Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Gary Val Tenuta

I'm delighted to welcome author Gary Val Tenuta back to the blog. Welcome back, Gary. Please give us a brief bio, and include something about yourself that readers might be surprised to learn.
Sure, Susan. My name is Gary Val Tenuta. The name, Tenuta, is Italian. It’s a word that translates into a broad definition pertaining to the ownership of land. You’ll see it on the back label of some Italian wines as a prefix to the name of the vineyard, or the owner of the vineyard, where that wine was produced. For example: Tenuta dell'Ornellaia, or Tenuta Valdipiatta.
I’m a book cover designer ( and a former feature article writer for Fate Magazine (U.S.) and Beyond Magazine (U.K.).
Something readers might be surprised to learn about me? The first thing that comes to mind is the fact that I was fortunate enough to have seen what has become known in the field of ufology as the “Black Triangle” UFO. It was a close-up sighting as the object was only about 500 feet above me. My affidavit attesting to the details of the event was among 30 others that were offered into evidence in a legal suit filed by attorney, Peter Gersten, against the U.S. Dept. of Defense in an attempt to get the DoD to release whatever files they had pertaining to that particular unidentified craft. The whole story is available here:
 How many books have you written?
Two completed and one in the oven.
Give a short synopsis of each book.
The latest book is Ash: Return Of The Beast, a modern-day occult crime thriller inspired by a real-life (or should I say real-death) mystery from more than 60 years ago. It’s a work of fiction based on a little known factoid about the death of Aleister Crowley (1875-1947), the notorious occultist the British press once called "The Wickedest Man In The World". Crowley’s body was cremated but the whereabouts of his funerary ashes has remained a mystery… until now.
The story carries the reader through a series of odd (and sometimes unsettling) events spanning the years from 1947(and the death of Aleister Crowley) to the 1990s and the coming-of-age (and eventual stardom) of a "death-metal" rocker named Rodney Duckworth.
The time-line shifts to the present day where Brian Kane, a gruff and gritty, street-worn Seattle Police Detective, reluctantly teams up with the mysterious Rowena Ravenwood, an attractive female FBI agent. Their task is to figure out why good, healthy, God-fearing preachers in their fair city are suddenly dropping dead.
What is the meaning of the strange symbols branded onto the bodies of these hapless victims? Are they all part of some bizarre cult? No eyewitnesses. No fingerprints. Is it really murder? Where’s the evidence? If it is murder, what is the ultimate goal of the killer? And what is the disturbing secret that Detective Kane is holding so close to his chest?
The investigation catapults Kane and Ravenwood headlong into life-threatening situations as they wind their way through the strange, dark labyrinth of the world of the occult and find themselves battling the powerful forces of ritual magick.
Problem is, the clues to help solve the case are in terribly short supply. Worse yet, so is the amount of time left to stop the mysterious killer's reign of terror before all Hell breaks loose. And – according to Special Agent Ravenwood – that’s not just a figure of speech. (Powerful video trailer and more:
My first novel, The Ezekiel Code, was released in 2007 and quickly became a “bestseller” on and remained in the top 50 in three categories for over 57 weeks. Much of its success is due to the fact that it was one of the few novels that incorporated the 2012-end-of-the-Mayan-calendar phenomenon into the story line.
In The Ezekiel Code, December 21, 2012 (the end of the ancient Mayan calendar) holds the promise of a window of opportunity for the next step in the evolution of human consciousness. But a catastrophic event of global proportions looms on the horizon, prior to that date, threatening the annihilation of our planet and the end of civilization.
Zeke Banyon is a handsome Catholic seminary dropout who now runs a homeless shelter in Seattle's old waterfront district. Angela Ann Martin is an attractive young widow who just wants a simple part-time job at the shelter. But a single twist of fate turns their simple lives upside down when together they stumble onto a mysterious code and a rumor about a lost scroll penned by the prophet, Ezekiel, thousands of years ago. They soon find themselves tumbling down the rabbit hole into a world of secret societies, synchronicity-run-rampant, high strangeness, metaphysics, mystery and murder as they jet across continents in a race to understand the code that will lead them to an ancient artifact of profound importance. Dodging rogue Jesuit priests at every turn and unaware that the Illuminati are ever-present in the shadows, Zeke and Angela soon discover it's not just their own lives that are in danger but also the lives of everyone on the planet.
 Is Zeke Banyon the Chosen One of an obscure ancient prophecy? And if so, can he successfully accomplish the mission fate has in store for him? Nothing in seminary school could ever have prepared him for this. (Video trailer and more:
 Congratulations on the success!
What sets your book apart from others?
The Ezekiel Code is the only novel ever written in which English gematria provides the plot device that drives the story. Not familiar with the term, gematria? In a very broad sense, you could think of it as a form of what might be called “sacred numerology” although it is much more than that. It’s a form of both “coding” and “divination” that was used by the ancient Greek and Hebrew priests and mystics, using their respective alphabets and languages. I’ve developed an English-based form of this same system. (
 I’ve also incorporated a bit of English gematria into the plot of Ash: Return Of The Beast, although to a much lesser extent. It appears only briefly as part of the deepening mystery that the two protagonists are struggling to solve.
How do you motivate your protagonist—with fear, desire, both or something else?
The protagonists in Ash: Return Of The Beast are motivated initially by their sense of professional duty as law enforcement officers. That sense of duty, born of their profession, becomes a sense of duty on a much grander scale as they discover the survival of the entire human race has fallen upon their shoulders.
In The Ezekiel Code, the protagonists are initially motivated by sheer curiosity. That curiosity, however, leads to a profound discovery. The motivation of simple curiosity is then replaced by a sense of duty to save the planet from total destruction.
What elements are important to include in your plot?
 Since Ash: Return Of The Beast is an occult crime thriller, it was necessary to include the elements of suspense and mystery, of course. But also it had to incorporate a sense of the supernatural always present just beneath the thin surface of the mundane, normality of everyday life. The big challenge was to find a way to make the unbelievable believable, to take a very down-to-earth, street-worn, big city cop and place him into a situation in which everything he believed was only found in low-budget horror movies and Stephen King novels was actually real. To help accomplish this, I did something not often found in a novel. I started the novel with a preface. A preface is usually only found in non-fiction books. But, since this story is actually rooted in a real-life mystery (as I mentioned earlier) about a man whose entire life was so bizarre and so enmeshed in the darkest realms of occult activity that the British press labeled him as “The Wickedest Man In The World”, the preface immediately sets a tone for the historical “reality” and perceived “possibility” of paranormal and supernatural activity.
The Ezekiel Code, on the other hand, was quite different. From the beginning, I had a purpose for the book that went beyond just telling a compelling story. I’ve had a life-long interest in the paranormal, ancient mysteries, esoteric lore and, more recently, the intriguing ways in which some aspects of quantum physics seems to be providing possible explanations and support for some of those previously unexplainable phenomena. So my goal with The Ezekiel Code, beyond just telling a story, was to include just about everything I’d learned about those things so that readers who knew nothing at all about any of it could become informed about such things. It was a gamble, to be sure, because not all readers want to be inundated with that much information. It was a huge experiment of blending fact with fiction that resulted in the book being nearly 700 pages long. The press release for the book began with the following paragraph:
 It's all here in one puzzling page-turner of a novel: conspiracy, codes, secret societies, UFOs, the CIA’s remote viewing program, ancient mysteries, sacred geometry, the prophetic Mayan calendar end-date of 12/212012, alternative interpretations of Biblical events, mystifying metaphysics, good guys, bad guys, murder most foul, a touch of romance and a trace of sci-fi. All of this, and more, is intricately woven into the multifaceted storyline of THE EZEKIEL CODE.
In what formats are your books available?
Ash: Return Of The Beast ( is only available on Kindle right now. I hope to have a paperback edition available by March of this year. The Ezekiel Code ( is available in both paperback and Kindle.
What has been your most rewarding experience during the writing process?
Definitely it would have to be the process of creating an entire world, a whole “reality”, including the characters, that began as an idea and a blank page. Watching it all develop and change throughout the writing process is a fantastic experience.
We all know how important promoting our work has become. How do you get the word out both off and online?
All the usual online suspects: facebook, twitter, youtube, goodreads, and a host of other social networking sites. Offline, I’ve put posters in the back passenger windows of my car and an 18”x4” banner in the rear window. Great exposure over a long period of time.
Can you tell us your writing goals for 2012 or beyond?
I have an unfinished YA fantasy that I keep threatening to get back to. That will likely be my next project.
Where can folks learn more about your books and events?
Ash: Return Of The Beast,
The Ezekiel Code,

Wishing you every success, Gary.

Thanks for having me over, Susan. Same to you.

1 comment:

Susan Whitfield said...

My apologies for the black and white post. I can't seem to fix it.