Monthly Archives: December 2013

2013 in Review: A Purty Damn Good Year!

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,900 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

OK, So I Got That Review for The Bell Witch on Ain’t It Cool News…

The Bell Witch 4 (small)

So, about a month or so ago, the uber-geek site Ain’t It Cool News hosted a giveaway contest for my novel The Bell Witch.  It was pretty exciting because AICN is such a huge site that attracts a great deal of traffic.  They also promised a review of the book.

Now, this all came about because I pursued it.  I sent a query to the horror editor of AICN to see if he’d be interested.  They review practically no books, so it was a complete crapshoot even approaching them.  But he was interested, I sent the book, and the wheels started turning.

I approached all this with a smidge of trepidation because of the tone of the book.  The Bell Witch is being represented as a horror book…but it really isn’t.  It’s more of a ghost story, and even then it’s not quite the kind of ghost story 21st-century Americans expect.  It’s a gentle story, really almost a 19th-century spiritualist story.  And that’s deliberate.  As I’ve said a few times here, the idea of a chain-rattling, boo-shrieking ghost story bores me. That’s not the story I wanted to tell.

I knew that positioning the book as horror would be problematic, in that many would buy it, read it and get something quite different from what they were expecting.  And at least one review has taken issue with this already.  I was afraid that AICN would have the same problem…and the reviewer did.

So, go take a look at the review.  I’ll wait…

OK, back?  Great.  So, not the greatest review in the world, but most of that’s because the reviewer was confronted with a story (or at least a tone) he wasn’t expecting; i.e., not horror. He liked the beginning, however, and liked certain scenes.  But he mentions several times that it wasn’t a “horror” book.  I agree.

I share this with the six of you who actually read this blog in my attempt to be honest about how my work does out there in the great unknown.  You’re not always going to get good reviews…you’re not always going to get bad reviews.  Sometimes, you’re going to get muddy, so-so reviews.  Oh well…

I carried three things away from this review.  First, he ultimately (if a tad grudgingly) recommends the book.  Second, he makes the usual direct Twilight Zone comparison my writing almost always garners, so that’s nice.  And third…



Goodreads Giveaway for Kill/Off Closes with 1,726 Contestants!


The Goodreads Giveaway for my latest, the thriller Kill/Off, is now officially over.  There were 1,726 contestants who entered, and just 5 winners, who will each receive a signed copy when I get my paperbacks.  Congrats to those who won!

Those who didn’t win can still win by picking up a copy here.

And my publisher, Books of the Dead, gave Kill/Off a little love.  Go here and take a look.

My Thriller, Kill/Off Out Now on Kindle!



It’s finally here…yipee!  From Books of the Dead Press comes my gritty little thriller Kill/Off, out on Kindle now…paperback to follow soon.

Kill/Off starts simply, with a single question.

Would you kill someone if you knew you could get away with it?

With a great cover by Small Dog Design and a rockin’ cover blurb by author Joe McKinney, Kill/Off is the book for you if you like to read more about the evil men do than the evil done to men.

Stay tuned for more!

Ominous Realities Out Today! With a Story From Me…and Some Cool Friends, Too!


My good friends at Grey Matter Press have released Ominous Realities onto the world!  This dark speculative fiction collection has a story from me, “Angie,” as well as from a few of my well-respected friends, like fellow BOTD author Bracken MacLeod and young up-and-comer J. Daniel Stone.

Go get it here.  Paperback soon to follow.  As with all things Grey Matter Press, it’s sure to be it is a great, well-written and expertly assembled anthology.  These guys do a spectacular job and deserve your support and reading dollars!

The Bell Witch. Now Out in Paperback Just in Time for Christmas!

The Bell Witch 4 (small)

My latest novel, The Bell Witch, is now out in paperback!  Whoo-hoo!

$12.59 at Amazon for 347 pages of historical ghost goings-on.  You want it…you know you do.  So go get it.  Go get two copies or 12 or as many as you need to hand out to the entire family. Great stocking stuffers…heh.

So, there’s that.  Finishing up edits on Kill/Off, and the ebook should be out soon, before Christmas, too!

Make it a John F.D. Taff Christmas!  Merry Taffmas!

AKKK….I Got My AARP Invitation Today and Other Musings…

I turn 50 years old on Dec. 21st, 2013…just 19 short days away, on the day the sun is farthest from the earth.  How fitting.

To nail in the coffin lid of this reality, I received a membership invitation packet over the weekend from AARP.  Yep.  I am now poised to join an association of retired persons.  The irony of this is that most people my age (advanced) won’t be able to retire anytime soon.  Not at 65.  Probably not at 70.  Perhaps at 75.

If you think I’m so taken aback by this invitation or so distressed at my impending old-agedom, you don’t know me very well.  Discounts on shit if I join?  Sign me up.  Ain’t too proud to take discounts.

On another unrelated front, I went out today to confront the wildlife around my country estate…and to let the pugs poop.  I was confronted by one of the reasons I love living where I do.  Bald eagles.  In my backyard.



There.  ‘Murica.  Right in my backyard.

Meanwhile, whilst pugs distributed their feces randomly throughout the property, the emblem of St. Louis, the brightly colored (though dimly intelligenced) Cardinal sat on the side mirror of my car and pecked at his reflection in the mirror, all the while liberally shitting himself and my car.  And he wonders why he is the loneliest Cardinal in St. Louis. I’d have taken a picture, but he was too fast for me.

Updates?  Here we go:

  • Two of my short stories, “Show Me” and “The Night Moves” have made it to the 2013 Horror Writers Association’s Stoker Award Reading List.  Yippee!
  • “Angie” in Ominous Realities out on Dec. 10, next week!
  • Stop asking me about paperbacks for The Bell Witch.  My publisher has chosen to go on silent running about this, and I have no idea.  Grrrr….
  • Similarly, I have no idea from said publisher about Kill/Off, either paperback or ebook.  Grrrr….
  • “The Skin Club” will be out in Beware of the Dark magazine sometime next year, don’t know when exactly.
  • “Planting Robert” will be out in Big Pulp in March.
  • I am stalled at about 48,000 words on my novel.  Don’t look to make much progress between now and the end of the year, due to holidays, etc.  Will get back on it in Jan.
  • The super secret novella collection project I’m working on with industry guru R.J. Cavender, The End in All Beginnings, is nearly edited.  R.J.’s been sick, which has delayed delivery of the manuscript back to me so I can make revisions, but this is what I will be working on this month.


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