Virginia Ellis, the versatile and award-winning author, passed away January 18, 2006. As Lyn Ellis, she wrote ten novels for the Harlequin Temptation and Superromance lines — three of which were nominated for the prestigious Rita Award. Under her own name she contributed several stories to the Mossy Creek anthologies published by BelleBooks and wrote two acclaimed novels for Ballantine, the first of which was named one of the top ten favorite books of 2003 by the Romance Writers of America. In March 2006, a new novel written with a partner will be published; this time under the pseudonym Raven Hart. She leaves behind a collection of wonderful stories and photographs and warm memories in the hearts of everyone who knew her.
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You wouldn't think being born in South Florida would make you an expert on cowboys and rodeos, but Lyn Ellis swore that Florida at one time outproduced Texas in the beef category. She grew up riding horses and being chased by bulls, before later becoming a barrel racer on a horse her mother won in a bet.
"When I was around six years old, I wanted a horse more than anything. I couldn't understand why my parents said no. I finally wrote them a note one night that read, 'If you don't buy me a horse, I'll never speak to you again.' I'm sure that they got a big laugh out of that threat since I wasn't known for my quiet nature. Anyway, not too long after that my dad brought home a very old pony with a brand-new saddle. I was in heaven."
Her love affair with writing probably began in high school. In eleventh grade she was asked to write an essay: How would you spend today if you knew you'd go blind tomorrow? Not surprisingly, she wrote about riding her beloved horse and gazing into the faces of her family to remember them forever.
She received an A+. "It was the first time anyone had taken an interest in something I had written. The teacher even said I should continue to write other stories. Of course at the time I was more interested in the A+ than a writing career."
That career began in 1993 with the Harlequin Temptation line. After corresponding with a soldier she'd never met during the Gulf War, Lyn wrote a book called Dear John. Published in 1994 it went on to be nominated in two categories for the prestigious RITA Award and won the Waldenbooks Bestseller award for that year. Of that she said, "(Publishing) my first book, Dear John, was like winning the lottery."