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Hello, friend, and thanks for stopping by.

Let me tell you a little bit about me and this website. Everything I do boils down to one main passion: authentic and personal storytelling. I share my personal story to encourage and inspire others, and I create opportunities for others to do the same.

Some of the stories I tell are about my personal journey figuring out life as an indie creative professional, as a thirty-something-year-old learning to manage depression and multiple sclerosis, as a passionate urbanite living in Northern California, and as a married woman in business with her husband.

My core message is that we can find health, wellness, and happiness in life when we share our personal story with others, because it is a process that helps us come to terms with what makes us who we are. It also allows us to realize that we are not alone. When we risk and share our story, inevitably there is one person who resonates and responds with, “me too.”

If you are looking for someone to share a “me too” moment with, I would love to hear from you. I’m currently a sporadic blogger, and I post most regularly on Instagram as @jannamarlies and @undergumtree. To be sure that you won’t miss anything, sign up for free updates by entering your email address below (you’ll get a free copy of my ebook Bold is Beautiful).

The Red Boots & Me

I used to be afraid to wear the red boots. Actually, I used to be afraid to do a lot of things: walk the one mile to high school alone, try out for basketball, get my own apartment and live without roommates. I also used to say “no” to avoid feeling uncomfortable. If I didn’t know anyone at the party, I’d send my regrets. If I couldn’t find a friend to go with me to yoga, I simply didn’t go—even though learning yoga was a New Year’s resolution. And I certainly never wore the red boots.

Sound crazy or familiar? If it sounds familiar, then you’re in good company. All of the work that I do—writing, editing, publishing—is in pursuit of helping others to intentionally look for ways to be true to yourself, living the life you were meant to live instead of the one that someone else prescribes for you. Often those prescribed expectations—of parents, teachers, coaches, pastors—keep us from being our true self because we’re so afraid of what might happen otherwise.

I share my story because now I wear the red boots. And I want to help others do the same.

To keep up with me and my red boots, sign up for my email newsletter.

Work With Me

The work that I do revolves around writing, editing, and publishing. I offer private writing workshops in Sacramento, California; I offer independent editorial services; I publish a literary magazine called Under the Gum Tree. Click here for more information on working with me in any of these capacities.

Start Here

These posts are some of my best and will give you an idea of the stuff I write about.

You may have seen me featured on these other places around the web:

Or, you may have seen (or heard) me featured in the media…

My Story

A self-proclaimed “woman in progress,” I am most passionate about creativity and the power of the written word. I have been writing for as long as I can remember. Some of my earliest memories include sitting on the front lawn of my childhood home, leaning against the trunk of a huge tree, knees bent to prop up my spiral-bound notebook, pencil in hand.

I’m originally from the San Francisco Bay Area (San Ramon is where I went to high school) and I ended up in Sacramento after attending college at a strict, private Christian school in Florida. After college I was lucky enough to get a job at a weekly community newspaper and I have been working in publishing ever since. Initially I didn’t choose Sacramento as my home, but the longer I stayed the more I grew to love it. And eventually I did choose it—instead of moving in search of the things I was looking for, I choose to stay and contribute to creating the city I wanted to live in.

If I had to sum up what I’m all about in two words they would be: authentic storytelling. That’s the core of why I write, why I publish stories and why I teach others to write their story. I tell stories that challenge and inspire people to pursue the potential of their creativity; I nurture creativity by making space for exploring and showcasing creativity.

I hold an MA in Creative Writing and my professional experience encompasses time as a staff writer for a weekly community newspaper in El Dorado Hills, California; time as the managing editor for a company that publishes community magazines in Roseville, Granite Bay, Folsom, El Dorado Hills and the Sierra Nevada foothills; time as an adjunct professor of English at multiple college campuses; and time as an independent freelance writer/editor/publisher.

These days, you could call me a Jill-of-all-trades. I publish a quarterly literary arts journal; I take on select editing projects; I teach college writing. Oh, and, I also have my own writing to pursue. My writing appears in all different forms: blog posts, weekly emails, ebooks, editor’s letters in Under the Gum Tree, feedback for my students and clients, even craigslist ads.

You can see more of my work by checking out my portfolio, and you can find out more about working with me here.

The Health Stuff

Yes, I write a lot about health, wellness, nutrition and food. But this is not a health/nutrition/food blog. I write about those things because it is part of sharing my story. The nutshell version of my health story is: I went through a pretty low point in 2010. I was suffering from mild-severe depression, filed for bankruptcy, and was laid off from my job. In February 2011 I experienced an episode of optic neuritis, which ultimately lead to an MS diagnosis in June 2012. With the support of my husband, I decided against the option of drug therapy and have been managing my health through diet and supplementation since November 2012.

Connect With Me

Other places I hang out on the social web:

Keep In Touch With Me

I hope my story encourages and inspires you to share your story with someone. Even if just one person benefits from my story I feel that I have done my job. If that person is you, I would love to hear from you. You can also stay in touch with me by getting regular updates: