Words run through my veins like paint onto an artist canvas. My mother is convinced I inherited the love for words from her first cousin Robert E. Lee the playwright. He was famous for such works as “Inherit the Wind,” “Auntie Mame” and many other screenplays that he had co-created with his partner Jerome Lawrence. I am a 43 year old “domestic engineer”--at least that title is allotted to me when we fill out our taxes each year. In retrospect, this means a wife and mother of two daughters and five cats. Our eldest daughter, Jessica, is a freshman in college and I homeschool our eight year old, Alixandra. I was born in Ohio, moved to Florida after college where I pursued my career in social work. After eight years in Florida, my husband was transferred to South Carolina where I had an opportunity of being a Social Service Director for a Rehabilitation Center. By my late thirties I felt something was missing, so I tried my hand at painting, using oils as my medium. Though painting was fun, it still didn’t quite hit the mark. When Alix was almost a year old, my husband was transferred to Pennsylvania, and by this time I had spent the majority of my life living in the South. People in Pennsylvania were different and didn’t appreciate my expansive personality. At this time, my husband, Richard, and I decided that I should stay home with the girls to help adjust to the move and such. After knitting about a thousand wash cloths, baking several dozen loafs of bread, trying my hand at the culinary arts, painting and reading books, I started writing. I had written an article about one of our cats and Cat Fancy published that work in 2005. I have even been published on About.com with a couple articles about the history of the area we live in. I began writing all of the time, creating characters that were alive and real to me. Scribes Valley Publishing was the first contest I have ever entered. Last year my stories didn’t make the cut; however, the constructive criticism that the Editor at Scribes Valley Publishing gave me was priceless. I value their U-Write It Challenge each week; this tool has helped me mature into a better writer. I have been seriously writing for seven years. This is my own philosophy: everyone has a thought, everyone has a feeling, everyone has a voice, everyone has something to say and to me writing is the gift.