Archive for the ‘Freelance writer’ Category

Now available — the biography of Charles W. Gehrke, From Melon Fields to Moon Rocks.From Melon Fields to Moon Rocks cover 032917

You can buy a signed copy here by clicking the PayPal button below.

The book is also available through  amazon.com and Barnes & Nobel.

A signing and book launch is planned for 5 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 26, 2017 in Orr Street Studios, 106 Orr Street, Columbia. RSVP to Dianna O’Brien at dobrien387@gmail.com

Have it shipped to you directly for $20, plus tax and shipping.

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So what’s From Melon Fields to Moon Rocks about?

Charles W. Gehrke was unflinching. Determined. Persistent.

He grew up among the poorest of the poor, yet carried only happy memories of those early years. Out of necessity he learned the value of hard work, as he and his brother helped support their family even as children — but he never complained and never stopped working even during his final days on this earth.

In the 1960s, his work searching for amino acids, the building blocks of life, drew the attention of NASA which would soon launch missions to the moon. Charles was tapped to investigate the lunar samples for signs of life. Spoiler alert: He didn’t find any — but a transcript the author uncovered of a radio program from that time shows that he thought he would.

In 1968, he did something else unusual at the time and brought his research to the marketplace, launching ABC Labs. The company thrived and before its buy out in 2015 it employed about 300 people. Today, ABC Labs now part of EAG Laboratories, a global scientific services company headquartered in San Diego.

The book, From Melon Fields to Moon Rocks highlights the adventurous life of Charles W. Gehrke, a biochemist, entrepreneur and family man.

Published by Yolanda Ciolli’s firm, Compass Flower Press, and designed by Ginny Booker, the book was released in April 2017.

Have it shipped to you directly for $20, plus tax and shipping.

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As a freelance writer, I love unusual assignments, like the one I received from Sarah Redohl of the Columbia Business Times. She wanted me to find the origins of the rock and stone so visible in Columbia’s buildings.

Seemed simple. How hard can it be to find a hole in the ground that produced enough rock for much of the University of Missouri’s White Campus as well as many fine homes along the older parts of Columbia?

So much for simple. Until 1971, Missouri quarries were barely regulated. People could open one — and close one — without much left in the way of documentation. Old maps didn’t help much. Old documents simply referred to the quarry south of town. How south? Where was town when that 1906 document referred to south of town? As the town grew, so did south of town, of course.

But shoe leather and research helped me find tales and documentation on past quarries and nearly forgotten industries, including Columbia’s brickworks. We used to have eight of them, the most recent one closed in 1984. I talked the remaining owner of that firm, Liz Kennedy, who was kind enough to show me the brick samples she kept in her backyard. She told me her family’s company furnished the brick for much of the MU campus, many for buildings now fated to be demolished and replaced. Soon that legacy of local brick could be lost as well.

Except for this article and this reporting.

The Rock that Built Us –Doug Mertens of Mid-Missouri Limestone fights the image of quarries as dirty, dangerous places. Instead, he says they’re essential to life as we know it today, supplying not just building materials, but the necessities for infrastructure from streets to sewer drainage. At one time, Columbia, Missouri boasted 30 quarries and eight brickworks. Today, many of those quarries are forgotten, built on or around. Today, one is part of a local park, another is the behind a university building. The history of Boone County’s quarries translates into the stone and brick buildings that still stand today.

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Looking for a writer who can dig into almost anything and come up with a well-written, snappy piece for a magazine, website or online publication? You’ve found her.

A 10 1/2-hour time difference didn’t keep me from connecting with a source and historic information that had literally been dug up and carted away didn’t keep me from completing another assignment.

I write articles, case studies and posts for websites and consumer and business-to-business publications. Topics I’ve covered  have included international studies, rock quarries, pet-food packaging, Fulbright scholarswomen business enterprise certificateshistoric homes and health issues such as cancer and arthritis.

As a writer I cook — take a look at this first-person travel essay on Moroccan cooking classes.

I’m easy to work with, professional and a fiend about accuracy and deadlines.

Take a look at my clips and give me a call at 573.424.5749 or email me at dobrien387@gmail.com.

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As a freelance writer, I never let anything keep me from completing an assignment — not even a 10 1/2-hour time difference for one source or an unreliable internet connection for another source.

For this piece, I interviewed one person via email, because her training schedule in Pune, India, kept her from making our appointments to talk via Skype. I interviewed a source in Rwanda via Skype text messages because her internet wasn’t fast enough to touch base by Skype.

No matter. I got the story — and my client the International Center at the University of Missouri got the news they wanted for their website.

Read the piece below:

Study abroad paves the way for post-graduation opportunities — The way to Dubai, a master’s degree and a position as news director at Rwanda’s first private television station started with study-abroad programs for these three University of Missouri graduates.

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As a freelance writer, I’m learning all the time. For this article, I needed to study up on art, academic success backlash and dairy cow reproduction. The result is an article that highlights the benefits of scholars going to abroad for the scholars themselves , their students and the University of Missouri.

I also learned that Fulbright scholars are open to a wide range of study, literally from the fields of Ireland to ancient cities. The use of the amazing photographs and several subheads make the article super accessible on the website of the International Center of the University of Missouri. Take a peek at the article: Bringing it back to MU.

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As a freelance writer, I tackle challenging topics for business-to-business magazines, making even the toughest issue interesting and informative.

For this article, I talked to top executives to get their take on how they decide what kind of training to offer, electronic, in person, team building, leadership training among an amazing array of options. Take a look at the article in Training Magazine‘s November issue.

I’ve been writing for business-to-business magazines for nearly a decade, covering everything from creating a pizza empire to credit unions. So if you’re looking for a writer who loves to research new topics, uncover the unusual and decode the tough side of business issues, you’ve found her.

As a former newspaper reporter, I know how to hit the deadline, fact check and deliver professional copy that won’t need any heavy editing. But if you do edit, I won’t squawk. I’m not a diva; I’m just a good reporter and writer who makes an editor’s job a little easier.

Here’s what Sarah Redohl, an editor at the Columbia Business Times, said about me:

“When I assign something to Dianna I know it will get done on time, and there won’t be extensive edits or fact-checks that don’t fare well. Furthermore, she will not cower in the face of a challenging story. Instead she does whatever is needed to get the story done and frequently digs up additional dirt in the process.”

So if you’re looking for someone to write top-notch articles, blog posts or case studies, contact me at dobrien387@gmail.com or 573.424.5749.

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As a freelance writer, I love writing about historic homes and even more, I love making new discoveries. Combine the two and you’ve got this article about the historic home at 121 West Boulevard in Columbia, Missouri.

For years, newspaper and magazine articles have proclaimed this house was built by Arch McHarg from oaks on the lot. And each update of changes in ownership repeated that information. But when I started to do the research, I found that information couldn’t actually be proved. I researched the records for the property and found that Arch and his wife Blanche didn’t own the house or the lot until 1935, long after the log cabin had been built in 1911, making the possibility that Arch had brandished an ax to build the log cabin unlikely. However, the records indicate the McHargs were responsible for transforming the humble log cabin into the present stone and wood siding cottage.

I also learned that while Herb and Betty Brown owned the house for decades, prior to their ownership, a fellow journalist lived there, Nadine Coleman, and she’s the origins of the gardens the Browns kept so immaculate and fresh.

Interested in reading more? Click on this link: The Hansel and Gretel House, often called the fairy-tale cottage or the Gingerbread house is surrounded by gardens, making it a cozy sight. But inside the house is a log cabin, making it a touch stone to Columbia’s pioneer past. This article was published in Missouri Life magazine.

Have you written any articles that disproved any often repeated facts? Are there any historic homes that you know harbor hidden history? I’d love to hear your take on updating history.

 

 

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