My one regret in life? I wish I’d started writing
Nina's first love
Talk about misspent youth. What did I do during those lazy summer days
of childhood when I could’ve been honing my writing skills? Nothing. Okay,
so I spent a lot of time dreaming I was a cowgirl with a trusty black stallion.
Oh, and I read every Walter Farley horse novel. I was an only child so I relied
on my imagination to supply the excitement in my life.
By high school, I’d decided to
trade in my lariat for a trench coat. I was into dark
and dangerous. As an intrepid foreign correspondent, I’d
stalk the mean streets of the world. Did I actually write
anything? No, but I did read all of Agatha Christie’s
I worked at a department store during college. My short
stint in the accounting department taught me a lot about math. Three hundred-dollar
shortages plus hysterical tears equaled instant move to gift-wrap. A career in
math was not in my future. I didn’t care because I’d discovered “real”
literature. I plowed through James Joyce’s Ulysses and Tolstoy’s War
and Peace. If it didn’t make my eyes cross then it wasn’t worth reading.
Yes, I admit it, I was a literary snob.
Nina and best buddy, Barbara Joyce.
Folk singers extraordinaire.
But there’s just so much “real”
literature one person can take. I graduated from Rutgers
University with a degree in English Literature and a determination
to avoid books that induced eye crossing or had tragic
endings. The only things I managed to write during those
years were research papers.
I taught second grade for several years then spent two
years in Dublin, Ireland. A friend and I supported ourselves by singing folk songs
in Irish pubs. We weren’t great, but we were young, enthusiastic, and wore
short skirts. It was obviously my destiny to be the next Judy Collins. I spent
a lot of time poring through music books.
Returning to New Jersey and reality,
I taught elementary school until I grew restless again.
My cross-country odyssey included stays in Arizona, California,
and Texas. Along the way, I indulged my love of horses.
No black stallions, but I did have several beautiful Arabian
mares. I read tons of books on breeding and showing.
Somewhere between California and Texas I grew addicted
to romance novels and cats. The cat’s independent attitude was exactly the
quality I admired in my romance heroes. And once I decided to try writing my own
romances, I made sure a cat crept into each story.
Texas is my permanent home. I’ve come full circle.
Born in San Antonio, I spent most of my life in New Jersey. Maybe the Texas in
my blood accounts for my attachment to strong men, fast horses, and wide-open
spaces. My love of cats? Haven’t a clue.
Nina's Critique Group
The members of my critique group from left to right
are: Donna Maloy, moi, Kim Groff who writes as Kimberly Raye, LeeAnn
Dansby (LeeAnn has left the group), and Gerry Bartlett who writes as Lynn McKay.
Gerry, Kim, and I have been critiquing together for fourteen years. Donna joined
us a little later. We’re a living testament to the fact that persistence
does pay off. I probably would’ve quit long before my first sale if not
for their support. So thank you, ladies.
through my open front door one day and immediately claimed ownership of me and
all I owned. He’d nip my ankles if I dared open the fridge without giving
him something to eat. He guarded his property with courage, fiercely attacking
any dog that unwisely invaded his territory. And he met me every day after work,
waiting by the car door until I got out. He was a cat with attitude, and a little
bit of him is in every story I write. In fact, he was a major player in my James
Bond spoof, From Boardwalk with Love.
I loved him. Miss you, big
June 2004 Houston booksigning at Memorial City Mall