Who am I? is a question that has haunted philosophers from time immemorial. The Greek philosopher Socrates answered it early on by saying, “The only true wisdom is knowing that you know nothing.” A bit esoteric, if you ask me, but who am I to doubt Socrates? So herewith a little bit of nothing about me, at least as it pertains to the burning task at hand: deciding whether and how to hire a premier ghostwriter (or top-notch collaborator) to help you tell your story.
For me, nothingness began early when I was a mere lad of 13, whereupon I witnessed a stranger’s dog get sucked into the wheel well of a passing car, followed by a spinning clunking that stopped my heart from beating. Abhorred, aghast, mortified, not to mention ashamed because in some small way I blamed myself for the poor mutt’s demise, that morning I was inspired to write an essay titled “Spinning, Clunking” for my 8th grade English class at Cole Junior High School in Ashland, Kentucky. So moved was the teacher that she persuaded the school Principal to read my little heartfelt essay over the Public Address system to the whole school. A (very embarrassed) writer was borne.
Always seeking an outlet for expression, in law school I became Editor of the school’s law review (called Voir Dire) for two years running (a school first), then graduated Valedictorian and went on to become an award-winning law professor on the subject of “Remedies” (meaning the relief sought through the courts). Then as a practicing attorney, I endeavored to write, review, and edit literally thousands of legal briefs over an illustrious 25-year career. Several of my cases even become precedent-setting, earning publication in the official appellate reports. And in jury trials, I frequently quoted inspirational passages from the great authors — men and women of history with jewels of wisdom which I wielded as weapons in the name of justice.
But after winning millions of dollars in verdicts, I felt burnt out from too much time with the jealous mistress and too little time with the arts: theater, film, music, drawing, and painting. Then at the urging of my dear friend Paul Aratow, the sole producer of Sheena, Queen of the Jungle (and the largest budgeted Hollywood picture in history at the time), I took down my legal shingle and moved to Hollywood just as Paul had done decades earlier after founding the world-renowned Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley. Yes, I wanted something new, something exciting to stir the blood, so I made a full transition from courtroom trial lawyer to entertainment executive, music manager and, ultimately, critically-acclaimed writer and artist.
As COO of One Roof Entertainment in Hollywood (technically at the downtown L.A. Center Studios), I wrote three feature film scripts in collaboration with major motion picture studios, and executive-produced the NAACP award-winning theatrical Ephraim’s Song with Bruce Willis and Cedric the Entertainment, among others. Then when visiting Las Vegas one weekend, I was tapped as COO of Vegas Rocks Magazine & Media, where for four years I covered, photographed and wrote about hundreds of the biggest bands in the world, from The Killers to Imagine Dragons (both from Vegas) to Guns N Roses, Motley Crue and U-2.
Ultimately my same dear friend, Paul Aratow, told me to put down the scripts and write books instead. “Stevie,” he said, “thousands of books get published every year, but only a few dozen feature films are made. Do the math.” And though I had co-written a popular legal practice book, “Labor & Employment in California,” as a young attorney (it has been in publication and updated annually for 25+ years), I did the math and focused on writing my first legal thriller. By 2014 it was in print with the vanity imprint of legendary lit manager Peter Miller. Conflicted, a Trip Splatter Novel, met with critical praise from some of the biggest writers in the thriller genre, including most notably 20x New York Times bestseller John Lescroart, whose review is quoted on the cover of the book.
In August 2016, I finished my second book, “Conquering Your Adversities,” an inspirational memoir about a hardscrabble kid from the mafia-ridden streets of Collinwood/Cleveland, aka Bomb City USA, to the NFL… before ultimately becoming a successful doctor. New York Times bestseller Patrick Snow, the author of three-million-sold Create Your Own Destiny, initially took the book on for marketing and self-publishing, and now it is being presented at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival for consideration by several large producers.
One month later, I completed the first draft of “The Food Mafia,” written in collaboration with motion-picture veteran Jon Gordon. This book is inspired by Jon’s Clemmy’s Ice Cream saga whereby he tried to launch a sugar-free ice cream company before being crushed by Nestle. The book went through multiple drafts, including editing by best-selling author Lou Aronica, and is currently under consideration by Ron Meyer, head of Universal Pictures, as a potential major motion picture in the vein of John Grisham’s The Firm meets The Insider.
I followed The Food Mafia with my first co-write fictional cyberthriller, Flatline: The Day London Died, and then took a different direction and co-wrote several non-fiction books on holistic health and diabetes. The first was The Fast Diabetes Solution: A Holistic Formula for Diabetes Reversal and Living a Healthy, Happy Life, by Suzanne Ridley (a career pharmacist from Australia) | with Steve Eggleston. The second, soon to be published, is In Search of Natural Support for Diabetes Wellbeing, the Discovery of Lysulin, by John Burd (co-founder of DEXCOM) | with Rob Vickery and Steve Eggleston. Look for this one to be an Amazon bestseller.
Now, with more than a dozen books and novels under my belt, including fiction, non-fiction, and ‘faction,’ some protected under NDAs and others not ready to reveal, I typically select five to six projects at a time to work on, bring them to fruition before moving to the next, new thrilling ride, justice exposed, or story well told. Timing, as we know, is everything in the wonderful world of storytelling. And then there’s the whole publishing process, of which I’m quite experienced as writer, collaborator, ghost, and attorney.
In addition to writing books, I have taught collegiate history, politics, ethics, copyright and Understanding the Music Business. Because of my diverse and storied background, I am often called upon to provide ghostwriting, co-writing, story-editing, and consultation for books, Ph.D. thesis, White Papers, Marketing Personaes, academic materials and content for websites and online platforms of every kind. Most of the time I am disciplined, funny, and creative, priding myself in going above and beyond the call of duty.
I am married to Dana Amma Day, the co-foundering media guru of PositiveTV.tv, with whom I appear in the banner picture for this page. I live alternately between Falls Church, Virginia (a Metro ride to the nation’s capital), and Pilton-London, England, whilst collaborating with writers and clients from all over the world. For the behind-the-scenes on how some of my books and writing projects have come about, be sure to dig deep into the various tabs and sub-tabs of this website…and tap into my Blogs.
Activities & Passions…
I was once accused of being a thinker and not a doer. More precisely, I was said to have “admitted” that I’m “a thinker and not a doer,” whatever that means. What’s preposterous about it is it’s so utterly false as to be laughable. But there lies the rub. It is hard to laugh at libel when it is directed at you.
While its libelousness will be decided on another day in a venue different than my own website, if I may take a moment of your precious time, let me lay forth here a small rebuttal by describing some of my activities and passions in life that may well prove me a doer as well as a thinker. But I’ll let you be the judge of that.
- When in kindergarten, I started digging to China in my backyard using nothing but a metal spoon. This took place next to the airfield on Westover Air Force Base in Springfield, Massachusetts, during the Cuban Missile Crisis. After encountering funny little pellets that turned out to be rabbit shit, and then hitting water, my mom made me call it quits in the interests of national security.
- In 1962 I joined Pop Warner Football, playing end on my first organized football team. That was the same year I started First Grade at Bowie Elementary School on Westover. For the next twelve years, I would play organized football every single year that a team existed on which I could play, finishing my career at Northeast High School in 1974 in St. Petersburg, Florida, at tight end, with no prospects of playing in college, much less the pros. I did once catch a touchdown pass that everyone thought I was going to drop after it bobbled in my hands for about ten yards, but I can barely remember that due to all the punishing helmet-bashing I undertook over the years.
- My sister and I started swimming lessons about the time we started to crawl. While she went on to compete in the Junior Olympics when we were stationed at Ramey Air Force Base in Puerto Rico, my best friend John Neyer scholarshipped in swimming to Virginia Commonwealth University, and his sister, Megan Neyer, who learned to dive from the same diving board that John and I did, at Breezeland Country Club in Ashland, Kentucky, become the winningest diver in NCAA history and an Olympian – I’m afraid I retired at the age of twelve.
- I started working for my father when I was ten, helping him raise our Paso Fino horses while stationed in Puerto Rico. During a three-year period, I cleaned more stalls and moved more horse shit than you could imagine. At age 13, I took on my first newspaper route at Offutt Air Force Base in Bellevue, Nebraska, which is also known as the headquarters of the Strategic Air Command (SAC). Yes, the men who received my folded, wrapped newspapers before five in the morning every day of the week, come rain or shine, were the same ones protecting us from global nuclear war.
- So as not to bore you too terribly, I’ll leap ahead to age fifteen, the summer before and during ninth grade, when I got my social security card and started working for the Pentagon Pizza adjacent to the Lum’s Restaurant in the Pentagon Towers in Arlington, Virginia. This is where my mom worked after divorcing my father. At age 16, I left home and took care of myself. In my second year of college, I was a fry chef at the original Long John Silver’s in Lexington, Kentucky, where I attended the University of Kentucky. When I saw a pretty girl from class, I’d literally try to hide in the rear freezer (who wants to date a fry cook).
- Until I graduated at the University of Maryland in 1978, majoring in political science, I painted stately homes for Brian Claudy Paints, both inside and out, a skill which has served me my whole life. I completed my senior year of college, by the way, in a single semester, and the next year I started night law school. During law school, I worked 50 hours per week as an intern for two different law firms, Heffner Stark & Marios, and the Law Offices of Gordon Bowley, while being Business Editor and then Editor of the school’s law journal, and graduating Valedictorian.
- Over the years, I’ve swum Alcatraz three times raising money to rebuild the historic Auburn County Courthouse north of Sacramento, California, and climbed Mount Shasta an equal number of times for the glory of it. My dear friend and attorney Helga White recently sent me a sworn declaration averring to my wife that these things had, in fact, happened, as she is the one who organised them all and was present as an eyewitness. “Helga, please raise your hand. Do you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God, that we swam Alcatraz and climbed Mount Shasta?”
- While in Las Vegas, I covered, photographed and wrote articles for nearly 40 consecutive editions of Vegas Rocks Magazine, a print publication, while also selling virtually of the ads to keep the paper running. Afterward, I personally managed Michael Grimm, 2010 winner of America’s Got Talent, and then Steve Thompson, one of the greatest music producers in the history of music, and the winner of seven Grammys who’s credited on 150+ diamond, platinum and gold records. Go to SteveThompsonProductions.com to see all he’s done.
- On top of that, I’ve written over a dozen books and will finish another five by in the next six months, including my first cookbook with a second in the works. I also once walked up to Angelina Jolie at the beach near Venice and said hello, have spent real time with some of the biggest rock stars and celebrities in the world, and have built easily 25 cities with my son, Ryder, all of which stood strong until decimated by his younger brother, my youngest son, Hunter (these cities consisted of wood blocks and Legos). Not to mention, I attended the 2016 Glastonbury Festival in knee-deep mud wearing boots that were two sizes too big, and survived.
- I’m sorry, for a moment I got carried away. I would be remiss not to say that I’ve drawn over 1,000 horses in my life, personally managed the highly-gifted grandfather or German Eco-architecture, Heinz Pahl-Kaupp, have true and real friends all over the world, have the most amazing daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter of all time, and met my wife at the Cannes Film Festival 19 years ago…at which I was doing very little thinking, I assure you. So there. Lol…