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.

Teen Driver In the House

Teen Driver In the House

I wanted to write this post two weeks ago, but a combination of the holidays and no small amount of procrastination has delayed these thoughts. My oldest officially became a licensed driver the week before Christmas.

I’m immensely proud of the young man he’s becoming. Sure there are still some things he does that annoy me, but isn’t that all teenagers?

He was given the task, to get his license, that he had to get his grades up. This half virtual learning path has been a struggle. It’s certainly not what any of us would have chosen for his sophomore year, but he keeps rolling with the setbacks: a shortened football season, several complete virtual weeks, and now disruptions to his basketball season. He’s handling better than I probably would have at his age. I doubt I tell him I’m proud of him enough. But hopefully, it shows.

With his license has come some freedom to come and go as he pleases. And with his sister in 4K during a Wisconsin winter, it’s wonderful that he can take her to school with him and she’s safe and taken care of. Emma really enjoys riding with Teta and has asked him to pick her up after school when he doesn’t have practice.

To fund his newfound freedom, he’s taken the initiative to apply for jobs. I’m proud of him that he sought out and negotiated a job that will work around his sports schedule. He has orientation this weekend and gets to start right away in the afternoon.

I’ll admit I’ve been nervous about this whole situation, but he’s been an amazing driver with his mom and I during his learning period. I can’t wait to hear about his first day of work and all the life lessons he’s going to experience as he enters this phase of life.

Teta, Your dad is very proud of you. Keep striving for your goals and I know you’ll become a great man.

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.

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.

Fatherhood: May 9th, 2018

Here’s a few of the things I have learned about my daughter in the few weeks since she turned two.

1: If you stub your toe and exclaim “Shit”, your two year old will constantly repeat said word at inappropriate moments, making you feel like the worst parent ever.

2: You can spend longer than ten minutes “dumping” imaginary buckets of water in the sink or bathtub.

3: Farting is just as funny to a two year old girl as it is to males of all ages.

4: Falling asleep requires clutching one of Daddy’s earlobes in between your fingers. When the Kung fu grip starts to relax, it’s time to place toddler in her bed and RUN!

5: Lastly, (for now) if you have a sore back and move stiffly in the presence of your toddler, they will parade in front of you exaggerating your motion.

Bonus: Even bald Daddies can have their hair styled by a two year old.

Spell a Day – Feb 5th 2016

Forgiveness of self. Sometimes one of the hardest things to do in our life is forgive ourselves for decisions we made. If I have learned anything from my day job of dispatching, is that sometimes, you just have the make the best decision you can at the time, with the tools and knowledge you have at your disposal. Hindsight is always going to reveal a new plan of action, but that plan may not have been something to consider without the benefit of hindsight.  Have any of you made decisions that you came to regret later? Perhaps there is a toxic relationship (lover, friend, coworker, or relative) that you harbor guilt, anger, and/or resentment towards yourself over. Time to let go of that negativity in your life. Even if you cannot salvage the relationship in anyway (and you may not really want to) you cannot continue to beat yourself up over it. You are only harming yourself.

I use the example of my biological father. Now “sperm donor” as he has been called by my older sister and I because of his never really acting like a father figure, is a narcissistic sociopath. (Thank you Criminal Minds). Everything, every act/every word/every event, is designed to inflate his ego and self importance. Throughout my life he has popped in and I thought for sure this time would be different, that we would have a healthy father/son relationship. Each time I was crushed one way or another when he let me down. I think that is part of why I struggle sometimes to interact with my son. I am not wired very well in that respect. I have taken cues from my father in law and brother in law who are great with their kids and tried to learn to do better. I think I learn something new all the time.

I held onto a lot of anger and resentment for my father and later my stepfather that I think I have finally begun to let go of. I am far from perfect, and never will be, but at least it doesn’t send me into any sort of blind rage like it used to. I hope my children never have cause to think of me in the same light as I have pictured the ‘father figures’ I grew up watching.

Do you harbor any of these feelings of guilt, anger, or resentment from a relationship gone sour? Let it go Gentle Readers and enter the next phase of your life with a lighter heart.

Spell a Day – Feb 3rd 2016

springcleaning

Anyone else feel like this? That’s right Gentle Readers, we are on the downhill to Spring. Grab your sage oil and spearmint oil, mix those up with a little water and spritz your house to dispel the buildup of the long winter months.

I have a further complication to my cleaning efforts this year as my wife and I are expecting our second child the end of April. Going to be a big adjustment from the three of us and two dogs, to adding a newborn into the mix. We have done a lot of prepwork on the nursery. Now it is just the mental preparation. This is really happening. I have been listening to Macklemore and Lewis’s song, Growing up, every day. I think it has become my mantra so to speak. “Who am I, if I’m the person you become, if I’m still growing up.”

I’ve done a lot of soul searching, working on my temper and I think I have made some progress. I think fatherhood is going to settle me down more this time around. I cannot wait to walk out of my work in July and take 8 weeks or more off to enjoy with my newborn and my son.

Until next time Gentle Readers, don’t procrastinate your spring cleaning, or we will ahve to call it summer cleaning.

Spell a Day – Jan 22nd 2016

Good evening Gentle Readers. Well, it isn’t quite February 14th, but today’s topic is love. Specifically about drawing in the kind of love you want and your ideal partner. I guess this is so you are ready on Valentine’s day. I’ve never presumed to know if Aphrodite wants to hear our pleas for love or not, but it appears today is a day to reach out to her. Have you ever made a physical list of the qualities and traits your want your ideal partner to possess? I never was so formal about it but I knew some things I did not want.

If you make a list of what you want and what you don’t want, then you have a road map to go out and find your ideal partner that will enrich your life forever. According to the Huffington Post and New York Times, divorce rates are going down and we could soon see 2/3rds of marriages lasting the long haul, instead of the scary 50% I learned about growing up in the 90’s. This trend seems to be because of people marrying later in life (mid twenties) and that we are past the rough start to the evolution of Marriage being the Male Breadwinner and Female housewife into the more equal partnership it is for many of us, including myself.

I have a beautiful and amazing wife who is truly my best friend. Probably the best possible outcome for a complete geek like me.  I wanted to share a little poem I wrote about her on this day of trying to draw in your ideal partner.

My Wife
The love of my life
My rock, my soft place to land
My beautiful wife

Of all the cliches
I could rattle off them all
There’s one simple truth

Without her I would be lost
My world revolves around her
Her voice, her laugh, her wonderful smile
Without them I’m a ship tossed
Upon the waves of a storm’s anger
No hope, No joy, crushed on a rocky isle

Somehow she manages with my OCD
She even tolerates my oddities
She finds humor in my eccentricities
Though the how is a mystery to me

The love of my life
So smart and beautiful
My lifelong partner

Together we are
Stronger than we are apart
I know that I am

 

So how about it Gentle Readers? Do you have your ideal partner or are you still looking? Feel free to share your stories or hopes in the comments. I look forward to hearing from you.

Spell a Day – Jan 20th 2016

Count-Your-May-Blessings.jpg
Image from Lil’Lunas.

It is a good lesson to learn to always be mindful of the blessings in your life. Sometimes we get so hung up on the negative we forget about the good things we have. Today’s spell is about making a blessing jar. Even if you don’t believe in magick and spellcraft, this is a good idea to do.

Take a jar of any reasonable size. A quart mason jar should be sufficient. Near your jar you need to keep a pen and some sort of paper. An assortment of little colored Post-it notes would work wonderfully according to Natalie Zaman (the contributor of this spell). I have to agree, the different colors would look pretty in the jar. So, each day you need to write down something you are thankful for on the little notes. Roll or fold it up and place it in the jar. When the jar is overflowing, take them out and read them one by one to remind yourself of the blessings in your life.

Now, you can do a lot of things from here with your blessings. Recommendations include writing them all down somewhere like a journal. You can also release it into the world through a cleansing fire. I would probably end up blogging my list for all of you first, which I am sure would be terribly boring to read through.

I have a little poem to share with you all on the topic.

Blessings
My blessings abound
A wonderful home, good job
Loving family

My cup overflows with joy
Laughing with my young boy
Over the antics of his friends
I hope this never ends

I adore my beautiful wife
She truly is the love of my life
I cannot begin to count the ways
She brightens each of my days

I’m thankful each day
For the blessings in my life
Son and loving wife