About Janie Franz

Even though I’ve lived than half my life living in North Dakota, I still call myself a Southerner. I think that comes from a heritage of blood more than place since I feel a kin-ness with the hearty mountain survivors of Appalachia. And, to some extent I have found that in North Dakota among people who embrace a strong work ethic and who never seem to be very far from the wheat and potato fields that feed them and the world. In my new home New Mexico, I see that pioneer spirit as well. Here it is surviving the high desert and eking out a living in a remote place.

I do, however, come from a long line of storytellers and liars, especially one uncle who couldn’t read or write himself but who kept me spellbound as a child with his elaborate tales of hunting, fishing, and local haints. I think what talent I have for spinning a tale must have come from him.

I was lucky enough to have a mother who valued education, but who only went to the third grade herself. She wanted her children to know about symphonies and operas and live theater–and valued poets as if they walked on misty clouds of arcane knowledge. My brother and I were the only two of a wagon load of cousins who ever finished high school, and I was the only one to finish college—though I didn’t do that until I was seeing the end of my fourth decade.

I earned a  degree in anthropology from the University of North Dakota and took a concentration in English (mainly credits for all of the intro English courses I took between when I first started college in night school twenty-some years before and taking graduate level writing seminars when I returned to finish my undergrad degree in anthropology).

Anthropology was my second love to writing and represented the unquenchable curiosity I possess that often informs my freelance journalism career, explaining the broadness of my writing credits.

I had always written stories–ever since I was nine or ten years old. I took a creative writing course when I was a junior in high school and had an instructor who wanted to see us published. So, I sold my first work at 16–but it wasn’t fiction; it was an essay and later I had two poems published.

I wrote off and on for the next forty years, after I married, moved to North Dakota, and raised two children. I wrote and edited a lot of newsletters for non-profit organizations, tutored adults in writing skills, and wrote and edited materials for college professors (before I had even earned my degree).

In the interim, I have been a radio announcer, a booking agent and publicist for a groove/funk band, and a yoga instructor who also taught relaxation techniques in small rural towns in the region.

In 2000, I began writing full-time as a freelance journalist. My  work has appeared in regional, national, and international publications. I co-wrote two books with Texas wedding DJ, Bill Cox: The Ultimate Wedding Ceremony Book and The Ultimate Wedding Reception Book, and published a writing manual called, Freelance Writing: It’s a Business, Stupid! I also launched my own online music publication in 2009, Refrain Magazine (www.refrainmagazine.com), covering live music first in the Upper Midwest and later across the country.

I have been making a living as a journalist for over a decade now, but something was missing. I wanted to pull out all of those stories and novels I had stashed in drawers and get them circulating.

My first work of fiction, The Bowdancer, a fantasy romance novella, was published by Breathless Press in December 2009. It was the first of many books. Two more were published by Breathless Press and four more were released by Must It Up Publishing in 2011 and two more in 2012. I have three more books I owe Muse It Up to flesh out two trilogies. And I have a new occult series that I'm eager to get writing.

In January 2011, after a divorce and a major relocaiton, I'm living in New Mexico and learning to be independent. I'm writing a self-help book for women over 40 called Starting Over, Standing Strong: Lessons on the Journey to Change. I'm learning a lot about myself that I think will help other women. I hope to start a professional speaking career with that book and lauch several workshops.

I just wonder what my uncle would say now about my storytelling?