I hate it that I'm just doing all this now - at this point in my life. I could die tomorrow for crying out loud! I know, I know, so could any of us. But that's not the point.

But I have to remember: What do I keep telling myself? Better late than never. Right? (Hence the name Late Bloomer at AQC)

You probably won't believe me when I tell you that I was never much into reading. In fact, the first time I read a book cover to cover was about four or five years ago. Truly.  Not even through school (I always cheated on book reports). That doesn't include short children's books now. I always encouraged my children to read and often read to them before bedtime. Mostly I read to them from a book of poems that I purchased at a book fair in third grade. I still have that book in fact and we still recite some of them. All three of my children are avid readers to this day. It was when my daughter literally begged me to read her Nora Roberts novel "The Villa" that got me started. Now I'm never without a book. Never!

So, what makes me think I can write? That's a very good question. Because I have no formal education to speak of. None. And I have no experience in the field. Ab-so-lutely none!

This was a subject my oldest and I were discussing just this afternoon in fact, and sometimes he can say some pretty intelligent things. I may screw this up, but what I think he said was: "You can be a good writer if you have the education and the talent, and even if you have the talent, but no education. But not if you just have the education and no talent." Smart kid, huh?

I always wanted to write. Growing up I wrote poetry and made up stories in my head. For a while I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up. At one point I even dreamed of being a journalist. I ended up in law.

To this day I would rather write a letter and put it in the mailbox than pick up the telephone or sit down at the computer and push send. And I do. More often than not I write my own greeting cards, too.

I read romance. Yes, yes, I know. You could have guessed that, right? I collect my favorite authors in hardback. I think no one can twist a plot and leave you guessing like Sandra Brown - I LOVE her suspense novels. I think Nora Roberts has the best imagination and I don't care how many books she has written, her stories are still fresh and truly enjoyable. And no one can describe a kiss like Stephanie Laurens! (Just to name a few of my favorites.) But perhaps my favorite of all (just maybe) is Julia Quinn. She can have me crying one minute and laughing out loud the next. God, I just love her stories!

So - I guess all of this is my way of saying that I (probably with just a bit of arrogance) believe I may have a talent for writing. But I'll let you be the judge.

I hope I can write a story that will be enjoyed in the same way that I enjoy reading the stories of others. I hope I can stir your emotion and bring you to tears, but more often make you laugh. I hope I can hold your interest to the end and perhaps even give you something to think about. And when you're done, I hope you will close the book with a sigh and a smile.