Here’s the short version of my story:
I’m an author, designer and marketing professional. My nearly 20-year writing career includes trade publications, magazines, newspapers, two novels and one very snarky blog. As a self-described nerd, you can usually find me with my nose in a book or tapping away on a computer. But, when I’m not feeding my brain, you just might find me out on the water paddle boarding with my daughter (and the dog) or photographing trees.
I’m also a contributing writer on DestinationNature.com.
And, in case you’re interested, here’s a longer (and more boring) version of my story:
First and foremost, I’m a mom. My daughter, Charley, is 11 and even though most days I feel like I suck as a parent (don’t we all?) she’s pretty much the center of my universe.
As far as my work life goes, I’ve been a waitress, a cook, an office assistant and once I worked on a tobacco farm planting tobacco (for real, that was a GREAT summer).
After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with a bachelor’s in Journalism and minors in English (writing emphasis) and Literature, I became a journalist. My first job, writing about small fixed-base operator airports, was a disaster. I moved on from there to writing about construction equipment, which oddly enough I wasn’t terrible at, but I never quite found my niche in trade publishing and was eventually let go for basically sucking at acclimating to the world of business media. (I can admit that now, but it was a tough pill to swallow back then.) From there I moved on to the exciting world of newspaper journalism where I simultaneously became a web editor and freelance writer. I maintained the websites of four newspapers (all owned by the same company) while writing for several Milwaukee-area publications. I worked in the newsroom for a decade tapping away at my computer and eventually earning the title of senior online producer, or better known to the rest of the staff as “the web girl.” Somewhere in the middle of all that I got married, wrote a novel (The Other Side of Silence) and had a baby. And then I briefly became a web designer. Yes, you read that correctly.
The market crash of 2008 hit the newspaper industry pretty hard, which sent a good portion of us who worked in the business scrambling to find new opportunities. Lucky for me, since I was “the web girl” I had already embraced the fascinating and ever-changing beast called “the internet” and went to work for an e-commerce company that marketed products to educators. I gained incredible experience in that position, but it didn’t take long for me to realize that I didn’t quite fit with the “clock in” and “clock out” work day. (I mean, c’mon, I had just spent a decade working in the field of journalism, the time clock doesn’t exist in that industry.) From there I did a two-step and a do-si-do and entered the realm of public relations and marketing. I now work in the marketing department for Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin and Metropolitan Chicago as an interactive media coordinator at our territory’s corporate headquarters in Milwaukee.
What does an interactive media coordinator do, you ask? Well, we do a lot of things, but I mostly maintain our websites and oversee our email marketing program. Through all of that, I wrote another novel (On Burning Mirrors) and started a third (Saving Virginia Woolf).
Here’s a link to an article about The Other Side of Silence (it was my five minutes of fame).
Other useless facts about me include:
- I live on a river and I paddle board as a hobby.
- I hibernate in the winter (mostly).
- I have a lot of tattoos (and a potty-mouth, and a college degree).
- I sometimes relate to animals better than humans.
- My favorite color is black.
- I’m named after my dad, James.
- I collect books … and I have A LOT of them.
- I read a lot of books.
- My favorite writers are Harper Lee, Virginia Woolf and Cheryl Strayed.
- I think chick singers are cool.
- I loved to write as a kid, too (as you can see by the photo below).