Whirlwind of a Summer

Friends,

This summer has been one full of change, things to do, and a lot of fun. I haven’t posted on this blog since May, when things in my life were so different, and so I’d like to fill you in on a few things.

Why there were no blog posts over the summer…

You may be wondering why I haven’t blogged over the summer. On some days, I wondered that myself. Part of it was that we spent the first many weeks of summer settling into our new home, which has been quite the experience in and of itself. But the main reason why I didn’t blog was because I didn’t feel the drive to do so. When it comes to writing, not having the drive to do certain things can negatively affect you if you try to push those feelings aside and do it anyway. In this case, it was blogging.

However, the flipside of that coin is a pretty good one: I did have the drive to write out of my mind, pumping out 30K words in roughly 8 weeks, which is something I’ve never done before. So I guess you could chalk up me not blogging to the fact that I was busy writing. I produced text at a crazy rate, which turned out to be the rough draft of my next book. The grand total for the word count currently sits at 46K for the second draft. I intend on keeping it around there as best as I can. Over the next few months, I’ll be getting the last chunks of feedback from my editor and making the appropriate changes around Halloween. Now here’s why…

Master’s coursework beginning in September

I made the decision to start my master’s coursework in September, taking the first two courses of the 15 I’ll need to obtain my MA in History with a Certificate in WWII Studies. These first two courses will last from September 5 until New Year’s Day, then I’ll be taking a break for a few months. I’m getting some tuition reimbursement through school, so that’s a big part of why I’m doing this now. Speaking of school…

My first year was great, and I’m about to start what will hopefully be another

I ended my first year of teaching in June, although classes ended in late May. We as a teaching staff had a lot of things to tend to in June in preparation for this upcoming year, as well as for a few things from the previous year. All in all, it was a great first year and one that I’ll never forget as part of my initial experiences.

With a new academic year ahead of me, I’m excited to be coming back and having the opportunity to teach the year from the beginning (I was hired partway through the fall semester last year). There is also going to be a change: I’m teaching financial literacy and US history this year, as opposed to World History as I did last year. Even though WH is my favorite, I’m looking forward to getting to work in this part of social studies. After all, it’ll help round me out as a teacher and will add to my experience.

There is, and will continue to be, some degree of stress with all of this going on because…

Sarah and I are expecting our first child in January!

Basically, everything that’s been happening since mid-May has revolved around where the subsequent nine months would take us. I made it my goal to finish the bulk of the work for Book Four before the start of the school year (*check) and to plan for knocking out my foundation courses in my MA program before the baby arrives (in the process). It’s a very exciting time for us and we couldn’t be happier that we get to start this next phase of our life together. There’s just a lot going on!

As for the baby, we are having a boy. From the handful of appointments we’ve had so far, the baby is healthy, as is Sarah. The due date is January 5, but you never know – we could have a New Year’s Day or New Year’s Eve, or maybe even a Christmas baby! We’ll just have to see as things move along. But as long as it’s healthy, we don’t care when it arrives 🙂

We have ideas for names that we like, but I doubt we’ll be certain on the one we’ll choose until either the arrival gets closer or the baby actually comes. We’ll just have to see. We’ve started to get quite a bit done with the nursery and gathering things (diapers, toys, etc.) either on our own or from family and friends. I have the feeling that as the school year starts, things are going to go by so fast with all that I’m doing…the baby will be here before we know it!

So where does this leave us at the moment?

That’s a good question. Since I’ve been out of the habit of blogging every week like I was before May, I don’t know how I’ll do in these first weeks of school. With teaching and master’s courses taking a lot of my focus, and because I’m not writing anything new right now, I don’t know how often I’ll be blogging, at least about writing. I have thought about blogging about my education life since that will be more of what’s happening in life for the foreseeable future, but I haven’t decided for sure.

As the final phase of getting Book Four published goes on from now until Christmas (though Christmas isn’t the release date, keep in mind), I’ll give updates and details along the way. But I doubt there will be a blog every Monday. It’s just the way of things at this point. I would like to blog at least once a month, so please do check back periodically for that. The tentative (being 99.99%) release date for the book is January 5, and I plan on having a pre-order period occur before release. Again, I’ll give more details as the next couple of months go on.

That’s about it for this post. I sincerely thank you for reading all of what I had to say, because all of it is very important to me and explains things more clearly for anyone who didn’t already know. Your support and encouragement is greatly appreciated, and I hope that you can continue to follow my work and that I can impact your life somehow, whether through writing, giving writing and education advice, or whatever else presents itself.

Until next time,

-Eli

Advertisements

Special: Cover Design Process

Friends,

Welcome to a new week and a new post. The topic for this one is in response to a reader’s question regarding my book cover design process. There’s also some other news as well. Let’s get started!

My Process

I usually brainstorm ideas for my book cover early on the writing process, after I am certain of the plot of the book – or at least the basic gist of it and who the character is. For example, in the roughly six months it took me to produce my first book, Resistant, I probably started work on the cover around month 3. For my second book, Unguarded, it was probably around the same time or a tad earlier. sometimes the process gets a little drawn out. For my third book, Imminent, I think I had the cover done about a month and a half before release. It just depends.

Cover_front

As for the actual ideas for my covers, that comes from my own creativity based on events in the story. The idea for Resistant came early on; I basically knew what the cover would look like from the beginning. I just didn’t start its production until halfway through writing. The main character is female and the initial setting is Paris (something identifiable with most people), so that’s where I started. Some of the designer’s own take on my desired cover description shows up in the covers – it’s almost impossible to have everything look exactly like you want it. I basically give him a run-down of what I want in the cover, and I use photos from the internet to help give inspiration and clarification on what I’m saying; then it’s up to him from there…I simply give feedback for revisions until it’s what I’m satisfied with.

Cover - Round 2

 

Another thing to keep in mind when it comes to covers is that having a collection or series look uniform and similar is very helpful in marketing and getting (potential) readers to make the correlation that there are multiple titles to read, and they’re all related. Plus, having the same designer make the covers allows for some continuity and consistency, which is something I personally prefer.

cover_6

That’s basically how I come to a final book cover: brainstorm ideas, finalize them in a list for the designer (and include some pictures), then give feedback on the revisions until it’s ready. Having done it a few times by now, it’s gotten pretty simple!

As for other news…

I’d say things are finally into a rhythm now with the new house, and I think being back to normal teaching (since testing is over with) helps with that. It’s the last week of April, which is crazy to think about, so I’ll get things done this week to prep for next week: resuming a regular writing schedule. The story is coming together, and I’m excited to get back to work on it. Who knows what kind of progress the summer holds ahead!

Until next time,

-Eli

Out with the Old, In with the New

Friends,

Welcome to a new week, one that’s ushered in some beautiful weather if I say so myself, and to a new opportunity to accomplish your goals. If you’ve set a goal for yourself this week, this month, or whatever – but find things blocking your way or hindering your progress – take a step back and remember: you can find a way to achieve what you want, you just have to know where to look within yourself to find the will. I’ve been working on overcoming some of my own goals in the past month or so, and I feel like the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter! Let’s get into this week’s content…

The Faces of the War Collection

I’ve not written a word in about two weeks.

Acknowledging the struggle or problem is half the battle in achieving your goals. My goal: writing a new historical fiction novel. The obstacle in the way: the busy and tiresome process of moving into a new house. Never having done this before, I had no idea what to expect. I know now that since we’re completely out of our old house and into our new one, things are getting to the point of settling back down into a regular routine again. At this juncture, I foresee the first week of May being my target date for resuming my normal writing schedule. State testing will be over with by that point, or at least to the point of minimal involvement by me, so hopefully my weekends will be more open to crank out the types of word counts I did before moving began.

When I do resume, I’ll continue writing Part I, which is very exciting and fun to write thus far. I’m interested to see how my characters develop and where the plot goes from here! I’m still awaiting the final book cover files from the designer, but again – they’re not needed right now; I just wanted to get them designed and out of the way. Also, I’ve gotten information about my summer schedule for school, and I’m fairly pleased: I’ll have summer school to tend to, but it’s not any teaching, only live help in the virtual rooms. So the students work through the material on their own and come to me with any questions they have about the work. After June 18 (graduation), things die down until August. There were rumors going around that school might start the day after Labor Day this coming year, but it’s not confirmed. I’m keeping my fingers crossed! During that time after graduation, I’ll be writing a lot – I’m hoping for 1,000 words a day, if not more.

That’s about the main gist of what’s going on with writing right now. I wanted to tell you that so you knew I hadn’t given up or got into a rut…moving and off-site testing for school really take it out of me!

YouTube

I wanted to take a moment to talk about my absence from the YouTube community. Given everything crazy going on with my schedule in the past month or so, getting footage every day or even once or twice a week was very hard. I know that moving could have great vlog potential, but I think that since I’m not a daily vlogger and it’s not a solid habit I wasn’t already thinking “I need to vlog the move” before it actually happened. I’ve taken pictures of the new house and of things we’ve fixed up, and I’d like to include those in the first vlog back. I’m planning on resuming vlog the first week in May – coinciding with the continuance of writing as I mentioned above. At that point, I’ll have a lot to talk about and show, so it’ll be a good time to come back!

That’s all for this week. Please subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already, so that you can receive next week’s blog post and all the posts to follow after. You can also check out my website (page links above) if you’re new to my work and are interested in historical fiction or short stories. As always, thanks to those who’ve followed and supported me for a long time. And to those of you who are new, welcome, and I hope you like what I have to say!

Until next time,

-Eli

We Are Moved!

Friends,

I hope this post finds you as excited about something in your own life as I am excited about the move into our new house! This post is brief but great in quality, so let’s get to it…

The Move

Sarah and I are pleased that all of our “stuff” has been moved from our old house and into the new one, with much help from others beside ourselves. Family and friends joined together to help us transition into this new stage of our lives, and we couldn’t be more gracious to them for it. We spent our first night in the new house on Friday night and man, did it feel good to sleep after a busy day! We slowly got things into the new house and fixed up how we want (little things that add up in the end), so this week should see us do more putting away and tidying up than laborious work to make practical things a reality. We bought paint today, which we’ll use in the living room, and we looked ahead at some paint chips that we could potentially use in the guest rooms. There’s so much change that happens, it’ll be crazy to see what the house looks like in a week!

Faces of the War Collection

With the big move this past weekend and classes resuming last week after Spring Break, I was left with little time to devote toward writing. However, I plan on getting back into the swing of writing every week (and every day, even a little bit if I can help it) within the next 1-2 weeks. State testing is going on right now, so I’m busy with that, as well as in-office meetings and training days. But it’s given me a good break from my brain being in writing mode, which will allow for me to bounce back into it. I’ve thought about the story throughout the days of the past few weeks, so my mind is rearing to get those ideas fleshed out.

That’s about it for this week. Thank you so much for your encouragement and support, and be sure to come back next week for more details on the house. I’ll try to get some pictures included to liven up the screen.

Until next time,

-Eli

The Book and The Move

Friends,

I hope this post finds you in a good place with your goals and passions, and that you’re well on your way to achieving all you’re setting out to do! A great deal has gone on since last week’s post, so why don’t I get right to it…

The Faces of the War Collection

Progress on the story is coming along, granted not as well as I’d like. I originally aimed to pump out at least a few thousand words last week, but sadly I only got about 1,000 typed. There was a stretch of time that was taken up by research and reading; there was also the move to our new house (and other errands) that occupied my time for most of the week. But it’s all good, because my lack of writing is due to something greater happening in my life at the moment. Once we’re settled and back into a normal routine, my writing will resume as usual. I anticipate receiving the final cover files for the book this week. It’s taken on a great look, and one that encapsulates the story.

If you’re new to my blog, or perhaps haven’t had the chance to check out my work, you can find my first three books Resistant, Unguarded, and Imminent on Amazon in both print and Kindle formats!

On the Move

It’s kind of surreal, moving out of our current house. I’ve moved before, but I didn’t leave the house empty – my parents still live there. But this time it’s different…we’re cleaning out all of our stuff and taking things away from where they’ve been for so long. The house is looking weird. But the end product is what’s important: we’ll have a house that’s our own, with a roof over our heads and a space to start making memories and building our family. It’s an exciting time and I can’t wait to see how things unfold heading into the summer!

That’s it for this week. I’ll try to take some pictures of the move this coming weekend and include them in next week’s post. Thank you for supporting my passion and for your continued encouragement along the way.

Until next time,

-Eli

Move-in Week!

Friends,

I hope this post finds you well, and that you’re striving toward your goals each and every day. There will be quite a bit going on this week for me, with writing being a good chunk of that, so let’s get on to the material for this post…

The Faces of the War Collection

As of last week’s post, the word count for my current WIP was around 5,000. With this week being my Spring Break for school, I plan on writing all day for the first four days of the week. Three of those days have errand appointments going on (an oil change, closing signatures for our new house, and meeting with the internet provider to get that set up).

Aside from that, my goal is to write at least 3,000 words this week, if not more. Given the rate at which I’ve produced words over the past few weeks, I really think I could get another 5,000 pumped out. It’s important to remember, though, that the story needs to tell itself and that I shouldn’t just write words to hit a word goal. That is something that forms the fabric of my writing process, and I stick to that on every project.

I am currently awaiting the final draft of the book cover for Book Four, and I’m excited to share it with you when the time comes. I’d like to try to get the fifth and final cover in this collection taken care of within the 3-4 months following the completion of this cover, but we’ll see.

Writing TipWhen brainstorming a story idea, it’s a good idea to write (or type) down what I call “detail bits” and form a pool from which to draw as you go further into the process. For example, I started out my detail pool with things like “explosion” and “missiles” and “agent” and “airplane” and “car chase” and…you get the idea. This can really help give you ideas/inspiration to fill in the gaps that inevitably come up during the creative process. 

Other News

As I’ve said, my wife and I are moving into our own house (our first purchased house) and are very excited as to what will come next in this new chapter of our lives. We close on Wednesday of this week and will start to move our things that day or on Thursday. We’ve been talking about things and planning what we’d like to do with the space. I’m very excited about our sitting room on the first floor – we’re giving it a travel theme! And then we’ll have an entertainment room in the basement, which I’ll hopefully be able to develop into an awesome space over time. Once we get into the house and somewhat settled, I’m sure things regarding our routines will go back to “normal” relatively quickly. I’ll continue teaching (as there is still about two months left in the school year) and writing throughout the week in addition to unpacking and getting things how we want them.

That’s about it for this week. I’ll keep you apprised of developments as we go throughout the next week or two, including what kind of word count I reach after this week’s writing sessions. Thank you for your support and encouragement, whether you’re new to my work or have been with me from the start. It means a great deal!

Until next time,

-Eli

Apologies

Friends,

I hope this post finds you well and in good spirits! I also hope that you have not developed any negative thoughts regarding my absence from posting on this blog, in my monthly newsletter, or on YouTube. There is good reason for it, which I will discuss in this post and in the newsletter I’ll send out on Wednesday. But first, I’d like to give an update on book progress…

The Faces of the War Collection

The first draft of Book Four is coming along well, and I foresee a surge in writing approaching at the end of March (as I have a week off from school for Spring Break, during which time I plan to knock out a large chunk of the story). At present, I have almost 5,000 words written, which includes a full Prologue and the first section of the main body of the story itself. I have spent time here and there doing a little extra research and story planning, all with the hope that it would set me up for more productive writing during my Spring Break week. If sacrificing some word count now means to make up for it (and then some) later, I’ll do it. I also am in the final phase of the cover design, which has been one of the easiest covers in my experience. In terms of laying down my vision and the designer nearly creating that vision in one or two design attempts, this book is right up there with my cover experience for Unguarded. I obviously won’t share the cover with you anytime soon, as the story isn’t near its release, but it’s a step toward progress for the project as a whole, and is thus worth mentioning to you.

Writing Tip: When writing dialogue tags and beats, it’s good to not only use action tags to help the reader know what the character is doing, but it’s also a good opportunity to reveal what the character might be thinking or how he/she is perceiving the world around them during their dialogue exchange.

Now, I’d like to explain why things have been rather crazy and spotty in the previous few weeks, and to apologize for not being as present as I should be in my writing life. My wife and I are in the process of buying our first house, and subsequently moving out of our current renter house. We’ve been having phone calls, in-person meetings, and actually seeing our new house multiple times – all within the past month or so – and we’re still not done. We are waiting for the loan process to finalize and then receive the closing paperwork. At that point, we’ll give our final signatures and then, hopefully without any hitches, be given the house keys. This should be happening during the first week of April, which means we won’t be fully moved in for another week or so (however long it takes us to get settled).

With that being said, I’d like to tell you that it’s been my goal to stay on top of blogging, vlogging, and writing from week to week. But with my school schedule (especially state testing last week and more to come throughout the majority of April) keeping me rather busy in addition to house-related things, it’s been hard to stay dedicated. This is something I’m experiencing for the first time, and so by the end of the day I’m wiped out. Like I’ve said before, I don’t like writing tired or unmotivated, because I feel it will negatively impact the story.

And so, from this post onward, I will try my hardest to at least blog every week as usual, and try to get footage for my YouTube channel when and where I can. I’m also going to push the newsletter release from April up to this week, to sort of split the difference from the one that was supposed to release at the start of March and the one to come out in May. By then, things should be back to “normal” and my routine writing, blogging, and vlogging schedule will resume. Plus, I’ll have a good deal of news for you, so that will make it something to look forward to!

That’s about all I have for you in terms of news. Keep pushing and pushing to reach the goals you set for yourself, no matter how big or seemingly unattainable. I hope you’ll come back next week to catch more news about my writing and the move to our new house!

Until next time,

-Eli