Friday Reads: FanFiction

I can’t believe February is over! March is going to be nuts! The Most Special Chosen is out tomorrow. You can pre-order it now on Amazon. And make sure you check out my Facebook release party on Sunday, there will be a ton of giveaways and takeovers by some fabulous female authors.


This month’s Friday Reads is very different. I’m not recommending a book, I’m recommending a… let’s call it a genre.

I’m a huge fan of fanfiction. Good fanfiction that is. And yes, such a thing exists.

I pretty much only read Harry Potter fanfiction. There are just so many fun ideas within that single sub-genre, I haven’t manage to expand to much of any of the other sub-genres yet.

If you’re a Potterhead like yours truly, or even if you’re not, honestly, I suggest giving fanfiction a try for whatever fandoms you’re part of.

It will never replace books, obviously, but in those “low income” interludes between paychecks when you’re dying for something new to read, fanfiction is a godsend.

Understandably, the online thing may pose a problem, after all, neither wifi nor cell signal are available everywhere, and you don’t want to eat through your data. However, the fanfiction.net app (Android | iOS) lets you download stories for offline reading. There’s also ficsave.xyz which downloads ePub, mobi, and txt files at the press of a button. I tend to prefer the app when I’m reading a story in progress since it will automatically download new chapters, but I like ficsave for finished stories since there’s no worry of the author deciding to remove the story from the site.

So if you have some extra time, I highly suggest you check out FanFiction.net. Some of my favorite authors include robst, chem prof, Clell65619, old-crow, and Rorschach’s Blot. Go take a look. Maybe even try dabbling in some fanfiction writing yourself. It can be fun to take a story precisely where you want it to go. Heck, I’d love to see some The Most Special Chosen fanfiction. *wink*

But be careful, fanfiction can pull you in, and before you know it, you can’t separate canon from fiction. Don’t worry, though, it’snot like I’ve doomed you to a black hole that will suck you in and consume your life or anything. Mwahahaha.

If you’re a fanfiction reader, or writer, drop your favorite author or story below. I’m always on the lookout for something new.

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Lola’s Blog Tours

January 24th was my cover reveal. Congratulations to the winners of the accompanying giveaway!

I did some research while preparing it, and decided to go with Lola’s Blog Tours for the simple fact that, at the time, her cover reveals were free. I figured it was a good way to evaluate her services, and if it was a flop, I hadn’t really lost anything. Thankfully, it was a decent success.

Of course, the question is, how do you measure success? I’m not naive, I didn’t expect my book cover to be plastered across the internet on every single page, especially not as part of a free service, but I’m pretty happy with the 16 people who signed up.

Between the participating bloggers, the social media reach was pretty impressive (to me). It’s impossible, of course, for me to calculate the total reach. But based off of a simple follower count of accounts that posted, tweeted, retweeted, etc., the social media reach of my cover reveal was approximately:

  • 8,000 accounts on Facebook
  • 36,700 accounts on Twitter
  • 428 accounts on Instagram.

This does not account for overlapping followers, nor does it consider blog subscribers, so the reach could be considerably higher.

I also ended up with 29 giveaway entries, which isn’t bad considering the prize was one ebook.

I felt the results were good enough to book additional services with Lola’s Blog Tours. I’ve scheduled a blog tour for March 5-18. If you’re interested in participating, check out the sign up post. I’ve also scheduled a review opportunity that will start around the same time as the blog tour. Subscribe to my blog to get notified when it starts.

I’ve really enjoyed working with Lola. She’s professional and efficient, qualities I greatly appreciate. If you’re in the market for any of her services, I heartily recommend Lola’s Blog Tours.

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The Joy of Coco

There will be spoilers towards the end of this post, but I’ll warn you first.

I saw Coco for the second time on Saturday. And while it didn’t hit me quite as hard in the feels this time, it was still an amazing movie.

The first time I saw Coco (on Thanksgiving), I was blown away, absolutely enchanted, and amazed to see my heritage, Mexican heritage, portrayed on the big screen in such a beautiful way. As Chantel mentions in this Pero Like video, it was amazing to see a story that happens to be set in Mexico, rather than a story about being Mexican.

The Rivera family from Coco

At its heart, Coco is about family. That family just so happens to be Mexican, and living Mexican lives. Therefore you have a rich tapestry of Mexican culture woven into the story. But the central theme of family can be (and has been) played out in any other setting (think Brave, The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, Finding Dory, Inside Out, etc.). I think this is part of what makes Coco so special to me. The Mexican culture isn’t highlighted, isn’t glorified, it’s just there. But you can’t help but appreciate the beauty and richness of it.

Granted, in Coco, the focus is on one particular facet, Dia de los Muertos. But you get to see other bits as well. With Ernesto de la Cruz, you get a glance at old films. With the music competitions, you get a look at mariachi music. There are also alebrijes, lucha libre, ballet folklórico, chanclas, and on and on, but you get the idea.

Growing up multicultural, I never really paid much attention to people saying that it means a lot to see yourself represented in movies, TV, etc. That was a failing on my part, I know. But Coco opened my eyes to just how much it can mean. There were multiple times I found myself tearing up in sheer joy at seeing Mexican culture portrayed correctly. I can only imagine how great it was for all of the abuelitos going to the movies for the first time and seeing the magnificence that is Coco.  

So if you haven’t seen Coco yet, stop reading here (there are spoilers coming), and go see it while it’s still in theaters. Really, it’s worth it. If you have seen Coco, then let me share with you a little something I noticed when I watched it the second time.

 

***Spoilers Ahead***

 

It didn’t take me long on the first go around to figure out that Ernesto wasn’t Miguel’s great-great-grandfather. And it didn’t take much longer to determine that Hector must, therefore, be Miguel’s great-great-grandfather. What I didn’t pick up on, and really should have, is that because Ernesto stole Hector’s guitar, there was likely something nefarious going on.

And speaking of the guitar, did you notice that it’s the first hint the viewers get about who Miguel is actually related to?

The guitar has a gold tooth.

Head of the Guitar from Coco

Hector has a gold tooth.

Hector from Coco

Ernesto does not.

Ernesto de la Cruz from Coco

It’s even on the movie poster. Talk about fabulous foreshadowing. Did you catch that hint? Let me know in the comments.

Note: All images found through Google.

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Good Times at Bertram’s Inkwell

If you’ve been following my blog, you know I like “pimping” companies that I’ve had good experiences with. So far, I’ve discussed Edison Pen Company, Goulet Pens, and Surreal Makeup. This time I’ll be telling you about Bertram’s Inkwell.

Bertram's Inkwell

Shopping Experiences

Photo of a Red Nibbed Platinum Preppy 05Bertram’s holds a special place in my heart as the store where I bought my first fountain pen. It was a red-nibbed Platinum Preppy 05. I don’t have a picture of mine, as it sadly disappeared in my recent move, but I did find this photo from WonderPens. It was my gateway pen, and the experience of purchasing it was so pleasant that Bertram’s was forever fixed in my mind as a top-notch store.

Photo of Lamy Safari Dark LilacThe next time I visited, I picked up a Lamy Safari Dark Lilac, completely oblivious to the fact that I was buying a special edition. I just knew I liked the color and feel of it. I also picked up bottles of Diamine Meadow and Diamine Aqua Lagoon because they were beautiful, bright colors. I’ve since learned that just because a color is pretty doesn’t mean it will make a good writing ink. Meadow hasn’t gotten much use because a full-page of it can be hard on the eyes.

While we were there, Jim bought a Namiki Falcon as a birthday present to himself. I can’t recall if it was Bert or Adam (or both) who helped us out that day — I was too focused on buying my first “nice” pen — but whoever it was was incredibly patient with me as I went through all of the Lamy colors, and let me dip test a few different nib sizes. Jim was also treated very well as he tried to decide if he was actually willing to buy such an expensive pen (oh, how our views have changed).

And now the really fun part. I get to tell you about some of my customer service experiences that I feel went above and beyond what your typical store offers.

Continue reading “Good Times at Bertram’s Inkwell”

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Facebook Release Party Lessons

About a month ago, Sonya Jesus invited me to take part in her Facebook release party. I’d heard of them, of course, through open calls to participate on my publisher’s Facebook group. I hadn’t ever participated, though, thinking that they were for people who already had books out. The direct invitation, however, made me curious, and, with a bit of trepidation, I accepted the 5:30 – 6:00 pm time slot.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Facebook release parties, they’re a chance for an author to reach anyone in the world by making a public Facebook event page. On the day of the event, the author, as well as any people they have invited to participate, will post to the page with information about available and upcoming books, giveaways, teasers, videos, etc. The idea being that the more people who are involved, the more fans and readers will check out the event, and, hopefully, the book being released.

Research

Because I’d never been part of a release party before, I wasn’t entirely sure of the protocol. So, I did what I always do: I researched. I asked some other authors about typical post content. I attended a couple of release parties and paid very close attention to the posts and engagement. And I made some unexpected discoveries:

  • You post, at most, once every 3 – 5 minutes.
  • Some people seem to treat release parties as a chance to outrageously pimp their own books. As in, every post is a link to buying their books with a picture of the cover or covers, with no real description of the books at all. I don’t know if this nets them any sales, but I noticed less interaction with those posts.
  • Facebook has polls. Yeah, I had no idea about this, and apparently they’re only available on event and group pages, because I don’t have the option to create one on either my personal Facebook page or my author page.

Preparation

Armed with some new information, I got to work creating posts. Since I don’t have a book available for sale yet (March 3rd, people *wink*), I decided to go for teasers. Hopefully they would entice people to follow me on various sites and buy my book once it’s available.

I hand lettered some book quotes (if this sounds interesting to you, check out my Instagram for #TeaserTuesdays). I also created the first teaser video for *The Most Special Chosen*, as this seemed like a great place to debut it (and hopefully get some views). And, of course, I had to provide a link to Sonya’s Author Spotlight. A poll (for interaction), giveaway (to get people to stick around until the end of my half hour), and links to my social media accounts rounded out my main posts. And let’s not forget an introduction and thank you post. Those are important, too.

I wrote up all of the posts so I could copy and paste them on the day of the party to avoid wasting time, or suffering from writer’s block. I’m very glad I did, as I edited everything a few times to have the best content possible.

Party Time

As the actual release party got closer, I started looking forward to participating. I expected it to be fun, and I hoped that people would be interested in what I had to post. At 5:20, I sat down at my computer, opened up the document with my posts, kept an eye on the event page, and prepared to have fun and be engaging. I think I succeeded at both.

It was fun to read people’s comments (especially the GIFs) and respond to them in return. And I can’t deny it’s exciting to watch the likes, loves, comments, etc. counts go up. My time went quite a bit faster than I expected it to, and I found myself almost sad when it was over.

I will note that I had a hard time keeping track of when to post things as Facebook shows “Just Now” for a few minutes after posting. My solution was to add time labels to the document where I’d written my posts. That way, I just had to ensure that the current time and the time label matched before I pushed “Post”. It made a big difference, and let me focus on interacting with people

Overall, It was a great experience, and I’m very happy, now, that I accepted Sonya’s invitation. I look forward to joining other release parties in the future.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, taking part in a release party is to gain exposure. And part of that is reviewing what you did and seeing what did and didn’t work. I think for a first time, I did pretty well, and gained about 10 new followers/likes on each of my social media accounts, which I don’t find too shabby.

The poll was (surprisingly) my best performing post, when I go by total interactions (comments, reactions, post interaction, shares, etc.). My giveaway post received the most reactions (17), while the introduction post received the most comments (12). So make of all of that what you will.

A couple side notes to interactive posts. I think everyone will agree that GIF comments are big right now. So I think I’ll look into requesting GIF comments in future posts. Perhaps one of those “pick your answer” posts would be good, too. You know, the ones where you piece together an answer based on your name, birthday, color of your shirt, etc.

My main takeaway from it all is that I should have more interactive posts in the future. I should ask even more questions, and encourage discussions and comments.

That said, do you have any questions for me? Leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you. And if you need an additional participant at your Facebook release party, send me a message.

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The Awesomeness that is Surreal Makeup

I’ll be the first to say that I am not a “girly girl”. Makeup happens maybe once a week. I’m really happy if my nails are all the same length. When I wear dresses, it’s because it’s only one piece to pull out of my closet, rather than two. I’m not necessarily the tomboy that I was as a kid, but I’m still definitely not girly.

I tell you this to give you a bit of context for the rest of this post. So that you understand how impressive it is that I’ve bought so much from Surreal Makeup. And when I say “so much” here is my current collection, and I have four more eyeshadow colors on the way.

Current Surreal Collection

Continue reading “The Awesomeness that is Surreal Makeup”

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Stipula Etruria Rainbow Pens Update

Yikes, what a mouthful of a title! Anyway, we’re about a month out from the DC Pen Show, and I’ve been meaning to post an update to my Stipula’s attitude problem and Jim’s pen’s problem.

As you may recall from my post about meeting Brian Goulet, my Stipula was a bit “skippy” when writing (I just considered it had an attitude problem). Jim’s pen suffered from a bit of overuse. While at the DC Pen Show, a lovely gentleman at the Yafa table (Twitter user @stevetweeting pointed out that it was probably Ross) tweaked both of our pens.

Rainbow Prisma 88

I am very happy to report that Prisma is MUCH better behaved now. I don’t have any problem with it skipping now, even when I write quickly. Check out the difference in the before and after. See how smooth and pretty the after writing is. Both are Diamine inks. Tudor Blue from the new anniversary inks on the before page, and Eau de Nil on the after page.

Writing samples before and after my Stipula was adjusted.

It’s certainly a rather wet writer, now. Almost too wet for me, but thankfully it’s still within the “ok” range. It does mean I get some nice shading when I use the right inks.

Continue reading “Stipula Etruria Rainbow Pens Update”

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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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Top 10 DC Photo Walk Pictures

A little back story to my photo walk: I bought a nice, entry-level DSLR camera last year around my birthday. A Canon Rebel T5. But I don’t make anywhere near as many opportunities to use it as I should, which means I’m not as familiar with it as I’d like to be.

I’m going on vacation in December and plan to take the T5 with me. To help become more familiar with the camera, I’ve decided to take some photo walks and capture anything that catches my eye. Practice makes perfect, after all.

I walked around Southwest DC, namely the tidal basin and national mall. There’s so much to see and photograph around there. I think I ended up with about 100 photos. Most of them were pretty good, thankfully.

Here are my 10 favorite photos. Which one is your favorite? Do you ever go on photo walks?

 

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My Superpower: Writing

The word writing writing in a rainbow of colors.Writing. The childish fascination of ink flowing unimpeded from the tip of a pen. Forming lines. Curves. Joining together to form letters, words, stories. Color miraculously appearing where previously there was only blank space. Flowing neatly. Arching into a messy scrawl. As much personality as a person, if one only knows how to look.

Keys clicking, recording each tap. An emphatic thump to separate words. Two for paragraphs. Allowing thoughts to be recorded almost as fast as they appear. Effortlessly. Getting lost in descriptions so that one almost forgets having to press the keys.

The simple joy of transmitting thoughts to words. Whether it be pen on paper or fingers on a keyboard. Providing a glimpse, however brief, into the mind. A window into the cogs in motion. Spinning. Churning. Creating life.

It’s a superpower. Being able to call to mind an image using only a handful of simple words. The mind seizes them and is off into a wonderland of imagination. Just letters. Yet capable of sending the reader on an indescribable journey that is over far too soon.

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