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Eye On Romance
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Nancy Bush

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You Can't Escape
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Merrillee Whren
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I was born on my mother’s birthday, July 3rd. Of course, I’m sure you’re thinking I was the best birthday present she ever had. Sharing birthdays seems to run in my family. My two daughters were born a year apart on June 18th, the birthday of a great-great grandfather. The girls are now grown. The older one lives in Baltimore and the younger one in Pittsburgh.

I arrived while my parents lived in Rapid City, South Dakota, but they soon moved to Helena, Montana. This would be the first of many moves in my life. I graduated from high school while we lived in Spokane, Washington. I went back to Huron, South Dakota, to attend Dakota Bible College. Then I went on for more schooling at Milligan College in Tennessee. After graduating, I got a teaching job near Cincinnati, Ohio, where I met my husband two years later. We were married on Valentine’s Day and had our wedding reception in Loveland, Ohio. No wonder I became a romance writer.

The moving I did as a child prepared me well for life with my husband. We started our married life in Greenfield, Ohio. I taught elementary school and my husband was a pharmacist at the local pharmacy. However, his work would eventually take us on a journey from small town Ohio where our girls were born to the cities of Atlanta, Boston, Dallas and Chicago. When my husband decided to start his own company, we could live any place we wanted. So we picked one of the best places in the world, in my opinion, an island off the northeastern coast of Florida. We live in a vacation paradise with the beach, tennis and golf right out our back door or just down the street. When I’m not writing, I enjoy walking on the beach, playing tennis and bridge or doing a little yard work.

Living in so many different places gave me the opportunity to visit all fifty states. I traveled to my last state several years ago when my husband and I celebrated our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary with an Alaskan cruise. My many moves have given me a lot of settings for my stories and the chance to meet many other writers through the chapters of Romance Writers of American located in each place we lived.

I wrote my first novel and shared it with my friends when I was in high school, but many years passed before I thought about writing anything with publication in mind. In 1984, after reading dozens of romances, I decided to write one of my own. How hard could that be? Twenty years worth of writing taught me how hard the publishing business can be. During those years of writing, rewriting, lots of rejections and unkind critiques, there were numerous times when I was ready to quit, but I didn't. Through that time, I believe God was teaching me a lesson in perseverance. He was also teaching me to give my writing over to His will. Because I kept writing even when the hope of selling seemed far away, in July of 2003, I won the Golden Heart Award presented by Romance Writers of America for my inspirational romance manuscript, A Place To Call Home. I didn't sell that Golden Heart winner, but on February 20, 2004, I got "THE CALL" and sold a different manuscript. The Heart’s Homecoming was published by Steeple Hill for their Love Inspired line in August 2005.

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