Category Archives: Uncategorized

This Makes Me Smile

Big, stupid nerd smile.  Really awesome, finally captures the Spider-Man I read as a kid.

Prepare to be Unnerved


So, I like to support new endeavors in the horror industry.  I like to participate in bringing new blood, as it were, into the mix.  I’d like to think that, perhaps, I can bring some of the six of you who read this along for the ride with me, and we can all help keep horror vibrant and refreshing.

I saw a call for submissions a while back for something new, a quarterly horror magazine called Unnerving Magazine.  I liked what the publication said it was shooting for, and even though its pay rate fell well below the bar I’ve set for myself, I wanted to support the effort.  I know, from two decades in the magazine industry, how hard it is to make a magazine work, in any industry. To that end, I submitted.  And the story was accepted.

The piece was an older short story fragment I cleaned up and finished a few years back for Deb, She Who Hates Horror.  It’s called “What Returns, What Remains,” and it appears in this first issue of Unnerving.

Go grab this first issue and support the horror industry!  And read a little John F.D. Taff!

A Great Review for The Desolated Orchard from Tangent Online!


If you haven’t yet gotten a copy of my novella The Desolated Orchard, you might want to.  First, it’s only 99 cents.  And second, well, the reviews so far have been excellent.  That was underscored the other day when Tangent Online, that venerable speculative fiction review site that’s been so good to me in the past, gave the piece a great review–and it’ll be appearing on the site’s 2016 Recommended Reading List.

Go here to read the entire review.

Go here to buy a copy of The Desolated Orchard.

I’ll post Tangent’s Reading List when it goes live, which should be fairly soon.

Also, I have quite a few projects lined up for 2017. Eleven, in fact, at the current moment.  I think this is more (by quite  few) projects I’ve ever had lined up for a single year.  I can’t announce any of them at the moment…but soon, very soon I’ll be able to post something where I can shock and awe you with my peripatetic 2017 presence.


Happy 10th, Pseudopod!


Pseudopod is a fantastic audio horror fiction site.  They take horror short stories from some of the best writers out there, professionally narrate them, then post about one a week for listeners…for absolutely free.

They’ve always paid authors for the rights to their stories, and now, at their 10th anniversary, they’d like to expand that to pay the narrators.  Now, I gotta tell you, I’ve had two stories up at Pseudopod“Orifice,” Episode #47 and “The Dark Level,” Episode 188.  Both were spectacularly produced and really wonderful to listen to. (Side note:  If you really want one of your stories to sound polished, have it read by a Brit…just sayin’.)

Anyway, Pseudopod is celebrating it’s 10th with a Kickstarter designed to raise enough money to pay the narrators, which is a very good thing.  So, go here to support them.  And, hmmm…, it might be time to send another story their way.


A Posting That is Only Peripherally About Me

Yeah, so I was asked to read two pieces by two different authors, with an eye toward offering a blurb.  What’s a blurb? you might ask.  And well you should, since you see these things all the time if you’re a reader.

Simply put, a blurb is when someone–usually someone of some authority (and I loosely put myself in this category)–is asked to say something nice about a book.  You know, on the order of “This book is the best thing since drive-through liquor stores!” or “It’s the best book I’ve never read!”

It’s a way to market the book by attracting readers by communicating “Hey, if this gal/guy likes this book, then YOU WILL, TOO!”  So, it’s kind of a shorthand marketing tool.

I get a lot of requests for these, and many (ok…most) I don’t do, simply because they encroach on my increasingly rare and valuable personal reading time.  But sometimes I let my guard down or find a spare moment where my heart is filled with the milk of human…oh Jebus, not really.  In those fleeting moments where these things happen, I look for something–a name or a premise or well…something that hooks me.  And then I agree to read and see what I think.

So, two of these books I’ve read and enjoyed and blurbed are coming out soon and you might want to strongly consider reading them.

First, my friend Josh Malerman, author of Bird Box and a contributor to I Can Taste the Blood, has a new freestanding novella out from the good folks over at This is Horror. It’s entitled A House at the Bottom of a Lake, and it’s one of the most unusual, entertaining, wonderful little gems I’ve read in quite a while.


So, fantastic cover, too, for this piece…and my nice little blurb there.  The complete one is:

“In A House at the Bottom of a Lake, Josh Malerman gives us just exactly that. And it is as weird and as deeply disturbing as you might expect. From the teenage characters’ awkwardness, so expertly rendered, to their pushing farther and farther into the submerged house, the story unfolds on a level that is achingly deep yet instantly accessible. Malerman is a helluva writer and as cool as a cucumber throughout, and the story is unsettlingly beautiful.”

This book is available toward the end of this month from This is Horror.  Get it.  Really.  Oh, and while you’re there, take a listen to their two-part podcast interview with me.

And the second book is one coming from Grey Matter Press on Dec. 13–Rhoads Brazos’ The Devil’s Trill.  This book puts a modern spin on the gothic thriller while breathing new life into the tired old trope of imperiled women in horror and adventure fiction. It’s the first chapter in this throwback “The Ladies Bristol Occult Adventures Series”series, of which The Devil’s Trill is but the first chapter.

unnamedunnamed-1I don’t know if you can see my quote there on the back cover, but here it is:

The Devil’s Trill is a fast-moving occult adventure that reads a bit like Jane Eyre meets Sir Arthur Conan Doyle by way of Buffy, The Vampire Slayer.

And look at that cover!  I think it’s one of the nicest ones Grey Matter has done, and that’s saying something.

Go to Grey Matter Press for more information.  Subscribe to its newsletter, Dark Fiction News, to get updates and information on all the stuff Grey Matter is doing.

Need Some John F.D. Taff Stuff? ‘Nuff Said!

So, I’ve got two things coming up you might be interested in.

First, the guys (Michael Wilson and Bob Pastorella) at This is Horror spent some time last week interviewing me for their podcast.  Well, we had so much fun, they split the interview into tw0 one-hour podcasts!  The first one is up now, with the second part coming next week.

Go here to listen to Part One.

One note:  there were some audio problems with Part One.  Entirely my fault and the cheap-ass microphone I have, and my propensity for creeping up entirely to close to it with my booming, game-show-host voice.  Sorry.

Second, the fine folks at the Horror Writers Association put on Halloween Haunts, a month-long celebration of Halloween whereby some horror authors guest post about the holiday.  I’m participating this year, and my day is October 30.  The eve of Halloween, which is, in itself, an eve of All Saints’ Day or Hallowmas.  So, I guess my day is Halloweeneen.  Huh?  Crickets?  Oh well…

But I digress.  There are all sorts of giveaways, fun stuff, and you can read some interesting things, too.  So, go here every day to read new stuff, and be sure to  visit October 30th to read something from Yours Truly!

Anyway, fun stuff.  Got some more announcements to make sometime soon, but it looks like 2017 will be an interesting–and John F.D. Taff-stuffed!–year.  Stay tuned.


Some Stuff and Then Some More Stuff.

So a few things to update my blog with.

As you know, I’ve had a few things out this year, namely my short story “Apt Pupae” in Not Your Average Monster, Vol. II, my story “Cards for His Spokes, Coins for His Fare” in Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories, my short “The Bitches of Madison County” in The Beauty of Death, my novella The Desolated Orchard, and my five-author novella collection I Can Taste the Blood.

Oh, there’s a lot more brewing for next year, I can tell you that.  I’m chipping away at a submission for Shadows Over Main Street 2 and for Mark Matthew’s upcoming Garden of Fiends antho, both for next year.  I’ve also got some secret stuff happening in various venues, which I’ll share as they firm up.  A few pretty interesting hush-hush projects.

And I’ve been selling stories, too, for next year.  I sold “The Bunny Suit” to Let Us In Vol. 1, which should be out in Jan. 2017.  I sold reprint rights to my short “The Scent,” from my collection Little Deaths, to Eric Guignard for his The Five Senses of Horror, to be published late in 2017.  And I just today sold a story, “What Returns, What Remains,” to Unnerving Magazine.  That takes my current treasury of stories down to just three.  In other words, I gotta write some short stories.

Things are pretty spiffy in other areas, too.  Crested the halfway point in my novel-in-progress, The Fearing.  Had an effin’ awesome idea for the framework of my follow-up novella collection to The End in All Beginnings, and put the finishing touches on the invitations and invitee list for a top secret project I’ll announce soon.

Hope things are awesome in your neck of the world.


Oh, BTW, saw The Magnificent Seven the other night.  Meh.  Long, drawn out, with characterless characters and practically no motivation for anyone to do anything.  Wastes Denzell Washington and Chris Pratt.  Boring.

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