Get Caught Reading Month

Cover Reveal for Matt Hayward’s Brain Dead Blues

Sinister Grin Press is excited to reveal the cover for Brain Dead Blues by musician and author Matt Hayward! It’s a collection of various lengths of stories sure to entertain your funny bone as well as give you a fright. The cover was done by graphic artist Scott Carpenter and completely captures the blues element. Read on below to hear direct from Matt his thoughts on the collection and how the cover represents it.

The release date is May 1, but you can pre-order in e-book now and have it hit your Kindle that day! Print will be available on release day.

Brain Dead Blues, Synopsis –

From the author of What Do Monsters Fear? comes a thrilling debut collection of short fiction. Included is an exclusive novella, God is In The Radio, in which an ageing rock-star pens a song with help from a peculiar old man, one that leaves his fans itching for more…one he calls “Brain Dead Blues.”

Eleven additional tales of monsters, murder, and the supernatural lie within these depths that will not only entertain you, but send chills up your spine.

  • A young girl discovers that a monster dwells beneath her bed.
  • An antique store owner stumbles upon a circus artifact that local down-and-out’s are just dying to see.
  • A bare-knuckle boxer tries his luck in the ring one last time, only to fight tooth and nail by light of the full moon.
  • A starving man sees only one option to survive the zombie apocalypse – by taking a bite of the undead.

These stories are only a sampling of the horror that lies in wait for you, should you choose to enter the mad brain child of Matt Hayward. Prepare to grit your teeth.

Music is a big deal in your life, and obviously influences your writing. How is it incorporated in your novella?

I’ve been involved in music for over a decade so it’s hard to keep that world out of my writing. The antagonist is a road-worn rocker named Bill Jennings who’s on tour for a comeback album, and the main character (a ‘wet behind the ears’ label owner) bites off more than he can chew by getting involved with Bill. We’ve all heard the saying, “never meet your heroes” — this is a bit of that, mixed with some of my own venting on the industry…and a big Lovecraftian creature thrown in for good measure. When in doubt, always throw in a monster.

How does the cover represent your work on the pages inside?

Scott Carpenter did an amazing job with the artwork. I wanted something melancholic and simple, and I think he nailed it. I’ve always enjoyed the classic Leisure covers: pulpy artwork belonging to battered, pocket-sized paperbacks. The stories, for the most part, are serious and dark, but there are a couple of ‘tongue-in-cheek’ palate cleansers for good measure. Like the artwork: serious at first, but look closer… in the guitar sound-hole… see the little guy popping out? Shlocky as hell. I love it.

Do your stories have a theme and/or why did you choose the pieces you did?

I showcased variety, and did my best to lay it out in a way that would read fluid from start to end. Mainly, the pieces are dark, sometimes dealing with ‘taboo’ issues, but I also made sure to include some straight drama, some humor: just some relief. I always enjoyed the subjects of comedians like George Carlin and Doug Stanhope: serious stuff, but laid out in comedy for easy digestion. That’s their medium. My medium is horror fiction. I wrap some observations in a slab of b-rate gore and throw it out there. But the b-movie styling is just as important. That’s the sugar for the medicine.

Pre-order now for the e-book to arrive on your Kindle on May 1, or order print on release day.

Matt Hayward, Biography

Matt Hayward is an Irish, Wicklow based author and musician. His debut novel, What
Do Monsters Fear?, releases July 2017, and a follow-up, co-written with Patrick Lacey,
is due in 2018. His work has appeared in Clickers Forever, Dark Moon Digest, Tales
From The Lake, The Horror Zine, Tales To Terrify, and many others. He can be reached

Sinister Grin Press

While you’re here, check out what else Sinister Grin Press has to offer by looking around our site. We have plenty of books in all sub-genres of horror, as well as science fiction and fantasy; that are sure to “carve a smile on your face.”

Pulling Teeth with Jason Parent

Pulling Teeth with Jason Parent 


When did you first consider yourself a writer?


I’ve been writing for a long time. I’ve done freelance journalism work for which I was paid,

published articles in law journals and other magazines and journals, and sold creative writing pieces that people will have a hard time finding. And though I don’t argue this is the standard others should hold themselves to, I didn’t feel like I might be a writer until I saw my first novel up for sale on Amazon. I think it was more the feeling of having finished something substantial than the actual sale, since I had started several times before and given up.


What inspired you to write your first book?


Life. Sometimes, I’d rather be someplace else for a while and resurface when the storm settles. Because no matter how bad things have ever been for me, my characters always have it a thousand times worse. Really helps to put things into perspective. Of course, I could just watch the news…


What books have most influenced your life most?


I often cite Poe and King in response to this question, both of whom I have fostered my love for all things dark and dreary, but those I never mention, those that have easily influenced my thinking, inspired my passion for reading, and prodded my imagination, are wildly diverse: J.R.R. Tolkien and Michael Sullivan; Alexandre Dumas and Jonathan Swift; Milton, Shakespeare, Frost, Hayden, Bradbury and Vonnegut. William Blake. Joseph Conrad. Robert Louis Stevenson and the infallible Oscar Wilde. My favorite college course was entirely devoted to Chaucer. I can’t tell you how much reading about a cook and his ulcers and learning what a gelding is have shaped the man I am today.


Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?


Tons. I love modern horror, and Sinister Grin is home to some of my favorites’ work, like Hunter Shea and Jonathan Janz. Laird Barron writes literary brilliance, the stuff that challenges my brain, and Tim Curran is a master of atmosphere. Mercedes Yardley’s work always comes with beautiful prose and a heaping dose of soul. Adam Howe and Jeff Strand make me laugh, seemingly with ease. Depending how new where talking, I’m still quick to pick up works from Kealan Patrick Burke, Jonathan Maberry, King and McCammon. But the list is endless. Kevin Lucia, Greg Gifune, Michael McBride… There’s a lot of talent out there, many people with whom I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating and many I have not yet but hope to someday, new blood deserving of horror/sci-fi fans’ attention. I’m reading Nick Cutter’s The Troop right now and am thoroughly engrossed (and grossed out).


Can you share a little of your current Sinister Grin Press work with us?


 People of the Sun is my black mirror. Sure, it’s got a lot of action, horror, and sci-fi elements—even superhero/comic book-like dogma—as it the novel follows four aliens with unique abilities as they face off against the human race. But, I hope, it also has heart and substance, not heavy-handed but latent and sneaking.


If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in any of your books?


Yes. The cover of my first book. I’m working on that.



Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?


I write in the bathtub a lot… or used to. Lately, I’ve been falling asleep in there and ending up with soggy notebooks filled with blue smudges. Better than a soggy computer, I suppose.


Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?


Everything is fair game if it furthers the story.


What is your biggest fear?


Failure… no, sharks. Definitely sharks. Then failure… Or piranha.  


What do you want your tombstone to say?


Nothing. I want to be cremated. It would be nice to think my work might live on, even if just one copy that gives meaning to someone if only for a little while.


Or it could say, “He hated sharks.”

People of the Sun

All life comes from the sun. Sometimes, death comes with it.

Filled with hope and compelled by fear, four would-be heroes are driven from their home planet in a desperate bid to save their civilization from extinction. But survival takes on a whole new meaning when a malfunction sends their ship plummeting toward Earth.

Surviving the crash is only the first obstacle on their path to salvation. The marooned aliens soon discover that Earth’s beautiful exterior masks an ugly foundation, a place inhabited by a warrior race that’s on a path toward self-destruction.

Brimming with action and intrigue, People of the Sun is sure to entice fans of dark fantasy and sci-fi thrillers such as Watchmen and I Am Number Four.

“Jason Parent has penned a thought-provoking, gripping scifi thriller. This isn’t your grandma’s alien invasion. My own world stopped the moment I stepped into People of the Sun. Lovers of science fiction, horror and even super heroes will revel in this roller-coaster of a tale. A true must-read!” Hunter Shea, author of We Are Always Watching and The Jersey Devil

“With his own indelible blend of tension and dark humor, Jason Parent’s latest page-turner reminds me of what you’d get if you crossed Isaac Asimov with Kurt Vonnegut. In addition to being fast-paced and wildly entertaining, Parent’s novel also offers the occasional flash of insight into the human (and not-so-human) condition, and displays Parent’s talent for turning a given genre on its head.” -Michael Meyerhofer, author of The Dragonkin Trilogy





Nate Southard

With the release of Just Like Hell we decided everyone should enjoy all of Nate Southard’s books.



Review : The Hematophages by Stephen Kozeniewski

The Hematophages

by Stephen Kozeniewski


Stephen Kozeniewski provides the reader a breath of futuristic fresh air with his novel The Hematophages. Given an offer that can’t be refused, the main character becomes part of a funeral shrouded expedition assigned to explore a planet described by scientists as a spinning organism. Salvaging an appointed derelict seed ship on the celestial body turns quickly into a gut wrenching mission which Kozeniewski has described with seemingly flawless Sci-Fi accuracy and believability. Not only has the author successfully created a creepy alternate flesh world but descriptions of terrestrial hematophage creatures bring an all too real horror to the inventive storyline. The Hematophages is an unexpected blindside of literary fantasy horror that will keep the reader on the edge of their spacecraft seat.

Mike Rankin

Hudson Booksellers


New Releases

New Releases



Socially Conscious Science Fiction with Victor Acquista M.D.

Socially Conscious Science Fiction with Victor Acquista M.D.


Sentient touches upon many social themes and provides an example of my attempts to call attention to certain societal and cultural issues. But how does one do that in the context of a science fiction novel? More specifically, what does it mean to write a sci-fi story with an underlying intention of raising consciousness?

Calling attention to social issues is a mainstay of literature. Name any particular social ill and there are probably dozens of books exploring the issue in order to raise awareness. Examples abound but here are a few:

  • The horror of war—Johnny Got Your Gun
  • Racial prejudice—To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Government control, propaganda—1984
  • Exploitation of immigrants—The Jungle
  • Class warfare—Les Miserables

I did not focus on science fiction in the list above other than mentioning George Orwell’s 1984. The dystopian future and apocalyptic sub-genres often expose or somehow incorporate social messaging in their plots. Robot stories, and in particular those dealing with artificial intelligence, might call attention to the dangers of sentient AI. Erewhon, published way back in 1872, had three chapters titled, “The Book of the Machines”, in which Samuel Butler raised the issue of mechanical consciousness. Fast forward to today where movies such as Terminator raise the specter of AI dominance. Genetic engineering is another area explored as a social theme. Brave New World comes to mind. Examples in many of the other sci-fi sub-genres are plentiful.

I intentionally used a movie as one of my examples above. Often movies follow as book adaptations. One particular recent standout movie about corporate greed exploiting the mineral wealth of another planet in disregard to the technologically inferior indigenous species came as a movie first. Here I am talking about Avatar, a movie calling attention to these and other issues such as militarism and imperialism along with social justice.

This post is not meant to give a comprehensive overview of socially conscious science fiction in film and literature. I simply want to get you thinking about how these art forms incorporate social themes. Lets not lose sight of the fact that lots of great science fiction books and films do not include social messaging. Nothing against pure unmitigated entertainment, but I want my writing to convey something more. In this regard, I am trying to emulate one of the best sci-fi authors of all time, a man referred to as the “dean of science fiction writers”. Here I am referring to Robert Heinlein (of course); I dedicated Sentient to him in memoriam. The Wikipedia reference states:

Within the framework of his science-fiction stories, Heinlein repeatedly addressed certain social themes: the importance of individual liberty and self-reliance, the obligation individuals owe to their societies, the influence of organized religion on culture and government, and the tendency of society to repress nonconformist thought. He also speculated on the influence of space travel on human cultural practices.

What social themes am I raising in the novel Sentient? Isolation/separation and how this contributes to competition over cooperation, how we treat people with mental illness, and individualism vs. collectivism are just a few of the issues I touch upon. You would have to read the book or who knows, watch the movie someday (hey, a man can dream, right?) to get the complete gamut of social issues I am trying to raise awareness about. All of these enmesh in telling an engaging and thought provoking story. One of my readers said it all with the simple comment, “Great story! Somehow, I feel as though reading it has raised my consciousness.” Bullseye!


  On February 19th, sci-fi author, Victor Acquista joined fellow authors Laura Mixon and Steven Gould at the Writer’s Series panel discussion hosted at the Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe. This monthly author spotlight series focuses on the art of writing. Dr. Acquista signed copies of his epic sci-fi novel, Sentient, following the panel discussion. The Jean Cocteau Cinema is the hub of science fiction and fantasy in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The Jean Cocteau Cinema is a historic movie theater located in Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States. It is owned by American author George RR Martin. In addition to films, the cinema hosts author talks and book-signings, along with a small display of signed books for sale; burlesque, magic and variety shows; art exhibitions and concerts.

Sentient by Victor Acquista

Survivors from an almost absolute genocide flee through space/time to make an attempt at propagating their species.

The architects of their race’s destruction realize that their mission was incomplete.

The resulting conflict will be waged on our home planet where a troubled physicist, his young neighbor, and an artificial intelligence may prove to be key in deciding the outcome.


Sentient tackles the tough issues, such as homelessness and society indoctrinating violence, but it handles it with such humor and kindness that it is easy to digest. There were several times I had to put the book down just so I could ponder the questions and feelings that it had brought up. The best and worst of humanity are highlighted, but yet it does not feel as though it went too far to the extremes. This debut novel is witty, intelligent, saddening, and beautiful. This book is amazing, and I truly would love to recommend it to everyone. I look forward to more by Dr. Acquista in the future.

Reviewed by Lauren Stafford, San Francisco Book Review Star rating: 5/5

Pulling Teeth with Phillip Tomasso



Where are you from?

I am born and raised in Rochester, NY.


Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?

I spent 19 years working for the Eastman Kodak Company. The last ten in the legal department, working as an employment law paralegal. Due to heavy layoffs, I found myself jobless in 2008. Fortunately, I landed a job with the City of Rochester, with the Emergency Communications Department as a Fire / EMS Dispatcher for 911. Divorced for ten years, I have three amazing kids. (I call them kids. They are quite grown up now). I play guitar, and sing (but not very well at all)!


Tell us your latest news?

I am always working out new ideas. I have written in nearly every genre. Currently, I am working on a crime series. Gang related. Told from the point of view of Sean Geary, a gang member.


What book are you reading now?

At this very moment, I am reading through Ace Atkins’ Quinn Colson series. Looking forward to starting in on Ted Bell’s books, and Steve Berry’s, as well.


Who are some of your favourite authors?

There are just so many. I hate to leave any out. Walter Mosley, if I had to pick just one, might be it.


What books have most influenced your life most?

For me it all started with S.E. Hinton’s THE OUTSIDERS. I hated reading. Did all I could NOT to read.In seventh grade we were assigned her books, and THE OUTSIDERS was first. I loved it. Learned she was sixteen when she wrote it. Next I read RUMBLE FISH, THAT WAS THEN THIS IS NOW, and TEX. At that point, I knew I wanted to become a writer.


What is your least favorite part of the publishing / writing process?

Least? Re-writes, and editing. Suppose I am not alone there. The initial telling of the story is so simple compared to when one has to roll up the sleeves and get down to it. It isn’t that it is the least favorite part of the process, as much as it is perhaps the most challenging.


What inspired you to write your first book?

I was always a storyteller. It was S.E. Hinton who convinced me I could do this, sell a book. It was back in 1998 when I finished my first novel. And in February 2000, my dream had come true. MIND PLAY was released by a small California press, Dry Bones.


Have you ever hated something you wrote?

All the time!


What is the biggest lie you’ve ever told? 

It wasn’t me.  




Can you share a little of your current Sinister Grin Press work?

I have a fantasy series with Sinister Grin. The Severed Empire. The newest book, ASSASSIN’S PROMISE, is something of a prequel to the three already released. It is the story of a young Blodwyn, and how he came to be the man he is the trilogy.


How did you come up with the title?  

Blodwyn is kind of my favorite character in the Severed Empire. He is something of a teacher, but still pretty badass with a staff. The title made sense once I had the past sketched out. He was an assassin, and he made a promise. LOL.


Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing naked while eating peanut butter)?

I write the most between midnight and eight am. I am most creative during those dark hours. I like to listen to music when I write. A variety of artists. I also keep my guitar close by. When I need a break from writing, I strum a tune or two, and then get back at it.


What is your biggest fear?

My biggest fear is spiders. And anything blue. I don’t eat or drink anything blue. Haven’t since I was a kid.


What do you want your tombstone to say?

God. I never thought about it. Feel like it should be witty, or smart ass-ish. Right now, I have nothing.


If you had a superpower, what would it be?

To fly. Always admired Superman –not for his strength, but for his ability to fly. I dream of it often, flying.


What secret talents do you have?                                               

Now, if I told you, they’d no longer be a secret.


If you were an animal in a zoo, what would you be?

A sad thought. If I were an animal, the last place I’d want to be is in a zoo. So with captivity hanging in the balance of the question, I don’t suppose the type of animal matters.


What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I read. A lot. Write reviews for the books I’ve read. I watch movies. A ton of movies. I am a Netflix/Hulu addict. I play guitar. However, nothing is better than days I spend with my kids.


What’s your favourite food?

Pizza. Hands down. Pizza. There are many close runner-ups (lobster, shrimp, tacos), but if I had to pick one food it is pizza.


Who would be on the soundtrack to your life story?

Jonny Lang.


Tell us a dirty little secret?

Not sure how much of a secret it is, but I am an emotional person. Movies make me cry. Pixar/Disney films get me all the time. In Wreck It Ralph, when Ralph busts up Vanellope’s race car … Lost it. My daughter, and her friend were laughing at me in the theater.


What advice would you give to your younger self?

Don’t marry the same woman. LOL.


What was the last great book you read, and what was the last book that disappointed you?

METALTOWN by Kristen Simmons blew me away. On my book review page, I called it the best book of 2016. John Grisham’s THE BROKER was a big, big letdown. Unfortunately, he is very hot and cold, hit and miss. I still read his books, I just always try to remain optimistically hopeful is all.


What is your all-time favourite horror novel, and film?

Favorite horror novel would be a tossup between Pet Sematary, and ‘Salem’s Lot.

Horror movie? I love the Alien series. I am going to stick with that. The Alien series.


If you could erase one horror cliché what would it be?

Sprained ankle?


If you could kill off any character from any other book who would you chose and how would they die?

Bella Swan? I am not sure if it is Bella, because I enjoyed the Twilight books, or Kristen Stewart. One or the other. Take your pick.


What do you think is the biggest problem facing horror fiction right now?

Gore and shock, just for the gore and shock of it. Horror, to me, should frighten, and be chilling, and give you nightmares. A solid ghost story, a wonderful twist, or something unthinkable. I find a lot of horror novels today just lack that –and for that reason, I have shied away from reading much in the genre. Haven’t found anyone truly worthy of reading.


What piece of your own work are you most proud of?

My young adult novel, SOUNDS OF SILENCE, is by far my favorite work. It is the story of a 12 year old who contracts Meningitis and becomes deaf. He fears he will never become a professional baseball player. Enrolling in a school for the deaf, he learns about –not giving up on his dreams, but about reshaping them.


What’s the one question you wish you would get asked but never do?  And what would be the answer?

Phil, how is it that a modestly successful, and mildly good looking guy like yourself is still single?

I haven’t a clue. But thanks for asking!




Amazon Author Page


Begin your journey into Severed Empire



Cover Reveal for We Came Back by Patrick Lacey

If you Dare, Knock on the Front Door of Lynnwood High School:

Cover Reveal for We Came Back by Patrick Lacey

Now six months later since the release of the popular novel Dream Woods, with Sinister Grin Press, Patrick Lacey returns with another novel to entertain adults who grew up reading the adventures of R.L. Stine, and those who like the fantastical of H.P. Lovecraft, but with the more important layers of adulthood themes blended in. We Came Back features a good number of teenage characters, but the parents also richly shine through with their well-rounded personalities and struggles.

All of Patrick’s personal proceeds will go to a cancer-related charity in his late father’s name to help those with the disease. We Came Back is now available for pre-order and will be out in e-book and print on April 15, 2017.


Pre-order Link


And now, Sinister Grin Press presents the cover for We Came Back, graphically created by Scott Carpenter! Keep reading after the cover for the synopsis and a short interview with Patrick about his  cover and the book.



We Came Back, Synopsis –

Growing up dead.

Melvin Brown sees things that aren’t there. Monsters with tentacles and razor-sharp teeth. Ever the social outcast, he is bullied to the point of suicide. And his hatred of those who did him wrong does not die with him.

One decade after Melvin’s death, something strange is happening to Lynnwood High School’s smartest and most popular students. They begin to act out and spend time at the former high school, now abandoned and said to be haunted. And their numbers grow at an alarming rate.

Is this just a passing fad or are the rumors true? Does Lynnwood really have a teenage cult on their hands?


How important a role does your cover play in the plot of your novel?

A *very* important role. I like it to hint at some major part of the book without actually giving it away. What does the title mean and why is it written on the doors of what appears to be an abandoned school? And is that blood? All this and more will be revealed just by reading through a measly 360 pages!

Your book has many layers. Do you feel the cover serves as a portal to one or encompasses the whole general aura of the book?

I’d like to think it covers the general aura. I’d also like to think there are layers aplenty in We Came Back, though they all seem to point back to this apparently abandoned school, don’t they? Which means the cover does a perfect job of inviting the reader through its blood-splattered door. Literally.

Not quoting the synopsis, how do you describe your book to readers?

Great question. A revenge tale from beyond the grave? A teenage coming-of-age novel with (possibly) monsters and cults? Some combination of the two?

What were some of your main inspirations for the book?

Here’s an interesting (I hope) tale. I’m from a small town in northeastern Massachusetts by the name of Gloucester. When I was a young lad of about eleven or twelve, there were rumors running rampant about a little club (cult) calling themselves The Gloucester Vampires. I became obsessed with them. There were all sorts of tall tales that, to this day, I’m still not sure are true. One of them became a large plot point in my novel, involving railroad spikes, but I won’t get into that for fear of spoilers. Another involved a depraved/perverted initiation activity that nearly made it into the book but I figured I’d save it for a future project. Never a bad idea to spread out the depravity.

Patrick Lacey, Biography

Patrick Lacey was born and raised in a haunted house. He spends his nights and weekends writing about things that make the general public uncomfortable. He lives in Massachusetts with his Pomeranian, his mustached cat, and his muse, who is likely trying to kill him. Find him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter (@patlacey), or visit his website at

Pre-order We Came Back Here.

Follow all the great titles and news about Sinister Grin Press on our site. We publish “horror that’ll carve a smile on your face” as well as sci-fi and fantasy.

Pulling Teeth with Victor Acquista

Pulling Teeth with Victor Acquista

Sinister Grin Press now has Science Fiction and Fantasy available. Dr. Victor Acquista has a wonderful science fiction story, Sentient, on Amazon Kindle and Paperback. Sinister Grin Press welcomes Dr. Acquista to the family… so let’s pull some teeth.


Where are you from?

I was born in Brooklyn, NY, spent most of my adult life living in New England, 

and moved to New Mexico in 2009.

Tell us your latest news?

Have been writing and speaking these past two years since concluding my work for the New Mexico Department of Health. Gave a series of workshops in Denmark last year. Finished another novel and am half done with my fourth book. Have a second grandchild and another on the way.

What inspired you to write your first book?

Sentient is actually my second book; my first was non-fiction. I had this story in my head for over twenty years that had several intersecting elements—telepathy genetically engineered out of our human capabilities in order to evade total genocide by a telepathic warrior race.   What kinds of problems would result from blocking our collective consciousness? What if schizophrenia represented a partial or incomplete block to sharing other people’s thoughts causing this to be mistakenly labeled as mental illness? I thought there were many good social and philosophical themes to incorporate in an epic tale of struggle and survival. Although 20 years is a long gestation period, I finally reached a point where the story had to come out of my head.

What books have most influenced your life most?

I have read so many great books over the years. Many of my favorites are loosely aggregated into personal growth, spirituality, transformation, and the evolution of human   consciousness. Ken Wilber and David Hawkins are two standout authors for me personally.

In the realm of science fiction and fantasy Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress are two of my all-time favorites.  Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy and Frank Herbert’s Dune are the kind of classic epic sci-fi novels that inspired me and still do. When I read George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones back in the 90’s, when it was first released, I was totally hooked, even more so than with Tolkien, whose books I absolutely love.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

I recently discovered Kirt Hickman and Melinda Snodgrass and am enjoying their writing.

Can you share a little of your current Sinister Grin Press work with us?

Sure. Sentient has three intersecting story lines following the near genocide of our parent race by a warrior species intent on being the supreme sentient race in the galaxy. Both our parent race and the alien warriors have telepathic powers and a collective consciousness. While our race focused on cooperation, the aliens are extremely competitive. We established a colony (on earth 168000 years ago) and intentionally blocked telepathy to avoid detection and allow a re-population on a new host planet. The genetic block preventing telepathic ability is designed to eventually come undone.

While the colony struggles to survive, the alien race is stagnating and decaying due to internal competition. The discovery of modern earth provides a chance for their society to reinvigorate itself with a new conquest. I don’t want to reveal too many plot details, but individuals suffering from schizophrenia have a faulty telepathic block. A group of schizophrenics in an experimental drug program is instrumental in helping to uncover the basis for the genetic block and the means to overcome it.

 How did you come up with the title?

Sentience refers to the ability to think, perceive, feel, be aware. Taken to its extreme, awareness fully being aware of itself represents enlightenment. I wanted to posit a race driven by the desire to be the highest evolved species in the galaxy at the level of consciousness. The title evoked many of these concepts.

Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing naked while eating peanut butter)?

Are you telepathic? Just joking. I often come up with ideas, snippets of dialogue, etc.. Usually at way inconvenient times such as while driving, showering, trying to sleep at night. I keep pen and paper handy or dictate a voice memo into my phone so I don’t lose the creative muse. In speaking with other writers, I don’t think that is very unusual. I am a bit streaky. When I get in a writing flow state that I call the zone, I am like a possessed man.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

Never say never. I think if a subject is in the realm of human experience, real or imagined, it is potentially something to write about. There isn’t anything absolutely taboo about any particular subject, provided I felt I had something to say on the topic and felt compelled to write about it.

What is your favorite movie adaptation of a novel? Or just favorite movie? Why?

That’s hard. Favorite as a singular sounds so exclusionary. I don’t watch many movies but I have thoroughly enjoyed the TV adaptation of Game of Thrones. The characters,  story lines, complexity, and humanity present in the books are brought to life in the film adaptation even though the story lines do not always remain true. I enjoyed Avatar for both the social messaging and the fantastic cinematic experience.

What do you want your tombstone to say?

A Man of Integrity

Do you dream? Do you have any recurring dreams/nightmares?

I certainly do dream. Nothing recurrent or nightmarish beyond failing to properly drop a course with the registrar and realizing there are finals coming on a course I thought I had dropped. That and having some loose teeth that I wind up pulling out in my dreams.  (Hehe…We like that one.)


Survivors from an almost absolute genocide flee through space/time to make an attempt at propagating their species.

The architects of their race’s destruction realize that their mission was incomplete.

The resulting conflict will be waged on our home planet where a troubled physicist, his young neighbor, and an artificial intelligence may prove to be key in deciding the outcome.

Simply out of this world! Sentient by Dr. Victor Acquista is a marvelous work of science fiction at the highest level. Sentient was a delight from the very first sentence,gripping you all the way to the surprise ending. Dr. Acquista immediately draws you into his world, using alien words and beautiful descriptions, which paint us a dramatic picture of survival, triumph, and humanity. ….This debut novel is witty, intelligent, saddening, and beautiful. This book is amazing, and I truly would love to recommend it to everyone. I look forward to more by Dr. Acquista in the future.

Reviewed by Lauren Stafford, San Francisco Book Review Star rating: 5/5


Dr. Victor Acquista has become a successful international author and speaker following careers as a 

primary-care physician and medical executive. He previously helped to co-found The Collaborative for Community Health, a non-profit, is a founding member of Rivervalley Market, a food co-op, and authored a syndicated Health and Wellness column.

His non-fiction and his workshops focus on personal growth and transformation, especially as pertains to health and wellness. His fiction includes social messaging intended to get the reader engaged in thought provoking themes.

Dr. Acquista has a longstanding interest in consciousness studies, is a student of Integral Theory, and strives to do his part to make our planet a wee bit better. He lives with his wife in New Mexico.

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