OK, I don’t normally do these sorts of lists, but I’ll give it a go.
1. I am a passionate (some say “crazy”) Gator fan. I’ve been to all of our football (3, plus 1 we lost) and basketball (2) national championship games.
2. I met my wonderful and very supportive wife my second night after moving to L.A. For a while after that, I called L.A. “The City of Angels.” I don’t anymore because I hate the city and the traffic and the smog, but still love my wife.
3. I’ve also lived in South Florida; Gainesville, FL; Berkeley, CA; Oakland, CA; Los Angeles, CA; and South Florida again.
4. I also visit Hawaii a lot because my wife is from there and her family lives there. It’s a long flight.
5. My favorite city of all time is Rome, Italy. The combination of history, art, culture, food, and modern society is unparalleled. I was overwhelmed by the experience of sipping wine at a cafe overlooking the Pantheon and thinking “Julius Caesar hung out here a couple of thousand years ago.” Oh, and the gelato is FANTASTIC.
6. I love animals. I have a bird (a conure, which is a small parrot) and my wife’s cat, which is a North American Shedder breed. I’m more of a dog person, but don’t have one yet. My parents have 4, though.
7. One of our favorite places is Parrot Jungle (now called Jungle Island) in Miami, where we’ve held and played with lemurs, baby tigers, chimps, gibbons, parrots, and we volunteered for a while with their baby orangutans and baboons. Their male baboon, Pharoah, still goes nuts when I visit and likes for us to groom each other.
8. I grew up reading C.S. Lewis and Piers Anthony.
9. I got to drive a Ferrari F430 and have yearned to drive it again ever since. It is truly perfection on wheels. I finally understand when the car magazines call it “telepathic” steering and handling.
10. I once jumped out of a perfectly good airplane. OK, “perfectly good” may be a stretch, since the thing was held together by duct tape and love. But I did a solo skydive from 2 miles up in the air (about 11,000 feet). I could see both coasts of Florida.
11. I was a philosophy major in college, with a focus on ethics. I wrote my honors thesis on contemporary moral issues.
12. After college, my ethics courses inspired me to write a science fiction story that explored ethical themes and tried to entertain with action & adventure while also encouraging the reader to think about interesting and complex moral issues. So, Right Ascension was born.
13. I went to law school at UC-Berkeley and was editor-in-chief of the law school newspaper, the Cross-Examiner. It probably sounds more impressive than it was because we basically just made fun of everything, it’s not like we examined cases or discussed any of that legal crap.
14. During law school, I learned a lot. I started drinking (yup, no alcohol before law school), learned to play golf, and wrote my second novel, Declination (which is the sequel to Right Ascension).
15. I once saw a lady walking a pair of llamas down the streets of Berkeley. I am not making this up. It was NOT the strangest thing I have seen in Berkeley.
16. Since I had gone to law school and taken the Bar Exam and all that rot, and since I had made approximately enough on my novels to buy a week’s worth of ramen noodles (if you didn’t count my expenses), I moved to L.A. to work for a big law firm as a lawyer.
17. Being a lawyer is … not as much fun as it looks on TV.
18. Oh, except I did get to work on a case for “Girls Gone Wild” where I got paid to “review evidence” regarding whether certain girls did certain things on videotape or not. That part did not suck.
19. I recently “retired,” moved back to South Florida, and started writing (and editing, and designing covers, and formatting, and promoting) full-time. I took a humorous short story I had worked on in bits and pieces and it kept growing until it turned into a novel called The Twiller. I am very nearly finished with it now, and I’m very excited to release it soon.
20. My favorite TV show of all time was Firefly, and I still cry a little bit inside every time I think about how soon it was cancelled. I cry a LOT inside every time I see some of the crap on TV that has replaced it. (Amazing Housewives So You Think You Can Apprentice Idol in the O.C., I’m looking at you.)
21. My favorite movies are Forrest Gump, The Shawshank Redemption, and Gattaca.
22. I really enjoy reading Timothy Zahn. His Thrawn Series Star Wars novels and his Conqueror’s Trilogy books were excellent.
23. I had a dream last night that starred Mila Kunis. No, it was NOT as dirty as you’re probably thinking.
24. My father inspired the intelligence, leadership, and morality of Admiral Daniel Atgard from my novels.
25. This is the first “25 Things About Me” list I’ve ever done. I’m not sure what inspired me to do it. Probably the Mila Kunis dream.
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