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I was born in Chicago in 1965. I’m told it was a hot night. At eighteen, I enlisted in the Air National Guard as an aircraft mechanic. My squadron flew the KC-135, a tanker with a worldwide mission. The wanderlust began. So did a military scholarship. In college, I did a lot of reading, a little writing, and too much drinking. I got a “C” in Creative Fiction.

Freshly minted a second lieutenant, I attended Air Force pilot training. The Air Force and I had some disagreements about how to operate their jets, after which they invited me to seek my future in another field. That was humbling. Very humbling.

Next came three years in criminal justice dealing with juvenile offenders and their far guiltier parents. I saw some bad things out there. Flying began to look pretty good again.

Three airlines, seventeen years, and ten thousand weather delays later it’s a career. They even call me “Captain” now. This, too, is very humbling—but in a much better way. Aviation has taken me from Chicago to San Juan, Miami, New York, Palm Springs, and now the California coast. Access to free air travel has taken me even farther. Over the years, I’ve checked off some widely spaced points on the charts, exploring ancient ruins, munching on grasshoppers, and bending elbows in dusky watering holes with the kinds of people that Tom Waits sings about. Ideas formed along the way. I began to write again.

Palm Springs, a desert oasis, was the perfect hideaway to create One For Our Baby, but I needed a new experience after that. When I heard the song of the Sirens in the thundering Pacific surf I answered the call, buying a sailboat and taking to the sea in search of them. Some days I sail. Some days I scour the secluded coves for their mistresses. Some days I just sit below deck and write. I’m expecting a mermaid sighting—or another novel—in the not too distant future.