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.

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FANTASY AUTHORS UNPLUGGED: THE HAT BY C. S. BOYACK – From the Archer’s Aim Blog

Fantasy Authors Unplugged is back and I hope there will be more posts for the feature soon. Today, fellow Story Empire contributor, C. S. Boyack pays a visit with his latest book, The Hat, in the spotlight. I’m pleased to have Craig back today…

Thanks for having me over again, P. H. It’s been a while now.

You’ve written a wide range of books from anthologies to novels. How do you approach a story and decide what the length will be?

I have a hard time with this one. Like most authors, I started out writing tomes that were huge. As I learned to me more efficient with my words, I often have a hard time making word count these days.

I still want specific projects at certain parameters though. The Hat was designed to be a novella, because there is a market I want to approach. I would have liked another 5000 words or so, but I don’t want it to bog down at all. The format doesn’t allow for a lot of navel gazing by the characters.

I really like the approach of making stories as long as they need to be. This works well with short stories and micro-fiction. With the longer work, some planning is required. Even knowing that, many of my novels are on the short side these days.

via Fantasy Authors Unplugged: The Hat by C. S. Boyack

Coming Soon

Only a few more days until the official release of my new book, Frankly, My Dear. I’ve received  positive comments from the beta readers and the advance readers in a couple of weeks. It’s up for pre-order on Amazon and will be released on April 29th.

If you’d like to pick up an advance copy, you can do so by clicking on the book cover below:

poster

Here is a synopsis:

Frank Rozzani, a transplant to Jacksonville, Florida from Syracuse, New York, has left his tragic past as a police officer behind for life as a private detective. Frank and his partner Clifford “Jonesy” Jones work with the local police to solve crimes that are virtually unsolvable.

In Frankly My Dear, the fourth in the Frank Rozzani Detective Series of novels, Frank and Jonesy are at it again and this time the case is one of the most bizarre that they have faced. Their latest client, arrested for domestic abuse, swears that he is the victim of one of the most vengeful women on the face of the earth.

Frank and Jonesy must determine if their client is telling the truth. As they investigate the case, they again pay a personal price for their involvement. Is their client trying to get away with his crime or is his ex-girlfriend continually coming up with new ways to damage him and his reputation?

Follow them as they navigate the twists and turns in this exciting new installment in the series, Frankly My Dear.

Here is the trailer:

Announcing the Release of Frankly, My Dear

Things are coming along well with the new book, Frankly, My Dear. I’ve received  positive comments from the beta readers and the advance readers in a couple of weeks. It’s up for pre-order on Amazon and will be released on April 29th.

If you’d like to pick up an advance copy, you can do so by clicking on the book cover below:

poster

Here is a synopsis:

Frank Rozzani, a transplant to Jacksonville, Florida from Syracuse, New York, has left his tragic past as a police officer behind for life as a private detective. Frank and his partner Clifford “Jonesy” Jones work with the local police to solve crimes that are virtually unsolvable.

In Frankly My Dear, the fourth in the Frank Rozzani Detective Series of novels, Frank and Jonesy are at it again and this time the case is one of the most bizarre that they have faced. Their latest client, arrested for domestic abuse, swears that he is the victim of one of the most vengeful women on the face of the earth.

Frank and Jonesy must determine if their client is telling the truth. As they investigate the case, they again pay a personal price for their involvement. Is their client trying to get away with his crime or is his ex-girlfriend continually coming up with new ways to damage him and his reputation?

Follow them as they navigate the twists and turns in this exciting new installment in the series, Frankly My Dear.

Here is the trailer:

Just For My Blog Followers

Things are coming along well with the new book, Frankly, My Dear. I’ve received  positive comments from the beta readers now and it has started going out to advance readers in anticipation of the April 29th release.

Here is a special offer for my followers:

I’d like to have more advance readers. My goal is to release on the 29th with 50 reviews on Amazon. I know that, in order to do this, I need to put more advance copies out. If you’d like to be an advance reader, please send me an email at don@donmassenzio.com and I’ll send you a PDF copy. Once I reach an acceptable number, I’m going to cut off this offer, so if you want one, please email me soon.

As an advance reader, I am sending a copy of the book at no charge. In return, I only ask three things:

  • Do not distribute the book to anyone else
  • When the book goes live on April 29th, please leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads. Reviews can be a single sentence or even a few words. It’s the volume and the rating that helps authors get visibility on Amazon.
  • If you like the book, spread the word. Tell your friends, family, book club, etc.

Remember: The book doesn’t release until April 29th, so you won’t be able to leave a review until then. I will send you reminders the week and the day before to remind you to post a review. It is so important to hit the release date with as many reviews as possible.

Thanks again for your help. Feel free to email your comments on the book to me as well. I always love to hear what readers think as I release a new book.

Of course, you can pre-order a copy by clicking on the cover below:

poster

Here is a synopsis:

Frank Rozzani, a transplant to Jacksonville, Florida from Syracuse, New York, has left his tragic past as a police officer behind for life as a private detective. Frank and his partner Clifford “Jonesy” Jones work with the local police to solve crimes that are virtually unsolvable.

In Frankly My Dear, the fourth in the Frank Rozzani Detective Series of novels, Frank and Jonesy are at it again and this time the case is one of the most bizarre that they have faced. Their latest client, arrested for domestic abuse, swears that he is the victim of one of the most vengeful women on the face of the earth.

Frank and Jonesy must determine if their client is telling the truth. As they investigate the case, they again pay a personal price for their involvement. Is their client trying to get away with his crime or is his ex-girlfriend continually coming up with new ways to damage him and his reputation?

Follow them as they navigate the twists and turns in this exciting new installment in the series, Frankly My Dear.

Here is the trailer:

A Timely Tale

I had no idea when I wrote Blood Orange that my hometown team would actually reach the Final Four in the NCAA men’s championship basketball tournament. They do in the book and it’s just eerie that, against all odds, they actually did it this year. Not only the men’s team, but also the women’s team from Syracuse University will be going to the final four.

2016-03-29_cuse_dances_to_houston_indianapolis

I happen to be in Syracuse this weekend and the atmosphere is exciting. In Blood Orange I actually have the championship taking place in Syracuse. It is an exciting college basketball town. Just having their teams in the games this weekend leads to a palpable feeling of unity as everyone seems to be wearing their team colors. I passed by a shop that is making special t-shirts for the event and they were inundated with fans buying merchandise.

Blood Orange leads to a tragedy centered on the game. It is certainly not something I would wish to happen, but the idea is how vulnerable events like this and others where many people gather. These soft targets are ones that we have witnessed attacks on in Paris, Brussels and here in the US at events like the Boston Marathon. They are vulnerable.

As Blood Orange points out, the culprits aren’t always who we expect in these attacks.

If you’re looking for a thriller that delves into this subject, check out Blood Orange and, this Final Four weekend, GO ORANGE.

Blood Orange Cover

 

Catch up Before the New One Comes Out

final_Don_Massenzio_Boxset

The fourth book in the Frank Rozzani Detective Series, Frankly, My Dear, is available for pre-order. If you want to catch up on the previous books, here is a great way to do it with a couple of clicks.

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.”