I sit alone in a room facing a computer, my back to the window to minimize distractions, and compose slowly, one word at a time.  It wouldn’t be very exciting to watch.


Working this way, I wrote Rosalina’s Story – A Trail of Mayhem, a narrative about the serial crimes of a woman who is now serving a life sentence with no chance of parole for murdering her third husband with the help of her second husband.  During a series of prison interviews, she claimed to be a daughter of former Filipino dictator Ferdinand Marcos and a mistress of Bill Gates, Sr.  After decades in prison, she still claims to be innocent, despite her jury’s inability to find an ounce of credibility in her.  (While she plotted the murder and brought her accomplice and the victim face to face under circumstances she knew would bring violence, she’ll admit to nothing but what her accomplice told her to do: “Clean up the mess.”)


Before Rosalina’s Story, I published Dakota Boy – A Childhood in Memory, a very personal account of my boyhood in North Dakota and the indelible, inescapable influence of the Northern Plains environment: the severe climate, the table flat fields of potatoes and wheat under an intimidating expanse of sky, and the mid twentieth century strictures of Scandinavian-Lutheran conservatism.  I think it’s the best writing I’ve ever done.


Bob Hagerty of The Wall Street Journal called it …a funny, moving, vividly written book …


Sally Maran of Smithsonian Magazine wrote, As amusing as [the movie] Fargo – but this is real life in North Dakota … a discerning reminiscence written with insight and humor … will job nostalgic childhood memories for every reader.


Both books are available at


I’m working now on a series of sketches tentatively called The Sex Life of the Ginkgo and Other Pretty Short Stories.





I was middle aged when I began writing for publication.  I was a teacher then, and a track and cross-country coach, a director of plays, and a leader of wilderness expeditions.


But I started contributing to a weekly paper in my neighborhood