Sunday, August 14, 2011

All about me

By Anna Kathryn Lanier

Like some of my other bloggers, I don’t think my life is very interesting, but I know other people think differently.  I know some people who have never driven further than 50 miles from where they were born.  People ask me where I’m from.  Well….my father was in the Air Force. I’m from all over.  I’ve lived in eight states, three of them twice, one U. S. Territory and a foreign country. Here are my wanderings:  I was born in Kansas and at 18 months, I moved to California, where we moved a couple of times to different towns.  My earliest memories are from there, the first true memories included (not what family said, or what the home movies showed).  When I was six, we moved to Guam for two years, then to North Carolina.  From there, we went to Texas. Dad retired from the Air Force while at Carswell AFB in Ft. Worth. Then we followed my mom’s career as a restaurant manager and went to New Mexico, first Las Cruces (where I graduated high school) and then to Albuquerque.  Oh, wait, it was between my junior and senior year that I went to Finland as an exchange student.  Okay, so after graduating high school when I came back from Finland, I moved to Albuquerque, got married and moved to Colorado, where I had my first daughter; then we all moved back to New Mexico before going to Louisiana. 



(Jim and me)

In Louisiana, my husband did the best thing he could ever do for me….he left me for his pregnant girlfriend.  A few months later, I met a man who had just moved into my apartment complex. Less than a year later, Jim and I were married and moving to West Virginia.  There I had another daughter.  I lived six years in Charleston, the longest I’d lived in one house my whole life.  We then moved back to Louisiana and lived there, in the same house, for eight years. My husband was transferred to Houston, Texas and we’ve been here for 10 years….officially the longest I’ve lived anywhere.  We’ve been married for over 24 years, too.

(Me and my two daughters, Tiffany and Holly)

It was while living in Albuquerque for the second time that I wrote my first romance novels, long-hand in spiral notebooks.  When in Louisiana for the first time (right after my husband left me), I submitted my first book to Harlequin.  Since I knew nothing of synopsis, agents, or even writing, it was rejected outright!  No surprise there, knowing what I know now!  While in West Virginia and back in Louisiana, I didn’t really write, I was busy with my two girls, church and Girl Scouts (I was a leader for 13 years).

It wasn’t until moving to Texas ten years ago that I got serious about writing again.  I wrote two novels in 6 months and, though they suck, they did get me back into the writing mode.  I took a Creative Writing Class at the local community college and learned that I knew NOTHING about writing—I mean, double spacing, one-inch margins AND you don’t justify?  I also learned about local writing groups and Romance Writers of America.  It was a few years afterward that I was published.  I now have several short stories and novellas out there, but no full-length novel.
(I love this picture of the grandkids, Emma, Lacey and Ethan)

(At my mother's 70th Birthday Party...all dressed up)
My two girls grew up, as kids will do and married (and divorced), but I have 3 grandchildren, Ethan, Emma and Lacey.  One daughter remarried and she, her new, better husband and Lacey live with my husband and me. (My family seems to do better the second time around….I don’t know why that is).

In 2005, I decided to finally go to college. I went to the same community college I’d taken the creative writing classes and enrolled.  In 2007, at the age of 47, I got an Associate of Arts degree in Education/History. I was going to go on and get the full Bachelor’s degree, but life got in the way, namely in the name of said grandchildren.  Instead, I’ve started substitute teaching.  I’m enjoying that, since I don’t have deal with parents, lesson planning or administration. (Though I did get called to the principal’s office once, because I left a teacher a ‘goodie bag’ with information about my books….)



My first romances were contemporaries, then I wrote two historicals, one set in America in the 1780’s and one in Texas in the 1840’s….none of them are publishable.  I worked on another historical (full-length), and some short stories, most of those contemporary.   As said, the shorts are published, the full-length is being revised, with hopes of FINALLY being publishable!

I have a blog that I keep fairly active with recipes, guest bloggers, reading suggestions and odds and ends, http://annakathrynlanier.blogspot.com/ and my website, with info on my stories, is at www.annakathrynlanier.com.

So, there’s my life, mostly.  Plain and ordinary, except for the voices in my head!

21 comments:

  1. Anna Kathryn, thanks for sharing your interesting life. Best of luck to you. Glad you ended up in Texas. Cute grandchildren.

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  2. And I thought I knew all there was to know about you. :) Great blog, and you are definitely a "sweetheart."

    P.S. I love that picture of your grandkids, too.

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  3. Anna Kathryn--and what a lovely ordinary life it is. You should be proud! Those grandchildren are adorable, and your daughters seem like happy people. It's the most wonderful thing we do, we mothers, raising children to be good responsible adults. That's basically all I ask.
    I don't see how you got much of anything done with all that moving around. I actually became a little upset reading it. I do not like to move, but have had to, of course, changing jobs, schools, etc.
    I'm a native Texan and while my family moved every six months when I was a young child and we only had what we carried in a care, I finally landed in the best place with my own family. We've been in Central Texas for 36 years now, and I'm not leaving.
    Thanks for your wonderful story--just what we love to hear!
    Celia

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  4. Hi, Caroline, Ginger and Celia. Thanks for stopping by. I don't mind moving, I guess because we usually didn't have to leave stuff behind....one move we did, from New Mexico to Louisiana. We just didn't have enough room in the trucks! But I don't know what was left, so I don't think I miss it. My sister, who is older than me, doesn't like to move, it was harder on her and she's pretty much been settled for the past 25 years. I think all the moving is what made me such an open person, sometimes I tell more personal things than I should...lol.

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  5. And you say that's not interesting. You've got to be kidding. I love all the pictures you posted, especially the one of your grandchildren. Thanks for sharing with us.

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  6. Ana Kathryn, Thank you for sharing with us. I think you have lived an intersting life, you definitely have plenty of material for writing stories. Your grandchildren are adorable.

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  7. Hi, Ro and Latesha, thanks for stopping by. I've lived an intreresting life, but nothing major, which is a blessing, I think. You know the old saying, be careful what you ask for, you may get it. I've enjoyed my life.

    Yep, as my older daughter says, she makes cute babies....lol.

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  8. You don't call going to Finland extraordinary? Sounds like you're a traveling maniac to me. How exciting--and not the least bit ordinary.
    All those wonderful places certainly gave you some fodder for stories. Your books look so enticing.
    I wish you every success.

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  9. Doesn't everyone hear voices in their head???

    Nice to get to know you better, Anna Kathryn. You did have the advantage of getting to know the states in person. I envy you the year in Finland. One of my long-time penpals lives there and I always have loved hearing about their lives.

    It does sound like the second time around is good for you...so glad to hear it. :)

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  10. Hi, Sarah and Paisley. I really enjoyed my year in Finland. I was 18-19 years old. It was a very unique experience. I travelled to Communist Russia for 4 days (Leningrad) and spent a few days in January 300 miles from the artic circle! Talk about a winter wonderland.

    I wouldn't mind traveling more, but my husband is a stay at home guy....at least he does let me go places on my own. I did a 3,500 mile driving trip in 2006, starting with the RWA conference in Atlanta. That was fun!

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  11. Anna kathryn, with all this moving you must have accumulated a lot of interesting experiences I am sure you will share with your readers. I love to set my stories in the places I visited.

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  12. Thanks for sharing AKL! I think all the moving and traveling my parents did gave me a good foundation as a writer. It helped me understanding that there are many places out there with with all kinds of different ideas and cultures. I can't imagine if I'd only experienced living in one town my whole life. Of course, for some writers, I guess that's where imagination comes in.

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  13. Hi, Mona and Nina. Thanks for stopping by. My oldest daughter has been in her 'hometown' since she entered 6th grade, nearly 20 years. As much as we'd like to get her here, I don't see her moving away from the friends she has there.

    I have to say, I really like facebook and classmates.com, they have both allowed me to connect with people in past, including Finland, that I never would have found otherwise.

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  14. Funny how we all think we're kind of boring. Yet just reading about your life I found interesting. I don't envy you having had to switch schools and find new friends so often, but Finland sounded cool. Could even make a story: woman returns to Finland ten years after spending one year as exchange student. She finds...? Grand-kids do make up for a lot, don't they? And maybe we do better with the second because we're older and wiser? Who knows.

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  15. Here's another memory, in North Carolina, we had to live in this little town outside Goldsboro, because when we first got there, there was no base housing. So parents found a rental in Fremont. I did 3rd grade there. When RWA was in Washington DC, I went to Durham, NC to visit with a friend. I'd asked her before hand, how far you from Fremont? "Why do you want to go there???" LOL, well, we did 'go there' and I visited the town I remember. Gosh, the 2-story red brick school building was still there. I THINK we found the house we rented and I walked the main street, snapping pictures. The lady in the pharmacy wanted to know why I was taking pictures. I told her. The pharmacist told me that he thought he remembered my sister and he told me where my first crush, Timothy B., worked....lol.

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  16. Anna Kathryn,
    Your life is anything but ordinary. Like you, I did a lot of moving with my husband in the early years of our marriage. We lived on Guam, too--twice. People always tell me I have a lot of experiences which would make for great stories, but I've never written about any of those places I lived. My heart is with the west and westerns. My advice is to continue writing what's in your heart, and you'll get that novel published. Good luck.

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  17. Anna Kathryn, I attended a know your local authors day at our library yesterday and one of the authors had a book about how by listening to your gut you can improve your world even though at the tie you follow your gut you don't realize it is the right decision. It sounds like some of your life has been decided by gut decisions and has made your life blessed.

    Fun learning more about you.

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  18. The good thing about moving so often is it teaches you to keep light. When I was single, I moved three times, and it was great for getting rid of extras I didn't need. Now, I've been in the same place over 30 years and to much has accumulated.

    Wonderful pics and book covers!

    Morgan Mandel
    http://www.morganmandel.com
    http://morganmandel.blogspot.com

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  19. Sounds pretty interesting to me, Anna Kathryn.

    Nice getting to know more about you.

    Nic

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  20. Anna Kathryn,
    I've known you for a long time but didn't realize what a nomad you were. Similarly, by the age of ten I'd been in fifteen schools because my dad followed the installation of pipelines across America. In contrast, I've had the same husband for 42 years. However, I think all BAD husbands should be treated like first pancakes...throw it out. BTW, the kids and grandkids are beautiful.

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