I’ve been writing stuff for money — fiction, non-fiction, direct mail, web content — for just about 40 years now.
Think about that: forty years. Wait. Don’t think about that. I mean: forty years. Wow.
Over that quartet of decades, I’ve written literally more stuff than I can count, often in media that no longer exist. I have an undying love for genre fiction (horror, sf, fantasy, thrillers), pop culture, good audio, great direct marketing copy, and passionate prose (no, not that kind of passion…though, wait, that kind of passion ain’t bad either.)
Short version: I wrote my first novel, The Mad Throne, published a few decades back by CBS/Popular Library. Shortly thereafter I had my first radio feature, The Daily Review, on the long-gone KTMS-FM in Santa Barbara, California, and published my first monthly magazine, The Santa Barbara Times. The long-forgotten recession of the late Seventies (I’m looking at you, Jimmy Carter interest rates!) reconfigured everything, and I moved to L.A. around 1980. I spent the next twenty years or so writing, editing, and marketing books and magazines for a whole lot of people – at one point, it felt like every trade or consumer publisher on the West Coast, most of which are gone or evolved now.
Over the years, I’ve split my time between writing fiction, non-fiction, and marketing copy (which is kind of a combination of the two at its best). A few years back, I was lucky enough to create a CD-ROM interactive adventure based on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine for Paramount Pictures … and no, you never saw it. Sumner Redstone bought Paramount and killed off a couple dozen projects mere moments before release … including mine.
A few years later I got to write the “behind-the-scenes” book for Sony’s Men In Black II, which actually made it to #11 on the New York Times Paperback Bestseller llist for one whole week (It’s amazing what a million dollars in promotional money will do). Along the way I did a bunch of writing for Cinefex, the premier journal of special effects, wrote a ton of direct mail pieces I’m sure you all threw away, raised zillions of dollars for non-profits, and learned far too much about the business side of publishing. In the Eighties, I worked with Frank Miller, Steve Gerber, and Steven Grant to publish WAP!, a print newsletter for comics writers and artists that raised a few hackles. Then in the early 90’s I helped start a comic book company for TSR. Let’s just say it was a … learning experience. Then it was years more on the business side of publishing and marketing, as well as a ton of ghost-writing, editing, packaging, and screnplay doctoring, much of which remains best left unexplained.
I finally got back to my own fiction at the dawn of the new century. These days, my own triptych of “supernatural disaster,” Rain, was self-published for about an hour and a half, then by Permuted Press, and then more recently I bought it back from them and placed it with another small publisher, Tandem Way. I also wrote an original story set in the WolfCop universe, WolfCop: Fleshmob, then completed the fourth book in Z.A. Recht’s Morningstar Strain, a popular zombie apocalypse series, and most recently still, wrote a silly zombie adventure called Donald Trump, Zombie Killer for Permuted Press (do I need to say more?). Non-fiction continues apace, too. I’m the editor of a franly fascinating twice-a-month audio/print publication for doctors about treating diabetes, another about ophthalmology, and working on a trio of different podcasts. One of them, Campfire Stories, is part of my Patreon offerings. You haven’t heard of Patreon? Go here.
A few key phrases from the long and winding road: Radio & Records, Petersen Publishing, SAGE Publishing, Nickelodeon’s ParentsConnect.com, Audio Digest Foundation, John G. Jones and The Amityville Horror, and a whole bunch of newsletter and magazine publishers you’ve never heard of and no longer exist (special shout-out to Hospital Gift Shop Management. Yo!). And things just keep happening, which is a good thing. There’s no chance to get bored.