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.

How Does One Decide What to Write About?

Part of the allure of being an independent author is the idea that you can write whatever you want, whenever you want. Sounds great, right. But, if I wanted to sit down and write the next 50 Shades of Grey, I’m not sure the result would be very good or, based on my expert knowledge of the subject matter, very long.

At the moment that you declare yourself an author, how are you driven to pick a direction? There are so many genres and sub-genres. There are so many forms of writing. How do you select what direction, or directions, you will take to funnel your creativity.

Here are some of the choices:

  • Mainstream Novels – Contemporary fiction that is geared to a wide variety of readers fall into this category. Love stories, coming of age, dramas and other similar works that seek wide readership and commercial appeal are considered works within this group. The needle moves in this classification of books. Breakout books like the Harry Potter series or the aforementioned 50 shades phenomenon can occur in what would normally be considered a genre.
  • Literary Novels – Books that somehow push the literary envelope or expand the craft fall into this category. They can be avant-garde or experimental in nature.
  • War Novels – This one is pretty self-explanatory. Think some of Tom Clancy’s works or classics like From Here to Eternity.
  • Comic Novels – Books that use humor or satire to poke fun at real life situations fall into this category
  • Philosophical Novels – Think George Orwell or Ayn Rand
  • Message Novels – Books that seek to teach a lesson or make a statement about the social or political climate fall into this category. Think of books like The Grapes of Wrath that dealt with the Dust Bowl era in the United States or todays LGBTQ novels.
  • Religious Novels – Fiction that emerges from religious scriptures or ideas make up this category.
  • Erotic and Pornographic Novels – Thanks to books like 50 Shades of Grey, these books have become more mainstream. If the preponderance of authors in this genre at indie book gatherings are any indication, this trend is going strong.
  • Action/Adventure/Thriller – These books are filled with action and often take place in exotic locations.
  • Romances – The genre of authors like Nicholas Sparks fall into this category. These novels have more plot and less intimacy than the erotic genre.
  • Historical Novels and Family Sagas – These books usually have some root in a historical event or period and tell a plausible story that surrounds that history.
  • Westerns – These books usually take place in the West or Southwestern United States in the post-Civil War period.
  • Science Fiction and Fantasy – These stories are based on a setting and technology that opens up other possibilities allowing the author to use elements of story telling that are heavily or loosely based in science or in fantasy lore.
  • Horror/Occult Novels – These books are usually written with the intent to scare or shock the reader and differ from science fiction and fantasy in the areas of body count and gore.
  • Crime Novels – Books that are mysteries, detective stories or spy/terrorism stories are woven around some criminal event, usually a murder, and the journey through discovering wither who carried out the crime or how the person that carried it out will be caught.
  • Animal Stories – Books where one or more of the main characters are animals make up this genre.
  • Medical and Nurse Novels – Books that take place in a medical setting like Coma or The Clinic fall into this category.
  • New Age Novels – Books that focus on mystical or metaphysical topics are classified in this genre.
  • Juvenile/Young Adult Novels – This is another genre that is leaning toward mainstream thanks to the Harry Potter and Hunger Games series.

So, how did you fall into writing the genre(s) that you’ve selected? Do you have difficulty with any elements of writing in this genre? What did you need to learn or strengthen in your knowledge base to successfully write in your chosen genre?

Let’s have a discussion about it.

US E-Book Sales Decline 13.9% in 2016 [But Print Sees Growth]

A Writer's Path

by Michael Kozlowski at Good e-Reader

Over the course of 2016 overall publisher revenue was $14.3 billion, down 6.6% from 2015. One of the key trends from last year was that reading preferences continue to shift. Print books saw growth, and for the second consecutive year publisher revenues from eBook sales declined and downloaded audio grew.

Publishers’ book sales for trade (consumer) books from Jan. to Dec. 2016 were flat -0.2% at $7.1 billion. While Religious Presses and Children’s & Young Adult Books (Childrens/YA) saw growth in 2016, the Adult Books category (which comprises more than 65% of all revenue for trade books) saw a 2.3% decline.

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Check out this first book of the Aldron series,  in which Angelica Avery and Jeff Walker have left their former lives to chase their adversary, Varloo, into yet another universe. They must stop him from creating a race of savage hybrids, and a device capable of the manipulation of matter itself. Along with them are Major Avery’s android, Cely, and one of the Republic’s best operatives, his good friend Batar.
The party of four sets out in search of the renegade Andronian in the Matari star system, where Zacharas is located. After leaving one of its moons, Maol, they are chased by a Zacharian slave trader named Garmoto, and are forced to resolve an incident with the Zacharians by negotiation. Captain Walker seeks to forge a treaty between the Zelorions and Zacharians, but falls short when Varloo interferes with…

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Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Update – Balroop Singh and Christina Steiner

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

Welcome to the first of the updates this week and our first author is Balroop Singh with her latest poetry collection Emerging from Shadows.

About Emerging from Shadows poetry collection

From darkness into light, from despair onto the wider ways of hope…life oscillates between sunshine and shadows. Emerging from shadows is a choice, which lies dormant, which can be gently inspired by self-talk. Each poem in this book banks on the hope of emerging stronger, saner, positive and resilient. Each poem in this book would talk to you, revealing layers of enclosed emotions. Each poem would divulge a secret path that could lead you into the world of poise and serenity.

When turbulences hit, when shadows of life darken, when they come like unseen robbers, with muffled exterior, when they threaten to shatter your dreams, it is better to break free rather than get sucked by the vortex of…

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Short Stories vs Novels: A Taste of Both Worlds

Here is a great post from Charles Yallowitz on the pros and cons of short stories vs. novels.

Legends of Windemere

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With The Life & Times of Ichabod Brooks, I’ve stepped more into short stories than I did before.  Normally, I’m more of a novelist with a love of series as you can tell from Legends of Windemere.  I dabbled a bit because you can’t get away with full-length novels in English classes.  You have to keep things short and tight since there are multiple students to grade.  Now, would I say one is better than the other?  No because they each have their own strengths and weakness.  Here are some from my own experience, which I’ll admit is limited.

Short Stories

Pro–  Takes less time to outline, write, and edit.  This makes it a great project when I have limited time and want to flex the imagination.

Con– Too many plot twists can ruin it because of the short length.  I love throwing…

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A Brand New Editor for the WordPress Mobile Apps


The WordPress.com Blog

Now that so many of us carry around tiny pocket-size computers, more and more of our Internet time happens on phones and tablets — not just browsing, but creating. You’ve been asking for a better publishing experience in the WordPress app to make mobile publishing smoother. Today we’re introducing a new editor for iOS and Android, codenamed “Aztec.” It’s speedy and reliable, works with posts and pages, and is ready for beta testing!

What’s New?

At first glance, the Aztec editor might look like the old editor — which means you already know how to use it, with no learning curve.

What’s different, exactly? A lot:

  • The overall user experience is smoother and snappier, with improved scrolling and faster image insertion.
  • Spellcheck now works reliably.
  • The addition of Undo and Redo tools means you can easily fix mistakes or move between different versions of your text when writing (and re-writing!).

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