News, Quotes, and Such

Friends,

I’d like to start this week and this post off with one of my favorite quotes:

“We are all inventors, each sailing out on a voyage of discovery, guided each by a private chart, of which there is no duplicate. The world is all gates, all opportunities.” Let’s get down to today’s material…

The Faces of the War Collection

This past week, I had one day off from my day job. I earmarked that day as a day of writing, and let me tell you–I wrote. I typed over 3,000 words in Book Three, bringing the size of the manuscript up to just over 12K words. That’s a little more than a quarter of the way done with the first draft! I was satisfied with the writing I accomplished, and am looking forward to yet another full day off this week. I only hope I can be just as productive, if not more!

Resistant and Unguarded, my first two books in this collection, are continuing to sell at a slow but steady rate. I hope to see that rate increase after I attend the Dayton Book Expo and as the following few months roll along.

Dayton Book Expo

I am looking forward to heading south to Dayton on April 25 for the Expo. This week, I’ll be putting together all my table supplies and book accessories for the event; I hope everything comes together all right! If you will be in attendance at the Expo, I hope to see you at my table. You’ll be able to find me in the Expo author directory; however, I’ll be under my real name of Mike Pratt because that’s how I signed up. Remember, Eli Kale is merely my pen name.

If I get things put together well enough over the next few weeks, I might slip you a sneak peek at my table materials, perhaps through Instagram. So keep an eye out!

The Short Story Collection

I will resume work on my next short story book, Volume 2, this week. I gave myself almost a week off from the project, mostly so I could rest my eyes and brain from those stories, but also to devote time to my WWII project as mentioned above. I also have one of the stories out to an editor friend who is looking over the story for me. Another set of eyes always helps with writing!

If all goes as planned (which it sometimes doesn’t) with this project, I’ll release the ebook by May 1. I’ll keep you posted on it. You can check out Volume 1 on the Kindle here.

YouTube

If you haven’t checked out my vlogs (video logs) on YouTube yet, I encourage you to do so! I am currently in the middle of a series on my writing process and my writing life in general. In each video, I include details about a specific step in my writing process, and how it can relate to you. I also give brief talking points on other writing-related topics, some of which go hand in hand with the day’s writing process step. Not only do you learn of how I write, but you get a glimpse into my life and what makes me the writer I am. Be sure to subscribe to my channel (by clicking the red Subscribe button below any video of mine that you watch) and to give my videos a Thumbs Up (by clicking the thumbs-up icon near the video’s title). It helps grow my presence on YouTube!

GoFundMe Campaign

I am still awaiting my first donation to my campaign to support the National WWII Museum in New Orleans. As an incentive, the first few donors will receive a Kindle ebook copy of one of my books, as a thank-you! So head on over to my campaign site and donate – even $5 will do!

As always, thank you all for the support and encouragement you’ve given me to do what I have a passion for doing. And if you’re new to me and my work, welcome aboard and I hope you can get something out of what it is that I do!

Until next time,

-Eli

Pressing On!

Friends,

I got to spend the weekend with some of my family members. Being able to do that is a wonderful thing, and I will always cherish the memories we make together! I come to you now, ready to begin a new week of work and passion. I hope this post finds you well and also in high spirits! Let’s get to today’s content…

The Faces of the War Collection

After last week’s post, much progress was made on this front. I tweeted later in the week that I have almost reached the 9,000 word count mark for Book Three, and I owe it to a new system of writing that I have picked up. I set a kitchen timer for 50 minutes, taking that time to write and only write. When the timer goes off, I give myself a few (up to 10) minutes to check my phone, email, social media, and so on. Then I repeat the process over again.

Disciplining myself in this way seems to have a better effect on my writing output. I guess I’ll just have to continue the trend and see if the results will be the same for this week. If they turn out to be, then I have the feeling that much of the story will be written by the summer! Indeed, only time will tell.

With respect to Resistant and Unguarded, I will be selling copies of those at the Dayton Book Expo, which I will detail below. I will only have so many copies on hand, so if you are going to the Expo and want a copy, be sure to stop by my table early on.

Dayton Book Expo

At the Expo, which is on April 25 from 11am-4pm, I will have an author table in the Great Hall where I will be available to chat about my work and meet fellow authors and readers. I will also have a sign-up sheet where readers can leave me their emails to be added to my newsletter, as well as to be entered to receive a FREE copy of one of my books. I don’t have the details all the way figured out yet, but they’re getting there!

While I’m in Dayton, I will visit the US Air Force Museum. I am really looking forward to it! I plan on taking pictures while there, and I hope to vlog my experience throughout the weekend and upload the footage to my YouTube channel, which I will detail further below. So if you are in the Dayton area, or are already planning to go to the Expo (which is free to the public), I hope to see you at my table!

YouTube

I uploaded my fifth vlog this past Friday, which you can find here. I am really getting comfortable making these vlogs, and I hope you are getting something out of them as you go along watching them. If you haven’t yet seen any of my vlogs, I encourage you to check out my channel for all the videos I’ve put out. And please, feel free to leave me a comment on any video you watch, and be sure to click the Thumbs Up button near the video title. It helps extend my presence in YouTube. And as always, telling your family, friends, and coworkers about it helps get my name “out there,” for which I am always grateful.

The Short Story Collection

So there’s been a development on this front. I told you last week that I had decided on a story idea for the third short story in my upcoming volume. However, I was looking through my back burner files and found that I have a nearly completed short story ready to go, save for a few minor tweaks and touches. Even if I have to add a little more to that story, it’s closer to being done than the newly decided upon story idea. That being said, I might bump the new story idea to the third volume and put the back burner story in its place. This will help bring me closer to publishing the volume. If this turns out to be the case, I can say with more confidence that Volume 2 will be out before May. More details will be posted as the weeks press on. If you haven’t checked out my first ebook, Volume 1, you can find it here.

GoFundMe Campaign

There still have been no donations made to my campaign for the National WWII Museum in New Orleans. As in past blog posts, I will send the first few donors a FREE copy of one of my books upon my seeing their donation confirmation. If you haven’t checked out my campaign page, I strongly encourage you to do so. This organization and its purpose means a lot to me, and I’d be grateful for any support given toward it.

Thank you to all who give their support and encouragement for what I do. I know I say it often, but it truly means the world to me that there are those out there who care about what I care about, and that makes me very happy!

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

Unguarded Update

Friends,

Another week gone, a new week ahead. I hope this post finds you well and raring to accomplish a goal this week! There has been a development in the past week, so let’s get right into the blog…

The Faces of the War Collection

The third read-through of the Unguarded manuscript was completed on Thursday of last week. I feel that this read-through has improved the dialogue, but I will continue to focus on that aspect of the story in my next read-through this week.

After I posted to the blog last Monday, I was in contact with a friend who has expressed interested in collaborating together on a project. Given the circumstances surrounding the professional editor and how not purchasing those services at this time has affected the publishing timeline, I asked if he’d want to work on this project. He said yes! So, I will be submitting the manuscript to him the week before Christmas, over which time he’ll edit it. Upon my return from Europe, I’ll get the edited manuscript back and make the necessary changes that need made. I’ll then do one final read-through before sending it through to Amazon for their final preview before it launches in print and ebook form. My hope is that it will be no later than mid-January when the book goes live. It is definitely a very exciting development for me! I will have more details on the release as the date nears.

In the lead-up to the holidays, I am going to attempt to set up a pre-order deal through Amazon for Unguarded, which will begin just before Christmas Day and last until the book is released (so roughly a month). I plan on making the print book $5.99 or $6.99 for the pre-order, then reset the price to the usual $7.99 after it’s been live for a week or so. My advice: pre-order the book when it goes live, just so you can save yourself a couple of bucks! I’ll also have more details about that on my blog as well as through social media.

Also regarding my WWII books, the cover reveal for Unguarded will be held first through my newsletter, then a few days later on my blog. If you haven’t joined my mailing list yet, I encourage you to do so in order to receive in-depth updates before the general public. It’s well worth the time, and it’s easy to do!

That’s really all the big news for this week. If you’re a regular follower then I thank you for your continued support of my work. And if you’re new to this site or to my work, then I say “Welcome aboard!” and I hope you enjoy what I write and put out to you. Writing has truly become a passion of mine, and I’m very grateful that I have the opportunity to do it.

Until next time,

-Eli

Writing Process

Friends,

I hope this post finds you well and ready to face a new week ahead! I have said in the past that I eventually would like to start producing blog posts that delved into the realm of explaining my writing process and that would offer tips and tricks to other authors. Well, given that the publication process for Unguarded has slowed down a bit – and that there’s not much news to report this week – I figured I’d use this week’s blog to talk a little about my writing process. By no means is this blog post meant to be a definitive guide to writing and publishing, for the process is different from author to author. This is simply my approach to writing a manuscript.

Writing the Manuscript

When I began writing my first book, Resistant, I had a single idea in mind which would serve as the end game of my plot. With there being one goal in mind for where I wanted to take the story, it helped me keep my writing organized and together. If I came up with an idea while composing the text, I’d ask myself, “Does this fall in line with the end goal?” If it did, then I’d explore ways to efficiently incorporate it into the book. If not, then I set the idea aside. I would never completely throw out an idea, for you never know how something might work in a different context later down the road.

After establishing a concrete story idea, I began outlining the plot in skeleton form. This term simply refers to the act of roughing out your story in general parts at a time. For this, I sectioned off my Word document into separate parts, divided by asterisks. Within those separate sections, I would type a paragraph or two generally describing what would happen in that part of the story. Obviously it would be easiest to go through the story in chronological order, but sometimes I would come up with an idea and say, “That might work better a few sections from now, later in the story,” and so I would scroll down and input the idea where I deemed appropriate. After carefully planning out the story and typing up these general paragraphs, I would have a rough story in front of me.

By this time in the process, I would have the basic gist of the story well-established, both on the page and in my mind. From here, the task at hand would be to start implementing more narrowed and specific ideas and details into the story. This is where character names, personalities, and interactions come to life. I keep the main plot line in mind as I go through, typing out more and more details in sentence form. I don’t necessarily write like it would be in the final book, but I also don’t just jot down phrases. It’s a weird thing to describe – it’s something that just happens a certain way. I use a lot of semi-colons and commas, as well as ” –> ” in this part of the process. I don’t expand my thoughts on things like setting, deep characterization, or dialogue at this point. I feel that those come alive better through spontaneous thought later in the process. Also during this point in the process, I do research on the historical side of my story ideas. I reference historical non-fiction books and memoirs, using anecdotes and other firsthand accounts of events for inspiration.

At this point in the process, I am ready to begin writing the actual text of the manuscript. Using the thoughts and ideas already laid out in the rough skeleton paragraphs, I form the text a line at a time. I try to speak aloud the words that I type, which is something I believe all authors should do. It helps bring to your attention any misspelled words or goofy sounding phrases in the text, especially with dialogue. I also edit as I go. I try to keep in mind a few things while I write the manuscript:

1) When writing dialogue, how does this or that character’s personality play into his/her speech?

2) Use a variety of words without repeating too many, if you can help it. This includes things like dialogue tags (…said…) and verb usage (…walked, yelled, nodded…).

3) It’s elementary, my dear Watson…5-7 sentences per paragraph, unless somehow appropriate otherwise.

Once I have completed the first draft of the manuscript, I set it aside for a day or two. This allows my mind to recharge and to give me a break from seeing the words I just wrote. Any veteran author will tell you that it is good practice to give yourself a break from writing, because after a while your eyes overlook little mistakes in the text that you could otherwise catch after taking a rest.

Upon returning to the manuscript, I do the first read-through with the focus being on spelling, grammar, syntax, and diction. I’ll admit that I don’t always catch little mistakes that hide in the text, but that’s why doing this step is important. As I read through, I’ll also sometimes fix the phrasing and wording of parts here and there if I feel they don’t come off the tongue just right. After completing the first read-through, I again put the manuscript aside for a day or two.

I then return to the manuscript for the second read-through, this time focusing on character interaction, dialogue, and the action/emotion of the plot. The second read-through is probably, for me, the most important read-through of the entire process. I inevitably change more phrasing or wording this time through, as well as expand on ideas that I think should have more weight in the story. On the same token, I sometimes take out or minimize ideas that I now believe shouldn’t have as much attention in the story. It is a rather delicate part of the whole process. After reaching the end of the manuscript, I again set it aside.

For the third read-through, I don’t focus on any particular thing – just simply anything that jumps out or sticks out to me as I read the story. By this time in the process, the manuscript is fairly well constructed, and is not in need of as much attention. It is at this point that I give my story to a friend who acts as an ad hoc beta reader and editor. They give me feedback and general comments on things they feel need changed, and even for things they feel fit really well in the story. Constructive criticism is the name of the game here.

I usually do one more read-through after receiving the editor feedback, which sometimes is nothing more than skimming the text for any last-minute fixes. At that point, I was ready to submit my manuscript for review and finally get it launched in print and ebook form.

Again, I say that this process isn’t meant to be a definitive guide to writing – it’s simply my way of doing it, and it may or may not work for you. Even for my second book did the process change quite a bit, so that is proof enough that doing something one way won’t work for everyone, every time. I just think it is neat for others to see into how I work, because I think it’s cool when I get to see how other authors do their own work.

I hope this post has been an interesting one for you, and that you can better understand how I work on a project. It is definitely something about which I am passionate, and something I hope to keep doing for years to come. And I am glad you are going on this journey with me! I plan to write about my experiences in self-publishing in a post sometime in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.

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

Unguarded Details

Friends,

I hope this post finds you well and ready to face a new week! The main bit of news I have for you today is related to the publication and release of Unguarded, my upcoming WWII book, so let’s dive right in…

The Faces of the War Collection

As I’m sure you’re aware by now, the release date for Unguarded has been pushed back to its original tentative date of early January. Though I don’t yet have a specific date set for sure, I can tell you that the end of the editing process shouldn’t make publication go much later into January than the third week. That is the hope, at least. This being the first time I’ve used a professional editor, I can’t say with 100% confidence whether or not I can release the book by any given date. That is all I can give you on that aspect of things at this time.

With regard to the writing process, I have read through the entire manuscript twice thus far. When I wrote Resistant, I read through the manuscript a total of five times. I may or may not do that this time around…it just depends on how I feel about the book and the timeline of things. I am going to try and focus on polishing up the dialogue in this book, as that has been something of a common issue in feedback comments.

If you are relatively new to writing and self-publishing, let me lend you a bit of advice. In my experience, I have found that the best way to work through the writing/publishing process is to remain flexible in your mind. By this, I mean flexible in your timelines, flexible in your openness to change, and flexible in your creativity. Having taught in a classroom, I can tell you that planning ahead too far and too specifically is a waste of time and energy. Writing and self-publishing are very similar, especially if you employ the services of professional cover designers, editors, etc. You can’t expect everything to fall within your desired timeline, so you must be flexible if you want your work to come out successful on the other end.

As for being open to change, I stress this because I have a slight fear of complacency. With storytelling, especially in a series or collection like what I am producing, you can’t (or at least shouldn’t) expect to capture a reader’s attention over and over if you write in the same way, use the same methods, or revert to what you know every time an obstacle appears in your writing path. Embrace challenge and use those obstacles to explore the writing ability within yourself. Sure, you may want to keep some aspects similar for the sake of continuity and commonality, especially in a series or collection, but changing up other aspects of your writing lends itself to better engaging your readers.

This leads to what I mentioned about being flexible in creativity. I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but I’ll reiterate it: good writers are good readers. All that means is that as a writer, it will help expand your creative side if you read works by other writers, especially ones in your genre. For example, in my writing (mostly historical fiction) I couch my plot in historical fact, using accurate facts and known truths to support my characters and what they experience. So to accomplish that, I read historical non-fiction works from credible authors in order to give an authentic feel to my stories. It works differently for different authors in different genres, but you get the idea.

Now I’m not saying that I know everything about writing, because I don’t, but I am saying that those three aspects of the writing and publishing process are important things to consider…so I encourage you to do so!

Regarding my other projects, I can tell you that I’ve taken a small break from my Short Story collection in order to focus on delivering Unguarded to you. On the plus side, brainstorming and planning for other books and projects are underway!

If you are new to this blog, I encourage you to join my mailing list so you can receive in-depth updates directly from me regarding my projects. There is more information included there than here, so it’d be the best way to get the inside scoop on what I’m doing. And lastly, I encourage you to tell a friend about my work. One of the most powerful marketing tools for authors is word of mouth. To those who have been following along with me for some time, I thank you for all the support and encouragement you’ve given. It is truly appreciated!

Until next time,

-Eli