2017 DC Pen Show #2

Welcome back for the second installment of my experience at the 2017 DC Pen Show. I left off yesterday with finishing my perusal of the small room. I met up with one of my friends in the lobby. He hadn’t been able to find us, and assumed we’d made our way to the large room. A couple of texts took care of that. Ah, technology, you are amazing…when there is signal.

Even the hallway between the small room and the first entrance to the large room was absolutely packed. There were a few booths, the table to sign up for a subscription to Pen World magazine, and a smallish table with a metric butt-ton of flyers and brochures that I didn’t stop to look at because they weren’t pens or ink. What can I say, I had my priorities in order.

I did stop and ooh and ahh over the ARTUS pens. They are beautiful. If you love one of a kind, hand-painted pens, even if you don’t, do yourself a favor and take a look at them. As I mentioned to my friend, it’s a good thing they didn’t have a Queen Elizabeth I pen, or I would have been in BIG trouble.

It took some effort to not spend all day admiring the beautiful ARTUS pens. But I very purposefully turned away and started down the hallway to the left of the ballroom. I gave a couple booths a quick glance, including one with a bunch of pen cleaning, tuning, and restoring supplies. I’m sure that one of my friends who is making forays into pen restoration spent plenty of time at that table.

Next up was the Edison Pen Co. table. Unfortunately, my photo of their pens didn’t come out so well, so I’m borrowing @janinescribbles’ photos to show you the glory:

A post shared by Janine (@janinescribbles) on

My Pen

Despite my failed photo (thanks, cranky phone camera), it was at the Edison table that I found my pen. I was slowly perusing the available pen bodies. After all, how often do you get to hold  Unicorn Barf or Delphinium? But then, I saw it. The Edison Pearl in Berries and Cream Swirl Acrylic.

Photo of the Edison Pen Co inscription on the side of my new pen

It was so beautiful; I had to have it. The red and white swirl was exactly what I’d been hoping for. I unscrewed the cap, expecting an equally beautiful nib, and got a surprise. No nib! The lovely Andrea Gray was kind enough to explain to me that they don’t add the nibs until the pen is purchased so they don’t have to swap nibs.

Feeling a teensy bit foolish, asked about the procedure for purchasing a pen. Clearly I wasn’t just going to pick something up and hand over some money. Andrea patiently explained that once you choose a pen body, you try the four “Tester” pens to decide what nib you want. Then you get to sit down with Brian Gray as he fits the nib and tunes it for you.

With a delighted grin, I plopped down in the open tester seat and asked about the nibs. The four options were 18K Gold Medium, 14K Gold Flex, Steel Medium, and another steel…Flex, maybe? The steel nibs weren’t even in consideration. I have steel nib pens. Lots of them. I wanted a gold nib. After a quick question to make sure that the pen and gold nib would be within my budget (they were), I started writing.

The gold flex nib was a bit broad for my tastes, but the medium was even broader. And anyway…flex! I was sold. I made my official choice, and waited for Brian to finish with the customer he was helping. I’m so used to the world of mass-produced goods that the one-on-one service of small business craftspeople consistently surprises me. They stand by their work in a way I haven’t seen outside of the community. It really makes me want to frequent more small businesses. I wish I had the money to do so.

Photo of the two tone flex nib on my new Edison penBut back to the show. Brian handed off the pen he was working on, and I moved down one seat. Right off the bat, I’m hit with another question. What color nib? Gold, two tone, or rhodium plated? Such a tough decision while I’m in the hot seat. Brian laid out the nibs for me to scrutinize. I faced several moments of indecision, but then it occurred to me, two tone. Silver and Gold. Sun and Moon. Perfection!

Decision made, I watched, somewhat in awe, as Brian screwed in the nib and tuned it for me. “It’s a bit toothy,” he warned. After getting used to writing with the Stipula Etruria Rainbow Prisma 88, the Edison Pearl felt like a dream. No extra tuning required.

I gleefully accepted the offer of a display box. After all, why have an amazing, expensive pen without a box to house it in should you ever decide to give it a break from writing? And I handed over a rather large wad of $20s. Yes, Edison pens would be considered expensive to many, if not most, but they are SO worth it.

Photo of my new Edison pen in its display box

I lovingly added my fabulous pen, which I have since dubbed “Moon Blood” (I’m still considering other names, so it may change) to my bag of holding. My friend proceeded to get his Edison pen. It was either a Mina or an Extended Mina in a dark acrylic with light pearlescent bits that looked as though there were ghosts in his pen.

It was around this time that Jim showed up again, and we proceeded down the hallway. I stopped and tested some of the Sailor Jentle Color of Four Seasons inks. Fuji-Musume was beautiful, but already have a bunch of purple ink. I also really liked Pȇche and Ultramarine, but decided to hold off on buying anything to see what else I managed to cross off my pen show list.

It was as I turned around to look at the Bertram’s Inkwell table that I spotted Brian Goulet of The Goulet Pen Company. I’ll end this installment by saying that Brian Goulet is one of the main reasons I went to the DC Pen Show.

Do you have a favorite pen? What is it? Come back tomorrow to read about my experience meeting Brian and Rachel Goulet. And in the mean time, check out my Instagram feed for some pure, unadulterated pen porn. *giggle*

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Coming Soon: Author Spotlight Series

Author Spotlight

It can be tough for indie authors to get their work out there. We’re individual people, sometimes with small publishers, and we can’t do what the huge publishing houses do. Our resources are finite, and, many times, quite minimal.

Based off of the pool of indie authors I interact with (which is, admittedly, small in comparison to the number of indie authors in the US alone), many of us understand and acknowledge that we aren’t really each other’s competition. There are enough readers out there for everyone, and we can be allies.  We can help each other.

We’ve all been there (or are there). Spending every scrap of spare time posting to social media, attending events, and coming up with ways to reach new readers, in order to share a story that we love enough to put forth all this effort. It’s a full-time job, usually on top of our full-time day job.

So we have each other’s backs. We share and retweet other indie author posts; we pimp each other’s books; we try, whenever possible, to help each other out, because we understand.

In that vein of cooperation, collaboration, and alliance, I’m starting an author spotlight series. It’s hardly the first of its kind, nor will it be the last, but I’m trying to make it unique, or at least a bit different.

The spotlights will be short, 5-8 questions, usually. I’ve provided the first and last question to every author, but the middle three-six, each author gets to choose their favorite 1 or 2 questions from 3 groups of 10. This means that each spotlight will feature a set of questions unique to the author, so be sure to take a look at them all.

And these won’t just be shameless plugs for books. Here’s a sneak peek of some of the questions:

  • Have you ever had anything edited out of a book that you wish had been kept in?
  • What one person would you most like to get your book(s) noticed by?
  • What is the hardest scene you’ve ever written?
  • Does what you’re writing at any given time ever feature in your dreams?
  • How long do you honestly think you’d survive in a zombie apocalypse?
  • Would you rather be invisible, or able to read minds?

I’ll also be doing video interviews to go with some of the posts, as soon as I’m done moving and have my workspace set up. I really doubt you want to see a mess of boxes in the background.

I’ll be starting the author spotlight series with fellow authors from my publisher, Burning Willow Press, but I hope it will expand to include any indie author who would like to introduce themselves.

I will, of course, be sharing all of the author spotlight posts via social media, or you can sign up for email updates. The first spotlight should be up in a few days, so stay tuned.

If you know anyone who’d be interested in participating, have them leave a comment below and contact me on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

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Live, Learn, and Rebrand

When I self-published The Most Special Chosen, then known as The Most Special Chosen of All, I decided to brand everything by the book series, rather than by my name. I wanted the series to stand on its own, to shine. Consequently, my URL, Facebook, etc. are all variants of Exalted Bloodlines. I did all of my designing around the first book, without ever truly stopping to consider what the series as a whole would be like.

Now several years older (and hopefully wiser), I’m finding many things I should have done differently back then (see “New Logo!“), and am fixing them to general accolade and appreciation.

My most recent revelation is that I should have branded everything with my name. I should shine, and carry my books along in that glow. That’s why this site is now racheldelafuente.com. As I continue writing, there will be changes to the branding of this site as well, but for now I intend to keep it Exalted Bloodlines-centric.

So expect to see some changes to my social media profiles. I’ll be changing the names, and perhaps the profile pictures. Make sure to update any bookmarks you may have. I’ve gone back and updated links in past posts, so everything will go to the right places.

Thanks for sticking with me through the changes.

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‘Gramming It Up

AInstagram logo with the Exalted Bloodlines logofter some deliberation, I’ve decided to start an Instagram account for the Exalted Bloodlines Series. I haven’t quite figured out a schedule just yet, but that won’t stop me from posting regularly. Follow Exalted Bloodlines on Instagram for sneak peaks, behind the scenes looks at my writing process, funny memes, and more.

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Social Media Overhaul

We’ve all heard about how important social media is for promotion. I’ll admit, I didn’t pay much attention to that when I self-published The Most Special Chosen. But I’ve been given this second chance. A second chance to really make things work.

To that end, I’ve updated the Facebook and Twitter pages for the Exalted Bloodlines Series. The profile and cover images for both have been updated to include the new branding for the series. I’m happy to say that the cover images feature the character renderings from my very talented friend Kyle McGill.

As you may recall from my post “From Mind to Paper“, Kyle drew my main characters — Elysabeth, Damien, and Shawn — a few years ago and is currently doing some more illustration work for me.

Now then, go check out my updated profiles. They look great. Make sure to like Exalted Bloodlines on Facebook and follow @ExltedBloodline on Twitter if you like the updates.


EDIT 7/14/17: With the rebranding of my site, you’ll find me under authorracheldlf on both Facebook and Twitter.  I’ve updated the links in the post, but I left the text as it was to preserve the post in its original form.

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From Mind to Paper

Several years ago, when I self-published The Most Special Chosen, I commissioned my very talented friend Kyle McGill to draw my main characters — Elysabeth, Damien, and Shawn — for me. I was very pleased with the result, and I used them on the cover of the book.

Now that The Most Special Chosen is being published, I want to see a few more of my characters come to life. To achieve that, a few days ago I reached out to Kyle again. Lucky for me, he’s still taking commissions and can work me into his busy schedule. He’ll be drawing up three more characters in the near future, including one of Damien’s sisters. He’s also agreed to work on the rest of Damien’s family and Elysabeth’s family when he has some time available.

The new drawings won’t be unveiled for a while, as I don’t want to drop any spoilers before my book is re-released, but I may share some sneak peeks, so follow me on Instagram. Go visit Kyle’s Instagram as well, and show him some love.

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Design: 1. Code: 0.

I got the completed design concepts for the new Exalted Bloodlines website today. After running them by several of my friends and coworkers, there is a definitive favorite. Only one person preferred a different design. Thankfully, the popular choice is my favorite as well.

Of course, the design was the easy part, as I didn’t have to do it. Now I’ve got to buckle down and actually develop the site around my day job and trying to have a life. I’m hoping it won’t take too long, but my spare time has been a bit limited lately.

Bookmark my site and come back often. The new design will be out soon and you don’t want to miss it. In the mean time, check out my social media profiles for other updates and fun things.

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Starting from Scratch

Burning Willow Press logoSeveral months ago, Burning Willow Press accepted The Most Special Chosen for publication. As a result, I had to take it down from all sites, as, legally, I can’t have it for sale while under contract with a publisher.

Rather than fret, I decided to view it as a chance to start from scratch. I scrapped the old site and had Jessica Craney design a new one for me because she’s a brilliant designer. The new site should be available soon.

I’m also redesigning the series logo and developing a series tagline (both coming soon). There are a lot more things on the horizon. For now, I’ll just say that The Most Special Chosen is being re-released in March 2018. Keep an eye out!

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