"It is good people who make good places." Black Beauty

A long, long time ago in a pasture far away….

Awarded Best Young Reader of 2022 

IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award

Even with a family heritage of poets and writers, I never thought I’d ever be one. There just didn’t seem to be time left in raising three very active girls.

Girls in Cinci

Born near Columbus Ohio, but raised on a remote farm in New Berlin, Wisconsin, my parents made a bold move by packing up our farmhouse and six kids (four brothers and sister) and leaving the mountainous snowdrifts in Wisconsin to towering palm trees in Largo, Florida. Talk about cultural shock. I grew up wearing cowboy hats and boots to … 

adjustDSC08895Me in Cowboy Hat

… fake eyelashes and high-heels in the Miss Largo Pageant. 

I’m a late bloomer to writing for children.
And to prove it, I literally received the SCBWI Karen and Phil Cushman Late Bloomer Award for Finding Moon Rabbit.

I turned to SCBWI, Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators to help me perfect whatever craft and storytelling abilities I may have had. I attended writing and poetry conferences, worked with mentors, and read, read, read.

Books for children, I discovered, had changed since the days of Black Beauty, and what my girls read when they were young.

There were no characters in books with eyes that kissed in the corners.

Finding Moon Rabbit: A War. A Camp. A Girl. A Letter. is written for them so they may remember the courage and bravery their grandparents, aunts and uncles exhibited while incarcerated from 1942-1945 during World War II.

Poetry was my first love. In the many years as a member of the Florida State Poets Association, I’ve served as  Co-Editor for six Anthologies. 

My work has received SCBWI Florida Rising Kite Awards, and am a proud recipient of a Gold (1st place) Royal Palm Award granted by the Florida Writers Association for Three Horses for the Mikado: When Ulysses Grant Sailed to Japan.  

Delving into my children’s Japanese American heritage, I have discovered that our differences can define us, but it is our similarities that bind us together.

I love writing novels on little known historical events where cultures and people come together and share green pastures. 

I live with my family in the Tampa Bay Area. 

More from jc.

Why the horse theme?

After a tragic event when I was young, I pretended I was  a horse. I so wanted to be a horse.

My parents assured me I wasn’t crazy, just crazy about horses.

But Anna Sewell proved to me that I wasn’t the only one who thought like a horse. Black Beauty raises awareness against society’s everyday acceptance of cruel acts against those who can’t speak for themselves. 

I like to think my stories are about how kindness and respect overcomes mistreatment.

I traded in my imaginary four hooves for two feet a long time ago, but it didn’t stop me from visiting other pastures.

I’ve been corralled in six states (Ohio and Florida twice),
trotted across the U.S. from the Atlantic to Pacific,
jumped over the pond to Europe, the Azores,
and flown the Pacific to whinny Aloha!
from emerald Hawaiian peaks.

My imaginings took me to wondering about the people whose feet walked the ground before me. What were they like? What were their struggles? What were their triumphs? 

I also like to think that knowing your fellow travelers, past and present helps to better understand ourselves. 

My Black Beauty, Shadow Dancing

"If a thing is right it can be done,
and if it is wrong it can be done without;
and a good (person) will find a way."
Anna Sewell, Black Beauty