Life is not in the breathing..it’s in finding what makes you breathe faster.

The Short

I am an independent researcher and storyteller whose professional life is consumed with the question “how can stories help people?” How can we create stories that teach, heal, and transform lives? To chip away at this question, my interest lies in a few directions: storytelling, research, code, and personal faith.

Be sure to check out the Fun and Questions (see what I did there?)

The Long

My Story and My Stories. I love people and am addicted to stories. I wrote my first book in third grade. It was called “Picture Perfect Curse” and may be the most cliche thing ever written. But it got me hooked on the power of stories — on the emotion, the characters, the worlds, and the unexpected twists and turns. I’ve spent my life learning how to tell stories.

I wanted to learn not only how to change stories, but how stories can change people. My greatest dream is to use storytelling to help people: to teach, to heal, and to transform lives.

Actually, this is the first time in my life that I haven’t been in school. My undergraduate degrees in Biblical Theology and Communications were at Central Bible College, a now extinct school in Springfield, MO. It may not sound like a nursery for storytelling, but my mentor, Glenda Mohr, gave me more opportunities than I can count to work on my craft. I continued my education with an M.Ed. from Drury University and an M.A. from the University of Houston. I am looking forward to pursuing my Ph.D. soon.

I never stopped actually writing, though. I’ve completed a bunch of pretty-much-throw-away-novels and finally hit my stride when I finished Phantom Hearts. I have written plays, musicals, drama sketches, radio programs, television treatments, and a lot of scholarly essays lol. I wish my life had a word count.

When I met Reema, a co-author, at a writer’s group in Houston, we became friends. I had this one story idea about a girl named Allyson Darke that I never could get on paper because part of it was just too visual. It needed to be seen. We began to work together on Allyson Darke.

Early in 2014, I married my best friend, Nicole, who is also an author. She writes thrillers, and we have many conversations about stories. Our favorite game is the “how would you open a book here” challenge (and triple-threat Chinese checkers).

My Research. I hold two master’s degrees (Educational Psychology and Anthropology). I also believe very strongly in mixed-media, interactive stories to engage the audience in new and exciting ways.

My research interests lie at the intersection of narrative identity, transformational (educational) storytelling, curriculum design, differentiated instruction, anthropology, ethnography, and technology aided instruction. I write extensively on all these topics. Check out my acedemia.edu profile as well.

My Code. To get these mixed-media, interactive stories to the audience, I build web applications, libraries, and tools designed specifically for creative collaboration and innovative storytelling. I like php for its community, python for its efficiency, and java for its power. I’m also a nerd who experiments in domain specific languages, and spend my free time trolling github for something exciting.

I try to live my life by the Zen of Python principles.

Faith. I have a strong personal faith in Jesus Christ as the redeemer of humankind. I know that sounds cliche, but, in my worldview, it’s pretty simple. I’m messed up, and I’ve tried everything to make myself worthy, but I just can’t. Only a God who cared enough about me to take my place in punishment can actually rescue me.

My faith is part of me, so it touches everything I do but my research and stories are not religious in any way.

Cool Facts:

  • I was once involved in a six acre field fire.
  • I have been to all fifty states, minus Utah, Alaska, and Hawaii (I’ll get there).
  • Have two bachelor’s degrees and two master’s degrees in everything from Biblical Theology to Cultural Anthropology.
  • Is also married to an author. Yes, I’mthat lucky.
  • Wrote his first story in third grade and his first actual manuscript at 18 years old.
  • Finished the first manuscript worth anything about 21.
  • Have written and directed three feature-length musicals (someone else did the music).
  • Have zero music talent and next-to-no design eye. And is okay with that (most of the time).
  • Am a huge fan of Star Trek and, yes, speaks some Klingon.
  • Also enjoy programming, folklore, mythology, hiking, and teaching.
  • With my wife, owns more than 700 books crammed into a 300 square foot apartment.