Meet Damien Delanciennes

Damien Delanciennes
Portrait of Damien by artist Kyle McGill

Welcome to my third character interview. This time you’re meeting Damien Delanciennes (DD), older brother of Selene who you met earlier and eldest child of Donovan and Selini Delanciennes.

I was, once again, invited to the Delanciennes’ house, but this time I was treated to some time in the gardens. They actually have a hedge maze, how cool is that?

I hope you enjoy getting to know Damien a bit better.


RdlF: Damien, thank you for taking time to talk to me. I’m sure you must have a lot on your plate with a double major.

DD: It is not so bad. There is less work between midterms and finals.

RdlF: Remind me of your majors.

DD: International Relations and Diplomacy, and International Business.

RdlF: With an international focus, I’m assuming learning foreign languages is highly encouraged.

Continue reading “Meet Damien Delanciennes”

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Cover Reveal

I’m really excited to announce that I’ve scheduled a cover reveal for The Most Special Chosen for January 24th.

I’ve scheduled it though Lola’s Blog Tours. If you’re an author, or know one, I suggest checking out Lola’s services.

So far, the planning has gone smoothly and Lola has been incredibly knowledgeable and professional. I’ll keep you all posted on the progression of the “event” planning.

If you’d like to be a part of the reveal, check out the event page for more information.

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Meet Shawn Dooley

Portrait of Shawn Dooley
Portrait of Shawn by artist Kyle McGill.

Welcome to my second character interview. This time I sat down with Shawn Dooley (SD). For those of you unfamiliar with Mr. Dooley, he is Elysabeth’s roommate and has been her best friend for the past eight years.

We met in the quad between his classes, and I’m thankful he was able to fit me in at all. The life of a math major gets busy.  

I hope you enjoy getting to know Shawn a bit better.


Rachel de la Fuente (RdlF): Shawn, thanks for taking some time to talk to me. I really appreciate it.

SD: No problem. Lys mentioned she’ll be speaking to you, so I figured I might as well do it, too.

RdlF: You two are such good friends. How did you meet?

SD: She asked me about making games for my calculator on our first day of high school.

Continue reading “Meet Shawn Dooley”

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Meet Selene Colette Delanciennes

Selene Delanciennes
Portrait of Selene by artist Kyle McGill.

In the lead up to the release of The Most Special Chosen, coming March 3, 2018, Miss Selene Colette Delanciennes (SD) was kind enough to respond to my request for an interview and grant me a few minutes of her time to let you all get to know her.

For those of you unfamiliar with Miss Delanciennes, she is Damien’s youngest sister, and the 5th child (of 6) to Donovan and Selini Delanciennes.

She invited me to join her at her family’s house, and treated me to authentic, according to her, chocolat chaud. It was delicious.

I hope you enjoy getting to know Selene a bit better.


Rachel de la Fuente (RdlF): Selene, thank you for introducing me to chocolat chaud. My only complaint is that I won’t ever appreciate hot chocolate again.

SD: [carefully cradling her own cup of chocolat chaud] You’re more than welcome to come back when you’re craving it.

RdlF: Thanks! I’ll take you up on that offer. Now, you’re my first interviewee, so I hope you’ll forgive any mistakes I might make.

SD: I’m sure you’ll do quite well.

RdlF: [grinning] I appreciate your confidence. Perhaps it would be best to start by having you pronounce your name properly.

SD: Yes, that’s probably wise. It’s a French name, so it may be difficult for some to pronounce. It is Deh-lon-see-ehn.

RdlF: Thanks! Now, I understand your Grand Coming Out is less than a year away. Have you started planning it?

SD: Absolutely. My parents and I have been working on the plans for nearly a year already.

RdlF: In that case, I suppose it’s safe to assume you’re happy with the planning so far. Are you getting excited yet?

SD: I am. My parents have been kind enough to allow me to take the lead in the planning. As to being excited [she shrugs nonchalantly], there is still too much to do. I’ll be excited when the planning is over.

RdlF: I can understand that. If I recall my etiquette lessons correctly, you’ll have an official escort that day. Is there anyone special in your life to take on that role?

Continue reading “Meet Selene Colette Delanciennes”

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Get to Know the Cast

If you have an author friend, or are an author yourself, then you know how talkative characters can be. Mine are no exception. Sometimes I feel like I’m just their conduit, their way for them to speak to the world, rather than their creator.

That said, in the lead up to the release of The Most Special Chosen, coming March 3, 2018, I’ve convinced a few of them to grant me interviews. I want to let you, let the world, get to know them. I promise you the interviews will be spoiler free. I’ll be posting one a month in November, December, January and February, each of which will also feature original portraits by the immensely talented Kyle McGill.

I realize that while I’m intimately acquainted with them all, the stars of the Exalted Bloodlines series are all new entities to you. So allow me a moment to introduce my main cast. Elysabeth Vance, daughter of Estel and George, is a senior in college who lives with her best friend of eight years, Shawn Dooley. At this point, they’re more like siblings than friends.

Damien Delanciennes stars opposite Elysabeth. He lives with his rather large family: Donovan and Selini, his parents; and Alyssa, Demetrius, Sebastian, Selene, and Eziano, his siblings.

So far, Selene, Shawn, Damien, and Elysabeth have granted me interviews, and I’ll be posting them in that order. I “sat down” with them before the events of The Most Special Chosen, so take the chance to get to know them before their lives change forever. Perhaps they’ll grant me additional interviews after the release to find out how they’re adjusting.

Make sure to subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss any of the interviews. For now, I’ll leave you with a sneak peek of Selene’s portrait.

Sneak Peek of Selene Portrait

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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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