If you’re wondering, ‘what the heck is up with the whole A. Russo/Hollis Shiloh thing?’ Wonder no more. Here’s the ACTUAL story, right from the horse’s mouth.

I mean, not an ACTUAL horse. That would be impossible. Anyway, read on!

Somewhere back in, oh, 2014 I happened to read a story by an author called Hollis Shiloh. By the time I’m writing this I’ve read so many of her stories I can’t actually remember what my first one was, but I think it was Jude’s Magic (look it up!). Either way, I really liked the sweetness of it and eventually, after reading another one or two stories, I sent her a message and thanked her for writing things that left me feeling happy and content.

To my shock she answered and, in spite of the fact that I am awkward at best when actually having to socialize (*runs around panicking*), we became pen pals.

Later that year, when Hollis wrote a story about a wolf shifter and his partner (My Partner the Wolf), the book included a truly awful ex-boyfriend in the character of Lowell. For some reason I immediately identified with the guy. Yes. I identified with the ‘evil ex.’

Now don’t get me wrong – I don’t generally make a habit of sympathizing with characters like Lowell. For some reason, though, he hit a note in me that I couldn’t explain, except that I could very well see myself in his shoes (with a few minor exceptions) and I just felt like he needed a chance to explain himself. Just a little!

So as a Happy Holidays to Hollis (heh, there’s a tongue-twister), and with her permission, I wrote a little novella called Someone’s Favorite and sent it to her. I’ve never done anything like that before. I’ve never written fan fiction or taken someone else’s character and thought up a story for them. It was just Lowell. He had so much of me in him that I wanted him to have, if not redemption, then some sort of reason for acting the way he did.

Even more shocking was that it met with great approval from my one-person audience. Huzzah! Cheers!

I was strongly STRONGLY encouraged to publish Someone’s Favorite. With such enthusiastic support, and because I’d always dreamed of doing that, I did. My effort included truly horrible cover art that I did my very self. Seriously, stick figures are out of my range of ability. I apologize. You’ll note that I have since learned the value of an amazing cover artist.

After Someone’s Favorite I wrote another little novella for a secondary character in Favorite named Kerry, because dang it, he just needed a happy ending too. Someone’s Hero was born.

And then it turned out Kerry wasn’t quite done being happy. Someone’s Secret followed.

Now, because someone believed in me, I have three little novellas to my name and a spark has flared up inside me to write more, to write better, to reach people through fiction and spread my message, which, if I had to sum up in one word what I like to write about, is acceptance.

So sure, maybe I’m never going to change the world. And some people will turn their noses up at what I’ve written. And some folks will love it. And maybe the sky will fall. But you know what? All it took was one person who told me, “You can totes do this” (no, really, the word ‘totes’ was involved), and I managed to do something I had always dreamed of but never actually thought I’d do.

So this little page here is my ‘thank you’ to Hollis, for your friendship, your support, and your encouragement. You are an incredible friend and I will always be thankful for you.

~Arin Russo,

August 2015.