It’s Release Day!!

Today is release day. It’s hard to believe that it is the release of the eleventh book that I’ve written in the past five years. This one was fun as it was outside of my traditional crime/mystery genre.

About kongo.com

In my book, kongo.com, I have pulled together four separate related stories. Three of them were published as serials on my blog over the past year. The fourth is a brand new story that weaves together the other three. This was an enjoyable exercise and I hope that those that choose to read it will enjoy it as well.

Here is a bit about each of the stories in kongo.com

No Pain, No gain

In this story, we meet Joyce. She, like many of us, struggles with extra weight and with a lack of desire to do anything about it. That is, until she buys a revolutionary new fitness device from the mega-online company, kongo.com. The device is advertised as being life-changing. As you will see in this story, it truly is, but maybe not in the way Joyce hopes.

Memories of Rachel

Rachel is a young woman who is energetic with her whole life in front of her. The same day that she and her AI Scientist husband, Ben, find out that they are having a baby, she also finds out that she has advanced terminal cancer. She decides to make the ultimate sacrifice by foregoing toxic chemotherapy and radiation so that her baby can survive. She and Ben decide to use the artificial intelligence technology that Ben is developing for kongo.com to capture her memories, her emotions and her essence so that their infant child will know its mother even is she is not around to be in the baby’s life. Follow this story as the technology works beyond expectations and beyond boundaries to achieve this mission and much more that could endanger all that come in contact with digital Rachel.

First Impressions

Imagine a dating service that can match it’s subscribers to their perfect soul mate. To achieve this, the service would have to have a deep background in order to profile it’s customers. As a gigantic online retail organization, kongo.com has details on the buying, viewing and listening preferences of hundreds of millions of customers. Why not use this to help them find others with the same preferences? It seems like a logical expansion of their business until someone with a grudge and serious computer hacking skills seeks to sink the company from within using this service. Follow the twists and turns in this story that includes a visit from one of my favorite characters from my Frank Rozzani Detective Series.

3D Life

This tale reveals the ultimate goal and vision for the future by the behemoth company, kongo.com. Find out the underpinnings of the technology that is being rolled out from multiple areas of the company with one end game in mind. This brand new story appears exclusively in the book, kongo.com.


If you’re interested in checking out kongo.com, you can order a copy HERE. It’s available in print and Kindle formats today.

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kongo.com – Four Related Novellas

The March 29th release of my book, kongo.com is getting closer. It’s a bit different than your typical novel or short story collection. It is comprised of four related novellas that each tell a distinct story about a behemoth corporation, kongo.com.

It’s no secret that online organizations are part of our everyday life. The company portrayed in this book takes what we know today to the next level.

It takes place in a not to distant, potential future. The stories in this book are all based on the possible evolution of existing technology – nanotechnology, artificial intelligence and our obsession with our devices.

Leading up to the release, I’m going to tell you a bit about each novella. Three of the four were previously published on my blog as serials. these three have been enhanced and modified. The fourth story is brand new and is meant to tie the previous three stories together.

I look forward to your reaction to these excerpts. In this next story, I’m going to introduce you to Rachel and her husband Ben who, after much trying, have finally been told they’re expecting a child. At the same time, Rachel is diagnosed with a highly aggressive cancer. The story balances the choices she makes about her treatment with elements of artificial intelligence and suspense that, again, relate back to kongo.com.

Please enjoy this excerpt from the novella, Memories of Rachel, part of my
kongo.com collection. (now available for pre-order)


Memories of Rachel

It had been four months since Rachel died. It was a long, slow period where Ben watched her go from being a vibrant, athletic woman to a frail shell with skin barely covering bones. The onset of the cancer had been sudden and aggressive. She lasted for seven months. She might have survived if she had allowed treatment, but treatment would have killed the baby. Beautiful baby Erin would never have entered this world if her self-sacrificing mom had not refused aggressive chemotherapy.

Ben agonized over his wife’s decision. He assured her they could have more children if she would just save herself. He remembered the conversation.

“Please. Go through the treatment. You can get pregnant again,” Ben pleaded. “I…I just can’t live without you.”

“The treatment will kill the baby. I just can’t do that. Parents are supposed to protect their children. Besides, there’s a good chance the treatment will do so much damage to my body that I won’t be able to get pregnant again. You heard the doctor.”

Rachel had a roller coaster of a month. It ranged from the happiest day of her life, the day she found out that, after three years of trying, she was finally pregnant. Then, four weeks later, eight weeks into her pregnancy, what should have been a joyous day turned out to be one of unimaginable confusion and chaos. It was at the appointment for her first sonogram that the technician noticed something unusual. It turned out to be a shadow on the screen. The doctor was called into the room and he saved several views of the image and scurried off to his office.

They had done their best not to alarm Ben and Rachel, but the technician and doctor could not totally mask their concern. Once Rachel had dressed, she and Ben insisted on talking to the doctor. After he completed his phone call, which Rachel assumed was about her, he ushered the couple into his office.

“First,” the doctor began. “I want to assure you that the baby is right where it should be at this point in your pregnancy.”

Rachel was never one for the sandwich approach to delivering bad news. She liked to hear and evaluate what she was dealing with upfront.

“I hear a big ‘but’ coming, doctor,” she said with impatience, “What are you not telling me?”

“We saw something on the sonogram. I’m not 100% sure what it might be. I’m consulting with a colleague and we think…”

“What kind of colleague?” Ben said, cutting off the doctor.

“Well, it’s an oncologist.”

“Oncologist?” Rachel asked, stunned.

“Just a precaution,” the doctor said. “He’s right in the same medical plaza and he wants to see you today so we can see what we’re dealing with. You can go right over.”

Ben and Rachel went from the obstetrician directly to the oncologist.

Talk about the circle of life, Ben thought to himself once they viewed the patients in various form of decay in the waiting room.

“Ben, I’m scared,” Rachel said.

This was the first time Ben’s could ever remember his confident wife admitting to being scared. He would find out, over the next seven months, it wouldn’t be the last. Not by a long shot.

“Let’s hear what the doctor has to say first, before we jump to conclusions.”

That was Ben’s response. He was trying to convince himself as much as he was trying to comfort his wife. Even though he was feigning calm, his heart was performing Olympic-quality gymnastics in his chest. Rachel was his rock. She was his North Star. He wasn’t sure how he would deal with any bad news about their future.

Once the receptionist took their names, they barely settled into the molded plastic chairs when her name was called to go back and see the doctor ahead of those that were waiting much longer.

There was no sitting in an exam room. Rachel and Ben were directed immediately to Dr. Kaplan’s office. The décor in his office was sparse. It didn’t have the usual motivational or cheerful pictures or mementos. It was almost sterile with only his diplomas and hospital affiliations on display. He was a man who was likely in his 50s but looked like he was in his 60s. Ben imagined that Kaplan’s job was a stressful one where delivering bad news far outweighed the positive.

Kaplan settled into his well-worn chair behind his sparse desk. He turned the large computer monitor so that Ben and Rachel could see it. Ben wondered what they were going to see. He didn’t realize at the time that it would change their lives forever.

“As you were having your sonogram, the technician noticed a…um, an anomaly.”

“What kind of anomaly?” Rachel asked.

“Well, it was a mass. It appears to be attached to your liver.”

“So, what do we do to treat it?” Ben asked anxiously.

“We have a few options. We need to assess the tumor and, if it’s cancerous, how advanced it is and if it’s spread to other areas of the body,” Doctor Kaplan explained. “Then, we can discuss treatment options.”

“What about the baby?” Rachel asked.

“The baby, um, yes. Your pregnancy is only about eight weeks in. The surgery and the resulting treatment would likely cause you to abort spontaneously.”

“Abort spontaneously? You mean a miscarriage?” Rachel asked.

“Well, yes. That is the common term for it.”

“But she will be able to get pregnant again, right?” Ben asked.

The doctor leaned back in his chair and laced his fingers behind his head which caused his brow to furrow. He was silent for a moment and then seemed to carefully weigh his next words.

“There are still many aspects of this that we can’t be sure about. The tumor could be benign and might just need to be removed. If it is cancerous, it may not have metastasized to other parts of Rachel’s body. If it has, the treatment might be fairly aggressive and could damage the uterus and ovaries making pregnancy difficult if not unlikely. This is all conjecture, however. I don’t want to scare you into drastic action but, with that said, we need to move quickly to rule out those worst-case scenarios.”

As it turned out, all the worst-case scenarios were confirmed. Rachel had cancerous tumors, not only her liver, but in her lungs and there was evidence that it had metastasized in her brain. She and Ben were devastated. The most aggressive treatment would possibly prolong her life, but not cure her. It would also end the life of their unborn child. This was not acceptable to Rachel. This drove her to the decision to forego treatment and concentrate on delivering a healthy baby. She more than exceeded this goal.


kongo.com is now available for pre-order on Amazon.com by clicking HERE.

An Amazon Milestone

FSSTATSAs I checked my books on Amazon this week, I came across a pretty cool surprise. My first novel, Frankly Speaking, reached the milestone of 50 reviews. I’ve come across this in several articles as a desirable milestone. With mounting Amazon reviews, there are some positive things that can happen to your books. They include:

  • 20-25 reviews, Amazon starts including the book in “also bought” and “you might like” lists. This increases your chances of someone finding your title.
  • 50-70 reviews, Amazon looks at your book for spotlight positions and the newsletter. This is HUGE.
  • Number of reviews may affect Amazon sales ranking.
  • Some websites will not consider or promote your book unless you have a number of reviews on the page.
  • Readers may read through your reviews and decide to purchase or not purchase the book based on this.
Source: https://gwenperkins.wordpress.com/2012/04/07/qa-why-write-amazon-reviews/

I can attest to the third bullet item as I looked at my ranking:

FSSTATS2

I’m not sure if this is a turning point for me as an Amazon author. Of my other books, the one with the most reviews after Frankly Speaking is Blood Orange with 29. It took two years to get to 50 reviews, but Blood Orange has only been out for about 6 months, so it’s on a good pace.

I’m not into blowing my own horn. It’s my least favorite part of being an indie author, but I thought I’d share this. Am I ready to retire on my writing income? No, but I might be able to go out to eat with my wife a couple more times per month.

Keep at it. The work does pay off.

Reviews Are The Lifeblood of Authors

online-reviewers

As many authors will attest, reviews are one of the most important gifts that readers can bestow upon us. Yes, buying our books is a great thing, but giving us feedback about the books that you’ve read is much more important.

When I buy products on Amazon, because I can’t see or feel the product beforehand, I relay on reviews from other people that have purchased the product to guide me in my purchase. This is true of books.

Reviews also help authors get recognition from Amazon and other venues. They help with ranking and placement in ads.

Your reviews don’t have to be essay’s. You can simply select the number of stars as a rating and leave one or two words. Of course, the more constructive feedback you give, the better it is for the author. We always want to improve our product for future readers.

Recently, I did a sale on my new book, Blood OrangeThe response was great. I’m asking now, if you took advantage of the sale and you were one of the many people that downloaded it, please leave an honest review when you’re done. I have the same plea for my other work.

Your feedback is welcome and greatly appreciated.

The Frank Rozzani Detective Boxed Set

When you write a series, it’s great when you have enough to create a cool boxed set. I’ve done this with my first three Frank Rozzani detective novels (number four just went to my editor today).

The first three books can be read standalone, but do have a backstory arc that runs across them and is resolved (maybe) in book 3. They flow together nicely with each one setting up the next.

In addition to the three novels, I’ve included a special short story, Lucy’s Christmas Miracle, that was written about Frank’s loyal dog, Lucy.

All of this adds up to about 800 pages of compelling private detective mystery goodness for a price that is about 60% lower than the price of all of these things added together on Amazon.

But wait, there’s more…not really. That’s about it. If you like what you see, you can check them out HERE.

Here is a synopsis of each item, however:

Book 1 – Frankly Speaking

A 16 year old girl has disappeared. The police believe she is a runaway. Her parents believe she has been taken and is being held against her will. When the parents enlist the services of Frank Rozzani, a former police officer turned private detective, a series of events begins to unfold that implicates a popular local pastor and the religious stronghold of the ultra-conservative community.

Frank Rozzani, a transplant to Jacksonville, Florida from Syracuse, New York, must find the young girl despite the obstacles launched at him from the local police and others whose interests may be compromised by his investigation. Frank enlists the help of his associate Clifford “Jonesy” Jones to find the girl, uncover the conspiracy, and stay alive. While solving the case, Frank must deal with the demons that drove him from Upstate New York causing him to leave traumatic memories and his children behind.

Praise for Frankly Speaking

“A nicely woven tale with intriguing main characters.”

“Good indie fiction, a compelling suspense thriller”

“Frankly Fantastic”

Book 2 – Let Me Be Frank

A young girl is senselessly murdered. The police believe the murder to be a random homeless casualty until it is discovered that she has ties to Fat Sam and his mysterious past life in The Big Easy.

Join private detective Frank Rozzani, and Clifford “Jonesy” Jones as they travel to historic New Orleans and other areas in the Gulf Coast to search for clues in the girl’s trek to Jacksonville, Florida that will help them uncover evidence implicating those responsible for the murder so they can be brought to justice. They soon discover that things are not as they seem. As the case progresses, the evidence uncovered has ties to the tragic events that drove Frank from his life in Syracuse, New York. Frank realizes that proceeding with the case could change his life, as well as the lives of those around him, forever.

Praise for Let Me Be Frank

“Another great by Don Massenzio”

“Frank and Jonesy are once again doing what they do best”

“Great next installment!”

Book 3 – Frank Incensed

The stakes are high as Private Detective Frank Rozzani races against time to save the love of his life. Will Frank rescue her from the terrible man in the trench coat or will this man end the life of yet another person that Frank is close to? Find out who survives in the new Frank Rozzani Detective Mystery – Frank Incensed.

Praise for Frank Incensed

“I am a new fan of Don Massenzio”

“I loved this book!”

“The further adventures of Frank Rozzani, a good read!”

Bonus Short Story – Lucy’s Christmas Miracle

It’s the Christmas Season and a child is missing. Her parents are frantic. Join Private Detective Frank Rozzani and all of his friends as they search for her in the inclement weather of a cold winter night. It will take a miracle to bring her home safely. Christmas is the time for just such miracles.

Praise for Lucy’s Christmas Miracle

“Wonderful POSITIVE mystery short story by a talented author.”

“A happy little tale.”

“This short holiday story by Don Massenzio is definitely worth a read.”

Announcing My New Book Page

My blog on WordPress is just a fun thing I like to do. I’ve met many great people and have had fun sharing information.

I am also an author, however, and I want to tell readers and potential readers about my books. To that end, I have created a book page to share that I will eventually hook up to my blog in a sidebar (as soon as I figure out how).

Until then, Here is a link to it. Please check it out if you have time by clicking here.

 

Just a quick thank you

Hello,

As you have seen from my numerous posts, I’m doing a 99 cent promotion of Blood Orange this week. (Sorry, I feel like I’m running an NPR pledge drive). Anyway, the readers have come through. I have two days to go and I’m in the top 100 on the Kindle store in 3 categories and in the top 13,000 overall on Amazon.

I couldn’t be more pleased and humbled.

Thank you!Blood Orange Rank - 20160226