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Archive for February, 2015

Okay everyone, I have real treat here for you to brighten any weekend. I am delighted to post an interview that I have conducted with fellow author, Joseph. A Pinto. Joseph focuses on the horror genre and I have connected with him all the way from New Jersey!

As well as being a quality author and poet, Joseph gives us an important insight into his support of the Pancreatic Cancer community, so please do read on…

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Biography

Joseph A. Pinto is the horror author of two published books including the poignant novella Dusk and Summer as well numerous short stories; his most recent works can be found in Midnight Echo magazine and Sirens Call Publications.  He is a member of the Horror Writers Association as well the co-founder of Pen of the Damned, a collective of angst and horror driven writers.  Indulge in his unique voice on his personal blog JosephPinto. com and PenofTheDamned.com.  Join his pancreatic cancer advocacy efforts at ‘Purple Hope’ (endpancan.com).  You can follow him on Twitter @JosephAPinto.  Joseph hails from New Jersey where he lives with his wife and young daughter.

Interview for Joe Pinto

Martin: Tell me a bit about your writing to date including any genre specifics.

Hi Martin!  I primarily write in the horror genre.  Horror means different things to different people; I tend to focus on the darker side of my characters while layering my plots with a direction and twist the reader may not expect.  I generally stay clear of narrations that rely on ‘blood and guts’ to make an impact.

Although my passion to become an author has burned within me since I was a little boy, the actual pursuit of it came about late in my life.  I’m forty-four now, but it wasn’t until ten years ago that I finally had the opportunity to take the initial steps.  I feel the past three years have really seen me grow and mature as a writer as I’ve prepared myself for the next level of things to come.

To date, two of my books have been published as well as multiple short stories.  My most recent book Dusk and Summer, published by Sirens Call Publications, ironically enough falls in the contemporary fantasy genre – my only work outside the horror realm.  It also stands as my proudest bit of writing.

I also enjoy writing poetry, often exploring and expressing the more painful aspects of life.

Martin: As well as writing I notice that you are very involved with something called Purple Hope. Could you tell us a bit more about that, Joe?

Purple Hope is a blog I started along with editor and co-owner of Sirens Call Publications, Nina D’Arcangela, in November 2014 to provide information, support and awareness for the pancreatic cancer community at large.

It all came about with the release of my book Dusk and Summer.  I wrote Dusk and Summer seven years ago in tribute to my father after he lost his courageous fifteen-month battle with pancreatic cancer.  My intent was to honor my father’s fight, as well as a way in which to deal with my own grief, which was overwhelming in the months following his death.  I incorporated my father’s love for the sea and wrote a fictitious story – not a biography, mind you – about a man who must find a way to bring his dying father’s soul to rest beneath the ocean’s waves.

I originally self-published Dusk and Summer back in 2008.  Years passed, and I went on to meet Nina, who has become an extremely respected role model in my life.  She read my book and loved it, and my book’s publishing journey came full circle from that point on.

Perhaps most importantly, I donate half of all my book’s proceeds to the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research here in the United States.

The culmination of Dusk and Summer‘s publication seemed a good way to take my advocacy efforts in creating awareness about pancreatic cancer a step further.  Hence, Purple Hope was launched.  I thought if I could share my story, then why not encourage others to share their own?  I’m hoping Purple Hope will catch on as a means for others to share their memories and their hopes while venting their pain.  I also share any news and relevant information I find involving pancreatic cancer on Purple Hope as well.

Martin: Your book covers are great, who designed them?

Thank youThe cover for Dusk and Summer is an actual photograph shot by Nina D’Arcangela.  Her talent and enthusiasm are endless!  Nina came up with the vision of a live beach shot, incorporating my actual silhouette into the cover.  She believed it would lend a wonderful personal touch – the feel of experiencing my book as opposed to just reading.  We scoured the beach for hours, searching for just the right spot.  Finally, Nina nailed the money shot; it was among one of the very last photos taken that day.

Ironically, the location of our photo shoot – Long Branch, New Jersey – was struck by Hurricane Sandy not long thereafter.  The entire Jersey shore still struggles in its bid to recover to this day.

Martin: I notice that you also write poetry. What turned you on to that?

I primarily write poetry to keep my creative juices flowing, so to speak.  I express myself through a free verse medium and as I mentioned earlier, I gravitate toward the conveyance of heartache, angst and pain.

My exception is when writing about my young daughter.  That’s when the soft, sensitive side of me comes out.

Martin: What projects are you working on at the moment?

Well Martin, I’m currently writing a new horror novel.  I don’t usually give much away on current works, but I’ll share this: it involves events after Hurricane Sandy ripped apart the Jersey shore – the storm seems to have dredged something mysterious from the depths.  It will explore the possibility of a strange entity invading our world while examining the monster within my main character.  I’m having fun with it, and it won’t be along the lines of anything anyone has read before, I can assure you that.

Martin: Do you experience any challenges when writing?

I think the greatest challenge I experience when writing is overcoming the seed of self-doubt.  Facing a blank page is a daunting task for any writer.  I trick myself into believing that it’s not so much a blank page but an open road; I’m free to explore any route I choose.  And so I do.  I don’t structure or outline a story prior to writing.  I’ll run with an idea, then have at it on my keyboard.  The discovery of one’s own work during the actual process of creation is a feeling like no other.

Martin: Do any authors inspire you?

Authors inspire me as a whole.  It’s a ‘we’re all in this together’ kind of feeling.  Authors need to be read, their voices heard.  So the inspiration I find is in seeing the determination and in feeling the passion a writer possesses.  It turns an ‘I can’t’ into an ‘I can.’

Martin: Does anyone outside of the writing world inspire you?

Outside the writing world, my daughter inspires me most.  She’s gone through some tribulations during her first six years of life and still they continue, yet her smile, her love and her spirit are infectious.  She’s my inspiration to push and grind on so that what I might achieve today may provide for her tomorrow.

Martin: I was once asked in an interview if I preferred The Beatles or The Monkees? How about you? Also do you like music and does that ever inspire your work?

How ironic Martin, the Beatles happen to be one of my favorite bands!  I love all their work, so my answer is an easy one – of course, the Beatles.  Although I do remember watching the Monkees when I was a kid (how I loved that hot rod of theirs!)

Music inspires my work greatly.  What I listen to depends on the piece I’m writing, or an actual scene.  Some of my best writing is done while I’m singing along to a tune – I kid you not!  Lyrics don’t distract me, but if someone should try to speak to me while in the middle of a writing session, it most definitely throws me out of my zone.  Go figure! I have very eclectic taste in music, with the exception of country and rap.

Martin: In the UK we are a bit of a soccer mad nation. Do you like soccer or any other sports?

My favorite sport is American football, and I am a die hard New Orleans Saints fan.  Since I was born and raised in New Jersey, it might seem odd to some.  But the Saints and the city have my heart.  I’ve been rabidly cheering on my team since I was a kid.

Martin: What angers you/makes you cry?

The overall state of our world makes me angry – so much violence, upheaval, and distrust.

Watching my daughter just be herself often makes me shed a happy tear.

Martin: What makes you laugh?

Okay, I’m going to share a guilty pleasure with you, Martin – I find humor in people tripping, and I might seriously wet myself if someone fell in front of me.  Of course, I’d help them up and make sure they weren’t injured – I’m not cruel, but I’d still be laughing!

Also, I don’t take myself too seriously, so I often find humor in the things I do and say.

Martin: Do you have a favourite quote?

I have two favorite quotes.  The first is ‘win the day.’  That’s my mantra upon waking.

The second is ‘never drop the ball.’  It’s the personal rally cry my father and I used as he battled pancreatic cancer.  ‘Never Drop The Ball’ is now tattooed atop my hand as a constant reminder.

Martin: Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

Yes, Martin, there is.  For any of your readers who are fans of horror fiction, I’d like to throw a quick plug in for Pen of the Damned.  Nina D’Arcangela and I started Pen of the Damned in 2012.  Each Tuesday, we, along with eight other wonderful authors from around the globe, take turns sharing free horror fiction for readers.  The stories and prose are always 2,500 words or less, ensuring for quick, impactful reads.  It’s been steadily gaining in popularity and something Nina and I are quite proud of.

And if I may share one more thing, it’s to ask readers to invest a little bit of time and a whole lot of emotion into reading my book Dusk and Summer.  Even if you aren’t an advocate for pancreatic cancer awareness, it’s a story that will suspend your belief about things you think you know about life and death.

Does Heaven await beneath the waves? One man needs to know.

When his dying father whispers a cryptic message to him, he has no choice but to summon his courage and begin the quest of a lifetime. It’s a race against time to realize his father’s wish and fulfill his own destiny; it’s a discovery of the unbreakable bond between father and son. It’s a journey of the heart that unfolds where only the Chosen exist – in the moments between Dusk and Summer.

“A poignant, metaphoric conversation between son and father. A story that will warm your heart.”
–Yvonne S. Thornton, M.D., bestselling author of The Ditchdigger’s Daughters

The author will be donating a portion of the proceeds from this book to the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research.

Dusk and Summer is available at:

Amazon: US |UK | Canada | Australia | Germany | France | Spain | Italy | Japan | Mexico | India | Brazil
CreateSpace | Smashwords
Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes (Apple)

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A big thank you to John and Lynn Chapman for the review. Glad you like my writing 🙂

Beneath The Floodlights by Martin Tracey. This brilliant book had me gripped from the very start. Voluptuous vampires lured me into their lascivious land, from which I had no desire to escape. This is supernatural writing at its most superb. Martin Tracey is a wonderfully talented writer who blends genres with great imagination and panache. Can’t wait for his next book, Mind Guerrilla

http://www.amazon.co.uk/review/R1AFTHQQ8SOPHP/ref=cm_cr_dp_title?ie=UTF8&ASIN=1456781839&channel=detail-glance&nodeID=266239&store=books

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So I was watching the Voice UK this Valentine’s evening, and was mystified when the judges didn’t turn for Keedie Green’s fantastic interpretation of David Guetta featuring Sia”s Titanium.

Now where am I going with this you may well ask, and how the hell am I linking a televised singing contest to my blog which is primarily about writing books? Well stay with me as that in itself is what the point of this post is all about – the unlikely marrying of two worlds.

When the four judges eventually turned in unison to explain why they hadn’t turned during what was an exceptional performance by Keedie, Will.i.am offered some words that unexpectedly connected with me and helped me make sense of my unorthodox approach to writing.

I’ve slightly beat myself up over recent times, and questioned myself regarding my methods of putting all types of subjects into the mixing pot of my novels at the same time.

Is it simply a confusing approach for the reader? I’ve often asked myself.

But then I usually go on to think about the layers of plots in Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction for instance, and convince myself that attempting to keep the viewer, or in my case the reader, guessing and interested in the twists and turns of the story is the right thing to do. Besides, I have come to understand that actually, that is how I am simply wired – to mix things up a bit and make bizarre connections, and for me to approach my writing in a much more conventional way would actually be quite difficult for me to achieve.

Most of this internal questioning has materialised after reading generic articles designed to help authors in their careers. The advice given is to encourage the author categorically to choose a single genre and to stick with it. It seems for the author to then wander away from that genre would almost be regarded as a cardinal sin! Now I am not doubting this to be good advice for most authors and there are of course countless successful authors out there who are masters in their field. Many of whom I personally enjoy and find inspirational. And let me be clear, I am not setting myself apart from other authors as being anything special either, but the truth is I struggle to approach my writing as a “one glove fits all” type of author. As I  said, I’m simply wired a bit funny!

Now my only published book to date, Beneath the Floodlights has achieved moderate success, and although there are currently not reviews a plenty out there, the ones that have been written are overwhelmingly very positive I’m glad to say. However, there have been rumblings in some circles as to why on Earth I decided to marry the two worlds of soccer and vampires together, as this perhaps made the book difficult to allocate to one specific genre. Beneath the Floodlights can be found in Local Interest sections in Midland’s Waterstone’s shops, but also on the Horror, Sport and Sci-Fi shelves. My writing tends to include supernatural or horror elements I guess, but to pigeon-hole what I write is quite a challenge. Frankly, it doesn’t really bother me, I already feel blessed that my book is simply available for any potential readers.

And that’s where Will.i.am’s words of wisdom come into the equation, though ironically he may never know how he has helped to ease my mind.

So, when Keedie Green faced the agonising prospect of trying to understand why the judges hadn’t turned for her on the Voice UK, Will.i.am explained that Mary J. Blige had once been criticised for marrying two genre’s of music together early in her career, and although Keedie’s approach of marrying pop vocals with operatic vocals was “a little confusing” for the non-judgmental Sir Tom Jones, Will.i.am pointed out that marrying two unlikely worlds together that automatically shouldn’t belong is a cool thing to do and is only attempted by a certain breed of brave person. The kind of which the entertainment world needs in order to keep evolving whether that be music, literature or whatever!

The key is to pick yourself up after the knocks, dust yourself down and use all that rejection to make you stronger and better at what you were born to do!

So I thank you Will.i.am for reassuring me that marrying the worlds of soccer and vampires was an ok thing to do.

This boosts my confidence to realise that when my next book Mind Guerrilla not only brings two worlds together but several, it is the right approach for ME as a writer. It won’t be to everyone’s taste but a writer has to be true to himself or herself.

And if the people who I am eternally grateful to for reading my books ever notice me “playing it safe” you have my sincere permission here and now to hold me to account.

Thanks for reading my blog, I hope you like reading Mind Guerrilla and it’s several plot lines, out later in 2015.

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