I’m excited to be here and working with WildBlue Press. Let me tell you a little about myself. I’m a full time writer and producer and have been for more than 20 years. For much of my career, I was a magazine writer before moving into books and now screenplays.
I hold a BA degree in history from the University of Minnesota at Moorhead, a Masters in librarianship from Clark Atlanta University, a Graduate Certificate from the National University of Ireland, University College Dublin and a certificate in screenwriting from Screenwriting University.
I started out working as a university professor and head of archives and special collections at a small southern university. It was an interesting job and I did well. I was awarded a Beta Phi Mu award for my contribution to international librarianship. I won an award from the South Carolina Status of Women’s commission to my archival contributions to the status of women in the state. I curated a significant collection of women’s history materials. I was also a consultant to the PLO on the construction of their proposed national library. In the mid 190s a two state solution looks feasible. While in the Gaza I interviewed Yasser Arafat, which was an amazing experience.
While in Ireland on sabbatical from my university job I got the writing bug. When I returned to the U.S., I wrote magazine articles on the side and tried to sell them. After a lot of rejection I started to sell my articles. By the early 2000s, I had sold more than 4,000 articles on every conceivable subject except gardening. I had a chance to interview a lot of interesting people, including Jimmy Carter, Frank Zappa, Abbie Hoffman and Evander Holyfield, among others.
I’ve published forty books over the course of my career. I met my wife when I missed a plane in Bogota while I was on a press junket. Romancing her sparked my interest in Colombia and its drug war. On my trips to Colombia I got interested in the country’s drug situation, and this, in turn, sparked a book on the drug trafficking organization, the Cali Cartel. When I finished the book, I liked the experience and began hunting for another subject. I was a big fan of the 1970s so called black exploitation movie genre— Super Fly, Black Caesar, Cotton Comes to Harlem. When I looked for a book about the subject and couldn’t find one, I decided to write a book about Gangsters of Harlem since most of these movies were about characters centered in Harlem.
The publisher liked the book and asked me to do another one. This led to Black Gangsters of Chicago, Black Caesar and Sergeant Smack. Four of my books have been optioned for movies, with one of them currently in development. Now I was considered an expert in Black organized crime.
Or at least the media thought so. I started to get invited on TV and radio as an expert commentator. Some of the outlets I have appeared on include Starz, ID, Discovery, History, Reelz, Black Entertainment, Biography and TV One.
Documentary producer and director
I have tried my hand at making documentaries. I’ve done three documentaries, including the award winning Superfly and The Frank Matthews story, as well as Sergeant Smack, an interview with former drug kingpin Ike Atkinson.
I have taken courses on screenwriting and have penned several screenplays. It’s a tough business, but I have managed to have four of my scripts optioned. I hope to have at least one of my screenplays reach the big screen and realize one of my dreams.
I have taught freelance writing at several universities and workshops. For several years I was an instructor in UCLA’s Extension Journalism program.
Radio Show Host
In January 2011, I launched a weekly radio show, The Crime Beat with Ron Chepesiuk radio show. Nearly a decade later and 500 plus shows it is still going strong. Today, the show airs in 160 countries. Go to www.artistfirst.com/crimebeat.htm
“Ron could run any intelligence agency in the world,” — Lew Diaz, former undercover DEA agent
“Ike Atkinson, is the real deal, and not the stuff of Hollywood legend. The author delivers an eminently readable book about a genuine Mr. Big who knows that no fictional makeover is required for his compelling story – the truth is more than enough.” — Steve Morris, former Publisher, New Criminologist
“Sergeant Smack is meticulously researched and its prodding for the truth by author Ron Chepesiuk makes it an excellent non-fiction crime story. Along with a compelling history of Ike Atkinson’s life and criminal career in drug smuggling, the author has managed to put the truth to numerous falsehoods contained in the major movie, American Gangster, about the life of Frank Lucas.” — Jack Toal, retired DEA agent who worked the investigation of Frank Lucas
“As a 25-year veteran of the DEA, I congratulate Ron on setting the record straight on the true story of American Gangster. By interviewing former DEA agents, drug kingpins and reviewing public documents Ron has accurately captured the roles of the gangsters and the investigative strategy implemented by DEA which led to dismantling of this complex international heroin organization. This is a “must read” for anyone interested in a “true” story of the chess game between the international drug kingpins of the 70s and the DEA agents that took them down.” — Lew Rice, former DEA Special Agent in Charge and author of DEA Special Agent: My Life on the Front Line
“Finally, the real story. I’ve waited 40 years for this book.” — Marc Levin, Director of the documentary, “Mr. Untouchable”
“Ron Chepesiuk has gone from publishing the Black gangster classics, Gangsters of Harlem and Black Gangsters of Chicago, to crafting Sergeant Smack, an astonishing masterpiece.” — David “Pop” Whetstone, Owner, Black Star Music and Video
“Sergeant Smack forcefully debunks the urban legend of Black family groups smuggling heroin from Southeast Asia in the bodies of dead GI soldiers while recounting the colorful saga of the authentic American gangster. Highly recommended.” — Gary Taylor, journalist and author of the award-winning true crime memoir, Luggage by Kroger.
“Ron Chepesiuk is one of the premier true crime investigative journalists, and he proves it with this new book. Sergeant Smack is a great story and brilliantly written. The book shows that fact can be entering than fiction” — Jason Brooks, director of the documentary, Kingpins (the story of Freddie Myers)
That’s it, folks. I can say the writing life is sweet, and I feel like a young man embarking on a career that he loves. The best is yet to come. Check out my web site at www.ronchepesiuk.com