MEMORIAL excerpt

What better way to kick off summer than with a horror tale about a torturous and heartbreaking love?

Of course, I’m talking about MEMORIAL, my short story released specifically for Kindle platforms.

Intrigued?  Well please allow me to entice you a bit more with an excerpt from MEMORIAL:

“I believe it’s pointless to ask, Anthony. Those days have long past. Plainly you can see this.” With mournful eyes, the man sipped his bourbon, while into his chest, as if some wounded animal, burrowed a mercilessly bandaged hand.

Anthony’s hand lingered across the tacky remnants of liquor upon the table; within balled fist, a cold wad of bills. He glared upon the sullen man seated before him. “See? Yes, I can.” Fist inched forward, awkward in its urgency. “And as you can plainly see, a job well done will be rewarded.”

“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.”

“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.”

Memorial_Front_Cover_JosephAPinto

MEMORIAL

Nicholas is a sculptor, renowned throughout the land.

But now he suffers from a ruined hand; worse yet, a fractured soul.

When his brother hires his talents for a final time, however, Nicholas suddenly finds himself at a crossroads: sculpt the only love he has ever known – his own brother’s wife.

Or carve a memorial for her heart…

sale links:

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related posts: MEMORIAL

MEMORIAL

Memorial_Front_Cover_JosephAPinto

I‘m pleased to announce the Kindle ebook release of my horror short story, MEMORIAL, a tale inspired by the Greek myth of Pygmalion and Galatea.

Pygmalion was a Greek sculptor from Cyprus whose creations were famous for their life-like appearance; unfortunately for many of the local maidens, Pygmalion lost all interest in women and vowed never to marry.

Until one day, he fell in love with his own creation, a sculpture of a woman he named Galatea.

Galatea, which means ‘she who is milk-white,’ stole Pygmalion’s heart, and he desired his statue as his wife.  The goddess Aphrodite, taking pity upon Pygmalion, granted life to Galatea.  Pygmalion and Galatea eventually wed and gave birth to a son, Paphos, for which the city in Cyprus is named.

I’ve always loved this particular chapter in Greek mythology, so I took special care when crafting my own story.

If you think you have an idea how I sculpted the plot for MEMORIAL, however, you might want to guess again.  After all, I do write horror, and I’m always good for some surprises ;)

MEMORIAL

Nicholas is a sculptor, renowned throughout the land.

But now he suffers from a ruined hand; worse yet, a fractured soul.

When his brother hires his talents for a final time, however, Nicholas suddenly finds himself at a crossroads: sculpt the only love he has ever known – his own brother’s wife.

Or carve a memorial for her heart…

Memorial_Front_Cover_JosephAPinto

sale links:

Kindle ebook US

Kindle ebook UK

Kindle ebook AU

Kindle ebook FR

Kindle ebook IT

Kindle ebook JP

Kindle ebook DE

Kindle ebook ES

Kindle ebook NL

Kindle ebook BR

Kindle ebook CA

Kindle ebook MX

Kindle ebook IN

THE VAMPIRE I SEE

Established in April of 2012, Pen of the Damned has become home for some of the finest writers of horror and angst.

A strange entity, known only as the Tale Weaver, introduced its voice then as well.

Not much is known about this mysterious being – it has made its presence known but a handful of times.  It is believed, however, that the Tale Weaver speaks truths most men dare not utter.

I present to you the Tale Weaver‘s first appearance on Pen of the Damned.  I am not responsible for the erosion of your sanity…

THE VAMPIRE I SEE

taleweaver_edit_04

Enter.

Sit before the Tale Weaver.

Heed me now. ‘Tis not a chronicle I do recount, nor a fable spun beyond your wildest imagination. Aye, I impart onto you a warning, and if wise, measure my every word you will. Beware the beast that drinks not of blood but feasts upon the essence of your very being.

‘Tis the psychic vampire I speak.

Once entry is gained into your mind, there is no stopping these fiends. For that is where they dwell…and breed. Spawning their miasmal infection deep, deep into the root of your brain. Imbedded, only the hourglass marks the moment your soul succumbs to their detestable will.

Scoff you do? Hold your tongue, lest I cast you into the feculent depths from which these creatures emanate. More powerful than their undead brethren, they stride unhindered beneath sun and moon. Obscurity they prefer; yet unabashed they roam. Aberrations of ourselves, yet so closely tethered by common threads. You know who they are, yet their guise renders them unknown.

You fidget within your chair. Look not queerly upon me then, for the chill snaking along your spine betrays you. It is them. Even now, they reach with inconspicuous, needy fingers. Groping for you. How the virulent taunt.

Appetites unsatiated, they hunger your vibrance. Listen now and understand their ploy…they wish you not dead, but rather live not alive.

Do you not recognize the abhorrent ghouls now? Then introduce you I shall to these miscreations! Look and forever shall you know – friends and family and strangers their masquerade! And the cruelest of truths have I saved for last. There. There. Your eyes do not deceive you. My mirror doth not lie. Aye, the most wicked of abominations stares you back.

The torturer within.

Until next I summon you, be gone.

So the Tale Weaver speaks.

~ Joseph A. Pinto as the Tale Weaver

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

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OATS

For anyone following my blog, I guess you know by now that I’m a horror author.

Funny thing is, I barely post anything ‘horror’ here.  :P

I’ve shared my poetry.  I’ve shared poignant stories about my daughter. You’ve learned of the release of my moving novella Dusk and Summer, as well my continued efforts raising awareness in the fight against pancreatic cancer. My horror fiction, though?  Not so much.  Go figure!

But it’s good to change things up from time to time, right?  What better way to start than on the heels of my own daughter losing her two front teeth.  Ah, my little Toothless.  Thank you for the inspiration! :)

So I present to you my story ‘Oats.’  A little background: in 1992, I began keeping a notebook of story ideas and have been faithfully adding to my potpourri of twisted thoughts ever since.  ‘Oats‘ originated as an unnamed, rough 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 as well on Pen of the Damned.

‘OATS’

Folks ask all the time how I came to be raising my brothers and sisters. I tell them that my Mama and Daddy, they just run off. Guess they tired of having us kids. I tell folks that. It’s much easier than the truth of things.

We was poor back then. We still poor right now, but we was piss poor then. My brothers and sisters, we ate oatmeal from the same bowl. Notice I didn’t say shared cause when it come to five hungry children, well, five hungry children they don’t share. Five hungry children bite and scratch when food comes near. Mama, she gave up getting between us early on, on account that we needed to learn to fend for ourselves. I ain’t raising no babies, Mama would say, even if we was only babies in our own right. My brothers and sisters and me, make no mistake, we all loved the other, but we learned right quick to eat that oatmeal the second Mama ladled it into the bowl.

Now Daddy, he be out working all day long. Sometime I hear him rustling around when the sun still down and then the whoosh of the front door as he left. If he was lucky, he’d come home just in time for dinner, all us still round the table. We ate that oatmeal for dinner, too. That’s the only time we did share, ’cause Mama always ate first. Daddy too, if he was home in time. He’d scoop it right up from that bowl, right up onto his plate with those black hands of his. Daddy scrubbed his hands all the time with that bristle brush atop the slop sink, but Mama said when you work so hard sometime the dirt, it just curl up inside your skin.

Daddy worked real hard, I know that. He was never no lazy man. Sometime when you work construction, the money, well it just ain’t there to be found, I remember Daddy saying. “Ain’t no money to be found,” he’d tell Mama and me and my brothers and sisters as we ate our oatmeal. “Still ain’t no reason for me to ever stop looking.” I was always proud of my Daddy. Proud of him and his black hands.

I eventually learnt that being hungry and poor does funny things to grownups. Us kids, we made do, mostly ’cause we didn’t know any better. Us kids, we forgot we was poor until oatmeal time rolled round, mostly. After awhile Mama and Daddy though, they started grumbling under their breath about it. Time went by, their talking got louder and louder. Sometime us kids was sleeping, but other times, Mama and Daddy kept us up at night bickering about it. All that shouting. Cabinet banging, too.

Mama, she got real quiet round Daddy when we was all together. She got jittery-like. That made me nervous. And Daddy, we noticed the change come down over his face. He started coming home earlier and earlier every day. His hands not so black any more. Heard him whispering to Mama how the construction was nearly dried up. When Mama told him forceful like that he’s got to look harder for the money, he turned around, face all swollen and red like he just got himself stung by a bee.

***

I remember real clear the time Daddy told me he was gonna rob the Tooth Fairy.

I was hanging laundry on the line for Mama. Daddy come around the corner of the house, wringing his hands worse than Mama wringing the washcloths. He called my name. When I see how wild his face looked, I nearly spilled my clothespin bucket. “How long that front tooth of yours been loose, girl?” Daddy asked me, voice all strangled like.

“Week or two,” I say.

“Should fall out soon then. Real soon. Don’t you think?”

“Yes, sir. I reckon it should.”

He nodded, but it wasn’t a nod like a man agreeing to something. Daddy nodded like he was sentenced to death. I ain’t never been so scared in all my life. “Good,” he said, but he ain’t talking to me no more, he’s talking to himself. “Good, cause that tooth meant to fall any day now. Maybe any minute. I’ll be ready. Sure as shit, I’ll be ready.” My Daddy, he realized he never used cuss words in front of us kids, and it snapped him back to the here and now. “Listen, honeysuckle,” he said, ’cause that’s what he called me, honeysuckle. “Daddy found a way to make money. I ain’t proud ’bout it, but it’s a way. Now you keep this secret from your Mama, and brothers and sisters too, you hear? I’m gonna take the money from the Tooth Fairy when it come for your tooth, you understand? Don’t look scared now, girl. You know Daddy ain’t never find no reason to stop looking for the money. Well, I been looking, and I been thinking, and I found us something real good.”

“Stealing ain’t never good. You taught us that, Daddy,” I said, close to tears.

Daddy brings his face real close to mine, and my tummy hurt when I realize I don’t know this man no more. “That’s right, honeysuckle. But I know that Tooth Fairy gonna have more than enough of what we need.”

***

I slept with my hands stuffed in my mouth, terrified about that tooth falling out of my head, pressing just as strong as I could press to keep it up inside my gums. I remember waking that morning, waking with my arms down along my sides. I scraped my tongue all around inside my mouth ’till I felt that horrible hole where that tooth should have been.

Daddy stood, just waiting there in the doorway, body all slumped like the air’d been sucked from his chest. His eyes was wilder than any animal I’d ever seen. He brung a hand to his lips and shushed me real gentle like. Leaving me trying to decide what terrified me more…the fact that the black was gone from his hands, or that he was rolling my tooth between his fingers.

“Don’t go waking your brothers and sisters now,” he says to me, ’cause we all crammed into the same room, our mattresses squeezed up one against the other. “I’m gonna lay this tooth ‘neath your pillow tonight, honeysuckle, and come the morn I wager we’ll be set just a little bit better.” And with that, he just slipped away like a ghost in the stories me and my brothers and sisters scare each other with at night.

I did as Daddy said; I didn’t say nothing to nobody. Didn’t feel much like eating oatmeal that day either. I guess it was ’cause of keeping that hole in my mouth a secret.

Mama tucked us all in that night, and Daddy came in after. He kissed me last. I wrapped my arms round him like he was the teddy bear I wished he and Mama could buy me. His lips were tender on my cheek. Then I felt him fumbling under my pillow. He pulled away, and I wish I could of said Daddy don’t do it, Daddy there’s got to be better way! But he swore me to a secret, and I ain’t never disobeyed my Daddy. It was late by the time I fell asleep, that tooth beneath my pillow giving me dreams something wicked.

I’m still not sure what time it was when that window started sliding upward. Mama kept it locked come autumn, but the draft still found its way in and the nip, it always got right down to your bones. But somehow that night, that window come unlocked and sliding upward. Sure enough, the wind start moaning through the room. I squeezed my eyes real tight and did my best to make-believe I was sleeping. The window, it just keep creaking open. I started praying to the baby Jesus that the wind howling through our room was the worst thing I’d hear. But it wasn’t.

I heard it. It was a whole lot raspier than my brothers’ and sisters’ breathing. Real harsh, like nails dragged across shingles. I straight near piddled my panties when something meaty dragged itself over the windowsill. I sensed something hovering over me, its shadow darker than the dark of my closed eyes. It snorted, its stinky breath wetting my cheek. Next thing I know, my pillow done lifted straight from the bed, then settled down again. Coins start rattling in my ear.

Our bedroom door suddenly banged open, and I heard a big tussle. Groans and grunts and screaming… god-awful screaming. Then a shotgun blast. Something splattered all over my face. When I opened my eyes, Mama was sliding down the wall, but she ain’t got a head no more. And my Daddy, he be choking on a knife stuck straight through his throat. I grabbed my brothers and sisters and dragged them half-asleep from the room quick as I could. We ain’t never slept back in there again.

Since then, I ain’t never had the chance to stop looking for the money. My hands are black now, just like Daddy’s used to be. And those folks, they ask all the time how I came to be raising my brothers and sisters. No one’s gonna believe the truth. The truth of how my Mama and Daddy really done killed each other. The truth of how I saw the Tooth Fairy leaving through the window. Crooked finger at its yellowy lips, shushing me real gentle into yet another secret. I don’t tell no secrets, never have, never will.

We still eat that oatmeal. Got to—especially since I used Daddy’s old pliers to pull out every last one of our teeth.

~ Joseph A. Pinto

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

Hunter Shea and the Hell Hole Tour

Hello all! My good friend and fellow Pen of the Damned mate Hunter Shea takes over my blog today!  So without further ado, take it away Hunter!

‘From the Desk of Squatchmo’

My gracious host, Joe Pinto, and lots of other people often call me Squatch Man, Squatchmo, Mr. Bigfoot and a host of other cryptid-tinged monikers. I wear those names with pride, man. When I saw the Patterson-Gimlin film of Bigfoot on In Search Of in the mid-70s, I was hooked. I’ve been a Bigfoot loving beast ever since.

Going from passive Sasquatch enthusiast to weaver of the legend’s tales has been one of the high water marks of my career, if not life. Sure, I don’t write about true tales and investigations into BF. I leave that for folks like Loren Coleman and Nick Redfern. They own that corner, if you know what I mean.

For me, the thrill has been trying to explore new avenues of the Bigfoot mythos, to boldly go where no squatch has gone before. I got my first crack at it with my book, Swamp Monster Massacre. There, I turned to the lesser known Skunk Apes of the Everglades and let the horrific times roll! The book was my best selling (until The Montauk Monster came along this summer) and started me down the cryptid fiction path – a path I’m thrilled to tread.

So, when I started my weird west novel for Samhain, Hell Hole, I figured I’d done my bit with Bigfoot for a while and sent my heroes, Nat and Teta, to a haunted abandoned mining town in Wyoming. At the start, I planned it to be a straight up ghost story.

But, somewhere along the way, I added wild men into the mix. The book is set in 1905, before the name Bigfoot was made popular. At that time, they were known as wild men (among many other nicknames given by various Indian tribes over the centuries). Well, before I knew it, I had packs of wild men descending on Nat and Teta, howling and tearing things up before fading into the night.

This unexpected turn changed the entire story, making it, I feel, far better and scarier. And who needs 1 Bigfoot when you can have hundreds? The key here, and part of my quest to change things up, is that they may not be exactly as they seem. No matter what their origin, they are terrifying.

So my fascination with BF continues. If you want to see what two old cowpokes do when faced with the hairy fellas, check out Hell Hole. Just remember to oil your six-shooter and bring a change of pants.

hell hole

Deep in a Wyoming mine, hell awaits.

Former cattle driver, Rough Rider and current New York City cop Nat Blackburn is given an offer he can’t refuse by President Teddy Roosevelt. Tales of gold in the abandoned mining town of Hecla, in the Deep Rock Hills, abound. The only problem–those who go seeking their fortune never return.

Along with his constant companion, Teta, a hired gun with a thirst for adventure, Nat travels to a barren land where even animals dare not tread. But the remnants of Hecla are far from empty. Black-eyed children, strange lights and ferocious wild men venture from the deep, dark mine…as well as a force so sinister Nat’s and Teta’s very souls are in jeopardy.

There’s a mystery in Hecla thousands of years old. Solving it could spell the end of the world.

Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Hell-Hole-Hunter-Shea-ebook/dp/B00K1WUBJ2

Samhain Horror:
https://www.samhainpublishing.com/book/5076/hell-hole

GoodReads:
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22548186-hell-hole

Raves for Hunter Shea:

Forest of Shadows
“A frightening, gripping story that left me too frightened to sleep with the lights off. This novel scared the hell out of me and it is definitely a creepy ghost story I won’t soon forget.” –Night Owl Reviews

Sinister Entity
“This is the real deal. The fear is palpable. Horror novels don’t get much better than this.” –Literal Remains
“. . .Culminates in a climactic showdown between human and spirit that keeps you glued to the pages!” –Horror Novel Reviews

Evil Eternal
“Hunter Shea has crafted another knockout. At turns epic and intimate, both savage and elegant. . .a harrowing, blood-soaked nightmare.” –Jonathan Janz, author of The Sorrows

Swamp Monster Massacre
“If you’re craving an old-school creature-feature that has excessive gore. . .B-horror movie fans rejoice, Hunter Shea is here to bring you the ultimate tale of terror!” –Horror Novel Reviews

Hunter Shea, Biography:

Hunter Shea is the author of paranormal and horror novels Forest of Shadows, Swamp Monster Massacre, Evil Eternal, Sinister Entity, which are all published by Samhain Horror. HellHole came out in August 2014 and is his first western horror. His next Samhain novel, Island of the Forbidden, publishes January 2015.

The June 3, 2014 release of his horrifying thriller Montauk Monster was published by Kensington/Pinnacle. He’s working on a second novel to come through them.

He has also written a short story to be read prior to Sinister Entity, called The Graveyard Speaks (it’s free, go download!), and a book of stories called Asylum Scrawls. His next book from Samhain Horror, titled HellHole, is set to come out in August 2014 and is his first western horror.

His work has appeared in numerous magazines, including Dark Moon Digest, Morpheus Tales, and the upcoming anthology, Shocklines : Fresh Voices in Terror. His obsession with all things horrific has led him to real life exploration of the paranormal, interviews with exorcists, and other things that would keep most people awake with the lights on.

He is also half of the two men show, Monster Men, which is a video podcast that takes a fun look at the world of horror. You can read about his latest travails and communicate with him at http://www.huntershea.com, on Twitter @HunterShea1, Facebook fan page at Hunter Shea or the Monster Men 13 channel on YouTube.

Hell Hole button

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…

Midnight_Echo_Issue_10

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