Bio for the Marginally Interested
I moved all over the United States as a child, but my family eventually put down roots in Texas. My wife and I now live in Spring, Texas, just north of Houston. I’m retired after working for thirty years in educational fields, and am pursuing a new career as a writer. When I was younger I dabbled in writing poetry, screenplays, plays and short stories, but I’m now focused on writing novels, mostly mainstream and thrillers. Much of the info in the blog will be about them..
Bio for Obsessive Stalkers
I was born in Dayton, Ohio, in 1946. My parents were both in the military, and met at Wright-Patterson Air Force base in Dayton. Rumor has it that my first word was “damn.” My mother told me she had put me on the floor, and was pinning my diapers on. Without realizing it, she pinned me to the window curtains. When she picked me up, the curtains followed. She said “Oh, damn.” I looked up at her (beaming angelically, I’m sure) and replied in kind. Naturally, I blame my mother for my excessively scatalogical outbursts today.
We moved soon after that to Tucson, Arizona, and then to New York. Within a few years, two of my sisters were born there (one in Brooklyn and another on Long Island). After hops to Boston and to Toronto, Canada (where a third sister was born), we moved to El Paso, Texas, when I was in the second grade. Two other brothers (Phillip and Steve) were born there.
I didn’t realize it then, but the moves were made out of economic necessity. Eventually it sunk in that we weren’t rich, just mobile. Another move brought us from Far-West Texas to a small city in the heart of the state, which will (for the time being) be called Deep Springs (not its real name). We moved there to live on my grandparents’ farm, while my father tried to run the La Gallinita Roja trading stamp company in Tijuana, Mexico.
Life on the farm was good for us kids, and we settled in fairly easily. Times were still hard financially, though. My father soon arrived from Tijuana, broke, and worked in sales. Tension between my father and my grandparents soon caused another move. We rented half of a duplex a few miles away (which is to say halfway across a town of 17,000 people).
I was in high school by that time, and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, but I think the idea of being a writer had always been present. It hadn’t surfaced in my consciousness as a career opportunity, but I had always written. In the third grade I rewrote the Illustrated Classics comic book version of Helen of Troy as a play, and tried (unsuccessfully) to stage it on my school’s playground so I could cast myself as Paris and Linda Leonard as Helen — she had great freckles. A few years later, I wrote and illustrated a short story called “My Journey to Mars in a Time Machine.” Apologies to both Edgar Rice Burroughs and H. G. Wells. My main character invented a machine that would propel him through time by spinning blazingly fast. During its first trial (with him aboard, of course), the machine broke loose from its moorings and flung itself into outer space. The rest of the story was peopled by monsters and Mars princesses, etc.
In high school, when I was cast in the sophomore play, I discovered that I felt at home on stage. I was still working with words (someone else’s, of course), but I was adding my physical self to the mix, and that felt right. After that, I pursued acting seriously, along with a little writing, and some drumming. After high school I tried to market poetry and short stories, fumbling my way through the submission process, botching it badly. I started college there in Deep Springs, and played percussion in some local bands. To help put myself through college I added a three-year stint as a radio disc jockey to the acting and the music, along with working in a feed mill, slinging hides at a slaughterhouse, keeping books for the local college’s housing department, and a few other odd jobs.
In 1970, I moved to Houston for a summer to be with my college girlfriend. She dumped me. I deserved it. She went back to Deep Springs, but I stayed in Houston, got married on the rebound, and floated through several careers (like insurance sales, movie theater manager, and custom shirt shop manager), but within a few years I decided I needed to finish college. I picked up where I had left off (but in the University of Houston’s wonderful theater department that time), and worked nights as a grocery store stocker while attending school during the day. It took me a year-and-a-half to finish, and my wife divorced me in the interim (she wanted me to be a bit more upwardly mobile).
In the late 1970’s, armed with degrees in Drama and English, I still wanted to make music and act and write, but couldn’t decide how to go about it, so I taught middle school for twenty-three years in Houston, teaching English, reading, creative writing, journalism, drama and — eventually — technology.
In 1982, at a play audition, I met a wonderful woman, Minay Miller. We were both cast in the play, and had to do publicity photos while holding a closely-embraced tango pose for several minutes. The air must have escaped the room, because neither of us could breathe. We started dating within a few weeks, and were married six months later. We are still married thirty-eight years later (as of August 2020), which is a testament of her ability to put up with my peculiarities. Neither of us act any longer. She is an amazing quilter, and I evolved into a geek who writes, wrangles websites, likes to travel, and loves photography.
Teaching didn’t cause me to give up writing altogether. Between 1985 and 2004 I finished a screenplay called An Ordinary Day. It’s about a disgruntled ex-student planting a bomb in a locker at his old high school. It survived the first round of cuts in 2005’s Project Greenlight series. I wrote and acted in a one-act play called Baum in Limbo (about a potential near-death experience which could have given L. Frank Baum the idea for The Wizard of Oz). I have also taken a variety of creative writing courses, have written several short stories, a few books, and am hard at work plotting and playing with ideas for a few others.
In 2002, I became a program manager for Rice University’s Center for Excellence and Equity in Education. Our primary goal was to create programs to encourage high school and middle school girls to develop an interest in computer science (a field that is very heavily weighted toward guys). The programs were successful but the grant money for the programs eventually ran out, so I retired in 2009.
I now have one published novel, The Jagged Man (2015), and one published non-fiction book, Aggravated: The True Story of How a Series of Lies Sent an Innocent Man to Prison (2020). More info about both of them can be found on this site’s blog, and at the Purchase tab on the menu above. The next books to be published will be a novel series, If a Butterfly: Books One and Two. They should see the light of day in early summer 2021.
I also have other projects underway.
Murder Between Friends is a mystery/thriller. A murdered man was so bad that the best anyone in his small town could say of him was “Good riddance.” That attitude made it hard for the reporter covering the story, but the dead man’s widow also used to be the reporter’s girlfriend, which added another layer of difficulty to his job.
The Hawthorn’s Sting is a thriller about amnesia, Roman Britain, the Bayeux Tapestry, the Glastonbury Thorn, and the lost years of Jesus, among other things.
A sixth series (which could end up with as many as seven books), The Lives of Franklin Roosevelt Jones, is also partly written. The idea behind it is both simple and complex. I’ll explain it in more detail on the blog.
Ideas for a few more novels and a couple of non-fiction projects are also swirling around inside my head. I’ll say more about them on the blog once I know they will end up in the queue to get first drafts.