Joy Overbeck
Journalist and Author

Always fighting injustice!

My feature and essay work has been published in many national and regional magazines, including Redbook, Woman's Day, Health, Readers Digest, Newsweek, Family Fun, Cosmopolitan, High Country News, The Constitutionalist Today, LUXE, 5280 Denver Magazine, Vail-Beaver Creek Magazine, and Rocky Mountain Golf. (No, I don't play golf.)

You will find some samples at the column to the right, including the articles that won the Colorado Authors' League's Best Feature Awards for 2009, 2010 and 2012. Please contact me to see more of my work.

I am also the author of three published books, two of them humor books published by Pocket Books, Simon & Schuster. You can read about them below.

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I've been awarded the Colorado Authors League Best Feature Article Award three out of the last four years--in 2012 for "Who Do They Call?" about the exciting adventures of the Vail Mountain Rescue Group (Vail Valley Magazine.) Click the title in the column to the right to read the article.



The Story So Far

Words wove an intoxicating enchantment for me very early in life. My writing career was launched with the parental Christmas gift of a hand-cranked, rotary toy printing press when I was seven years old. Ink stained fingers! Movable type! Soon, I was writing and publishing a newspaper covering the riveting goings-on in my Park Ridge, Illinois, neighborhood. From time to time, yellowed copies of that legendary publication surface on Antiques Road Show where they command awed appraisals in the seven figures.

For me, writing is endlessly fascinating as it allows me to search the lives and psyches of a far-flung variety of carbon-based life forms, both human and animal. I have probed and revealed in print the feelings and motivations of artists, architects, interior designers, politicians, restaurateurs, captains of industry, longhorn cattle ranchers, straying wives and husbands, a killer buyer who purchases horses to send to slaughter, an altruistic dentist, a legendary extreme skiing film star, a university president, an internationally-famous cancer expert, dogs who read, a bunch of irrepressible types who are actively flunking retirement, the art-loving owners of multi-million dollar homes, and so many more.

And the challenges keep coming. Every time I talk to someone new, I learn more about the workings of our intriguing world and the wonderful unpredictability of people. In this, I delight -- so if you have a challenge for me, I'd love to hear about it.


Thanks for visiting!





AND EVEN MORE ABOUT ME...

Education and Advertising Career

After graduating with honors and a B. A. in English Literature from the University of Illinois at Champaign, (I also attended DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana) my advertising career began with a position as fashion copywriter at Carson Pirie Scott and Co. department stores in Chicago. I was responsible for writing ads, catalogues, and direct mail for a dozen women's and junior fashion departments for this large, state-wide store chain.

Before long, I moved to Denver, Colorado, and worked for Campbell Mithun and other ad agencies as a copywriter on client accounts including banks, home builders, ski areas, developers, cable companies, medical devices, and food products before becoming a freelance writer.


Becoming an Author

My first book, Ranchos de Taos San Francisco de Asis Church (Lowell Press 1981), describes the history and renovation of the famous, Spanish 16th Century adobe landmark near Taos, one of the grandest and most-photographed historic churches in the nation.

Next came a satire inspired by my advertising career, The Whole Birth Catalogue (Pocket Books 1986), a spoof of yuppie high-performance baby-having in a mock catalogue that contains over 100 whimsical, outrageous, not-available-anywhere products for pregnancy and childbirth. Nevertheless, readers persistently attempted to order these fantasy items. People Magazine called the book, “utterly enjoyable... hilariously cynical,” and featured the book, my daughter and myself in a 5-page spread. Publisher’s Weekly said it was “well-conceived and wonderfully delivered” and named the book one of the “Ten Best Nonfiction Paperbacks of 1986.”


Then I wrote Love Stinks: The Romantic’s Guide to Breaking Up Without Breaking Down (Pocket Books 1990). Pocket called the book “a wise and witty look at the agonies of parting and the ecstasies of moving on.” Publisher’s Weekly’s review had high praise: “This urbane guide to the fine art of ending relationships packs a laugh a minute into its perceptive pointers. Her light style is sure to bolster the heartbroken.” In 1991,the British and Australian editions were published by HarperCollins; in 1992 Love Stinks was translated into Italian (Sperling & Kupfer.) From the book I created an amusing play that enjoyed a successful run in Denver. Love Stinks also led to my hosting a talk show called “The Joy of Parenting” on top-rated Colorado radio stations KOA and KTLK.

Feature Magazine Work

I have also written articles and essays on a variety of topics for national publications including Newsweek, Redbook, Readers Digest, TV Guide, Family Fun, New Woman, Parents, Cosmopolitan, Woman’s Day, and Health Magazine. Also the Chicago Tribune, Denver Post, Houston Post, Washington Times, and Tampa Tribune, among others, as well as a number of essays as a syndicated columnist for Writers on the Range, a service of High Country News with scores of subscribing newspapers across the West.

My work has appeared in many local and regional magazines such as 5280 Denver Magazine, LUXE, Vail/​Beaver Creek Magazine, Colorado Expression, Architecture and Design of the West, and others.

My feature subjects cover a wide range, from personal profiles, relationship and lifestyle topics to the West, political issues, interior design, art and architecture, travel, and restaurants. My advertising career taught me how to quickly master subjects I know nothing about, enabling me to accept virtually any writing assignment. I particularly enjoy interviewing interesting people with intriguing stories; my editors have sometimes expressed amazement over my ability to draw my subjects out and obtain great quotes.

I am so fortunate to live in Colorado where my friends and I love to spur our horses out to explore the exhilarating freedom of the mountains and plains.

My paint horse Buckshot

Selected Worksplease contact me to see additional samples

When a hapless mountain hiker is lost or caught in a June snowstorm, or when a kayaker gets pinned against a river rock, the gutsy volunteers of Vail Mountain Rescue are first on the scene!
The incredible working dogs of the Vail Valley help kids read, cheer hospital patients, track down lost hikers, and find avalanche victims.
America's horses are being slaughtered for foreigners' dinner plates; an unlikely band of rescuers is trying to save them.
Exploring the mysterious bond of affection and communication between local equine athletes and their loving owners.
Revamping a used-and-abused 1980's party house proves an interesting challenge for a young Eagle-Vail family.
A vintage 1870's home in Breckenridge's Historic District gives up its surprising secrets.
Celebrated photographer John Fielder's latest book traces the stories of Colorado's heirloom ranches as well as his own transformation from an ardent foe of cattle ranching to ranchland preservationist.
A mountain architectural firm known for its enviro pedigree sometimes has to smash a few government rules to build green.
This outstanding Beaver Creek home showcases some of the most dazzling talents in modern art.
The three flags flying from Rudi and Jennifer Fronk’s mountain home – flags of America, Canada, and Colorado – say it all.
Sometimes trading tales with someone you've never met -- at the park, on a plane, in the cereal aisle -- leads to grand adventures... or at least sunnier days.
Does flirting with someone who’s not your mate damage your marriage, or enhance it?
Should Centennial State property owners be worried about government and private developers conspiring to steal their land? It's happening right here, right now.
Exploring the art and history of these Southwest gems is the ultimate road trip.
Once nearing extinction, these iconic beasts of the great Lonesome Dove cattle drives are making a Colorado comeback.
For the authentic dude ranch experience with deluxe ambiance, head to Smith Fork Ranch where cowgirls never have the blues.