I grew up on a ranch in northeastern Colorado, a few miles north of Fort Morgan, where I spent hours reading Louis L’Amour’s westerns, listening to Marty Robbins’ gunfighter ballads, and watching television westerns and western movies when I wasn’t off riding across the prairie. All of this inspired my love of the American Old West—truths and myths alike. While drawn to cowboys and the Old West, all genres are within my story-crafting realm.
I write under a pen name (real name Debra Hall Ownbey) in the romance genre with most of my stories falling into the historical and western historical subgenres, with a smattering of paranormal-lite and contemporary stories in the mix. In 1990, I moved from the far northeastern corner of Colorado to the far southeastern corner for a teaching position. Ever since, I’ve called the Springfield area home, which happens to be in a small, rural town located in the heart of the infamous Dust Bowl of the 1930s.
Prior to teaching, I spent several years racing Thoroughbred horses in Colorado, Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. I retired from a career in education in which I worked as a teacher (regular education and special education), school psychologist, and school administrator. I also taught community college classes in psychology, sociology, creative writing, English composition, western civilization, and public speaking.
My favorite movie line is from Quigley Down Under. At the end of the movie, Quigley out-draws Marston in a gunfight and, as Marston dies, Quigley looks down at him and says, “I said I never had much use for one. Never said I didn’t know how to use it.” (This line applies well to my philosophy toward house cleaning and cooking.)
To the amusement, or annoyance, depending upon one’s perspective, of those around me at any given time, I tend to break into spontaneous singing from Phantom of the Opera or Les Misérables. The music from La bohème is often playing in the background in my house, and my Yale Shakespeare is near at hand for reference and reading. I’m proud to say I speak ‘movie lines’, especially from my favorite movie, The Princess Bride. My favorite book is The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, and I always dress up for Halloween (my favorite ‘holiday’).
I’m enjoying being a full-time writer and a spoiler of grandchildren and a great grandson. My canine companions are happily underfoot, and my myriad of feline boarders ignore me until the refrigerator door opens. To the dismay of my family and my dogs, I am afflicted with ACD—accumulative cat disorder with no cure in sight.