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,

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On The Endworld Series, Music and the Creative Process

As of 10:00 AM today, Children of Endworld is 194 pages “to the good.” After countless days revising, re-revising and tweaking the last 40 pages (roughly two weeks worth to be approximate) I am ready to write what is arguably one of, if not the biggest scene in the series. It’s already “dialogued,” I just need to fill in the blanks. I don’t want to give anything away. I’ll simply say to those of you that finished the first book and are awaiting the second that the motivation of one of the main “baddies” is about to be revealed. That’s it, though. No spoilers. Sorry.

I’m not going to lie: I’m pumped up. I’ve got a three day weekend coming up (Happy Labor Day, BTW) and while I don’t envision having ample time to write–my wife is working so I will be alone with the kiddies much of the time–I don’t have to worry about pesky things like my own job, et al. I can stay up late; I can write during naps. Save for a trip to Dick’s Sporting Goods to pick up shin pads and knee socks for my oldest who is starting “petite soccer” in two weeks, a date with my Alma mater (“we are… PENN STATE!”), a bag of Tostitos and queso dip tomorrow afternoon at High Noon and a Phillies game on Monday night, my schedule is wide open. I figure I’ve got about 25-30 pages in me over the next three days. That’ll get me to the end of “la gran escena.” Can I do it? Only if I stop writing this blog entry, which I will do shortly. But before I do…

I’ve written about inspiration a lot here and over on “Random Musings,” but amazingly? I’ve never written a word about music, and how it inspires my creative process. Save for personal experience which has been, and always will be the most crucial aspect of writing “por mi,” music is the most important. When I write, I generally envision the scene that I am writing transpiring with a soundtrack. Often, that soundtrack is instrumental: I wrote most of ENDWORLD – A Novel while listening to the “Tron: Legacy” soundtrack and I’ve written much of Children while listening to the “Inception” and “The Dark Knight Rises” soundtracks (Hans Zimmer, Chris Nolan’s “go to” guy is my favorite theatrical composer; sorry, John Williams). But occasionally the process… my muse requires something more, i.e. something with words. The scene that I am about to write is no exception.

Do you know that I have a Spotify account? Do you? Do you know what Spotify is? Spotify is a relatively new, streaming music service like Pandora and Slacker Radio that allows the user–in this case, me–to create playlists, filled with songs so long as those songs are available, or “shared” by the artists that wrote them. I have many playlists but only two that are public. Those playlists are aptly named “If ENDWORLD Had A Soundtrack” and “If CHILDREN Had A Soundtrack.” If you have a Spotify account–and if you don’t, I highly suggest it–you can view them both. Just look me up and you’ll see them on my profile. They are filled with songs that have inspired the writing of certain scenes in both books both now, and over the course of the last almost 20 years. Some are relatively obvious–“Machinehead” by Bush, “Welcome To The Machine” by Pink Floyd and “Heroes” by David Bowie–but others are not. Have you ever heard of the band Stabbing Westward? Their song “The Thing I Hate” could be the theme song for the entire Endworld Series. It’s not–the series doesn’t exactly have an overarching theme song–but it could be.

Believe it or not (and if you know me, you likely believe it), both books have a theme song, at least in my mind. Heaven and Endworld does, too, but I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself. ENDWORLD – A Novel has two: “Kiss From A Rose” by Seal for the original version and “Victory Dance” by My Morning Jacket for the rewritten, now published version. You’ve likely heard the former (“Batman Forever,” anyone?), but have you ever heard the latter? For those of you that haven’t, here it is in all it’s glory:

I can envision it playing over the closing credits if ENDWORLD – A Novel ever becomes a movie, hopefully scored by Hans Zimmer and produced by Chris Nolan (I’d never want him to direct it; it’s not cerebral enough a project for him). The lyrics (viewable HERE if you couldn’t gauge them from the video) fit the story perfectly. By comparison, Children also has two theme songs but they’re relatively new additions. The original never had one. Those songs? Well, here’s the first one:

Mind you, you can’t see inside my head but trust me when I tell you that the lyrics to “Fix You,” viewable HERE are poignant, and God awful relevant to Children and what happens in it. And I’m not even a Coldplay fan. I promise that you’ll understand soon enough, hopefully some time next year if I can follow through on my promise to publish it by then, but I’d argue that the book’s other theme song, “From Yesterday” by 30 Seconds to Mars is even more relevant. For your viewing pleasure:

Believe it or not, that’s the short video for “From Yesterday.” The extended video is almost 30 minutes long and I wouldn’t dare subject you to that. If you can’t make them out, HERE ARE the lyrics. I love 30 Seconds to Mars. Many of their songs appear on my Spotify playlists, both public and private.

A quick parenthetical aside: As a writer who draws heavily upon music as inspiration, having a good, go to website like http://www.lyricsfreak.com is a must. Often I hear a song, and I love the tune/think it would fit perfectly with a scene I am writing or planning to write. But pre-acknowledging it as inspirational I always check out the lyrics. Case in point: I first heard the new Bruno Mars tune, “Gorilla” on the VMAs the other night and I thought the tune perfectly fit the mood of Children. Upon looking up the lyrics I realized how incredibly wrong I was. Incidentally, “Gorilla” is not on the “If CHILDREN Had A Soundtrack” playlist. And if you’re curious about the lyrics, HERE you go. You can now laugh along with me. End parenthetical aside.

Back to the scene I am about to write: It’s intense. It had better be if I’m calling it “arguably one of, if not the biggest scene in the series.” And an intense scene requires an intense song. I’ve thought long and hard about the soundtrack to “la gran escena por Children” and have come up with a dozen possibilities, ranging from “Silverf*ck” by the Smashing Pumpkins to “Master Of Puppets” by Metallica. If I could merge the above, two songs/bands with Rage Against the Machine, The Prodigy and Hans Zimmer I’d be golden. But I can’t. So I needed something that embodied both the tone, and the theme of the scene. And finally, after weeks upon weeks of searching, I found it. And here it is:

Lyrics HERE. Incidentally, I never knew much about Fall Out Boy pre-hearing this song for the first time. I knew that one of their members had once been married to the lesser Simpson sister, but that was about it. Since, I have discovered that their music–specifically “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark”–is very apropos to the world of the Endworld Series. They are now, at least in my mind, most certainly greater than the backdrop against which the failed marriage of Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz played out. I could even envision them writing a song or two for it if the series ever attains movie or television adaption status.

Getting ahead of myself a bit? Maybe. I have no idea if the Endworld Series will or will not one day play out on the big, or even the small screen. But there’s nothing wrong with speculating a little bit. it’s healthy. And it motivates me the way music and my personal life inspires me. When I think about the future and I consider the possibility that the Endworld Series could, one day, be up on the big or down on the small screen I get even more pumped up. I write like a man possessed and describe it in words they way I’d “block” it, IRL. Producers beware: If this thing that I’m doing takes off one day, I’m going to want to be involved in it the same way that George R R Martin is involved in “Game of Thrones” on HBO. You have been warned.

I could write more on this topic… a heck of a lot more but that would be me, stalling and I do not want to stall any longer. “La gran escena por Children” needs my attention and I hate making my muse wait. Those of you that know the story, what do you think of my theme song choices? Do you know of any others that would “fit” the Endworld Series better? And fellow writers (I know that there are a lot of you out there): Do you utilize music in the same fashion that I do? If so, what kinds of music inspire you? And are you on Spotify? If so, look me up. I’d love to see.

In closing, I’ve decided to share one more song with you. I mentioned it earlier and it deserves it’s place in this blog entry. Please, listen and hopefully enjoy. I give you “The Thing I Hate” by Stabbing Westward:

I guess they never made a video for it. Oh well. I kinda’ like it better this way.

Everyone have a great holiday weekend.

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.

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.

Welcome to ENDWORLD – A NOVEL and THE ENDWORLD SERIES

Hello, and welcome to the new receptacle for everything and anything related to ENDWORLD – A NOVEL and THE ENDWORLD SERIES. I’m creating this site per the advice of a friend, who cautioned me that launching a book, especially a self-published one with no formal backing is a daunting task. He further assured me that while my marketing plan was sound–building as big of an electronic footprint as I can and launching it simultaneously across it–it helps to have a website, committed to the book and it alone. Plus, he reasoned, “www.randommusingsofapseudomadman.com“–my blog–is a bit difficult to type. So I created www.theendworldseries.wordpress.com (I haven’t bought the domain name yet; I may do that in the near future) in the hope of limiting the amount of finger-work you have to do at your computers/on your tablets/on your cellphones to find me. To find anything and everything related to ENDWORLD – A NOVEL and the forthcoming ENDWORLD SERIES.

You can find more information on both the book that I am publishing and the others that I have planned (HINT: There are two other planned, direct sequels and potentially up to three or four other books: A prequel trilogy and a final book in the series) via the accompanying tabs, “About ENDWORLD – A NOVEL” and “About THE ENDWORLD SERIES.” Don’t get your hopes up, though: My plan as of right now is only to write a trilogy. If it ends up being bigger? Well, to employ an old cliche, I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. 

This space–my “HOME” page–will be what I call my “Endworld Blog” or something similar (and as soon as I decide on something other than just “HOME” I promise you’ll be the first to know). Which means that if it tanks, this is where you’ll see me lamenting the amount of time I spent working on it–almost 20 years–and cursing its existence. Hopefully I won’t have to do that. Hopefully people will be interested in the story and the characters that comprise it and will want to read more. I honestly don’t know. In truth? It’s a mystery. But I’m confidant in what I created. Hopefully that confidence will not be shattered.

Over on my blog, “Random Musings of a Pseudo-Madman” I call entries like this one a “Quick Hit.” I’m not going to call them that here. The guy who maintains that site–he calls himself “The Madchronicler”–is separate but equal to me, i.e. we’re one in the same but we have two very distinct voices. That may sound borderline schizophrenic to you but I promise you: It’s not. I’m not. I just write fiction differently than I write non-fiction. And THE ENDWORLD SERIES is a work of fiction, despite the fact that certain characters and locales in it may seem real. If you’re interested, please explore this site further. There’s not a lot to it yet, but there soon will be. Thanks for stopping by.

Je t’aime. 

F.