About Don Massenzio

Don Massenzio is the author of Frankly Speaking - A Frank Rozzani Detective novel and the follow-up, Let Me Be Frank. He has also written several short stories.

Who Do You Write For?

Check out this great post from Charles Yallowitz’s blog titled: Who Do You Write For? Pop on over to his blog and let him know your motivation.

Legends of Windemere

Yahoo Image Search

This is a question that I ask a lot and see many people answering without hesitation.  At least it appears that way.  It’s hard to figure out for myself.  There’s always multiple factors that I think about.  The list can include:

  • Publish or Not
  • Career or Hobby
  • My sense of self-worth as an author
  • How other books are doing
  • Support of others when idea is presented
  • Can I maintain interest in the story
  • My main genre or experimental

All of this will help determine if I’m writing for myself or others.  Even then, I can never answer the question perfectly.  Maybe I’m in the middle?  As much as I write for myself, I truly want others to enjoy my stories.  I’ve said for a while that I wish I could get enough author success that it pays the bills and allows me to be a full-timer.  That…

View original post 470 more words

The Delta Pearl 61 — Light

Teagan Riordain Geneviene is back with another installment of The Delta Pearl. Please enjoy this post from her blog with Chapter 61 — Light.

Teagan's Books

Saturday, January 23, 2021 

Composite image by Teagan R. GenevieneComposite image by Teagan R. Geneviene

Welcome back, my chuckaboos!  Thank you, thank you for your patience and for returning to this #Steampunk riverboat.  

Previously on The Delta Pearl

This episode is tied to Chapter 45 — Intone.  I’ve included a partial recap of the last chapter, so here’s a link to the chapter before that.  


The cat tried to meow and growl at the same time, and without opening his mouth more than a little.  The tiny corner of gold slipped out farther.  I could see a sparkling yellow-green stone.

“If I didn’t know better, I’d think the brooch was trying to get out of Reggie’s mouth,” Victor commented as Reggie meowed again.

Jaspe turned toward the Captain, as if he was about to speak.  Reggie took that moment to wriggle free of Jaspe’s grasp.  The cat jumped from the Dealer’s…

View original post 920 more words

My Fragile Heart – A Bad Book Review – From the Writers in the Storm Blog

by John Peragine

As the date of the launch of my novel, Max and the Spice Thieves, approaches I have been seeking and receiving reviews. Every time I see a new one in the mailbox, I cringe a little before opening it. I brace for the worst and hope for the best.

There is a certain amount of courage that is needed to send your “baby” out into the world, not only to be read but to be judged. On purpose, no less.

Before I was a full-time writer, I was a symphony musician. Since I was a boy, I played the flute and had many years of lessons and education. By the time it was performance time, I would have rehearsed with the orchestra for two or three weeks. As I sat down, I still worried about missing a cue or hitting a wrong note. As the piccolo player, there was no hiding in the orchestra. If I played at the wrong time or missed a passage, it was very obvious. 99.99 percent of the time, I played well, but it did little to help me reduce my stress for the next performance.

Sending a book out, and having someone read it, is my live performance. When I finished a piece with the orchestra, the conductor motioned with his hand, I stood up, and there was applause. When I type “The End,” there is no such applause or feedback, and so reviews take the place of the applause.

How To Protect Yourself

Read the rest of this post HERE.

Expansion Pack: Comedy

Check out this great post from C.S. Boyack via the Story Empire blog with the subject: Expansion Pack: Comedy.

Story Empire

Hi, Gang. Craig with you again, and we’re going to try something different. It won’t work for everyone, but what does in this business?

I’m of the belief that you can’t just bleed for 300 pages. Even in serious tales you have to give the readers a breather. My go-to in those instances is a bit of humor. This can be a snarky comment or an unexpected moment, but something.

With no scientific evidence at all to back me up, I propose that humor might be one of the most planned bits in any story. Even on the written page, delivery is crucial.

I like to start off with a definition, but never found one that suited me. Comedy can involve misunderstanding, absurdity, physical elements, and more. In a novel, it’s more complex than telling a joke.

I’m going to give you a list of common elements. The idea is…

View original post 873 more words

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – Reviews – #Contemporary Sian Turner, #Blogging #Authors Anne R. Allen, #History Mike Biles

Check out the author updates from the latest post on the Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore blog from Sally Cronin.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the Friday edition of the Cafe and Bookstore with reviews for authors on the shelves.

The first author with a recent review is Sian Turner for her  latest release Sweet Erin

About the book

A book for anyone who has ever been eleven years old.

Erin Fitzwilliam-Beaumont hates her friendless life at secondary school until a mysterious app brings Carys Bowen into her life. The new friends are struggling to face their own demons when a surprise announcement from Carys brings a remarkable new dimension to the girls’ already unconventional friendship.

Will Carys help Erin find the fresh start she desperately needs, and can Erin help Carys restore her crumbling relationship with her father?

One of the recent reviews for the book

East Sussex 5.0 out of 5 stars More than a book about friendship  Reviewed in the United States on November 29, 2020

This delightful book…

View original post 875 more words

Ways of Seeing, Ways of Writing – From the Writers in the Storm Blog

by Barbara Linn Probst

I recently read an essay that summarized American painter Georgia O’Keeffe’s views on how to be an artist. Her first principle was: Observe the world around you—closely, hungrily.

That advice seems equally apt for a writer. Before we can write, we need to look, to see fully and well.

What does that mean exactly?

Is it more than accuracy—the 20/20 vision that indicates that we’re seeing what is “actually there” at a standardized distance?

Here’s what the American Optometric Association has to say:

Read the rest of this post HERE.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore Author Update – New Release – #Thriller Chuck Bowie, Reviews – #Poetry Miriam Hurdle, #Shortstories Allan Hudson

Check out these Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore Author Updates from this post on Sally Cronin’s blog.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the Wednesday edition of the Cafe and Bookstore with a new release and recent reviews for authors on the shelves.

The first author today is celebrating a new release Chuck Bowieand the thriller Her Irish Boyfriend: Donovan: Thief For Hire

About the book

The problem, the secret, the decision.

Donovan agrees to retrieve a stolen cell phone for his friend Gemma. This is a simple enough task. Then, he decides to determinewhy the phone is important, and on it views a crime being planned. One crime leads to another, and each case escalates in its level of complication, seriousness and darkness.

He cannot lose sight, though, that at one time he was broken. The victim he is attempting to rescue is broken, as is his partner-in-crime. Will they be strong enough?
Sean Donovan follows each crime from Ireland to England, deciding each time to continue on…

View original post 1,189 more words

Inspiration – Fellow Writers, Where Do You Find Yours?

By Don Massenzio

2020 – The Year Without Writing Inspiration

2021 is a year full of possibilities. I keep telling myself this over and over.

The pandemic caused me to pause my creative writing for a number of months. The reasons for the lull in my literary creativity are many, but I’d like to believe that most of them are under control or behind me at this point.

As I look for inspiration to jumpstart my writing and to ignite the fire to finish my next book, I decided to go back to those things that inspired me in the past.

I thought I would share these inspirational elements with you to help you find inspiration and invite you to share those things that inspire you to write when you have a lull in your creativity.

Here are the things that have worked for me:

News/Current Events

When I’ve had difficulty finding inspiration for a story, I’ll sometimes skim the local, national and international headlines for stories that are unusual or that can be turned into something unusual. Of course, the current headlines often read like fiction.

One of the stories in my first short story collection, Random Tales, is called Heal Thyself. The idea came to me when I read a local new story about a man that is involved in a serious motorcycle injury on a particularly dangerous stretch of highway in my area of Florida. The story takes this story further. Although, like his real-life counterpart, the man winds up in the hospital with a grim prognosis, my character surprises his doctors by spontaneously healing from his injuries and he develops the ability to heal others. This seemingly positive development turns out to be a torturous situation for the man. I like these taking these real-life story ideas and adding a twist.

Have you done this? What kinds of news stories or current events have you turned into stories?

Writing Prompts

I have used writing prompts a couple of times. One of them, once again, became the basis for a short story which then became the cornerstone of a book of four related novellas, kongo.com. The story, No Pain, No Gain came from a prompt about making a New Year’s resolution that takes on an unexpected twist. I honestly don’t remember the source of the prompt.

I posted the story in serialized form, one chapter per week, on my blog and received a very positive response. The basic premise is the invention of a device worn on the wrist that, when activated, infuses the wearers body with nano-technology that induces the desire to exercise and eat healthy. The twist comes from the side effects experienced by some users and all of the intrigue surrounding their cover-up by a large, multi-national corporation called kongo.com (you know, a big river with a .com after it).

The other three stories in the collection are related novellas that all center around the corporation. It’s not something I planned on writing, but I was quite happy with the end-result.

How do you feel about prompts? Are they good for exercising your writing muscles? Can you develop a full story or novel from them? What are the best sources for prompts?


Pre-COVID, I was an extensive corporate traveler or a road warrior as the kids like to say. I would often jot down descriptions of places and people I saw in different cities around the USA. My trip to Italy a couple of years ago was the source of a great deal of inspiration for characters and locations.

One of my books, Blood Match, came from something that happened to me while traveling. I frequently found myself on the 5 AM flight through Atlanta from Jacksonville to some other large city in the U.S.A. I went from being a nervous flyer to someone that learned to sleep as soon as I was buckled into my sleep. I would nap for the hour and 30 minutes it took to board, taxi and fly to Atlanta.

One particularly drowsy Monday, I was settled in my seat and was rudely awakened by a passenger telling me I was in the wrong seat. Once I awoke, I realized he was right. The other two row mates were also settled and the passenger very kindly agreed to occupy my original seat and I promptly went back to sleep.

This by itself was not much of a story premise, but I added a twist. What if a government analyst working for a black ops organization was the one that sat in the wrong seat and what if, when they reached Atlanta, the passenger that agreed to swap seats wound up poisoned to death during the flight. This kicked off Blood Match and the rest of the book revolves around his adventures while on the run trying to figure out who to trust as he is framed for crimes he didn’t commit.

How do you weave observation into your writing?


Travel to unfamiliar locations can bring inspiration. The mood, the culture and the ambiance of a city or country can inspire an author to observe and write about that place. I’ve been ‘lucky’ enough to travel extensively for work to cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, San Francisco and others. This has allowed me to use some of these locations as a backdrop for my books and stories.

My trip to Italy two years ago had a profound influence on my next book in the Frank Rozzani series. I had the opportunity to perform with a choir in some of the most historic churches across Italy and am working on a book that will bring Frank back to his Italian and Roman Catholic roots interwoven with a crime that will challenge him like none he has faced before. It’s an ambitious work and a lot of research and observation is going into it.

Other cities like New Orleans and Albuquerque have been the backdrop for some of my stories because I found those locations unique.

I have used tools like Google Street View and others to reinforce details about locations that I was not completely familiar with to the point where I’ve described landmarks and buildings with great detail that I have not physically visited.

How about you? What is the most exotic location you have used in your writing? How do you fill in the details?

Other Books/Entertainment (T.V. and Movies)

I have often said in interviews that my first book, Frankly Speaking, and the subsequent books in my Frank Rozzani series were influenced by shows such as The Rockford Files and books by authors like John D. MacDonald and A. Conan Doyle. I don’t view this as stealing ideas, I view it as innovating on a premise and the flattery of subtle imitation.

One of my later books, Extra Innings, mixes the fanaticism of a baseball fan with time travel. Sounds strange, but it was inspired after I read Stephen King’s 11/22/63, which uses time travel to propel the main character back in time to attempt to prevent the Kennedy assassination.

The main commonality between the two books is the underlying message, “be careful what you wish for”.

What books have inspired you? Are there movies or television shows that have sparked an idea for you?


You always hear the advice, write what you know. What do you know better than your own life experiences. Another story in my collection, Random Tales, titled August, 1963, centers around the racial discrimination and civil rights struggle of the 1960s. I was born in 1962 and one of my most vivid early memories was of the funeral of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on television. I remember asking my mom why so many people turned out for his funeral and she said, “because he was a great man”. She said that I then asked, “Then, why did they kill him?”

We see some of the same parallels in today’s society and I wrote this story to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. It was a very personal story and it was very cathartic to write.

So, what personal life experience have you drawn from for your stories? Do you believe you should only write what you know or can you stretch yourself?

The questions within this post are designed to generate a discussion and to share ideas. I wanted to share what inspires me to write. I hope you find some use from this information.

Wednesday Writing — Cover Reveal Journey 2

Check out this cover reveal and tour information for Journey 2 by Teagan Riordain Geneviene as featured in this post from her blog.

Teagan's Books

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Moonlit Landscape with a Gothic Ruin Sebastian_Pether_1810-1844 WikipediaSebastian Pether, Moonlit Landscape with a Gothic Ruin, 1810-1844 Wikipedia

Welcome to my sanctuary. A place where all are safe from the anxiety tied to religion, politics, and other things that get in the way of friendship.  Lest I seem insensitive, my only remark to that, is that I’m writing this post in advance, and I’m terrified of what might happen on the 20th (Inauguration Day in the USA).  Now all political remarks are done.  Come on in and we’ll bask in one another’s positive “light” and spirits.

Cover Reveal

This may not be much of a cover reveal, since I’ve already shared it with a few of the people who hosted the launch of Dead of Winter.  With the first Journey, Emlyn had her back to us, facing the unknown.  With Journey 2, Penllyn, she turns to face us. 

Dead of Winter: Journey 2, Penllyn. Cover by Teagan R. GenevieneDead of Winter: Journey 2…

View original post 894 more words

How Amazon Plans to Conquer the World of Publishing

Check out this great post from Nisar Ahmad via Nicholas Rossis’ blog with the topic: How Amazon Plans to Conquer the World of Publishing

Nicholas C. Rossis

This is a guest post by Nisar Ahmad, a digital marketing expert for Media Hicon. As you know, I put most of the blame for the current condition of the publishing world on traditional publishers, whose policies Amazon has cleverly used to its advantage. Nisar instead makes the case for the view that several Amazon policies aim at conquering the world of publishing – and more. I hope you enjoy reading this counterposition to my own.

How Amazon Plans to Conquer the World of Publishing

Amazon | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's booksImage: Storyblocks.com

Deny Data to Suppliers

The information that Amazon gathers from across its platform gives it influence over its book providers. However, by refusing to share that data with the very people who generate it, Amazon gains an unfavorable lead over any potential competitor—a lead so overwhelming that, save for government intercession, there is little chance of significant rivalry from anybody, regardless of whether…

View original post 432 more words