|AN AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL TIME-LINEI was born in the U.S. Pacific Northwest, land of work boots, flannel shirts, lumberjacks, and rain … rain … rain. Frequent deluges probably the origin of my present fondness for most places warm, tropical, and continually bathed in lots and lots of sunshine.
When I was young, we moved to California, land of surfboards, surfer shorts, surf sand, all beneath blue-blue surfer-boy-eyes skies. Providing me endless insights for telling tales of those blond-haired young studs who ride the waves and each other.
I attended university and majored in Marketing/Advertising. Between my junior and senior years, I accompanied a friend to South America to follow a treasure map from an obscure Spanish botanical text. All we got for our efforts were bad cases of crotch rot and enough he-man adventure for me to write up for a popular men’s magazine.
|After I got my university degree, I enlisted in the U.S. Army. The draft existed, and non-compliance with one’s military obligation could provide a blotch on one’s record. Granted, the Vietnam War moving into full-swing, more than a few of my peers sought and got deferments, or fled (momentarily or forever) to Canada; actions that, even today (ask some to-remain-unnamed political candidates) can come back to bite them on their collective ass. I rose to the rank of Sergeant (actually to an E-5 equivalent). Despite consistent rumors that my attained experience in “black-ops” accounts for the realistic portrayal of more than one of my military-background fictional characters (Jeff Billing in THAI DIED specifically comes to mind), let me emphasize that my entire term of service was pretty much spent behind an innocuous desk in Personnel. My three years in the Army did, though, expose me to a genuinely extensive gay subculture that included officers and enlisted men … and their frequent get-togethers for sexual fun and games. Gay debauchery in the Army thrived covertly (sometimes overtly) between periodic sweeps – easily avoided by those in the know – for the purpose of “weeding out the perverts and the queers.”After my Honorable Discharge, I was faced with either advantaging my degree in Marketing/Advertising, by interviewing for jobs on the East and West coasts, or taking off a couple of months to try my hand at a return to writing. At which time, I read my first book of gay erotica and immediately thought I could do as well. I proceeded to write a chapter a day of my gay sci-fi opus, FIVE ROADS TO TLEN, reading the results each night to friends turned sycophants by free booze. I sent the final results to Greenleaf Classics that published not only it but my second TLEN book, then my ADONIS detective series, and then so many others I’ve almost lost count. At which point, there was no looking back.
Finding myself rampantly prolific, my gay literary output suddenly too much for Greenleaf to keep up with, I was asked to come up with some hetero erotica for that publisher’s straight-sex imprint.
A passing “aside”, here, on my sexuality, since it’s often (surprisingly enough to me), a subject of intense interest and speculation, more than one critic having surmised my sexually ambiguous Stud Draqual character, from my mystery series of the same name, is based upon me. Maybe Stud is a self-characterization, but only to a point, because let me assure you that I was far less baggaged with angst as regards my decision to have sex with a man. However, that I knew at an early age how attracted I was to the same sex (and/or vice versa, even more so), steered me into my concentrated and successful efforts to make sure my first sexual experience was with a woman. Well aware of the political correctness and necessity of a wife, even of children, for anyone out to succeed in the world of corporate America, I wanted to be sure that I didn’t eliminate those options. No way I intended to enjoy sex with a man so much that I was, in the end, as were some gays, suddenly forever turned off by the prospect of going to bed with a member of the opposite sex.
So, when Greenleaf requested I do some hetero erotica, I was not only ready, willing, and able to provide it, but I quickly became as prolific with my hetero as with my gay stuff, soon publishing through just about every available outlet.
American Art Enterprises, one such publisher at the time, also had a mainstream imprint, Carousel, and was soon publishing my for-middle-America non-erotic adventure/espionage, my sci-fi fantasy, and my romance paperbacks, all appearing on the family-accessed racks of your local bookstores.
My three romances for Carousel ended up providing me entrée to behemoth romance publisher Harlequin where George Glay, Senior Editor, was out to update the sexuality of his company’s output via launching a new SuperRomance imprint. Up until then, Harlequin was mainly a reprint house for England’s Mills and Boon. Books from M&B somewhat simplistic girl meets boy, girl loses boy, girl gets boy, girl and boy don’t have sex until after marriage. George viewed my background in romances and erotica as likely advantageous (he was right), in providing his company with that all-important and internationally best-selling (translated into over ten foreign languages), Book 2 of the SuperRomance imprint. No coincidence, I might add, that my LOVE’S EMERALD FLAME hearkened back to a familiar-to-me South-American jungle theme.
My success in erotica and mainstream publishing, combined with my not-all-that-bad looks, college education, and an upbringing that had acquainted me early with all the nuances of successful mingling in polite society, saw me the darling of certain liberal, literary, artsy-fartsy circles. And it was during that time that I was “taken under the wing” of an older woman with whom I soon embarked upon a whirlwind itinerary of 1st-class foreign travel by cruise ship … round-the-world, circle-the-Pacific, through-the-Panama-Canal. Supplemented by winters in the Caribbean, extensive visits to Mexico and South America, Europe and Asia. So many foreign cities under my belt before I ever set foot in New York City that my first impression of The Big Apple was an unimpressed, “Is this all there is?” It having taken me a long and leisurely courtship to arrive at my present state of true love for that city and adoration for its nowhere-else-in-the-world uniqueness.
The death of my lady “friend” saw me in a sudden burst of spend-my-own-money trekking through Thailand, Egypt, Zanzibar, South Africa, then returning to Greece and Italy.
In England, I learned of gay Prowler Books out to make its transition from magazine publisher to book publisher, in order to improve its hand in a proposed merger with Millivres. I advantaged its need by writing for it: CALIFORNIA CREAMIN’, SUMMER SWEAT, and WHEN SUMMER COMES. I was then given my own imprint by it to publish the first of my Stud Draqual Mystery Series, A SLIP TO DIE FOR. ASTDF German-language rights soon purchased by Rotbuch Krimi and published by it as DESSOUS ZUM STERBEN. By way of German-language follow-up, I did LUST AUF SCHWEISS for Bruno Gmünder, and my now-infamous short-story “Doppelmörder” for inclusion in the QUEER CRIME anthology for Querverlag.
Again back in the States, I began working on the second book of my Stud Draqual Mystery Series (THAI DIED), and started on another South American novel (SS MANN HUNT). The tragic events of 9-11 left me less enthusiastic about any additional immediate foreign travel and anxious to find a publisher and/or publishers closer to home. Enter U.S.-based Writers Club Press, through which I published my SS MANN HUNT in December 2002 and U.S.-based Green Candy Press who released my THAI DIED in February 2003