JP is a great guy and has one of the most fantastic names you could hope for, well, I guess unless you’re an author and wanting people to find you. But he uses that as an advantage and it fits his style.
In this week’s episode, JP talks about his writing journey – where he started, where he’s at, and where he’s headed. Most of this involves other writers and community – something we discuss in more detail in part B.
JP not only is writing serial fiction in Kindle Vella, but has started a podcast about that – The Serial Fiction Show.
Toad Hall Bookstore – https://toadhallonline.com/
[00:01:48] Stephen: all right. Welcome to episode 90. One of discovered wordsmiths, and one of those voices you just heard talking about the serial fiction show is JP, who is our guest on today’s podcast. [00:02:00] I met JP through J thorns, uh, author success mastermind group. And I’ve known JP going on two years now. I believe we’ve had some good times.
He’s a great guy, funny, and I really wanted to get him on the show because he’s unique. He uses taro to help do his writing. He’s. Uh, has written some dark fantasy. He’s written a lot with other people. So he’s got some unique insights into writing and thoughts and how to do things. And besides he’s got one of the best names I think I’ve ever heard.
So sit back and enjoy this episode with JP. Alright, JP. Yeah. Party time. Hi. Thanks for being on the podcast. How you doing today? Uh, not too bad, you know, considering it’s beginning of November. So. Yeah, I like this season.
[00:02:56] JP: I generally do too up until about January [00:03:00] or February, then it’s too cold.
[00:03:01] Stephen: Oh. I used to not care.
And then I got old and it makes a big difference
[00:03:08] JP: ever since the minus. Outside. Yeah. Broke me. I’m just like not done with you winter.
[00:03:14] Stephen: Oh yeah. Just wait to you get up another five, 10 years. And suddenly everything changes JV. We’re just chatting. We’ve talked for about a year and a half now on Jay’s mastermind, but everybody else listening probably doesn’t know anything about you.
Tell us a little bit about yourself besides. Besides
[00:03:31] JP: writing this side. Yeah. I’m JP. I have a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and I took the science route in life and I worked in quality ever since I graduated college all the way up into working for a radio nuclear isotope, injectable plant, which is really fun to say.
But yeah, I love science. I love video games because of course I do. And a big movie buff. So that’s, I guess. In a nutshell.
[00:03:59] Stephen: Okay. [00:04:00] Well, let’s see a current movie and video
[00:04:02] JP: game. Okay. We’re halfway through doing, because my partner can’t seem to finish a movie. One
[00:04:09] Stephen: third of the whole thing too.
[00:04:11] JP: It’s really fun to watch.
Cause I remember reading it and then also watching the nineties mini series on Saifai. And so it’s fun seeing all the correlations between everything.
[00:04:22] Stephen: What’s your current video game.
[00:04:25] JP: What kind of video? And, uh, I just started playing this weird game called the last stop. I really like weird indie games and I also, the telltale S choose your own adventure games.
So this one really hit all the buttons. It’s a little odd, not the best game. Yeah.
[00:04:42] Stephen: If you like those types of games, you listen, I’ve got two episodes coming up with some guys that actually worked on those telltale games, the walking dead and Batman and stuff.
[00:04:53] JP: But I’m very excited
[00:04:54] Stephen: for that. Yeah, it was a great talk.
I got all fanboy on them. So we forgot to talk about the [00:05:00] books on the one guy and had the call back and say, okay, let’s talk about books. Tell us I didn’t have a reason for asking this. Tell us what your day job is at the moment.
[00:05:10] JP: I work for a very international food distribution company that you probably don’t know their name, but 90% of the food in your pantry is from us in one shape or another.
And all the fast food restaurants and everything. But I implement software, which is very strange and not at all what biochemists do anymore. So I don’t know how I got there, but that,
and if I recall this, isn’t the same job you started the year with. And. Did you have something else?
[00:05:46] Stephen: What prompted that change?
Author stuff here already. I don’t know
[00:05:51] JP: what direction you’re leaning
[00:05:55] Stephen: a little bounce around the Bush. You talked about how you changed something with your job, so you could [00:06:00] devote more time to writing.
[00:06:03] JP: That happened in 28, I think 2018. So now that I’ve caught your drift, I was working at that medical radio isotope company, which was a startup. And there’s fun thing about startups.
You don’t work 40 hours a week. You generally work like 60, 80. I couldn’t do that. I really wanted to write it was, uh, the thing I really wanted to give time to, and I’m not a person that can do. 60 80 hours a week to the day job and do writing. So I made the choice with a minor pay cut to go to a different company.
And one day. I’m not going to say was respectful to time, but was more balanced with that life work-life balance. And it has been relatively nice to me. It’s been a good transition period in getting me closer to what I want to
[00:06:56] Stephen: do. And I wanted to bring that up because I think [00:07:00] that’s something a lot of people may think about or struggle with.
It’s too scary sometimes. And I think the older you get the worst that can get you start getting house and family and a horse and whatever else. Yeah, you do. Like, I don’t want to do that. So I think that’s encouraging to hear, because a lot of the people who see the podcast are authors who hope to get a book out.
And sometimes we question
[00:07:24] JP: definitely. And I think that there was a level of comfort with money that I had to. To deal with, because I could keep going the route I wanted to go. I was on the manager path that you’re talking like I was going to be making six figures probably by the end of that year. And I said, no.
And in the Midwest, so in the Midwest, making six figures is pretty, pretty top tier I would consider. And I said no to that because I was making a comfortable amount of money. I was willing to take a minor pay cut in order to give myself time.
[00:07:58] Stephen: And I love that. I’ve [00:08:00] wanted to make sure we covered that before.
I forgot other people heard it. So you have had more time to write, which means we have some things to talk about. So let’s talk about some of that writing and you’ve had several changes and choices this year. You’ve had a lot going on, uh, this year. So tell us a bit about your writing projects and some of the other things you do associated with your writing.
[00:08:22] JP: Yeah. So this is like a crazy story. I’m going to have to do a T knee minor time jump and go back to 2019. When I was in that transition period, and I had gone to rock Kapok, which is a writing a world-building event led by J thorn and Zach Bohannan. And at that event was the moment that I really, I found my author community.
And I really felt this like exponential growth moment when I was finally like around other authors that really wanted to pursue this as a career. And I wasn’t really held up in this nutshell of being like, just writing on my own and trying to figure it out [00:09:00] so that. 2019 moment has led to several short stories.
It’s led to finding a coauthor in a six book series that I’m still working on, but we are on like before. So by still working on it, I’m like we’re making some pretty decent progress. And I have released a Vela with the wonderful dialogue. Dr. Jeff
[00:09:19] Stephen: Elkins. You also started a podcast with Christine. Yes,
[00:09:24] JP: I did.
But oddly enough, I have two podcasts and oddly enough, right away podcast, Chris. 10 10 ish episodes out. And she realized that she wanted people to know who she was, and she didn’t want that to be an awkward, like her having that conversation to her audience as to who I am. She wanted that interview. And so it just so happened that I was like, I’ll interview you.
And we really clicked. And after that, we ended up being, she invited me on to be a cohost and then. Shortly after that a serial fiction show, which arose after the announcement of [00:10:00] Vela, Christine Daigle. She realized that there was a missed opportunity with podcasts and short fiction involving like serialized fiction.
And she was like, Hey, I want to do this podcast. And she was like, you want to be my cohost? I was like, absolutely. So those are the podcasts.
[00:10:19] Stephen: And we’ll put some links in the show notes, uh, for anyone that would care to go check those out. That’d be cool. So you were talking about a series that you’ve been working on with Abe are the first couple out, or are you waiting until you get them?
[00:10:33] JP: We are waiting until books. One, two, and three are through all of the processes. So right now one has been beta red and we’ve got notes on that too. We’ve had. The diagnostic edits, and we’re going through editing that before it goes to beta and then three I’m currently editing and he is drafting book four, after he’s done drafting it, we’re going to really focus on one, two and three.
And we plan on starting to release that [00:11:00] quarter one of next year with the plan that books one, two, and three are going to be as ready as we can make them to release those in. Type of a rapid quote-unquote rapid release structure, and then we’re going to focus on,
[00:11:15] Stephen: okay, so you get the first three out quickly and then the next three will be a little more spaced.
So hopefully people jump on it. What, tell us a little bit about that series because actually by the time this goes live, it’ll probably be just about out
[00:11:30] JP: fine. It is a dark. Young adult fantasy. And that was a mouthful. I had to think of the right terms, but basically it has this really cool. Deep dive into Kabbalah mysticism from the viewpoint of Abe, who is, I’m a practicing Jew and myself who I’m a little bit more culty.
So we were able to approach the same concept through different viewpoints. And we developed this really fun magic system based off of it. [00:12:00] But you’re talking like that magic school, secret government agency kind of stuff with demons. And it’s, it’s a fun ride. I can’t wait until we have something more out that I can well-defined.
[00:12:14] Stephen: Okay, nice. So we’ll have to look for it and I can add a link to in the show notes. Now you do have a process of writing or you have a technique you use for some of your writing that a lot of people find very unique. Well, tell us about that. You’re talking
[00:12:32] JP: three-story method. Yes. I love using tarot cards.
Cause it brings an aspect of chaos or like that alternative thought into the process. I, for one, I’m really weird about structure. And sometimes I know that I, if I just sat down without using tarot cards, that I could come up with probably the same story over and over again. But by using terrible cards in key points, like choices that the character makes or [00:13:00] other aspects or events that happens to the character, I’m bringing that moments of chaos into writing that leads to a different path than it would have taken if I had just written it.
So I personally. And I’m like, keep promoting this. I promote it. Like everywhere I go. I personally love 5 cent taro by Madam Clara, because for writers, this is you’re like in and out taro cards and I’m going to show it for if there is a post on YouTube, but there is on the tarot cards, little suggestions as to what that means.
As a writer, this is perfect because it tells me three things about this card in whichever position. So I’ve pulled like the six of needles. I have the words of passage moving on and healing. I can use those words to think up while I’m writing a scene. How does that impact the scene? How are those key words without having to look into a booklet?
I can tell you. Sure. I don’t have the words on them looking up booklet. It takes time. So pipes and taro, Madam Clara. That’s
[00:13:59] Stephen: nice. [00:14:00] And you’ve, you mentioned three story about that. I know you’ve used that in conjunction with that. So we’ll get your conflict choice and consequence. You use taro cards for each one of those.
How does that work out for you?
[00:14:15] JP: What it does is it gets me out of that brain space. And it helps me think through the process. So I’ll pull the three cards, uh, for complex choice of consequence, and I’ll try to correlate it to like where the character would be within the story. I’m trying to interpret what I want the scene to look like versus what these key words are.
Kind of like giving me for the scene. Sometimes I don’t listen to them as a writer when a card does not work when you’re like, okay, that’s great. But I need like a murder scene and I can’t have like, Bunnies and it, that just doesn’t work for this moment, but a lot of the time the cards, they, I mean, it’s all about your perception, your interpretation.
It’s really just a reflection on like your own internalization of what these words mean. So it’s not like some mystical outside force, but by [00:15:00] doing that, you get this a way of forcing your current mindset out of the way to get that, that different perspective. Like how could I chip and change the scene to be a little different than I would have normally.
[00:15:13] Stephen: Nice. So besides you and Jimmy, that’s two of the most interesting author discussions, I think different ways of doing it. So I love that. I appreciate it. Now let’s talk about your Villa. That is something that is out, that people can actually go to right now. Tell us about your Velez.
[00:15:30] JP: Yes. So nerds and it’s called nerds national recently deceased to services.
So a little backstory here. When I started serial fiction show, we reached out to certain authors that we figured would be doing a Vela. And we wanted to be like, Hey, are you doing one? Cause we’re going on this show. And I reached out to Jeff Elkins and he was like, I’m not, you want to do one together.
And I was like, oh no, because of course I’m someone who says yes to a lot of things and I was not going to pass up that opportunity. So we got to talking and [00:16:00] we developed the nerds and it’s a government agency can see a theme here. And it’s a government agency who deals with the transition of the recently deceased into the afterlife.
Uh, and they also deal with hauntings. So really our tagline is the office meets Ghostbusters. And if that trips your trigger, that’s what we’re going for. It’s supposed to be funny. It’s supposed to be like a lighthearted ride. We do talk about themes of death, but through that perspective and that lens of comedy to try and lessen or lighten the blow
[00:16:30] Stephen: and how have things been going with Vela as far as readership by getting it out
[00:16:36] JP: from what I have seen in the people I’ve been talking to, it’s been going well now the Vela community, like we have discords and I’m like on Instagram, we all follow each other.
The author community is like thriving and it’s really. People are promoting each other. And it’s just this really nice communal feeling. Personally, I think that nursing is doing fairly well. [00:17:00] A significant amount of reads our launch day. And then through October, like we sustained a good amount of those reads and we can see those on a daily basis if you’re like me and you can’t stop, but it was decent to see that yes, there is a response to this and that we do have a decent amount of readers and there’s.
Frowning system. And we currently have a crown, which means that we’re within the top two 50 of all of the villas. And there are several thousand of them. I would say, personally, I think nerds is doing well. I really like it personally. And that’s a good thing cause I helped write.
[00:17:31] Stephen: Good. So why did you choose that particular topic and that with the government agency and the paranormal and all that, why choose that?
Not fantasy or something?
[00:17:44] JP: Jeff had a short story that really reflects the episode two of nerds. And ultimately he talks a couple of short story ideas to me. He said, Hey, here’s where my head’s at. Here are some things that would be cool in this serialized form. And that one [00:18:00] struck a bell with me because I’ve always wanted to write that sort of modern day.
Secret government agency, you’re talking like fringe adjustment bureau, even, but that aren’t men and black as well, but that like undertone of something is off with the world. And you’re able to view from that lens, that government and. Yeah. I don’t know like that, that just really intrigued me. So I basically took his short story idea.
We talked through it and we expanded it into a bigger world that we really are excited to explore.
[00:18:37] Stephen: Nice. And you mentioned office and Ghostbusters. It sounds almost like a little X-Files in there, maybe some fringe, but that type of thing.
[00:18:45] JP: Yeah. So for the comedy aspect, we were really focusing on the office and Brooklyn nine, nine, and then for the, the supernatural, you know, Ghostbusters of course, but fringe, I would say, and right now we’re focused on ghosts and on [00:19:00] hauntings, but at no point do we suggest that’s the only thing that’s wrong with this world.
So there’s definitely room for more oddities as we go along that we’ll all like into a more X-Files.
[00:19:13] Stephen: Nice. Nice. Okay. And what is the feedback you’re getting from readers?
[00:19:19] JP: They have been enjoying it. So there hasn’t been a ton of like direct comments, especially because the Vela system doesn’t have a commenting section.
However, there we’ve gotten a few messages. People have said that they’ve really enjoyed reading it, nothing that has directed, like what people would like to see more of, which is something that. This is the part of serialized fiction that I really like, especially on things like Wattpad, where you have that direct communication with your readers and they can almost drive the narrative based off of what they’re interested in, if you let them.
And I really want a little bit more of that. So I’m hoping that in the future, maybe in an update and Vela they’ll offer that as like an option for commenting. [00:20:00] But right now we see it through liking and they follow us on our JT Blakely, Instagram. As a side note, if you’re on Vela and you do a coauthor, you have to have a, like a one name.
So we made up one we’re very open about that, but it was just, we were restricted by Velez rules. So JT Blakely is the name. And we encourage people through these author notes, which are at the bottom of each of these. And we encourage them to go onto Instagram and Twitter and let us know what other thoughts.
And like I said, we’ve just been getting positive feedback to people liking it, but nothing that’s really directed the narrative.
[00:20:37] Stephen: Okay. And I’m assuming if you had a choice, you’d want this to be a TV show rather than a movie.
[00:20:44] JP: Absolutely. So it’s in the, it’s in the comedy sit-com platform. That’s really what we’re trying to emulate with it.
You get your weekly episode of nerds in, it’s like watching an episode of Brooklyn nine, nine, or the office, but that’s the field that we want for our readers.
[00:20:59] Stephen: Okay. Nice. [00:21:00] Give us a couple more questions then we’ll talk some more author stuff. Where can we obviously Vela? Where are you going to release?
Book series. And do you have a website tell us those types of things?
[00:21:12] JP: Yeah. The nerd series, we also have on a website called fiction eight to dot M E it’s, mainly for international readers, which we have a couple because Vela is currently limited to U S customers. So because of that, we wanted to make sure that there was another platform.
So we checked all the rules and fiction checked all those boxes. So we have it up there as well for international. And then for these six books series, Abe and I, we are. Going the route of Kindle unlimited for the moment based off of different discussions with different authors who highly recommend it.
And so they are authors that we trust and we are going to go with that route of releasing it and Kindle unlimited, testing it out there, and then we’ll go from there. As for like where you could find the releases. I have a website, JP flourish, I [00:22:00] x.com. If you go into Google and you just type in J P space, R I N D I’m pretty sure I’m the first one that will show up.
So you’re fine. Otherwise it’s R I N D F L E I S.
[00:22:12] Stephen: And if anything, just ignore numbers one through eight, go look for number nine.
[00:22:19] JP: And that is because I am the ninth,
[00:22:23] Stephen: which I always thought was great. So. Uh, it just it’s because my name’s always been hard to spell and I’ve been a lot of friends and stuff.
And I just imagine yours a difficult people misspell it and mispronounce it all the time. So I honestly. I met you. I thought it was your author pseudonym. And I’m like, that’s a really cool name. I can’t think of anything that good. You didn’t have to think of it just given to you.
[00:22:55] JP: And there’s so much irony to it.
So originally I was going to be a JP jug. [00:23:00] And I had actually released a short story under that name. And then I realized that there was an author in the CII universe. I had a few books out, but he was a scifi author. And I was like, oh, if I ever dip my toes into scifi, I don’t want to blend over
[00:23:13] Stephen: Douglas
[00:23:13] JP: actually Douglas.
So then I reverted back to my original name and there’s some irony there. It means ground meat, which makes me laugh, especially because I don’t eat meat. So it always makes people laugh whenever they see the name of. Like on conferences that I’ve gone to, where they have like dinner plans, I felt like vegetarian or vegan.
And they’re just like, is this a joke? And I’m like, no,
[00:23:37] Stephen: that’s pretty awesome. This series that’s coming out soon. Probably really soon after this episode, tell people why they should go get it when it comes.
[00:23:47] JP: Man, if you want something that is urban fantasy, but with darker themes and something that just is a little bit deeper, it holds that kind of theological [00:24:00] questioning.
And we definitely dive into aspects of what is humanity and those kinds of really deep questions. But in a young adult, urban fantasy setting, like that’s the kind of stuff that I love to read. I highly recommend it because it’s fun. I really love exploring the creepy and dark and strange. My, my tagline is that I’m the curator of things.
Dark, strange, and queer. And. Definitely feel like most of those aspects hit this. And I just really like it. Maybe it’s a little self-centered to say that you like everything that you write, but I feel like sometimes there are some things I’ve written where I’m like, oh, I don’t like this. I love this story.
It’s just, it has a lot of heart to it. There’s a lot of heartbreak in it. And there’s just something about it that I don’t want to let it go in one aspect. So I’m really excited for people to see it.
[00:24:51] Stephen: Great. Cool. Thanks for telling us about the books. I’ll make sure we have some links. Uh, it’s great talking about it.