It’s Not Bragging, Kiddo

The one thing I hate about writing is promoting. It’s true. I hate promoting myself. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it feels too much like bragging. I’m not one to brag. Never have been.

You’ve heard the saying, It’s not bragging if you can back it up, kid.

Okay, the kid part isn’t in there, but that’s how I hear it in my head, maybe with a bit of Humphrey Bogart behind it.

It seems to me, and I could be wrong, but a great many people who brag are either very confident in themselves and their abilities or full of some smelly stuff. Maybe it’s half and half.

When I was a kid, I heard a story about Pistol Pete Maravich. For those of you who don’t know who Pistol Pete was, he was one of the greatest scorers in the history of college basketball (he scored 3667 points in his college career, averaging 44.2 points a game). He went on to play in the pros, though his career was cut short, thanks to those little things called injuries. Interesting enough, most people don’t remember Maravich for his scoring, but for his creative passes. He is, essentially, one of the pioneers of the passing guards that we know today, but I’m not going to go into that here.

At any rate, the story goes that Wilt Chamberlain asked Maravich how high he could shoot the basketball. Maravich asked, “How high can you reach?”

Chamberlain then showed him how high he could reach while jumping.

Maravich (most likely with a slight smile on his face) said, “I can shoot one inch above that.”

Arrogance? No, I think not. Maravich was confident in his abilities. Maybe he was bragging a little? But he sure could back it up, kid

Bragging and confidence seem to go together. They are like birds of a feather. They are like peas in a pod. They are like any other cheesy cliché I wish to throw out there.

Confidence and ability can take you far, but it can only take you so far if you aren’t willing to take a few risks and put yourself out there, put your abilities out there. This is where I struggle: putting myself out there.

It just feels like bragging.

But maybe that’s what I need to do. Brag a little. Show some confidence.

Okay. Here goes.

Henceforth, some bragging will occur.

You have been warned.

There’s no turning back once I get started.

Here we go.

Are you ready for this?

I’m stalling, right?

Yeah, I thought so.

No more stalling.

Read the following words and believe them.

I am a good writer. I am a very good writer. No, I am not your typical fast paced all action all the time type of writer, but most of my stories are really good (especially the ones over the last two or so years).

If you don’t believe me, then read one of my collections. Consider it a challenge to the naysayers. Yes, I said naysayers.

I’ve spent a good chunk of my life with very few people who believed in me or my abilities. I’ve constantly had to prove myself, and in many respects, that is why I don’t particularly care to socialize outside of work and the few friends I have. Let me tell you, when it comes to writing, I’ve worked and worked and worked and with each story, my abilities get better. It’s just a fact that I have seen over the years.

I had one editor tell me to quit writing, that I would never be good at it. Umm… dear Mr. Editor Dude, you were wrong, and from what I hear, you went out of business, probably because of the way you treated the writers that made your magazine.

(Oh, sorry. A little bit of soapbox standing for a minute there).

I work hard at writing and I stay true to myself. I enjoy creating characters and scenery and situations for my characters to be in. I also love letting those characters decide how the stories will end and how long they will be.

I’ll tell you one thing you won’t find with my stories: all action and no development. I hate those types of stories and I refuse to write them. Does that mean some of my stories are a little wordy? Absolutely. As Stephen King once said about his work, “sometimes my stories become elephantine.” I’m okay with that. Thankfully, my stories only become little elephants, not 1500 page mammoths. The thing to remember is they are good. Good, I say.

I may be a nobody at the bottom of the totem pole right now, but I won’t be forever. There will come a day when things will break the right way for my writing career and I will take off.

It’s not bragging, kid. Not if you can back it up.

Let me let you in on a little secret. Just in case you haven’t heard: I’m a good writer. Read it again. I’m a good writer. And you will like my work.

That’s not bragging. That’s confidence. It’s not arrogance. It’s learning to believe in myself, in my abilities. It is something I have struggled my entire life with: the confidence to believe in myself.

You tell me: Is it bragging? Is it confidence?

One other thing I need to do is get back to blogging regularly, a couple of times a week. It is the one thing I need to take the time to do. I know I’ve been neglectful of Type AJ Negative at times, and for that, I apologize. But stick with me. I have some things I am working on that you may find interesting (you’re darn right you’ll find it interesting, and don’t you forget it).

If, by chance, I have piqued your interest in one of my two collections (or both of them), here are links to them. Along the Splintered Path came out in January and was released by Dark Continents Publishing. Southern Bones was released in October and was put out by CMB Publishing. Don’t bother looking the name up—it’s my own label.

Here’s a little game for you: What does the CMB stand for? No, a certain wife of mine cannot play.

The links follow, but for now, be safe, keep reading and until we meet again, my friends…

Southern Bones E-Book

Southern Bones Print Version

Along the Splintered Path Print Version

Along the Splintered Path E-book

The Fear of Failure

Failure: an act or instance of failing or proving unsuccessful; lack of success.

Failure, a word we all hate. Many of us not only hate the word, but we fear it as well. It can either drive us or paralyze us. Many choose to let it paralyze them.

I once heard a conversation that went something like this:

“You’ll never succeed if you don’t try.”

“But I might fail.”

“So? What if you fail?”

“Then I’m a failure. A loser.”

“No. Then you try again.”


“No buts. If you give it your best effort and you still fail, at least you tried, and trying and failing is better than never knowing if you could have succeeded.”


Be afraid. Be very afraid.


Why are we so afraid to fail? Is it the way we’re raised? Is it thinking we will let others down? Or maybe we feel we will let ourselves down? Maybe we think people will laugh at us. Sure, that could be it. I’m sure we’ve all been laughed at before. Sometimes it’s quite uncomfortable, especially when you can’t escape the laughter.

Does it really matter? Does it really matter what others think about us? Should it?

Listen to me for a second.

I’m terrified of failure. I hate it.

I wasn’t a particularly popular kid. Nor was I the guy the girls all went googly eyes over. I didn’t come from money. And, to be completely honest, I’m not all that smart. What comes naturally for most, I struggle with. In order for me to ‘get it’ I have to do it over and over again until it is a habit.

Not being popular isn’t such a bad thing. I learned to rely on myself to get things done (for the most part, I still do that today). Since the girls didn’t particularly find me as appealing as others, when the right one came along I knew it and I hadn’t been in a ton of relationships that could taint the ‘right one’ (though I had been engaged once before and that ended badly when I found out she was the cheating sort). Not coming from money helps me to value my money more so, to not spend it willy nilly, to cherish the things I have. And not being all that smart makes me appreciate the things I can do even more and it also gives me the right to say, ‘if I can do this, so can you.’ It also makes me try harder in hopes of succeeding at what I put my mind to.

But that doesn’t keep me from being afraid to fail.

Let’s look at this another way: What causes us to fail? What is behind our failures?

Is it a lack of real efforts? Sometimes.

Is it a lack of know how? Sometimes.

Is it rushing through things and not doing it properly, not reading the instructions all the way through? Sometimes.

Is it being afraid to succeed? Hmmm… Sometimes.

All four of those questions have a similar theme: the person who is afraid of failure is generally in the way of their success. It’s true. What keeps you from succeeding at a task? Lack of effort? Lack of know how? Rushing things? Afraid of success? Answer the questions, and if you answer yes to any of those four then you are in the way of your own success.

I have been guilty of all four at one time or other and sometimes more than one at the same time (maybe even all four at once).

Here’s a little secret that only a handful of folks know: Outwardly I come across as confident, and in many things I am. But inwardly… inwardly, many times I am worried about how I will do, that I might screw something up or that I might do something wrong, maybe even say the wrong thing at the wrong time. Or that someone won’t like what I have done. Believe me, failure is something that is always in the back—scratch that, in the front—of my mind.

Sometimes—yes, I’ve used that word a lot in this blog—you have to stop being afraid, or at least be brave enough to step outside your comfort zone. With writing, that is what I do. I step out of my comfort zone every time I submit a story or promote someone’s book or do an interview. When Along the Splintered Path came out back in January, I was excited, but I was nervous. Admittedly, sales haven’t been that great. It’s hard to market a book that was Amazon’s Kindle only for the first nine months of its existence. Even now, with the book in print format, sales are not what a writer would hope.

Still, I’m proud of the short collection.

The daunting task came for me to look around for other publishers who may give me a shot. Guess what? I tried. I contacted several of them. When none of them considered my work an option, I could have given up and stuck with submitting stories to magazines and e-zines.

Instead, I decided to try to do this on my own. I began the tedious work of creating my own book. There were times that I started to think it wouldn’t be any good, that who would buy from an unknown. That is fear poking its ugly head out and laughing at me. I trudged on, and with the prodding of a good friend and my wife, Cate, I finally put out Southern Bones, a collection of short stories. I had some help—a lot of help, actually. But there were times that I still doubted myself.

Failure. That’s what I am afraid of.

Now to the reality of writing. This collection, like the first one, hasn’t fared too well in the sales department. But, like the other one, I’m proud of it. I’m proud of the effort I put into it. I’m proud of the fact that I didn’t know how to do it and I sought out the right help and learned how to format the book and put links in and upload it and do it right. I didn’t rush through it. I took my time and went over the book several times—so many times that Cate and Belinda were ready to kill me—or at the very least, maim me.

Still that fear of failure nagged at me, right up to, and after, I pressed that submit button. I let out that long breath that comes after holding it without realizing. My body sagged in my desk chair and I think I sat there for ten minutes without so much as moving.

Here’s the thing: I did it. I did it. Do you understand that? I did something that just a year or so ago I would have never attempted. I didn’t let the fear of failure stop me from trying. And that’s the key, people: Trying.

Not some half-hearted attempt. A full out put yourself into it effort. Do that, and regardless of where you end up, you can hold your head high and say, I did my best. Win or lose. Fail or succeed. If you don’t try, you never know.

Southern Bones may never sale another book, but I’m proud of it.

If you want to succeed, you have to do two things: 1) Try and 2) Get out the way. You’ll never succeed if you are in the way, and you certainly won’t succeed if you don’t try.

I need to go. I need to make sure I did the print format for Southern Bones right. If not, then I will try again until I do get it right. I may be afraid of failure, but I never want to say I didn’t try.

Until we meet again, my friends…

The Coffin Hop–The Final Day–and a Short Story


The end of Coffin Hop 2012 has arrived. I will be putting names in a hat in the next day or two, and my children will choose two of them to win a copy of my collection, Southern Bones. Also, one individual that commented on the Day 6 Coffin Hop post will win a copy of Necrotic Tissue’s Best of Anthology, courtesy of me—oh, and I’m going to sign the book as well since one of my stories appears within its pages.

I hope you enjoyed The Coffin Hop this year—it was a great experience for me. I found some good writers who I will continue to follow.

I leave you all with a Halloween story titled, The Orange Wrapped Ones. It’s something I wrote several years ago, and one of the few Halloween pieces I have in my arsenal.

Thank you for visiting Type AJ Negative, and please do come back in the future. For now, I bid you farewell.

Until we meet again, my friends…

The Orange Wrapped Ones

“I wonder what type of candy we got this year.” Percy held his pillowcase trick-or-treat bag close to his face, peering in at the various goodies, but not seeing much more than shapes that looked like wrapped rocks and pebbles.

“Don’t know, Percy, but I hope I didn’t get none of those horrible chewy things that come in those orange wrappers. You know which ones I mean, right?” Carson didn’t so much as look up from his bag, which, to Percy looked to be twice as full as his own.

“You mean the ones that taste like peanut butter or the ones that taste like caramel?” Percy asked, scrunching his face in thought.


Percy set the old tattered pillowcase with the crude drawing of a skull and cross bones in black ink on the top step of the porch. He looked at Carson, and shook his head. “Yeah, you know, the ones with the caramel in the centers.”

“Those are Rolo’s,” Carson said and reached into his bag, pulling out a Snickers bar. “I like them, but I don’t care much for the orange wrapped ones. They stick to your teeth and I hate cleaning my teeth out. I heard that Mary Santeleone lost a fang one year chewing on one of those things. Yah want this?”

“Sure,” Percy said and stretched out one eerily white hand. He took the candy bar, then frowned. “Hey, one ‘em kids bite you or something?” He nodded at the perfect set of indentions on the backside of Carson’s hand—five little teeth marks in a half circle. There was a trace of blood and an ugly blue/black bruise had already formed.

Carson barely glanced at the wound, shrugging it off as if it didn’t matter. “Yeah, this kid didn’t wanna give up his bag, so he tried to take a chunk out of me. I kicked the crap out of ‘em. You should’ve seen the boy’s teeth come outta his mouth.”

Percy’s eyes grew huge in their sockets. “You know the rules—we ain’t supposed to hurt the rug rats—just scare ‘em and take their candy.”

“He wouldn’t give it up,” Carson argued, his brows were creased just above his nose.

“You better hope he doesn’t tell anyone.” An uneasy quiver formed in his stomach. Carson was still young—not like Percy, who took to haunting on Halloween years before.

“He won’t.”

“Did you warn him not to?”

“Something like that.”

“Something like that? What’s that supposed to mean?”

“I left him out by the old creek down in Bryar Woods.” Carson had a chocolate bar opened and took a bite from it.

“You killed him?”

Carson shrugged, took another bit of his candy. “I didn’t want him tellin’ anybody I took his candy.”

Percy put his forehead in his hands and shook his head. “You idiot. Ma’s gonna kill you when she finds out.”

“She ain’t gonna find out.”

“Yeah she will. She always finds out.”

Carson glared at Percy, his cold gray eyes cutting through the darkness. “Not if you don’t say nothin’.”

Percy stood, grabbed his bag as he did so. The skull and cross bones shimmered, the black sockets seeming to come alive for a moment before settling back to hollow voids.

“I ain’t gotta say nothin’. She’ll know. She always knows. Just ask Jerry. He’ll tell yah.”

“Jerry?” Carson laughed, tossed the candy wrapper on the ground. “Jerry can’t even talk.”

“Yeah, he can—you just gotta listen to him.” Percy was halfway up the steps. That jittery feeling had been replaced by the heavy weight of dread. He no longer cared about the candy and the Halloween fun they normally had after midnight. No, the only thing Percy wanted was to be as far away from Carson when Ma found out what he had done.

“Really—Jerry can still talk. Even after what Ma did to him?”

“Well, yeah. All of Ma’s children can still speak. Even the ones like Jerry, who ain’t nothin’ more than a sack cloth with a face on it.”

“Hey, do you know what this is?” Carson said. He raised both of his arms, and then folded them just below his chin, his hairy hands touching their opposite shoulders.

“Don’t know.”

“Jerry before he became a pillowcase.” Carson threw his head back, his mouth open and a donkey’s bray of laughter coming from it.

The skull on Percy’s treat bag shimmered again and its eyes flared, red replacing the black holes. One of the crudely drawn bones changed, the one dimension of it becoming two, then three-dimensional. It reached out, tearing free from the well-worn pillowcase. A bony hand extended from its stump, and snagged the front of Carson’s ridiculous vampire outfit—a black tuxedo, red cummerbund, slicked back hair and red bowtie. Surely, Dracula didn’t really dress like that. The hand pulled Carson toward the sack, its jaws opening and closing, snapping angrily. The skull pulled free from the bag, held on by mere threads that seemed to stretch beyond their capacity.

“Let go, Jerry,” Carson yelled and dropped his candy. He grabbed one of the tall flaking white and red painted pillars of the porch and held on tightly. His fingers grew white beneath the sparse hairs on top of them, his nails scraped across it as Jerry continued to pull, leaving deep grooves in the wood. “Get him off of me. Get him off of me.”

Jerry growled and pulled at the arm of Carson’s costume, his skeletal fingers slicing through the coat of the tuxedo. Carson pulled, his hands slipping, until the cloth tore free and he was suddenly pushed forward. He smacked his head on the column and lost his grip. Then he fell onto the porch and rolled into the dead azaleas that lined one side of the steps. Jerry howled as the pillowcase absorbed him, pulling him back to his abstract ink existence. The skull shimmered and then was still again.

“Has he lost his mind?” Carson snapped and scrambled to get himself free of the plants. He looked at the backside of his black pants and poked his finger into a hole. “Look what he went and did. He tore my new pants.”

“You shouldn’t pick at him, yah dimwit,” Percy said and rubbed Jerry’s skull, before starting for the door.

“Where are you going?” Carson asked and picked up his bag of candy.

“Inside—it’s almost midnight and Ma don’t like us out past the witching hour.”

Carson ran up the steps and grabbed Percy’s arm. “Why are you so afraid of Ma, anyway?”

“Because I’m not stupid.”

“Not stupid? Come on, Percy. If we joined together we could get rid of Ma, and then we would own All Hallows Eve. We could do whatever we wanted to. Those kids out there wouldn’t stand a chance against us then.”

“You haven’t been here that long, Carson. In case you’ve forgotten, you’re one of the new children, recreated only a couple years ago. Ma ain’t gonna be too happy with you as it is, and I don’t wanna be around when she finds out what you went and done. And missing curfew on top of it—you’re just asking for trouble.”

“Ma’s just a bag of bones that knows a bit of that black magic. That’s all she is. When yah figure that out, Percy, yah can stop being afraid of her and stand up to her.”

Percy laughed—a nervous sound that made that heavy weight of dread jiggle in his stomach. He glanced up at the half moon hanging in the sky. If he didn’t know better he would have sworn it was staring at them, one accusing eye focused on Carson while the other one hid from sight. Inside the old house Ma’s Grandfather clock chimed its mournful melody before tolling the midnight hour.

“We need to get inside,” Percy said, opened the door and stepped inside. As he stepped over the threshold, yellow and green sparks jitterbugged along the floor and the doorjamb and his hair stood on ends. He looked back at Carson, who stood on the edge of the porch, treat bag in hand and a defiant scowl upon his face.

The bell tolled on and Percy counted each one. Sweat beaded on his forehead despite the cool night air.

“Come on, Carson, get inside before the clock stops.”

“I ain’t doing nothing.” Carson snapped and crossed his arms. The heavy pillowcase, bumped against one hip, the candy wrappers rubbing together momentarily.

The clock tolled twelve, the echo ringing through the house. Percy held his breath, his mouth went dry. Several seconds passed and nothing happened. Carson glared upward and laughed loud into the night.

“Told yah nothing would happen.”

Percy shook his head again and looked past Carson. He could hear the faint sound of bones rattling together and dripping water, but could see nothing.

Carson turned and stared into the darkness.

“What’s that?” he asked and turned back to Percy.

“It’s Ma.”

“No it’s not,” Carson snapped. “Ma never leaves the house.”

Percy chuckled. If only Carson had known, “Ma ain’t never lived here.”

“What?” His head whipped back toward Percy. “What do you mean, she ain’t never lived here?’

“She looks after the dead, Carson. Not the living. She lives in the cemeteries. Or wherever someone has died.”

“I don’t get it.”

“Where’d yah leave that little boy?”

“I done told yah—by the creek.”

“Yah hear that dripping water?”

“What about it?”

“That’s how she knows yah killed that boy.”

“I still don’t get it—how would she know?”

“I told you—she looks after the dead, Carson.”

“Are you saying Ma’s dead?”

“We all are—that’s why we stay in the house—it’s our graveyard, yah dimwit.. I told yah that before. Yah just didn’t listen. We’re only allowed out once a year—on Halloween. Halloween’s over and you’re not inside. Ma ain’t gonna be too happy with you.”

Carson looked back toward the darkness, his eyes wide. He turned and darted for the door but when he reached the opening he crashed into… into… nothing. There was a tinge of electricity and those green and blue sparks, but there was no crossing over. His face and body and hands struck an invisible barrier and bounced back, sending him to the floor. His bag dropped from his hand and the candy spilled onto the wooden porch. Carson stood and went for the entrance again, but was met with the same resistance.

Percy’s eyes caught the orange colored wrapper of one of the candies skittering across the floor, but his attention was quickly torn away by Carson trying to ram himself through the doorway.

“What’s going on?” Carson asked, his voice full with panic. “Why can’t I get in?”

“It’s after midnight, yah dimwit. I tried to tell yah.”

“Carson?” The female voice was ragged and it echoed in the night air.

Carson and Percy both looked toward the trees. Ma came from out of the darkness, her bony body almost transparent through the grayed skin. Her hair hung down in wet strands; dirt and grass clotted in several places along her ribs; skin hung off of her nude figure and Percy could see one nearly gone breast, despite the small dead boy she held in her arms. The child’s face was purple and black and red; one arm dangled down at an odd angle, a bone poking through the skin at the crook of the elbow. A chunk of flesh was missing from the boy’s neck and his mouth was frozen in a bloodied grimace that held no teeth. And his eyes held that faraway stare that only the dead have.

“Carson, what have you done?” Ma asked, her milky white eyes staring at him.

“I didn’t do anything, Ma. Honest, I didn’t.”

“You killed this boy.”

“I didn’t do that—honest I didn’t.”

Ma stepped into the gleaming light of the half moon and set the boy on the grass. She stood straight, and at that moment, Percy wished the dead child were still in her arms, hiding her hideously thin, decaying form. Without thinking a hand went to his mouth, covering the O it had formed.

“Carson, we do not kill children,” Ma said and approached him, her steps awkward as if she was teetering on the edge of collapsing. Droplets of water soaked into the dirt, leaving muddy footprints behind.

“Why do you think I killed him? Percy might’ve done it.”

Percy’s head jerked in Carson’s direction, his mouth hung open in shock. “I didn’t do–”

Ma raised a hand to Percy and he fell silent. His eyes dropped to the porch, toward the candy in the orange wrapper.

“The dead speak, Carson, and the boy told me you were the one.”

“He lied,” Carson yelled and tried to back away.

“You lied,” Ma said and raised one blackened-nailed hand toward Carson.

Then she spoke words into the air quickly, a spell that tore through the night like lightning and rumbled the earth like Thunder.

Carson dropped to the ground, his hands holding tight to his stomach. His body twisted, his legs pulling back, as did his head. A scream tore from him. It was unlike anything Percy had ever heard—even Jerry didn’t sound as pained. Carson’s vampire costume ripped apart, and was replaced by old jeans and a bloodied t-shirt. His thick skin split and his hair fell out in clumps; his skin grayed.

Carson rolled onto his stomach and tried to stand, but could only manage a feeble lunge toward Ma.

And the spirits came, their gray forms dashing about, leaving streaks of white in their wake. They grabbed at Carson’s decaying form, and pulled the limbs from his torso and bit out chunks of his flesh. They pulled and tugged at his skin, hair and organs until all that remained were a pair of arm bones and his skull, both eyes lulling in their sockets. One of the Spirits lifted the skull to its face. It inhaled sharply, sucking Carson’s soul into itself. Then it tossed the skull back to the ground.

The spirits turned to the dead Ma had found, encircling him. The one that had picked up Carson’s soul hovered of the boy’s body, its mouth to the boy’s mouth. The blooms of red, black and blue that had been put there by Carson faded. The broken arm was mended, the torn flesh stitched back together. After they were finished, the Spirits disappeared into the night, their wails like the wind rustling through the trees.

The child stirred, blinked several times before opening his eyes. Percy thought he might be scared—Heaven knows he was when he woke up from death. The world looked different, the black of night not so dark or scary. There was no pain. There was plenty of fear, but not because of waking up. No, it was because the memories remained, the way he had been beaten and stabbed and stowed beneath a house with the bodies of several other little boys. Percy shivered as a cold finger traced itself along his spine. It had been so long ago, but still felt like just minutes had passed.

The boy stood, his body slightly deformed. The wounds Carson had inflicted on him were scars that would be there forever—or at least until the boy did something stupid the way Carson had. He was taller and his body was bigger; there was hair on his face and his clothes were rags that fell off as he stood. The boy looked to Ma and took several steps backward.

“Good morning, Child,” Ma said. “Your name is Robbie, and that is your older brother.” She pointed at Percy. “Run along inside, now, and Percy will tell you how we do things around here.”

The boy turned to Percy and started up the stairs without question.

Ma turned and went back the way she came, her feet dragging, leaving wet footprints behind. “Yah take good care of my baby, Percy,” she called out.

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Can I come in?” Robbie asked when he reached the door.

Percy nodded. “Sure, but can yah do something for me, first?”


“Yah see that piece of candy on the floor there? The one in the orange wrapper?”


“Can yah get it for me?”

Robbie bent down and picked up the candy. He stepped through the door—there were no sparks of any color this time—and put it in Percy’s hand. Percy looked at it for a moment. It said Mary Jane on the wrapper. He opened it, and stared at the light brown piece of sweet.

“Man, I hate these things,” he said and tossed it back outside.

“What is it?” Robbie asked.

“The nastiest piece of candy ever,” Percy said and reached into his bag. He pulled out a Milky Way bar and handed it to his new little brother. “This is good eatin’ here.”

As they walked away, the door closed slowly behind them.

The Coffin Hop Day Six

I apologize to the handful of folks who have been following Type AJ Negative during The Coffin Hop. Today was a busy, busy day and I haven’t had the time to get a post together. So, now I sit and I write and I try to make this up to you all.

I thought about posting the three part series that I posted last Halloween, based on the true story of a friend’s death seventeen years ago. Then I thought, ‘Hey, A.J., some people have already read this story, so they may not want to read it again.’ So, I needed something else.

And that something else is:


Why not? It’s The Coffin Hop and we are celebrating the horror genre with our posts. But wait, this is not just about horror, but something else, something I have discussed here on this blog before.

What constitutes horror?

Let me state for the record: my writing is called horror, but not necessarily because there are monsters and demons in everything I write. In all honesty, there are not a ton of them. Sure, there are my zombies in my series Dredging Up Memories (which I shamelessly plug and encourage you to read by following the link). There may be a ghost or two or a demon here or there in my stories, but for the most part, the stories are less supernatural and more, well, natural.

For me, horror is less about the scare and more about the situation. Think about it for a moment or ten: What makes you cringe more? A story about demons and ghosts and zombies and sparkly vampires or a story about a person trapped in a car after an accident and in need of escaping as gas leaks perilously closer to the flame at the front of the vehicle? Okay, maybe that’s not fair. We all know sparkly vampires make us cringe. Answer me this then: which is more horrific? Zombies? Nah. Demons? Nah. Ghosts? Nope. Sparkly vampires? Nuh-uh. A man trapped in a car that is about to go up in flames? Yup.

The events surrounding a car accident can be as simple as a flat tire while driving down the road, the accelerator getting stuck, someone whipping in front of you, a deer running across the street (because clearly that deer didn’t know where the freaking deer crossing signs were). But it’s what happens when those simple things occur. Does the car flip? Does it go so fast that it crashes into the pillar of a bridge? Does the other car slam on its brakes and the vehicle slams into the back of it? Does the deer’s head go through the windshield and the driver gets killed by an antler to the eye?

When I write I don’t do so with a plot in mind. I do so with a ‘hmmm… this is interesting. I wonder what would happen if…

a little girl fell in love with some horses in an open field?
a little girl’s skin was marred by freakish little stars?
a boy saw a ghost outside his window?
a woman berated her husband about his tool shed?
two kids were angered by a trashy addict looking for their caregiver?
a tornado tore through a town not known for having tornadoes?
a girl watched her sister die?
the world ran out of space for its criminals?
a boy was scared by a crazy man on the hill?
a boy seeks for the murderer of the girl he loves?
a man loses his son and begins to hear things?

All of these are the basis of stories in my collection, Southern Bones.

But, really, what constitutes horror?

Back in January of this year, a man committed suicide, but they didn’t find his body for several weeks. After he was found, there was speculation on how he died, if he killed himself or was murdered or if there was a police cover up. There was a story in those events—those horrific events. What about the Jerry Sandusky/Penn State child sexual abuse case? I’ve read the transcipt of the indictment—it will turn your stomach? Maybe the various shooting rampages that have taken place with more frequency over the years? Aren’t the events horrific enough to be considered horror?

Like before, I am very interested in what you all think. Leave a comment and… I tell you what I’m going to do. I have an extra copy of The Best of Necrotic Tissue—the last issue of my favorite horror publication—and I’ll give it away to one random commenter on this blog. Make sure and leave an e-mail address so I can get in touch with you. If you don’t want to leave your e-mail address, you can always find me on Facebook ( and you can leave me the address there in a message. Photobucket

Thanks for dropping by on this sixth day of The Coffin Hop. It’s nearing an end and I hope you have enjoyed it thus far. Please, drop by the other blogs and check out some of the giveaways and stories by going here. You won’t be sorry.

I’m out for now.

Until we meet again, my friends…

The Coffin Hop Day Five and a Short Story To Boot

The Coffin Hop is in day five now. Twice I have teased folks with excerpts from Southern Bones. Let me make this up to those who have read those excerpts. The following story is one I considered placing in the collection—it made it through a couple of rounds, managing to not get cut until the next to last round of decisions. It’s a very short piece—less than 1900 words.

Being that this is The Coffin Hop, I would be remiss if I didn’t make sure and mention the link to all of the other hoppers. Please, check them out—there are over 100 authors and artists participating in the Hop. You will find something for every taste out there. Go here and hop, hop, hop along.

Before you leave, enjoy this little piece titled, Like Gravel Under Foot And when you’re done, hop on over to Amazon as well and check out my newly released collection, Southern Bones, which can be found here. Also, would you mind liking the Amazon page and consider leaving a review? This writer would appreciate it.

Without further adieu, here is Like Gravel Under Foot.

Not where I wanted to be. Not where I wanted to go. The car sat on the side of the road. Beth and a guy that used to be a friend were behind me in a town that used to be home. I kicked the fender as smoke billowed up from the engine.

“Piece of crap.”

I laid my head on the top of the car, fought back tears that threatened to spill, and took several long breaths. My mind scrambled for reasons things ended the way they did, but found none worth believing. Could it have been my fault? Maybe I just didn’t provide Beth with enough love or money or… or… maybe she just wanted someone else. It didn’t necessarily have to be my fault, did it?

The constant wind-whip of speeding vehicles rocked me the car. Some idiot honked his horn as he passed. I looked up, flipped him the long finger. The afternoon stretched out before me. The sun, though still high, couldn’t send the chill of the late fall day into hiding.

There wasn’t much in the car I wanted, but still I reached for the lock, pushed it down and slammed the door, taking only a back pack and a coat I feared I would need if I didn’t find somewhere to hunker down before night fell. It was laughable, locking the door of a car with a blown engine, one that would sit by the interstate until it was tagged and towed away to some impound where it would rot forever.

I hunkered my shoulders against the passing cars and their passing draft and walked on. Gravel crunched underneath boots, and though they weren’t the loudest sounds the world has ever known, I felt I understood it better than anything else at that time. The cracking, popping of small rocks against one another, ground into sand over time by cars, weather… or boots, it’s much like the heart when a man finds a friend in bed with his wife. There’s the crack and crunch and then the pop of dreams, hopes, desires, all within seconds of seeing two bodies intertwined together that should never have known that type of intimacy. There’s the grounding to dust of a heart underneath the weight of betrayal and pain. Yeah, I understood those rocks, and at the time, I felt as sorry for them as I did for myself.

The horn of the truck pulled me from my thoughts. I scampered further off the side of the road, onto the grass, my heart thumping, body shaking with adrenaline of almost being ran down by a semi. The truck slowed and coasted to the shoulder, as if trucks really coast. The brakes let out a loud, long hiss and the driver hopped out.

“Damn, son,” he said in a thick southern accent. “I’m sorry ‘bout that—you was walkin’ in the road and all. It was all I could think to do.”

I stood my ground, not knowing what to say or do and wishing like Hell that old rig would have hit me and ended this sack of crap life of mine. The burly guy walked up to me, his graying beard hanging down his chest, his blue eyes like two round marbles inside deep sockets. The hair on his head was as scraggly as his beard and an unbuttoned red and black checked flannel shirt hung off his shoulders, showing a grease stained white T beneath it.

“Boy, I really am sorry ‘bout that,” the trucker said when he reached me. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah. Fine.”

We stared each other down for a moment, my heart rate slowing and the rush of blood in my ears no longer sounding like waves along the beach.

“Can I give you a ride somewhere?” he asked, a bit on edge I guess.

“If you don’t mind. The next town would be fine.”

He nodded and clapped me on the shoulder. “Sure. No problem, buddy. Cleveland is about thirty miles on down the road. It’s on the way to Chattanooga.”


“Awe, hell no—we’re a good ways from that. It’s another Cleveland, right along this here interstate. Good, friendly folks.”

“Sounds good,” I said. “Let’s go.”

Most of the ride was kept in an uneasy silence, the driver cutting his eyes at me every few seconds as if he expected me to whip out a knife and slit his throat. I got the feeling he regretted making the offer the moment I accepted.

“So, why are you walking on the interstate?”

“Car broke down. Had to foot it.”

He nodded. “That red thing on the side of the road a couple miles back? Is that one yours?”

“That would be the one.”

More silence followed. I liked it that way.

Don’t talk much, do you?”

“Don’t have much to say.”

“So, where are you coming from?”

All the questions were irritating. I glanced at the guy. He had been staring at me, but then looked straight at the road in front of him. He tapped his pork-link thick fingers on the steering wheel and licked his bottom lip with a fat tongue. I wanted to laugh—he outweighed me by nearly a hundred pounds and he was nervous.

“If it matters,” I said. “I left behind a cheating wife and a not so loyal friend. As far as the name of the town—I’d just as soon forget it all together.”

He nodded. “Fair enough.”

Silence sat with us the remainder of the trip. I stared out the dusty windshield as the truck ate up mile after mile of interstate. We turned into a grungy looking truck stop a half an hour later than I thought we would.

“I gotta piss,” he said and then pointed to my right. “Just down that road about a mile is Cleveland. You should be able to get you a room for the night. Cheap hotels ‘round there and, if you’re lucky, a piece of tale will be walking around the parking area.”

He opened the door and hopped down. I unzipped my bag, pulled out a wallet and fingered out some cash. A moment later, bag zipped and back on my shoulder, I slid out the truck and walked around to the front. Holding out the money, I thanked the man.

“I can’t take that, son. It’s the least I could do after damn near killing you.”

I nodded, pocketed the money. “Thanks again for the ride.”

He shuffled away and into the diner, a bell ringing as the door opened and closed. I followed the road into town, my bag a little lighter and my burdens, well, they were somewhat lighter as well.

Cleveland’s a small town with only about a dozen real businesses in it. The one I wanted was the hotel and it sat near the end of the main street, beyond the small one car police department. Inside the parking area was a homely looking girl with long legs and wearing an outfit that said if she bent over she would show the world all her goods, both front and back. I thought of getting to know her better, but then scrapped the idea. I hoped not to be there too long.

Inside the hotel room the bed was hard, but a welcome reprieve from the day just passed. I closed my eyes, dozed and woke an hour or so later. The shower of hot water on tense muscles relaxed and rejuvenated me. I thought of taking a nap, maybe spending the night. Then I thought better of it. I had a job to finish. I took my bag and coat and made my way to the small diner near the center of town. The food was greasy and the coffee thick—and better than anything any of those fast food joints can come up with.

“You gotta phone I can use?” I asked the elderly, blue haired waitress after paying my bill.

“Round the corner by the men’s room.”

I nodded my thanks and walked back to the bathrooms. I hadn’t seen a payphone in years. Honestly, it made me smile. I dropped several quarters into the slot, dialed and waited.

“Briarsville Police Department, how can I help you?” the pleasant voice on the other end said. She sounded young and beautiful, like my Beth.

“Yes, Ma’am,” I started. “I was just riding with this guy in a light blue Peterbuilt rig—got a ride after he damn near ran me down. He was acting all nervous and jittery. We talked for a while before he let me out at Ruth’s Truck Stop off 95. When I was climbing down from the truck I noticed some pictures and a bloody knife under the seat. There was also a torn pair of bloodied panties. I glanced at the pictures when he went to the bathroom—the photos looked like a couple of folks had been sliced up pretty bad. I’m almost certain they were dead.”

“Sir, where did you say this was?”

“Just off 95 at Ruth’s Truck Stop.”

“Where is the driver now?”

“I don’t know—I got the hell out of there as soon as I saw the pictures. If he’s capable of doing that type of work on two people, I didn’t want to know what he could do to me.”

“Do you know where he was heading?”

“He said something about Chattanooga.”

“And what did—“

The phone went back on its cradle. The dispatcher had all she needed to know, and if I was lucky I would be long gone before they got anyone with half a brain to track down the trucker. I walked out of the diner, leaving a tip on the table. I lit a cigarette and took a long drag, letting the smoke fill my lungs and lighten my head. Twenty minutes later I was back at the interstate and the sun was going down.

I smiled as I reflected on the day. I had taken pictures after I finished off my wife. I made her watch, you know, as I took out her love—and my long time friend. I didn’t bother with torturing her—she would have begged me if I had given her a chance. I may not have been able to finish things then. But there was one particular picture of Beth and her sex toy, their bodies cut to ribbons, their heads on the pillows of the bed she and I once shared. Yeah, that was a good snapshot. I had tossed one it in the restroom on the backside of the diner and made my way to the road. I didn’t know how many men had pissed there since my ride had but it was just one more piece of evidence to link him to the murders. After all, somebody had made an anonymous phone call.

As night settled in for the long haul, I walked the interstate, shoulders hunkered against the wind as vehicles raced by me. I still felt sorry for the gravel beneath my boots, but I no longer felt the crushing pressure and pain of betrayal. In the distance sirens cut through the night.

Coffin Hop, Day Three and Another Tease

The Coffin Hop is in full swing. If you like—love, even—horror, and you haven’t visited this link what are you waiting for? Horror galore is awaiting you. From horror theme songs, to trivia, to flash fiction to full on short stories to short little teasers like the one you are about to read, to contests, contests, contests. Did I say contests? I did. Oh, okay. Well, there are contests, just in case you haven’t figured it out by now.

This is your chance to find out about some authors you may not have heard of. I’ve found a handful who have posted stories at their blogs—and no, they are not trunk stories either—and have held my attention in their scaly claws, refusing to let go until the final word had been read. I’m not ADD or anything, but I do have a short attention span, so stories that hold my attention are good pieces. One in particular is Six Millimeters by Julianne Snow. It’s short, not so sweet and the imagery is hinted at while making your imagination work. Great writing. Great writing indeed.

Again, I want to tease you all—and you know you like it—with a portion of another story in Southern Bones. This is from The Burning Children.



In the dream he heard the devil and the devil was screaming. It always ended the same, with Carney on the ground and his body on fire.

And the devil screaming.

But there was more to it than that. He always woke at that point, but he couldn’t figure out how he got on the ground and how on earth was he set on fire?

Carney lay in bed, sweat spilling down the sides of his face and matting his hair, soaking his armpits and underwear. His breaths came in raspy gasps and his heart beat too fast. He tried to hold onto the dream, to remember a little more of the fuzziness as it faded, the image of him on fire and the devil screaming, always screaming.

He sat up, rubbed his eyes, then pulled his knees to his chest.

The devil.

The devil.

The devil.

What was it about that red-faced monster that made him scream so much? How did he even know it was the devil? Carney never saw him, only heard the high-pitched wailing.

Carney slung the wet sheet off and slid his feet to the floor. A chill crept up his legs and sent a shiver along his tailbone. He tried to shake it off, but it caressed his spine with its icy fingers. He made his way across the bedroom, opened the door and froze. The creak of the door on its hinges sounded familiar, like screaming, or a baby crying.

He looked around. The darkened room was full of shapes and half-shapes, things the shadows clung to in the night to hide the bogeyman and his minions. Carney flipped the switch and the lights flooded the room, pushing the shadows away and showing him absolutely nothing. Everything was in its place. The bed and end table, the dresser across the room, the desk with his computer on it, the picture on the desk of…

And the screaming came full throttle.

Carney hurried down the hall, stubbed his toe on the baseboard as he ran into the room where Michael had slept during his brief life.

He didn’t need the ceiling light to show him the crib to his left, the playpen to the right, the dresser straight ahead or the ducks, hand-painted by Carney himself, on the walls. He didn’t need to see the stuffed toys on the floor or the mobile of brilliantly colored animals floating above where Michael’s head should have been.

Standing in the door, his heart in his throat, he remembered the day so long ago when Michael, his only child, died. How long ago, he couldn’t quite recall, but it was certainly before Mae left his ‘crazy behind’. Carney had been playing with him, and the boy was laughing, his toothless mouth all grins and his eyes dancing as Carney pretended to be a motorcycle, using Michael’s hands as the handlebars and accelerator. He sat on the bed with the boy in his lap. They laughed and Carney made bike motor sounds and they bumped and bumped and bumped, and then there was screaming and Carney didn’t understand.

Michael laughed. That’s what he did. Carney was certain of it then, but not so certain now as he stood in his baby’s room replaying the events over and over in his mind.

He closed his eyes. “Go away. Go away. Go away.”

And the screaming stopped.

Carney shut the door and stumbled back to the bedroom. He stopped in the entryway and stared at his bed. How could he sleep there? How could he even consider staying in that house after…


Now that you’ve been teased, you know what to do. Leave a comment, then hop on over to someone else’s blog. If you aren’t sure where to find the links, scroll back up to the top and click on the link provided.

Have a great day and come back tomorrow. At some point over the weekend a full story will go up—no teasers for that one.

Until we meet again, my friends…

The Coffin Hop and a Teaser

The Coffin Hop is well under way and many folk are giving away prizes and such on their blogs. Make sure and check them out as you go along. You can check out all the links here. Since I’m giving away two Kindle versions of Southern Bones I figured I should at least give you a hint of what you could win.

The following excerpt is from one of the stories in the collection, titled, Beneath the Sycamore Tree. Enjoy.


I told Cassie I loved her as I pushed her on the swing that hung down from the tall sycamore at the edge of the field behind my parents’ house. There was a pond not too far away where fishing was good and swimming in the summertime was a rite of passage. It was the perfect scene for any kid growing up in the south.

“What?” she asked and brought the swing to an abrupt stop, her feet kicking up dust as they dragged the ground beneath her. She looked at me with her crystal blue eyes, her head cocked slightly to the side, her light brown ponytail dangling. “What did you say?”

A lump caught in my throat, my palms began to sweat and tears formed in my eyes. My chest swelled with fear. “I said I love you.”

She nodded as if satisfied, turned around, and placed both hands on the ropes of the swing. “Okay. You can push me again.”

I stood there for a moment, not sure what to do; not sure I liked or disliked her reaction. I had expected more. Like maybe Cassie hopping off the swing, hugging me, and saying she loved me. Leaning forward, I placed my hands on the small of her back and pushed.

I was eight. It was the first—and only—time in my life that I knew love and how strong it could be.

She left my house that afternoon, skipping the way she always did, that ponytail swishing from side to side. At the end of the driveway, she turned, cupped her hands to her mouth. “I love you, too, Joshua Turner.”

It was the single greatest moment of my life.

Three days later Cassie was dead, her mangled body found on the other side of our property, not far from Grover’s Pond. Momma told me someone had done something bad to her, but didn’t go into details. The truth is—and I found this out some time later—some pervert grabbed her on the way home from Mr. Hartnell’s grocery store the day after our conversation, and raped her. He couldn’t leave it at that—violating her and taking her innocence away. He stabbed her sixteen times. I won’t go into the details of where several of the wounds were. You can figure it out on your own.

Cassie—my Cassie—was gone forever.


Now that you have a taste of one of the pieces in Southern Bones, don’t you want more? Leave a comment on any of the blogs here at Type AJ Negative during the Coffin Hop and you are entered into the contest. Don’t forget to leave an e-mail address so I can contact you if you win.

Thank you for dropping by and happy hopping.

Until we meet again, my friends…

Let the Coffin Hopping Begin


Hey, is this thing on? It is. Okay, here we go.

Welcome to Type AJ Negative…

Ow ow ow. Feedback. Hey, can we tune it down a little?

What’s that, Herbie? Oh, you want me to introduce you? Can’t you wait until I am done? I’m trying to get my first Coffin Hop post up. No, Herbie. Not right now. What’s that?

Ow ow ow… okay. Okay. Tune it down and I’ll introduce you to all the Hoppers out there.

Let’s try this again.

Welcome to Type AJ Negative, the official unofficial web presence of A.J. Brown. The imaginary guy controlling the sound system would be H. Herbie Himperwheel the third. Don’t ask me about Herbie one or two—I have no clue about them, or even where the third one came from, but he has been here since the beginnin. Herbie does the interviews. He likes poking people with needles. He is especially fond of the women. Ask Belinda, Myrrym and Michelle, they’ll tell you.

Better, Herbie? Can I get on with the Coffin Hop now? Thank you.

As I was trying to say before, Coffin Hop 2012 is under way and this is my first time being a part of it. The event last from October 24th through the 31st. Over 100 writers, artists and publishers are participating this year. You can check out more information here.

It appears that many of the participants are doing give aways. I’ve never done a give away or a contest. Of course, I’ve never had anything to ‘give away’ before. Ahhhh, but let’s change that. After chatting with my friend, Belinda—an awesome person, and a great writer—I learned that I can ‘gift’ one of my books to someone on Amazon by simply purchasing it and giving it to them.

Awesome idea, Belinda.

With that in mind, this is what I am going to do: I will give away a Kindle version of Southern Bones to two lucky people who comment on any of the post over the next seven days. I will put the names in a hat and let my daughter and son choose one name each. Make sure include an e-mail or Facebook link so I can get back in touch with you. Oh, one more thing, If someone comments on multiple blog posts, their name will go into the hat as many times as they comment. If you comment six times, your name goes in the hat six times. Fair enough?

What’s that, Herbie? What if someone doesn’t have a Kindle? Good question. Then I will send you a PDF version of Southern Bones that you can read on your computer.

The only thing I ask in return? Leave a review. Love it or hate it, leave a review. It’s one of those things that we authors rely on to help us get the word out there.

What now, Herbie? Why put a stipulation on giving away a free copy? Why not just give it away?


Okay, if you want to leave a review, I would appreciate it, but you don’t have to. Just enjoy the book. That’s really what I want—that’s what all writers want. Oh, and come back. Browse around—there was a story posted just the other day—a freebie by any other name—and there will be another one posted in the next few days as part of The Coffin Hop.

So, what are you waiting for? Start commenting. And get to hop hop hopping along the Coffin Trail.

Until we meet again, my friends…

(And Herbie said C-Yah!)

The Coffin Hop and Other Notes

Good evening Interweb People…

You know, every time I write something like that I think of Robin Williams in Good Morning Vietnam.

I know that was totally off subject, but it’s what came to mind, and if you’ve been a follower of Type AJ Negative for any length of time, then you know I generally just write what I think. But wait, we haven’t really gotten to the subject yet, have we?

Of course not, A.J.

The last seven days of Halloween—oops, I mean October—is upon us and that means my favorite month of the year will be ending in one week. You can’t see it, but I am making a really horrid sad face right now. Just use your imagination: A grown man sitting at a desk, his hair unkempt, wire rimmed glasses perched on his nose. He wears an Eric Cartman t-shirt that says, Respect My Authority. Oh, and Cartman is dressed as a cop. Well, what do you know, he is also wearing his Eric Cartman pajama bottoms and—Holy Cow, he matches! The world is coming to an end! There was a frown there. Really, there was, but the whole matching Cartman shirt and bottoms just totally made him laugh.

Picture that instead.

Okay, you can stop laughing now.


Stop laughing.

Stop laughing.


Whew. Okay. Now that you have finished… Hey, you! Yeah, you in the back with the hat on backwards and the soul patch. I’m right here. I can hear you.

Ahem. Now, where was I? That’s right, about to explain what I am going to attempt over the next week. I say attempt because things have been a little crazy the last few months and I haven’t been able to update the blog as often as I would have liked.

There is this thing called The Coffin Hop that begins on the 24th, which is tomorrow. What is the Coffin Hop, you ask? Well, it’s a promotional of sorts. To quote the website:

COFFIN HOP is the annual Horror Author event, geared towards gaining exposure for indie horror and genre authors, and increasing interaction with fans and readers. Conceived in 2011 by authors Axel Howerton and Julie Jansen, COFFIN HOP was initially intended to be a small answer to the proliferation of author blog hops for Romance, Erotica and other genres while noticing a dearth of well-organized, high profile events for horror writers.

The first annual COFFIN HOP bloomed to over 100 authors and brought in thousands of readers and fans over the week leading up to Halloween. Every one of those 100 authors held contests, gave away e-books, paperbacks, prize packages, autographed copies, toys, personalized writings, videos, themed jewelery, movie posters… the list goes on and on and on.

You can find more details at the website, here.

Essentially, this is for both the writers and the readers. It helps the readers find indie authors who they may have never found otherwise. And it is a chance for those same indie authors to get a little extra exposure and to communicate with the readers.

Let me say this: It’s not easy to gain readers. Not in the world today where the options are plenty and the market is saturated with everything you can think of. It is hard to find consistent readers—and it is even harder to keep them coming back. One bad or controversial story and you could lose readers quicker than you gained them.

This year there are over 100 writers participating, many of which will have give aways. I’m hoping to do one as well with my new collection, Southern Bones. If I am able to do a give away, then it will appear in this space tomorrow.

Well, maybe not in exactly this space, since it is being used at the moment, but in the next blog. I know, I probably didn’t need to clarify that, but some of my family—no, not you, or you, but… yeah, you—would make some wise crack about which space is being used.

At any rate, do you want to find some new writers to read? Check out The Coffin Hop. Click on the various links and go hopping. Leave comments and likes. Enter the give aways and competitions. Contact the writers and let them know you appreciate the hard work that goes into being an author. Yes, it is work—very, very hard work.

While I have you here, let me do some shameless self-promoting:

As mentioned above, my new short story collection, Southern Bones, is now out on Amazon. Follow the link. Pick up a copy. Like the book, if you will, and don’t forget to review it. Reviews are important.

Also, you can now pick up a copy of Along the Splintered Path in print.

For those who have already picked up a copy of either/both of the books, I thank you. For those who have reviewed the books, I thank you as well.

Before I go, have you ever wanted an autograph from one of your favorite writers? Well, now you might be able to get one, albeit a digital one. Go to Kindlegraph and browse the over 4500 titles. You may find some of your favorite authors there, including me. This is a neat idea. Though it is not a real signature, per say, it is a digital one and that is almost as good. There is a place that you can view all of your autographs. How cool is that? So click on over to Kindlegraph and see if you can find some of your favorite writers and send them a request for an autograph. It really made my day when I received a couple of requests the other day.

However, if you want a real one of mine, you have to contact me either through Type AJ Negative or Facebook.

For now, I leave you all to read, to sleep, to enjoy the evening, morning, afternoon wherever you may be. So, until we meet again, my friends…

Southern Bones and Day Eight of the Thirty-Two Days of Halloween

If I were a smoking man there would be a blue/gray cloud of smoke hovering above my head right now. My feet would be propped up on my desk and my hands would be laced together behind my head. That cigarette would sit between my lips, the lit end getting precariously closer to the filter as the seconds continued to tick-tock away. I would feel that acrid burn in my throat and lungs as I took another deep drag. My eyes would probably be closed. If not, then they would be staring at the white popcorned ceiling above me.

That is, if I were a smoking man.

I’m not, and my feet are not propped on my desk and there is no blue/gray cloud above my head and I don’t have that acrid burn in my throat and lungs. And, no I am not looking at a popcorned ceiling.

Instead, I sit here, at the keyboard, typing away. Why? Why not? I’m a writer. That’s what writers do.

Oh, wait. I guess I could tell you why I would smoke if I were a smoker. Here’s the rundown:

For the last half year I’ve been working on a short story collection. I’m not going to bore you with all the details that I’ve outlined on here before, but I will say it was a lot of work. And, to be honest, though I feel it’s a great book, it takes serious effort for me to actually put something of mine out there. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in my abilities, but I’ve never been good about putting myself out there. I’ve never had the confidence to say, ‘hey, here I am, love me.’ No, that’s not me at all. I prefer to be behind the scenes.

That mindset is a massive problem if you are a writer. The truth is, if you want to get anywhere in life, you have to take chances. Writing is no different. It may even be a little tougher. Still, if I want to get anywhere in this business, then I have to be willing to put myself out there for the world to criticize.

It’s a risk.

But I did it. It took a lot of encouragement from a few other writers and my Cate before I did it, but I took that risk.

Yeah, it would help if I told you what the risk was, wouldn’t it?

I published my second short story collection, and I did it with the helping hands of a few friends.

Southern Bones has been released on Amazon. Currently it is only available on the Kindle, but that won’t be the case for too long. It’s been submitted to Nook and will also be put up for Kobo and Smashwords within the next week, as well as in print within the next two to three weeks.

SIDE NOTE: No, I did not use KDP Select for this—I don’t believe a writer should be limited in their ability to spread their stories to as many platforms as possible, and I did not like the exclusivity for ninety days that KDP Select requires.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. It was a lot of work, and I don’t envy any publisher who puts out several books at a time. Of course, they do this more than I do, so they can probably do this blindfolded.

Before I go any further with this blog and before I get to day eight of the Thirty-Two Days of Halloween, let me tell you about the e-book. Southern Bones is a collection of eleven short stories, all based in the south, though a couple of stories really could be set anywhere. Most of them have never been published, whereas a couple of them have. I would like to say it is 56,000 words of horror, but honestly, some of the stories aren’t horror at all. Each story has horrific elements, but not all of them can be considered horror, per say. I think that is a very good thing about Southern Bones: It’s not your typical horror collection.

I to believe the words of Kevin Wallis in the introduction describe, not only my writing style, but the collection in and of itself:

Brown injects each of his stories with an overlying aura of dread that doesn’t so much grab his readers by the throat, but creeps up behind them, never quite showing its face, and hovers over their blissfully unaware bodies as they sleep at night, breathing the fear into their dreams and ensuring that it will linger long into the following day.

I believe you are going to like Southern Bones. I truly do. You can check out Southern Bones here.

I’ll keep you updated on when the other editions come out.

If you purchase a copy of the book, thank you. And, please consider leaving a review—it doesn’t have to be very long, just a what you thought of the book type of things. Look at it like you are telling your friends about something you did or saw. What would you say? That’s what a review is, you telling your friends and strangers about the book. Again, thank you.

Now, onto Day Eight of the Thirty-Two Days of Halloween.

I don’t remember who showed me this video, but I know it is one of my favorites. It’s a short film titled Smile


Have a great night. Until we meet again my friends…