J. M. Taylorís first novel, FLASH OF EMERALD, was released in March 2004 and won the 2004 EPPIE award for Best Thriller, followed by BEHIND THE GREEN WATER, released in June, 2004. Next in queue was a second Florida suncoast action/adventure thriller, GULF WINDS, which won the Florida Writers Association 2007 Royal Palm Literary Award First Place for Mystery/Thriller (Unpublished). His first two novels have gone out of print, and subsequently he has reedited and published them with new titles, LOST KEY and DESERT WINDS. At the urging of fellow members of the 101st Airborne Association, he sidetracked a bit to publish MISSING STICKS, a fictionalized account of the Screaming Eagles of the 101st Airborne Division, their buddies and those friends and enemies they met on the ground that faithful night of June 6th, 1944. He followed with ONE STICK AND A WACO, set during the the thrust into Holland. He is now working on the final novel of the trilogy set during the battle for Bastogne.
Taylor grew up in Carolina small towns and tobacco farms but went international at an early age when, as an Army brat during the Korean Conflict, he learned the nuances of back-alley Japanese in Tokyo and mastered the fine art of winning Japanese cigarettes in the pachinko parlors. He also discovered his intolerance for excessive alcohol with the headaches of Kirin beer.
Despite his father's advice (an Army man himself), Taylor joined the Army Reserve while still in high school and, after graduating on a Thursday, boarded a Greyhound Bus for Fort Jackson and basic training the following Sunday. As Taylor tells the story, "...I was too short to see what was going on from the back of the formation..." To correct this problem he used ROTC to bolster his otherwise mediocre grades and gain a commission in the Regular Army as a Distinguished Military Graduate from the Georgia Institute of Technology - to finally live his dream - to be a Army Paratrooper with the famous Screaming Eagles, serving first with the 2nd Battalion, 506th Airborne Parachute Infantry Regiment and the 501st Signal Battalion at Fort Campbell, KY. He further proved the academic advisors at Georgia Tech wrong when he completed the 101st Airborne Division Jumpmaster and Air Delivery Courses as honor graduate.
Continuing his desire to see the world, he and his platoon were attached to the 1st Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division and deployed to Vietnam in 1965 where he discovered Biere LaRue, more often known as "tiger piss" and rumored to be used interchangeably for formaldehyde, and Ba Moui Ba, or, in the more elegant French, Biere 33, the finer of the two Vietnamese beers. Ah, more headaches.
Once again defying the wisdom of the academics, he graduated with honor from the Infantry Officers Advance Course and instructed at the Fort Benning Infantry Center before completing his Masters of Industrial Engineering with a minor in Operations Research at North Carolina State University at Raleigh, to be rewarded by a second fully-funded tour of Southeast Asia. Next came staff assignments in interesting locales such as historic Fortress Monroe and Bavaria, where he became a connoisseur of jaeger schnitzel, apfel schnapps, ski slopes and the many regional beers of Bavaria.
Again facing down the trials of the classroom at the Armed Forces Staff College, Taylor followed with an intensive bit of nuclear weapons on-the-job-training and served in the Office of the Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations as the Army Strategic Nuclear Plans and Programs staff officer. Finally escaping the Pentagon's Alas, Babylon environment, he joined the Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force in Florida during its evolution into US Central Command and enjoyed the benefits of exotic and fun-filled operations in the Middle East while learning about the wonders of Stella beer - the Cairo version and taste-wise a close cousin of Biere LaRue - and taking a Russian's place in the bowels of an Egyptian Air Defense complex.
Twenty years after his first assignment with the 101st Airborne Division, he returned to Fort Campbell where, under the careful supervision of hard-eyed, grizzled instructors (born the same year Taylor first joined the Division), he survived Air Assault School, commanded the 501st Signal Battalion (Air Assault) and served as the Division Signal Officer. Taylor finally got to move to the front of the formation where he could see what was going on.
Following a return assignment with Central Command, Taylor retired from the Army to work as a telecommunications system engineer on military C4I programs and as a project manager for advanced technology R&D programs. Much to his surprise, he found himself traveling to Europe and the Middle East, and continuing to monitor Stuttgarter Hofbraeu quality.
After studying the craft of writing at the University of South Florida classes and at workshops by such notable authors and instructors as Barbra Parker, Sterling Watson and Les Standiford, Taylor now writes and lives with Peggy, his muse of over fifty years, on the Florida suncoast where he has discovered Tampa's many craft beers and Honduran cigars.
Taylor is a life member of the 101st Airborne Division Association and Florida Gulf Coast Chapter of the 101st Airborne Division Association, the Military Officers Association of America, Disabled American Veterans and the Association of the United States Army. He also is a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, OSS Society, Mystery Writers of America, the Florida Writers Association, and the Military Writers Society of America, and is a past president of the Tampa Writers Alliance.
© 2000-2016 J. M. Taylor