I was just seven years old when I created my first “book” as a school project: an illustrated story about monsters and aliens and getting lost in a tri-level shopping mall in Berlin, where I lived in Army housing with my family. It never quite made the best seller list (or any list, for that matter), but it did reveal something to me that would shape the rest of my life: that I wanted to be a writer more than anything in the world.
Subsequent summers were spent toiling over wide-ruled notebook paper, unraveling the threads of my imagination while my neighborhood friends danced gleefully in lawn sprinklers and chased after the ice cream truck. I wrote hundreds of pages of story, continuously binding my hand-scrawled books with yarn and staples and then parading them around with grand accounts of being the next Judy Bloom. One day, just one day, I was going to make a living as a writer.
Many years have passed (more than I prefer to count), and I have not quite yet attained Judy Bloom status. I have, however, been fortunate enough to realize my dream of writing for a living for more than 15 years now.
My twenties took me to Chicago, where I completed the award-winning Creative Writing program at Columbia College. From there, I wrote for and edited literary anthologies; I published short stories; I interned at a travel media group. By 2003, I was publishing feature stories and articles in a variety of national and regional magazines. My career as a freelance writer had begun.
In 2006, after moving to Nashville, I launched and bootstrapped my own print and digital magazine, Nashville Paw. Over the course of 11 years, I grew the tiny, grassroots publication to more than 50,000 readers, with a following of nearly 30,000 fans on social media and more than 11,000 email subscribers. Our cover was graced by the likes of Emmylou Harris and Mike Wolfe, and every issue helped to support local animal rescue and welfare causes. It was a true labor of love, and I poured my soul into every issue.
A few of our Nashville Paw covers, featuring country music legend Emmylou Harris, Mike Wolfe from American Pickers and some really adorable dogs. I published 66 issues before selling the business to relocated to the Pacific Northwest.
But growing up as an Army brat does something to you, makes you crave change.
My entire life, I have been insatiably curious. To this day, I don’t hike: I meander slowly through woods, turning over rocks, delighting at tiny mushrooms, examining the fractal patterns on tree bark and ferns, and listening to the orchestra of sounds that surrounds me.
That natural curiosity was instilled by my father, who took me rock climbing and backpacking from the time I could walk. Aside from my love of writing and animals, travel is my biggest passion — to discover new places, foods, people and cultures.
And so, as it eventually does, curiosity and wanderlust called and led me westward. Fortunately, my husband Chris is prone to wanderlust as well, so I sold my media company, we sold our house, and we drove 2,500 miles with our rescued pit bull, Briley, to buy a home in Portland, Oregon — half the size for double the price!
Scenes from our 2,500 mile road trip from Nashville, TN to Portland, OR
We arrived in Portland in July 2017, and it’s been a glorious five months. Over the years, our Nashville friends started migrating to Oregon, and during our visits we fell deeply in love with its snow-capped mountains, jagged coastline, breathtaking high desert and lush forests. We also fell in love with Portland — with its dozens of vegan restaurants (we can finally eat out!), holistic wellness options, progressive culture and invigorating urban energy.
We bought a little 110-year-old bungalow in Southeast Portland near our friends, and we set up our tiny home office. The next step was to decide who I was now, if no longer the publisher and owner of a successful pet magazine.
I have stayed on in a freelance capacity at the magazine, serving — at least for now — as its managing editor. But I knew I wanted to build a new career goal for myself here in Portland. And that’s when it hit me: I wanted to help other small businesses achieve the same level of success I was able to build through customized creative content. After all, throughout my career as a magazine owner, I developed amazing relationships with many advertising clients, and not just those in the pet market. I have helped everyone from moving companies and organic landscapers to luxury condos get their message across to their target audiences in meaningful and effective ways, through print advertising, blogging, email marketing and more. I have worked with tiny mom-and-pop start-ups and I have worked with national corporations such as Mars Petcare (Pedigree) and Halo Pet.
After weeks of brainstorming, planning, networking and design, I am excited to launch MoonDog Media as my next creative endeavor, and I approach it with the same dedication and passion that served me well as a magazine owner. I am confident that I have found my new purpose, and I appreciate you coming along for the journey.
I look forward to helping YOU with your creative content needs and can’t wait to chat! If you’d like a free consultation to talk about your unique needs, drop me a line here.