About Me

Here's a look at who I am and where I'm from. It's hard to summarize oneself and all one's experiences, so I haven't tired to do that here. I just tried to hit the highlights and keep it interesting. 

Maybe it's a writer thing, or maybe it's just me, but I find I can be kind of long winded--ask anyone who's ever gotten an email from me. Or a text. So I put some of the best highlights into a short version right here at the top, in case you're in a just-the-facts kind of mood.

Short version:

I’m a sometimes-college student who has worked in healthcare for more than ten years. Under the best circumstances, I view my job as a hobby. Under the worst, it is a necessary evil. I currently have a hobby.

Writing is my true passion. I seek to tell a captivating story that introduces readers to characters so real they become friends, remembered and missed when they are gone.

I am a Colorado native currently living in Fort Collins. Because I know my way around so well, most of my stories are set here, too. The Trouble with Murder is my first published work.

I have tattoos and use four-letter words. I tend to rebel against authority and break rules. I try to reject as many conventional norms as possible without becoming obnoxious. I consistently exceed expectations and expect others to do the same. I am disappointed when they can’t, or won’t.

I am a follower of God and know Jesus personally. I make mistakes and have regrets. I rely on forgiveness and struggle everyday to practice it. I believe in right and the greater good. I strive to be a better person and dream of saving the world. 

Long version:

I am from Greeley, Colorado, and Greeley, Colorado, is a great place to be from. I have lived in Colorado my whole life and currently call Fort Collins home.

For elementary and middle school, I went to the Laboratory School, which no longer exists as I remember it. The Lab School used to be a private school located on the University of Northern Colorado campus. UNC is known for its nursing program and its teaching program. So conveniently located, we had a revolving door of student teachers, which did more positive than negative for us.

Also interesting about this school was that it took all the deaf and hearing impaired students in the area. We had sign language interpreters in every classroom. I spent most my time watching these interpreters, and I had a lot of deaf friends. As a result my sign language got pretty good.

My parents separated when I was six. After that, it was just my younger brother, my mom, and me. As a result, the three of us are pretty close.

My childhood was pretty normal. My brother and I had to do chores and earn our TV time. We played outside, rode our bikes in the street, and got into trouble with the neighbors. We ate dinner at the dinner table with the TV off and the telephone ringer turned down. We told our mom about school, what we thought about the world, and what we wanted to do in life.

My first job was at fifteen. I held that job almost exactly one year, during which time I was promoted faster than anyone my favorite supervisor could remember. But in the end, I was sixteen years old and it was my first job, great work ethic and learning ability notwithstanding. I was fired after I no-called, no-showed, blowing off work to spend the weekend with a friend out of town. Looking back now, I’m not really sure how that made sense to me. This is why I say I was sixteen. Things just didn’t make the same kind of sense then.

Between that time and the time I was hired on in the ER, I had a lot of jobs. I never worked in fast food, but I feel like I did everything else. I even worked doing telephone surveys. Briefly. The job lasted until some jerk answered the phone, let me get three words of my spiel out, then launched into his own. He yelled at me about what a loser I was and how my life would never amount to anything. I told him to fuck off and hung up on him. The twenty-five-year-old supervisor, who had stared at me wide-eyed while the man’s tirade floated out across the call center from my headset, gaped at my response then wrung her hands and very timidly asked me to go home. By some miracle, I didn’t get fired, but I only ever went back once. And that was to pick up my last paycheck. That jerk had just been the final straw. People are downright rude on the phone. And I just don’t have the patience for that.

I applied seven times and interviewed four times for a position as a Clinical Technician in the Emergency Department of Poudre Valley Hospital before I was finally offered the job. I started work at twenty years old, privately afraid I was going to kill someone who was actually sick. I finally confessed this to my mom, a career ER nurse, who waved a dismissive hand and said, “Don’t worry. No one is going to let you take care of anyone that sick.” Of course, she was right. If the patient is that sick, he is surrounded by doctors, nurses, and a dozen other people; the tech is unlikely to get close enough to even touch the patient, much less kill him.

Some of the most impactful moments of my life happened on shift working that job. Maybe it’s trite, but I’ll never forget the first time I did CPR on a real person. The ink wasn’t even dry on my hiring forms in my new boss’s office when I got called into that room. I’ve been CPR certified since I was twelve, but doing CPR on dummy Annie is nothing like doing it on a real, dying person. This particular event probably impacted me that much more because that guy was only two years older than I was at the time. Whatever the reason, I occasionally still see his face when I close my eyes. And I never forget that life is fleeting.

I still work at the hospital, though I no longer work in the ER. All good things, as they say, must come to an end. And a part of me was ready to let go. I thought that jerk on the phone was bad. I had no idea then what some of my future patients would say or do to me. The stories I could tell you would curl your hair. Which makes them oh so excellent material for the stories I write. 

Writing as a career:

I was probably always meant to be a writer. In elementary school, we used to have to write and illustrate little stories we would then read to the whole class during our story circles. I was probably in the second grade when I decided I was tired of writing stories about things that had happened to me and my family, like all the other kids were doing. Stories about getting a new dog, a new bike, visiting Grandma, or going on vacation. I decided I wanted to make up an entirely new story. And I did. About finding a dead body under the sink and having to figure out how it got there and “who did it.”

The Body Under the Sink, as it was so cleverly titled, was my first fictitious effort, and my first murder mystery. This probably should have been a clue. To someone. Probably me.

But it wasn’t. At least, I didn’t get the message. Instead, I pursued, however briefly, practically every other discipline on the planet. Science, history, science, medicine, psychology, more science. For a long time, I was on a path to becoming a physician of emergency medicine. I was so dead set on that everything I did led me there. I enrolled in an EMT class when I was seventeen, knowing I’d be eighteen, if barely, when the class ended, and eligible to take the state exam. By the time I did that, I was already a CNA, working in a nursing home. I worked as a CNA until I finally landed a job in the ER, which was what I’d been angling for all along. Now I was in a great position to work alongside the doctors who were practicing what I intended to be doing in fifteen years’ time.

I still remember the day I finally realized I didn’t want to be a doctor. I was standing at the bathroom sink brushing my teeth. It struck me like a jolt of electricity. It was so stunning it was painful. I looked up into the mirror, into my own eyes, and just stared. I didn’t want to be a doctor. Everything I had done up to that point had been for naught. What the hell was I supposed to do now?

Looking back, I think the reason that little epiphany was so painful was because deep down, I knew I’d never wanted to be a doctor. Not really. Being a doctor was a natural, logical path for me. My mother was an ER nurse; I knew the life, the pace, the expectations. I’d fit right in. It was a safe choice; doctors would always have jobs, they never hurt for money. I’d be set for life.

In preparing to go back for another round of college classes, my best friend Mandi asked me what I was planning to study this time.

I shrugged and said, “I don’t know. Anthropology, maybe.”

“Anthropology?” she repeated, her eyebrows creased. “Why?”

I said, “I think it would be something fun to do.”

She gave me a look. “You mean it will be a fun career.”

“Well, no. I’m not looking for a career. I just need a job. This would be a fun one.”

She said, “You need a career. People go to college to prepare for a career.”

“I’d like my career to be writing,” I said. “So, I just need a job. But I want to do something fun, and make more money than I would working in retail or fast food.”

“Writing? Then why don’t you go to school for that?”

I scoffed. “People can’t actually make a living as a writer! If I ever do, that’s way down the road. I need something to do now.”

“Let me get this straight,” she said, sitting up a little straighter. “You want to be a writer. So any job you had would be like a hobby. You’re trying to decide on a hobby to study in college?”

Leave it to Mandi to drill right down to the heart of things.

And she was right. After the doctor dream dissolved, I sort of floated from one path to the next. I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing. The thing I wanted to do never seemed viable. So I devoted myself to it on the side, and quite often in secret, while I tried to find something more practical, more feasible to do with my life, even if just in public.

I went to massage therapy school and did that for a while. I did study anthropology briefly. And, for the record, I think that really would be a fun job. I have probably had six different majors. Ironically, the one thing I never considered was becoming a nurse, which was also the one thing I probably should have done. Go figure.

It wasn’t until recently I gave any real credence to my true desire of becoming a writer. I can remember those story circles in elementary school. I looked forward to them. I wanted to hear the other kids’ stories, and I wanted to tell them mine. I was too young to truly appreciate that entertainment factor, but I was aware of it. I loved it when a story held rapt attention, either mine or theirs, and those moments of “What happens next?”

That was what I really wanted to do. I wanted to entertain. I wanted to enthrall people, have them so engrossed they were consumed with one question: What happens next?

At some point, I also became interested in how to do that. Writing is more than storytelling, it’s a craft. And I wanted to perfect it. I’m still trying to do that. Storytelling in its own right is also a craft. And there are not-so-good, good, and great ways of telling a story. I’m still trying to perfect this, too.

I do consider my job a hobby. My career is writing. I dream one day my job and my career can be one in the same.