Interview: PANDORA’S CHAOS TRILOGY
The following is a compilation of some of the most frequently asked questions I’ve received from people in reference to my PANDORA’S CHAOS TRILOGY. I figured it was time to post them up as the next book will be ready soon. Enjoy and feel free to ask any additional questions in the comments below. 🙂
Q: How does this trilogy stand out from the last?
Rick: Like the Star Wars saga, I tend to think of this as a starting point for newcomers to my work. Books 4-6 are really well written in comparison to the original three because of what there was to work with. It is a lot easier to be more creative with ghosts, demons and technology (the focuses of the novels in Pandora’s Chaos), than it is with zombies, vampires and werewolves (books 1-3 in the Eden’s order trilogy). I wrote it in a way that anyone can jump in from this as a starting point and when it grabs their attention there would be two reactions. If the reader enjoys what they see here, then it will not only compel them to want to see what happens in the next trilogy, but also what happened before book 4 that established this world.
Q: Are you always writing in trilogies?
Rick: I think that is the most logical approach, yes. I’ve always loved a good series. The problem is finding a part for people to start. Someone might get turned off if they find out there are multiple books and they’re already 6 novels behind. The purpose of trilogy writing is multiple… I can focus on a new antagonist throughout, and have separate threats that are secondary antagonists in each novel. Sure you can read just any individual novel of it, but it really feels fuller with all three. I won’t always write in trilogies, but for this it seems fair.
Q: Where will the next trilogy take us then?
Rick: Into the future. There is a twenty five year gap between books 6 and 7 in order to introduce a mostly new cast. The past novels have happened and there will be references, but only when necessary. GENETIC MORSELS is going to enable me to do more creatively while building on an already existing world, and yet keeping it fresh and new.
Q: What is your take on Pandora’s Box and the whole Atlantis angle you’ve included?
Rick: Without giving too much away Atlantis has always been fascinating to me. There is so much that we don’t know about the history of mankind and I wanted to touch on that. I believe that every legend begins with a certain truth. My own ideas for stories are based on realistic things that have occurred in my own lifetimes, so incorporating that with the past really gives me a lot of working room. There had to be something opposite to the order established with the Garden of Eden in the first three novels, so when I wanted a source for chaos I immediately knew Pandora’s Box would be the thing to do just that. My take on it is completely unique to those prior, but still keeping true to what the original idea was.
Q: With your next trilogy taking place in the near future, what will you call it? What will it focus upon?
Rick: I have a few ideas about what to call the trilogy as a whole, but nothing definitive at the moment. I currently have the rights to my ideas in book 7 and book 8 which will focus on the next step in human evolution and aliens respectively.
Q: Is it impossible to tie up every loose end? There are a few characters who I wonder about their fates.
Rick: Nothing is impossible, but in order to keep new novels fresh I don’t like to include every little thing that may have gone untouched. Take the fate of Cain. I like to leave that open to the reader to have their own thoughts. It isn’t necessary for me to go back to a place I’ve already been without having really good reason. I try to eliminate the reader question of “what if?” as often as I can. Mostly there are no loose ends. Each trilogy ties it up fairly well. For those things I left open, well I reserve them for the comic book spinoffs.
Q: In the Eden’s Order Trilogy there was a timeline and the graphic novel spinoff stories as bonus content. What are the extras included in this trilogy?
Rick: As I did in EDEN, I included the novelized stories that are and will be in the comic book spinoffs, plus three new additional stories. They are all short and are just meant to be supplemental material. Instead of a timeline with this one, I included a “document” that drops a hint as to what the main antagonist (I won’t say who here) is trying to do in book 7.
Q: I understand that you won some awards for this trilogy. What was that like?
Rick: I was blown away. I received extremely positive reviews on SOULS 4 SUPPER and it took the trilogy to new heights. It moved me from non placement on the independent author chart into the top 100… then two weeks later I had been moved into the top 25 of authors. I’m still on an adrenaline rush and am so thankful for all of the feedback and people who made this possible through support and word of mouth.
Q: What is the symbolism behind the cover art?
Rick: When I approached my brother (Dan Pipito) to do the cover art, we discussed how we could represent all three book themes as well as the underlying plot of it all. The look of an ancient sculpture came to mind, with modifications. In its chest you can see what is my version of Pandora’s Box. Emanating from that is a greenish mist that represents the souls within it. If you look at the wings behind the statue one is feathered and one more like a dragonfly. This is to represent the angels and demons. Finally, the sculpture itself is very mechanical looking with seams and rivets in places, which is where the technology is represented. It is a simple piece with many complexities hidden within (much like the mysteries revealed within the books).
Q: Where can we get PANDORA’S CHAOS TRILOGY?
Rick: The trilogy as a whole can be found in print at www.lulu.com, as well as the three novels that are included in the trilogy as separate entities. You can download SOULS 4 SUPPER, DEVIL’S DESSERT, and TECHNO FEAST for the Kindle on www.amazon.com
Day 21: Currently Published Plots and more
I figured since it is getting closer to Halloween, I should make a quick list of the current publications I have and a brief idea as to the summary of them.
FLESH AND LEFTOVERS: While zombie incidents plague the world, the survivors must unite to prepare for a much bigger threat.
BLOOD, THE SECOND HELPING: Vampires have been a thing of legend, but throughout history they’ve played an important role. Now a team of humans who have survived horrific incidents must seek out the vampire lord and destroy his clan.
BONES AT BREAKFAST: A sinister villain has evolved into a creature beyond imagination. With his army of werewolf servants and allies, he will attempt to reshape the world in his image.
SOULS 4 SUPPER: The ghosts of countless people roam free in a desperate move toward the afterlife. Can a small group of covert operatives surpass them to prevent the opening of Pandora’s Box?
DEVIL’S DESSERT: Hell’s demons have chosen earth as their final battlefield against the forces of heaven. With humanity caught in the center of this eternal war, they will have to choose their own path toward survival or face extinction.
TECHNO FEAST: A supercomputer has evolved and taken control of all networked technology. With the world at its command, humanity must find a way to combat the threat, by seeking out answers that have been hidden from the public eye.
Non fiction books:
NO, IT’S NOT. YES, IT IS: ARGUMENTS: A lighthearted look at arguing through personal experience will give you a few laughs, might teach you a thing or two, and help better your approach when disagreeing with someone. At the very least, you will know how to deal with certain personalities.
Graphic Comic Books:
ZOMBIE INCIDENTS: spinoff filling in back story of events in Flesh and Leftovers.
LEGENDS OF VAMPIRE: spinoff building on the world of Blood, The Second Helping.
IN CASE OF WEREWOLF: spinoff of events in Bones At Breakfast.
GHOSTLY HAUNTINGS: spinoff stories from Souls 4 Supper
EDEN’S ORDER TRILOGY: Collects Flesh and Leftovers, Blood the Second Helping, & Bones and Breakfast, as well as novelized versions of Zombie Incidents, Legends of Vampire, In Case of Werewolf and bonus material.
PANDORA’S CHAOS TRILOGY: Collects Souls 4 Supper, Devil’s Dessert, & Techno Feast, as well as novelized versions of In Case Of Werewolf, Demonic Entities, Final Upgrade, and bonus material.
All of the above listed are available for purchase in multiple formats through the links on the right of this page.
Day 9: The Story Behind the Art
While the stories to the books written by Rick Pipito are the main content, a good cover to the book is what catches the eye. Let’s take a few moments to talk about the ideas behind each cover and the art that Dan Pipito brought to life.
FLESH AND LEFTOVERS has a cover that come into mind over the phone. I pitched my idea for the first book to Dan and he immediately said, “Zombies? Okay, I’ve got it. The cover is a set of teeth tearing into a raw hunk of meat.” He felt that it matched the title of horror and food amalgamation.
For the spinoff comic ZOMBIE INCIDENTS, the concept was mine. I had access to various fake body parts that looked and felt real. In my mind I thought, “What would Hannibal Lecter keep in his fridge?” We set up my spare refrigerator with a bowl of bloody leftovers, through in the fake body parts and snapped a picture. Then Dan put the whole thing through a celophane like filter to give it that artistic touch (after all, leftovers ARE often found wrapped in plastic).
BLOOD, THE SECOND HELPING’s vampire theme is evident in the cover. Dan incorporated a lot of the story elements from the book. The city bathed in blood is symbolic, while the shadowy outline of the antagonist’s face is seen behind the large fangs. A pivotal scene from the book is also shown with a reconstructed body rising from the fountain of youth. It’s a very busy (in a great way) cover that keeps with the theme of the teeth from F&L.
LEGENDS OF VAMPIRE, the BTSH spinoff comic, was another of my ideas. Wanting to keep the real photograph idea of the first comic, this time we had a friend pose for us holding a glass of wine. The closeup shot of her neck with the wine (which is good for your blood of course) was put through an antique filter to give it an oil painting appearance. Dan added the fang marks and highlighted veins to be more pronounced to give it the “I’ve just been bitten by a vampire” paleness.
BONES AT BREAKFAST is the last in the first trilogy, so it made sense to close it out with a similar theme of teeth. This time Dan had the full snout of a wolf prominent in the foreground. You can notice that the jaw is not as pronounced as a normal wolf, giving it that human likeness of a werewolf in front of a very full moon.
The comic spinoff, IN CASE OF WEREWOLF, was another photograph idea. I gave Dan the concept and he took some bones from a medical office skeleton, threw them on a plate with some prop hair, and added a cup of coffee and orange juice to symbolize the bones at breakfast aspect. Again, he passed the photo through a filter before adding text and finalizing the cover.
THE EDEN’S ORDER TRILOGY cover is a simple tree. This is no ordinary tree. Upon second glance, you can see that the bark of the tree is stretched skin like in texture, the branches are in fact shaped like bones, and the red tips where the buds would be is blood. This is to show not just the tree of life from the Garden of Eden (a place we visit in the novels), but also to represent the flesh, blood, and bones from the titles of the included books.
SOULS 4 SUPPER marks the start of a new themed trilogy. Dan went simpler this time. I told him about what my version of Pandora’s Box would look like and that is what we decided for the cover. He added intricate gear and piston layouts, and I told him I wanted souls to be wisping from the top of it like they were escaping. His decision for the textured background and very little color is perfect for focusing on the object depicted.
The comic spinoff, GHOSTLY HAUNTINGS, came as an easier venture. Dan worked in a kitchen at the time, so when I said I had this idea to have ghosts escaping from a pot of stew, he grabbed the biggest deepest pot he could and took a picture of the steaming contents. Then he added ghostly faces into the stew and steam. The even better part of this is that the faces are actually warped and altered photos of famous people and pieces of art. They are altered to the point beyond recognition, but if you look closely, you may just see something you recognize.
DEVIL’S DESSERT has an intriguing cover. The Crown of Thorns, the Spear of Destiny, and the Sword of Eden are all artifacts crucial to the book’s storyline. Those are the items represented in the two tone cover, with a little bit of orangy-yellow fire coming from the blade.
TECHNO FEAST’s cover was another mutual idea. The main threat of this book operates from a satellite. This satellite depicted isn’t necessarily THE antagonist, but it makes sense once you read the novel. Outerspace in the background with the purplish gasses displayed among the deep blue make it a contrast that is eye captivating.
PANDORA’S CHAOS TRILOGY is another combination idea. The Statue is a way of representing the ancient history involved in the story (think roman architecture). It’s one arm has a broken limb. You can see feathers of what is an angel wing, while a dragonfly like demon wing droops to the other side. It’s face is very mechanical looking, while his heart is Pandora’s Box yet again, but with ghostly energy emanating from it. Souls, Demons and angels, & technology (the focus of these 3 books) are represented evenly.
NO, IT’S NOT. YES, IT IS: ARGUMENTS is the only book by me (Rick Pipito) that does not have a cover done by Dan. The idea here was to represent the turmoil of arguing that the non-fiction book’s topic is about. I had wanted to represent the two sides to one’s own psyche. There is a wavering of opinions that often are quite contrasting without facts. So, I had my wife take a picture of me facing one way with my glasses on and a different hairstyle. Then I removed my glasses, and took another shot of me with some facial scruff. By putting the two of them together and filtering them to look like a blueprint of arguments, it seems as if my two selves are in a dispute with each other. It not only symbolizes some of the times that I’ve struggled to decide what is right or wrong, but also gave me the experience of making my own cover for what will eventually be a trilogy of non-fiction.
In addition to these amazing covers, there is also the few pieces of internal art that work with the stories when they are needed, and then there is of course the comic books which have multiple artists representing the plots. All of the above book covers can be seen in closer view through the novels and comics sections of this site. They are also available through purchase links on the right side of this page.
Be sure to follow Dan on Instagram and twitter @dpipito, as well as myself @rickpipito. Like our facebook page for all the published works http://www.facebook.com/fleshandleftovers.
Day 5: Haunted Origins for SOULS 4 SUPPER
Now that we’ve covered the first trilogy, let’s take a peek at the beginning of the next one. Book 4, which can be read on its own or as part of the series is a great starting point for anyone who wants to just jump in. When I decided to write SOULS 4 SUPPER, I had personal experience and those of others as inspiration.
This book focuses on ghosts, spirits, hauntings and lost souls, and it can be a very controversial topic. I’m not saying I believe or disbelieve in any of the aforementioned, but I do feel that at the very least our minds connect us to a different plane of existence… you can call it a higher power, or the afterlife, or just a figment of our imagination, but something is there.
When I was in grade school, I remember as plain as day being tucked in to bed one night. About fifteen minutes after my parents turned out the lights my grandfather walked in to speak to me in his soft voice. He stood in my doorway at the foot of my bed and silhouetted by the hall light (which seemed very bright) he told me “Ricky, don’t worry about anything. It will all be okay, and I’m always going to be watching over you.”
I was very young, but this stands out in my mind today, even though his facial features seemed distant. The one thing that I thought was odd back then was that my pop-pop didn’t live with us. We saw him maybe once a week and for that hour it was strange but I thought nothing of it and went to sleep. The next day my dad picked me up at school halfway through the morning. I knew something was wrong because he’d never pull me out of school. He wouldn’t tell me why, and when we were halfway down my street I said, “Dad, it’s pop-pop isn’t it?”
His eyes began to tear, and my dad who almost never cries wanted to know why I said that. I noticed he had slowed the car to an almost stop in the middle of the road as he stared at me. When I told him about my visit the night before, he lost it. My grandfather had died around the same time I had the “dream” the night before.
Similar things happened afterwards with other family members, but not quite so distinct. When my other grandfather died I remember seeing his cancer ridden body lying in a coma. He’d been unconscious and we’d all known he was going to pass soon. When I kissed him on the forehead and said “Goodbye” I knew it was the last I’d see him. I felt something in my heart and I swore the corner of his mouth curled upward (almost smiling) but very faint. Minutes after I left he died.
Then there was my grandmother who had Alzheimer’s disease yet even though she was incoherent in her speech at the end, the last time I saw her she had a burst of coherent speech and knew who I was. It was the end and her body and mind reached out to me one final time.
Okay, so you’ve heard the depressing side of it all, but there is also a good side. When my daughter was 2 months old we went to Jim Thorpe, PA for my uncle’s annual Christmas party at his Bed and Breakfast. We slept in the attic, which is a small library room and my little Lana was smiling in her swing chair late at night. Normally this wouldn’t be strange, but she was doing so and staring in the corner in a way that it seemed she was interacting with someone. I got up to see what she was looking at, but saw nothing there. She stopped smiling when I stood where she was looking and I felt a sudden degree drop in the room. Now the attic is a cold place that time of year and maybe the nostalgia of the antique building, plus the glasses of wine I’d had, were messing with my mind. Who knows?
Later that night I’d woken to use the restroom a floor down and was surprised that there were still people awake. When I reached the bottom of the stairs there was no one there. The voices that I’d heard and the movement in the dim lighting that I’d seen must have been sleep in my eyes. I used one of the two bathrooms that were open, and when I’d exited to return to bed, the other door had closed. There were no drafts in the hall, and no one was in the restroom.
Now again, all of these experiences, and a few others I’ve had could have been tricks of the mind, or a mental state I was in. No matter what it was, the experience fascinated me. I was never freaked out until after I’d thought of it. (I still look forward to going to the bed and breakfast each chance I get). Those personal ties, plus ones of many others I’ve read over the years made me want to write a book about ghosts, hauntings etc. There are many different “stories”, and I wanted to include as many as I could and have it make sense in a larger setting.
Be sure to check out SOULS 4 SUPPER and its graphic comic spinoff, GHOSTLY HAUNTINGS in multiple formats through links on the right side of this page. Also, I highly recommend checking out my Uncle and aunt’s place http://www.timesjimthorpe.com. The bed and breakfast is romantic, the owners are amazingly awesome, and the whole town just has that old time feel.
Halloween Spotlight: Ghosts
My fourth novel, “Souls 4 Supper,” and its comic book spinoff, “Ghostly Hauntings” center around the topic of death and the afterlife. The stakes are upped for all of the protagonists as the deal with ghostly entities. What kind of ghosts are we talking? All kinds. As with my other novels, i attempted to incorporate all variations of lore and bring about something new, where it can all coexist.
My ghost and spirit world breakdown is as follows in my books…
1) Seeing the dead: Some people with near death experiences survive only to be able to communicate with the lost souls of the dead. They are forever tormented unless they find a way to release each lost soul into the afterlife.
2) Ghost Towns: More than just myths and urban legends, if an entire city’s residents were to die from some tragic event, and their souls are unable to find their way to the afterlife, then their ghostly remnants are left behind to wander. Unfortunately over millennium, they begin to lose their minds, so while some ghosts have purpose, most wander aimlessly, unaware of their former existence or the need to find final rest.
3) Djinns (Genies): These are people who have done something so wrong, that their spirits are forced inside a magical object. The longer their spirits remain, the more powerful they become. However, their powers come at a cost, as it is unpredictable to how their final usage will appear.
4) Children: Up until the age of 5, most human children are able to see ghostly apparitions. They often giggle, and interact with what us adults perceive as them having imaginary friends. In reality, the children aren’t imagining anything.
5) Hoaxes: Many ghostly reports are false. Some people thrive on scaring others by creating spectres, photographs, and tall tales to create the urban haunting legends.
6) Ghosts trying to communicate: Some spirits are trapped here with a purpose. They will not rest until their murderer is discovered. Often these ghosts move objects in our world to try to leave clues for us to find. These spirits often become angered, and frustrated at our lack of perception.
7) Catching Ghosts: Ghosts can be captured by linking the four planes of existence. There is Heaven, Hell, Earth, and the spirit realm. By disrupting these planes with extreme emotion, it is possible to summon a spirit here or make it visible. Then it can be contained through certain uses of EMF (Electromagnetic Frequencies).
8) Dreaming: When we dream, our souls have the ability to leave our bodies. In this state, our spirits travel to different places, times, possible futures, and alternate realities. The reason that we cannot often recall these dreams is because the human brain can’t fully process this type of travel. Our souls are fully aware of what happens even though we may not.
9) Reincarnation: If you were to die, would you come back as someone else? Depending on whether you repent for your misdeeds or are honored for your heroism, tells how those can return. Not everyone is reincarnated. Only a few are given this chance.
10) Famous Encounters: Traveling spirits take a look closely at events throughout history. Veronica Beranice wiping Jesus’ face, Joan of Arc, JFK’s assassination, The Tower of Babel, The Rosetta Stone, Hua Mulan, Bonnie and Clyde, and Atlantis are some of these seen closer in Souls 4 Supper.
11) Pandora’s Box: This fabled box is in fact shaped like a pyramid. Its contents, if opened will spew forth chaotic realms. It acts as a gateway for souls to enter to the afterlife, or something more powerful to exit into our world. Chaos comes in many spiritual forms. It all depends on who opens it.
12) Book of Knowledge: This haunted book will be different for every reader. Its spiritual essence, born of the tree of Knowledge from the Garden of Eden, will gaze into one’s soul and biography their life.
13) Possession: Some spirits are friendly, while others are quite the opposite. When two souls inhabit the same body, an internal struggle begins. Only the most powerful and willing soul will become the dominant entity.
14) Ectoplasm: Ghosts powerful enough to exist in this world will leave behind a gooey residue. This residue will evaporate however in direct sunlight or bright light, which makes analyzing it a difficult task.
15) Wraiths: Wraiths are vampires that die and are unable to pass on to the afterlife. These immortal beings are strengthened and able to return to the real world if they consume enough powerful souls to empower them.
Without going too far into detail, those are some of the ghostly entities in my books. For this round, we enjoyed the bottle of wine shown above. You’ll notice that the comic book cover is in a picture frame. That is because at this moment of posting this, I am still awaiting my final proof copy of the issue. It’s all the same. Here are some of our favorite ghostly things not related to our own creations…
Rick’s favorite video game involving ghosts is Silent Hill. His favorite ghost movie is the Sixth Sense. His favorite ghostly character is DC comics’ Deadman. One of his favorite ghostly books is Philadelphia Ghost Stories by Charles J Adams III.
Dan’s favorite video game involving ghosts is Soul Reaver. His favorite movie about ghosts is Ghostbusters. Lloyd the bartender from The Shining is Dan’s best ghost of the year. Shakespeare’s Macbeth is Dan’s favorite ghostly book.
What are your favorites? Are you a ghost story fan? Grab yourself a copy of “Souls 4 Supper” the novel. It is available at www.lulu.com in softback book and on www.amazon.com for the Kindle. Also, the spinoff comic book “Souls 4 Supper: Ghostly Hauntings” is available for purchase at www.indyplanet.com. Help support our soul sucking.
“Souls 4 Supper” and its spinoff are (C) 2012 by Rick Pipito. Stay tuned for our demon spotlight…