I have been writing for as long as I can remember, having learned the art from my mother, Janina Birtolo. She's one of the most successful freelance writers in Southwest Florida and has won numerous awards that demonstrate her skill. Recently she's been involved in writing and acting out her one-woman plays.
Outside of fiction writing, I work as a programming writer for Microsoft in Redmond. It's the best of both worlds because it allows me to improve my writing as well as avoid the starving portion of “starving artist”. Besides, I believe that I should at least use my degree to pay for itself. I graduated from MIT in 2000 with two degrees: one in Computer Science and one in Biology. I took several writing classes while I was there, trying to prove that while MIT may be an engineering school, creativity exists as well
I have studied martial arts and continue to do so. These days I study stage combat with the Seattle Knights and practice Systema with North Sound Systema. I can truly say that stage combat, if done well, is at least as hard and requires at least as much skill as dojo training. I have been performing with them for several years now and have learned how to joust. If you're in the Pacific Northwest, come to a show! As for Systema, it is an amazing martial art that I just can't get enough of and has started to bleed into my daily life and ways of doing things.
When I catch a moment to breathe I usually spend my time playing Ultimate, role-playing games, video games, and board games. I have an account on Board Game Geek and keep track of my game collection there as well as post game reviews.
I'm a self-admitted adrenaline junkie and crave adventure. Some of my adventures include hiking part of the Appalachian Trail, spending a week in the Boundary Waters, being a rock climbing guide, and attempting to ascend Mt. Rainier. My resume is a bit varied with everything from working in a biological research laboratory, to testing Implantable Cardiac Devices (ICDs), to working as a veterinary technician at an animal emergency hospital. I've always wanted to do a little bit of everything. Plus, it all gives me a great basis of experiences to pull into my writing.