About Charmaine Coimbra

MeThanks for visiting Charmaine’s Muse Pallet–
a collection of thoughts, observations and commentary.

While I have always taken to pen and paper (way before computers), my professional writing career began with the Antelope Valley Press in Palmdale, Ca. as a feature writer, columnist, and photographer.

The former editorial and advertising staff gathered for a 2013 AV Press Reunion. Top photo: Former editorial staff: 2nd photo former reporter David Foy and Charmaine Coimbra; 3rd photo, the editorial bosses, Vern Lawson and Don Hanson; 4th photo former photographer (who worked with me on many a story) Nancy Dombek Mayerson.
AV Press Reunion.

Many of my newspaper stories led to a freelance career and publication in The Los Angeles Times, The Sacramento Bee, Women’s World, Cat Magazine, Ford Times, The Fresno Bee, The Albuquerque Journal and more.  

I filled in my freelance income as a public relations and marketing director–until I bought a bookstore in Santa Fe, NM.

In 2003 my first fiction work, The Gathering Basket, was published.

As the world appears to spin out of control, it  compelled me to write, “Connection — With 48 Natural Contemplations,” and a companion journal, “Seek Beauty, Find Joy.” Both books are available for purchase on this website.

I also completed an autobiography at the suggestion of my beloved mentor, the late Edward Parone, and many of my readers, “A California Girl: Seeking the Sun, Sea and Spirit.”  After thinking about the work, I’ve put the manuscript to bed for the time being.

Inspired by my time as a marine docent for Friends of the Elephant Seal, I recently published  “Isu Learns to Swim: The Story of a Northern Elephant Seal Pup in California.”  It is a creative nonfiction picture book for children. It is available for purchase on this website.

Until my recent return to Santa Fe, NM,  I wrote a column for my local paper, The Cambrian, about volunteerism.  On occasion my commentaries and feature stories find publication in local newspapers and magazines, travel blogs, and national magazines. But, honestly, today’s freelance writing is a tough market that is for the young!

As a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists, I write and edit Neptune 911.  It’s about our trash, our seas, ourselves.  

The Daily Prism is a daily post about what’s good around us. This blog was inspired by an interview I heard with the Dalai Lama. 

I trained and volunteered as a docent for Friends of the Elephant Seal.  FES informally educates the thousands of visitors who come to view the northern elephant seal at Piedras Blancas, Ca.   I also volunteered  as a co-coordinator for a fundraising event, Soupabration! (see KSBY ) that benefits Pacific Wildlife Care in Morro Bay, Ca.  I’ve served on many boards of directors to include a nonprofit international relief group that focuses on Nepal, The Rural Health and Education Project, and the California Gray Whale Coalition.

Over the years a few accolades and awards have come my way. They include:

  • 1980 Secretary of the Year;
  • Awards that range from 1st to 3rd place recognitions by Western Fairs Association for AV Fair marketing and promotions and newsletters;
  • Recognition for publicity service to Antelope Valley Horseman’s Association;
  • Community Service Appreciation by Kiwanis of Antelope Valley;
  • Former President of Alpha Charter Junior Guild to Antelope Valley Medical Center;
  • Scholarship to American Booksellers Association seminars and workshops by the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Association;
  •  Docent of the Year by Friends of the Elephant Seal;
  • California Coastal Commission Photography Honorable Mention;
  • First through Third Place photography awards at California Mid-State Fair.

Check out my Facebook page, and my Instagram account. I’m also on LinkedIn and Pinterest.

Hobbies and hidden talents include cooking, playing piano (with Cole Porter hits my passion), reading, wine tasting, gardening and hiking.

I’m married, have two magnificent daughters, two spectacular grandchildren, and a rescue Siamese cat.

Be sure to visit my daughter Chef Dakota Weiss’s website: Chef Dakota.

Photographer-Reporter on Assignment. (2)

Lower B&W Photo:  The Santa Fe Mother Blogger before blogs.  It’s 1982 and she’s on a news assignment when the late Jack Overlade, also on assignment, caught her in action. 

8 thoughts on “About Charmaine Coimbra

  1. Hello fellow freelancer…I found you on VN and now will follow your blog. I created my freelancer writing platform late last year with the plan to have a credible portfolio when I leave/retire from ‘real’ work. I hope we can swap stories and experiences sometime.

  2. Hello fellow freelancer , I’m a Nigerian journalist and just got to know about your blog. I’m currently working on a documentary I’ve titled “Death in the Palm” which focuses on the highly lethargic environmental condition of the Ogoni people, a kingdom numbering about 1.5 million people, constituting one of the many indigenous peoples in the region of South East Nigeria an area of about 650 square kilometers, resulting in a very high population density.
    The extraordinary fertility of the Niger Delta where the Ogoni is located had historically allowed them to make a good living as subsistence farmers and fishing people before oil struck the land in 1958.
    56 years later, the Ogoni now faces a possibility of extinction resulting from decades of a cannibalistic-ally styled oil exploration by oil giants Shell. This harsh reality of what has been termed environmental terrorism has been verified and confirmed in a 2011 United Nations Environmental Programme report which assessed over 200 locations in Ogoniland and revealed that impacts of the more than five decades oil production in the region extended deeper than previously thought. Oil spills, oil flaring, and waste discharge had rendered the alluvial soil of the place no longer viable for agricultural purpose. In areas that seemed to be unaffected, groundwater was found to have high levels of hydrocarbons or were contaminated with benzene, a carcinogen, at 900 levels above World Health Organisation guidelines. Since 2011, the report had estimated that it could take up to 30 years to rehabilitate Ogoniland to its full potential and just a Meagre $1bn for the first five years of the clean-up.

    It is four years now and nothing has been done. Spills have continued till now even as I write this. This story have been the least covered of this nature of environmental degradation in the world as foreign journalists who try to come and tell it are unable to reach some of the deadliest scenes due to the difficult characteristically deltaic make up of Ogoni: uneven terrain, numerous creeks, shallow brackish water bodies and a variety of vegetation types including swamp forests.

    I have decided for the first time as an Ogoni born journalist to return back home from my base as a freelance journalist in Accra-Ghana and tell a personal story of this situation, including the story of my grandmother, a once active farmer who is now partially blind as a result of Ogoni’s poisonous environment.
    I do hope to share the story with you when I’m done .

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