More about me than any reasonable person could possibly want to know

  • I am that rarest of all things–a native Floridian.

    Photo by Jamie Taylor Novak

  • I’m also Cuban-American,  y mi primer idioma fue español.
  • Two of the things I’m most grateful to my parents for are teaching me Spanish first, and making sure that no matter how hard times were, I always had books to read. Further, I’m grateful that my parents never tried to censor what I read.
  • I began writing my first unfinished trunk novel when I was eleven.
  • I got my first rejection from a paying market at the age of thirteen.
  • I attended Catholic school for ten years. I’m mostly recovered now.
  • In college, I had two majors–Mathematics and Literature–and two minors–Computer Science and Theology. “Elective” was just a word I heard from other people.
  • Though I’ve taught mathematics for over twenty years now, I attended graduate school (at Clemson University) for literature, not mathematics.
  • I’ve worked as an editor, a computer programmer, a government researcher, a tutor to the rich and/or famous, and as a teacher.
  • And as a pizza delivery guy.
  • Oh, and as a summer camp counselor. In fact, the most fun job I ever held–and the one I thought I was best at–was as a head counselor.
  • I’ve taught every age from sixth grade to college freshmen.
  • I have a theatre/musical theatre background. I am a tenor two, and not especially prone to stage fright.
  • I was married inside the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.
  • I’m an adoptive parent of beautiful twin girls.
  • I’m a fan of the Miami Dolphins, the New York Yankees, and the Miami Heat, in more or less that order.
  • I love teaching in the International Baccalaureate program, because their philosophy on learning matches closely with my own. I am interested in everything, I question everything, and I always want to know more.
  • My favorite book is Speaker for the Dead.
  • The book that saved my life is Ordinary People.
  • The book that saves my sanity every year is Up the Down Staircase.
  • My favorite band is the Indigo Girls, but I love all music that emphasizes harmony.
  • I never set out to write Young Adult stories. I set out to write stories. Later on, other people explained to me that YA was what I had written.
  • I spend way too much time online.
  • I think bulleted lists are really, really lame.

11 Responses to More about me than any reasonable person could possibly want to know

  1. jan eldredge says:

    Hello, Joe.
    I LOVE the title of your new website! Great first post too. I’m so with you on your Disney philosophy. Not so much on the math thing though.
    I now have website envy. By the way, how’d you come up with Labyrinth Rat?

  2. Joe says:

    Hi Jan! My first comment!

    I’ve always been fascinated by the Icarus mythology, and referenced it in pretty much all my online activities, like usernames on forums and stuff like that. So labyrinth came from there, and the “rat” part was a play on “lab rat.” Beyond that, though, I really love the connotations of mystery and unknown depths that a labyrinth has, and the idea that, while the labyrinth was intended as a prison, a rat can get to places that other larger animals cannot. So I really dig the mental image of this stealthy little creature that has the run of this big, dark, mysterious place. I like to envision it as the subconscious or the psyche, and I’m trawling around for stories.

  3. jan eldredge says:

    Joe, please write a book entitled Labyrinth Rat. I want to read it.
    Take the elements of your website title explanation above, and weave them into a story.

  4. Tom Emmons says:

    Welcome to the WordPress side of things. Hope you enjoy working with it as much as I do!

  5. Alina Blanco says:

    Enjoying your blog. Learned at lot from your bulleted list. You are a seriously fascinating dude!

  6. “I think bullet lists are lame” LOL!!! That’s funny.

  7. JBPravda says:


    Planning on becoming a member soon @ Celebration library; have a TV project (rights secured) for a cop /narc drama via my Latino director partner in Miami——-W/B has film rights, solid story, heading up writers ‘room’ soon, you might be a good fit. Let’s visit. On my way to Lit Conf in NY this week, back on 14th.


    Joseph/Pepe .>))

  8. I loved your bulleted list. I am also in awe that you have been involved in so many different things. You’re such a deep thinker. I can identify with being in a strict school having spent 4 years on a Christian campus (high school) and then 2 years at a Bible college a mile from that. It caused bad dreams through adulthood. Sounds like a book but it isn’t 🙂 Anyway, glad to make your acquaintance at your web site.

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