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

Book Review

Joseph A. Pinto

 DUSK AND SUMMER by Joseph A. Pinto

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


Book Review Interview

Hunter S. Jones

PHOENIX RISING  by Hunter S. Jones


indexAuthor Hunter S. Jones has been busy since her poetical romance ‘September’ series ended.  Always one to have a constant project brewing, Hunter’s books range from voodoo lust to online trust, and often feature a little bit of slap and tickle. Hunter’s latest is a new venture. A historical romance in Tudor England. Anne Boleyn in fact. The Tudors have always appealed to Hunter. It was part of her undergrad major in History with an emphasis on the English Renaissance and Reformation, so looking forward to the mix of fact and Hunter’s beautiful twists that will be weaved inside the fiction. “The Tudors have always appealed to me, it was the beginning of the modern era. Anne Boleyn was a woman who defied all standards and paid the ultimate price, simply because she had such grace & charm that a man, a king, fell in love with her & changed a country for the love of her“.

Phoenix Rising is set during the last hour of Anne Boleyn’s life as told from a descendent of the astrologer/physician of King Henry VIII. Using a ‘star map’ as a guide, stories reveal themselves, a novel tactic indeed.  When a young Anne Boleyn arrives at the court of King Henry VIII. She is to be presented at the Shrovetide pageant, le Château Vert. The young and ambitious Anne has no idea that a chance encounter before the pageant will lead to her capturing the heart of the king. What begins as a distraction becomes his obsession and leads to her destruction.
Love, hate, loyalty and betrayal come together in a single dramatic moment… the execution of a queen. The history of England will be changed for ever.

“It’s a very human story. Sad but true”

You can find Phoenix Rising here

SEPTEMBER ENDS by Hunter S. Jones

The dream of writers lounging around in cafes all day, filling journals with the spills of language is a seductive and cerebral fantasy of mine. Their inky black stained lips sipping dark stuff, is an extremely alluring vision. My passion lies with the poets, but in reality poets tend to make a living, well…not writing poetry.

Liz Snow is a seductive creature with a tormented past. A business savvy with a lust for literature, discussion and analysis. She connects with lawyer Pete Hendrix, her eyes win him “fifty floors up in a tower of glass. The full catastrophe”. Their online liaison soon becomes addictive. They question their sanity, themselves and their new addiction.

Fantasy,tragedy and poetry fill the pages of September Ends. This romance is wrapped in a very modern scenario. Neurons rule instead of pheromones and with that comes the vicissitudes of time, space and madness. So when you fall in love with a mind, do you fall in love with your own imaginings, or is that what we do, even if we fall in love with flesh and blood – no difference?

septemberLiz and Pete’s affection grows as they stare into the white light, each tapped line from a dusty keyboard sends them deeper and deeper in love. A mutual affection for words has them following and discussing English poet Jack O Savage. Jack is a poet with a punk heart. A sort of John Cooper Clarke with eyes dipped in Keats. He feels “as if this life of mine is not mine, that someone else is living through me, that I have no say in any of this, whatever this is” Well, Indie is dead, and ‘The Poet’ is pained with metaphor. Enter wings of a cyber butterfly and you will see lives unravel with all the hurt, beauty and pain of existence.

The story moves like an internal play. It’s all in the mind or inside something else. A circuitry of lyrical wires crossing and sparking at breakneck speed. Chat rooms thump with sexual tension, words are a powerful aphrodisiac. Pictures flick by, an innocent peep show, thoughts are raw and a natural awkward dialogue begins to be revealed.

Diary entries fatten thoughts, anxieties, doubts and storyline. When they inevitably meet, that’s when reality hits hard. The story now instead of being told in a vacuum now has a landscape, not just solitary figures looking for substance in their words, they have the sustenance of flesh, the hurt of lies… a bookend of tears.September Again

Savages’ poetic blog entries are pure joy. He bursts into chapters, his words reflect a train of thought for the lovers to share – a delicious saucy ride – “Unfurl your butterflying tongue” “It’s raining peaches in my tent.”

September Ends introduces it’s characters  lives and motives well. It’s a sweet romantic drama, dripping with tears. September Again, the second book in the September series is not far away and I look forward to the continuing saga of sin, love and words.

Book Review Poetry

Clementine Von Radics

HOME by Clementine von Radics

“Everyone else isn’t you.
It turns out that’s a huge problem for me”

When Clementine falls in love it is an implosion. Love’s butterflies so sick they can only manage slow and infrequent wing rises,  flutter’s whisper as they lie unable to move in the pit of her stomach. She is obsessed with tattoos. I am vanilla, my stories are told via bruises, freckles and scars, but I understand and admire their beauty and meaning. She joins the dots.

Chomelementine knows her own shortcomings and freely shares them with a heartbreaking confidence. Her heroes, her myths materialised out of herself, popular culture, her environs… her home. She retells them with a wide eyed naivety, but with wisdom beyond her years.

I’m sure Clementine’s first words she ever cooed were poetic. She has that eye and wonder…she is brave. Crisis and magic will continue throughout her life and I will always be curious to see how her feelings progress, how she puts her days on the page and how you glimpse your younger self in her words… no internal barriers to mute her honesty, Von Radics is breathtaking.

Home, a book of poems by Clementine Von Radics is available through

Clementine is from Portland Oregon, you can connect with her via twitter @Clementinevr tumblr


Book Review Poetry