Life has been good for Gary. His first career began after he dropped out of college and moved to Austin, TX in the early 1970s. Yes, he was an aspiring hippy, yet instilled with the middle class work ethic his parents so religiously followed. He was compelled to work but wanted to maintain his newly found lifestyle. This led him to an unsuccessful attempt at bartending, which in turn, led to a passionate love affair with cooking. For six years, he lived a relaxed lifestyle and supported himself as a line cook in several Austin area restaurants. In 1986 after getting married and being bitten by a tenacious ambition bug, Gary left Austin and moved to San Francisco where he cut his long hair, shaved and entered the California Culinary Academy where he graduated in 1988.
As a newly certified chef, Gary worked at various locales including San Francisco, New Orleans, and eventually, Denver. By 1996, he had to face the hard fact that the chef lifestyle had come close to ruining his health, elbows and knees. It was evident he needed to change careers to give his body a much needed new direction. Gary returned to college (25 years after he dropped out) and completed a bachelor's degree in English/Creative writing to pursue a long time goal of becoming a writer.
Immediately after graduation in 1998, he and his wife moved to the island of Shikoku in Japan where his wife accepted a position to help establish a conversation school. Gary was fortunate to find a job working for an English language newsletter which was distributed throughout Shikoku.
After returning to the United States, he found work at the Napa Valley Register where he eventually became a columnist and profile writer for the Entertainment section of the newspaper. In 2002 Gary left the Register and started his own freelance company called Burnt Fire Productions. He has been writing under that name for the past 12 years. In 2004, he returned to school at Dominican University of California (just north of San Francisco) and earned a Master's degree in English/Creative Writing in the hope of fulfilling another dream of becoming a college English professor.
Gary's freelancing career led him to even more diverse writing pathways. He wrote for alternative newspapers, online business journals, newsletters and a plethora of magazines spread across northern California on a variety of topics. Utilizing his expertise as a working chef, Gary found work as a monthly food and beverage columnist, restaurant reviewer and wrote profiles of some of Napa and Sonoma Valley's most celebrated chefs wine makers.
In 2007, Gary returned to Denver just in time for the closing of the Rocky Mountain News which effectively killed any hope he had of finding freelance work due to the number of seasoned local writers that suddenly found themselves out of work. Gary took a year off and wrote his version of the Great American Novel, Devil's Dance. Eventually, Gary found work writing copy for websites, white papers and a now defunct magazine where he wrote profiles, product reviews and short information pieces covering local events. He began teaching English Composition and Literature at the Community College of Aurora and for the state's online division for the Colorado Community College System where he still teaches today.
Gary's goal now is to transition back to writing full time, simply because he knows that is where his heart and true calling lies.