Derailing Bedlam: End of the Brakeless Line Part 4 (GRAND FINALE!) #fiction #adventure

First, a big thank you to everyone who has followed this entire story.  Hope you all enjoy the ending.  Will Cassidy and Lloyd ever return?  I don’t know.  For now, they’re going to be relaxing and taking smaller jobs.  I think they’ve earned a break.

As usual, here is your warning that this story has cursing, sex (not graphic), innuendo, and violence.  It’s my Rated-R action adventure called Derailing Bedlam.  This is the fourth outing (third official) for Cassidy and Lloyd, so feel free to click on one of the two covers to see how it started.  Each one is 99 cents!

Cover by Jon Hunsinger

Cover Art by Jon Hunsinger

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For the Love of Violence

I was trying to decide if I wanted to do this as a thought piece or a poem.  The former won because I didn’t think the latter would work too well.  This is actually connected to when I did a week on the ‘Perverted Character’ and got some rather visceral reactions.  A lot of strong opinions against it, references to real life crimes, refusal of redemption, and the list goes on.  I found this odd since I’d written posts on assassins, serial killers, warriors, and many others who solve problems through violence.  Not a single condemnation on any of those fictional types and people never brought it into reality.

Now, I already touched on the why and such during that week, so this could end up being a rehash.  People would rather battle over sex than touch on the violence.  In fact, we couldn’t stay on the topic of violence for very long.  So, I’m actually not really sure where to go with this topic . . . Time for the seat of my pants.

Personally, I think it’s easier for all of us to create a mental and emotional distance when it comes to fictional violence.  While we see a person dying on screen or in a book, we know that there isn’t a real person being hurt.  A big reason for this is because we don’t always have that kind of experience to make it real.  Some people do and might react differently to seeing violence, but the majority of humanity doesn’t have that in their history.  Yet, most people have some connection to sex and attraction.  This makes it more real and we can picture it better.  We can also see ourselves being in a sexual situation with more ease than violence.  This is just what I get from talking to people, so you might not be in this boat.

Another thing is that we are bombarded with violence to the point where we build up an immunity.  It’s part of our entertainment.  Even some children shows will demonstrate a punch or something get hurt.  You would think this creates a sensation of it being more real like what happens with sex, but we get desensitized a lot more to violence.  It could be because there’s no shame or apprehension about showing it.  The villain needs to get punched.  Death is part of life.  You need to fight, sometimes physically, to protect what you hold dear.  We rationalize violence to the point where it is seen as a viable action when faced with a problem.

The difficult thing is that violence in fiction does capture attention because it’s a form of action.  We, as a species, love to be excited and action is one way to do it.  My stories would be really dull if the champions defeated the Baron with the shaking of a finger.  Maybe it’s because bullies and those who do harm tend to only listen to the same tools that they use, which is violence.  You can’t see it done any other way in some situations, so to remove violence would severely limit the types of stories you can do.  Even a chase scene will have some violent aspects such as crashing into things and breaking stuff.  It may seem we’re trapped with this being an acceptable tool in our creative arsenal.

So, what does everyone else think of violence in fiction?

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Revisiting Legends: Trinity the Queen of Shayd #fantasy #adventure

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Where to even begin with Trinity?  Over the course of Legends of Windemere, she has worn the mask of a villain, hero, savior, tormentor, victim, friend, rival, and a few others.  I think she’s the most diverse one of the whole cast because I had to move her from one spot to another.  It wasn’t really supposed to be this way either.

Trinity is the ruler of a species called ‘Chaos Elves’.  These are a species of elf that maintain some of the demon taint that was thrown into the mix of the original model, which nearly destroyed Windemere.  They live on the shadowy continent of Shayd and are known for being deadly assassins.  Although, they used to be known as annoying pranksters before the Great Cataclysm happened.  Very few people know that Baron Kernaghan’s prison cracked enough that he managed to enslave the chaos elves and turn them into his personal army.  He’s gone through many puppet rulers to keep them under his thumb, but now he has Trinity.  This might not be a positive for him.

Originally, Trinity was a deal-loving caster who debuted in Prodigy of Rainbow Tower to counter the power of Nyx.  She was actually stronger at first because she had more experience.  While Nyx trained for most of her life in Rainbow Tower, Trinity took the throne and became an agent of the Baron at a very young age.  By the time she appears in the books, she’s had a lot of kills and misery under her belt.  Plenty of suffering too because she’s done what no other ruler has done before.  She accepts the punishments of her people, which has kept many of them alive because the Baron would never dare to kill her.  This upbringing always made me think of Trinity as a mirror image of Nyx and that either one could have become the other under different circumstances.  In fact, this is a plot point for one of the books when Trinity confronts Nyx . . . This is also where I began having problems.

I always expected Trinity and Nyx to be bitter rivals who would push each other to the highest levels of skill.  Then, they’d settle their feud once and for all with all of the hatred coming out at once.  Unfortunately, I could never maintain their hate because I would see how they’d respect each other.  Nyx wouldn’t hate Trinity who does evil to protect her people.  Trinity wouldn’t hate Nyx for following her destiny.  This would result in them being forced to team-up at times, especially since both of them despised Stephen Kernaghan.  I did manage to create a few scenarios where I could have them really throw down with each other, including their final encounter.  Yet, it never had the emotions that I wanted.  Instead, there was an odd amount of pain and anguish that they felt when doing battle.  It came alongside a sense of pleasure and excitement since nobody else could challenge them in the same fashion.  So, my bitter rivalry became a friendly one that made me change a lot of stuff later on in the books.

For those that made it far into the series, you probably know more about the Trinity/Stephen stuff.  This is probably the darkest I got and it’s a big reason I hated the guy.  I was never sure if I should be overt with the fact that he had raped her and probably threatened to kill her people if she said no.  Before anyone freaks out, I’ve made it clear many times that Stephen is the irredeemable monster of the series and I had to take a shower whenever I wrote a scene where he wasn’t getting his ass kicked.  I think Trinity helped to flush out the horror that he was and it strengthened her a bit because she got to fight back at times.  There’s a big scene that touches on this and Nyx is involved too, but it’s kind of a spoiler.  I didn’t let this part of Trinity’s history define her either.  It was another scar for her to have among so many others, but this is the one I think about the most.

Posted in Character Origins, Legends of Windemere | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Mary’s Magnificent Muse Mart: Trade-Ins Only on Thursday

Greek Muses

Come on in and put on a toga to join in the ambiance.  It isn’t mandatory and you can put it over your clothes.  Judging from the eye twitches, I’d say you’re an artist with either a deadline or more coffee than blood in your body.  We’ll wait on visiting the cafe in case it’s the latter.  Don’t mind our resident doctor checking you as we walk.  Want to make sure we aren’t going to have an issue.  Now, what kind of muse are you looking for?

Yes, it is strange that we can build muses here, especially since artists have always believed that they are chosen by these mystical beings.  That’s how it went in the old days, but anyone can be an artist now thanks to social media.  Now, our muses might not be as great as the natural ones, but can you really risk your future on such whimsical figures?  Best not to tempt fate, which can be altered at my brother’s store.  You don’t really want to know the prices on that unless you’re desperate.  How about we sit down with the Zeus book and put things together?

Start by telling me what kind of artist you are.  Architectural comedy . . . You might have to explain that one to me.  Okay, I get it now.  You design buildings that make people laugh and sell them to amusement parks.  Not to parks?  People pay you a lot of money to live in places that others will laugh at.  The wealthy of this world sure have taken prank presents up a notch.  Well, you’re going to need to see our Thalia package.  We can’t give you an exact clone of her due to a possibility of smiting.  Apparently, making pure doubles of magical beings is frowned upon and we no longer have the licenses to sacrifice goats on the property.  We can come very close, so here’s the information.

Going male is a good idea and it’s up to you how much clothing he wears.  There is no correlation between a muse’s amount of dress and the inspiration they cause.  I assure you there will be no sexual attraction.  Our products are designed to give off an anti-pheromone that will help you focus on your work and not your libido.  That means you need to send them away if you want to spend time with your significant other.  Now, I can have the muse be of any age.  Middle-age is fine and we currently have a sale on blondes due to an overstock issue.  Redhead it will be, but keep the price in mind for later.  Please check off the other boxes.  Scrawny, brown-eyed, tall, good teeth, hairless body, and perfect nose.  I’ll send this to the lab right away while we do the final touches.

There needs to be some magic involved.  How do you want them to communicate with you?  We have whispers, dreams, shadows, stars, clouds, electronics, spirits of the dead, erotic cakes, foggy bathroom mirrors, an assistant named Helvin, and many other possibilities.  The only thing they can’t do is interact directly like you would with another person.  Takes the magic away from the whole thing and makes us wonder why you don’t get some friends to talk to about this.  They want you to be an author instead . . . Can’t tell if they’re giving you good or bad advice.  Now, what will you have?  Oh, we don’t do blood on the walls any more because it attracts ants.  The muse can mess with the paint if you’re willing to clean up the mess.  It will be entirely by picture instead of words.  Just put this symbol on any wall he can use and that will be that.

Thank you for coming and please take these blood pressure pills as you wait for the bill to come.  It’s not that you should be afraid of the bill.  Our doctor simply has some concerns about your health.  Hey, don’t make eye contact with him.  He has a glove on and his muse is always bugging him to use it.

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Special Offer – Receive a Free Audio Book

Author Don Massenzio

To celebrate the release of a number of my books in audio book format, I’m running a special promotion. Take a look at the book descriptions in this edition of my newsletter. If you see a book you’d like to have as an audiobook, simply email me at don@donmassenzio.com and I’ll send you a promotional code that will allow you to get a free copy of the audiobook from audible.com. Be sure to let me know which book you would like and whether you live in the US or the UK. I only have promotional codes for those two countries.

I only have a limited number of codes to give away for each book, so if you’d like a copy, please respond without delay. Once you listen to it, a review on audible.com would be great, but it’s not mandatory.

Here are the books that are available:

Frankly Speaking–…

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Project Phoenix Take Too Many to Count Part 2

DnD Phoenix

Here is part 2 for the post from LAST SUNDAY!

I was explaining this umbrella thing and got through two of the big titles as well as one of the obscure ones.  Most of these fall under being smaller too, so they could end up getting absorbed.  We’ll see what we have.

The Psi-Child

This is basically my X-Men side while ‘Project Phoenix’ is closer to Justice League and ‘Savior’ would be Batman/Spider-Man.  It’s based on a game that I played in college and people agreed to let me write stories off it.  The whole thing has changed too.  It used to be the characters protecting a school, but then I changed it to an orphanage and the dynamic became very different.

Basically, 5 superhumans are drawn to this area for various reasons and end up protecting it against villains.  They discover that there is a special child that a powerful being wants to control and this is the titular Psi-Child . . . A character that was played by the ex-wife, so we’ll see how this one goes.  Now, I was imagining it being a trilogy of short story collections with them getting used to each other in the first, getting deeper involved in the second, and then the big finale.  I can’t say much without revealing a lot, which I don’t know if it’s bad in this stage or not.  There’s a lot of relationship stuff and the other 5 have ghosts in their past that might be used for the second book.

Gearhead Princess

This is one of the potentially absorbed ones.  The Gearhead Princess is a woman who was previously lost in space and raised on a planet of computers before coming home.  I can’t do that here, so I was thinking of her being trapped in another dimension and coming back with Magi-Tech.  She uses a combat suit and has a giant robot to merge with if she needs major firepower.  She’s also the former wife of the hero who went mad, so she has a lot to do in ‘Project Phoenix’.

The reason I’m thinking of giving her a one-shot collection is because she does have a unique background.  I originally had it that she was sealed before the other heroes for a disaster and her absence is one of the reasons her husband went insane.  The stories would involve her facing those sins, but that could be done to some extent in the first two of ‘Project Phoenix’.  The second book has old villains showing up, so I wouldn’t have that happening again.  I worry about pushing this character too far with too little and having her be weakened for two collections.

Rose of the Damned

This one began as a Wild West thing where the hero was a young girl searching for 13 homonculi.  These are tiny creatures created by a caster, which was her mother who was eaten by them.  She was pregnant at the time, but she was old enough to live and be raised by a gunman.  Her goal is to capture her mother’s creations, which have been dormant until recently.  This ghostly villain has figured out that they can be combined to create a powerful body.  The girl named Rose teams up with a young man who can track magical constructs and a starting priestess.

Now, this does sound like it could be a good collection on its own and it doesn’t really fall under the superhero thing too well.  Then again, I was thinking of having her mother be a Mylrixian.  The curse that put all of them to sleep did the same to the homonculi and Rose was frozen too instead of reincarnated over and over again.  I was leaning towards making her a calico (cat person) and having her use a variety of wands to replace the guns, but keep a quickdraw type of thing.  Does this one have enough to stand alone?

Starlets

This is a character who has gone from hero to villain to . . . limbo.  I like the idea of this girl being possessed by the spirits of 6 elemental/magical princesses.  They lost their bodies in an accident and their spirits are housed in a collection of items that the girl happens to come across.  She puts it on and is able to transform into all of them at once.  They’re talking and arguing in her head a lot too.  The Starlets are more interested in fame and getting attention than hero stuff, but there is a villain out there wanting to capture their power and another who is determined to finish the job.  I’ll have to look over my notes again to see if this character can hold her own collection together.

I’m leaning heavily towards adding the Starlets to the ‘New Generation’.  She could work out pretty well there.  So far, I really only have four characters in that class.  I eliminated two for personal reasons, which is a shame because one of those characters had a really good backstory.

Charioteers

No idea why I put them on here.  Seriously, this was something heavily inspired by Neon Genesis Evangelion.  The area it takes place in is highly toxic with powerful beasts that are trying to eliminate all the people there.  To survive, the cities are protected by domes and traveling is done in suits.  The only way to combat the monsters is through a new type of magic where a child places their spirit into the empty vessel of a recently unearthed creature.  There are 5 of them and they are called chariots.  They’re goal is to wipe out the toxic beasts, but there is more to it . . . I think.  Keeping this in a contained region instead of global makes it tougher.  Still, it could work as a solitary, but I don’t know if it would connect to Project Phoenix now that I’m looking at it.

Serum

This is what I call the finale when all of the Mylrixian/Project Phoenix stuff comes down to a new hero.  The continent will be under the rule of various villains and the rest of Windemere will have it warded off to protect itself.  Yes, many will die prior and during this adventure because it is caused by what happens at the end of the main ‘Project Phoenix’ series.  So, it’s one collection that follows the mysterious boy named Serum who has the power to turn his blood into weapons.  Also shields, blood mist form, and it seems he has an unlimited supply.  He becomes the only one able to defeat the final villain.

OKAY!  Maybe I’ll leave ‘Child of the Hunt’ as its own thing.  I’m seeing how other series can fall under categories like ‘Windemere History’, ‘Organizations’, and ‘Lone Hero’ stuff when I step outside of the core things.  That means this is all I have for ‘Project Phoenix’ and I hope some of it works.  Maybe I’ll do another set of story overviews next Sunday if people are enjoying these.

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Think I’m Just Going To Lie Down For A Min . . . ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

How tiring and rough was this week?  I think I just cricked my neck by looking up at the ceiling.  I know I got 6-7 hours of sleep every night, so I’m rested.  I didn’t even jump out of bed because it was too cold in the morning.  That may have been a problem since it meant I rushed around for 30 minutes before heading out the door.  I did have a lot on my plate and breakfast was consistently a piece of toast then blindfolded roulette on what I did for lunch.  Lots of variation of chicken sandwich.  I think I simply hit tonight wanting to rest and I’ll dive into writing tomorrow.  Well . . . That’s the post.

Not really, but my head feels blurry.  So blurry that I wrote ‘tomorrow’ when this goes live today, but I’m really writing it yesterday.  Time is merely a suggestion to my mind at this point.  I have vague memories of tinkering with my superheroes, but I can’t find the notes anywhere.  Did some planning for the fantasy tip book when I had a few free periods.  So, I can’t say I didn’t make progress somewhere.  So, why do I feel drained and depressed as hell?

I think it’s the stress of the week.  I didn’t get much ‘me’ or ‘son’ time, which always wears on me.  I’ve also been getting asked a lot about the divorce and where I’m going with my teaching career.  Not in a sensible way either.  The divorce is a painful topic especially when we have to sit down to divide up breaks and rearrange stuff.  It drives home the fact that I don’t get to see my son every day.  With the teaching certification, I just put in for TA Level III, so I only have to wait for that to go through.  Outside of school, people talk as if I should already have a Masters and full certification.  These aren’t achieved by sending in cereal boxtops!  I need to find a program that I can get into and make the time for as well as finding out what I need to do.  The next level up wants me to be enrolled in an Educator Preparation program . . . I finished that in Florida.  All I’ve been told is that to find out if that counts, I need to submit an application for my initial teaching certification.  It’s kind of messy and stressful, so the blunt inquiries aren’t helping.

This is feeding into a sensation that I’ve had for a long time.  Possibly years, but I’m seeing it more now.  Most days, it seems like I’m living for everyone else.  Now, I total accept that I have to do things for and with my son because I love him and he is my responsibility.  I enjoy those times.  Yet, it feels like all of my other decisions are being foisted upon me by people who place me in ‘no win’ situations.  I can’t do writing because I have to help out with something.  If I volunteer then it’s cool, but there are times when it’s assumed I’m going to be there and I get guilt if I refuse.  The freest time for me is when I’m at school because I love it there and feel like I’m doing something worthwhile.  No idea why that can’t carry over to other things.  Maybe this is stemming more from the rough 4-day weekend that I had.

Well, there is the other thing.  Originally, the two week holiday vacation was neatly split between me and the ex-wife.  I had planned to writing for most of her week with our son and then have fun with him during my time.  Well, things happened and I’ve lost a few if not all of those days.  Some of that I totally understand and will enjoy because of the ensuing situation.  The rest is frustrating because I’m not being given a straight answer on how long the interruptions will take.  It could even stop me from getting together with friends and relaxing.  No puzzles and possibly no TV for the whole time too.  Needless to say, I’m not liking how that’s looking and am getting frustrated.  I could feasibly knock out 5 chapters of War of Nytefall: Eradication in that time.  Combine that with this and my next free weekend and I could feasibly bring it into the final act before 2020.  That’s better than I expected.

Speaking of War of Nytefall, I’m slowly setting up hype posts for February and March.  I think two months should cover a lot of ground and help the book.  A week from Sunday will be the first volunteer request post and I’m hoping to get some help.  Need to make the blurb and choose some teasers for the hype period too.  Honestly, I think I’m going to be mellow and take it easy on this promo.  If I get a lot of volunteers then that’s great, but I’ll see what happens.  So tired of busting my ass and getting nowhere, so I should try to enjoy the creation process when I can dive into it.  As a friend once said I’m a better author than a businessman.  My brain goes a little haywire when I step out of the role of creator and have to promote myself.  Got enough stress, so why push myself to the point where I’m panicking?  If the book sells then it sells.  I’ll do what I can with minimal funds and times to push it ahead.

So, goals of the week:

  1. Write 1-2 chapters of War of Nytefall: Eradication.
  2. Prepare more February and March promos.
  3. Tinker with superhero stories if I can.
  4. Watch a little more ‘Altered Carbon’.
  5. Read more ‘Overlord’.
  6. (Time with son and at work are givens.)
  7. Begin moving books and DVDs to basement in preparation of room getting painted.
  8. Finish putting celestial keys on their keychains for my son’s holiday present.  (Fairy Tail thing)
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