Bio Bits




I love to write about characters - usually edgy, little-known folks with wonderful hidden stories and talents. I love places too, and music, above all, jazz. As a girl, I dreamed of traveling around the world. As soon as I could, I took to the road, living in steamy Guayaquil, Ecuador at 17 with a family, an experience recalled in a novella, Coming of Age in Ecuador, in my compilation of stories about Latin America, Come Back, Carmen Miranda. Continuing my love affair with the region, I found a series of jobs - grunt on a Mayan archeology site in Chiapas, Mexico, volunteering with the American Friends Service Committee in an impoverished mining village, teaching English, and finally, doing freelance journalism, in Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil and Mexico.

One of my most memorable stays was in the Yucatan, where I moved after college, with the portable Olivetti that went everywhere with me in those pre-computer years. I was in a state of painful urgency. I wanted and needed to write but I was not getting very far. It was the early 70's, need I say more? Much of that time is in Gringa in a Strange Land, but it is fiction.

After I left Mexico, I made the pilgrimage to another strange land called New York City, with a suitcase, typewriter, seven hundred dollars and knowing two people. Finding the requisite cheap, shabby apartment, which you could still do in those days, I started writing in earnest in between trying to pay the rent with a series of ridiculous jobs, such as writing reviews of movies that were so bad that neither I nor anybody else apparently ever actually saw them; driving an ice-cream truck through Central Park for one entire day before smashing into a rock and getting fired; and my own personal favorite: writing a history of cheeses of the world with a two-week deadline for a manic food editor out of a Woody Allen movie.
I've written several novels (some in the drawer), articles and biographies about jazz personalities. For a while I concentrated on quirky travel writing, topics like the Carmen Miranda Museum in Rio; a candomble a.k.a.voodoo priestess in a slum of Rio who dispensed solid psychic advice while drinking rum and smoking a stogie, and an interview with a Mayan healer who introduced me to some of his "children," a tiny plot of corn and beans and in 2010, Gringa in a Strange Land.
New for 2013 is another novel, this one set in New York in the '70s, Cleans Up Nicely, about which more on my "Works" page. I hope you will enjoy it!


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