A New Year, A New Chance

Friends,

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday with your family and friends!

If you’ve read my blog for some time, you know that I usually start off each post with something to the extent of “welcome to a new week – where we have a new opportunity to accomplish our goals.” I say this because I truly believe that just because you don’t achieve your idea of success one week, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be worked toward or achieved the following week. With the New Year coming this week, I figured I’d expand upon some of my thoughts for another chance at success!

First, I’ll start off by touching on my WWII historical fiction work. My new book, Imminent, is available for pre-order right now and will  release January 8. I am very excited to get this project off the ground and into the hands of readers. This book presented me with some new challenges as well as some familiar ones, and I can’t wait to see what you think of it! Also my first book, Resistant, is FREE all this week, so pick up your Kindle copy today!

With that being said, I’ll kick off 2016 by beginning the writing of the next book. I am anxious for what the year will bring for my writing, but I’m also optimistic and excited. I thoroughly enjoy writing – creating – these stories, and I don’t want to stop. I want to make it a part of my life, and a big one at that. And that’s part of the whole idea of “a new opportunity” of which I so often speak: the excitement and wonder of what lies ahead, and having the courage and passion to find out.

Second, I’d like to say that whether you’re new to writing or have been doing it for years, I hope that you’ll take this transition in time to reflect on what you’re craft is, how you approach writing, and where you see yourself taking that passion. It’s good to every once in a while sit and think about the writing, rather than write write write without a second thought.

So as the New Year approaches and begins, I encourage you to take stock of what you currently do and how you can improve it. Yes, writing is an art, and art should be partially spontaneous and free-flowing, but a portion of it must also be structured, developed, and ever improved. That is something I’m going to strive for this year.

And lastly, not having to do so much with writing, is the idea of striving to achieve success in life. I don’t mean seek out ways to become rich – that’s not what this is about, nor should it be a focus in this type of conversation. What I speak of is far more precious and valuable: the state of happiness and contentment that results from hard work and focused energy.

It’s so easy to get off-topic or become distracted in today’s world, something that makes me envy my childhood, when times were simpler. Not so much because children lack adult responsibilities, but simpler because the physical world was our oyster, not the technological one. When you think about your life in a general sense (not putting more weight toward one thing or the other), what comes to mind that would make you happy? What would bring you contentment? This answer will be different for us all, as it should be.

So as I leave you with this post, ask yourself what can be done in the New Year to help achieve your goals. Don’t think of this as a New Year’s resolution, for it should be something of an everyday thought. It just so happens that our minds make us think that a change in the year means something. In this context, it doesn’t. You are always able to strive for greatness and success; it’s just a matter of when and how you do it for yourself.

Until next time,

-Eli

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

Unguarded: Reflection

Friends,

I hope this post finds you well and on the way to achieving your weekly goals! I wanted to reflect on the experience from beginning to end, as well as inform you of some things, so let’s get down to business.

This past weekend, Unguarded released in print and on the Kindle. It has been a wonderful seven months since beginning the writing process in June. Throughout the early summer, I planned the book in skeleton form, getting the main plot ideas down before moving forward. From June to September, I spent quite a bit of time writing, applying tips and tricks I’d learned along the way. One thing I also tried to incorporate this time around is extending the length of manuscript. This was a common suggestion in the reviews from Resistant, so I wanted to listen to that and act on it.

After completing the first draft, I gave the manuscript to two of my friends. They acted as my beta readers and editors, one of them actually being my editor on the first book. While I awaited their feedback, I contacted my cover designer and got that process moving. Knowing what I wanted this time around, I received the final cover less than a week from when I placed the order for it. If you are interested, check out BookFuel for their author services. Soon after that, my editors/readers each gave me some great feedback, helping me shape my story into the second draft. It was in that draft that much of the story kept its form, remaining that way all the way until publication.

The third and final draft (in terms of major changes to the manuscript) was finished around Thanksgiving. I rested my writing mind during the holidays, which is a good piece of advice for aspiring writers. Taking breaks is not a bad thing! I then read through the third draft two more times before the middle of December arrived, tweaking and amending parts of the story that needed it. The biggest aspect I tried to pay attention to was the dialogue. This has been an ever-changing aspect of writing for me in the sense that I have been putting much effort into trying to make it the best it can be.

I then gave the manuscript to my editor for three weeks (December into January). He sent me really helpful feedback and answered a few questions after I went through his changes. With the manuscript very close to being complete, I did one final read-through. Again, I focused on dialogue, as well as keeping an eye out for grammar and spelling one last time. I finished this item on the checklist the day before I needed to submit the manuscript to Amazon (for the pre-order).

After submitting the formatted ebook manuscript to KDP (.mobi files for Kindle, by the way), I formatted the print document. Createspace provides templates that make formatting easier on the indie publisher. You can check them out here. I wanted to streamline the look of my books, especially those in the Faces of the War collection, so I simply made the formatting for one book and saved the same document as different files for each of the books. This may take you some time, but it will help improve the image of your books, which improves the quality of your brand.

When the time came to submit the print version to Createspace, I did that with much excitement. The next morning, I received an email from Createspace stating they found no formatting errors and that the book’s publication awaited my “O.K.” I gave the final submission through my profile on Createspace on Friday evening of last week. Even though the prompt then said it would take 3-5 business days to process, the book still went live Monday morning. Sometimes is just works out for the better in that way.

Overall, I was very happy with my writing, editing, and publishing experience this time around. Writing has given me such joy, and I hope that the content I distribute does the same for my readers. I am very excited for the possibilities in store for me in 2015, and I can’t wait to get moving on the next project.

One final thing is this: if you are a new or somewhat new writer, and find yourself discouraged or unmotivated, please do not lose heart. All it takes it just to work a little here and a little there to get into a rhythm. And if you’re not feeling the writing vibe at the moment, then do some reading. Anything you can do to stimulate your creative mind will help you out. Don’t ever tell yourself you can’t do something just because it’s 45,000 words away. You can do it!

I hope you will check out my books, especially Unguarded, and tell me what you think in a review!

Until next time,

-Eli

Final News on Unguarded

Friends,

Welcome to a new post…I hope you are well and in good spirits, ready to tackle a new week ahead! Let’s get right into today’s post…

The Faces of the War Collection

As you know, much has been happening throughout the past weeks with the preparations for Unguarded‘s release. There are a few things in particular that I’d like to point out:

  • Pre-order: this will remain open until Saturday, January 24, which is the release date for the book. If you pre-ordered Unguarded for your Kindle, it will automatically be delivered to your device on that day. At some point after the release, the price will go up to the usual amount of $4.99.
  • Resistant: though this book and Unguarded aren’t directly related, they’re part of the same collection. As such, I wanted to make my first book available at a cheaper price on the Kindle and encourage you to pick it up. You can easily find it here. I plan on keeping the book on sale until the end of January. My hope is that you will pick up both and enjoy reading both, but I am grateful for your interest in my work either way.
  • Newsletter: if you aren’t subscribed to my newsletter already, I encourage you to that as well. You can email me at [elikale.author@gmail.com] or click on this link. The next newsletter will be sent out this Wednesday, January 21 and will contain details about Unguarded‘s release – details that won’t be revealed right away on this blog. In addition to details, I will be having book deals/giveaways and other things of the sort, so there’s no real reason you shouldn’t be on the list. Check it out today!

Those are the main points I wanted to make that will affect the immediate future. There are a few other things I’d like to talk about…

The Short Story Collection

The next volume in this collection is underway, with a tentative release time in the spring. As the weeks go along, and after Unguarded is launched, I’ll give this more attention in the blog posts. If you haven’t yet read or seen my first volume on Amazon, you can easily find it here.

Future Projects

I have already begun to brainstorm ideas of what to write after I finish my WWII collection. I really enjoy writing these books, so I want to be sure that I finish what I started and complete the collection before wholly moving on to another big project. I can say, though, that two projects have been fairly fleshed out in terms of story ideas and certain plot details. I’ll have more on this in the coming months.

I’d like to express my gratitude to you, my readers and followers, for your continued support and encouragement throughout the writing process. It means so much to me! When next I post, a new book will be released with a new story to be experienced. I hope you will experience it with me.

Until next time,

-Eli

Countdown to Unguarded

Friends,

As I began today working out (as part of a modest goal I set for myself), I thought of what you all might be doing to help improve your lives in the new year, if that is something you’re aiming to do. For some time I have wanted to get back into the shape I was in during my early college years, so that is what I am focusing on for the next handful of months. I wish you luck and would like to encourage you to persevere through whatever it is that you want to accomplish! Now, on to the blog post…

The Faces of the War Collection

This week marks the time of “zero hour” for the Kindle version of Unguarded. By this, I mean that I have to submit the final version of the manuscript to Amazon by Wednesday so that the book will be ready to launch when the pre-order finishes on January 24th (the release date). I will spend today and tomorrow doing one final read-through of the MS, in which I’ll simply look for grammatical errors and other minor things like that. Nothing in the story can change at this point.

My aim for funneling readers (current and potential) to my books is to do it through my website so they can see my other content, but this link will send you directly to the Amazon page. I am getting very excited to launch this book, the second in my WWII collection. If you haven’t yet read my first book, Resistant, I encourage you to check it out. Remember that you don’t have to read the first book in order to understand the second one, as they are separate stories.

Cover_front      Cover - Round 2

Covers for Resistant and Unguarded

I wrote a post in December about my writing process, and in that post I mentioned that I want to write a post on my self-publishing experiences so far. I am thinking, at least at this point, that that post will be written sometime in the weeks immediately following Unguarded‘s launch. I want to devote time to finishing that project, and then I can spend time pouring out some information about my experience. Another reason I’d like to wait until then is because part of that post will include more details on the editing/refining part of the publishing process, and I’d like to include some things about Unguarded‘s editing/refining process in there. You can probably expect that post to come sometime in February.

Again, the release date for Unguarded is Saturday, January 24, so be sure to pre-order the Kindle version in order to save a buck. The print version’s release should coincide with that of the Kindle. I’ll post another big reminder in next week’s blog post.

Thank you for all your encouragement and support as I trek through the journey of writing and self-publishing. I truly enjoy it, and I want to help others who have a passion for it to enjoy it as well in their own way. If you are a fellow author, feel free to contact me whenever you please – I always enjoy networking with other authors!

Until next time,

-Eli

Giving Thanks

Friends,

I truly hope this post finds you well and in good spirits! For many of my readers, though not all by any means, this week is a week to take a moment out of our busy lives to be thankful for all that we possess. Thanksgiving is always toward the end of November, but I think it best not to allocate all our thankfulness on this one day. Giving thanks is something that should be done regularly, for we do not know when a favorite appliance may break, or when a loved one may pass, or even when our own time arrives.

My challenge to you, in this world of uncertainty, is this: when you wake up in the morning (or perhaps in the evening if you work the night shift), take a brief moment to find someone or something in your life for which you are truly and genuinely thankful. Think of what that person or thing means to you and how it shapes you, whether for better or worse, and use that to start your day off on a positive note! I can say with confidence that beginning your day in that kind of mood will help steer you farther down the road of optimism as you go about your routine. And just think what that would do in the long run, over weeks or months, or even years. I’m sure you’d be surprised.

That’s my little spiel on being thankful, so let’s dive on into the blog…

The Faces of the War Collection

At the moment, the third read-through of the Unguarded manuscript is underway. As I have said before, I am focusing on polishing up the dialogue, hoping to make it more concise, dynamic, and realistic. I am going through the text and am all the while thinking of how exciting this process is for me. I mean, this is the time when what I have worked on for many months starts coming together in what could be its final state. I am very excited to deliver this story to you when the time comes.

The word count at the moment is almost 47K, which is actually closer to my original goal word count than what I thought I’d get. The first draft came in at around 42K words, but in going through it here and there, I ended up adding enough to bring out more detail in the story. I have already clued in those of you on the mailing list as to some story details, but I will share them here as well. Before I do, I encourage you to join my mailing list if you haven’t already – it’s a great way to connect with me and get in-depth details regarding my projects before the general public hears it (usually on this blog or through Twitter). You can find the link here.

Unguarded is a story set during the Second World War, following the character of Oliver – a young college boy living in London. In this book, as opposed to Resistant, there will be an Epilogue, which has lent itself to helping expand the word count this time around. This story is very much different from Book One, yet it still captures a lot of the feeling and emotion, as well as action, experienced in the first story.

Though there is no specific release date set, I can assure you that Unguarded will be released in January 2015. Throughout this entire process, I’ve experienced a few minor setbacks that, together, have been enough to set me back in my timeline for a release in the New Year rather than before Christmas. I do hope you can bear with me as I finish this project, and I also hope that you will read it and be entertained by it.

The Short Story Collection

My first ebook of short stories, entitled Volume 1, is currently available for the Kindle for only $0.99! The next ebook, which is aptly entitled Volume 2, will be released in the spring. I will resume work on those stories after I launch Unguarded. All three stories are roughed out, with one of them actually begun. I look forward to bringing those to you!

Until next time,

-Eli