It's a long story.
It goes something like this:
An idyllic but odd rural childhood in Northern New York –– up in Frederick Exley and Frederick Remington country, on Lake Ontario where the Great Lakes empty into the St. Lawrence River.
Cue montage of horses, lush hayfields, varnished family boats, black-and-white dairy cows, unsupervised daredeviltry, stacks of paperback books, groups of irritable chickens and runaway pigs.
Imagine vivid, fleeting summers when the sunsets last until ten at night. Winters with brutal months of blue light and ice storms, epic winter storms. Sidle past the mud seasons in between.
Scholarships and student debt got me through Cornell University for a BA in English, followed by a summer at the University of Denver's Publishing Institute, which brought me straight to Manhattan.
I was hired by that storied publishing house, Farrar Straus & Giroux, where I performed various lowly editorial positions in the years before the firms were gobbled up and consolidated. I also juggled many part-time gigs to pay the rent. I sold my own bone marrow one month to make my student loan payment. But glamorous. Did I mention?
Then came a short spell in New Jersey where I edited veterinary publications sponsored by livestock feed corporations (ask me about The Swine Quarterly!).
A move to Florida brought a slew of diverse jobs and adventures: Freelance writing for Sail Magazine and Publishers Weekly magazine, first-mating on a passenger ferry, office-managing a financial planning firm.
I reported on sailing for The St. Petersburg (now Tampa Bay) Times. I hung wallpaper and painted houses and proofed articles for the Stetson Law Review. I wrote book reviews for the Tampa Tribune and Southwinds. I tutored people in algebra and English.
At some point, I settled down to editing and writing for a single employer. My job included designing adult learning activities, administering copyright protection, and working on video productions on topics like conflict resolution, sales, customer service, corporate leadership, etc.
To quote Tina Fey, "Have I lost you to the cheese platter yet?"
I freelance now, working for a variety of corporate clients to fund my own projects. For most of my adult life, I've been able to say, "I write for a living."
A sparkling cocktail-party answer though not quite the whole story.
After an undistinguished athletic youth, I started racing sailboats in my mid-20's. It's a sport that my rural background helped me enjoy: the physical challenges are matched with a shaving away of dignity and privacy, and the moments of exertion and thrill are interspersed with periods of calm reflection. Much like farming.
I often crew for my favorite skipper, my husband Jeff Linton. He's kind of a big deal, not to take my word for it...here's one of the big honors.
We've won the International Lightning Class World Championships a couple of times, the Flying Scot Class North American Championships five times, and have been able to sail in Chile, Greece, Italy, Ecuador, the UK, all over North America.
Honestly, I know it's been a lucky life so far.