Friday Funny 2/4/2022

Jackson had a good one this week. Mr. I’m 3 and I Know Everything. He wanted something from our camper, that is currently in storage in a building behind our house. Now, a couple months back when it was first put in there, he wanted something from it. I went back there with him and he realized he cannot get to the toys (because with the slideouts in, you can’t access the bunkhouse portion. You can’t access the kitchen either. He didn’t believe me that we emptied the snacks out of the cabinet – but we did.

So the day before this story happened, he told Mom he wanted the “slime” from the camper. I’m not certain this slime even exists, to be honest. He proceeded to put on his coat and go try to get in it. Things did not go as he planned. He was highly upset.

The story for this week is him trying a third time to get into the camper, but this time, he decided to bring a secret weapon – Dad. I arrived home from work, and was told off immediately about how he wanted the slime from the camper. He drags me by the hand outside and to the storage building. Now, this is Wisconsin in winter. We have snow on the ground. Surprisingly not as much as some years, but enough for his tennis shoes to sink to his ankle.

As he took that first step onto the unshoveled or unplowed snow and sank. He looks and me and says, “I need you to make footprints for me to walk in.” I did, taking strides about the length of my shoe so he could use them to not sink in the snow.

We get to the camper door and he starts to pull on the metal folding stairs. I wait. I know what is coming. He turns to me. “You have to open these.” As he tugs on the stairs. I get the stairs down for him. He climbs up on them, “Now I have to open the door.”

Dad ends up doing this too. He goes into the entranceway of the camper and looks at the wall of the slideout, blocking his way further into the camper. He asks me where his bedroom is (the bunkhouse at the rear). I point through the slideout panel. He tries to peer in the window that is there. He orders me into the camper with him. After explaining there is no power, we can’t make the slides go out (not to mention the walls of the storage building would prevent them from opening too far anyway), he then tries the switches anyway.

Eventually, he gives up, accepts defeat. We put everything back the way we found it and he goes inside to tell Mom. He’s persistent though. I suspect we will try again in a week or two.

Weekly Writerly Review 1/24/2022

This past week started off strong, and then stalled out on me. I did manage over 4k words for the week. I got some editing done on my short story collection as well as added some words to a different project I’m working on. A couple of blog posts got added into the mix.

I went through a few of the latest submissions for Spring Into SciFi 2022 so I am almost caught up on those at this time. Still excited for this year’s edition and the other two collections planned for June. Trying to find traction for the Kaleidoscope project in attracting talent, but it’s still early. I’m sure it will work out in the end.

I grabbed up a MG fantasy beta read from an email list I am in, because I hope it will help me with my own MG stuff. We’ll see. They want it turned around by the end of the month or so. I have to get cracking on that tonight.

My oldest had a couple basketball games this week. I love watching him on the court or the football field. I can tell that it is his zen, the place the feels the most at peace and centered. The littles have had trouble with their “listening ears” this week. It’s frustrating but we have more good days than bad days. I keep telling myself they are only 5 and 3. We’ll get there.

Until next week. Keep reading and writing folks…

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…

Jackson wants to go “Bishing”

Jackson wants to go “Bishing”

I’ll clarify this post at the beginning before anyone gets confused. “Bishing” means “Fishing”. This summer, my youngest has discovered the ages old past time of fishing. He’s absolutely mad for it. He even sounds like a cranky old fisherman sometimes.

Where we spend our summers, he’s been using canned corn to fish from the dock, catching sunfish and bluegill, along with the occasional catfish or a tiny bass. when he reels in his line and the corn is gone, he’ll turn around and mutter, “Fish took my darn bait.” I wish he’d do it on camera, but if he sees the phone pointed at him he clams up and hides his face. At least, most of the time.

Sunday morning was our last morning at the lake for the season. And as the first rays of sun poked through the camper windows. He’s jumping up and down on me yelling, “It morning time. It Bishing time.”

So, now that our time at the lake is over, he still wants to go “bishing” down by the river or even back to the lake. On Monday we got a container of worms and went to the river on the edge of town while we waited for his sister to finish after school program. We didn’t catch anything, but the way he looks at the water and his line; it’s a boy in his happy place. Hard to believe he’s not even 3 yet.

This means dad has to learn something about fishing. Which I haven’t done seriously since I was a kid myself. And that with a cane pole catching brim down south. I’m hoping he doesn’t want to ice fish though. That’s pretty darn cold.

Though “Bishing” really isn’t my thing, I’d love to be supportive of his enthusiasm, which means it’s time to learn what I can. If anyone has any favorite blogs or podcasts about fishing I’d appreciate it if you dropped them in the comments. Even better if they specifically talk about fishing in Wisconsin. Until next time…

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.

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.

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.

38 years old…

June 16th, 2020, I turn 38. In two years I’ll be 40 and on the downhill slide as people look at it. If you’d asked me 20 years ago where I’d be, I never would have thought: married, three kids (one of which a teenager), and working in a factory. I’d hoped to be writing, which I am, but it would be nice to be sitting on a nice big publishing deal or something.

I got to my day job this morning and was talking to this new kid from third shift. I say kid because, turns out he’s 19. I’m officially twice the age of a coworker. The next milestone would be when there are coworkers younger than my kids.

So I made a comment about the music I was playing on the stereo and he mentioned he writes songs, music and lyrics, the whole nine yards. I asked him if he’s done anything with it and he got shy and said no. I instantly saw a flashback to when I started writing and never let anyone read or see any of it. I didn’t publish my first book until I was 32.

I told him this, and I said to him. Go for it. Don’t wait. Don’t waste years wishing you had tried it. Even if you lay down the tracks and post it to iTunes yourself. I told him about my cousins son who did this and actually made some money doing it.

I hope he took my advice and he goes home, dusts off those sheets of paper and gives it a try. I’m sure I’ll see him around. So I’ll try to keep encouraging him.

It’s a small thing but it made me feel good to talk to him and maybe help him a little. Something put him in my path today. Whether you believe in Fate or Karma or any of that stuff. I do, and I feel good about the conversation. My spirit and my drive to pursue my dreams is bolstered. I hope his is too.

See ya around Gentle Readers. Hopefully I have some news about Family Heritage Book 3 soon.

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.