R.J. Martin, Jr. was born in Bossier City Louisiana, the son of an Air Force pilot. When his father died in a plane crash in 1956, Richard and his mother moved back to New York City. At the age of seven, they moved to San Francisco, where Richard has lived ever since. At the age of 26, Richard became a barker at San Francisco's infamous Condor nightclub, the first venue in the United States to feature topless, and later, bottomless entertainment. This led to a period of employment in North Beach sex clubs in which he worked not only as a barker, but as a panderer, thief, con artist and business manager for a few independent businesswomen.
After a 20-year battle with heroin addiction, and facing a lengthy prison sentence, Mr. Martin entered treatment in 1996. From 2001 to 2004, he served as director of development at the SAGE Project, award-winning and internationally renowned nonprofit serving prostitutes and other survivors of trauma, abuse and addiction. In 2004, the Mayor of San Francisco presented Mr. Martin with a Certificate of Honor, recognizing the impact his work has had on the City. In that year, Mr. Martin also graduated San Francisco State University with a degree in English. He was accepted into the San Francisco State University Master of Arts Program in Creative Writing and at age 52, is still not the oldest person in the program. He has contributed to the forthcoming anthology Drugs, Thugs and Rock-n-Roll.