Mike Staton has done a little bit of everything in his 62 years of life in this corner of the universe. He has been a newspaper journalist and a technical writer/instructional developer. He was even a librarian one summer between his sophomore and junior years of college. Now the fellow has taken early retirement and left coastal North Carolina for the desert climate and Las Vegas; to be precise, Henderson, Nevada.
Mike’s love of writing and a passion for history and current events drew him to journalism. In the fall of 1970, he packed up the family car and headed off the Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, where he learned to write a decent news story and cover Rotary meetings as an intern for the Athens Messenger.
The first 15 years of his working life were spent at two daily newspapers, the Lancaster Eagle-Gazette in Lancaster, Ohio, from 1974 to 1981 and at the Leesburg Commercial from 1981 to 1989. His time at the Eagle-Gazette provided an inkling that he just might be good as a reporter. He was a member of the staff that won a first place AP award for coverage of the conversion of a juvenile prison facility into a medium security adult prison. At the Commercial he continued to rack up awards, winning two individual N.Y. Times Chairman Awards for in-depth news series and one newsroom Chairman’s Award for a staff report on Medicine in Crisis. In 1989, he left the profession for 21 years, but the Great Recession forced him to return to it. He became a sports and news reporter at weekly newspapers in Duplin and Pender counties in North Carolina. At the Duplin Times in 2013, he won an AP second-place in the Arts and Entertainment category for a feature on a small-town girl landing a major part in a Broadway musical.
In between newspaper stints, mike partnered with two friends in a disastrous public relations effort in Wilmington, N.C. They called the company Perceptions P.R., and it took years to claw his way out of debt. Then, for 17 years, he worked for a small training company that provided consulting services to clients in the pulp and paper industry.
Mike has published two fantasy genre novels, The Emperor’s Mistress and Thief’s Coin, both set in a magical world with Ancient Roman and 17th Century European traits. The novels are the first two of a trilogy, and are sword-and-sorcery style plots that are character driven. The third novel, Assassins’ Lair, is currently a work in progress.
Over the decades Mike has had two great loves – baseball card collecting and Civil War Re-enacting.
Mike just joined the Henderson Writers’ Group and just recently experienced a reading/critiquing session. When writing the first two books of his trilogy, he workshopped them through the OWW, short for the Online Writers Workshop for Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror. He’d grown quite comfortable writing two-hour reviews for fellow writers on the OWW, so the HWG method is quite news and a bit forbidding.