I was honored to have been asked to write an article for a newspaper in India on how Stan Lee influenced me as a writer. Check out a direct link to the article in the DB post here: http://epaper.dbpost.com/bhopal/14/18112018/1/
You’ll see my contribution on the right side of the page. Let me know what you think. So far the feedback I’ve been getting is that I made some people shed a few tears, but in a good way.
I’ve received some interesting questions over the past few days about my new short story release THE LOST DAY. These are those compiled together. Feel free to ask your own questions in the comments section, and I’ll be sure to answer and share.
Q: What is your new short story about?
Rick: A man who wakes up in a reality that isn’t his own. He’s a character from my books that changed history, and upon returning to his own time realizes that nothing is as it was. Everyone around him knows who he is, but he knows nothing about this new reality. It becomes even more of a nightmare for him when he is captured to be studied, and he realizes that his very existence puts the future of mankind at risk.
Q: Should I read the novels before reading this story?
Rick: No, not at all. As a matter of fact, I wrote THE LOST DAY to be a stand alone short. Yes, it’s a spinoff, but only to fill in the gaps for any readers of the novels that have a question about what happened to him. For newcomers, there is a total disconnect with the novels in this short, so it was intended for all audiences.
Q: There’s an interesting take on the antagonist in the story. What gave you the idea for such a character?
Rick: I don’t really see the story as having a true antagonist. I mean obviously there is that character, but it isn’t “bad.” It’s doing the thing that it thinks is right. If anything the main character is sort of the antagonist. The idea for the creature that you are referring to though came from current events. If you look back to what life was a few hundred years ago versus today, there is a difference. For the most part all races are reproducing together, and human sexuality goes beyond just straight and gay. So for a point in the human evolutionary scale, in the far future, there very well could be a grey skinned and asexually reproducing person.
Q: Do you think this approach to a character will cause controversy?
Rick: Not really. It’s done in a manner that is respectful to all people of orientation and race. I also think that it is something that could be plausible in a few million years. If it does stir controversy I’m all for it. Any type of chatter will bring others to read it. Just look at what Dan Brown did, and he’s become an outstanding well known author.
Q: Where do you stand with your beliefs on the topic of interracial breeding and sexual orientation?
Rick: That’s a touchy subject that I try to avoid, but I can say that I believe it isn’t our place to judge others. People have their own right to love who they want, but it’s when they force their beliefs on others that it becomes a problem. The same goes for the reverse point of view. If something bigger and better is out there, whether it God or aliens or both, then we would be a disgrace to a superior being with all of the turmoil we create amongst our own human species. Let the higher powers judge our own actions. My thoughts are don’t judge and don’t push agendas no matter where you stand.
Q: Do all of your books have a message like this?
Rick: Real life inspires a lot of my writing, but I want my stories to be enjoyable to a wider audience. I might have underlying themes throughout them, but there is never a message that I’m trying to push at all. I just want everyone to be able to relate and understand each other to some degree. We don’t all have to agree on everything, but understanding each other is a step toward a greater future.
Q: It seems like you think a lot about the future.
Rick: Having children does that to you. I used to be very carefree in all that I did. I took life for granted for a time. Now I realize how precious it is, and when I’m gone I want my kids, their kids, and their kids kids, and beyond to be able to be role models and be part of a greater future.
Q: How does this short-story relate or differ to your other shorts?
Rick: Other than it following the groundwork laid out in THE LOST HOUR…. THE LOST DAY is entirely self sustaining.
Q: There is a little bit of a cliffhanger at the end. Will we see Don Blake again?
Rick: I plan on it. I think there is a responsibility as an author to wrap up all loose ends. Even if it is a simple one liner in a future book that says “Don Blake’s remains were found,” or have him cameo in a minor role, or be a major character. Don Blake will return. I promise closure on that.
Q: Tell us about the cover idea. Who did the art and design?
Rick: I did the design and layout. Originally I wanted to have a sundial, but the pocket watch was my wife’s idea. It was also an element that I threw into the story at literally the last minute before sending to the editors.
Q: Where can one purchase a copy of THE LOST DAY?
Rick: It’s available at Lulu.com in print and will eventually be on Amazon and Barnes and Noble as part of my next trilogy release.
I’m taking a moment to share my wife Roberta’s new sizzle reel. If you aren’t following her, she’s got lots of great ideas, and constantly involved with TV, events, and magazines. Check out some of her highlights and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat @homemadedelish, as well as on Facebook as “Roberta Pipito”. http://www.homemadedelish.com
Here’s the video:
With every new release I get a handful of questions from readers and during promotions. Here’s some of the ones I’ve gathered so far for “THE THIRST OF CAIN”. Feel free to ask any that you have in the comments below or send me a message.
Q: Tell me about your new novel.
Rick: Francis Murphy wakes from a night’s sleep to discover a horror. His blood-stained hands reveal his darkest fears. With each passing minute the submerged half of his personality comes one step closer to total control. Realizing he has only days to find a cure, he must search throughout history to discover the origins of his curse. From the beginning of humanity to modern times, the mark of Cain has influenced many. What is that mark? How far will one man go in order to piece together clues to the puzzle? At what lengths will he go to save himself, and at what cost?
Q: Cain was a primary character in your earlier novels. What made you bring him back?
Rick: Reader feedback was my ultimate driving force. So many people loved the character and he slowly faded into the background as my novels progressed. I felt it was time to bring him back to the heart of the story, and see the side of him that the novels prior to this didn’t fully address.
Q: Does this go against your “I’m not going to write the same type of novel twice,” or do you feel it is a different approach?
Rick: This is a much different approach. It’s true I didn’t want to do another book involving vampires, or time travel. Both of those things sort of take a back seat in this even though they are there. It’s less a book about either of those, and more a book about discovering history in reverse. Cain is in his prime in this novel, so he’s more villain than before… he just happens to be a vampire. Murphy’s journey through time is more about solving the mystery of where his curse came from than the sci-fi element. He just uses time travel to trace the lineage back. So, this is a much different novel than BLOOD, THE SECOND HELPING or A COURSE FOR HUMANITY.
Q: There are a lot of historical refences and tie ins in this book. How much research did you have to do?
Rick: When it came to overall research it wasn’t too extensive, but I wanted each time period in the story to have actual historical significance. I didn’t really know when specifically each chapter would take place until I found some dates with events that would fit the narrative. Finding those pieces of information did consume a few weeks of my time in order to get the story right. The research actually had me rewrite my outline four or five times to better fit where I wanted the book to go.
Q: You and your family were recently featured as a cover story in your local newspaper. How does that feel and factor into what you do?
Rick: It was really a moment that made me so proud. To be called, “the Dynamic Duo” was a surprise. People have said that we are a power couple and inspiration for those who want to prove that hard work will help you reach your dreams. I’ve always been flattered by that. The interview was a lot of fun, but I didn’t expect us to be the cover story. Needless to say we framed the article and have it hanging in my office. Things like that just make me want to go above and beyond my goals even more, and it helps me to push myself harder to attain those goals.
Q: How long did it take you to write THE THIRST OF CAIN?
Rick: The concept has been in my mind for about eight years. Every few months I’d come up with ideas of where to take it, but it was shelved for my other works. Once I finally started to sit down and write it, it took about eight months from outline to draft, then to edits and final copy.
Q: Do you have a team of early reviewers? If so how did they respond to the new book?
Rick: I had 20 beta readers for this book. Of those, a dozen gave their feedback which I value immensely. The response was all very positive with one reader claiming that they wanted another few pages in the epilogue to explain what happens next. To those readers I just have to say, it will be worth the wait to find out, but the hints are there.
Q: You do a decent job of writing each novel as a standalone, but also tying into the whole series. How hard is it to do this and keep the continuity?
Rick: It becomes tedious at times. I have to explain some things in back story, which makes me go back and reread previous plot points over and over to preserve continuity. I really like the idea of having a series that gets better with each installment since the beginning, but can also be a starting point for any new reader to my works. The balance is sometimes tricky, but not an overall difficult task.
Q: I’ve read the book, and have one question… That ending was totally unexpected. What? How? Where is this going?
Rick: You’ll find out in the next novel CONSUMED BY WAR. The reset button has technically been hit, so where THE THIRST OF CAIN finds the character going backwards in time to different periods, the next installment will be the opposite, except without the time travel element. There won’t be any more vampires, just two immortal beings “The Destroyer” and “The Redeemer.” There will also be a short story spinoff that will reference the events in THIRST called THE LOST DAY, which will also come out later this year.
Q: Tell us about the cover idea. Who did the art and design?
Rick: My brother Dan, did the art and design for it. My concept was to have Stonehenge as the center of the cover. It plays a significant role in the plot as far as what its true purpose was. Having a river of blood coming from it was an idea I pitched to my brother, and he immediately went to work with a few pictures in photo editing software. When I received his final copy for approval I was blown away. I think it’s my favorite cover to date.
Q: Where can one purchase a copy of THE THIRST OF CAIN?
Rick: It’s available at Lulu.com in print for $7.99 and on Amazon.com in digital format for $3.99.
My novel THE THIRST OF CAIN has arrived. Here’s a trailer to go along with it. Book is available at lulu.com in print and on amazon in digital.
Saturday I was delighted to appear at the Bensalem Library in Pennsylvania for a book signing and chatting about life as an author. It was a pleasant experience where I met some other writers and amazing readers. If you’re in Doylestown this weekend (11/11/17) I’ll be at their library too. For anyone not in the area, hopefully I’ll be your way soon. Otherwise, feel free to contact me through email if you want to say hi or have questions about my books or the writing process.
Thanks again to the Bucks County Free Library system for setting this up
Day 31 of #scrypthalloween wraps up the month with good news in November. This Saturday (11/4) I will be signing books and talking about being an author at Bensalem library in Bucks County PA from 1-4 pm. I will also be at the Doylestown library the following week doing the same (11/11). Come out and say hi to me and some other authors. It’ll be a fun time. @buckscountylibrary #buckscountylibrary #bensalemlibrary #doylestownlibrary #author #reading #book #novel