After earning a master’s degree in Speech and Dramatic Art from the University of Iowa, I moved to Chicago, where I worked professionally as a stage manager, director and administrator in addition to being a founding board member of the League of Chicago Theatres. I discovered I was good at fundraising, and ventured out on my own, raising millions for arts, educational and AIDS service organizations, and later became an award-winning sales consultant of children’s books. But when a concussion ended my sales career, I decided to finally keep a promise to a dying friend to write a book.
That book became a series of small books. The first three – Friend Grief and Anger: When Your Friend Dies and No One Gives A Damn; Friend Grief and AIDS: Thirty Years of Burying Our Friends and Friend Grief and 9/11: The Forgotten Mourners were published in 2013. Friend Grief and the Military: Band of Friends (Honorable Mention, Chicago Writers Association 2014 Book of the Year), was published in May, 2014. Friend Grief in the Workplace: More Than an Empty Cubicle was published in July, 2015 and the final book in the series, Friend Grief and Men: Defying Stereotypes, was released June 1, 2016.
I’m currently working on a more challenging book: Fag Hags, Divas and Moms: The Legacy of Straight Women in the AIDS Community, coming in 2018. It’s a labor of love for me to recognize the contributions of amazing women from around the world who stepped up to the challenge of fighting this devastating virus.
The first four Friend Grief books are included in the Illinois and national curated collections from Library Journal’s SELF-e Program and I’ve been honored to be named their first Ambassador. In addition, my essay, “Long-Term Survivors” was recognized with the 2015 Christopher Hewitt Award for Nonfiction. My blog was named one of the top 10 grief support sites in 2012 after its first year.
My articles have appeared on a variety of grief and writing blogs as well as Windy City Times, Chicago Tribune and Huffington Post. In my copious spare time, I feed my reading habit by reviewing a wide variety of books on BroadwayWorld.com. A native St. Louisan, I’m a lifelong Cardinals fan and will gladly take on any comers in musical theatre trivia.
I’m a card-carrying member of the Alliance of Independent Authors, Chicago Writers Association, Chicago Women in Publishing and ACT UP/NY (just kidding – we don’t have membership cards in ACT UP/NY).
I have no idea what’s coming next, but I hope it’s fun!