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

~Sigh~

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.

“Caramel?”

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?”

“Yeah.”

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

“Uh-huh.”

“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:

Horror.

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 (facebook.com/AJBrown36) 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.”

“Ohio?”

“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.

On Book Reviews and The Coffin Hop Day 4

Book reviews. Ever heard of them? Sure you have. It’s really a dumb question, right?

[[Herbie: No question is a dumb question, A.J., or have you forgotten?]]

Okay, maybe it wasn’t a dumb question, but it feels like a dumb one. If you are a reader, I’m sure you have heard of book reviewing.

Let me ask you a question: When you read a book, do you review it?

Do you?

If we go by what some pundits say (and we’ll stick to e-book numbers for this little exercise), then only about 1-3% of the reading population actually do reviews. Let’s put it another way. If someone sells 100 books, then that means only 1 to 3 people will review it. Of course that is just a guess and I’m pretty much basing it off of numbers that I have seen from my own books. That and a bit of research over the last few months to go along with a few analytical types’ assessments.

Let’s just say 7-10% of the e-book reading population leaves a review, and I think I’m being pretty generous here, that that still leaves 83 to 90 (out of every 100) people who have read the book who did not leave a review. That’s a ton of folks who could say whether they liked or hated a book.

Do you talk about your favorite television shows? Do you tell your friends about them? How many of you tuned into The Walking Dead season premiere and then shared your thoughts with friends around the office or on Facebook or Twitter?

That’s what a book review is: sharing your thoughts with your friends, telling those friends about the wonderful, awful or average book you just finished reading. But not only are you sharing your thoughts with friends, you are sharing them with strangers who want to hear what you have to say about those books that you’ve read. You are helping them decide if a book is a good fit for them.

But wait, do you just tell your friends that you liked a television show? No. Of course you don’t. You tell them why you like that show. Come on, we all know that when something strikes us in a show or movie or a sporting event, we tell the why and the what, and we are either passionate about it or angry about it or indifferent. You just don’t say ‘I hated that’ and leave it alone. You tell why you hated it. And if you don’t, one of your friends will ask you ‘So, why did you hate it so much?’ They will ask such an open-ended question that it will require you to say something besides a yes or a no. You don’t just say ‘that was a great movie,’ you tell your friends why it was so great.

Why?

WHY?

WHY????

There is a method of madness when it comes to book reviews, but first, let me give you a glimpse of a few real book reviews that I pulled from that big e-book publishing machine on the Interweb (these are direct quotes, not altered at all by myself):

This was an ok short story not to exciting but worth the quick read! was hoping for a little more thrill.

I enjoyed this short story.

If you seen the movie Little Shop of Horrors Growing up this is that movie in writing. Movie is better, but teens would enjoy this.

Clever story about unwanted and unexpected house guests of the psychopathic kind. Very disturbing short story, well written and very twisted.

Ms. XXXXXXX’s collection of short stories brings us a look into some dark topics but they were well written and certainly draw a reader in. Each one will bring you different emotions and from different views. This title is certainly worth a read but it isn’t for the faint of heart.

I truly enjoyed this quick little read, it’s mildly creepy but not too much. I could see these stories being read on a stormy winter day, by a fireplace.
Just a little compilation of a few short stories, of true life happenings the author has experienced.

Predictable, Boring, etc. The reviews must come from friends.

I love short horror stories. However, this book lacked what I was looking for. The stories unfortunately left a lot to be desired. While it was not terrible it was not one of the better books I have read recently.

Now, before continuing on, some of these could be considered a good review, and not by the standard of stars, but by the standard of what the reader said. But go back and look at them a little closer. Honestly, ‘I enjoyed this short story,’ is not a review of the book/story. Sure, it’s nice that the reader said that, and as a writer, I like when readers say, ‘hey, A.J., I enjoyed your story.’

However, as a writer, I want to know why someone liked or disliked something I—or any other writer, for that matter—wrote. I want to know if the writing was good or bad, if the stories held your attention or you skimmed over sections, if you liked or disliked the characters, if I made you laugh, cry or want to punch me in the face. If the story is bad, I want to know what was so bad about it. If the story was great, don’t just say it was great, but tell me why it was great.

Writers constantly hear ‘show, don’t tell.’ We are constantly told readers want us to show how a person feels, not just say he is sick or in love or hurt or angry or dying. No, saying he had an angry look on his face doesn’t really show anything, does it? However, saying, ‘his brows were arched, the edges pointing down toward the nose, and his lips were pulled down into a sneer,’ gives us the actual angry look.

Reviews should be similar, but not in that ‘show, don’t tell’ philosophy. It should be something like, oh I don’t know, ‘don’t just tell, but tell why.’ I don’t expect every reader out there to do a review like a writer would, but give the readers and authors more of an understanding behind your thought processes.

‘This book sucked, don’t waste your money,’ tells the reader absolutely nothing and that one star that is given with the review is not really validated, but it still hurts a writer’s overall numbers. It also hurts their sells. If you’re going to write something like that, then please, tell us why the book sucked.

And before you go thinking that all reviews have to be long to be good, that just isn’t true. Not everyone has the time or the desire to write long, in depth reviews. However, a little information about the book and the reasoning to why you love or hate it goes a long way with both the readers and the writers.

Okay, for those who like The Walking Dead, let me give you an example (oh and there could be some spoilers in this).

I love The Walking Dead.

Why?

I love zombies and I think the make up is fantastic and the way they are portrayed in TWD as relentless, flesh eating monsters makes them come alive.

What else?

It is character driven. You either love or hate the show because of the characters. I loved Dale, and when he got killed I was mad, because I wanted him to live. He was endearing and a voice of reason in a world gone mad. I wanted them to kill off Lori—my goodness she is annoying, and why doesn’t she know where her son is at all times?

And Shane was awesome before he went all jealous and angry at Rick, who has morphed into the Ricktator, which is a good thing.

Anything else?

Yeah, the suspense. You never know what is around the corner or who is going to get offed next.

So, is there anything you don’t like about it?

Umm… yeah.

What?

The zombies seem pretty nimble on their feet for a bunch of shambling, mindless corpses. I mean, how in the world is a zombie going to walk down an embankment and not fall down, and a living man stumbles, then rolls down that same embankment? And how can zombies climb fences or on top of tanks or drop down to the ground and slide beneath cars then get right back up as if their bodies are agile and not rotting away?

What else?

Lori. I can’t stand her. She’s stupid and I don’t understand how she hasn’t been killed yet and other, more adept people have died.

Anything else?

Have I said I don’t like Lori? I have? Okay, well, I don’t get why they don’t just kill all the zombies at the prison fence. You have them right there, why not go ahead and drive something into their skulls before they can break down the gates? They’re just asking for them to bust down the fence and kill them all.

And I don’t like Lori.

Interesting. So, you love the show, right?

Absolutely.

Why?

Well, let me summarize it for you: It may have its flaws, but the action and suspense and characters make it edge of the seat good. I would highly recommend it to anyone who loves zombies or horror movies or even something that is character driven. It’s a gritty show with twist and turns in every episode, and there are just some scenes that leave you breathless and stunned.

I know that may be a little extreme and it is about a television show, and not necessarily the graphic novels the show is based on. However, this is what I do when I review a book. I ask myself those questions. Then I form my book reviews based on the answers. I give the good and the bad as I see it. I always try to end a review/critique on a positive note.

Sometimes a review has all positives, but that is rare. I try to be completely honest in my book reviews.

Here’s the thing: writers put themselves on the line every time they submit something to a publication or when they self-pub a book on their website or Amazon or Nook or anywhere for that matter. They are putting their hard work on the line for both praise and criticism.

More often than not, it is the criticism that is heard by other readers, not the praise. Stick with me for a little while longer here. How many times have you seen a ‘this book sucks’ review and thought, ‘maybe I shouldn’t get this book?’ However, what about when you read something like ‘I enjoyed this book,’ and that is the entire review? I’m willing to guess that most of the time readers think, ‘oh, that reviewer is just a friend of the writer.’

You see, the door doesn’t swing both ways evenly. The critical review is often taken with more weight, while what comes across as a superficial praise review is viewed less, and possibly even done by friends to help bolster the writer’s numbers. This is why I urge reviewers to give fair, honest reviews. If they have something negative to say, give us the justification for that. On the flip side, if you have something positive to say, tell us why.

I know. I know. ‘But I’m not good at giving reviews, A.J.’

You don’t have to be. I’ve been fortunate to have learned in workshops how to give critiques and I’ve had quite a few friends help me along the way with this educating of the mind. I’ve boiled them down to the three essentials:

The Positive, The Negative and The Summary.

Sounds like a Clint Eastwood movie.

Ask yourself what are the positives about this book? Then ask yourself what are the negatives about this book? Then summarize why you like or dislike the book. Even with those three essentials, The Why is the most important thing about a review. By having the positives and the negatives in mind, you can tell us The Why. It is what readers and writers alike are looking for.

You might disagree with me, and I’m okay with that. This is my opinion, based on what I have observed in the writing world.

How much weight does a single review carry? I don’t know. What I do know is that many readers do look at them before purchasing a book.

In closing, do you review? Are you one of the anywhere between 1 and 10% who actually review books? If so, thank you, not only from me, but from all of the writers out there. If not, then I urge you to consider reviewing the books you read, and don’t just say the book is good or bad, but tell us why you feel it is so.

Before I go, I would like to remind the masses that The Coffin Hop is under way and it is now Day 4. Visit this link to hop to any of the blogs of those participating. Leave comments and likes and all that good stuff. We greatly appreciate you stopping by.

Now, I must go for a while. I have some hopping and some sleeping and, hopefully some writing to do.

Until we meet again, my friends…

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.

Enjoy

***

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

Taptaptap

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?

~Sigh~

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.

Seriously.

Stop laughing.

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…