Ghosts & Chapbooks

It is wonderful to be able to connect with the authors whose works have moved me. That is one of the true gems of the internet age. At the end of last year, I read two works that moved me enough to write about my experience with them. I sent my pieces to the authors, and offered that – if they wanted – they could post them on their blogs. Both agreed! My delight is now threefold: the original story, the ability to express gratitude to the authors, and the honor of having my words appear on their blogs.

I read Hunter Shea’s latest work, ISLAND OF THE FORBIDDEN and was transported back to the time when I lived in a haunted house. Yes. You read that right. I believe ghosts exist, just as much as I believe in the chair where I’m sitting or the coffee I’m drinking. If you want to read some of the supernatural events I experienced, please visit Hunter’s post, A True Haunting in Belgium.

I had the rare and blissfully tactile experience of reading Mary SanGiovanni’s chapbook, NO SONGS FOR THE STARS. To quote myself, which is probably a first for me, “It feels good to feel, not just with our imaginations and our hearts, but also with our hands. Neither e-books nor mass produced pocket editions can provide the beauty I experienced sitting quietly and reading this slim chapbook.” The story is an enthralling addition to Mary’s (multi)verse. To read more of my thoughts about the chapbook medium and the story, please visit Mary’s post, Guest Post – Aniko Carmean – No Songs for the Stars.

Hunter and Mary, you are both amazing writers and wonderful human beings! I am so glad to have read your works!


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The Writer’s Doldrums: A Guest Post by Joseph Pinto


Joseph Pinto, author.

Joseph Pinto, author.

Joseph Pinto is a speculative fiction author, a member of Pen of the Damned, and author of the modern myth, DUSK AND SUMMER. I’m pleased to have the opportunity to introduce you to Joe. His post, about curing the writer’s doldrums, is followed by cover blurb and purchase information for DUSK AND SUMMER. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of DUSK AND SUMMER are donated to the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research. 


Cleansing a Writer’s Drain

A writer’s doldrums – we all get them.  They’re sneaky little critters, too, coming in all sorts of guises.  Latching on to normal everyday life, they sink their grubby claws into you just when you least expect it – and even if you did, it’s always at the worst possible time.  You know what I’m talking about, right?  A hectic schedule, stress from your job; even if you’re lucky enough to be a fulltime writer, the panic of meeting a deadline.  Responsibilities as a parent or spouse; the list is endless.  With life happening at the speed of…life, how does a writer keep their brain sharp, focused and uncluttered?  Is it even possible?  There may never be a reasonable or foolproof answer, but I’ll share something that’s worked for me: I turn into a plumber.

Say what?

Yes, a plumber.  Now please, don’t tell my wife because I can barely unclog our kitchen sink if need be, but there alone I’ve revealed my trick – I view my mind as though it were a drain.  I need to keep it filtered and free-flowing.  At the first sign of a clog, I’m all over it.  But trust me, it took a long time to figure out how to use my ‘mental plunger,’ and it’s not always the easiest thing to do.

It starts with an escape.  I’m fortunate to work from home, and my office serves as my sanctuary.  Those sneaky little critters (yes, those critters, oh how they love to cause a back-up!) detest any sign of routine cleansing.  I shake them off at the door, but it never comes without a fight.  As I said, once they sink their claws in, they’ll do all they can to distract; to detract.  If you suffer from critters as I sometimes do, shake them off, pull them off; hell, snap them off at the knuckles if need be.  If you can’t find salvation in your office or writing nook, then go for a walk, a drive, maybe even exercise.  Anything to step away from what might be attracting those critters in the first place.  You’ve got to get that proverbial water in your sink and flowing through your pipes; if it’s still going down slowly, then it’s time to figure out the true size of your clog.

Some clogs are an easy fix.  Once I rid myself of those critters, a few deep breaths while sitting in my office are all I need to get myself focused.  Yours might just be that walk or that drive.  But what if it’s not?  Critters can be awfully persistent.  Some have even evolved to survive beyond a ‘mental plungering.’  Those are the worst of the lot; attracted not to your daily trials and tribulations, but born from within, feeding and gnawing from deep inside your gut.  Those sneaky little critters are now something much worse; they’ve become parasites, infecting every ounce of you, downright malicious and destructive.  Sneaky little critters?  Oh no, not anymore…now full-fledged monsters of self-doubt.  A writer’s worst nightmare, believe you me.  A horribly slow, cruel death of your prose awaits if you don’t act.

Ahh, that’s when I employ my spiritual jetting.

Tiger’s eye is a protective stone, one that heals issues of self-worth and self-criticism.  It encourages creativity and positive energy.  I have two such stones carved and shaped as skulls atop my desk.  Actually, they rest just below my computer monitor.  Cheekbone to cheekbone they touch, infusing one with the other’s energy, staring out at me.  Before I write, I make sure to touch them.  Sometimes, I even place them against my chest for a minute before positioning them carefully back to their guardian positions.  My tiger’s eye skulls have helped cleanse those monsters from inside me, and from the moment I owned them, my drain has flowed smoothly since.  You can believe me or not, that’s up to you.  But sometimes you need to bring in the big guns.

I know that not everyone can get their hands on something created from tiger’s eye, and not everyone will be affected the same way I am by it, if at all.  I’m very open to it, and so for me, it’s worked.  But self-doubt is a terrible thing.  I suffered from it for a very long time and have no one but myself to blame for allowing it to hold me back.  There comes a point, however, when you need to learn and practice various little tricks to eliminate it – to take back your own power.  Those sneaky little critters are exactly that for a reason – they’re clever.  You need to outsmart them.

Me, I turned into a plumber.  It’s all about cleansing a writer’s drain.

Thank you for having me on your blog, Aniko, I greatly appreciate the opportunity!

You’re welcome, Joe! It was my pleasure!



Does Heaven await beneath the waves? One man needs to know.

When his dying father whispers a cryptic message to him, he has no choice but to summon his courage and begin the quest of a lifetime. It’s a race against time to realize his father’s wish and fulfill his own destiny; it’s a discovery of the unbreakable bond between father and son. It’s a journey of the heart that unfolds where only the Chosen exist – in the moments between Dusk and Summer.

“A poignant, metaphoric conversation between son and father. A story that will warm your heart.”
–Yvonne S. Thornton, M.D., bestselling author of The Ditchdigger’s Daughters

The author will be donating a portion of the proceeds from this book to the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research.

Pancreatic Cancer

Dusk and Summer is available at:

Amazon: US |UK | Canada | Australia | Germany | France | Spain | Italy | Japan | Mexico | India | Brazil
CreateSpace | Smashwords
Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes (Apple)