She was graduated from Merced High School in 1968 and attended Fresno State College for one year before leaving college to work and care for her son. She graduated from San Diego State University with an Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.
She was raised in California and is the oldest of three children. She then was chosen to fill a one-year visiting professorship at Central Connecticut State University. Upon completion of that one-year contract she was hired as a full-time professor
She teaches creative writing at California State University, Monterey Bay.