Biography

My basic bio is over in the sidebar (or at the bottom of the page, if you're seeing the mobile version). If you really want more...

I grew up in rural West Michigan, the third of four boys. We were not farmers, but we were surrounded by fields. Corn and wheat and hay grew both behind our house and across the road. Apple orchards were a five-minute walk west, and a five-minute drive east brought us to the drained wetlands where onions and carrots grew well. Sugar maples, planted a century ago by Danish immigrants, lined the country roads. There were also Christmas tree fields within a mile or so of our house, and I spent a couple of summers swinging a machete all day long to trim the pines and spruce trees into the perfect A shape.

As much as possible, we would wander among those fields and especially into the stands of trees that grew where the land was too wet to bother planting. The Lake Michigan beaches, with sand and dunes to put most celebrated shores to shame, were only a half hour or so away. And we would travel, the quintessential/stereotypical family camping trips, to National Parks and other scenic places around the country.

I was a voracious reader, a good student, a soccer player, and (when I failed to make the baseball team) an 800m-runner in track. That proved to be a better match for me anyway, and I continued running the 800 in college at Calvin College. Over the course of five years there, I earned my bachelors in English and Spanish, with a minor in journalism. I managed to fit a semester in Spain in there and took one semester off, as well, to intern for a Spanish-language newspaper before going back to finish.

Throughout those summers I worked as a camp counselor and lifeguard and grew to know very well the oak, sugar maple, and sassafras forests of the region, dotted with glacier-carved lakes and crossed by twisting, canoe-perfect rivers. In the process I learned a thing or two about children, about how groups of people of all ages interact, and even about myself.

After that I got married and moved to Dearborn, Michigan, on the east side of the state. My first publications came at that time, a poem and a short story in a couple of literary magazines. Working in the schools there, I managed to pick up some bits of Arabic and learned a good deal about the various cultures that came together there. I also worked for several different ropes course and team-building programs throughout the region, mostly working with school-age groups.

After four years, and with a baby in tow, we left Dearborn and moved across the country to the edge of the Rocky Mountain foothills in Colorado. Since then I've been a stay-at-home dad, now to three kids, and have focused on my writing.

My writing interests are broad and draw from a great variety of sources, but most of the time what I write falls somewhere in the broad and nebulous regions of fantasy and science fiction, with some touches of horror here and there, and a good deal of deep strangeness, magical realism, and wild surreality. I love writing that is lyrical and imaginative, writing that touches on social justice and that evokes a sense of wonder, and I especially prize creativity, even for its own sake. I often describe Spire City, my serial fiction project, as steampunk with touches of New Weird. My bibliography page gives a mostly up-to-date listing of the many stories and poems I've had published.