First, my real name is not Earl W. Parrish -- I just use that name when I write fiction. My real name is not a secret, but for professional reasons I prefer to keep my fiction writing separate from my day job.
I grew up in the Mid-Hudson Valley area of New York State. I was always interested in science in all its forms. During my youth, I made paleontology (dinosaurs), geology, chemistry, astronomy, photography, biology, rocketry and physics my hobbies -- though not all at once! Since college I've added archaeology and history to the list.
I left New York and headed west to Tucson, AZ to study astronomy in college. I soon found that only a very tiny number of astronomy students would ever get jobs in their field. I switched majors and graduated in the late 1970's with a degree in Geophysics. I never worked a day as a geologist! A few months out of school, I got a job with a large computer firm and I've been with them ever since.
Soon after starting my career, I decided (while I was still single) to enlist in the Army Reserves -- so I could play with the dangerous toys! I served four years and was trained to repair all sorts of small arms, from .38 revolvers to 4.2" mortars. I never worked a day in that field either. I wound up driving tanks and APC's, and operating radio equipment. In general I had a blast (pun intended)! Ask me about it sometime.
That's it for my "real world" side. Science fiction, fantasy and horror fiction totally messed up my imagination. It started in the mid 1960's, when my parents mistakenly bought me some remaindered SF hardbacks for Christmas thinking they were actually science books. They bought Way Station by Clifford D. Simak, Time and Stars by Poul Anderson and a "best of" anthology from Galaxy magazine.
At first I didn't know what to make of them, even though I'd watched various SF cartoons and TV shows. The level of complexity of the books was so much higher than anything I'd seen before. Once I was able to get my mind around them, there was no going back! In the late 1960's I came across Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein and I was now also hooked on fantasy! To complete my corruption, I discovered horror (in the form of E.A. Poe and Ambrose Bierce) in High School. Now I seek to corrupt others with my own writing.
My damnation reached new depths when in college I discovered roleplaying games (initially Dungeons and Dragons, but now I'm a fan of the GURPS system from Steve Jackson Games). I've been gaming ever since.
That's it in a nutshell. If you see me at a Convention, feel free to say hello.