Daddy/Jackson Day 9/20/2021

Today did not start out the way I would have liked. My youngest decided at 1am he was up. Wife had to work so it was up to Dad to take him downstairs and try to get him wound down.

Flash forward about 4 hours and I finally get him in his bed. I go back to mine to find my 5yr old has invaded. Dad hooks back into his cpap machine (yes I’ve been diagnosed with severe sleep apnea). About an hour later I have to get up and get kids ready for school. I send off the older two to school, wife to work, and I finally get another hour or so of sleep, albeit with Jackson sleeping on my arm.

Caffienating as I drive, we make it to our joint chiropractor appointment. I get adjusted and then it’s Jackson’s turn. It’s like he flipped a switch and became the most well behaved not quite 3 year old you’d ever meet.

A little facial massage to help open his sinuses.

We then managed to negotiate shopping at Walmart in record time, only missing one item, because they were out of it.

Successful shopping trip: Check

I would say, never argue with a child about what you McDonald’s has, because even if you’re right, you’re wrong. I told him they didn’t have dinosaur toys, he insisted they did. He ended up with Lion King’s Simba.

Lunch home and nap: in that order. Dad would have loved to get a nap too, but sadly I had things to do. He looked well rested when he got up later.

No pictures, please.

In the store, he’d tried to put two bags of mini powdered donuts in the cart. We compromised on one, in addition to the promised box of candy he got for being a good boy all day. For snack time before bed, he swore to me he didn’t pick out the candy that he did, Jolly Rancher Sour Gummies.

Instead, he chose to have two donuts “I need one for each hand”. And a third to give to Mommy “They are her favorite, I know”.

That’s when I was betrayed. He said he wanted more. Dad said no. Mom told Jackson to get the kitchen stool so he could reach them off the back of the counter where I had put them.

Celebrating his victory with additional donuts.

It’s clear the gauntlet had been thrown. The coup has begun. Dad is going to be overthrown as King of the House.

Who am I kidding?

Dad hasn’t been King since at least Empress Emma was born. I’m just a puppet. Dancing upon the strings.

Moral of the Day: Maybe, just maybe, the kid needs a facial massage and chiropractor appointment to keep the sassy away.

Week in Review- June 19th, 2021

This was a big week in the Ferrell Household.

I managed to write two scenes for book 4 of my urban fantasy series, Family Heritage. A third scene is formulated but not fully written. I began a new short story for Meteor Falls. Oh yeah, and I turned 39. Last year of the 30s before I hit the big 40.

Our monarch butterfly season is in full swing. We have close to 500 eggs and caterpillars of various stages. And nearly a dozen in “raccoons” as Emma called them the first season. She couldn’t say cocoons, much less chrysalis, at that point. The term has kinda stuck around our house, even though we know the proper terms now and can use them.

Sunday is my niece/goddaughter’s birthday. I took Emma and Jackson to go birthday shopping for her. They did really well picking out things they thought Nora would like. I guess we’ll see when we go there for her party.

1 Month Down 2021 Edition

January was a good month for me on a lot of fronts, although I didn’t blog about them. I did put a bit more of my writing journey on Facebook on my author page though.

January Writing News:

30558 words written. Most of it in my just over 27k MG/YA fantasy novel. “Sibling Rivalry: A Children of the Realms Tale” will be getting pitched to agents and editors during the February 3rd #SFFPIT event in Twitter. You can check it out at this LINK. If anyone is on Twitter and would be willing to help Retweet me, you can find me on Twitter under andrewmferrell

My February goals include knocking out the rest of the two short stories I’m working on for my Meteor Fall project. Hopefully then that collection will start to come together. I’m working with some great friends of mine in the writing world. I think readers will enjoy the world we’re creating.

I’m also planning on getting a big chunk of my wip “Bible of Mars” done. This was an idea my father in law came up with when we used to carpool to the day job. Involved people having migrated from Mars to earth for some reason. I ended up finding a plot and outlining it last year. I don’t think I’ll finish it this month. It should be a fun SciFi romp though.

Family Heritage Book 3: Reunions & Rebellions is in the hands of some betas and proofreaders. I have a cover mock-up I’ll share later this month I think once I think I have a handle on its publication date.

On the home front things are going pretty good. My oldest started his job and it’s going alright except for constant changes in his sports schedule messing with his work schedule. But basketball season will be over soon and then he can put in a few more hours. We’re getting along pretty well. I’m proud of the choices he’s making lately with regards to school and his future.

Emma and Jackson are still giving Dad a run for his money. Here’s Emma and I playing on a 15-20 ft snow pile behind our house yesterday.

It was harder to climb than I thought it would be because the snow was very fluffy and didn’t pack down well. I kept sinking and sliding back down. It was fun though. Wife and Jackson watched from a window and laughed pretty hard at “Daddy fall down. “Daddy fall again”. As Jackson put it. He’d had enough by this time and had gone back inside.

I have a short story of n a collection called “The Depths of Love: an SFWG anthology” due out February 10th. I happen to know if you preorder the ebook and send a screenshot to the publisher, you are entered to win a paperback copy of any short story collection they’ve published.

Cloaked Press also has its 2021 edition of Spring Into SciFi coming later this month or first week of March. Currently accepting submissions for the first Summer of Speculation themed anthology as well. Catastrophe is the theme. All the details are on their website.

I’m hoping to get more updates here on the blog in the future. Maybe just a weekly check in with some more writing and family news as that’s my focus here. Thank you all for coming along on this crazy journey with me.

Teen Driver In the House

Teen Driver In the House

I wanted to write this post two weeks ago, but a combination of the holidays and no small amount of procrastination has delayed these thoughts. My oldest officially became a licensed driver the week before Christmas.

I’m immensely proud of the young man he’s becoming. Sure there are still some things he does that annoy me, but isn’t that all teenagers?

He was given the task, to get his license, that he had to get his grades up. This half virtual learning path has been a struggle. It’s certainly not what any of us would have chosen for his sophomore year, but he keeps rolling with the setbacks: a shortened football season, several complete virtual weeks, and now disruptions to his basketball season. He’s handling better than I probably would have at his age. I doubt I tell him I’m proud of him enough. But hopefully, it shows.

With his license has come some freedom to come and go as he pleases. And with his sister in 4K during a Wisconsin winter, it’s wonderful that he can take her to school with him and she’s safe and taken care of. Emma really enjoys riding with Teta and has asked him to pick her up after school when he doesn’t have practice.

To fund his newfound freedom, he’s taken the initiative to apply for jobs. I’m proud of him that he sought out and negotiated a job that will work around his sports schedule. He has orientation this weekend and gets to start right away in the afternoon.

I’ll admit I’ve been nervous about this whole situation, but he’s been an amazing driver with his mom and I during his learning period. I can’t wait to hear about his first day of work and all the life lessons he’s going to experience as he enters this phase of life.

Teta, Your dad is very proud of you. Keep striving for your goals and I know you’ll become a great man.

Becoming a plotter?!?!

The age old debate amongst writers. That eternal battle between Plotters and Pantsers. I’ve always considered myself a Pantser. Most of the time I have a character and a vague idea and away we go. Probably why I have a thumb drive full of unfinished half baked ideas.

This week has started out different. As I finally draw into the closing chapters of this round of the dots for Book 3 of my Family Heritage series, I had a villain and an idea for book 4.

Monday morning it hit me and by noon I had plotted out a high level outline for the entire book, while working my day job.

What’s more is book 5, which was little more than the idea of having shifters in it, has become an actually plotted book as well. Down to villains and their goals and scene outline.

I’ve never written like this before and it’s a little strange feeling. I’ve now dusted off an old idea I’d filed away and am working it through as well.

Last night I asked my wife about something she’d talked about. One of those, “Honey you should write this moments,” she’d had months ago. She hadn’t figured out the last couple of characters (based on our nieces and nephews), and I told her about my outlining this week. I mentioned I’d like to take a stab at coming up with a story using these characters but I needed the details.

This is where I surprised her by admitting I don’t normally plot my writing. I take the vague idea or character and just turn them loose. Then I write up the incident report. She couldn’t believe that because of how I am in my personal life. I’m a planner. I’m a step 1 is followed by step 2 and so on.

She’s convinced that I’m definitely in possession of multiple personalities and she wants the Pantser to be more involved in my day to day life. What’s more is she’s trying to name the personalities. I just chuckled at her.

Decorating the mind…

A dear friend of mine shared a tweet that got me thinking. I’m sharing the tweet as I’ve tracked down the original author and followed him and his friend he mentions. It’s, to me at least, a very powerful way to look at two of the arts.

For myself, as I have trouble drawing stick figures, and my musical talents were left behind in high school band, I thought, how does this apply to me?

The answer became clear quickly. Writing is how we decorate the mind. Writers take a complex idea, and distill it down into words that, when ingested, fill a room within your mind, even if only for a little while.

Some of these keep these rooms throughout our life and they form a part of who we are. Perhaps they help us deal with a difficult or painful situation. Maybe they form a basis for how we react to something in our lives, or how we perceive justice or what we consider our moral right.

Writers entertain us, inform us, and, if we let them, teach us something. These lessons may be about our world, or just their world. But either way, they can leave this room within us, decorated with their words. With the emotions and images they co hire within us. These rooms are just as powerful as a master’s painting, or a composer’s magnum opus.

So if you’re a writer like me, don’t give up on your creations. Someone out there is waiting for you to decorate a room in their mind, whether they know it now or not.

YouTube, Basketball, and Short Stories-February on a roll

Hello all. February has been a crazy month so far and it’s not over yet.

Emma (my 3yr old) has a YouTube channel now for all the adventures she gets up to. we also started a Facebook page and Instagram account. She’s really enjoying all her activities. Her mom and I are loving sharing our unique girl with the world. You can find her on YouTube at http://bit.ly/EmmasWorld

She’s already surpassed 100 likes on her Facebook page which is amazing. One of the best stories out of this so far has been tweeting with Ted Allen from Food Network’s Chopped. When she was just a few months old, Emma would stop and stare at the screen any time Ted talked. Now that she’s cooking on YouTube, I tweeted him telling him. He responded the next day, not once, but twice.

My oldest is rocking the basketball court and getting lots of playing time on Varsity as a freshman. Here he is taking the tip-off on the Junior Varsity game tonight. He then went down and scored the first two points of the game between either team.

#44- That’s mine…

Lastly for this update has to do with short stories. I’ve been working on a few the last few months and one of my favorite lines is from one dealing with the God of War )or lack there of) in my fantasy realm, Ezrahn.

Kreios was a General before he killed a demigod in self defense and became a Master of War. Now, as he learns why there is no centralized overseer of conflict, he discovers that it is his destiny to become the new God of War. With the help of the magical Emerson’s and armor that make up the powers of War, he sees that having the many demigod Masters, keeps the world in conflict far more than if there was the single God. After he strips the Armament and status of one of his fellow Masters of War, he says, “I am War, so that there can be Peace.” He then sends the now mortal Master Into the battle he was formally orchestrating. I can’t wait to share these stories once they are all done and bundled together. They’ve been a lot of fun to write.

Take care, keep writing, and I’ll be back soon my Gentle Readers.

Spell a Day – Feb 28th 2016

Time to take stock of where we are so far this year my Gentle Readers. We are 2 months in, one-sixth of the year is over. How is everyone doing on their goals for the year?

Here was my list I made:
1 – I want to finish the rewrite/editing of my first book so that the improved second edition can be released. – The second edition is at my editor friend getting looked over, hoping for a spring release.
2 – I want to self pub my novella (still in the editing phase). – I have the edits back, just haven’t worked through them all yet.
3 – I want to finish, edit, and self pub my the second book in my Family Heritage series this year. – Waiting on feedback to the extended ending of book 1 so I can flow it right into book 2.
4 – I would like to make some major progress on my high fantasy (think Tolkien) series. I have the skeleton of a realm, deities, antagonists/protagonists. Just have to finish plotting and then get to work fleshing out the stories. I haven’t quite figured out if it will be a series of short stories/novellas, or if each set of characters will end up in their own full blown novel. Since they will also overlap I have to make sure my outlines are complete for consistency. – Tabled this one for now.
5 – I plan to get myself down in weight before summer. I have at least the 20-30 to lose that I want to, so from there I will evaluate what I still can lose healthily. – Still holding steady where I was at the beginning of the year. At least I haven’t gained back any of the 30lbs I lost last year.
6 – I want to blog at least once a week, if not more often. I will be looking for topics to discuss. As part of this I want to do at least 2 book reviews a month. I need to get a submission page setup for anyone interested in having me review their work. – So far this is going well. I am averaging at least 1 book a week and my Spell a Day posts seem to have gathered some avid readers. I hope everyone is enjoying them.
7 – It would be nice to put together a book of poetry as well. I have a notebook almost full and a thumb drive with a few dozen from when I was younger. Just not sure if I have enough that would be of interest to others. The ones I have blogged here have received favorable reviews so perhaps there is potential in others as well. – This is buried under the other writing projects.
8 – I want to bring down and gain a better handle on my temper. I am not a homicidal maniac, but there are times where a cooler head would be a better face to present. I have noticed my son picking up some of my habits and I hope that if I can break my cycle, I can help him to not struggle like I have. – Things seem to be going well in this category. No blow-ups. 

A few other updates, my home office is done and so is the nursery. We are all ready for the new baby to arrive in April. I am excited and scared all at the same time. That’s all for now my Gentle Readers. Take stock of where you are and keep striving for those goals.

 

Some much needed family time…

This past week afforded me the opportunity to recharge my mental batteries with some much needed family time. My day job as a logistical wizard had been overly taxing of late, leaving me little time to deal with the tedious process of re-editing my first book, editing the second, or completing the draft of my third.

Wednesday – I got up first in my household, as usual. I took my vehicle in for its overdue oil change as soon as the shop was open. As we had a trip to Chicago planned I wanted to have it get the full treatment from a professional. Coming home a bare 20 minutes later, I went to work straightening up our messy kitchen. The trash also had to go out as it was collection day in our village. I then cooked scrambled eggs, bacon, and toast for the family. Once I had it ready to hit the table, I went to wake up my wife and son, who were still sleeping. After breakfast, my wife took over the cleaning in the house while I broke out our riding lawn mower to cut our grass. It was looking decidedly shaggy. My son joined me outside to take the trimmer to the dog kennel. The grass was taller than our little Shih-tzu but I cannot get the riding mower through the gate to cut it that way. A trip to the recycling center for our weekly deposit completed the major chores for the day. My wife had our bag packed to go out to our camper on the lake. An afternoon of swimming, cards, and cooking out ended my Wednesday on a very high note. The dogs even enjoyed some time in the water.

Thursday – We were up, not quite with the sun but still a decent hour. We packed up the campsite. We took the dogs to my wife’s parents house where they would be staying for the next few days. A quick trip home for real showers and a change of clothes had us off and running to Chicago for the rest of our family vacation. After shocking my wife with how calm I was in Chicago traffic (normally she feels the need to premedicate to handle my road rage) we checked into our hotel. Thursday night was spent cheering the Black and White Knight at Medieval Times Schaumburg. I am proud to say that after 3 trips, we finally picked a winner. The food was tasty as always. I admit to having two of their “Executioner” drinks (Southern Comfort, and two flavors of Fat Tuesday mix). I don’t remember which ones. Then it was back to the hotel to relax and get some sleep for our Friday excursions.

Friday – The Brookfield Zoo outdid itself this year. They added a new bird exhibit full of parakeets. For a couple bucks you can purchase this little stick with food on it. The birds will land on the stick, your hand, or whatever they can to get at the sticks. The coolest thing was when I had three of them between the stick and my hand fighting over who got the food. Once in awhile something spooks them and the several hundred birds all take flight at once and did figure eights around the building. I am not sure what it was that spooked them, but it was impressive to see them all flying in formation like a fighter bomber squadron. Luckily all three of us escaped without getting pooped on. We made a trip to the Lego store, a must whether you are 10 (like my son) or 33 (like me). We finished up at Bahama Breeze restaurant in Schaumburg. I HIGHLY recommend checking out their Creole Shrimp Rice bowl. DELICIOUS!!!  We headed back to the hotel with full bellies, but my son insisted he needed to hit the pool. I sat in the corner in my near food coma while he swam and played in the water.

Saturday – Bristol Ren Faire on the Wisconsin/Illinois border. Always good for people watching. Some of the costumes are pretty fantastic. We watched a whip cracker show where he actually did flaming whips. When he made a joke about accidents happening (revealing the bald head under his hat) he picked me out of the crowd to say “This guy knows what I am talking about, right?” I just laughed and nodded in agreement with him. We also saw the first joust of the day. Our knight, Sir Maximillion, won. This makes twice in three days we picked a winner. I should have bought a lottery ticket. The heat was oppressive, so after a little shopping, we decided to grab some ice cream and head home. I was disappointed with the vendor as we ordered three strawberry waffle cones, but only received 2 and a half. When the third one arrived, decidedly lacking in as much ice cream as the first two. I started to question it. The lady ignored me and called for the next customer. I had been pretty calm so far. Not frustrated or raging at the idiotic driving on the IL Tollway, but this lady almost wore the ice cream. I can proudly say I chose to take a breath and just walk quickly towards the exit before I caused a scene. My wife and son followed at a safe distance, knowing I was not in a good mood. We cruised on home, after stopping to pick up the pups from in-law’s house. My wife and son have decided we are definitely dressing up the next time we go to the Faire.

Sunday – we relaxed till afternoon, did a little shopping and then watched some evening TV. We did begin dismantling and painting two of my son’s NERF guns so they can be redesigned into a “steampunk” style as part of his costume for the Faire (as well as Halloween this year).

Definitely just what I needed to recharge from work. Today has been calmer in the office. The boss is away. Maybe I can get some edits done on something today. Keep fighting the fight my friends.

A three year itch…

I have come to a realization in the last couple days. I am approaching a milestone in my professional life where I have held the EXACT same position/job title for the longest in my life. I started my professional career as an Internet Tech Support at the tender age of 17. While my role expanded to include server admin, webmaster, sales, and hardware repair/installation, I was only with the small company 2.5 years before I was laid off. 8 months later the company went under. My next job was a temp at a cold rolled steel plant performing quality auditing and maintaining records for ISO standards. I was there a year before I moved from Ohio to Wisconsin. I enjoyed the job, but I could not spend my entire life as a temp. They would not hire me on as a real employee and give me proper benefits, so I had to move on. I did some customer service at one of those big office complexes before landing a job with a national trucking company. I went from being the one that the drivers called for assistance, to dispatching the trucks during my 4 year tenure there. Again, a lay off ended that job. I have been with my current employer almost 6 years now. The first few years though, I bounced around a lot. I started on night shift, went into a pseudo leadership role on night shift, before coming to day shift in one region. I have been a lead dispatch in my current region since August of 2011. This marks the longest I have been settled anywhere in my entire life.

I don’t know exactly why I am writing this, but I am hoping that by putting it down it will stop swirling in my head so I can get back to my novella and novels I am working on. Or some poetry. I might have a few lines of verse hiding in the dark corners, waiting to come out and play. I do know that I am finding annoyance with many things in my current role. Doesn’t mean I am going to be changing jobs or anything, just that little things are starting to bother me a little and I am speaking out more about these items. Change is good, and my region that I cover needs some changes, needs to grow and become better. We have been mired in a rut for years before I came to the area and those mentalities need to change. I have been trying to influence where I can, but when you are not the sole person in charge, it takes longer than it should to modify the attitude and climate.

Anyway, I don’t think this is a post anyone will really care about, but I had to put it down to get it out of my head. Almost like the therapy of writing a journal. Keep fighting the fight friends.