What did you do before you became a copywriter?
In civilian life, I’ve done many questionable things for money. Who hasn’t? In my journalism life, I literally started at the bottom: newspaper morgue librarian, beat reporter, humor columnist, advertising layout designer/copy writer, copy editor and city desk editor. I actually once got to say, “Stop the press”. (BEST TIME EVER!)
During my freelance life, I’ve written swill and some really good stuff covering a bewildering range of subjects (available at request), but my favorite niche is motorcycles/automotive. I’ve edited everything from horrific personal memoirs to technical stuff. I know all writing styles, but loudly and cheerfully loath all but one.
What sort of education do you have?
The finest – I was taught and mentored by some honest-to- God, old school newspapermen (whiskey bottle in the desk drawer and all) I also went to college.
How do you take your coffee?
In gallon-size mugs (like my whiskey).
If you had to pick just one condiment, which would it be and why?
The most damaging hot sauce available – as a beverage.
What do you like best about working for Top Shelf?
We’re a weird and varied bunch – of all ages, backgrounds, experience and geography – but we’re also a very strong team in the truest sense of the word. There is absolutely no hesitation by anyone to pitch in when a member of our staff needs help in any way – either on the job or off. Thanks to our differences, both in life and training, we’re experienced in an impressive variety of niches.
What kind of writing do you do outside of Top Shelf?
Nothing personally creative right now, but I’d like to do more columns once I re-locate my sense of humor. I freelance around, hoping that every client I work for will appreciate the brilliance that I provide and fill my coffers with filthy lucre.
How do you think your outside writing influences your Top Shelf work?
All of my writing is influenced by my experiences and training – life and professional. When you’re at it as long as I’ve been, you should have it right by now.
What’s your project manager like? How about your editor?
My project manager is a wild-eyed harridan with the temperament of a drunken hyena. My editor is a saint. Reverse that.
What’s your favorite font?
For fun: Bleeding Cowboys. For work: Right now I’m fond of Calibri.
What words do you really hate / love?
Hate: The word snark literally makes my teeth hurt. Others include festive, eatery, guesstimate, ridic, haters, foodie and the ever-tiresome Islamaphobia.
Love: Loathsome, nefarious, epoch, ethereal, illicit … is that a pattern?
Who is your writing hero?
Humor: Dave Barry and Erma Bombeck.
Columnist: Leonard Pitts Jr., Miami Herald.
Novelist: Stephen King and Clive Cussler.
All around: Oscar Wilde
What’s your personal slogan?
Not mine, but it’s my credo: Kingsley Amis: “If you can’t annoy somebody, there’s little point in writing.”
One thing about my writing career/life that people wouldn’t expect?
I always get a real rush when something I wrote makes someone laugh, think or learn. I never planned to be a writer, but I’m damned glad to be here.