Dave Smeds was born in Reedley, CA, and raised on a farm (main crop: table grapes) a few miles north of that small town in the San Joaquin Valley. His family still lives there. His brother, Fred, is a frequent speaker at symposiums on organic farming methods (search the Web for some examples). Dave, after dabbling in farming and managing the extended Smeds family peach-packing operation (a joint venture with his dad, uncle, and cousins), relocated to Sonoma County, in California’s famous wine country, in order to attend college. He loved the locale and has remained there ever since, currently residing in the city of Santa Rosa with his wife Connie and children Lerina and Elliott.
It was there that he succumbed to the muse of artistic pursuits, a trend in his generation--Fred writes essays and poetry on farming, sister Grace is a poet and poetry teacher, and sister Lynne is an accomplished musician. Dave has rarely held jobs that did not involve writing, editing, drawing, martial arts, or publishing.
The reason this site exists is, of course, because of Dave’s science fiction writing, which has been called called “stylistically innovative, symbolically daring examples of craftsmanship at the highest level” by the New York Times Book Review, and has seen print in Great Britain, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Finland, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Greece, China, Russia, and Indonesia. For more about that, refer to the main page or perhaps the Reviews page. This page is specifically devoted to Personal Stuff.
Some of Dave’s hobbies, interests, and other jobs include:
Above photograph is copyright 1989 M.C. Valada. Used by permission.
Comic books. Dave was a collector as a teenager, and still maintains an interest, as shown by the Marvel tie-in fiction he’s done. He did a nine-issue stint as the English-language rewriter of the sf series Justy, published by Viz Comics (1989). Some of the books that intrigue him as a reader include The Sandman, Cerebus, Watchmen, Astro City, Barry Smith: Storyteller and Alan Moore’s titles for America’s Best Comics.
Martial Arts. Dave is a senior black belt in the art of goju-ryu karate, having studied for over a quarter century under Don Buck and Gosei Yamaguchi within Goju-Kai Karate-Do, U.S.A. He teaches classes in that art and served for over a decade on the national board of examiners for the Goju-Kai U.S.A. organization. For more information, see Martial Arts.
Graphic Art. Before shifting fully into writing, Dave was a graphic artist and typesetter, including two long gigs, the first at Sonoma Lifestyle Furniture as the artist and marketing person responsible for the factory’s ads, price lists, assembly instructions, trade show displays, and printing, the second at Sonoma Business Magazine as a production specialist.
Dave’s Mom, Lerina, Dave, and Connie, 1992; Lerina and Elliott at their elementary school, June, 1997.
1) The first-born at age four days, just before leaving the hospital (a C-section birth meant an extended stay). 2) At two months old. Not only did she have a full head of hair at birth, but it was dark, matching her mother. She still denies being a blonde. 3) At one year.
The little dude and Dad at the farm one Christmas. 2) By the komodo dragon sculpture at the Oklahoma City Zoo, April, 1999.
Nothing serves to make a writer appreciate being able to remain a full-time writer than recalling the old jobs. 1) Smeds Packing Shed, where Dave worked summers 1971-1979, working up from boxboy to forklift driver to foreman to manager. (This photo taken in the early 1980s, after the great escape. Dave’s not in it.) 2) A sample of the type of artwork Dave had to draw while employed at Sonoma Lifestyle Furniture. All the products were shipped as “knock down” items to be assembled either by the store or the retail customer; Dave did the assembly instructions. Illustrations like the one below were created for “ad slicks” provided to the retail stores to encourage them to advertise Sonoma Lifestyle products in their area newspapers. 3) One of the scenes from a product photo session Dave conducted, this one at Buena Vista Winery in Sonoma, CA.
Very few photos exist of Dave in his early twenties. This one was taken in early November, 1975, immediately after a special workout to congratulate Diane Frazier, the girl kneeling on the right, on becoming the first Sonoma County club member to achieve black belt (the other black belts in the photo had achieved their ranks in San Francisco). If this weren’t a relatively low-resolution jpg, you’d see that Diane is starting to get two black eyes, a result of having to spar with the entire club at the culmination of the event. Dave is second from left in the back row.
A couple of videos of Dave performing karate at a 1997 workout can be viewed on his YouTube page.
Click here to see a sparring demo.
Click here to see Dave performing goju-ryu kata Shisochin.
To return to the main page, click here.