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Read by Mike Dennis
Thirty years of playing music isn’t exactly the best training for an author. Thirty years of writing would be more like it. But playing music is what I did, so that’s what I had to work with.
To set the record straight, I was a piano player, also venturing off into electronic keyboards from time to time. My career, which started in Houston, took me to nearly every state in the Union, as well as to several unusual foreign countries, all the while roving through disparate musical genres: rock & roll, rhythm & blues, and country. I played in clubs, concerts, TV, radio, and recording studios. I played large venues in front of tens of thousands of people and in smoky bars for no one at all. My journey found me living in Memphis, Nashville, Fort Lauderdale, New Orleans, and finally, my beloved Key West, where I lived for sixteen years, and where I retired from music around 2003.
I had begun writing almost by accident somewhere in the late 1980s, while living and playing in New Orleans. I was encouraged to do so by a friend of mine, Marda Burton, who was herself a writer. She had read a little account I wrote of an overseas trip I’d taken, and she seemed to think I could make up stories and string words together in a coherent fashion, filling up hundreds of pages in the process. Of course, I disagreed, claiming fiction was for “real” writers.
She stayed on my case, though, and pretty soon, I got started. On and off for the next twenty years, I eventually completed six novels and some dozen short stories. Oh, and did I mention hundreds (or was it thousands?) of rejection slips.
I left Key West in late 2006 for Las Vegas. I played a lot of poker at the professional level for several years, but I’m now devoting most of my time to writing.
In 2009, a small traditional press released one of my novels. It’s called The Take, a compact noir tale of ordinary people, minor players in society, caught up in extraordinary circumstances and emotions: greed, lust, and the survival instinct.
I’ve created the Key West Nocturnes Series of noir novels. These books will lift the veil on Key West, revealing it as a true noir city, on a par with Los Angeles, New Orleans, or Miami. There are currently three novels in the series, all standalones, with recurring secondary characters, will pull the reader deep into the shadows of Key West, behind the margaritas and the sunshine, where the tourists never go.
In addition to the Key West Nocturnes novels, I’ve begun a new series. This one is the Jack Barnett / Las Vegas series about a reluctant ex-private investigator who tries to maintain a low profile but keeps getting dragged back into the business. The series consists of two novelettes and a full novel.
In late 2010, I moved back home to Key West, where I live year-round with my wife Yleana, whom I married one warm December night in 2012 on the rooftop of an apartment building in Havana, Cuba.
Recently, I’ve been fortunate enough to work with Lyrical Lip Service, an audiobook publisher, doing voiceover work. This is something I’ve always wanted to do, but never knew how to go about it. My voice is tailor-made for this kind of work, and I hope to make the most of this chance I’ve been given. So far, I’ve done several short stories and a couple of novels, and I look forward to a long and fruitful relationship with LLS.