Weekly Writerly Review 1/17/2022

This past week was not as strong on the writing front as previous week as I returned to the day job. I managed a couple thousand words across a few projects. Hoping to get my routine back on track with the minor adjustments to my schedule.

My query for “Sibling Rivalry – Children of Nature and Time 1” was rejected right away with a form letter. I haven’t sent any more yet, but I have a short list of agents I want to query. I’m struggling with the potential I see in it; and wanting this story in my hands now. I’ll see how I feel by next week about it.

Tales of Ezrahn – Volume 1 is coming along. Just over 40k words. I’m thinking about launching the website for the realm and subsequent books, but I feel like I need to get more of the world ready for publication before I do so.

I’m trying to decide what to do about a couple of other projects I have sitting. I’ve got demon hunters, and Family Heritage book 4, my Bible of Mars tale, and subsequent Ezrahn tales. I don’t know what I’m going to go with honestly.

I didn’t do much reading, but I picked up a beta reading project for a friend in a writing group. I got some more of the Spring Into SciFi 2022 submissions read – I’m almost caught up to the current list. Shaping up to be a good selection so far. Only a couple that just don’t fit the vibe I’m going for with my publications. I also started going through this parenting book my wife got me to help us with our toddler. Jackson can be a handful at times and this book is supposed to help us deal with his behaviors by addressing the problem proactively. I’m a few chapters in, and it has potential. It has a fair amount of homework involved, but if will help us with him, and actually all three kids, then I am game.

Until next week, keep reading and writing folks…

Book Review – Advocatus by A. R. Turner

Hilarious Debut…

This debut novel from author A. R. Turner is funny from cover to cover, even though it could make you think.

Felix is a rookie lawyer ready to strike out on his own and make a name for himself. The problem he has though, is one last case – defending an evil magical warlord against a laundry list of charges.

The plea – Innocent of course.

Felix then embarks on a journey through cases riddled with psychic frogs, goblins, and time traveling wizards. All the while, something is brewing in the world. A court case unlike the halls of law and order have ever seen.

The case? Humanity vs. The Balance of Nature. The judge? Habeus, God of Justice in all his deific glory. Sounds simple enough right?

There’s just one problem. If Felix loses this case, it’s not just over for him, but for all of humanity as well. No pressure at all.

My Rating : 5 stars

I can’t wait to see what A. R. Turner does with this realm in the future.

Enter “The Collective” – Shared Universe writing

Enter “The Collective” – Shared Universe writing

Some years ago, I read a book by a good friend of mine that was called a “shared universe”. Basically, several authors wrote stories within the same world. Sometimes they overlapped and sometimes not. It was an intriguing concept that swindled around in the back of my mind for awhile.

Fast forward a little and I came up with an idea for an alternate history world. In this world, a meteor shower has the potential to trigger an event – originally just that an object of some type would gain a special ability. I invited some of my friends in on this idea. In our discussions it was decided that the effects of a meteor shower became more in that it could grant supernatural abilities to humans/animals, or even cause strange mutations.

To combat this potentially dire threat to humanity, The Collective was born. The original concept was a mashup of Warehouse 13 and the Men in Black. Agents would collect the objects or people affected by meteors and protect humanity. The more dangerous objects are locked up in one of several Vaults across the world in the different branches of the Collective.

What came next was our crisis. The Astrology agents within the Collective discovered an impending meteor shower of global proportions. With not enough agents to cover this type of event, the agency went into crisis management mode. They had to protect humanity, and maintain their secrecy from all but the upper most levels of the intelligence community.

With the basic world building complete, we all got to work on our individual stories, bouncing ideas back and forth, sharing characters and referencing the events, both in the past and the current crisis. Along the way we name dropped popular myths and legends like Excalibur, Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster as all having ties to the Collective.

In the end, it presented a unique challenge to wrestle six authors’ stories into a cohesive book. Based on early feedback, it appears to have worked.

Will I continue to work with this shared universe and the other authors involved? Definitely. We have several novel ideas either alone or in pairs, as well as planning another short story collection collaboration for 2022.

If you’d like to check out the book, you can find it on Amazon. And below is our amazing cover from Fantasy & Coffee.

June 2021??????

How in all that is written is it June already? It feels like we just had the doubleheader of my wife’s birthday and then Valentine’s Day. Lots to talk about so I may ramble a bit.

February I participated in a Pitch Party on Twitter (you can follow me here). I got a grand total of 1 like from an agent, so then I panicked. I’d written the story, almost 30k words, in January. Could I do this? Should I do this? I figured, what the hell. Worst she can say is no right? It’s never stopped me before. So I sent in the query packet. Then the crippling anxiety set in. February was a horrible month writing wise and March wasn’t much better. I’m getting back into a grove now, but none of my projects are holding on as tight as that one.

Fast Forward to April 7th, and I got the form letter rejection. No agent for me this time. I’m still thinking this one has commercial appeal and I’m going to query it again. When I’ve had a chance to study how to write better queries.

Meanwhile, I received feedback from a beta reader for Reunions & Rebellions, the third book in my Family Heritage series. She loved everything, including the ending. Except the girls sounded stilted and formal in their conversations. So I’ve reworked a few scenes with the help of my amazing friend Leya.

The day job is going well. Still slinging cheese but I’ve been promoted to a full time operator. Little more money and so far it’s easier on my wrists and shoulders. Feet still kill me almost everyday but might be time for a new pair of work shoes.

Cloaked Press is growing. Through our partnership with SciFi & Fantasy Writer’s Guild, we launched Depths of Love 2021. A short story anthology featuring tales of love in all its myriad forms, not just your typical romances.

That’s not all. Spring Into SciFi 2021 launched right on time this year as well. In its fourth year, this series of anthologies continues to be my best seller, both in copies and kindle unlimited page reads. I’m overjoyed that I got to share these stories with the world.

Our newest themed anthology, Summer of Speculation launches its first edition on June 21st. with a theme of Catastrophe, I wasn’t sure what kind of stories I would get. It’s turned out better than I hoped. It can be found HERE.

Ok onto the family side of things. I’m now the father of a high school junior and a kindergartener. We’ve been raising what we thought were frog tadpoles, turns out they must be some sort of lizard as they are well past the turning point to be frogs. Still waiting to see what they become.

It’s also Monarch Butterfly season here in Northeast Wisconsin. This is our third year helping these little beauties and I think we’re already nearing our total from last year. Between eggs and caterpillars we have nearly 400 already. We’ve seen Facebook posts from people who e crossed the thousand mark before now, but we just like to try and help as much as we can. The more we have, the more milkweed we have to collect, which means the more we find in the milkweed. Still, the look of pure joy and wonder on Emma’s face when she gets to hold the big 5th Instar caterpillars or the emerged butterflies is totally worth it. Jackson is starting to get into it a bit this year as well. You can follow Emma’s journey on her Facebook page, but it would be awesome if she got some more YouTube followers. She loves hearing comments from her “fans”.

I think that’s all for now but hopefully soon I’ll have a release date for Reunions & Rebellions. Until next time.

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.

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.

Welcome to the Roaring 20s…

Hello all. It’s been a year and a half since I last posted so this one is going to be a bit long. Lots of big changes so I’m going o have updates in my Fatherhood, Writing, and Business aspects of my life. So break out the jazz music and brush up on your Charleston.

Fatherhood Updates

2018 ended with a bang as we welcomed a third child into our family. Jackson Warren Ferrell was born November 24th after a long labor. He wasn’t ready to leave mommy and he’s still a snuggler a year later.

Here he is a week ago beating me at his version of checkers.

His sister joined her older brother and her parents in wearing glasses this past November, just weeks before Jackson’s first birthday.

We built a snowman this week because Wisconsin got some great packing snow. Our Olaf didn’t last long as it warmed up enough the next day his head separated and had to be rebuilt.

My oldest child is a freshman in high school now. The only freshman (and only one other sophomore) that got consistent playing time on varsity football. He got his letter and pin for his jacket. He’s slowly earning more time with varsity on the basketball court as well.

Here he is during football season with his sister.

Three kids has been a huge adjustment for our family in terms of time management and trip planning. Thankfully my beautiful wife is a wizard at that aspect and manages to get us everywhere we need to be.

The challenge I’ve faced lately is trying to remember that Emma isn’t older than she is. There are times she says and does things that would lead one to believe she’s a lot older (maybe even a teenager in some ways). The next minute she’s melting down over something so minor (to us parents at least) and it hits you that she’s not quite four. She’s still figuring out how to handle her own emotions and feelings and navigate the world. It’s a work in progress for all of us at this stage.

Writing Updates

2019 was a good year. I joined a 365 Challenge on Facebook that really helped keep me accountable. I developed a much better writing routine through the groups founding principles of just 10 minutes a day. I drafted several pieces I’m still working on. I also finished and published my second novel, “Through Darkness to Light”. In addition I had a new cover done for book one to make them flow better.

You can click the images to be taken to the Amazon product page.

2020 is going to be bigger yet. I’m finally working on my high fantasy realm Ezrahn via short stories to build the world lore and flesh it out more. I’ll definitely be sharing snippets via my Facebook page and Twitter accounts so be sure you’re following me there.

Business Updates

Cloaked Press enters its third year in 2020. We’re launching Spring Into SciFi 2020 in February/March which will be our 6th short story collection. We also published our first stand alone novel, “To Visit Earth” by British author, Ian Hugh McAllister.

We redesigned our website recently to hopefully provide a better user experience. We also now offer editing services for authors on a budget. I feel our prices are very competitive for what we offer.

Our Kickstarter to expand into more single author novels, novellas and collections isn’t fairing so well and in its final hours is still a long way from being funded. We’ll still get there, just will take us longer to take in these projects.

I think that’s all for now. I hope you’re still with me and I look forward to sharing more of my journey as a Father, Author, Blogger, Publisher.

Book Review – Re: Camelot Part One: The Descendant of the King by E.C. Fisher

recamelotECFisher

Re: Camelot Part One: The Descendant of the King
E.C. Fisher
5 Stars

King Arthur is one of my favorite literary legends. I’ve read lots of variations and this one delivers on so many levels. Potentially spoilerish comments follow.

Young Arthur is an orphan and outcast at the private school his guardian sent him to. That all changes when he walks through a door and finds himself on the planet of Avalon. He quickly learns that not only is Avalon the birthplace of the real life King Arthur and Merlin stories he grew up on, but that he himself is a descendant of King Arthur.

Darkness of old has returned to threaten the kingdoms of Avalon and Arthur is the only one who can wield Excalibur to defeat it. Now he must race to reunite Excalibur with the sacred weapons used by the original Knights of the Round Table.

The only negative I have about this story is I need the next installment. Like, really must have it.

Grab your copy on Amazon now.

You can check out my interview with E.C. Fisher here.

Book Review – Hatching the Phoenix Egg by Joel Horn

Hatching The Phoenix Egg

(Mare Tranquillitatis Series Book 2)

Joel Horn

5 Stars

Joel Horn takes his precocious band of misfit geniuses from ”Lost Coast Rocket” (see my review here) to the next level in this exciting sequel. I always try to stay spoiler free in my reviews but…

A trip to Jupiter, epic science, world ending comet, and a trip home nearly missed while his own government decides to take him out of the sky. Top this off with a deeply held secret finally revealed to his true love (aside from the science of course)…

Life’s never been so precious, or complicated, for Ken O’Brien.

If you enjoyed “Lost Coast Rocket”, you should pick up this sequel right away.

Find it on Amazon.

Book Review: Banned by Angel Leya (Running Toward Illumia Book 1)

Banned
(Running Toward Illumia 1)
Angel Leya
5 Stars

You need to grab this book now and start a magical journey with the talented Angel Leya.

Astrea is an outcast amongst outcasts, the Banned. Her lack of red hair and freckles, a trait that seems to protect them in the mists of their forest home, make her stand out when all she wants to do is fit in. The forests of her home are lacking in sustenance of late, creating a real fear of famine and starvation. When Astrea spots a unicorn in the forest, she’s thinking it’s her lucky day. But, what if killing such a majestic creature brings about a worse curse then starvation?

Come get your feet wet with this quick trip into the latest realm from a talented writer. I’ll be quickly moving on to the next book in the series.

Banned on Amazon

Angel Leya’s Website