Roger S. Williams
New England Publishing Associates
PO BOX 66066
Lawrence, N.J. 08648
This web site is my “platform,” a term that publishers use nowadays for a promotional vehicle which provides an author with public exposure and supposedly spurs book sales. That said, I should introduce myself and describe my work. That is not as easy as it might seem because, as the Middletown Press, a Connecticut daily, noted, “Ed Ricciuti’s resume has to be updated about as often as the tote board at Belmont Park.”
For starters, then, I’ll let someone else do the job. The Hartford Courant described me this way: “He has been nose to nose with a Cape buffalo. He has roamed the back alleys of Bangkok and Singapore, interviewed Masai warriors and Iranian herdsmen and tracked smuggling operations in Southeast Asia. [He]... has come a long way since his first free-lance assignment of interviewing druggists for two cents a word. Since then, he has chased information from the heights of the Andes Mountains to the depths of the Red Sea.”
Another newspaper called me “a living, breathing beer commercial.” The analogy, I hasten to add, referred not to my consumption of suds but to travels “in some of the globe’s most exotic and far-away places.” The article glossed over long hours at home trying to come up with words that sell. Enough of them to produce more than 80 books for adults and young people and a four-drawer file’s worth of articles for publications such as Audubon, Field & Stream, Outside, Wildlife Conservation, Science Digest, USA Today and Fly Rod & Reel. I now write regularly on science. medicine and conservation for World Book Publishing. In 2011, I started a column, Outdoors With Ed Ricciuti, for the hyperlocal online news organization, Patch. After a year, Patch informed me that writers should work for free so I no longer do the column.
Perhaps the description of me that I treasure most appeared in a magazine read largely by fly fishing purists, recounting how I wielded a rod in a famed Croatian trout river. It alleged that I “looked and sounded like a crazed Buddhist monk in a grade-B karate movie.” Insulting? Not to someone who has been known to put a hooked worm at the end of a fly leader. Actually, I've studied karate and now am co-president of Green Hill Martial Arts, Inc.in Killingworth, CT, where I teach combat hapkido, a no-nonsence martial art, and study Jun Fan gung fu jeet kune do, or JKD. Our JKD at Green Hill comes to us through the Derderian Academy of Martial Arts, Johnston, RI. I also study black dragon kung fu under Stephen Watson of Someday Farm in Killingworth. I earned my first-degree black belt in combat hapkido in 2009, at age 70 and now hold a third degree and a certificate as a senior instructor. Combat arts and self defense are a lifelong interest. I fought my first catch-as-catch-can wrestling match at a backroom smoker when 15 years old. I lost. I've held three college boxing championships, trained amateur and professional pugilists, worked as a corner man for professional matches and dabbled in no-holds barred fighting tournaments years before the popularization of mixed martial arts. Getting knocked around has helped me with a few editorial endeavors. I've written a children's book on how to box and hope to begin writing on martial arts. Although professional wrestling might not be truly martial, it is very much an art, as I learned when I worked with the World Wrestling Federation developing a full-scale publications program. I should add that while the grunt-and-groan business is not true sporting competition, the incredible athleticism required of participants and the physical battering they take are very real. The guys who do it are exceedingly tough customers.
Be that as it may, over the years, I’ve worn a fair number of hats. Newspaper crime reporter. Magazine editor. Curator at the New York Zoological Society (now the Wildlife Conservation Society). Public relations advisor. Zoo and aquarium exhibits developer. The Animal Man on Patchwork Family, WCBS-TV. Ambulance driver. Firearms safety instructor. Writing teacher for at-risk kids and graduate students. Producer and editor of a bi-monthly magazine for the Connecticut Audubon Society. I am also a certified master gardener and have a stand selling home-grown produce at my Wannabe Farm.
The University of Notre Dame provided me with a bachelor’s degree in communication arts and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism appointed me a Sloan-Rockefeller Advanced Science Writing Fellow. I’m a former U.S. Marine reservist, who sometimes admits to also serving a year in the Army Reserve.
I have a zillion hobbies. Shooting, hunting and fishing. Birding. Gardening, even small-scale farming. Raising gamebirds. Keeping tropical fish and sundry other creatures, including two fire-bellied toads, tree frogs, a hamster and an axolotl, which is a plug-ugly neotenic salamander from Mexico.
Since 1972, I’ve been what some bank loan officers suspiciously view as a cover for a writer without a real job--a full-time freelance. My core subject areas have been nature, science, conservation and wildlife crime. However, almost anything in my experience can be turned into writing. I like to blend my different areas of experience into one piece of writing. Example: combining medical and outdoor writing to do a piece on Lyme disease for a sportsmen’s magazine. Or, as a recent book, using both science and crime writing skills to explore the world of forensics. Unlikely combinations can lead to fresh angles. There’s nothing novel about writing on environmental politics but reporting on the subject from a war zone is a different story.
My books reflect the scope of my interests. A few examples: The Natural History of North America, Rocks and Minerals, The Yakama, How to Box, The War in Yugoslavia, The Snake Almanac, Amphibians, Killer Animals, Killers of the Seas, and Science 101: Forensics.
I may be the only man alive who has stood on Andre the Giant's chest flexing muscles while the WWF star was flat on his back in a bar. Actually, he was easing his back pain and let me do it for a goof otherwise I wouldn't be here to write this. I also made the medical literature as perhaps the only person ever bitten by a coati on 57th Street in Manhattan.What about rubbing noses with a Cape buffalo? Gospel truth, it happened. In the dark of an African night, I peered under the rain flap of my tent to determine the source of a disturbance there. My nose came into moist contact with a massive black muzzle, behind which were a daunting set of horns and two eyes, as surprised as mine. What happened? Maybe I’ll write about it.
Agent: New England Publishing Associates
Overseas Press Club of America
National Association of Science Writers
Outdoor Writers Association of America
Federal Wildlife Officers Association (associate)
International Combat Hapkido Federation
Federal Bureau of Investigation, Chelsea House
Inside the FBI.
Science 101: Forensics
Edward R. Ricciuti incorporates his experience as a police reporter into his science and nature writing, reporting on criminal activities ranging from homicides to the illicit wildlife trade.
Behind the happy picture of animals as pets and friends of humankind, there lies a fearsome and often hidden reality of animals as killers. It is this darker side of our contact with animals that Edward R. Ricciuti explores in Killer Animals.
Killers of the Seas
Killers of the Seas is a rousing, scientifically sound survey of all the sea creatures that instill dread in the hearts of humans. Edward Ricciuti, a science writer with a passion for scuba diving and oceanographic expeditions, has swum eye-to-eye with a killer whale, tagged and captured sharks and had numerous tense exchanges with barracuda, moray eels and stingrays.