1991: Ed begins a twenty-year march through corporate America, working alternately as a sales account manager, a purchasing agent, and even an IT administrator.
Ed will discover very early on that like most creative types, he is constitutionally unsuited to organizational life and corporate politics. His progress in the corporate world will be uneven and mostly unspectacular.
However, his experiences as a corporate cubicle dweller will provide the raw material for numerous short stories and novels, including Termination Man, The Maze, “Whatever”, and “The Vampires of Wallachia”.
1992 – 2000: During this period Ed spends a lot of time traveling for work—to Japan, Mexico, Brazil, and various locations in the United States.
Many of these experiences on the road will be later recycled in fiction. One such example is “Gate Time”, a short story about a traveling salesperson’s supernatural encounters in airports.
2000 to 2005: After a long hiatus, the author begins seriously writing fiction again. He takes a far more methodical approach this time, studying the craft in-depth before putting pen to paper. He is deeply influenced by Donald Maas’s writing book, Writing the Breakout Novel.
2009: Ed writes most of the short stories that will make up the collection Hay Moon and Other Stories: Sixteen Modern Tales of Horror and Suspense
2010: While returning from a business trip through central Kentucky, Ed is inspired by a recent documentary about the meth trade in the rural American South. These thoughts will soon give rise to the crime novel Blood Flats.
With a lifelong friend and former classmate at a recent class reunion.
The author with a very bad haircut, far right
The shirtless author in 1985
1982-1986: Ed attends high school in Cincinnati, Ohio. He has his share of unrequited crushes, teenage angst, and acne. But these years are happy overall, and happily remembered.
1984: While working at the school library during his study hall period, Ed picks up a tattered copy of Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot on a whim. Ed is immediately hooked. He is blown away, in fact.
Throughout the remainder of his high school years, Ed reads everything written by Stephen King to that time.
1986 - 1991: The author attends college. The author will later count himself fortunate for being a member of the last generation of college students to get into the university system “just under the wire”, before the Great American College Experience was ruined by the cult of political correctness and insanely high tuition rates.
College becomes a time of exploration—which will later profit the author immensely, but is frustrating to his parents at the time.
Ed begins college as an English Literature/History major, with the intention of becoming a high school teacher. Ed’s grander plan is to teach high school for a few years before achieving early fame as a twentysomething novelist prodigy.
Instead the author switches majors multiple times, before finally graduating with a degree in Economics. As a result of all his major-hopping, Ed takes high-level courses in everything from calculus and organic chemistry to Shakespeare. A truly well-rounded education.
Ed also discovers a capacity for and interest in learning foreign languages. He develops intermediate-level skills in the Japanese language in about two years. While still in college, he works as a Japanese translator.
1979: The author reads more, and writes a few more short stories, none of which are worth describing in detail here. Ed’s favorite books during this period are the Great Brain series, and the Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators novels.
In a collection of short stories compiled for children, the author reads “The Demon of Detroit”. Ed is impressed by the understated creepiness of this short story. “The Demon of Detroit” will become an early influence for the author’s own subsequent horror fiction—which reader-reviewers typically characterize as creepy and eerie rather than violent and shocking.
1981-1982: The author enters puberty, and—in the universal manner of teenage boys—becomes temporarily insane.
1982: Having developed an interest in rock music, Ed decides, rather fatuously, that he should become a guitarist.
Ed takes guitar lessons for about two years. Reading and writing temporarily take a back seat to learning chords and guitar solos. Ed is going to become the next Randy Rhoads or Alex Lifeson.
This will not be the case—though Ed doesn't know it at the time. Guitar playing will become an ephemeral adolescent phase. The author has almost no musical talent.
However, during this brief “musical phase” the author does take an interest in the work of some of the more creative lyricists working in rock music at that time. The storytelling in the “theme” albums of Rush—2112 and Caress of Steel—plant future influences. Also influential are some of the works of Iron Maiden, which incorporate both literary and macabre themes.
With grandparents, circa 1976
The author's parents, circa 1965
1968: On August 9th, Ed is born in Sparta, Wisconsin. His father, a wartime enlistee in the U.S. army, is stationed at nearby Camp McCoy (Fort McCoy today).
1973: Ed develops an early interest in reading. One of his favorite titles is the 1963 children’s classic, Where the Wild Thing Are, by Maurice Sendak.
1977: Ed sees the original Star Wars film in a packed theater at the age of 9. For the next two years, Star Wars (and the soon to be released TV series Battlestar Galactica) will become major obsessions.
This increases Ed’s interest in reading, as the Star Wars/Battlestar Galactica craze gives rise to several series of related comic books.
Later that year, Ed completes his first original work, a short story called “The Invaders”. The plot involves a group of aliens who invade the author’s hometown—specifically, his neighborhood. The aliens are heavily inspired by the stormtroopers in the Star Wars films. (They are called “doomtroopers”.) The leader of the villains, a gold-covered alien named Karn, owes a lot to George Lucas’s Darth Vader.