A Perfect 10 with Lizzie Chantree

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Originally posted on Author Don Massenzio:
Today, I have the distinct pleasure of featuring author Lizzie Chantree on this edition of A Perfect 10. Please enjoy this special installment of A Perfect 10 If you want to check out past…

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The Archivist — Lenara Lenquil Adventures — Chapter 4

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Chapter 4 

The wind picked up as the rain moved closer. Scraps of paper and debris swirled in the street. Lennie kept an eye on the buildings to either side. People living in them could dart out into the street for whatever crazy reason.
At the end of the road, she turned left, drove along the river until she reached the fourth building. The docks were empty of the usual fishermen. Although who would want to eat the fish they catch is beyond me. The water’s so polluted it stinks. She grabbed her bag and exited the car. Nickie joined her on the sidewalk. “Here we are. Remember, stay near me.”
“Right.”
Lennie pulled out a high-beamed flashlight and followed the beam through the broken doorway. A rumble of thunder echoed through the building.
Nickie muttered, “It was a dark and stormy night…”
“Not quite, but getting close.” A glance at the walls revealed the usual graffiti. Lennie took a step and paused. “Which way?”
Nickie pointed to the right. “Down the hall there, third door on the left. The windows in that room are blocked with bricks.”
Lennie stepped over piles of litter and debris. Unlike other buildings she explored, this one didn’t stink of piss and rotten garbage. Despite her best efforts, an involuntary shudder passed through her. All right, get hold of yourself. You’ve explored lots of abandoned buildings and ruins. Nothing to be afraid of here. Something scrabbled in debris against the opposite wall and Lennie jumped.
“I don’t like this.” Nickie stayed close to Lennie.
“Same here. The air feels different, sort of old, and musty. With broken windows and door, the inside should smell more like the outside.” The light’s beam illuminated a large rat. The creature chittered in annoyance and scampered away. “It doesn’t make sense.”
At the doorway, they paused; a heaviness in the air pressed down on them. Lennie patted Nickie’s arm in reassurance, and entered the room. The light revealed a wall covered in runes written in red. Lennie handed the flashlight to Nickie so she could bring out her camera and take pictures before going closer to the wall.
As she walked toward the wall, a light footstep broke the silence and Lennie turned. A shadowy figure slammed into her, and she fell. Her head hit the floor.

#

Nickie stared at the runes, when a coldness washed over her. She turned and caught a glimpse of a human-shaped creature within a shadow run past. It slammed into Lennie before bolting through the doorway. Nickie hurried to Lennie’s side. “Lennie?” She shook her shoulder. “Shit! What am I supposed to do?” She grabbed the flashlight and examined Lennie, discovering a lump on the back of the woman’s head, but no blood. She didn’t see any other wounds. “I hope she doesn’t get mad,” Nickie muttered slapping Lennie’s face. “Lennie! Wake up!” She slapped her again, heartened by the flutter of the eyelids.
Lennie opened her eyes. “Son of a bitch! What the hell hit me?”
“I don’t know. It sort of looked like a human and moved fast.” She helped her sit up. “You all right?”
Lennie probed the back of her head. “Yeah. Give me a minute. Where’s my bag?”
Nickie retrieved the item and handed it to her. “Here.”

#

“Thanks.” She pulled out a bottle of aspirin, one in her mouth and chewed. “I should’ve brought water.” A couple minutes later, she stood with Nickie’s help. “Let’s finish here and go home.” She grabbed a small leather case and two sample jars. “Keep the light on the runes, please.”
“Okay.”
From the toolkit, Lennie took out a small knife and some tweezers. She took two samples from the runes and placed them in the jars. She noted the time, date, and location on the labels. From a spot without the runes, Lennie scraped two control samples. She stepped back and studied the wall. Interesting. These match the runes from the other building, but the order is different. Near the floor a drawing caught her eye. Closer inspection revealed part of a map. “I hope this is a map to one of the ruins outside the city,” she muttered as she took a few pictures.
Lennie reclaimed the flashlight and studied the rest of the room. A pile of metal to the right shone dully in the light. The remains of a machine stood in the corner, rusted and falling to pieces. Trash and broken pieces of furniture rested at the base of the other walls. That’s the only place the thing could have been hiding. Lennie approached the area. The smell of old sweaty socks made her gag and she clapped a hand over her nose and mouth. “Gross!” A highly reflective piece of metal didn’t fit with the rest of the trash. “What’s this?” She retrieved the object in question. Close examination revealed a few runes. Running a finger over the surface she found it smooth to the touch. “Excellent! I rarely find something like this.” She placed it in a sample jar.
“Are we going home soon?”
“Yep.” She studied her companion. “You tired?”
“Yeah. Guess all the excitement is catching up to me.”
“Did the creature touch you at all?” Lennie flashed the light around the room, but nothing else stood out.
“It brushed against my arm when it passed me. It felt kind of cold when it did.”
“Let’s go.” Lennie paused in the doorway. “I think I will come back here in a few days and do a more thorough search.”

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The Endless Circle of Writing

 

maythewordseverflow65001212015 A new novel. All right here we go! You have a pen and paper or a keyboard in front of you. Music is softly playing in the background, phone turned off, food and drink nearby. You’ve sent out warning to family and friends “I’m going to start my novel today. Do not disturb me unless it’s an absolute emergency! That does not mean needing to talk because you dumped your boyfriend, or you can’t find anything to eat in the kitchen. Disturb only if the house is on fire or someone is bleeding to death.

 The Circle of Writing

Chapter 1. Shutting the door firmly and ignoring the faint, pleading questions through the door about when is dinner? Where’s the remote? Where are my shoes? You return to your desk and begin to write. Chapter One. Good start, so you continue.

What happens next? Pen scratches on paper or fingers tap across the keyboard; words flow onto the paper or screen, then stops. Damn! What do I write now? What happens next? Maybe I should have written a brief outline or something.

Maybe this isn’t as good as I thought. You take a break, reading through what you wrote, cringing, and wincing. Oh, this will never do. Maybe I should change that. You resume writing.

This really sucks. Gah! What am I doing? You think to yourself. I wouldn’t let my worse enemy read this! I should just hit delete, or use the paper as kindling in the fireplace. Time to grab a decent meal instead of the chips and candy you’ve been noshing on. You emerge from the room, relieved to find the house still standing and everyone in one piece. They ask how the writing is going, you tell them it’s going fine. In the kitchen you make a sandwich, grab something to drink and return your writer’s cave.

I’m stuck! Back to writing and bam! A wall appears before you. The words come to a halt and doubts grow stronger while you sit there staring. I can’t think of what else to write, you wail, scaring the cat and startling the birds in the tree outside your window.

This is a mistake! What the hell made me think I can actually write a book? If anyone reads this, they’ll think I’m nuts and lock me away in a funny farm! I’d be better off going back to my normal life instead of continuing with this book. A few moments later, the urge to write grabs you and the story continues.

Hmm, maybe I have something here after all. After a good dinner and a good night’s sleep, you return to you cave. You re-read what you wrote and it actually isn’t half bad. You grab a handful of M&Ms, drink some coffee, and resume writing.

This could work. Now you are cruising, words fill the page or the screen with ease.

Need to fix the beginning. Again. Rats, I need a better beginning. Shouldn’t start off with anything about the weather or the main character waking up. Maybe I should go with some action. A gun fight might be good, or a bar fight.

Yuck. With the changes I made in the beginning, I need to make changes through the rest of the story.

May this story burn in hell! I can’t take it anymore! Please, make this story go away!

You’re almost at the end! You can do it, you keep telling yourself. There’s the light at the end of the tunnel! You are reaching the end of your novel!

This isn’t too bad. Once again, you read through what you wrote and you are actually starting to like it much more than before. Of course, certain things jump out at you, things that need to be fixed before you finish.

Kill it! Die, book, die! Argh! You fixed a few problems and now you have to fix what came after. Why? Why? Why?

Never again! Pounding at the keyboard or scratching away on paper, you say to yourself, “After I finish this, never again!”

I am Done! You type the last two words: The End. Oh my god! I did it! I actually wrote a novel! After all the pain, torture, and frustration, I wrote The End!

A novel is born! I did it! You burst from the room, waving your arms around like Kermit the frog! I finished my novel! Feelings of euphoria and relief flood you and you want to celebrate. You order pizzas and wings for dinner, drink a few beers or a bottle of wine. Someone absently asks, “Now that you finished it, don’t you have to edit and revise the novel?”

With a quiet sigh of resignation, you trudge back to your cave, thinking; “Here we go again.” In the back of your mind, a new idea begins to stir. The Muse is waiting for the right moment to strike.

May the words ever flow!

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Writing Quotes — Joyce Carol Oates

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A Perfect 10 with Aidan Reid

Author Don Massenzio

Today, I have the distinct pleasure of featuring author Aidan Reid on this edition of A Perfect 10.

Please enjoy this special installment of A Perfect 10

If you want to check out past interviews, you can find them in the following links:

A.C. FlorySteve BoseleyKayla MattMae ClairJill SammutDeanna KahlerDawn Reno LangleyJohn HowellElaine CouglerJan SikesNancy BellNick DavisKathleen LopezSusan ThatcherCharles YallowitzArmand RosamiliaTracey PaganaAnna DobrittKaren OberlaenderDeby FredericksTeri PolenDarlene FosterRobert Rayner, C.C. NaughtonSherry RentshlerLinda BradleyLuna St. ClairJoan HallStaci TroiloAllan HudsonRobert EggletonPaul Scott BatesP.C. ZickJoy LennickPatrick Roland

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Don’t Know How to Market Your Book? Start in Your Own Backyard

How To Ebook

The No. 1 question I receive from writers is “How do I get published?” The most common question after that is: “How do I market my book?”

That first question is far more straightforward to answer, and an easier task for most people. Getting a book published remains a fairly consistent process regardless of who you are, where you live, how much money you have, or what type of book you’ve written.

Marketing, on the other hand, has an incredible number of variables that depend on knowing your reader (your target market) and what resources you have to reach them.

read more: https://www.janefriedman.com/market-your-book-by-going-local/

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The Archivist — Lenara Lenquil Adventures — Chapter 3

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Chapter 3

Outside, traffic had increased. “I think I’ll take the secondary streets.” The clouds were darker and heavier the smell of rain carried by the breeze. “Looks like we’ll be getting some rain.”

On the drive to the river a dark red car with tinted windows kept close. Definitely not a police car, I need to lose them before we get to the river. From the corner of her eye, she saw Nickie glance at the side view mirror.

“How are you doing, Nickie? If you’re still hungry, I have a couple candy bars in my bag.”

“I’m fine; did you know we have a tail?”

“I know.” Ahead the ‘Don’t Walk’ sign flashed and Lennie slowed down. Once the light turned yellow, she sped through. The tail braked at the red light. “I love doing that.”

“That was slick. Wonder who they were.”

“Don’t know and I wasn’t about to let them continue to follow me to find out.” After several turns and doubling back twice, Lennie continued to their destination. “Another ten minutes and we’ll be entering the old district. Make sure your door is locked and the window rolled up,” she cautioned.

Sparks flew and Nickie lit a cigarette. “Lennie, what happened? Why are things like this?”

“Some say it has to do with the close comet fly-by last year, that everyone said was going to hit the earth. Then came the weirdness with the sky and the earth seemed to shudder. Once things settled down, abandoned buildings and ruins appeared overnight. Then came the epidemic, killing many.”

“Did you get sick?”

“It was the sickest I’ve ever been in my life. So hard to take each breath. I felt like I was going to burst into flames from the fever. I guess a couple times I stopped breathing, but the doctors managed to bring me back. Brant stayed at my side the entire time. He wasn’t my Keeper anymore, but he said he still feels responsible for me.”

“What about your family?”

Better to get this out of the way now. After all, Brant had extended me the same courtesy. “My family gave up on me after I ran away from the Conversion Center where they sent me. I’m glad they’re shutting those places down. What they should do is burn them to the ground and kill the assholes running them! Sorry, Nickie. Didn’t mean to scare you.”

“They tried to cure you too?”

Lennie lit a cigarette. “Yeah. Were you sent to a Center?”

Nickie stared out the windshield. “Coldwater. I ran away four times, and the fifth time I managed to evade capture. That’s when I started living on the streets.”

“I was at Midland. My parents believed sending me outside the city limits would be better for ‘curing’ me; fewer distractions. I could kill my family and not feel guilty. A person can’t help the way they are born.” Lennie tightened her grip on the steering wheel, knuckles whitening.

“It was hard on the streets, but with my looks most of the men weren’t interested in me. I learned to defend myself to stay safe. I think the night was the worst, knowing you’re alone with no one to care about me.” A tear coursed down her cheek as she stared out the windshield. “I sometimes wondered if being dead would have been better.”

“I was lucky. When I escaped from the Center the third and final time, Brant found me huddled under a picnic table. It was raining, and I couldn’t find better shelter. He was walking to work, took one look at me, and waved for me to follow.” Lennie smiled wryly. “At the time I didn’t care where the hell he was taking me, as long as it was dry and maybe had some food.” She signaled and turned left, slowing the vehicle.

“I wish I knew how I ended up in the lower level of The Archive. The last thing I remember, I was heading for my latest spot to sleep. Next thing I know, I’m waking up surrounded by guards with guns pointed at me.” Nickie ran her fingers through her hair. “Lennie, could I get my hair cut? I don’t like how it looks. I only had a small knife to cut my hair.”

“Before we go to the Clinic.” She slowed the vehicle as they approached a barricade with armed guards. “Let me do the talking.” She rolled down her window, stopped the car, and pulled out her ID.

“What business do you have here?” an older man asked. He approached the vehicle; hand resting on his weapon.

She held out her ID. “Archive business. Report of runes in one of the buildings at the docks.”

The guard took the ID, studied it, and turned. “Open the barricade! Archivist wants to look around!” He returned the card. “Be careful down there. We’ve had reports of people disappearing, including two guards.”

“Thanks for the warning. Anything else happening?” Lennie watched the bar rise.
The guard hesitated. “Maybe. Some of the guards on the late shift reported shadowy things in some of the buildings. Whatever they are, they move fast. No one has been able to take a picture of them.”

“Thanks.” She put the car into drive and passed through the barricade.

Nickie shook her head. “People disappearing give me the creeps.”

“I know how you feel, Nickie. But this is part of my job. I wish it wasn’t going to rain. Let me know when we’re getting close to the building.”

“We still have another mile to go before you turn left. It’s the fourth building.”

#

“Great! We lost them! You followed too close and she spotted us.” Gillian Marks pounded the dashboard. “Mr. Aston won’t be pleased.”

“I followed her the same way I’ve followed other people.” Jay Thomas stopped the car in front of a party store. “I need to get some beer and cigarettes. You want anything?”

“Get me a beer too. I’ll need it before we return to headquarters and report in.” She drummed her fingers.

Jay returned with the beer and pulled out of the parking lot.

Gillian studied the information they managed to gather.

“Do you think Mr. Aston will be satisfied with what we learned?”

“If he’s not, we’re both dead. He doesn’t like excuses or lack of results.” She flipped a page. “Lenara Lenquil, Second-Class Archivist; Brant Grellan is her mentor, former Keeper and her immediate supervisor.” Gillian lit a cigarette. “Lenquil lives in the Bellington Arms Apartment building and drives a crappy Corolla.”

“Did you see the bracelet she wore on her left arm?”

“Yep. She’s a Keeper of Nickie Atlan. According to my source at the Archive, Lenara Lenquil is on the fast track to become an Archivist First-Class real soon. That might work to our advantage since she’ll be her own boss.”

“Make sure you tell Mr. Aston. I don’t want to end up being sacrificed or given to one of those shadow things.”

“Neither do I, my friend.” She drank half her beer. “What I need to know is if Lenquil has had any sort of weapons training or self-defense training.”

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