So here’s the quick version …
Colin Conway served in the U.S. Army for four years and later was an officer of the Spokane Police Department for five years. He writes crime fiction novels, short stories, and anything else that might prove interesting.
He lives in Eastern Washington with his beautiful life partner, Carla, their three wonderful children, and a crazy, codependent Vizsla that rules their world.
However, if you’ve stopped by the website, and you’ve clicked the “About” button, then you probably want to know a little more than the short author bio you can find in the back of my books.
So let’s expound on some things.
I was born a Cleveland Browns fan.
I blame my father for this life of misery.
Oh, I’m sure he thought he was giving me the gift of cheering a great team to forever glory. You see, he grew up in mid-western Ohio on the wonder years of the 1950s-1960s Browns. Heck, the greatest running back who ever played the game (Jim Brown) busted through the lines from 1957-1965. Who wouldn’t be a lifelong fan after that? The Browns won so much back then they were like the Patriots of today. Just ridiculous.
My childhood memories of the Browns are filled with Red-Right 88, The Drive, and The Fumble, but I still loved that team like nobody’s business.
Then the Browns were ripped away from us by Art Modell only to return three years later as a husk of their former selves. What’s worse is that the Baltimore Ravens (aka the once great Browns) have won the Super Bowl twice. We Browns fans are still waiting for a trip to the Super Bowl.
I’ve tried to break my love affair with the Browns for many years. However, just like the detective in any film noir movie who runs across a femme fatale, we believe that if we give them just one more chance, they’ll make good. They never do and we never learn.
Maybe this year.
While I was in the army, I spent a couple years in West Germany. Notice that I said ‘West’ Germany. I was there during the Cold War and happened to be there when the Berlin Wall fell. I wasn’t in Berlin. No, I was in a small town outside Frankfurt. That didn’t stop us from seeing lines of Trabants fleeing East Germany along the Autobahn. That was a cool sight.
When the Gulf War happened, half my unit went to the desert while the other half stayed in country to fulfill the mission we had with NATO. Those who were selected to go were picked by the last digits of our social security number. Yup. That’s exactly how it happened. That’s also how you know you’ve made it as a soldier. You’re reduced to a number between 0-9.
I stayed in Germany, performed my normal assignment and, to supplement base security, pulled extra guard-duty shifts with an empty M16. I was handed a portable radio and told to call the guard shack if I ran into trouble. A duty sergeant would bring out the rounds since we weren’t to be trusted with them. Train your boy to do his best, send him to another country to protect your interests, then hand him an empty weapon. Not exactly a moment to inspire re-enlistment.
After four years in college (fast forwarding for time and internet space - it’s filling up, haven’t you heard?), I spent five years as a member of the Spokane Police Department. Three years was in a patrol car. Two years was in a liaison role known as Special Police Problems – the silliest name ever created for a government position. Although that could compete with the Office of Professional Standards (OoPS) which was what Internal Affairs was known as for a time. Really. No joke.
Being a police officer was a great job that quickly soured after I got involved with department politics aka the union. It is a long story which will require beer and vow of secrecy so it won’t happen on here.
While on the department I had the opportunity to meet some great people, help a lot of folks, see some horrible things, participate in some heroic moments, and realize that it just wasn’t I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
When I was in 7th grade, I started taking Kenpo Karate because I wanted to be Chuck Norris. I’m not sure there was a boy alive in the ‘70s or ‘80s who didn’t want to be like Chuck. It happened the first time my dad took me to see his movie, Good Guys Wear Black. I was nine years old. My dad always took me to Chuck’s movies, even if they were R-rated. He said violence in movies was okay, but not sex. If that’s not a commentary on America, I’m not sure what is.
Anyway, I made it to my half-purple belt before I quit in the 9th grade to pursue baseball and girls. I was barely adequate at baseball. I wasn’t much better with girls, but at least they were more fun to fail at. Kenpo remained in my system though and I returned again in my later years of high school and basically started over. I stopped again when I went into the Army.
It was about ten years later when I came back to Kenpo, hellbent to get my black belt. It felt like I had left something behind by quitting as a kid. It bothered me and I didn’t want that feeling of quitting to haunt me. I made it to my blue belt before quitting again when I entered the police academy. I showed up one day with a black eye (Kenpo is a contact sport) and was told by the training staff that if I got hurt while doing something non-academy related, I’d be out of the department. I told my karate instructor I had to take a hiatus, but I would be back.
It was another twelve years before I returned, once again determined to see it through. This time, though, I invested with several black belts who wanted to start a school. I figured if I had a financial interest in the joint then I couldn’t quit. I was right. I finally earned my black belt – after thirty years!
However, about a year later, I looked around and my original partners had quit to go about their lives. I realized at that time I was too burned out to run a karate school by myself while also working full-time, investing in real estate on the side, and writing crime fiction (oh, yeah, don’t forget the family stuff!).
I turned over the school to another black belt who happily took over.
I’ve been involved with a variety of aspects related to commercial real estate. I’ve been a property manager, a broker, an investor, and a developer. It’s something I believe I will participate in until my final days. While being a police officer was the best job I ever had, real estate is the best gig. I enjoy it every day. It’s the single thing I can point to that financially turned my life around. I wanted to start investing in commercial real estate, but my finances were in the toilet. It took the desire to buy real estate for me to begin saving and to pay off debt. If you ever want to talk real estate, just let me know. Besides writing, it’s my favorite subject.
And now, we’re to writing.
More to come…