Crow Creek,  Devils Glen,  Uncategorized,  writing

Iowa: The Return!

We’re moving back to Bettendorf! Well, it’s “back” for me, but my family will experience Iowa life for the first time—I’m curious to see how they handle their first Midwest winter. I know they’ll love fall and they’ll eventually get used to the summer humidity, but I pray the polar vortex you guys had last winter doesn’t become an annual occurrence or I’ll be getting some dirty looks in the house from January through March.

Actually, Michelle is geared up for this adventure and even Reznor’s coming around to it. As you can guess, moving away from all your friends is high on the list of stuff-you-don’t-want-to-do-when-you’re-fourteen. But he plans to play football in high school, so we couldn’t have picked a better place for that. His eyes lit up when he saw all the state championship banners! He’s been a good sport about this life-changing decision, all things considered.

I’ve accepted a teaching position at Bettendorf High School, which will be surreal, I’m sure. However, everyone I’ve talked to has been fantastic, so I know I’ll fit right in. Unfortunately, leaving Los Angeles means I must leave the place I’ve worked for the past twenty years, Northpoint School. I agonize saying goodbye to so many friends—they’ve truly been my California family. I wish I could bring everyone with me.

California has been good to me. It gets a bad reputation for a variety of reasons, but there’s so much to love here too. This wasn’t an easy decision, but we’re ready for a change and a more affordable lifestyle. We should be in Iowa by the first week in August.


Our biggest plan is to start our own art school! Michelle has worked as the staff training and quality assurance officer for a chain of art schools here in California called Mission: Renaissance. She previously ran about ten studios for them, so she has tons of experience in that area.

She will license their drawing and painting methods and bring them to the Quad Cities. It’s an amazing method anyone can learn with kids and adults classes. More details to come, but Michelle hopes to get this program up and running as soon as possible. If anyone has inside info on office/studio/storefront space in the Bettendorf area, shoot me a message.


With all of this moving stuff happening, it’s been difficult to find time for writing. Messages from beta readers trickle in with great feedback on The Last House drafts, giving me much to work with on those edits. I’m keeping patient with this one because I think it has potential to be a special story.

And Jack Davies is getting some attention too. Book 3 of the Bettendorf Tales has been on the back burner for a while, but I’m getting my act together and should jump into the thick of it once we get settled in Iowa. I won’t promise anything but my goal is a September 2020 release!


Stranger Things (NETFLIX) – Good stuff in season 3. It’s a little uneven and a lot more frenetic, but I’m having fun with it. And these characters are hard not to like.

Handmaid’s Tale (HULU) – I can feel myself losing interest, just a little. Too many false escapes and not enough character development. No number of slow zoom shots on Elizabeth Moss’s expressive face can make up for the strange choices the writers have made for her character over the past two seasons. It’s still compelling television when it works, but if the show can’t progress beyond the same old ground it keeps treading, I fear it will fizzle out within another season.

Chernobyl (HBO) – This is some of the best television you can watch right now. If you haven’t seen it yet, you should. Fantastic performances and stellar writing/directing. It is difficult to watch, but so worth it. Top-notch!

Euphoria (HBO) – Another hard one to watch. I’m about two or three episodes in. It‘s well made and the performances are fantastic, but I don’t know what to think yet. I will say one thing—there’s sure nothing else like it on TV.


I have seen nothing this summer, but here are the three movies I can’t wait to see.

Midsommar – From the director of Hereditary, my favorite movie of last year. Now in theaters.

The Lighthouse – From the director of The Witch, one of my favorite movies of the decade. I haven’t found a release date yet, but I’m hoping it comes out soon.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – Tarantino’s next-to-last movie. Opening July 26th.


Well, that’s all for now. I’ll write my next post on Iowa time! Or maybe I’ll try to post something from the road…


  • Andrea Collier Fleming

    As someone else who returned after many, many years away… I have to say that moving back to Bettendorf 5 years ago was one if the best things we’ve ever done. After living all over the country, Mark and I decided that Bettendorf was the best choice to raise our boys. They’ve thrived, we moved my mom back, Mark’s parents are here, and it’s a central location for my brother and sister to come visit.
    Excited to welcome you back, too!

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