Meet Our Writers

Traveling through authentic heritage landscapes like Tombstone reaffirms our connection with the past. Whether walking side by side with Wyatt Earp along Allen Street's covered wooden sidewalks, watching the old printing presses at work, or touring historical museums or haunted mines, Tombstone – a National Historic Landmark – offers unique opportunities to brush shoulders with the legends of the Wild West and experience "The town too tough to die."

The Tombstone Epitaph writers are committed to bringing you the best paper possible. Here is an introduction to the team...

Mark Boardman

MARK BOARDMAN Editor

- A veteran of Old West research and writing, Boardman served as the Features Editor for True West Magazine for the last 12 years before becoming editor of The Epitaph in 2017. He has edited and published two books: Revenge: And Other True Tales of the Old West and Deadly Affrays: The Violent Deaths of the U.S. Marshals. An expert on outlaws and lawmen, he has also appeared on several Old West television programs. For more than 20 years, Boardman was a broadcast journalist. In addition to editing The Epitaph, Boardman serves as pastor at Poplar Grove United Methodist Church in Monrovia, IN. He can be reached at: mhboardman@gmail.com

Erik Wright

ERIK WRIGHT Assistant Editor

- Born in Tucson, AZ, Wright considers Weatherford, TX, his hometown. A graduate of Weatherford High School, he studied archaeology in college and worked for several years in both the archaeology and exploratory geophysics fields. Wright and his wife, Laura, now live near Jonesboro, AR, where he devotes most of his time to writing and research. He lectures on Arizona history and has been a featured speaker at Fort Verde State Historic Park and Tombstone Territory Rendezvous.

Selling his first article to True West magazine at age 16, Wright has since appeared regularly in such publications as Wild West, The Epitaph, and the Journal of the Wild West History Association. He writes a monthly article for his hometown newspaper, the Weatherford Democrat, which chronicles the town's early and wild days and recently released his first book, Arizona Lore & Disorder: The Selected Works of Erik J. Wright, 2001-2014.

Wright is a member of The Wild West History Association, the Pitcairn & Norfolk Islands Society, and is a past member of the English Westerners' Society and the Arizona Archaeological Council. He can be reached at arizonahistorical@gmail.com

Barbara Blackburn

BARBARA BLACKBURN

- Blackburn live in the East, but she believes that the West is a state of mind. Since 1987, she has been writing "Frontier Fare," a culinary column with commentary and recipes. Blackburn loves to read about food, cook food, eat food, and write about food. Besides a master's degree in English, which she uses as an English instructor at Erie Community College in Williamsville, NY, she is a certified culinary professional. The history and culture of food are fascinating to her. She has a useful herb garden and a reputation for hosting elegant Victorian teas. Seeing her stories in print and sharing with others continues to fascinate Blackburn, who loves to hear from readers.

Her Old West Cookbook and Victorian Tea Thymeare filled with fun, facts, and food ideas and concepts, along with recipes. Besides these books, she has authored several articles for Western New York Family magazine and has given many lecturers on various aspects of the culinary world, which she calls "Cullinarrations."

As the "Julia Child of the West," a sobriquet from Jim Dullenty, former editor of True West, Blackburn preserves the flavors of the past, adding a healthy, user-friendly touch. She believes that the palate, like the heart, does not change, and we can go home again with authentic recipes. While some old foods face extinction and must be preserved, we must remember that a recipe is not carved in stone. More important is the combination of a culinary concept and some creativity.

Nicholas Cataldo

NICHOLAS CATALDO

- A Somerville, NJ, native who has made San Bernardino, CA, his home since 1966, Cataldo is a graduate of California State University, San Bernardino, with a bachelor's degree in psychology and social science and a master's degree in education. From 1978-2014, he served as a special education teacher in the San Bernardino Unified School District.

Cataldo developed an interest in the Old West as a young boy as he watched the seemingly endless array of television westerns with his grandfathers during the late 1950s and 1960s. When he was 12, his family moved to San Bernardino, where his passion for Old West history really took off - especially when he found out that his new home played a role in this romantic Western frontier.

While Cataldo enjoyed hearing about Wyatt Earp and his time in Dodge City, KS, and Tombstone, AZ, what truly fascinated him was the knowledge that the entire Earp family lived most of their lives in the San Bernardino area. A contributor to The Epitaphsince 1996, he is the author of Images of America: San Bernardino; co-author of Pioneers of San Bernardino, 1851-1857; and co-author of The Earps of San Bernardino County. In 2006, Cataldo published The Earp Clan: The Southern California Years. He also writes a biweekly column on local history for theSan Bernardino Sun newspaper. His local history articles are also available on his Back Roads Press Facebook site. Cataldo can be reached at Yankeenut15@gmail.com.

Jane Eppinga

JANE EPPINGA

- A graduate of the University of Arizona, Tucson, Eppinga won the C. Leland Sonnichsen award for the best paper in the Journal of Arizona History in 1995. Her book Henry Ossian Flipper: West Point's First Black Graduate won a Spur finalist award from the Western Writers of America. Other articles received awards from the Arizona Press Women and the National Federation of Press Women between 1996 and 2008. In July 2008, she presented a paper at the International Women's Congress in Madrid.

Eppinga‘s writing credits include more than 200 articles for both popular and professional publications covering several genres and topics: children's fiction, travel, personal profiles, biology, construction, food and public relation pieces. Her books on Tucson, Nogales, Apache Junction, and Tombstone are part of Arcadia Publishing's Images of America series. She has also authored Unsolved Arizona: A Puzzling History of Murder, Mayhem & Mystery (True Crime) (2015); La Malinche (2014); and Arizona Sheriffs: Badges and Bad Men (2007). Eppinga is a member of Western Writers of America, Southern Arizona Authors, Arizona Press Women, National Federation of Press Women, and the Society of Woman Geographers.

Drew Gomber

DREW GOMBER

- A native easterner who came to the West following the history that he loves, Gomber resides in historic Lincoln, NM, and writes a weekly column for the Ruidoso News. As a veteran, he is intimately familiar with most firearms and is constantly seeking new stories about the West. For ten years, Drew's roommate was a 160-pound gray wolf that stood 33 inches tall at the shoulder. Although an avid horseman, Drew was forced to discontinue his exploration of the mountains around Lincoln when his horse, Pete, died in winter 2006. He still has two goats and three dogs that live in the house with him (the dogs, not the goats)!

Drew offers regular tours of Lincoln and Lincoln County and has been a frequent contributor to The Epitaph for over a decade. He appeared regularly on the History Channel's acclaimed Wild West Tech documentaries and still does occasional shows for the History Channel, Biography, and Discovery. He visits Tombstone several times each year to visit with his many friends. Gomber can be reached at drew@pvtnetworks.net.

Jan Holden

JAN HOLDEN

- A resident of Washington, Holden has been a journalist for 30 years. She says, "My interest in writing began in the late 1950s when I decided to become a poetess. I turned out such morbid poetry that I decided to try my hand at romances. After two failed attempts to break into the Harlequin romance field, I finally woke up and decided to focus my writing efforts on real people, places and events." Holden met Wally Clayton, a former Epitaph editor, in the 1980s - and has been regular Epitaph contributor ever since. She has also contributed to True West magazine. And, "because I hadn't totally gotten over the "romance thing," Holden was a contributing editor for a now-defunct Lady's Circle. "As long as I am able to write, I will probably focus on the colorful character - the woman with a past, the man who was either terribly wicked or, at the very least, eccentric." A life-long resident of the Pacific Northwest, she and her husband, Steve, have a standard poodle, Beau Jacques, named after the late Richard House, writer, mentor and former Epitaph scribbler.

Linda Jones

LINDA JONES

- Jones has a passion for Colorado - writing of its history, exploring its trails, and introducing visitors to it. A professional tour guide since 1976, she is recognized in Who's Who in America for guiding across America as well as in Colorado. Since 1993, she has been a professional writer, publishing two books and 976 articles and stories in a variety of publications, including, most recently, The Epitaph, True West, and Colorado Gambler. Her two guide books are Mile High Denver: A Guide to the Queen City, and Up the Gulch: Historic Walking Tours of Black Hawk, Central City, and Nevadaville. Jones lives at the 9,300-foot level, surrounded on three sides by Arapahoe National Forest, and loves exploring a trail anywhere in the Rockies on foot, on showshoes, or in a 4-wheeler.

Robert Munkres

ROBERT MUNKRES

- Reared in Broadwater in the Nebraska Panhandle where his father was a rancher and banker and his mother was a school teacher, Munkres has a twin brother who retired as a professor of mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

A graduate of Broadwater High School, Munkres attended Nebraska Wesleyan University, and then went on to receive a doctorate from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. He was a seasonal ranger-historian at Fort Laramie National Historic Site in the late 1950s. From 1956-1960, Munkres taught political science at the University of Wisconsin Extension Division, and from 1960-1969, he taught political science and history at Muskingum College in Ohio. He continued to teach one course a year on American Indians until 2004, when he and his wife moved to Estes Park, CO. Munkres has lectured at the Estes Park Museum, the Wyoming State Museum, Museum of the Fur Trade, Rocky Mountain National Park, and Colorado State University.

Munkres has published two books, including Salterus and Sagebrush, three chapters in other works, and more than 250 articles and reviews in journals, magazines, and more than 50 newspaper features. His first Epitaph article appeared in March 1978. Munkres areas of interest are the Westward migration, particularly on the Oregon-California Trail and Indian-White relations in the Trans-Mississippi West.

Bob Rohan

BOB ROHAN

- A cartoonist and creator of The Buffalo Gals comic strip, Rohan has been drawing cartoons all of his life. He created Buffalo Gals in 1995 after a stint of playing the fiddle with a cowgirl group out of Hays County, TX. Born in Racine, WI, Bob moved to Texas is 1975 and has called Texas his home ever since. Bob was nominated as Best Cowboy Cartoonist by The Academy of Western Artists out of Gene Autry, OK.

"I have done other comic strips, but nothing that has lasted as long as The Buffalo Gals. I am so proud of having my feature displayed in a fine Western paper like The Tombstone Epitaph. My comic strip fits the theme of the paper and it heartens me that I might have given someone a chuckle here in the states and around the world."

Ben Traywick

BEN TRAYWICK

- Born in Watertown, TN, on August 3, 1927, Traywick graduated from Tennessee Technological University with majors in chemistry and math. His working years have dealt with different types of explosives. At Oak Ridge National Laboratory, he worked in nuclear research and development; at Aerojet General in Sacramento, in missile technology; and at Apache Power Company in Arizona, in mining explosives.

Writing for The Epitaph since the mid 1960s, Traywick has had more than 220 stories in this newspaper. His interests lie in writing about unusual characters, places, and events, with a special interest in Arizona history and western Indians. Since 1954, Traywick has written more than 40 books and nearly 1000 newspaper and magazine articles and has been involved in the making of over 235 films.

Long recognized as Tombstone's preeminent historian, Traywick moved to Tombstone in 1968, opening his bookstore, Red Marie's in 1970 and founding the Wild Bunch reenactment group in 1970. His bookstore is located on Tombstone's Fifth Street, directly across the street from The Tombstone Epitaph Museum, between Allen and Fremont streets. Traywick, with nice understatement, describes himself as "semi-retired."

Linda Wommack

LINDA WOMMACK

- A self-described "proud and loyal contributor," to the Epitaph, Wommack contributed her initial article to the paper in 1994 after meeting former editor Dean Prichard at a Western Writers of American gathering in Colorado Springs. Prichard was the first to publish Wommack's work nationally "and encouraged my work, stimulated my ideas with great conversation and gentle mentoring." Wommack has now written six books and her work has appeared in several local and national publications. She serves as a contributing editor to True West magazine and writes a monthly museum feature for Wild West magazine.

Wommack's first love is Colorado history. Born and reared in Denver, CO, she traveled as a child with her family on trips into local mountains and her mother read local history to her. Following college, Wommack returned to Denver and now lives just a few blocks from her childhood home. "I believe Colorado and the Old West are entwined with one another. After all, the West is a big ol' place - in geography and as a state of mind. While The Epitaph brings you the history of those days, the Old West is also full of legend and lore. It was a place to live out a dream, or escape from something. And it still is. When we read of the Old West, we all have that chance to dream and escape, if only for a little while." Read more about Wommack at lindawommack.com

Jack Ziegler

JACK ZIEGLER

- Born in Paterson, NJ, in 1942, Ziegler holds a B.A. and M.A. in English from Seton Hall University and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Connecticut. After mustering out of the Army at Fort Huachuca, AZ, in 1972, Ziegler taught English, philosophy, film, and humanities at Cochise College, in Sierra Vista, AZ, until his retirement in 2004. He now writes and lectures about Arizona's territorial period, and professional football, baseball and boxing before 1970. A photographer, Ziegler is a member of Subway Gallery in Bisbee, AZ. He also served as a scholar for the Arizona Humanities Council for 20 years

Ziegler first became interested in the American West as a boy because his father avidly read paperback Western fiction. Further influences included the 1950s television series, "The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp"; Walter Noble Burn's book, Tombstone: An Iliad of the Southwest; and the Western films of director John Ford.

The Tombstone Epitaph Museum staff: Bonnie and Marylou

Administrative staff: Bob (President), Evans (Webmaster), Gina (Accountant)