J. C. Amberchele was born in Philadelphia in 1940. He attended a Quaker school, then colleges in Pennsylvania and New York, graduating with a bachelor's degree in psychology. In the early 1960s, Amberchele worked as a part-time instructor at a private school in Honolulu, teaching high school math and French. An athlete in high school and college, he tried his hand at auto racing in Hawaii, but soon ran out of funds. He married in 1965, worked briefly as a salesman in both Honolulu and Los Angeles, but soon divorced and returned to Hawaii. After working at odd jobs at a local marina, he began taking LSD, and subsequently joined the growing ranks of "hippies" living in the Waikiki Beach area. In 1967, Amberchele again moved to Southern California, and this time began selling marijuana to support himself. Soon he was transporting wholesale quantities to various cities in the United States, and within a year was moving marijuana north from Mexico in cars and airplanes-a "career" he followed for nearly fifteen years, and one which he admits drove him deeper and deeper into crime and "insanity." During this time, he married again, had two children, and travelled extensively, often to avoid the law. After his arrest, he began writing and studying Eastern philosophy. His first book, How You Lose, a novel, was released in 2002 (Carroll & Graf, New York). He has been a longtime meditator in prison, and has called himself a "reluctant Buddhist" since taking formal vows in 2001. As of this writing he has been incarcerated a total of twenty-nine years, and does not expect to be released soon.