Granny told us stories. Wonderful stories about our great grandmother and great-great grandmother. She took my sister and me to the little Warren Township cemetery just outside Coleman, Michigan, where she was born. There on the soft green grass, under a big shade tree—I don’t remember what kind—she spread a blanket and unpacked a lunch of mustard-slathered, bologna sandwiches made on Wonder Bread, a jug of cherry Kool-Aid, and foil-wrapped dill pickles —always dill pickles, the bigger, the fatter, the more sour, the better to my young taste buds.
After lunch she took us on a historical tour of her hometown using the tombstones to introduce us to the people she knew and the events she remembered growing up. There was the town doctor, a hero to all; the trainmen who worked for the Pere Marquette; the wild-eyed men who drove logging wagons at a deadly, unstoppable speed through town; the strange janitor at the school; “potters field” where victims of the diphtheria epidemic were buried under cover of night; the tavern that my artist great grandfather decorated and where he drank; and the Hecox Hotel that my great grandmother ran to support their five children.
Granny’s stories connected me to my ancestors and a time when there were no cars, telephones or televisions, let alone smart phones, tablets and video games. Often times her stories contained a mystery for which she knew no resolution, or a puzzle which had missing pieces. The missing pieces and the answers to the mysteries fascinated me as a youngster and still do to this day.
As an adult, I began writing about crime as a police reporter for the Fairlawn Village Views, a small weekly newspaper. After awhile five of us broke away from that paper to start a much larger weekly, the West Side Leader. I wrote all the police and fire news, a business column called “Focus on Success,” and a historical crime column. My writings garnered me several journalism awards from the National Federation of Press Women (NFPW).
During this time, I wrote short stories and articles that were published in newspapers and magazines across the United States and in Canada. Later, I taught writing and literature at a business college. I developed and edited newsletters for that college and for an accounting firm. While working at Old Trail, a private elementary school, I developed and launched its alumni magazine. One of my favorite jobs was working on publications for the Akron Art Museum.
I hold degrees in Criminal Justice Technology and Mass-Media Communication from The University of Akron. In addition to NFPW, I am a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime, a national association that nominated one of my books for an Agatha.
Today, I combine my love of history and fascination with true crime in my books and in presentations for libraries, historical societies, book stores, book clubs, groups of any kind. So far, I’ve presented in venues such as a church, a museum, a college and a moving train.
When I’m not writing, I’m out and about with my camera. I’ve taken photographs all over the world, but my favorite place to make images is New Mexico.