Special Blog Post: YouTube Launch

Friends,

The day has arrived! If you haven’t read this week’s blog post yet (tisk tisk), then I’ll fill you in on why I’m posting on a Friday…

I have recently decided to expand my author platform into the world of YouTube, and the first two videos on my channel launch today. I feel this is a good way to reach potential readers, as well as to provide current readers another look into my writing life and how I function as an author. So come along and join me!

Here are the links to the two videos, as well as to my channel in general:

YouTube Channel     ~     Video #1     ~     Video #2

(…you can just go to the Channel and the videos will be right there)

I truly hope that you tune in and follow me on this journey, because my friends, family, and readers are a vital part of this area of my well-being. I encourage you to “Subscribe” and watch more videos, as well as to tell your friends, coworkers, and anyone else you think might be interested in what I do.

Again, thank you to everyone for your support of my passion. It means a great deal to me!

Enjoy the videos!

-Eli

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Onward and Upward

Friends,

I am excited to begin this new week with you, so let’s get started…

The Faces of the War Collection

Unguarded has been doing well since its release, with a handful of copies sold. I have already received a review (though it hasn’t yet been posted to Amazon) that there is a clear sign of improvement from my effort on Resistant. That sounds like good news to me!

I am hoping to tackle at least a few pages of writing this week, but as always I’ll have to see what happens. With the spark of creativity that I experienced last week regarding my short stories, I may devote a little more time to that. But I’ll talk about that in a bit.

Book Three in my WWII collection is looking to be a more serious book. I guess I mean that in the sense of what the main character experiences and thinks. As I go about my writing, I want to experiment with different writing techniques and devices, all the while trying not to stray from my original ideas and intents. I think that’s part of what writing is all about.

Looking ahead to the coming months, I can say with confidence that I believe this next book will be something of a turning point in my writing. I just have a good feeling about it. Currently, I am reading a couple of books – one a memoir, another a non-fiction account of the war’s events – that will provide me with some great inspiration and information to help build my story. And to me that’s one of the most exciting parts about writing: weaving your own story into the fabric of history. As these upcoming weeks arrive, I’ll keep you posted on how the writing goes.

The Short Story Collection

I recently had a spark of creativity with regards to my upcoming short story collection, Volume 2, which I aim to release sometime in March or April. The stories I had begun in the autumn sat dormant for a few months, with only one of them having been started. The other two were only in idea form.

However, I felt the flow of ideas increase, which told me to get writing. Not wanting to break off from working on my WWII project, I debated what to do. But my inner writer led the way. I am almost finished with the first story, with the word count sitting at around 1,200 words. My rule of thumb is to have a short story be at least 2,000 so it has some length to it. The word count ceiling is dependent on a story-by-story basis.

I think you will really like these stories. I definitely enjoy thinking up ideas and fleshing them out, and I hope to do it in a way that entertains my readers. As the upcoming weeks arrive, I’ll update you on how it’s all going.

New Project

I had mentioned before about a “new project” taking a spot on my work plate, and that I’d talk about it in an upcoming blog post. Well, today is the day for that discussion.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve gotten into watching YouTube “vlogs” (or video logs) published by what one might call “everyday people.” Simply put, there are individuals out there that document their daily/weekly/monthly lives on camera, and upload those videos to YouTube where a loyal following exists. The followers of these people tune in every day/week/month to see what these everyday people are up to.

As I watched more and more, I became engrossed in the idea that this is an awesome thing. It’s awesome in a technological sense (because nothing like this could have been accomplished in the past), as well as in a social sense (because I’m a fan of collaboration and networking). With that in mind, I pondered the idea of joining the crowd of these everyday individuals, documenting my own experiences. Taking it a step further, I thought “Why not gear it toward my writing experiences and how I live as a writer?”

And so, beginning this Friday and continuing indefinitely over the coming months, I will release a video once a week documenting my writing life. Being the organized, OCD individual that I am, I wanted to plan out at least the first few vlogs I would publish.

The very first vlog will be just an introductory one. The first vlog of real content, though, will cover brainstorming. I talk about brainstorming in general and what I do specifically in that part of my writing process.

I intend to keep the vlogs between ten and fifteen minutes long so they’re short enough to be watched over lunch or in the morning when you wake up. These videos are in no way exhaustive or definitive; they’re simply ways to express my view on the topics at hand. At this point, I have fifteen videos planned (consequently, fifteen weeks’ worth) on writing process from start to finish, which will take us into the beginning of summer. From there, I will come up with more topics to discuss.

Another driving reason that made me want to go on the YouTube adventure is because I want to expand my author platform and increase my reach to the world of readers. And so I figured YouTube could be a great way to do that. I talk about this in the first video, so I don’t want to step on my own toes here.

That being said, I would really appreciate it if you tuned in to my YouTube channel and subscribed! Gaining subscribers who talk about and share my videos will greatly increase my presence in the reading and writing community, and I would be grateful for any help my current readers can give me in that respect.

I will send out another blog post later this week when the videos go live, with the appropriate links and details included.

As always, thank you so much for your continued encouragement and support. I can’t do what I do without it!

Until next time,

-Eli

Keep Chuggin’ Along

Friends,

Welcome to a new work week, a fresh start to continue working toward achieving our goals and realizing our aspirations. Let’s get right into today’s post…

The Faces of the War Collection

In planning the marketing for my recently released book Unguarded, I decided to try something different. Because my birthday is this week, I am discounting the ebook to only $0.99 from February 15-20. If you didn’t get around to picking up a copy upon the book’s release, I strongly encourage you to get it now at this even lower price. I don’t know when it will be this affordable again!

As for other news in my WWII historical fiction collection, work has begun on the third book. The skeleton planning took place back in September 2014, and the plot was more finely fleshed out in December. Writing began in earnest on February 5, and is continuing at a good pace. If you are unsure of what I mean when I say “skeleton planning,” you can check out my post on Writing Process.

I am looking forward to exploring the plot lines in this next book, especially because of the themes in the story. That leads me to ask you this: if you have read one or both of my books, what is something you liked with regard to the story? Were there interactions between characters that stuck out to you? Was the action and tension in the plot believable and gripping? I ask these questions because I want to ensure that I not only improve my writing craft (as every writer should aspire to do) but that I also deliver good quality stories to you, my readers. I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter, so feel free to email me or submit a contact form found here.

The Short Story Collection

There is no real news to report on this front, only that I am slowly getting around to writing more in the stories of the upcoming “Volume 2.” I really want to deliver some entertaining yet different short stories to you, but the ideas aren’t flowing as much for that project as they are for my WWII book. If you haven’t checked out my first ebook entitled “Volume 1,” you can find it here.

I would like to take a moment to thank my family, friends, and my readers for supporting me in what I do. Writing has truly become a passion and something I want to pursue seriously. If you are reading this as a novice writer, please listen to this piece of advice – don’t let obstacles slow you down! Don’t let the words of naysayers distract or dishearten you. Keep chuggin’ along and do what makes you happy. It may seem difficult, but it is and will be so rewarding in the long run.

Until next time,

-Eli

Writing Thoughts

Friends,

We meet again at the dawn of a new work week. It is my hope that you are well and that you are on your way to achieving your personal and/or professional goals this week!

I wanted to take some time in this post to share some thoughts with you. There isn’t much new to report in terms of writing: after beginning on Book Three in my WWII collection last week, the manuscript is still getting off the ground. Also, I am getting forty hours at my part-time job this week, so writing will be minimal for the next handful of days. With that being said, I thought I’d talk about a few things writing-related and throw in a few pictures from my trip to break up the text. So here we go…

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Buildings on the Marktplatz in Rothenburg, Germany

The first thing I’d like to talk about today revolves around writing habits. I am currently reading a book called Write. Publish. Repeat. by Johnny B. Truant and Sean Platt. In it, they talk about a great many things they do as writers, and how those things are grounded as solid writing practices. One thing that stood out to me while reading just last night was their urging to “write fast” in the early phases of manuscript drafting. By this, they mean that it is better to get your thoughts onto the page (and edit later) rather than get caught in the mire of self-doubt and self-editing along the way, thus setting yourself up to become frustrated (and possibly not write much more, if at all).

I wholeheartedly agree with this notion. Despite being somewhat guilty of editing-as-I-go myself, I try to avoid that and get my ideas fleshed out first before worrying a lot about what the final draft will look like. I know going into a project that the first draft will never be the final draft, so I don’t set out to do that; any solid, successful writer will tell you that’s a fool’s errand. If you are a new writer and are thinking, “Psh. That doesn’t apply to me because I understand grammar and how to compose words into paragraphs and chapters and such, AND I got an A+ in English!” then please reevaluate yourself. Even though I have not been writing for very long (almost a year), I can tell you that I have read enough advice from others who have, and they are good at what they do. That’s one bit of advice I have for aspiring authors: don’t be cocky about your writing.

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Neuschwanstein Castle in southern Germany

The next talking point on my list revolves around layering your story. Quite a while ago, I had jotted down some thoughts in my Notes phone app on this subject, and I figured now would be a perfect time to relay those thoughts to you. In my opinion (and experience), it is good to layer a story because it gives it depth. Readers like depth. I’m not saying depth in the sense like you’re going to “Inception” your reader out of their mind (because that’s getting into a specific genre, not a type of writing practice). What I’m saying is that by using certain literary devices, you can make parts of your story stand out.

For example, adding flashbacks and revealing dialogue can give your plot more pizzazz without actually having to use precious page space to go into great detail of a past event. Also, emotion and tension are two very key tools when it comes to moving your plot along. So if you carefully put all of that together, you have the opportunity to produce a fantastic story line that makes the reader want to turn more pages. It definitely takes practice to get the hang of it (and I am in no way saying that I have mastered it), but that’s just a part of writing.

To make your reader say “Wow!” even more, you can add a plot shock to your story. Think of it this way: when a person is in need of a defibrillator, they are either showing very weak signs of a heartbeat, or no heartbeat at all. Let’s just assume the latter case and say they’re temporarily dead. To revive that person and change their heart rate to what is desired (an ideally healthy 100 BPM), a defibrillator is used.

In that analogy, the heart rate is your story and the defibrillator is the plot shock. If the story is slowing down or already close to dying, shock it with a twist in the plot. A well placed plot twist can work wonders in the mind of a reader.

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View of Heidelberg from the castle in Heidelberg, Germany

The final item on my list today revolves around self-evaluation. From time to time, I find myself thinking about what I’m writing and what it all will mean years down the road. Will my books be read? What will people think of my books? Will I be able to eventually write for a living, doing something I love? I would like to think the answers to those questions will be good answers, but there’s no way of telling right now. And so I turn the spotlight over to you – what do you think of your writing in terms of your endgame objective? Do you ask yourself questions like these? What kinds of thoughts enter your consciousness? I believe it is a good thing to question ourselves and evaluate what we do, because it helps give us direction in our writing. That’s just some food for thought.

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Outer wall of the Dachau concentration camp proper near Munich, Germany

I have mentioned in the recent past that some things are going on behind the scenes on my end, and that I would talk about them more in the coming weeks. I will say now that I have begun putting into motion a few ideas, one of which will manifest itself soon. I will release more details when that time gets closer. Just know that I am excited about what I am doing and where it might take me.

Until next time,

-Eli

On to the Next

Friends,

Welcome to a new week, a new month, a new chapter. Well, new chapter for me, at least. Now that Unguarded has released and some time has passed for my mind to reset, it is on to the next project. So let’s dive in…

To begin, I’d like to share a link to another blog for which I wrote a guest post just last week. The blog, entitled English Historical Fiction Authors, is operated by fellow historical fiction author Debra Brown and showcases articles, authors, and books in the realm of British history. I wrote an article on the Battle of Britain as my guest blog post, which played well into the promotion for Unguarded. It isn’t as long as some articles on the website, but I wrote what I felt was necessary to talk about what was on my mind. It was a fun experience, and I’m grateful to Debra for giving me the chance to guest blog and for the added exposure to my work. If you haven’t seen it yet, I encourage you to give it a look!

As for the next project, it technically has already begun. In between working days during the final phase of Unguarded, I started into the preliminary writing of the next book in my World War II collection. In this book, there will be a Prologue and an Epilogue (the first book in the collection to have both). At this point, I have just over 4K words written, which leaves me around 43K left to type if this book will be similar in length to its predecessor. And I had already had the book planned in skeleton form since before October 2014. I am very much looking forward to working through this project. And I hope that you will continue to follow along and support me in my passion!

With regard to the next short story volume, not as much has developed as I would have liked. I am still hoping to release Volume 2 sometime between March and May, but I will have to see how it all goes. I will keep you posted as I go.

There are also some things happening behind the scenes, but I don’t want to give it away just yet. But if all goes as planned, they are pretty big. It is my hope that the year ahead will be filled with great things!

Until next time,

-Eli