New Short Stories Released!

Friends,

I know I’ve said this before, but the autumn season is wonderful! So many beautiful scenes to be seen and smells to be smelled, all before the backdrop of everyday life! Time flies by, whether we realize it or not, and soon it will be a new year. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s get into this week’s post…

The Short Story Collection

After much time of fiddling with different ideas and developing nascent stories, I’ve finally arrived to the point of releasing a new volume of short stories! I originally wanted to publish this ebook shortly after Unguarded came out earlier this year, but I opted to focus my writing efforts on Imminent. At that point I thought, “I’ll get the new volume out by summer.” That didn’t happen. “Early fall, perhaps.” That didn’t happen either. My goal, then, was to release it by my birthday in February.

However, my writing muse intervened and urged me to finish the work and finalize the stories, one of which was already completed. I sent the other two off to a friend for some feedback, which I quickly got back and implemented. After a final read-through, I submitted the ebook to be released through Amazon, and it was done very quickly. I submitted it Thursday night and it went live within a few hours, having the official release date of October 15. You can check it out and purchase it on this sales page!

Cover of Volume 2 in “The Short Story Collection”

Like my first volume, the stories in Volume 2 vary from my larger projects with regard to different aspects, such as scope and story premise. That’s been the whole goal all along: to produce new content that is different and that allows me to experiment with my writing. So I encourage you to pick up a copy on your Kindle (or through your Kindle reading app) and let me know what you think about my new work. I hope you enjoy it!

The Faces of the War Collection

Progress is being made with the edits for Imminent, with everything still on track for an early December release. This story is really coming together as I’m going back through and addressing changes or additions from my editor. The idea is that she’ll complete her work by November (thus allowing her to do NaNoWriMo), which then will give me a month to go through and do my final read-throughs. My goal is to submit the final manuscript to Amazon by November 30 so that it can be available for purchase by December 11. Details regarding pre-order for Kindle and the costs for both formats (print and Kindle) will be given when the cover is released – sometime in the next few weeks. Barring any major impediments, you’ll have another WWII historical fiction book by Christmas!

Indie Writing Advice

Due to Volume 2 being released, I had to take care of the book’s details in Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). There’s a YouTube video that covers this on my channel, so feel free to check it out. I’ll say that it would be good to explore the ins and outs of Amazon KDP before you are ready to upload your book. This way, you are familiar enough with how it works and what all needs done in order to complete the uploading process for publication. That is, if you’re wanting to sell your work on the Kindle platform. Personally, I only sell through Amazon. Everyone has their own reasons for choosing what platform(s) they sell their work through, and each certainly has its own draw. So if you’re in a position where you have a manuscript nearly ready for publication – and you want to sell it on the Kindle – I suggest you log into KDP and get acquainted!

That’s it for this week, but there’ll be more in the coming weeks! Thank you so much for reading this post, and for your support and encouragement of my work. If you haven’t yet done so, I encourage you to join my mailing list (you can email me with a brief “Hey, how are ya? I wanna join the mailing list!” at elikale.author@gmail.com) to get the most detailed and behind-the-scenes information regarding my projects, especially Imminent!

Until next time,

-Eli

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Book Three Is Coming Along!

Friends,

It’s a new week, and that means that we have another opportunity to achieve success, to tackle our goals, and to accomplish the task at hand! Join me for today’s content…

The Faces of the War Collection

I have made some good headway this past week on my third book, with the word count coming in at over 19K words. In the spirit of tackling our goals, mine for this week include completing Part I and beginning tending to a few details in the text by Friday. It should only be a day’s work (or two) because I should need less than 1,000 words to finish what needs to be said in the book’s first act.

When I return after some time away from work, I plan to move forward with writing Part II. The planning is done for the most part, but I feel I’ll need to get some more details ironed out in order to smoothly write the rest of the book. But even with that still on my plate, I am confident that the story can be completed by the end of the summer. However, it’s always wise to keep an open mind, especially when it comes to publication timelines.

If you haven’t checked out my first two books, Resistant and Unguarded, then I encourage you to do so!

YouTube

We are in the final week of my videos on writing process, with the videos being posted this coming Friday as usual. There will be two videos because they each cover the same topic but relate to different media of publication. By this, I mean that I’ll touch on bringing your book to market via Kindle Direct Publishing and Createspace (Kindle and print, respectively).

If you haven’t checked out my channel, I encourage you to do so. After my writing process videos are complete, I’ll post more personal, writing life videos with tips, tricks, and other writing-related topics included. Come along for the ride, and be sure to click the Thumbs Up and Subscribe buttons too!

GoFundMe Campaign

I am still raising funds to support the National WWII Museum in New Orleans. Raising money for an organization has been something I’ve wanted to do for some time, and this is what I’ve chosen as my first philanthropic project. So please, consider joining me in my effort to maintain history for future generations!

In other news, I recently got hired into a second job that is starting out as part-time, but has the potential to turn into full-time. This may sound counterintuitive in terms of writing productivity, but it is an answered prayer in my person life. This will give me more stability and more time with my wife. Rest assured, my writing will continue!

Also, I’ll be taking next week off from my blog posts and newsletter. However, upon my return from vacation I’ll have details and information for you in blog, vlog, and newsletter…so be sure to keep an eye out for those!

If you are reading this and you are new to my work, please feel free to check out the projects on my website and to contact me if you want to chat!

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

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

Book Release: “Resistant”

Friends,

The time has finally arrived…my debut book has been released! You can find it on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and it will soon be on other sites as well. Information on the book’s release, and anything else related to the book, can be found on the “Resistant” tab on the home page of my blog. To celebrate the release, here is a picture created by the online word cloud tool “Wordle”…

Image

It has been quite a journey, I must say–one that seems like it started a long, long time ago. Through this journey I learned a good deal about writing and about the industry in general. That is something I believe is a vital part of being passionate about something: you must be involved in your craft and not just go through the motions. This experience has definitely brought me closer to the idea of not only wanting to keep writing, but to work hard to write a lot. I am very grateful for the love and support given to me by family, friends, and colleagues. It has helped me bring to life something I created from nothing, and that is an amazing thing to me.

Through this process, I found myself thoroughly enjoying what I was doing. I put in quite a bit of research for this book to help supplement the information I knew already. Creating a story couched in the fabric of history is something that makes me giddy when it all comes together. It’s always intriguing to address the “what-ifs” of history, as well as to see how events could have tied into the “real thing.” It’s been done many times before; I’m just giving my take on the concept.

To conclude my reflection, at least for the moment, I would like to say that I look forward to creating more stories and bringing them to you for reading. I am always open to suggestions and criticisms, because I want to become a better writer. If you read my story, I ask that you leave a comment somewhere or write a review. Those words from the reader’s perspective really help me out in a lot of ways!

-Eli