After a successful career in aerospace engineering for over twenty years—both in technical and leadership roles—my primary focus is now on writing.
My personal story of growing up in the hills of Appalachia provides the inspiration for my work as a writer.
I am number eight of nine kids and from a holler in West Virginia. Going hungry is one aspect of growing up in poverty and something that taught my brothers and sisters and me how to deal with adversity and develop resilience. One thing I’ve learned, though, is that resilience isn’t necessarily about “toughing it out” so much as it is about tapping into your spirit. Spiritual energy runs through our veins—it’s the life force that sustains us during hardship and lights us up on the other side of it. It’s when I have forgotten or ignored my spirit that I’ve suffered longer and harder than I needed to. My aim is to inspire others to remember, and draw on, their own resilience—their own spiritual energy—through my work as a writer and teacher.
- My unpublished manuscript, Glowing Houses: An Appalachian Girl’s Memoir, was awarded 2nd place in the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Literary Contest in the nonfiction/memoir category. I have a completed draft (~86, 000 words) and a full proposal that includes the following: table of contents; chapter-by-chapter outline; synopsis; competitive titles; marketing plan; full bio; and three sample chapters. My blog post, What’s Your Memoir About, provides a piece of the synopsis.
- My essay, By the Grace of God, I Write Memoir, is included in The Magic of Memoir anthology (She Writes Press, November, 2106). The Magic of Memoir is a memoirist’s companion for when the going gets tough. I am one of 38 writers who share hard-won wisdom, stories, and writing tips. Editors Linda Joy Myers and Brooke Warner have taught and coached hundreds of memoirists to the completion of their memoirs. Included are Myers’s and Warner’s interviews with best-selling memoirists Mary Karr, Elizabeth Gilbert, Dr. Azar Nafisi, Dani Shapiro, Margo Jefferson, Raquel Cepeda, Jessica Valenti, Daisy Hernández, Mark Matousek, and Sue William Silverman.
- The Eight Aspects of God: A Pathway to Bliss, is a treatise on spiritual living encapsulated into a short and easy-to-read volume. Each sentence is full of wisdom and practical information you can apply to your life today, right this second. It was named a Finalist in the 2013 National Indie Excellence Book Awards.
- Trinity of Truth: It’s Not About You | How to Stop Taking Things Personally, is a work in progress and is an expansion of the above (The Eight Aspects of God) book. The book is a hybrid; blending memoir and self-help. My manuscript is 60 percent complete.
Journals & Magazines:
I am a writer for New Spirit Journal where my column “Musings of Memoir” offers tips, tools and inspiration for others who want to write their story. For a peek, here’s the first article, Musings of Memoir: What’s Your Story? published in January, 2019.
My essay, There’s No One Story of the Opioid Epidemic in America, was published by On Being with Krista Tippett September 22, 2017. This piece shares how the drug crisis ravaged my brother’s life and looks to compassion as a strategy for healing.
I am a former columnist for the online magazine Contemplative Journal. These monthly articles provide information on the benefits of meditation and contemplation as explained in my book The Eight Aspects of God, A Pathway to Bliss.
As a columnist for New Spirit Journal (November 2011 through July 2013), I wrote a monthly column titled “Chakra Talk” where I offered readers self-healing strategies based on the principles of yoga, meditation, and energy medicine.
Editing and Teaching:
Blending my twenty-three-year career in engineering (where I checked and edited the work of others) with my twelve years of experience writing personal essay and memoir, I edit, teach and coach other writers who want to tell their story. I also teach at writing conferences and bookstores.
Outside of writing, I teach yoga, meditation and breathing exercises specifically designed to help reduce stress and inflammation in the body. In 1996, I learned about adaptive sports and started my work as a volunteer ski instructor with Outdoors for All where I get to help people with disabilities learn how to ski and enjoy the rewards of being outside.
I feel fortunate to live near my daughter—the greatest blessing in my life. And I love hanging out with my grandsons, Henry and Oliver, as much as possible—teaching them how to ski, ride a bicycle, throw a Frisbee, grow tomatoes (and eat them fresh off the vine) and sometimes a little yoga. I feel blessed beyond measure for the joy these boys bring to my husband and me.
When not writing or teaching I enjoy inventing stuff. I am the founder of HenOli Products, LLC.In addition to being a writer, I am a certified meditation teacher and registered yoga instructor (RYT®) with the Yoga Alliance®, certified ski instructor with PSIA (including mono-ski and bi-ski Adaptive Cert) and hold CPR/First Aid/AED and Wilderness First Aid certifications.