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.

Meet The Author Monday – Reid Templer

This week’s Meet The Author Monday is Reid Templer, who has his debut novel available on Amazon now. Per usual, my questions/comments will be in BLUE and Reid will be in GREEN.

Thank you for stopping by, Reid. It’s always a pleasure to get to meet a new author and find out about the origins of their forays into the literary world. What was your introduction?
At the age of thirteen, my father gave me two books which were dear to him: The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane and the Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis. Both bored me. The symbolism, theology, and meaning of each went over my head, naturally, and, for a time, I was convinced that books simply didn’t suit me. This changed about two years later, when I happened on a copy of Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. I became enthralled in her trilogy, and haven’t stopped reading since.

I agree that Crane might be a bit of heavy reading for the average 13-year-old. From Inkheart, you began delving into what genre(s)?
I predominantly read fantasy, although Horror and Science Fiction do interest me a great deal.

Sounds like we have similar tastes. We might have to compare reading lists sometime. What made you decide to cross over from reading stories to writing your own?
When I was fourteen, I experienced a dream which would inspire my first (and thankfully unpublished) novel. A year later, when I had finished Christopher Paolini’s Eragon, I learned that the author had published the book at eighteen years old. I don’t know exactly what drove me to it, but from that day onward, I strove to publish a story before I turned eighteen. In this regard, I failed, but it did motivate me to write every day.

Paolini did have an advantage in that his parents were involved in the publishing industry. Can’t be too hard on yourself over that. What is your chosen genre to write?
Right now I would consider myself a fantasy writer, although, within time, I hope to develop a story in every major genre.

Ambitious goals. I wish you the best of luck with your goal. How has your publishing journey gone for you so far?
For the past three years, I’ve been writing, editing, and rewriting my newest novel, Storytellers. It was a hard journey, fraught with doubt, but I’m proud of the completed work.

Congratulations. It’s an incredible feeling to hold that published work in your hands. Outside of writing, what are you currently working on?
I’m currently pursuing a Sign Language Interpreting degree.

Interesting career path. Tell us a little bit about your book.
Thank you for taking interest in my interview. The book I’m promoting is Storytellers, which is available in paperback at any major book distributor and on Kindle for ebook. Here’s a short blurb:
After the gods and goddesses known as Storytellers conceive children who threaten their immortality, Pokeetle and his allies must fight to keep their offspring from being sacrificed for power.
storytellers

Thank you for coming by and talking with me today. Your book looks interesting and I wish you the best with it and your future works.

If anyone would like to keep up on Reid’s work, you can follow him on Twitter @ReidTempler

Anyone interested in being featured on Meet the Author Monday, please check out the form and let us know all about you.

Meet The Author Monday – Matt Drzymala

This week on Meet The Author Monday I get to introduce you to a copywriter and award winning creative writing author, Matthew Drzymala. His latest work, “The Fantastical Gregory Shortbread” is available on Amazon now. Usual arrangement here, my questions/comments are in BLUE and Matt will be in GREEN.

greg4j.jpg
Thank you for stopping by and sharing your story, Matt. How would you describe your reading habits and how has it impacted your decision to be a writer?
I’m an avid reader, but the biggest influences on me as a writer are Roald Dahl and Terry Pratchett.

Their way with words, how they made up names and places and generally had fun and made you feel comfortable is how I approach my writing.

I want my readers to laugh, love and enjoy my characters and stories – just like two of my favourite authors.

Pratchett is one of my favorites as well. I have to agree the way he created his world is masterful. Aside from those two, what else do you like to read?
I read a lot of thrillers, you just end up gripped by them.

Although I don’t actually write them.

Is there a moment, or person, most responsible for you crossing the line from just an avid reader to crafting your own stories?
My fiancee, Elaine, is who encouraged me to write. Although I could say it was authors, it was my partner who gave me the confidence to write.

She backs me at all times, even when I don’t feel I can write. If it wasn’t for her I would never have written a single story.

She encouraged me to study creative writing and is my number one supporter at all times.

As writing is such a solitary thing, it helps to have that support.

Such a beautiful thing to have that kind of support because, as you said, writing is usually a solitary activity. Venturing outside that writing cave can be scary without that kind of support. So since you do not write thrillers, what do you consider your genre of choice?
I would say my genre is humour.

Is that its own genre?

I think so, but it includes so many other genres. I’ve written mysteries and romances, all with a lot of humour thrown in.

Many people aren’t sure what to expect when I say I write humour because humour could be a joke book.

I write all sorts of stories, but they always include funny scenarios. I want to make people laugh. I don’t want it to be just about jokes, far from it, it has to have a story that intrigues and touches people, but I always want them to have a good time too.

The world definitely needs more laughter, so yes, I agree. I think humor is, and should be, its own genre. One we sorely need. You have the support system, you crossed that threshold to writing stories. Where did you go from there?
I’m solely a self-published author.

I’ve never approached a publisher because humor is such a difficult genre to sell. It’s not a genre that publishers want to sell so much.

Thrillers. Erotic. Romance etc. I’d stand a chance.

But for me, it’s about writing what I enjoy. Maybe one day I’ll approach a publisher, but I haven’t so far.

Being an author has expanded into me joining a community where I’ve attended book signings, run my own creative writing workshops in schools and colleges as well as be part of an author panel for local authors.

And I’m now a copywriter, writing web pages and advertising for businesses – something that would never have happened had I not been an author.

I see your point about humor being a hard sell for traditional publishers. Is copywriting your day job then?
My day job is payroll, but I also run my own freelance copywriting business.

I somehow manage to fit in a lot of TV and film in-between all this.

Sometimes I end up completely drained, but if it means working for myself as a writer in the future, it’ll all be worth it.

You must have some impressive time management skills to accomplish all of that. I wish you the best with making writing a full-time job in the future. Did you have anything else you would like to share before we get everyone the links to find you and your work?
Writing is something I have loved for a long time. It is a huge part of my life.

I’m a national award winner in creative writing and I have a diploma in Copywriting.

There’s such a huge world of writing out there.

Being an author is vastly different to copywriting. They are two different disciplines and being an author doesn’t mean you’ll make a good copywriter.

Odd, but true.

Thank you for sharing your insights and your journey with us, Matt. I hope you will stop by in the future when you have any new humorous stories to share and update us on your progress towards writing full time. For anyone looking to follow Matt, you can find him at the links included below.

Website: http://www.matthewdrzymala.com

Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/mattdrzymalaauthor

Twitter: @mattdauthor

Instagram: mattdrzymala

If you are an author interested in being a part of Meet The Author Monday, just check out the page for all the details.

Meet The Author Monday – Wanda Luthman

‘My Gentle Readers, we are joined today by children’s author, Wanda Luthman. In the usual style, my comments/questions will be in BLUE and Wanda will be in GREEN.

wandaluthman.png
Thank you for joining us today, Wanda. I always like to ask my guests what brought them into the literary world. What were your early reading experiences like? Favorite books?
I love spiritual books, Sci fi books, and a fun rom com! I have always loved reading and writing. I wrote many books as a kid and in college, I studied literature. I always wanted to publish a book but never really knew what it would be until one morning a story came to me that I had to write down. That began my publishing career. I’ve never been happier!

I think that feeling of “having to” write is what separates real writers from those who casually say, “I want to write a book someday”. What genre gets you excited to read these days?
Spiritual books. I honestly can’t read enough about the journey inward and upward!

How would you describe your path from reading to writing?
I would say I was a writer before I was a real reader. I was painfully shy as a kid and writing was how I communicated. I enjoyed telling fantasy stories. What actually opened the door to me to write to publish was some kind support from a friend. She promised to help me. Since I didn’t know anything about publishing, her support gave me the feeling that together we would figure it out.

Sounds like a great friend. Hold onto her for sure. So your chosen genre is children’s books. Tell us about your journey to publication.
I tried to get professionally published. I even had a positive response but once I did a re-write, I never heard back from him.
So I pursued self-publishing and I’ve never looked back. I love being an indie author!

Being an Indie Author certainly has its perks. The full creative control is a great feeling. When you aren’t writing, how do you spend your time?
I am a High School Guidance Counselor. For hobbies, I enjoy cycling and baking!Ha! Good combo, right?
I am married 23 years now and my daughter is away at college.

Cycling and baking seem to be a good yin/yang combination. What would you say your goal as a writer is? What do you hope to accomplish with your creative work?
I hope to inspire youth through magical adventure stories to be the best they can be!

A wonderful goal to pursue, and right in line with your chosen career path. You are definitely a double whammy. Thank you again for stopping by Wanda.

If anyone would like to find out more about Wanda and her work, you can find her at the below links.

Website
Twitter
Instagram

If you would like to be a guest on Meet The Author Mondays, just Click Here to find all the details and submit your information.

 

Meet the Author Monday – P.J. Mann

Today my Gentle Readers, I would like to introduce you to P. J. Mann. I’m excited for you to meet this fellow indie author, so let’s get to it. My questions/comments will be in BLUE and P.J.’s will be in GREEN.
pjmann

P.J. I love your graphic on your Facebook and website. Thank you for coming to visit with me today. It’s always fascinating to learn what started off authors as readers. How did it begin for you?
What made me a reader was just the passion of reading since the elementary school. I loved the places I could visit without even the need of moving away from my room. Perhaps I started to read less when I started to be a writer, mostly it is a lack of time. Being an indie author means that I have to do all the marketing on my own together with trying and produce something new, and that is a full-time activity that leaves little time for the rest.

Self Publishing, they tell us it is hard work but we all think it will be different. I know how that goes myself. So what genres do you enjoy the most?
Mainly I like crime and mystery, but also comedy books or erotica.

When did you decide you were not content just to read the works of other authors and wanted to create your own?
I started to write since I was a teenager, but that was not something meant to be a professional work. Mostly it was to discharge frustrations and to analyze myself. The real turning point was a few years ago, when life seemed to be a downhill road, and I needed something to keep me from depression. That was the point when I started to write and left a bit aside the reading part.

I understand having little time for reading anymore. I am glad that you found an outlet for your thoughts and feelings. Do you have a specific genre you write for?
I prefer to dabble in several genres, but they have all something in common, which is a deep introspection of the characters.

So, you are self published, what brought you to make that decision? Were you always planning to self publish?
As I had my novel finished, including the polishing and copyediting process, I started to look for an agent, but most of them didn’t have time to take other authors, and most of the publishing houses didn’t accept unsolicited writers. I believed in my novel, and I want it to be published, so I self-published with CreateSpace by Amazon. I do believe I still have a lot to learn about being an indie author, but I am ready for the challenge.

I am certain you will accomplish your goals. When not writing, how do you spend your time?
Since I’ve lost my day job in December, I am now fully absorbed by marketing and writing. When I don’t do that, you can find me alone in the woods, recharging my inner batteries in connection with the nature. I love photography, and I do believe that it has a lot in common with writing. They are two different channels, but they both tell a story.

A long walk in the woods, communing with nature, sounds great about now. I agree that photography can tell a story as well as the written word. I understand you have one more passion, and a funny story to go with it. Tell us about it.
I love to travel, and I travel in the most unusual destinations one can find, from conflict areas to out-of-this-world places, even if sometimes I like to indulge in more “normal” tourist destinations. By traveling, I have been gathering most of the inspiration for my novels, as I have met very interesting people and cultures. Perhaps the funniest anecdote is the trip on the night boat across the Kivu Lake in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We were supposed to leave with the morning ferry, but it didn’t get the permission to sail (!)
Funny is that personally, I wouldn’t have given the permission either to the night boat, as it was something that barely could float, and it was mostly used to transport every sort of goods and livestock. It has been a long night, I can tell you, but it was worth, and many times I am thinking about Africa, and all the times, I miss it a lot.

Sounds like an exciting life you lead. Good luck in your travels and your writing. If anyone would like to check out P.J. Mann’s work, or keep up with her travels you can do so at the below links.

Website: http://paperpenandinkwell.blogspot.com
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/PJ.Mann.paperpenandinkwell/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PjMann2016
Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/pjmann
Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+PJMann

roughdiamond-pjmann Check it out on Amazon Today

You too can be featured on Meet the Author Monday’s by clicking HERE and filling out the questionnaire.

Meet The Author – Denise Weldon-Siviy

Hello my Gentle Readers. I won’t call this a true Meet the Author Monday, because, well, it’s not Monday, is it? Today I am talking with Denise Weldon-Siviy, author of “Self-Publishing and Libraries” that I reviewed yesterday. Per the usual here, we will put my comments in BLUE and Denise in GREEN.

Denise, let’s start off with something my readers always want to know about, what started you as a reader and what genre(s) really grab you?
I’m not sure. I think I’ve always been a reader. Even as a child I would dive into a book and the rest of the world would disappear. My sisters would run in circles around me and I wouldn’t even notice! I remember maxing out my library card every week at the book mobile.
As for genres, I read a ton of books across the spectrum.  Having said that, there is nothing like an extensive fantasy series to lose yourself in. I really enjoy finding alternate worlds that I can spend some serious time in. 

I agree. There is little else like a great epic world to get lost in. What’s your favorite fantasy series to get lost in?
That would depend on what day it is! I’m usually reading several series at the same time. My all-time favorite would probably be Anne McCaffrey’s Crystal Singer series. More recently, I just finished the Earthcent Ambassador series by EM Foner on Kindle Unlimited. And I’m halfway through the Alien series by Gini Koch.  Oh, and I’m very impatiently waiting for Indie writer Tima Lacoba to finish writing the fourth book in the Dantonville Legacy series.

Anne definitely put out some great books. My readers can click the links above to the others on Amazon. Let’s get to your publishing history. What can readers find from you in the literary world?
What they’d find is probably a lot of things they wouldn’t read unless someone paid them
I spent 25 years as a Technical Writer and Editor specializing in systems level engineering documentation. At that point, I decided two things. One was that I wanted to do something other than technical writing. That was when I started library work and began work on the MLIS that I just finished. The second thing was that I wanted to write things that people would read voluntarily.  So far, I’ve put out a Kindle Single (part of their curated collection) in science fiction – The Betta Virus, under the pen name Jadzia Banks (https://www.amazon.com/Betta-Virus-Jadzia-Kindle-Single-ebook/dp/B00Z4RNHRW).  I also wrote some fun nonfiction as Charity Grant. Since I’d written tech manuals for so long, I picked topics that I found interesting. First I wrote a tongue-in-cheek fitness book for people tired of circling their dining room tables to get in those last steps. That was 20,000 Steps (https://www.amazon.com/20-000-Steps-Easy-Ways-ebook/dp/B0147MGKQO). And I wrote a clutter busting book for people who don’t really want to get rid of their stuff. It’s called Moving Clutter to the Cloud (https://www.amazon.com/Moving-Clutter-Cloud-Charity-Grant-ebook/dp/B018UPUNIA).
Now that the library degree that resulted in Self-Publishing and Libraries is out of the way, I’m working on finishing a longer novel – The Pacifist Assassin – which I plan to have completed by the end of the year. After that, who knows?
We can circle back to The Pacifist Assassin, let’s talk about your experience with this latest book, Self Publishing and Libraries. Being a self published author myself, I’m very curious about getting my book into public libraries. Are the waters a little less murky now when it comes to getting on a library’s radar as a self published author?
Very slightly, but it’s definitely not water clear enough to drink!

If you mean getting your book onto the shelves physically, if anything that’s becoming slightly more difficult. One of the things that I talk about in the book is how much it costs a library to accept even a free book. The cost of cataloging, physical processing, and staff time are easily 4 to 5 times the cost of most self published books. With budgets for public services being what they are, I don’t expect that to improve in the near future.
For e-books, however, things are definitely looking up. By understanding the market and knowing how to go about publishing their works, authors can now make their self published works available on the e-book platforms that libraries serve up to patrons. With SELF-e, that’s not a big deal because they require self published authors to donate their work to be included. Quite frankly, I find the idea that authors of Indie works should just give away their work to be insulting.    Overdrive on the other hand allows self-published authors to set library specific prices in the same way that traditional publishers do. The ability to get self-published books into public library book collections via Overdrive really is a game changer.
At the other end of the process, just making librarians aware of specific self-published works is still a struggle. Too many are still relying on discovery tools (like paid review services) that were designed for the traditional publishing industry and really don’t serve the self-publishing model very well. One of the things that I do in my book is to make librarians aware of where to learn about top quality self published works. 
And that brings up probably the most important thing about my book: it looks at the process from the perspectives of both self-published authors and librarians. I think the largest barrier to getting self published works into libraries right now is that those two groups — self-publishers and librarians — have no idea what the other group does or how and why they do it. What they do have is a lot of misinformation that gets in the way of effectively working together to present the best of self-published literature to library patrons. 

It’s a great, informative read. Readers can find my review on Amazon, Goodreads, and HERE.
Let’s move away from your professional life and learn a little about you the person. What keeps you occupied when you aren’t writing or diving into fantasy realms?
My great passion is traveling. Seeing and experiencing new things. New countries and cultures, fascinating places across the US, even day trips to explore all of the new and exciting things around my home.  Right now I’m getting ready to move to the Netherlands for five months and planning a visit to Africa where my youngest daughter is serving in the Peace Corps.

I also try to spend as much time as possible with my four children and two grandchildren. Since they’re spread out over several states and countries at this point, that usually involves travel as well.
Sounds like you have enough to keep you busy. Well, good luck with your launch and I hope when you have “The Pacifist Assassin” ready, which sounds like a great title by the way, you will stop by and visit us again.
My Gentle Readers you can find Denise over on her blog HERE.

Meet The Author Monday – Angel M.B. Chadwick

This week on Meet The Author Monday, we have Angel M.B. Chadwick, a crime writer with two books currently on Amazon. I will pose my questions in BLUE while Angel’s responses will be in GREEN.

AMChadwickheadshot

Thank you for stopping by today, Angel. Let’s dive into how you got started in the literary world.
I started reading when I was four. I loved to absorb words and worlds which is still true today.

There is nothing like getting lost in world created in a book. What genre do you enjoy the most?
I love most genres, but mysteries are what I love the most.

Somewhere along the line you decided to cross over into writing your own worlds to get absorbed in. Tell us about that moment.
My seventh grade English teacher encouraged me to keep writing when she saw my potential during an English assignment when I wrote a short story.

That was a fortuitous moment. You had a great teacher. Do you concentrate on one genre or several?
No, I always mix several genres. I love lots of variety and diversity in my works, without it I get bored very quickly and very easily that also included in the books I read.

Nothing wrong with a little variety in the written word. How did you get started being a published author?
I’ve been an author/writer for 26 years. I was trad published in my teens and twenties. I was offered a publishing contract when I was fifteen years old by a major publisher and turned it down. I’ve always been indie/self-published and I think that’s why I never got along with the traditionally published world. One rejection if you can call it that by a publisher was “You have a unique insight into mankind.” But unfortunately they weren’t able to market that. So I took it as a compliment and decided to market my “Unique insight into mankind” for myself as an indie.

Good for you. Sometimes I don’t think the traditional publishing houses have any idea how silly it is to put all your eggs on one big name author. There are so many stories in the world to be told. When not writing, what do you enjoy? Do you have any family?
I don’t have any hobbies. I do ghostwriting and editing services, come up with business ideas for disabled/needy families. I have a ten year old son.

Sounds like you keep yourself busy. I know my son keeps me on my toes. Thank you again for stopping by. If anyone would like to check out Angel’s work, you can do so through the following links.

Facebook Page
GoodReads Author Page
GoodReads Author Blog
Amazon Author Page

AMBChadwickBook

If any authors out there would like to be featured on Meet The Author Monday, you can find the submission form HERE.