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Dear Readers:

I have always loved to write.  I used to document family vacations and camping trips. I wrote my first book when I was seven years old.  I remember learning to write haiku and make crossword puzzles with Mrs. Perry at Cherry Brook School in 2nd grade.  I have also always loved to write letters.  My parents instilled the value of writing letters to grandparents and friends.  I have fond memories of sleep away camps and boarding schools and retrieving letters and care packages while being away from home.

I remember all of my favorite English teachers: Mrs. Fortune, Ms. Price, Nancy Simon, Ron Carlson, and Blair Torrey.  I stopped writing creatively in college to study Classical Greek and art history and turned to a career as a fund-raiser and grant writer for non-profit organizations.  In 2003, I met a woman in Santa Barbara, named Janet Lucy who led writing groups.  She changed my life!  I have been writing with her groups ever since.  During the past few years we have studied the heroine’s journey.  I found a new passion for writing.  The women in my writing group, women from my book club and Community Angel Network and countless running partners inspired me to write about my journey, a journey of loss to a journey of peace, hope and truth.

On November 13, 2008 a fire ignited about two miles away from my house of 16 years in the hills above Santa Barbara.  A group of college teenagers lit a bonfire the previous night and unfortunately they had not extinguished all of the embers.  The following afternoon was exceedingly hot, dry and windy, the perfect conditions for a fire storm.  The fire started about 5:50pm in an area called the Tea Gardens above Mountain Drive in Montecito.  In less than two hours the fire engulfed my house.  The entire structure imploded.  The tile roof crashed down on all of the burning contents.  Every single piece of clothing, furniture, books, Legos, cabinets, simply every single item turned to ash. 

The following Tea Fire Anthology tells the story, mostly in letter format, of the past year’s trials and tribulations.  On the night of the fire, my older son, William, and I were able to pack my SUV for an hour.  I was also fortunate to have two storage units filled with memorabilia (in anticipation of such a fire).  I recovered preschool art, running trophies, hundreds of letters and photographs and thousands of memories.  New art and friends came into my life after the fire.  These letters reveal that true goodness can come from horrible destruction.  I am happy to offer you my letters and my story.

Happy Reading,




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