Born in Albuquerque New Mexico, I grew up in the Rocky Mountains, moving to Colorado when I was seven.  An avid outdoors man, I spend a lot of time camping and working with the Boy Scouts.

I began my writing career at an early age, creating interesting fictions about why my homework wasn’t done, or why I hadn’t managed to make it to school – technically, I made it to school, just not past the library.  Living near NORAD, my inventions included flying remote control airplanes in front of the early alert radar array.  Obviously, such a gross violation of national security would require the government to seize any documents I had in my possession, which invariably included math homework.

I had little interest or time for school, which was a distraction from the places I wanted to go, worlds of science and vast, mysterious technologies and races.  Or to the arctic tundra in company of White Fang, and Jack London.  I thrilled to the adventures of the Hardy Boys, and combed the pages of the Worldcraft Encyclopedias.  From their pages I learned about the Earl of Sandwich, and the invention of that staple of school lunches which are named after the famous gambler.  These were my drugs, my addiction, and abstraction from reality.  I read walking home from school.  I read late into the night.  I read when I should have been in school, and as a consequence, I’m convinced I got a better, more diverse education that most of my peers.  It was only natural that I would want to write one or two those marvelous vessels of the imagination.

One of my favorite poems is by Emily Dickenson

There is no frigate like a book to take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page of prancing poetry.
This traverse may the poorest take without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot that bears a human soul!

I finally managed to graduate from high school, a year late (I’m proud to say that it wasn’t two years late, though I was told I’d have to stay an extra two years – yes, my attendance was that poor).  I went out to make my living in the real world working in theater, not the kind where you go and sit and watch actors on a stage, but the kind where your feet stick to the floor while you stare at a screen for two hours. I tore tickets, popped pop corn, and cleaned up that stuff that sticks your feet to the floor.  You don’t want to know what it is.  You really don’t.

I served a two year mission for my church, and there are some who will say that was a further exploration of fiction, which is their prerogative.  I came home to go to college, but an unintended cranial collision with a crowbar (really, are those ever intentional) interrupted my scholastic endeavors.

For the record, I don’t recommend being bludgeoned. While I remember very little of the actual bludgeoning, I’m fairly certain I didn’t enjoy any of it.  I did get to ride in an ambulance, something I’d wanted to do since I was a child, but sadly, I don’t remember the ride, and I’m also fairly sure I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as I thought I would.  In fact, I only know I rode in an ambulance because I got the bill for it.  If you have to travel from point a to point b, I recommend a taxi.  It’s considerably less expensive, besides, ambulances usually only take you to the hospital and you’re not typically in a condition where you can argue the fare.

In the early 90’s I belonged to the online writing group, Fantasy School, hosted on the Prodigy network, but I wasn’t really sure if I had what it took to make it as a writer until I sent a short story to Marrion Zimmer Bradley’s Fantasy Magazine.

At that time Mrs. Bradley took the time to respond to my submission, and though she rejected it, spoke very highly of my writing, saying, “you have what it takes to write stories that sell.”   There were other instances from other attempts at publication where I was told I had real talent.  If you’ve ever submitted something you know how rare it is to get anything but a form letter rejection.  So bolstered in confidence, I decided to make a genuine effort at writing, but as life does, my plans didn’t match up with events and  I ended up taking a hiatus from my writing for over a decade.

In 2006 I decided to try again and see if I could make a go of this writing thing.  Up until that point I’d written, and published mostly technical articles, opinion columns, and the like, and I wanted to see if I had what it took to write something more.  The Rune that Binds is the culmination of that effort, and is the first in a series of books that deal with the nature of evil.  It is my first, though by all means not my last foray into writing.

As a writer, you’d think I’d be really good at segues, you’d be wrong.  Speaking of which…

Most think make believe is the playground of the child, but it is also the realm of writers.  Children, however, own it more wholly than adults.  For us it is an escape, for the child it simply is.   When children  make believe, they’re not pretending to be something they’re not.  For them, the iteration of imagination is absolute and all consuming.  They’re playing, and they invest themselves in their imaginary world with complete abandon.  They become whatever they’re playing at, not to escape anything, but to simply enjoy the moment.  When adults make believe, it’s most often to deny what we are, to be something we’re not, or leave behind something we don’t want to deal with.  If we get too good at it, we get to pay a professional to wrest us from that place and return us to this one.

The rare exception to that is a book.  When we read, it is with whole abandon.  When we open a book, we can shut out the world and imagine the way we did when we were children.  I prefer "make believe" the way children do it.  It’s how I write, and it’s how I invite you to read my stories.


J. Goff