Cyclone Road Biography

 


I write fiction and nonfiction and teach literature and writing at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas, where I live. My stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in The Missouri Review, Yemassee, Poets & Writers, Oxford Magazine, Iron Horse Review, Southwestern American Literature, RE:AL, and Indiana Review.  I'm currently completing revisions on my first novel, Remedy Wheel.  I've written about weather and stormchasing for Isotope, Weatherwise, The Weather Channel website, India Today, and other national and international magazines. I'm also a copy editor for the Electronic Journal of Severe Storms Meteorology

As for the life story, my mother worked for the Veteran’s Administration and, since my father was retired from the Army, we followed Mom's new assignments around the country, from Binghamton, New York, where I was born in 1969, to Austin and then Temple, Texas, then Tomah, Wisconsin, and finally, Bonham, Texas.  My parents were readers.  Though he dropped out of high school to support his immigrant parents, then served in World War II, my father filled our house with newspapers and news magazines, which I devoured as a means to keep up with my parents lively dinner conversations about economics and politics, not uncommon topics at middle class tables before the advent of reality television. As a boy I dreamed of being the Moscow correspondent for Newsweek.  This idea stuck with me so long that I majored in Journalism my first year at Baylor University and planned to take Russian language classes.

 

In 1989, I transferred from Baylor University to the UNT in Denton, where my pals were having a far better time than I was.  My friends had a rock band playing regularly in clubs around Dallas, and I quit school in 1993 to join the fun.  We formed a sort of musical commune centered around shared financial resources, hanging out at practice, and playing World Series 1000 on Nintendo 64.  Before it was over, I was representing three bands, writing for The Harder Beat, and booking acts for a local metal club called The Basement.   I went broke anyway. 

My musician friends moved to Austin, as Texas players inevitably do, and not long afterwards I started chasing storms.  My friend Clete Estes and I encountered a powerful "derecho" in southern Oklahoma in August of 1996 and I was hooked.  I anxiously awaited the following chase season, reading everything I could find, from intro meteorology texts to chase accounts in the venerable Stormtrack Magazine. Little did I know that more than one thousand days would pass until I'd see my first tornado. In November of 1996, I accepted a  job in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and left the grand stage of Tornado Alley for three years

In May 1999, I returned to Denton, Texas to start an MA in writing, working under Lee Martin.  I chased a lot after '99, really my formative years as an amateur storm observer since I was free to indulge myself with the cooperative university schedule.  I met a great group of like-minded friends including Eric Nguyen, Scott Blair, Jeff Lawson, Robert Hall, Glenn Dixon, Steve Miller, Blair Kooistra, Brian Fant, and Dave Fick.  In 2003 I left the plains again to pursue an MFA at Indiana University in Bloomington, which I finished in 2005.  I returned to Denton because there was a job for me, as an Adjunct at first and now as a Lecturer.  I'll begin shopping Remedy Wheel to literary agents in 2009.

I'm awed by the power and beauty of severe storms.  It's a passion next to writing, an essential part of my life. 
I enjoy traveling, as chasers must.  I have photos and descriptions from some non-weather trips around the US and Europe linked at the bottom of this page.  I'm also a baseball fan, a loyal follower of the Atlanta Braves since 1982. 

Spring is a great time of year for me.  It's always right around the corner.


Photo courtesy Tony Laubach

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