Welcome to Jo Elizabeth Pinto
I was born in Chicago in 1971 and grew up in Brighton, Colorado. I was part of the first generation of disabled students who integrated the public schools in the late 1970’s. In 1992, I graduated from the University of Northern Colorado at Greeley with a degree in Human Services. While helping disabled students learn how to use adaptive computer technology, I earned a second degree in 2004 from the Metropolitan State College of Denver in Nonprofit Organization Management. Blind since birth, I am currently self-employed as a braille textbook proofreader.
As an author, I know the importance of entertaining my readers while also giving them food for thought. Whether I write fiction, nonfiction, or poetry, I draw inspiration from my own experiences with the ultimate intention of showing my audience that hope is always just an action away.
I live in Colorado with my husband and my daughter, my yellow Labrador guide dog Anlyn, two cats named Sam-I-Am and Andy, and a parakeet called Rocket. In my free time, I enjoy baking, growing flowers, and listening to music.
I’m an author, as I’ve wanted to be since I first figured out as a little girl that words could be written down in books and enjoyed over and over again. But I’m also a freelance braille proofreader, mostly for clients across the country who produce textbooks that will be used by blind children in kindergarten through high school, and a few random college students and library patrons now and then. I’m a wife and mother, a daughter, a friend.
What that means in practical terms is, I write in bits and pieces. Sometimes I get up and write in the dead of night when the house is quiet. Sometimes I write for ten minutes while the spaghetti bubbles on the stove and my daughter works out a long division problem at the kitchen table. Sometimes I shove work aside, switch off my conscience, and write for an entire morning with undone dishes piled up in the sink because I’ll explode if the characters don’t get themselves out of my head and into the world.
My writing space is a beat-up old computer desk in the corner of my dining room. When my daughter was little, she plastered the lower drawers and cupboards of the desk with colorful stickers. The upper cabinets are hung with bead necklaces, old track meet ribbons, and other childhood trinkets. When I lived alone, I was organized to a fault. But having a family has taken care of that problem. My desk is always cluttered, often with random items that, for the most part, don’t even belong to me.
My computer is fitted with text-to-speech (screen-reading) software that repeats the words I type and allows me to listen to emails and navigate the Internet. Using that software, I’ve written and self-published two books. The first, “The Bright Side of Darkness,” is a novel about a group of kids from the projects and how their lives change because of mentoring. The second, released this last July, is a nonfiction book about my adventures as the blind mom of a sighted daughter.
My daughter is delighted to have been featured in a book, but she isn’t quite old enough to understand the point the stories about the two of us are trying to make. Her dad is a staunch supporter of my writing. He owns a watch and clock repair shop, and I’ve sold many books locally out of his store.
Working from home, writing and running a business, raising a child—it can all be overwhelming at times. The lifestyle works for me, especially because I found a sustainable way to make money as a freelance proofreader and be home when my daughter is. I would recommend my chosen crafts, with a caveat or two. First, a person has to be a self-starter. When you take up writing or work from home, there won’t be anyone standing over your shoulder, nagging you to improve. There will be a million things waiting to take up your time, and writing takes hours, weeks, and years of practice. Those who persist, prevail. And second, join a group of like-minded people—real live people are best, but online is okay if necessary. Writers need other writers to support them, challenge them, and keep them writing.
Please check out my author Website, where you can find many relevant links:
“The Bright Side of Darkness” is my award-winning novel, Available in Kindle, audio, and paperback formats.
The paperback version of my novel is available at Barnes & Noble here:
Please see my author page on Facebook here:
Please see my author blog, “Looking on the Bright Side,” on Goodreads here:
Please see my Bookbub profile here:
To read guest posts about parenting in the dark, please click here:
To read guest posts on a variety of topics, please click here:
A touching Remembrance Day post.
As I get older I find that I am moved to tears more often than I used to be. I have no idea why that should be: do we become more sensitive with age, or are our tear ducts more active? Whatever the reason, I found it happening to me on Friday morning as I watched the BBC’s Breakfast programme. In the run up to Remembrance Sunday they ran a piece about a gentleman called Harry Billinge: Harry is 93 and is a veteran of the Normandy landings – i.e. D-Day – and is collecting money for a memorial to those who gave their lives there. They also featured Harry as part of their programme earlier this year, marking the 75th anniversary of D-Day. On both occasions he was interviewed at some length, and both times this wonderful man has moved me to tears. Within an hour or so of…
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A useful post on backing up your WordPress content #Senisal
How would you feel if you woke up one morning and discovered that your WordPress blog had been deleted or that most of your content had been lost?
It’s a scary thought, and probably the worst kind of nightmare situation for many bloggers.
WordPress has a process that allows all its users to backup the contents of their blog.
Today, I’m going to show you how to backup your blog without going via the ‘WP Admin’ button on the dashboard of your blog.
Not only is it a straight forward process, but it’s the quickest method of performing a backup of your blog. Plus, since I last wrote about this, you can now also backup all your media, images and photos.
- In the lefthand menu of the dashboard of your blog, click on Tools, then on Export.
- You’ll be presented with the following choices.
- Let’s start…
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A Day in the Life of Johann Conrad Dippel (the real-life inspiration for Dr. Frankenstein)
(As told to DeAnna Knippling)
*Who are you?
Tell us about an average day in your life. I am an investigator of great renown, among those who study the chemical and esoteric elements. My patron is Conrad Reiz, Baron Frankenstein. Although he does not live in the castle here, he highly values my work. Not many people have the intelligence needed to do so. As far as what I do on any given day, it should be enough for you to know that I have the most rigorous practices, and do not stoop to equivocate my results.
Are you a lark or a night owl? I am a man, and do what it is necessary for men to do, regardless of the hour.
Do you have your own dwelling? If so, do you own servants? I am honored to be a guest of Baron Frankenstein, who maintains the castle and its grounds. I have had the occasional assistant, but none who please me.
How do you think your ‘average’ day compares to other people’s? I understand that most people find themselves crushed, both mentally and physically, under the weight of their daily tasks, taking no pleasure and only the barest sustenance from them. Most people are animals, unworthy of better.
Give us a brief rundown of your day from when you wake to when you sleep. Your inquisitiveness is unseemly.
Do you court danger? I certainly do not cower before it. I have encountered many dangers, in experimenting with chemicals as I have. But with fortitude, intelligence, and care, those dangers can be made more or less negligible.
Do you think your life is fulfilling? What, in your opinion, ought it fulfill? I am not a superstitious man and do not believe in prophecies or the like.
If you had the choice what would you change in your daily life? I would wish for a servant of the greatest strength and obedient loyalty, who understood the principles, if not of my work entire, then at least those of chemical reactions, and in preventing injury. His appearance would be of no consequence. I would employ a demon or an ape, if I could only find reliable assistance.
Tell us a little about your home/environment/land – how does this reflect on your day to day life? I was born here, at the castle, and was educated by the baron. The Oldenwald, or “old-wood,” is a superstitious area, with many legends of witches, hauntings, and curses. All nonsense, of course. But I find that the peasants’ superstitions have both assisted me, by keeping the curious at bay, and hindered me, by preventing me from obtaining skilled help and the materials I need. I will admit to having played tricks upon the peasants from time to time.
Are you organised or chaotic? Does this annoy your family/companions? I am organized, in such a way that allows me to pursue inspiration and insight. I believe my methods annoy everyone around me, but for Baron Frankenstein—although he is often away from the castle. My methods, however, are none of anyone else’s business, and should not be considered a matter deserving of pleasure or displeasure. Those who live here in Baron Frankenstein’s absence have no right and no accurate means of judgment of my methods, and would be better off staying silent as the grave.
Read more about Joseph Conrad Dippel in “The Legends of Castle Frankenstein,” now included in the Might Have Been book bundle, on sale now! See www.WonderlandPress.com for more about DeAnna and her work.
Might Have Been – Tales and Retales
only 5.99 for all 17 stories!
From retellings of classic fairy tales to legends and lore told around the hearth, this collection presents stories of wonder and fantasy—some straight up and others with a twist.
Children’s tales from Serbia and Russia feature water spirits and household sprites, knight princes and giants, whirlwinds and the Golden Horde.
An unusual visit to Wonderland follows Alice as she encounters the Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat, and Humpty Dumpty under horror’s shadow. The secrets of a most infamous castle, Burg Frankenstein, deliver up ghosts.
While a trio of sexy gender-swap tales yield Snow White, Red Riding Hood, Beauty and the Beast with spice.
Romeo and Juliet—and vampires, the Three Little Pigs as you’ve never seen them, Cinderella embracing witchcraft…these are the Might Have Been, folklore, granny tales, and fairy tales turned upside down or glimpsed darkly in the mirror.
*Not all stories suitable for kids.
- Fairy Tale Fatesby Leah Cutter
- The Charming Trilogy Vol. 1 by Kristine Grayson
- The Legends of Castle Frankenstein by DeAnna Knippling
- Snow Truer Loveby AJ Tipton
- Brick Houses (Uncollected Anthology: Fairy Tales) by Annie Reed
- The Return of Alice by Robert Jeschonek
- Into the Forest Shadows by J.A. Marlow
- Handsome and the Beast by AJ Tipton
- THE RUSSIAN STORY BOOK – 12 Illustrated Children’s Stories from Mother Russia by Richard Wilson
- Tales of Old Giralliyaby J.M. Ney-Grimm
- R+J Sucks, vol 1 by Ann Hunter
- Hunting Red by AJ Tipton
- Lost: Cinderella’s Secret Witch Diaries (Book 1)by Ron Vitale
- Return to Wonderland by Tanya Lisle
- Fairy Tales Revisited on Silvery Earthby Barbara G.Tarn
- Redd’s Hoodie by Karen C. Klein
- HERO TALES AND LEGENDS OF THE SERBIANS – over 80 Serbian tales and legends by Woislav M. Petrovitch
Dark Tales and Twisted Verses
A Fire-Side Tales Collection
Available in e-book, coming soon in print.
Dark tales of ghosts of war, blood from the Autumn of Terror, the wrath of nature, an unusual murder and a cynical vampire. Twisted poetry of loss and mayhem.
Some adult themes and language.
The Secret of Blossom Rise – A Ghost Story
The Watcher – A Tale of Jack the Ripper
The Last Forest – A Tale of the Wrath of Nature
The Last Dance – An Autumnal Flash Fiction
The Sleeper – A Yoyo Murder
So Many Nights, So Many Sins – A Vampire’s Tale
We Must Remember
Giving It All
End of Days
The Glass-Eyed Monster
Author name: L. L. Thomsen
*Please tell us about your publications.
I write character-led high medieval fantasy with a good slash of epic. I am working on a series titled, The Missing Shield – originally one large book that has been split into 11 episodes in order to make the workload more manageable. The 8th book (titled: All in a Day’s Work) is out now, and I am currently working on book 9. What you get in my books is lots of flawed characters that you may not feel quite sure about in the beginning. There’s magic, mystery, darkness, crime, plots, romance, backstabbing, manoeuvring, different races, and an end-of-the-world kinda deadline & quest. I enjoy painting an immersive picture of the world I write about, so expect lots of depth and world-building. I try not to hold back and I try to write as close to real life as I can get. I also wanted to write something a little different from the mainstream so the story has quite the lyrical slant, but it is written with an adult/mature market in mind. This is not YA.
What first prompted you to publish your work? To begin with I wasn’t really sure that I would publish. I started writing my high fantasy book as I somehow got inspired – but it was always just something I considered a pastime whilst the kids were babies and I was at home anyway. Then I realised that I was getting more and more passionate about the job and I felt that I ought to publish at the end of the day because I wanted to share my work with an audience and I wanted to award myself by proving that I could complete the process.
What have you found the most challenging part of the process? Going it alone. Everything was a learning curve. Particularly when it came to figuring out the Amazon instructions and uploading my manuscript. Formatting is not as straight forward as I always imagined it to be. Furthermore, once you’re on the other side, and have successfully published your book, I cannot believe how difficult it is to get anyone to even look your way. I guess I never really got the ‘build yourself a social media following’ – I’m a little too private and old school.
What piece of advice do you wish you’d had when you started your publishing journey? Be tenacious! I knew it would not be easy, but I gave up on finding myself an agent way too soon and in return, it left me literally on my own with the whole load. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a freedom in being your own boss and maybe that’s partly why I went my own way so soon, but having said that, I think there’s lots to be said for getting yourself aligned with someone who’s on your side, has your best interest at heart and who knows the business: where to go, how to do it, and when.
If you could have dinner with any literary character who would you choose, and what would you eat. I’d love to treat my character Solancei to a meal – she’s in for a bumpy ride and I think she deserves some TLC. I’d also love to quiz her about everything that happens and the world she lives in. I know a lot (wink – of course) but there are always secrets! I think we’d have pizza and wine, and I’d try and stop her from killing me for writing her such a hard, complicated destiny.
Sort these into order of importance:
For me there is no question of ranking these in order. They are each an integral part of the book you write and I feel that the author should pay equal attention to each. Since I write fantasy – and epic at that – I’m very much for world building because that’s a must for the genre, but that in itself is nothing if it’s not backed by the other three. What’s a good plot with flat/un-inspiring characters and vice versa? A technically perfect book is what we all strive for (as in a professional end-product) but I do believe that the interpretation of ‘perfection’ may vary depending on who you ask. Also, it may be technically perfect, but what good is that if the readers cannot engage with the story or the characters. It’s the snake that bites its own tail. It must come full circle.
How much research do you do for your work? What’s the wildest subject you’ve looked at? I research as and when. It may be just a small thing like the components of a saddle or the belief system of various ethnic groups. I try and keep it factually correct even though I write fantasy – this means that even if the herb is made up, I’ll still look up how to brew tinctures for headaches, for example – or I might watch a YouTube video on sword fights. The most extreme I’ve looked up will probably be stuff to do with injuries and the effects of various weapons/conditions.
How influential is storytelling to our culture? I think it’s hugely influential but maybe not through the original media anymore. I do feel that we love a good tale, whether it be a story is reported in the papers, or how TV channels adapt historical events to create entertainment. We are always looking for something to catch and hold our interest – particularly after the rise of social media – and stories speak to us. They help us feel part of society and may sometimes even give us a sense of belonging too.
What’s the best advice you’ve received about writing/publishing? Keep at it. Keep growing and developing.
What’s the worst piece best advice you’ve received about writing/publishing? Don’t write your story like that – write it like this.
If you could be any fantasy/mythical or legendary person/creature what would you be and why? Maybe a phoenix. I like the idea that you can rise from the ashes and be reborn. That you can try again.
Tell us about your latest piece? Around 6 weeks ago I released my 8th book in The Missing Shield series. It carries on from number 7, where one of my main characters – the rather naive and slightly annoying Princess Iambre – has decided to try and locate her missing friend and bodyguard despite her security chief and beau having told her that she must take heed and leave it to them. In book 8 she finds herself alone and lost after a string of unfortunate events almost killed her and worse – but as luck would have it, she finds the very place she’d been looking for. She wants to attend a clandestine meeting that might shed light upon her missing friend and now follows a series on incidents that has the Princess quaking in her boots. Nevertheless she is reunited with certain other characters only to learn some devastating news. However, before she can process this, she and her group are betrayed and they must flee or fall into the very hands of the enemy they are investigating and fear.
Are indie/self-published authors viewed with scepticism or wariness by readers? Why is this?
I’ve found that indies are very much considered ‘the second-hand citizen’ of the author world. It’s unfair but I guess that the indie route has given rise to many poorly executed books – and unfortunately people remember the bad ones far longer than the good ones. I’ve talked to readers who do not consider indie books ‘real’ works of writing. Fortunately, there are also those who have delved into the fray and have found gold, so swings and roundabouts. The common reason that readers list for not wanting indie works are: poorly formatted, bad grammar, no edits or badly edited, homemade, cheap covers, poor storylines, rip off storylines, over-priced, they should be free…
I think it worth mentioning that it’s not always because the indie books are not worthy that they have not been traditionally published. Agents are very fickle with what they are looking for (and rightly so). In 9:10 times you need an agent to approach a publishing house, so it does mean that some decent manuscripts may be overlooked because the agent may feel that they are in the market for ‘something else’. It cannot be helped, but readers rarely see that side of the industry.
Armed with a love of fantasy, a slightly geeky mindset, and an unleashed wild muse, L. L. began the new journey into writing relatively late in life but was inspired by her long-repressed urges to write ‘something’ – and once she began, she never looked back.
“I regret I took so long to find my ‘calling’. The truth is that when you have an idea it just has to be set free,” she says, adding, “My somewhat unorthodox approach to style and flow has been a way for me to test my personal, individual voice. It’s a fluid thing, however. In the future, it might alter to match the shape of new projects.”
Linda currently lives in the UK, Nottinghamshire, with her husband, two kids, a cats and one dog. As with her writing, she approaches life with a nod to the saying: ‘fear nothing, respect everything’. She enjoys horse riding, sci-fi movies, travelling, reading fantasy (but not exclusively), Pilates, and has a strange fascination with swords.
Her first published fantasy novel, ‘A Change of Rules’, kick-starts the 11 ‘episodes’ of The Missing Shield – a new adult high fantasy series, with a touch of mystery, intrigue, romance and darkness. ‘The Missing Shield’ is the forerunner to ‘The Veil Keepers Quest’ series.
Calling all readers! Fill your library with N. N. Light’s Book Heaven Snuggle Up With These Books Readathon picks. 56 books from multiple genres featured plus a chance to win one of the following:
Enter to win a $50 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card
Enter to win a $50 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card
Enter to win a $25 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card
Enter to win a $15 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card
Enter to win a $10 Amazon (US) or Barnes and Noble Gift Card
I’m thrilled to be a part of this event. My book, The Shining Citadel, will be featured on 14th November. I even talk about what I’m thankful for this year. You won’t want to miss it.
Bookmark this bookish party and tell your friends: