Zoltan James is the pen name of ZJ Czupor. He writes mysteries, thrillers, and poetry. His novel excerpts have been winners or finalists in the Claymore Award (Best Mystery category), Freddie Award for Writing Excellence (Florida Chapter, Mystery Writers of America); Southeastern Writers; Whodunit Mystery Writing (Mystery Fest Key West); and Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. A screenplay was a finalist for the Bogart Noir Short Film Competition in Miami.  

He’s the author of The Big Weird: Haikus in Times of Pandemic and Chaos, a collection of sublime and hot poetry about his observations of the pandemic. His noir short story, The Man in the Corner is featured in Crossing Colfax, by Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. More of his haiku poems are featured in Stop the World: Snapshots from a Pandemic, (Thalia Press), which includes authors, poets and essayists from around the world.

ZJ is president of the 600-member Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, a nonprofit organization run by volunteers dedicated to helping writers achieve publication in commercial fiction. He’s also a past vice president of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of Mystery Writers of America and writes a monthly column, The Mystery Minute, which can be found at www.rmmwa.org. He also writes ZJ Czupor’s Mystery Minute for Rogue Women Writers.

In 1990, ZJ and his wife co-founded The InterPro Group, one of Denver’s leading marketing and public relations firms. He once tried out with the Pittsburgh Pirates (you probably have a good idea how that turned out). For fun, he crossed Colorado three times on his bicycle in the annual Ride the Rockies tour. Then, as a personal challenge, he completed a record-breaking 40-foot firewalk in Hawaii…because it was there.

ZJ and his wife are proud to be owned by their beautiful, and way too smart, rescue collie.♦♦♦

THIS IS WHY I WRITE by Z.J. Czupor/September 20, 2020
(Stream of consciousness): W. Somerset Maugham, Robert Frost, John Steinbeck, J.D. Salinger, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Mark Twain, Proverbs, Ernest Hemingway, William Wadsworth Longfellow, William Shakespeare, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Mary Oliver, Billy Collins, Tana French, David, McCullough, Reed Farrel Coleman, Anne Lamont, Ecclesiastes, Stephen King, Edgar Allan Poe, Elmore Leonard, James Lee Burke, Lee Child, Nelson DeMille, Greg Iles, William Goldman, R.T. Lawton, Carl Hiaasen, John le Carré, David Morrell, Jeffrey Deaver, Joan Johnstone, Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain, Dashiell Hammett, Michael Connelly, Robert B. Parker, Ian Rankin, Adrian McKinty, James Ellroy, Joyce Carol Oates, William Saroyan, Lawrence Block, O. Henry, Dennis Lehane, H.L. Mencken, James Thurber, T.S. Eliot, William Allen White, Charles Bukowski, Ring Lardner, Ted Iliff, David Sedaris, Ursula K. LeGuin, Ann Hood, Carl Sandburg, Page Lambert, George Plimpton, Robert Haas, Grantland Rice, Soren Kierkegaard, Jo Nesbo, E. B. White, Robert Wright, Richard Samson, Denis Johnson, William Kent Krueger, Thomas Paine, Robert M. Pirsig, David Halberstam, Walter Mosley, Harlan Coben, Saul Bellow, Graham Greene, Ian Fleming, Francis and Mary Czupor, and Marta Sipeki. THIS IS WHY I WRITE.

I don’t pretend to be well read. But I have dipped my toe into the great sea of writers, poets, and journalists both living and dead. Have I read all their works? My goodness, no. But their works and lives have inspired me in so many ways. It would be easier to count all the stars in the sky than to innumerate their immeasurable inspiration.

There are a few names in this list of living writers whom I’ve had the great pleasure to meet. There are a few, here, with whom I have studied with in person and they opened my eyes to vast new vistas of literature. A couple in this list, namely Richard Samson and Robert Wright, were my English teachers in high school. They greatly influenced me to write and to read broadly. I owe them my greatest gratitude. And, finally to my parents who always encouraged me to read, to express my thoughts, and to listen and participate in open discussions around the dinner table; and always to the love of my life, Marta, who encourages and inspires my writing in each and every moment. THIS IS WHY I WRITE.♦♦♦