A Long Overdue Update

Good Morning, Afternoon, Evening or night, everyone. I know that it’s been a while and I hope that my absence hasn’t soured you on me or my writing. ‘Course, I haven’t been doing much writing lately. To recap? I started a new job back in early December of 2013 and have been focused primarily on that since. I’ve wanted to write… have even started a blog entry or two since, but nothing has made it past “draft” stage.

The situation with CHILDREN OF ENDWORLD is, unfortunately, a similar one. That book remains 280 or so pages to the good. I have about 100 or so left to write and hope to be doing so again in the very near future. But first, I need to read and revise what I’ve written. I’m relatively confident that the story is still “there” (and by “there,” I mean here in my head as I’m typing with Pink Floyd playing over my headphones, “The Voice” on the TV in front of me and my beloved wife Nicole sitting beside me). I just need to revisit what I’ve already composed. I’ve learned over the last however many years that I’ve been writing that consistency is the key. It needs to flow. Hopefully I’m through the first 280 plus and banging out the last 100 soon. I’ll be sure to let y’all know!

This isn’t going to be a long entry. I honestly don’t have a lot to report outside of what I just mentioned. But I would like to take a moment and bring you up to speed on the few, minor things that I have done since I last “stopped” by my website. So…

  • Pre-Christmas, I lowered the eBook price of ENDWORLD – A NOVEL from $3.99 to $1.99. I was only going to do this over the holidays, but New Year’s rolled around, I thought about it a bit and decided to leave it. As I’ve said on numerous occasions, this process–writing and publishing–has never been about money for me. It’s about creating something lasting that people, I hope, enjoy. So if a $1.99 price point makes the eBook more affordable to more people? So be it. I will keep it as such moving forward. That said, if you haven’t read it yet and you’re thinking about doing so, now’s a great time to pick it up! Check it out on Amazon for your Kindle, at Barnes and Noble (dot com) for your Nook, in the iBookstore for your iPad or iPhone… or just go to the “Where to Buy ENDWORLD – A NOVEL” tab of this website. And if you read it and loved it, recommend it to your friends, family, associates… whoever! In addition…
  • If you read and loved ENDWORLD – A NOVEL… heck, if you just liked it a lot or maybe just a little, please let me know about it. It’s been sitting at eight reviews on Amazon, two reviews on Barnes and Noble and a handful of reviews on Goodreads for as long as I can remember. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: I’m very confident in what I wrote. I think it’s a good story (albeit a bit long in the tooth as one or two people have told me) and most everyone that I’ve spoken with feels the same. But the only way it’ll ever be recognized as more than just some random guy’s vain attempt at self-publication is if it gets exposure. And it’ll only get that with more reviews. So please… please post your thoughts on it where others can see them. And my earlier offer of one free eCopy for a review stands. If you want to take me up on it, comment here, email me (madchronicler@verizon.net), message me on FB (https://www.facebook.com/frankmarshauthor), “Tweet” me on Twitter (https://twitter.com/fmarshauthor), or just go to the “About Frank Marsh” tab of this website. You’ll see a whole myriad of ways that you can drop me a line. Thanks!

Ladies and gentlemen? Friends, Romans, countrymen and women? That’s all I’ve got to say tonight! Work comes early and I’ve got a few other things that I need to do before I tag and bag my day. Let me take a brief moment and thank you all again for your ongoing support of me and my writing. I can’t tell you how much it means to me that even now, almost a year after I first published ENDWORLD – A NOVEL, people are still buying it. I’ll not lie: It’s a total rush to look at my rankings on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other sites and occasionally see a spike in sales. I look forward to bringing you it’s sequel in the near future. Perhaps not as “near” as I originally envisioned, but I promise it won’t be 19 years.

CHILDREN OF ENDWORLD is coming. I vow it. And one thing that you should know about me? I keep my promises.

G’Night, all!

F.

Advertisements

Another “Quick Hit”

Every so often, you need to take a break. Take me: I’ve been writing pretty much non-stop in some way, shape or form for the last couple of years. It’s not that I mind… I don’t but it’s a lot. It’s a tough pace to keep up especially when you’re trying to balance it with two full time jobs–one that pays the bills and one, parenthood, that doesn’t. So last Friday night–at the same time that I completed page 263, Part Three of Children of Endworld–I decided to take a break. Not a long one: Maybe a week or two. However long it takes me to go back, read and revise what I’ve written and read Doctor Sleep by Stephen King which… unless something changes… should be sitting on my Kindle Fire when I wake up tomorrow morning. A sequel to The Shining? Yes, please. I promise to post a review either here, or over on “Random Musings” when I’m done.

Generally when I finish working on something I do a post-mortem on it. I’m not going to do that now on Children because… well, because I’m not done writing it yet, though I expect that the last 150-175 pages or so are going to be a lot easier to write then the last 100 were. I’e been actively working on the sequel to ENDWORLD – A Novel since mid-May, 2013. It is now late September of the same and I’ve written more in the last four months plus than I think I’ve ever written before. Not just Children but other stuff, as well, namely things like THIS and the things I’ve posted over on my personal blog. The last 100 pages ate up the two months and the plus of that time. It needed to for if it doesn’t work, then the entire series falls flat on its face before I even make it to Book Three which is, I’ll not lie, the one I am looking MOST forward to writing. So I took a lot of care with it. As for whether or not that care pays off? I leave that for you to decide. Coming soon. Stay tuned.

All that said, this really isn’t anything but a “Quick Hit,” i.e. a couple of brief bullet points that I feel the need to address, explain… whatever it is that I do when I’m not wiping butts or scraping hydraulic fluid out from underneath my fingernails (not in that order). So here goes:

  1. ENDWORLD – A Novel is still in need of reviews. It’s up to eight on Amazon (4.5 star average), two on Barnes and Noble (five star average) and three on Goodreads (also a five star average). I’ve got a couple in the can that I’m waiting for (if if you’re reading this right now you know who you are). Remember: 10 on Amazon is the proverbial point of critical demarcation, i.e. the point where the “powers that be” say, “Oh SNAP! This book has 10 reviews and they’re overwhelmingly positive. Lets give it a bump.” But it’s not just Amazon. Many third party reviewers won’t even look at your book unless it has 10 reviews/at least a four star average on Amazon. Please: If you read ENDWORLD and you liked it, take a minute or two to publish a review of it. Feel free to do so if you didn’t like it, too, though realistically? If you read it and hated it, you probably wouldn’t be reading this, right now. And if you hated it and you are? Darn, dude. You’re a glutton for punishment. And if you’re still interested in my open-ended deal–one e-copy for one review–let me know. I’d be happy to oblige.
  2. Children of Endworld is going to need Beta readers really, really soon as in within the next couple of months. A few people have already approached me and asked for a copy when I’m finished and those people get first dibs. But I generally like to have between 10 and 12 people reading and submitting feedback at a time. Those people need to have a sense of humor, as well, since generally, the Beta copy is not the final copy, i.e. it’s rough, and oft times sloppy though I pride myself on cleaning it up pre-handing it out. If you’re interested in being a Beta reader for Children please, let me know either here or via one of the ways given under the “About Frank Marsh” tab. I’ll put you on the list.
  3. Sometime between now and when I finally “go live” with Children–still looking at mid-2014–I will be publishing something else. My “secret” project that I’ve referenced but not given any details on. One or two people know about it and that’s as far as it’s going to go. All I will tell you, presently, is that it is both separate AND a part of The Endworld Series.  As for what that means? That’s the mystery that I look forward to unraveling for you in the near future. I’d love to do some sort of J J Abrams viral campaign for it but I don’t have the time or the resources to do so. Plus, I don’t know that people are as eagerly anticipatory of my secret project as they are of Star Wars Episode Seven. I wouldn’t ask them to be. Hell, I’m more ciked for Episode Seven than I am for it. But it’s going to be fun. I promise. Once I’m done Children I’m going to start prep’ing it. More to follow.
  4. So as to make your experiences both here and over on “Random Musings” more flawless (i.e. me, not cross-referencing one on the other and Hyper-linking/making you page between the two), I’ve started working on a new all-inclusive website. It’s not published yet so there’s no URL to give out but when it’s done? I promise that y’all here and over on my personal blog will be the first ones to know.
  5. This one is p’urty darned important (hence the BOLD print): I am taking the advice of a few of my contemporaries and altering my Twitter handle. Ever since I first joined the Twitterverse I have been “@madchronicler97.” While I’m always leery of change I understand that now that I’m… well, pseudo-public I need to be easier to find. My new, official Twitter handle moving forward is “@fmarshauthor” (linked for your convenience) and hopefully by the time I’m done today, that’s the one that’ll be on everything that bears my name and resemblance.  

And that’s pretty much it. Like I said, this is little more than a “Quick Hit.” I’d like to take a moment to thank those of you that continue to support me in this slightly insane undertaking of mine. I say this a lot but I feel like I need to say it again: All that I’ve achieved over the last year would not be possible were it not for the assistance of everyone from my wife, Nicole–who remains my biggest fan and free publicist–to my little ladies Cara and Natalie who… for the most part… sleep while daddy’s writing (though they don’t always sleep when I’m not). Furthermore to all my friends, family and contemporaries who continue to listen to me drone on and on about The Endworld Series and my every-evolving idea for William MacNuff’s universe despite the fact that they’ve been dealing with it and me for, in many cases, 20 years now. Yes, that’s right: It has now been 20 years since I started the first draft of what was then called just Endworld (I began it in August of 1993, as many of you already know whilst working in the dusky basement of a college). Back then the mere notion of actually publishing something other than an editorial in my school newspaper was, to me, completely “out there.” Not so much any longer. I’ve got to tell you: The reality is so. Much. Sweeter.

Happy reading, everyone. If you haven’t done so yet, make sure you pre-order your copy of Doctor Sleep, the long-awaited sequel to one of my all time favorite books The Shining. Not that Stephen King needs my help but the least I can do is give him a shout-out since he is one of, if not the main reason why I started writing in the first place. And stay tuned for more as I get closer and closer to being done the next book in The Endworld Series…

The first book of which, ENDWORLD – A Novel is available NOW in either e-copy or paperback at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and any number of other outlets. Links to buy under the “Where to Buy” tab on this website. Looking for a good, autumn read? Grab a steaming cup of hot apple cider and a slice of pumpkin pie, curl up under a blanket or two by the fire and give it a look. Take care!

F,

An Update on CHILDREN OF ENDWORLD and a Heartfelt Thank You

Hello, friends. Happy August 13th. I hope your respective summers are going well. Mine has been… interesting, to say the least. Writing has happened in spurts and fits, and as of this morning, the sequel to my debut, ENDWORLD – A Novel is 181 pages “to the good.” The process has slowed down a bit in the last few weeks due to a few, extenuating circumstances and to the fact that the portion of CHILDREN OF ENDWORLD that I am currently writing is, arguably, the toughest portion of any of the books to write. I knew this going in and was prepared for this section to take a while but once I’m through it? I have a feeling that the rest will come pretty quickly. I’m still shooting for an end of year finish and a 2014 publication. Not to mention my as-of-yet unrevealed mystery project which I hope will appear sometime between now, and then. But I’m not going to tell you about that one yet. All I’ll say is this: It’s different, but it is related to The Endworld Series. Curious? Stay tuned.

So that’s the latest on the sequel and my other undertakings. My editor already has the first two parts of CHILDREN and is reviewing them, currently. Optimally, I’ll be able to publish a preview sometime within the next few weeks or months, i.e. the Prologue, and maybe the first chapter but we’ll see. No promises. But I’d love to give those of you that have read and enjoyed ENDWORLD – A Novel a taste of what’s ahead for William. Which is the other reason why I’m writing this little update, today.

I know I’ve been somewhat persistent in my requests for reviews over the last few months. I think I’ve explicated my reasons for that pretty extensively. In short? Reviews = Visibility. And I am pleased to report that as of today, ENDWORLD – A Novel is up to 13 total reviews over multiple platforms. Thank you to everyone that has taken the time to publish their feedback, good or bad. Thankfully, the bulk of it has been good. If you’re wondering what people are saying, here’s a little sampling:

Engaging and entertaining. In his freshman novel debut Frank has a well written and captivating story. I would disagree with another review that said he spent too much time on certain parts and that descriptions were too lengthy. I felt that the sections that were slightly more descriptive were there to give the reader a fuller and more vivid mental picture of what was happening and did just that. I enjoyed the book very much and from the end of chapter one was hooked and had a hard time putting it down every night to go to sleep and looked forward to reading more the next day. As an avid reader I can often times predict the ending before I even get there. I was pleasantly surprised several times with interesting plot twists. I enjoyed the adventures of William McNuff and Maria Markinson and look forward to hopefully new adventures down the road.

Great Story – Hope to see it on the Big Screen! While not the typical genre of book I tend to read, Endworld – A Novel by Frank Marsh roped me in with a story that builds like a crescendo. The images are well detailed and I can easily see this turning into a Big Screen action/love thriller reminiscent of the Terminator days of my youth. These characters are dear to my heart, and I can’t wait until the next book is released. It’s a highly recommended read for someone looking to escape life for a while with a mental adventure! Congratulations, Mr. Marsh! Keep the story coming!

Great Book! Fantastic book! It really draws you in and you can’t wait to find out what happens. I had to stop myself numerous times from reading ahead (a big weakness I have with a great read!). Good first published book from this author. I can’t wait for the next book (and the rest of the series) to be written!

Book Club Alert! Endworld by Frank Marsh – Book CLUB readers ALERT! A fresh new author offers plenty to discuss in this fast paced novel, from saving humanity to the gentle curiosity of young love. Not just a lesson of the trusted zippo lighter but the parallel of the deceitful friend. Young William and Maria leave their safe controlled homes to explore another existence without the Robotic Administration. Is Freeworld One just a fantasy, or could it really exist? A good meaty book for summer reading. Five Stars in my log!

Great Book. This book is a wonderfully written coming of age story about William and Maria’s journey from a machine controlled life. Their journey has many twists and turns. It is an exciting story! A must read!!!

There are more, and I’d like to express my gratitude to everyone that has taken the time to tell me their thoughts, either publicly or privately. My appreciation to you, you, you and YOU cannot be measured. The fact that so many people have purchased and read ENDWORLD – A Novel or are in the process of reading it, currently, is really all the reward I require. As I’ve said before, I was never in this to make money. If I make money doing what I love doing terrific. But the sheer fact that I am doing it is incredible. It’s a dream come true. That’s due largely in part to you, All of you that have supported me. And I promise you that I will continue to do it, come what may. Pinky swear.

All that said, I’d still love to hear from more of you so if you haven’t gotten back to me or published a review, yet, please do. If you’re still interested in a free copy in exchange for an honest review get in touch with me via any of the ways listed in the “About Frank Marsh” section. Email, FB, Twitter DM… or just here in the “Comments” section. That offer is a standing one. Always.

Remember, ENDWORLD – A Novel is available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, in the iBookstore and on various other platforms, both electronic and traditional (in paperback). Links to all can be found under the “Where to Buy” tab on this website. If you’re still looking for a good, summer read (heck, I’m going on vacation this weekend and am looking for something to “dig into”) I urge you to pick it up. Not because I wrote it. Well, maybe a little bit. No. Pick it up because you’re looking to get lost in a good story. Twelve out of 13 people can’t be wrong, right?

Happy reading, everyone. Have a great rest of your summer!

F.

The World Loves a “Troll,” Sarcasm Fully Intended

So last night, I received my first negative review of ENDWORLD – A Novel. Not a bad ratio, really: 10 total, positive reviews to one negative (six on Amazon, one on Barnes and Noble and three on Goodreads = 10). Don’t worry: I’m not going to spend the next x-amount of paragraphs defending myself. I’ve always said that I did not expect everyone to like it. I don’t enjoy every book that I read. Why would I expect the entire world to enjoy mine?

It’s not the fact that it received a bad review that is… for lack of a better phrase, “sticking in my crow.” It’s the fact that while there’s no way to be sure, I have a feeling the person that called ENDWORLD – A Novel “awful” is a “troll.” For those of you unaware of what a troll or “trolling” is in modern day, net-speak, look no further than my good friends at Wikipedia:

Troll (Internet): In Internet slang, a troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a forum, chat room, or blog), either accidentally, or with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion (Source: Wikipedia). 

Mind you, this is just my opinion. The reviewer may not be a troll. He may be nothing more than a person with no command of basic sentence structure. But me? I’m going with a troll.

Normally, I wouldn’t react like this. I’ve encountered trolls before and have given them about as much thought as I give a non-existent boil on my a**, i.e. none. Maybe the reviewer really did give ENDWORLD – A Novel a chance and determined:

Awful! this junk is just not my bag! Could not get through the first 50 pages, kept falling asleep. I need to stick with action thrillers 

Poor grammar and sentence structure preserved 100% from what he wrote on Amazon. Incidentally, the same party has only ever reviewed one other book, and he did so on the same day–yesterday–that he reviewed mine. The review is of The Last Man: A Novel by Vince Flynn and it states:

RIP vince Flynn. Written when Vince was in cancer therapy, I believe, this might not have been his best but was still Mitch Rapp as I,ve grown to love him. Looking for some one to continue the Rapp series in Vince’s memory. 

Again, poor grammar and sentence structure preserved 100% from what he wrote on Amazon. He gave that book five stars. I include it herein as a point of comparison (he gave my book one star) only. I’ve never read anything by Vince Flynn so I’m no judge of his work. This isn’t about him, God rest his soul. It’s not about a bad review. Again, that’s not what’s “sticking in my crow.” It’s about a conclusion I came to last evening as I read his review of ENDWORLD – A Novel. That conclusion?

This guy is a complete, f’n troll. 

It’s written all over his profile–really nothing more than a name and a list of reviews; no point of contact, no picture: Nothing–and his piss-poor command of punctuation, capitalization et al.

Perhaps I’m wrong. Maybe the reviewer really is legit and it’s just a poorly written review. If he is and he really hated the first 50 pages that badly then I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse. Dear reviewer: I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy ENDWORLD – A Novel. I’m sorry you weren’t willing to give it a chance beyond 50 pages. If you’d like, I will personally refund you the price of your purchase. Please email me at madchronicler@verizon.net with a copy of your receipt and I will either cut you a check, deposit the money into PenPal… whatever you’d like.

But I don’t think you will. You see, a legit reviewer, not interested in sowing discord but in warning other people not to “waste their money” on something like my novel would have given… well, a basis for their argument. All you did was wave your proverbial finger at it and call it a name. If you’re more partial to “action thrillers” that’s cool. I like them, too. But don’t torpedo someone’s rating and potentially their ranking on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or any site without a little back-up. I’m not saying debate me in a court of law. Maybe just… why? What about it was “junk?” Is it edited poorly? Let me know and I’ll talk to my editor about it. Is the writing not your style? Okay. That’s your opinion. I’m not going to change how I write for you but I will take it into consideration, especially if more people complain. Were you looking for more action and less exposition? Then I’ve got good news for you: Once you get passed the first 50 pages (bear in mind, I am setting up a trilogy of novels at the least here, and not one book) things pick up. Why? Give me a bit more and I’ll take you seriously. If you can’t? Well then. I guess you really are just a troll. Or someone with no command of basic sentence structure. Enjoy your chosen profession, whichever one it is. End rant.

They say that you never forget your first negative review and admittedly? I’ll never forget mine. I’m not upset. ENDWORLD – A Novel still has a 4.3 star average on Amazon/is up to seven reviews. Four more positive ones get me over my goal of 10 so ladies and gentlemen? If you are reading this right now and you read the book, regardless of what you thought of it, please post a review. Whether you do so on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Goodreads is your call. Like I’ve said numerous times before now (and mentioned above), I don’t anticipate that everyone is going to like The Endworld Series. That’s fine. That’s part of being “public” and not “private.” And if my rating drops because more people dislike it than like it okay. So long as they offer a reason or reasons. Regardless, I’m still confident in what I made “public.”

My offer of a free e-copy for an honest review remains, as well. It’s a standing offer. Anyone reading this that’s interested? Leave me a comment, email me (address above), DM me at “madchronicler97” on Twitter, message me on Facebook… whatever you want to do, and I promise: I’ll oblige.

The only way to combat trolls or people with little to no command of the English language in this day and age–’cause there really is no way to prevent them–is to counter them with real, legitimate critiques and that’s what I’m asking for. In the immortal words of Jerry Maguire, “help me help you.”

I’d be happy to.

An Update on CHILDREN OF ENDWORLD and My First Author Interview

Hello, everyone. I know that it’s been a while since I last posted an update here on the ENDWORLD site (though “Random Musings” has been pretty hopping these last couple of weeks; cruise on over and check it out if you don’t believe me). This one isn’t going to be a long one. I just wanted to drop by real quick, and let you know what I’ve been up to in case you’re curious.

First, a CHILDREN update. CHILDREN OF ENDWORLD just broke the 150 page mark, typed today, and is by my best reckoning a shade under half done. Understand that when I say “half done” I don’t mean that it’s only going to be 300 pages long. It’s not. I expect that it’ll be at least as long as ENDWORLD was, perhaps longer (the final draft of ENDWORLD clocked in at 412 pages typed). But Parts One and Two are both done, and I’ve only planned four parts. Henceforth my “half done” comment. Section-wise, it is. Story-wise, it’s about 40% complete.

I’ll not lie to you: A lot has happened already in the narrative and a lot more is poised to happen. CHILDREN is, believe it or not, a  meatier story than its predecessor. I’ve a lot to tell to set up the third and final book in THE ENDWORLD SERIES and in order to keep it moving, I’ve really shored it up. I have to. If I don’t, it’s going to balloon into a 1000 page epic a la Robert Jordan’s WINTER’S HEART, filled with pages upon pages of description and very little action. I love description (in case you can’t tell), but I also love reading, and I know as an avid reader that nothing takes you out of a story quicker than over-describing something. I’ll concede that there’s a good deal of that in ENDWORLD. But in CHILDREN? I’ve gone to great pains to eliminate it.

I should tell you that I feel a great deal more confident about this book, likely because I’m no longer a self-publishing virgin. I’ve gotten my feet wet: I’ve listened to a handful of critiques and praises. I’ve re-read ENDWORLD with all in mind and I see where it fails, and where it succeeds. In short? ENDWORLD is most certainly a Freshman Novel. CHILDREN is more refined. Is it better? I think that remains to be seen. The sheer emotion that went into ENDWORLD, coupled with the fact that it’s the first book that I ever published will always keep it at the height of my esteem. But structurally, I do think CHILDREN is better. IMO, of course. I honestly don’t know. It remains a mystery, and will until such time as I finish it, get copies into the hands of my Beta Readers and get their feedback. Stay tuned.

But enough about CHILDREN. I don’t want to ruminate on it, I just want to write it. Onto other things. Actually, really just one other thing. I have a few other things potentially in the pipeline, but I don’t want to write about them, now. I need to wait and see how they pan out, first. I promise you that when they do, though, you reading this will be among the first to know.

This week, I am being featured in an author interview spot on Ryan Schneider’s website (www.ryanschneiderauthor.com). “10 Questions with Science Fiction Writer Frank Marsh.” If you’re interested in checking it out, you can link it HERE. This is actually my first official author interview, and I’m grateful to Ryan for choosing to feature me and my feelings on the Oxford Comma (among other things; I promise it’s not an interview on Phonics; the questions are actually pretty nifty). Check it out if you have a few moments. And check out his latest novel EYE CANDY, available exclusively via Amazon.com! Now available in e-format and in paperback! It’s good. And I’m not just saying that because he’s doing me a solid. It is a damn fine book. Trust me. You won’t be disappointed.

And that’s all she err… he, as in me… I wrote. I guess. Back to William’s story. If you haven’t yet picked up a copy of ENDWORLD – A Novel I urge you to do so. Don’t wait for me to finish CHILDREN OF ENDWORLD. I promise I’ll be done it soon enough. Scout’s honor: I’m not going to George R R Martin you. Publication next Spring is looking mighty feasible right about now, God willing. Check out the “Where to Buy” tab on this website for links to where it’s available. Read it, enjoy it, review it (I can’t stress that enough; reviews = legitimacy) and experience the book that people are calling “a good meaty book for summer reading,” “five stars in my log,” “well written and captivating,” “it really draws you in” and ” from the end of chapter one was hooked, and had a hard time putting it down every night to go to sleep.” What are you waiting for?

Happy reading, everyone.

F.

Book Review: EYE CANDY By Ryan Schneider

EyeCandyDigital

“It’s because in my book, I say that robots as a species, albeit a new one, are as valuable as humans. I also say that robots, as a species, again, albeit a new species, are invested with great, inner power. Like all such groups, they must be watched, kept in check, and if necessary, actively restrained in their quest for advancement.” 

Excerpt from Eye Candy by Ryan Schneider

So technically this site is not a book review site. But like most writers/authors, traditionally published, self published or not published at all, I read a lot. I used to read a lot more than I do nowadays, but the whole writing my own book (or books) thing has robbed me of much of my once-precious “free time.” But I still do read. To a lesser extent. And I’ve been advertising this book on both this site and over on “Random Musings of a Pseudo-Madman Version 2.0” for over a month. I just finished it last night and I feel obligated to post a review of it on here. Why? Because there’s more out there than just ENDWORLD – A Novel. There are other authors, “indie” or otherwise, that are writing and publishing quality material every day. Eye Candy is no exception. Plus, Ryan’s been a big help to me over the last month plus. The least I can do is tell you, my followers how much I enjoyed his most recent novel.

I’m new to Ryan’s writing. Pre-Eye Candy, I’d only ever read one of his books (A Shadow Passed Over the Son, the first book in the Go-Kids Series; book two is next on my “to read” list).  Despite a basic familiarity with his work, I knew before I started reading it that I was in for something different. The Go-Kids Series is YA (“Young Adult”), and Eye Candy was billed as Ryan’s first post-YA novel. So it was, for lack of a better term, a literary anomaly. Well? It’s an anomaly no more. I finished it late last night/early this morning and my rating? Five Stars. I loved it. Here’s why (portions of this review culled from my Amazon and Goodreads reviews):

Generally the phrase “refreshingly traditional” is an oxymoron. Most things that are traditional are not refreshing, i.e. they’ve been overdone. Such is not the case with Eye Candy, which works as a highly effective extension of the future first envisioned by Issac Asimov in his Robot Series. Yes, Asimov. I went there. As many of you who know me know I heart Asimov. His Foundation Series was one of the main influences of my own writing. I’ve always considered my robots, i.e. the robots of ENDWORLD – A Novel a hybrid of the Terminator and R Daneel Olivaw (one of the main protagonists in not just the Foundation Series, but in his Robot Series, as well. See HERE). The world portrayed by Ryan in Eye Candy is a logical “next step” in the evolution of not just R Daneel, but the literary robot. In his world, the Three Laws of Robotics exist and are still adhered to, but robots are becoming more and more human-like with each, passing day. In case you don’t know what Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics are, they are:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

They’re incredibly important to the plot of Eye Candy, so if you’ve never read Asimov and you’re going to pick this novel up on my recommendation, the least I can do is give you a primer. Anywhos, I don’t want to give away any spoilers. I’ll just say that the proverbial line between “real” and “not real” is very thin, and you, the reader, will be left pondering that very question, even after a handful of twists and turns and a firm resolution that I, admittedly, didn’t see coming. I heart twists and turns almost as much as I heart Asimov. Kudos for keeping me guessing until the end, Ryan.

Eye Candy is more than just a story about robots, though. It has a message. And while it’s not overly laden with philosophical and spiritual themes, i.e. it’s not preachy (as much as I heart Asimov he did get preachy from time to time; not “Planet of the Apes” preachy, but semi-so), there’s just enough in the dialogue between the primary characters–characters like Danny Olivaw (nice shout out), Candace “Candy” Calvin and the myriad of other characters that populate Schneider’s futuristic LA–to keep the closet academic in me thinking. As for what that message is? In the words of Professor River Song, “spoilers.” I’m not going to give you any. But I promise that the message does not detract in the slightest from the story. The plot is well-developed and moves at a brisk pace, even for a 450 plus page, freestanding novel. And the culmination of that plot? Wow. If you like action, you’re really going to like the last 15-20% of the novel. Prepare to be dazzled. I was. I believe in the credo that “no amount of blowing sh*t up is too much.” Apparently, Ryan does, too.

Like I said before, I’d only ever read one of Ryan’s books pre-reading Eye Candy, but I’m pretty sure that I’ve fairly “gotten” his writing style. It is succinct and too the point without sacrificing description, and his reliance on dialogue to drive his story is very Asmiov-ian without being an overt rip-off of Asimov. In short? Eye Candy maintains a stamp that is distinctly his. I highly recommend it to the 18+ crowd. Ryan has made his bones as a YA author, but Eye Candy is not for that demographic. It stands as an incredibly strong foray into post-YA Sci-Fi. Interested? Grab your copy TODAY. Link to buy it HERE. And while you’re at it, be sure to check out his website HERE (www.authorryanschneider.com).

That’s all I’ve got, guys. Have a great day. Happy reading.

F.

Of Offers, Reviews and the Problem with Sequels

“I’ve been here before.

“You may remember me from the past if such a concept can and does exist here in Endworld. Past, present and future? All are meaningless in a place where we humans live from sunrise to sunset. Time, as I have mentioned incessantly, has no significance here. It never has…

“And it never will.”

Excerpt from the Prologue to CHILDREN OF ENDWORLD, “Full Circle”

So begins (with a couple of sentences omitted so as to not give anything away to those of you that haven’t finished ENDWORLD – A Novel yet) the sequel to what one person called my “Freshman novel debut.” The book is entitled CHILDREN OF ENDWORLD and it is 34 pages to the good, presently. Admittedly? I’m very happy with what I’ve written so far, but 34 pages is nothing. I’ve still got a long way to go. As I’ve said before, perhaps as incessantly as William MacNuff refers to time or the absence thereof in Endworld, what I think of it doesn’t matter. What matters is what you, my readers think of it. And the finished product is still a ways off. Not too long, though. Something tells me that when I 100% commit to writing it it’ll consume my mind, body and soul like it’s predecessor did. It’s tough to say when it’ll be done and be available, but optimally? I’d love to have it done and out by this time, next year. I like May. May’s a good month for book releases. So tentatively? May, 2014. That’s my goal. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, the best I can definitively offer you is a blog entry here/over on Random Musings, or an update like this one. I’ve been toying with putting a completion graph up on the “About THE ENDWORLD SERIES” tab but have decided not to. You don’t need to see that (though I ate up Brandon Sanderson’s while he was working on The Wheel of Time Series). I’m sure I’ll write about it plenty between now and then. Besides, trying to put a percentage on “doneness” when it comes to writing a novel is, I have discovered, no easy task. Even if I use the first book’s page count and my treatment as a baseline. I guesstimate that by the time I’m done, CHILDREN will be as long as, if not longer than ENDWORLD was. Is. Sometimes, Tense really messes with me.

I’m quickly discovering that the problem with a sequel–even one that I originally wrote X-amount of years ago and am now rewriting–isn’t getting back into the minds of my characters. If you love your characters like I love mine, continuing their story is not a problem. If anything, it’s intoxicating. It’s not the writing process, either: I can already see a “Sophomore” maturity in CHILDREN that ENDWORLD doesn’t have.  The problem with writing a direct sequel (not a three-quel, a four-quel, et el) so soon after you published the first book is this: THE ENDWORLD SERIES is not an established commodity, yet. I still have no bleepin’ idea what people think of it.

That’s not an implication of anyone. It’s a long book, and it’s only been out for a few weeks. I know how difficult it is nowadays to sit down and commit to just reading. Unless I’m on a vacation somewhere the majority of my reading is done post-10 PM at night and pre-passing out between 11 and 11:30 PM, a fact that my wife is graciously accepting of. Or so she tells me. I know reviews are forthcoming (for better or for worse, though most people that I’ve talked to really appear to be enjoying it) and I know that the book has sold modestly and to my initial expectations. But a big part of my motivation for writing not only it, but anything has always been interest. Not just my interest, but the interest of my potential readers. That said…

Are those readers–you–happy with ENDWORLD – A Novel? Is it fulfilling your expectations? Exceeding them? Falling short? I’m dying to know. Even if you’re still reading it, are you on-board with William, Maria and their adventure or are you jumping ship? Be bluntly honest with me, guys. My ego = A non-entity here. If you don’t want to do it publicly, please do it privately. See the “About Me” section of this site. You can contact me any of those ways. I promise I’ll get it.

The public version of ENDWORLD – A Novel will be three weeks old this Saturday. The private version has existed for much, much longer as those of you that know me and have been following me know. So far, this is a sampling of what I know people think about it:

“This book is a wonderfully written coming of age story about William and Maria’s journey from a machine controlled life. Their journey has many twists and turns. It is an exciting story! A must read!!!”

“Started reading this book the other day at the recommendation of a friend. So far, I’m really enjoying the book! I can’t wait to see what happens next.”

“In his freshman novel debut (at least to my knowledge) Frank has a superbly written & compelling novel. At the end of two chapters I was completely sucked in & have a hard time putting it down every night to go to bed. I can’t wait to see how it ends!” 

I’d like to thank the people that published those reviews (one on Barnes and Noble and two on Goodreads), as well as those of you that have given me generally positive feedback in other ways (on the phone, via DM, via Facebook, Twitter et al). I haven’t heard “it sucks” once and that, for me, is an epic win. That’s not to say that someone, somewhere isn’t reading it right now and thinking that. Believe it or not? If that person is reading this right now, I want to hear from you. I need to. Again, my ego = A non-entity. Publicly or privately, get in touch with me and let me know. I promise that I’ll do everything in my power to explain either A.) What I was thinking or B.) How I’m going to “fix” it moving forward.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: Reviews = Visibility. And viability. No one wants to read something that their next door neighbor says is good. They want to see a sampling of people that feel the same way before they spend their hard earned money on it. Over the past couple of days, I’ve been soliciting reviews from book review sites ranging from the big–circulating, national newspapers–to the small–bloggers that will give you their honest impressions in exchange for a free copy. I’ve not yet tapped the “Big Boys” like Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus Reviews et al, though I did send an inquiry to the American Book Review. So far, the responses to my inquiries have been… timid, and by “timid” I mean “borderline non-existent.” So while I’m not putting those requests in the can and will continue to pursue them, I’m shifting my strategy slightly. To?

To this. Here’s what I’d like to do. Scratch that: Here’s what I’m going to do. I’d like to offer a free copy of ENDWORLD – A NOVEL (yes, I said “free”) to five people in exchange for an honest review. Those five people will be the first five people that either A.) Comment on this blog post, B.) Comment on my Facebook Author Page once I share this or C.) “Tweet” me once I Tweet this. Notice that the words “comment” and “‘tweet'” are in bold. That’s because “likes” don’t count (sorry, “likers.” You can still “like” all of the above but leave a comment. Even “hi” works). The only condition? Like I said (no pun intended), an honest review when you’re done. That’s it. No further strings attached. You can have your copy in either EPUB, MOBI or PDF. No print, please, at least not this round. I don’t have any spare print copies, right now. Maybe the next.

Interested? This offer is open to anyone that wants to take advantage of it. I repeat: Anyone. All you’ve got to do is post a review to one of the sites that my book is purchasable from (see the “Where to Buy” tab) when you finish it. An honest review. Don’t just tell me the book rocks because I gave you a free copy. I trust that what I wrote is viable and can stand up to a critique (though I may end up regretting that later). FYI, though: I’m going to repeat this offer in a separate Tweet and a separate Facebook post a bit later tonight for the people that don’t feel like reading my ramblings. But I’m going to give my followers here first dibs. And on Random Musings. I’m going to re-blog this over there.

Ready? Set? Go. My offer is now on the table. I look forward to hearing from you soon! Take care.

F.