I’m a writer some of the time and a high school English teacher most of the time. I am driven to create and learn and so I tend to seek out situations where those two things go hand in hand. When not reading or writing, I’m usually hiking, cycling, or pretending to play my guitar.
I am married to a wonderful woman who inspires me daily, and we have two very odd but sweet greyhounds and a cat who sometimes thinks I need to be bitten.
I was born in Newport, Rhode Island, and I have lived in Austin, Texas since 1988. On the way to Austin, I’ve lived in Miami (or so my parents tell me), Rhode Island (again), Virginia, The Philippines, Italy, and Rhode Island (one more time). I also lived in Dallas for a few months, but I got back to Austin as soon as I could.
After graduating from UT in 1993, I freelanced on film sets for a few years, mostly as a camera assistant. Between gigs, I wrote and worked as a substitute teacher, which made me want to be a full time teacher.
I eventually went back to UT for a second helping, where I was a James Michener Fellow at the Texas Center for Writers and earned an MA in screenwriting. After grad school, I wrote a novel called A Place Without a Postcard. I published it in 2003.
I got certified to teach in 1999 and have loved almost every minute of it. I currently teach in a juvenile correctional facility, where I am privileged to spend my days doing work that I believe is important.
Writing is my passion. I write stories and poems and have written a few screenplays as well. When I write stories, I feel as if I am watching a movie no one has seen before. When I stop, I feel like I am waking from a dream, refreshed and wanting more.
I have two other novels as yet unpublished: Try Everything in a Cartoon Romance and A Short Time to Be There. I’m working on the latter right now.
My favorite books are Blue Highways by William Least Heat-Moon, One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, VALIS by Philip K Dick, Don Quixote by Cervantes, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig, The Sibley Guide to Birds by David Allen Sibley, and The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkein. They are the ones that have inspired me the most and that I felt the deepest.
I love birds. I had parakeets when I was younger, and my parents bred canaries and finches. I spend endless hours watching the birds come and go from the backyard feeders and when I need a stronger fix, I love going out to look for birds. Even if I don’t see any, the time outdoors is always time well spent. Birds are also the closest most of us can ever get to wild nature and for that I love them. I am also fascinated by migration and the way the rhythms of the year and the seasons are seen in the movements and behavior of birds.
The name of this site, Coyote Mercury, is a reference to a character in my first novel. I blog for a variety of reasons, and they seem to change with the seasons. It is a place to create, write, explore, connect, learn, and experiment. I have done all of those things around here, and I am constantly discovering new things to do with this site.
Here’s a few links to articles, interviews and other stuff about me:
Episode 12 of The Armadillo Podcast
Steven Phenix interviews me about writing, living in Austin, and Kinky Friedman’s gubernatorial campaign. This was my first podcast, and Steven was a pleasure to talk to. He even edited out my coughing. There are two other articles on his site that lead up to the interview here and here.
THS Teacher Publishes Novel
This is an article from the Taylor Daily Press about the publication of my first novel back in 2003.