Hi, I’m Marianne!
If I had to describe myself in three words, they would be writing, connection and creativity. For 20+ years, I've created books, cards and other gift products that help you share your feelings and connect with those you love. With more than 50 books and 6 million copies sold, I like to say I write for the “unique everybody.” Our stories are all different AND our feelings a lot the same: how we love our family and friends and how we want to make a difference in ways that matter to us. I believe self-expression is the gateway to connection with ourselves and others. I love speaking and hosting workshops, sharing my journey to invite you to honor your story and to choose courage and creativity in meaningful ways. My hope is that my work is a bridge to the message of your own heart!
The Story behind my Stories.
Since I was a young girl, I’ve always loved writing for its ability to make sense of the world around me. It’s long been my gift, seen in cards I made as a kid, journals I’ve kept for 30 years, essays adorned with teachers’ praises and chatty letters I sent my parents from afar, now bundled in keepsake boxes. Writing helped me understand myself and connect with others. That it could be my livelihood was another matter.
I envied my college pals who made a beeline to their dreams of becoming vets, musicians or accountants. Me? I changed majors three times, starting in Journalism (right idea but too factual), detouring through Home Economics (inexplicable, really) and landing in business school (why not?).
Lasting just 13 months in my first corporate marketing gig, I was frustrated early (ha!). Too many layers between my ideas and permission to execute. I started working for small, creative entities (with impassioned personas to match) in the marketing communications field, getting paid to articulate brand, emotion, and ideas. It was the “work until 2am to please the crazy boss” phase of my life.
Until I learned I had a brain tumor.
Starting at age 9, I had grand-mal, epileptic seizures that shook my being — physically and emotionally. Their cause went undiagnosed for 15 years until the discovery and removal of a benign brain tumor in my 20’s. I was terrified and relieved. It was the start of a new chapter of my life, seizure free.
To combat post-surgery boredom, I started hand-painting thank you cards for my well wishers. A friend started selling my simple creations to local retailers. A large holiday card order from Dayton Hudson Corporation pushed things from part-time hobby to full-fledged livelihood. Encouraged by my ability to create sellable products, I wrote and self-published my first book in 1997 called The Gift of an Angel, for parents welcoming a new child. My second book, The Gift of a Memory, a keepsake to commemorate the loss of a loved one, was inspired by a grief-stricken mom who first educated me about the twisty and painful journey through loss.
These two books became keepsakes for the “bookends of life” and ignited my passion to create products that honored the heart’s journey — the moments, the milestones, the relationships. For 16 years, my husband and I built and co-ran a multi-million dollar business in the competitive book publishing world, seeing our share of joy, disappointment, success, struggle, and hard work.
Now I’m back to working for myself, finding inspiration in the dailyness of life and partnering with the people and companies that allow me to do my greatest work!
My Beautiful Now.
After 23 years in Minneapolis, our family moved to California for three years and now to Nashville. This is my 7th house in five years. This for a girl who IS NOT crazy about change but IS ...