Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Meet Middle Grade Author Gary Val Tenuta

Carpinello's Writing Pages welcomes Gary Val Tenuta, an author of many talents as you will see.

First, a bit about Gary:

Gary Val Tenuta is a book cover designer (, songwriter, and author with a degree in Social Psychology. His professional writing career began as a contributing writer for Fate Magazine in the 1990s. Since then he has authored two full-length novels and a series of novellas all for adult readers. The Lost Dreamstone is his first novel for Middle-Grade readers. Gary lives with his black cat Bear in a cozy condo in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S.

Why did you pick to write books for MG readers?

The idea for The Lost Dreamstone came to me over 30 years ago. Due to a crazy series of odd coincidences, the book sat unfinished until recently when I decided if I didn’t finish it now, it might never get done. The details of that strange series of coincidences — all of which were related to the story — are included as an addendum at the back of the book.

What types of books do you like to read?

I’ve read everything Dan Brown (author of The DaVinci Code, et. al.) has ever published. So that’s a big clue as to the kind of stories that draw me in.  I’m also a big fan of anything that’s similar to Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone.

When you are not writing, what do you like to do?

When I’m not writing I’m usually busy designing book covers or creating book trailer videos. Otherwise there’s good chance I’ll be practicing some bluegrass licks on my guitar. Or, if I’m feeling really lazy, I might be caught binge-watching a good series on Netflix.

Tell us about The Lost Dreamstone and how the story came to be.
As I mentioned earlier, the story of The Lost Dreamstone came to me over 30 years ago. What inspired it, I honestly don’t remember. I suspect it was probably an infatuation with two of my all-time favorites, Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz. I was a new father of a son at that time, and I think I just wanted to write something that he would like to read when he got older. But, also as I mentioned earlier, a strange series of coincidental events (all related to the story I wanted to write) caused the book to remain unfinished for years. That series of events is a story in itself, and it’s included at the back of the book under it’s own title: A Tale of Two Tales: The Story Behind the Story of The Lost Dreamstone. My son now has a 4-year-old son of his own, and The Lost Dreamstone will be waiting for him to read when he’s a few years older. I created all of the illustrations in the book, some of which can be seen in the book trailer.

Here's a peek at The Lost Dreamstone:
Don't believe in the Sandman? Neither did 11-year-old twins, Josh and Jenna. That is, until one night when something moved in the corner of Jenna's bedroom. That event started a chain reaction that catapulted the twins across a threshold into a mystical realm, "the place of dreams where nothing is quite the way it seems, where that which is, perhaps is not and what is not might be."

Josh and Jenna are shocked to discover they are the key to fulfilling an ancient prophecy:

Now the Dreamstone has been lost
Waiting who knows where?
Like a ball between two players tossed
’Tis neither here nor there.
Two children from the Outer World
Together shall come alone.
They must be twins, a boy and girl
To find the lost Dreamstone.

The prophecy must be fulfilled or all of us––you, me, everyone––will suffer horrendous nightmares every sleeping moment of our lives for as long as we live.

Tasked with finding the Dreamstone in a realm populated by Dreamons and Drangels and Skrids––Oh my!––not to mention those annoying Weedles––the twins face dangers and strangers beyond their wildest dreams.

Will Josh, the adventurous one, find this adventure to be more than he can handle? Jenna, the cautious one, will certainly find her cautious nature challenged by the need to press onward in spite of the obstacles at nearly every turn.

Failure to succeed in their quest is not an option––at least not if they ever want to return to their home and to the comfortable lives they once knew. D'rath Kahn, the Dark Lord of Nightmares has declared it so.

There is much to be discovered in the place where dreams come from. Like Shamara the Sorceress told the twins, "Future fortune is often lost because a threshold is left uncrossed."

The door is open. Won’t you come on in?

Have you written other books? If so, tell us a bit about them.

My first novel, The Ezekiel Code, was self-published back in 2007. It is a metaphysical mystery adventure inspired by UFOs and the Bible!

My second novel, ASH: Return of the Beast, is a cross-genre tale incorporating elements of the occult lore, supernatural phenomena and police procedural. The story was inspired by a little known legend concerning Aleister Crowley, a notorious practitioner of what is often called the “Dark Arts”, or “Magick”. According to the legend (apparently true) Crowley was cremated when he died in England in 1947, but the urn containing his ashes mysteriously disappeared. In my novel, the how and why of that disappearance is revealed, and it’s reappearance in modern day Seattle brings about a series of baffling deaths that becomes a the most bizarre case that ever landed on the desk of Seattle Police Detective, Brian Kane, who doesn’t believe in the supernatural.

I also have a series of Twilight Zone-ish novellas on Kindle called Twisted Tales From the Files of the Second Chance Limousine Service. They are stand-alone stories that can be purchased individually or all five of them together in a set called “Wanna Take a Ride?”

What’s next for your writing? Are you working on a new story?

I’m currently working the 6th Second Chance Limousine story and I’m hoping to have a children’s picture book out by the end of the year.

What advice do you have for other authors?

There are several things I could say but one thing that comes to mind immediately is about reviews. If you get some bad reviews, don’t let them stop you from continuing to write. Yes, it’s disappointing, but it’s just possible that some of those bad reviews might turn out to be very helpful. Try to be objective and see what you can learn from them. The reviews for my first novel, The Ezekiel Code, were nearly equally divided by 4 and 5 star reviews on the upside and 1 and 2 star reviews on the downside. It took me a long time to get over the disappointment of the negative reviews but eventually I began to see that what many of those reviewers had to say was true. I made a concerted effort to learn from them so that my future work would show a marked improvement. I’ve made a lot of headway in that respect, and I’m still working at it.

Anything else you want readers to know?

The Lost Dreamstone is currently promo priced at just $1.99 in the U.S. and £1.49 in the U.K. It’s only available on Kindle right now. I hope to have a paperback edition out by the end of the year.

Where can readers find you and your books?

Amazon author page

The Lost Dreamstone:

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Book Trailer

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