James Paul Blaylock (born September 20, 1950) is an American fantasy author. He is noted for a distinctive, humorous style, as well as being one of the pioneers of the steampunk genre of science fiction.He was born in Long Beach, California; studied English at California State University, Fullerton, receiving an M.A. in 1974; and lives in Orange, California, teaching creative writing at Chapman University and the Orange County School of the Arts. Many of his books are set in Orange County, California, and can more specifically be termed "fabulism" – that is, fantastic things happen in our present-day world, rather than in traditional fantasy, where the setting is often some other world. His works have also been categorized as magic realism.He and his friends Tim Powers and K. W. Jeter were mentored by Philip K. Dick. Along with Powers, Blaylock invented the poet William Ashbless. Blaylock and Powers have often collaborated with each other on writing stories, including "The Better Boy", "On Pirates", and "The William Ashbless Memorial Cookbook".Blaylock is also currently director of the Creative Writing Conservatory at the Orange County High School of the Arts, where Powers is Writer in Residence.