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CIBA GLOBAL THRILLER SEMI-FINALIST

About Tom

I relied upon my career as a journalist and technologist to create a disturbing, but realistic, vision of a future society. As a journalist, I covered the White House and presidential elections, with my stories appearing in hundreds of publications, including USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, and the New York Daily News. As a strategist in Silicon Valley in the early days of the Internet, I witnessed firsthand the rise of technology – with all its promise and pitfalls. In my spare time I roots for my five children and the Mets.

How did I get to this point? I’ve been lucky. I didn’t set out to be a journalist or writer. I thought I’d spend my career in the bowels of the CIA predicting who’d become the next Soviet leader. I was halfway through a master’s at George Washington University when Congressional Quarterly hired me as an editorial assistant. The proximity to Congress and decisions about the country’s future captivated me, and I detoured.

I spent over a decade as a political reporter, gaining a reputation for breaking stories on Capitol Hill and the White House. I covered the 1996 presidential election (the Clinton train to Chicago!), spoke with Monica Lewinsky the day before the scandal broke (she hung up on me) and was screamed at daily by Democrats and Republicans alike. I had plenty of adventures along the way; visiting Guantanamo Bay and going into Haiti with the Marines; crawling through Fort Marcy Park to watch Ken Starr’s investigators search for a bullet; and, speeding through snowy New Hampshire roads to chase down presidential candidates.

I grew bored and switched careers; within a year I moved to Silicon Valley at the height of the .COM boom. As head of corporate communications at Cisco I had a ring-side seat to the highs and lows of the Internet Era. I came back to DC for VeriSign to fight the ICANN wars before starting my own consulting company advising technology and entertainment companies. But I never ventured far from writing, whether op-eds, short stories, or a book on my family’s history.

I detoured again, founding an Internet safety group that sent me to places such as sketchy “Sweepstakes Cafes” where, equipped with a hidden camera, I exposed illegal gambling while an armed guard waited outside in case of trouble. I’ve tangled with Google and our group exposed how easy it can be for cyber criminals to target everyone from pre-teens to the elderly.
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Yet, my journey always led me back to the written word. That led me to The Auction, a novel that follows 22-year-old Sasha Cross as she navigates a ruthless world in which young people are bought and sold like stocks, the elite protected, and the poor forgotten – or worse.

To sum it up, I’ve had three careers; nine jobs; lived in the world of politics and technology; watched five children grow up; and, had a life-saving kidney transplant. I’ve seen and experienced a lot. And now I get to draw on my life experiences as a writer. I can’t wait.