About Me


Marilyn beach photo 1I grew up on my grandparents’ ranch in eastern Oregon, serious cattle country and home to Basque sheepherders, until spring 1954 when my parents moved our young family to an even larger cattle ranch in northwest Wyoming–the setting for my debut novel, Hardpan, published by Westerly Directions Press in 2015, and my upcoming middle-grade children’s book, The Clark Valley Chronicles.

Based on reader feedback for Hardpan, I’ve started work on a sequel, working title Jo, featuring one of the main characters from the novel, Jo Glover.

Along with an MA in English from Cal State-East Bay, I have taken creative writing courses through UCLA’s Extension Program, and participated in the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference (NVWC) to learn more about the craft of writing. I was honored to be invited by the NVWC to participate as a First Books Panelist at their annual writer’s conference in July 2017.

I completed an outstanding course on middle grade fiction sponsored by the Children’s Book Academy (CBA) in Spring 2017. Shortly after, I participated in the 30th Annual Summer Fishtrap, a gathering of writers in the spectacular Wallowa mountains of northeastern Oregon.

After completing my first career in university administration in 2014, I moved from San Francisco to Sonoma County with my husband Bob and soon joined the Redwood Writers, a large and active branch of the California Writers Club based in Santa Rosa. I’m currently Vice President of Redwood Writers, and co-chairing the biennial Pen to Published writer’s conference set for Saturday, April 21, 2018 in Santa Rosa. I’m also a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI); and formerly with the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association (BAIPA) and the Left Coast Writers, hosted by Book Passage in Corte Madera.

Two short stories, “The Drop-off” and “The Invisible Delivery Man,”were published in the 2016 Redwood Writers Anthology, Untold Stories. An article, “Sentimental Journey,” based on my Wyoming book tour in Summer 2016 was published by Medium last Fall.

In Fall 2018, my short story, “Meeting at Midnight,” will be published in the 2018 Redwood Writers Anthology, Redemption.

11 Responses to About Me

  1. Rebecca norbye says:

    Hi Marilyn Rebecca Hallin but now Nordbye here Cindy Reber younger sister. Saw your post on facebook to Lauren about your book! How exciting! not sure if you knew I live in WA now Federal Way and got married about 1 yrs ago. I have lived here 6 yrs now. I had been in CO for about 19 yrs but was time to move closer to family. hope you are doing well

    • mskinnerlanier says:

      Hi Rebecca,
      What a pleasant surprise! Yes, of course I remember you, though it’s been a long time! Wonderful to hear from you again, and that you’re in Washington, near Cindy. We left Colorado in 1995; like you, I wanted to be closer to family. Bob and I are doing well. We live in Sonoma County now. Maybe we can see you again sometime! Hope you enjoy reading my book. I’ll have hardcover and paperback versions in September!

  2. Gard 3 says:

    Hey Marilyn, dad told me about your book, am very stoked to read it. Thanks for telling these stories, they’re lost on our kids’ generation (they have no clue why Rifleman was a great show or what it takes to really do a full day’s work)

    All my best,


    • mskinnerlanier says:

      Hi G3,
      What a great Christmas surprise! I’m pleased that your dad told you about my book, and that you’re excited about reading it. Very cool. I hope you’ll enjoy it. You’ll probably recognize the JV setting in parts I and III, and maybe some of the characters, though I have to remind my own family members that it’s fiction. That’s the fun of fiction–the author gets to create the scenes and develop the characters as she wishes:) Are you living in Boise? I hope to have a book reading there next year, and would love to see you again! Happy new year to you and your whole family, Marilyn

  3. Donna Markle says:

    Marilyn: feel free to use my letter as needed.

    • mskinnerlanier says:

      Thanks so much, Donna. I’ll post it on my web site tomorrow. I love that we both grew up in rural Wyoming in the 1950s, and that the story of the young ranch family in Hardpan–Kurt and Jo Glover–resonated with you. Best wishes, Marilyn

  4. Hello Marilyn:
    I got your name from a list of reviewers and wondered if you review children’s books. I am the author of a middle grade novel for which I am currently seeking reviews. Thanks for your time. Jessie L. Best

    • mskinnerlanier says:

      Hi Jessie,
      I haven’t done a review of children’s books before, but am willing to give it a try if you still need a review for your children’s novel.
      Where did you see my name on a list of reviewers (just curious!)?
      Best wishes, Marilyn

  5. Judy House says:

    Hi Marilyn,
    You left a copy of your book, “Hardpan” at Book Passage in Corte Madera for review. Unfortunately, your contact information has been lost. I would appreciate your giving me your email address so that I may communicate with you.
    Judy House

  6. Joanne collins says:

    I purchased Hardpan at the Sonoma County Fair and we spoke about living in houses built with square nails that were original Homestead homes. I read the book Sunday and Monday. You had me in the first paragraph!
    I can’t begin to tell you how many times I drove through Jordan Valley and stopped for gas and snacks. Such stunning beauty.
    The true name of a Basque family and the name Skinner made memories flow. I lived in Boise and at one time had a neighbor named Steve Skinner who was from a ranching family in JordanValley!
    I really enjoyed the story and believe it is ideal for Middle School through 109.

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