Five of My Favorite Books

Friends,

I hope this post finds you well and ready to tackle another week! I’ve decided to start writing some themed posts to mix up the regular ones that you read, and today’s post is the first. Let’s get down to it…

Five of My Favorite Books

I’ve read quite a few books in my time, and there will be plenty more to come. However, a handful stick out to me as my favorites, for various reasons, and I’d like to share those with you today. If you’ve read any of these and would like to discuss with me, I’d love to connect with you in that way. If you haven’t read them, then perhaps you’ll check them out if they interest you!

The first book (though not necessarily the most favorite of the bunch) is Stalingrad by Antony Beevor. I read this book in college, in the middle of my initial draw to WWII, and immediately saw the events in the book as part of a very real conflict. The way Beevor describes things – people, places, conversations and accounts – helps put the most significant event on the Eastern Front (and possibly in the whole war) into an understandable and believable perspective. It definitely helped me better comprehend the vast quantity of Soviet troops involved, the efficient tactics of the advancing Germans, and the ideological struggle between the two that manifested itself in the bloodshed at Stalin’s city. This was a very memorable read!

stalingrad

The second book on my list was also written by Beevor, and is essentially a sequel to Stalingrad. It’s entitled The Fall of Berlin 1945 and recounts the Soviet advance from Stalingrad to Berlin, ending with the eventual fall of the Nazi capital in 1945. What stuck out to me while reading this was the vivid descriptions of the skirmishes and battles the Soviets fought en route to Germany, as well as the defense put up by the retreating Wehrmacht. One line I remember from the book was a description of the artillery guns on the Soviet side. During an artillery barrage on the way to Berlin, there was an instance where there was a Soviet artillery piece (of one form or another) about every 4 meters along the breakthrough sector. Due to the sheer volume and pressure of the artillery, the gunner “had to remember to keep their mouths open to equalize the pressure on their ears.” That’s an incredible thing to think about – something so grand and booming that you have to physically change your behavior around it. This is a great read for anyone interested in the fall of the Third Reich.

berlin

The third book on my list is a Cold War book and a memoir. Spymaster by Oleg Kalugin is an account of a KGB general and his experience fighting the secret war against the West, most notably the United States. His story interested me because 1) I had never before read anything like it – memoir or not – and 2) it provides a very unique window into a world that was for so long very secretive and foggy. Getting an inside perspective of the KGB and its views of capitalism, America, and our ideology was very enlightening.

spy

The fourth book on today’s list is Ten Fighter Boys, which is a compilation of wartime accounts by fighter pilots in the Royal Air Force. These pilots flew many missions and sorties, all for the protection of Britain and the prolonging of the conflict. One of them decided it would be a good idea for the boys to write down their accounts of these sorties right after they land, so it’s fresh in their memories. With this being the case, I got a really accurate and clear look into what pilots faced in their position. In fact, this book helped give inspiration when I wrote Unguarded, my second book and a story about a London boy who is affected by the Blitz. It was a very interesting and unique look into something so familiar yet something I knew almost nothing about.

fighter

The final book on my list today is The Napoleonic Wars by Gunther Rothenberg. This was another book I read in college, for an upper level history class. I thoroughly enjoyed it as there were great descriptions of battles, tactics, and behind-the-scenes politics surrounding Napoleon. A good deal of clear illustrations accompanied the text, which really brought the account of Napoleon’s victories and final defeat to life. Before this, I was never really interested in Napoleonic history, but this read changed me. It’s actually inspired me to (somewhat) consider using Napoleon as part of my master’s dissertation research down the road.

napoleon

Well, that does it for this list of favorite books. I hope you enjoyed it! Like I said before, if you’ve read any of these I’d love to connect and talk about them with you. And if you haven’t, then hopefully I’ve introduced you to a new read that you might pick up and enjoy.

In next week’s post, I’ll resume talking about my writing life and how things are going on the home front. Have a wonderful week, and good luck in your quest to accomplish whatever goals you’ve set for yourself.

Until next time,

-Eli

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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

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

And We’re Off!

Friends,

Welcome to a new week! My hope is that it will be a week filled with productivity and accomplished goals, for me as well as for you. Let’s get to this week’s content…

The Faces of the War Collection

Since last week’s post, there have been a few developments regarding my WWII collection. First, the details for Book Four’s cover have been sent, and I’m essentially awaiting my designer’s confirmation that he received it, as well as a quote for the design service. Hopefully within a week or so, work will begin on the next cover. Second, I spent some time this weekend (as well as time today after I write this) chipping away at the Prologue of Book Four. I’m just over 250 words into it, and I’m hoping for another 1,000 by the end of the week. I was a little anxious that I wouldn’t be able to start off this story strong, but so far things are proving otherwise!

If you’re new to my work and are interested in my WWII historical fiction, you can check out my books Resistant, Unguarded, and Imminent on Amazon in print and on the Kindle.

The Short Story Collection

Minor progress is being made on this project, but progress nonetheless. I think we’re getting into that part of the writing on this project where I will only update every so often about it, considering that its progress won’t be as quick to come as with Faces. Fear not, for I will keep you informed of this project’s details, especially when release draws near!

If you’re new to my work and are interested in my short stories, you can check out Volume 1 and Volume 2 on the Kindle.

Writing Tip: If you encounter a rut in the road of writing, be open to considering courses of action your character(s) can take that surprise you – if it surprises you, maybe it’ll surprise your readers.

That’s all I have for this week. If you’re new, welcome to my post and my website. Please feel free to browse around and see what I’m up to, and don’t forget to subscribe to my mailing list (click the Contact tab) so you don’t miss the inside scoop on my work. Thank you for reading this post and for supporting me in my passion. It means a great deal!

Until next time,

-Eli

Getting Back to It

Friends,

I hope this week has much in store for you, and that you’re getting closer to achieving your own brand of success and happiness! Let’s get to this week’s news…

The Faces of the War Collection

This week has seen some minor progress in writing for the final two books of the collection. I plan on working ahead in my school tasks so that over the weekend and into Monday (Presidents Day) I can write more. I’m excited for the new challenge these last two plots will offer me! Being that it’s early on in the process, it’s hard to give you any real report on my progress, but the coming months will certainly be interesting.

If you haven’t check out my first three books – Resistant, Unguarded, and Imminent – you can find them on Amazon in print and on the Kindle.

The Short Story Collection

I’m slowly piecing together the first story of three in my next volume. I’ll give you a little hint as to story detail: the time setting is the late 1600s. I’ve slowly accumulated research material that I intend to apply where I can to help improve the storytelling. The other two stories are planned…I just won’t divulge any details yet!

YouTube

For a couple of weeks, I had inadvertently taken some time away from posting new videos. I explained in the most recent vlog as to why, and you can check it out here if you’re interested. I am making it my goal over the coming weeks to be better about recording, despite my reasons for not doing it. After all, what would vlogging my experience be without showing the experience, right?

You can subscribe to my channel – where I talk about my writing life as well as teaching and travel – here.

Writing Tip: When editing your manuscript, reading aloud (to yourself or anyone willing to listen) really helps you identify typos, cadence, and tone, which can help improve or remove parts of the story that need it.

That about does it for news this week. It’s not much, but I thank you for reading it and keeping up with me anyway. Thank you for taking this time to do so, and please – pass the word along to a friend about my work. Word of mouth is a powerful thing, and it’s something authors truly and genuinely appreciate.

Until next time,

-Eli

In Imminent’s Wake

Friends,

I hope this post finds you well and ready for a new week ahead! There is very little this week in terms of writing news, but there are some other cool things going on, so let’s get to it…

The Faces of the War Collection

When I published Resistant, and then again with Unguarded, I downloaded the ebook to my Kindle app and read through the story. The purpose of this type of read-through was to make sure the formatting looked how I wanted it and also to find any typos or other errors of the kind. I did the same thing with Imminent since its release on January 8th, and I have to say there were a few more errors (both formatting and spelling/grammar/diction) than I would’ve liked to have upon release.

Even after a handful of read-throughs, which I normally do every time, there still managed to be some things that slipped through the cracks. It just goes to show that even when you think you’re careful as a writer, you can’t be too careful. But I’m not taking this as a negative; rather, it’s a positive thing that’s resulted from my devotion to the storytelling and desire to produce a sharp book. Could I have waited a few more weeks to release the book? Perhaps. But at your core, when do you really know for certain when your story is “ready” as opposed to when you think it is?

Currently sitting at around 60% of the way through the story, I can say that I should soon finish my post-publication read-through in the coming week or so. The good news for you, my readers, is that the ebook price will remain at $2.99 until that time comes. For when I finish the read-through and edit the manuscript file in order to re-upload it, that will be when I up the price to the normal $3.99 (which is the price of the other ebooks, except for Resistant which is $0.99).

Aside from the fact that this read-through seems mostly focused on finding errors, another reason I do it is for the sake of improving my craft. If you’ve watched some of my YouTube vlogs before, you’ve heard me talk about this and how important it is. I may not take copious notes during this read-through, but I do take stock of issues that I can try to amend through writing habit in projects yet to come. That’s part of why I enjoy writing, because it gives me something to work on, results to strive toward, something that’s more than a hobby to be passionate about.

In the meantime, I’m also working on the beginnings of my other two books in this collection. I’m honestly focusing more on the read-through of Imminent for the time being until it’s done, but I’m also going over my story notes and ideas to see what can be developed and how the story can go. This is another exciting aspect of the writing process!

Writing Tip: If you release an ebook (no matter the platform), it’s good to download a copy in order to check the formatting. Even when it looks good before you hit that Publish button, it might look differently when it comes down the pipe on an actual e-reader with the actual book file others will download. Plus if you purchase a copy, you get royalties. It’s a win-win!

Other News

As part of my teaching occupation, I recently was asked if I’d like to spend a day at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, OH for a school event that’s coming up. I’ll be just one of many staff members there who will not only help run a program for current students, but I’ll also be available to answer questions of prospective students and parents. If you’ve been with me since at least last April, you’ll know that I went to the same base after completing a book fair in Dayton the previous day. It was an awesome sight, to see planes and other pieces of history on display there. I didn’t get to see everything I wanted on that visit, so hopefully I’ll catch what I missed this time around.

That about does it for this post. Thank you so much for reading and following my work. If you’re new, please feel free to browse around my website to see what I’m up to. You can also join my mailing list so you can receive my monthly e-newsletter; it’s where I give more of an inside look at what I’m doing – more details than what you see in the blog posts, essentially. I hope you have a great week, and thanks again!

Until next time,

-Eli

Imminent Launch Week

Friends,

Welcome to a new year! I hope everyone’s holidays were fun and safe, and that you got to spend time doing things you enjoy with the ones you love. This is a big week for me, so let’s get on to this post’s content…

The Faces of the War Collection

We’re in the final days of the Imminent pre-order, with the book releasing this Friday, January 8. If you haven’t yet picked up your discounted Kindle copy of my third WWII historical fiction book, you can do so here.

cover_6

I am very excited to get this book off the ground and into the hands of readers, and am even more excited to hear what you think of the story. So if you do get your hands on a copy, I’d be delighted if you left a review on the Amazon sales page telling me your thoughts on the book.

In addition to the release of Imminent, this week also marked the highest volume of downloads of any of my books to date – over 500! The book in question is my debut story, Resistant, which was free this past week. In one day alone there were over two hundred downloads, so I thank you all who took part in this promotion. It truly made my week!

As for Unguarded, the second book in this collection, there will be a Kindle Countdown Deal from January 13-19. You can go to the book’s Amazon page to get your Kindle copy if you haven’t done so already. This whole month is a great way to kick off the New Year, so come along with me for the ride!

YouTube

I’m sure you’ve noticed by now, if you are a regular viewer, that I haven’t posted any new videos since before Christmas. This is mostly because I wanted to focus on time with family. I’m sure you can understand how important family is around the holidays. That being said, I intend on picking back up with my vlogs this week, posting the first video of the New Year on Friday alongside the release of Imminent. If you haven’t yet checked out my channel, you can find me on YouTube here.

That about does it for news this week, so be sure to pre-order Imminent this week, or at least check it out in the coming weeks, and let me know what you think. And as always, you can subscribe to my mailing list to keep as up-to-date on my work as possible. Thank you for your encouragement and support!

Until next time,

-Eli

Update: Imminent Release

Friends,

The week of Christmas is here! I hope this post finds you well and in good health, as well as in the position of achieving your goals. If you’ve been thinking of implementing something new into your lifestyle or have been wanting to set goals for yourself, there’s no better time to start than within the next couple of weeks. New year, clean slate, many more opportunities! I have a few important items to discuss, so here we go…

The Faces of the War Collection

This past weekend, I completed the final edit of Imminent, which is currently available for pre-order and set to release on January 8. The final word count came in at just over 46.6K, which is almost 1,000 words less than my previous book, Unguarded. Resistant‘s word count came in at just under 38K. Just figured I’d give you a snapshot of the word count across all three books.

cover_6

In terms of the discounts and deals going on with these books in the lead-up to Imminent‘s release, there has been a little change:

Resistant will be FREE from December 28 until January 1
Unguarded will have a Kindle Countdown Deal from January 13-19

Due to the price change I made on the Unguarded ebook ($4.99 to $3.99), there can’t be any promotions made until the book has sat at its new price point for 30 days. So instead of promoting it the week before the release of Imminent, it’ll come the week after. I really wanted to relay this change in information so that you aren’t blindsided by it, and perhaps can better plan for purchasing if that’s what you were going to do!

I still have until next Monday, December 28 to submit the final version of the book file to Amazon, so I think I’ll take today and/or tomorrow to read through the manuscript one last time for good measure.

After Imminent releases, I plan on beginning the process for the next book. As far as my plans are at this point, it will release sometime in 2017. For now, I’m planning on writing the fifth and final book of the collection simultaneously, bouncing back and forth between the two projects for the writing and editing parts of the process. It’s something I want to try with regard to my writing process and style, and in an effort to test my boundaries. I have the stories pretty much planned – I just need to iron out the details then begin the actual writing!

YouTube

For this week’s video, I plan on posting it on Thursday. It will be brief, because I want my readers and followers to enjoy time together with their families and friends, not stuck glued to a TV or phone screen. The following week’s video will probably be more along the lines of a normal video. If you haven’t subscribed to my channel (where I talk about my writing and teaching lives, as well as travel and other things), you can click the link above or search Eli Kale in YouTube.

I think that will about do it for this post. I want to wish you a Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, or whatever you prefer – I just hope that wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, that you’re with family and friends. I am excited for the coming weeks and the prospect of new goals to be conquered, as I hope you are too. Take care and be safe this week!

Until next time,

-Eli

Details All Around

Friends,

I’d like to start off today’s post by remembering the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on this day in 1941. It’s the event that acted as our catalyst for war, resulting in our involvement in both the Pacific and European theaters of the war. Without our entry, things may have turned out very differently. So please, take a moment and think about how this day 74 years ago changed the course of history, and be grateful for the victorious outcome our country achieved in its aftermath.

~ * ~

I’d like to thank you for reading this post, and to welcome you to my blog. If this is your first time reading, you’ll find information in my blog posts related to my writing projects, as well as to other things going on in my life such as teaching and traveling. If you’re not new, then you already know! Let’s get into this week’s content…

The Faces of the War Collection

In my WWII historical fiction collection, I’ve made some good progress on my third book, titled “Imminent.” At the moment, I have about 13K words remaining in the manuscript that still need edited and placed into the final draft file, so things are progressively coming to a close. I got a good chunk of work done yesterday, and I’ll continue to chip away at it over the coming weeks. A reminder from last week’s blog post: the new release date (more than tentative but not 100%) is January 8. If not then, it will be around that time (like the following Monday the 11th, for example). I am wrapping up communication with my cover designer this week, so you can expect to see a reveal next week. There will be other book/story details given at that time as well, so keep your eyes open!

If you haven’t yet checked out my first two books, you can find them on Amazon in both Kindle and print formats: Resistant and Unguarded.

Writing Tip: A piece of advice I was once given stated that when writing, don’t be too liberal with the exclamation point. The person said, “If the character isn’t on fire, don’t use it.” If used too much, it can take away some of the urgency or emotion in the dialogue, which can negatively affect the story.

The Short Story Collection

I’ve said recently that I plan on developing the next volume of short stories simultaneously with the fourth book (writing begins in January), and that I hope for a summer release. I currently have the three story ideas in place; I just need to plan them out in detail. From there, the writing could take anywhere from 2-6 months. My focus, however, will be on my WWII projects, so the short stories will be tended to here and there.

If you haven’t yet checked out my first two volumes, you can find them available for the Kindle on Amazon: Volume 1 and Volume 2.

Writing Tip: When writing story text (dialogue or otherwise), don’t include too many commas in any one sentence. In most cases, those lengthy sentences can be broken down. Having too many commas can lend to reader confusion.¬†

YouTube

I’d like to thank those who have subscribed to my YouTube channel and who’ve watched my videos. I make these videos to document my life – writing, teaching, traveling, and personal – because I want to share my experiences with those who will listen. We all grow in our own way, but having a part of that growth be in the form of connecting through an amazing platform as YouTube is pretty awesome, and I want you to join me on the journey!

You can subscribe to my channel here, where you’ll find weekly videos posted about my writing projects, my teaching life, my travels, and certain aspects of my personal life. And if you’d like a more detailed look into my work, as well as to connect with me and fellow readers, I encourage you to join my mailing list. You can email me at elikale.author@gmail.com with a quick “hello” letting me know you’d like to be added to the list. I welcome anyone and everyone!

That will do it for this week’s blog post. Be sure to check out next week’s post where I’ll reveal the book cover for Imminent and detail book/story details.

Until next time,

-Eli

Imminent Release Date

Friends,

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday this past week, and that you were able to spend time with friends and family. And if you’re a reader who doesn’t celebrate this American holiday, I hope you had a great week nonetheless! Let’s get down to business…

The Faces of the War Collection

I sliced into Part II of my WIP last week, editing about a quarter of the text. Today is another day off for my Thanksgiving Break (for school), so I intend on editing much more of the manuscript. Despite this progress, things aren’t where I want them to be timeline-wise.¬†Therefore, I am pushing the release date back to January 2016.

Here is my reasoning for doing this: I have always said that I won’t be tied to a timeline, releasing a book on a given date no matter what state it’s in, because that’s not what writing is about. I will release the book when it’s ready. And today, November 30 – the original date of intended release – the book is not ready. With a January release date, I can finish the work over my Christmas Break. There is also a continuity factor in all of this. Based on the release years, the collection looks a little more uniform. Here you can see what I mean:

Resistant (2014)
Unguarded (2015)
Imminent (2016)
Book Four (2017)
Book Five (2018)

I’ve previously stated that I am going to work on my final two books simultaneously, and release them together (or at the very least, one right after the other within a 1-2 months), so this plan will help facilitate that end. So here’s the new release date, which isn’t quite 100% (because ya never know) but it’s more than tentative: Friday, January 8. After I get this week’s worth of editing done, I’ll see where I am and whether I deem the story close enough to being ready for the cover reveal and pre-order to take place…so stay tuned!

Writing Tip: By using action tags in dialogue and doing more “showing” than “telling” with regard to your characters, you can develop what is called “deep POV” which really helps connect your readers with the characters.

That’s all there is to tell in the way of major news, so check back over the coming weeks for information on my next book, Imminent, and the cover/details reveal. As always, thank you for reading this post and for your support of my passion. It truly means a lot!

Until next time,

-Eli