I was born in Northwest Indiana and grew up in Griffith, IN until I graduated from Purdue with an engineering degree in the late 1980s. I moved to St. Louis for about 4 years, then finally settled down in Plainfield, IL.
When I was a kid growing up in Griffith, I spent most of my time learning to play guitar. I was self taught, which was not a good idea, because as it turns out, I'm a horrible guitar teacher. I didn't have the benefit of the internet way back then, so I had to buy song books. I picked up Led Zeppelin Complete, which, at the time, was all the Zeppelin songs in one book up through Houses of the Holy. I spent about 8 hours a day in my room, with my record player, learning every song. I'm sure my parents loved that, but it shows I can stick to something if I want to. After a while, I had all of them down pretty good. I eventually formed a few bands and played out in bars when I was 18. That was about the time I started engineering school, so I put down the guitar and picked up some books, which in hindsight, was probably a smart thing to do.
I worked at several big name corporations, doing mostly software development until I went into managing people who do software development. I still do that as my day job today. Check out my linkedin page if you are interested.
I'd like to say I always knew what I wanted to do when I grew up, but I still can't say that. I've dabbled in drawing and painting but never became super good at that. I also try to read constantly. I prefer that over TV. I do love movies though. Maybe it's the popcorn. Or the escapism. Or both.
Around February of 2012, I decided to start writing. Once again, I like to self teach because I'm very impatient and I always want to skip ahead and just do the thing. I had a story in my head about an asteroid that was being mined, and aliens started popping out of it. I couldn't get the story out of my head, so I just started writing that scene. English was never my strong subject, but I liked reading, so, I assumed I would just write how I thought it should read. I still do that. Hopefully you won't realize just how bad my sentence structure is, but you probably do.
I completed the first draft of what I now title PLANet B during the fall of 2013. I realized then that the book sucked, and that I have no idea how to write a book and I needed help. This wasn't as easy as learning guitar. With guitar, you know when you have it. Writing isn't so clear cut, so I signed up for a writing workshop called "The Writer's Loft" in Chicago near Wrigley Field. That was a great help, but my teacher passed away before I could complete the class.
Eventually, the following September, in 2014, Mary Carter picked up the class and I took it again, joining her advanced writer group. I wound up going through each page of my novel in that class, and it taught me a ton about writing. Currently, I'm finishing up the 5th draft and sending it out to beta readers. I hope to send it out to agents later this year, in 2016.
At this point, I would love to retire from the software industry and write, on a beach somewhere, smoking a cigar, drinking a scotch. That's probably not going to happen, so In the meantime, I'll work on my writing when I'm not working.
My wife of 21 years (Audrey) and I have two kids (Nicole and Alex), both of which are adults. We also have an aging chihuahua named Chile.
Stephen King: I own every Stephen King book in hardcover (and I've read them!). Not the first release of each one mind you, but I have them all.
Influences: Vonnegut, King, Arthur C. Clarke, Heinlein, Hemingway and the Horatio Hornblower series by Forester.
Education and Business: I have a Bachelor's in Electrical Engineering from Purdue, a Graduate Certificate (like 1/2 a Master's) in Artificial Intelligence from Washington University in St. Louis, and a Master's in Computer Science from University of Illinois - Chicago (UIC). I started my own business on the side in 2000 and I've built and sold software worth over half a million dollars, of which I've spent all of my portion. What do I have to show for it? A nice laptop and a mini van. Don't judge me.
Favorite Guitar/Amp Combo: My 1993 Gibson Les Paul Studio in Black and a Marshall TSL 60 watt amp that I've never been able to actually play at full volume because it's so damn loud.
Most recent band: I was in a reggae band for a few years, playing bars around Chicagoland. I was the white guy.
Favorite Painter: Van Gogh. I did a rendition of starry night that's like 4 feet high.
Favorite Scotch: Cragganmore. Distiller's Edition. Neat.
Favorite Cigar: Cohiba Siglo IV (Cuban), when I can get one.
Favorite Vacation Spot: Atlantis on Paradise Island. I go there about once a year with my wife Audrey.
Other Writers in the Family: The famous J.P. Barnaby is my first cousin.