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Local author pens poetry collection

Karen O'Leary, a wife, mother, nurse, and freelance writer, is the author of her first book.  She recently was awarded a publishing contract with Patricia Simpson, APFPublisher, for her collection of poetry titled "Whispers." She describes the book as a "gentle journey" that captures the essence of the serenity she wanted to convey.

Karen earned the contract after members of The Writers and Poetry Alliance voted for her poem in one of Simpson's anthologies. Winners are offered free publishing contracts with APFPublisher. She considers the opportunity a blessing.

"Whispers" is filled with a variety of styles and subjects suitable for all ages. Karen hopes it will serve to inspire readers throughout their life journeys.

"Ordinary Angels," a simple poem about those that give so much to others is one of her favorites. "People have been really touched by it," she noted.

Originally from Sauk Centre, Minn., Karen moved to Fargo in 1975 for her first nursing position. She married her husband, Gayle in 1983, at which time they moved to West Fargo and have resided in the community ever since. They have two daughters, Shannon and Megan.

Karen has had a passion for writing for as long as she can remember. She admitted that as a child she didn't enjoy poetry because most of what she was exposed to contained archaic language she found difficult to understand.

Then much later, in 2004, she discovered small market presses with talented writers that expressed themselves in readable forms. She decided to give it another try and has been writing poetry since.

Karen describes her writing abilities as "a gift in my life. l call it my sanity keeper.  It has aided me through challenges and helped me grow as a person."

She is partial to and enjoys writing concise forms such as cinquains, lanternes, and haiku, finding it a challenge to convey her ideas in just a few words.

As for inspiration, she said her writing "is born out of faith, an optimistic outlook, and life experiences" adding that publication opportunities have also influenced her choice of topics.  She has also been guided in her journey by editors requesting revisions and suggestions from a number of friends.

In order to maintain a balance, O'Leary is kept busy mainstreaming her newfound success into the daily scheme of life. She considers writing her hobby and she strives to keep it in perspective, viewing it as a shared experience. "If it consumes too much of my time, I back away for a while allowing it to recede into a proportion that fits with the rest of my life," she stated.

She added that her husband and daughters have been supportive, always there cheering her on. Her affiliation as a member of The Writers and Poetry Alliance and The Haiku Society of America also provide encouragement.

Karen said she appreciates the expressed interest in her accomplishments. "One of the biggest benefits of writing is the ability to connect with people all over the world.  I treasure the many friendships I've made through the experience.

"I am a humble writer blessed and grateful for opportunities to share my words. I hope to be able to continue publishing poetry in a variety of venues. I have participated in anthology fundraisers in the past and hope to explore more opportunities to help others with my writing in the future.»

Anyone interested in securing a copy of «Whispers» can do so by contacting O'Leary at or 701-281-0338. Cost is $12 if no shipping charges are involved and $15 if shipping is required. Copies are also available online at