I love writing about family, especially series stories where the primary couple in Book #1 is still front and center, but I go into the lives of their children and even grandchildren, and how all of them are affected by events surrounding that main couple. In my OUTLAW HEARTS series, Jake Harkner is an outlaw when he meets heroine Miranda. Throughout the rest of the series a reformed Jake goes to prison, then becomes U.S. Marshal. Children are born and grow up and have children of their own, and through it all Jake’s past keeps raising its ugly head to create problems and challenges to the Harkner clan. These problems have a way of bringing the family closer, and I love those family ties, especially Jake’s relationship with his son. It is so touching.

       Sometimes we writers live vicariously through our books, because our lives and relationships are seldom as “perfect” as we make them out to be in our stories. But the fact remains that we are born, we live, we have children, then grandchildren – and now our first great-grandson has come into the picture. Little Bannon was born July 21st, and it warms my heart to know the bloodline goes on. Hubby and I were once the “young couple” – then the parents – then grandparents – and now our oldest grandson has had a child.  (The photo at the top is of  me, my oldest son, and HIS son, my oldest grandson Brennan -- and here I am with Brennan's son Bannon!)

       It’s called the circle of life, and it’s a joyous fact. We celebrate weddings, the birth of children, the birth of grandchildren … and on it goes, so that in spirit, we never really die. A part of us goes on, and everything I’ve experienced in my 76 years now goes into my stories because I’ve “been there.” I know how to write young love, as well as eternal love and what it takes to hang in there together through the tough times. I know how to write a wife’s heart, a mother’s heart, and a grandmother’s heart, as well as the experience of being a sister and an aunt. I know the pain of childbirth, the ache of losing one’s parents, and the shock of learning about a son on drugs and realizing two sons can be raised exactly the same way but turn out as different as night and day. All that is a good source for story ideas.


        In real life, problems don’t always get solved. There isn’t always a happy ending. But I try to always give a happy ending to my stories, because readers need that. I’ve heard from many readers who tell me one of my books helped them get through their own bad days, or a personal trauma or sickness, and I’m glad of that. I’ve been called an “emotional powerhouse,” and most of that emotion comes from writing reality and writing about family.


        Hey – I’m Italian. It’s always family first.




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