Many authors will tell you it's important to work from the proper environment. A cat is essential to the creative process, and the sound of the ocean can get the creative juices flowing. I can't exactly hear the ocean from my balcony, but I can imagine it, and imagination is the next best thing to reality. Sometimes, it's better. If you don't believe me, ask my cat. He won't answer you, but cats are independent that way.
But then, I digress. (How many times has an author used that particular phrase in transitioning from one tangent to the next?) So here I am on California's beautiful Central Coast, editing my own weekly newspaper, writing my own books and living my own life the way I've always dreamed.
Well, I did dream I'd have a little more cash in my pocket, and the newspaper isn't exactly mine: I'm the editor, but it belongs to the company that employs me. The books aren't all mine, either: They're issued by my publisher. But the point is I have a publisher. Plus a brilliant and beautiful wife who also happens to be an author, and, of course, the aforementioned cat. Who could ask for anything more?
You're WHAT KIND OF WRITER?
Hey, even Stephen King wrote an epic fantasy. And J.K. Rowling finally stopped after seven Harry Potters to write a totally different sort of book under a nom de plume. So I figure I'm in good company being eclectic. I grew up in Fresno, so I wrote a book called Fresno Growing Up. My parents shuttled between our home and Southern California - where I spent six largely forgettable years of my childhood - on the Golden State Highway. So I wrote a book about that, too: Highway 99. Almost as much fun as the writing was the process of going on the road to take photos for both those books. I take photos for the newspaper, too, which doesn't make me Ansel Adams but it does make me, technically speaking, a professional. (If you're wondering, the answer is "yes": The photos you see on this website are mine.)
I've written a novel for teens and anyone else who likes a good adventure with a twist. Then there's that children's story, my response to a request by my wife, Samaire, that I write her something for Christmas. I sat down at the keyboard, and eight hours later, there it was. Wouldn't it be nice if all my books poured out so quickly? The Phoenix Principle took me a decade to write and wound up being more than 700 pages long. Even at that, I had to shrink the type smaller than I would have liked to make it fit in the maximum space allotted by CreateSpace.
I've published independently. I've also published traditionally with Fresno Growing Up, and I'll be doing it again with The Golden Road. On top of that, I've written newspaper columns, covered sporting events, churned out blogs and run an editing business. I've worked for daily publications, run a weekly newspaper, and I've even written copy for TV and radio (albeit as a college student gratis for the experience back in the day). My hairline may have receded all the way since then, but imagine a perm-frizzed greenhorn delivering sports scores via community access television in the early 1980s. Then again, you might not want to imagine that. The image was probably pretty frightening.
Go ahead, pigeonhole me - I dare ya
I'm a slob. I'll admit it. I have a lot more patience for tapping out a bad impression of Morse code on a computer keyboard than I do for cleaning a litter box - even though I have a fondness for felines.
I'm tall to most people at 6-foot-5, but no, I didn't play basketball in high school. And I didn't look particularly tall when I interviewed Mark Eaton, then the center for the NBA's Utah Jazz, who checked in at a full 11 inches taller than I was - and am (unless I've shrunk in middle age, which is entirely possible).
Philosophy's a "thing" for me, and you might call me a fringe nerd. Turn the TV to any incarnation of Star Trek, and I'm there. But please don't ask me to speak Klingon or tell you what happened on which stardate. Or will happen. I've got other things to memorize, such as miscellaneous arcane rules of grammar, usage (lay vs. lie, further vs. farther) and the like that general populace seems to have forgotten. Gotta stay sharp in this business. You won't make a fortune - unless you're King or Rowling - so you're well advised to get the most you can out of pride in your craftsmanship.
My inspiration? There's a reason for the "muse" in music. When it comes to tunes, I'll listen to everything from Billy Joel to Nightwish to George Strait to P!nk. It's all good. I even went back to school for voice lessons and sing karaoke from time to time in an effort to soothe my frustrated wannabe Freddie Mercury alter ego. When you work night shifts on the copy desk, you don't get the chance to try out for a rock band. Not that I've got the chops to actually sing with professional musicians. At the bar, I always get compliments, but I never win any prizes. I'd rather have an adoring public than an award from some hoity toity types in any case.
Sour grapes? I'm not telling.
I root for underdogs because I identify with them. There's something American about that. Besides, the rewards are sweeter on the rare occasions when they win, and I enjoy living vicariously through the achievements of others when mine aren't coming fast and furious. Lately, though, I seem to be in a good groove, and I plan to stay there for the foreseeable future. If you keep your eyes open, chances are you'll see something I've written, whether it be a book, a column, a blog or a newspaper article. I write. That's what I do. And I'm privileged that enough of you folks out there enjoy it that I can actually make a modest living from it.
Books. Cats. Inspiration. Life is good.
- The Cambrian - Managing Editor
- Author - Linden Publishing
- The Tribune (San Luis Obispo) - Assistant News Editor
- The Fresno Bee
- The Visalia Times-Delta
- The Tulare Advance-Register
- Fresno Unified School District
News Editor, Assistant News Editor
Sports Editor, News Editor
Sports Editor, News Editor