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Having fun with my writing, and connecting with readers--that's what having a career as a mystery writer means to me. And I LOVE what I do!
I am from New Mexico, in the Southwestern U.S. and that is where my stories are set. It began in 1985 when I started writing my first novel, without much clue how to go about it. Two years and 500 pages later, when I finally typed 'The End,' I felt a huge rush of excitement. I entered the novel in the Southwest Writers annual contest and took third place. While that first book made the rounds of publishers, I started work on a second one. Seeing my books in print would take longer than anticipated but in 1991 I decided to take the plunge and write full-time. And I moved to Hawaii. This was also about the time I turned back to my first real love--mysteries. Although those first two novels have never been published, the experience of writing them provided wonderful practice for my craft and showed me that I did have the patience and endurance to complete novel-length work.
After publishing ten of my Charlie Parker mysteries, I decided to branch out with a second series and I created the character of Samantha Sweet. One of the ways in which I earned a little extra pocket money during my high school years was to bake and decorate cakes--hence, a career for Samantha based on my own experiences.
In 2009 I switched publishers and was off on a new adventure, seeing all of my books made available for Kindle and the other ebook devices that were just beginning to take off in the book world. It's been an exciting time in publishing and I'm loving the new formats and the ability to personally connect with readers all over the world via my newsletter and my website at connieshelton.com.
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Besides writing the Charlie Parker and Samantha Sweet mysteries, Connie is an award-winning essayist. Her work has been published in both small and major anthologies, like Chicken Soup For the Writer's Soul, and her short stories have won several prizes. She has also been a commercial hot air balloon pilot and holds the women's world altitude record for size AX-4 balloons. She has been featured in Who's Who and The World Who's Who of Women. She and her husband live in northern New Mexico.