I earned an A.S. degree in Electronics Technology in 1983, then promptly became a computer programmer instead. I finally started working as a Military Electronics Specialist and one-person Facilities Management department at Honeywell DCPD in 1988. I left that field in 1991 to become a technical editor, which is what I've been doing ever since.
I was, however, always a reading junkie.
I was born in 1963. I got my first typewriter as a Christmas present in 1978. Used. It was a Royal. It was manual. It was ancient. I loved it.
I started editing and proofreading in 1991, and I established Michael Edits in 1999.
But before I was an editor, I was an author. I think I'm done with that, but I've been wrong before.
Short Story Collection
Modern Day Speculative Novels
(Greek mythic / literary / philosophical)
The Barry Drake Novels
I started writing comic books in 1972. I was nine years old. The kids in the neighborhood loved them. I wrote my first published short story in 1979, won my first award in 1980, and never stopped writing.
I took two programming classes in high school, Computer Math in 1979-1980 and Advanced Computer Math in 1980-1981. This is also when I became a Dungeons & Dragons junkie, allegedly because the role-playing aspect was good practice for my writing but really because, hey, it's Dungeons & Dragons. I also enjoyed Champions, Top Secret (remember the termite bomb?), Car Wars, playing Othello against a computer and/or writing a program that could whip me, all NFL-related computer simulations, Eliza, and playing Star Trek on the school's Teletype.
I earned an A.S. degree in Electronics Technology in 1983, then promptly became a computer programmer instead. GW-BASIC. Back when Sundays meant backing up the hard drive on 8" floppies. I learned CP/M and MS-DOS side by side and knew CP/M would win. It didn't.
I became a Military Electronics Specialist at Honeywell DCPD (Defense Communications and Production Division) in 1988. Crypto stuff, with a side order of robotics. It was a three-month temporary job, but I returned from two layoffs and hung onto that job for over 18 months. This was because, before the first layoff, I was moved into a one-person Facilities Management department so I could be given the "indispensable" label. In my spare time, I became a BBS junkie and a sysop who wrote his own software. 300 baud. A coworker showed me that his Altos computer could run Windows, and we heartily agreed that pointing and clicking could never replace a DOS prompt. Wrong again, Michael.
Honeywell DCPD sacked 60% of its work force by certified mail one day, and I was in the majority. After a year of repairing copy machines for Danka's coin-op division in Florida and then Three D Copying Systems in NC, I became a technical editor for Eastern Instruments (an R&D/Engineering firm in Wilmington NC) from 1991-1999. We learned that editing is what I'm meant to do. (I returned to Eastern in 2020.)
In December 1999, I lived in Hong Kong on a tourist visa, which meant I couldn't legally work in Hong Kong. That's how and when Michael Edits was born. I edited over 300 published novels in six years. After I got a better visa, I also edited an educational magazine in Hong Kong. When I moved to mainland China, I taught Advanced English Writing to university students for four years. I also did legal transcribing for the court systems of Hong Kong and Singapore.
I moved to Chiang Mai, Thailand in 2006 and spent five years editing medical reports for publication in peer-reviewed journals. Meanwhile, my word-of-mouth campaign at Asian Institute of Technology in Bangkok overwhelmed me. I got so many engineering dissertations that I briefly had to outsource the pre-editing to Canada, Australia, and the U.S. This is also when I began editing business books, blogs, and the Winning in Writing newsletter.
I've been back in North Carolina since 2011. My twin focuses are technical editing services and business editing services. Larger companies have in-house editing and proofreading departments. Individuals and smaller businesses have me.
At Eastern Instruments, we learned that I think like an electronics technician and a computer programmer, but that I also think like an end user and write for a layman. That oddball dichotomy has never left me. Nor has my single-minded focus on whatever I'm reading. That focus is my superpower. Everything else about editing can be learned.
I've also been paid to masturbate hogs, but I made sure nobody took photos.
Updated May 31, 2021
© Copyright 2000-2020, Michael LaRocca
Wilmington, North Carolina 28403