A short autobiographical sketch of George F. Worts from 1930.
The decision to become a writer of fiction was made for me by fate. In 1914, in Panama, where I spent a week when I was a wireless operator on a little steamer that creaked up and down the Central American coast, I met an author who painted the joys of free-lancing so vividly that I could not resist the call. We were drunk. I was twenty. Since then, I have been trying to catch up with all of those joys he mentioned.
Starting to write stories in 1914 and, four years later selling my first. One marks up, I suppose, a very poor batting average. But in those years I was getting experience, seeing the world, and acquiring knowledge. I "punched brass" as a wireless operator all over the Pacific. I entered Columbia University in 1915, and one year later left because I didn't believe in higher learning. I still don't believe in it. I became a newspaper reporter, later a magazine editor.
Then came the war, which I won practically single-handed by writing high-pressure publicity to induce patriotic Americans to send books to Washington for camp libraries for soldiers and gobs. Books came by the carload, by the ton: McGuffy's readers, old almanacs, spellers, arithmetics, out-dated novels and just trash. The soldiers and sailors who read those books soon hated the war so bitterly that they promptly got busy and ended it. That's how I won the war.
After the war, I wanted another look at China, and was sent to the Far East by Collier's to write articles on China, the Philippines, India and Malaya. The first story I sold was written while I was editing a motion picture trade paper. It was bought by The Argosy, and it was about a wolf named Murg. Don't ask me why. In the intervening years I have written millions of words. Perhaps it is Murg who sits so patiently at my door!
I started writing fiction under the pen name of Loring Brent, because it would have annoyed the owner of the motion picture magazine to learn that I was writing fiction out of hours. He thought I fell asleep at my desk because I was working so hard for him! When my income from fiction exceeded my salary, I quit the job. Since then I have been freelancing exclusively, except for a two-year period when I lived in a Florida swamp town and added to my writing the duties of postmaster, game warden, and deputy sheriff. Out of that experience came a long series of stories about a Florida town I called Vingo.
I have enjoyed most writing stories about certain established characters. Apparently the most popular of these have been the Peter the Brazen, the Vingo and the Gillian Hazeltine stories. I stopped writing about Peter the Brazen (a swashbuckling wireless operator on ships in the China run) about ten years ago. He was, incidentally, the subject of the only novel I have had published in America. I am now starting a new series about him.
When I am not traveling, I live in Westport, Connecticut. My interests are horses, sailing and flying. I took up flying about a year ago to write some articles on how it feels to learn to fly, and was badly bitten by the bug. I can make a three-point landing about five times out of ten.
I like New York, but would prefer to live in Honolulu. I smoke sixty cigarettes a day. I like murder trials. I have never mastered the noble game of poker, although I once wrote a book about it. In my spare time I study law and medicine. I have two young sons and a still younger daughter; an able crew for my sailboat—except that there is usually mutiny aboard the lugger!
Black Dog Books has available two collections of stories by George F. Worts: Peter the Brazen and South of Sulu.