His full name is William Raymond Augustus Lewis (both parents from the South don’t ya know). Friends call him Ray, but it appears there is another very large guy also named Ray Lewis who might not want his fans coming to this site. So the pen name is W. R. A. Lewis.
When he retired, Ray Lewis decided to digitally create an illustrated fantasy novel, thereby marrying his love for the written word to his long-neglected inner geek.
Actually, the geek part came first. At age 10, he received a programmable robot car for Christmas. At 12, he built a crystal radio (look it up). The following year, he badgered his father into buying the components for the first stereo audio system in town. At 18, he set off for college to become a nuclear physicist.
Over the years, he sidetracked into the world of business communications, barely sustaining his geekdom with furtive forays into the innards of employers’ electronic tools. He programmed Irish fiddle tunes in Basic on their IBM PCs. He played with Unix on their mainframes and SQL and VMS on their DECs during lunch breaks.
Recruited to work on Wall Street in the 1980s, his life changed forever. At J&R Music he found the Commodore AMIGA. Four channel MIDI stereo sound, 4,096 colors on screen simultaneously, real-time animation, true multi-tasking and WYSIWYG desktop publishing, all in one affordable box! He bought a gadget called a modem and disovered the internet where he could trade files, dig out arcane information and communicate with people all over the world for free using regular telephone lines! (He really likes free, as you will see.)
By 2008, his AMIGAs had become Macs, the internet now rested in his palm and had completely upended the world of music, arts and letters. Retired and iving in the Washington, DC area by now, he joined the crew at The Apple Store in Maryland’s Montgomery Mall for two years, immersing himself in its transformative technology.
When life intervened and scheduling issues made it impossible to continue with Apple, another discovery once again changed his life – incredible creative software available for download not only at low cost, but quite often at NO cost!
He found that you could create your own worlds from the ground up, sculpting characters, props and scenery from scratch, lighting them, animating them, and even turning them into full-fledged computer games. If that was too challenging, ready-made digital models of all kinds were available, often for little or no cost.
You could produce stunning photorealistic images of the scenes you generated and manipulate them in powerful ways. Similarly, crafting vector-based graphics (look it up if you aren’t sure) became a snap. Writing the book was easy with a free suite of productivity programs, and designing the cover was a breeze using free layout software.
The final step was the most challenging – turning it into an ebook in the EPUB format. There are many internet sites that will take properly formatted raw material and create and distribute an EPUB book for the author. But, being the geek he is, he decided to delve into free and low cost EPUB production software because of the control it provided. To really use it to its fullest, some familiarity with CSS, XML, XHTML and HTML was quite useful. And, of course, excellent tutorials for all of these tools are available free on the internet (it turned out not to be as scary as it looked).
Are there more books in the future? There certainly are a number of additional book ideas fermenting in his fevered brain. He hasn’t yet tried any serious animation, so that might happen first. Who knows? Well, the Shadow do, but he’s not talking.
Ray Lewis lives in Oakton, VA with his incandescently beautiful (as well as dangerously smart) wife Linda and Barkley the one-eyed wonder dog. Oh yeah, he sometimes tries to sing and play the guitar at the same time .