I was born and raised in a working class neighborhood in Chicago. I think my love of reading stems from my parents and grandparents, who were all avid readers. As a child, one of my favorite things was hanging out at the library or browsing in flea markets for books I could afford. One day my parents took me to see a most wondrous movie, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. It made me a believer. From that time on, I read every Oz book I could get my hands on. I also loved comic books, especially the ones in the SF genre, Planet Comics, Superman, Captain Marvel, etc. I also liked mathematics and science, especially astronomy.
When I was twelve or so, I discovered the pulp magazines. They had garish covers and were printed on blotting paper, but the insides were marvelous. Even the letter columns were interesting. In these magazines, and the slicks and paperbacks, that followed a few years later, I learned to love such writers as Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein, Robert Silverberg and so many others. About that time I decided I wanted to write in the genre, but never got started until many years later.
I was drafted into the army at the end of the Korean War and was sent to Germany, where I worked as a microwave repairman. Also, I married a girl who went to the same high school as I did, but who I met at a party after I graduated. We’ve been married over fifty years now. We have four wonderful girls, ten grandchildren (most whom are adults now) and one spunky five-year-old great-granddaughter.
For most of my working life, I was a technical writer for a major computer firm. I learned many things there about computers, writing, people and corporations. I lived the Dilbert cartoon. Because of my work, my wife and I moved to a small town in upstate New York where the manufacturing plant was located. We still live there, although the company closed the plant.
In 1993, I retired. That’s when my fiction writing career started. Several short stories of mine have been published in e-zines, and I’ve sold a series of dark fantasy novels called The Morgaine Chronicles to Futures Past Editions. Futures Past has also published a collection of my short stories, The Sands of Time, two SF novels, Star Tower and The Bagod, a dark fantasy called The Laws of Magic and many, many more. My website, The Fantastic World of Papa Joe, contains SF, fantasy and horror stories, serials, my blog and art.