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about  joan

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It was as a graduate intern at a Sacramento CBS-affiliate television station that I stumbled into a story that became the bedrock for my 1992 nonfiction book, Little Girl Lost.  You can read more about the book, along with an excerpt, here.  Since its publication, I've continued to write for both newspapers and magazines.


I was enormously gratified to receive awards from the Society of Professional Journalists as well as Writer's Digest magazine for my article on a one-time homophobic father's efforts to deal with his gay son's emergence from the closet and diagnosis of--and eventual death from--AIDS.


More recently, I was awarded an Honorable Mention from the New Millennium Writers for my piece on the tuberculosis epidemic at the turn of the 20th century.

You can read those articles, and a smattering of my other writing projects, here.


In addition to writing "Casey's Corner," a monthly column on life with dogs, and my work as a college professor, in February of 2020 I published a full-length novel, A Just Reckoning; 10 months later, I published the 2nd book in the Tess Alexander mystery series, A Cruel Oblivion. You can can read about those books here.

a multitude of career paths

Perhaps a typical Baby-Boomer who just can't seem to decide what she wants to be when she grows up, my list of careers is long and varied:  fine jewelry saleswoman...real estate appraiser...public relations director...victim's advocate...Realtor...cosmetics consultant... owner of a women's clothing store...volunteer coordinator...copyeditor...executive director of a nonprofit child abuse prevention administrator... and of course, freelance writer.

community involvement

I've always been a passionate believer in giving back to one's community, something I learned from my father's example. For me, that  effort has included developing and moderating workshops and seminars on child abuse, family violence, AIDS, careers, and volunteerism...working on the campaign staffs of several political candidates...traveling to the former Soviet Union as a peace delegate...and serving on dozens of civic, nonprofit, and educational boards and commissions.

Throughout the years, I've been honored to receive dozens of awards for my civic work... probably the most gratifying was a Paul Harris Award from Rotary International for community service.


Anyone who know me knows I'm a huge fan of Golden Retrievers.


My first Golden came to me in 1995, followed by a second one a year later.  In the spring of 2010 I brought another Golden into my life from the amazing people at Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue. Casey soon became a certified Therapy Dog through the Alliance of Therapy Dogs.

2012 saw the birth of my monthly "Casey's Corner" column. Three years later, I lost Casey...but hearts being by their very nature resilient, a few months later I adopted my fourth Golden, a sweet and handsome blonde boy named Joey, who has also become a Therapy Dog.

personally speaking...

One of my biggest passions--alongside Golden Retrievers—is gardening, which I've been doing for almost as long as I've been walking and talking. I've been known to spend summer days very literally from just after dawn to sunset tending and nurturing my garden.

I live in the Sierra Nevada mountains of Northern California with my Golden Joey, my Maine Coon cat Indy, and the ever-abiding spirit of my beloved Casey.

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