About the Author
Below is a little story, broken up into seven small chapters, telling my story, from the beginning to present day.
The abridged version? I grew up in Western Pennsylvania writing stories and poetry in my free time, so no one was surprised when I became a writing major in college. After receiving creative and professional writing degrees from Carnegie Mellon University, I went on to get my Master’s Degree in Professional Writing, and I worked in corporate communications until I had my children. Now I’m a freelance writer and an author living in Arkansas with my husband, son, daughter, and two dogs.
But I think you really want to read my story. And if you get to the end, you get bonus information!
Once upon a time, in a tiny hospital in Western Pennsylvania, a baby girl made her way into the world. It took her mother thirty-one grueling hours to deliver her, but in the end, her mother said she was worth the effort. The mother didn’t realize her child, who she named Staci, was always going to do things the hard way, and that would be hard for her to watch.
When Staci grew from dependent baby to curious toddler, her family noticed she had a vivid and colorful imagination. By the time she was three, her mother had her spelling long words and winning the rhyming game. Staci’s love of words was born.
Her second favorite past time was having stories read to her. Her first? Making stories up. She went from playing educational word games to creating full blown tales—fantastic worlds and fabulous characters that she shared with anyone who would listen. Usually not her sister and brother, who were older and involved with their own interests. Sometimes her parents, who were often busy with three kids in the house. Mostly her stuffed animals and dolls, which made a captive audience.
An avid reader before the skill was even introduced in school, Staci immersed herself in fiction and nonfiction. In grade school, she completed her tests quickly so she could write stories as her classmates finished their work. By high school, she was writing poetry as well as fiction. It seemed only natural that she’d study writing in college.
Of course she didn’t. She studied business (and hated it). Then she studied architecture. (It wasn’t what she thought it would be.) Finally, she listened to what everyone had told her since she was a little girl and became an English major. Her first official publishing credits happened in college—poetry, news articles, software documentation, marketing materials. Despite being several credits behind (because of the constant changes in her major), she overloaded and caught up, managing to not only graduate in time with a BA in Professional Writing and Creative Writing, she was granted a scholarship to continue her studies and work toward her master’s degree.
Her father wanted her to take one of two jobs offered her, but the corporate communications job with a bank was in North Carolina and the software documentation job with IBM was all the way in California. She could never leave home! So she went to graduate school. Passionate about her education, she finished the program after only one year.
Now she had a master’s degree in writing… but no job.
Staci finally found a job in advertising only fifteen minutes from her childhood home. But she wanted more. So she took a job over an hour away (in terrible Pittsburgh traffic, no less) in development and fundraising. She married her high school sweetheart, and while her personal life was thriving, she still wasn’t professionally fulfilled.
She thought it was her lucky day when she got a corporate communications job close to home, but the hours and aggravation took their toll. Her son and daughter were born, but she missed them when she worked. So she took a job in the technical writing department, which not only cut her hours considerably, earned her more money, too.
She spent her days working a tedious job with a great group of people. Nights and weekends were for family and friends. She made up stories for her babies, hosted parties where she could cook and bake for her guests…
Life was perfect.
Then her husband changed careers and took a job out of state, moving her from the only home she’d ever known. Ever wanted.
Staci struggled so far from home with two babies and no family, no friends, no job. Freelance writing kept her from feeling professionally worthless, but the jobs were few and far between. As the kids grew and she was finally finding her place in Ohio, her husband transferred to Michigan, and she had to start all over. This time, without even her husband to rely on, as his job required constant travel.
She yearned for home.
After two years, her husband took her back to Ohio and stopped traveling. Still, it wasn’t the same. People had moved on. Neighborhoods had changed. She continued to freelance, but her kids were older. It was time to work outside the home. Becoming an English professor started to fill the void. She met wonderful people and had a great time.
Of course, that’s when her husband changed jobs again and moved them one thousand miles away from home. To Arkansas.
Staci struggled to adjust. Now she was one thousand miles away from family and friends, and starting over again—but this time she couldn’t find a job. She couldn’t even rely on play dates to get to know people; her kids were much too old for that.
Lonely and sad, she finally listened to her parents’ advice.
Staci studied online, she joined a writing group. And another. She read, she wrote. She critiqued, revised, edited. She made friends and colleagues, and really started to get into a groove. Finally she got a novel published. She won short story and essay competitions. She landed an agent. Things were on a roll.
And then ground to a halt.
New York wasn’t buying what she was selling, and she was afraid to lose momentum. The answer? Independent presses. She parted ways with her agent and signed a multi-book contract with a small publishing firm, Oghma Creative Media.
Staci got along so well with the people at Oghma Creative Media and believed so much in what they were doing that she actually started working for them. And although she doesn’t live near family, she has cobbled together a “new family,” a publishing house family, whom she adores.
Staci now lives in Northwest Arkansas with her beloved husband, two teenagers she couldn’t be prouder of, and two adorable dogs. And because her husband works crazy hours and her kids are in school (and afterschool activities), guess who she talks to all day long? (Hint: They’re great listeners.)
She is the Marketing Director at Oghma Creative Media, but still edits and freelances on the side. And she writes fiction—as much and as often as she can. You can find her work on this site and through the major bookselling websites.
Staci plans on continuing her writing. She has books under contract with her publisher and many, many more ideas to keep her busy for a long time. As to whether Arkansas will be her permanent home… who knows? She’ll continue to follow her husband wherever he goes. He supports her dreams, why shouldn’t she support his?
It’s been a long, roundabout journey, and she expects it to continue for many years to come. And with family, friends, and colleagues by her side, she’ll be living happily ever after.
- In addition to being an award-winning author, I’m an award-winning recipe developer. I think I got that skill from my grandmother. We both love cooking and baking, especially for family.
- When I had my wisdom teeth removed, the surgeon insisted I’d feel like my cheeks were sewn to my gums but assured me they wouldn’t be and the feeling would pass. My parents grew increasingly frustrated with me over the week I was recovering because I couldn’t open my mouth. They thought I was “being overly dramatic” and I should just deal with the pain and use my mouth. Guess what… my cheeks were in fact sewn to my gums. It’s unheard of, but if it could happen to anyone, it would happen to me.
- Speaking of teeth…I’ve never had a cavity. Ever. Baby teeth or permanent teeth.
- I suffer from nasty migraines, asthma, arthritis, and (sometimes severe flare-ups of) eczema. I don’t let any of that keep me from writing. Every day. (Even if the sick days are much slower than other days.)
- I can still do a split. Enough said.
- I play the clarinet, although I’m pretty rusty right now. (Use it or lose it, and I haven’t been using it lately.)
- I taught myself how to type. You can’t really be a writer hunting-and-pecking the keys.
- While most of my work is inspired by my Italian heritage, I’m also part Irish, Scottish, German, and Swedish. (All from my dad’s side. Mom is full-blooded Italian.) I’m working on integrating more of my dad’s side into my work. (My serial Laci and Del series focuses on the Irish heritage, but I haven’t explored those roots too much yet.)
- I could spell “Valentine” by the time I was three.
- The first time I earned four-figures from freelancing, it was actually a ghost-writing job, so my name isn’t even on the project.
If you want to know more, browse this site. Follow me on social media (the links are in the sidebar). Or contact me via the contact form. I’m always happy to chat. (I guess talkative is bonus number eleven on my list. But you probably figured that out already. )