Just Not Here

I mentioned in last week’s post that the idea behind my short story LUNCH came from a poem I had written back in December 2012. For curiosity’s sake, here it is:

JUST NOT HERE

On this darkened night I hold you
Arms empty. Your memory my solitary light
Wind raps at pane, sneaks under door
The only thing ever to cross this threshold again
Sandwich on counter grows old with mold
Milk sour. Spoiled.
None of it matters; this candle flickers
And ghosts, they creep along the floor
Sounding so much the way your footfalls once did
When you’d kiss my cheek standing in the hall.
I’d walk somewhere if it wasn’t raining so hard
These clothes already stuck to skin
The weight of everything
The wait for anything…
I’ll sit here then
Because somewhere, you are there
Somewhere. Just not here.
On this darkened night I hold you
Somewhere. Just not here.

© Copyright 2012 Joseph A. Pinto. All Rights Reserved.

LUNCH in Midnight Echo Issue 10

My short story LUNCH has been published in Australia’s horror magazine Midnight Echo, Issue 10, edited by Craig Bezant.   It’s their ‘ghost’ issue – a must read for fans of things that go bump in the night – and more than 100 pages of ghoulish fun for all!

LUNCH was conjured from a poem I had written back in December 2012 titled ‘Just Not Here,’ a reflection on someone who has tragically suffered the loss of a child, as well a house that will never again be a home.

Authors also contributing to Issue 10 include Gary A, Braunbeck, Martin Livings, A.J. Brown, Richard Farren Barber, Robert Mammone, Alan Baxter, Jacob Lambert, Rebecca Fung and Greg Chapman.

Take a read, won’t you?  Click here for a Kindle copy!

Midnight Echo, Issue 10

Print copies soon to come…

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Midnight Echo, the official magazine of the Australian Horror Writers Association

‘LULLABY’ on Pen of the Damned

A belated happy 2014!  I certainly hope this new year will be healthy and positive for you all!

I’ve never been one for resolutions because a particular day on the calendar dictates I should do so.  I believe that every day is a resolution; every moment.  Trust me, it’s a difficult way to think.  There’s so much in our lives to get caught up in.  But January 1st shouldn’t be the only time to change our way of thinking, the manner in which we treat people, or the long awaited pursuit of one’s dream.  Like I said, try to create a resolution every day.  Big or small – do it, be it, live it.  :)

So enough with my chatter!

Pen of the Damned

2013 was a good year for Pen of the Damned.  We’ve created some amazing fiction, and we’ve gained some wonderful and supportive ‘Damnlings.’  That’s why we do it, after all.  When you’re a creative mind – whether it be a writer, musician, photographer, what have you – your art form needs to be expressed and shared.  A creative mind will starve if kept bottled up.  So at least where Pen of the Damned has been concerned, it’s been an extremely positive experience.  And we believe it will only get better in 2014.  We have some great things planned, so stay tuned!

Following with what I have done in past posts here on my blog (and something I am dreadfully behind on), I’d like to introduce (or reintroduce) you to ‘LULLABY‘ which originally appeared on Pen of the Damned back in October 2013.

It was such a fun story to write.  What I loved most of all was that as it evolved from my head, I realized that ‘LULLABY’ could be and should be part of something much larger.  It’s the tale of a woman who finds herself captive in the middle of the woods along with a group of younger girls.  Who…or what…is behind this?  Hmm, good question.  Don’t you appreciate monster stories that just simply ‘are,’ without all the endless, cloying explanation?  I certainly do, and I think that’s why “LULLABY‘ is so appealing.

Take a read (or a reread) won’t you?  ‘LULLABY,’ only on Pen of the Damned.

‘Oats’ on Pen of the Damned

Since 1992, I’ve kept a notebook collection of story ideas and have been faithful in adding to my potpourri of twisted thoughts ever since.

Oats‘ originated as an unnamed, loose story about a child who loses a tooth, and her evil father who won’t allow her to keep it. I’m pleased that my voice has evolved enough to warrant a re-visitation of that entry from all those years ago.

‘Oats’ was first published in The Sirens Call eZine Issue #8 – Men in Horror and most recently on Pen of the Damned.

If you’ve missed it, please indulge in some ‘OATS.’

I’m also happy to announce the winners of my ‘Horror-tica‘ giveaway!  They are: Madison Woods, Malina Roos and Sue Ann Rakes.  Congrats to all!  Please enjoy the anthology :)

‘Horror-tica’ giveaway

Who doesn’t love horror?  Who doesn’t love sex?  I see that smile across your face, so maybe you have the same thing on your mind as I did when I wrote ‘Plastic.’

Plastic‘ originally appeared in the Masters of Horror: Damned If You Don’t anthology back in 2010.  It was a story I wrote just for the hell of it earlier that year; a deranged little tale about a man and his love for his sex doll.  I was happy to find a publisher that enjoyed my warped mind.  Three years later, I’m lucky enough that Kevin G. Burton of Cruentus Libri Press has similarly succumbed to my brand of twistedness.  ‘Plastic‘ is now featured in the anthology Horror-tica.

To celebrate, I’m giving away three (3) Kindle copies of Horror-tica to anyone leaving a comment on this blog post.  It’s that easy!  (winners picked at random, names will be drawn from my lucky New Orleans Saints hat).

Here’s an excerpt from ‘Plastic’ to get you wet – your interest, that is ;)

…He unbuttoned his shirt.  He was a bit clumsy.  He tried not to look as he did so, but fumbled at the buttons.  Nervous sweat dampened his pits.  He only wanted to be as sexy as those Chippendales, but the damn buttons.  He glanced at Bunny.  Oh yeah, her back arched impatiently.  She was ready.  Uh-huh.  Girlfriend wanted him.  She wouldn’t care if he skipped the rest of his dance.  Damn you, Chippendales.

He ripped the remainder of the buttons from his shirt.  Flipped his shoes off, yanked the belt from around his waist as if his life depended on it, tore at the button of his pants and…  The belt dangled from his hand; for a moment, he contemplated.  It’d been awhile since he last drew it tightly around his neck.  But tonight wouldn’t be a night to satisfy fetishes.  Tonight would be a night to appease carnal desire.  He flung the belt aside and removed his pants and boxers…

Horror-tica

Can’t wait for the giveaway and want to pick up a copy of your own? You can find here it on Amazon

‘Hierarchy’ giveaway

When I came across the call for Sirens Call Publications’ ‘Mental Ward: Stories from the Asylumanthology, I eagerly jumped on it.  How could I not spin a tale about what goes on behind the walls of madness?

One thing I have learned about my own writing is that anything I may have planned might as well be tossed out the window.  My stories take a life all of their own and often lead to a narration arc outside the box.  It makes finding a home for them a study in supreme patience, but in the grand scheme of things, that is a good problem to have.  

As I prepared my contribution to ‘Mental Ward: Stories from the Asylum,’ one clear thought in my head emerged: my tale would revolve around an elderly patient named Gloria who had been trapped within an institution for longer than anyone could remember.  Wouldn’t you know it, by the time I hit my stride in only the second paragraph, my brain sprinted off in a completely different direction.

I have to be honest, aside from my initial thoughts about a character named Gloria, I had no inspiration behind what would become my story Hierarchy.’  And that is the complete thrill as a writer — it is like stepping off a ledge to nowhere, only strangely enough, you are completely cognizant that you are heading somewhere

Unfortunately, I cannot reveal the slightest bit about ‘Hierarchy,’ other than to say it was a complete joy to step off that shadowy ledge while writing it.  Divulging anything further would ruin your journey through what ultimately became my spiraling madness.  It is narrated outside the box (would you expect anything less from me?), and I have extreme confidence when I say that you, faithful reader, shall be thrilled to jump off the ledge alongside me while reading. 

I am happy to report that I was not committed upon completion of my tale.

I hope you enjoy my storyHierarchy,’ as well as the other fine stories contained within the walls of Mental Ward: Stories from the Asylum.’  A small excerpt is below.

GIVEAWAY TIME!!  Simply leave a comment on this post & be eligible to WIN a free Kindle version of ‘Mental Ward: Stories from the Asylum.’  Three (3) lucky winners will be chosen at random (the old name in a hat trick lol).


Mental Ward: Stories from the Asylum

MW_Final_Front_Cover_V2

Sanatorium, mental ward, psychiatric hospital – they’re all the same. Places where the infirm, the crazy, and the certifiable go for treatment… Or what passes for ‘treatment’.

This is a collection of stories of bedlam taking place within the padded walls of an institution. Stories of experiments gone wrong, patients revolting against the staff, or even the deranged doings of those charged with giving care. They are sick, depraved, and atrocious – the type of stories that rarely reach the light of day.

Are you brave enough to crawl inside the minds of the thirteen authors who wrote these tales… Or are you afraid you’ll be locked up for peeking?

Featuring the talents of:
Delphine Boswell, Alex Chase, Sean Conway, Megan Dorei, A.A. Garrison, Tom Howard, Russell Linton, Suzie Lockhart and Bruce Lockhart 2nd, Jennifer Loring, Sergio Palumbo, Joseph A. Pinto, and D.M. Smith

Purchase Links:
Amazon: US, CA, UK, DE, FR, IT, ES, BR, JP, IN
CreateSpace   Smashwords


Here is a small taste of ‘Hierarchy’. I hope you enjoy reading it.

I have learned a great deal in my time trapped here. If only the others could say the same…

If only these walls could speak.

But Gloria does. Incessantly. And has not stopped since first admitted to this ward. Ward. I cannot help but snicker at my Freudian slip. The word, cold and unforgiving in its own right, nonetheless suggests the tiniest sliver of hope when spoken in my mind. But cold and unforgiving would be a welcome reprieve for the hell these husks of wasting flesh find themselves trapped within; nothing more than common livestock to be herded, slowly quartered. I will recognize it for what it truly is, then—an asylum, alive of its own accord, its sickened heart bloated with the poison coursing through this decrepit place.

Since first wheeled on the gurney through these doors, Gloria has not shut up.

Chattering to invisible entities —friends, family, perhaps? Always, no one is there; of this, I am quite sure. No soul, living or dead, aspires to linger within this rotted canyon of the lost. Gloria does not truly speak, however; she mouths unintelligible, disconnected exhalations that one would assume are sentences. In truth, they are nothing more than neurotic blatherings. I am sure Gloria did not ask for this. No sane person would. Still, she finds herself here, like so many of the others, the corners of her lips moist with drool, soiled rag of what passes as a nightgown hanging about her emaciated body. Aside from the haunts in her mind, she remains alone. Still, I possess no pity for her.

Not for any of them.

Today, Gloria sits before a crooked wooden desk, a tepid bowl of tomato soup atop its warped surface. She shoves a rusted spoon and a single piece of moldy white bread to the side. Into the coagulating surface of the soup she dips her hand, and then proceeds to greedily suck upon her slickened fingers. The sound simply unbearable, is still a welcome reprieve from her babbling. She slurps each finger down to the knuckle until the bowl is half consumed. Face and gown now a pink slathered mess, she slumps forward.

Then she talks to the walls.

She rambles, a mad incantation of mangled syllables, every so often chortling over her stream of nonsense. Every so often she nods, some sense of approval discovered within the conversation polluting her brain. Today, however, something is different. I have listened to her ravings with as much patience as one could expect, tirelessly enduring as the sun rises and falls beyond the bars of her grime-stained window. Now her endless torrent of gibberish ceases. Now something coherent comes forth from her lips. “I… hear…”

Anxiously I await more, but her focus shifts from the shadows of nether that only her cloudy eyes seem to pinpoint to the orderly that shuffles through the doorway.

A puzzled look upon his greasy face slowly fades as he scans her room for the sound. He has little to check over—sparse, generic furniture squats upon the squalid floors. Characterless, colorless. Lifeless, like so much here. He blows a disgusted sigh from his pudgy cheeks. “You’re a mess.”

Gloria reaches for her white bread. Nibbles disinterestedly on a broken corner of crust…

© Copyright 2013 Joseph A. Pinto. All Rights Reserved.

‘Sweet Nothings’ on Pen of the Damned

Believe it or not, I first wrote ‘Sweet Nothings‘ way back in May of 1988.  Then, it was titled ‘I Know Something You Don’t Know.’  The original concept was that of a man who learns his girlfriend has cheated on him, so he kidnaps her lover and tortures him.  The twist, of course, is that he never reveals his evil ways to his girlfriend.

I never thought it was a good story.  To me, it seemed too plain, too simple.  Too predictable.  I never discarded it, however, and 25 years later, I thumbed through it again.  It seemed the perfect offering for the readers of Pen of the Damned – after an infusion of new blood, of course!  And hence, ‘Sweet Nothings‘ was reborn.

My story is extremely ‘voice’ driven and pulls you in from the start.  It’s not flashy; it’s not complex.  But I dare you to admit it did not make you shudder…

Please enjoy ‘Sweet Nothings‘ on Pen of the Damned