OVje1aQ0I was born and raised in Northern New Jersey. I still live here with my loving wife, two sons and little princess. I can’t see myself ever living elsewhere.

But enough of that.

Simply put, I’ve always wanted to be a storyteller. It started early, when I was very young, telling neighbors that my mother wasn’t really my mother, but instead I was mysteriously dropped off on her doorstep. I was four, and the babysitters were horrified. I knew then that it was all about the reaction. That’s why I did it then and that’s why I still do it now. Because for me, it’s now about how you feel after reading a story. It’s about how I feel after I’ve just told you a good one.

While I tinkered with some stories privately in high school and college, I didn’t really pursue a career until after I realized the business world was not where I wanted to be every day. I have no problem sitting at a desk, as some say. My problem was what I was doing at that desk.

So I tried my hand at sports reporting. I started at $25 an article, which petrified my father. I asked him to be patient, but I was concerned too of course. Within three months I had a full-time reporting job as a news reporter and eventual section editor, and a year later I won the Lloyd P. Burns award for Responsible Journalism from the New Jersey Press Association for writing a series of articles about a street in Belleville, New Jersey, terrorized by a garment factory. A year later I added second NJPA award, second place in the state for News Reporting, after I wrote an article about two politicians that came to blows after a BOE meeting that every other paper seemed to get dead wrong.

Persistence and details. Persistence and details.

I started teaching college classes at my alma mater, Pace University, and fell in love with the classroom. A year later I was hired full-time by Mercy College and have been watching fellow journalists bloom ever since. I joined the sports department of the Star-Ledger, the largest paper in New Jersey, which was always my lifelong dream. I spent eight years working alongside great reporters.

If you work hard enough, you’ll get there, I used to say to myself. I felt it was unattainable for so long, but before I knew it, there I was.

A few years ago the fiction bug bit me again. I had written a sports book when I was 22. It took me a month or so, and it is still shoved in one of my desk drawers. I knew it wasn’t good enough. Disheartened, I gave it a shot again eight years later. I pursued a second master’s degree, an MFA in creative writing, from Western Connecticut State University. It was one of the best decisions of my life. I thank all of my colleagues and mentors for reigniting the fire in me to create.

For a few years, I’ve was writing and researching my espionage novel, The Ragnarok Vaults. To think that during the process of writing it, I’ve bought a house, got married, had children and unbelievably, quit smoking cigarettes.

FullSizeRenderWith that project complete, I keep myself busy by writing a collection of short stories, essays and magazine articles.

Thank you for your support in allowing me to do something that I love everyday. There is no better feeling professionally than to have people tell me they loved the words I’ve used or the worlds I’ve created.

I always say, use your day to do one of two tasks – entertain or educate yourself. And if you’re lucky, you’ll bang them both out at the same time.

Don’t  let ‘em grind you down.

– Perrota