Jose R. Rodriguez

Biography

Biography

I was Born in Caracas, Venezuela to Spanish parents. I came to the U.S. in 1980 to study; my parents were glad to buy me a one-way ticket and helped me pack my bags. B.S in Aeronautical Engineering and M.S in Aerospace Engineering. Since then I have worked as an engineer and a computer programmer in the structural timber industry. I'm a registered Professional Engineer in the state of Colorado.
I used to skydive until I busted a knee in my 985th jump. I took up bicycling and now I'm an avid mountain biker having busted a few body parts and cracked a few helmets on rocky, steep Colorado trails. I enjoy cross country riding at night and down hilling at ski resorts during the summer days. I race BMX. I used to fly small airplanes but let private license expire because it got expensive.

Publishing Credits

Published work: “The Tomato King,” Summer 1994, Saint Joseph’s Magazine, Jersey City, NJ. “Guacaipuro’s Gold,” Vol. 7, No. 2, Chiricu, Indiana State University, Bloomington, In. “Moonstruck,” Spring 1995, Saint Joseph’s Magazine, Jersey. “Old Tales,” No. 18, 1995, Latino Stuff Review, Miami, Fl. “Tramps,” New Texas 95, University of North Texas, Denton, Tx. Winner of the 1995 Betty Greene Fiction Award. “El Norteno,” August 1996, Hispanic Magazine OnLine, America On Line. “Pedro Orozco,” October 1996, Hispanic Magazine OnLine, America On Line, winner of their first literary contest. Has written six unpublished novels in the past few years . Winner of the 2010 Dirt Rag magazine literary contest with "King of the hill" short story (see October issue).

Smashwords Interview

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
This is such a loaded question that I am not sure how to answer it. I grew up in Venezuela, atop a hill overlooking the town of Los Teques. The place had been a coffee plantation way back then. Our little house was at the end of a dead end street, surrounded by mango and coffee trees. To go to Catholic school I had to descend from the hill down into town, and then climb back at the end of the day. I was a skinny kid with legs like a professional soccer player, going up and down that hill everyday. Summers I went to Spain, Asturias. Another world, a small town at the foot of the Pyrenees, and I hiked up and down those mountains chasing after cattle and sheep. When people ask me where I'm from, I have a hard time answering that question. I'm from somewhere between Latin America and Spain, between hills and mountains, between tropical beaches along the Caribbean and rocky cliffs next to the North Atlantic. I grew up reading all Latin American writers and poets, the Spanish classics, from El Cid through the golden era of Cervantes, plus a heavy dose of the Greeks and Romans, and those epics were bloody books, sword fighting galore. Never read Shakespeare, or anybody who didn't write in Spanish, Greek or Latin. Hemingway was a dude with a beard who used to live in Cuba, that was my deepest knowledge of American and English literature. I'm still reading Latin American writers, but I had to teach myself about all gringo writers by reading as many of their books I could get, and some English writers too. Shakespeare still is a no go, his old English being hard to follow (try reading El Cid in its original Castillian, and you will get an idea how hard it can be if you only speak contemporary Spanish). So I have two sides to my writing, a Latin side, and an American side, all mixed like jambalaya.
When did you first start writing?
Years ago, after college. My first writing was a huge novel that I never published or showed to anybody. It is still in my files somewhere. Up to this day I'm not sure what to do with it. Then I started with short stories, and some got published in university literary magazines, and I won a literary prize in 1995, which was a surprise to me because I didn't know I had entered any contexts. I have kept writing despite truck loads of rejections, and stopped submitting my work and querying agents. I got tired of wasting my time and money. I figure that the little free time I have, I would rather write than try to fit into a literary world that pays no attention to me. So I write, and write, and spread my writing all over the Internet like it were manure. Who knows, something may grow out of it.
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Jose R. Rodriguez online


Books

Riding Alone
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 4,850. Language: American English. Published: February 1, 2014. Category: Fiction » Adventure » General
After an eventful day at the office that included fighting a man with a knife, what was supposed to be a relaxing mountain bike ride turns into an epic escape on the Colorado Trail. In this short story our lonely rider is running away from … something, chased by his own fears.
King of the Hill
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 2,780. Language: American English. Published: January 29, 2014. Category: Fiction » Literature » Plays & Screenplays
(5.00)
A short story about BMX racing and the odd relationship of sorts between and old guy and a punk kid. Winner of Dirt Rag Magazine's 2010 Literature contest.
I Have Monkey Butt
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 2,500. Language: American English. Published: January 4, 2014. Category: Fiction » Literature » Alternative history
(5.00)
In this short story a mountain biker struggles uphill. It is not just the steep climb, but his age, asthma, and monkey butt that he has to overcome to make it to the top. Along the way he briefly meets other riders who come and go seeking their own two-wheeled happiness. The reward for long climbs is sweet descents that make the pains and doubts of the uphill struggle all worth it.
A Dozen in Denver
By
Series: Short stories, Book 19. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 2,480. Language: American English. Published: December 26, 2012. Category: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
In this short story a private investigator is hired to find out who “killed” and old servant bot by smashing his head with a pipe. His snooping leads to the conclusion that another robot is the culprit, which is not possible as robots are non-violent machines. His suspicious are confirmed when he finds and confronts the culprit bot. The social order as he knows it becomes suspect.
Mister Danger is my Name
By
Series: Short stories, Book 18. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 5,370. Language: English. Published: October 6, 2012. Category: Fiction » Literature » Literary
An American expatriate living in a small town along the Caribbean, an escapee from alimony payments and pesky IRS tax men, becomes the unexpected driver of an ambulance carrying a dying kid through the dark jungle night. Besides a rough dirt road full of pot holes, river crossings, and no headlights, he has to deal with a spooky companion riding shotgun.
The Alien's Luggage
By
Series: Short stories, Book 13. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 1,710. Language: English. Published: May 26, 2012. Category: Fiction » Literature » Literary
(5.00)
A short story about unfulfilled expectations. Two cousins think they hit the jackpot when they run into a crashed UFO, only to find out that what they though was their ticket to fame and riches is just another of life's disappointments.
Simple Life
By
Series: Short stories, Book 12. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 5,350. Language: English. Published: May 25, 2012. Category: Fiction » Literature » Plays & Screenplays
Unhappiness can be self inflicted when we fail to appreciate what we have or get sidetracked by worries that are not worth our time. In this short story, a young boy who is poor but doesn't know it, who is happy with his simple life, has that life tarnished by worries that, while look to him insurmountable, are small peanuts. Death and a missing love one reset the boy's priorities in life.
Wrongway Dave
By
Series: Short stories, Book 9. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 2,960. Language: English. Published: May 13, 2012. Category: Fiction » Literature » Plays & Screenplays
(4.00)
Dave is paralyzed by terror every time he jumps out of an airplane. Despite a string of bad jumps that make Frank, his instructor, ground him out of concern for his life, Dave finds ways to keep on trying to get that one turning point jump that will free him from his terror and botched performances. Skydiving is unforgiving of errors, and Dave makes plenty of those.
A Holly Trifecta
By
Series: Short stories, Book 8. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 6,250. Language: English. Published: April 25, 2012. Category: Fiction » Literature » Religious
Three short stories specifically written for publication in religious magazines. Two out the three got published in 1994 and 1995. Years later, after re-reading this early work, I have to admit that these stories are tearjerkers. I didn't set out to write lachrymose stories, but sometimes stories write themselves. I have bundled these stories in this trilogy, for those of you who like spirituality