Ray Ring in Montana in 2014

Ray Ring (Raymond H. Ring) is a novelist and journalist rooted in the American West. His interests include underdogs and bad actors, inequality, environmental science and our drift toward dystopia. He tries to deal with everything with a sense of humor.

Ray’s four novels are unusual mysteries or hardboiled noir: Montana Blues (2023), Arizona Kiss (1991), Peregrine Dream (1990) and Telluride Smile (1988). For more info, click on the Books tab.

Ray’s journalism has appeared in many publications devoted to accuracy. He was senior editor for the nonprofit High Country News, a regular contributor to Outside magazine, an investigative reporter and columnist for The Arizona Daily Star, and an assistant managing editor for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. His freelance writing has appeared in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and Harper’s Magazine. He’s won twelve national journalism awards, including a George Polk Award for Political Reporting, a Mental Health America Media Award for an essay about his schizophrenic brother’s suicide, and an Investigative Reporters & Editors scroll for going undercover posing as a convict in a max-security prison. For more info, click on the Journalism tab.

Atop Mount Lemmon, above Tucson, in 2023

What shapes Ray’s writing? He studied in six public U.S. universities without fitting into any ivory towers, and did a range of blue-collar work as a young man. The time away from his desk includes sandy river trips and honeymoon backpacking in the Grand Canyon, and work as a city firefighter, taxi driver and head of maintenance at the University of Colorado Mountain Research Station — 9,500 feet above sea level. He knows a bit about how to drive an old bulldozer and a fire engine, and how to fix some of the broken things using whatever is handy.

Ready to drive the bulldozer at the Mountain Research Station, 1974 — for plowing snow that was too deep for the pickup-truck’s plow and moving dirt (Ray’s new novel, Montana Blues, has plenty of winter scenes)

Also among the experiences that shape his writing, Ray has survived two rollover car wrecks and a motorcycle wreck, and getting hit by a car while he walked in a crosswalk. Also a cop clubbed Ray — a bloody head injury — while Ray was standing still during a mass demonstration against the Vietnam War. And a prison gang knocked him down a steel staircase while he did the undercover journalism posing as a convict.

Ray earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Colorado-Boulder, but he got expelled by one university and was temporarily tossed out of Canada, in unrelated incidents.

So Ray knows how it feels to get knocked down, and that helps him be empathetic in his writing.

Bobcat in the yard, looking thin, 2023

Ray and his longtime wife, Linda Platts, live in Tucson, where they enjoy the borderland culture and hiking and glimpses of bobcats in the yard or on the roof.

(Photo credits: Jack Dykinga for website canyon banner, Steve Sweeney for author shots, Ray Ring for the bobcats.)

Copyright @ 2024, Raymond H. Ring, all rights reserved.