Bio: Born on the edge of the Everglades and a lifelong Florida resident, I have encountered many of the creatures in my story and seen much change and damage to our state. I’ve weathered many storms here, including the overwhelming force of Hurricane Andrew, which destroyed our Homestead house in 1992. I still hold my RN license, but I’ve been a domestic engineer for the past 29 years, devoting my life to my daughters, ailing relatives, squawking parrots, and a very supportive husband. Besides the household chaos I manage to organize the annual holiday bake-a-thon, where we make in excess of 1200 cookies and treats for our family and friends. My heroes were my mother—a blind, diabetic with a kidney transplant—and my grandmother—a feisty woman crippled by polio when she was nine months old. The celebrity who most influenced me was Erma Bombeck. She gave me the idea that I could start on a new path after raising the kids. My Irish blood compels me to tell stories. For the sake of my family I decided to stop talking and write them down instead.