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.