I was born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin. I really didn't want to go to college. I had wanted to join the Navy. But my
mother forged my signature on an application to the University of Wisconsin-Madison and I was accepted.
(Wisconsinites got automatic admission at that time if they graduated from a public high school in the top half of their
class. No way I could get in now.)
This college thing was clearly
important to her, so I relented and
went. I had taken four years of Latin
in high school and pursued a
Classics (Latin and Greek) major. I
figured I would join the Navy after I
was done with my education.
But I discovered that I was quite
good at learning languages. After my
BA, I continued at the University of
Wisconsin-Madison to eventually
get my PhD in Biblical Hebrew and
Semitic Studies, with a minor in
While finishing that degree, I taught
Latin one year and a variety of
religious and biblical studies courses
at the University of Wisconsin and
And then I tried to join the Navy again, but was medically
disqualified because of glaucoma!
But I got the chance to serve my country after 9/11. I was hired
as an Arabic linguist at the Top Secret National Security
Agency, where I would work for four years. During that time I
earned the Global War on Terrorism Civilian Service Medal for
service performed in Iraq.
I describe some of my experiences at the NSA in this video.
Traveler and Adventure Novelist
In addition to my adventures in Iraq, I've explored
many countries of the world. I've cumulatively spent
over a year in mystical Romania during the last decade,
as well as visiting Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, the United
Arab Emirates, Israel, the Palestinian Territory, Italy,
France, Germany, the Czech Republic, Denmark,
Sweden, Canada, Mexico, Great Britain, Turkey,
Greece, and Bulgaria.
I share my love of travel and adventure in my novels.
They follow the exploits of a man I patterned after
myself--an academic who is suddenly thrust into the
world of international intrigue and espionage. My
travel experiences allow me to add authentic details
about the places the characters visit.
Even though my novels are tales of adventure, they
are, at their core, stories about people. It is about their
hopes and fears, as they struggle through the crises
My novels also invariably include someone finding
love amidst the chaos and heartache of their