Who the heck am I, anyway?
I was born in the Soviet Union, back when there still was one. It proved to be a bad choice of place to be born in -- lousy weather, lousy television, lousy food... oh, and the government wasn't so hot, either. Fortunately, when I was 11, my parents in their infinite wisdom decided it was time to leave, so off we went, eventually winding up in the wilds of suburban New Jersey. The weather wasn't that much of an improvement, but the food was way better, and the local TV channel ran Japanese cartoons. Things were looking up.
I spent the next few years goofing off, playing really bad volleyball, and working my way through the SF section at my local public library. Then I went off to Fordham University to major in math and minor in computer science. After three years of more goofing off (but this time with beer), I got my degree, and decided that undergrad school wasn't enough pain for me, so I moved on to MIT to get my Master's in computer science. By then my brain was thoroughly warped by junky television, genre fiction, and role-playing games, so I fit right in with all the other geeks at "the Tech."
In my second and last year of grad school, I decided that my life was too relaxed, too prosperous, too leisure-filled. What I really needed was an expensive and time-consuming addiction. So I took up scuba diving. After doing that for a couple of years, I decided that wasn't expensive enough, so I expanded into underwater photography. So far I've dived in Papua, New Guinea; the Bahamas; Hawaii; Key West; the Cayman Islands; Bonaire; northern and sourthern California; North Carolina; Turks and Caicos; and even, God help me, Long Island Sound.
I have been writing fantasy, SF, and horror since I was in junior high. My published fiction so far includes "Twelve Steps" in Pulphouse #19; "Sea Change" in OtherWere: Stories of Transformation, an anthology of alternate were-beast stories; "Agatha V" in the vampire fiction magazine Dreams of Decadence; and two stories in the Chicks in Chainmail anthology series: "A Bone to Pick" (in collaboration with Keith R.A. DeCandido) in Did You Say Chicks? and "Death Becomes Him" in Chicks 'n' Chained Males. I have also written book reviews for Publishers Weekly and Horror, collaborated with Keith on two articles for Wilson Library Bulletin, and was a regular contributor to the magazine AnimeFantastique during its tragically brief run.
Photo of Marina and Kevin Smith by Keith R.A. DeCandido, taken in Pasadena, California at the Hercules/Xena Creation show in January 2000. Copyright © 2000 Keith R.A. DeCandido.