Background and Experience
I was raised by my single mother, Dorothy, mostly in small towns in Wisconsin and southern Illinois. My extended family includes two surviving sisters and two brothers. I feel blessed that both my parents are still alive. I contribute to my mother’s and my older sister’s income on a monthly basis.
My father, Louis J. Ceci, is a retired Justice of the State Supreme Court of Wisconsin.
Me, my mother, Dorothy, and my sister, Remy, at a fish fry in Nelson, Wisconsin for Mom's 90th birthday in 2017. Mom passed away in July, 2022.
Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Speech Education from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.
PhD in Performance Studies from Northwestern University.
Master of Science in Computer Science from the University of Colorado, Boulder.
In 2014, Skype partnered with Marvel Studios to add Marvel-themed emojis to Skype messaging. This special feature coincided with the release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. As one of the developers, I got to attend the opening and see the stars walk down the red carpet. Pictured: Chris Evens as Steve Rogers with a lucky fan.
12 years as a public educator.
Five years as a high school teacher of speech and English in Benton, Illinois. My extracurricular speech and drama programs won awards for my school, my students, and myself. I was also a high school librarian for a semester while I wrote my dissertation.
Over 20 years in the tech industry, rising from technical writer to Principal Software Engineer. Retired from Skype as Senior Software Engineer in 2015. My favorite accomplishment as a software developer was designing and implementing Skype’s user interface for the blind and visually impaired. Other than teaching high school, it was the most rewarding work I did, benefitting hundreds of thousands of users.
I am owner, editor, and publisher at Beautiful Dreamer Press, which I started in Mountain View in 2001 and continue here in Nevada City. BDP publishes novels, anthologies, and poetry chapbooks of interest to the LGBTQ community. We have won awards for our books from the Independent Book Publishers Association and from Rainbow Reviews.
I am an author as well. I have contributed short stories and poems to several anthologies, both on line and in print. I won an international poetry slam in Sidney, Australia, in 2002. I have self-published four novels. My books focus on the dynamics of small communities and how they deal with people who are considered outsiders.
I am a part owner and investor in Saratoga Springs Retreat Center in Lake County. We have survived wildfires and COVID, and we’re still here, offering comfort, solitude, and community in a beautiful natural setting.
I am a member of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Nevada City, where I am a frequent lector at Mass and contribute to and serve food for our Feeding the Hungry program.
The lively arts in Nevada City are truly lively. They are one of the reasons I moved here. I had the pleasure of being in two Sierra Stages productions, You Can’t Take It with You and Cabaret, and received Outstanding Performance recognition from the Sacramento Area Regional Theatre Alliance for both. I am eager to see and be in new productions as our performing arts scene reopens.
I am a competitive master’s swimmer. Most recently, I had second and third place finishes in six events at the Pacific Masters Short Course Meters Championships (2021). I have competed in the FINA world championships three times, the National Senior Games championships, and won two gold and three silver medals in the International Gay and Lesbian Aquatics World Championships in Melbourne (2020). I train regularly and hope to continue competing for many years to come.
With Sue LeGate in Sierra Stages' production of Cabaret, 2019. Photo by David Wong.