Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Whoooo Are You?

Who are you? Really?

I know many of you would say that you are a writer if I asked what you are. And I would tell you the same if you were to ask me. At the core of my being, I am a right brained, creative type, who loves writing more than I could have ever imagined. Unfortunately, most writers, myself included, have a day job. We wake up, shower the night stink off our flesh and brush the bacteria out of our teeth like every other working stiff. We go to work, obey the man, gulp down a 5 hour energy drink or cup of Joe just to lubricate our brain, and then diligently slave away until our literary dreams have come true.

And yet...we somehow find the time, motivation, and the creative energy to write our story - maybe many stories depending on our circumstance, shuffling family, life and American Idol (can't wait to see Steve Tyler) into our shrinking schedules. Why I ask? Why do we do it? Shouldn't we be content with the work we have already chosen? Are our lives so pathetic that we write each new chapter just to cope, or as a means of escape? Maybe. Sometimes, I think my writing is somewhat fantisorical, although as frightenening as my prose can be, I'm not sure I could handle everything I throw at my little darlings. Afterall, they're not real - I am. And I don't like to get too dirty and I scare easily! (Uh, nevermind that last comment)

What really interests me though, is the face behind the authors mask. I mean, didn't everyone want to know who the Lone Ranger really was? What about Zoro? Didn't all of Me-heco want to know who the brave swordsman was hiding behing the black cloak? I did! And I still feel that way. I am still drawn to the story behind the author. I want to know what makes them tick, what their life is/was like, where they came from and where they got all their material. Admittedly, I am a sucker for a true story, and I love hearing that Mr. Poetwritesalot really works for the trash company, or that up and coming Author-X, is really a legal secretary finishing up her third courtroom thriller!

Although I'm at the risk of losing all credibility, I'll admit to having a long and dirty career working as a maintenance man, pipefitter and HVAC installer. I've worked on an assembly line, and ate transmission fluid on a daily basis just to get a paycheck. And through it all, my wife and I have been raising 4 kids, which as it turns out, is the hardest job of them all. Having said that, I can look back on my life and history and experiences and know that I can add something to my writing that no one else can. For example: in my political thriller Killing the Giants, I basically blow up a couple buildings using buried natural gas lines by adding a tiny bit of injected oxygen - a very dangerous, yet real weapon known mostly to men and women in the pipefitting trade. See? That is my experience. And it makes for a very dramatic ending if I do say so myself.

Now please, I beg of you; Please, oh please comment and tell me what you do. I know you're a writer or maybe a reader, but please tell me what your day job is, even if you are a 100% full-time writer or a janitor who works nights. Share your story and what your life brings to your writing and how it makes your work unique.

And while I'm on the subject of careers, I'd like to bring your attention to the upper right corner of your screen. Do you see the Thrill of the Week? This week, it is The Butcher's Boy, a career that, by the looks of the cover, can be quite deadly! What's the thrill of the week, you ask? It is a free book highlight that I am offering on a weekly/bi-weekly basis to writers (indie or published) who write in and around the thriller genre (And yes, I'm flexable). Why? Because we all need to cross promote and I want to set an example. Email me via my web page with a link and a jpeg and I'll get you on the schedule. BOOM!

P.S. Thank you for all the wonderful and encouraging comments on my forthcoming book cover for The Reunion. Cover #3 won by a long shot. I will tweak the final according to your input. I appreciate all of your votes!


  1. I enjoyed your post, and I'm interested in your novels now! I always enjoy seeing what my fellow writers are doing and how they live when they're not writing. :-) My name is Dorian Tenore-Bartilucci, though I write fiction and articles as "Dorian Tenore" to give the world’s typesetters a break. :-) As friends, family (husband and tween daughter), and Twitter/Facebook correspondents can attest, writing is what I enjoy most, and I've been lucky enough to be able to make money (not Stephen King-type money, but hey, baby steps...) as a writer for the sales/leadership coaching firm Performance Based Results (PBR). Head honcho Paul Cherry just happens to be my cousin, and when he read my nonfiction, he hired me to write articles and other copy for out PBR Web site, and I've been happily working there for the past few years. For fun, I write character-driven comedy-thrillers; I'm currently polishing my first one, THE PARANOIA CLUB, with a wonderful ghost editor, and I'm almost finished with a second novel, SUBURBAN OUTLAWS. Both novels are set in the various boroughs of my hometown, New York City. My influences include my colorful family, NYC, and the books and films I grew up with. I cover these topics, especially movies, in my blog TALES OF THE EASILY DISTRACTED: Good luck with your novels and other endeavors!

  2. I'm technically a 'school crossing patrol office' but to put it simply I'm a lollipop lady in England. In fact, I'm my county's youngest lollipop lady. Thankfully, that's what gives me so much time to write and to play with the many animals we have - five cats & two Westies. I have a blog where I post about my life interspersed with scraps of flash fiction [].

    It's nice to know about people behind all the writing they do. It's so much better than just seeing them as another faceless writer.

  3. I always almost never want to see or know what a writer is up to. I used to be a big Wilbur Smith fan when I was in my early teens and then he appeared on a TV interview - an insipid looking, pale, lank being without any charisma. I got the same sense with Dan Brown (though I was never a fan). It might be trite but I find their faces as dull as their lives. That shouldn't be a surprise really, most writers live in the dark neverland of creation and rarely pop out to meet other people. As for me, I've worked at a lot of things but never really been a career kind of guy. Someone suggested I take a masters in management some while back, which nearly made me barf up my egg McMuffin. Currently I live with my dad as his full-time carer, twiddling my thumbs and trying to decide if my plan for world domination can be carried out from bed.

  4. Mostly, I write. In the summers, I work at an observatory, which I love as much as writing.

  5. Very interesting comments here. After reading about your lives I am wondering why am have tied myself down to a job and time-clock! But then I remember...oh yeah, I have 4 kids and a wife!

    Dorian, it sounds like you have had a very colorful life and btw, we love NYC and we will be there in May with all 4 kids on a tour de' Washington & NYC vacation. I bet your books are a blast. Good Luck!

    Feckless, Thanks for commenting. Although the thought of management makes me want to barf as well, I'm not sure I'd have what it takes to be a caretaker. It takes a very dedicated person to do what you are doing with your father. I hope you reap many blessings from the time you are spending with him.

    M PAx, Write while you can. Life is full of surprises and we never know when things might change. Good luck

    Thanks for sharing your life guys. Looking forward to hearing more stories!

  6. Prior to writing, I worked as a public school teacher for four years. I started as a teaching assistant right out of college and did that for about seven months. From there, I received a promotion in my district to teach seventh grade social studies during a rather lengthy maternity leave. When that ended, I founded myself in another district working as a temporary learning support teacher for students in grades 6-8.

    Currently, I am employed part-time with a company specializing in cognitive therapy. I actually think this is the first time I'm pronouncing this online, as it is hardly my cup of tea and means very little to me, but it's the best offer I could land outside of a day to day substitute. I work one-on-one with kids of all ages, and even adults, to enhance cognitive deficits in areas like logic and reasoning, auditory and visual processing, and memory. The best part of the entire gig is it's flexibility. I'm not sure I would be able to maintain my current writing (and blogging) schedule with a more demanding position.

  7. I split my time between multiple career paths—not multiple personalities as some have alleged. As Marketing Coordinator for one of the nation’s largest foodservice distributors, I enjoy opportunities to access my inner copywriter. An example of that would be, “Fishing for a healthy alternative in seafood selections? Your crew will love our new Gluten Free Fish Sticks! Get some for your galley today!” (‘Tis true. That grub be as jolly as it sounds mates.)

    As Director of Domestic Affairs for my family enterprise, I’m responsible for maintaining the facilities and supply levels, running the foodservice operation, ensuring the availability of ready to wear apparel, and providing tutoring, life coaching and personal hygiene assistance to the two shortest members of the staff.

    Isn’t it cool what a little ‘Spin Dust’ can do for your job description? Director of D.A. is my own term for Homemaker. Makes cleaning up messes feel more career oriented!

    Then in the time leftover (which is my already paltry sleep allowance) I write fiction for mostly my own amusement and occasionally that of one or two of my author friends—who swear they’re laughing with me… If you want to join in the levity, check out my writer side at and for goodness sake, have a heart and leave me a comment!

    Great post Jeff! I loved reading about other writers' secret employment identities--especially yours!

  8. Paul, I'm glad I know what you do. Having a clear picture of a blogger or writer's life in my mind, makes their words sort of come alive. Btw, how's the beta reading going? I just finished going through the final edits, so things have changed a bit since you got it!

  9. I'm enjoying the story. It's timely and relevant (unfortunately) to our society now. As I said, I'm slow, but from what I've read, you seem to have a solid handle on the material. Honestly, I don't have many notes from the "teacher" perspective. I'm going to try my hardest to finish it up soon.

  10. Write, feed the chickens, cut firewood, write some more, tweet about whining writers, whine about writing, and then do it all again.

    Scott Nicholson

  11. Hello Jeff,
    Well lets see, at the moment I am a CNA (certified nursing assistant) who is out on workers comp :( I won't go in to deep detail but the short of it is, I had cervical spine surgery in September and looking down a road of more surgery. I work(ed) to pay the bills. I will admit that being a CNA was the most fulfilling way to pay the bills. I miss my patients dearly. My real job is being a mother of 3 boys and a wife. (DOMESTIC GODDESS)
    I write fiction. Most of what has made it into print is based on parenting and my sick demented thoughts of what could happen! I guess you sort of know what I mean, being a parent we always imagine the worst, just take that and quadruple it! My oldest son could write you a story or two about this, but he leaves the writing to me. My current WIP (work in progress) is no different, except longer. Hey! we have all been taught to write what we know. I am no expert in parenting, but I know what scares me about being a parent and how to put a great spin on it! Not to mention I find ways everyday to enable my boys future therapist to fly his own plane to his summer island!!!
    I write when the pain allows me to, oh! yeah and when the family is occupied with something other than..."Ma, I need..."

  12. Scott,
    You write awefully darn good, but I just don't see the whining in what you create. I do, however, appreciate that you break away from the chickens and firewood to jot down a story or two! You are truly living the author's dream.... to live and write...without a boss or time clock staring over your shoulder.

    Suizy, I do hope you recover from your past and future surgeries. My sister is a nurse and ejoys her work very much as well, but she doesn't write. So good for you to have a satisfying skill while you are on leave! Take care.

  13. By day, I am a 7th grade reading and writing workshop teacher. It's kind of perfect for someone who spends all of her free time immersed in either reading or writing. One of these days, though, I will be able to quit my day job and do nothing but write, write, write...naturally with a tasty soy chai by my side.

  14. Congratulations on your cover selection. I like the story concept and The Reunion will get a read from me.
    Who am I? Actively practicing physician in Minnesota. I let my inner writer get loose three years ago via NaNoWriMo and I have two complete manuscripts that will never see the light of day, one planned publication for later this year and a WIP.
    I don't know how my career impacts my writing, although I chose to make my main character a physician who has forsaken his profession to become a bounty hunter. There are some medical threads throughout the work but it is foremost a mystery/suspense novel.

    I occasionally blog about my writing life over at and I enjoy following other aspiring writers on Twitter and on their blogs.

  15. I've done a lot of things while writing, newspaper librarian, bookkeeper, store clerk, COBOL programmer, technical writer. I used to like to set a book in the workplace I just left. I had a good run of traditional mysteries set in the church I attend in the town where I live. Now I'm doing a series under another name in a time and place I never inhabited except in my imagination,the world of silent movies, but it's as real as anything I ever did. See the web site: or the blog for what's going on with my writing career.

  16. Thanks for the comments Daniel. They say to write what you know, and it sounds like you're doing that. Keep it. However, the mangaement of The Writing Bomb is not big into saying that his followers and readers are "Aspiring". You may not be a best seller (yet), but you are a writer, man! If you write, you are a writer.

    Kate, That is a very interesting way to create stories - from previous jobs. There are always plenty of characters at work aren't there?! Thanks for posting. I'll check out your blog...both of you. BOOM!

  17. Hi LA...I missed you, somehow. Thanks for visiting. And I too hope you'll spend your days, someday, writing and eatingsoy chai!


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