Hello, everyone. My name is
Jennifer Uhlarik, and as of this moment, I’m an award-winning, pre-published
author. My genre of choice is Historical Western and Western Romance stories,
which is just plain funny, since I’ve lived my life in the Midwest or on the East
Coast, and always in the suburbs of some largish city. But when God plants a
love for something in your life, it grows, and at the tender age of twelve, God
planted a love for writing and westerns in my heart. Neither has waned since.
Other hats I wear include that of
wife, mother, grandmother, taxi driver, zookeeper, church small-group leader, daughter,
sister, and friend. Former jobs include temp work, school teacher, small
business owner, marketing director, office assistant, video store clerk, and
even professional gift wrapper. Of all my jobs and responsibilities, my
favorite is my family.
My husband is a
23-year veteran of our local Sheriff’s Office, with plans to retire and move to
his “next” career in another two years. We met in church in 2005, married in
2007. We each had children from previous marriages, so we are blessed to love
my hubby’s adult son, his bride, and a beautiful grandson, as well as my
teenaged son. I’m proud to say that my step-son and his bride are currently
working and going to college to set themselves up for the future. My son is in
his freshman year of high school, and active in everything from Boy Scouts,
school chorus, guitar, and a local ministry that uses skits to teach abstinence
from drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and premarital sex.
Outside of my writing and family,
I’m a fairly simple person. I enjoy reading, especially studying the Bible, but
also different types of fiction, crafts, shopping, photography, watching
movies, traveling, and playing with my pets. We’ve got two dogs and two cats,
each one with their own unique personality. Between all these things, my life
can feel full to overflowing, but God has blessed us in all aspects. I can’t
I’m a graduate from
the University of Tampa, where I majored in writing and minored in music. I
used to play a mean piano, but now the only keyboard I “play” is on my
computer. If you’re not familiar with the University of Tampa, it’s quite a
showpiece in downtown Tampa. It’s situated on the Hillsborough River, and the
main administrative/classroom building is Plant Hall, a gorgeous Victorian
building with tons of gingerbread trim and topped by Moorish minarets. The
building was originally The Tampa Bay Hotel, a historic winter resort created
by railroad and shipping magnate Henry B. Plant in the late 1880’s. The hotel
took Tampa from a sleepy village to a thriving town, and boasts several interesting
and famous patrons. Some included Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders, baseball
legend Babe Ruth (who signed his first contract in the grand dining room), Red
Cross founder Clara Barton, French stage and film actress Sarah Bernhart, Mrs.
Ulysses S. Grant, novelist Stephen Crane, and even the Queen of England. So
walking the hallways of my alma mater often meant a walk through history and
caused my writer’s brain to churn with questions and ideas of conversations and
events that happened on some spot where I stood. I often daydreamed about just
what a loud and boisterous group Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders were, and
whether the other patrons got any sleep at all while they were there.
Of all the historic figures that
set foot on the Tampa Bay Hotel/University of Tampa property, which one would
you have most liked to meet?
Preview: Next month's giveaway--a beautiful vintage pin.
Hi, Jennifer! Thank you for sharing a bit about yourself. The musical gifts skipped me and went straight to my three girls and hopefully my son.ReplyDelete
Thanks for stopping by, Christina! I was pretty amazed that the musical gift landed on my son the way it did. I never tried to get him involved in music, and one day he just announced he wanted to play guitar. Then he joined the school chorus. Now he's moved on to playing in a youth group praise band and singing/dancing for the high school show choir. Must be the power of genetics at work. LOLDelete
That's a beautiful, old building and sounds like it has an incredible history.As for who I'd most like to meet who visited there, hmm...Teddy Roosevelt, I guess. I studied some about him when I was writing my North Dakota series. He owned two ranched up near Medora, and the Theodore Roosevelt National Park is in that area too. it's nice to learn more about you and how you came to be a writer.
Hi Vickie, thank you for stopping by. Plant Hall is a gorgeous building. The small picture I attached doesn't begin to do it justice. Teddy Roosevelt must have been a real character. From the little I know, he sure seems like he'd have been interesting to know.Delete
WOW! That building has quite a history. Los of excitement going on there. Not sure who I;d rather meet. maybe Tedy Roosevelt since he was one of our Presidents. MaxieReplyDelete
Hi Maxie, thanks for stopping by. Yes, a lot of history in Plant Hall/The Tampa Bay Hotel. It really was a cool feeling to walk the halls and know that history happened there.Delete
Good afternoon, Ms. Uhlarik,ReplyDelete
I found the history of University of Tampa interesting, as although I was bourne + raised in Tampa Bay, I must confess, I never went there! I think mostly, as there have been waves of high crime, and each time I was keen on visiting, there wasn't 'something' else to worry about! :( Sighs. I enjoyed seeing the campus through your eyes instead!! :) I love historical perspectives on places we either grew up around OR places we have yet to see!! You didn't say what your husband's 'next' career will be!? Is he taking up writing like you? OR are you going to go out West, own a ranch, and live off the land as that is what has been your heart's calling!?
Its hard to pick one person to meet... I have loved learning more about Teddy Roosevelt ever since my 4th grade assignment on the US Presidents!! There are a few non-fiction books that I want to read at some point too, as I've been digging around and they appear to be the ones to start reading before branching out! :) The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, Theodore Rex, and Colonel Roosevelt by Edmond Morris; as well as the Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America by Douglas Brinkley! :)
Clara Burton would have been intriquingly brilliant to meet and have a conversation with, being that she was a pioneer in creating the Red Cross, as its made such great impacts on people's lives in the most desparate and devasting part of their lives; but to speak to her about a women's place and worth in a time in our history where forging independantly and showing strength as a woman might not have been encouraged to the lengths that it is today! Between her assoications with Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglas,... I can only imagine how long I'd be conversing with her, if not joining her in her crusade's work!
And, Henry B. Plant would be curiously interesting as part of his rail line shipped phosphate out of the state,... I know a bit of history in this regard, and its like the next piece of the larger puzzle! :) I think speaking with a man who put together a system of rail lines and steamboats would be brilliant to speak with as those were great ways to get to where you were going! :) As well as seeing his vision for creating the Hotel and the experience therein!
I look forward to reading your future posts and watching your writing blossom into publication! :) Cheers! I am so thankful that this blog was created! :)
Good morning, Jorie! Wow, looks like there's a bit of writer in you too. Thanks for the wonderful thoughts! Yes, the area around the University of Tampa is not the best, but the funny thing about it is, I never felt unsafe there. The campus always seemed to be in another world, apart from the neighborhood just outside it's boundaries.Delete
My hubby doesn't know yet what his "next career" will be. We are waiting upon the Lord to lead us to what He wants us to do. Within a year of my husband's retirement, my son should graduate from high school and head off to college, so some of the decision may depend on what my boy does. I highly doubt we'll become ranchers, although it's a fun dream. LOL
I can so agree with you that it would be a hard choice to know who to meet of the more famous visitors to the Tampa Bay Hotel. They all had interesting lives, and I'd love to meet them all.
Thank you again for stopping by! Just out of curiosity, are you still in Tampa?
Hallo again, Ms. Uhlarik! :)Delete
Sheepish grins,... I suppose I cannot quite hide who I am, eh? Yes, I am a writer! All of my posts in reply to the introductions have been a bit unique as I have been enjoying getting to know each author that populates this blog, and a few, snuck it out of me that I'm a writer, as they proposed certain questions that lent the answer! Laughs.
I can sort of relate to what you meant about feeling safe on University grounds, as whenever I speak about my love of downtown Gainesville, people tend to over react and say with absolute horror, "Your NOT serious!?" If your familiar with Leonardo's, Karma Cream ice cream parlor, and the Reggae Shack, then you know where I like to hang out! :) :) Its the same as you said for the University of Tampa, despite the rep, its quite safe! If you ever pass through Gainesville though, drop by 'the Jones', its worth the wonky drive around the downtown area! Quite a choice menu!
I understand what you mean,... when my Dad retires, he's still deciding what he wants to do next as well! :) Mum and I are hopeful he will go into the Arts! :) He has a lot to give but never had the proper chance to explore his options! I hope that your husband is guided towards his next true calling as much as my Dad! :)
Actually, I'm 'close' to Tampa, considered 'part' of Tampa Bay, but if you ask me its a rather 'long shot' to be put in that classification! I'll email you privately and explain! I'll be back in March, as I've already decided to be a regular RSS feed reader + happy commenter!
Whoopsie! I thought if I clicked onto your personal blog I'd find a contact email OR I could at least leave my email for you on one of your posts! Unfortunately, the Name/URL isn't activated so I came back here! I didn't want to answer your question directly via a blog, so please drop me a note privately and I'd be happy to answer your question because we're basically neighbours! Laughs. inkand-blogs(at)usa.net
Good morning again, Jorie,Delete
I am preparing to leave later today for a writers conference, so I'll be in touch privately in a few days. Didn't want you to think I was ignoring you! Take care, and have a wonderful rest of your week, "neighbor!"
Hi Jennifer good to get to know you. I am not sure who I would like to meet of the people you listed. I think meeting Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant would be interesting and getting her take on her husband etc. Meeting the Queen would be great too.ReplyDelete
Hi Jenny, thank you so much for dropping by and leaving a comment. Yes, it would be so very interesting to hear Mrs. Grant's thoughts on her husband or to sit and have tea with the Queen. I think just being able to see the world through their eyes would be fascinating!Delete
Jennifer, so nice to get to know you a bit. I'm fascinated with all the hats you've worn, especially the zookeeper hat. I'm thinking there is a story there. :) While I'd love to meet Teddy Roosevelt, the author in me couldn't resist sitting down with Stephen Crane to talk writing. What fun that would be. Thanks for sharing.ReplyDelete
Good morning, Nancy! I say "zookeeper" in the loosest of terms. I've never worked at a zoo (although I would LOVE to--I adore animals). But I have four of my own at the moment--two dogs and two cats, and have been petsitter for various family members at times. My brother and sister-in-law at one point had five dogs, four cats, snakes, lizards, fish, and other pets. So it "feels" like a zoo with all the mouths to feed and medicate. Sorry for the confusion. That will teach me to choose my words more carefully.Delete
Jennifer, so nice to get to know you!ReplyDelete
Okay, I am totally intrigued: a zookeeper and taxidriver? You do wear many hats, my dear. It sounds like you will have a lot to add to this blog. Looking forward to reading more from you....and that pin is gorgeous! God bless.
Good morning, ChaplainDebbie! Thank you for stopping by. As you will see from my response to Nancy Farrier above, I said "zookeeper" (as well as "taxidriver") in very loose ways. I come from a family of pet-lovers. One brother breeds dogs, although he lives out of state. The other owns all kinds of pets, from dogs and cats to snakes and other things. Then, there's my "zoo" of two dogs and two cats. So between caring for my own and petsitting for my family at times, I feel like a zookeeper. And I am a "taxidriver" in that I am forever hauling my fifteen-year-old son and his friends all over creation for chorus or guitar competitions or performances, ministry work, and other things he's involved in. He's beginning to learn to drive, so I might soon be able to wipe "taxidriver" off the list. Or at least cut back my hours.Delete
Make sure to come back next month for the drawing. And thanks again for dropping by!
This is going to be a wild ride and I'm so so glad you're a part of it.
I'm looking forward to the many posts as there is so so much each of you writers can bring to this blog.
Praying God will bless the many authors/writers who have an integral part in this. I'm going to be following this one closely. ';)
I read a story lately about how badly women were treated after the Civil War if they took part in nursing those men who risked their lives on the battlefield. I found that distressing as those same women risked their own lives to save the men who's very families later shunned or harassed those nurses. What a shame. Clara Barton was a heroine in my eyes when I was a child. Her biography and the one of Dolly Madison were well-worn books on my shelves back then. I won't tell you just how far back. ';)
Many blessings as you share in this endeavor!
Thank you for stopping by, Joy! That IS distressing to learn that the nurses were treated badly because they tried to help. Sometimes humans confuse me with the cruel ways we treat each other.Delete
My former mother-in-law was very connected in our local Red Cross, and during one of the fundraising events she helped to put on, they had a woman dressed in period clothing pretending to be Clara Barton. She knew Clara's life very well and could answer questions "in character," seemingly off script. Not only was the actress fascinating in her craft, but I discovered what a fascinating person Clara Barton was because of that experience.
Thank you again for stopping by, Joy! I'm glad you made it.
Jennifer, nice to meet you. I've been to Tampa twice, whisked from the airport to our meeting at the University and hustled back to the airport to catch the red-eye. Thanks to you, next time, I'm going to insist a stay-over. I look forward to reading your posts.ReplyDelete