A Pseudo-Madman’s Double Life (Guest Starring Clark Kent/Superman, the Fisher Price Little People, Susan Lucci, the Genie from “Aladdin,” Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster, Professor River Song and Some Guy Named Frank Marsh)

I lead a double life. Kind of like Clark Kent/Superman but without… well, super powers. I’m not faster than a speeding bullet. Nor am I more powerful than a locomotive. I am unable to leap tall buildings in a single bound unless said buildings are my youngest minion’s Fisher Price Little People play sets. If you look up in the sky, you will see birds and planes, but you will never see me. I dwell here upon the humid, oft times soggy surface of Terra Firma on this side of the proverbial wormhole of existence, somewhere between a little town in eastern Pennsylvania called Broomall and a little town west of Broomall called Royersford, Pennsylvania, with the occasional foray even further west to York, Pennsylvania or south to Baltimore, Maryland.

Despite all this, I do lead a double life. Sadly, mine is not nearly as interesting as the son of Jor El’s so really, why even claim it? Simple: Because it’s true. If you want to know why, I invite you to read on. If not? Thanks for playing. You win nothing! I’m not cruel. I just don’t have anything to give away. But if you’d like a copy of my debut novel, ENDWORLD drop me a line either here, or on any of the myriad other sites that I whore myself out to and I’ll hook you up in exchange for an honest review of my “big, meaty book for summer reading.”

No sexual innuendo intended, guys. I’m a happily married man. That’s what one reviewer called it, though. “Five stars in my log,” she said with an exclamation point. Apparently, a few people agree with her though I wouldn’t know because I’ve only got five total, published reviews between Amazon (four) and Barnes and Noble (one)Which is an incredibly uncouth way of saying “please read and review my book because unless I get 10 positive reviews on Amazon it will never be featured as anything other than an afterthought on any site and will be doomed to obscurity.” I may be biased… ah, who am I kidding? I am biased. ENDWORLD is better than “doomed to obscurity.” I know it.

Seriously, guys. I know I’m not supposed to self-promote on here if I ever want to get Freshly Pressed but I need you on this one. One free copy of ENDWORLD in exchange for an honest review. That’s all I’m asking for. You choose the e-platform: EPUB or MOBI. I can do PDF, as well. Up to you. Get in contact with me and you’ve got it. I’m at 424K on the Kindle Best Seller list currently, which isn’t bad when you consider Amazon’s got over two million titles on their site, but my ranking has been steadily dropping since the end of May after plateauing at 11K. I’m starting to get depressed. I don’t know if I can go on… 

Okay. I admit it: I’m over exaggerating. A lot. It’s all I can do to keep up with my oldest minion who, I have officially concluded, is four going on 14. There are established drama queens less dramatic then her. Don’t get me wrong: I love her and think she’s hysterical, but if nothing else, she’s got quite a career ahead of her on “General Hospital.” Susan Lucci? Eat your heart out. And watch out.

But I digress. This blog entry isn’t about ENDWORLD. Well, not directly. And there’s no better means of turning people away from your product than by whining about it. So I’m not going to whine anymore. I’m going to “stick with the plan.” And that is?

I lead a double life. Really, I do. The truth of this fact really hit home for me earlier today. I was “tweaking” the ENDWORLD site with some new info, and I got an email from a prospective vendor asking me for my name and my title. In the past, I’ve simply written “Office Manager/Inside Sales” without a second thought, but as I wrote it today, I realized that I wasn’t being entirely truthful. And I pride myself on bring truthful. I was being pseudo-truthful–that’s what I am from eight in the AM to five or 5:30 in the PM every Monday through Friday, plus every fourth Saturday–but it ended there. Pseudo. The truth?

The truth is that I am an Office Manager/Inside Sales representative during the time frame specified above.   But from the moment I leave work to the moment I return? I’m something far different. I’m a father/husband/homeowner/”indie” author/eternal optimist and hopeful dreamer. I’m also an avid sports fan though right now, I’m not exactly enchanted by what’s going on in Philly sports. Seriously, Phillies? You win six games in a row, get over 0.500 for the first time all season, get your fan base fired up and then you lose three games to the frackin’ Brewers? They’re the Brewers for God’s sake! They haven’t been better than “slightly above average” since the mid-1980’s. That’s not a knock on Milwaukee, nor is it one on Wisconsin. I love both. Really, I do. But the Brewers? Really? 

Okay. Enough about that. Rooting for the Phillies… h-e-double hockey sticks, rooting for any of the major Philadelphia sports franchises has been a tiring task these last few years. Almost as tiring as self-publication though without the sublime joy of knowing that something you wrote is now available for purchase via Amazon, Barnes and Noble and multiple other sites (links to buy at www.theendworldseries.com under “Where to Buy ENDWORLD – A Novel“)! Pick up your copy TODAY and PLEASE post a review when you’re finished! End the shameless self-promotional portion of our program. I now return you to your regular blog entry, already in progress.

The specter of 2008 still looms largely in my mind. I remember watching my Phightens hoist the Commissioner’s Trophy and thinking that the drought was over… that we were ensured multiple championships not just in baseball, but in football and hockey, as well (basketball? Not so much). How many have we won since? Survey says?

Zero. New York, Pittsburgh and Baltimore have all won at least one. Even Boston’s won one. But Philadelphia? Nada. Zilcho. Zip-a-dee-doo-da, zip-a-dee-aye, my oh my what a crap-tastic time to be a Philadelphia sports fan. And it’s not getting better anytime soon. The Eagles are rebuilding, the Flyers are chronic underachievers and the Sixers? Yeah. Not so much. Dare I pin my hopes on the Soul, again? They started what I thought was going to be a championship renaissance in my hometown back in 2008 by winning the Arena Bowl. Might they be able to do it again? Maybe, but even they’re pretty bad, right now. Which is really just a drawn out way of welcoming you, my readers back to the drought. See you in another 20 or so years on Broad Street. End parenthetical, sports related aside.

I lead a double life. I’m not Clark Kent/Superman. My secret identity is not a costume that I wear beneath the t-shirt and jeans that I sport to work every day, or the dress shirt and slacks that I wear when I visit my York office or travel to Baltimore. It’s the extra Google Chrome screen that I keep hidden on my second monitor. It’s the Word Document that I oft times edit during “down times” like today. You can never see it: It’s hidden beneath a proverbial bank of windows that contain pertinent information to my daily existence. And I rarely do anything but edit or “tweak” while working because despite what you might be thinking, I actually like my job, alias my mundane, routine existence. I’m proud of all that I’ve learned and how good I’ve gotten at what I do in the last almost eight years and I’d rather not risk losing it. So I refrain.

But admittedly? On occasion, one or more of the developing characters in my head–my own, mental Peanut Gallery–cry out for help or attention, much like my youngest minion is fond of doing when she’s playing with her Fisher Price Little People play sets and I’m rehearsing Shakespeare with my older, diva-licious minion, tears and all. Those times? I minimize everything from Outlook to my company Intranet and I answer the call. I may not be faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive or able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. I may not be a bird or a plane but in the subjective universe that exists inside my oft times ridiculed, “big” head? I’m a god. Not the God. There’s only one of them and you’ll know I’m referring to him or her when I capitalize the “G.” But god. A lesser deity with immense, cosmic power… 

And an itty bitty living space, otherwise known as my cubicle. Thank you, Genie from “Aladdin.” Those times? Not even the son of Jor El can stand toe-to-toe with Frank Marsh, though in the grand and not subjective scheme of things, my “power” is nothing compared to his. Assuming, of course, that Superman is a real man. Which he is. Or isn’t. I’m not really sure, but I like to think that somewhere out in the vast multi-verse that is… well, this he exists. Maybe through one of the many other wormholes that pseudo-madmen like me can cross through. Maybe not me, per say, but another one? Most definitely.

I’ll let you in on a little secret, guys. The wormhole that I’m always referring to? The wormholes? It’s… they’re not real. Not tangible. They’re a metaphor for imagination, something that people like me and the guys who created Clark Kent/Superman, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster know about. This side of my proverbial wormhole of existence = IRL. The other side is where ENDWORLD and all my other ideas come from. If you didn’t know that before now there you go. I’ve just revealed a little known secret about me, myself and I. There are others, but I’ll leave them for another time. I can’t give away everything now. As Professor River Song is so fond of saying, “spoilers.”

When I leave my Monday through Friday, and every fourth Saturday mundane, routine existence, there’s no need to wear my disguise, though. I’m like the son of Jor El returning to his Fortress of Solitude. The place where I can just. Be. Me. Not the guy that’s had to learn how to be an engineer in the last almost eight years, but the guy that existed before that. The husband. The father. The homeowner. The eternal optimist and the hopeful dreamer. And the avid, albeit long suffering Philadelphia sports fan. I like that guy too. He’s the guy that’s writing this blog entry, presently. His words? They’re not appearing on a secret Google Chrome screen on his second monitor. They’re appearing on the 13 inch screen of his Samsung, I5 laptop, the same one that he… that I wrote 75 to 80 percent of ENDWORLD on and the same one that I’m currently writing CHILDREN OF ENDWORLD on. Which, by the way, is 70+ pages “to the good.” Part One = Done. I’m taking a day or two off before I begin Part Two. Unless my mental Peanut Gallery cries out in distress before then. Then, like every other super hero that leads a double life, I’ll be obligated to answer the call.

So long as it doesn’t conflict with my youngest minion’s desire to play with her Fisher Price Little People play sets or my oldest minion’s desire to reenact “MacBeth.”

Susan Lucci? Eat your heart out. Watch out. And if you’re reading this? Drop me a line. I’ve got a book I’d love for you to read and review.

😉

In Which I Attempt and Likely Fail to Get “Freshly Pressed”

I’ve accomplished a lot in my 37, almost 38 year life on this side of the proverbial wormhole of existence. I’ve rambled, ranted and raved about many of those accomplishments–both good and bad–for years, both here, on “Random Musings of a Pseudo-Madman Version 1.0,” in my oldest pieces of “Mental Flatulence” and in my original “Dissertations.”

Most recently, I’ve written about the publication err, self-publication of my first book, ENDWORLD – A Novel (I need to keep it real for the people that think I got a book deal). A quick, parenthetical aside on that: The book is still selling modestly well, even after almost a month, and I am patiently awaiting next week when my self-proclaimed “Memorial Day Week Promotional Blitzkrieg” will begin. Note to all: Be prepared. Me and my book are going to be popping up all over the place. And by “all over the place” I mean across the blogosphere and on social media. Maybe even on one or two Google “Search Result” pages. “I don’t know. It’s a mystery.”

Don’t all “ooh” and “aah” at once. I don’t expect that you’ll see my book cover and my face on a billboard overlooking I-95 through Philadelphia. At least not until I shed a couple of pounds. You think a television adds 10 pounds? Imagine what a 30 foot wide by 20 foot high billboard adds. Crikey. I’d look like an albino extra from an old “Godzilla” movie. Just call me Mecha-Marsh.

I’m even 50+ pages into the sequel, CHILDREN OF ENDWORLD thanks largely in part to the not-so-gentle insistence of the people who have finished the first book and really want to see what happens next, and the new Daft Punk album, “Random Access Memories.” All in all? Life’s pretty good, right now. I’ve got to say that as the eras of my life go, this one ranks pretty close to the top. After all, I’m fulfilling two dreams at once: Being a dad and being a writer (not in that order nor in reverse order).

Are there things that I’d change? Sure. I’d love to drop a couple of pounds (and by a couple I mean 50-60). I’d love to spend more time with just my wife and less time with my wife and my beloved “minions,” AKA my children. I’d love for my book to already be a bestseller. I’d love a place down the shore. But I’m a realist really (try saying that five times fast), and I know that, in the immortal words of Mick Jagger, “you can’t always get what you want.”

Okay. Accepted. But there is one thing that I’m lacking. One last, little accomplishment that I’d love to… well, accomplish. That accomplishment? To be…

Drum roll please… 

Freshly Pressed. 

For those of you that don’t know what that means, here’s a definition: “Freshly Pressed” is something that WordPress does with certain blog posts. Per their tutorial (viewable HERE), they Freshly Press blog entries that “enlighten us, inspire us, entertain us and get us talking.” As for who “us” is I’m assuming “us” = The Powers that Be, otherwise known in this case as the WordPress Admins. There are other criteria but at it’s core? That’s what being Freshly Pressed entails. Almost every blog that I follow here on WordPress has, at some point, been Freshly Pressed. They’ve all got that cool, little “Freshly Pressed” badge on their sites. But “Random Musings?” Nope. Never. I could just copy and paste one to my sidebar but that would be cheating. I believe in earning my kudos, not undercutting the system/fabricating them.

Do my posts not enlighten you? Inspire you? Entertain you? Get you talking? If they don’t okay. No problem. I’ve obviously overestimated the reach of my ramblings. Perhaps I spend to much time talking about things that interest me and too little time talking about… I don’t know. Cats. Or Doritos and Smartfood. Or something else that I know a lot about. I’ll concede that at times, this blog has seemed more of an online journal and less of a… how does one define a “blog?”

A blog (a contraction of the words web log) is a discussion or informational site published on the World Wide Web and consisting of discrete entries (“posts”) typically displayed in reverse chronological order (the most recent post appears first) (SOURCE: Wikepedia of course).

Okay. Per that criteria, “Random Musings” does qualify as a blog and not an online journal. It is a discussion, even if it’s just a discussion with me, myself and my wife who religiously reads every one of these posts in the hopes that she will see something transcendent. Or just funny. I think she’d settle for funny. In truth? I think she just reads it to humor me. And I appreciate that in the same way that I appreciate people telling me that I’m not obese. Um… yeah. Guess what? I am. Morbidly so though I have been told that I carry it well by people that I know would not humor me. Fact? I’m 30 pounds clear of just “obese.” And that’s without consuming sugar. Stupid potato chip-esque products. I should have left you in my proverbial rear view mirror after Lent had expired.

Curse you, Doritos and Smartfood! Curse you to h-e-double hockey sticks! 

There’s more to being Freshly Pressed. A lot more. And admittedly? I want it. I want it so badly. I crave it the way I crave Tostitos,Velveeta and Salsa. There’s nothing like watching college football in the Fall while your “minions” nap with a bag of chips, a trough of cheesy but spicy goodness and a towering glass of Tea Cooler, the latter of which has enough sugar in it to fell a thoroughbred. So this blog entry will be… is an attempt to get Freshly Pressed by analyzing and, hopefully, incorporating each and every one of the selection criteria outlined in the aforementioned tutorial (again, viewable HERE). Will it work? I have no idea. But much like the whole publishing err, self-publishing a novel thing, I’ll never know unless I try. So here goes:

1. Write unique content that’s free of bad stuff. 

In layman’s terms? DOA. 90% of “Random Musings” is “dead on arrival.” Per the Freshly Pressed criteria, “hate speech, fear-mongering, adult/mature content, copyrighted images that belong to someone else, spam or content that’s primarily advertorial in nature” are not allowed (SOURCE: WordPress Tutorial, cited above). I’m good on hate speech, fear-mongering, adult/mature content, copyrighted images and spam. Those items are not in my nature as a person or a writer. I hate no one, not even my Biological though admittedly? I “strongly dislike” him. Fear-mongering? The use of fear to affect the actions and opinions of others? I’m seriously the least scary person I know, though the idea of seeing my mug on a billboard really terrifies the you-know-what out of me. As for adult/mature content, let’s face it: I’m a traditionalist. I feel that certain things need to be kept behind closed doors. The name of this blog isn’t “50 Shades of a Pseudo-Madman” (though if it was, I bet I’d get a lot more traffic) and the only sex scene I ever wrote is contained in the pages of the only novel I ever published. And even it’s not too graphic. Copyrighted images and spam? Okay, the idea that anything on the World Wide Web is “copyrighted” at this point is ludicrous. The bulk of what’s out there… out here is a part of the eminent, public domain and will remain so until such time as someone buys a controlling interest in the Internet, AKA never. And I decry spam/spammers. I’d hunt them all down and spank them if I could. But that last bit? “Content that’s primarily advertorial in nature?” Yep. D. O. A. I’ve spent the better part of the last six months hocking my book, AKA my “wares” on this blog/over on ENDWORLD and THE ENDWORLD SERIES. I’ve even done it in the content of this blog entry. Survey says? Disqualified. I am the weakest link, and I probably should say goodbye at this point. But I’ve already started so really? Why not finish. 

2. Have a point of view/Don’t be afraid of your voice. 

I’m lumping these two together because they’re invariably related. Furthermore, in the interest of time and fairness, I’m only going to rank this as one criteria, and not two. “Random Musings” comes much closer to meeting this one than the first one. I most certainly have a point of view and I express it, sometimes to the chagrin of people who come here looking for something transcendent or amusing and end up reading x-amount of paragraphs that ruminate on my own, subjective life, the universe and everything, i.e. the world… the “All” as I see it. But that’s a point of view, is it not? Everyone sees the ever-turning world around them and the ever-expanding (or shrinking depending on your perspective) universe differently. Me? I generally don’t get depressive about what’s occurring in the grand scheme because really? It’s supremely FUBAR. It has been for some time now and will likely remain so so long as one side of the proverbial aisle can’t agree with the other. Note that I said “proverbial.” I’m not simply referring to Congress though I’m sure that one or two conservatives/liberals will take it that way. I’m referring to one belief system as opposed to another, or one world view as opposed to another. We’re a long way as a species from the idealized Earth that Gene Roddenberry envisioned when he first conceived of “Star Trek” a half a century ago. In this world’s defense? As docile as Roddenberry’s Earth was, his universe was incredibly f*cked up. And we’re still 50 or so years away from Zefram Cochrane’s first warp flight/First Contact so there’s time. But I’d feel a great deal more secure raising my “minions” into adults in a world free of crime and currency that emphasizes learning and exploration, not just on a macro level, but on a micro one (i.e. not just the exploration of the vastness “out there” but of the limits of the mind). And as for not being afraid of my own, unique and sometimes exhaustive voice? Well, I think that I’ve demonstrated that on multiple occasions  In summation? I think I’ve got this one. Survey says? I’m one and one. Moving on.

3. Paint us a picture. 

Ugh. This one is just about DOA, as well. Yeah. “Random Musings” doesn’t really have much of a visual element. That’s the problem with my writing: I’ve grown accustomed to illustrating things with words and not with pictures. I was never very good at taking pictures, though I’ve got a couple at home/on my C-drive that I really treasure. Do you want to see them? Here are a few. With explanations (of course):

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This is a recent picture of me and my “minions.” I’m the ugly mug rocking the grizzly beard on the left. That’s Cara in the middle and on the right? Natalie, otherwise known as “Natalia.” Because in Soviet Russia, everything sounds cooler with an -ia (pronounced “ya”) on the end.

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This is a recent pic of me and my smoking hot wife, Nicole. It was taken at my cousin’s wedding back at the beginning of April. There was a fedora there, as well (the one that you see in my Gravitar profile pic/my author pic) but it didn’t make it into this picture. It made it into others, but showing those pics on here would further violate criteria number one (posts that are free of “bad stuff”). Finally…

Higbee Beach, Cape May, NJ

This is not a recent pic. It’s actually pretty old. It’s a picture of the path through the dune forest to Higbee Beach in Cape May, NJ. If you’ve finished reading ENDWORLD – A Novel (SPOILER ALERT) you know that it plays a pretty significant role in the final pages. It also plays an even more significant role in the opening pages of CHILDREN OF ENDWORLD. The final scene in ENDWORLD originally took place upon it. It was not until a few years ago that I decided to “move” it to another location. But I couldn’t resist bringing Higbee into William’s story. And I like it’s function now a lot more than I like it’s original function. But I’ll leave it at that. You’ll find out soon enough for yourself.

So there you go. Whether that visual element is enough to get me Freshly Pressed remains to be seen. At the least, I got to share a couple of meaningful pictures with you. Meaningful to me. Whether or not they are meaningful to you is open to debate. Survey says? Draw. Still one to one with one push.

4. Make it easy on the eyes/Aim for typo free content. 

Oh boy. Here’s another one… two, actually (ranked as one singular criteria) that “Random Musings” arguably fails miserably at. Actually, I shouldn’t just blame the blog. It’s me. Easy on the eyes? Not physically or proverbially. I’m wordy. It’s about as integral a characteristic of my genetic make up as my love of anything and everything potato chip-esque. In my defense, I’ve been trying lately here, over on the Endworld site and in CHILDREN to cut back on it. One sentence to describe what used to take me two; shorter paragraphs. Have you noticed? Likely not. And if this blog entry is any indication my paragraphs are still as morbidly obese as I am. The problem with that? If I drop the equivalent of 50-60 pounds off of one of my paragraphs I end up with something that is not Mecha-Marsh. I’m descriptive. I think it comes from my Biological, a fact which I acknowledge, but don’t exactly revel in. I do use bulleted and/or numbered text (these criteria being a good indication thereof), I rarely center justify anything and the design of my page–Misty Lake–is one of the cleanest templates available. But verbosity? Yeah. I’m a’cursed with it. As for typos? I was an English Major in college. I had a qualified Editor edit my book. Yeah, typos = Me. Though I do endeavor to cut down on them here. Survey says? A big minus one. “Random Musings” one, WordPress Powers that Be two.

5. Add relevant tags. 

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: I don’t “get” tags. I mean, I understand the idea behind them. “Don’t use tags that are too obscure” and “use relevant tags.” Okay. So I guess “The Ooh Cat,” “Dead Possum” and “Ebola” aren’t exactly popular or relevant to anyone save for:

  • Someone who worships “Puss in Boots” more than my almost four year old does.
  • Someone who lives in a metro area and thinks a “possum” is a creature of lore, right up there with foxes and bunny rabbits (both of which exist in abundance in Broomall and DELCO).
  • Someone who recently traveled abroad and is now suffering from influenza-like symptoms or someone who has watched the move “Outbreak” way. Too. Many. Times (I mean, it’s not that great a movie; the book is a whole heck of a lot better).

FYI: Bulleted points, WordPress Admins. Bulleted points twice in one blog entry. Bonus points, perhaps?

Tags like those aren’t going to get “Random Musings” noticed by the WordPress Powers that Be. And until my book is an established commodity and not “selling modestly” “ENDWORLD” isn’t going to pull in too many readers, either. My tags may not be relevant. But they are creative, and a part of the overall, “Random Musings” experience. Do any of you ever read the tags I tag my posts with? You should, sometime. Therein may lie the transcendence and/or funny content that you are looking for. I mean, what other blogger uses the phrase “Herbal Refreshment” as liberally as I did a few posts ago? The answer? No one. Still, I have monumentally failed to fully grasp the potential of the tag. Survey says? Another big, minus one. The Madchronicler one, WordPress Admins three.

6. Write a headline we can’t ignore. 

Regardless of whether my headlines on “Random Musings” are catchy or not, the WordPress Powers that Be have, by my reckoning (and simple mathematics) clinched victory. The best that I can achieve at this point is a two-three loss. Meaning? Meaning that unless I break from my tried and true formula of writing non-fiction “essays,” not only this blog post, but no other blog post that I have ever written or will ever write here on “Random Musings” will be Freshly Pressed. That said, I think my headlines are pretty catchy. So I’m going to score this one for the good guys. Survey says? “Random Musings” two, WordPress three. Sound buzzer. Game over.

And there you have it. Cue the faceless victors cheering and cue me, the morbidly obese published err, self-published author/blogger with the grizzled beard weeping profusely in the corner of his subjective reality on this side of the proverbial wormhole of existence. Congratulations: You have now shared in yet another, personal accomplishment–one of the bad ones.

The point of this rambling treatise that might get me kicked off of WordPress (but I certainly hope it doesn’t) is this: I don’t write because I seek the validation of my peers. I didn’t write ENDWORLD – A Novel because I wanted the world to see me as more than just Frank Marsh, a semi-regular Joe Schmoe that works an eight to five, Monday through Friday (and every fourth Saturday) job. I said this earlier and I’ll say it again: I’m fine with how my life is, presently. This really is one of the greatest eras of my life too date. Because I’ve got my “minions.” And I’ve got my sweetie (pics above). And Higbee Beach awaits me at the far edge of my vision IRL though in Endworld? It’s currently in the forefront. I was a living and breathing facsimile of a smiley face pre-publication. Being a published err, self-published author is just the icing on the cake. No. I write because I want to tell a story. I’ve got a whole book of ’em in my head. Some fiction, and some non. Some both. And one day, I hope to tell them all to anyone that wants to read them. Time and health–God willing–permitting.

And as far as being Freshly Pressed? If it happens it happens. Again, I don’t blog because I seek validation as a blogger. I blog because I’ve got something to say. I blog the way I talk because IRL? Most of my talking revolves around answering technical questions about hydraulic applications, the myriad of questions that Cara asks me on a given day or teaching Natalie (AKA “Natalia”) how to say “Mommy,” “Daddy,” “Cara” and “Doritos.” Whether or not people chose to hear my voice is their prerogative. Whether or not my ramblings have an iota of meaning for you is relative. I’m sure there are one or two people out there that can relate to my accomplishments–both good and bad–and can commiserate with my musings on life, the universe and everything. Maybe the others just read “Random Musings” because they’re looking for something transcendent. Or just funny. In truth? I think they’d settle for funny, too. Like my wife, who either humors me or hangs on every word that I type (and sweetie? Please don’t ever tell me which; thank you).

I’d love to be Freshly Pressed. I’d cherish that badge the way I cherish a cool, Fall Saturday (not one of the fourth ones) filled with College Football, multiple tall glasses of Tea Cooler with enough sugar in them to fell Godzilla and Tostitos with Velveeta and Salsa dip. Admittedly? It would be really cool to see my ugly mug of a Gravitar picture, fedora and all on that page along with one of my headlines. Much better than seeing albino Mecha-Marsh 30 feet high and 20 feet wide. Who needs a billboard when you can gain access to 500,000 other bloggers, some with like interests to yours and others with completely different ones. Can it happen? Will it? Or am I forever doomed to blogging obscurity?

Here is the conclusion of my pitch, WordPress Powers that Be: When I’m not working my eight to five, oft times mundane, routine existence, playing with my “minions” or squeezing a few all-to brief moments of quiet time in with my wife, I’m writing. It’s not just what I do. It’s what I am. I may not meet your Freshly Pressed criteria. “Random Musings” may be an atypical blog compared to others that you read about cats, potato chip-esque products and “Star Trek.” If that’s the case no worries: So long as you continue to host me I will continue to post here. But give your buddy the Madchronicler, AKA Frank Marsh a shot. If not for the rest of the blogosphere, then just for my poor wife, who can’t understand why I write rambling pieces of “Mental Flatulence” for free if only a select few people read them, searching in vain for something transcendent. Or funny.

I think they’d just settle for funny.

Winky emoticon. Smiley face. Have a great Memorial Day Weekend, everyone.

In Which I Attempt to Write About Something Other Than My Novel and Fail

Sorry if the title gives away the ending, guys. Note that in it, I wrote “attempt.” As in I have no idea if I’ll be able to, but I’m sure as H-E-double hockey sticks going to try. The thing is? I’ve been so preoccupied with launching ENDWORLD – A NOVEL that I’ve forgotten what it feels like to write about something other than it. That’s no reflection on my state of mind with regards to it, i.e. I’m not exacerbated with it. Quite the contrary: I’m quite pleased with how it’s doing so far, and the reception that it’s gotten. Mind you, it’s only received one review (Booyakasha, Anonymous; Respect)–a positive one, I should add–and I have no idea what all the other people that have bought it and are reading it think of it. But I’m optimistic. I’ve always been pleased with it, even back when it was a 200 page (and some change; I think the original draft was 207 pages), fictional autobiography of my life. Will others be? That remains the ten thousand dollar question, guys. Pleased or not, I did my part. My “due diligence ” if you will. Regardless of the reception it gets, I published what I felt was a good novel. I’m planning on writing two more. And some other stuff, too, but that “stuff?” I’m not going to show that hand yet. As Philip Henslowe said in “Shakespeare in Love”:

That said? I have officially f*cked up my “attempt” to not write about ENDWORLD – A NOVEL within a paragraph of when I started writing this blog entry. Survey says?

FAIL. But at least I got to embed one of my favorite scenes from one of my favorite movies in this blog entry.

Mysteries. Life’s full of ’em. The eventual success or failure of my debut novel is just one of them. Solving the mysteries that I encounter on this side of the proverbial wormhole of existence has been a driving force in my life for years. I’m not talking about X-Files-esque mysteries like the existence of life on other planets (“It’d be an awful waste of space if there wasn’t,” right Mister Sagan?). Nor am I talking about philosophical or spiritual mysteries like the existence of God or a God Particle (I believe in both, if that’s even feasible). I’m talking about lesser, more personal mysteries like the one I asked all throughout my early twenties, “will I ever find happiness?” FACT: I did. Or the one that I’ve been asking since I was a proverbial babe of 19, working in the damp and dusty periodical room of a college, “am I capable of writing a novel?” FACT again: I was. I did. Actually, I’ve written three. I’ve rewritten one and I’ve already started rewriting the second.

Will I be a good father? I hope I am, though there are days when I question it (generally every Bath Night, which as I posted on Facebook and Twitter last evening is, I have concluded, the sum total of all the bad sh*t I’ve done in my life being revisited upon me by the Almighty). Am I a good husband? Well, Nicole rarely complains though I’m sure there are things about me that she would change if she could (note that I wrote “rarely” and not “never”). BTW, sweetie, that’s not an invitation to comment about excessive flatulence, BO or something similar here on “Random Musings.” If you have a problem with any of the above things please, let me know privately. Or, if you want, you can DM me via Facebook or Twitter. We are, after all, living in a world dominated by social media. Why shouldn’t we converse via the internet? If we do that, you can watch “The Voice” or play Candy Crush Saga while I “tweak” ENDWORLD – A NOVEL‘s Amazon or NOOK listing and listen to the soundtrack to “Tron: Legacy.”

Sarcasm fully intended, sweetie. I like talking to you IRL, even if said conversations consist of a series of acknowledging grunts and sighs when one of the girls awakens from her slumber, or a car alarm goes off at three in the f*cking AM after you’ve worked a 17 hour shift prepping for your inventory and I’m still damp from getting splashed repeatedly by Cara on Bath Night. F*cking Bath Night. I swear to God, the God Particle and/or the Almighty, Bath Night is the Bane of my Current Existence.

See? Another mystery solved. I’ve been searching for the Bane of my Current Existence ever since I retired the Feminine Bane of my Early Existence X-amount of years ago. Bath Night? It’s the early front runner. That said, whenever I refer to “The Bane of my Current Existence” from now on remember that it = Bath Night. At least until I find a better one. Jeezy-peezy, one of these days I’m going to put together a glossary of Frankisms and post it on my sidebar for those of you that haven’t the slightest frackin’ idea what I’m talking about when I say things like that, or I refer to people as…

Yeah. I know. I almost went there. Good thing I stopped myself, huh? That word = Still on sabbatical until such time as I either A.) Recoup the money I spent to prep ENDWORLD – A NOVEL for publication or B.) Simply can’t hold back my desire to remind all y’all that “the world is full of PLURALIZED BLANK” again. Knowing me, the latter is a lot more feasible than the former.

Incidentally, the above AVI file is a scene from the movie “Puss in Boots.” “Puss in Boots” is one of Cara’s favorite flicks, currently. It ranks up there with “Tangled” and “Caillou’s Holiday Movie” as one of her own, personal all time greats. If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend it. Even if you, like me, couldn’t stand the “Shrek” movies. Talk about ideas based solely on excessive flatulence and BO (with a little fairy tale mash-up thrown in for good measure). IMO, the “Shrek” movies represent a nadir in the animated feature film that has blessedly been redeemed in recent years by movies like “How to Train Your Dragon” and “The Princess and the Frog.” Not to mention “Toy Story 3” and “Brave,” the latter of which was not perfect, but was definitely better than anything in the “Shrek” franchise.  I’m hoping that trend continues with “Monsters University” this summer, the sequel to another of Cara’s most requested movies.

While I’m on it, here is what I presume to be Cara’s list of the Top Five, best movies ever made:

  1. “Tangled”: Hand’s down her favorite movie. She never gets tired of watching it, or playing Rapunzel. Daddy normally gets to play Eugene or Max, Natalie plays Pascal and Mommy? Sadly, Mommy gets the unforgiving role of Mother Gothel. Every. TIME. I derive no satisfaction from that, BTW. None, whatsoever. Um… yeah. None. MOVING ON.
  2. “Finding Nemo”: Who doesn’t love this movie? Lovable characters? Check. Adventure? Check. A completely unheralded, burgeoning romance between Marlin and Dory? Check, check, check-skee. Oh, come on. You didn’t see that when you watched it? I’m sorry if I ruined your childhood. Me, personally? I’m holding out hope that the forthcoming sequel, “Finding Dory” ends with her and Marlin tying the knot. Maybe in a ceremony presided over by Bruce the Shark. Remember, “Fish are friends, not food.”
  3. “Caillou’s Holiday Movie”: Honestly? I don’t get the appeal of Caillou. I’ve heard all the arguments for the little guy. Primary colors. Morality lessons about everything from how to treat others to how not to run in the park wearing sandals (okay, so the latter isn’t really a morality lesson; it’s more of a common sense one, i.e. what idiot runs in sandals?). Music. Short episodes to mirror the short attention span of toddlers, preschoolers et al. Teachers praise it. Cara loves it. And Natalie already recognizes it. But “Caillou’s Holiday Movie” is an exercise in excess. I can take one, two or even three vignettes at a time. But a full length movie made up of a dozen of them, all tied together by a singular, flimsy thread, i.e. Caillou’s desire for Santa to bring him a toy space station? Come on. It’s too much. And the songs in it? Sadly infectious. They pollute your brain like a virus until one morning, when you’re getting ready for work, you find yourself humming “Bent and Tiny Christmas Tree” to yourself in the shower. A lesser man would hang himself as soon as that happened but me? I persevered. That’s not to say I didn’t want to off myself when it happened. I simply chose not to.
  4. Any hour long “Dora the Explorer” special: It could be “Dora and the Enchanted Forest Part One,” “Part Two” or “Part Infinity.” It could be “Dora and the Snow Princess.” If it’s more than 28 minutes long it’s automatically one of her favorite movies. Unless it’s “Dora Rocks” or “Dora’s Fantastic Gymnastics.” Both are only 30 minutes long and both are repeated viewing in the Marsh household.
  5. “Puss in Boots”: Next to “Finding Nemo,” this is my favorite of her favorites. How many of you reading this saw “Django Unchained?” Think an old-school, modernized western like “Django” but without the excessive use of the N-word, a blood splattered Plantation or Leo Dicaprio’s totally underrated performance (not that I minded the Academy giving the Oscar to Christoph Waltz but seriously? DiCaprio and Sam Jackson were both better in their respective roles). Less violence, too. That’s “Puss in Boots.” It’s worth it, if only for the Dance Battle. Trust me: You’ll understand better when you see it.

“Monster’s Inc.,” “Cinderella” and “Brother Bear” get honorable mentions. Those of you that think on the basis of what I just wrote that Nicole and I let Cara watch too much television rest assured: We don’t. Other than the occasional movie that she only gets to watch when she’s either A.) Good or B.) Too much of a handful to control without a Disney movie, a juice box and a bowl of Cheez-Its, the only time she generally watches television is in spurts between six and 8:30 in the PM. The rest of the time we’re either playing, or drawing, or making puzzles, or going to the park/mall/Target/Target for Daddies (AKA Home Depot)/food store/Linvilla Orchards, or going to visit family and friends… I’m sure you get the idea. My life at this juncture… my schedule is anything but open, guys. That’s why it never ceases to amaze me when I have time to write a blog entry like this one. Monster Energy Drinks help immensely with that last.

How do I do it? I don’t know. Once again, “it’s a mystery.” One of the many that I find myself grappling with presently. Not mysteries of cosmic significance, and not even the ones that I dealt with in the past like “what causes a Biological to leave his children behind him and flee west?” That one, along with the mystery of the Feminine Bane of my Early Existence, has been officially retired at this juncture. C’est la vie. No more. Thank f*cking God, the God Particle and/or the Almighty. I’m glad, really. I’d much rather ponder lesser mysteries like “what the f*ck is in Gogurt that makes it so appealing to children,” “why do people love Bieber” and “why does my house always smell like a**?” Those mysteries? They remain unsolved for me, a still pseudo-mad denizen of this side of the proverbial wormhole of existence. Just because I’m published now doesn’t change that. if anything, it compounds it. Hopefully you’re as happy about that as I am.

And that, guys? That’s about all I’ve got for today. I’d like to thank “Random Musings of a Pseudo-Madman Version 2.0” for giving me an outlet to write that is only loosely linked to ENDWORLD – A NOVEL which, I should add, is NOW AVAILABLE to purchase from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, in the iBookstore, for your Kobo, via Smashwords or in print at Createspace! Get your copy, today!

Begin and end shameless, self-promotion. If you’re interested in more of it, though, you can check out the book’s website, http://www.theendworldseries.com for “everything and anything related to ENDWORLD – A NOVEL and THE ENDWORLD SERIES!”  

Okay. Enough already. I get it. Really. I’ll stop. MOVING ON, this process was incredibly therapeutic  It was nice… damn nice to spend some time just writing. I didn’t feel like I needed to check Kindle Direct, NOOK Press, Createspace or Smashwords and guesstimate how many units of my book I’ve sold/how many have been downloaded. I didn’t feel like I had to check my Twitter feed, or check Facebook, or answer emails and texts, DMs  et al. The nice thing about “Random Musings” is that it gives me a place to just. Be. ME. The Madchronicler, otherwise known as Frank Marsh: A regular Joe Schmoe in the grand scheme of things, and a self-proclaimed…

You know it, fellow you-know-whats. You know it. Have a great day. Booyakasha. Respect.

New Website: ENDWORLD – A NOVEL and THE ENDWORLD SERIES

I’d be remiss in my duties as a shameless self promoter at this juncture if I didn’t notify you all of the committed website I have created, “for everything and anything ENDWORLD – A NOVEL and THE ENDWORLD SERIES related.” The website can be linked HERE. It is also link-able via the RSS feed on my sidebar. Please, head on over and check it out. It’s a work in progress but I promise, soon it’ll have a lot more tantalizing info on it.

I won’t be removing “everything and anything” book-related from this blog, however. My goal is to maintain “Random Musings” indefinitely as my personal blog and reserve the ENDWORLD site for marketing purposes. I’ll do my best to cross-link the two of them when I can but no promises. Realistically? If you follow me here and are interested in reading my novel when I release it, I urge you to head on over to the new site and add it to your “follow” list. And please, tell all your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, enemies et al about it. I’ll likely post links here, too, but there’s the hub of where the activity is going to be.

This AM, I received all of my final material from my formatter/designer. Before the sun had even come up over my side of the proverbial wormhole of existence I had uploaded the print version to Createspace, and the e-book versions to Amazon and NOOK. Nothing is available yet. I’m going to wait until Createspace accepts it and gives me a publication date before I announce a release date. I’m still shooting for May 1, 2013 but I’ll know better if that’s feasible in 24-48 hours.

So until then, stay tuned. And take care. Winky emoticon. Smiley face.

A Bedtime Story

It is a surreal evening for your old friend the Madchronicler on this side of the proverbial wormhole of existence, guys. In case you don’t follow me on Facebook or Twitter (and I’m not going to pitch those two sites, again; if you want to check them out you can link them via the “ABOUT ME” page of this blog), I just signed off on the final proofs for the e-book versions of ENDWORLD – A NOVEL. I did so while Natalie slept soundly upstairs (and hopefully will continue to do so despite the fifth tooth she has coming in, presently) and Cara sat beside me, her eyes glued to an episode of “Dora the Explorer.” We were a vision of the 21st Century tech family: Me with my laptop opened on my lap and her with the iPad opened on hers. I wish I’d taken a picture. But there’ll be plenty of time for that in the days, months and years ahead.

After her episode of Dora ended and after I “slept” my laptop, we commenced our nightly routine: We called Nicole and said goodnight. We brushed our teeth. We took our Pinkalicious and Purplicious vitamins (the former for Cara’s ear infection). We went upstairs, has a drink of water and Cara climbed into bed. I told her I loved her and that I’d see her in the morning. And then? Cara asked me to tell her a story.

“What kind of story?” I asked her.

“A Nemo story,” she responded.

Jesus, I thought, Nemo, again? I opened my mouth and started to tell it but then I stopped myself. I asked her if she wanted to hear a different story. She asked me which one and I told her the following:

Once upon a time, there lived a little boy who never could quite fit in no matter how hard he tried. He wasn’t really good at sports and he was kind of shy. But the one thing he could do well was write. And he loved writing. His first story that he ever wrote was a full-length short story about meeting his then-musical idol. He even illustrated it. As he got older, his interests branched out and he started writing about other things. Book reports and term papers, at first. Essays, too, but not just essays about history and literature. He wrote essays for fun.

Then, sometime around his 17th or 18th Birthday, he started writing a novel. That novel? He realized pretty quickly that it stunk really badly. He shelved it and reconsidered writing something as daunting as a full-length novel. But then, one summer day, he was inspired by a musty basement and the promise of a vacation that he would be going on in a week. So he started another novel. That novel? He kept writing it. After months and months of working on it he finally reached the end, and in a fit of composing that he has been unable to duplicate since, he completed it. He wrote the words “THE END” on the last page. And then? 

He kicked the power cord out of the wall and his computer shut off. And he realized that he had neglected to save the last 15 pages he had typed on his old, 286 HP with the Monochrome Screen. He thought about giving up then, too, but in the end? He decided that he wanted to finish what he’d started. So he stayed up all night and he did. And as the sun rose outside, he wrote “THE END” a second time. And that time? He remembered to save it. He was a shade over 19 then and he had completed his first novel. In his mind, the sky was the limit. 

But over time? Life interfered. He fell in love, had his heart broken, fell in love again, went away to school, had his heart broken again, had many life experiences, met many new people who have remained his friends… his brethren, since, graduated college, embarked on a career, rose up through the corporate hierarchy of Today’s Neighborhood Drugstore, fell in love again, didn’t have his heart broken, abandoned his “career” after 13 years, started a new one, got married, bought a house, had a couple of kids, flirted with a Master’s Degree, missed a requirement by 0.25 points, decided to hold off on school and then? Finally? After years and years of toying with the idea, he picked up the novel he had written “THE END” on the last page of 15 years previously and started over. He rewrote it… rebuilt it from its foundation up. And at long last? He completed it, wrote “TO BE CONTINUED” and not “THE END” on the last page of it and began the task of preparing it for publication. He succeeded. And on April 22, 2013 at approximately 8:45 PM while his daughter sat next to him playing on the iPad and the Phillies game played in the background? He clicked the “SEND” button on an email and posted to Facebook and Twitter simultaneously:

“Proofs? Signed off on. It is now safe to COMMENCE HAPPY DANCE!”

The End.

By the time I had finished speaking, Cara’s eyes had grown heavy and she was teetering on the border between sleep and wakefulness. But she opened her eyes briefly and asked me, “What was the little boy’s name, Daddy?” I smiled and ran my fingers through her Rapunzel-esque long hair and replied with, “What do you think his name was, Bear?” Do you know what her response to that was fellow denizens of this, my subjective reality?

I sh*t you not. Her response? “Frank.” Yep. In my moment of triumph and serendipity, I was PWN’d by my almost four year old daughter. Don’t believe me? Ask her yourself. Cara’s as sharp as a tack. Some days I swear that she’s four going on 16. But do you know what? I wouldn’t have it any. Other. Way. While her attitude is often enough to make the short hairs on the back of my neck stand on end and she’s spent her share of time in a time out since she turned three almost a year ago, I’m pleased with her development as a person. She’s always been fiercely independent… always been able to manipulate Daddy and Mommy. I don’t see it as a flaw, though. I see it as character. Because really? When I or Nicole need her to help us clean up, or bake Pinkalicious cupcakes, or play with her sister et cetera, et cetera, nine out of 10 times she does it. I’ll trade a little back talk and PWN’ing for 80-90% cooperation any day of the week, won’t you?

And that, guys? That’s my bedtime story this momentous evening in late April of 2013. It’s funny: I haven’t even published the damn thing yet and already I feel at peace. I guess the whole publication-thing is academic at this juncture, right? I mean, I’m going to publish it, and I’m going to do so soon. And people are either going to like it or not like it. Some may love it and some may despise it. But in the immortal words of a once little known, soon to be widely (I hope) known tragic hero of modern fiction named William MacNuff:

I write the following account not to heal the ills of a sick and twisted world: A world of lush forests at dusk grown cold by the emergence of chrome and steel. A world in which a concept like hope is extinct, drowned as all things once youthful and optimistic by the rivers of blood that flow down the distant, eight-lane, asphalt super Highway…

No. I write the following account to heal myself.

I write… I wrote ENDWORLD – A NOVEL originally to heal myself. Originally. In the end, though? I wrote it not just for me, but for Cara. For Natalie. For all of you: My fellow inhabitants of this side of the proverbial wormhole of existence. It’s yours, now. Enjoy it. I’ve got another one that I need to get working on.

For those that have inquired about a date of publication, I’m targeting May 1, 2013. May 1 = May Day which feels very symbolic to me. Furthermore, the publication date is not the last little bit of news that I will be providing you in the near future. I’m working on a couple of other… things that I hope to launch simultaneously with the book. They’re still in process, right now, but as soon as they are ready to go, rest assured: I will let you know.

And with that? I. Am. Done. For this evening, that is. Your old buddy the Madchronicler will be back real soon. But for now? Frank Marsh is going to get some sleep. G’Night, all.

Another Quick Hit: Big News!

Hey, everyone. I just posted this to my Facebook Author Page and via Twitter, but I also wanted to announce something here for those of you that only know me from “Random Musings.” BREAKING NEWS ALERT:

Low Carb, Monster Energy Drink in hand, I just finished going through the e-book proofs for ENDWORLD – A NOVEL and sent them back to my designer for final corrections. Barring anything unforseen, I should have all of the material that I need completed, in hand and ready to go within the next few days. Once that’s done, I will be publishing the book through Createspace (Tentatively $14.99 for a 6X9, 448 page print edition which will also be available from Amazon), Amazon and Barnes and Noble (Tentatively $3.99 for the e-book). I also plan to publish the e-book through Smashwords eventually, making it available in the iBookstore, for the Kobo and for the Sony Reader, likely for $3.99 as well. But the initial run is going to be an on-demand print, Kindle and Nook run.

And there you have it, guys. The big day is almost here. I’d say “commence Happy Dance” but I’m not going to do that until after I have everything in hand and ready to go. But my level of psych-a-tude just went through the roof. Not even the dead possum in my backyard which I had Delco Pest Control come and remove a little while ago (I couldn’t see any injuries so I had no idea what it died from and decided to err on the side of caution) can bring me down. Then again, that could also be the Low Carb Monster Energy Drink talking.

Anywhos, stay tuned here and all across my electronic footprint as I will hopefully be announcing a publication date shortly. Thank you, again, for all of your support! Take care, and have a great weekend!

ENDWORLD – A Novel has a Cover!

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:

Endworld_08

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!