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

Book Review – Trading Darkness: A Dark Fairytale by Lisa Hofmann

Trading Darkness : A Dark Fairytale
Lisa Hofmann
5 Stars

My Gentle Readers, Lisa Hofmann delivers on all counts in her novel, “Trading Darkness : A Dark Fairytale”. She gives us love and betrayal, magic of many kinds, and the classic dichotomy of light and darkness.

Our story begins with a realm gripped by witch hunting madness and poor Agnes is caught in the middle. She makes a deal with a demonic power in order to try and save her family, but the demon has designs of its own.

The Blackvale familial lands of Wildenburg have a dark secret, and younger brother Gregory is about to find out just what his family’s prosperity costs. When his older brother refuses to see through his end of the pact with the Century Demon that protects their tiny fiefdom, Gregory faces a difficult decision. He must choose one of his twin daughters to sacrifice to the demon. Lose one, or lose everything as his brother so recently discovered.

Gregory gives up Louisa, but then spends the rest of his life and his sanity trying to discover if she lives. He even goes so far as to make a deal with the Immortal Wishmaster, who hides his own dark past.

Lisa weaves these characters together in such a way that you’ll be deep into the book before you realize it. She draws you into this world and makes you care about each character, even the ones you should dislike. Gregory, the father who had to make the most impossible choice. The Wishmaster, bound to balance his own light and darkness within. The Century Demon, wholly given over to revenge, even has a past that makes her bitterness understandable.

I’m so glad I picked this up and will be keeping my eye out for more from Lisa.

Grab your copy on Amazon now.

Guest Post – 10 Reasons Not To Visit Illumia

Hi, I’m Angel Leya, and I write clean young adult stories with (at least) a touch of magic and romance. My latest story is Running Toward Illumia, Astrea’s tale of finding herself while running from the one thing she wants most:

To find her sense of belonging.

Astrea’s lived in the Mist all her life, and she loves it there. In fact, she’d do just about anything to feel like she fits in with her Rudan people, even hunt a unicorn to feed her starving tribe.

Illumia is the first city beyond the Mist, just past the Dragon Range. Astrea’s come up with 10 reasons to never go to Illumia. I’ll let her tell you more.

***

Top 10 Reasons NOT to Travel to Illumia

10. They don’t have fog.

Who needs sunshine? I’m a Mist girl. Great for concealing movement, comfortable like an old blanket, and you never have to worry about dry skin.

9. They don’t all have red hair.

That’s why this tribe is here, despite being sent to the fog to die. And why we call ourselves the Rudan, rather than the Banned.

Wish my hair was redder. And I could use a few more freckles. But I’m one of the Rudan, I swear. I’d be dead if I wasn’t.

8. They’re weak.

Fog weeds out the weak. And if the fog doesn’t, the Lynx, ogres, or Rudan will. Illumians live the easy life. They have no reason to be strong.

7. They’re not very welcoming.

The Rudan take in anyone who can survive the fog. Illumians kicked us out (or at least my parents, but children of the Banned are no less welcome).

6. Illumians are idiots.

Everyone says so.

5. Big government.

I know all five of my council members, and they earned their spot. Like Seneca, first huntress—my mentor. Illumians probably have no idea who runs their council.

4. The journey’s dangerous.

Even if you can navigate the fog, streams filled with flesh-eating fish, and ogre-infested swamps, there’s the dragon range. There’s one pass, guarded by Illumians. The rest is mountain. Treacherous, dragon-housing mountains. No other way around it. Going to Illumia is a fool’s errand.

3. My family’s not there.

If you think getting one person into Illumia is hard, try five. Two brothers, plus Mamaa and Pawpaw.

Course, the whole tribe’s basically family. I’d want to take them all.

Except maybe Mavin. He’s a jerk. (Kidding. Sort of.)

2. I can never come back.

Going to Illumia is a one-way trip. Illumians and dragons ensure that.

1. I don’t want to.

Do I need any other reason?

***

Thanks for reading! If you’d like more, click for an excerpt from Banned, Part 1 of Running Toward Illumia.

Get all 4 parts of Running Toward Illumia today:

Banned (free!)

Lost (On Sale for 99¢ through 2/15/18)

Drenched (On Sale for 99¢ through 2/15/18)

Marked (On Sale for 99¢ through 2/15/18)

Meet The Author Monday – Melissa Carrigee

Today my Gentle Readers, we have Melissa Carrigee, an editor and creative director for a small publishing company, who has her own debut book coming out this year. In our usual style here we will put my questions/comments in BLUE, with Melissa’s responses in GREEN.

Dragon Cover small.jpg

Melissa, thank you for stopping by to chat with us today. Let’s get the ball rolling with an easy one. How did you get your start as a reader?
I started off as an avid reader when I was young. The teenage years I was too busy with boys to be bothered with books. In my twenties I picked up Glory Lane by Alan Dean Foster and that was it. I knew my passion was books and reading.

Sounds like one I will have to check out when I get some free time. What genre, or genres, do you enjoy the most?
I love horror and thrillers but I read anything. I love children’s stories and have a huge collection.

Variety is the spice of life they say. What brought you to the other side of the page? From reading the stories of others to writing your own?
I think when I read Glory Lane I started becoming a writer. I had always written when I was young, poems and short stories as a way to deal with my crazy emotions but after I read Glory Lane I started putting all the components together and outlining bigger stories. That is when I became a writer.

Do have plans to stick with the genre your debut is in? Or do you have plans to expand your repertoire?
No. I don’t want to pigeonhole myself into any one genre.

Varied reading and writing tastes, how exciting. I hope you will keep us informed of new releases as they become available. How did you get your start in the literary world?
I worked as a literary agent for almost two years trying to expand my knowledge of the business. I got to know a lot of people in the business. I started to attend conferences. I was then offered a job at an upcoming new, independent publisher over their children’s book line. I accepted that job and now I am involved in all aspects of getting a book published. Some people might think it would make it easier for me as a writer but it actually has made it tougher.

What do you do when you are not writing?
I work as the editor and creative director of a small publisher. I have one boy in the Air Force and another in junior high school. I also have a bulldog who keeps me busy.

Very exciting. I have a son in junior high as well. Busy time transitioning from elementary to a more grown up regimen of homework and studying. You had something else about your debut to tell us, correct?
My book is out for pre-sale right now but won’t be officially released until August 2017.

I wrote I Dream of Dragons when I was in college getting a graphic design degree. It was for an illustration class. I remember hating the illustrating part but I absolutely loved writing the story and the outcome. I wrote the story for my son, who is now in the Air Force.

Please thank your son for his service. And thank you again for stopping by to talk with me today. Keep us posted on your upcoming work. If anyone would like to find out more about Melissa’s book and even pre-order it, you can find her at the below links.

Website

Facebook Page

GoodReads

Pinterest

If any authors out there would like to be featured on Meet The Author Monday, you can get more information by Clicking Here.