Guest Blog: Joanna Parypinski

Today, to promote her first novel, Pandora, author Joanna Parypinski’s blog tour lands in my neck of the woods.  Although I haven’t yet read the novel (but I am ordering it this weekend, as should you!), if it’s anything like the pieces of short fiction I’ve encountered, then I can guarantee it’ll be worth your time.  One story in particular, The Viola D’Amore, was part of the March 2012 edition of Cover of Darkness Magazine and remains one of the best stories from a new author I’ve read in a long time.  Read on to find out about The Origins of Pandora…


How did I come up with the idea for PANDORA?

Ideas for my writing usually come to me in pieces. I’m not J.K. Rowling: my character didn’t just stroll up, fully-formed, into my mind. Often I’ll have multiple ideas floating around, seemingly disparate plotlines for different books, and the great moment of epiphany will be when I realize they can all come together to create one fully-developed story.

It started with an image: Pandora’s Box. In my mind, it was an intricately carved, ancient chest made of ivory, and inside of it, all manner of creepy plagues from Greek mythology awaited their release.

But just the idea of the box wasn’t enough for a book. You need plot, characters, themes, and a great climax. So I started creating my characters (a cook, a teacher, a bullied teenager, an alcoholic writer, a paranoid priest), and I started outlining how their lives would be affected by the box.

It was still missing something. I was only 18 though: a novice by many standards. Though I’d been writing short stories and even a few YA novels since I first learned to pick up a pencil, I still wasn’t fully developed as a writer.

Those other books, by the way, were written during my high school years: the first, called The Legend of Blackbeard’s Island, involved three teenagers who stumble across Blackbeard’s cursed treasure, along with his headless remains. The second, called Northern Lights, was a science fiction/murder mystery/ghost story in which the appearance of the Northern Lights allows us to perceive the frequency at which ghosts exist.

But I digress. The point is that, for a brief time, I was at a loss as to how to turn my idea into an actual story.

Then, on the Fourth of July, 2007, it hit me.

I was sitting in a neighbor’s backyard, on the edge of a manmade lake surrounded by large houses. Someone was setting off a firework show over the lake, the glittering explosions shimmering on the black water below. The fireworks were so close; debris rained down on us, still burning embers. Ash littered the grass. There was something enchanting and horrifying about the experience, being so close to something both magnificent and dangerous. What would happen if the grass caught fire? What if one of the fireworks went off just a little too low, a little too close to the houses and lake?

This moment cemented the rest of the book for me. I suspect you’ll understand better once you’ve read it yourselves.

If you’d like to read it for free, then why not try to win an e-book copy right now? Post about the PANDORA Blog Tour on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Then come back here and comment below with a link to each place you’ve mentioned the tour (as well as your e-mail and whether you’d like a PDF or ePub version). The more links, the more chances your name will get pulled out of the hat to win the e-book! This mini-contest ends at 11:59 PM PST, Sunday, September 30.

Don’t forget to enter to win the grand prize at!

The Pandora Blog Tour continues tomorrow at

Werepig Love

Unfortunately, I missed the live taping of The Funky Werepig from a about a month ago (I’m a little behind in my episode listening), but I had a pleasant surprise from my buddy Greg Hall, who gave me a shout out and few very nice words about my work near the beginning of the show.  You can listen to it here, along with an interview with horror writer James A. Moore.  (Click the little play button next to the James A. Moore episode on 8/22/12)

Thanks, Greg!

Book Signing

On October 2oth, both myself and author Brent Abell will be hosting a book signing event at one of Evansville’s premier comic shops, Comics Unlimited.  More info as it comes, but I have heard that both of us may or may not have something new to unveil at the event.  For details, visit the Appearances link at the top of the page.

This will be my first official book signing, so I’m really excited.  Hope to see you there.

Lamplight Magazine: A Quarterly That Won’t Disappoint!

My friend Jacob Haddon recently started his own quarterly e-book magazine, Lamplight Magazine, and after reading the first issue, I can tell you it’s a winner.  Issue 1 features an interview and a new story from author Robert Ford, part 1 of a serial novella from Kevin Lucia, an essay from J.F. Gonzalez, and new fiction from William Meikle, Nathan Yocum, Rahul Kanakia, Ian Creasey and Mandy DeGeit.  Oh, and I did mention the first issue is free?  Download it here and enjoy!