Tag Archives: Baseball

A fair writing day

I didn’t hit it with a vengeance today. My crew is in a new country, and I needed to get some of the flavor on the page.

To do this, I used one of the unexplored supporting characters and weaved in a bit of his backstory. I think it worked out pretty well. He’s from this continent, and has proven useful.

The advantage is to have built fences. Now I have to live within those parameters, and I find it helpful. I could go back and change everything, but I usually find this to be a positive step.

There was a fight with the enemy sailors, but not in a way that would get them destroyed by the locals. (It wasn’t a dance off either.)

I’ve decided to let them tour outside the city while the foundry prepares their order. I’m thinking something do do with wine production, maybe stomp a few grapes. I think I’ll include some bee keeping, which could lead to some mead drinking as well.

It only seems logical that people who spend months on a ship would want to do things off the ship when the chance presents itself.

Maybe I should buy a good bottle of mead for inspiration. I’ve done stranger things.

Somehow, they should have a new problem to face when they get done playing in the countryside. It doesn’t have to be major, but I think the story would benefit from that. It’s time to do some more daydreaming about this issue.

Writing took me up until noon, but it was enough. I broke the 70,000 word barrier, and there is a lot of story to write yet. I usually suffer trying to stretch something to novel length, but that won’t be a problem here.

I dabbled with Lisa Burton Radio, but that didn’t take much time. Most of my afternoon was spent watching a baseball game. They won this time, so maybe my curse is broken. I hope so. It’s a lot more fun watching your team win.

Tomorrow is the day I call my parents, and my wife is driving home too. I don’t expect to get much done, but you never know.

Advertisements

28 Comments

Filed under Writing

Extra Innings, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Lisa Burton

Welcome all you time travelers and baseball fanatics. You’ve landed on Lisa Burton Radio, the only show that brings you interviews with the characters you love. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and today my very special guest is Joe McLean. Joe has a bit of a problem, and is hoping that talking about it will give him some clarity. “Welcome to the show, Joe.”

“Hello Lisa. I’m glad to be here, although these days, I’m not sure exactly where here is.”

“Tell us a little about yourself.”

“Well, I’m from Langerton, Pennsylvania. I am currently an accountant at a family business, just not my family. I’m divorced and a bit out of sorts these days. Thank goodness for baseball. Without it, I’m not sure what I would do.”

“Lot of baseball fans around here, Joe. You’re certainly among friends.”

“That’s great to hear. It’s a sad day in my town for baseball. They’ve torn down Maxwell Stadium. It’s been around since the 1940s. Generation of McLeans have had season tickets for every Langerton Chiefs game. It just won’t be the same in the new stadium.”

“That’s sad. There is so much history in those old stadiums. It isn’t just the events on the field, it’s the marriage proposals, the first dates, the last time with parents.”

“I couldn’t agree with you more, Lisa. That’s why I decided I wanted to buy some piece of memorabilia from the old place before it was demolished. I spent way too much money on an old stadium seat. My older brother gave me a hard time about it, but, deep down, I think he understands. My brother Mike helped me mount it on a carpeted platform right in front of my TV in my apartment. Now I can watch games from a treasured piece of furniture from my childhood. Of course, I found out that the seat was much more than a place to sit..”

“How’s that, Joe?”

“Well…I mean…I can go places. If I want to go back to a game, I just grab a program book and I’m there.”

“I mean we talk to all kinds of people on this show, but are you sure?”

“I know it sounds crazy, but I’m sure. I tested it out by going back to save a boy that was hit by a foul ball in a game about ten years ago. It worked, I was able to save him. In the original timeline, he ended up having disabilities from a skull fracture. All I did was buy him a helmet as a souvenir and he came out unscathed…mostly.”

“You helped that young man live a different life. A better life. That has to be an awesome feeling.”

“You would think so. I’ve found, however, that you can’t change the past without unforeseen changes in the present. The boy grew up to be a successful, sought after, high school athlete. As it turned out, one coach was interested in more than his talents. He also had an affair with the boy’s mother and broke up the family.”

“Okay, but you couldn’t foresee that. You still helped him.”

“I know. It’s just made me cautious before I try anything further. There are things about my own life. I just…I just don’t know..”

“This is kind of like the lottery game. You know, if you won the lottery what would you do? In this case, if you could go back and change something, what would it be?”

“There are three things, Lisa. First, my job. I work in a family business and do the lion’s share of the complicated work for no credit and no advancement. Second, my marriage failed. My wife and I were both obsessed with our careers. I think, if I had put in more effort, it might have turned out differently. Then, there’s my family. My mom and dad both died from easily avoidable situations. They were taken from us too young..”

“So, have you tried it yet?”

“Well, I have. I’ve tried a few times, but the best I could do was fixing one or two things. I actually tried going back to a game that took place before I was born. I looked in the mirror and I was my own grandfather. You haven’t experienced strange until a younger version of your grandmother tries getting frisky with you..”

“It’s great that you get that kind of chance. It would be wonderful if you could work it all out.”

“Well, so far. It’s just not working. I’ve been successful, rich, homeless, happy, unhappy. As I said, I can’t get all of the pieces to come together correctly. I’ll just have to keep trying.”

“Maybe it’s kind of like Tetris. You have to twist them all together to fill all the holes.”

“That’s a good comparison. Although, sometimes it feels more like Whack a Mole.”

“Joe, you have to know that we’re all cheering for you. We want you to figure it out and find your ultimate happiness. Any last thoughts for our listeners today?”

“I appreciate it, Lisa. For any of you out there that think your life is hopeless, when you have an opportunity to make a positive change, go for it. I plan on continuing to go for it for as long as it takes.

“You can learn all about Joe in the new book, Extra Innings, by Don Massenzio. I’ll post all the stats after I go off the air today. Baseball… stats… get it. Whatever.

“Don’t forget to help me pay the bills around here. Use those sharing buttons and help Don and Joe spread the word. Don has always been a strong supporter of this show, and has reblogged many of these interviews on his own site. Today would be a good time to say thanks by returning the favor.

***

Extra Innings – Joe McLean hates his life. A lonely, divorced, middle-aged man, stuck in a cramped apartment, the only bright spot in Joe’s life is cheering on his hometown baseball team. Now, the local stadium, the place of many childhood and adult memories is being replaced. Joe desperately wants a piece of this iconic venue to preserve his memories and have some memorabilia from his happier past. That’s when unusual things begin to happen, and Joe begins to rethink the direction his life has taken. Can Joe take a different path in life? Can he use the special ability that he has acquired to change the course of his life? Will he realize the truth about old adage, you can never go home again? Follow the twists and turns in this supernatural story, Extra Innings, to find out.

Bio

Don Massenzio was born in Syracuse, New York to first generation Italian American parents. He is an avid reader. Some of his favorite authors are Harlan Coben, David Morrell, Stephen King, Jonathan Kellerman, John Grisham, Hugh Howey, and C.S. Boyack. His favorite book of all time is To Kill a Mockingbird.

He started writing as a way to combat the long hours of travel and numerous hotel stays that are part of the ‘glamorous’ world of corporate life. He uses writing as a therapeutic outlet to combat my homesickness.

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

He moved to Jacksonville, Florida 23 years ago where he currently lives with his wife, daughter, and three dogs.

Link for Extra Innings:

http://mybook.to/ExtraInnings

This is a universal link that will bring the user to the appropriate Amazon site in whatever country they’re clicking it from.

Social Media/Web Site:

www.donmassenzio.com – Blog

https://www.facebook.com/authordonmassenzio/

https://twitter.com/dmassenzio

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00JJVN0UI

50 Comments

Filed under Lisa Burton Radio

Saturday, for what it’s worth

I really slept in this morning. I mean more than ever happens. Part of this is because I stayed up watching baseball last night. In fact, I have today’s game on right now.

My wife and daughter were both off today, so productivity ended when I didn’t get up early. My only goals this weekend were to schedule a future interview, and to write shticks for two more. I never got any of it done.

I appreciate Rosie’s Book Review Team for another great review of The Hat. This one seems to be doing well with its readers. In fact someone grabbed a copy from Netgalley, and I received an additional five star review.

I never accomplished much today, but I can’t complain about the good things that happened.

Old What’s Her Face wants some sourdough rolls to go with dinner tomorrow. She bought a replacement bag of flour for me, and I just finished mixing them up. They probably won’t get really sour, but they’ll still be nice rolls.

There are a few hours left to get your copy of The Enhanced League while it’s still free. I saw it get as high as 28 on the sports stories chart. I only take photos now if something gets on a top ten list.

Those who read Enhanced League, seemed to enjoy it. You don’t have to be a baseball fan to understand the human interest stories in this collection.

Next week, my workplace is sending me to a convention in NOLA. Great place to go, but work won’t allow tons of time to have fun. I may have to write some of my shticks on the airplane, but at least I’ll have that time available.

I’ll share a photo or two if I see something cool while I’m there.

PS: Grab a copy of Enhanced League.

21 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

How about some free days?

Once upon a time, I wrote this book called The Enhanced League. It’s my take on a baseball league where performance enhancing drugs are not banned. It’s a little bit science fiction, and a bit human drama.

I wrote it as a collection of short stories and micros. My personal growth plan was to have these stories all set in the same environment, and to tell an overarching story from cover to cover.

It seems like I’m always trying something new, and this book has a few pieces that I called Anthems. These are short bits in second person point of view. They were well received by the reviewers, so I wrote a new one for this post. (Personal theory: second person is best in small segments.)

I thought it deserved a bit of music, and video clips seem to be the simple way to add that in WordPress. This may be my favorite movie scene of all time.

Spring is in the Air

It’s been a long winter. The series ended in spectacular fashion, but that was back in November. Sure, you tried to get into football, maybe checked out the Winter Olympics, but it wasn’t the same.

You listened to the Hot Stove reports on the radio. There were some good free agents this year, and you earmarked a couple for your team. You knew they were long shots, but like all baseball fans, you live on hope and faith.

This year was different. Teams refused to pony up those ridiculous contracts like in the past. Guess they finally figured out super-stars aren’t so super, seven years into a contract for mega-millions.

Passive fans always want the team to spend money and buy all the free agents, but you know better. This is because the business side is every bit as interesting as the game on the field. There’s only so much money, and you have to keep an eye on the future. It’s hard to extend the contract of your ace pitcher next year when you spent it all on some hotshot this year.

When it all shook out, your team settled for an import pitcher from Japan, and a few minor league guys that might come up late this year. For the most part, you’re fielding the same team.

That isn’t bad in some ways. They made a run and got into the playoffs. They might have done better if it weren’t for the injuries. All you need is just a bit of luck and… we’re back to hope once more. Maybe those minor league guys can cover the spots if an injured player has to take some time off. There’s always hope.

You watched the trucks pulling in to the stadium. You imagined they delivered sports apparel and the newest bobble-head dolls of the popular players. It’s too early for hotdogs and other perishables. Still, it’s getting close.

The grass is green, not like it will be in May or June, but all the dead thatch is gone. You watched them testing the lights over the stadium, and Spring Training is underway five states away.

Kids always put a lot of faith in Spring games. You know they don’t mean a thing, and you’re just hoping to get through without somebody getting hurt. Players get their work in and get ready for the big show, that’s what it’s all about.

The radio guys are looking for stories, so they come up with things for you to worry about. So-and-so seems to have lost some velocity on his fastball, or such-and-such seems to be swinging and missing more. You know they’re trying things out in Spring Training, and working up to their full skill set. They’ll be ready, have a little faith.

Hope and faith, they fuel the baseball fan’s world. It’s almost time to take the field and welcome summer in the best way possible. Grab your cap, ice the beer, turn on the game, and let’s watch some baseball.

***

Those who read Enhanced League seemed to like it. It never seemed to get enough readers to make a splash. Now here we are at the end of Spring Training, and the beginning of the Major League Baseball season. What better time to trot it back out and do a small push.

Today through Saturday I’m holding free days for The Enhanced League. I’d appreciate it if you’d pick up a copy, maybe add it on Goodreads. In it’s debut, I had Lisa making the rounds. Here is the poster that came out the best from her promotional efforts.

Lisa Burton

I added it, because images draw attention, but also for some of you to use. I’m not going to spend a lot of money on a free promotion. If you want to reblog this one, I’d be grateful. Some of you may prefer to assemble your own post. You can clip the Anthem, cover, umpire Lisa, however much or little you want. And thanks for considering The Enhanced League.

62 Comments

Filed under Short Stories & Vignettes, Writing

A little catching up

The blog tour ended some time ago. THE HAT is still selling in some degree. I did have a blank day, but only one. That seems to be the way of all my releases. They spike as my friends spread the word, then drop off. Still, those seventeen positive reviews might help me out a bit.

Before I get into my weekend plans, I’m going to suggest that not everyone is into the Superbowl. If you’re one of them, you could probably read THE HAT from start to finish before the game ends. The cover in the side bar is a link.

Today was my flex day, which gives me a three-day weekend. I spent today working on Lisa Burton Radio stuff and reading. It looks like tomorrow will be more of the same. That should clean up the interviews I have working, and finish the wonderful book I’ve been reading.

I am going to surf through some active storyboards at some point. I’ve gotten a lot of decent ideas from Lorelei, the Muse, lately. I want to leave a few sticky notes at minimum, and may do more than that on a couple of them.

If the stars line up, I may even add a chapter to ESTIVATION. This is the second novella I have planned and it is a suspense story with a science fiction background. I don’t feel rushed at all with this one. THE HAT is out there, THE YAK GUY PROJECT is a finished product playing a waiting game. I have all year to finish ESTIVATION, and like I said, it’s a novella.

I’d like to start stockpiling some more short stories, but I’m not exactly feeling it right now. There is a pretty good chance that I’ll dive into another novel after I finish it. This one is a pirate story, but it needs to spend act one not being a pirate story. This is because the main character has to spend some time trying to be his father before realizing that he’s not. He is his own person, and has a different skill-set that might solve the big problem. Right now, I’m debating whether this is a deal killer. You put a pirate ship on the cover and people expect some piracy right off the bat.

Lisa would look good as a pirate, wouldn’t she?

Something will come to me. It always does. Besides, I should do something more with THE HAT, and I should find something to do with THE ENHANCED LEAGUE. Pitchers and catchers report to camp in two weeks. Unless someone offers a cool suggestion this might amount to a free period around Spring Training somehow. It cracks me up how a 99¢ book gets ignored, but if you offer it for free – people scoop them up like M & Ms. I’ve gained reviews from free copies too. This is one of those places where I’m inclined to just accept it and go with it.

You guys remember THE ENHANCED LEAGUE, right? Any really good promotional ideas you can spout?

Lisa Burton

40 Comments

Filed under Writing

Sick Day

My entire household has been under the weather this week.  All of us have used sick time, and it appears to be my turn now. I intended to update this site on Wednesday, but never got that far. It was supposed to be a cute post about partying too much with the old under-the-bed monster. Halloween is a distant memory tonight, so that ship has kind of sailed. By the time my commute ended, the game was already on, and I wasn’t up for blogging.

I managed to update the wallpaper for November. I snapped a photo of Old What’s Her Face’s maple tree in the front yard. The image is so big it kind of blurs along the edges of my site, but it looks artsy. Boise is ablaze with colors right now, and her tree is awesome.

Today is a good day for the fireplace, a cup of good tea, and complaining. Let’s complain.

Advertising

The radio ads on Sirius radio are worse than ever these days. There is one about getting help paying off credit card debt. It annoys me when they say you don’t have to pay it all back. The fact is you borrowed the money, you spent it, and you agreed to the terms of the loan. You get to keep the big-screen television, and they make it sound like a good thing that you don’t have to pay for it. What really chaps me is they say, “Don’t let the credit card companies trick you into thinking you have to pay it all back.” They even emphasize the word taaRICK to make the point. Nobody’s being tricked here. What they don’t tell you is that you are supposed to give them money to help you avoid paying a bill you owe. Bet they don’t take credit.

The other one is a mortgage lender who talks about a “yourgage.” Oh-my-God! That’s soooo cool, I’ll take out a loan against my house because yourgage sounds so much better than a mortgage. Getting a mortgage is a big deal, and it’s complicated. It should not be reduced to a click type app based upon snap decisions, and I don’t think they need some fake buzzword to make it sound better than what their competitors offer. Consumers really should shop around and even work up a budget themselves to see if they’re ready for this massive step.

Just throw the damned ball.

I’m excited for the Houston Astros. Last night they won their first ever World Series. It was a good series too, taking all seven games to decide the victor. It will never match 2001 in my mind, playing in New York the same year as the 911 attacks, oh and my Diamondbacks won. It doesn’t match the series from last year, or the bloody sock series, but it was pretty darned exciting. So where’s the gripe?

The gripe is in the length of the games. These guys start playing at seven or eight years old. They’ve played all their lives, including  the minors and major leagues. They’ve had access to the best coaching. They know this game. A batter steps out of the box to mess with the pitcher’s timing. Do you really think that’s going to do anything to Kershaw or Verlander? What it does is adds time to the game.

The pitcher then comes off the mound to talk to the catcher, but wait,  the entire infield has to come in too. Presumably, they’re talking about what to throw and the expected outcome. When he’s ready, they all go back to their positions, the catcher delivers his signs, the pitcher nods… and the batter steps out of the box again. This brings the pitching coach out of the dugout to talk to the entire infield once more, and the process starts all over again.

The guy delivers his pitch and then they replace the pitcher. Add fifteen minutes for the next guy to get ready, then repeat the whole process.

Just throw the friggin ball! This isn’t your first time on the mound. This isn’t the first situation you’ve ever seen. All of the position players have trained their entire lives for this.

When I was young, games used to last about two and a half hours. These games have been lasting six hours or more. I’m in the mountain time zone and one of them didn’t get over until midnight. Heaven forbid you’re an East Coast fan. “Sorry, son, you can’t watch the World Series, because your school bus will probably leave before the game ends.”

The regular season isn’t like this, but the playoffs always are. I understand there’s more on the line, but if you aren’t ready for it, maybe you shouldn’t be playing at this level. It isn’t going to get better until MLB does something about it. When it comes to baseball, I hate changes, but it’s time to act.

I probably have more, but my kettle is boiling and I need to get back to blowing my nose and figuring out what moved into my throat. 

50 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Saturday night

Just got back from Old Chicago. Earned my Halloween tee-shirt, which has a cool pumpkin faced graphic on it. It also means I’ve had a few beers as I write this.

I got Lisa Burton Radio assembled for the week. I have another one to work on for next week, and that’s about it. When I asked for volunteers for some free promo, I got an overwhelming response. I sent  everyone a questionnaire, but some of them never came back. I have no intention of doing followup on them. They have a skin in this game too. LBR gets a lot of reblogs, social media shares, and click throughs on the purchase links. While I have no idea whether  the consumer goes on to purchase the book, I think LBR is a win, and a great promo opportunity.

Because of this, Lisa is about ready for more volunteers. I’m not going to hit this too hard yet, because I want my regulars to get first shot at the opportunity. Becoming one of my regular readers ought to be good for something.

I save emails. I doubt if anyone else has this problem, but I don’t delete some that might require interaction later on. I have a whole string of folks I sent a questionnaire to dating back to late June. If they never responded, I’m going to delete them. This means you may have a promotional opportunity here. The timing is perfect for any Christmas stories you might want to push.

I also assembled the final Macabre Macaroni for 2017. I hope you guys enjoyed these. I like writing them, and they seem pretty popular this year. The final one involves a species called Little Brown Bat. I wrote the story as if that were his name, but it’s actually a species.

Part of my research involved verifying something I already knew. Bats in flight use their tails to scoop the insects into their mouths. This was first discovered in a lab, using strobe lights and still photography. I saw the video years ago, and it’s amazing. I could not find that video, but this one shows one bat using the technique to capture a moth in flight.

Oh yeah, I do research even on my micro-fiction. Hope everyone enjoys the final one this year. It posts on Tuesday.

I still need to write something for Chris Graham in November, and have zero ideas. I may write it about the pet character in fiction. I write a lot of animals, and find they can serve a useful purpose. Maybe I’ll take a stab at a first draft tomorrow. Too much beer tonight, and the World Series is on. Maybe later, my son and I can play video games.

15 Comments

Filed under Writing