Interview with Francis W. Porretto

When did you first start writing?
(chuckle) Long before I should have! I was 16 years old, had enough lawn mowing money to afford a manual Smith-Corona, and had a head full of stories...stories, it developed, that no one particularly wanted to read., But then, how many 16-year-olds know enough about people to compose intriguing stories and tell them fetchingly?
What motivated you to become an indie author?
The "above-ground" or "conventional" publication channels, which I call, collectively, Pub World, are compelled by economics and the terrors of marketing to remain within very narrow channels. They can't risk a lot of innovation. My stuff is off the beaten track -- WAY off, to hear my test readers tell it. It became fairly clear to me fairly early that my strange, crossbred fiction wouldn't fit into the genre / marketing categories Pub World uses to reduce its risks. So I struck out on my own.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
In two ways: 1) By making it clear that alternatives to Pub World have become viable, and can bring a writer a readership and some revenue; 2) By bringing together enough independent-minded writers and readers to defeat indie writers' worst psychological problem: the haunting fear that no one wants what we have to offer, and that we'd be better off trying to sell dead cats to the Board of Health.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
If I may borrow a statement from a dear friend, I write to express and illuminate eternal verities: the truths about people upon which we can always rely. However, some of those truths aren't well liked by the mainstream media and the establishment of the entertainment world. This syndrome is commonly called "political correctness." I am very, very politically INcorrect...yet I have over 100,000 readers today, and many have written to thank me for letting them know, through my fiction, that they have a kindred spirit.
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything. I could never have dreamed how many, and how enthusiastic, they would be. They have confirmed for me many things I've always believed but have often been shouted down or vilified for expressing. I thank God for them -- and I can't thank Him nearly enough.
What are you working on next?
The third volume in my Spooner Federation trilogy, about a colony world populated by anarchists -- Spoonerites -- who fled Earth to escape complete extermination by the massed power of Earth's States. It began with "Which Art In Hope" and continued in "Freedom's Scion." The working title of the third book is "Freedom's Fury." I expect it to be ready early in 2014.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
(chuckle) My day job is as an engineer for a defense contractor. Most of my dwindling free time and energy is spent on my ramshackle home, my dogs and cats, and straining to fit my wife's latest shoe purchases into closets already overstuffed near to gravitational collapse. The remaining fifteen minutes per day goes into fiction. (I'm still trying to rig something that will allow me to type while I'm riding my lawn tractor.)
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Blurbs. I'm a connoisseur of the 400-character blurb. A good blurb, while it doesn't guarantee a good book, is a better clue to the author's professionalism than anything other than prior familiarity with his work.
What is your writing process?
I can't sincerely say that I have one. Stories occur to me, almost always centered on a pro-freedom or pro-Christian theme. I think about the sort of characters that might populate them. I try to capture a little excitement in a "test synopsis." If it seems to coalesce, I try to write it. It doesn't always work; you should see the size of my "trunk file!"
What do you read for pleasure?
Now there's a tough question. I have a personal library of very nearly 13,000 books, divided between fiction and non-fiction in roughly a 4:1 ratio. They're not confined to any genre or genres. For instance, just now I'm reading a genuine thriller, a nail-biter guaranteed to top the lists for decades to come: the 2012 Statistical Abstract of the United States. Before that, it was "American Sniper," by the late Chris Kyle. To sum up: if it's either edifying or entertaining -- bonus points if it's both -- I'll read it with pleasure.
Published 2013-08-21.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Ceremony
By
Price: Free! Words: 3,730. Language: English. Published: July 18, 2014. Category: Fiction » Romance » Adult
Conscience can surprise us...especially in the aftermath of a decision to ignore it. Heavily pregnant single mother-to-be Laura DiGennaro is coping with such a decision and its consequences when she’s “discovered” by a young man of foreign birth, familiar scruples, and a wholly unexpected quality of character.
Land For Peace
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Price: Free! Words: 1,400. Language: English. Published: July 6, 2014. Category: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
The oldest war story of all, revisited from a radically different perspective: One that assumes nothing about the attributes or characters of the combatants. In any war, it’s not the propaganda that matters but the outcome of the final battle. Don’t be alarmed. It's just a fantasy. No statement of belief about...well, anything...is expressed or implied.
Mainstreaming
By
Price: Free! Words: 1,840. Language: English. Published: July 5, 2014. Category: Fiction » Humor & comedy » Parody
Everyone has problems. Young, old, rich, poor, ordinary ...and extraordinary. The wonder of that last category is how seldom such folks get a hearing for their complaints. Have you ever wondered what they might sound like?
Arms Race
By
Price: Free! Words: 1,320. Language: English. Published: July 4, 2014. Category: Fiction » Themes & motifs » Political
Pax Americana! Roll the phrase around in your mind. Savor the flavor. Ponder all the good we did in the world during our years of unchallenged dominance. Then ask yourself: How much "good" did we really do? What price did we pay for doing all that "good?" Did we make "friends" or inspire enmity? If the Pax were to be made permanent, would we be happy with the consequences? Think it over.
The New Paradigm
By
Price: Free! Words: 2,360. Language: English. Published: June 29, 2014. Category: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
Ours is a time of relentlessly advancing tyranny. Americans’ rights are steadily being stripped away by the very government that’s supposed to protect them. Who will rise to oppose it, if anyone? Who will see those rights as sacred, to be defended at all costs, if anyone? Who will be both suitably qualified, adequately equipped, and properly motivated...if anyone?
A Year Of Good Eating
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Series: The Bruno Adventures, Book 2. Price: Free! Words: 4,420. Language: English. Published: May 9, 2014. Category: Fiction » Inspirational
Love takes many forms. It follows many avenues into our hearts. He who has learned something of those forms and avenues should not be surprised to find that the supposedly lesser creatures we choose for our companions know and experience love, as well. Bruno would tell you, but then, being a Newfoundland, he’s wiser than the rest of us.
Good Guys
By
Price: Free! Words: 4,510. Language: English. Published: April 27, 2014. Category: Fiction » Themes & motifs » Spiritual & metaphysical
In our infinitely tolerant, how-dare-you-disapprove-of-me era, what shall we do with the man of absolute standards and unbending judgment? Must we make room for such an unenlightened relic of dark times long past and best forgotten, or may we reject him utterly? Might we discover, to our extreme surprise, that we can hardly do without him?
Kink!
By
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 24,120. Language: English. Published: February 8, 2014. Category: Fiction » Erotica » Erotica Anthologies
Eight stories from the underside of sexual desire, where our darker fantasies are played out. In this realm, no scruples are honored. One must forsake all inhibitions, for they will not be respected. Good and evil, love and lust, wear masks that can prove impossible to remove. It's not guaranteed to be a pleasant experience...yet there are many who dwell here by preference. Dare you enter?
The Knife...And The Newf
By
Series: The Bruno Adventures, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 3,340. Language: English. Published: December 24, 2013. Category: Fiction » Humor & comedy » Satire
So! You think only humans have adventures? Have you never watched "Milo and Otis" or "Homeward Bound?" Bah! Meet Bruno the Newf, and share his consternation as he struggles with the baffling Humans, most of whom need minders that few of them possess. In this installment, our hero must deal incisively with a fractured marriage, a late-night intrusion...and a knife.
The Glut
By
Price: Free! Words: 590. Language: English. Published: December 30, 2012. Category: Fiction » Humor & comedy » Black comedy
There are more kinds of trade than just the sort where goods are exchanged for money...and The Law of Supply and Demand applies to all of them.
Names
By
Price: Free! Words: 2,160. Language: English. Published: December 23, 2012. Category: Fiction » Christian » Historical
A Christmas gift to my readers and colleagues here at Smashwords. May the joy of His Nativity illuminate your Christmas season and be yours throughout the coming New Year.
Getting The Breaks
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,700. Language: English. Published: September 8, 2012. Category: Fiction » Erotica » Couples Erotica
He was a divorced, middle-aged computer genius. She was a young, tight-bodied software engineer with a badly scarred face and more emotional baggage than she realized. It would take more than mere proximity for them to connect with one another. It would take an ethical crisis imposed by a vicious manager who could ruin them professionally. But the fruits of their courage would be...spectacular.
Gaoler
By
Price: Free! Words: 4,450. Language: English. Published: July 29, 2012. Category: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
Althea Morelon intended the first voyages of Liberty’s Torch, Mankind’s first superluminal starship, to probe the region around Hope for other intelligent species and any other interesting tidbits she might encounter. She didn’t expect to discover an unexampled specimen of tyranny or a mind-shattering secret about the limitations on travel through the galaxy...until she did.
The Last Vigil
By
Price: Free! Words: 1,200. Language: English. Published: April 1, 2012. Category: Fiction » Christian » Classical & allegory
Most of us would like to have had more of a say about the stations in life we've come to occupy. We don't get to choose our parents, for example. But what of the man who finds himself assigned to perform a dreadful deed -- one he cannot, by any exertion of will or imagination, avert?
An Indie Writer's Odyssey
By
Price: Free! Words: 39,110. Language: English. Published: January 1, 2012. Category: Nonfiction » Publishing » Self-publishing
There’s a new force abroad in the land: the independent writer of fiction: He who can create his own original stories; perform (or arrange for) editing, required artwork, and promotional blurbs; and promote his creations by himself. We have the conventional publishing world in terror. If you’re a fellow indie, perhaps you’ll enjoy this collection of thoughts on our common avocation.
A New Look
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 1,650. Language: English. Published: December 28, 2011. Category: Fiction » Erotica » Women's Erotica
There are some traits that defy all our attempts to alter them. Not time, nor effort, nor cosmetic surgery can change one's parentage or place of birth. But the yearning for changes to those things will persist...and sometimes, the fulfillments take unexpected shapes.
Blurbing It Out
By
Price: Free! Words: 2,380. Language: English. Published: December 26, 2011. Category: Nonfiction » Publishing » Self-publishing
Many independent writers need help, though not with their storytelling. Far too many indie writers are inept promoters. The fault reveals itself glaringly in their blurbs and Long Descriptions. A promotional blurb is the writer's job interview. He has to make it sing sweetly to the potential reader. This little tome notes the most conspicuous problems, and provides an offer of assistance.
Tornado
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 4,320. Language: English. Published: December 16, 2011. Category: Fiction » Erotica » Couples Erotica
Ryan and Melinda both have problems. He’s a man’s man, who disdains cheapness, in things or people; she’s a high-powered beauty, who’s deliberately made herself cheap in a foolish play for the acceptance of her male coworkers. But it’s Ryan she wants -- and as hard as she’s pursued him, he’s managed to keep her at arm’s length...until now.
A Cup Of Courage
By
Price: Free! Words: 3,540. Language: English. Published: December 4, 2011. Category: Fiction » Christian » Contemporary
Father Raymond Altomare has the toughest task of his ministry: bringing comfort to a man who knows he's about to die. But Del Nevins isn't sick; he's facing execution for mass murder...and he fears that the destiny that awaits him is eternal torment in Hell. How can the young priest convince the convict of the mercy God has promised to the sincerely repentant?
The Warm Lands
By
Price: Free! Words: 8,190. Language: English. Published: October 29, 2011. Category: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
Journeyman sorcerer Gregor treks slowly across the Great Waste, from one oasis of life to the next, toward the westernmost enclaves where sorcerers more advanced than he will strive to restore life to the world once more. His duty is to travel, observe, record, and pass on...but he did not expect to encounter four virgin mothers desperate for protection from the hatred of their realm.
The Last Ambassadors
By
Price: Free! Words: 5,100. Language: English. Published: October 29, 2011. Category: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
The anarchists of the Spooner Federation left Earth 1800 years ago, fleeing for their lives from the wrath of the States. A delegation has come to see how the mother world has fared since then...but the wrath that drove the Spoonerites across the black void has not abated, as exobiologist Richard Fiammare and paleolinguist Victoria Hallanson will soon discover.
Discount
By
Price: Free! Words: 4,760. Language: English. Published: October 29, 2011. Category: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal
Richard Schiffers, divorced middle-aged telephone lineman, feels he's gotten a raw deal from the System. Get enough beer into him and he'll tell you about it without being asked. But Schiffers's notions about the System depart rather dramatically from its true nature...which becomes obvious, and very important, when the true Power behind the System decides to take a hand.
Class Action
By
Price: Free! Words: 3,540. Language: English. Published: October 29, 2011. Category: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban
If a creature thinks, it will have a sense for right and wrong, and therefore for justice. But two thinking species are not guaranteed to have the same sense of justice, or the same way of arriving at a verdict. How, then, should one such species treat with the rights of another with whom it shares a world...when one regards the other as its food source, its rightful prey?
The Object Of His Affection
By
Price: Free! Words: 3,010. Language: English. Published: October 29, 2011. Category: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban
In a little storefront on a side Manhattan street, a nameless old man keeps a shop. His customers don't pay him for the dusty, battered items on his shelves, but for the wonders he can do with them...not all of which are good. Into his shop wanders widower and corrupt retail inspector Carl Harris, wearing a wedding ring the shopkeeper will surely covet for the power stored within it...
The Middle Years
By
Price: Free! Words: 5,470. Language: English. Published: October 28, 2011. Category: Fiction » Romance » Contemporary
Middle-aged divorcee Dan Lundquist didn't expect to encounter the perfect woman in an Onteora Aviation stairwell. Nor did he expect her to seek him out as if he were the answer to her prayers. But she did -- and Dan's younger colleagues weren't at all thrilled that gorgeous, poised Angela Bowman, who wouldn't give them the time of day, had attached herself to a man twenty years her senior.
The Sport
By
Price: Free! Words: 5,790. Language: English. Published: October 28, 2011. Category: Fiction » Literature » Sports
Fireballing pitcher Conrad Bearing seemed to have come from nowhere. A rookie free-agent at 37, he was almost unhittable, mowing down the American League's best hitters as if they were scarecrows propped at the plate. But he was more publicity-averse and reporter-shy than Greta Garbo at her worst. One reporter was determined to crack Bearing's mystery, whatever it might take.
A For Effort
By
Price: Free! Words: 4,830. Language: English. Published: October 28, 2011. Category: Fiction » Erotica » Couples Erotica
Twenty-two-year-old Morgana Rothman has an odor problem. It's impeded her love life, life-long. Technology may have come to her rescue just in time for her to begin her engineering career at Onteora Aviation, whose staff is 95% men...some of them as single and lonely as she. But first she must deal with her equally lonely lesbian roommate Glynnis.
Farm Girl
By
Price: Free! Words: 15,510. Language: English. Published: August 22, 2010. Category: Fiction » Romance » Adult
Allan Fitzgerald, once a Manhattan lawyer, has retreated from life. His wife has left him, as has his enthusiasm for his trade. He expects to pass the remainder of his days alone, reading cheap novels and falling asleep before the television, until an itinerant farm hand, a young woman looking for work who's hitched all the way from Kansas, wanders onto his porch on a breezy late-April day...
The Storyteller's Art: How Not to Bore Your Reader to Sleep, Tears, or Homicide
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Price: Free! Words: 36,330. Language: English. Published: February 21, 2010. Category: Nonfiction » Reference » Writing skills
Do you want to tell memorable, vivid, life-altering stories? With plots that embed real knowledge about the natures and ways of men? Do you want to create characters that will haunt your readers' dreams? Do you want to learn the discipline to unite all the above, without overdressing your plots or distoring your characters to make them serve a theme for which they're ill-equipped? Start here!
For The Love Of God
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 26,390. Language: English. Published: February 20, 2010. Category: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author
For intelligent, literate Christians who dislike the bombast and apocalypticism of most religious fiction, and for Amiable Agnostics who occasionally feel the urge: Ten journeys in faith, replete with miracles, mysteries, gentle preachments, and the occasional what-if. Unlike other establishments, the doors of the church are never locked. All are welcome. All ye that labor, come unto Him!