Our good friend Webster defines BIO as a noun, short for, biography, which is defined as:
1. a written account of another person’s life.
2. an account in biographical form
3. such writings collectively.
Since I am tasked with writing the account of my life, that would make me, at least for the next few minutes, my biographer. I’ll start by saying, I was born (most of us start out that way) in a small tourist town on the coast of South Carolina. Canadians and Sandlappers know the place as Myrtle Beach.
Growing up there did little to kick-start my writing career. I’m a late bloomer in that sense. My fiction writing career spans less than the last five years. The Virgo/Little Professor in me went down the path of engineering after abandoning the recklessness of my early twenties. It was a difficult time in America. Viet Nam was winding down, the sixties counter-culture stepped aside for Watergate and Disco. Madmen with guns killed Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther, and aside from the Bi-Centennial in Seventy-Six, memories of the decade are fragmented in the remnants of my own wasted days and wasted nights.
The Eighties rolled in like a freight train with fifty-three Americans held hostage in Iran. We elected a cowboy actor to the White House and the Brits elected a woman Prime Minister. What an upside-down world it was becoming. My world was changing as well, as I took advantage of the GI Bill and returned to college to study industrial electronics. My first real job after completing college was with a global engineering company headquartered in Raleigh, NC. They recognized the talent immediately and started sending me to all kinds of exotic places like Cairo, Amsterdam, and Brussels. I spent a few months living on the coast of Belgium in during the first half of ’87 and toured Holland, England, and France in the process. Those were glorious days.
The Nineties arrived in high style. I was a success in my career and I was wearing a new pair of glasses. All in all, life was good. I ended up in Nashville, TN, embarking on a career with GE, which would consume my life for the next ten years. By this time I was doing some freelance Motorsports journalism and my work had found its way into mainstream sports media. My coup de grâce was a face-to-face interview with the 1990 Daytona 500 winner, Derrick Cope, and his unlikely last-lap defeat of a fading Dale Earnhardt. Those were fun days exploring the garages and media centers of the biggest and best speedways of the south.
Do you remember 1999? Do you remember the Y2K scare? On midnight, December 31, 1999, computerized life as we knew it was going to come to a complete electronic halt. Bank accounts would be emptied, governments would fall, and in some cases we might not be able to pump gas. There hasn’t been a bigger non-event since Gilligan left the Island with the rest of the castaways in tow. Unfortunately, the fall of Enron in 2001 would trickle down to my position with GE and on my ten-year anniversary, I stepped into the unfamiliar territory of unemployment, the first since the late seventies.
What this event did was cause me to step back and ask myself the question, What do you want to do going into retirement? The answer was actually pretty easy to find. I remembered being the happiest when putting together stories for the Motorsports gig. I started thinking I might try my hand at fiction. An English professor told me that I showed a definite aptitude for writing. I figured it was time to apply the skill to something other than typing out specifications and product catalogs.
So here I am, a little older and a little wiser, with a couple of jobs come and gone, dozens of short stories under my belt (several published), and one freshly written novel of paranormal suspense later, standing on the cusp of my debut book launch. I can’t tell you what tomorrow will bring, but I can tell you this. . .
I’m doing exactly what I was born to do!
The Prodigal Scribe