‘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

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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.

“Oats” in The Sirens Call eZine

I‘m happy to announce that my story “Oats” is currently appearing in The Sirens Call eZine Issue #8 – Men in Horror!

Sirens Call has consistently published strong anthologies since emerging on the horror scene, and their eZines have definitely followed suit.  Issue #8 is no different.  98 pages of horrific fun featuring short stories, flash fiction, poetry, artwork and more.  The unbelievable thing is that the ladies over at Sirens Call make their eZines free to everyone.  Download and read it chunks at a time or devour it all at once!  The choice is yours!

What’s so special about “Oats,” you ask?  Well, I’ve kept and maintained a collection of story ideas since 1992, and no matter how silly or odd an idea may sound, into my tome it goes!  It could be something snipped from the news, or a nightmarish conjuring from within my head.  No idea is judged; no idea deemed too good or bad.

Oats” originated around 1993 as an unnamed, loose story about a child who loses a tooth and the evil father who won’t allow said child to keep it.  I knew that Sirens Call was looking for submissions for Issue #8, so I decided it would be fun to go burrowing into my journal.  Lo and behold, an entry caught my eye.  Twenty years later, I am proud of the fact I birthed that idea to fruition.

So what do you get when you mix a creepy tooth fairy and my love for oatmeal in one bowl?  Well, “Oats” of course.

Please download Sirens Call Publications Issue #8 – Men in Horror! for free and read “Oats“, which is on page 34, along with the a multitude of fine stories by talented writers including two other Pen of the Damned members!.  Please drop me a message and let me know what you think.

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Insight behind “Sweet Nectar of Life”

I had a blast writing “Sweet Nectar of Life!”  It wasn’t such a blast getting there, however.

Just months before crafting the tale, my daughter entered this world.  I simply didn’t know how I’d cope.  I’d lost my father to pancreatic cancer only two months before, and the swell and swing of emotions was simply beyond my grasp.  I couldn’t comprehend that my own father was gone, let alone that I was becoming one.  It became a dark time within my heart, and I was oblivious to the sunshine surrounding me.

So how could I have had so much fun writing “Sweet Nectar of Life?”  It became very therapeutic for me; the story spoke and I listened.  My tongue firmly planted in my cheek throughout, it is nonetheless a dark tale, and the suspense and cold dread are without question palpable.  More than anything else though, “Sweet Nectar of Life” taught me an invaluable lesson.  If I did “dad” things instead of thinking I was now a “dad,” well, then “dad” would be just fine.  And I was.  From that point forward, being anything other than a dad to my sweet little sunshine seemed incomprehensible, and still is to this day.

Sweet Nectar of Life” is currently in the Cruentus Libri Press anthology ‘The Dark Side of the Womb.’  A glowing review for the anthology can be found at Review Folder.

Wet your appetite with a little taste:

“Sweet Nectar of Life”

Yet did I somehow… no, impossible!  I’m beginning to sound like a crazy man.  But what if… what if I’d inadvertently cursed the child while it still lay in its mother’s womb?  Like the hex the infamous Mother Leeds placed on her ill-fated thirteenth infant, doomed to suffer a fate only the damned could appreciate. 

I’d done no such thing, of course.  Not consciously.  Oh but how the worry picks at my brain the way a rat nibbles on discarded scraps!  And I did have my worries.  I was justified to have my worries.  I’d expect any man to have them – but would they voice them as I had?  Raising a child in today’s world… the corruption of society… the erosion of morals… the implosion of economics…  I’m not ashamed for stating that a man and woman could be considered downright selfish for introducing an innocent soul into this cesspool we call humanity.  What is greater – the loss or the gain?   

My wife, as expected, was appalled.  My arguments (which I believed as entirely sensible and she as entirely unforgivable) drove her from our room on numerous occasions.  God granted the miracle of birth; did He not also grant the miracle of free will, thought and speech?  Why couldn’t I exercise my own?  So many nights I left my bed to lay upon the couch as the question ping-ponged inside my head.  And just before dawn, face drawn from distress and insomnia, I’d sneak back into bed again, finding my wife the way I left her – sleeping upon her side, pillow between her knees, one hand dangling over the edge of the mattress, the other gripping her swollen stomach…

Give “Sweet Nectar of Life” a loving home, won’t you?  It may be the last thing you ever do…

Available on Amazon.com

Insight behind “Memorial”

I wrote ‘Memorial” in response to an anthology call from Sirens Call Publications for ‘Twisted Realities: Of Myth and Monstrosity’.  The premise intrigued me; a collection of tales exploring mythology from any culture, transformed into a modern-day horror.  Mythology, primarily Greek mythology, has transfixed me since I had my first taste of it as a little kid, so when the opportunity arose, I jumped on it.

I enjoy thinking outside the box when writing, so I knew I wasn’t interested in one of the more popular Greek myths.  Almost instantly my mind was drawn to the legend of Pygmalion, a renowned sculptor from Cyprus, whose creations were so flawless they bordered on lifelike.  The maidens of Cyprus all pined for Pygmalion, but he cared not for their affections.  For Pygmalion, his work remained his only passion.  Incredibly, Pygmalion falls in love with one of his own sculptures, a wondrous carving of a woman, and for a long time thereafter lives a wretched existence loving a lifeless thing.

As the myth goes, on the day of the feast dedicated to the goddess Venus, Pygmalion prays to her that he might find a maiden as magnificent as his beloved statue.  Venus hears his prayer and grants Pygmalion’s sculpture life.  Pygmalion names his new maiden Galatea; they marry and eventually have a son named Paphos.

The myth of Pygmalion reads very much like a love story.

But for those who have read my work before, clearly my tale was not going to turn out that way.  I grabbed it by the throat and made it my own blend of pain and horror.

“Memorial” is the tale of two brothers: Anthony, the arrogant and jealous heir to his family’s shipping business, and Nicholas, a brilliant yet reclusive sculptor.  Wedged between them is Nicholas’ tragic love for Anthony’s wife, Catarina.  Think you have an idea where this story is headed?  Guess again.  If there’s one thing you’ll learn about me, it’s that I’m anything but predictable.

Indulge in a sample, will you?

Memorial

“At last, bravado found at the bottom of your glass.  Is that the residue of passion, Nicholas, or merely passion’s inspiration?”

A thread’s breadth parted Nicholas’ lips as bourbon drizzled tongue.  Eyes danced but to the song of another day, transfixed by noiseless, ghostly chords.  “Some people wish to choose their vice.  But for others, the vice chooses them.”

“Killing yourself slowly with alcohol now, then.”

“It’s not alcohol of which I speak.”  The words hung between them.

Hesitation.  Eventually Anthony loomed over the table.  “She’s gone, Nicholas,” and instantly the music ceased; a blackened veil draped his features.  Hand plummeted to the table, the snifter nearly shattering atop the sticky grain.  Bourbon splashed Anthony’s knuckles, but fast his posture remained.  He studied his brother with dulled satisfaction.  Slowly, by inches, he lowered his considerable frame, pouring his bulk into the opposite seat.  Watching intently.  Silence, broken only by Nicholas’ strangled mewls.

Nicholas dabbed at the corner of his trembling lips.  “When?” His voice a hoarse murmur.

“Six months ago.  You’ve changed your haunts.  It’s made finding you difficult, but not impossible.  I thought you had fallen from the face of the earth, too.  Like Catarina.”

Stinging, the words.  Nicholas winced, eyes searching.  Searching.

“The illness…came on suddenly.  The doctors could do nothing.  Her body already rampant with disease, but Catarina, she said little.  You should know well of my wife’s strength.”  Anthony’s back stiffened in anticipation, but his brother, snared within the throes of paralysis, offered nothing.  “You should know well of many things concerning my wife.”

A sharp exhalation escaped Nicholas’ lips.

“Aah, poor Nicholas.  The sound of guilt?”  Anthony leaned across the table.  “I’ve known about you all this time.”


You can find “Memorial” in print through Sirens Call Publications ‘Twisted Realities: Of Myth and Monstrosity’ at Amazon, CreateSpace

Also in eBook: Amazon, Amazon.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr, Amazon.it, Amazon.es, Smashwords (Nook, Kobo, Sony and Kindle eReaders)

Twisted Realities: Of Myth and Monstrosity

Twisted Realities: Of Myth and Monstrosity from Sirens Call Publications…

What would happen if myths and monsters collided in today’s world? Would they take a backseat to the mayhem that humans create on a daily basis? Explore the twelve tales crafted by twelve talented authors who asked themselves those very questions. The answers may surprise you…

Myth or reality…

Explore the twelve tales of horror and intrigue in Twisted Realities: Of Myth and Monstrosity and ask yourself, what would you consider a fair price to pay for life immortal… or the chance of life at all?

Would a young woman pass up a shiny bauble if she believed it to be nothing more than a harmless trinket? What transpires once a year in a peaceful and remote village that no one will ever speak of? What better way for a broken man to honor a crippled existence than with a memorial of blood and vengeance? How could a disfigured woman ever dream of chancing across an object that would restore her beauty – and at what cost?

Follow the twists and turns of each writer as they delve into the legends of days gone by, as well as the consequences that are wrought when myths and monstrosities collide with our world.

Contributing Authors include:

Thomas James Brown, Nina D’Arcangela, K. Trap Jones, Amber Keller, Lisamarie Lamb, Edward Lorn, Alexa Muir, Kate Monroe, Joseph A. Pinto, J. Marie Ravenshaw, Julianne Snow, and Jonathan Templar

Twisted Realities: Of Myth and Monstrosity is available in print and digital forms from these find retailers:
Print: Amazon, CreateSpace
eBook: Amazon, Amazon.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr, Amazon.it, Amazon.es, Smashwords (Nook, Kobo, Sony and Kindle eReaders)


Excerpts from three of the twelve magnificent stories contained within Twisted Realities: Of Myth and Monstrosity. For a preview of all 12 stories, please go to SirensCallPublications.com

Memorial – Joseph A. Pinto

“What I do…what I did…never constituted a job. A job does nothing to stir the soul. Only passion achieves such a state of grace.” The man inhaled deeply—of the bourbon or the proposal, left to dangle in air—Anthony was not sure. But he did not appreciate the smooth impassiveness across the man’s alabaster face. Did not appreciate it in the least.

“Passion?”

“Yes. A job is measured by hours. But passion’s hours are timeless.”

“It seems your passion has nearly left you a cripple, while my job has left me a wealthy, wealthy man,” Anthony sneered.

“You are my brother, Anthony. And had you not been, I’d find your gaffe of words truly insulting.”

“At last, bravado found at the bottom of your glass. Is that the residue of passion, Nicholas, or merely passion’s inspiration?”

A thread’s breadth parted Nicholas’ lips as bourbon drizzled tongue. Eyes danced but to the song of another day, transfixed by noiseless, ghostly chords. “Some people wish to choose their vice. But for others, the vice chooses them.”

Voices – Kate Monroe

No one believed in the gods of old. Maeve blamed the internet for the birth of the new wave of cynicism that had pervaded throughout the world she restlessly roamed. No one accepted anything at face value these days.

Magic was once widely acknowledged and respected; witches and warlocks were a common feature of every village that she cast her net over. Now it was no more than a child’s fairytale and literary escapism for those who quietly rebelled against the skepticism of the twenty first century. Even the lore of old was dismissed as old wives’ tales and uninformed mumbo-jumbo. What chance did the gods stand when to almost everyone they were intangible, inexplicable; and, in the truest sense of the word, incredible?

Maeve, though – or the being that wore the name of Maeve Regan – was a goddess. She had reveled, once, secure and resplendent in the soothing embrace of unfailing belief in who she was and what she stood for. Entire armies would fall at her feet and sing her praises, lifting their voices to the heavens in exaltation and fear. Oh, yes; fear! She shuddered in delight as she allowed herself a moment’s somber recollection.

Drakul – K. Trap Jones

My name is Drakul and I have become a lost cause, a faded shadow of my former self. I was once a loyal follower of Dionysus, the God of grape harvest and wine, until the others discovered my weakness. Immortality flows through my veins along with the wine, but only one of them actually helps me to erase the memories of my past. I turn to my friendly liquid for acceptance and for denial of what I have become. I am a satyr; half-goat, half-man, but a full drunkard. I am immortal, but death can greet me from the hands of any God.

The wine has become my only friend, for it is that within the goblet that I truly consider my companion; but alas, even he is not above betraying me on occasion. I had an unfortunate event that pushed me away from the glory of the Gods to where I find myself today. Before I wallow too deep in the present, allow me to reflect upon the past. For it is within the sands of time that my prosperity truly reigns supreme. It was within the protection of the Gods where I truly became gifted, but it was within the winery orchards where I found my betrayers.

Don’t eat the cheese

Sex, as we all know, is the mechanism that puts us all on the planet, it’s proof positive that God wants us to feel something pleasant while we’re here. Having said that…it CAN be a ‘slippery slope’ leading some individuals to a Pandora’s Box of perversions that can destroy any hope for a healthy relationship.

There were two shocking, cult-classic horror tales in a genre all their own: one is “Love Doll” by Joe R. Lansdale, another is “Somebody to Love” by Robert Bloch.

And now, courtesy of Mr. Joseph Pinto, there are three…

That’s how editor Ken Kupstis introduces my short story “Plastic” in the May release of Triskadeika Books’ ‘Masters of Horror: Damned If You Don’t’ anthology.  My initial reaction was to momentarily sink into my chair, humbled.  My name mentioned in the same breath as horror greats Joe R. Lansdale & Robert Bloch?  It didn’t seem real.  But euphoria fled me ten seconds later.

I realized I couldn’t eat the cheese.

Sean Payton, head coach of the 2009 Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints ( and my favorite team), told his team all throughout their magical run that season, “Don’t eat the cheese.”

Don’t get complacent.  Don’t ever take your eyes off the prize.

Writing horror… it’s what I love. Still, there are goals to be accomplished, visions to be fulfilled.  Recognition & praise is nice, but if you allow that to be your fuel, then baby, you’re going to go nowhere fast.  Blood and guts, that’s what I’m all about.  Put me in the trenches.  I’m not afraid of the hard work.  I’m not afraid of the pain.

I have two goals when it comes to my writing career. 

One: remember my name.  It’s not about the glory or the praise.  I want my name to linger on the  lips and in the minds of all after they’ve read my work.  Once that happens, things will fall into place.

Two: set my personal bar as high as I can so that one day my daughter will surpass it, regardless of the career she should pursue.  I need to leave a positive legacy for her, something she can point to and say,”Wow, my Dad worked his butt off and achieved that?  Well then, I’ll work even harder and achieve this!”

Two goals.  Seems absurdly simple. 

A poem I wrote years ago suddenly comes to mind:

STAR

I want to be a burning star in the sky,
Want to be more than a memory
A legacy
That brilliant twinkle found in your eye.
But I’m still stuck beneath the big top
Still caught in the sideshow
Got a big set of wings
With nowhere to go.
I want to be a flaming star in the sky,
Want more than is meant for me
My destiny
Can’t be spent wondering why.
But I’m still stuck beneath the big top
Still caught in the sideshow
Got to take a chance man
I just got to go.
I want to be a shooting star in your sky,
And when you see me fall
Just let me crash and burn.

So thank you, Ken, for the delicious looking dish you’ve served.  While truly appreciated, I still must politely decline.

 I’ll get fat if I eat the cheese.

(Best wishes for a speedy recovery, Ken!)

(A future post will be provided detailing the soon-to-be-released talent laden anthology “Damned If You Don’t” )