Susan Cummins Miller

Susan Cummins Miller

Research Affiliate

Tucson writer, geologist, poet, and workshop leader Susan Cummins Miller holds degrees in history, anthropology, and geology from the University of California, Riverside. Prior to writing full-time, she worked as a field geologist with the U. S. Geological Survey and taught geology and oceanography at San Mateo Community College, CA. 

Fiction: Miller's novels, published by Texas Tech University Press, feature Frankie MacFarlane, a female field geologist and college professor who, like the author, lives and works in the West. In these novels, landscape is a character, while history, anthropology, and geology contribute plot elements and back story. Death Assemblage takes place in and around the fictional town of Pair-a-Dice, Nevada, where Frankie is completing her dissertation research. Detachment Fault, set in the Arizona/Sonora, Mexico borderlands, involves international money-laundering and the antiquities trade. In Quarry, Frankie searches the desolate canyons of the Mojave Desert for a missing student. Hoodoo unfolds in the Chiricahua Mountains of southeastern Arizona, where Frankie and her students investigate the deaths of a copper mining executive and an ethnobotanist. Fracture is a quest mystery set in Tucson, Arizona and the San Francisco Peninsula, CA. The title refers to the San Andreas and related faults that mark the boundary between the North American Tectonic Plate and the Pacific Plate. Chasm, a whitewater-rafting mystery/adventure in Grand Canyon National Park, was released on March 1, 2015. 

Nonfiction: Miller edited A Sweet, Separate Intimacy: Women Writers of the American Frontier, 1800-1922, an anthology containing the work of thirty-four women who published during the settlement years of the American frontier (UUP, 2000; TTUP, 2007). Susan's single-authored and co-authored geologic maps, abstracts, research papers, and educational study units have been published by, among others, the U. S. Geological Survey, the Western Association of Vertebrate Paleontologists, the Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists, the Utah Geological Survey, the Center for Image Processing in Education, and the Geological Society of America.

Poetry: Miller's poetry won the 2012 Will Inman Award and has appeared in regional anthologies and journals, including the forthcoming Voices of New Mexico III, Sandcutters, What Wildness Is This: Women Write about the Southwest, SandScript, OASIS Journal, and ROUNDUP! Western Writers of America Presents Great Stories of the West from Today’s Leading Western Writers.