I’m just a nice Lutheran girl from Seattle who as a kid wanted to be a fashion illustrator. By the time I made it to commercial art school, photography had taken over the fashion marketing industry. Oh well, I got that AA degree in Commercial Art (that’s what they called it before “graphic design”) from Los Angeles Trade Technical College anyway.
From there I went straight into the world of “Mad Men” and I can tell you it was just like you saw on TV!
With a partner I created a successful (more successful than the partnership itself) Las Vegas advertising agency.
In the 80s I fled from Vegas back to my hometown, Seattle, and got a BA in Liberal Arts from Antioch University while working for a big membership campground company. Suddenly I was responsible for designing and mailing half a million pieces a week. Welcome to direct mail marketing!
Back in Vegas three years later, I created created Graphic Communications, specializing in print and direct response advertising. My clients were financial institutions, doctors and lawyers, casinos, restaurants and various small businesses.
As an advising consultant in marketing to businesses through the Nevada Small Business Development Center, I worked with new start up businesses. I also taught classes on sales brochure development, direct mail marketing, and newsletter design at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
In 1995 I became the designer and founding editor of the regional magazine, Nevada Woman, which led to a short career as a free-lance journalist writing about travel, business, celebrities and current topics of interest in the news.
Then I chucked it all to join the Peace Corps. No, really! I did …
Assigned to rural community development work in the South American country of Suriname (formerly Dutch Guiana), I lived with my Vegas comedian husband for a year in the indigenous Amerindian village of Pierrekondre on the northeast corner of the Amazon basin. There I admittedly spent a lot of time in a hammock reading novels.
There I also learned to speak Sranan Tongo and count to a hundred in Dutch and became interested in the plight of Amerindians everywhere in the Amazon. This experience inspired my second novel, the adventure/romance, Hard Amazon Rain.
My second year in the Peace Corps (after the husband got frustrated and went home) I worked for the Foundation For Nature Conservation in Suriname (STINASU) where I was responsible for layout, editing and printing of De Wilde Vogels Van Paramaribo/Wild Birds of Paramaribo and De Apen Van Suriname/Monkeys of Suriname and also designed logos for the Brownsberg Nature Park and the Central Suriname Nature Reserve. I continued to art journal and at the Nola Hatterman Art Institute in Paramaribo I taught a class on textile design.
It was in Suriname where I learned the history of Elisabeth Samson, the first black woman in the 18th century Dutch plantation colony to get legal permission from the government to marry white, inspiring my first novel, Elisabeth Samson, Forbidden Bride. (2004)
Now hooked on writing, I wrote a murder mystery, Magicide; an eco-adventure romance, Hard Amazon Rain; another Vegas mystery, Implosion, and co-authored Cork Proctor’s autobiography, My Mind is an Open Mouth.
Along the way there were numerous creative awards as well as the 1996 Greater Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce Community Achievement Award in Communications. I served as a founding board member of Las Vegas Women in Communications (WIC), and was nominated for a few Woman of the Year awards. I even garnered a mention in Distinguished Women of Southern Nevada!
As a speaker I’ve presented writing workshops at conferences (including the first Cuenca International Writers Conference) and conventions and produced special events, including the 2012 Cork Proctor Comedy Roast at the SouthPoint hotel/casino in Las Vegas.
My passion is to help aspiring memoir writers, which led to my private coaching program, Memoir to Legacy!
When I’m not traveling, my home base is up here in the Andes in Cuenca, Ecuador, where I share a beautiful condo apartment with my now ex-husband, Cork Proctor.
This is a growing group of serious memoir writers, many of whom share their writing, respond to prompts and share useful info and many who are simply "lurking" but still learning!
Listen now to my guest appearance on Silent Voices Radio!