The final books in The Blasphemer Series have had their covers approved. Edits on book 3, Ghosts, are almost finished. Book 4, the final, is already being written. A top-secret addition to the series is also being worked on.
As updates occur, updating will happen. I’m very proud of this work and will be sad when the series is finished, BUT that just means I can get all the other ideas pounded out through the keys for all of ya’ll to enjoy, which I’m sure you will.
At some point or another we, writers, will need to travel for work. Whether it’s a book tour, convention, or speaking engagement. It’s just par for the course when you’re writing professionally. Now that I see writers traveling again for work, I thought it was time to share my tips and advice for those that are traveling for work.
Research – How far are you traveling? Learn about the city/cities along your tour. This is beneficial when you look at hotels within a reasonable range to the location the event will be held. This will also help you pack appropriately. If you’re not leaving your city or not traveling very far from home, a lot of these tips may not work for you. You may not have to pack clothing for a few days, may not need to pack toiletries.
If you are going to a city family or friends are in, you may not even need many things like money for a hotel room if they’re willing to take you on for a day or however long you need to be in the area.
If you’re traveling abroad, make sure you know if you have vaccines to enter the country. Also, know if you need electrical adapters. For example, Europe has different electrical outlets than the United States.
Packing Appropriately – This seems self-explanatory, but sometimes we forget while in the prepping stage for a trip. What is appropriate for traveling as a writer? Laptop, cellphone, or anything relating to the event. Are you going to sign your books? You will need a pen. Are you going to also record the event? You will need a recording device. This could be your cellphone, a camera, or even the gear of a podcaster if you’re also doing that. Bring an extension cord, extra-long power cord/surge protector. You may be provided space at a convention, but you will not always be provided cords and extensions for your devices.
Though you are packing for work, don’t forget to pack for yourself. Clothing and a few extras as a ‘just in case’ preparation. When you’re there finally, many things can still happen. A fan could accidentally spill something on you, you will need a backup outfit. Don’t forget your toiletries. I also recommend bringing your favorite coffee (thank me later).
You will also need a table and all that you want to decorate it with. For example, books, book racks, displays, tablecloths, author posters, book posters, serving platters for the merch you may bring, etc. I recommend creating a to-do list and marking off everything as you pack it in bags and pack it into your car. Don’t forget your padlocks! If you need padlocks, make a special keyring with these specific keys on it. If you’ve done your research well, you will also know what else you will need to pack, like adapters, or where you can get your petty cash converted into local currency.
Books – When I started out, I did not know how many books or products to pack. The best advice I ever got and continue to listen to is the number of books. If you’re expecting a large crowd at your booth, which can happen with advertising of your location at an event, bring more. It is better to have more than too little. If you’re worried about running out or do, make sure you have a way for readers to pay through a device like Stripe.
The laptop that you bring can also be used if you’re willing to allow people to pay, say, via Amazon. Make sure you clear and log out all information after every guest uses your device to protect their privacy. They’re trusting you and you should respect that.
If you have a series of books, always bring double or triple the amount of the first novel of the series and a smaller amount of the rest. For example, Book one pack fifty. Book two – four pack twenty to thirty. You will always sell the first of a series, but not everyone wants the rest until after they’ve read that first book.
With the above tip about book series, take that also into account for one-off novels. Bring the amount you would for the first book of a series. Think of every book as its own business. With that mindset, you will bring all the goodies for each book or each series. This is where all the merch comes into play and those insta-pleasers freebies (like candy with your brand on it also a big-time pleaser is totes and bags. People at conventions always need more ways to carry their haul. If it has your brand or book all over, it as they move around the convention, they’re also passively advertising for you.).
Security – Above I mentioned padlocks. Always have bins or luggage you can lock. Though conventions and big events can be fun, there is always the looming risk of theft. Some places will allow you to put your totes under your table to hide them, but it’s usually best to pack and unpack if your goods are in a small batch. This means if you aren’t erecting large racks for clothing or shelving for products, pack, haul with you, and unpack.
This can be extra to some, but it is better than investing x-amount of money into your goods, merch, products, and having them swiped on you. Sadly, it happens. Desperate people will do desperate things when wanting to make a quick buck.
Bring helpers if you can. Sometimes you just must do things for yourself, it can be hard, but all of us have done the lonesome walk of working without help. I recommend bringing someone or more to help. I have a bad back that has flare-ups from time to time, so I always bring someone with me just in case I cannot lift something on my own (totes of books are super heavy).
This is also helpful in that more eyes can see more things going on. If you’re occupied at one end of your table, you may not see someone waiting at the edge. More people can help with customer service. Helpers can also bring the risk of theft lower. Someone will be less likely to steal from you if there are too many people in their way or could see them doing things.
Table Kits – I do not know if any other author does ‘table kits’, but I do. A table kit is basically everything I’m going to use on my table at an event. From the labels to the standing displays advertising my being there. I research one tote as a ‘table kit’, bag, or tote devoted to electrical and extras I may need, and however many I need for books. I also will have luggage for clothing, hotel must-haves, like my favorite coffee or toiletries.
Whether you’re using sticky labels or displays with prices, I recommend labeling all. It will help them, the guest, look if you’re busy. Small displays explaining things like a book genre are very helpful to a customer that may want a quick glance. Have thrillers? A guest may like comedy and seeing a thriller label will help them tell if you’re a writer that they may want to invest in. Also, good also to have something dedicated to your social media if it is not on bigger staples like standing author banners.
Petty Cash – For those paying in cash, it’s best to have a safe place to put your income and for any change to exchange. I suggest a minimum of twenty or thirty. Your lockbox should always remain on you or a helper.
If you want more advice, or have questions, just comment. I don’t know how to help you if you don’t ask!
Witches, angels, and reincarnation? The series I’ve been publishing the last several years has a wide range of subjects, creatures, and topics discussed and even merely mentioned, but what are the origins? Where did I find inspiration to create the world that became The Blasphemer Series? There will be a new series here on the website covering and diving deep underground into the research that went into my writing of these hauntingly beautiful tales and together we will discover where I kept true to the lore, where I went into my creativity to create something new, and even why I wrote the things the way I did on a deeper more investigative level. Did any of my creative writing predict outcomes in the world? You’d be surprised!
This series will cover the following creatures and lores:
This is a new specialized blog series starting March 12th, 2021.
She is a writer, an editor, and over all great human being. She has managed to find a balance with her busy schedule and even managed to give me some of her time. Thanks to her finding the time I then took this to prod and ask her several questions. Some about her daily life and some about her work, this was definitely an interesting experience for myself.
As the head editor for Three Furies Press, how do you manage your day-to-day schedule?
It is a bit of a struggle for me to be super organized. I get hyper-focused and fixated on things, and sometimes my brain is a bit of a jumble. I do have a planner that I try to use, but it’s often more times than not pushed to the side. So at the beginning of each Sunday, I figure out what I need to work on for the week. And sort of what I will be working on each day of that week. I often work on two or more projects at once, so I can jump between editing different stories and/or writing (since I’m an author as well), and then my mind stays a little fresher while I’m working, and I feel I can work for longer. I also employ the pomodoro technique for writing especially. Where you work for twenty minutes hard and fast, then take a 5 or 10 minute break, then work again. After working for an hour, you can take a thirty minute to a 45 minute break. Repeat as much as you need to.
I find it so interesting to learn how people get started in the publishing industry, how did you get started?
Well here I will tell you the full story. I have been writing since the day after I learned how to write. I learned and thought to myself, “what’s next?” And then I realized I could write a story. I never stopped after that. When I got to college and realized I could major in Creative Writing, I knew then that I wanted to be an author. So my writing career began.
As far as editing there were a couple of factors that came together. One was being the daughter of immigrants, specifically being second generation Asian American. English was very important and it had to be perfect, no matter what. It was instilled in me every time someone made fun of my mother’s accent or my sister forgot a comma. I had to have perfect English at school, there was no getting around that. And I got especially good at grammar. Then when I was in college, I started to tutor International students. Teaching them grammar only made my own understanding of it stronger and stronger. Then I got my dream job as a Writing Consultant at the Michigan State University Writing Center. And I began my love affair with helping others polish up and perfect their writing. Or learn what to write in the first place. So began also my editing career.
Out of college, I had one major goal, and that was to get published. But I started working with a small publisher doing a column for them. More and more responsibilities got handed to me or I took on until I was on the board of that publishing house. When it was time for it to come to an end, two of my colleagues and I decided to form a new partnership, taking what we had learned and done, and started our own small publishing house, Three Furies Press. And so another dream came true. One I didn’t even know I had until it was possible.
You’re not just an editor, but you also do marketing, what would you prefer marketing or editing?
I definitely prefer editing (as long as it’s not my own stories) for a couple of reasons. One, is that I get to work with other people in editing their stories, even though I get the peace of doing the actual work on my own. I get to have conversations with people about their stories and their choices versus what I would choose. It’s fascinating and oh so satisfying to polish up a story and make it shine for the author. Two, I am not a natural born marketer. So it is not something that makes me jump for joy. But it is important, so I learn about marketing, and I do my best.
With so much going on work-wise, what do you do in your downtime?
I need to unwind, so daily baths are a thing. But I usually spend a couple of hours watching something interesting on Netflix or a movie, it’s a way to consume media to feed the idea making machine in the brain. I also sometimes crochet while I consume media as a way to unwind but keep my hands busy and work out some of the restlessness. These days I am trying to finish a novel, so I don’t have a ton of free time. Otherwise, I read or play my ukelele.
Career-wise, what’s something you’ve not done, but would love to?
I would love to learn how to make good graphics. I think it is sadly not in the cards, however.
So many in the industry struggle with family not supporting them, is this something you have to deal with as well?
My family, especially my sissy, is very supportive of my writing. Sissy reads everything I write, even the bad short stories, and then goes to every event with me as my handler and helps me with scheduling. She’s my cheerleader and is always finding opportunities for me to promote. It’s amazing to have her support.
Tell us more about your books, please.
I usually write YA urban fantasy. So my Angelborn series are about the warrior descendants of the angel Grace, given a mandate to father children so that he and his descendants can protect humans from demonkind. Ginny thinks she’s just a normal teen until she gets a strange bruise that just won’t heal and starts having bizarre dreams. Turns out she’s not just angelborn, she is half-angel, and she’s the target of a powerful half-demon. She has to learn to keep herself and her loved ones safe while dealing with this new secret world she’s expected to be a part of.
What was your favorite part of the process? Character development? World building?
My favorite thing is characters. I love developing them, getting to know them, showing them off in my stories. and writing their adventures, and then it kills me to say goodbye to them. So definitely characters are my favorite part of the whole process.
Are you a planner or pantser?
I’m a plantser, a little bit of both. I started out as a pure pantser, and I never finished anything, since I never knew what was happening next. So I changed my method and started loose outlining. And then I turned to scene lists. And now I change my method each time to do as much, or as little, plotting as I need to to get started on my book and keep going. I highly recommend scene lists, as you can make them as loose or as detailed as necessary. So to write a scene you need to do a couple things. One, write the action that happens. Tom meets Daisy. Two, write the reaction that action causes. Jenny gets jealous and bullies Daisy. Three is optional, write down your goals for the scene (introduce weapon, plot device, foreshadow ending, etc.).
Do you plan on publishing any more books?
Yes, I am working on a new series in the same universe as Angelborn, but with a new generation of characters. So look forward to meeting Bree and her friends and her not friends, starting September 2020 with the Half Blood Alliance.
What’s something readers may not know about you?
The Half Blood Alliance is actually an own voices story as I am Korean (technically a halfie like Bree is).
Quick Bio and Links
JK Allen wrote her first story when she first learned how to write and hasn’t looked back since. Common writing themes that can be found in her work address identity, everyday magic, and the type of strength that can be found in ordinary people. She is the author of the Angelborn series and is currently working on a new series in the same universe, but with a new generation of characters. Her reading tastes are as varied as the genres she enjoys writing, from Jane Austen to J.K. Rowling. When she’s not writing, you can find her painting, drawing, or lost in another world between the pages of a book. Or on Facebook.
Fantasy. The word used to make me cringe. For most of my life I avoided the genre as much as I could. I had these preconceived notions that fantasy was boring, long, and intimidating with a complex magic and society system that would go so far over my head that it may as well have been the moon. It wasn’t until my ex-boyfriend pushed me into joining a Dungeons and Dragons session that I started to change my mind.
Now that session was awful. I hated almost every minute of it. The rules were insane to try and follow. The character limitations sucked. The story was just as boring as I had thought it would be from the start. But my aunt pushed me to give the game another try. To create my own world free of everything that aggravated me the first time and make it something worth looking forward to. I became the dungeon master and I broke most of the rules, obliterated most of the limitations, and went purely by what was the most entertaining to watch unfold.
My players were encouraged to do crazy, outlandish things that should be impossible to do. This campaign went on for two years, and it was most fun I had playing a table top game. We didn’t take the books seriously, we made everything up as we went, and it was beautiful.So, when the opportunity arose to write within the fantasy genre, I decided to give it a shot.
I was going to craft my story with different elements from my D&D campaigns and make it more comical then intense. It was a blast, and within three weeks the bones for Becoming A Hero were laid out. The story follows a man who sells pots and pans for a living with his pet donkey. He falls into a lost kingdom which is cursed by an evil king to hold everyone within the land hostage to his will. My hero has the chance to run away but decides to fight for what was right- not what was easy instead.
I hope, through my work, others find out what I did. Fantasy can be everything, or nothing short, long, easy, complicated, stereotypes and their counterpart. Break free from any preconceived notions and let this amazing genre take you to a beautiful new world.
Fantasy is what you want it to be, so make it fun.
May 21st, 2020 the re-release of The Blasphemer Series is happening with the release of book one, Maxwell Demon. I’m thrilled that this is coming out again. This series of mine has been a product of many years and seems to be the underdog that never gives up.
The ups and downs I’ve had just getting this series out would be more than enough to make any author give up. From narrators becoming ill to them no longer wanting to take part in the audio book process. I’ve struggled to write the books and even struggled finding the right way to present them to readers with beautiful formatting, first by myself and then by staff of Three Furies Press, my publisher. Whatever has knocked my little series down has only encouraged me to pick back up and keep going with them.
Why? Why not give up? Maybe it’s my stubbornness or perhaps its my passion for this project. I really truly believe that others will enjoy the books as much as I’ve enjoyed researching and writing them. With all of that said, I have learned some things while writing the series.
The series isn’t complete yet, but 2020 will bring you both book one, Maxwell Demon, and book two, Harvest later this year.
What have I learned?
I have learned that I still love my characters and the books I’ve written.
This is the series that with simple character development as a kid, as a result I can relate the most to the characters int his series.
I have learned giving up really isn’t apart of who I am as a person.
Self-care is so very important. This includes standing up for myself and what I want with my own work.
With the compliments I’ve gotten over my ‘battle scenes’ I learned that I may be alright at it. These were the scenes I worried the most about written throughout all the books.
Anne Rice’s advice I came across long ago is true. I wrote what I loved and found readers along the way.
I wrote this morning getting the top count and after handling many things because of the upcoming holiday I wrote again and hit the second one today. Breaking up my writing sessions throughout this entire event has helped me many times. ‘Winner’ just means I hit the word count goal and not that the story is finished, The Saint Vampire surely isn’t done, but the ‘winner word count’ was hit and I’m proud of myself for hitting it!
This pass week wasn’t as bad, continued pushing myself to get large word counts, and on some days I couldn’t. With the holiday coming up my mind was elsewhere, but competing with myself to get back to the grind wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I kept thinking to myself that I could do this.
I’m still giving myself the credit I usually wouldn’t have and taking pride in being able to ink out just a few lines. I’m taking my under a thousand word counts as progress, as I should and pushing away any negative thoughts. I’m doing good and I’m excited knowing that I’ll be done with the fifty thousand word count soon.
I’m not sure what my final week of writing will show be daily with the holiday getting closer and closer and I have a house to prepare and clean before family gets here, but I have help!
Wanting to push myself to be stronger for week two I and fighting a cold that came back with revenge all I’ve done is nano writing and trying to get better before the holiday hits. I’m pretty proud of myself this week. There’s not much to update as far as the word count.
I am liking the way it keeps up with everything for me at the website. I am also liking the way my story is going. I can feel that this challenge is encouraging me more than making it feel like a competition against other writers to ‘get done first’.
My goal with this was to write daily and so far that is happening. I’m going back and fixing things, which I know is slowing me down, but the errors are bothering me when I try to push forward ignoring them.