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.

Becoming a plotter?!?!

The age old debate amongst writers. That eternal battle between Plotters and Pantsers. I’ve always considered myself a Pantser. Most of the time I have a character and a vague idea and away we go. Probably why I have a thumb drive full of unfinished half baked ideas.

This week has started out different. As I finally draw into the closing chapters of this round of the dots for Book 3 of my Family Heritage series, I had a villain and an idea for book 4.

Monday morning it hit me and by noon I had plotted out a high level outline for the entire book, while working my day job.

What’s more is book 5, which was little more than the idea of having shifters in it, has become an actually plotted book as well. Down to villains and their goals and scene outline.

I’ve never written like this before and it’s a little strange feeling. I’ve now dusted off an old idea I’d filed away and am working it through as well.

Last night I asked my wife about something she’d talked about. One of those, “Honey you should write this moments,” she’d had months ago. She hadn’t figured out the last couple of characters (based on our nieces and nephews), and I told her about my outlining this week. I mentioned I’d like to take a stab at coming up with a story using these characters but I needed the details.

This is where I surprised her by admitting I don’t normally plot my writing. I take the vague idea or character and just turn them loose. Then I write up the incident report. She couldn’t believe that because of how I am in my personal life. I’m a planner. I’m a step 1 is followed by step 2 and so on.

She’s convinced that I’m definitely in possession of multiple personalities and she wants the Pantser to be more involved in my day to day life. What’s more is she’s trying to name the personalities. I just chuckled at her.

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.

Instafreebie Samples

Today, my Gentle Readers, I want to tell you about a new promo going on. I’m offering up the first few chapters of my novel, “Beginnings“, and the first chapter of my novella, “The Haunting of House 1273“.  Both of these promos through Instafreebie come with no strings attached like some that require you to join the mailing list. I would love it if you did join my publishing house’s mailing list when you did. Then you can receive all the updates on what we are getting up to over there at Cloaked Press. We send out a little story and give away Amazon Giftcards every month. More prizes will be forthcoming as we ramp up to publish our first short story collection this fall. I hope you will take a moment to check it out. 

Novella Launch and Novel Relaunch!!

Well Gentle Readers I have some exciting news. I have launched a new ebook novella, “Haunting of House 1273”. This haunted tale is available on Amazon for FREE through Halloween 2016. I hope you will take a look, give it a download and let me know what you think in the reviews. This is a bit of a departure from my normal writing but it was a strange dream I knew I had to put down on paper. Huge shoutout to Steger Productions for the great cover.

house1273.2.jpg

Also, I have an expanded second edition of my debut novel “Beginnings” that went live this weekend. Amazon is still showing the old cover for the ebook, but I assure you it has all the new stuff in it. If you had bought the book in the past, you should be able to get the update for free.

Beginnings_Cover_for_Kindle.jpg

Spell a Day – Jan 11th 2016

Today’s focus would be on using a locket or some piece of jewelry for magickal work. For the uninitiated, using the ‘k’ in magickal is to differentiate this type of spellwork from illusionists or tricks done for entertainment. I just think it looks better. More mysterious. Like saying Theatre instead of Theater. That swap of the letters trips up the eye and makes the reader stop, thinking, ‘Hmm, this is important or special.’

I never did much work with talismans of this sort. I have never made a hex bag, but I do thank the Winchesters for showing me how many times.
HexbagSupernatural

Some people find them very useful in their spellwork. I was always more of a gemstone/crystal person myself. Something about the feel of stone always made me feeler closer to Mother Earth.

In the second book in my Family Traditions series, I explore the use of a talisman in the form of a family heirloom passed down to the main character from his uncle. I am hoping to have this volume edited and out in the fall. A talisman for magickal work can be just about anything as long as it has meaning to the wearer. Many people of Christian faith wear crosses or crucifixes as a show of faith. These pieces of jewelry are ‘technically’ talismans of a magickal nature because of the belief that God will intercede on the bearer’s behalf. I am not trying to start a religious debate, but I do find it ironic that the Bible several times condemns the pagan use of these amulets or talismans, however you find quite a few of the same items in Christian denominations: rosary beads, Star of David as a necklace, medals and scapulars devoted to Saints or Angels. The idea of special ‘powers’ held by objects is also evident in the use of holy water. I have always thought that religions are not that far different as they like others to believe. It’s just always a “my way is better” attitude that spoils rational and thoughtful debate.  This is probably the biggest part of my break with most organized religion. I don’t need another person who feels they are more righteous with their God to tell me how to live my life. I can pretty much figure that out myself.

I used to wear a necklace with a dragon curled around a pentacle as a symbol of my belief in magick. My favorite was a pentacle with a crescent moon stuck through it with a piece of onyx in the middle. Onyx is supposed to help with warding off negative or harmful attacks. It is also supposed to help with healing and grounding oneself. I am very fond of that necklace. While I don’t often wear it openly, I still have it, tucked away with my runestones and tarot cards and other implements of magick and pagan worship. Always close at hand if I should need them.

What kind of talismans or amulets do you have or use in your life? I am curious to hear about any unique family heirlooms one might keep. Perhaps a locket or something that has been passed down for generations? Let me know gentle readers. Until next time.

Amazon Author Central Page

It’s live. My Amazon Author Central page is live.

http://www.amazon.com/author/andrewmferrell

It isn’t much to look at right now, but I have a teaser video for my book, as well as an image and link to this blog coming. Just seems to take awhile for Amazon to approve anything. Anyway, I just had to throw this out there because I was excited.

Looking for help with Book Reviews…

Beginnings (Family Heritage Vol. 1) - Andrew M Ferrell

Looking for help from all my blogger friends out there. I am looking for people willing to read my book and post honest reviews to Amazon/Goodreads/Their Blog. Wherever, especially Amazon. I am planning some advertising in the next few months and want to try and get some more opinions out there that are more current than the two reviews I currently have. If you are interested just email me at andrewmferrell@gmail.com with what format you need it in. I can either gift you an ebook for your Kindle direct from Amazon, or I can try my hand at converting it into Epub/Mobi. So far the program I have has been non-cooperative. I do have a PDF copy available if that works for you. Thank you all for your support and encouragement. Any reblogs or sharing of this post would have my never ending gratitude.