I learned to love stories at the feet of my grandfather, my papa, someone who could make even the most mundane stories spring to life. It is thanks to him, to those many hours spent listening, that my life has taken the path of writer and educator. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I currently work as an Associate Professor of English, teaching creative writing, composition, developmental English, and Humanities. I write when I can; I drink tea all the time; I love to travel and learn new things whenever opportunity allows; I take photos along the way.

Some random things about me:

I’m a six-time WI Cherry Pit Spit Champion. I won my first trophy when I was twelve, and I don’t think my dad has ever been more proud of me. I went on one year to win the overall trophy with a personal best of 39 feet 11 1/2 inches. It would have gone farther, but it hit a measurement marker and bounced back.

I refuse to pick between dogs and cats, and you can’t make me. I had a Golden Retriever growing up, and he was the goodest boy ever. I have two cats right now, both torties, both angry at the laptop that takes up their snuggle spot.

I sometimes wonder about how many strangers’ homes my likeness is hanging up in the backgrounds of their photographs.

I refuse to compromise on chocolate – it has to be good. Dagoba’s Chai (which doesn’t exist anymore *sobs*), Alter Eco’s Deep Dark Salted Brown Butter Bar, and the dark chocolate covered ginger from the Willy Street Co-op in Madison, WI, are my all-time favorites. The best chocolate I’ve ever had, though, was when I was assistant director of a study abroad to Costa Rica, and we took the students on a cocoa tour – we crushed freshly roasted cocoa nibs, mixed in a little cinnamon and cain sugar, and then all died of bliss.

I know music is a super personal thing – but I have a hard time understanding how someone could just “not like” music. To be fair, my dad was a drummer in the ’60s in Chicago, and I grew up in a music-filled home. I was also raised to know that music is always best live – whether a large concert venue or someone with an acoustic guitar on a tiny stage in a coffee shop, I’m in my happy place. (Though as an Introvert, I do prefer the quiet coffee shop.)

I hated coffee for the first thirty-two years of my life. Couldn’t even stand the smell. Then I went to Costa Rica, and my co-director introduced me to the mocha – and now I don’t know what I ever did before coffee. Don’t let people tell you otherwise – chocolate is a gateway.

Some quotes from some of my favorite books:

“The moon is always jealous of the heat of the day, just as the sun always longs for something dark and deep.”

Alice Hoffman, Practical Magic

“It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”

Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass

“Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts.”

Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind

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