Wednesday 20 April 2022

5 Minutes with Joshua Pantalleresco, Podcaster, Author and Creative!

Today I have the pleasure of having my good friend, Joshua Pantalleresco on my blog! He's an amazing podcaster, I've been on his show many times so I can attest to that, author and now he's starting a new adventure! Read on to find out what it is!

Take it away, Josh!

I love people's stories. It's why I fell in love with interviewing people. I've interviewed people for over twenty years. There's something truly magical about getting to know people, especially those who do incredible things. Whether it was George Perez, Stan Sakai, or James A. Owen, I always marveled at the stories behind the people that make works. Throughout the years, I've had the opportunity to talk to creatives throughout my career. One day, I just came to a conclusion that people in general are awesome.

The more interviews I do the more that is true. Years later, I'm doing an award winning podcast called Just Joshing, in which I take creatives mentioned above and have casual conversations. I'm approaching 800 episodes of the show. It's been a true honor and pleasure to chat with the people I've been blessed to have on the show. I've had writers, comic book creators, illustrators, comedians, musicians, bands, and so many other imaginative and creative people. Every one of them has been incredible.

Most of them don't know how incredible they are. They get shy when someone mentions just how good they are. Or when they approach how to talk about themselves, they freeze. Talking about yourself might be the hardest thing to do in the biz. We all know we have to, but the truth is, it's awkward to talk about yourself. It doesn't feel natural, and if creatives are honest with themselves, they don't really want to do it. Who wants to talk about themselves or their projects when there are more projects to make and more clients to help? I get that.

I realize that I'm good at building people up. People that have been interviewed on my show sometimes call me a therapist. I'm good at finding the things that make people awesome. I've built up the confidence of many of my guests, and make them feel like they've had an incredible experience.

If people saw themselves like I saw them, they'd believe they were superstars.

I didn't click this to my current venture until about a month ago when I was interviewed to be a podcast host for another show. They mentioned what the purpose of the show was to create micro ads for businesses. I listened to the job, and an idea hit me.

Creatives don't like to talk. I like to talk, build up and present creatives to the world. Why not use my skills to do this?

Thanks to my experience producing and co-creating the show, I have the

video background to make this work. My podcasting has given me plenty of experience using my voice. I can write copy like this and do graphics and other things to build that personal brand. 
I know how much creators care. You put your time, effort, energy, in some cases blood and tears into these products. Nothing pleases a creative more than someone telling them that their work was great. Short of creating my own work, watching someone taking my advice to help them in the past to succeed is a great high. I love watching people succeed, and wish nothing but the best for everyone.

Creating an amazing product may be the most important step, but telling people about it is nearly as paramount. There are a lot of beautiful things in the world, and getting people's attention is never ending. In today's time, the person is almost as important as the product. People gravitate to people they can connect with and relate to. If I believe in you as a person, I will be more inclined to look at your products and buy them. That is the world of marketing today.

That's what I intend to do to the many creatives out there that don't want to, or don't have time to do for themselves. I will showcase you and show the world just how amazing you are. My advertising services have just opened up. I am taking clients now. I got a multitude of packages available to help. I want to close this blog up by thanking Kat Flannery for all she's done for me. She has let me test my concepts out, and has played a huge role in my steps on this journey. 

Thanks Kat, and thanks to the rest of you reading this. 

Stay inspired, and keep shining in the dark. When you shine, others do too. And if you're afraid to do so yourself, let me help you.

Check out Josh here 

Saturday 10 July 2021

I'm often asked when a new book comes out why I wrote it - what propelled me to delve into the depths of this particular plot line and characters lives? Well, with The Memory Bell it was more than just a story, more than just a plot with subplots swirling about on the page. This book meant something more. If you know me at all I'd rather skip to the easy questions the ones where I don't really have to explain a lot and I can tell you my creative mind needed to be pushed outside of my comfort zone of writing historical western romance and I needed a change, but that would only be half true and complete bull shit.

Why the Memory Bell… why this book? I wanted to write a story for my readers... one they could all relate to on some level---one I related to.

Family - we all have some form of one and the word will either make you… smile, cringe, or do both. For most of us it’s the latter, and to be truthful I see nothing wrong with that. Family has a tendency to make us all a little crazy. There is a false narrative that family is the best... family is what we all need, when it isn't the case at all. Family is definitely great, it is awesome and I adore mine, but sometimes family can suck. You know that saying; you can pick your friends, but not your family this is true...the word family get's thrown around like it's gold, or for lack of a better description like it's the mafia and we need to keep the toxic ones, and hold on to the crazy ones and remain surrounded by delusion and discord no matter what because... well damn it, because it's family.

Which brings me to the real reason I'm writing this blog, my why for writing this book, for delving into a mystery but more so into the depths of family relationships? Ever heard of an old family saying, “Blood is thicker than water?” My Italian side used to say this to my mom (FYI she isn’t Italian) whenever they thought my dad would take her side, and toward the end when my dad passed away and they wanted us to live with them. Yeah uncool, but I'll save that story for another day.

Blood is thicker than water… kind of eerie, isn’t it? The phrase holds an ominous feel to it and makes me, being the rebel that I am, want to push back with a big loud BULL SHIT.

Family can be harsh, judgmental, and cruel and they can even turn on you. So, the whole blood is thicker than water just doesn’t wash with me. I’ve had friends who have treated me better than some of my family. So if you ask me water is more refreshing and I'd rather drink that shit all day long when it comes to my extended family.
Which brings me to the why of this book… I am always looking to evoke thought, emotion and make my readers feel a part of the story I am writing, and The Memory Bell has a piece of every one of you in it.

Everyone has family skeletons, some are still in the closet, and some are out free for the whole world to see and judge us on (lucky us, right?) There is an expectation when it comes to family, some sort of hidden pact, kind of like the "blood is thicker than water" thing, but more engrained into each of our heads that family is the be all and end all and we need them to survive. It is simply not true. We’ve all felt the disappointment when the bonds of a family break and the walls come tumbling down, because even though we don’t want to admit it, and we sometimes don’t want to see family for what they are, when they show their true colours, it hurts. Yup, it cuts like a razor and stings for a bloody long time afterward.

The Memory Bell is about the journey through family ties right down to the ones that break and the ones that remain… and how it’s the family left standing by your side at the end that matter...

AND sometimes it isn’t always blood, but instead water to quench your thirst for life, love and the perseverance to go on and that is okay.

“For Grace Penner family is everything, that is until everything begins to unravel. Drawn to the big-city detective who has come to her town to solve a terrible crime, Grace finds herself questioning everything she has ever known. A story of innocence lost and wisdom hard won, The Memory Bell is a wild ride readers will not want to miss." --Jenny Jaeckel, Author of House of Rougeaux

Saturday 9 May 2020

Podcaster and author, Joshua Pantalleresco is on my blog today!

Want to see my unicorn pen?  No really. I got one.  Want to see it?

Here it is. My sister bought it for me. I almost got Ryan McFadden to sign his book with it. If his wife had seen the pen he would have had no choice.  Dang it.  But it's a cool pen right?  I legit write with it. 

So this joke started way back when my sister suggested that in my current novel that I'd put a unicorn into it. Now, I said yes immediately, already plotting out its demise. Then my sister got this pouting please don't do anything look on her face, and asked me not to kill it. Well crap. Not only did she see through my plan, she stopped it cold.  Dang it. Now what do I do with the unicorn?

I figured it out eventually. My current novel has a unicorn that farts out spam ads. This cute little guy is named Roy G. Biv, and he lives in the cloud. No one's quite sure how he got there, but long ago, someone built him to advertise giant spam ads on people's phones and pcs. He still is doing it, hundreds of years later. Much like the mighty cockroach, Roy had survived his own civilization's apocalypse, and had found a home for himself inside the cloud. Johnny, Gunblade and company discover him trying to rescue the daemon Stevie Y, who had gone into the cloud hiding from zombie mobsters.

Now reading that story I imagine a lot of thoughts enter your head. Why would a unicorn fart out advertising? I have no idea, and I wrote the damn thing. I hope you got a kick out of the name, and maybe you laughed at my cockroach joke, before my next few bits of information made you go a little cross eyed.  Trust me, it's on purpose.

Writers are magicians. We're supposed to trip you out with words and images you are imagining. I'm no different. I'm playing with you, challenging your perceptions and creating an image that is as bonkers as I can possibly cram it in.
Distraction is one of my favorite techniques. I'm bombarding your imagination with as many misshapen images as possible. I'm leaving questions. What does a zombie mobster do? (And no, they are not nice zombies. Are there nice zombies? I think there should be somewhere. Hmm. Going to have to ponder that one.) 
I digress. Hopefully you get the idea. Distraction is a wonderful thing. We live in a world where there are images and slogans and logos waging war for your attention. Most of them fail to deliver the surprise distraction craves in order to make it work. It's why we grow numb to the messages out there. Most of the distractions in our lives serve the same purpose. 
       They want you to buy. Buy me, I'm red and sexy, says fizzy bottle number one. Buy me, I'm blue and positive, says potato chip bag number two. It doesn't matter how you dress it up, the end result is buy me. We all understand business. We all need to eat.
But no one wants to hear a sales pitch. They say the same thing. They don't
talk to you or interact with you. They are mundane, dull and no one cares. Stories can't just follow standard formula for the same reason. We've seen the twirling moustache villain. We know that the princess goes off with their wonderful prince charming. We've been there, we heard that, and some of us have even bought the t-shirt. But it's a small world after all if that's all you subscribe to.
Great writers play with those expectations. They play with you. The great ones can take whatever tools we have, whether they be unicorns or cupcakes or zombies or evil robots or whatever you want to insert and they interact and present to you the reader a different experience.  It's why I love great indy books so much. They are incredibly well told tales done in ways you may not see.
In my case, I decided to embrace the whimsical.  There is magic in whimsy and breaking those expectations in ways never conceived. In book two which I'm working on now, I am actually writing about a killer cupcake. This cupcake was the creation of a bakery company looking to make more money. So they did what all of us do when we are desperate for cash – invest in weapons.  So in their quest for making a living in their troubled times, they created an apocalyptic monster of red velvet destruction, complete with sugary pink bow. 
What is the goal with distraction? The answer is simple.  Surprise.  I want to surprise you.  I want to wow you with the images I create. I want you to engage. I want you to play. I want to throw as many images into your head and make you crack up at the absurdity of it. 
I want you to enjoy the experience I crafted for you.  And, if you have to go, wouldn't you want to go to the sugary goodness that is a cupcake?
And here is a great picture of a cupcake. 
Great stories don't need to be silly. I like silliness, but that doesn't mean you need to create that kind of whimsy.  Stories can engage with your audience on any kind of tone you want. Tales can be told with tremendous gravity, or romantic as a country song or filled with epiphanies. All of these things are possible, provided that the reader is distracted with the tale being conjured in front of them.
My stories are distractions and escapes into other worlds. I want to play with you, and I hope you want to come along for the ride. There are unicorns and cupcakes and terrible elevator music. There is laughter, and even some tears. You can't have ups without downs.  You need to have some down notes, especially in comedy to get the jokes across. But in the end I want you to experience wonder and leave you with a great experience.
That's the real trick of any storyteller isn't it?

Get the book and connect with Josh!

Twitter/IG: jpantalleresco

About the Author:
Joshua Pantalleresco writes stuff and podcasts too.  His forthcoming book, the Cloud Diver is his first novel, and fourth book.  Joshua always has written poetry for Mirror World Publishing, and has been published in magazines such as Onspec.  He writes a column for First Comics and has made the leap into the freelance world.
His podcast Just Joshing is fast approaching 400 episodes. He has interviewed debut novelists, New York Times Bestselling Authors, musicians, illustrators, pro wrestlers, politicians, comedians and other creative people twice a week, and reads from his work, along with other authors every weekend. He has won the Aurora for his podcast, and has been finalist for that award twice.  He lives in Windsor currently, but has been known to wander at a moment's notice.

Friday 17 April 2020

Ramblings of a Crazed Writer: F&$king Characters!

Let’s discuss characters. Whether one, two, or three dimensional these plot driven fictitious bastards are devious little creatures that have caused me to shout at my lap top, toss a book across the room, shake my hand in the air, and drink heavily.

There is always more than one character, and in some cases there are too many and I need to keep a list of them. (one word: nightmare)

But it is the stubborn character, the one with a mind of his/her own that always throws me for a loop.

I am writing the first book to a five book series and I am super pumped for this one. I’ve taken months to plot out the book, create new characters, and add twists and turns. It will be friggin' awesome!

Easy peasy, right? WRONG!

Nothing is easy when you have a character like mine. He has become a living being outside of my head who is constantly yammering on about his story. This spells danger, disaster, whiskey, and more whiskey for me.

I am the inventor of the book. I write the damn thing! But this character has other motives. He wants to go in another direction that I had not planned on. And planning is everything when writing a book, especially to someone who has OCD.

I have tried to appease him by placing him in other situations, or pulling him in the direction I need him to go, but the bugger won’t budge. Hell, I’ve even threatened to write him out of the bloody book, but he says I need him and is firm on me moving him in the way he wants to go.

Am I crazy? 

After all this is a fictitious character. One, may I remind you, I created. Does
it matter that I have long winded conversations with him almost everyday on the plotting of the book? How about the fact that the other protagonist has decided to join in? 

She feels the same way.
Son of a B*&@H!
How did this happen? Everything was fine in the beginning. Now, they’re like my dogs when I walk them, always pulling me the opposite direction.
What gives?

Listen, I am good to these guys. Yes, I write them into some unfortunate situations, but I always get them out. I give them what they deserve by the end of the book. Why are they being such asshats and complaining?

I never hear anything from the antagonist. He is right as rain being the villain, doing any despicable thing I write. He doesn’t stop me mid paragraph and want to be the protagonist! He is happy with his place in the book, even if I kill him, which happens almost all of the time!

Not my protagonists. They keep telling me it is their story and I need to stay true to them. I get that! 
But I had it all plotted out. Can’t they see how much work I’ve put in already? I don’t want to change things now!


This insanity will not stop until I give them what they want. They will continue to whisper in my ear, hold me hostage in my own mind until I give in! 
Which makes things worse when you're on a deadline! 

I love them, even though they piss me off. They’re a part of me, who I cherish, but at the same time I’d like to delete them and move on to the next book. But I'm not a quitter, and even though I'm beyond frustrated I will wave my white flag in defeat.

After all, It really isn't my choice.
I want to tell their story. Which means one thing ... a lot of whiskey and writing it the way they want me to.

Happy Friday, Friends!!!


Monday 13 April 2020

Three novellas from bestselling author, Kat Flannery's The Montgomery Sisters series. Purchase this limited edition boxed set and be captivated by these strong-willed women forced to make it on their own in the western frontier.

Book 1: FERN

Can one woman heal the heart of a lawman?

A gardener who uses plants to heal, Fern Montgomery is an outcast who refuses to be pushed out of town. When her friend is murdered and all fingers point to Fern as the only suspect, she must find a way to prove her innocence while fighting off unwanted feelings for the sheriff.

Sheriff Gabe Bennett has his mind set on arresting Sarah Fuller’s killer. But his key suspect isn’t what he expected. He soon realizes there is more to the quiet gardener than he’d first anticipated. As passion blooms, Gabe is forced to face his feelings—and the woman who has stolen his heart.

Book 2: POPPY

Poppy Montgomery has always been good with a gun and could fight her way out of anything. Tough as nails and a sharp shooter, her beauty deceives the outlaws she’s after.

Hot on the trail of the Clemmons gang, a group of outlaws who rob trains and killed an innocent woman and child a few months before, she is determined to make them pay for the sin’s they’ve committed by bringing them to justice.

Pinkerton, Noah Shaw is investigating a ring of stage robberies and knows the Clemmons gang is behind them. Told to track down the infamous redheaded bounty hunter, Noah gets more than he bargained for when he arrests Poppy for assault.

Handcuffed together the pair must work together to stop the robberies, and figure out who is behind them. But what happens when love interferes and thrusts Poppy into discovering emotions she never knew existed? Will she choose the solitude she’s always known, or Noah’s sweet embrace?

Book 3: IVY

Ivy Montgomery is tired of her sister’s constant nagging and protectiveness. Blind, she decides to escape in the middle of the night when she is captured and brought far from home. With no understanding of the outside world, Ivy must use her keen abilities to navigate the wilderness around her. Anger and hopelessness are her only defenses against the things she cannot do. Until she meets a strong-minded Lakota Chief, who will not let her cower to the blindness any longer.

Lakota Sioux Chief of the Paha Sapa, Hotah is on a hunt for his brother, Kangi. Cast from their tribe five years before, Kangi has grown a dark spirit and a hatred for all white people. Now on reserved land, Hotah makes a deal with the General to capture his brother in return for his people to have the provisions they need. After rescuing Ivy, he promises to take her home, but danger is near and Hotah soon realizes it is not just his brother he should fear.