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.

 

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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.

Looking for help with Book Reviews…

Beginnings (Family Heritage Vol. 1) - Andrew M Ferrell

Looking for help from all my blogger friends out there. I am looking for people willing to read my book and post honest reviews to Amazon/Goodreads/Their Blog. Wherever, especially Amazon. I am planning some advertising in the next few months and want to try and get some more opinions out there that are more current than the two reviews I currently have. If you are interested just email me at andrewmferrell@gmail.com with what format you need it in. I can either gift you an ebook for your Kindle direct from Amazon, or I can try my hand at converting it into Epub/Mobi. So far the program I have has been non-cooperative. I do have a PDF copy available if that works for you. Thank you all for your support and encouragement. Any reblogs or sharing of this post would have my never ending gratitude.

Poem – A Life Half-Lived

Sometimes I hear a song or a comment and my muse decides, “Hey buddy, you are going to write about this whether you want to or not.” Thankfully, what I consider some of my best work is because of this.

A Life Half-Lived

Who would regret the Life half-lived?
Would you know what you missed?
The things you could see
The person you could be
The tastes you didn’t try
Experiences let pass by
All the people you could meet
If only you would stop and greet
Each day as if it was your last

Think of me not as a saint
For I too know regret’s foul taint
I am just like you
I knew not what to do
There are days I lost
Never learning the cost
Of failing to seize the day
So in the end I could say
I lived as if each day was my last

Don’t make this mistake
The sands of Time do not wait
For us to decide

Poem – American Heart (Unfollowed my first blog today)

I have had many many positive experiences discovering blogs since I joined WordPress a year ago. This morning I had to unfollow a blog for the first time. I consider myself very open to criticism, as I know that none of us are perfect. However, a nerve was touched when this person said that American poetry was dead. I did some looking around on their blog and from what I can tell this person has never lived in the United States. I have read many wonderful works of wordsmithery (I am sure that is not a word, but I heard it somewhere and think it is fitting) on other blogs and I think this person just has no clue. You cannot judge the heart and soul of a country’s literary works by the loudest voices. You have to listen for the small still voice that is closest to the heartbeat. I have read and met many wonderful people on here from America and other countries. I hope you will forgive me for this little bit of pride in my country. Anyway, I ended up writing something poetic about it. Enjoy my friends.

American Heart

I read somewhere someone said
That American poetry is dead
No leader or soul to speak of
How dare you judge as if above
The struggles and triumphs of our heart

You who sit in a foreign land
Feeling superior with your pen in hand
Speaking of things you can’t experience
Go on living in your gross ignorance
of the power in an American heart

Each culture has its own outcasts
The voices loudest that always lasts
Loud and proud these voices can be
But some don’t speak for us all you see
For there is beautiful diversity in our heart

So throw your stones from your glass house
And think us mild and meek as a mouse
But when you poke this sleeping bear
Be prepared to face us once we are aware
Of your insults to our American Heart

100 Followers, what?

Today I logged in and noticed that I reached 100 followers of my blog. I cannot express how incredible it is that 100 other people enjoyed something on my blog enough to follow me so they could see more. The last year has been a real rollercoaster for me. From starting this blog (and not doing much with it till the last couple months), to publishing my first novel; it has been a big year for me literary wise. I want to express my heartfelt thanks to all my followers and I promise to try to keep the poetry and book news coming, as well as branching into more commentary on life and fatherhood in general. Keep fighting the fight my friends.