Basic bios are boring.
I’d rather tell you a story…the story of how I came to be where I am.
But it’s long, so let’s cover just the highlights.
I’ve been a writer since age 10 and a freelance and professional editor since age 16. I wrote my first novel in 1989 at age 20, joining writers’ groups for peer review and honing my critiquing and editing skills (informally) on others’ works. In 1995 I started my first freelance editing business, and in 1997 I started the Houston African-American Writers Society to answer the need for a circle of Black writers among my clients and other writers’ groups. I taught myself HTML and created a website that attracted interest worldwide, so I dissolved the local group and formed the first 501(c)(3) literary arts association to organize online for Black writers in 1998. Today, it exists as Black Writers Collective.
In 1999, when the group had grown to nearly 6K, a few hundred members wanted to meet up in person. I created a conference which became the first touring conference for Black writers, and it was so successful that I produced it six more times. I began being asked to consult on others’ events as a conference planner due to my skill at launching top-notch startup events on bootstrap budgets and talent for equitable contract negotiations, and in 2009 the predecessor to Boss Events & Travel was born.
In 2012 I started a writers retreat in conjunction with one of my conferences, which today exists as Writeful Places.
While all of this was going on, I was working full-time in document technology and tech comm at law and telecommunications firms—and I’d grown rather discontent with my life (🔗) by the time I started Writeful Places. The following year, I enrolled in a software and database programming course to finish my second degree, an Associate of Applied Science in Computer Information Technology, planning to switch careers to I.T. I then followed that up with a Bachelor of Science program in information science and technology, along with certificates in digital forensics, project management, Six Sigma, and database and software programming.
I dove into information architecture, web project management, web accessibility, content management systems, usability, and document forensics, expressing to my employer my desire to switch roles. They weren’t trying to hear that, and while completing my third degree, I was laid off. I was so happy and thrilled! Omg, the JOY they brought me that day!
After enjoying a year off, I had no desire to work for anyone else right away. I had other goals to achieve first. I wanted to travel, island hop, and stay as long as I felt like it, so I did. I wanted to go cycling in the middle of the day, so I did. I wanted to be there for my youngest son when he went to school and when he got home, and I was. I wrote, did tech consulting for a while, and then I wanted to edit again, although I’d never completely stopped editing.