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About the stories

I started writing short fiction in the spring of 2004 when I took a "Writing of Fiction" class at Seton Hill University while working toward my BFA. That would be Bachelors of Fine Art. Art first; writing way, way in the back seat. As an illustrator, I was actively promoting myself to children's book art directors, specifically for picture books. So I took the class because:

  1. I thought I might learn something I could use in creating picture books, and
  2. I had to take a writing class to satisfy my core credit requirements.
And let's be honest, I wouldn't have felt compelled enough to take the class because of #1 if it hadn't been for #2.

So I took it, and I wrote.

Dr. A

My writing professor was Dr. Michael Arnzen, winner of multiple Bram Stokers for horror writing. Turns out Dr. A likes the twisted stuff, so my stories were greeted with a healthy dose of professionally warped encouragement. Dr. A has posted several writing prompts (Twisted Prompts for Sicko Writers) that I have gleaned and catalogued and have used gleefully throughout the book.


Besides writing for the class, we did an awful lot of reading which, really, only makes sense. I was never much of a reader growing up, and I lost interest in a book almost as soon as I picked it up. But in this class, I finally figured out what kinds of stories I liked to read, and I learned how to read them. I learned about foreshadowing and showing versus telling and I figured out that I liked the stories where, as a reader, I had to do some of the work myself.

As for the writing part, I hated writing before I got there, but was willing to try and learn the process. Even after I started getting the hang of it, I still hated to write. I told Dr. A once that writing hurt, and he said, "Then you must be doing it right."

Hairy Eyeballs

So here I am, in the midst of writing an entire book filled with words and sentences that I've strung together. And it still hurts, and I avoid it as long as possible. But sometimes the end result outweighs the throbbing discomfort it takes to get there, so I'll grudgingly trudge onward. No pain, no gain, I've heard.

And for this, I thank you, Dr. A.