My mother wore Army boots, but it’s okay. So did my dad.
Dad’s bedtime stories consisted of readings from Shakespeare, Poe and Army regulations. The books were Army issue, too, including the Shakespeare Manual. This led to some rather interesting plot developments. “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears! I come to… conduct inspections according to AR 20-1 and this regulation… quoth the Raven nevermore.” But it got the job done. Dad’s sonorous drone not only put me to sleep, it had the same effect on the kids next door.
Mom, on the other hand, believed all the secrets of the universe could be found in the pages of Pride and Prejudice. She was the politician of the family. I suspect the only reason The Prince didn’t share shelf space with the Austen was because she was born knowing more about the uses of power than Machiavelli and the Borgias combined.
In spite of this, I dreamed of becoming a movie star. All I needed, I thought, was the right vehicle. So in third grade I wrote and produced my first play, The Theft of Thor’s Hammer. I played Loki. To everyone’s surprise, the play showed promise. The acting, not so much.
Since then I’ve written for daily and weekly newspapers, and published government journals. I served as the public relations officer for the Defense Finance and Accounting Service for five years, and managed the development of some of the first Department of Defense web sites. I also spent some time in front of the camera as the assistant producer and occasional host of the local access cable program Mystery Readers Corner.
My first novel, With Nine You Get Vanyr (written with the late great Teri Smith), finaled in the Science Fiction/Fantasy and Humor categories of the 2008 Indie Book Awards. A recent short story, “Hero Material” is featured in Here Be Dragons: Tales of DragonCon, which also boasts stories by Quinn Yarbro, Jody Lynn Nye and Robert Asprin. Other short stories can be found in the anthologies Strange Pleasures 2 & 3.
My second art book, Fantasy Art Templates, which spotlights art by the very talented Rafi Adrian Zulkarnain, was published by Barron’s in March 2010. The first, Illumina: The Art of J.P. Targete, was published in 2003. I also edited the web magazine Crescent Blues for eight years, and my byline has appeared in periodicals as diverse as Science Fiction Weekly and Romance Writers Report.
On the personal side, I’m married to the wonderfully insane Greg Uchrin, author of the cartoon blog Intravenous Caffeine. We live in a weird little corner of northern Virginia at the beck and call of a sweet black cat, watched over the ghost of his gracious predecessor. Both are kindly masters. The ninja squirrels camped in the yard are another matter entirely.
Gail Z. Martin’s Ghost in the Machine Podcast