GROWING UP, from age five through her senior year of college, three things became Alison Marshall’s way of self-expression: storytelling and writing poetry, (the left brain), and on the opposing side, electronics.

Survival, however, soon shelved her dreams. By the time Alison entered the workforce, business, and specifically computers, became her way of life.

Alison began her professional career in the field of Marketing and Public Relations right out of college where she first honed the art of crafting and pitching client stories in management and A.E. positions at West Coast PR firms like Field Marketing Inc. and Corporate Communication. Many of her jobs developed in the direction of marketing and advertising, which eventually lead to her concentration in IT. During this time, she served on the board of directors for AD-Club Orange County, B/PAA (Business Professional Advertising Association), and also on the Orange County Board for United Way Special Events. This particular branch of the United Way used the unusual and memorable art of sand sculptures for fundraising events in the Newport Beach area.

Though she earlier had tabled writing and storytelling, after five years in the public relations industry, Alison rediscovered her love of computers. She saw art in the architecture of computers. By the late 80’s, and with the help of a staffing agency, Alison secured a great job in the IT world less than a few years before dotcoms supplanted Wall Street as the center of business power and prowess. It was her dream job. Imperial Credit Industries (ICI) ran her ragged floor to floor fixing endless technical problems, addressing issues with “dummy” computer screens (a screen which was used for nothing more than numbers fed from an offsite location) she ensured that all the agents were up to date on all things numerical from the night before. Along the way, ICI encouraged Alison’s life away from work serving on many diverse boards and business organizations. Unfortunately, ICI downsized and as Alison was one of the last to be hired, she was one of the first to be let go.

In the spring of 1993, Alison moved north to Larkspur California to pursue new job opportunities in IT. As she struggled to find work her early love for writing crept back onto the Day Planner and those stories that unfolded in her mind years earlier now began to take shape on paper. Still, the necessity of eating as well as paying rent were never far from Alison’s mind so she went to work for Charles Schwab in their Mutual Fund Division in San Francisco’s Financial District which once again led her back into IT. The torment of the early morning commute, and the aggravation from her difficult boss enticed Alison to get out before the next downsizing. The computer world now behind her, Alison picked up a position in office administration. She returned to authoring poetry and long-form stories. Since story arcs mattered more to her now than market swings and office politics, writing soon occupied more and more of Alison’s private time.

Within a year of her transition out of the tech world, poetry began pouring out of her as she struggled with the shocking loss of her mother, while navigating the wonders and uncertainties of a new marriage. Her then husband was the bread winner affording Alison her first opportunity to attend writer’s conferences, first on Maui, then on Oahu. She learned a great deal about the craft and it was during this stage in her career that her story lines started coming together. Her latest project, The 9 to 5 Sovereign, is currently presenting for representation consideration on the lit agency circuit. Though a fantasy, The 9 to 5 Sovereign is Alison’s first story that she says, “I’ve ever really believed in both commercially and intrinsically.” It’s fun, romantic, suspenseful, and represents the best of her creative talent to date.

The 500-page tale follows the life of a 30-something woman in modern day San Francisco who has no memory of her life as a powerful witch, the high-queen of her realm. This is the ancient realm of Taraval. A dark and potentially more powerful wizard is after her. He is determined to claim her memories to aggrandize his own power and ultimately, rule the world. Another wizard, Cedric, whose ‘day job’ is as a partner in an architecture firm, has been sent to protect Jenna and help her regain her memories without giving her away to the enemy. Will he succeed? Or will it be the end of our world as we know it? And will she ever get that latte stain out of her only new suit, the one that her protector and future lover, inadvertently destroyed during that first time close encounter at Starbucks?

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