J. Thomas Brown

Writing Other Worlds


Place is an important component of my writing, whether that world no longer exists, or may come into existence in the future. When I was young my father had the wanderlust and moved our family up and down the American East Coast, to Sweden and England, and back and forth in between. We lived in some unusual dwellings; the miller’s house at an old gristmill, a barn, an Olympic gold medalist’s home on the Isle of Lidingö in the Stockholm Archipelago, an English manor in Kent, and an old Pennsylvania fieldstone house that George Washington used as an infirmary.

After working in the biomedical field for a few years, I applied for a top secret clearance to work as a customer engineer in a facility that designed spy satellites. The background check must have driven them crazy. I had moved seventeen times by my mid twenties. Somehow I got the clearance and the position. The technology was dazzling, but after a few years my opinion of the American military industrial complex was changed when the Berrigan brothers threw blood on the entrance gates there and I stopped to talk to anti-war protestors. I left and went to work in the IT field where I wrote technical papers during the day and short fiction at night and on weekends. Satellite imaging from my PC now is an important tool to visiting hard to get to places such as Xinjiang, the Outer Hebrides, and Hong Kong, or to find archaeological looting holes in the remote places of the earth.

When I had a family of my own I toned the moving thing down. We moved from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, to Richmond, Virginia, in 1996 where we have since remained. Richmond has a vibrant art community that enabled me to pursue my literary interests. It was a good move.

Currently I’m thirteen chapters in on a speculative fiction novel with a working title of SPLICE: The Immortality of Jared Hallie. A biohacker with an inherited learning disability reinvents the future. His gene editing discoveries defeat death and suffering, but he must escape prosecution from practicing medicine without a license by starting a new country in the Scottish Hebrides.

My second poetry chapbook, Concatenation of Souls, has undergone developmental and final editing and is in the submission process. The book delves into the fragmentation of the world and the fragmentation which is within all of us. People are torn apart in the chaos of today’s world and each piece of them takes on a life of its own as described in the poems. The idea is as old as Empedocles. When the elements of earth, wind, fire, water, and ether, are brought into balance, harmony is achieved through a mysterious force that governs the universe. Healing takes place when soul fragments are brought back together into a whole.


J. Thomas Brown’s short story, Breaking Them with Words, appeared in Scarlet Leaf Review and Press 53’s Everywhere Stories: Short Fiction from a Small Planet. A memoir, Valium Dream, was a runner up in Streetlight Magazine’s Memoir/Essay Contest 2021, and a micropoem, Nascence, a Sunspot Lit quarterfinalist. Two creative nonfiction short stories, Hard Cider and Thumb Tacks, appeared in Journal of the Virginia Writers Club Spring 2021 and Summer 2021. He is a contributor to Lingering in the Margins: A River City Poets Anthology, North of Oxford, and Rising Voices: Poems Towards a Social Justice Revolution (Poetry, Healing, & Growth Book Series by University Professors Press). Poems and hybrid work have appeared in New Verse News, Rattlecast, Copperfield Review Quarterly, Wild Roof Journal, and several Moonstone Press anthologies.  His short story, Their Names are on Skyscrapers, will appear in Virginia Writers Project Fall 2023 journal.  

Other Published Works

Saint Elmo’s Light: Collected Stories of J. Thomas Brown

Driving With Poppi: A Patremoir (novelette)

Mooncalf, a collection of poems

Land of Three Houses (historical fiction novel)

The Hole in the Bone (historical fantasy novel)

Author Talks

Please email me at [email protected] to request a talk or book signing. For The Hole in the Bone, I include information from my research on the plight of the Uighurs and ways to help.

Get in Touch

Via [email protected]