I began writing stories, plays and poems when I was still in grade school. I wrote the plays because I could cast myself in the starring role.
In college I studied English and journalism, but when I began publishing, poetry was my first love. Reviewers characterized my poems as possessing "an appealing toughness, sensitivity, and sensibility. They also offer a clear articulation of what being a fully sentient woman means in our present world." Of my collection, Dancing With a Cowboy 1991, Poet Ron Wallace said "Over the years her poetry has become increasingly denser and richer, and it now ranks with that of some of our best poets..." Utah poet and writer Edward Lueders says "She's good, and she's getting better all the time. Her poems have nerve as well as music."
I was recognized in 1984 with the Wisconsin Library Association's Banta Award for my poetry collection, Remembering the Wilderness.
I have been named a MacDowell Fellow, received a Fellowship to the Ucross Foundation, and in 1994 was awarded a Wisconsin Arts Board Individual Artist's Fellowship to write Star Lake Saloon and Housekeeping Cottages..
My television documentary, Views of a Cameraman, was recognized with a silver medal by the New York International Film & Television Festival and the Chicago International Film Festival issued an Award of Merit for my mystery/drama, Annzinetta. I received an Award of Merit from The State Historical Society of Wisconsin for my initial biography of the 19th century landscape photographer, Henry Hamilton Bennett.
During the 1980s I taught writing classes for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Extension, the Rhinelander School of the Arts, and was on the faculty of the Goddard College MFA in Writing Program from 1991 through 1994. I have frequently been invited to be a workshop-leader and lecturer at the Writer's Center in Chautauqua, NY.
From 2006 to the present time I have restricted my teaching to a week every autumn ("Writing Personal Fiction" and "Flash Fiction") at The Clearing, a folk school in Ellison Bay, Door County, Wisconsin. I accept only 10 students and the class fills up quickly. Check the catalog of classes available at The Clearing online at www.theclearing.org.
I delivered a lecture in August 2004 on "Achsa Sprague: Green Mountain Mystic," in Plymouth Notch, Vermont -- the birthplace of Achsa Sprague and Sprague's distant relative, Calvin Coolidge. An excerpt from The Mesmerizing Miss Sprague , my as-yet unpublished historical novel about Achsa Sprague, was included in the Spring 2005 issue of the literary magazine, HUNGER MOUNTAIN .
Star Lake Saloon & Housekeeping Cottages, my first novel, was a midwest bestseller and continues to be a popular choice for book clubs.
My second novel, Night Sisters, another book club choice (despite having a frightening cover) offers subjects for dynamic discussions.
The Waters of Star Lake -- another fun adventure in Wisconsin's northwoods, will be published by UW Press in May 2012 and is already receiving glowing pre-publication reviews.
I do have a few hobbies that I pursue! In summers I golf with the Women's League here in Spring Green. I'm served three years as President of the Friends of the Spring Green Community Library and, with several other "Friends" perform a theatrical presentation each year in March.
When I have time (!) I like to work with encaustic collage, a medium involving wax and a montage of images, rather like a visual poem. Two of my mixed-media works have been auctioned at Spring Green's annual "Art Out of the Closet."
I also knit bears for orphaned children in Africa who have been afflicted by HIV/AIDS. My current total is 50 bears (mostly knit while watching Packers football) but I'm aiming to knit 100. If you're interested in joining this project, check out www.motherbearproject.org.