I grew up in Enon, Ohio, a one-stop-light town with a massive Adena Indian mound. I’m convinced that small towns breed unique creativity in one’s formative years. Most of my closest friends today grew up in Enon, and they’re a creative group of fascinating individuals.
I graduated from Greenon High School in 1995, and then attended Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. I earned my BA in English from WSU in 1999, and started working at the university later that summer. I later earned my MA in English, also from WSU, in 2005. I still work at Wright State in the university’s development offices, and have experience in many areas of development, including special events, annual giving, alumni relations, and prospect research. Outside of Wright State, I’ve worked as a dishwasher, volunteer firefighter, bagel baker, painter, cashier, writing tutor, and technical writer. I’ve also co-taught some karate classes at Wright State.
One of the most important experiences in my formative years was volunteering at Mission: Wolf, a wolf sanctuary in Colorado that provides homes for wolves and wolf hybrids that were formerly pets. I spent about a month volunteering at Mission: Wolf one summer, and did all manner of projects including plumbing, fencing, construction, and feeding the wolves (a messy bit of business involving a dead horse and an axe). This adventure taught me that I was capable of doing most anything.
Through high school and college, I mostly wrote poetry. It wasn’t until my daughter was born in 2005 that I started writing stories. Becoming a father flicked a switch in my brain, and suddenly I had stories to tell the world. First, it was screenplays, then short stories and novels. Most of my fiction is probably best classified as dark fantasy. I definitely incorporate a lot of horror and fantasy elements, especially magical realism. But sometimes I write something that’s straight-up literary fiction. Unfortunately for my fictional characters, most of my ideas are born out of my uncanny, anxious ability to see disaster looming around every corner. I also get a lot of ideas while driving. My writing has won the following awards:
- Dayton Daily News/Antioch Writers’ Workshop Short Story Contest – Best in Show (2012)
- Sinclair Community College Creative Writing Contest – Adult Creative Non-Fiction – 1st Prize/Best in Show (2013)
- Editor’s Award for AMOK! Short Sharp Shocks Vol I Anthology, April Moon Books (2014)
- Wattys 2014 – HQ Love Award courtesy of Wattpad for That Risen Snow (2014)
I’ll always be a writer at heart, but I’m also interested in expanding my artistic talents – especially drawing. I’m a lifelong fan of comic books, and much of my focus for my MA coursework involved visual literacy and the blending of words and pictures. In 2012, I saw the Book of Kells exhibit at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, and that experience reinvigorated my interest in working with both text and art. If it’s true that a picture is worth a thousand words, a word can also inspire a thousand pictures. But when the two are combined, the possibilities are limited only by the reader’s imagination.
My first novel, That Risen Snow, was published by StoneGate Ink in 2014. It started with a simple premise: What if Snow White’s curse didn’t end with the Prince’s kiss? What if she woke up, but she didn’t wake up right? I originally conceived it as a stand-alone novel. Except once I started writing it, the story and its characters got the better of me. I discovered interesting new mash-ups of traditional fairy tale characters and classic horror monsters. So began The Scary Tales, a dark fantasy series that will eventually encompass nine books. It’s basically my love letter to the horror genre, scrawled in the margins of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. I hope you enjoy it.
In 2016, I co-founded Howling Unicorn Press with my partner Megan Hart. Our goal? To conjure tales that will thrill, chill, and fulfill our readers. Expect to see more from us in the very near future!