In The Middle Of Somewhere

Poetry Collection

by J. Matthew Waters

Sundays and poetry go so well together. Traditionally, the mornings are spent in some sort of recline. Music, coffee and words to rise to is my standard pattern. Poets personal points of view are intriguing to decipher. Trapped inside cryptic puzzles to piece and unravel. You find out a lot about the poet not only through their work but through their websites and interaction on social media. You can tell J Matthew Waters is passionate about his creations. You’ll always find him sharing his and others via Twitter and I always look forward to see what he has discovered.

I often know nothing about the author till after I read their work. I find this process is fun, their life maps inside chapters help me discover where the poet comes from. I prefer clues to what has shaped them to write what they write, decipher fact from fiction that I find in lines. I discovered he is American, he gardens, has a family and seems very happy and comfortable. You read some of J’s pieces over and over, as only the Poet themselves know the truth and motivation of a poem. In between is where I make my conclusions. Reading In The Middle Of Somewhere definitely got me thinking.

This is the third time I have dipped in and out of this collection. Each time my opinions change, new feelings surface and so does my enjoyment. A perfect beginning. Shadow starts his reminiscence of our instincts and innocence. He then leads into more historical pieces, transporting us back and inside tragedies, celebrating courage and helplessness. These pieces induce a melancholia but his respect soothes with composure and sentiment “like a sequestered historian I recounted events once lost to yellowed and misplaced manuscripts

I enjoy his pieces on the poetic process. Once In San Antoine and Unrealistic Haiku Expectations, when beauty and meaning is found in the method, here is where we get a breath of his humour. His holiday poetry is delightful, exotic destinations experienced and imagined. You scan his view, walk in his insightful shoes. Nothing But A Vestigial Drawing reveals another passion “A thousand miles from here viewing gardens I had been meaning to plant, I sit and sketch” His love of nature blooms, Watching A Petal a wondrous reflection, “a soft, geranium petal strained to reach the four o’clock sun” Reading J Matthew Waters is a peaceful experience. Reunion and old age, time and memory, life becomes an echo, reminding us that one’s existence is a blink in a moment. Some subjects show age, spooning corks from bottle caps a little clue to era. Poems about leprechauns, ancestry, drinking, love and narcolepsy. Close to my heart is Irresistible Force as “The fox in the sky wanders by day, the universe his playing field” I stretch and relax into a dappled sun having enjoyed yet another poetic devotee.

J. Matthew Waters collection, In The Middle Of Somewhere and other poetic works can be found via

You can connect with him via Twitter



My Writing Process Blog Tour

Many thanks to author Craig McGray for plucking me out of the ether and inviting me onto the My Writing Process grand tour of the universe! I’ve found myself alongside three damn exciting writers of the dark stuff including the deadly beauty of Magenta Nero and the yet to be devoured Dylan J Morgan . My host, horror writer Craig McGray certainly has a gift for gore. His short black tales that I have read, are served with a sinister spoon of smirk. Images projecting themselves into my head forever. One in particular, I just can’t seem to erase it – that’s a sign of good writing in my book.

the blogCraig is also a member of the eclectic horror writer collective

Pen Of The Damned. I’ve discovered so many mischievous minds over at Damned HQ. One of the best crew of misfits I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. Psyches bleed endless plots of sordid mayhem, their imaginations a shiver on the page. Joseph S Pinto and Nina D’Arcangela, like strong brass gothic bookends hold the group together, coaxing mischief from it’s members and reveling in the craft of storytelling.

You should have a stroll yourself through his shadow land via and

The baton is passed and I am ready to run.

What Am I working on

I am many hands clasping, a hundred arms pulling. Absorbing too many projects at once – it will surely be my downfall but I am The Hungry Fox. So here are a few I have in the pipeline. There is such a backlog of pieces I’m itching to review. I tend to concentrate on Indie writers especially those I find via Twitter. My blog is a magazine of sorts. Collaborating, sharing and promoting. It is my engine room, a replication of myself and a record of what I am enjoying, the new creatives I am meeting and a place to dabble in my own creative pieces. Soon I will be launching my book narration project with two erotica pieces in the works. The next couple of months will see me in lock down collaborating on a horror release with an American horror author.

How does my work differ from others of its genre

Well I think my eclecticism makes me different especially for a one mind operation. Very soon my blog will be getting a fresh lick of paint, and I feel like I finally know exactly how I want it to work. It will link out to seven or eight seperate blogs, each covering different genres from erotica to music, art to horror. Then there is my own writing and collaborations. The Mistress & Evangeline is one of my favourites , erotica set in Montmartre Paris during the 1930’s.M& V Promo

Theirs is a surreal world linked to the Dadaists. Mistress is an importer of fine materials, her lover Evangeline is prone to fever dreams that become real and a cat who is the reincarnation of the writer Voltaire. They are quite unique and I will channel volumes from their magical minds and unleash them into their own novel next year.

Why do I write what I do

My background is in music journalism and publishing. I was a reviewer, sub editor and proof reader for over ten years. Unfortunately a lot of print media was brought to it’s knees in the 90’s, a very sad tale for a printer’s daughter. My whole life was spent around ink and paper, books and printing an obsession. I remember asking my father if he printed money. He said he could if he wanted to, but he’d rather print books. I played on a factory floor watching led drip composition, reams of exotic paper to draw on. My dad’s fingers so sensitive to the weight and textures he could differentiate with his eye’s closed and a fingertip. Our family was absorbed in what many now would consider ancient processes. It was my grandfathers artistry and his father before him. It is definitely in my blood.

Life and art for me is a constant process of replicating yourself, so what I write about, photograph, reveal is as linked and unique as a string of dna. My heart and mind laid out for all to see, the challenge for me is to reveal far more than I would ever expect myself to do, a personal evolution, mutation whatever. My writing style is quite ornate, I love to delve into the dark with lust and humour. I believe I am an acquired taste. I never take myself too seriously, I’m not searching for meaning, just experience.

How does my writing process work?

It’s amazing what playing with knives all day does to ones imagination. This is where my writing process starts, in my day dreams. My little gang of inner writers take over – though, sometimes they would rather sit in a deck chair on the Riviera – they usually keep my mind on the ball and creative juices flowing. When they are switched on, I literally have no control. I love researching, so when I review, interview or write a story that’s usually where I start. Reviews become word puzzles for me, a plethora of flowery arranged thoughts.

When it comes to choosing a new writer or artist to highlight it usually is a case of good timing, what just happens to fall in my lap. Sometimes I abandoned certain works because of time factors, afraid I cannot give it the full attention it needs. Though eventually everything I have purchased and read tends to get some feedback, support or the full Foxton treatment. I enjoy being asked to review and I am always on the hunt.

I follow and support many bloggers, but it is such a pleasure to introduce you to three of my favourites. I thank James, David and Trevor for taking part and look forward to reading all about their own Writing Process.



Pic: James Knight

Pic: James Knight

The first book I ever loved was Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are, a picture book that distils story-telling to its essence. Dreams and monsters have preoccupied me ever since.

Much of my writing appears first as tweets, which are then made into miniature poems or prose poems, or assembled into longer pieces. In March 2012 I was fortunate to be invited by acclaimed novelist Jeff Noon to join his Twitter writing group, @echovirus12, a project that has led to many interesting collaborations, for example with the artist Diana Probst, who provided illustrations for two of my books, The Madness of the Bird King and 13.

More recently I set up Chimera, an internet group of intuitive writers and artists including George Szirtes and Mauricio Montiel Figueiras.

Pictures are very important to me. As children we are encouraged to make connections between stories and illustrations, to enjoy the way they illuminate each other. But then we reach adulthood and, in most books of fiction and poetry, that pleasure is denied us. All of my books contain pictures, by me or my collaborators; there is a lot of fun to be had by the reader in exploring the connections and disjunctions between word and image.

The Site





My name is David Shakes. I am an educator by profession. When I started out I’d pour my creative energies in art and writing projects with the kids. As I climbed the senior management ladder, those opportunities became harder to come by.

I turned 40 and decided that I needed to give my younger self’s creative desires a chance. To see if I could cut it.

Pic: David Shakes

Pic: David Shakes

I began with photos and art work but soon moved to writing. I discovered Flash Fiction and that was it. Hooked.

I’ve always been a fan of horror and Sci Fi, so my work often reflects the darker sides of story telling. It probably echoes all my influences too.

People seem to like what I do, so for the time being I am going to keep doing it!

I’ve some exciting projects coming up and some collaborations in the near future.

Who knows? I may even do that novel before I’m 50.

The Site





Pic: Trevor CroweI do a lot of things. One of those things is play with words and language. Words are my main medium apart from myself and in the same category as basic human needs as food, water, shelter. Words are my ikigai and my motivation. At the same time though, I don’t know what I’d do without work. Plenty of material. I work part time as an accountant and study IT at TAFE and have worked a fair bit in retail and hospitality, but at the end of the day it’s the words that keep me going.

The Site


James Knight

book review – In the Dark Room

pic: James Knight

pic: James Knight

“We all need stories”


It’s been a while since I’ve rummaged through the mind of author James Knight. His previous Head Traumas and Bird King scenarios had me in reflective therapy. This new release I have been itching to read, tempted by visuals and tease on social media.

James has a unique perspective. His latest character, a bedridden only twin, laments in his own juices. It is once again trademark surreal though filled with his own Oneirographs –  personal digital-scapes of dreams that he traps, observes and interprets – are extra detailed in that they expose his own psyche, or that of someone else. Powerful images that drive the stories.

James hides nothing. The pictures appear and take my breath away. At first I was so impressed, I thought the art surpassed the words. Then it starts and second thoughts erase all that. The creation of your own world, recurring themes, are again confronting, like an old song on the radio filled with reminiscence can also reveal new thoughts. Something lower in the mix is suddenly apparent and you become unsure of its impact.

James is obsessed by mannequins. They are a constant threat lurking with their statuesque menace. Often the brow creases at such strange thought processes but you can’t help but smile at the absurdity and familiarity of predicaments that are revealed. I felt some confusion but that is life. Is he in a level of hell, is he dying? As he gets into your mind, simulacras appear. If you dream like James does, you will see your own reflection.

This character seems ageless, ancient and childlike at the same time. Memories knocking filled with what shapes us, but told with an uneasy gaze, poetic and artistic. Almost steam punk surreal with all its mind cogs and lace, false memories lurk and come to life, challenging his sanity once the dream invades.

The madness really hits home in this book. The confusion of his mind is paramount, there is a terror and loneliness that makes your heart ache. An imaginarium of shapes and experiences in words, thoughts and actions. His younger self  fueled by bites of aural and visual past experiences that is all encompassing – he is the dream. Rorschach flick your own butterflies and mirrors, share your nightmares. Calling Dr Freud…

It gets creepy, filled with guilt and confusion, an Ecclestonesque heart beats a homage to time masters, it’s as confusing and smile inducing as your first wet dream, filled with absurd truths and the comfort of the ordinary. Holding feelings in specimen cases, once categorized ready to reveal. The mannequins keep the tension dark and as terrifying as crying angels. The empathy of madness proving ones existence with momentos, polaroids we really want to forget but also confront. In The Dark Room is therapy, a tale, a chimera, a memory.


In The Dark Room is available as a black and white paperback through look out for the full colour kindle and paperback edition in August.

you can find James on twitter @badbadpoet and his @ChimeragroupO




Ordinary Things

Ephemeral Poetry by Phil Boiarski

Ordinary Things

an afternoon leafing through… Ordinary Things.

It starts perfectly and in tune to my evening, light fading, birds twilight nesting calls. Though only a digital copy, words hide in strange places. You have to look all over the page to make sure you don’t miss a line, like a squirrel running on a high branch, blink and you may miss his darting tail.

But that’s what Phil does when he is out searching the word woods, his eyes scan, his mind interprets the view. Boiarski greets the day with descriptive ease, like an oracle sitting telling us a story of how to be still. Pear trees that look like “half nude ballerinas” raises smiles, “Lovers picnic on kisses” and we all understand. Those moments are short lived. He will quickly point your mind to re focus on the splendor of the day, giving leaves their voices, we stroll through timeless imagery, the ebb and flow of life. Only “the quiet hum of air conditioners” reveals that this is a modern ephemera.

Phil Boiarski speaks for the trees, to hear his voice recite his own work is a meditative experience, deep as a monks chant, sure of his feelings, at one with his surroundings he’s watched forever. Blossoms conjure Haiku, and the cycle starts again… snow covers earth, sun rivals moon, words stream.



twitter transcript from inside The Vanishing Room

you can see more of Phil Boiarski’s work on his blog Twitter @Boiarski

you can purchase Ordinary Things via

Phil’s memoir and poetry release Coal & Ice is available in paperback via

coal and ice


Living Life Backwards

Interview with author Peter Wells

There is a writer whose posts always catch my attention. A writer that makes you sit and take time out to get to know yourself through his own observations on life. Author Peter Wells started his blog Counting Ducks back in 2011, a friendly space, full of comfort, warmth, humour, empathy and heart.

PW : I always say, by the way, that writers are people who have run out of other people to bore, so they are reduced to chatting with a blank page.

AF: Very true Peter…I promise I won’t suddenly pop the telly on. So inspiration for the blog, how did it start?


Pic: Selfie by Peter Wells

Pic: Selfie by Peter Wells

PW: I started the Blog with no strategy at all. I just woke up thinking one night, and thought it would be a waste not to jot those thoughts down somewhere. How I even managed to start a Blog, or choose WordPress is a mystery to me. But, I found I like formalising my odd imagination in that way, and just carried on, and gradually people started commenting and so on.

AF: Yeah, it’s a bit like you enter in a search – free blog and suddenly you are inside a whole new world of possibilities and problems. I’ve read plenty of your posts, the head scratching moments you experience in life, food tales, you’re special humour, It’s a great place to get things off your chest.  So, your first ideas, were they storyline based short stories, do you go back to original ones and fatten them out?

PW: When I started I really had no idea what I was doing. I might talk about life and that kind of thing. If you look up a post called “We live in a house of Many Rooms” you will find me lightly philosophising with a bit of imagery, and that is really how I started. Gradually the fictional aspects became more prominent, but most of them have some point of view or nudging aspect to them. I am always looking for the insight within experience and that informs my fictional and non-fictional output.

AF: One of the first things I noticed about your posts, besides your wit and charm, was the interaction from so many followers, you have a real fan base. I often see blogs that have lots of followers but they are reluctant to give thoughts and opinions. Your followers are a noisy bunch, I often think it’s this great big party that I want to be a part of. That was the appeal when I first read your work, that relaxed, openness is very seductive, oh and I got the best carrot cake recipe ever (a big call, but true) from one of your followers. Why, or do you have an inclination of why, people are drawn to your sentiment, your gentleness?

PW: Firstly, if you look at the comments on my post, which is another story rich in common sense, you will see commentators making up puns, and even commenting on each other’s puns, which I think is a real laugh. I really do believe that understanding is much more interesting than judging, and I am much more inclined to listen than to lecture, and that possibly makes people feel safer in my company. I hate any kind of strutting, self-importance, or anything of that nature, but otherwise I am pretty inclusive. I very seldom get annoyed, and I am much more drawn to understanding than judgement. It follows that the Blog is not a threatening or opinionated place, unless you stray onto the subject of Crème Brulee or Sausages, when a different aspect of my character may surface. I may laugh at life, but I am never flippant about Crème Brulees.

AF: Your passion and priorities are all in order, good to hear. So now you have your debut novel Living Life Backwards which is an elegant read. This book is all about the characters. Their thoughts set emotional scenes in a story that celebrates the ordinary and their deeper part of their psyches, decisions and steps they take to change their lives.

PW: I have always been fascinated by character and by the blend of self-determination and outside circumstances which affect it. It is the private thoughts and dreams of others which move me, rather than the size of their house, or how they compare with their peers, although that is also interesting.

AF: Any seeds planted or aspects of your novel appear in any past posts from Counting Ducks?

PW: I do have a fairly fertile imagination, for some reason, and these stories just pop up as I’m walking along. In some of them I can see a chance of expansion, and that is where a book might come from. Just to tell you, my next book is already being edited at the Publishers, and I am now on my third, so the words keep spilling out of me, as real life friends rush for the door, leaving me alone with the blank page. As a rule, the origin of a novel is often found in a post. This is true of Living Life Backwards, and the book I am now writing, but not of my second novel which is currently wilting under the editors knife at my publishers PDMI Living Life Backwards or LLB came from a post about a girl whose name was so long, owing to her Dad being a hippy, that she could not get it in the passport form, ( the kind of boring but insurmountable problem which amuses me on account of a somewhat infantile sense of humour. For the book, I made the tome more serious and reflective because I can see from the ‘Like’, ‘Comment’ and reading figures which posts resonate most.

AF: I suppose checking stats that way can be a useful tool, helpful with the decision of what to focus on. You want your book to have a decent readership, but you also have to enjoy writing it. I hope the next one has more of your trademark infantile humour, it’s quite endearing. It’s wonderful to see you making good ground with those blank pages. You sound like a disciplined writer, treat it like working a machine at a factory, some days the metal wheels just go round and round and other days, whirring and chugs can reveal poetry – bottom line is intention, to fight distraction. Let’s get back to your ‘gentleness’, or dare I say ‘The ordinary. It is a subject you celebrate. Characters in your book seem to have a lineage, reasons as to why they are who they are. Traits of personality discussed like eye colour, excuses for being trapped in their own…ordinariness.

PW: If you work for a company, or are in the army or any situation where the leaders set the agenda of events, it follows that most of the people there are not leaders. They are just like you and me, given that you are not the secret prime minister of your state of course. I think the ‘extraordinary’ within the ordinary fascinates us all. If you can look into the heart of the most ordinary of man, with the right degree of patience and understanding, you will hear the sweetest and most enchanting music, and see paintings of similar standing. Once we start parading ourselves before each other, or showing off to gain attention, most of this music becomes inaudible, but it is there in almost any life and waiting to be heard under the right circumstances. This is the inner life in which I am interested, and it is only loosely connected, in that way with the outer life, which is often about defence/offence or conquests of one form or another. I think our personalities evolve over our lives, from external and internal reasons, and that always interests me. I am fascinated by the gap between what we think and dream and what we feel able to say. I’ve always said, and felt that within any great man are aspects of incompetence struggling to be heard, and for the more ordinary of us the percentages of bungling may be slightly higher.

AF: It is more meditative, reflection, you know I read your book and felt that calm I get when I read your blog. It is like when I read an author, though not comparing, like JB Priestley – The Good Companions – It is character driven, you empathise with the vicissitudes that affect us all every day. As simple as feeling the sadness of someone drop their soup thermos at the football on a cold winter’s day. How much excitement do we need in our lives, more to life than tea and the settee.

peter wells llbPW: Excitement is great. I love adventure and dancing and drinking too much but, out of necessity and economic limitations, most of us must live our life corralled within routines and expectations, apart from our brief holidays, and it’s the thoughts and dreams we have while in that place which intrigue me, and the way the passing of time colours them. How an event which was celebrated, for instance, may later be regarded as disastrous, or vice versa. The importance that perspective has in understanding ourselves and our world.

AF: I want to talk about the ‘father’ in the your book. He is a very fascinating character. “ My father was a man of definitions, not intimacies” “Remember if you have a problem, no one else is interested, solve it yourself”, this “aping of” lack of emotion and detachment – do you find this an endearing quality or a stifling one in which you are breaking out of or just your characters?

PW: The father is, to me, an interesting figure, and you may have met men like him, who are, in many ways, frightened of feelings and intimacy and prefer agendas and strategies, which can be organised without exposing yourself. Women can marry men like them and find themselves in a gilded cage, locked by diamonds but largely free from emotional warmth. Why his father was as he was could be answered, but we can all guess at it. He certainly “Didn’t go there when it came to emotions. He was only interested in what was acceptable, practical and could be replicated if you get the picture. Far inside him, for all we know, was a naked pinky thing, hanging onto the controls of his exterior abilities, as if he was driving a tank, but he would give no clues: he is far too canny and curiously timid to do that. We must remember that the father made every effort not to reveal his past and so we do not have much to go on. We can always speculate but nothing more. We have all met these buttoned down types in one degree or another. Privacy and impersonal methods of measurement and interaction are his greatest weapons, and he is unlikely to lower his barrier for our benefit.

AF: Yes I suppose the lineage stopped there as he is not one to talk of unnecessary emotion.

PW: No, interrupting. He would give you as little a clue as he could about why he is as he is, and would hate, for instance, for you to meet anyone who knew him as a boy who might spill some careless innocent gem about his childhood. He hates questions on that level very deeply.

AF: What is he afraid of or is it just unsubstantiated guilt?

PW: It can be as simple as not being comfortable with things he cannot control which, as we all know, often includes ourselves once we escape from the box. He keeps the lid down very firmly on all that. Instinctively he regards the world as hostile, and a place in which you should never lower your guard.

AF: “We create our own chaos” why is that so tempting?

PW: Well most ‘Gardens of Eden’ have an Apple tree. We often think, if I had one more possession I might acquire total happiness, even for a few seconds, and wouldn’t that be lovely. We can normally control these impulses towards instability, but if the Apple winks at you, life can get harder to manage.

AF: the seduction of meeting people on the internet, the chaos that can possibly arise from that, the fantasy is so tempting.

PW: OK, Firstly, there is a concept of being able to be totally true and open but within defined parameters. Disregarding the lies, both Bernard and Misty are Acolytes of stronger personalities whose thoughts and dreams are not as important as those of the people who control them in daily life. Suddenly with each other, they are the most important people in each others lives, without influence from outside. They can share the sweetest, gentlest connections, but always, if we look very closely, in a sort of third person. If you and I talked about a poem, and we both loved a poem deeply and in detail, we could share that, and be thinking, this is so special, to share this delicate intimacy with another, but actually it is just the poem. They love a certain kind of music, and a certain attitude to life, but the rough and tumble of daily interaction, is not known to them. For both of them, it is the first chance they have ever had to construct a love affair without being bossed around and judged by someone else, and that fact is so intoxicating, that they forget everything else. They do both discover a truth, and freedom and beauty which is breathtaking and genuine, but only partial, and only capable of being sustained under very limited circumstances. The book, in part, is about what happens when people who normally allow other more dominant or selfish characters to arrange the agenda of their lives, suddenly find themselves in a space where they can express their most inner thoughts and be heard instead of being told to “Shut up and put the kettle on “ by their more forceful companions. A whole new world, for better or worse, as we all know.

Our thoughts pertained here are mere asides, as you will find out when you read Peter Wells book. Living Life Backwards studies characteristics we all know and which we all know to be ourselves –  a yearning to be more then themselves. It is a most thoughtful, reassuring read about the plight of being human.
Living Life backwards is available to purchase via amazon http:/ .

You can find more of Peter’s world through his blog, via facebook and twitter



Author - Joseph A Pinto

Author – Joseph A Pinto

As an official Damnling – a term of endearment awarded by the authors of the fantastic horror collective Pen of the Damned – I jumped at the chance to read one of the founders’ more meatier pieces. I regularly sip from their glass of fear, reveling in their uneasy tales, shivers often freshen my blood, monsters invigorate my psyche.

Theirs is a beautiful mixed bag of horror. My sweet bedtime stories flash under torch lit chins, curtains blow in midnight’s chill and I have to check under my bed often for nightmares hide easily under mattresses.

Joseph A Pinto has the gift of the dark but there also lurks a soft, sensitive soul – his pen a powerful balm. So how did your eclectic band of blood misfits evolve?

J:Pen of the Damned evolved from a simple dilemma and subsequent solution: in the writing industry, it’s hard enough to brand and market yourself alone, so why not strength in numbers?  Along with Nina D’Arcangela and I, we’ve scoured the fringes of the dark realms for diverse voices.  Pen of the Damned eventually became an exclusive, eclectic group of ten writers from varying backgrounds.  Our goal is to provide readers with free weekly horror and dark prose while developing a platform for ourselves as writers, in addition to our group as a whole.

A: I also admire Nina’s work very much, it sounds like a simple and effective way to introduce readers to some great storytellers. I was so pleased I found your book, Dusk and Summer. I shivered many times reading your words, but for different reasons, a different horror. One reason was the veiled sensations only exquisite writing can conjure. The second, finding a book full of magic, myth and dreams, a search for solace when the real life monster of pancreatic cancer takes over your life. In this particular case it was your fathers. One thing paramount in your novella is the love and respect you have for him. You paint a picture of a very strong man, physically and emotionally. Did he impart his imagination to you as a child, a similar mythological tale that we find in the book or did that come later?

JP: Thank you Abbie and yes, pancreatic cancer is a monster in its own right, something all too real.  My father did not impart his imagination to me but rather his vision; he managed to see things in a different light.  Mostly, he imparted his drive.  He was a very focused man, and whatever he set out to do, he simply did.  He possessed a desire to continually challenge himself and that carried over to many aspects of my own life.  I found my strength and confidence simply by watching him.           

A: So he instilled that by example, and you feel his strength and guidance all through the book and something you touch on with that beautiful quote by Clarence Budington Kellard- “he didn’t tell me how to live, he lived and let me watch him do it”. Was your father a good storyteller?

JP:  My father was actually MacGyver! lol He could fix anything, make anything, craft anything with a piece of gum, a piece of string and a paperclip.  My dad was a mechanical genius but remained low key about it. Honestly, he wasn’t much of a storyteller.  He did, however, read horror novels all the time and because of that, he introduced me to the genre I love.

A: Dusk and Summer’s words are a siren’s call, a fairytale for sailors and lovers of the sea, a homage. Your father battled hard, peacefully succumbing to the waves. Did you start writing this book during those years of his illness or later?

JP: I wrote Dusk and Summer several months after his death.  I had no way to process my grief.  I was completely lost.  Unable to reach out.  Eventually I could think of only one thing: write for him.  So I sat down, and I did just that.

A: It must have felt like it was entering you from another place. I really loved the father and son relationship and I was taken aback by the impact it had on me. For me, it mirrored the father and daughter relationship that I had. To watch someone who was once so strong, invincible in your eye’s grow weaker by the day, so your book was quite cathartic for me. You walk through similar territory, the illness might be different, but the effect that has on those who have to watch by helpless, is no doubt the same. Something I wanted to touch on is how you talk about withholding your emotions, how everyone tiptoes around death so uncomfortably, how everyone is too scared to say goodbye.

JP: I had no choice but to withhold my emotions while my father battled pancreatic cancer.  It became instinctive.  My father was fully aware of the grim survival statistics when it came to the disease.  He told me he had no desire to die.  As a human being, as a son, how do you respond?  You push on and become strong for that person.  I never said goodbye to my father.  I told him that I would see him later.  It stands as a huge difference for me.

A: Well you do see them later, in memories, dreams and faces all around you, you see them in yourself. I found a real gentleness reading your work that I didn’t expect to find. Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect. The stories I have read on your Pen Of The Damned are dark tales indeed, but this is more heart wrenching and opposite emotionally.

JP: My horror prose, along with some of my poetry, is generally dark and full of angst.  But I do write tender pieces in order to provide myself with some balance.  At my core, I am a very emotive writer.  Dusk and Summer, while part fantasy, part truth, part tribute, is all heart and soul.  It’s a story derived from some common threads we all share: how do we grieve, what do we do with our grief, and what belief or faith do we rely on to get us through.     

A:  Loss cripples us. When your dad was at his weakest I’m sure you saw the father son roles shift, you have no choice then to take charge, to show your father this while he was getting to the end of his life was probably proof to him that you have the “never give up” attributes, the strength to survive the grief of it all. “Grown men don’t show fear, they never panic, remember what I always say…” that’s what your father taught you. But there is ‘no morphine drip for the pain of grief’, writing this story is a wonderful therapy don’t you think?

JP: Writing Dusk and Summer allowed me to recognize the extent to which I had my grief bottled.  It definitely became my therapy; in many ways, I think it saved me.

JosephA: When I read Dusk and Summer, I had thoughts of what my heaven would look like. I think the heaven you chose for your father is perfect. You write about love, family, protection, fear and how we cope with death. If I was going through what you were going through, I think reading Dusk and Summer would give me a lot of comfort, was that an intention of your book also?

JP: I wrote Dusk and Summer personally for my father; our everlasting connection.  I took real elements of his life and transformed it into a fantasy tribute, as I mentioned earlier. Once I completed it and read my initial draft for the very first time, I was stunned at how raw and emotional my story was. Quite frankly, I bled myself into it.  I realized I had crafted a memorial in the guise of fiction.  I had immortalized my father.  But more importantly, I realized my book could eventually be used for a greater good – raising awareness and funding for pancreatic cancer research, as well providing a level of comfort for others.

A: Well I would definitely recommend it as one. Yes, I must mention the fantasy element, it was so beautiful, a place that was a much needed respite between your anguish, it guides the story perfectly your search to find peace for your father. Your adrenalin kicks in immediately in this book, you feel your grief, heart pounding, the intensity of storytelling never stops, that’s why one can’t stop reading Dusk and Summer when you start.

JP:  Thank you very much.  As a writer, you always need to connect with your reader on an emotional level.  I draw you into my novella from its opening line.

A: Between dusk and summer, as simple as the sun sets, season’s change we move on…

JP: You touched on something there, Abbie.  There exists a key element to Dusk and Summer; my character agonizes over writing his father’s eulogy, as did I.  I wanted to do so while I still had a clear head but feared if I did, it would mean I gave up on my dad.  I would never do such a thing.  I cried to my best friend, told him how it was killing me, and he simply said, ‘Joe, I’ve known you for a long time, and I know you’ll know when the time is right.’ When I did finally write my father’s eulogy, I sat at an open window in the month of June, in summer, and watched the dying light of dusk.  I felt a connection.  I couldn’t explain it then, nor can I explain it now.  The next morning, I awoke and spent an hour in bed visualizing my Dad running on the beach.  He was whole again.  Shortly thereafter, I got the call from the hospital that he had passed, and I realized it probably happened during the time I spent visualizing.  So yes, I believe a connection had been made.  Hence my title, Dusk and Summer.

A: Joe is currently working on a new blog to launch soon for the pancan community.  It will be a place for people to write and share tributes about their own loved ones, share articles of awareness as well updates on breakthroughs in the medical field, fundraising news from groups, all the while promoting positivity and hope.

A: So Joe, I have to ask, do you really believe in Mermaids?

JP: Do I believe in Mermaids?  Interesting question.  Yes, of course I do.  With faith, anything is possible.  With belief, anything becomes real.  Thank you for having me aboard, Abbie.  Your support is dearly appreciated!

You can purchase Joseph A Pinto’s Dusk and Summer via

US paperback/Kindle:





Barnes and Noble:

A portion of the proceeds from the sales of Joe’s book will be donated to the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer research. This organisation promotes the advancement of scientific and medical research related to diagnosis, treatment, cure and prevention of pancreatic cancer. Joe is an avid supporter. By purchasing Dusk and Summer, you will be supporting a wonderful cause and a brilliant storyteller. You can find Joe’s tortured tales and compelling poetry on his website: You can also link up with him on twitter @JosephAPinto, @penofthedamned and facebook. If you want more information on pancreatic cancer or The Lustgarten Foundation go to




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