Year in Review 2017

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Writing magical realism for the first time, I penned a short story called “Relic in a Bottle,” set in Atlanta, Georgia.

My philosophy has always been to live with “childish enthusiasm,” but this year was one filled with hard work. I spent the better part of the year working toward my goals and dreams, and now, they are starting to come alive!

In 2017, I emerged back into the art world with a gallery exhibit, and I learned that a new work will be published for the first time.


While in the throes of revision on my first novel, I discovered an idea for my second book. The idea really took shape in January, when I read about the work of an immigrant astronomer based in Duluth. My book is a work in progress, and it tells of one woman’s journey to uncover a hidden family secret in an adventure centered on the Milky Way.


This year, I shared a behind-the-scenes look at my writing process with the hashtag #5DaysofFiction. For the first time, I also started to share writing excerpts online for #FictionFriday, and it has been very rewarding to share my work with a devoted audience! If you’d like to read my fiction in its early stages, check out my website at or follow me on Facebook or Twitter for updates.


After working a stint in community journalism, I accepted a new position in marketing for two state colleges. On top of a fantastic team, the campus where I work offers incredible opportunities and a stunning view of the Mississippi River. Our team traveled to a regional conference in Iowa, where we achieved several awards for our publications.


To remember the loved ones I lost in 2011, I launched a memorial website for four members of my immediate family. This small corner of the Internet tells their story, and gives people who knew them a way to stay in touch. You can read more about my family on the website at


In May, my path to publication led to some exciting exchanges with literary agents. That’s when I learned that my first novel had been shortlisted as a possibility for publication by a major literary agency. I also received a full manuscript request from another literary agent, and an invitation to submit my next project. When these manuscripts are ready, I’ll definitely be querying literary agents again.


Continuing a tradition of gathering on Lake Superior’s shore to chase the Northern Lights, I teamed up with Dixie J Digital and Mike Shaw Photography to launch the Aurora Summit. The event is an annual conference open to anyone who admires the Aurora Borealis, whether they are interested in science, photography or folklore. In our inaugural year, we attracted guests from at least eight states and two countries, including much of the Midwest, Georgia, and Manitoba, Canada. Learn more at


Throughout the year, I worked harder than ever to make ends meet. Striving not to lose sight of my dreams, I also carved out some time for creative writing. I conjured up a story in the middle of July about a mysterious message in a bottle, and the story was met with great critical reviews. This story would become my first piece of magical realism.


To build out my website, I published a few short stories online for the first time. It’s been thrilling to share this writing with a public audience! The selection of short stories may change from time to time, and occasionally, some stories may appear behind a password-protected wall, but I’ll share the passwords on #FictionFriday so readers can get a sneak peek. Anyone is welcome to read this selection of short stories!


This autumn, I celebrated five years with the man I love. It was his voice that first encouraged me to keep writing creatively and to live with passion, and I am forever grateful. He has supported me at every step of the way, even as I embark on wild adventures. Together, we’ve chased the Aurora Borealis, gazed into the Milky Way, and watched a partial solar eclipse, to name a few!


On October 27, 2017, I helped to launch the inaugural Aurora Summit, bringing 101 Aurora Chasers together on Lake Superior’s shore. With an awesome team of co-organizers, I led an unforgettable event for like-minded stargazers! I was honored to be invited to be a panelist among an impressive group of photographers and scientists, and I had the opportunity to present a session on Aurora Folklore & Mythology, one of my favorite subjects. What an amazing event!


This year also marked a milestone in my publishing career. Though I have many publishing credits in nonfiction, a literary journal from Brunswick, Maine, offered to publish my fiction for the first time. “Look Up,” a short story about a college sophomore who is inspired by her father’s mantra, will be published in a forthcoming issue of Still Point Arts Quarterly. It’s my fiction debut!


To celebrate a year of hard work and perseverance, I was thrilled to join the thriving local art scene. In December, one of my paintings was displayed in the exhibit “Art: Diverse Perspectives Through Local Eyes” at the newly opened Art Works Eagan.The gallery exhibit featured an Artists Reception on a special day of the year — my birthday — and it runs through January 12. This was a fantastic way to bring in the holiday season, and wrap up what has turned out to be an incredible year!

As another year on this wild creative journey comes to a close, I hope you too find moments to celebrate. Wishing you all the warmth of the season and an Inspiring New Year!!


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