After years of writing about astrology and its many fascinating areas, I'm still awed by how closely each of us matches that "snapshot of the heavens at the time and place of our birth" which is our astrological chart.

So giving you a run-down on my own chart may be the best way to describe what I am, what I do, and why.

For instance, my Sun is in Virgo, the sign that, when constructively used, places an emphasis on work, practicality, helpfulness, learning, analyzing, perfecting and healing. My Virgo Sun is in the 3rd house of my chart. This is the area of one's horoscope that has to do with communication, ideas, and writing.

With my Moon and Ascendant in more intuitive, emotional Cancer, the logical practicality of Virgo is softened by the qualities of the imaginative Moon-ruled sign. The combination of Virgo and Cancer can give one a need to express in a highly creative, but well- structured manner. So I have always loved to write. I composed my first poem at age nine and an entire notebook of popular song lyrics by age thirteen.

(I like the fact that this same astrological signature of Sun in Virgo in the 3rd house of writing and Cancer rising is also seen in the chart of the prolific songwriter Hank Williams, who in spite of his brief, tragic life, left us more than 125 songs.)

With Jupiter in Pisces at the very top of my chart in the tenth house of father, career and reputation, I had a great deal of spiritual inspiration in my background from birth. My father was a Virgo minister with a Cancer Moon and Scorpio rising whose depth of spirituality and compassion for others strongly influenced my early years. He and my gentle Capricorn mother, soulmates for sure, inspired many of my later ideas of what love and marriage should be.

Both my parents loved books and writing and encouraged any literary tendencies with real enthusiasm. So it's not too surprising that in ensuing years in jobs and classes, I focused more and more on my writing talents. My early years at UCLA were interrupted by my father's death and my subsequent marriage, but as soon as my daughter, Diannah, was in school herself, I returned to college and earned my B.A. and M.A. in English.

I went on to write short stories, novels, newspaper columns, publicity features, and a best-selling biography of Marilyn Monroe. That was all before I turned, in 1979, to writing about a longtime interest of mine--astrology. (Two of my mother's sisters had studied astrology long before I was born, so I was not unfamiliar with the subject.)

But I was set on a career as a novelist when Sydney Omarr, America's most widely read astrologer, learned through a mutual friend that I was not only a writer, but proficient in astrology. After he phoned and asked me to write several articles for his publications, I found that astrology assignments were beginning to claim more and more of my professional time.

My astrology chart also explains this direction in my career. Astrology is ruled by the planet Uranus, and Uranus occupies the 10th or career house of my chart. It's conjunct Jupiter there, the planet of both good fortune and publishing, the combination providing a lucky aspect for writing about astrology.

During the ensuing years, I've written for most of the major astrological publishers. My specialty in astrology has focused more and more on relationships as you can see on my publications list in the next section.

Why relationships? It's also in my chart. My Mercury and Mars, conjunct in Libra, the sign of relationships, can help explain why my most recent books focus entirely on love, marriage and compatibility. When Will You Marry and its successor, When Planets Promise Love, do so. Even my most recent book, Moving to Success: The Astrology of Location, involves compatibility between the individual and his city, state or country, another kind of vital relationship.

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