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As a graduate student at the University of Iowa, I was given a rare chance to work on a book about folk art, Passing Time and Traditions, for the Iowa Arts Council. It fostered my lifelong interest in the arts. Early in my career I was the Milwaukee Ballet marketing director, then executive director of the Kohler Foundation, which not only presented performing arts but also preserved folk art collections and sites. I parlayed my writing into both jobs, creating season brochures and marketing campaigns. As a magazine writer, editor and publisher, my award-winning arts writing covered many topics: artist profiles for Milwaukee Magazine, lacemaking for Country Home, and Bead & Button titles in book publishing. Later, Irish lace-making and Indian beading would appear in my novel, Blood to Rubies. I had fun, too, researching performing arts of the 1870s, i.e., circuses, vaudeville and bawdy stage shows with nearly naked women on horseback and men in gorilla costumes! My novel’s main character, a frontier photographer, photographs freak shows and circuses. One chapter depicts the horrific fire of New York City’s Barnum & Bailey five-story circus emporium. Heartbreaking!

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