Jamie Fessenden – My Screwed Up College Years

Somewhat like Jake, in my college romance Screwups, I spent the first years of college studying and earning high grades.  I wasn’t a business major—the very thought of it gave me hives—but I had a high GPA and almost no friends.  Then I moved into Eaton House.

Okay, so I can’t really blame Eaton House for my grades plummeting.  There were plenty of students living in that dorm who kept their grades up.  But I wasn’t one of them.  The minute I discovered how much fun having friends was, it was all over.  Things were a little more complicated than the scenario I painted in Screwups.  For one thing, I discovered Eaton House through a guy I dated briefly, years before I moved in.  I took to it instantly and began spending all of my time there, sleeping in my friend’s room until we broke up, and then on the floor in whoever else’s room I could manage after that.

Eaton House 2-400

In other words, I made a pest of myself.  But I solved that problem eventually by moving in, so I had a room of my own.

I was more like Danny than Jake, in most ways.  I did take some art classes and participated in some of the nude modeling sessions in the 2nd floor lounge—both as an artist and as a model—but I was a music major studying piano, so I was more likely to be found playing the baby grand we had up there.

Jamie in College 2-300

I quickly attached myself to the gaming crowd upstairs, and relocated to their wing.  We didn’t actually play Dungeons & Dragons more than once.  But we had weekly games of Gamma World, Star Wars, Call of Cthulhu, and some my friends made up.  At one time, I counted six weekly roleplaying games I was involved in!  Is it any wonder I couldn’t find time to study?

The other thing about our dorm was that it was hot in there.  And I don’t mean in a sexy way (though it was that, too).  The thermostats were kept at a steady 75 degrees, and we weren’t allowed to adjust them.  Like Danny, I never wore any clothing in the dorm except shorts.  (On a side note, I also shared his penchant for walking on the furniture, rather than the floors.  I no longer remember why.)  If they’d allowed me to run around naked, I would have.

In fact, considering how shy I’d been when I first entered college, my descent into decadence was rather shocking.  My friends and I were responsible for nude pizza parties, nude “saunas” in the bathrooms (after we’d turned all the showers on full blast), towel stealing, streaking, skinny dipping, nude snow angels, you name it.  My shining moment—keeping in mind that I never went through frat hazing—was streaking through the dorm covered from neck to ankles in marshmallow fluff.

Some might consider this undignified.  But I wore that fluff with pride.  And it got me laid.

Oh, yeah.  There was sex, too.  But this post has already gone on too long.  Let’s just say it was a miracle I managed to get to classes at all.  But somehow I managed to graduate with a Music Theory Major.  I can’t say it’s done me much good in the “real world,” but I wouldn’t trade those college years for anything.  Like Jake, I was able to break out of my shell and become comfortable in my own skin.

Then, twenty years later, it gave me a ton of material for a novel!


In 1996, Jake Stewart is starting his third year at the University of New Hampshire. Even as a successful business major, he is absolutely miserable. Not only is Jake pursuing a field he hates when he’d rather study art, he is utterly terrified of what will happen if his father finds out he’s gay. When he finally gets up the courage to move into the creative arts dorm on campus, his new roommate, Danny, is openly gay—and there’s no denying the attraction between them.

Danny Sullivan has been out since high school, and he appears comfortable with his sexuality. But something happened in Danny’s past—something that gives him nightmares he refuses to talk about. Unknown to Jake, the way he mistreated his friend, Tom Langois, when Tom came out to him in high school, is mild compared to the way someone very much like Jake treated Danny.

It may be too late to fix the mess Jake made with Tom, but if Jake wants to be with Danny, he’s going to have to fix the mess made by another closeted jock he’s never even met.





U.S. readers can comment on this post to be entered to win a copy of Screwups in either eBook or signed paperback format.  Non-US readers can comment for a chance to win Screwups in eBook format. One winner will be chosen at random.

Winner will be notified via email so please leave an email address where Jamie can contact you should you win.

Contest ends March 31st at 11:59 p.m. (EST)
By entering the giveaway, you’re confirming you’re at least 18 years of age.
No purchase necessary.
Void where prohibited by law.


  1. Thank you so much for being a guest, Jamie! Sounded like you had an amazing college experience!

  2. Your story brings back many memories of my college years. The book look great

  3. Three cheers for a slightly misspent youth. There’s plenty of time to be a grownup later.

  4. I really enjoyed the post and what fun Jamie had during his time in Eaton house.

  5. If your dorm had RAs, I bet they loved you guys. LOL This book sounds great. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.


    • The RA’s reaction to my marshmallow fluff episode was to call me into the upstairs stairwell, where about half the dorm had gathered and say, “Come over here! Turn around! You’re crazy! Go show the guys in the downstairs lounge.” 🙂

  6. I never got to go to a college dorm. I always lived off collage. I’m thinking i May have missed out!

  7. Sounds great. Thank you for the giveaway.

  8. Oh, the joy of college dorms and music theory! I loved my music theory classes. You took me back with this post, even if I left my clothes on most of the time.

  9. This sounds really good and weather I win or not I will be sure to put it on my wish list! Thanks! M8231m@aol.com

  10. Sounds life a good one! Thanks for the chance to win!
    raynman1979 AT yahoo dot com

  11. Sounds like a really great story. Thank you for the chance to win.

  12. wow you had a ton of fun! Jyll Stonecypher (JyllStonecypher at GMail dot com)

  13. I love the cover! I’ve been curious about this book. 😀

  14. I’ve seen good reviews of this book and would love the chance to win. I love college stories since I never got to live on campus and feel like I missed out a bit. 🙂

  15. Sounds like truth is stranger than fiction then!

  16. Jayson James won the random pick! Thanks for commenting, everyone, and congratulations to Jayson!

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