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.

I became phobic from changing schools every year and a half and didn’t complete college. I’m mostly self-taught. 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 military industrial complex soured and I left. 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 wanted to tone 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 without the usual credentials. It was a good move.

I still have a few books left in me. Currently I’m ten 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. After engineering an immortality serum, he is forced to confront an unanswered question 400 years later: does physical immortality prevent eternal life?  –JTB 


J. Thomas Brown’s short story, Breaking Them with Words, appeared in Scarlet Leaf Review and Everywhere Stories: Short Fiction from a Small Planet. A memoir, Valium Dream, was fourth place 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, were published 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 Moonstone Arts Center’s Haiku 2023, World of Laughter, and Remembering Woody Guthrie anthologies.   

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]