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WOTM 40 Featuring Jo Elizabeth Pinto

“The Bright Side of Darkness”

Jo Pinto Receives the 2016 Colorado Independent Publishers Association Award. She is seen here posing for the camera holding her award in both hands with her white cane under her right arm. Jo is looking very stylish in a blue, black & white abstract floral print dress and black boots.
Jo Pinto Receives the 2016 Colorado Independent Publishers Association Award

My name is Jo Elizabeth Pinto. I was born three months too early in 1971 and lost my eyesight to retinopathy of prematurity. I grew up on braille and Talking Books from the National Library Service. Like many blind children, I spent my childhood waiting eagerly for bulky black boxes and square plastic cases to arrive in the mail, holding braille books and 4-track cassettes that brought me familiar voices such as Mitzi Friedlander and Roy Avers. I devoured all the great writers children should discover—Dr. Seuss and Roald Dahl, Hans Christian Anderson and Laura Ingalls Wilder, Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume, John Steinbeck and William Shakespeare.

Jo with her yellow Labrador guide dog Anlyn walking on leaf strewn tree-lined sidewalk with gold, red and orange autumn trees.
Jo with her guide dog Anlyn a yellow Labrador

And I knew I wanted to be an author. From the time I figured out words could be written down in books and enjoyed, again and again, I knew someday I would write. When I was in elementary school, supposedly doing math assignments or studying spelling words, I’d often be busy at my Perkins brailler, pounding out poetry or creating title pages and back cover descriptions for books I dreamed of one-day publishing.

My novel, “The Bright Side of Darkness”, began as a short story assignment for a high school English class. I got an A on the assignment and fell in love with the characters who came to life in my imagination.

Bright Side of Darkness book cover illustrated as a corner room that has a bar covered window and light shining through. There is a silhouette of a person seated with their arms on their knees and head in their hands. In the upper left corner of the book is a bright red bow.
Bright Side of Darkness book cover

I never forgot those characters. In my twenties, in order to learn how to use a word processor, I dragged out that old short story and typed it into my first computer—a DOS machine with 5-inch floppy disks and no Internet. The writing needed a lot of work, but the characters still captivated me. I added to the story, changed and deleted weak parts and moved paragraphs and chapters around. I picked the project up and put it down many times over the next twenty-some years as life happened. I took advice and editing from countless people. I went to writing workshops and joined critique groups to hone my craft, and I never gave up on my dream. In June of 2015, I finally published my book.

Second photo of Jo with Anlyn walking on the leaf strewn tree-lined sidewalk with gold, red and orange autumn trees.
Jo Pinto and Anlyn

As I’ve marketed my novel over the last two years, I’ve had the opportunity to meet many wonderful people, blind and sighted, and to be drawn out of my comfort zone. I’m a natural introvert and a recluse at heart. But introversion and reclusiveness are diametrically opposed to book marketing, so I’ve had my limits stretched in exciting ways as “The Bright Side of Darkness” finds its place in the world.

The novel won two First Place 2016 Next Generation Independent Book Awards, one for First Novel Over 80,000 Words, and one for Inspirational Fiction. It also won several 2016 awards from the Colorado Independent Publishers Association: First Place for Inspirational Fiction, Second Place for Audiobook Production, and First Place for Literary and Contemporary Fiction.

Besides writing, I work from home as a braille proofreader and hang out with my family, which includes my nine-year-old daughter and her dad, and my guide dog Anlyn.

Author links:

Image Descriptions:

  1. Jo Pinto Receives the 2016 Colorado Independent Publishers Association Award. She is seen here posing for the camera holding her award in both hands with her white cane under her right arm. Jo is looking very stylish in a blue, black & white abstract floral print dress and black boots.
  2. Jo with her yellow Labrador guide dog Anlyn walking on a leaf-strewn tree-lined sidewalk with gold, red and orange autumn trees.
  3. “Bright Side of Darkness” book cover illustrated as a corner room that has a bar covered window and light shining through. There is a silhouette of a person seated with their arms on their knees and head in their hands. In the upper left corner of the book is a bright red bow.
  4. Second photo of Jo and Anlyn walking on the sidewalk in autumn.
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Eyesight, Judgement & Independence

Jo Pinto

Eyesight is great for driving. Not so good for judging others. Often, the person most qualified, willing to give the most, love the deepest and try the hardest is overlooked while standing right in front. Judged as not perfect enough because of skin color, disability, weight, sexual orientation, and/or a number of other ways they didn’t “look normal.” Appearance often determines who is counted as important and who isn’t. It often determines who is held back from healthcare, jobs, an education, and numerous other opportunities. Change the way we see. It’s where independence begins. Happy Independence Day….for all. christinamholtz

Christina, a friend of mine, wrote and shared the above wise words on social media and with her permission I’m sharing it with you because it’s such an important message for everyone. I also felt with tomorrow being Independence Day and the day when the featured Woman On The Move article will be published these words couldn’t be more timely.

“And I knew I wanted to be an author. From the time I figured out words could be written down in books and enjoyed, again and again, I knew someday I would write.” ~Jo Pinto, Author, Bright Side of Darkness

Stay tuned for Jo’s article which will be posted tomorrow noon ET.

Image: Jo Pinto Receives the 2016 Colorado Independent Publishers Association Award. She is seen here posing for the camera holding her award in both hands with her white cane under her right arm. Jo is looking very stylish in a blue, black & white abstract floral print dress and black boots.