I was born at the tail end of 1981, four days after Christmas and two days before New Year's Eve. Reagan was president; Olivia Newton-John's "Physical" ruled the airwaves; and at about 7 PM, I was squirted into existence.
My parents named me Nicholas, after the little boy from the hit TV show Eight is Enough. I consider myself lucky, because I was almost named Elliot, after the little boy from E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. This was the story I was given, though there is one glaring hole: E.T. didn't hit theaters until June 1982, six months after I was born, so how could I have almost been named Elliot? Nicholas, played by Adam Rich, was later arrested for attempted robbery and driving under the influence. Outstanding.
My father was a police officer (now retired), and my mother was a teacher (now deceased), so I couldn't get away with much as a kid. If I got in trouble, I was rammed from both ends. I quickly learned that if I was to weasel my way out of punishment, feigned acceptance and obedience worked way better than direct confrontation. A tactic my tantrum-throwing younger sister never learned, sadly.
The big life gift my parents gave to me was, of course, a love of the written word. I was read to at a very young age, but I never had much inclination to do it on my own until I failed a book report in the fourth grade. I just didn't really get the concept. From that point on, my mother brought me home middle-grade horror books from her classroom on a regular basis, which I took an immediate liking to.
My horror run was short-lived, because a few years before I had discovered the joys of Nintendo and The Legend of Zelda, the first console game I ever played. This was my introduction to the fantasy genre as I define it, an alternate world sword and sorcery adventure set in a medieval-esque technological period. I would soon discover Dragon Warrior and Final Fantasy thanks to my friend Nathan, but I didn't realize there was fantasy literature out there until a bit later. I was introduced to the Dragonriders of Pern in a reading class in junior high, though I found it a bit over my head. In the following years, I would discover and devour works by Robert E. Howard, Piers Anthony, and David Eddings, among others.
The big one, as far as defining the type of story I wanted to tell, came in the form of Final Fantasy VI (erroneously Final Fantasy III) on the Super Nintendo. The earlier games were light on story, but this was a huge step up. It's widely considered one of the best games ever made, and the story touched a generation of young people. Final Fantasy VII, which came out a few years later, was almost equal in influence to me.
I had always been telling stories, even before I could read or write. I would draw pictures and tell my mother what words to write. All I knew back then were children's storybooks, so that's what I tried to write. Drawing was my main creative outlet until I was able to write myself. In fifth grade, my English teacher gave us an assignment where one of the options was to write our own fairy tale. I took fairy tale to mean fantasy, so I wrote a humorous fantasy storybook and drew all the accompanying pictures. Some things never change.
But being exposed to different mediums and kinds of storytelling finally had me set on a genre, so I started plotting and writing epic fantasy throughout high school and college. After trying to query agents and publishers with no success, I took a break and followed a different dream. I had been a fan of professional wrestling since childhood and followed the industry religiously. In college, I discovered Ring of Honor, and that was my gateway into independent wrestling. I began making music videos featuring various feuds and wrestlers, and posted them online. Before long, I attracted the attention of independent wrestlers and promoters, and by 2009 I was doing freelance video work for three major promotions: ROH, FIP and SHIMMER: Women Athletes, making music videos, DVD trailers, demos, and event commercials.
I never had aspirations to work for WWE or TNA, and they required a college degree and five years of experience in the field anyway. I enjoyed where I was, so I saw no point in continuing to produce videos when ROH began consolidating its budget and couldn't afford to pay me anymore, FIP went on hiatus, and I had a falling-out with SHIMMER.
I decided to give this writing thing another try, and finished The Adventure Tournament, then began a full rewrite of my very first novel, Secrets of the Stonechaser. It was 2010 now, and the balance of power had shifted. Due to the Kindle and Nook taking off, people were beginning to have great success via self-publishing. Agents and publishers were no longer the sole gatekeepers deciding who entered the market, and were growing less and less relevant with every passing month. So I jumped into self-publishing and never looked back.
I hope you have enjoyed this rambling look at my life. If you read this far, congratulations. You have too much time on your hands.