An Excerpt From My New Book

In my last post, I talked about my attitude going into 2016. I also described my decision process for delaying the release of my latest book, Blood Orange, which was set to be promoted beginning on the day that the Paris terrorism attacks occurred.

Now that the new year has dawned, I am excited to revive the promotional activities surrounding this book. Activities include advertising, interviews, and work on a screenplay.

For those of you who have not read it, I’m devoting most of this blog to sharing one of the initial chapters of the book. This chapter describes the action at one of America’s premier sporting events and the confusion over what happens as it comes to its conclusion. Please enjoy this excerpt from Blood Orange, which is now available on Amazon in both paperback and e-book formats. You can get your own copy by clicking here.

Chapter 1

It was the perfect storm. College basketball heaven. The men’s championship game had finally come to Syracuse, NY. For decades, the college basketball Mecca had tried every strategy to lure the big game to arguably the most famous arena in the sport, the Carrier Dome. The governing body of college sports, despite its often tenuous relationship with Syracuse University, could not refute the long and storied love affair that the school and the surrounding community had consistently demonstrated for college basketball. Finally, with a concerted effort from the Mayor, the university, and local businesses, the three games of the national Division I men’s basketball championship were being played in Syracuse to a sellout crowd from all over the nation. The basketball court had been reconfigured in the center of the Dome so that nearly 65,000 screaming fans could have seats to watch the game with countless others watching via live television.

Just hosting the game would have been enough, but to make this event even more meaningful, the two teams that met on this unseasonably cold and misty April night in Syracuse were the hometown Orange and the Blue Devils of Duke University. In the years since Syracuse joined Duke’s athletic conference, an instant rivalry had emerged between the two schools. They were headed by the number one and number two active coaches with the most wins under their collective belts. The two coaches were also close friends and had together coached the USA Basketball Team to multiple Olympic gold medals.

It had been a whirlwind season. Duke had beaten Syracuse at home in the teams’ first meeting by one point in overtime. Syracuse then took Duke to three overtime periods in the Dome for a two point victory. In the conference tournament, the two teams met again in the championship which also went to Duke by three points. Amazingly, the only losses the teams had suffered during the season were to each other.

Both teams had then sliced their way through the tournament field like a hot knife through butter. There were no upsets by Cinderella teams. Both coaches and their squads seemed intent on meeting in the big dance which would be played on Syracuse’s home turf. The other teams in the tournament semi-finals were immaterial as both were beaten by over twenty points. It seemed to be destiny. This was not lost on the coaches. They held an unprecedented joint press conference the day before the game to announce that both of them would be retiring following the game. An uncharacteristically emotional Syracuse coach said that he could not imagine a better way to end his career than by playing the ultimate game against his best friend in his home town. While he did not say it the media would add to his comment, “on the court bearing my name.”

The city of Syracuse was electric in anticipation of hosting the big game, but now there was an unprecedented frenzy. Offices were empty on this Monday preceding the game. Businesses were bracing for the onslaught of overflow fans that could not afford tickets to see the game in person. The area around the Carrier Dome was crowded with people looking to be close to the action.

Now that the game had started, it was shaping up to be another classic Duke/Syracuse back and forth battle. The Duke team fought through the famous Syracuse zone defense with lightning quick passes and a hot three point shooter. The score was tied at halftime. The crowd was going crazy.

As the second half progressed, it was proving to be another close game that would go down to the wire. Thousands of fans in Syracuse and millions around the country were glued to their television sets waiting to see how this game would end. With two minutes to go, the score was going back and forth with a one point advantage to each team with a two point basket. Then, with ten seconds to go, the Syracuse point guard was fouled on a missed layup. He missed the first free throw and then sank the second tying the game. Duke had the ball. The Blue Devils took their time working the ball up the court. The clock counted down as the team worked for the final shot. Five, four, three, two, one…

********

Armory Square, the destination of many basketball fans that couldn’t be at the big game in person, was overflowing. In an unprecedented move, sections of Franklin, Fayette and Walton Streets had been shut down to vehicle traffic so that revelers could enjoy the game. Many of the local establishments had put large screen televisions outside so that overflow crowds could watch the game as they drank specialty orange drinks from large souvenir cups. It was like Mardi Gras and the Super Bowl all rolled into one. The sense of pride in the city as it hosted the big game was higher than it had been in recent memory, maybe ever.

The collective noise of the crowd was audible for blocks and increased in intensity with each basket, turnover, and foul. The game was more than living up to the hype. The frequent lead changes and outstanding performances by players on both teams made it both a thrilling and maddening situation for Syracuse fans. As the game progressed, the fever pitch of the crowd rose. Finally, as it looked like the game was coming down to the last shot with the score tied, the fans huddled together and became quiet. They clung to each other as Duke brought the ball up the court and prepared to take the last shot against the formidable Syracuse zone defense. Just as the Duke point-guard launched a three point shot toward the basket, a bright flash of light was visible two miles away in the direction of the University. It was visible for many miles around and the low rumble that occurred afterward was felt and heard throughout the city. The quiet of the crowd was replaced by collective screams and wails of disbelief.

What had happened on the hill?

The crowd that had been mesmerized by the game was now completely silent staring at the flash of light followed by a small mushroom cloud visible in the distance. Lights went out on the hill, including the famed Crouse Irving clock tower. Lights began to come back on as emergency generators kicked in revealing a cloud of smoke and debris hanging over the area.  Fans in Armory Square clung to each other in horror as the audible sound of sirens began to head in the direction of the Dome. Many covered their faces in horror as the sound of cheering turned to silence and then to muted sobs.

What had happened on the hill?


If you enjoyed this chapter, please read the rest of the book and tell me what you think. Again, you can get your copy today by clicking here.

As always, your comments and feedback are welcome.

About Don Massenzio:

Don Massenzio was born in Syracuse, New York, to first generation Italian-American parents. He is an avid reader. Some of his favorite authors include Harlan Coben, David Morrell, Stephen King, and Hugh Howey. His favorite book of all time is ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’.

Don began writing as a way to combat the long hours of travel and numerous hotel stays that are part of the ‘glamorous’ world of corporate travel. He uses writing as a therapeutic outlet. He recently took the jump to sharing his work with others.

His first published long work is the novel, Frankly Speaking. It is the first of a series of books focused on the character, Frank Rozzani, a Florida private detective. The book is a throwback to the days of pulp detective novels with a tip of the hat to Jim Rockford from 70’s television and The Rockford Files.

The second Frank Rozzani detective novel, Let Me Be Frank is now available. His third book in the Frank Rozzani series was released on April 24th, 2015 and is available on Amazon.com in both Kindle and Paperback formats.

He has also published a well-received short story collection that is available on Amazon.com.

Find out more about Don at his web site:

www.donmassenzio.com

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Welcome to 2016 – Now Let’s Talk

2016

Last night, as I struggled to stay awake, I watched Carson Daly try to control four intoxicated guests in the foreground of Times Square as they waited for midnight and the ball to drop signifying 2016. As they waited, they recapped the “top” stories of 2015. Most of the stories mentioned were the typical celebrity fluff. NBC and Daly seemed to strategically skirt the tragic terrorist attacks in Europe, the Middle East and the United States. I can’t say that I was looking for hard news in this setting, but at least a moment of silence or some form of acknowledgment for the victims of these attacks might have been appropriate.

Now that I’m sounding like an old man complaining about the younger generation, my actual point is quite different. I spent the better part of 2015 researching and writing a book called Blood Orange. The book centers on a devastating terrorist attack on a highly-visible soft target in the United States.

The book’s original date of publication was set for November 13, 2015, the night of the Paris attack. I promoted the book heavily leading up to the publishing date spending a good deal of money on social media advertising.

When the attacks in Paris happened, I was out to dinner with my wife and two daughters. We were watching the coverage on my cell phone and wondering who was behind it. Not long after we began watching the coverage, I received a text from my editor. She asked me if I thought I should pull the book promotion based on what happened in Paris. It didn’t take me long to make that decision. While I was disappointed because I believe in the story the book tells, I didn’t want to be insensitive or appear to be taking advantage of a horrible event for personal gain.

Now that time has passed, and like we always do, Americans have put the tragic events in Paris and Bakersfield behind them, I want to move forward with promoting this book. Blood Orange is important to me in that it shows how vulnerable we are in the United States. We live in a wonderful country with a great deal of freedom. Terrorism, whether foreign or domestic, cripples us in two ways. First, there is the grief for the victims and the disgust of the act. Second, when behavior is changed because of terrorism, the terrorists score a victory.

I am glad I made the decision to pull the promotion for my book, but, at the same time, I am angry that these soulless, misguided individuals that carried out the attacks made me change my behavior.

With that in mind, please indulge me as I begin to heavily promote this book. Those who have read it have been extremely positive in their reactions. Can the story the book tells happen in the United States? Absolutely. Will my writing this book prevent it from happening? Probably not. The story is meant to entertain. It’s not meant to scare or anger its readers.

I’ll be using this space in the next few weeks to tell you about the book and give you some excerpts. My goal is to entice you to buy it, of course, but I also want to take this book out of the shadows and promote it like I originally intended.

If you’d like to read the reviews or get a preview of the book, you can check it out here on Amazon.com.

I am looking forward to 2016. At a time when people are setting (and breaking) resolutions, my sole resolution is to go for it this year. This is my third year of writing and publishing novels. I hope to continue and increase the success I have had thus far. I feel like this is a pivotal year. I hope you come along with me on the journey.

As always, your comments and feedback are welcome.

About Don Massenzio:

Don Massenzio was born in Syracuse, New York, to first generation Italian-American parents. He is an avid reader. Some of his favorite authors include Harlan Coben, David Morrell, Stephen King, and Hugh Howey. His favorite book of all time is ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’.

Don began writing as a way to combat the long hours of travel and numerous hotel stays that are part of the ‘glamorous’ world of corporate travel. He uses writing as a therapeutic outlet. He recently took the jump to sharing his work with others.

His first published long work is the novel, Frankly Speaking. It is the first of a series of books focused on the character, Frank Rozzani, a Florida private detective. The book is a throwback to the days of pulp detective novels with a tip of the hat to Jim Rockford from 70’s television and The Rockford Files.

The second Frank Rozzani detective novel, Let Me Be Frank is now available. His third book in the Frank Rozzani series was released on April 24th, 2015 and is available on Amazon.com in both Kindle and Paperback formats.

He has also published a well-received short story collection that is available on Amazon.com.

Find out more about Don at his web site:

www.donmassenzio.com