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Funny author bios

16 September 2015

Entertainment Weekly discovered that some authors like to mess with the tradition of the author bio. They found three: Mindy Kaling, Lemony Snicket, and Eric Carle:

“Eric Carle invented writing, the airplane, and the internet. He was also the first person to reach the North Pole. He has flown to Mars and back in one day, and was enthusiastically greeted by the Martians. “Very strange beings,” he reported on his return. He has written one thousand highly regarded books; a team of experts is presently attempting to grasp their meaning. “It might take a century,” said the chief expert. Carle is also a great teller of stories — but not all of them are true, for instance those in this book.”

While these bios are pretty good, they’ve got nothing on Harlan Ellison.

“HARLAN ELLISON” is the anagrammatic pseudonym of Ranisha Lonell, a 66 year old great-grandmother who, at the age of fifty, absented herself from the material world to join an order of nuns dedicated to the preservation of the wonders of nature. As Sister Marcelina, her leadership of the Ausuble Chasm protest sit-in and the Joshua Tree National Forest intervention brought her to national attention in 1979, at which time her literary career as “Harlan Ellison” was revealed for the first time in a major New York Review of Books essay by Jacques Barzun. Her monograph comparing the Lupe Velez “Mexican Spitfire” films of the early 1940’s with the “Gidget” cinematic cycle has been praised by Cahiers due Cinema as “a work of film scholarship worthy of Ronald Firbank.” Today, withdrawn behind convent walls and a vow of silence, Ranisha Lonell, Sister Marcelina, continues to write her vegetarian recipes and an occasional book of trenchant essays about the world she has disavowed. Her limp has not improved.

There are more at the link.

Link to the rest at Entertainment Weekly.

Posted by guest blogger Meryl Yourish

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12 Comments to “Funny author bios”

  1. Dr. Chuck Tingle is an erotic author and Tae Kwon Do grandmaster (almost black belt) from Billings, Montana. After receiving his PhD at DeVry University in holistic massage, Chuck found himself fascinated by all things sensual, leading to his creation of the “tingler”, a story so blissfully erotic that it cannot be experienced without eliciting a sharp tingle down the spine.

    Chuck’s hobbies include backpacking, checkers and sport.

  2. Need to put the link at the bottom of this piece, too.

  3. Writing my own bio for my first traditionally published book (will be out any day now!) was nerve-wracking, but starting out serious and then sort of spiraling downwards from there really helped. And all my friends have enjoyed it:

    Nathan Haines is an author, instructor, speaker, and computer consultant who fell in love with Ubuntu in 2005, and helped found the Ubuntu California Local Community Team to share that excitement with others. As a current leader of Ubuntu California and a member of the Ubuntu Local Community Council, he works to help others share Ubuntu worldwide.

    When not working with computers, he’s more than likely admiring the latest Nintendo hardware, wishing he had more time for retro console and PC gaming, and indulging in linguistic curiousity by studying German or dabbling in Old English or Tolkien’s constructed Elvish languages. The queue of scifi and fantasy books on his Kindle is probably growing instead of shrinking, although sometimes camping trips help with that.

    As a hybrid author who enjoys stiff drinks, moonlit walks on the beach, and five-star reviews on his books, he can be found on the Web at [site] and would love to hear from you at [email address].

  4. From my Amazon author page:

    Tom Simon has been writing fantasy for many years, but it was only in 2012, with LORD TALON’S REVENGE, that he began publishing this work. Like most writers, he has had a wide range of peculiar jobs, from sysop of a dialup chat board (before the commercial Internet) to assistant in a Member of Parliament’s constituency office. One of his MP’s constituents was an ardent advocate for the population of elves who lived (so he said) in a patch of wild ground in the midst of the city. Mr. Simon regrets that he was never personally involved in dealing with elf issues. However, he has met the usual assortment of witches, wizards, and one creature who styled himself Archdruid of Canada.

    According to rumour, Mr. Simon lives in the Frozen North with no company but a polar bear, two musk oxen, and an occasional visit from a travelling ptarmigan. His igloo, however, is centrally heated by a smelly campfire, which also provides him with a connection to the outside world via high-speed smoke signals.

    • You got PAID to be a sysop? Wow. I was one for seven years for free. BBS, not chat board, but still… wow.

      • Strictly speaking, I was self-employed, and the chat board made a little more in subscriptions than it cost to run. (It should have made quite a bit more, but most of my customers were incredible cheapskates. I learned the hard way that discount pricing can actually drive off the customers who are willing to pay profitable rates.)

        The next stage in my business plan would have involved turning the board into an ISP. One of my competitors (the only one that survived; it is still in business) did exactly that, but I was seriously undercapitalized. The competitor got some of its capital in suspicious circumstances, when all of its crufty old equipment was stolen and it used the insurance money to buy state-of-the-art gear. I was not, er, ‘enterprising’ enough to have that happen to me.

  5. Best I could do was to state that I lived in Hershey, “where the air really does smell like chocolate.” Clearly I need to revise.

  6. I have yet to do my own author bio. Anything I’ve come up with in the past has been short, boring, and completely worthless. I think I’d like to try something that’s funny, but entirely true… (from a certain point of view)

    • Just be yourself. Readers want a personal connection with their author. Start with a list and whittle it down.

      Favorite color/least favorite color
      Favorite TV show to binge watch
      Favorite TV show to curse and throw popcorn at
      Lives in a space too small for his dreams, Born in the wrong century, once participated in a tricycle relay-race and place most likely to be exhausted…thinks Vegemite is Soylent Green…

      Or if you’re struggling, have your friends write a few sentences about you, and then chose the ones you like most. Short bios work best for books. Longer bios best for other things, like press kits. Don’t panic. Bring a towel. Have fun!

  7. Favorite activity: Trying to convince my wife that I need a ninja sword. I mean, they wouldn’t sell the things on TV if they weren’t invaluable weapons for when gangs of ninja suddenly crash through your living room windows, swords drawn.

    A gun in this situation is useless, as ninja laugh at guns then kick them out of your hand (then kick you in the stomach / knees / groin / face / spine a nanosecond later). The only way to fight evil ninja is with a sword. Hence, ninja sword. Ninja respect sword fighting.

    My wife, she doesn’t seem to understand the gravity of the situation when it comes to blood-crazed ninja looking to exact revenge on random citizens. She even had the nerve to ask me, very sarcastically, if these “ninja” (her finger quotes, not mine) spent their evenings driving a black ninja van down suburban streets looking for family members of ancestral enemies, just so they can exact revenge to fulfill some kind of ninja honor code.

    To be honest, at first, I thought she was serious. Because she totally described ninja behavior, down to the last detail. They DO drive around suburban neighborhoods looking for surviving family lines of ancestral enemies to vanquish (or defeat, or behead, or whatever it is that ninja do to their intended victims who DON’T have a ninja sword to fight back).

    You can imagine my displeasure when she revealed she was being whatever is more sarcastic than “sarcastic.” Then you can imagine my immediate disappointment, possibly resentment, but I love her, so maybe just annoyance, unless a gang of ninja DO bust down our door and start swinging priceless katanas forged in the ancient fires of Mt. Xi deep in the heart of the Dragon Wastes, it most likely would swing to resentment, except it wouldn’t, since we’d have no sword to defend ourselves and so we’d be walking within the spirit world, me whining and complaining to her whenever I wasn’t making her listen to me say I TOLD YOU SO repeatedly. Wow, that’s a really long sentence, packed full of vitamins and irons or something. Let’s see, I totally forgot what I was trying to say… oh, right, so anyway, imagine my immediate disappointment after being mocked when she told me I was not allowed to own a ninja sword.

    This is a true story, by the way, other than a couple of minor omissions (we’ve had this discussion (argument) run past the fifteen minute mark before) on my part to make her seem totally less mean and stuff. But she is. I never get to have any fun. So I secretly write stories to escape my own reality of being forty years old and not being allowed to own a beautiful, sleek, dangerously sharp, sale-priced ninja sword. I know, right? It even comes with a polished wooden stand!

    Also, I like “The Wire.” For some reason, I feel compelled to say that whenever I meet new people. I tried watching the series on DVD to find a subliminal message or some other sinister mechanism that forces people who’ve watched the show to announce that they love it, and then recommend it to anyone who hasn’t seen it to do so as soon as humanly possible. I think I found a subliminal message, but it made me forget about finding a sinister message and instead redoubled its efforts to get me to talk about “The Wire” whenever I meet new people.

    Um… There. That’s my author bio. It is not full of lies, regardless of what anyone else that might be living in my house or married to me says. Don’t believe them (her). I wouldn’t write this unless it was true.

    Don’t ask… I have no idea why I do things like this… but readers seem to dig it (they usually just came out of the a concussion/head trauma emergency room).

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