scared off the deer. 

Yosemite National ParkIt was this same trip that a brown bear tried to get into our car.  I know no one is supposed to feed the bears, but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen.  So we're in a line of cars that's not moving.  People are tossing out marshmallows and there's a group of three bears snarfing them up.  My dad asks mom what we have and all we have are life-savers.  So dad tosses one of those.  One bear really liked it . . . and while dad is trying to open another roll, he turns and the bear has tracked the candy to our car and is leaning in.  Dad starts rolling up the window.  His Air Force buddy jumped out and snapped a photo.  By then, the bear was just standing with a paw on the car.

It was also in Sacramento that I learned the value of reading signs.  During a visit from my cousin, he, my brother and I headed to the base swimming pool.  We were about to cut across a field when we noticed a big sign posted on a fence.  One of actually said, "Let's read the stupid sign."  Lo and behold, it said something like, "Warning.  Artillery Shelling in Progress."  So we decided not to cut across that particular field.

Like a lot of girls back then, I was in the brownies then the girl scouts.  I did a lot of "girly" things like joining drill team in high school too.

Once again, we lived off-base in Montgomery, Alabama.  We stayed in an antebellum house that had been "carved up" into four apartments--two downstairs and two up.  We lived downstairs and had huge pecan trees in back.  Our school had a store where you could buy school supplies.  I mention it because I'd never seen that before or after.  Certainly we didn't have any such place in the high school where I taught math, aviation and computer science.

I've never been a deep sleeper.   On Okinawa, the Creature from the Black Lagoon haunted my sleep for six months. I've always had and remembered a dozen dreams a night..   As well, I've always woken up frequently, or got up sleepwalking.  But I've always been able to tell a dream from reality.  So one night, I woke up and heard crying.  I went into the hallway.  In the niche beneath the staircase I saw a ghost.  I still remember her and could point her out in a line-up.  She was quite beautiful with very long red hair and she wore a filmy, flowing gown of another time period.   It was years later when I talking to my dad that he mentioned that place was haunted.  He never saw the ghost but he smelled her perfume.  My mom never bought or wore perfume. 

I saw another ghost after we'd moved to Dallas.  This ghost didn't have distinct features.  He was more of a shape, like a shadow except made of light.  His head bore a distinct triangular shape, like he wore a tricorn hat. I'd never told anyone this before my friend Susan spent the night.   I wake up, hearing her call my name over and over.  I rolled over and told her to go back to sleep. In the morning, she was in her sleeping bag, staring. wide-eyed awake.  She then described the same shape, including the triangular head, and said it hovered around my bed all night.  That was what had kept her awake.  Now she told me this and described it before I confessed to having ever seen anything. The time I'd seen him, I'd woken cold and was going to pull my covers back up, but the ghost was pulling them up for me. 

This ghost often made strange noises when no one else was home.  I hear the silverware rattle or the toilet would flush.
My Quadrilla Outfit
But mostly he was a helpful ghost.   One time I'd gone out front to practice my high kicks and was doing so on concrete.   This was during my drill team days.  There wasn't a sole on the street. I kicked and my back foot slipped.  I went flying backwards and would've cracked my tailbone at the very least if the ghost hadn't caught me then set me down very gently.  Of course, I'd first thought somebody had caught me, except there's no one behind.  There were no trees nearby.  And nobody could've set me down then run out of sight in the time it takes to turn one's head.  There were even finger marks showing as skin depressions under my arms.  So maybe it wasn't Casper, but it was a beneficial ghost.

Because I started first grade at 5, I was always a year younger than my classmates.  Because I have a December birthday, I couldn't take the school offered driver's ed course until after my 16th birthday.  So I ended up not driving until later.  However I did start flying lessons.  Maybe it was the Air Force in my dad, but I, my dad and my brother all took
private pilot lessons.  Because my brother was younger, he started out with a glider as you could be younger to solo a glider than to solo a powered aircraft.   As an adult, he was in the Army reserves for a number of years and flew a helicopter.  But me, I only flew airplanes, although I did get to fly a Navy T-34 and a piper cub taildragger.  Mostly I flew single-engine land aircraft.   On my 16th birthday, I earned my private pilot's certification.  Meaning I could legally fly passengers . . . if someone first drove me to the airport.  Yeah, ironic huh?

Flying -vs- driving has interesting differences.  As a student driver, you can only drive with a licensed driver in the passenger seat.  A student pilot needs to fly alone in order to log pilot-in-command hours and they aren't allowed to carry passengers.  For those who don't know, if you have 2 pilots up front, the one with the higher rating is, by definition, the pilot in command, even if he never does any of the flying.  If a student drivers wrecks, he takes out another driver with him.  Student pilots only take out themselves.  Right about my 18th birthday I earned my commercial and instrument ratings.

This was our plane for a while A taildragger, Piper Cub I flew

To get the commercial rating required a lot of extra hours.  I'd already passed the written exam.  I knew all the maneuvers.  But I hadn't met the minimum hours.  After school (college by then--as I started college at 17) I went to the airport and flew the same route every day for a couple of weeks.  Sometimes my grandmother rode with me and knitted.  Daily like clockwork I flew a three-leg cross-country.  The basic calculations were the same.  All I had to do was call for the current weather, made adjustments, then file my flight plan.  The various towers not only expected me, instead of using whatever call-sign was on my fuselage, both tower and ground control called me Linda.  There really weren't many women flying back then and I have a recognizable, high-pitched voice.  A lot like the Japanese Anime chicks, or maybe it's more of Disney cartoon voice.  Whenever I ran late, they
worryied about me. And when I landed, ground radioed to tell me they'd sent the fuel truck

Here's the funny part . . . years later a guy I'd met at conventions, who's now a good friend and even a minion for the 4 Redheads of the Apocalyse (if you don't know what that is . . . it'll come up a later in this bio I'm sure) was one of the fuel truck guys.

I passed the commercial and took the Instrument Ratings flight test next.  All certifications and ratings have a written, an oral, and a flight test.  When it was time for the flight test, it wasn't a good day for instrument testing.  Before I go into why, let me set the stage.  You're wearing a hood so that all you can see is the instrument panel.  There's no outside visual.  You have to fly the course told by the examiner and perform all the required maneuvers without a visible horizon.  My examiner, by the way, had been a pilot for Canada's Snowbirds.

When flying by instruments there are several available approaches, some of them easier than
others.  At the airport I'd flown out of the main nav-aids were down for service.  The only approach available was a back ADF that uses a timed, stepped course.  This is a tough path to fly and was harder than anything required to pass the exam.  The examiner asks if I'd like to come back another day to finish up.  I didn't know or realize I was opting for the "hard course" and declined the offer figuring I'd just as soon be done with the test.  Later the examiner tells my dad he'd been sure he was going to have to flunk me because he didn't think a lot of his old Snowbird buddies could've flown that course.
So what I had was the ADF as my main instrument.  It was a back course, so the needle read backwards of what was going on.  The timing and stepped part comes in this way:  Once I hit a certain marker, I had to mark the time and drop rapidly to a particular altitude then fly straight and level until the time count was up.  On the next marker, I do the same.  And so forth.  All this while using a backwards nav-aid and changing settings and communicating with the tower.  Although the examiner offered to cover the tower conversation for me, I told him I could manage.  Anyway I flew it perfect and stunned him because I also kept a conversation going with him throughout.  Back then I could multitask a lot better.

Diving off of HawaiiIn college I took up fencing and SCUBA diving as my PE classes.  PE at SMU rocked.  For a while I kept up the fencing at a local fencing club, but mostly I used those skills in the SCA where I had a swashbuckling persona.  I fenced a few tournaments and had a great time and even got tips from a few swashers who'd been fencing champs.  And having a SCUBA certification was handy when I worked on my master's degree…but that's later. 

Between the driving, flying and SCUBA, you can say at one time or another, I've been a threat by land, air or sea.  <grin>

I'm wearing my pledge pinIn college I double-majored in Computer Science with an Electrical Engineering minor and in Russian Studies.  So I graduated with a BS and a BA.  I even gave the sorority thing a try, but my homework load was too heavy to enjoy the sorority activities, and so I gave it up.  However I did have time for D&D, something I discovered in college.  I kept playing regularly for several years too as it was also something my husband enjoyed.  Eventually, I was one of our group's main dungeon masters.  And when we had conventions in town, I'd run one of my dungeons.  I even ran a dungeon at Origins, when it was held in Dallas.  For them, I'd created "The House of Poe" in which every room was governed by one of Poe's stories.  To survive the adventure meant knowing a bit of Poe.  The concept was so popular than my original number of sessions was doubled.

Kavhi from ElfquestRavenar, my dance troupe, first appeared at some of these local gaming and media conventions.  In Ravenar's Gallery there's a costume album in which I've put in some of our earliest shows.  The most elaborate, costuming wise, were our Elfquest show and our Sorceress show.  We based the sorceress costume on Bethel's outfit--a witch character in an old series, Wizards & Warriors.  The Elfquest costumes were based on costumes from the graphic novel series.  The coolest part here is that we were able to perform that show for Richard Pini--one of Elfquest's creators.  At that time, we did a lot of shows based on media costumes . . . but then mostly danced at media costumes.  My Princess Ardala (from Buck Rogers) was used in our Alien Slave show.

Princess Aura from Flash Gordon Original "Princess" styled costume Bethel from Wizards & Warriors costume

Other than costumes for dancing, I did recreation and original costumes and competed in a fair number of masquerades.  I've won many ribbons, including a Best Hall Costume at DragonCon.  I hadn't even realized I'd been entered in that one until my name was called up.  DragonCon staff had roamed the convention snapping pictures and getting names.  That's all it took to be entered.  I believe the judge was Tom Savani.  Since I've watched a lot of horror movies, I recognized his name and was tickled he picked my gown as a winner.

I see I've sidetracked at bit. From earlier, you might have thought, how cool, she speaks Japanese and Russian.  Think again.  I also studied French and German in high school.  Did any of these languages stick?  Nope.  Apparently the language portion of my brain is Teflon coated.  But I gave it a  try.  I remember bits and pieces and sometimes chunks of memory come back to me.  But mostly, I speak foreign languages with a lot of arm waving charades.   Programming languages, on the other hand, stuck.

When I studied the various foreign languages, I reached a level of being able to manage.   Manage, meaning I could shop while I traveled.  I did okay during my two trips to Europe while I was still attending high school.  My parents valued travel as part of an education.  So my brother and I spent our Spring Breaks touring parts of Europe. 

No matter the country, the locals always thought I was German.  Even in Germany.  If you've heard my outrageous accent, you're be as dumbfounded as I was.  I wore jeans and t-shirts and even had braces.  Yet everyone asked, "Are you German?"  To which I relied, "No, I'm American."  Almost without exception, the following comment was, "No……maybe English?"  Again, I repeated, "American."  To which the argument continued, but now the country order varied.  Some went with Irish, others with Dutch.

While my friend Leslie and I wandered through the Reich's museum in Amsterdam, a man followed us.  Leslie hadn't taken German and I only had about a year and half under my belt, so I tried translating the passages on plaques written in Dutch.  Dutch is not German, make no mistake.  Leslie notices this man and panics a little.  So we hurry though the museum but ended up nearly barreling into the man.  He looked at me as asked, "Are you German?"   When I said, "No, I'm American," his answer was probably the only variation.  He just said, "That explains it."  Yeah, I figure my translations were pretty bad.  I'll never get a UN job, eh?

 I loved Europe.   Now that my blonde had darkened and I've opted to go red, if I ever get the chance to go back I expect everyone will ask, "Are you Irish?"

One of the reasons I tried to hit every art museum is that I love art.  Never really could draw well.  You can tell what it is, but my artistic skills are not in drawing or painting.  Not that I didn't try.  Once we'd moved back to the States, I spent a few summers with my Grandma in Shreveport, Louisiana.  She lived next door to a local, well-known artist, Ms. Cora Butler.  I spent a few hours every day at her home studio while she tried, bless her heart, to teach me to paint.

Actually I can't criticize anyone for not knowing my nationality.  My husband and I, along with another couple, traveled to Montreal, Canada for a convention.  World Fantasy, I think.  While we were there, we took a bus tour to Quebec City--which is a great tour and I highly recommend it.  If I go back to Montreal, I'm doing the tour again.  On the bus, the first question the guide asked was, "Are there any Americans on board."  We four laughed and raised our hands, expecting that everyone on the bus was American.  Yet we were the only ones.  After we raised our hands, the guide said, "Okay, then English it is."  Sure he assumed we didn't know French.  Or course, he was right.  (I had studied three years of French in high school, but that had been long ago.)

Our Montreal trip was only a couple of months after 911--the destruction of the World Trade Center.  It turned out that the black men were from Africa.  The red-haired family was Irish.  The Indian fellow was from India.  Etc.  To us everyone looked American.  <laugh>   Later at one of the stops the Irish lady came up to me and said, "I would've never guessed you were an American.  I was sure you were an Irish lass."  So we all had a laugh and the bus trip was great.

My dad and FritzBack to art and paintings in particular, my mom is the talented painter.  She even had a webpage long before I got this one.  She does portraits, both people and pets.  She does landscapes.  She does oil and watercolor.  If you're interested in having a portrait done, and she can work from a photograph, check out her site.  Click here for My Mom's Art Site.

Actually, my whole family is artistic in some medium.  My dad plays the pedal steel guitar.  I believe it's a 7 pedal guitar.  If you know these terms you can appreciate how hard an instrument that is to play.  You have foot pedals, knee levers, strings and you use a slide bar or picks.

My brother does arc welding as a hobby.  While he mostly makes useful things, like ramps, he also likes to make artistic things.  If he ever had a good opportunity, he'd have made a great stand-up comedian.  His wife is the family athlete.  Sure, I do belly dancing and tai chi, but she runs.  She's working on meeting the qualifications for running in the Boston Marathon. 

Back to traveling, I highly recommend it.  I've enjoyed parasailing in Mexico, taken a cruise to the Bahamas, and while I was earning my master in teaching, I spent a few weeks in Hawaii.

taken in the Bahamas taken in Taiwan taken on Maui

Since I was working toward an Earth sciences education degree, my fellow students were natural sciences educators.  I was the only "tech" teacher in the bunch.  I was already married and teaching high school by then.  Hanging out with this crowd was certainly entertaining.  Some classes, like Sea Level and Salinity wasn't an education class at all but one populated by geologists working on their masters or doctorates. 

Things I learned:  In Rocks and Minerals, it's important to know your gemstones.  I knew there were three classifications of rocks--sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic, but told my lab instructor that the only classifications that mattered were precious, semi-precious and everything else fell under ordinary.  It turns out the mineral part of the class was geometry than geology.  So when it came to identifying minerals, my knowledge of
precious and semiprecious stones came in handy.

 Sitting on Lava Flow rock on HawaiiIn Hawaii we went SCUBA diving.  That's where the earlier photo of the octopus was taken.  The guide used my camera to get a shot of me handling the surprisingly velvety creature.  I went diving every opportunity I could get and, with a guide, even did some lava tube diving.  The original plan for this trip was after the course-work was over, my husband was going to fly to Hawaii and join me and we'd stay on.  But things happened and that wasn't possible.  But in a karmic sense of balance, he got to take a Spanish course along with my parents that ended with a trip and stay in Mexico and because it was during final exams at the high school, I couldn't go that time.  So I got to dive in Hawaii and he got to climb the pyramids at Chitzen Itza.

Scarborough FairMy husband, Chris Donahue, is an electrical engineer and we met in the SCA.  When we met, he'd been a technician and later earned his degree while working.  And he writes, too.  So if you check out my writing, we co-authored a story for "High Seas Cthulhu" which is published by Elder Signs Press.  We both have stories in three anthologies, "Flush Fiction, vol. 1" and "Houston, We've Got Bubbas," published by Yard Dog Press, and in "Loving the Undead," published by From the Asylum Books..  Like my father and brother, Chris was in the Navy reserves for eight years.  So whenever we traveled, we always checked out Naval sites.

Methodist Minister & Catholic Priest officiated taken in Pensacola taken at Disneyland
For eighteen years I taught high school.  First I only taught math as there wasn't any real computer science courses.  Not at my school.  When computer science was added to curriculum, I got the classes.  So you know how long ago that was, computer science was taught using Pascal.  Over the years, we upgraded to C, to C+, to C++ and in my last years, I taught OOP C++ programming.

One of teacher yearbook picturesFrom the beginning, I designed my courses because the textbooks and course curriculums were too simplistic.  Even when I left teaching, CS II statewide standards weren't hard enough and so I'd written my own CS text and put it as documents on the computer for the kids to carry home on disc.  I also designed our CS III course.  At the
time it was the only CS III in the state to receive state accreditation.

I know my courses were good because my students became TAs at their colleges as freshmen.  Northern Telecom phoned me twice--the first time to say they were only taking my students as summer interns, that they'd dropped all their other schools, and a second time to tell me that when three of my students--their interns--graduated high school that they held a meeting and changed their policy.  They hired my kids to work part-time, from their college dorm, and were going to pay them 20 grand a year . . . and this was back in the 90s.

I have a hundred of these stories.    I look back at my students' achievements with pride, realizing that education is teamwork between a teacher and student.

Besides math and computer science, for a while I taught aviation.  That was what had motivated me to earn my Masters and why I picked Earth Sciences.  It enabled me to earn an additional secondary teaching certification at the same time.  It also meant going on all sorts of interesting field trips . . . like touring the inside of the Nuclear Reactor at Glenrose, Texas, before it was finished.

Nuclear Plant in Glenrose Interior shot
Another interior shot yet another interior shot

It also meant riding on a C-130 as a member of Civil Air Patrol to fly to Florida where we received a VIP tour of NASA.  If you haven't flown in  a cargo plane, we sat in netting chairs and as we climbed, the condensation forming looked a lot like the mist in the movie Alien.  On the tour, we were allowed right underneath where the shuttle rockets launched.   And during one of our inservices, I took a course and became certified to borrow NASA's moon rock samples.

Our plane and crew Here's how the inside looked

Yet I don't feel bad about leaving the teaching field.  I've been replaced by two of my students . . . though not at my school.  Two of my students, after graduating, decided to get their CS degrees and become high school teachers just like me.  They both stay in touch, which is wonderful.  I even went to one's wedding.  So I've passed on the legacy.  And in one case, I passed along all the programs and transparencies and anything else I'd accumulated over the years as samples and guides.

As you might expect, I developed carpel tunnel and tendonitis in both arms.  The damage was rather severe.  I was, as one doctor put it, close to having my tendons detach in four places.  So after a lot of therapy and wearing of braces, I started studying tai chi.

One of my early costumesSingle WhipI'd been belly dancing since I was twelve.  My mom and I took the classes together.  And mom made me my first belly dancing costume.

Considering that when I'm not writing I'm teaching tai chi or belly dance classes, I guess I haven't entirely left the teaching profession.  But now there's no homework to grade. <Grin>  I've also competed in martial arts tournaments and won a few medals--one gold for Lu Style and three silver for Yang style, long weapon and short weapon forms.  And I've judged at tournaments.  Every year I'm invited back, but so far the timing hasn't worked out.  The tournament has repeatedly fell on a convention weekend.

When not writing, not teaching tai chi or belly dance, I attend as many conventions as possible as a panelist.  Sometimes my dance troupe, Ravenar, also performs one of "themed" shows.   As well, if my fellow redheads, Julia S. Mandala, Rhonda Eudaly and Dusty Rainbolt are all at the same convention, we'll often be given a 4 Redheads of the Apocalypse panel.
The New Horsewomen of the ApocalypseThe 4 Redheads of the Apocalypse is, you could say, our characters.  We came up with the concept on a drive back from ApolloCon when we were all quite tired and punchy.  Rhonda had been calling us the Redheads of the Apocalypse all weekend long.  On the drive, I said something silly like, "That would make a funny concept . . . if we were the wives of the 4 Horsemen."  From there we decided the horsemen would die and the wives would take over the jobs.  And so was created the 4 Redheads.

I'm going to tell you a bit about this idea as it's really taken on a life of its own.  Since its creation we're as often recognized AS the character we write as ourselves.  And we have something of a local following.  A couple of our friends and fans have become our minions at conventions, fetching us things, and have even made up special shirts with an embroidered logo for the 4 Redheads.  We've been told there's fan-fic about our characters and a couple of times we've been approached by fans who'd like to do a home-movie sort of project.

War has a new name . . . BunnyOn the drive back from Houston we decided who would "be" which character . . . I'm War . . . and the premise for our collected series of stories.  In short--Satan (whom we patterned after our common publisher at Yard Dog Press) was going to retire and the best horsewoman got the job.  As none of our characters wanted their horseman (or horsewomen) position, they all figured being the big boss would be better.  Naturally none of the Redheads are really suited for their jobs.  If any of them are competent, it'd probably be Death/Zoe.  But she still hates the work.  We put the stories together, co-wrote a prologue setting up the premise and an epilogue to wrap it all up.  We posed for the cover and Dusty's husband took the pictures.  So on my "resume" I can say I was a cover model.

My Fantasy Chicks costumePosing with TridentI'm also in a biker magazine.  One of our themed shows is "Fantasy Chicks" -- you know, things like Catholic School Girl, Cheerleader, Dominatrix and Biker Chick--which was my "dance character."  For promo shots, we took some pictures of me in costume on Bill Allen's motorcycle.  Bill's a great guy.  He later wrote an article for Planet Biker magazine (it's volume 3, issue 1) and used one of the pictures of me and him on the bike. 

And I model for Babes with Blades under the name Crymson, making my resume--author, tai chi instructor, belly dancer and instructor, and model.  At least this all keeps me busy.

Chapbook coverNovel CoverBack to the 4 Redheads . . . the chapbook has done really well for Yard Dog Press and so we've been working on a novel length sequel which should be published in early 2009.  It's called, "The 4 Redheads in:  Apocalypse Now!"  Basically, this time the Redheads have a new plan for getting rid of their jobs . . . .bring about the Apocalypse NOW and the job thing is over.  There's more information on this under my publishing credits.

I find most everything in life interesting.  I've taken horseback riding lessons.  I love animals and grew up with all sorts of pets.  On Okinawa I often caught lizards and brought them inside.  I've had a multitude of dogs and hamsters as pets.  Currently, I keep house rabbits, sugar gliders and a cat.

Now you know way more about me than you probably wanted to.   Who knows, as I remember other anecdotes or new events happen, I may update this page. Or I'll add another page to the Bio Main Page.  Until then I hope something on this page brought a smile to your face.

a sugar glider

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