I was born in Brooklyn, New York on December 10, 1940, the son of Alfred
and Marjorie Ciaffone, their only child. We moved to Baldwin, Long Island
in 1943 and to Saginaw, Michigan in 1951. My dad was the Director of Catholic Family Service
for the Saginaw Diocese for about 25 years; my mother was a librarian.
(Both my parents are now deceased.)
I grew up in Saginaw, graduating from St. Andrew High School in 1957.
My gameplaying started at an early age. I learned chess at age four, poker at age nine, and bridge at age fifteen.
The game that influenced the course of my life the most in my early years was pool. I first learned how to play when I was a sixteen-year-old freshman at the University of Notre Dame. The result was I spent a lot of time in the university poolroom, and became a good player. Unfortunately, despite being the highest-rated person in my class according to the entrance exams, I eventually flunked out of school. When you are handy with a cuestick, the money comes easy, and you have ample opportunity to get involved with other forms of gambling.
I've never been married. Frankly, this was not a deliberate decision, just the way things turned out.
I moved to the Detroit area in 1968 and lived there for 12 years. Some other places I have lived are Dallas from 1980 to 1983, Las Vegas from 1983 to 1994, and Downey (in the Los Angeles area) from 1994 to 1996. I moved back to Saginaw in May of 1996 so I could live with my father after my mother died. The move worked out fine for me, enjoying life with father, and having the time to devote to writing. My dad died in July of 2003, but I am going to remain in Saginaw. I have a home which I love, and a sleepy town is just what I need to continue writing more books.
My lifestyle has had its plusses and minuses, but on balance my life has been a happy one. There have been two great joys. First, I have been able to earn a living doing something I love. Second, I have made an enormous number of friends through my gameplaying.
If you are curious concerning how I feel about life, you can visit my section called Personal Philosophy