I currently live with my wife on my family’s more-than-century-old farm and homeplace and serve as managing editor of the four newspapers in Lavaca County, TX—Hallettsville Tribune-Herald, The Moulton Eagle, The Shiner Gazette and Yoakum Herald-Times—at the Luling Newsboy & Signal in neighboring Caldwell County, TX. I also contribute to several area monthly publications, and continue to try and land submissions of short fiction, poetry and prose in the literary journals and online publications. When I’m not chasing news stories or playing hunt and peck on my keyboard, we raise goats, chickens, farm eggs and the best homegrown tomatoes you’re ever gonna eat.
Working for a living…
Adjunct College Instructor
(2016-2018) Victoria College, Victoria, TX
Taught freshman English and writing courses while I finished my MFA in creative writing at University of Houston-Victoria. At the same time, I took advantage of Victoria College’s nighttime trade courses to become an electrician. I can now wire your house and write a book, simultaneously.
Reader/Scribe for Student Disability Services
(2016-2018) Victoria College, Victoria, TX
Assisted college students with a variety of disabilities to stay calm and focused, while completing required course exams in a timely fashion. I read all test materials aloud and, when needed, recorded the students’ answers on standardized test forms.
Quality Assurance Inspector
(2011-2016) Gene’s Machine Inc., Victoria, TX
I was the inspections point man for this maker of precision-tooled industrial and oilfield parts and equipment. I was responsible for certifying dimensions on parts produced as well as conducting NDE exams on all welds and inlays, hardness testing. I was in charge of record-keeping as part of a companywide quality plan I helped to design. That quality plan helped secure the company’s first international ISO certification, a gold standard within the industry, and provided material for us as we developed a curriculum for employee training sessions.
Weekly Feature Columnist
(2009-2010) Waco Tribune Herald, Waco, TX
I was tapped to help return farm and ranch news coverage to the paper on a weekly basis and to serve in an advisory role for newspaper staff who might be unfamiliar with such issues. That page, built around my weekly feature column, became its own Sunday section within six months, with me supplying nearly all its content, with my byline appearing all over the paper. I even wrote a few Page 1 features. My face appeared in various in-house newspaper promotions and billboard advertisement across the largely rural readership area.
Field Editor/Staff Writer/PR Specialist
(2006-2010) Texas Farm Bureau, Waco, TX
My primary focus was keeping the bureau’s print and online publications stocked with content (Texas Agriculture’s 20 issues per year; Texas Neighbor’s four issues per year, The Cornerpost member newsletter’s 52 issues per year, Texas Ag Online, a daily Texas ag news source). The work took me all over Texas, the United States, and a dozen foreign countries. I also shot regular footage, recorded interviews and wrote stories for the bureau’s regular RFD-TV Network shows and the statewide radio news network, a few of which won top national broadcast awards. Additionally, I ghost wrote several speeches and commentaries for organization leaders, assisted in drafting of state and national legislation, served on the bureau’s issues management team, supported group lobby efforts and assisted with training and support of bureau membership across state.
Editor & Publisher/Managing Editor
(2003-2006) Granite Publications Inc, including The Aransas Pass Progress, The Ingleside Index, The Sealy News, The Gulf Coast Farmer-Rancher, Aransas Pass and Sealy, TX
Completed Granite’s yearlong publisher training program in just under two months before I was handed the reins to two new company acquisitions on the Texas Gulf Coast, where I was in charge of full business operations and distribution, overseeing a dozen employees, advertising and editorial content, and community relations for the respective communities we served. That promotion followed one of my best press award years ever in the news business as ME in Sealy, where we won 18 regional and statewide press awards in 2005, more than the other 25 newspapers in my group combined that year.
More News Posts (1986-2003)
I wrote my first newspaper stories when I was still in junior high, just pleased as punch my words found their way into those pages. I even launched and edited a monthly rag in high school. But I wouldn’t get paid for anything I wrote until my college years in the early 1990s, mostly as a game stringer on Friday nights. Fulltime news posts wouldn’t start for a full year beyond college in 1995. But with those fulltime posts also came the first of what would become a perennial string of regional, state and national press awards until I parted ways with the news business in 2010, a time when many news institutions across the nation either massively downsized or shuttered altogether. Spanning papers from West Texas to the Gulf Coast and the Panhandle to South Texas, my first writing jobs included:
- Reporter (2001-2003) El Campo Leader-News, semiweekly, with stories regularly appearing in the semiweekly Wharton Journal-Spectator and weekly East Bernard Express, El Campo, TX.
- General Assignments Reporter (1999-2001) Abilene Reporter-News, daily, with stories regularly appearing in sister dailies, in Wichita Falls, San Angelo and Corpus Christi, as well as Associated Press and Scripps newswires, Abilene, TX.
- Reporter (1997-1999) El Campo Leader-News, semiweekly, with stories appearing regularly in the Wharton Journal-Spectator and on 1390 KULP-AM, then owned by the newspaper publisher, El Campo, TX.
- Staff Writer (1995-1997) The Albany News, weekly, Albany, TX.
- Freelancer (1986-1995) Multiple Hill Country, South Texas and Crossroads area newspapers and magazines.
- Contributor & Copy Editor (1990-1992) The Cat’s Paw, monthly newsletter for Ffynnon Gath, the San Marcos chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA), a worldwide medieval history and reenactment group, San Marcos, TX.
- Editorial Assistant (1990-1991) Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment, monthly newsletter for ASLE, a nationwide scholarly organization focused on environmental writings and nature writers. I worked for Scott Slovic who founded the organization at (Southwest) Texas State University, and edited the first issues of the group newsletter.
- Founder & Editor-in-Chief (1988-1989) The Westwood Writeup, monthly school news project I launched and ran as a high school sophomore and student athlete at a private school campus by the same name (Westwood), Liberty Hill, TX.
Graduate Teaching Assistant & Writing Center Tutor (1996-1997)
Hardin Simmons University, Abilene, TX
In addition to teaching three noncredit introductory college writing courses each semester, I worked as writing tutor for walk-in students. I also taught occasional sections of sophomore and junior-level literature courses as part of my own MA coursework and as a faculty substitute. I managed these teaching assignments, straight A graduate coursework (which qualified me, twice, for the President’s Scholar Award), and a fulltime job with The Albany News, where I won some of my first regional and statewide press awards. Unfortunately, my house burned down that spring. I barely got out, but everything I owned was destroyed, forcing me to return to South Texas and ultimately abandon the program.
Undergraduate Teaching Assistant & Research Assistant (1990-1994)
Texas State University, San Marcos, TX
I helped grade student exams and assignments, prepared class materials, managed class records, and generally kept my faculty supervisors organized (all in the day’s before Internet and email). I helped with the research and production of more than a dozen scholarly and literary projects. Just two (that I’m aware of) ever credited me for my efforts: Dr Scott Slovic, who wrote one of the very first anthologies in the field of nature writing and environmental literature, and Allan Chavkin, who I worked with through all four years of my studies. He also paired with his a wife, the dean of the sociology department, to write on another husband and wife collaborative writing team, Louise Erdrich and Michael Dorris.
Volunteer Adult Literacy/ESL Instructor (1990-1993)
Hays County Adult Literacy Project, Texas State University’s School of Education, San Marcos, TX
If we ever wanted to get placed as student teachers in Texas State’s School of Education, we needed to show a record of volunteerism, we were told in our introductory education class. They gave us a list of possibilities, and considering I had no car, I took the closest at the old San Marcos Public Library. I was required to put at least five hours each week for a semester. I enjoyed the classes quite a lot, teaching regular adult GED prep courses each Tuesday evening and advanced English as a Second Language classes on Thursdays. Oddly, it was student teaching that got me the door, and I never got enrolled in the program. The school forbade students enrolled in student teaching from holding any sort of outside employment. Meanwhile, I worked my way through college, at least 60 hours per week at various part-time jobs. I would’ve starved to death with no income for an entire semester.
MFA in creative writing (2016-2018)
UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON-VICTORIA, VICTORIA, TX
Maintained a 4.00 GPA. Sigma Alpha Pi and Gamma Beta Phi Honor Societies.
Electrician Trade Classes (2016-2018)
VICTORIA COLLEGE, VICTORIA, TX
Finished the fourth-year NCCER-certified electrician course in August 2018, two years exactly from date I began the Victoria College adult education program.
Summer Beef Cattle Symposium (2004-2009)
TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY, COLLEGE STATION, TX
Attended the annual summertime Aggie Beef Cattle Short Course programs offered in College Station, Texas where I collected 90-plus continuing education hours in both ranch management and animal husbandry.
Three-time volunteer instructor
Texas AgriLife Extension Service’s summertime lineup of kids wildlife conservation camps offered through the Bobwhite Brigade programs begun by A&M Wildlife Specialist Dr. Dale Rollins
Photojournalism Short Course (1998)
TEXAS CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY, FORT WORTH, TX
Attended the Texas Press Associations’ inaugural photojournalism short course for working news professionals hosted by TCU and veteran photographers from the Star-Telegram, Dallas Morning News, The Associated Press, Sports Illustrated, Better Homes and Gardens, Time Magazine and Texas Monthly. In addition to composition and darkroom training, we also put together our own on-campus photo exhibitions and earned photojournalism certifications from Texas Press Association. This training earned me top photography awards from regional, state and national press groups every year thereafter.
MA in English (specializing in American literature and rhetoric) (1996-1997)
HARDIN SIMMONS UNIVERSITY, ABILENE, TX
Attended grad program as HSU’s President’s Award scholarship recipient
Taught introductory college writing courses as a Graduate Teaching Assistant and worked as a tutor for walk-in students needed help with writing assignments
Attended 1996-1997 academic year, but devastating house fire and subsequent (and substantial) reporting job offer 10 hours away back in South Texas help encourage my leaving the area, and eventually, the MA program, too
BA in English/history/secondary education 1994
TEXAS STATE UNIVERSITY, SAN MARCOS, TX, USA (OR, AS IT SAYS ON MY DEGREE, SOUTHWEST TEXAS STATE UNIVERSITY)
Majored in English (with a writing intensive endorsement), minored in history and studied German for two years to meet my foreign language requirements, and finished with a specialization in secondary education
Worked all four years of my undergraduate studies with faculty members of the English department as either a teaching or research assistant, helping with preparation, grading or management of large classes (some as large as 500-plus students), or assisting with various faculty publication projects.
High School (1990)
GONZALES HIGH SCHOOL, GONZALES, TX
Despite attending three separate high schools–Columbus, Texas (1987-1988), Liberty Hill, Texas (1988-1990), and Gonzales, Texas (1990)–I finished high school in just three years, skipping my junior year entirely by means of accelerated summer programs offered to me as a sophomore at Liberty Hill. I was a Letterman in athletics (football, baseball, basketball and wrestling), earning letters for each individual sport, most of them during my sophomore year (barring a trip to the state finals in wrestling my senior year) while attending Liberty Hill; several University Interscholastic League (UIL) academic events: Lincoln-Douglas debate, extemporaneous speaking and individual acting events (Columbus and Gonzales), and for my active involvement in several school clubs and organizations: FFA, FHA, JETS (Junior Engineering and Technical Students), and Drama Club (as a freshman in Columbus) and Art Club (as a senior in Gonzales). Because I graduated early, I was not permitted to join National Honor Society nor enjoy any privileges that may have come with class rank; my final grade average, taking honors classes throughout high school, was 98.67, a full three points higher than my class valedictorian’s.
Professional & Civic Organization Affiliations
- Gamma Beta Phi Society—Member since 2017, and Historian of UHV Chapter
Inducted into the national honor society for maintaining 4.00 GPA in graduate studies in UHV’s MFA creative writing program
- Sigma Alpha Pi National Society of Leadership and Success—Member since 2018, Publicity Chair of UHV Chapter. Inducted into the national honor society and leadership building organization based on that same 4.00 GPA in my graduate studies at UHV
- Texas Historical Commission—Member since 2016. Particular interest in ongoing historic sites associated with Texas revolution and writings centered on post-Reconstruction era Texas and settlement of the state’s western regions during that time.
Professional Writer Groups
- The Author’s Guild (New York) Member since 2016
- The Academy of American Poets (New York) Member since 2018
- The Poetry Foundation (Chicago) Member since 2017
- Society of Professional Journalists (Indianapolis) Member since 1998
- Writer’s League of Texas (Austin) Member since 2016
- Gemini Ink (San Antonio) Member since 2016
- OutlawAuthorz.com (Victoria) Founder and Author, 2018
- Civic/Service Organizations
- Knights of Columbus, Catholic service and fraternal organization since 2002
- Third Degree Member of Victoria’s Holy Family Council No. 9088
- Voted Knight of the Month, Council No. 9088, July 2011
- Past board member (Trustee) of Aransas Pass’s Council No. 11420
- Past Publicity Chair of Sealy’s Council No. 3313
- Sons of the American Legion, since 2002
- A.C.T.S. Retreat (2012 & 2012) Retreatant & Team Member at Holy Family Catholic Men’s Retreat, music co-director, and liturgical director
- Rotary International (1998-2005), member in El Campo, Sealy, and Aransas Pass
- Toastmasters International (2006-2010) “Competent Communicator” in Waco’s Fish Pond Club
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