Day Five of Top Ten Mario’s Shorts

When I was four years old, my aunt asked what I wanted for mariobiophotoChristmas. My answer: “I want a machine gun.” So even at that tender age, my expectations from life were a little different than most.

Years later, I bought my first computer and decided to write a novel. Four computers later, and with six unpublished manuscripts gathering dust under my bed, I finally wrote a story good enough to get the interest of an agent and a publisher.

I was born in El Paso, Texas, and spent most of my childhood in Las Cruces, New Mexico, with travels to visit family in Pacoima, California, and Chihuahua, Mexico. After graduating from New Mexico State University, I was commissioned into the Army to serve in the Infantry where I finally got to play with machine guns. Later I hoodwinked the Army into letting me fly attack helicopters. (If you’ve ever seen me drive, you’ll wonder about the wisdom of letting me have the controls of an aircraft.)

Subsequent life as a civilian has been like living in a pinball machine. I worked as an engineer in corporate America and got downsized. Earned my masters’ in Information Systems from the University of Denver and found another corporate gig. Saw that job sail across the Pacific when I was outsourced and laid off again. Thankfully, I have two bright and handsome sons in college who will take care of me as I grow older.

What’s kept me grounded are my forays into art. The highpoints include being the artist-in-residence for Arte Americas in Fresno, California, and being called from the Reserves to serve in Operation Desert Storm (the easy war against Iraq) as a combat artist. Add teaching art to prisoners at the Avenal State Prison and organizing art fundraisers for various pet rescue groups.

All this time I was scribbling my stories, sending them out, and collecting rejection slips. What changed my luck was joining the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers which introduced me to real authors and the advice needed to get published. Now I’m busy writing my Felix the vampire detective novels. And I’ve decided that I no longer want a machine gun for Christmas.

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