S T A F F M E M B E R S
Joanne Bartling — Joanne lives in South Jersey, forty minutes from the Jersey shore. Each summer she combines her two favorite pasttimes: reading and enjoying the sun. She can't remember a time when she didn't read. When she was a child she loved the Nancy Drew mysteries, and she still has a few of the originals. Later in life she discovered LaVyrle Spencer and Danielle Steele, but never truly got into the romance genre until looking for a "beach book" one day. A newspaper article listed a few good romances including one by Judith McNaught. She read it, loved it, and went back for more. She has been reading about three to five romances a week ever since.
In the geriatric unit where Joanne works as an RN, a library of donated books for the patients and their families has been created. It has a large turnover (which shows you're never too old to enjoy a great romance) and she donates a lot of her books to this worthy cause. Joanne has been married 25 years and she has turned her husband on to reading, although he prefers Koontz and Ludlum over romance. Her son, who will be graduating from college soon, appears to have a bright future ahead of him in computers. Although the bookbug (no pun intended) hasn't bitten him yet, there's always hope.
Gail Brodeur - Influenced by her mother's marathon reading during a difficult pregnancy, Gail was born a reader. Her parents often read to her when she was a child and she knew every line of dialogue in every book she owned. They didn't dare skip a page or she'd make them start all over. Summer vacations meant
multiple visits to the local library, where she became a thorn
in the librarian's side.
Gail discovered Harlequin Romances and Georgette Heyer at age
nineteen and the rest is history. From a small stash of books,
her collection has grown to well over 5,000 titles—with the main focus on romance, but also including sci-fi/fantasy, psychological thrillers and mysteries. Her favorite time periods are Regency and Medieval, although she reads just about everything she can get her hands on. A native of Massachusetts, Gail is single and works as a medical records specialist in a counseling center. She loves 70's rock music, 40's/50's musicals, and her two cats who own and manipulate her. Gail is the list owner of the MedievalReader, the Regency List, and RomanceBookChat. She also manages an online bookstore, The Readersplace.
Beth Coogan — Beth's first memories of books involve being read to, and the book she remembers the most is L. Frank Baum's MAGICAL MONARCH OF MO. She later graduated to Nancy Drew mysteries, and because her mother belonged to several book clubs there were always books around the house. Her first romance was Kathleen Winsor's FOREVER AMBER—it was forbidden reading, so naturally she had to read it. Ditto for Lawrence's LADY CHATTERLY'S LOVER. Beth moved on to gothic novels and Anya Seton's historicals, and from there it was an easy jump to the historical romances of the 70s by such authors as Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, Rosemary Rogers, and Laurie McBain. She has been reading romances ever since and always has a book with her.
Beth grew up in the smallest State with the longest name, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. She has worked full time at Brown University for 33 years and at their library for 30 years. For the last 23 years she has been the Interlibrary Loan Librarian. She says she's been in the job that long because she is always learning something new. Beth lives in Providence with a fifteen-pound black and white tuxedo cat with an attitude, who likes nothing more than to sit on the arm of her chair and drape his tail on her book while she reads.
June Folk - See the Welcome Page.
Yvonne Hering - Yvonne lives on Long Island in New York with her husband of 12 years and four cats. She's an aspiring romance writer with four completed contemporary novels under her belt. Yvonne has been a member of RWA for several years and she has written many reviews. In her "real life" she works as a secretary in a private high school and she is studying to
become a medical transcriptionist. Yvonne has been an avid romance reader for as far back as she can remember. She loves all types of romances from contemporaries to historicals to regencies to series romance.
Marilyn Heyman - Marilyn is a native Californian who grew up in a small town on the coast. Currently she lives in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in (mostly) sunny Northern California with her husband and four cats. She is a watercolor artist as well as an avid reader.
Marilyn remembers haunting the public library as a child and her love for reading continued on from there. Her interest in romance novels began with the Gothics, and she still enjoys the dark romantic suspense books of today. She also remembers when the Harlequins first came out and a neighbor gave her a box of Harlequin magazines from Canada. Of course, the romance industry continued to grow and when single titles burst onto the scene, she was one happy reader! After joining a book group at a local used bookstore a few years ago, Marilyn started reviewing books for the group and enjoyed it so much that she began reviewing online. She also sells used books at her web site.
Olivia Holton — Livia, a contract manager with a large telecommunications company in the Midwest, started reading romance in 1970. At that time, the only choices available were the small Harlequin Romances and Barbara Cartland Regencies. To fill in the slack periods, she developed a taste for mysteries and an occasional selection from the top-ten bestsellers. When the romance book industry started to grow in the late 70s, Livia watched her TBR pile expand, and today she has a whopping 720-plus collection of books waiting to be enjoyed.
Livia still favors the sweetness of the Harlequin Romance line because of her love for the writing styles of Betty Neels, Anne Weale and Margaret Way, but writing reviews for Bookbug on the Web has broadened her horizons in the romance arena. Quite often she can be found roaming through used bookstores, searching for earlier books by authors she's been introduced to at Bookbug.
Debora Hosey — Debora began reading romances at the tender age of twelve, almost thirty-four years ago. She borrowed bagfuls of Harlequin Romances from her friend's mother's thousands-plus collection, and would read to her heart's content, especially during math class. Though romance is her first love, she is also widely read in fantasy and mystery, and she loves it
when she finds a romance that combines all three genres.
Debora lives happily in the lovely state of Delaware with her husband, Bill, of twenty-three years, daughters Sarah, 19, and Kathleen almost 13, an English Springer Spaniel, three cats, and a dwarf bunny. Certified as a secondary social sciences teacher with her specialty being medieval history, Debora now works part-time at her alma mater, the University of Delaware, in one of its computer labs as a Coordinator...mainly for the
free e-mail and book money. She also writes, having had short stories, poems, and articles published.
Mary T. Knibbe Sr. — Mary is a proud native of San Antonio, but has lived and traveled all over the world. She attended college in Texas, Guam, and Europe. Her background is extensive, having worked in finance, medicine, printing, publishing, marketing, management, and public relations. She has written numerous articles for publication, including press releases. Mary considers her greatest accomplishment in life to be married to the same man, Mr. Glenn, for the past forty-two years. Her three children, Michael, Steven and Theresa, have blessed her with six precious grandchildren who light up her life.
Being dyslexic made reading difficult for Mary, but she overcame this obstacle with a "can do" attitude. In the early seventies, she started reading romance, and that hobby resulted in an envious collection of romance novels that now numbers in the thousands. She knows many authors, past and present, and
still indulges in reading and discussing the romance genre. Mary lives by the philosophy that as long as you have a book, you're never alone. Besides reading, her hobbies include traveling, arts and crafts, studying languages and other cultures, plus anything that involves Star Trek.
Sharon Laird — Sharon has been reading for as long as she can remember. Born and raised in Northeastern Indiana, she always had bookshelves full of those Little Golden Books and read them over and over. During junior high and high school she started reading the Cherry Ames and Nancy Drew books and
anything else that might have a love story or suspense in it. Going to college, moving to Florida, and teaching for several years didn't leave much time for pleasure reading, but when she went on maternity leave and moved to a new town, reading became her hobby again. This was in the mid-70s when the gothics gave way to the budding genre of romance.
Now after 25 years of reading romances, Sharon still loves them. Her favorites are contemporaries and romantic suspense novels, but historicals set in England during the Regency period are also enjoyed. Living in Boca Raton, Florida, she has plenty of time to read as both daughters are now in college, and she works at home helping her husband, Tom, run their business.
Mary Lynne Nielsen — Mary Lynne has been reading since she was four—it helped being the daughter of a reading specialist and the guinea pig for her mother's latest reading test! She started reading romances over 20 years ago when her sister forced her to read a Barbara Cartland novel, labeled with the tag line, "in the tradition of Georgette Heyer," which led to the obvious question, "who the heck is Georgette Heyer?" This plunged Mary Lynne and her sister into a lengthy search for all of Heyer's romances, which led to the discovery of other Regency authors, and so on. Her favorite authors include Mary Balogh, Carla Kelly, Marjorie Farrell, Mary Jo Putney, and Edith Layton. Although she was an exclusive Regency romance reader for years, she has recently braved the seas of historicals and contemporaries, and she also enjoys fantasy and science fiction immensely.
Mary Lynne lives in New Jersey with her husband, son and daughter. She has sung publicly since she was seven, and when she first met her husband and discovered he was a great reader as well as a tenor, her fate was sealed. According to Mary Lynne, she is that most dreaded of all things, middle management, at a not-for-profit corporation. Other than reading, singing, and her precious family, she enjoys watching science fiction on television.
Paula Palmer — When Paula was a little girl, people would ask her what she was going to be when she grew up and the answer was always the same... She was going to be in the "imagination business." Why not? Besides, she had to cover her bases because her father was in the movie business and her mother was a librarian. Paula, the oldest of five children, is happily married to Ryan, her "knight in shining armor." They have three incredibly talented children, one of whom is dyslexic and the top reader in his class. Obviously, she is very proud of them. Paula is also very lucky to have a best friend who also shares in her excitement for reading. They all live in the great state of Texas.
Paula is a hopeless romantic and a bookaholic, and she is
hardly ever caught without a book in her hand. Her taste
in romance novels is eclectic. She enjoys historical,
time-travel, futuristic, paranormal, contemporary, and fantasy
romances. Scottish historical romances are her favorite though. The three books that caused her reading addiction are KINGDOM
OF DREAMS by Judith McNaught, OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon, and
DREAM MAN by Linda Howard. Some of her other favorite authors
are Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Julie Garwood, Suzanne Brockmann,
Nora Roberts, and LaVyrle Spencer.
Vicki Patterson — Vicki grew up in a reading oriented
household in Southwestern Oklahoma. Her first memories of books and reading involve frequent trips to the library and the books she got with her Christmas stocking every year. Vicki and her sister collected whole sets of the Bobsey Twins, Trixie Beldon, and Nancy Drew books. As a young adult, her favorite authors were Frances Parkinson Keyes and Thomas Costain. BELOW THE SALT by Costain is still her all-time favorite book. When Vicki was introduced to Georgette Heyer and Sergeanne Golon in the 1960s, Regency and historical romances became her favorite reading choices. Since then her interest in reading has broadened to include other favorites: science fiction, time travel, and paranormal fiction. But she also enjoys contemporaries, mainstream, intrigue, suspense, military fiction, and some mysteries.
Currently, Vicki lives in Florida where she is the Special
Services Supervisor at the Northwest Regional Library System.
This service encompasses Reader's Advisory plus selecting
such materials as fiction, audio tapes, videos, handicapped,
and large print for the library system. Vicki has a son and
a daughter, and two grandsons. Besides reading she loves
jigsaw puzzles, playing cards, needlework, and handicrafts.
Connie Ramsdell — Connie can't remember a time when she didn't have a book in her hand. In fact, some of her fondest recollections revolve around the Nancy Drew mysteries she could always count on receiving for gifts while growing up in southern Michigan. As she got older, "Nancy" gave way to "Sue," and the indefatigable Miss Barton helped to convince her that she wanted to become a nurse. Inclined toward the romantic even then, books by Anya Seton often fed her voracious reading appetite. These days, however, she finds that her ability to gobble up books in large numbers is being stretched to the max due to a growing list of must-buy authors and recommendations from others.
When she's not reading, reviewing books, or working as that nurse she always dreamed of becoming, Connie can often be found volunteering at the local animal shelter. Involved for years in a pet therapy program that brings puppies, kittens, bunnies and other small fuzzy critters to local nursing homes and schools, more than a few of the shelter animals have found a new home with her in Suffern, New York. It's a very good thing her husband of 25 years is so understanding, because the pets and books that are evident throughout the house could be overwhelming to a lesser man (grin). So....give Connie a good book, a furry canine or feline lap rug, and a few uninterrupted hours and what do you have? A very happy woman, that's what!
Deborah Roy — Deborah wouldn't love books as much as she does today if it wasn't for her mother's nightly readings of Winnie the Pooh. Now, 31 years later, she's a librarian in the same library in Northeastern Indiana in which she spent so many hours reading her way through Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, Cherry Ames, and the Hardy Boys. She soon graduated to the adult section after devouring everything in the children's department. There she discovered Victoria Holt, Catherine Marshall, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Dame Agatha Christie. She's never looked back since!
Although she had read a Harlequin Romance or two, Deborah wasn't
really a romance reader until her grad school days. A class on Adult Readers' Services required her to join two listservs, each dealing with a different genre of adult fiction, and one of the lists Deborah chose was RRA-L. She was hooked! Now she devours four or five romance novels a week, and her keeper shelf is groaning under the weight. Deborah's favorites are regencies, medieval romances, and anything set in Scotland, but she reads scads of books from every sub-genre, as well as mainstream fiction. She loves Celtic music, Star Trek and Star Wars, movies, and kitty cats. Deborah and her husband, an engineer and avid bass fisherman whom she met in second grade, still live in Indiana, a few miles from where they grew up. One of her favorite quotes is by Thomas Jefferson: "I cannot live without books."
Joan Vinall-Cox — Joan is a community college writing teacher who lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband of almost 30 years and 17-year-old daughter, Meryle, an aspiring singer. Joan has been reading romances since the late 1960s when she found they were especially good the nights before exams. In a
brilliant career move, she managed to tie the reading of romances into her studies on education, writing about her response as a reader and about how people develop as readers, in academic journals and for her M.Ed. Joan has been interested in both the experience and the theories since she decided there was no good reason for people to make fun of other people who liked reading romances, or detective stories, or whatever. She believes that reading is good for people.
Joan first discovered romance at age fourteen when she read WUTHERING HEIGHTS by Emily Bronte, which was soon followed
by Georgette Heyer, Victoria Holt, then Harlequins. After
a long period of focusing on Harlequin Presents, she discovered Linda Howard, Karen Robards, Laura Kinsale, Joan Wolf, Diana Gabaldon, and Dorothy Dunnett—currently her favorite authors. Joan is always looking for more favorites, and she is an aspiring author herself, with two books that got to the fourth chapter before fading away, and one book that's half done (or maybe half-baked, she jokes). Her house is messy, but her husband and daughter don't notice so she keeps on reading.
Karen Wheless — Karen has always been fascinated with books and she has a collection of Dr. Seuss and Little Golden Books to prove it. She was born in Richmond, Virginia, but spent most of her childhood in Thessaloniki, Greece. Her days were spent reading such favorites as LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE, LITTLE WOMEN and THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA. Later she became interested in the books of Jean Plaidy, Mary Stewart, and Phyllis Whitney. The happy discovery of Kathleen E. Woodiwiss' ASHES IN THE WIND led her to romance at the age of fourteen, and she was hooked from then on. Currently, her favorites are Regencies and any book featuring a tortured hero.
Karen indulged her love of history at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, then continued her studies at the University of Georgia, where she found an apartment located only a mile from a bookstore. After settling in New York a few years ago, she was soon welcomed by the bookbugs she met on the Internet. Today she works as a research chemist, discovering new drugs at a pharmaceutical company, and when she is not reading or visiting bookstores, her free time is spent rearranging her overflowing collection of romances. Karen also has her own web site, A Reader on Regencies.
Karen Witkowski — Karen's first memories are of books; being read to before she could read, and then reading avidly on her own as soon as she could. Her mother was, and still is, a voracious reader and she instilled the love of books in Karen, who could read well before kindergarden. Karen read her way through the children's section of her public library, and with the approval of the children's librarian and her mother, was given an adult library card at an early age. The same children's librarian offered her her first job as a "page" in the library when Karen was sixteen years old, and most of her jobs since then have been working in book stores and book marketing.
Karen has always been interested in 19th-century history, and she
started reading romance novels about seven years ago, when she
discovered western historicals. It branched out from there, and
although she reads almost all the sub-genres of romantic fiction, her favorites are western, Native American, and time travel/paranormal romances in all their guises. Karen is a photographer with her own mail-order celebrity photo
business, Pipedreams, Etc. She enjoys writing, traveling, animals, photography,
music, "Star Trek" and science fiction/fantasy, but she says that
nothing compares to staying home, curled up with a good book!
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