After all these years, I still don’t have a Wikipedia page (I’m not losing sleep about it, just so your mind is at ease). So, for those who want it, here’s a brief biography of Matthew Wayne Selznick, from memory.
Origins of Matthew Wayne Selznick
I was born on July 14, 1967, a Friday, in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. I lived there until 1976, when (after about six months in Albuquerque, New Mexico) my family moved to southern California. The timing was just right for me to see “Star Wars” at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood… by then, of course, I’d already read the novelization and the Marvel Comics adaptation, so the movie was almost an afterthought!
I spent part of the last few years of elementary school in Glendora before my family moved to Mission Viejo, where I spent the remainder of my public school education at Barcelona Hills Elementary School, Niguel Hills Junior High, and Capistrano Valley High School.
Matthew Wayne Selznick’s Creative Origins
The first short story I remember writing had something to do with an evil triceratops who captured grapes with the intention of imprisoning them on the beach until they turned into raisins. I’m not sure what grade it was or how old I was, but I do recall that it was written on that horizontally-oriented brownish paper with the wide lines.
I wrote my first “novel” in sixth grade — “FanFacSci.” It was illustrated, included a character that spoke in rhyme until he (or the author) was too tired to do so, and nabbed me my first, and to date, only, award for my fiction, the Barcelona Hills Elementary School Principal’s Award. Yes, I still have it. No, it’s not on display.
I started playing bass guitar when I was sixteen, and acoustic guitar when I was seventeen or eighteen. I wrote my first song (with musical assistance from Roger Huff) in February of 1985. The first song I wrote entirely myself, words and music, dates to May of that year.
Matthew Wayne Selznick In The Late Eighties
After high school, I moved out of my parents’ house, went to work at a record store, and played semi-casually in an acoustic duo. In 1987 or so, I moved in with my girlfriend and her mom in the coastal town of San Clemente, where I formed my first “real” band, psychopathway, with my girlfriend and two of her pals from high school.
We performed intermittently, mostly in and around Orange County, and outlasted my relationship with the girl, though not by much. Our sound was a noisy mesh of psychedelic and punk, filtered through inexperience, exhaustion, and alcohol. I played bass, electric guitar, and shared the vocals.
Around this same time, I began tinkering with what would eventually become my fantasy genre storyworld, The Shaper’s World, and wrote several science fiction, horror and literary short stories. I was also involved in the creation and distribution of two issues of a “lit zine,” a DIY literary print magazine that was called RFD its first issue and Samizdat for the second and final issue.
Matthew Wayne Selznick In The Nineties
The early nineties found me in a series of media retail jobs (mostly video stores…) living in San Clemente, Costa Mesa, and Irvine, California, and playing in a guitar pop band called Loveless. Our biggest claims to fame were opening for largely forgotten bands like Mary’s Danish and the Havalinas and for doing an obligatory cover of “Wicked Game” by Chris Isaac because… the nineties.
I also wrote a crapload of songs and started doing my first solo gigs playing acoustic guitar and singing. I would play a lot of solo gigs in the nineties, at one point averaging four or five a week at various coffeehouses and small clubs.
I did a whole lot of writerly tinkering in the early part of the decade, while not actually finishing very many pieces. However, in 1994 I sold my first piece of fiction, a short Shaper’s World story called “Trouble Day,” to a Canadian semi-pro fantasy magazine called Bardic Runes.
In 1993, I founded a band for the first and, so far, only time; recruiting the guitarist and drummer from the great pool of talented strangers to be found in the pages of The Recycler, a free classifieds magazine. PIGBAT was, musically speaking, my favorite band, a power trio awash in reverb and catharsis. We didn’t play with anyone you’ve ever heard of… but it was an artistically enriching collaborative experience I’ve yet to top. PIGBAT lasted a couple of years before people’s personal lives and migrations stopped it from being viable.
In 1998, I created one of the first shared universe webzines (based on an early incarnation of my Sovereign Era storyworld), Sovereign Serials. It would continue into 2001 before I retired it to focus on larger projects. Also in the late nineties, I released a few issues of a one-sheet litzine called THING that was distributed via subscription and friends across several southwestern and western US states.
My personal life was as rocky and dramatic as it can only be in your early twenties, and I managed to carry that through to greater or lesser degrees through the entire decade and into my thirties. I moved to Long Beach, California, in 1992, as did the girl I’d met the year before. She became my first wife in 1995; we separated near the end of 1999 and were divorced by the summer of 2000.
Matthew Wayne Selznick in the Aughts
A friend would come to my solo acoustic performances and complain that my songs belonged in a band setting. So, when he started a band in the very late nineties, I hopped aboard as bassist and shared songwriting and vocal chores with him and his girlfriend. We were called Running Erin.
We didn’t play all that often (one of the reasons I eventually quit was because we practiced three times a week and performed before audiences about once every three months), but while in that band I got to open for Los Lobos and the X / Blasters spin-off band The Knitters, and even sing on stage with the latter band. Running Erin also teamed with Not Afraid! Productions to produce a fun, faux “rockumentary” that results in two music videos of songs I wrote, so those are nice artifacts of that time.
I married my second wife in 2001 and moved to the desert town of Hesperia in 2002. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
While my musical output diminished to almost nothing in the desert, I discovered podcasting in 2004 and joined the first wave of podcasters in October of that year. While I don’t consider myself much of a podcaster these days, it’s not an exaggeration to say that the medium changed my life.
I also launched my career as an independent author while living in Hesperia when “Brave Men Run — A Novel of the Sovereign Era” became the first-ever book with an initial simultaneous release in paperback, five DRM-free ebook formats, and free podcast editions in 2005. The book revived my Sovereign Era storyworld, was nominated for an inaugural Parsec Award, became one of the all-time most popular and well-reviewed titles at Podiobooks.com, and, when it was re-issued in paperback by Swarm Press in 2008, reached number 56 on the Amazon.com overall bestseller list.
In the aughts, I left retail (hopefully forever) and worked with Jason Calacanis and team to help create the first iteration of Mahalo.com, and then dipped my toe in the world of big entertainment interactive marketing as a producer for Jetset Studios. Both experiences were educational… and we should leave it at that. I also founded my creative services company, MWS Media, in 2000. I started providing fiction and non-fiction editing for independent authors and quickly expanded to handle every aspect of bringing creative endeavors to fruition, to market, and to an audience. “Because Doing It Yourself Should Never Mean Going It Alone.”
My second marriage lasted until the end of 2009. By July of 2010, I returned to Long Beach, happy as a clam to be back in a city I love.
Present Day Matthew Wayne Selznick
As of late 2013 / early 2014, I’m a full time, if not horribly successful, creative services provider and creator with more than a dozen titles on the market. I’ve got Origins, ENnie, and KeyArt award nominations in my pocket, and a new novel in the stores. My free serial fiction-by-subscription service is going strong, and there are several fiction and non-fiction titles in progress. I’m living in a city I love with a woman I love, and I’m looking forward to whatever’s next!