Life on the Summit: Hey, Spike! catches up with Frisco writer Jana Novak |

Life on the Summit: Hey, Spike! catches up with Frisco writer Jana Novak

Miles F. Porter IV
Special to the Daily

Hey, Spike! was rolling down I-70, heading eastward recently to Edina, Minnesota, for another summer art show appearance there with artist Mary E. Staby, banging out another column. Don’t get excited, Mary was driving.

And the subject of this week’s literary effort is a local author just back yesterday from traveling in Japan. We’re all connected via the web and Spike!’s iPad Air.

Amazing world.

Jana Novak is a published author of several books, a Huffington Post blogger, tall, attractive, and single, dog owner and hot yoga aficionado.

“I love to read, watch crime shows, hike and kayak. I just learned how to Alpine ski finally last year.”
Jana Novak

“If the jet lag allows, I get to enjoy Frisco’s Colorado BBQ Challenge festival, my favorite of the events in town,” she writes.

The 41-year-old native of Washington, D.C., now lives in Frisco, following a six-month stay in a Montezuma cabin after she moved up from Denver. It was “the ex” who fell in love with Colorado during his time at Fort Carson while in the U.S. Army.

She followed — for a while.

It, too, was a return to Colorado for Jana.

“I had lived briefly in Boulder after college, and knew I loved Colorado already, so was eager to come,” she explains. “I also had spent far too long working in politics in D.C., and was anxious to get as far away from that as possible. I graduated from Duke University in North Carolina, after studying political theory and history.”

Jana has a strong family background in the world of arts.

Her mother, the artist Karen Laub-Novak, a painter, sculptor, printmaker and writer, died at age 71, following a second battle with breast cancer.

Jana’s father is Michael Novak, author and college professor. Dad and daughter have written two books together: “Tell Me Why — A Father Answers His Daughter’s Questions About God” and “Washington’s God — Religion, Liberty and the Father of Our Country.”

“He’s written another 30 books, including one that Sports Illustrated named one of the top 100 books on the subject — ‘The Joy of Sports,’” Jana proudly says of her dad, who now lives in Ave Maria, Florida, where he teaches at Ave Maria University and recently published his political autobiography.

Jana’s brother, Richard, is a vice president at the military organization USAA in San Antonio, and her sister, Tanya Holton, works as the vice president of development for the Schwartz Center for Compassionate Care in Boston.

Readers may be familiar with her sister due to Jana’s essay the Summit Daily published, about her running the Boston Marathon during the bombing.

”My professional writing has kept me so busy recently that I’ve not been able to do much personal writing lately,” she says. “Instead, I’ve been doing a lot of ghost writing for others, on topics ranging from medical waste to real estate to veterans’ issues.”

Asked for quick reads to provide readers a deeper insight into the Frisco newcomer, Jana responds with:

“Even after polling friends, it was difficult to choose one. So here’s a fun essay on my mother, ‘Curses: Motherly Approval of the President,’ and here’s one from my personal blog about living by myself up near Montezuma, ‘Not in Our Control… In Our Control…’”

Like most of us here on The Summit, there’s the oft-sought balance to work and play.

“I love to read, watch crime shows, hike and kayak. I just learned how to Alpine ski finally last year, and love it now. And of course spending lots of time with the wonderful friends I have made here.”

When Spike! met Jana at the Tuscato closing party, she was enjoying a glass of wine with buddies RE/MAX brokers Jeannette Gongloff and Maura McCarthy.

If you run into Jana out and about in Friscotown, she’ll usually have her dog alongside.

Here’s Jana’s canine description:

“Rilke is probably better known around town than I am. He is named after my late mother’s favorite poet, the Austrian author Rainer Maria Rilke. He’s a yellow lab mixed with something short; I was told one of the ‘suspects’ was a wire-haired dachshund. So he’s a full-sized lab shrunk down on short legs; in other words, a ‘low rider.’ He loves to find beer cans and carry them home — I haven’t decided if he’s a good citizen or has a drinking problem.”

And likely tagging along — now — is Jana’s niece, Alston Novak, a newly minted University of Iowa graduate, who accompanied her on the trip to the Orient and recently moved to Frisco.

Miles F. Porter IV, nicknamed “Spike,” a Coloradan since 1949, is an Army veteran, former Climax miner, graduate of Adams State College, and a local since 1982. An award-winning investigative reporter, he and wife Mary E. Staby owned newspapers here for 20 years. Email your social info to

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