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I grew up in the Monterey Bay area of California, but didn't spend much time at the beach (I sunburn easily). My family always maintained close relationships overseas as well as locally, so I had the chance to travel around Europe and learn French at an early age; I also started studying Spanish. For a while I actually wanted to learn "every language" (until I figured out exactly how many there are!).
I've always been very interested in science, and toyed with becoming a Biology major in college, but after two quarters of suffering in Organic Chemistry I decided that language was the way to go. Oddly, though, when I showed up at the Linguistics department talking about how many interesting links I saw between language and culture, I was sent to the Anthropology department. So in the end, I majored in Anthropology and Japanese as an undergraduate, and then went on to more theoretical linguistics for my Master's degree. As it turns out, the UC Santa Cruz Linguistics department was once home to Marc Okrand, who later invented the Klingon language – okay, so it's a coincidence, but perhaps it was an omen of things to come...
I've lived in Japan three times. The first was during my senior year of college, when I lived with my lovely host family the Imais in the city of Kyoto – a fascinating city full of marvelous treasures and history. The year after that I spent living in Tokyo, where I met my Australian husband, Tim. I returned and became a Japanese teacher at the junior high and high school levels for a couple of years before beginning my Ph.D. in Education.
My dissertation's focus was actually a combination of everything I'd done before. I took a ridiculously close look at cultural clashes inside classrooms where American students were learning Japanese, investigating how those impacted the way the students learned politeness grammar. My research took me back to Japan and involved lots and lots of listening to people talk, and breaking down how they expressed information about social position while they were doing it.
I started writing fiction – officially – while I was studying for my Ph.D., and by the time my degree was finished and my son was born, I was starting to realize I'd never be able to stop writing. At this point I work at home, caring for my son and daughter and writing in every spare moment I can find. I owe a great deal of my success to the unfailing support of my husband, who has made it possible for me to have spare moments, and also to travel to the Surrey International Writers' Conference, which was an enormous help to my career.
My first professional short story, "Let the Word Take Me," appeared in Analog Magazine in the July/August 2008 issue. Shortly thereafter I started this blog (July 2008). My novelette, "Cold Words," appeared in Analog October 2009. "The Eminence's Match" has since appeared in the Eight Against Reality anthology (July 2010). A novelette entitled, "At Cross Purposes" led the Jan/Feb 2011 issue of Analog, with cover art by Bob Eggleton, and another, "The Liars," appeared on the cover of Analog's October 2012 issue with art by Michael Whelan.