That’s not a misprint, guys. Nor is the new picture in my header one. ENDWORLD – A Novel now has a cover. I just got permission from my phenomenal designer Damon (whose website you can link HERE) to show it publicly. My header only shows you a portion. The complete cover looks like this:
How am I feeling? Hmm. Good question. I’d say that I’m super psyched but that’s pretty much a given. I’d say that I’m cautiously optimistic after objectively rereading it but that’s obvious. I’ve been happy with my creation since I first started it so many, many moons before tonight’s. There was never a question of whether or not I’d like it. The only question was whether or not others would, and based on the mainly positive response the Prologue has gotten (linkable HERE, BTW) it appears that a handful of people do. Granted, that’s just the Prologue but still, it’s a promising sign.
I’d say that I’m a bit drained from not just reviewing and “tweaking” the cover and the proof, but from the whole process that I’ve been involved in for an eternity but that, too, is academic at this juncture. I’d say all these things… did, in fact, say all these things but none of them matter now. How am I feeling? In short, guys? Ready. I’m ready to put this beast of a novel out there… out here and see what happens. End rant.
I wrote in my last blog post that there are a hundred and one people to thank: A hundred and one people who in some way, shape or form influenced the creation of ENDWORLD – A Novel. People that were there at the beginning, were there in the middle and are here now. I further said that I’m not including an acknowledgement page in the book because A.) There are just too many people to thank and B.) I don’t want to leave anyone out. However, I feel obligated to express my gratitude to a few individuals. Doing so may seem premature, and doing so here on “Random Musings” may seem odd, but what the f*ck? I need to. So here goes.
I’ve already mentioned Damon and his brother Benjamin, the latter of whom is formatting the book for both e-publication and print publication. They’ve been terrific, and have put up with my anal retentiveness since moment one. They really “got” me and what I wanted to do, which if you know me you know is not the easiest thing in the world to do. The above cover may not appeal to everyone, but here’s a little factoid for you: Before I even signed them on I did a sketch of what I wanted the cover to look like. I never showed them the sketch, I simply gave them a few, minor details about it and asked them to roll with them. They nailed my idea almost perfectly. And the interior? Well, I haven’t seen the finished product yet but if draft one was any indication? It’s going to be sharp. Minimalist, yes, but that’s the way I wanted it. No flourishes or design elements. I’m not writing a Nicholas Sparks book, after all. That’s no knock on Nicholas Sparks (I loved THE TIME TRAVELLER’S WIFE), but it’s not me. It’s not ENDWORLD – A Novel.
Moving on, I cannot thank my editor, Amy, enough for the amount of work she put into cleaning up the book for publication. She did so with little fanfare. She put up with an incessant amount of text messaging and Facebook messaging from me about this, that and the other thing throughout, and offered insight, not just about how the book was written, but about different things that happened in it, i.e. plot points, “flow,” et cetera et cetera when she didn’t really have to. She did so while remaining true to my voice and my style of writing throughout and if it takes off? If it, as my wonderful wife said, becomes the next Twilight or Hunger Games? Well, I honestly don’t think it will (that’s a lot of lightning in a bottle to catch, guys) but if it does even modestly well? I will have her to thank. So I’m thanking her now. She has my eternal gratitude.
I would be remiss if I didn’t thank my family and my friends for their support, throughout, as well. My real life brethren? My mom and my sister, Katie? My Uncles, Aunts, Cousins and In-Laws? Some have been needling me for almost 20 years–ever since I first gave many of them an autographed copy of ENDWORLD, version one for Christmas back in the mid-1990’s–to do what I’m doing right now and I guess I finally listened to them. Vato, Jeebus, Hungerford and Carole? Carey, AP, Ed-san, the Mol-ster, Petey-Max, Kimberly and Jackson? Even the ones that I don’t really speak with anymore. You all know who you are. And those of you that don’t? You may once you read the book. My little joke a few weeks ago about “any resemblance to people and places not being intentional?” There’s a reason for that. But I won’t go any deeper into it than that. You’ll find out soon enough. Hopefully by the end of the month if everything goes according to plan.
In particular, though, I need to single out one friend who was an invaluable help to me over the last year, ever since I completed draft one and sent it out to my first dozen Beta readers. That friend read that draft, sat me down over a beer and told me what he thought of the book. And then? After I completed draft two? He did so again. And again. And again. He has been a sounding board throughout the revision process and has told it “like it is” every time. He never once tried to stroke my ego or make me feel like my book was better than it actually was. He never told me it sucked, either, but that’s beside the point. He never told me what to write, but he took my overabundance of ideas and helped me give them structure. Matt? Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, soul and mind. I wouldn’t be here right now without your assistance.
I could go on. I feel like I should go on. But its getting late and hey: I just got my latest proof back from Benjamin (guess what I’m doing tomorrow night?). I feel like I’m missing someone. Someone important. Someone who is arguably the most important influence in my life presently, and has been for the last decade plus. Back when I first met the then-Nicole Gentile in 2001, ENDWORLD was a virtual non-entity. It was a book that I’d written back in the early and mid-1990’s that profiled my late teen, and early adult angst. Nicole knew I was a writer when she first met me, despite the fact that I was managing her CVS/Pharmacy. She knew that I’d written a couple of books. She knew how important it was to me to revise them and one day publish them. She encouraged me then and continued to encourage me for years. Once or twice, she even said to me (when I told her of a new idea that I’d come up with), “why don’t you just rewrite the ENDWORLD books. You know it’s what you want to do.”
Admittedly? Nicole never thought my fiction was my best writing. She’s always been and remains partial to stuff like this blog entry and I promise, Nicole: One day I will publish something non-fiction that includes “The Doctor McDreamy Unappreciation Thread.” But despite that, she understood how important those books were to me… are to me. And when I restarted this process back in 2011, I told her one warm, late April night that rewriting ENDWORLD was going to eat up a lot of my time and brain power. I warned her in advance of the nights when she would come home from work and find me sitting on the couch with my laptop open on my lap and the “Tron: Legacy” soundtrack playing over its speakers. I told her that I might not even be able to acknowledge her with more than a mumbled “hi” or a grunt. “That’s how I write, sweetie,” I told her.
Her response? “I know. And I understand.” And she did. She never “got in my grill” about it and she never got pissy. She let me go and go and go and now? Look at where I am. That, guys? That’s not just understanding. That’s love. True love. That’s acknowledging the importance of something to your significant other and letting it happen no matter how quiet the living room gets. I know I talk a lot about her and some of you may be sick of it. But understand something: No one has ever “gotten” me the way she does. Regardless of the success or failure of this endeavor, I am the luckiest man in the whole f*cking universe on this side of the proverbial wormhole of existence. Because of her. Because of what she’s given me. And that, friends? That’s where I’m going to leave this little “quick hit.”
G’Night, all. Winky emoticon. Smiley face.
ADDENDUM: Not only does it have a cover, but this PM, I signed off on the final proof for the print edition of it. I have posted samples to my Facebook Author Page as well as to Twitter if anyone is interested in checking them out. I’m not going to post them here because, for lack of sounding too fabulous, white against a white background doesn’t make a lot of sense. Please, take a look and let me know your thoughts, critiques, compliments et al. Thank you, everyone!