Bio for the Marginally Interested
I was born almost exactly nine months after World War II ended. War-end celebration baby, perhaps? I grew up in New York, Boston, Toronto, Tucson, El Paso, Brownwood, and Houston (the last three cities are in Texas). My wife and I now live in Spring, Texas, just north of Houston. I'm retired after working for thirty years in educational fields, and am pursuing a new career as a writer.
I've dabbled in the writing of poetry, screenplays, plays and short stories, but I'm focused on writing novels now, mostly mainstream and thrillers. I'm actively seeking representation with a literary agent. If you're interested and I haven't found you yet, please contact me.
Bio for Obsessive Stalkers
I was born in Dayton, Ohio, in 1946. My parents were both in the military, and met at Wright-Patterson Air Force base in Dayton.
Rumor has it that my first word was "damn." My mother told me she had put me on the floor, and was pinning my diapers on. Without realizing it, she pinned me to the window curtains. When she picked me up, the curtains followed. She said "Oh, damn." I looked up at her (beaming angelically, I'm sure) and replied in kind. Naturally, I blame my mother for my excessively scatalogical outbursts today.
We moved fairly soon to Tucson, Arizona, and then to New York. Within a few years, two of my sisters were born there (one in Brooklyn and another on Long Island). After hops to Boston and to Toronto, Canada (where a third sister was born), we moved to El Paso, Texas, when I was in the second grade.
I didn't realize it at the time, but the moves were made out of economic necessity. Eventually it sunk in that we weren't rich, just mobile. Two other brothers were born in Texas, and another move brought us from Far-West Texas to Brownwood, in the heart of the state. We moved there to live on my grandparents' farm, while my father tried to run the La Gallinita Roja trading stamp company in Tijuana, Mexico.
Life on the farm was good for us kids, and we settled in fairly easily. Times were still hard financially, though. My father soon arrived from Tijuana, broke, and worked in sales. Tension between my father and my grandparents caused another move after a few years, and we rented half of a duplex a few miles away (which is to say halfway across a town of 14,000 people).
I was in high school by this time, and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, but I think the idea of being a writer had always been present. It just hadn't surfaced in my consciousness as a career opportunity. I had always written, though. In the third grade I rewrote the Illustrated Classics comic book version of Helen of Troy as a play, and tried to stage it on my school's playground (but that was mostly so I could cast myself as Paris and Linda Leonard as Helen - she had great freckles). A few years later, I wrote and illustrated a short story called "My Journey to Mars in a Time Machine." Apologies to both Edgar Rice Burroughs and H. G. Wells. The basic premise was that my main character had invented a machine that would propel him through time by spinning blazingly fast. During its first trial (with him aboard, of course), the machine broke loose from its base and flung itself into outer space. The rest of the story was peopled by monsters and Mars princesses, etc.
In high school I was cast in the Sophomore play, and found I felt at home on stage. I was still working with words (someone else's, of course), but I was adding my physical self to the mix, and that felt right. After that, I pursued acting seriously, along with a little writing, and some drumming. I also tried to market some poetry and short stories, and fumbled my way through the submission process, botching it badly. I started college in Brownwood, and played percussion in some local bands. The acting and the music was enhanced by a three-year stint as a disc jockey, which helped put me through college.
In 1970, I moved to Houston for a summer to be with my college girlfriend. She dumped me (deservedly so), and she went back to Brownwood. I stayed in Houston, got married on the rebound, and floated through several careers (insurance sales, movie theater manager, custom shirt shop manager, etc.), but after a few years, I finally decided I had to finish college. So, I picked up where I left off (in the University of Houston's wonderful theater department this time). I worked nights as a stocker in a grocery store, and went to school during the day. It took me a year-and-a-half to finish, and my wife divorced me in the interim (she wanted me to be a bit more upwardly mobile).
In the late 1970’s, armed with degrees in Drama and English, I still wanted to make music and act and write, but couldn’t decide how to go about it, so I taught middle school for twenty-three years in the Houston ISD, teaching English, reading, creative writing, journalism, drama and – eventually – technology.
In 1982, at a play audition, I met a wonderful woman, Minay Miller. We were both cast in the play, and had to do publicity photos while holding a closely-embraced tango pose for several minutes. The air must have escaped the room, because neither of us could breathe. We started dating within a few weeks, and were married six months later. We are still married thirty-three years later (which is a testament to her ability to put up with my oddities). Neither of us act any longer. She is an amazing quilter, and I evolved into a geek who writes, wrangles websites, likes to travel, records audiobooks, and loves photography.
Teaching didn't cause me to give up writing altogether. Between 1985 and 2004 I finished a screenplay, An Ordinary Day (about a disgruntled ex-student planting a bomb in a locker at his old school), which survived the first round of cuts in 2005's Project Greenlight series; and I wrote and acted in a one-act play called Baum in Limbo (about a near-death experience that L. Frank Baum could have had, giving him the idea for The Wizard of Oz). I've also taken a variety of creative writing courses, have written several short stories, have now finished three novels, and am hard at work on a fourth (and plotting and playing with a few others).
In 2002, I became a program manager for Rice University's Center for Excellence and Equity in Education. Our primary goal was to create programs that were fun, and would encourage high school and middle school girls to develop an interest in computer science (a field that is very heavily weighted toward guys). The programs were successful but the grant money for the programs eventually ran out, so I retired.
I have been retired from Rice since late 2009, have three novels under my belt, If a Butterfly: Books One and Two (2012), and The Jagged Man (2013). I also have two other projects underway, Murder Between Friends, and The Hawthorn's Sting. Murder Between Friends is a mystery/thriller about a man who is so bad that when someone kills him, nobody in his small town is willing to say much more than "Good riddance." This makes it difficult for the reporter who's trying to cover the story, but the fact that the dead man's widow is his ex-girlfriend makes things much worse. The Hawthorn's Sting is a thriller about amnesia, Roman Britain, the Bayeux Tapestry, the Glastonbury Thorn, and the lost years of Jesus, among other things. A sixth novel, The Lives of Franklin Roosevelt Jones, is also partly written. The idea behind it is both simple and complex. I'll add an explanation for it somewhere at this site (probably on the Past/Future Stuff page). Another novel and a couple of non-fiction projects are in the planning stage. I'll probably say more about them somewhere on the site. The Past/Future Stuff page is always a good place to look for that sort of thing.
I should also mention that I formed my own publishing company when I decided to publish The Jagged Man and If a Butterfly. You can get a lot more detail about Jagged Man at the publishing company's website, http://www.fliowiddixpublishing.com/, or at The Jagged Man's website. More info will also be available for Butterfly at the Flio Widdix Publishing site once it's published.