IMG_2403Hello, there! I am Michelle Chalkey, a freelance writer, editor and blogger living in Des Moines, Iowa.

I currently do technical writing for Wells Fargo and I write various articles for Iowa Living Magazines. I have expertise and experience in a variety of areas, including health, fitness, education and faith, but my passion and specialty comes in writing book reviews and covering all things related to the world of literature and authors.

In 2013, I began the blog 4-Layer Cake as a way to share book reviews along with my ideas and experiences in the subjects of long-distance running, baking and writing. My posts have been featured on the popular health and fitness blogs Fit Bottomed Girls and Fit Bottomed Eats, as well as the Iowa Living Magazines blog and the Des Moines Writers’ Workshop blog.

In addition to blogging, I have been writing newspaper, magazine and web articles since 2007. Back in my hometown of Streator, Illinois, my first job post-college was a staff reporter for The Times Newspaper. In that time, I covered everything from City Council and education to concerts and authors. That position gave me the opportunity to be involved in the launch of Starved Rock Country Magazine, in which my article on Skydive Chicago landed on the cover.

Moving to Des Moines has allowed me to work with great publications, such as Iowa Living Magazines and Cityview. I also worked with Des Moines Public Schools (DMPS), producing newsletters, posters and other publications for their staff of over 5,000. In 2013 and 2014, I collaborated on the writing and editing process for a major grant which won DMPS the Energy Star Partner of the Year award both years.

Related to my passion (obsession) for reading, creative writing is also a heavy part of my portfolio. My short stories have been published on Short Fiction Break and Wordhaus, and I am currently drafting my first novel. As a member of the Des Moines Writers’ Workshop and of the online group Becoming Writer (The Write Practice), I frequently edit and critique the work of other writers.

I earned my bachelor’s degree in English and journalism from St. Ambrose University, where I gained three years of experience as the features editor of the campus newspaper, The Buzz, as well as experience in editing the campus literary magazine, Quercus. I am currently enrolled in Lynda.com’s course HTML Essential Training to further develop my web design skills, and I have completed the Writer’s Digest Blogging 101 course.

My incredibly supportive fiance, Kyle, and I are proud to be Des Moines eastsiders. Our sweet black lab, Yoshi, is the light of our lives. When I’m not writing or reading, Kyle and I are cooking up healthy meals in the kitchen or hitting up our favorite sushi restaurant in Des Moines.