Meet Thomas Josef, Author [Interview]

Please help me welcome author Thomas Josef to my blog!

Thomas Josef | Author | Interview | Creative Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I was born and raised in Wisconsin and I’m a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. I took a little time off between my sophomore and junior year of college to hike the epic 2000+ mile Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine.

In 1989 to 1991, I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tunisia, North Africa as a community service worker helping local farmers manage green houses. We were ordered out of the region by decree of the State Department because of the initial Iraq-Kuwait conflict that escalated to the Gulf War.

With my Peace Corps assignment cut short and the US being at the brink of war, I decided to travel to Mexico and Central America where tensions were much more subdued. I learned Spanish in Mexico and Guatemala. When I returned to the states, I endured my career with the State of Texas and continued to reside in Austin.

After nearly ten years of service to the state, I was looking for a change in my career and one that would offer a good compensation package and travel opportunities. I decided to take a military contractor position with a Fortune 500 engineering and construction company to help serve the Warfighters of Afghanistan. During that time I started to write about daily accounts that became the premise of my book.

How long have you been writing for?

This is my first book and memoir. I started writing newsletters to send home about the unique experiences, interesting people and events, and everyday life as a contractor on a military base in a war zone.

What motivates you to write? How did you begin writing?

Unique, interesting, and out-of-the-ordinary experiences motivates me to write because these are instances that are worth living for and create interesting journeys and perspectives in life.

Do you have a writing routine? If so, what’s a typical day like for you?

I really do not have a writing routine. I write when stories need to be told and I have the time to tell them.

How did you decide to self-publish instead of going the traditional company?

I researched the benefits of self-publishing and the cost difference to an author. There’s also something about the independence, the learning experience, and the creative aspects of self-publishing vs. going through a traditional publishing company.

What was the self-publishing process like? How long did it take?

I thought the self-publishing process would be much easier with better step-by-step instructions and time line, but it wasn’t. I seemed to hit a few roadblocks along the way and ended up hiring a book marketer that had the experience and expertise with self-publishing to do it in a timely manner. It took about a month to obtain the get the self-publishing accounts approved, obtain an ISBN, format and upload the book and e-book, proof, and finally publish. I thought the process would be more instantaneous by downloading my files. That was not the case at all.

Are you currently working on anything new?

No I am not.

If you weren’t a writer, what would your career be?

My dream job would be traveling the world and being a travel journalist or photographer.

What’s one thing you learned through writing that you wish you knew before you started?

One thing that I learned through writing is that present tense has more impact on the reader vs. past tense. I originally wrote my book in past tense because I wrote about things that already happened. I went back, and rewrote and reworked my book in the present to create that greater impact as though the reader was living in the moment with me.

What is your favorite book, genre, or author?

My favorite genre is non-fiction. I like factual, real life stories like a memoir. I love to read the descriptions, details, and feelings written by other authors and how they articulate and interpret them. I can’t say I have a favorite because I have many.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

As a friend and fellow author told me, “Everyone has a story to share; share yours”.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

People live vicariously through others’ lives and adventures. Take them along on your journey.

About Thomas Josef

Thomas Josef | Author Interview | Creative Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.comThomas Josef is a native of Wisconsin and a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. In his mid-twenties, he hiked the 2000+ mile epic Appalachian Train from Georgia to Maine and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tunisia, North Africa. He studied Spanish in Mexico, Guatemala, and Ecuador. With his passion for travel and adventure, he took a military contractor position with a Fortune 500 engineering and construction company to serve the Warfighters of Afghanistan. This is his story of that time and his first book.

Buy His Book

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Incoming! Secrets of a Contract Warrior in Afghanistan by Thomas Josef | Book Blogger | Author Interview | Creative Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Have you read this book? Does it seem interesting to you? Let me and Thomas know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

Blog Signature | RachelPoli.comPatreon | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double JumpSign up for Rachel Poli's Newsletter and get a FREE 14-page Writing Tracker! | Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Advertisements

September 2018 [Wrap Up]

2018 September Wrap Up | Blogging | Reading | Writing | RachelPoli.com

Reading

I did well with reading this month. I’m back to posting one review a week on Saturdays. You can check out my Reading List to see what I’ve read and reviewed this month and previous months. There’s also my Goodreads. I was behind in updating it for a while (meaning, the whole summer) but I finally caught up with it. So it should be up to date… unless I forgot a book or two.

Writing

Still going fairly strong with this. I’ve been working on a few projects… plus marketing and publishing plans for them. So that’s a thing. More will be on that in just two days!

Blogging

The blogging has been strong this past month. My stats have steadily grown over the past few months and I’ve finally settled on a social media schedule for my blogging and writing. So, I’m excited to officially start that in October! My blog posts for October are just about done as well.

Overall

September was super busy, but it was a great month. I got a lot done and a lot of thinking done as well. Which is sometimes not great, but it worked well for this month!

Posts To Remember

1. Blog Party Celebration
2. September & October 2018 Writing Submissions
3. The Creative Writing Process: Revising Your Novel

How did September treat you? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

Blog Signature | RachelPoli.comPatreon | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

Sign up for Rachel Poli's Newsletter and get a FREE 14-page Writing Tracker! | Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Musical Mondays: I’ll Be There For You By Yungtown (Feat. PeanutButterGamer)

Musical Mondays: I'll Be There For You by Yungtown feat. PeanutButterGamer | Animal Crossing | Anxiety | Music Video | Blogging | Inspiration | RachelPoli.com

Usually when I post Musical Mondays it’s an inspirational song to showcase being you, going for your dreams, and to just keep moving forward. Keep working, you’ll get there soon enough.

This song is inspirational to me in a different way. It’s called “I’ll Be There For You” by Yungtown, featuring PeanutButterGamer. Both of them are YouTubers I watch and listen to quite often – okay, more like all the time. Both of them are gamers and Yungtown is a singer/rapper. They came together to create this song and music video.

The video is from the video game Animal Crossing. They used the music from the game to aid along the tune of their song, which worked out nicely. It’s calming and soothing.

The song itself, however, is about friendship, long distance, anxiety, and loneliness.

This song resonates with me so well – in fact, I even cried when I first heard the song when they released it.

I only have a handful of really good friends in real life. Which, in my opinion, is enough. I don’t need a large group. However, I do have a ton of friends through the internet from social media and this blog. My anxiety gets to me quite often, especially when it comes to relationships. I also work from home so it’s hard to relate to some of my older friends and, in the end, you lose touch with one another.

So, this is a reminder to you guys – and to myself – that you’re not alone and I’m always here for you. Keep your friends close.

What did you think of the song? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

Blog Signature | RachelPoli.comPatreon | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

Sign up for Rachel Poli's Newsletter and get a FREE 14-page Writing Tracker! | Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Short Story Sunday 231: Wish

Short Story: Wish | Flash Fiction | Blogging | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

“Close your eyes.”

“Why?”

“So you can make a wish.”

“Why do I have to close my eyes in order to make a wish?”

Ash glanced up at his wife, who shrugged her shoulders in response. Still holding the round cake in his hands, Ash looked back at his now 6-year-old daughter.

“I guess you don’t have to close your eyes if you don’t want to, Julia.” He said.

Julia tilted her head to the side. She tapped a finger to her chin and stared at the seven burning candles on top of her cake.

“What are you thinking about, honey?” Her mother, Zoey, asked with a smirk across her face. Julia was exactly like her father, though Zoey knew Ash didn’t see it yet.

“How does blowing out candles make my wish come true?” Julia asked.

Ash put the cake down on the table in front of her and he stood up straight. He looked at his wife and shrugged pointing to their daughter, allowing her to take this one.

“Well, candles are special.” Zoey stated.

“I blow out candles all the time when you light them around the house.” Julia countered.

Zoey paused and Ash snickered.

“Birthday candles are special.” Zoey said quickly. “They mark another year for you. They make it so this next year is going to be extra special for you.”

“But I’m six years old now. You put seven candles on my cake.” Julia counted the candles with her fingers.

“It’s for good luck.” Ash stepped in again. He smiled down at her thinking that was going to be the end of the conversation. Instead, Julia craned her neck to look up at her father with a confused expression on her face.

“Wait, I get a wish and luck?”

Zoey facepalmed. Ash stared at the six-year-old with his mouth gaping open. Why was she asking so many questions? It was her birthday, people blew out candles on a cake on their birthday, why was she reading into it so much?

“…Yes…?” Ash replied slowly. He wasn’t sure what the right answer was.

“You don’t sound sure.” Julia shook her head.

“The extra candle is what gives you the wish and it also has a bit of luck to help the wish come true.” Zoey joined in on the conversation once more. She nodded to Ash, who nodded as well. Certainly they made a great team under pressure.

“Why doesn’t my sixth candle give me the wish and the good luck, though? I am six, after all.” Julia commented again.

“Well, the seventh candle is there because you’re six now, but this year is your seventh year, leading up to your seventh birthday.” Ash explained. He scratched the top of his head. He had never thought about birthdays like that until now.

“If I’m going on my seventh year, then why isn’t this my seventh birthday?” Julia asked.

Ash finished scratching the top of his head and was now rubbing his eyes instead. He had to admit that she brought up good points. Birthdays were certainly weird. She was going on her seventh year, so why wasn’t this her seventh birthday? Then again, she wasn’t exactly seven year old, so that made it her sixth birthday instead… she’d been alive and in this world for six whole years.

“Julia, blow out the candles, you’re getting wax on the cake.” Zoey said sternly with her arms folded across her chest.

Julia opened her mouth to protest – or maybe she just had another question – but Ash stepped in. He bent down so his face was beside his daughter’s and smirked at her.

“Blow out your candles or I’m going to get to them first.” He drew in a deep breath acting as though he was going to blow them out.

Panicking, Julia blew out the candles quickly. No six-year-old could resist blowing out candles. Ash straightened up taking the cake out of her way while Zoey clapped and cheered.

The great birthday debate was now over as Julia quickly forgot and just wanted to eat the cake instead.

Words: 681

I hope you enjoyed this story! Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around. Also, check out the other Short Story Sundays I’ve done!

Blog Signature | RachelPoli.comPatreon | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double JumpSign up for Rachel Poli's Newsletter and get a FREE 14-page Writing Tracker! | Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Kill The Beast (Beast Hunters 1) By Michele Israel Harper [Book Review]

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much for your support!

Book Review: Kill The Beast by Michele Israel Harper | Fairy-tale retelling | Reading | Book Blogger | Blogging | ARC Book Review | Blog Tour | RachelPoli.com

I received a free digital ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

Ro remembers the castle before. Before the gates closed. Before silence overtook the kingdom. Before the castle disappeared. Now it shimmers to life one night a year, seen by her alone.

Once a lady, now a huntress, Ro does what it takes to survive–just like the rest of the kingdom plunged into despair never before known.

But a beast has overtaken the castle. A beast that killed the prince and holds the castle and kingdom captive in his cruel power. A beast Ro has been hired to kill.

Thankful the mystery of the prince’s disappearance has been solved, furious the magical creature has killed her hero, Ro eagerly accepts the job to end him.

But things are not as they seem.

Trapped in the castle, a prisoner alongside the beast, Ro wonders what she should fear most: the beast, the magic that holds them both captive, or the one who hired her to kill the beast.

A Beauty and the Beast retelling.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.comI like the book cover. It’s realistic. The colors match the tone of the book and it’s fairly simple. However, at first glance before I realized it was a Beauty and the Beast retelling, I thought this was going to be Little Red Riding Hood hunting the wolf.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.comIf you’ve been following my blog for long, you’ll know that I love my fair share of fairy tale retellings. So, I wasn’t going to say no to this one.

Plot | RachelPoli.comI found this one to be an interesting take on Beauty and the Beast. Rosette – or Ro for short – is a huntress who is hired to kill the beast. As a retelling, it’s easy to assume what the ending will be like. However, there are a lot of twists, turns, and lore packed into this one. It was darker than most but very well done and unique.

Characters | RachelPoli.comWhile the story itself was good, I had a hard time clicking with the characters. I had a hard time caring about Ro’s family and her sister Cosette mostly because we don’t see them much until later. So I just had to take Ro’s word for it and I didn’t click with Ro, so I didn’t really care too much about what her goals were.

The characters were very different from one another and had their own voices, though they developed kind of fast. I had a hard time connecting with Ro because of this.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

The author does a great job getting the story across the page. It’s well written, easy and fun to read, and it’s overall just a great story. However, it’s almost 500 pages long and I didn’t feel as though the story really got started until halfway through. The description and dialogue were both great, but I felt there was a lot of filler that might not have been needed.

Overall | RachelPoli.comThis was a good read. I’ll admit, it wasn’t my favorite, but it was a good retelling. The characters were interesting, it was written well, and the plot was unique. I’ll be interested in reading the sequel.

Kill The Beast (Beast Hunters 1) by Michele Israel Harper gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com4 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“She almost matched him growl for growl.” -Michele Israel Harper, Kill The Beast (Beast Hunters 1)

About Michele Israel Harper:

Michele Israel Harper spends her days as a work-at-home mom and her nights typing away  furiously on her laptop. Sleep? Sometimes… She has her Bachelor of Arts in history, is  slightly obsessed with all things French—including Jeanne d’Arc and La Belle et la Bête— and loves curling up with a good book more than just about anything else. Author of  Wisdom & Folly: Sisters, Zombie Takeover, Beast Hunter, and Kill the Beast, Michele prays her  involvement in writing, editing, and publishing will touch many lives in the years to come.

Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Google+ | Goodreads | Amazon

Preorder the book, out September 25, 2018:

Amazon | Barnes & NobleLove2ReadLove2Write Publishing

Release Party:

Facebook – Thursday, September 27, 2018, 8-10 PM EST
Book Signing – Irvington Vinyl & Books, Indianapolis, IN, Saturday, September 29, 2018

What do you think of this book? Does it pique your interest? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

Blog Signature | RachelPoli.comPatreon | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

Sign up for Rachel Poli's Newsletter and get a FREE 14-page Writing Tracker! | Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Time To Write: Storyteller [Creative Writing Prompt]

Last week’s writing prompt was a random words prompt. Check out some great pieces by fellow writers:

Now onto this week’s writing prompt:

Creative Writing Prompt | Storyteller | Time to Write | Writing | Flash Fiction | Short Story | RachelPoli.com

Write a story about the prompt above.

If you use this prompt, please leave a link to your post in the comments below and I’ll share it next week. Please be sure to link back to my blog so your readers know where you got the prompt!

Happy Writing! If you want more, check out all my other Writing Prompts here!

Blog Signature | RachelPoli.comPatreon | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double JumpSign up for Rachel Poli's Newsletter and get a FREE 14-page Writing Tracker! | Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

My Creative Writing Process

We’ve talked a lot about the creative writing process this month so I thought I would share my creative writing process.

My Creative Writing Process | Creative Writing | Writing | Writing Tips | Novel Writing | RachelPoli.com

Outlining

I go back and forth with my outlining process. Sometimes I outline before but sometimes I outline during. I used to always summarize what I wanted to happen in each chapter and then it would change during the writing process of the first draft.

Now I usually outline just the basics. Plot points I’d like to happen, random ideas, a list of characters and places, and the like. While I write my first draft, I summarize each chapter. This makes the editing process so much easier for me in the long run.

Writing

I give myself about a month to write the first draft. This is all thanks to NaNoWriMo. Some people don’t agree with it, but I believe that the first draft is just you telling yourself the story. If it’s a bunch of gibberish, at least you got the bare bones down. So I typically spend about 30 days writing 2,000 words a day to get the first draft done. Then the real writing begins.

RevisingEditing

I’ll admit… until I just did the research for this month’s blog posts, I though revision and editing were one in the same. So I guess I should take a look at how I do things.

Still, I’ve gotten into a good routine with my editing. I’ve been using the rainbow editing method for the last few drafts of my various manuscripts and it’s been working really well for me. It helps me zero-in on certain aspects I need to focus on. Editing is not as difficult as it used to be for me.

Publishing

Yeah, I’m still figuring this one out.

What’s your writing process look like? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

Blog Signature | RachelPoli.comPatreon | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double JumpSign up for Rachel Poli's Newsletter and get a FREE 14-page Writing Tracker! | Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

WIP Wednesday [September 2018]

September has pretty much come and gone in the blink of an eye. Sure, we still have a week or so left of the month, but it’s going to officially be fall sooner rather than later. So, here’s what I’ve been working on this month.

WIP Wednesday September 2018 | Work in Progress | Creative Writing | Writing | Novels | RachelPoli.com

George Florence & The Perfect Alibi

This is still a thing. I’m currently still in the editing stages but I’m trying to come up with a schedule so I’m able to fully complete it by a certain deadline. I’m not quite sure when that deadline will be just yet though. So far so good though. I don’t have too much to say on it other than that it’s going well. Slow, but well.

Patreon Project

This is still a thing as well. My current round of editing is almost done. I’ll be announcing this project in full soon. By soon, I mean next week. In the meantime, if you’re interested in learning about it now, you can check out my Patreon page.

Overall, I’m still trying to balance my time between writing and blogging and everything else. I’m hoping, come October, I’ll be in the better routine and have a better idea of my goals with these projects.

What projects are you currently working on? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

Blog Signature | RachelPoli.comPatreon | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double JumpSign up for Rachel Poli's Newsletter and get a FREE 14-page Writing Tracker! | Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Sabbath By Yecheilyah Ysrayl [I Am Soul Blog Tour – Guest Post]

It’s my pleasure to welcome Yecheilyah Ysrayl to my blog for the I Am Soul Blog Tour!

I am Soul by Yecheilyah Ysrayl | Poetry | Blog Tour | Blogging | Book Blogger | RachelPoli.com

I just wanna turn off my brain.
Not completely, just enough to gather my breath
and lay it at the head of the bed.
A temporary moment to which renewal finds itself,
Back to my pillow
to which I may die,
And in the same second be reborn.
I want my eyes to bow in submission to my bones,
And my soul to fall slowly to the contours of this mattress.
And for a second pretend that the world has dissolved around me.
For a second, for just a moment, let me lay my body
at the foot of sleep’s doorstep,
Pretend to swim with the clouds,
And at the same moment,
taste of rejuvenation’s delicacies.

About Yecheilyah Ysrayl

Yecheilyah Ysrayl | I Am Soul Author | Blog Tour | Book Blogger | Blogging | RachelPoli.comYecheilyah (e-SEE-li-yah, affectionately nicknamed EC) is an Author, Blogger, and Poet and lives in Marietta, GA with her wonderful husband. She has been writing poetry since she was twelve years old and joined the UMOJA Poetry Society in High School where she learned to perfect her craft. In 2010, at 23 years-old, Yecheilyah published her first collection of poetry and in 2014, founded Literary Korner Publishing and The PBS blog where she enjoys helping other authors through her blog interviews and book reviews. The PBS Blog has been named among Reedsy’s Best Book Review blogs of 2017 and 2018 and has helped many authors in their writing journey. I am Soul is her fourth collection of poetry.

Fun Facts about Yecheilyah:

  • She loves to laugh, and her favorite comedy TV show is Blackish
  • She is originally from Chicago, IL
  • She’s been married to her husband 8 years, together for 11 years
  • She believes eggs makes everything better
  • She is a twin
  • She is addicted to reading and new notebooks
  • Her favorite desert is ice cream

Author Website | Blog | AmazonAmazon Author Central | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube

I am Soul is now available on Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and Scribd. Click Here to choose your retailer.

Greenbriar Mall
The Medu Bookstore
2841 Greenbriar Pkwy SW
Atlanta, GA 30331

I am Soul Blog Tour | Yecheilyah Ysrayl | Poetry | Blogging | Book Blogger | RachelPoli.com

Have you read I Am Soul yet? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

Blog Signature | RachelPoli.comPatreon | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double JumpSign up for Rachel Poli's Newsletter and get a FREE 14-page Writing Tracker! | Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

The Creative Writing Process: Publishing Your Novel

Here we are. The final stage of the creative writing process. Publishing your novel.

We’ve outlined, written the first draft, revised, and edited… now it’s time to talk about publishing. Which, admittedly, is something I don’t know a whole lot about. So writing this post should be fun.

The Creative Writing Process Publishing Your Novel | Creative Writing | Writing Tips | Publishing Advice | Self-Publishing | RachelPoli.com

The Various Methods of Publishing.

Publishing isn’t easy. It can be a long process and it takes a lot of hard work and dedication. With that said, I don’t know much about publishing in any sense. However, I’ve done a little research for myself though I’m still learning. This is just a bare minimum of the basics.

Traditional Publishing. This, in my opinion, is the hardest to get into. You need a lot of approval in order to do this. You need to query your book to many publishers before one decides to take you on. Most of the time, you’d query to an agent first. They’ll help sell your book to a publishing company. However, that’s just an extra step that can take just as long. With traditional publishing, you have a whole team working on your book. Which is definitely nice for you if you want to solely focus on writing the next book.

Self-Publishing. Similar to traditional publishing except you don’t need anyone’s approval other than your own. However, there’s no team working on your book unless you hire them yourself. On the other hand, you make all the decisions which is a nice freedom to have. Some people self-publish just to share their work and not necessarily use it as income as well. Some people see just having their book in the world a “success” rather than “selling” their book as a success. Self-publishing makes it easy to do that.

Wattpad. There are many websites that cater to creative writing. Wattpad is just one of the many that do. You’re not making money from your words, but you’re sharing your stories with the world and that’s just as wonderful. We all write for fun though some people prefer to publish right away on a place like Wattpad and get immediate response from their readers through the comments. I’ve seen some people get picked up by agents through these sites. I’ve also seen people use their audience as beta readers then take the story down, fix it up, and self-publish it.

Blog. So many people have blogs now and use that as a creative outlet to share their stories with the world. It’s similar to Wattpad, except it’s all you and you’re choosing what to put on the blog and when. Plus, all the audience is reading just your work and not browsing a database of all these other writers where they might see your name.

I wasn’t kidding when I said here’s the bare minimum of the basics… if you could call this basics. But there you have it. Once you decide on a goal for yourself and your writing, it’ll be that much easier to decide which publishing route to take.

If you’re published, what method did you use? If you’re planning to publish in the future, what route are you thinking of taking? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

Blog Signature | RachelPoli.comPatreon | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double JumpSign up for Rachel Poli's Newsletter and get a FREE 14-page Writing Tracker! | Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com