Derp stoat. There’s always one…
So, the big announcement today is that James Roy Daley, publisher of Books of the Dead, obviously not tired of my shit as of yet, has signed me to a new two-book deal for two (the last two!) of my older, rewritten novels.
The first, originally titled The Rat-Catcher’s King, will be out sometime this summer, I think. It will be re-titled as The Exterminator because evidently Roy is so afraid of rats he can’t even abide having one in the title. I wanted to call it Rat! The Novel…but no.
This one’s basically a horrorized, modern-day retelling of the Pied Piper legend…with rats of course, sorry Roy!
The second book, which still needs a rewrite/polish, is currently titled The Orpheus Box, and concerns two shadowy occult organizations vying for the device Thomas Edison invented to communicate with the dead, which is partially true. I don’t know if the title will stick or not, and it won’t probably be out until this fall.
So, here’s what’s stirring in 2014 for me:
The End in All Beginnings, my five-novella collection, out in late summer
The Exterminator, out sometime this summer
I Can Taste the Blood, a novella collection featuring me, J. Daniel Stone, Joe Schwartz and Erik T. Johnson. Finished this summer, out to editing and ready for selling to some lucky, lucky publisher.
The Orpheus Box, out sometime this fall…probably.
Various short stories here and there, which I will inform you of in a future blog.
My thriller Kill/Off is still doing well, generating 5-star reviews from happy readers. One of them, Shane D. Keene, left me a great one today:
‘John F.D. Taff is well known for his gems of horror including THE BELL WITCH and LITTLE DEATHS (one of the best single author collections I’ve ever read) so I was a little bit hesitant with this one at first. KILL/OFF is a departure from the norm for John in that it is a thriller and not too many authors are adept at crossing genres and still remaining true to the voice that makes them great writers in the first place. John is one of the rare exceptions to that rule being equally capable of entertaining (and scaring) the hell out of you whether he’s writing horror or crime fiction. KILL/OFF is the proof to this statement. It is a darkly entertaining, addicting novel of murder and mayhem like none I’ve ever read before. The characters are delightfully quirky, flawed and loveable all at the same time and as the story progresses it becomes increasingly more difficult to decide who the ‘bad guy’ is and whether or not the line between right and wrong really exists. KILL/OFF is a lightning fast thrill ride through the darkness that lives in all of us and it kept me reading from beginning to end without pause (except for bathroom breaks and a beer run :). I would highly recommend this book to any lover of crime thrillers or dark fiction. John F.D. Taff is a skilled and accomplished writer who I very quickly added to my “buy everything he publishes” list. Get this book and enjoy.”
That’s a fantastic review. Thanks, Shane.
You’ll like it, too. And only 99 cents! Don’t wait to get your copy!
So, I got tired of my authory head shots. I’ve got the one in a fedora, which Deb tells me makes me look like an old man. Who wears fedoras anymore, she says. Ummm, cool people? Like Indiana Jones. Like me.
And then there’s the scowling one with my arm propped up on a tree. I’ve also got a ridiculously scowling one in back and white that I don’t even bother sending out anymore because it scares people. The most recent one, with my gigantic bald watermelon of a head very prominent, was a pic of me and my good friend Chris, that I cropped Chris out of. And I think I ruined the pic permanently. Sorry, Chris.
Anyway, so Deb and I and some friends–Chris & Laura Homan and Matt Baltzell–spent a Saturday a few weeks ago taking shots of me around the tombstones of Bellefontaine Cemetery in North St. Louis. It’s a sprawling, Protestant Land of the Dead, spooning for eternity, as it were, with Calvary Cemetery, home of dead Catholics. Having been raised a Catholic (and then really, really lapsing), I have family members in Calvary. But in an astonishing twist, at least for a religion that split with Catholics over too much iconography and frippery (amongst other things, I know), the Catholic cemetery is astonishingly boring, where the Protestants have made almost an amusement park of death in Bellefontaine.
And there’s a lot of history in Bellefontaine. The Buschs, at least some of them, are buried there. Yes, the Anheuser-Buschs. And lots and lots of other prim and proper dead Protestants.
Anyway, so here’s the thing. I got three good headshots. And by “pretty good,” I mean the shots are good, but they feature me. Nothing I can do about that. But I thought I’d throw them up here and see what people think.
Which shot should I go with? You guys can vote, and I’ll use the shot that gets the most votes. So, here they are, in no particular order. (Ugh…I’m kind of jowly. I never feel old–or even fat, for that matter–until I pass a mirror or see a photo of me. Then it’s like, God, who let Ironsides in? What’s Orson Welles doing in this picture?
OK, so I got roped into this by the delightful Latashia Figueroa, an author you should check out here. She’s a delightful, beautiful lady and a very good writer. Go see what she’s doing. She’s got a book, This Way Darkness, out in May.
Now I’m supposed to answer some questions about authory stuff and then refer you to three other authors. Well, my three other authors are:
I chose these three gentlemen because I admire their writing. And we’re all working together on an upcoming super-secret project that I will divulge here in the next few months. These gentlemen will then answer the same questions I’ve answered below next Monday…at least that’s how it’s supposed to work. Joe doesn’t blog and Dan is forehead-deep in his next novel. So, who knows what will happen? But their names are linked to stuff. Go there next Monday and see, and we’ll all be surprised!
So here are the questions! Enjoy!
What am I working on?
Excellent question! Right now, I am at about the halfway point of a new novel, working title The End. It’s an everything-and-the-kitchen-sink apocalyptic horror story. I have to finish it soon, as my fiancée is kicking my proverbial ass to get it done. Perhaps another month…
Also writing some shorts, as always, working with Grey Matter Press on my upcoming novella collection The End in All Beginnings, which should be out sometime this summer.
And then there’s another novella I’ve started for the super-secret boy band project Joe, Dan, Erik and I are working on.
So, lots of stuff!
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Hmm…a tricky question. I’d have to say that the primary difference is that my work is written almost entirely by me, whereas other works in the genre are primarily not.
Aside from that, my work is generally labelled as “horror,” pretty much because there’s not a closer label to attach to it. Well, aside from “dark, weird speculative fiction,” which doesn’t really roll off the tongue. So, horror. But I’d guess that my work is not the splattery, things jumping out, cats meowing, chains-a-rattling fiction that some view as horror. Mine tends to be a slow-building dread kind of thing, which always gets me the Twilight Zone comparison. I’m cool with that. My stories, hopefully, move you on an emotional level other than just fear. I find that the combination of fear and some other emotion—love, sadness, etc.—works best and helps the stories linger longer in the reader’s mind.
Why do I write what I do?
Because horror is what sticks with me. It’s a world view that flavors everything I do, how I think, what I believe. So of course it’s going to play out in my writing. There’s no other place for it to go…well, murder I guess, but that’s so unpleasantly messy.
How does your writing process work?
I sit down at my desk each day and spend many, many long tedious hours sweating over how I can avoid writing. When that’s done, and perhaps a light lunch, I usually dig in. I write on my laptop, take numerous breaks to attempt to get back into the spirit of work avoidance. If that doesn’t work—and it often does—I will write late into the night, egged on by the dulcet tones of my three pugs snoring. I am a night owl. I am not a morning person. As I get older, I curse the mornings more and more. I am sure I will die on some godforsaken morning, after rising from some disturbed sleep and attempting to make coffee. I’m not really, fully awake until about 2 p.m.
That’s it kids. Sorry it took so long to get this up, Latashia, I forgot! But then I remembered, so OK!
So, my good author buddy Erik T. Johnson has won a MAJOR AWARD!!! It’s some very nice recognition of the level of his work, and extremely well-deserved!
I’ll let him tell you a little about it here:
WRITTEN BACKWARDS, publisher of three anthologies within which I am proud to be published–Pellucid Lunacy, Chiral Mad, Chiral Mad 2–as well as Michael Bailey’s astounding novels Palindrome Hannah and Phoenix Rose (and the upcoming Qualia Nous anthology)–Written Backwards, the one-man literary phenomenon known by the unassuming name of Michael Bailey–has just announced the winners of the first ever Written Backwards DARWA Awards–and hath bestowed upon me the Written Backwards DARWA Voice Award.
Michael describes the award this way:
” . . . the DRAWA Voice recognizes an individual with a fresh, unique literary voice, someone who quite clearly knows all the rules, and is very good at breaking them; this person has their own genre of awesomeness, in other words.”
P.S. Oh yeah, you can go to the Ginger Nuts of Horror website and read a great, mind-bending interview with Erik. Go there. Read. Blow. Mind.
Well no more! My awesome publisher, Books of the Dead, has done something, I don’t know what, but Kill/Off has rocketed up the Amazon charts. It stands at about #1,500 in paid Kindle sales and No. 17 in Kindle Thriller/Crime. Finally.
This is a really, really good book guys. Look! Joe McKinney even liked it! It’s not horror or supernatural at all, but it’s a solid suspense thriller. I think you’ll like it. And for 99 cents, believe me, it’s worth the shot. And if you like it, leave a brother some reviews. I could always use some reviews to move this book.
Got some other Books of the Dead news to share, perhaps over the weekend. Lots of stuff happening!