Monthly Archives: July 2016

A Clipping from “The Desolated Orchard”

An excerpt from my freestanding novella, “The Desolated Orchard,” out now from Cutting Block Books.  Available in all digital formats now for just 99 cents!

Go get it here!

P.S.  Thanks, Youtube, for selecting a screencap that makes me look drunk.

A Brief Bite of I Can Taste the Blood

An excerpt from my novella in the collection I Can Taste the Blood, coming from Grey Matter Press August 23rd, 2016.

Available for pre-order here.

Five Unique Authors.

Five Disturbing Visions.

One nightmare.

It Flows August 23, 2016.


P.S.  Again, sorry in advance for the scruffy look.

A Short taste of my story from Gutted…

Forgive the general scruffiness.  I’m a little unkempt these days. It’s Flowing Now…


I Can Taste the Blood, the book, comes out August 23rd, 2016.  That’s a Tuesday, if you’re interested.  And we’ve got a lot of things planned to support this.  Some interviews.  Some podcasts.  Perhaps a party of some sort.  Perhaps in St. Louis.  Perhaps at Blackthorn Pizza, whose restroom contained the scrawled line of graffiti that started all this.

Two of the five authors making up this hellish quintet will be reading from their works at a special event being held August 21, 2016, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the KGB Bar, 85 East 4th St. , in New York City.  Go there that night to see the bombastic J. Daniel Stone and the nearly hermetic Erik T. Johnson perform live readings.  Jeez, I wish I could be there.

Until then, you need to stay on top of what’s going on the the I Can Taste the Blood world, and I have just the way.

Go there for news, events, rambling, disquieting postings from the authors themselves.  All sorts of things.  Right now there’s an excerpt from my offering to the collection, as well as a few postings from Joe Schwartz, J. Daniel Stone, Erik T. Johnson and Josh Malerman.

Five unique voices.

Five disturbing visions.

One Nightmare.

I Can Taste the Blood

It Flows Aug. 23, 2016.

The Desolated Orchard


So, my freestanding novella, “The Desolated Orchard,” is out now from Cutting Block Books.  Has a great, evocative cover, at least I think so.  Reminds of those ’50s and ’60s paperback books.

But what’s it about?  You might ask.  Well, let me spend a few minutes explaining what it is, because it’s a bit different.

What if the old gods (and I don’t mean that in the Lovecraftian sense) never die?  What if they just fade away when people stop worshipping them?  Well, what happens to them then?  How do they go on without the faith and love and prayers that millions gave them?

“The Desolated Orchard” concerns a group of gods of the Greek variety who have settled in America, in Kansas to be precise, during the Dust Bowl era.  They’ve taken to farming, these gods, but there are still some of them who long for the old days.  Who long for the love that mankind once gave them.  Fold in a young itinerant worker, floating across the land seeking employment.  Who is also seeking some emotional connection after his family was torn apart by death and poverty.

Really, in the end, “The Desolated Orchard” is a quintessential King of Pain story, because at it’s heart, it really seeks to understand the answer to one question.

What would you give up for love?

The answer, sometimes, is chilling.

The answer, sometimes, is everything.

Available now at Amazon, “The Desolated Orchard” is just 99 cents.  And it already has a few great reviews:

Book reviewer Adrian Shotbolt says:  “What makes a Taff story stand out from the thousands of other horror stories out there is the writing. Regardless of the book’s length, his characters are rich, living, breathing people, his dialogue is crisp, natural and free flowing, and the stories are always undeniably original and emotional. I always feel that I’m not simply reading his stories but living them. This is what separates the great writers from the good ones.

“‘ The Desolated Orchard’ is another wonderful story that will linger long after the final page has been turned. A story within a story, told by a master writer who shows no signs of dropping the ball. Brilliant stuff (again).

Book reviewer David Spell says:  “I was quickly lost in the story within a story while reading “The Desolated Orchard.” The tale of Hough and Percy’s love affair, the life and times of living in the early 20th century and moving from farm to farm looking for work. There is a precise way the love story is told and neatly unfolded. John F.D. Taff takes you through all the emotions in smooth succession. I felt like I was listening to a story instead of reading it. I was engrossed in the storytelling and really enjoyed the characters.”

Fellow author and friend (yeah, but you can still believe him!) J. Daniel Stone says, “‘The Desolated Orchard’ is an extremely fast-paced horror/thriller. I read it in one sitting and would gladly read it again. The story’s theme is the country side, farms to be exact. We come to read about life on farms, the impact of immigrants and the native-born United States folk. As a city boy through and through, I know nothing about farms so this was great information for me. The main narrator is a grand storyteller and tells the tale of a man who falls in love with the farmer’s daughter. You know that story, right? You’ve read that before, right? No, you haven’t.”

And fellow author and friend (yeah, I got a few of them) Mark Matthews, says, “There is so much to love about this short, incredibly engaging read. Characters with much more depth than your usual bag of bones for a work so short. Dialogue that sounds so true. A setting brought to life. Jokes about ‘the farmers daughter’ was part of my adolescent mythology growing up, and I read this with a silent smirk and then in silent awe as Taff did, indeed, make the Farmers Daughter mythology something much more grande. From the tiny details of an odd relationship to larger explanations of the universe, this book had me thinking, ‘damn, that was so cool how he did that.’ Taff doesn’t just write a great story, he writes a great sentence, and this story is a perfect example.”

So, what are you waiting for?  Jeez, it’s less than a buck.

Update! Lots of Stories Out, More to Come!

So, I’ve been up to my proverbial neck in trying to urge my work in progress–my novel, “The Fearing”–toward my self-imposed deadline of Labor Day, 2016.  It’s been a slow slog, this thing being epic and all and my sudden conversion to being a catch-up, binge-watching fan of Game of Thrones.

But I’ve got a lot of stuff that’s come out lately or is coming very soon.  Here’s a low down of them and where/when you can get them.

Not Your Average Monster 2 Cover - SMALL

Not Your Average Monster, Vol. 2

Out right now, this very minute!  My story, “Apt Pupae,” is a play on the title of S. King’s work, and has a ’50s sci-fi vibe that I kinda like.  Support Pete Kahle’s Bloodshot Books!



The Desolated Orchard

This one is out right now from Cutting Block.  It’s a free-standing novella and it’s only 99 cents!  It’s a patented King of Pain™ story about love, loss, death and all that good stuff.  This one could use some reviews about right now.


Gutted:  Beautiful Horror Stories

Lot’s of big names in here:  Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker, Ramsey Campbell, Paul Tremblay, Josh Malerman.  My story, “Cards for His Spokes, Coins for His Fare,” has been noted in many of the early reviews for this book. The cover is stunning, and each story has an illustration from Luke Spooner.  The one above is for my story, and it perfectly captures the heart of my tale about a boy and his bike and growing up and death.



The Beauty of Death

Another one with a lot of big names in there, including PETER FUCKING STRAUB.  Jaysus.  My story, “The Bitches of Madison County” is also about a disgraced nature photographer who just can’t quite escape his own nature.  It’s up for pre-order now.


I Can Taste the Blood

Oh, I can’t wait for this to come out.  I Can Taste the Blood has been a pet project of mine for a while now.  I gathered together some disparate voices–J. Daniel Stone, Erik T. Johnson, Joe Schwartz and Josh Malerman.  And we each wrote a novella with no other caveat, no other tie other than they all shared the same title.  And oh how different five different authors can take an idea.

Five Unique Voices.

Five Disturbing Visions.

One Nightmare.

I Can Taste the Blood.

It Flows August 2016.

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