Introducing Karen



Karen Mocker Dabson, an experienced author of numerous short stories and poems, released an award-winning debut novel, The Muralist’s Ghost, in 2014. Since then, she has completed a second novel, Tarentum, and a third, The Story Catcher. 

Meet Karen

  • Writer of three novels and numerous poems, short stories, and journals
  • The Muralist’s Ghost, her debut novel published by Covered Bridge Publishing, is available at local independent bookstores, can be ordered by public libraries, or can be found on-line at,, and other places paper- and e-books are sold.

Writing Awards

  • 2021 Honorable mention for poem from Columbia Chapter of the Missouri Writers Guild (CCMWG)
  • 2020 First place for Flash Fiction from CCMWG
  • 2017 First place for poem in State of Missouri, Missouri Writers Guild Annual Contest
  • 2016 Second place for Flash Fiction from CCMWG
  • 2015, The Muralist’s Ghost, Missouri Writers Guild founders award (the Walter Williams Award), second place, for a book worthy of special recognition due to its research or high literary quality
  • 2015 First place for Flash Fiction from the CCMWG
  • 2015 & 2016 Juried placement in the Columbia Art League’s Interpretations III & IV shows and anthologies of short stories and poems
  • 2013 Editor’s fiction pick for 2013 Anthology of the CCMWG
  • 2013 Second place award in the Story Circle Network’s annual Life Writing contest

Other Publications

  • Flash fiction and short stories in several anthologies of CCMWG, 2013 – 2021
  • Poems and flash fiction in anthologies of Columbia Art League’s Interpretations shows –
  • Mystery story in the 2014 anthology, That Mysterious Woman, published by the Mozark Press
  • Poems and articles published in the journal of the national Story Circle Network, 2012 – 2015

Memberships and Professional Development

  • Member of the North Carolina Writers Network and the Columbia Chapter of the Missouri Writers Guild. Past member of the Missouri Writer’s Guild, Story Circle Network, and the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum
  • Professional writing development – Iowa Summer Writing Festival, 2011; on-line courses through Story Circle Network and Writer’s Digest, 2010-2013; participant at the Missouri Writer’s Guild annual conference, 2011 – 2014, the Columbia Chapter conference, 2012, 2015; workshop with Quarry Heights Writing Workshop director, 2016; the Fall conference of the North Carolina Writers Network (NCWN); monthly seminars of the NCWN, Durham/Orange Counties branch 2016 – present; Iowa International Writing Workshop, on-line, 2017; Spring NCWN conference, 2019.
  • 2012 – Streetcar operator training of 1923 hand-controlled streetcar, Pennsylvania Trolley Museum, Washington, PA as research for second book, Tarentum.


  • Purdue University, BA, Sociology, 1974; minors in languages and philosophy
  • Case Western Reserve University, 1980; MSSA, Social Service Administration

Other Experiences and Background

  • Past community development consultant owning and operating OrgMent, a business devoted to working with nonprofit practitioner organizations around the nation to achieve mission, with a focus on rural communities, community development finance, refugees and immigrants
  • Author and co-author of several articles and guides on entrepreneurship and microenterprise, published by nonprofits in hard copy and electronic formats
  • Co-founder of national nonprofit, Credit Builders Alliance (CBA) –
  • Current Chair (2021) of the Credit Builders Alliance Fund Board, a subsidiary of CBA
  • Senior positions at the CDFI Fund, US Treasury, the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Enterprise Development Corporation, and the Ohio Department of Development
  • Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; now reside in Durham, North Carolina
  • Avid reader, walker, gardener, and ocean-side wanderer
  • Enthusiastic traveler, visiting most of the USA and UK, parts of Australia, Europe, the Amazon, Canada, Costa Rica, Peru, Nicaragua, and Madagascar; and a trip to Croatia for research on The Muralist’s Ghost– wonderful!
  • Best place for writing – tucked up in my writing nook where forest, ravine and sky pour in through the big windows