I took on this mortal coil in 1976 in Omaha, NE. As an only child, my parents were able to devote their existences to catering to my every whim. My Mom started by reading the newspaper to me, ensuring I was up to speed on current events. Once I outgrew the newspaper, she moved on to Golden Books. I read my first novel, Cujo, in the third grade. It hooked me, and I took to main-lining novels and working the libraries like an eight-year-old junky looking to score his next fix. I’ve been an avid reader ever since, throwing my lot with Frank and Joe Hardy, the three investigators, and much later, Roland Deschain and his ka-tet.
I somehow fooled Uncle Sam into believing I’d one day make a great leader of men, and he promptly shipped me off to the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY, where I languished in a turmoil of emotions ranging from apathy to not giving a damn. This lent me to writing angst-filled poetry and short stories when I should have been paying attention in class or studying in the barracks, thereby resulting in the refinement of my craft and lending credence to that familiar idiom—you know, silver linings and all that.
In 1998, I graduated from West Point and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in Army Aviation. I attended flight school in Alabama, where I learned to wear cool shades and a leather jacket, and something about helicopters. Forgive me. It was some years ago, and my memory is fading faster than a cheap tattoo.
In 2013, I hung up my cool shades and leather jacket and donned a pocket protector and masking-tape-repaired glasses, transitioning from Army Aviation to Operations Research and Systems Analysis. I’d spent the last fifteen years refining my skills and building a solid foundation of knowledge, so I figured what better time than the twilight of my career to throw all that out the window and start from scratch in an entirely new field.
So how does the rest of my story go? I’ll tell you when I get there; it’s still a work in progress.