Thank you so much for stopping by. I am humbled that you are here to learn more about me. It feels very odd to me to be the focus of anyone’s attention since I spent my 25 plus year journalism career focusing on what other people were doing, saying or blockading. The story and attention was always on them…not me. But this world has offered me some interesting turns on my life journey and I’m thrilled at where I am today. While I have written for many years, I’m now launching my fiction writing career and I feel it has been a long time coming.
I have always been a writer, but haven’t always labeled myself as one. I have written stories since I could hold a crayon in my hand and compose a sentence. If my stories were never published, I would still write (but I am very glad I’m not using my crayon anymore).
I grew up in one of the distinctive neighborhoods of New Orleans. I loved living in a city that is so rich with culture and unique entertainment. The Mardi Gras parades, music festivals, and delicious food were as much a part of my DNA as the Italian heritage of both of my parents.
It was after graduation from college that I moved into Cajun Country to take a job as a broadcast journalist. I started my broadcasting career as a play-by-play football and basketball sports announcer and anchor at a small market television station. I have been told—but I have never confirmed this—that I was the first female to do so in Louisiana. I moved into news, production and industrial writing and producing in both television and radio. I have reported for national broadcasts—CNN, NBC and CBS—and wire services during hurricanes in coastal Louisiana. I have always been an empathetic and aware person. I was nicknamed “the sponge” by friends who noticed I absorbed everything that was happening around me. I think that is why I like being a journalist. It is a good fit to tell the story of what is happening to others or of events that change our community or world. I especially like telling the stories no one else would tell, the human-interest features. This is where I have met the most fascinating people facing some of life’s most difficult challenges.
At this point let me tell you, I really hate being the center of attention. That seems crazy, huh, since I was the one in front of the television camera who was primped in tidy clothes and freshly curled or straightened hair (depending on the latest fad, which, looking back I wish I hadn’t always followed…eek). It is the truth, however. Broadcast journalist Tina was braver and feistier than citizen Tina. Journalist Tina flew in an acrobatic plane doing loops and dives while citizen Tina is afraid of heights and has motion sickness! Journalist Tina was hoisted from a bobbing ship in the gulf of Mexico onto an oil platform on a small round tire-like tube to get the perfect video of an oil platform emergency drill while citizen Tina gets sea sick just looking at the stirring water in a blow-up kiddy pool on a windy day. Journalist Tina braved hurricanes, floods, live broadcasts with faulty equipment and angry politicians. Citizen Tina dreamed of telling the colorful fictitious stories floating around in her head.
And each time Journalist Tina finished her non-fiction reporting, Citizen Tina would find her imagination floating into that place where fiction takes over. I love that place. I love making up stories and characters that have characteristics of people I have met, but kicked up a notch or two…or three.
Then, in June 2008, everything changed. I no longer just had the influences of others experiences to tickle my imagination…this time it was my crisis. I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. In my journey to fight against the disease that was trying to take my life, I found ELLI’s journey! I used everything I was going through to find Elli’s story. I also shared the fears, hopes and experiences of other cancer survivors and their caregivers, who I was honored to spend hours and hours with in the chemotherapy infusion lab. Sometimes we laughed and sometimes we cried. We always, shared…even in our silence when we couldn’t or didn’t want to find the words to do so. It was there, during those times, I developed the deep passion to tell the story about getting on with your life after the treatment ends when you try to find your new normal. I especially used the wonderful, difficult, joyful, fearful time after the treatment ends when you redefine your new life after cancer to set Elli’s story. Through this time my dear husband, two amazing sons and supportive family encouraged and helped me. I wondered, however, what I would have done if I was single with no children or family and began my life again after cancer…with that ever-present fear of recurrence. Would I ever make a long-term commitment with anyone or to anything knowing the cancer might return? Searching for that answer is where Elli’s story was born. It is where her Second Chance on life begins.
I really am grateful you are still reading this and wanted to learn a little more about me. I would be even more grateful if you bought my books. When you purchase Elli, the Second Chances Series, you will be helping in the FIGHT AGAINST BREAST CANCER! All the profits of this book will go to the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center and will be used for those people who are in the fight of their lives. Give it as a gift to a few of your family members and friends!
I invite you to read my blog where you will discover how others are getting on with their lives after the treatment ends. Maybe, you want to share your story. I would love to hear from you.
And please, come back to visit here again. I plan to keep the website updated with information on other books I am writing, photos, contests and other interesting things I have yet to think up. Join me on FaceBook, too.
Stay healthy and happy!