My Bohemian Baptism and Then Some, by Doug Brown

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Doug Brown’s stories are weird. He sees the world through some sort of custom microscope that reveals the weirdness of normal people and situations, and conveys that revelation in bracing, inventive language. This is his first collection; I can’t wait for his second.

—Jane Greer, author, Love like a Conflagration
and The World as We Know It Is Falling Away

Vivid characters and vibrant prose. Doug Brown is an engaging writer and a keen observer of people and the circumstances in which they find themselves: whether the encounters of missionaries, donning white shirts and black ties, in an unfriendly neighborhood; a young boy who spends a summer with his quirky and aging hippie aunt and uncle; a tale about the discovery of grisly murders and their perpetrators; and a hilarious—but portentous—interaction between an ordinary, middle-aged citizen and a census agent of the all-seeing and intrusive Nanny State. The stories are alternately humorous, serious, and deeply moving. The endings surprise, and even startle. Brown knows how to spin a good yarn… I highly recommend this book.

—Kenneth Garcia, PhD
Award winning author of
Pilgrim River: A Spiritual Memoir

Doug Brown’s stories speak the Greek tragedies in a language we cannot help but understand. They turn the tools of Roman satire against the times we inhabit. In these qualities—as in his horrors and grotesqueries—he follows Flannery O’Connor, whom I had till now thought inimitable. These are works of genius.

—Mike Aquilina, author, Rhymes’ Reasons

Doug Brown and his characters are children of the twentieth century who find themselves hurtling toward the twenty-first. You’ll find in his collection of twelve short stories a diversity of genres: horror, sci-fi, detective, dystopian fantasy, comedy, romance, slice of life, magical realism. But if you start to think you’ve pegged him to a genre, watch out. This collection takes you on a magical mystery tour renewing – nay, subverting – nearly every genre it engages. What you may not notice is the subtle accretion of elements of place, time, and local flavor. You, the reader, raise your head from the page to find that you are in a new world that feels like it has always been right there.

You’ll follow humor and pathos as signposts pointing you toward a heartbroken world teeming with the necessary and the inane, the magical and the profane.

Sample his style that has been dubbed “New England Gothic” and described as “Yankee Flannery O’Connor.” These stories are as ambitious as hers, as funny, as casually violent, as allegorical, and as graced. The allegories are invisible to the casual reader. The stories are deceptively simple. But in their depths they deal with the relationship of time and eternity, the reality of judgment, evil and its personification, the permanence of morals and their elusiveness in particular moments — the compromises life forces on the living. Be brave. You won’t regret it.

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Doug Brown is in no way your typical author. After writing a slew of stories and winning the prestigious Katie Lehman Award for Fiction, he fell asleep under a sugar maple and awoke 40 years later ready to write some more. Doug holds degrees from Carnegie Mellon and Penn State and now calls western Pennsylvania home.