A Perfect 10 with Marina Costa

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

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Short Story Saturday – No Pain, No Gain – Part 12

Author Don Massenzio

We catch up with Joyce a bit this week as Dr. Haybrook and Gini continue to look for a way to reverse the technology. Things get a little more complicated, but there may be a light at the end of the tunnel.

If you want to catch up on past installments, you can click on the links below:

Please enjoy No Pain, No Gain – Part 12

weight Joyce was hanging on by a thread. Her mind went from being just Joyce to an equal divide with the being she was becoming to a small island in the vastness of her consciousness. The waters of nanotechnology were quickly rising around the island and Joyce wasn’t sure how much longer her self-awareness was going to survive.

She felt as if…

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Ultimate Character Questionnaire — Lenara Lenquil Part 1


Ultimate Character Questionnaire

by Laura Mizvaria


Something I will be doing for each of my characters. There are ten parts to the Ultimate Character Questionnaire and a great way to understand the characters in your stories.

 Part 1

Lenara Lenquil from The Archivist — Lenara Lenquil Adventures Volume 1: Beginnings


What is your name?

Lenara Lenquil

What is your name’s origin and meaning, and how was it chosen?

I was told it’s an old family name.

Any nicknames?

I prefer to be called Lennie

How tall are you?

Five and half feet tall

Who do you live with or near, if anyone?

I live with Nickie Atlan. My family lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Where is your residence and what is it like?

We have recently moved to a new apartment with four bedrooms, two and a half baths and a underground garage with great security. We live on the sixth floor and the view out the front window allows us to see the river and docks.

What is your hometown and local culture like?

Midwest city located on a river.

Who are your parents?

Richard and Janet Lenquil

Are you married, single, seeking a relationship, avoiding romance?

I’m currently single after my ex lover and I broke up. She felt I was paying too much attention to my work. Not really looking for a relationship, but not adverse to it either.

What is your class/income level?

Middle class

What is your income source and/or occupation?

I’m an Archivist First Class

What is your education?

High School graduate, received special training at the Archive

What is your world-view/religion? What is your level of devotion to that philosophy?

I’m not religious and don’t believe that some great being created the world.  Religion is man’s way to control people for his own ends.

What are your current life problems?

Having a new person in my life. We are attracted to each other; more than just physical or sexual attraction

Who (or what) are your enemies?

It seems a group called the Council of the Crimson Moon is out to get me.

What are your priorities in life?

Finding out why the world changed after the comet flew by and keeping Nickie safe.

What is your goal in life? What is your motivation for this goal?

To understand everything by learning about the past. Knowledge, pure and simple.

What is your goal in this story? What is your motivation for this goal?

To understand what happened to the world after the comet fly-by and are more changes going to occur in the future. To help keep the human race going.

What changes do you undergo by the end of the story (emotional, physical, philosophical, relational, etc)?

I have a new relationship, I learn more about who my enemies are one I thought a good friend turns out to be a new enemy. There are tough decisions and actions I must take at the end of volume one.


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Writers Envy

I come to Fox Island to meditate, to reflect, to gaze across the sea until the hypnotic sound and motion of sea and wind and crashing wave become a lyric in the song of the universe.

The worldly presence of the granite beneath my bottom, the salt air, and the pungent odor of decaying sea-wrack give way to the etheriality of thought and I  wander among the swirling conversation of fifty-thousand years of human consciousness.

Distant, the cool wind whispers for attention as it lifts goosebumps along my arms. One moment I remark the lobster boat chugging past away offshore and the next I have crossed that threshold of subconscious called lost-in-thought by some, daydreaming by others, out-to-lunch by the unknowing. I am free of gravity and my mind, loosed of its temporal bonds, weightless.

Unguided, the primal inhabitant of my intellect steps out and journeys through the immeasurable reaches…

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A Perfect 10 with Marjorie Mallon

This gallery contains 8 photos.

Originally posted on Author Don Massenzio:
Today, I have the distinct pleasure of featuring author Marjorie Mallon 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 1


Chapter 1

An insistent knock on the door broke Lenara Lenquil’s concentration. “If the Archives aren’t on fire, you better have one hell of a reason for bothering me!”

The knob turned and Brant Grellan entered, a young woman at his side. “Good afternoon, Lennie. Still working on the Callan Journal?”

“Yep. About halfway finished. I need to copy the sketches of the ruins and I have to check the maps down in the lower level either today or tomorrow.” She eyed the female. “What’s the deal with the youngster?”

“I’m not a youngster! I’m eighteen!”

Lennie studied the poorly cut black hair and slender build. Damn! The way she’s dressed, you would have a hard time figuring out she’s a female until she talked. “What do you want, Brant? I told you it would take me another day or two to finish going through this journal.”

“Orders from the top, you are now a Keeper. Security found this young lady in the lower levels last night, with no memory of how she got there. Her name is Nickie Atlan, and she is eighteen. The Scryers confirmed that this morning. Their report will be available tomorrow.” He brought out two silver bands, and placed one around Nickie’s left wrist. He tossed the other to Lennie. “Put it on. No arguments.”

“Crap! A Keeper?” She put it on. Only by cutting off her hand or the Head Archivist could remove the bracelet.

“Lennie, you’re the only single female in the Archive of suitable rank. The Scryers say she wouldn’t do well with anyone else. You will be compensated for taking her in.” He pulled out a fat envelope and tossed it on the desk. “Each week you’ll receive that amount – under the table – so you won’t have to report any increase in income.”

She peeked inside and whistled. “I haven’t seen that much money since I sold my parents’ house and the buyers paid in cash.” She stuffed the envelope in her pocket. “Does she have any belongings?”

“Only what she’s wearing, I’m afraid. I know you value your privacy, but we have no choice. Until we find out how she got into the lower levels and what it means, she needs looking after.”

“Do you hear me arguing? I’m taking the rest of the day off, and tomorrow, too. I need to take this one,” she pointed at Nickie, “shopping and to the Clinic.” Lennie grabbed a bag, and placed several notebooks and the journal inside. From a drawer she withdrew a flashlight with several extra buttons and stuffed it in her pocket. “I’ll keep reading the journal this evening and tomorrow.”

Brant smiled. “If possible, you would read in your sleep, my friend.” He patted Nickie on the shoulder. “Lenara Lenquil is your Keeper now, youngster. Do as she tells you, and stay out of trouble.” With a nod, he left the office.

Nickie pointed at the bookcases. Have you read all those books?”

“Most of them.” They left the office.

“You don’t look much older than me, so how could you read all those? Don’t you sleep? Or have a life outside The Archive?”

“I’m twenty-five years old and one of the lucky ones. I’m a fast reader and able to remember everything I read. Not bad at drawing either.”

“Wish I was like that. Not sure what I’m good at.”

“Weren’t you tested in school?” She paused at the end of the hall to sign out.

“Don’t remember, I can’t remember where my parents are, or where I lived. I think I have a brother and sister, too.”

“Where’ve you been living?” Lennie pressed the Down button for the elevator.

“Wherever I can find a safe spot on the streets. I switch between several places depending on the weather and activity in the area.”

“First thing we need to do is get you new clothes. After that, back to my place so you can take a shower. Then we’ll get something to eat. Tomorrow morning we go to the Clinic and get you an ID card.”

“I’m really hungry; I’m not sure when I last ate,” Nickie said.

At the vending machines, Lennie used her card to buy snacks and a drink. “Here, this should tide you over until we have a real meal.”

“Thanks.” It didn’t take her long to eat the candy and drink half the bottle of soda.

Eyes darting, Lennie led the way to her car. With security cameras and two security guards, no one walked through the garage without a care. Things tended to happen to the unwary. A shadowy form two lanes over caught her eye and she stopped.

Nickie followed her stare. “Wh-what’s that?” She grabbed Lennie’s left arm.

“Not sure.” Lennie pulled out the flashlight. She aimed it at the shadow, and pressed the red button. “If I say ‘run’, head back to the elevators.” The shadow writhed and twisted in the red beam, unable to escape. “Damn. An idiot in Artifacts must’ve been screwing around with a new relic.” She brought out her phone, and hit auto-dial. “This is Lenara Lenquil. Caught a shadow in the underground garage. Better send someone down to handle it. I used the red beam, so it’s not going anywhere for the next couple of hours.” She hit the end button. “Come on, Nickie. Let’s go. My car is over there.” She pointed away from the shadow.

Nickie didn’t release Lennie’s arm until they reached the car. Lennie unlocked the doors and tossed her bag in the back seat. “Those idiots in Artifacts are too eager to find out what a relic does before learning anything about it.”

Nickie stumbled in and locked the door. “You sure that thing won’t get us?”

“I’m sure. I’ll explain later about the light I used to contain it.” She started the car. “All right, time to hit the clothing store.”


Reginald Michael Aston paced behind his desk. “I want to know what happened, Myers. Why did she end up in The Archive instead of our Circle? You swore the ritual would bring her to us.”

The Scryer fingered the triple crescent symbol hanging around his neck. “Mr. Aston, we followed the ritual to the letter. It should have worked. Ralaax himself brought two others the same way.” He shuffled his feet. “Perhaps something is protecting her. We still don’t understand all the changes that occurred during the comet fly-by, sir.”

“The two who appeared were useless, good for sacrifices and nothing more. We need Nickie Atlan. She possesses the ability to see through the shadows, and to spot others connected to them.” Reginald sat. “I want her, Myers. Don’t forget, you are not indispensable. If you need a reminder, I could order your wife taken and sacrificed.”

“Leave my wife out of this; there’s no need to threaten me, Mr. Aston. I will go back over the ritual and learn why it didn’t bring Nickie Atlan.”

“See that you do. We have much to do before we can put our true plans in motion. The Council of the Crimson Moon will not be stopped because of your failure. With this new path and new allies, no one must stop us.” From a desk drawer, he brought out a cheap cell phone. “Keep in touch. I know you have contacts in the police department, talk to them and keep me informed.”

He accepted the phone and shoved it in his pocket. “Yes, sir. One more thing; there’s been another sighting by the docks. Two guards patrolling Harbor Street guards went missing. The city council is considering an increase in patrols down there.”

“When did you learn this?” Reginald’s eyes bored into him.

“Shortly before you summoned me.”

“Which means I need to divert a team from the ruins outside the city to deal with this. Right when they are getting close to uncovering a new section.” He drummed his fingers on the journal. “No, the team remains where it is. We need the scrolls that are supposed to be located there.”

“As you wish. Is there anything else?”

“You may go. Keep me informed of your activities, Myers.”

He bowed and left the office.

Reginald stared at the door and shook his head. “You were a fool to try to Scry me, Stan Myers.” He turned his attention to the latest journal from his head researcher.

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A Writer’s Perspective on Reading


A Writer’s Perspective on Reading

Yes, I am a writer. I love to write. I love making up stories about unusual pictures such as abandoned buildings, foggy forests, ravens, and writing prompts. I’m even learning to write short personal essays, which are hard for me. However, I am also a reader. If I could figure out a way, I would read novels and non-fiction at the same time I’m writing my own stuff. I know, there are audible books, but it’s not the same as reading the actual words. I’ve listened to a few audible books and they were good, but I don’t get the same impact from reading the actual text.

I think my love of reading is genetic since both my parents loved to read. Dad enjoyed mysteries, science fiction, and fantasy, while mom enjoyed mysteries, the occasional thriller, and romance novels. Going to the library was always fun.  When I was young I used to read under the covers using a flashlight. Or when my parents said it was time for bed, I would put them off by saying “Let me read one more chapter! Please!” Of course, four chapters later I was still up. In school, I preferred reading to gossiping with other students. Yes, the proverbial bookworm, nose always stuck in a book.

I love reading thrillers, fantasy, paranormal, mysteries, PI stories, police procedurals, adventure, some horror, some Steampunk, and some historical fiction. I don’t care for erotica or romance novels. As for non-fiction books I read ancient and lost civilizations, ancient warfare, earth cataclysms, and some science books. For me, reading goes hand in hand with writing. If a book has a lot of sex scenes, I won’t continue reading it. Books that are extremely gory or violent I won’t pick up either. Not that I’m squeamish, but that type of storyline doesn’t interest me. There are a few classics that I enjoy reading: Bram Stoker’s Dracula, The Complete Collection of Sherlock Holmes, Captains Courageous by Rudyard Kipling, and Edgar Allen Poe.

I’ve heard it said a lot of writers don’t like reading. How can they not like reading? Reading is a wonderful escape from our mundane world. Books allow us to explore places and learn about others without leaving the comfort of our chair, bed, or sofa. It makes me wonder what a writer who doesn’t read do for fun: Watch TV, play games, party, smoke wacky tobacco? Do they spend their free time mucking around on Facebook or texting their friends and family? What can they possibly learn from doing that?

By reading books by other authors you increase the knowledge of your writing craft. You can also learn more about the genres you are writing in. Study the style and pacing of the best selling authors in the genre you are writing in.

As a writer you should also be reading books about writing, to increase your knowledge for better writing and self-editing. Reading non-fiction books you can gain new ideas for plots, short stories, protagonists and antagonists, settings, and technology.

How much do I love reading? Right now my To Be Read Collection on my Kindle has 511 eBooks. I also have another Collection set up for eBooks that I really enjoy and like to read again. The characters and storylines in those books sing to me. When I do read a book again, the writer in me lurks in the background, peering over my shoulder and studying the writing on the screen. Yes, I do spot mistakes, but most of the eBooks I re-read have very few of them.

On the other side of the coin reading a badly edited book will show you what NOT to do. I’ve read several of those and cringe each time that I do. They serve as a reminder to edit, proofread and edit some more. You are better than that error filled eBook so prove it!

So stop sitting around and watching that silly reality show. Pick up a book and read!

One more thing, when you finish reading a book, leave a review for the author. They truly appreciate it.

May the words ever flow!

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