2014 Modern Dickens Project: Defining Darrel

Chad Michael Cox is the author of God of Another World: The Adow, published through Yellow Suit Publishing. His work has appeared in numerous publications since he graduated from the writing program at Emerson College in Boston, MA, including the 2011 Modern Dickens Project novel, The Devil is Done Sinning. He spent his youth at the foot of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and now lives in Iowa with his wife and three children.

Artis Van Roekel Reis is a semi-retired Judge for the Fifth Judicial District of Iowa. She holds degrees from Coe College and the University of Iowa, and sells and donates her acrylic paintings. Reis has novels of her own in production, which she hopes to complete in 2014. She was also an author of a chapter in the first MDP book, The Devil is Done Sinning. She enjoys painting, travel, and family.

Rick Blake graduated from Simpson College in 2014 with degrees in English and history. He plans to pursue a career in publishing and to continue to add to his creative writing portfolio. Rick enjoys reading, writing, following athletics, and spending time with friends and family.

Amy West is an English and environmental science double major at Simpson College. She won the first place award in prose for her short story, Rise of the House of Marks, which will be published in the 2014 edition of Sequel literary magazine.

Ashtyn Bragg graduated from Simpson College in 2014 with a major in English and minor in Women’s studies. Her work appeared in the 2013 edition of Sequel literary magazine, and it will also appear in the 2014 edition of Sequel. Bragg’s work spans the genres of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry.

Lindsey Stubbs is a Music and English double major at Simpson College and is currently on staff for Sequel literary magazine. She previously published a short story in Periphery literary magazine. In her spare time, Stubbs enjoys writing fiction, singing, and reading.

Caitlin Dicus is an English and Psychology double major from Simpson College and the current Editor-inChief of Sequel literary magazine. After her senior year, she plans to earn her MFA to teach creative writing at the undergraduate level. In her spare time, she enjoys writing poetry, fishing, shooting trap, and traveling with family and friends.

Maureen Snook is an English major with a minor in Secondary Education at Simpson College. This past year she has presented several papers at the Simpson Undergraduate Research Symposium and the Midwest Undergraduate Conference in the Humanities. Her work will also appear in the 2014 publication of Sequel. In her spare time, Maureen is involved with the Simpson College Religious Life Community and spends her every free moment dancing.

2011 Modern Dickens Project: The Devil is Done Sinning

John Domini of Des Moines, Iowa, is the lead author of the 2011 Modern Dickens Project novel. John has won awards in all genres, publishing fiction in Paris Review, Ploughshares, and anthologies, non-fiction in GQ, The New York Times, and other journals (including Italian journals), and poetry in Zone 3, Meridian (Editors’ Prize, 2006), and elsewhere. Grants have included fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Ingram-Merrill Foundation.The New York Times has praised his work as “dreamlike… grabs hold of both reader and character,” and Alan Cheuse, of NPR’s “All Things Considered,” described it as “witty and biting.” The Emerging Writers Network, in a four-and-a-half-star review, called his novels from ’07 and ’08, Earthquake I.D. and A Tomb on the Periphery, “back-to-back stunners.” Tomb on the Periphery also made the ’09 short list at the London Book Festival for “the best of international publishing,” and Earthquake I.D., in Italian translation, was runner-up for the Domenico Rea prize. Domini has worked as a visiting writer at many universities, including Harvard and Northwestern.

Janet Roewe Piller of Urbandale, Iowa, is the winning author for Chapter 2 of the 2011 Modern Dickens Project serial novel. Janet grew up on a farm outside Laurens, Iowa, and is a graduate of Iowa State University’s journalism school. Her professional financial writing career took her to Europe for over a decade, and she returned to Iowa in 1987 to raise her two children. After building an insurance agency over the past 15 years, Janet recently retired from the company she represented, and now specializes in senior insurance issues from her home office. This has allowed her to pursue her lifelong dream to be a writer of fiction. The Modern Dickens Project submission was her first venture into what she hopes to be her new career.
Janet is married to Des Moines Register business writer Dan Piller. She has two married children and three grandchildren and two stepsons. Janet is a Master Gardener, and enjoys gardening, downhill skiing, golf and cooking. A great deal of her spare time is spent in the company of friends and her family.

John O’Donnell of West Des Moines, Iowa is the winning author for Chapter 3 of the 2011 Modern Dickens Project serial novel. John is a graduate of Drake University and his interests include baseball, Noir fiction and film of the forties and fifties, politics of the sixties and punk rock music of the late seventies.
John is thankful for the support and criticism of his wife, Susie, and his father, Jack.

C. Michael Cox of Ankeny, Iowa, 2011 MDP winner and 2013 MDP Lead Author is an award winning author whose work has appeared in numerous publications including, more recently: Sleet Magazine, Splash of Red, and Prick of the Spindle. He is a graduate of the Writing, Literature, and Publishing program at Emerson College, and has been in Organizational Management since 1993. Inquiries are welcome and should be sent via email:

Artis Van Roekel Reis has been a Judge in the Fifth Judicial District of Iowa since 1995. She is also an Adjunct Professor at Drake Law School, and she sometimes sells and donates her acrylic paintings. Artis has two novels started, but Chapter 5 of the 2011 MDP is her first published fiction. She was born in Oskaloosa, raised in Monroe, and has family roots in Pella. Artis attended Coe College and has three degrees from the University of Iowa. Artis spends her free time visiting with her daughter and son-in-law and playing with her grandchildren and discussing law and trivia with her husband, Mark Smith, the Iowa State Appellate Defender.

The winning author writing under “Richard Corey” has yet to be identified. Until then, Sierra White has submitted the following biography for him:

Richard Corey of the, ever distinguished, West Des Moines Coreys was educated at Dowling Catholic High School and then Drake University where he recieved a top-notch, D+ education and a degree in pharmacy. A long time victim of depression, Corey began writing to keep himself from commiting suicide on many a long summer night. His hobbies DMSC trivia nights, reading the works of Edwin Arlington Robinson, and having a few Moscow Mules at the Ducktail.

Ann Wright is an Assistant Professor and Chair of the Business Administration Department at AIB College of Business. She is also owner of the Wright Solutions, where she works with people on their interpersonal skills so they can achieve their goals in life. She earned her Master’s Degree in Business Leadership and Bachelor’s degree at Upper Iowa University. Ann is a contributing author to the book Maintaining Balance in an Unsteady World. Chapter seven of the 2011 MDP is her first published fiction. She lives in Ankeny with her husband and son, enjoys walking, scrapbooking and most of all spending time with her family and friends.

Mark Smith is a 2011 MDP winner who currently serves as the State Appellate Defender and legislative liaison for the State Public Defender system. He had been in private practice in Des Moines and taught at Drake Law School from 1984 until 1993, and had been with the State Public Defender’s Office since November 1, 1996. From October 1998 until October 1999 and May 2008 until May 2009, he served as the Acting State Public Defender. Mark Smith has a B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Notre Dame and a J.D. degree from Drake Law School.