giant-grin-smiley[1]Here’s a little tidbit from my life that might shock you. When I was younger, I read voraciously, right up until I finished high school. I read mostly science fiction, Heinlein, Asimov, Del Ray and every Star Trek book I could get my hands on. Alistair MacLean and Tom Clancy would sneak in there as well, when my dad was finished with his copy.

Then I stopped reading.

Completely.

No time in college to do it, nor as a young adult. There was a ten year void in my life where I didn’t read a single fiction book. I read technical manuals for work, but nothing else.

So how the hell did I become a writer?

Easy. The discount book table in the food court of a building I worked at.

I had become hooked on watching Agatha Christie’s Poirot TV series, and as I rode down the escalator, to the right was a Japanese place called Edo where I planned to grab teriyaki chicken for lunch, and to the left, set up against the escalator, was the same discount book table I had seen dozens if not hundreds of times.

But this time, right on the corner, in plain sight, was a full size hardcover book with Agatha Christie’s name emblazoned on it, titled Black Coffee.

I grabbed it, bought it, and started reading that night.

Though I was disappointed to find she hadn’t actually written it (it was a novelization of a play she had written), it had reintroduced me to reading.

I’ve read almost every single night since, for over fifteen years.

So when I saw this review of my book Rogue Operator go up today, it warmed my heart more than any other of the thousands of reviews I’ve received in the past. Though I love almost all my reviews (hey, there’s a few bad ones), this one stood out. I can think of only one other thing as a writer that I have received—a direct email—that had as much of an effect on me as this new review. It was when a soldier sent me an email telling me how he loved reading my books because they helped him forget the misery of being out in the field when they were off duty—in South Korea (where, incidentally, my new book, Kill Chain, takes place).

But this review, I think, is the greatest thing a writer can ever hear:

5* This book got me into reading again June 10, 2016

I am a 19 year old who used to absolutely love reading, but then high school with all the assigned books ruined it for me. My mom tried really hard to get me back into reading, so finally I gave in and she gave me her kindle, which had a book she had already picked out for me. I don’t even know what book she picked out, because I accidentally clicked on the wrong book and started reading that instead. A few chapters in I realized I was reading the wrong book, but I liked it so much that I just forgot about the other book and kept on reading it. This book was so good and thrilling that it gave me my love of reading back. 10/10 highly recommend.

Great review, huh?

So if anybody sees a mid-forties gent with a huge smile today, it just might be me!

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