Michael A. Ventrella’s fantasy novels ARCH ENEMIES and THE AXES OF EVIL were released from Double Dragon Press to critical acclaim. He is editor of the “Tales from Fortannis” anthologies A BARD IN THE HAND and A BARD’S EYE VIEW.
His pirate short story “X Spots the Mark” appears in the anthology RUM AND RUNESTONES and its sequel “Get Kraken” is in CUTLASS AND MUSKET: TALES OF PIRATICAL SKULDUGGERY. His short story “The Jesus Secret” can be found in the collection TWISTED TAILS VII, and “Hell, I Must Be Going” in DREAMERS IN HELL, part of the “Heroes in Hell” series of books.
Michael is one of the founders of the biggest fantasy medieval live action role-playing groups in North America and currently runs the Alliance LARP. His Rule Books and Players Guides are available in all formats.
He is also the founder of Animato which, in the late ’80s, was the first major magazine dedicated to animated films. He has been quoted as an animation expert in Entertainment Weekly and in various books.
At his website’s blog he interviews other authors, editors, agents and publishers to get advice for the starting author.
In his spare time, he is a lawyer.
Michael A. Ventrella was born in Richmond, Virginia on August 3, 1958. His father was an artist who did commercial graphics and his mother did her best to control Michael, his two brothers, and a sister.
Michael was dramatic from an early age, acting in community theatre and writing his own plays with his siblings. He also wrote puppet shows and performed them for his school. His earliest desire was to be a cartoonist and his drawings adorned school newspapers and posters. Later, he discovered music and taught himself to play guitar and piano, writing simple songs with his friends.
In High School, he started his own “underground” newspaper which had more in common with Mad magazine than any real journalism. He also wrote a musical comedy called “But I’m Allergic to Horses” about a reluctant sheriff who cleans up a western town using only his wits. The play was a hit, receiving great reviews from the Richmond newspaper, and running for an extra week. Mike received the “Most Talented” award from his senior class.
He also played bass in a number of bands at the time, meeting his future wife Heidi Hooper (an artist) at one gig.
College beckoned and Mike majored in Political Science at Virginia Commonwealth University, where he graduated cum laude. He was elected to the student government with the highest vote count and chaired the important judicial committee. Mike also served as program director for the college radio station and wrote for the school newspaper. During this time, his band The Naughty Bits headlined the major clubs in the area with their “new wave” sound reminiscent of Elvis Costello and Graham Parker.
After college, Mike moved to Boston to attend New England law school. While there, he edited the school newspaper and became involved in Boston politics. Heidi and Mike married in 1982.
After graduation, Mike worked primarily as a public defender; however, he also was a lobbyist for the liberal group Americans for Democratic Action (and later served as the Massachusetts chapter President for a year), taught political science courses at Bunker Hill Community College, and was a campaign manager for a state representative. Mike also wrote songs and performed in two prominent bands, Agent 99 and Big House, which played the major clubs in the Boston area and received airplay on local college radio.
Mike also started a magazine about animated films called Animato in the mid 80s which grew to be quite prominent. He was quoted in many publications as an animation expert, including Entertainment Weekly and in the recent book THE DREAM TEAM: THE RISE AND FALL OF DREAMWORKS by Daniel M. Kimmel.
In 1989, Mike and Heidi helped form the United States’ largest live action role-playing organization, now known as The Alliance which has chapters all over the US and Canada.
In 1997, Mike and Heidi moved to the beautiful Poconos, where Mike now works as an attorney. Heidi is a Niche-nominated artist whose work can be seen in galleries around the area and in Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museums all over the world. They love the pitter patter of little feet (they have five cats).
Mike is a regular fixture at science fiction conventions on the east coast, where he appears on panels to discuss fiction, animation, and gaming.