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I dreamed of being a writer as a child. I realized that aspiration first as a magazine editor, publisher and award-winning author. But I wanted to be a novelist, too. Now, finally, I have fulfilled that ambition. 

I grew up in Iowa farm country, the oldest of five kids. I woke up every morning to a big, beautiful barn outside my window,  and the song of meadowlarks at dawn in the back clover field. loved nature and history, walked the railroad tracks and woods looking for Indian arrowheads, explored pioneer ruins and old stagecoach traces.

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​I communed with Nature. Those experiences influenced me deeply. I saved my money doing farmwork and babysitting. When I was twelve, I got an amazing horse named Sundance. He became a celebrity in my tiny Iowa town. I was a rodeo queen of our nationally-recognized rodeo and led the Labor Day parade and the rodeo grand opening on Sundance. Years later, when my beloved horse died, our small town newspaper printed a touching obituary for him!

Pursuing my dream to be a writer, I attended the University of Iowa and double majored in English and Journalism. In grad school, I taught Writer's Workshop pupils the centuries-old art of metal typesetting and letterpress printing at Iowa's Center for the Book. In my classes, aspiring writers learned to print b chapbooks of their poetry and fiction.

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I also designed and hand-printed posters for the Writer’s Workshop and the famous writers who taught and read their fiction and poetry. (You can view these posters on this website at WORK /POSTERS.) That rarefied exposure to the finest writing  in the world fired my muse to write.


After graduate school, I went home to help my mother nurse my dying grandmother. Armed with a Master's degree, my first job was power-washing combines for farm foreclosure sales.:((  But I soon got a job writing feature stories at Iowa’s smallest daily newspaper. Then, a happy break: I got a staff position at Better Homes and Gardens publications as a features writer!

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That was the beginning of my long publishing career as an editor for national  magazines and a freelance writer for the New York Times, Connoisseur, the San Francisco Chronicle,  and many others. I’m proud to say I won awards from the American Society of Magazine Editors, Women in Communications, and the Charles Weller Award for Journalism.(You can view some of my writing samples at WORK/WRITING SAMPLES.)

In addition to the University of Iowa, I taught writing and publishing at Northwestern University , Marquette University, Mount Mary University, and Alverno College.

Late in my career, as a publisher of The Writer’s Handbook,  I worked with iconic novelists and poets, an experience rekindled my dream to write fiction.

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During most of my career, I was a chronic insomniac so I began writing a novel in the wee hours of the night, my two dogs and my cat at my feet.


In the meantime, my husband and I raised an amazing daughter—our magnum opus — who is now a writer and Middle East correspondent and has reported from war zones in Syrian refugee camps, Iraq, Afghanistan, and The West Bank for The New Yorker, New York Times, newspaper and magazine, TIME, and has appeared on CNN and MSNBC. (See her work at: 


Because I was born into a military family, I appreciate service and the struggles of others. I’m devoted to issues for veterans and the disenfranchised--especially women, children and animals--and have donated my writing to nonprofits and served on boards of organizations addressing those issues.  I'm especially proud of my work for Milwaukee Homeless Veterans. You will  find some of those issues in my novel. Inspired by horses and history, nature and Native American cultures, and the stories of strong women, my novel began to take shape.

One childhood experience in particular sparked my inspiration. I rode my horse Sundance on winding  country gravel roads and long the river in a huge wooded valley, where pioneer  cemeteriesthe ruins of an old abandoned mine and even an old jail, a tin cup and ragged blue mattress ticking inside were secluded  away in woods and brambles. Those places haunted me and inspired me.


My favorite place of all was a sweeping river valley on which a herd of Appaloosas grazed, led by a magnificent leopard stallion.

I liked to imagine the Indians that inhabited the land before whites. Of course, Appaloosas and the Nez Perce who developed them were not native to Iowa, but Idaho, Oregon and Washington. But a child's imagine is not bound by such details. Those childhood inspirations stuck with me and planted  the seeds of inspiration for my novel, decades later. 

After 30 years of research and writing, my first novel, Blood to Rubies, is done. I have a wonderful publisher, Koehler Publishing, that has a great trackrecord of award-winning historical novels and other genres. My book is scheduled to be published this September 5, 2023. (Pre-sales begin on June 5, 2023.)


Reggie, one of my rescued English Setters, pointing out missing Oxford commas in my novel. He is my dogged" editor!


My buddy, Rosie, the  Mammoth watch donkey, at Holyland Donkey Haven in Wisconsin , where I have volunteered. She protected livestock in northern Wisconsin, where she fought off wolves, coyotes and a grown bear. My kind of gal!

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My two big boys, adopted English Setters, Howie and Reggie. They are my faithful writing companions, usually asleep at my feet while I write. Both run in their dreams! My love of animals shows up often in my novel, Blood to Rubies.

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