Yes, I was an English major in college (FSU), which probably explains why my first jobs out of college were delivering pizzas and pulling telecom cables in buildings under construction. There's not much upward mobility in those lines of work, so I did what any sane sensible person would do and went to graduate school to get an MFA in writing. Well, it did keep me off the street for four years. It also gave me a pretty keen editor’s eye; we all had to take Fiction Workshop either four or five semesters, and had to critique two of each other’s stories every week. And it did help me write better, but the program I attended (Alabama) was not particularly helpful for either basic storytelling or genre fiction, which I preferred. Still, I wouldn’t have done things any differently.
After school in 1993, I moved up to Atlanta. I called a friend of mine who was a sales rep for Random House. He had worked with my mom at an independent bookstore in Montgomery, Alabama. I asked him how I could get my foot in the door—maybe work at the well-known Oxford Books? He said, “You don’t want to work there” (and he was right), but instead set up a meeting with the buyer at a local six-store chain called Chapter 11. (Not a good name for a bookstore.) After meeting with the buyer, I got a job at one of the store locations. I was fascinated by the book business (as I had been since I was a kid), and quickly set about learning everything I possibly could about it.
I moved up to Assistant Manager at that store, and when I was offered the chance to become a full manager at a new location they were building in the northern suburb of Alpharetta. I was ambitious, so it didn’t bother me that the new location was 35 miles from where I lived. A few years later, I moved to Corporate as the assistant buyer, and, a few years later, I was the head buyer for the whole chain, which had grown by then to 14 stores.
It was an exciting job. The one downside was that I was at the corporate office most of the time, which meant I didn’t get to interact with customers myself and sell my favorite books. But then, in 2002, I went to the Southern Independent Booksellers’ Alliance trade show in Fort Lauderdale, where I met Sally Brewster, who was in the process of buying Park Road Books in Charlotte. We hit it off, and by the next April, I had moved up here to work in the store with her. (Her purchase of the store finished up in March 2003.) We married in May 2003, and I rediscovered the joys of selling real books to real people. Sally taught me a lot about selling books and running a store. She’s one of the very best in the business.
In late 2008, a job came open as a sales rep for Como Sales, a small company that was (at the time) owned by Workman Publishing. I visited bookstores all over the Southeast, including North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Washington DC. I left the company in 2022, seeking to blaze my own trail.
I am now here to provide services to you, the author, while working on a couple of writing projects of my own. Now you know about me…let’s find out about you!