About the Author 2

About The Author

George T. Arnold

Most who know George T. Arnold know that the man can tell a story. The readers of his newspaper articles and columns back in the 1960s knew it. His former journalism students at Marshall University certainly knew it. Of course, anyone who’s gotten the chance to enjoy much conversation with him has known it.

And now, there’s a whole new audience learning how well Arnold can transport someone to another place in time: his fiction readers.

After 46 years of working as a journalist, as an award-winning professor in Marshall’s W. Page Pitt School of Journalism and Mass Communications, and as an author of the Media Writer’s Handbook: A Guide to Common Writing and Editing Problems, Arnold has started a journey into fiction writing. And he’s having a ball. “I thoroughly enjoy writing fiction,” he said. “The day it becomes no fun, I’ll quit.”

From a story about a little girl with a bit of magic and an attachment to a misshapen, unwanted Christmas tree, to a story about a gunslinger out West who wants a new start, Arnold has already demonstrated that his talents go beyond the truth-telling forms of writing to the kind that is filled with all things made up — imaginative, vibrant characters and page-turning plotlines. His works of fiction include Old Mrs. Kimble’s Mansion.

Wyandotte Bound recently earned first place in the Laramie Award Best Western division of the Chanticleer 2021 International Book Awards competition. Now 83 years old, Arnold has been retired from Marshall for over a decade and resides in South Carolina to be near family. As he and his brother and sisters raised their own families, they were living and working in four different states, he said, but they decided they should try to get back together in retirement.

And so they did, all landing in South Carolina. “I was one of those fortunate people with a very close family,” he said. “This was thanks to my mother.” Though his wife, who was a registered nurse, passed away at 54, Arnold remains a devoted father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. “They are delightful,” he said of his five grandchildren and great-grandchildren. “It’s fun being a grandparent.” When family time and life slowed down during the lockdown of COVID-19, writing picked up for Arnold. He published two books in 2021, and he’s still going strong.

Even with the steady, year-after-year success of his Media Writer’s Handbook, originally published in 1995 by McGraw Hill, Arnold said he never gave a thought to writing fiction until one day, his sister, Patty Noll, posed a challenge. At the moment, they were driving and he saw some neglected, unwanted evergreens in an empty lot. Arnold mentioned to his sister and brother-in-law that he had “the perfect ending for a Christmas short story if somebody would write it.”

His sister’s response: “You know how to write; do it yourself.” “With nothing to lose but time and effort, I gave it a try and wrote and self-published One Minute Past Christmas,” he said. His next two novels — an untraditional action/romance Western, Wyandotte Bound, and a suspense/romance titled Old Mrs. Kimble’s Mansion — were traditionally published by Speaking Volumes.

“The number of books published each year is estimated to be more than 2 million, when self-publishing and hybrid publishing are included,” Arnold said. “Anyone can self-publish, whether the writer’s book is terrible, great or somewhere in between. But only about 1.5% to 2% get traditional contracts with established publishers who pay all costs, including marketing, and provide a royalty to the author.” Arnold challenged himself to get a traditional contract and he succeeded.

As for the stories he creates, they unfold day to day. He’s in as much suspense writing the novels as his readers are reading them. “I don’t plan out books,” he said. “I get an idea and start there, and they go where they go.” He loves finding the right rhythm and mixing up short and long sentences. He likes the challenge of starting each chapter with something interesting and ending it with something lingering. 

As far as the characters, it’s been fun creating personalities and backstories from scratch, and he admitted to laughing out loud a time or two at the things he can make them do. “There’s a freedom in writing fiction. You can do whatever you want,” Arnold said. He made a pledge not to write novels that were, essentially, about himself. However, some stories are set in West Virginia and demonstrate the southern West Virginia native’s familiarity with life in Appalachia. Writing a Western was inspired by a childhood during which Saturdays were spent at the movie theater in town. “I never got tired (of Westerns),” he said, “I love those things today.” And he’s working on his next one. “I’m 15,000 words into a new Western, and I don’t know how it’s going to end,” he said.

Why, one might ask, after such a rich, rigorous, and successful career, does Arnold still write? “As I told a writer who interviewed me on his podcast some time ago, I know nothing I have ever written or ever will write will alter the course of American literature. I just hope my books will provide readers with a few hours of relaxation, entertainment, and enjoyment.

“Because I am retired, I have the time,” he said. “And I have no other talents. I regret I neither sing well, nor play any musical instrument other than my 1950s-style Wurlitzer One More Time jukebox. Writing and rewriting my textbook was hard work,” Arnold continued.

“Researching and verifying everything required both mental and physical labor. Writing it was not fun, but I have enjoyed the satisfaction of producing an enduring resource for both students and professional communicators.

“Conversely, writing fiction is pure fun for me. Unlike journalistic writing, I do not have to be objective, keep my own opinions out of my writing, and be as fair in presenting all sides of an issue as I possibly can be. Those are goals I consider not only necessary in news writing, but also honorable.” He would never spend his retirement doing something he didn’t find rewarding.

With all this fun writing fiction, his book on writing is still helping students and professionals and recently won an award. The seventh edition of  Media Writer’s Handbook was the Gold Medal Winner in the Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews and Awards at the 2021 International Book Awards Contest.

The second-place winner was none other than the renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson for his Cosmic Queries. “When I looked it up and saw that I was first and he was second, I was very pleased,” Arnold said. “I’m old enough that I can brag about it and people won’t hold it against me.”

(This article was written by Jean Hardiman in the Winter 2022 edition of Metro magazine.)

How I Became a Writer of Fiction

Writing for publication is a dream for some and a mission for others. However, for George Arnold, his 60-year career as a writer and as a writing teacher was either accidental or providential.

“I needed money to pay for college, and I took the first opportunity that came along – a $1 an hour minimum wage job cleaning an old printing press at The Raleigh Register, my hometown newspaper in Beckley, WV. After six months of working in grime up to my elbows, I had a chance meeting with the city editor, and it changed my life.

“She knew I had a background as an athlete, and she said if I could type at least 35 words a minute, she’d give me a tryout as a sports writer. Well, I could type 52 words a minute after electing to take a typing class my last semester in high school. So, the choice was easy: continue cleaning a dirty press or start a potential career as a professional writer.”

Two years and an associate degree from Beckley Junior College later, George joined the sports staff of The Herald-Dispatch in Huntington, WV, to finance bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Marshall University.

He found a home at Marshall, where he taught journalism for 36 years, eventually having more than 50 academic and professional articles published, plus a textbook/resource book (Media Writer’s Handbook, a Guide to Common Writing and Editing Problems) that is in its third decade of continuous publication, has been purchased at more than 300 colleges and universities, and has sold more than 40,000 copies.

Fiction writing came quite a bit late and it, too, was either accidental or providential. It wasn’t until he retired that George gave any thought to it.

“A day or so after Christmas in 2011, I saw some trees lying lonely and neglected in an empty lot. No shopper had considered them worth taking home to be brightly decorated and admired, and that made me sad. From the time I was a boy – when every family used real trees for Christmas – I always felt sorry for the ones no one wanted because they were either misshapen or fading.

“So I casually said to my sister Patty: I have a perfect ending for a Christmas short story if somebody would write it. She said, ‘You know how to write; do it yourself.’ I said, well, I can write journalistically and academically, but fiction requires imagination and creativity, and I have no clue if I have either.”

George wrote and self-published that story (One Minute Past Christmas) and has produced three novels traditionally published by Speaking Volumes. The first is an untraditional action/romance western, Wyandotte Bound, the second is a suspense/romance book titled Old Mrs. Kimble’s Mansion, and the third is The Heart Beneath the Badge, another western.

He also has written a collection of articles titled Serendipitous Hodgepodge & the Kitchen Sink.

“For me, writing fiction is pure fun. Unlike journalistic and academic writing, I get to make things up on my own and let a story go in any direction it leads me. I don’t have the responsibility of trying to teach or inform anybody. I simply want to take people’s minds off the daily demands and pressures of their lives by giving them a few hours of entertainment. And that, in turn, gives me a great deal of satisfaction and pleasure.”

George T. Arnold, Ph.D.

P.O. Box 983, Lancaster, SC 29721

1945 Hickory Drive, Lancaster, SC 29720

803/285-0404 home       304/575-5224 cell

e-mail: gtarnold@comporium.net


Ph.D., Ohio University, mass communications/journalism

M.A., Marshall University, American and European history

A.B., Marshall University, English, social studies, and a minor in journalism

A.A., Beckley (WV) College, education


36 years, from instructor to professor, W. Page Pitt School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Marshall University; one year as a graduate teaching assistant at Ohio University; three years as a high school English teacher.
Seven years as reporter, copy editor and columnist for daily newspapers in Beckley and Huntington, WV, working full time while completing bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Advised student publications  throughout teaching career.


Media Writer’s Handbook: A Guide to Common Writing and Editing Problems, 1995, Brown & Benchmark Publishers. 2nd edition, 1999, McGraw-Hill. 3rd edition, 2002, McGraw Hill. 4th edition, 2005, McGraw-Hill. 5th edition, 2008, McGraw-Hill. 6th edition, McGraw-Hill, 2013. 7th edition, self-published on Amazon.

(Published continuously for more than 25 years. Copies purchased at more than 300 colleges and universities in the United States and abroad.)

Five-star Gold Medal winner in the nonfiction/education division of the Readers’ Favorite 2021 International Writing Awards

One Minute Past Christmas, a short story (self published in 2012)

Wyandotte Bound, a western novel (published by Speaking Volumes in January 2020)

Old Mrs. Kimble’s Mansion, a novel (published by Speaking Volumes in January 2021)

Serendipitous Hodgepodge & the Kitchen Sink, a mix of brief topics (2021)

The Heart Beneath the Badge, (Published by Speaking Volumes in December 2023)


More than 50 in academic and professional journalistic publications.


Named one of five “Living Legends” in a 2007 alumni vote selecting Marshall University’s all-time best professors.

First recipient of the university-wide Marshall and Shirley Reynolds Outstanding Teacher Award, Marshall University, 1987 (received $3,000 award and delivered the graduation address at the university’s 150th commencement).

Runner-up for Professor of the Year in West Virginia in 1995 in an event sponsored by the Faculty Merit Foundation of West Virginia, Inc. Received a certificate and $1,000 (donated to the Marshall University School of Journalism and Mass Communications).

Co-adviser of Marshall University’s student chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, chosen the best student chapter in the nation in 1988 and 1993 and the best in Region IV in 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1996 (tie), 1997 and 1999. Wrote the report that led to the chapter and the School of Journalism receiving one of SPJ’s top honors, the national First Amendment award in 1993.

Named Outstanding Campus Chapter Adviser in the nation in 1990 by the Society of Professional Journalists (shared the award with co-adviser Dr. Ralph Turner).

Received SPJ Regional Director’s Award, 1999 (shared the award with co-adviser Dr. Ralph Turner).

National Distinguished Achievement Award, Society of Professional Journalists, 2004, for 32 years’ service as chapter faculty adviser.

Distinguished Faculty Service Award, Marshall University, 1968-2004.

Professor Emeritus of Journalism, 2004

Elected in 1991 by the alumni to the W. Page Pitt School of Journalism and Mass Communications Hall of Fame.

Elected in 1988 by the alumni to the Woodrow Wilson High School (Beckley, WV) Hall of Fame (received the Golden Eagle award for accomplishments and contributions in education).

Elected in 1981 by the faculty of the School of Journalism at West Virginia University as one of two charter members of the State’s High School Journalism Teachers Hall of Fame.

Honored in 2001 by the Journalism Alumni Association with a scholarship named for Dr. Arnold and Dr. Ralph Turner.

Honored by student journalists on the 100th anniversary of The Parthenon, Marshall University’s student newspaper, for “Support, Encouragement and Dedication” over a 30-year period.

Received in 1974 and 1977 recognition awards from the West Virginia Journalism Teachers Association.

Received Faculty Merit (financial) awards every year eligible.

Received dedication of the yearbook from the Stoco High School graduating class of 1968.

Completed Ph.D. program with all A’s.

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