I‘m fuzzy at the edges while you scrape
sharp lines at each of my corners. I try to
protect myself but still you find a way
around my childproof barriers. A chord is
struck each time your mouth twists and
I feel toddler small—
spanked in self-serving lessons of
obedience, cheeks reddened;
chest heaving with perpetual adolescent sobs.

© Copyright 2014 Joseph A. Pinto. All Rights Reserved.


Ye who plant the seed shall burden the responsibilities
of the fruit; yet I suffer the toil of a heart long laden of dirt.
Grown useless, gnarled, I twist now under the rising gale of wind;
you are a storm that shall never crest.
How I crave for my roots to be severed,
to a garden of lush greens
yet I wither,
longing for vine ripened spices – a spot of sunshine
I could never quite feel.

© Copyright 2014 Joseph A. Pinto. All Rights Reserved.

Little Things

I can’t believe that my daughter is nearly a month into first grade.

It seems like only yesterday that together we took a walk to her future elementary school. She was only three years old then. She sported a Tinker Bell hat atop her head and wore a Cookie Monster backpack – practice for ‘when she got bigger.’ We watched the children during recess as they ran across the school grounds; I watched her watching them, admiring the glow her wide eyes cast. “You’ll be there one day,” I whispered. “You’ll be on the other side of that fence.” A smile swallowed her face whole and she laughed deliriously. I’ll never forget that day. Funny; certain little things come your way in life that you’d never expect to encounter but once they do, you know enough to seize them. You know enough to store them away. Somewhere safe, where they can last forever.

Athena is six now. If you have followed my blog for any length of time then you’ll know I write of her often. She never ceases to inspire me. To teach. She was born with a deletion of her chromosome seven – the punch list of its effects reads like a horror story. But with extensive therapies, she has nearly overcome it all. She does everything full steam ahead. The little things do not escape her.

But first grade has been a big adjustment for her. Children are expected to be more independent within the classroom. Their workload has increased considerably – I joke that the homework she comes home with is now my homework as well. Unfortunately, there have already been a few days where the struggle has been considerable and she’s broken out in tears.

And yet she smiles through it all and plows forward. She smiles and it swallows her face whole, and her eyes dance with a glow unlike anything I’ve ever seen. I can’t help but realize she’s on the other side of that fence now – in life, in all things.

Already, she has learned to capture every little thing.  Including me.

My Writing Process Blog Tour

I‘ve been graciously asked to contribute to the ‘My Writing Process‘ blog tour by author Michael Thomas-Knight. Thank you, Michael! Michael has over thirty-five short horror stories in various books, magazines, publications and websites. He also loves to review horror films; his blog, ‘Parlor of Horror,’ is absolutely chock full of stories, galleries and information to delight any horror fan. After all that, how could I let Michael down by not participating in the ‘My Writing Process‘ blog tour?

So here we go!

1. What am I working on?
Currently, I’m just beginning to crank up the promotional and marketing machine for my latest release, ‘Dusk and Summer.’ Ironically, my novella is anything other than a horror story; it’s actually a contemporary fantasy story written in tribute to my father who passed seven years ago from pancreatic cancer. I took elements of my father’s passion of scuba diving and turned it into a tale about a dying father who sends his only son on a mission to lay his soul to rest at sea. I won’t give anything else away, but the book is completely taking readers by surprise. Most importantly, I’m donating a portion of all proceeds to the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research.

I am hoping, however, to start a new horror novel in the next month or so once I get a better handle on my book promotion. There’s only so much time in a day, after all.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I think my work differs from others of its genre, that being horror of course, because of my flexibility and ability to adapt. I don’t write in just one set ‘voice’ or ‘style;’ my stories dictate the direction of their travel, as well the means of their intent. I serve only as their guide. But inevitably, my stories are recognizable by the concise manner in which I deliver them. I don’t like to be wordy, so my structure is often punchy and impactful.

3. Why Do I Write What I Do?
I write what I do because I simply have a burning desire! I see a glimpse of an image in my head, and from that alone a story takes shape. Writing is my therapy – it calms me, allows me to see within myself and process all that I am. It just happens to come in the guise of monstrous and disturbing tales.

4. How Does My Writing Process Work?
My writing process is fairly simple: I mute the world and clear my head. And by clearing my head I mean getting rid of that day’s stress, as well as not thinking of what I’m about to write at all. I then fall into a daydream sort of mode. While that’s going on, I may light some candles and incense. Not to channel spirits or demons (then again, who knows – lol), but to just cleanse myself. I crank a playlist that puts me in the right mood and might even pour a drink. Finally, I glance at my daughter’s photograph and remind myself of the reason I work tirelessly at what I do.


Okay, now I’m choosing my own nominee (only one person but for a very good reason) for the next ‘My Writing Process‘ blog tour. She’ll be answering these same very questions on her own blog on July 21 – make sure you visit! :)

1. Nina D’Arcangela- My only nominee is Nina D’Arcangela, my partner in crime with Pen of the Damned.  Personally, I can’t wait to hear about her writing process.  I don’t think anyone truly knows just how much Nina does, and if you did, you’d be astounded!  Let me scratch the surface:  Nina is one of the founders of Sirens Call Publications –  every horror writer needs to have them on their radar.  She is also the owner of Dark Angel Photography, an extremely talented writer who cranks out some wicked emotive prose, a marketing specialist, a web developer, an avid reader, an UrbEx adventurer, a weird quirky geek (hey, your own words, Nina! lol), a devoted wife, loving momma to her kitty cats (who secretly tap out stories on her keyboard while Nina is sleeping!), and truly the biggest and most unselfish supporter of authors and their craft that I know.  Nina doesn’t ever seek the spotlight, but I’m pushing her (albeit screaming) into it, and that’s why she’s my sole nominee; she deserves it!  :)



The call came
that you were gone
and all that remained
was the simple act of driving
to see you one last time.

Your own terms
something I will admire.

You left me
a husk
something you never were
something hard to erase from memory

And during that simple act of driving
when all that remained
were your terms
I remembered the final time I lay with you
a husk
the party long over
the curtain long drawn.

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



I thought you would follow, but the willow reed swallowed me whole
At least that’s the excuse you sold…
I’d been too busy tightening bolts
Preparing for traffic that would never come.
On the opposite end of nothing now
I’ve teetered upon this sharp edge far too long
Waiting for that willow reed to part
A path once cut through it; I suppose now it’s gone
Should my bridge someday be crossed
Unlike that lost, forgotten route
I’ll keep to tightening bolts, even if my hands get torn
The willow reed once led the way, at least
So you’d sworn.

(first appeared in Damned Words 2 http://wp.me/p2iKoL-u8)

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

Image © Copyright Dark Angel Photography. All Rights Reserved.


Yours to Keep


Little girl
you grow before my eyes and
the feel of your hand in mine as I walk you to school
stills my restless demons;
I am far from a perfect man but
I live to be flawless in your eyes.
Every kiss you bless upon my cheek
reminds me that while I am responsible
for protecting your life,
you have saved mine.
Sometimes I see glimpses
of the woman you will grow to be and
your subtle grace melts me.
Please know that being your father
is my greatest achievement and honor;
with the very first flutter of your eyes
I became yours to keep

© Copyright 2014 Joseph A. Pinto. All Rights Reserved.