My Qualifications

What makes a person a writer? Writing, mostly. I've been writing for a long time, but only accepted it as a vocation recently, after a health crisis forced me to examine my life in a new way. Now that I am able to work again, I can't imagine spending my days doing anything else.

As a teenager, my writing received an honor from the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts. I won National Merit and Chancellor's scholarships to study linguistics at UC Berkeley. Unfortunately, I did not pursue these opportunities.

Instead, I attended schools close to where I grew up, graduating cum laude from CSU, Chico (B.A.'98) in international relations and a minor in Spanish. I worked as a project manager for local economic development projects.

Legal Work

In 2001 I went to law school on scholarship at UC Hastings (J.D.'04) in San Francisco, where I took classes in writing for trial and appellate courts. My work as editor of our intellectual property team's moot court brief helped us win first a regional and then a national championship.

Then I redoubled my work at nonprofit organizations serving people who were homeless or living in poverty, and for an immigration lawyer defending people of Middle Eastern descent from the government's post-9/11 middle-of-the-night deportations and discriminatory "special registration" program.

After passing the California Bar in 2004, I worked as an attorney on a few briefs for the California Anti-SLAPP Project, which defends people who are sued for exercising their First Amendment right to free speech or to petition of their government.

Then I worked at the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley for over three years, representing people with mental health and developmental disabilities in their disputes with landlords, hospitals, and government agencies. Winning cases did not make it easier to witness many heartwrenching stories written on the pages of lives broken by hardship. I deeply regret not giving myself the time and space then to write them all down on paper, both to honor the dignity of the people and the work itself.

Other Work

I then quit my law job to work as a field organizer during the 2008 campaign season for Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold's PAC, which sent me to work on then-Representative (now Senator) Chris Murphy's re-election campaign in Connecticut. I didn't do much writing, but I did have a lot of fun.

Then I worked at Somos Mayfair, a nonprofit on San Jose's East Side that helps immigrants find their power. I helped with grantwriting and reporting, and wrote website content.

Wanting to improve my understanding of business processes, I attended UC Santa Cruz Extention and took a few courses that resulted in a Certificate in Project Management. I learned traditional, agile, and "extreme" p.m. strategies.

In 2010, Judge LaDoris Cordell (ret.) hired me to work on police misconduct issues for the City of San Jose. Then I worked as a government performance auditor under City Auditor Sharon Erickson. Both these jobs involved analysis and writing about complex and politically charged local issues. I also developed a curriculum on conducting investigative interviews and taught it to a regional association of auditors and a delegation from the Chinese government. Some of what I wrote in the Auditor's office is available here:

I left City employment in spring 2014. I wrote a novel I had been creating for a few years; now I'm rewriting it. I wrote several stories, a sample of which you can find here. I met a bunch of other writers and started critiquing and getting my worked critiqued. And then I learned how to write HTML and basic CSS and wrote this website.

Email me if you'd like more information about my qualifications or anything else on this website, or call 4 0 8 7 9 6 9 7 0 8.