Frequently Asked Questions

Click on these links for the answers to these questions

What’s the hardest part of being an author?
What inspired you to write River Card?
How many hours per day do you spend writing?
Name your top five favorite books.
Please tell us about yourself.
When did you start writing?
Why did you decide to write this book?
Do you proofread/edit your own books or do you get someone else to do that for you?
When did you know you wanted to be an author?
Did you set any writing goals for 2014? Did you accomplish them?
Are you working on something now?
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

What’s the hardest part of being an author?

While I consider myself very outgoing, sociable and gregarious, fiction writing is a solitary endeavor. After attending too many writers’ groups, writers’ conferences, writers’ workshops, writers’ lunches, even writers’ shopping sprees and mani-pedi sessions, I still had to come home and sit down at my computer and create my story. Add to that, my fondness, actually my love affair, with playing poker (I’ve been besotted for many years), and it becomes clear that my challenge has always been to work by myself.

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What inspired you to write River Card?

While playing poker, I often found myself mentally chronicling the action at the table, and creating descriptions of the casino and its denizens in my mind. At some point I started writing down those words and, over time, collected a catalogue of notes. Then I had the opportunity to get into the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program where I learned some basic creative writing skills. At about the same time, my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and wanted to talk about his own life which included his years as an Army Intelligence Officer. I learned that my mother and I were among the first military family members to arrive in Germany after the end of World War II. My memories of the time (from when I was three until I was nine) were enhanced by my discussions with my father. I wanted to write about both aspects of my life, not as a memoir but as a template for compelling fiction, and so the idea for River Card evolved.

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How many hours per day do you spend writing?

My schedule varies greatly and is determined by a combination of my writing motivation and my current ability to use self-restraint; that is to not play in poker tournaments, not meet a friend for lunch or not lose myself in whatever book I am presently reading. When I do apply myself, it is usually in three- or four-hours sessions.

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Name your top five favorite books.

I can’t easily name just five books so below are my 5 favorite authors (not in any particular order):

Ayn Rand: Although I don’t entirely agree with her philosophy of “objectivism”, her ability to promote her beliefs through her novels; to portray her characters in such exquisite detail, to focus so artfully on her message, inspires me constantly.

Judith Krantz: I love her stories of Hollywood and fashion, describing in elegant detail (sometimes even listing what was in the bathroom medicine cabinet) what each character is doing and seeing, thus creating for the reader a specific experience on each page as the novel develops.

Bill Bryson: His research is uncompromising, and his world view is amusing and arch, while his prose is close to flawless.

Glen David Gold: I envy his ability to combine historical events with compelling fiction.

Lisa See: Her stories of Chinese culture, history and family dynamics are fascinating.

For many years I’ve always believed that one of my all-time favorite novels was Marjorie Morningstar by Herman Wouk. Recently I reread it and realized how differently I react to the same manuscript which, so many years ago in my youth, I perceived as the ultimate escape into the life of an interesting young woman leading a fascinating life. Now, the writing seems somewhat dated, and the story line of the self-involved young woman, quite ponderous.

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Please tell us about yourself.

I was born in Washington, D.C. in 1944. My father was an Army Intelligence Officer who was stationed in Germany right after the end of World War II. My mother and I were among the first military families to be sent to Germany in 1948. I lived there for most of my first nine years where I had to the opportunity to travel to most of what was free Europe at that time. After that, I grew up living with my parents at military stations all over the USA.

My father retired from active duty when I was in junior high school, so I was able to stay in the same community in Ayer, Massachusetts (a small town adjacent of Fort Devens, a large Army post) until I graduated from high school. I chose to attend the University of Connecticut, majoring in English Education. In my sophomore year, I met my future husband, David, and three years later in 1966, we both graduated on a Monday and were married the following Saturday. We moved to Boston where he attended Boston University Law School while I taught Kindergarten in the Boston Public Schools. After he received his law degree, we moved to Los Angeles where he joined a law firm, became a partner, and retired when we were both sixty-one.

We raised our two children in San Marino, CA, where both David and I were involved in the community. He served as president of the School Board and I held various offices in the local PTAs as well as became president of various philanthropic organizations. By the time my two children had both left home for college, I was spending a lot of time in Las Vegas becoming more entrenched in the growing Poker community. We bought a Las Vegas townhouse in 1996 where I spent a great deal of time while my husband finished up his law career. When he retired in 2004, we sold all our California property and moved to Las Vegas fulltime.

Meanwhile, my son graduated with an MBA from Yale, married and had four children. He lives in the Bay Area and works in the Transamerica Tower in San Francisco as a hedge fund manager. My daughter has a Master’s Degree in film from the London Film School. She married a British engineer, and at present, they live in Abu Dhabi.

I continue to play in local poker tournaments several days a week. During the World Series of Poker, which takes place in June and July, I spend most days at the Rio, playing in various satellites and tournaments.

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When did you start writing?

I’ve been writing down thoughts, stories, ideas, and plans all my life. I’ve also enjoyed creating skits and programs for various volunteer organizations. My father imbued me with a love for the written word, encouraging me to read widely and to pay particular attention to how various authors utilized words and phrases to achieve unique and artful prose. Whenever my daily life became stressful and overwhelming, writing for an hour or so, was a way to relieve the pressure.

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Why did you decide to write this book?

While playing poker, I often found myself mentally chronicling the action at the table, and creating descriptions of the casino and its denizens in my mind. At some point I started writing down those words and, over time, collected a catalogue of notes. Then I had the opportunity to get into the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program where I learned some basic creative writing skills. At about the same time, my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and wanted to talk about his own life which included his years as an Army intelligence officer. I learned that my mother and I were among the first military family members to arrive in Germany after the end of World War II. My memories of the time (from when I was three until I was nine) were enhanced by my discussions with my father. I wanted to write about both aspects of my life, not as a memoir but as a template for compelling fiction, and so the idea for River Card evolved.

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Do you proofread/edit your own books or do you get someone else to do that for you?

I did proofread the manuscript for this novel over and over, but then I sent it out to be professionally copyedited. When I got that proof back, I made many changes to the manuscript, and so I paid to have it proofread a second time. I believe that, as one should not represent herself in legal matters, a writer should not count on her own proofreading/editing abilities to complete a manuscript.

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When did you know you wanted to be an author?

I’ve always wanted to write a novel, but I never focused on becoming a serious writer until the time arrived in my life when I felt I had met my immediate responsibilities and duties toward my children’s upbringing, my husband’s career and my commitment to my community. When I was ready, I focused on learning how to use a word processor and how to write.

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Did you set any writing goals for 2014? Did you accomplish them?

My goal for 2014 was to promote River Card and begin work on the sequel. The creative writing end progresses when I apply myself and make the time. I’ve been on a steep learning curve becoming conversant with the digital literary environment, but I’m moving forward.

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Are you working on something now?

The story of River Card ended with many unresolved issues, and that was my intent. I am working on a sequel which will take place in the near future; still in Las Vegas as well as other parts of the world, and will feature the child, Livy, the daughter of Phillip Vance, the casino developer, as she comes of age.

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Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Learn the basics first! If a writer correctly and efficiently employs correct grammar, punctuation, spelling, syntax, sentence and paragraph structure, she can break a few rules judiciously on her way to creating her own writing masterpiece.

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