Published Stories

  • “Agua Dulce” opens on Candace Lambert, age sixteen, standing on a bridge beneath a full moon, waiting for the man with whom she has planned her first sexual experience and weaving contradictory plans to escape rural life in South Texas for a fantasy life on the West Coast. Read it at Talking Writing.
  • “Anyone Else But Me” is a quintessentially Austin story. Introverted techie Robert Duncan bumps up against his New Age neighbors. Zach flirts with Robert while Robert fumbles his attraction for Heather. How do sex and intimacy, sex and friendship, sex and loneliness intersect? Read this one at Valparaiso Fiction Review.
  • “At the Leningrad Institute for Public Housing” traces a day in the life of a father visiting his son abroad and trying to apologize for the mistakes he has made as a father. This story is in Dogwood, Issue 11, Spring 2012.
  • “Center Wheel Balance Wheel, Escape, Wheel,” set in Nopalito, Texas, 1937, wrestles with the mystery of a watch that goes missing and the moody, mercurial father who owned it. Find the story online at Prime Number or in Prime Number, Editors’ Selections: Volume 1, (Press 53, 2012). A short interview follows the online story.
  • “Cicada Song” opens on a young boy walking into the smell of death. In the aftermath of his favorite uncle’s passing, Grady Smith unravels a mystery as he negotiates friendship with and attraction to Domingo Escovedo, recently arrived on a neighboring farm. This story is in Salamander, Issue 42, Spring/Summer 2016.
  • “Crossing Over” follows Ed Smith and his family in the aftermath of Hurricane Beulah, which struck the Texas coast near Corpus Christi in September 1967. Ed’s son Grady has disappeared, presumed drowned in the flood waters. This story appears in Bellingham Review, Volume XXXV, Issue 64, Spring2012.
  • “Eldorado,” another tale of the Smith family, follows Ed’s daughter Evelyn through the life-changing events of a single day as she summons the courage to confront her domineering mother. Read it at Valparaiso Fiction Review.
  • “The Empty Rooms” explores a crisis of identity for Dorene Wahrmund, housewife and mother of three on an isolated farm in the mid-Fifties. After walking her youngest son to the bus on his first day of school, Dorene returns to her house and finds that she cannot bear the silence. This story appears in The Gettysburg Review, Volume XXV, Number 4, Winter 2012.
  • “A Husband To Bury” opens six months after “Agua Dulce,” following Candace Lambert at seventeen, widowhood thrust upon her, a child coming, a life she doesn’t want but can’t quite summon the resources to shape to her own ends. The Evansville Review published this story—Volume XXIV, 2014.
  • “In the Garden” drops in on Connie and Blake ten years into a stale marriage. It is September 1982. A carpenter arrives for roof repairs at a house above Shoal Creek in Austin, and things are said that can’t be taken back. Read it  at Superstition Review.
  • “A Man in the House” features Grace Hoffman, twenty years a widow, as she turns sixty. It is April 1956 in Nopalito, Texas. An old suitor, a party with friends, and a surprise elopement threaten the routine Grace has come to take for granted. Read it at Printer’s Devil Review.
  • “The Road Home,” set in the late-Fifties, follows an unnamed young man through the harrowing events of an hour. Our protagonist wrestles with same-sex attraction, with a conflict between shame and defiance, with a violent highway encounter spiraling out of control. Read it in Devil’s Lake (Fall 2014) ⇒.
  • “Robber’s Trick,” another Smith family story, hopscotches over several decades of Evelyn’s life, starting with a traumatic event she witnesses as a six-year old. This story appears in Limestone 2012.
  • Opening three years after “The Empty Rooms,” “The Yellow Dress” follows Dorene Wahrmund and two of her sons, one of them ensnared in a relationship crisis, the other entranced by Dorene’s beautiful new dancing dress. This one appears in Copper Nickel 21, Fall 2015.
  • “Yellow Jackets” takes place in a moldering house in recent-day San Antonio, where an elderly man confronts reminders of the one act in his past for which he cannot forgive himself. Talking Writing published this story in 2011, but it has not been available since the magazine redesigned itself.

Honors

  • “Cicada Song” has won the 2017 Kay Cattarulla Award for Best Short Story from the Texas Institute of Letters—for the best short story by a Texas author published in 2016. Salamander nominated this story for a Pushcart Prize in 2016.
  • “The Road Home,” Devil’s Lake, Fall 2014, was a finalist in the 2014 Prime Number Magazine Awards for Short Story.
    Read it here ⇒.
  • “Agua Dulce” won the 2012 Talking Writing Short Fiction Prize.
    Read it here⇒.
  • Tom Dodson, Editor of Printer’s Devil Review, nominated “A Man in the House” for Best of the Net 2012.
    Read it here ⇒.
  • An excerpt from my novel in stories won the 2011 Writers’ League of Texas Manuscript Contest in Mainstream Fiction.

A South Texas fenceline, with yucca and brush

The brush country of South Texas is the setting for my novel in stories. Nopalito is a fictional town, but I can tell you where it is on the map: at the intersection of Highway 281 and County Road 227E, in Jim Wells County, approximately fifteen miles north of Alice, the county seat.