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.

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.

Meet The Author Monday – Joel Crofoot

Today my Gentle Readers I have a paranormal romance author (aspiring fantasy) for you to meet, Joel Crofoot. Joel has some interesting background that brought him to writing that I think you’ll enjoy. As usual, my comments/questions will be in BLUE and Joel will be in GREEN.

Joel, thanks for sitting down with us today to talk about your work. Are you an avid reader?
In graduate school I had to do a lot of mandatory reading, so when the work settled down and I found time for fiction again it became a great way to escape for me.

Books tend to do just that, provide a great escape from the mundane. What are your favorite escape genres?
I like fantasy and romance, especially the two combined. I love paranormal romance.

Fantasy is definitely my top favorite. I like a little romance, but only if it adds to a broader plot or character arc. What made you decide to switch from just reading books to writing your own?
I had a lot unique experiences going from fighting a war to becoming a therapist so I had some life lessons that I wanted to share with others. That is why all of my books include characters on their journey toward self-acceptance, self-forgiveness, etc.

War and therapy, sounds like some good character building experience. Do you have plans for one genre (or since I spoiled it a little in your introduction), more than one genre?
I’m sticking to paranormal romance until my series ends, but I would like to switch to fantasy at some point.

Paranormal romance series to fantasy, pretty easy leap to make I would think. How did you get started writing? What were your first steps and where has it taken you?
I started writing around my third year of graduate school, probably as a way to relieve stress, and I self-published my first book in 2016. It was a rocky road but I’ve been writing ever since. I recently won 2nd place in the Reviewers Choice Awards from the Paranormal Romance Guild.

Racking up an award already in just a couple years. Very impressive. Do you have any hobbies or other activities to go along with your writing career?
I think my day job and studying for licensure to become a psychologist consume almost all of my time now, but I also like running and painting.

Good luck with the licensure. Balancing a day job with writing can be challenging. Did you have anything else you would like to share before we wrap up and get my readers some links to your work?
While my stories are short, raunchy, novels about angels and demons, I consider them to be more like erotic parables because they all have great moral lessons along the way. In the end and in my blog I note some of the psychological issues I address in the books.

I also didn’t make up any of the names of the angels or demons, those came from traditionally biblical angels or the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Interesting choice of characters. I want to thank you again for stopping by, Joel. If anyone would like to get their hands on more information (and Joel’s books of course), you can find him at the below links.

Blog: https://joelcrofootblog.wordpress.com

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJoelCrofoot/

Twitter: @JoelWCrofoot

Join his Mailing Listjoelcrofoot.jpg

 

If you are an author and would like to be featured on Meet the Author Monday, please fill out the form so we can meet you.

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 – David L Heaney

Hello my Gentle Readers. I know our Meet The Author Monday has been a little thin lately, but I have a couple lined up for this week and next that I hope you will enjoy and check out what they have to offer. This week we will be talking with David L Heaney, a former pastor turned writer with his spiritual adventure, A Yorkie’s Tale: Lessons from a Life Well-Lived. Usual format applies with myself in BLUE and David in GREEN.fullsizeoutput_23e7
David, first off thanks for taking time to speak with us. Your book looks like a wonderful tale. Let’s start off with how you came to the world of literature and reading. 
I spent one year away at a Prep School in Peekskill, NY mostly because I had been doing poorly in school and was in and out of trouble. I hated that year. There was, however, one teacher who told me he thought I wrote well and would write better still, if I read more. He didn’t care what I read, just as long as I read. We had mandatory study hall after dinner so I read a lot of racy Harold Robbins books. I suppose that was when reading just became a part of each day.

A bit of a troublemaker, huh? Fascinating that you became a pastor then. After finishing with Harold Robbins, what genre did you explore? Who became your favorites?
I have always loved writers like John Updike, John Cheever, William Styron- I guess that’s literary realism. I also love biographies. More recently, I have been drawn to fantasy having recently completed a couple of Neil Gaiman books. I loved Phillip Pullman’s new book, Dust: La Belle Sauvage.

Gaiman is a favorite. So at some point you decided to not just read, but create your own stories. What inspired you to make that leap?
I was a parish minister for many years and was struck by the drama of people’s lives. I suppose this was because I was so often with people as they negotiated their way through critical developmental milestones. I also was obliged to write sermons for Sundays. I learned over time that stories were more powerful than traditional sermons. Stories also somehow help one make sense of experience. So, I learned that writing about things helped me better understand them.

From sermons to published author. Very interesting. Do you feel confined to one genre when you write or are you exploring several?
I dabble in in several genres. I surprised myself when I began A Yorkie’s Tale since I had never considered writing epic fantasy but enjoyed it quite a bit and am working on another fantasy story. I also enjoy writing personal essays.

Fantasy is my favorite genre so I’m always delighted to meet new fantasy authors. Can you tell us about your journey with “A Yorkie’s Tale”? How did it go from draft to available on Amazon?
A Yorkie’s Tale is my first book and most earnest attempt to publish in the traditional manner. It was a frustrating business to attempt to go the traditional route since I was a novice. Agents want to represent someone known. Publishers read manuscripts from agents. As the form letters stated-“We get X thousands of manuscripts every month…” so I understand it’s a very competitive business. I finally opted to self publish and am quite happy with how it all went. I found a wonderful illustrator who helped bring my characters to life and again, I’m quite pleased with how it all turned out. We’ll see about the next one.

When that next one is going to hit the shelves, would love to have you back to talk about it. When you aren’t writing, how do you like to spend your time? Is there a day job now that you have retired from being a pastor?
I have a small consulting firm with two UK-based partners. I worked internationally for a number of years in the area of public health and human services that were contracted out to private companies. My firm continues to represent companies interested in doing business with governments largely in Australia, the UK, and the US.
My wife, Lynda and I moved to Durham, NC with our 3 dogs from San Diego 4 years ago. She took a job at Duke Medicine and I work from home. Our five grown children and 3 grandchildren all still live in San Diego.

Sounds like you keep very busy. I’m glad you carved out the time to visit with me. You have a funny story about how you began your novel to share with us. Let’s hear all about it.
I lived for a year in London a couple of years ago. My flat was located on Poppins Court (yes, named for Mary Poppins). That’s where I started A Yorkie’s Tale. Our Yorkshire Terrier in San Diego started to get fat and we couldn’t figure out why. We later discovered he was eating the avocados that dropped from our neighbor’s tree. One lonely weekend afternoon at the Pub I started the story – the Yorkie in the backyard eating avocados.

And now that Yorkie is inspiring and helping people all over the world through your story. Wonderful. Thank you again David for visiting and please let us know when your next tale will be coming.

If you would like to follow David and learn more about him and his work, you can connect with him at the below links.

69555337_High Resolution Front Cover.7238367.jpg On Amazon

Website: http://somethingtosaydotblog.wordpress.com

Twitter: @dlheaney

Instagram: heaneydavid

 

And if any of you would like to be featured on Meet The Author Monday, you can contact me here.