Hey all… another fun one this week because I need a little levity in my life. 🙂
I thought I’d share a few things you probably don’t know about me!
- My First Publication Credit: To hear my About Me page tell it, my first published work was the short story “The Bear at the Bar,” in the A Taste of Honey antho edited by Anne Regan and B.G. Thomas (now available in my Spells & Stardust collection). But that’s not entirely true. My first publishing credit was actually twenty-six years earlier, in 1988, for the book Raising Each Other, a non-fiction self help book taken from essays we wrote in high school about teens and parents (I even drew most of the comics inside). See, our teacher knew a small publisher, and he needed books for teenagers… and a new author was born. You can still get it used (and new in eBook form), even though the publisher went out of business. Not sure where all those royalties are going now LOL…
- My Hometown Haunts: I’m a Sacramento boy through and through, at least now after nineteen years here. But I was actually born in SoCal (yes, I AM a California native) but grew up on the northwest side of Tucson, Arizona where my Mom still lives. The area is famous for two things, one sad, one kinda cool-weird… it’s the location of the Gabby Giffords shooting in 2011 (only dumb luck stopped my mom from being there that day) and also to Biosphere 2, a rich man’s experiment to see how a closed ecosystem might work, in preparation for a mission to the moon or Mars. You can actually tour Biosphere 2 now – it’s kinda cool. 🙂
- I Wanted to Be a Biospherian: I was in my late teens when this project was being built, and I so wanted to be in on it as part of my grand plan to one day become an astronaut and walk on Mars. But I had no obvious qualifications, and I certainly wasn’t astronaut-athletic. So it all came to naught, as did my plan to become an astronomer. Finding out just how much bloody math that one entailed killed that one off right-quick. That left two remaining dream career paths on my list – and although I have a decent singing voice, I decided I really wasn’t cut out to be a rock star. So writer it was.
- I was Once Paid $5 to Shut Up: Actually, this is a two-parter. As a kid in elementary school, I was bussed off to the district’s Gifted and Talented Education program (GATE), a 45 minute ride each way. I was a little chatterbox, and the bus driver soon grew weary of my incessant talk. So he made me a deal. Go all the way to school one day without saying a word, and he’d give me $5. I came prepared, with a lap full of Charlie Brown books. I didn’t say a peep, and when we arrived at school, he thanked me and gave me the $5. But one of the teachers saw our illicit transaction, and she took it away from me, telling the bus driver it wasn’t appropriate to give an elementary student money. All ended well, though – when I got home, there was a $5 bill in an envelope in our mailbox, and on it was scrawled “He earned it.”
- I Was Once Paid $100 to Shut Up: Some twenty years later, I was working in customer service for a book distributor in Emeryville, California. I developed the bad habit of whistling Christmas songs in July (especially Jingle Bells), and drove my co-workers crazy. One of them proposed a solution. He would pay me $20 if I stopped whistling for a week. Soon the others chipped in, and the pot was raised to $100. It was a hard week – I can’t count the number of times I almost screwed up, and I’d even sneak into the supply closet to whistle quietly to myself from time to time. But at the end, I collected my prize, and my co-workers collected theirs, as I’d broken myself of the habit.
So there you go… a few little things you probably didn’t know about me, some of which led me to be who I am today – a quirky sci-fi writer who wishes he really could go to Mars. 🙂
To my fellow writers – what’s one quirky thing no one knows about you?