Tag Archives: Just Joshing

Writers Writing: Joshua Pantalleresco

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Here in Canada, we’re a small but mighty population. We have many amazing writers, some quite famous, some not as well-known but equally amazing. We write to stave off boredom, the always encroaching cold of the north (remember the North!), wendigos, sasquatch and Ogopogo. And we write to explore and express new thoughts and worlds.

In our mighty little nation, (lots of land and the population of California) we have an active, widespread speculative community. There is written word, spoken word, podcasts, plays, music. Hawksley Workman is a musician who has clearly explored the mythic and speculative in his works (such as The God that Comes). There are numerous examples and I won’t wander down that path right now or I’ll get lost.

We also have the creator of the Just Joshing podcasts, Joshua Pantalleresco. He has spent quite a few years interviewing writers, actors and other artists and the full list of some 350 plus episodes are here. I met Josh many years ago at a local convention, When Words Collide, in Calgary. He was a veritable energizer bunny, full of enthusiasm, ideas and an inquisitive, friendly mind. Over the years we have come to know each other better and of course I’ve run into Josh interviewing this person or that for his podcasts. He even received an Aurora Award for Just Joshing. He interviewed me back when I was editing Alice Unbound. I like to think of him as Josh Pants to the Rescue, and he would have been a great sidekick for Captain Underpants.

Alice opened the box and was punished for her transgression by being locked away in our world. As a patient in an asylum, her captors are the playing cards, and the ruler of the asylum is a certain black hearted Queen. To make things worse (?) Alice’s only companion has a certain Cheshire Grin. She must escape her current situation, and remember who she is, not only to save herself but to save us all.

Josh also writes, a lot. He wrote an Alice poem for Alice Unbound, but I did not accept it. Professional writers are used to rejection and even from their friends. And editors often have more good stories or poems than they can accept. I remember Josh capturing the madcap way of a Lewis Carroll world. Well, it seems that that challenge also spurred him to even greater things. Josh has now completed a book, Alice Zero. Without further ado, I’ll let Josh speak for himself about his latest project.

It’s all Colleen’s fault.

I mean it. It was her idea. Kind of. Sort of.

Colleen had this great idea for a Lewis Carroll anthology and she invited me to write for the anthology. I was flattered. I said yes. Of course I will write for you. Colleen is an awesome human being with a great gift for poetry and prose herself, and to be recognized is just awesome.

Once I said yes, I realized that I had put myself into a conundrum. What can I possibly say about Lewis Carroll that hasn’t already been said? I mean, I love Alice in Wonderland and knew that I wanted to write something about wonderland. But what exactly?

That night, I went to a bar and remembered meeting a girl with a gorgon tattoo. Now I was eventually turned down because she plays for the other team, but there was something magical about this woman. Not just the tattoo she created on her arm, but she was just an intriguing, artistic, wonderful human being. She’s still a good friend of mine to this day. We talked for a bit, and I promised I’d put her in my story.

The gorgon was something I needed to see. Medusa is a fun character. She is an interesting monster, and beautiful and deadly. In wonderland where up is down and right is wrong, perhaps, she’d be a hero? I imagined a gorgon knight protecting Princess Alice from the depths of the shadows in this weird world of wonderland.

And then I made the magical connection. What if I did a mashup of Alice in Wonderland as Greek mythology? What if Alice was Pandora? It made a lot of sense in a lot of ways and I was so happy. If it wasn’t for Colleen I truly don’t believe I would have met my friend. It wouldn’t have been a problem I needed to solve. I wouldn’t have thought to go to the bar, and I never would have had the opportunity. I would have missed so much.

So I had my story. Greek Alice. And it came to me, this asylum with the playing cards being her jailers and the warden being the Queen of Hearts. Alice is on a quest to find herself. She opened the box, and now must face the consequences of her actions.

I wrote it and had a blast and handed it to Colleen. I was so happy. Then Colleen rejected it. It was her decision, and I understood. The collection didn’t need another Alice story, but I was so happy with my Alice story that I wanted to do something. Some things, actually. Stay tuned for the following year. But I wanted to work on doing something on my own.

I have to admit I got in my own way for awhile. I’ve done the epic poetry thing with Mirror World Publishing and I loved that I got the chance to do so. But this is me again, for the first time. At least this time I got some help. Kenzie Carr is an amazing world class artist. I’m hoping we continue this collaboration as she did some killer things inside. Love her work and was pleasantly surprised how it all came about.

I had other people help out too. Vanessa Cardui did a wonderful job advising me, and I listened to a few others as well. Thank you, all.

Finally, here it is, courtesy of myself and Kenzie Carr. I never would have done it if it had not been pushed in that direction if it hadn’t been for an email from a dear friend. Colleen, it’s all your fault. But I’m so happy you were the catalyst in this. Thank you for being an amazing friend and an inspiration. Keep being you.

Perhaps, Josh gives me too much credit. Without his own imagination and talent, he would not have even created this. But it’s true that we can be inspired and spurred in new directions by others. Josh, I’m glad a tree grew from the sprout. I’ll be reading his work lately to see what crazy things Alice gets into. I hope you considering exploring his worlds as well.

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Writing Guest Blog: Joshua Pantalleresco

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Today, in my New Year’s attempt to keep my blog active, I give you Joshua Pantalleresco who talks about writing and interviews and podcasting.

How do I do anything creatively? By accident. The whole of my creative career is that I’ve been smart enough to recognize when I stumble onto a good thing. I’ve been doing interviews on my blog for a while. I had been interviewing people for written interviews, featuring writers such as Liana Kerzner, Simon Rose, Saima K. Sophia and others. Finally, I had an opportunity to interview the one and only Robert J. Sawyer. Robert was an amazing interview, and as we finished someone came into the room and asked what we were doing. Rob said, “I just did an interview for his podcast.”

pantallersco jj_logoPodcast? my brain said in its nervous Peter Parker like voice. I don’t do a podcast. Never thought to do a podcast. My inner Parker disappeared as genuine curiosity took over my process. Could I do a podcast? I had no idea. But as I’ve stated on my podcast, I never let not knowing what I’m doing stop me. So I did some research and went about the business of acquiring interviews.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t make some conscious decisions in the process. For starters, I wanted a podcast that felt like something Larry King or Joe Rogan would do, only going more towards a half hour to an hour segment. When you create a podcast, length of time is important. While I do tease a little in current episodes just hovering over an hour, I tend to keep my episodes within that constraint. Beyond that, I was becoming comfortable letting the interviews go in any direction they wanted to. I’m a storyteller who loves to hear stories. I still remember my hard times in Arizona, when I was travelling twenty something miles however I could to just get to my day (re: night) job, all the while balancing somehow eating with trying to get a comic book out.

I admire people able to do great things. Artists with works out there are some of the most courageous people I know. It takes guts to go out into the world and present work and say, “here I am” to people who are indifferent and apathetic and don’t have that drive to share and express. The journey to produce the work itself is sometimes daunting. I admire anyone who dares to do such a thing, because I know how hard it can be. It’s why I love interviewing people. It’s always amazing to see how the person I’m talking to came to be. It’s never boring and more often than not, inspiring.

Also, if you do listen to the show, while not every guest of mine is Canadian, the good majority of them are. That also is by design. One of the things that drives me crazy about Canadians is that in general, they undervalue themselves. Canadians are some of the most creative, wonderful, magical people on the planet, whether it’s someone like the pop sensation Sofia Evangelina, or the heart-on-her- sleeve Ellen Michelle, who dares to start a publishing company (which you should check out. Her Patreon is here: https://www.patreon.com/constellatepub) to promote Canadian people. Or someone like Adam Dreece, who opens up about some of his trials in his life. It’s so cool that people like this let me in to share their lives.

My motivation was clear; all that was left to do once I had all those concepts in my head about the type of show I wanted to do was to name the thing. I wanted a really cool name. Something that sounded epic, legendary even.

I got “Just Joshing.” Not once but three times from different friends residing in London Ontario. It received the most likes too. My podcast would not have the legendary name from the outset. I could make it work. I would make it work, dang it.

I had a good buddy of mine named Lance Buan design my logo. I wanted something that felt a little bit like a diner from the past. I love diners that have that retro fifties vibe to them. You can go in, order a decent burger, have a great meal and be entertained by the jukebox, or the whole ambiance. I wanted Just Joshing to feel like that. I wanted the show to feel like your entertainment value came from listening to me talking with a guest. I like to think I succeeded.

I’ve done over two hundred episodes and have an Aurora Award that says I’m awesome and made of cheese. Or at the very least, that I’m doing something right. I’ve made some amazing friends and have gone about the business of turning this into a career. Right this minute, I’m working on setting up my own Patreon and acquiring sponsors and advertising revenue for the show. My audience is growing as is the appeal of my show. I’ve hit a magical moment where momentum seems to be going my way. It’s time to ride it and see where the next accident will take me.

I’ve learned not to get in my own way because of the podcast. I try my best to let the magic happen. I don’t overthink it or try to take an absurd amount of credit. I learned to just let success come my way, and let myself be open to the possibilities of where things can lead. If there’s anything my career can hopefully teach others, it’s that it never quite goes the way you plan. But you know what? It’s not always a bad thing. Sometimes better things come your way. This podcast is one of those best things I’ve ever done.

And who knows, that Just Joshing name may become legendary after all.

Joshua Pantalleresco writes stuff, and podcasts too. His podcast, Just Joshing, won the Aurora Award in 2018 for best fan related work. The podcast airs twice a week, Mondays and Thursdays on Podomatic, Itunes, Google Play and Spotify. His books The Watcher, Stormdancer and The Wandering God were published by Mirror World publishing. He writes a column at First Comics News dot com and his next book, Alice Zero, may have been inspired by a certain editor. He lives in Calgary. His blog can be found at https://jpantalleresco.wordpress.com

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