Welcome To My YouTube Channel ;)
Check out my latest video on YouTube, where I welcome viewers to my channel, explain the weirdness that is me, and answer 12 Questions about being an author. I hope to see you there ;)
In case you prefer reading to watching, below is a transcript of the video.
Hello, folks and friendly fiends, and welcome to my YouTube channel. Today we’re going to perform a little efficiency magic by killing two objectives with a single video. I’m going to take a few minutes to give you a brief introduction to my channel and explain what in the Heliash you’re watching. Then I’m going to answer 13 questions as part of the YouTube AuthorTube Newbie tag, which I believe was created by iWriterly? Please correct me if that was wrong. Anyway, let’s get started.
So, my name is Elise Night. I am an author, reader, stitcher, crafter, creative, self-proclaimed space witch, and lover of all things science fiction and paranormal. I am also an extreme introvert who suffers from chronic anxiety, and the idea of being in front of the camera is the equivalent of an eternity in the seventh circle of hell—you know, the one with the burning sand, the blood, the fire, and the harpy eating trees. And since I’ve vowed to abstain from turning into a tree—and eating harpies—I will be firmly behind the camera, for now.
Which brings me to the very confusing, though dare I say oddly calming broadcast you are currently watching? As I mentioned, one of my creative hobbies is stitching, or more specifically: hand embroidery. I know, this seems like a very traditional hobby for a sci-fi fan. I should be building robots, creating dioramas made of gears and blinking lights, or hacking into…something. Personally, I would have liked to paint or play the cello, but this is the hobby that the behavioral engineering sorting hat picked for me. And I know of no law in the universe that states that embroidery must be frilly flowers, quaint Dutch villages, or trendy potted plants. I would much rather embroider…tribbles, or protomolucules, or Cylons, and monsters, and alien planets.
I spent a long time searching for a hobby that would allow me to be creative, but didn’t have the pressure of perfectionism that I feel when writing. Just as the writer feels pressure from the blank page, many painters fear the blank canvas, or sculptors fear the raw lump of clay. I think most creatives have similar fears and blocks, and we can learn from other creative practices to improve our own preferred outlet.
In many ways, embroidery is similar to writing. It requires a design to begin, or you can stitch into the dark and be prepared to rip out a ton of wayward stitches. It can take a few stabs—or many, many, many stabs—to get just a tiny bit just right. It sometimes requires layers and layers of work to present the full picture. And despite all of your planning and hard work, it could still turn out like a hot mess. But at the end of the day, you have to make that first stitch.
Plus, I know that it doesn’t sound like it, but embroidery is a very peaceful practice. And in this day and age, we could all use some sanity saving peaceful practices.
So, I’ve embarked on this self-indulgent little experiment to utterly confuse the YouTube algorithm beasties with a series of videos titled “Stitching Sci-Fi,” where I throw a little thread onto some fabric themed after a movie, tv series, or book that I love and prattle on about the top three favorite story elements from said piece of fiction. It will either be mildly entertaining or a complete dumpster fire. Feel free to make your predictions in the comments below.
Stitching may be my relaxation hobby, but I am first and foremost an author. I write stories that I love and I share them with the world—or…you know, I try to. I’m self-published, and that shit isn’t easy. Back to the point, as of the beginning of 2022, I have five books published. Four in my Chronicles of the Common series, as well as the first book in my spin-off series, the Assassins of the Underworld.
Currently, I’m juggling a few projects that are in their early stages. I’m in the process of writing a prequel to the Chronicles of the Common, which will be released exclusively to my newsletter subscribers. I am also working on a prequel to the Assassins of the Underworld series, which I intend to release at retail. After that, I’ll be diving back into Book Two in the Assassins of the Underworld series, which has been plotted and a chapter or two written, then it stalled for the last two years for, you know, reasons we shall not discuss. And finally, I am plotting out the first book, and its prequel, to an all-new series that I am super excited about and I’ll be reading right here on YouTube. To keep things interesting, I’ll be throwing in a few short stories as palette cleansers between projects, and those will also be made available to my newsletter subscribers.
While all of this is in the works, I’m hoping to do a YouTube series of cute little vlog-but definitely not-vlogs tracking my progress, so that everyone can have a front row seat to the chaos that is my writing process. You’re welcome, and I’m sorry? Yeah.
In the meantime, if you’re looking for a little taste of my work, you can listen to me read “Uncommon,” book one in the “Chronicles of the Common” series exclusively here on YouTube. Each week I’ll post a new chapter of the book for anyone to listen for free, and my sincerest apologies in advance - I did not inherit the narrator gene or the acting gene. Nevertheless, I’m doing this thing and links to the playlist are in the description box below, or at the end of this video.
So, now that you know know a little about me, why don’t you hang around to hear a little more and watch me pull a little thread as I answer the questions in the AuthorTube Newbie tag.
Question 1: How did you find out about AuthorTube?
I stumbled onto AuthorTube while I was in the process of writing the first two books in my “Chronicles of the Common” series. I had been binging a ton of videos about book marketing and tips for self-publishing, mostly from The Creative Penn, Six Figure Authors (which was then titled the Science Fiction and Marketing Podcast), 20 Books to 50K, and the Self-Publishing Formula. Basically, if there was a video out there about self-publishing I was watching it. The YouTube algorithm was feeding me everything in the world about writing and publishing and one day I came across the video that probably brings many of us to AuthorTube, which was Kate Cavanaugh’s “I tried writing like Stephen King.” And suddenly I found myself binging not only self-publishing videos but also AuthorTube videos. Needless to say, that—for a while there—all other forms of entertainment were effectively sacrificed to the YouTube gods. For those of you who were monetized at that time, thank you and you’re most welcome.
Question 2: What genres do you write in?
The “Chronicles of the Common” is a science fiction adventure with romantic elements, and “Assassins of the Underworld” is a science fiction romance series.
However, just like my personal interests, my books span a few genres, including science fiction, paranormal romance, and urban fantasy, and occasionally a cozy little short story about critters. Basically, my book universe is about vampires, sexy shifters, witches, and everything other mythical creature that is out there, BUT they’re set in space. I know, it sounds a little wacky, but I do have a whole mythology behind the concept.
Unfortunately, this crazy cross-over niche that write in is exactly what successful authors and publishers recommend to never, ever do. But did I listen? No. No I did not. Am I paying the price? Yes. Oh, yes, I am. Do I plan to change? Nope. Not at all. These are my books, and I plan to write what I like. Not only am I going to keep writing them, I am obstinately doubling down.
Similar to Star Wars, Marvel, or DC, I intend to write in a single universe that crosses multiple genres, so that all of my series are related. By creating this one universe of characters and stories I will hopefully develop a vast library of familiar books that readers can enter from any series and then hop onto one of the other series if they want more.
If I’ve just confused the heck out of you, there is a part 2 to this video, explaining how I became an author and created my writing universe. There will be a link to that video at the end of this video, or you can use the link in the description below. But, in sum, the objective for me is to write in the categories I love: science fiction, urban fantasy, and paranormal romance. And if I find readers that love the mish-mash I make as well, then awesome!
Question 3: What is your preferred writing tense, POV, and category of story?
I’ve already covered my genres, but I do write for adults. My “Assassins of the Underworld” series is romance with moderate spice. My “Chronicles of the Common” series has some foul language and a slow burn romance, with a little spice—eventually.
All of my books could probably be read by sixteen and up, but I don’t intend to market them to young or new adults.
I write in past tense, and though I write in both third person limited and first person, my preference is first person. I tend to write in at least two POV’s—a male and female lead—but my next series will have at least 3-4 POV’s, and I’m planning an Urban Fantasy with only a single POV.
Question 4: Are you a plotter, pantser, or plantser?
I started as an intense plotter. I LOVE the plotting process, probably more than the writing process. My first outlines were thousands of words long, and honestly I probably could have called it a zero draft. But as I’ve written more books, I’ve discovered that sometimes the story veers off its intended path—which then freaks me out and sends me into a form of writers anxiety—so, I’ve started trimming down my plotting process, allowing for a little exploration during the writing process.
I always start with my characters and understanding who they are and what their motives are. Then I fill out the plot, using the key beats of a 3 or 4-act structure, but I don’t rigidly follow any specific plotting religion.
Now, my pre-planned plots are mostly top line, and then every morning I will flesh out the details of what I intend to write for the day.
I’ve learned that, for me, this process helps to prevent me from getting stuck when changes need to be made, while also keeping the joy of plotting going throughout the entire process.
I guess that I’ve evolved into a planster, but I would guarantee that most pantsers would look at my initial plot process and say that I am totally a plotter. So, you know, who the heck knows?
Question 5: Are you self-published? Traditionally published? Or yet to be published?
I am definitely self-published. To be honest, I never even considered traditional publishing.
That fact is, my type of science fiction just isn’t a strong category for traditional publishers. Sci-fi in traditional publishing is far more…traditional, they’re more of the standard sci-fi fair. And even in self-publishing, my cross-over niche is almost nonexistent.
On the other hand, the romance genre is strong with both traditional and self-publishing, but unless a romance author is prolific and well-known, they’re not making a lot by traditionally publishing, and they don’t own their own books. Neither situation really appealed to me.
Then there’s the urban fantasy category, which is the literary version of the hunger games to just get seen, let alone published.
The truth is that across most genres, publishers are only supporting the big name authors, and unless you’re the next JK Rowling, Stephen King, or Neil Gaiman, you’re going to be doing lot of your own marketing anyway.
I want to own my books, control their future, and above all I want to share them. I don’t write universally appealing stories, and that’s okay. I want to write what I enjoy reading and carve out my own little niche of readers that like the same thing. So, self-publishing was always my goal.
Question 6 — What publishing company, literary agent, and/or printing company are you represented by or use?
This question is not really applicable to me, so…moving on.
Question 7: What AuthorTube related videos can we expect to find on your channel?
I’ve covered a bit of this in my intro, but to be honest, in the way that my books don’t fit into a traditional category, I’m not sure that what I plan to make of this channel could be considered traditional AuthorTube.
My primary goal is to release exclusive audio readings of my books and share my real-time progress of my current projects. I might also give readers a deeper perspective into my books, and the Common universe, as well as my characters.
But I’m also a sci-fi fan, and I want to discuss the movies, TV, and books that I love and that have inspired me. I want to geek out on the story elements that I find compelling and inspiring, and to share how these stories influence my own writing. And just to keep things visually interesting, I’ll be doing the stitching series with designs inspired by these stories. I may include some crafts, but beyond that—I’m still figuring things out.
I can say that I am too old to pander to gossip or “tea.” I wouldn’t even know what the latest tea is if it plopped down on my keyboard and bit off my fingers. Also, I am not going to sell a service. I absolutely will not teach anything or give writing advice. It’s my belief that only qualified people should be giving writing advice, like scholars or established authors such as Brandon Sanderson, or Neil Gaiman, or Margaret Atwood. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE when people share their writing experiences and what worked for THEM, but advice and instruction is an entirely different beast that I don’t feel comfortable dabbling in.
I also enjoy watching “day in the life” vlogs, especially really long ones that I can play in the background while I’m cleaning or doing creative stuff, but, for the time being, I highly doubt that I’ll be doing that type of content either.
I do love a good vent and prattle. So, in addition to discussing my writing status, works in progress, and writing related drama, I will also be chatting about what I’m reading, or what’s going on in my life, but with my own little stitching flair.
Let’s combine questions numbered 8 and 9: When did you start writing and what was the first story that you ever wrote?
The very first book that I ever wrote was “The Easter Bunny and Her Children.” I was seven. It was a riveting story of four whole sentences. But the best parts were the illustrations where apparently I had an early fondness for brutalism architecture.
From there, I went on to do some very bad poetry in my teens and twenties. And although I kept saying that I was going to write a book about one thing or another, I never did. I didn’t grow up in a family that encouraged the arts, so it wasn’t really something that I considered as a possibility. By the time that I began to focus on my career, writing was mostly forgotten.
Then, in my thirties, I started to once again read voraciously and by 2017 I finally decided to explore writing again. It took a few drafts and rewrites, but “Uncommon” was my first story to survive to publication.
Question 10: What authors have inspired you’re writing the most?
Madeline L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle In Time” series were the first books I fell in love with. I spent entire summers curled up in my room escaping into her worlds.
Then in my late teens and early twenties I had a fantasy horror period where I read every single Clive Barker book that I could get my hands on. “Imagica” and the “Abarat” books are still some of my favorites to this day.
But it wasn’t until after binging a mountain of paranormal romance and urban fantasy authors that I finally decided to try my hand at writing. I love Jeaniene Frost, Gena Showalter, J.R. Ward, Kresley Cole, Sherilyn Kenyon, Lynsay Sands, Ilona Andrews, and of course Karen Marie Moning. Then there’s Lindsay Buroker, who is a rockstar self-published author. She is my absolute favorite for fun and quirky characters, and I just adore her science fiction and fantasy.
Question 11: Do you schedule your writing sessions or simply get to writing whenever you can find the time?
When I am not dealing with health or mental health issues, I prefer writing in the mornings, or very late at night when it’s quiet. I try to write a few hours a day, at least 5 days a week. I am a very slow writer, so I give myself as much time as I can without burning down my well of creativity.
Question 12: Do you write on a computer, typewriter, write everything by hand, or use a blend of those? And where do you write in general?
I plot by hand as well as on the computer.
While I am in the early concept stages, I’ll write down random ideas on scraps of note paper and then drop them into a physical file that acts as brainstorming storage until I’m ready to formally plot.
Then I use Scrivener and Excel to assemble those notes into a cohesive story and add a bit of structure and backstory to my characters. I know, that sounds weird, but I have an excel form that works for me. Plus, I’m kind of old, so Excel’s comfortable.
Anyway, I plan my schedule and activities in Notion and I also do old school writing in a notebook. I begin every day by fleshing out what I’m going to write by hand in a bullet journal that I use just for writing. I jot down the general plot of a scene, making sure to address of all the characters activities, the setting, and making a note or two of some sensory details that I want to include. I found that hand writing is a good way to warm up my brain without having to confront the blank page straight away.
Then I write my scenes and chapters in Scrivener, because I am a devoted Scrivener fan.
And for the last part of that question: I tend to write at my desk, but occasionally I’ll write in bed. I do not like writing in public. I don’t even like writing in the living room. I want the privacy of my own little fortress of solitude, so I’ve made the corner of my bedroom a safe space to be creative, without judgement. Did I mention that I’m an introvert with chronic anxiety? Yeah, I’m a total weirdo.
Question 13: What are you most looking forward to now that you’re a part of AuthorTube?
Honestly, I really love watching everyone’s writing updates and vlogs. I enjoy seeing that we are all going through similar experiences regardless of what we write, or where we are on our journeys, or how we choose to share that experience. I’ll dip my toes in where I can and share what I’m able to when I can. But I suppose its just knowing that we are all on this crazy rollercoaster together, that’s what I really love.
So, that’s me. I hope that you’re intrigued enough to give my channel a chance and subscribe to the sci-fi silliness that is certain to ensue. You can find me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Also, don’t forget to check out my free reading of “Uncommon,” book one in the “Chronicles of the Common” series right here, exclusively on YouTube. And if you’re interested in the Stitching Sci-Fi video series, there is a link somewhere on this screen to the first episode, where I talk about the spectacularly stunning sci-fi series, and current love of my life, the one, the only: EXPANSE.
Until next time, folks and friendly fiends, take care and have a cozy Common day.