I was raised in Lake of the Woods County in northern Minnesota, where my earliest jobs included writing a column at The Northern Light, working as a curator's assistant at the Lake of the Woods Historical Society, and helping direct a children's community theater show. I've studied writing at Augsburg University, Hollins University, and the University of Minnesota, and as a part of the Loft Literary Center Mentor Series in 2004-2005. I've taught writing at the University of Minnesota, Augsburg University, the International Music Camp Summer School of Fine Arts, and The Loft Literary Center, as well as through the SASE Wings program at Intermedia Arts.
My awards include fellowships and residencies from the Minnesota State Arts Board, the McKnight Foundation, the Bush Foundation, Yaddo, the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, the Knight Foundation, and The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. My poetry, fiction, plays, and reviews have been included in magazines such as The Hollins Critic, The Rio Grande Review, Pleiades, Glimmer Train Stories, Puerto del Sol, Cerise Press, New South, Phantasmagoria, The Emprise Review, and Provincetown Arts, and my chapbook of poems, Fun & Games, was published in 2009 by Finishing Line Press. My life-and-works essays on Jane Johnston Schoolcraft and Tess Gallagher have appeared in the American Writers Supplement (Volumes XXIII & XXIV) and I wrote two series of books for hi-lo readers (targeted at grades 5-8) for Full Tilt Press, Origins: Urban Legends and Origins: Whodunits. They were published under the name C.M. Johnson in 2017 and 2018. I published a literary mystery, The Girl in Duluth, under the name Sigrid Brown in February of 2022 and my novel Annika Rose will be published by Red Hen Press in the spring of 2024.
I'm also an amateur musician and visual artist; I show my work at Bleeding Hearts Studio in northeast Minneapolis. I love to collaborate with other artists. One of my favorite collaborations is Crocus Hill Ghost Story, a literary performance project I helped to create with composer/performer Julie Johnson, St. Paul, MN-based new music ensemble Zeitgeist, and actor/director/writer/filmmaker D.J. Mendel. The project has been supported by the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Knight Foundation and we've performed it in St. Paul, New York Mills, and Red Wing, MN.