In Which I Force Myself to Stop Writing HEAVEN AND ENDWORLD and Write… Something Else, Albeit Something Related to HEAVEN AND ENDWORLD

Endings have never been easy for me. Once upon a time…

…because all good stories begin as such…

…I wrote a blog post, over on my other site (linkable HERE if you want to check it out) about this topic. I wrote it at the tail end of my once-life as a husband and the beginning of my NEW life as a single dad. “Single Dadhood” I called it then, and I still call it now despite the fact that I am NOT single, and haven’t been for close to a year. A relationship doesn’t alter my Single Dadhood status. My kids are still my responsibility when they’re with me and mine alone. And I wouldn’t trade that at this juncture for anything in this, or ANY Skew.

But I digress. Anyone who knows me as either a writer, a person or both knows what I’m presently doing. As of last night, I’m 85 pages… Balls deep into HEAVEN AND ENDWORLD, Book Three of The ENDWORLD Series and the conclusion of William MacNuff’s story. The end of an idea that I’ve been mulling for almost three decades that has evolved, over the years into a much larger concept than it originally was. What was once a cross between “The Terminator” and “The Wonder Years” with a little “Tom Sawyer” and “The Adventures of Huck Finn” thrown in for good measure has become something much, much bigger. Alternate realities. Spirituality. And I am grateful for what it has meant to me in the past and what it means to me now. So the idea that sometime within the next 300 pages or so I’m going to be finally putting it behind me is… I’ll not lie, a “tough pill to swallow.” Because endings have never been easy for me. Apparently almost 45 years of life has done little to call that into question.

How do I… How do WE deal with an end or endings in general? I guess every soul approaches it in a different way. Some ARE able to embrace a conclusion and move on quickly. Others? For them it takes time. That’s me. An “other.” Which is probably why I’m preemptively writing about it now and not before I compose the final chapter of my story. I know that I simply need to enjoy the ride… Let my fingers do the talking as they stroll across my keyboard, at times more furiously than others. I’ve pissed off a LOT of keyboards in my life, no sarcasm intended whatsoever. And I know that THIS keyboard… This story will not be my last. But before I can move onto the myriad of other tales that are and have been festering in my head for decades, I need to complete my first one. So I guess, in essence, HEAVEN is its own version of a Gateway. A door leading from one Skew… One story to another.

Don’t worry all. I’m not going to Stephen King or MCU this sh*t. There’s no shared universe in my mind. Just a bunch of one-off tales that I want to write that have been and are being… well? Cock-blocked by The ENDWORLD Series. And I will. But before that happens I need to embrace THIS ending. The next scene I have planned to begin on page 86 is my first calculated risk in HEAVEN. So I’m forcing myself to pause for a night and ponder it before diving in. Sleep. Perchance to dream? I hope so. Because I want it to be RIGHT. Because the people out there that have read and supported me throughout this process deserve an ending that pulls no punches. Zero plot holes. I plan to leave no proverbial, literary stone unturned. Twelve bullets and MAXIMUM EFFORT. Not to mention a couple of swords sheathed upon my back. F*cking Deadpool. It… He NEVER gets old.

There’s an argument that can be made that The ENDWORLD Series, and my laser focus upon it for almost 30 years is nothing more than me, pointing at myself and saying “see ME? See what I’M doing?” I know some folks reading this right now feel that way. It’s inevitable. I knew what I was getting into when I opted to write mainly in the First Person and declared The ENDWORLD Series an “autobiographical fiction.” To them… To ANYONE that thinks I’m doing this to get attention I’ve got news for you: I’m not. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I write because I love doing it. I write for the one person that I can impact… Engage for a couple hundred pages and come away with a smile of enjoyment and fulfillment upon their face. It’s not about fame or money. It’s about creating something that can and hopefully WILL stand the test of time. I grew up reading books: A pear-shaped kid who got lost in the words penned by any number of mad geniuses. Books allowed me to escape everything from bullying to heartbreak. And writing books… Writing in general has had the same effect. It’s a natural extension of who I was into who I am today.

So for all of you, or the handful of you that have been waiting I’ve got good news: It’s coming. Faster than I expected and while I refuse to predict length, or how long it’ll take me to finish it I will tell you that, barring something catastrophic, it won’t be six years. It might not even be two. But when I’m satisfied with it… When it’s ready and worthy of being the closing chapter for not just William, but all the other characters that populate his universe you’ll see it. I look forward to that day more than you realize. Thank you, as before and always for your love, support and interest in my story. The fact that it found an audience is next to my children being born the most incredible thing that has ever happened to me and… God. It’s amazing. Humbling. I’m speechlessness folks. And that doesn’t happen very often.

Goodnight, all. Tonight I rest. Tomorrow night I jump back in. Page 86 is calling…

FM

Midnight Musings on How I Got Here, and How to Continue

Many of you, reading this do not know the story behind The ENDWORLD Series. Not that such a thing should apply in this world of writing and writers, of inspiration and the like that I’ve existed in for as long as I can remember. But here’s a little known fact about it: It was written initially as a fictional reaction to a non-fiction series of events. From it’s earliest days, when someone asked me what I was writing, I told them it was a “fictional autobiography.” When I started writing it, I was in love. And when I finished the first draft of it, not the one that I published seven years ago but the first, FIRST draft I was STILL in love. But that love was not returned. So it remained a story. As badly as I wanted it to be real it wasn’t. William, then Roland was me. And Maria was HER. And that was it. Finis.

When I decided to retool it back in 2011, I did so initially as a reaction to me, not being able to finish my MA in Education at Drexel. Much of that was by choice despite what many, over the years have come to believe. Yes, there were other factors that influenced my decision to walk away but in the end? It was MY call. Every decision we make in life has risk and reward. I knew the risk of walking away, but I also knew the reward and in truth? I would not be the man I am today… The father I am now had I continued along that path toward my dream of being a teacher. Do I regret it? Yes. I’ll admit that herein. But I may have regretted it more had I “stuck.”

Re-writing ENDWORLD was a way to fill a sudden gap in my heart and soul. My dream of being a teacher gone, I needed SOMETHING to replace it. So? I wrote. I dialed back to my basest instinct and re-told an evolved version of my original autobiographical fiction. And because of that… Because I poured so much into it it grew. It changed. It became about not just love but spirituality. I saw between the words of the original story a little-acknowleged belief system and a world… Worlds… An entire UNIVERSE that I needed to explicate. The final product was… Long. WAY longer than the original. It was flawed and a bit pretentious. It was repetitive but beneath the flaws, it was good. Very good. Maybe not great but as first novels go, I was pleased with the result. And as it went “live” and folks began to read it and like it my heart swelled with gratitude. I was a writer. A self-published one yes but the distinction, then and now has grown blurry. The book was a bit less polished than something published by Random House but it was professionally done. I went to great pains to make it so and that, along with my decision to self-publish it? I never regretted it. Not once. I still don’t.

And then? I started re-writing Book Two of my ENDWORLD Series. And within six months I was within 150 pages of done it. Once again, life threw me a curve ball. One at first. Then two. Then three. And then a flurry of them and I had to put CHILDREN aside. The decision to do so was yet another risk/reward, watershed moment for me and my life. Sadly, after a couple of years the risk far overshadowed the reward and the end result–one possible outcome which I saw early on but fought tooth and nail to prevent–still happened. Did I regret putting CHILDREN aside? No. I still don’t. Because in the end, I picked it back up and completed it. And the end result was very much an autobiographical fiction, albeit a more evolved, more adult and deeply personal one than the original ENDWORLD had been. CHILDREN was and, I still believe is the greatest thing I’ve ever written. It has flaws. Contrivances. But as second novels go, I couldn’t have been happier, given what anti-inspired it.

Which brings me to now. To HEAVEN AND ENDWORLD, Book Three of my ENDWORLD Series. Have I started it? Yes. I have. About three or four times and the last one was the one that “stuck.” The remainder of the tale is outlined to evolve from it. But finding the inspiration to compose it eludes me right now and THAT friends… THAT is what I am presently grappling with. This, like everything else has risk and reward. But there is less of the former, for the first time EVER and more of the latter because really? What have I got to lose?

I’m generally pretty content these days. Maybe that is the issue. I mentioned previously that ENDWORLD and CHILDREN were written from places of anti-inspiration. So much of what I have written in my life comes from those same, deep and dark places. And considering how CHILDREN ended my hero isn’t exactly in a warm and fuzzy mindset presently. He’s broken. Angry. He’s confused and dangerous. How do I reconcile that with who I, Frank Marsh am right now? Maybe not a living and breathing facsimile of a smiley face but close. Closer than I’ve ever been. Aye, Shakespeare. There’s the rub. How do I complete my tragic hero’s story when for the first time in my life, I don’t feel like I’m an unwilling participant in a f*cking tragedy?

I think the answer to that question is simpler than it seems. In short? I just do it. I find my inspiration… Seek out my muse and just GO. I’m not Stephen King. The only expectations I set are the ones I set for myself. At my core I am a perfectionist and anything short of that is unacceptable both for me, AND for you. So why wait? Why not just do it? Finish the story that I have 95% outlined in my head and on paper and finally… FINALLY be done with it?

I don’t know. I don’t know why I hesitate to do the one thing I need to do. Mayhap all I need to do is just sit down and let the words flow. I can always adjust and correct later. I think I’m close. I’m near to making that comitment. I know that now, and I owe a sincere “thank you” to my good friend Tim Jackson for helping me to realize that over the last 48 hours. Booyakasha, Marine. RESPECT. For anyone who is wondering YES, Tim is the person that Tim Redfield is loosely based on in the books. Not a villain in real life. Oh no. Far from it. He is a good man and a faithful friend. Maybe the one Joe or Josephine Schmoe out there that is about as close to me in personality as… Well? Me. And HIS story… Tim Redfield’s? The remainder of it will be told in HEAVEN. And it’s fascinating, folks. I promise you that.

So? Strap in gang. Let’s do this. Time to read over everything that I’ve written too date first and then GO. But? You’ve made it this far. You’ve read my oft times inane and insane ramblings both now, and in the past and because of that? I owe you some love. And a bit of a surprise. That said, I give you THIS. The opening of HEAVEN AND ENDWORLD. It may change a bit but probably not a lot. It strikes the right tone. It’s not a ton… I don’t want to give away the farm, but I do want you to see and know that in the immortal words of Freddy Mercury the show does, and WILL go on.

Goodnight all. Sweet dreams.

The sea has no memory.

I’m not sure where I heard that before. Some pre-Administration author or poet wrote it. Someone whose name was lost along with so much of what existed before. Before the Administration. Before the machines. Before Tim Redfield, alias Lord Lynk. Before I lost my best friend, turned lover turned the mother of my daughter. Her name flashes through my road weary mind as I stand here, my tarnished boots in the sand, staring out over the endless expanse of water that stretches out to the horizon before me beneath a gray, late Fall/early Winter sky. Not a dreaming python, and not deadly if you provoke it. But peaceful the way it undulates hypnotically before me. Somehow… someway I understand, and I close my eyes/feel the way the chilling, sea breeze blows against my cheeks and whips my long, mostly white hair out behind me.

The sea has no memory, I whisper to myself, and feel a moment’s respite from the nagging pain of hunger in my gut and the way my mind drifts like a fallen leaf, or a piece of wood upon the water.

I open my eyes. It is hard. More difficult than it ever has been before because I am tired. So tired. Time has passed. I am unsure of how much as time has no meaning here. A day… a week… a month, year, decade, century or millennia is infinite. Forever. Everything else dies but time? It marches ever onward like a dutiful humachine, it’s only purpose to taunt us… it’s only meaning to give a vague, sense of structure to the All. In the end? Laughable. “Only to die, as all must in time, the demise of a fool to fact.”

Remelius Vincent really knew his shit, sarcasm fully intended.

FM.

July Promotions for ENDWORLD – A Novel and CHILDREN OF ENDWORLD!

Good Afternoon Everyone, and Happy July! If you’re anything like me you’re looking forward to a month full of days off, beaches, mountains… whatever your chosen destination! Even a staycation if that’s your thing.

Who doesn’t love reading a good book while relaxing? I pride myself on bringing one or more with me when I head for points north, south, east or west. That said, I’m running a couple of promos this month in celebration of my favorite month of the summer!

The first? I’m dropping the price on the CHILDREN OF ENDWORLD eBook, across all platforms for the month of July to $1.50 EACH! If you’ve been meaning on picking up a copy of my latest novel and Book Two of The Endworld Series, now’s the time! Links to buy can be found on the “Where to Buy” page of this website so click HERE, or head on over and check ’em out!

To sweeten the pot? I’m also going to bring back my FREE BOOK FOR AN HONEST REVIEW promo from a few years ago. Both books–CHILDREN especially–are in need of reviews and if you’re willing to write one, I’m willing to provide you with a free copy of either book in whatever format you choose, including paperback! Yes, that’s how serious I am and how confident I am that you’ll enjoy this story. If you head over to the “About Me” page of this website you’ll see the various ways you can reach out to me. Don’t hesitate to do so! Click HERE. I’d love to hear from you!

Lastly, and perhaps MOST exciting: Beginning on Saturday, July 6th and and running through Sunday, July 10th, Book One of The Endworld Series, ENDWORLD – A Novel will be FREE… yes, I said FREE on both Amazon and Barnes and Noble. E-format only. If you’re a paperback person like me there is a way you can get your hands on a free copy. See the above paragraph. All you have to do is write a review. Good, bad, indifferent or just “meh.” Whatever you choose!

That’s it! Any questions, concerns et al you know where to reach me. Thanks as always for your patronage! Have a terrific month!

Best,

F.

A Quick, CHILDREN OF ENDWORLD Launch Day Postmortem

So I posted this across my Social Media footprint a few moments ago, and I wanted to throw it up here, as well. As near as I can tell, CHILDREN OF ENDWORLD is now live in all formats, both electronic and print. I’ve updated all the links on the WHERE TO BUY page, linkable via the main menu if you want to go and check it, and them out.

To everyone that has reached out to me, congratulated me, purchased a copy of either ENDWORLD – A Novel or CHILDREN OF ENDWORLD et cetera THANK YOU. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Those of you that picked one or both up, I hope you enjoy it/them. I ask only that you pass on your impressions as you read and finish it, i.e. review it! Indie publishing is not easy, and reviews are the lifeblood of an Indie author. The more reviews a book gets on Amazon, Barnes and Noble et al, good or bad the more recognizable it becomes. And if you have any questions, complaints et cetera reach out to me directly and I’ll get right back to you. Check out the HOW TO CONTACT ME page (also linkable via the main menu) if you’re interested.

That said? Thank you…. THANK YOU again. For supporting me and my dream all these years. I’ll have more news to announce soon, but for now? The hard part is done. And I guess I’d better get to writing HEAVEN AND ENDWORLD, huh?

Have a great evening, everyone.

F.

CHILDREN OF ENDWORLD – A Quick Hit

At approximately 1AM on April 23rd, 2019, six years to the date when I published ENDWORLD – A Novel, I finished reviewing all versions of the sequel, CHILDREN OF ENDWORLD, and ordered my final proof of the paperback version. Assuming the print version looks the way it did in the previewer, it is done. The e-versions will be priced at $2.99 and should be available for preorder within the next 24 hours at all of your standard, online retailers. The print version will be $15.99 and will be available for the same as soon as I review the proof and click “publish.” The book will OFFICIALLY RELEASE across all platforms at 12AM, EST this Saturday, April 27th. Links to follow as soon as everything goes live but folks? It’s time. #CHILDRENOFENDWORLDishere

Good Evening, and Goodnight.

F.

CHILDREN OF ENDWORLD – Cover Reveal!

Good Morning, Afternoon or Evening everyone! I hope you all had as spectacular a holiday as I did. I got to spend 90% of it with my minions, Cara and #NatNatBoo, and while I spent the better part of Thursday and Friday sick with either a Flu or Strep Throat, I… WE made up for it Saturday and Sunday. Playdates were had, candy was ingested (a LOT of it by everyone including me), gatherings were attended and… It was just downright awesome. I’ve spent so much of my recent life in a funk, trying to figure out the Why, the How… You know the litany. It was nice to finally just… Live. And enjoy.

And–in the midst of my revelry with my friends, their minions and mine on Saturday afternoon–I got a text. And that text? It was from my cover artist, Catalina. It was a picture. THE picture. You know the one of which I speak. I’ll talk about my reaction in a bit and a few other items but at this time? I see no reason to make you wait any longer. My friends, family and oft times casual readers? My “Social Media-Verse” as I often call you? With Cat’s blessing, I give you the cover to the forthcoming second book of The Endworld Series, CHILDREN OF ENDWORLD:

You’ll likely see this image a lot over the next few weeks, months and–if I’m lucky–years. I’m not a soothsayer or a “philosophiser” as White Goodman once said. I have no idea what will happen once this book goes live… No idea how it will be received. But this cover? It is everything… EVERYTHING I wanted and then some and Cat? I know you’re reading this and if I haven’t told you enough at this point? You are amazing. Incredible. You saw my vision, sketched out on piece of yellow legal paper what feels like a lifetime ago and you made it breathe. Sing. F*ck… Whatever! It’s unbelievable. Folks? If you want to check out Cat’s other work, pay her a visit on her Instagram page HERE, or at @itssketchcat. Please!

When she and I first discussed this years ago–on a slow afternoon at good ol’ CareersUSA, long before first her and then I FINALLY “got out”–it was just that: A discussion. CHILDREN was still in the early stages then but I had… Ideas. This was one. There were others but over time, this was the one I always came back to. When I officially asked her back over Christmas of last year and she officially accepted though? I don’t know. Seeing this now, I feel like we were both put there, in that sh*tty little office under the proverbial thumb of a… Let’s be honest, here: Tyrant–for a reason. Kind of like with Amy my editor: We were meant to reconnect back in 2009-2010, right when I first started retooling Book One after a number of long and at times eventful years. Folks? Whether you believe in Providence or not I do. And to have people like Amy and, now Cat with me on this journey? It feels like just that: Providence. Partners, friends… Everything. And now? I’ll stop rambling. Because you’ve probably got questions.

For obvious reasons, I can’t answer them all. Spoilers, sweeties… Spoilers. But ask them anyway. Check out my contact page, linkable in the above menu and reach out. I’ll do the best I can. Probably the most obvious one is: What the f*ck is a “Voodoo Tree?” Well? I can tell you that it’s a real thing. A real landmark in a real place. And if you remember Book One, you likely remember it. If you don’t, there’s no need to go back and reread the whole thing. Just check out the last chapter and the epilogue. It doesn’t appear until then. And whereas it does not have a ton of significance in ENDWORLD I promise you that it is crucial… Integral to not only CHILDREN, but HEAVEN AND ENDWORLD as well. And that? That’s about as far as I’m going to go into it. You’ll just have to check out CHILDREN in a week or so if you want to know more. A week or so? Yeah. That soon. I’ll touch on that more in a bit.

The other question that I’m guessing is running through your mind is why a hand drawn cover? There are two reasons for that and the first is that it simply looks better. Hand drawn equals art, and I am… We are all artists. Whether we write or draw, make music or sculpt, write Haikus or create comics we are what we are. And as such we support each other. If I can showcase another artist in the process of making my own art then I’m going to.

But the second reason? It’s a bit more vague. When I was a kid and I first started reading, I remember books like “The Hobbit” and “Bridge To Terabithia.” I remember reading them when I was my daughter Cara’s age and marvelling at the look of their covers. It was what drew me in. “Someone drew that” I would think to myself and I’d read on. This cover… Reminds me of what I felt like when I first discovered the written word decades ago. So it’s a callback. To my youth. To yours. And if there’s a cover that inspired you the way they did then and the way this one does for me now? I’d love to hear about it. Feel free to reach out. Again, check out my contact page. I promise I’ll get back to you as quickly as I can.

And that? That’s pretty much it! I guess the only question remaining is WHEN? Damnit, Frank, when are you going to go live with the book? Well? I’d love to get it out there by next weekend. And I’m going to go for that. It could make for a long week but you deserve it. You’ve waited long enough. So more details to follow. Once I run everything through their final checks I’ll be able to lock down the publication date. And you will be the first people who know. I promise.

Thank you all for your time, support and… Well? Just thank you. Thank you again for everything. As my alter-ego the Madchronicler is fond of saying, booyakasha. Respect. Talk to you soon!

F.

A Cherry Blossom Blooms in ENDWORLD

There may be one or two people out there, wondering why yours truly–a writer of Dystopian Science Fiction–just changed his website header picture from the cover of his first book to a picture of, of all things, a Cherry Blossom. Well? The answer is twofold and relatively simple:

1. I discovered this morning that I had a Cherry Blossom in my backyard–hence the picture; not a stock shot but one that I took myself–when I woke up, home with a couple of sick minions to find it in full bloom. Cherry Blossoms are my favorite tree and had you told me, before I bought this house last September that it had one in it’s backyard? Yeah. I would have paid full asking to ensure I got it. Because…

2. Cherry Blossoms symbolize renewal. And the last half year has been all about that for me. New beginnings… Starting over… If you read my blog Random Musings you know the litany at this point. I’m not going to belabor you any more with my life story. But it really has been about endings and beginnings, which brings me to…

The significance of renewal to CHILDREN OF ENDWORLD and, more specifically, HEAVEN AND ENDWORLD. No spoiler alert (I promise) but I wrote CHILDREN whilst dealing with… Many of the issues that caused me to end up HERE, in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, and not in Broomall where I resided and wrote for almost 13 years. You should know–and you will in a few weeks–that CHILDREN really is the end of one story and the beginning of another one. It reflects the transition that I am going through in my life presently. And ever since I moved here/started this new, oft times bizarre, many times quiet new life of mine I’ve been looking for signs. Omens. And to have this happen today? Well. If that’s not a GOOD omen then I don’t know what is.

So I tell you, my friends, family and oft time casual readers now that HEAVEN? It will have a Cherry Blossom in it. Blossoms perhaps. Both physically, and figuratively. Because renewal is something to embrace, not run from. Life changes. And if you don’t embrace the changes when they happen and make the best of them you run the risk of becoming bitter. No matter how hard it gets… No matter how difficult and different my life becomes I will always, ALWAYS embrace the changes.

Even in Endworld, folks, there is still and always will be beauty to be found. Physical. Emotional. And spiritual. Even in the darkest of days there will always be hope. Never forget that. I sure the hell won’t. I’ve got a Cherry Blossom in my backyard, now, to always remind me.

F.