Michael Z. Williamson (I have never ever asked what the "Z" stands for and Mike's never been drunk enough in my presence to tell) escaped the People's Democratic but Socially Engineered and Multi-Cultural Monarchy of Great Britain at the worldly-wise age of 7. He then survived an arduous four-year trek through the wastes of eastern Canuckistan to arrive in the United States just in time for the Great Blizzard of 1978, during which he could be seen laughing at Americans who were surprised by the appearance of snow in January.
After such an auspicious start, one has to wonder why the Carter-administration-era INS didn't catch a clue and deport him then and there.
Fortunately for us, the powers that be in that time frame were debilitated by a bad case of peanut poisoning and Mike was in the USA to stay. I can only imagine the horror that his quick wit and broader-than-average experience with the world wrought during his younger years. So I didn't imagine. I asked. During his school years, Mike was mostly bored, dealing with a forced march through the public school system, victimized by bullies, all in all a fairly standard trip. Except that he was also possessed of a sense of confidence in his own abilities and the kind of hubris that leads an individual to think of something they write as publishable.
Hey, c'mon. His first work was a "How to" paper on rocket functionality penned at age 7 on construction paper with marker. It ran to 40 pages before he moved on to a new project. Obviously destined for publication.
When he hit 18, Mike upped for active duty service in the Air Force. Guess what? He's still serving. In fact, he finished his latest released work while in a very sandy and uncomfortable foreign country. Because of all his years of military duty that have extended up until now in the Air Guard (and include a six-year detour through the Army Guard), he's gained a keen insight into the day to day workings of one of the most complicated organizations on earth. This shows in how often the military becomes the butt of his jokes that have anything to do with efficiency.
Mike and his lovely wife Gail (who is also an Army Guard combat photographer) have two wonderful and charming children: daughter Morrigan (who can beat you down with a stick and a smile and is known as something of a terror in her age group at SCA tourneys) and son Eric (a smiling, tow-headed self-deliverable nuclear energy packet who excels at city planning and urban renewal via Legos and whose kung fu lessons are helping to prevent being beaten down with a stick by his smiling older sister.) All of the Williamsons are heavily armed and should be considered very capable. Yes, even the bloody cats.
I met Mike virtually via Baen's Bar sometime during or after 2002. Then I met him in person at SheVaCon (apparently right before it became PaganDrumCon), thus becoming a customer of his cutlery business and a fan of his writing simultaneously via the purchase of a knife and a signed copy of Freehold. I still have both, although the copy of Freehold is a bit rag eared now.
Have I mentioned that Mike is the ultimate mercantilist? The pattern of obtaining cash from me for sharp pointy things and books seems to be set in stone now. Could be worse. The knives (and swords) are solid tech and his writing style rocks. Fair dinkum. Feel free to visit SharpPointyThings.com and let him pick your pocket, too.
Mike's writing spans several genres (including, apparently, erotica. Not that I've read that particular work, mind you.) He has a notable techno-thriller series under the Target:Terror banner from Avon. Under the Baen logo, he has published a quartet of novels from his Grainne universe (Freehold, The Weapon, Better to Beg Forgiveness, and Contact with Chaos), The Hero written in John Ringo's Legacy of the Aldenata setting, and a short story in the Future Weapons of War anthology. Not satisfied with dominating in mil-SF and techno-thrillers, though, he has also published three fantasy stories in anthologies based out of Misty Lackey's Valdemar universe. Added to all his speculative fiction efforts, though, are his non-fiction articles and commentary that have a broad distribution on the web and in print.
All of which proves that the one thing Mike has no trouble with is sharing his opinion, fact or fiction. In fact, he'd run for president but, as a naturalized citizen, it's just more efficient to jump the line straight to dictator. Look for his alternative governance campaign during the 2012 election cycle.
In any event, Mike is a man of broad interests both in hobbies and in the world. He can speak with authority on historical re-enactment, fine food and drink, the forging of blades, hand to hand combat of various types, and the pros and cons of the various moral and societal models in use around the world today, in the past, and extend their effects into the future.
To the point, someone you can always count on to write an interesting tale or to keep a con party lively. From his King Julien Crown and "Move it! Move it!" chorus to the ease with which he can turn a point, there's never a dull moment when Mike and his clan are around.