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

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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 – 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.

Book Review – Lost Coast Rocket by Joel Horn

lostcoastrocket.jpg

Lost Coast Rocket
Joel Horn
3.5 Stars

Today I bring to you a story of a child prodigy and his friends building rockets and pushing the limits of legality.

Joel Horn begins the tale of Kenneth B. O’Brien (Ken to his friends) at a very young age. From the time he can walk and talk, Ken is with his Grandpa Arnold, a former NASA engineer. A love of rockets and aeronautics is born within the young boy, an obsession carried through the entire book. Twin traumatic events shape young Ken’s life (the death of his grandfather and a fatal mudslide).

This was enough for me to keep reading at first, even through the mass of technical rocket jargon that dragged down the pace of the action a bit. The constant timeline jumps in the first part of the novel made parts hard to follow or seemed extraneous and unnecessary. (Like the tale of Akira’ father and some hikers later in the book).

These things aside, as the group of misfits age, the action and tension pick up as the team begins to design and build their biggest rocket yet.

I won’t spoil it for you, because I do think this one is worth a read if you like these kind of stories. So pick up your copy today and see what all the fuss is about.

Lost Coast Rocket on Amazon

Joel Horn’s Website

Guest Post – Timelost by Chris Turner

Human vs Alien

A pilot stranded on a faraway planet, timelost. An alien seeking symbiosis.

Visceral alien battles, planetary wars. Experience the adventure…along with edge-of-the-seat SF audio in this Star Wars meets Alien thriller.

In 2014, I started sequencing original SFF to audio using the Booktrack free studio tool, and it offered up a unique, creative experience. I was amazed at how the placement of some well-crafted audio, synced by word, sentence or paragraph could make a story come alive—in the same way a soundtrack makes a movie come alive. To date, I have produced a few dozen, text-and-audio renditions of my stories, drawing on the wide variety of sound clips from the Booktrack audio library.

The Timelost, my most recent production, is a gritty, dystopian foray into the macabre.

The world-building was intense, as I tried to incorporate elements of ‘galactic empire’, the theme of ‘a few struggling against many’, and extraordinary alien adversaries. I also wanted to develop the concept that an ordinary person, the pilot Miko, when plunged into a hostile, colonized, or uncolonized world with chilling advanced alien technology, could become a hero. And not just by circumstance.

The movie Prometheus, even though I had seen it after writing The Timelost, deeply moved me and confirmed my fascination with a SciFi, man-vs-alien conflict. Human and alien genesis theories intertwine as the characters scramble to survive many bizarre and unexpected hostile encounters. The story took on overtones of fantasy horror as it gained momentum, with elements not dissimilar to the Cthulhu mythos a la Lovecraft and the imaginative works of R.E. Howard.

I invite you to enter Miko’s distorted world in The Timelost. The Booktrack text-and-audio based format thrusts the reader into the terrifying unknown of planets of deep space.

Booktrack: http://bit.ly/2EhEfFH

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Timelost-Chris-Turner-ebook/dp/B079D5FBVS

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)