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 Graphic Communications, specializing in print and direct response advertising. (To feed my artistic soul, I added illustration into a lot of my design proposals.) My clients were financial institutions, doctors and lawyers, casinos, restaurants and various small businesses.
I chucked it all in 1999 to join the Peace Corps. No, really! I did it… Assigned to rural community development work in the South American country of Suriname (formerly Dutch Guiana), I lived for a year in the indigenous Amerindian village of Pierrekondre on the northeast corner of the Amazon basin. I learned to speak Sranan Tongo and count to a hundred in Dutch.
I filled art journal after art journal with ink and watercolor drawings of my neighbors, strange fruits and plants, and colonial Dutch architecture.
My second year in the Peace Corps 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!
In 2012, painfully aware of age discrimination, I left the United States and took up the expat life up in southern Ecuador’s Andes mountains in the Spanish colonial town of Cuenca, one of five UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Ecuador.
Now I could spend all my time painting, creating adult coloring books, teaching art classes, and mentoring aspiring memoir writers. (my private coaching program is called Memoir to Legacy!)
When I’m not struggling with “Spanglish”, I also like to create more art journals, cook, color, and paint photo-realistic watercolors from my personal photo collection. I also like chocolate, Border Collies, comedy, alpaca shawls, adult coloring, and lunching with friends.