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I am one of a few people who can say I have as much in common with Jim Bridger as I do with J.R.R. Tolkien.
As a young boy I grew up on a small farm in Utah. I had all kinds of animals at one time or another. I've been rammed in the back by billy goats and rams--the kind with the huge curled horns. Yes, as a matter of fact it did hurt! I lived what I assumed to be a normal life with a large family.
My parents tried to teach me to work hard and be honest and good. I thought it was normal to milk goats and get ninja kicked off of the trampoline on a daily basis. While most kids were watching Elmo and eating Cheetos, I was busy exploring the vast desert wilderness areas and national parks with my dad (a university professor) and his students. These experiences gave me a love and respect for nature that I still have to this day.
Like most kids, I played all the normal sports, and while I was not slotted in as the number-one draft pick, I always made a good showing of myself. Sports were fun, but they weren't my passion.
I don't know many people who'd skip school to read, but I did. Reading and later writing became a passion. I won the first grade reading contest by reading several hundred books. I also made my first attempt at writing fantasy. The story featured a scary blue demon. I had just begun to realize that stories opened all sorts of places and doors that were otherwise nonexistent or unavailable in Utah. I couldn't get enough. Fast forward through Eddings, Hickman, Feist, Brooks, and so on; I devoured them all like a sugar addict does Halloween treats.
I thought it was normal to own a BB gun at the age of five; a real sword (yes, it was sharp) at eight, along with machete; and various throwing stars and daggers. I have scars from most of the afore mentioned. At age ten, I had my own .22 and an extremely long row of Raspberries that I was responsible for.
I learned how to survive in harsh climates, start a fire with a bow drill, where and how to find water, and which plants were edible. I even learned my times tables.
I shot my father's an elephant gun (.460 Weatherby) as a young teenager. Sports got pushed back from all sports to basketball, swimming, and weightlifting.
After high school, I worked construction for a year to save up enough money to serve a mission for the LDS church. I spent two years in Berlin and the surrounding area where I got assaulted by skinheads for being an Ausländer i.e. foreigner. I talked with a lot of awesome people and some crazy ones and saw for the first time how different my life was from most people's. I grew up a lot and found out more about the world.
After being a VP at a company and later starting my own business, I then moved into real estate. None of them left me excited at the end of the day. I'd love books that kept me up until the wee hours of the morning, and left me wanting more. I wanted to create the same feeling for others, so I started writing. I'm not one to do things halfway so I decided that I'd pour my heart and soul into what I love writing.