I was born in Baltimore, Maryland. At the age of 4 the family moved to Quincy, Illinois, located on the banks of the Mississippi River. This is where most of my short stories take place (although, in the stories, Quincy is called Currie Valley). Nothing much happened for a while. Then, in high school, I became an actor. Being on the stage made everything else tolerable. Plays. Musicals. Concert, Show and Swing Choirs. My friends and I formed GeekShow, a comedy group that performed skits at Quincy Senior High’s New Faces talent show.
I realized that a lot of things would come and go in my life: friends, jobs, girlfriends, but theater would always be there. It would be constant.
After graduation, I went from Quincy to Carbondale to attend Southern Illinois University. More acting. More plays. More comedy. While I hated high school, I loved college. My interest in theater evolved and I started directing plays. It was even better than acting! I graduated with a BA in Theater. After college, I toured as a writer/performer with “Authorized Personnel: A Comedy and Improv Team”. We hit a lot of places between the Mississippi River and the eastern seaboard (Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia and a couple other states that I’m sure I’m forgetting). While I wasn’t on the road, I had the worst job in the world working as a baby photographer. This was all in Bloomington, Indiana, where AP had its headquarters, and Bloomington, Indiana is where I started to take an interest in playwriting.
Authorized Personnel split up in 1991, but I stayed in Bloomington to try my luck at other ventures. I wanted to direct at the Bloomington Playwrights Project and a logical way to get my foot in the door was to take one of their playwriting classes. It worked. I got to direct some stuff, but I also wrote a couple of plays and discovered that I enjoyed the writing process. In 1992, the Playwrights Project did a one-act I wrote called “Dr. Goat: Goat Doctor”. It was the first play I ever had produced. While in Bloomington I did a lot of things. In addition to being a playwright, a director, a comedian and a baby photographer, I also did more acting, I worked at a pizza restaurant, I was a circus clown and I started my own theater company, Iguana Productions. In 1993 I figured I’d accomplished everything I wanted to accomplish in Bloomington. I’d always talked about living in Chicago, it seemed like a fine time to make the move.
In the Windy City I continued writing plays. I produced and directed some stuff with Iguana Productions. I found work in more live theater Box Offices than I’d care to remember. In 1998, I started to split my focus between writing plays and writing fiction and one year later my story “The Redemption of Tyler Jack” was published in Pirate Writings Magazine. It was my first professional fiction sale.
I’ve had many more stories published since then and I’ve had many more plays produced. My work has been called “exuberant” and “charming” and “appealingly quirky.” My plays have been produced around the world and my fiction has been translated into several languages. I’ve been nominated for a Spinetingler Award, been nominated for a Derringer Award four times (winning one in 2008) and I’ve won a Norumbega Award. I’ve received Honorable Mention in “The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror.” I’ve managed to get a couple collections of short stories published, “The Undertow of Small Town Dreams” and “A Bucket of Boobs.” I’m an ensemble member at Raven Theatre Company in Chicago.
So far so good.