Day 7 of #scrypthalloween takes a look at my novel SOULS 4 SUPPER. This was the first book I won awards for and it placed me in the top 25 list of authors. The cover art by @dpipito depicts my version of Pandora’s Box. A majority of the plot revolves around the lost city of Atlantis…
official description: A new beginning has been granted to all humanity. After finding the Garden of Eden, illness and disease have been eradicated. Order has been restored, but when a decisio…n is made to seek out balance, the quest to find chaos begins. As a damned soul struggles to make his return, Gordon Lightcap and his allies race to the lost city of Atlantis. Will they arrive in time to prevent the opening of the legendary Pandora’s Box? What dangers do they face and who can they trust?
Novel is available in print and digital formats at Lulu.com and Amazon, as well as part of the Pandora’s Chaos Trilogy at Barnes and Noble.
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.
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.
These are stories that expand upon the novel “Souls 4 Supper.”
You’re speaking with your grandfather. It seems like forever since you have last seen him, but your conversation reminds you of being a child again. Then it dawns on you. Your grandfather has been dead for years. As you focus your eyes on him, he vanishes. His absence forces a feeling of dread as your hair stands on end.
**UPDATE: This is now available as a short story in text form in print at lulu.com and on amazon in digital as part of the Pandora’s chaos trilogy extras
Written by Rick Pipito, with featured art by: Dan Pipito, Joe Parisi, Kristie Vanderzee, Michael A Garard Jr, Jacob Greenawalt, Kelly Swann, Muhammad Nurul, Mao Estheim, and Asher Humm.
Artist Story Details:
Joe Parisi returns as a sCrypt veteran artist, and this time, he is illustrating a story about a haunted book where the pages tell the tale of its reader.
Dan Pipito goes back to his own childhood in this issue, and helps to tell the tale of old man Butsy, who murdered his wife. Her spirit will not be happy.
Kelly Swann brilliantly illustrates the story of Djinn, a spirit trapped within a lamp, whose magical wishes are not all that the wisher desires.
Michael A Garard Jr is a newcomer whose art is featured in two stories. The first of which tells about the lost souls and their connection to heaven and hell. The other story takes the main character to a graveyard to investigate why the spirits there are so angry.
Kristie Vanderzee returns by showing us the ghost town of Atlantis after it has risen from the depths of the ocean.
Jacob Greenawalt illustrates a sequel story from issue #1. Detective Hwong has had a near death experience leaving her with the ability to see the ghosts of the dead.
Asher Humm had a one issue hiatus, but is back to show just how close to the spirit realm we travel while sleeping.
Mao Estheim comes at us from Japan with her Mangaesque style in a haunting that may just be a hoax after all.
Muhammad Nurul resides in Great Britain, but this Indonesian native draws the story of a child whose imaginary friend is more than just in his mind.
Souls 4 Supper: Ghostly Hauntings is TM and © Rick Pipito. All rights reserved.
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…