I was born and raised in Northern New Jersey. I still live here with my loving wife, Michelle, and three children. 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 became 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. On a part-time basis, I joined the sports department of the Star-Ledger, the largest paper in New Jersey, which was always my lifelong dream.

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 novel 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 WCSU. 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 finish a novel that I’ve been proud of.

For the past few years, I’ve been 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 two sons and a daughter and unbelievably, quit smoking cigarettes.

With that project in the final editing stages, I keep myself busy by writing a collection of short stories, essays and magazine articles.

Now I’ve turned my attention to collecting anecdotes from Vietnam veterans for my next project, ‘Nam Stories.  It’s a topic I’ve always been interested in. I love hearing about their experiences. We owe veterans a lot, but in the very least, owe then an opportunity to share their stories.

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 accomplish one of my two daily challenges – 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