I will get a blog post in before it’s not Wednesday anymore.
I will get the article that I should have written MONTHS and MONTHS ago written, becuase I shouldn’t have had someone ask me for it (FINALLY). So that’s happening this week. Darn it.
Still waiting for anthology submissions – might have to extend the deadline on that one. We’ll see. We could get an avalanche of subs between Christmas and New Year.
Really am trying to figure everything out – get everything done – and to be back on track. It’s been way too long and way to “excuse-y”. Time to change the language. Change the mindset.
The one thing I can’t quite change is the fact that pollen and allergens have been off the charts these last couple of months – so there’s been some medication muddling. But I’ve written some amazing stuff while on allergy meds in the past (some good, some amazingly BAD) but that’s something I need to remember.
Even muddled, I can produce. What I produce doesn’t have to be GOOD. What’s not GOOD can either be “fixed in post” or trashed as long as I DO STUFF. And this “excuse-y” mindset of “Oh, vacation is in just a week or so. I’ll get back on track THEN.” Noooooooo. Bad Procrastination! No biscuit. Not going to let that happen any more. Vacation is just a little over a week away, but I have plenty to do before then. So let’s get to it.
First things first. Article deadline.
Yes, it’s another re-run post. Yes, it’s a day late I will get better at managing my time on Mondays. Promise. Yesterday got away from me. MONDAYS, whatcha gonna do? Grr. Truly hoping for this year to end strong and allow for a more…productive 2018.
Okay, so I know Office Max and Office Depot are technically the same thing, but I still think of them separately. Though, it’s getting harder. There’s one line that still exists in the Office Max Universe – the TUL pen line. Which makes me happy this holiday season, because I like their 0.5mm retractable pens. And for the next month, I’ll be exclusively working in RED and GREEN… because fa lalalalala.
The TUL retractable pens are about 5.75″ long with the tip retracted and extended. The barrels are plastic with color coordinated dimpled rubber grips. The clips are metal and sturdy with color coordinating accents. The plunger is clear plastic with color coordinating plugs in side. There’s not a ton of squish in the grip, but they’re pretty comfortable.
The ink is decent. I’ve actually had these for a while, and they still work well, even on the rough handmade paper. The color is rich and smooth, especially for a 0.5mm. I’ve enjoyed working with these pens off and on for a while now. I’m kind of surprised I haven’t reviewed them before. But I looked, and lo, behold!
I’m more impressed with the green. Green is hard to get a good dark line in finer points, but these TULs do a good job. I think you may still be able to get smaller packages than a dozen in the multiple colors, but even if you can’t the 12 pack in multiple colors are still pretty affordable.
These are good utility pens. Solid mechanisms with good ink for a decent price. You can go pretty far with these pens. I’m sticking them in my bag for work pens this month. Along with some Pentel EnerGel Xs and probably others. 😎
1. How does it work? – 1 – These are solid pens. The ink doesn’t skip in the fine point. The ink is dark and rich. It has a good feel.
2. Grip and feel – 1 – It’s a utilitarian pen. Has a nod to ergonomics with the dimpled, rubber grip. It has a good length with decent balance.
3. Material – 1 It’s a solid plastic and metal retractable pen. It’s good for what it is.
4. Overall Design – 1 – It’s solid. It’s utilitarian. It works.
5. Price Point – 0.5 – These run between $1.50 – $2.00 a piece, which make them affordable, but I’m not sure how easy they are going to be to get any more other than online. Since TUL was an Office Max “house brand” I don’t know that Office Depot kept them on. Get them while you can, if you can. Or order them online.
4.5 out of 5 Bronze Pencils
Prompt: Behind the Scenes at the Theater
Words: loneliness, applaud, beg, jogging, memorize, admit, solitude, converse, eternity, marsh
Todd tried to block out the noise and controlled chaos in the wings of the community theater. He was willing to beg for just one moment of solitude before the curtain, but it was way too late for that now.
“Two minutes to curtain! Places!”
The cry from the stage manager seemed like both an instant and an eternity. This was his chance to go from understudy and stage piece to star, and he was strong enough to admit he was terrified. There had been a measure of comfort in the loneliness of the supernumeraries.
“Hey, understudy, don’t screw it up.” A muscle-bound actor shoulder bumped him.
“Stop it, Colton. Can’t you see he’s already freaked? Todd, you’ll do fine. Ignore him. He’s a jerk.”
Todd smiled tightly at his leading lady, Gina Marsh, coming to his defense on her way to her mark. All he had to do, besides stop staring at his Converse Chuck Taylors, was remember all the lines he’d painstakingly tried to memorize without having to rely on his tricky for jogging his memory.
The next two hours went by in a hazy blur. He never could remember what happened. Colton shoulder bumped him again. “I applaud you, man. You stepped up. Now do it again in two hours. That was the dress rehearsal.”
Word Count: 218
I just found out an author near and dear to me is going into hospice because of cancer after losing his lovely wife to a different varietal of this stupid disease. So this post is about the anthology project I’m editing. I have three stories so far for the anthology – one is a very short story I wrote for another cancer survivor friend. The other two are from amazing horror writers (one a multiple award winner/best seller) both came with the subject line “Cancer Can Suck It”. I’m tempted to use that for the title of the anthology. Because this disease can do just that.
To that end… if you want to submit… The only thing I ask is that if you share these, share them personally and not on the wide, wide, web. I’d rather not see these on an open board like Open Call.
Cancer Can Suck It Guidelines:
What we’re looking for – short stories, essays, and/or artwork. We mostly come from a shared Science Fiction/Pop Culture background – but your story or art can be in any genre – just please no fan fiction or fan art. Original work only.
REPRINTS will be accepted – just let us know where it originally ran.
This will be a non-exclusive First Serial Rights.
DEADLINE: December 31, 2017
• Word length – 5,000 words MAXIMUM
• Minimum 12 point font in a standard font like Times New Roman, Courier New, or Arial
• 1 – 1.5″ margins all around, DOUBLE SPACED
• Any genre is fine – but keep it PG/PG-13 if at all possible – no explicit sex or violence, please. It can be sad, silly, light or dark – or any combination.
• Email submissions in .DOC, .DOCX, or .RTF format to email@example.com
• Work that evokes an emotion
• Work that captures a moment in time
• Character and mood
• Unusual approaches to figure, line, and color
• Line art/black and white
No, thank you:
• Gratuitous sexualization
• Common SF tropes like shiny distant cities with huge planets behind them
• Stereotyping, fetishization, or objectification of people
• Email submissions attached as .png or .jpg, not more than 1000×1000 pixels to firstname.lastname@example.org
Any questions, contact Rhonda Eudaly at email@example.com.
This is, indeed, a rerun… but a holiday-ish one. Yesterday got away from me – but this (like most Decembers) is all about the red and green ink. I actually used this one quite a bit today.
The last pen review of 2014… where does the time go? And DUDE who’d’ve thought we’d be here? This is Science Fiction years. But here we are. This last pen for 2014 was something I saw in passing on JetPens and then bought as stocking stuffers for Jimmy and myself. I give you the Pilot V7 Hi-Techpoint roller ball pen.
The Pilot V7 is one of Jimmy’s all-time favorite pens. He has used the red ones for years and years. And though we both prefer the V5, this V7 needed to be explored. I bought the red for Jimmy’s stocking and the green for myself – and should probably get the blue and black. Just for kicks.
This pen has a 0.7mm roller ball point in a needlepoint tip. The barrel and cap are plastic with a view port in the barrel to see ink levels. The barrel and cap color match to the ink. The cap posts fairly securely for plastic. The pen is just over 5.5″ long with the pen capped and just over 6″ with the cap posted.
So what makes this pen different from a typical V7? One, it’s part of the BeGreen line – which means it’s made of 71% recycled materials. Two, it uses a liquid ink instead of a gel or other type of ink. And three, the liquid ink comes in a cartridge, making this V7 refillable. The write up on JetPens says it can be refilled up to 10 times. The refillable aspect ties into the BeGreen line – because you have less waste than a non-refillable, it’s also more economical. The pen itself is affordable – about the same price as the non-refillable, and the 3-packs of ink refills are very affordable.
The ink dries very quickly for a liquid ink. The rollerball is smooth – though I had to prime my point a few times when it didn’t pick up ink right away – which may have been air bubbles in the liquid ink. But the green ink is dark and rich.
The refills are marked for V5 and V7 – which makes me hopeful that there WILL BE a V5 version of this pen. If there is? I’m probably buying two of each color. The V7 is nice, but I’m really looking forward to a V5.
1. How does it work? – 0.5 – It works really well – except for the fact that it did kinda skip on me a couple of times. I was able to prime the ink back into the tip, but it’s enough to nock a bit.
2. Grip and feel – 1 – It’s a good length. There are no ergonomics, but the diameter it comfortable. It’s not bad for an inexpensive plastic pen.
3. Material – 1 – It’s a basic, plastic rollerball pen. The needlepoint feels sturdy so there is that. I don’t feel like I’m going to bend it.
4. Overall Design – 1 – I like it for the classic design with the refillable aspect. That makes it kinda cool and awesome.
5. Price Point – 1 – It’s a good price. The pen itself runs $2.75 on JetPens – which may be a bit more than what you’d pay for a regular V7, but it’s worth it for the cartridge design. The refills are $1.70 for three ink cartridges. If you lose it (or it’s swiped) you’re not out a huge investment, but you can also very economically use it for a very long time.
Prompt: A Support Group Meeting
Words: novelist, fountain, snow, lady, pastoral, communicate, scene, sprout, carve, whisper
Colleen scanned the area, making sure no one saw her approach the fountain. This was no place for a lady or, so she was told. Good thing she was no “lady”. The scene was nearly pastoral with snow gently falling and covering the harsh-edged reality with a patina of innocence.
She pulled in a deep breath and pushed down the fear. She double-checked the address on the scrap of paper, plucked up her courage and stepped through the darkened doorway.
Sickly yellow light carved harsh shadows on cracked tile and stained beige walls. She followed the corridor to the crossroads then followed the whispers. She paused outside the door, hand hovering over the handle. She couldn’t bring herself to take the final step to open it, but she’d come this far. She took the final step.
Heads turned her way as she came in. For a moment she felt like she’d sprouted a second head. She let the thought pass as she joined the circle. At a nod from someone who seemed to be in charge. She swallowed.
“My name is Colleen, and I’m a novelist.”
“Hi, Collen,” the group chorused.
“I have a need to communicate through fiction stories.” Nods of encouragement let her know she was not alone.
Word Count: 210
It’s Wednesday. It’s blog day. My head is in NO kind of game today. There are a variety of reasons, none of them are important. Houseguests are in flux. House is ready (again) for the holidays for the most part. Personal appearances are over for the year.
Stuff needs to get done – and yet, I’m about to add something to my plate. It’s for a good cause, but still really don’t need a new project but here we are.
I’m going to edit an anthology with the proceeds going to The Cancer Support Center of North Texas. I – we all – have known too many people stricken with cancer – friends, family, etc. No one’s going to get paid, but we’ll have a product that can encourage, entertain, and hopefully help out some folks who really need it.
The anthology is currently nameless, but that will change. I’m open to suggestions – though I’m keeping the f-bomb out of it. The anthology will be open but not spread far and wide, if you’re interested, let me know and I can send them to you. The most important parts are “unpaid” (because for charity) and deadline is December 31, 2017 (because momentum and hard deadlines are good) – everything else is pretty fluid.
So, yeah. That’s where I am right now. Yikes and away. Let’s go do some good.
Prompt: A Family-Run Farm
Words: temporary, invent, trust, horse, burst, pulley, signal, dam, punch, chicken
“Don’t you dare say it’s only temporary, or I will punch you right in the face.”
Andrew bit his lip, suppressing laughter until it seemed like his mirth dam would burst. Sarah took that as a signal to walk away. Which she did over to the barn to pull on the rope feeding the pulley system that dumped more hay on the pile. She watched an elderly horse amble over to start munching.
“Too bad we can’t train Trigger to do that himself.” Andrew wiped sweat from his brow with a checkered handkerchief. “Or maybe we can invent a mechanism to automate…”
Sarah shook her head. Trust her brother to dream up high tech ways to do low tech work. He always had big ideas when there were simple chores to be done. She headed to the chicken coop. Though she did give credit to Andrew for the LED lights on the nest boxes that turned on when the hens laid eggs. That came in handy.
Andrew still prattled on about innovations and science and other things Sarah couldn’t follow, but he worked while he talked so she let him. It’s what Dad and Granddad would’ve wanted. Which reminded her to take flowers to the family cemetery when she mowed tomorrow. They were all part of the land now.
Word Count: 221
Written: 8/18/17 & 8/23/17 – this weird delay led into Harvey, so there’ll be a bigger jump in the next one.
This past weekend was Waxacon – a first year comic con in Waxahachie. Waxahachie is a commuter community just south of Dallas that also is the home of Scarborough Renaissance Festival and Screams. I found out about this show at Marvelous Nerd Year’s Eve and was an early adopter. This was my last show of 2017, which is a good thing. I need the next few months of “close to home” to get some stuff done that’s been piling up, as well as get to the “to be written pile”. I need this time. I feel like I’ve been treading water the last couple of months.
So…Waxacon. Waxacon was a “Good News/Bad News” type of show.
Good News – Easy access to the celebrities. The layout was such that the celebrities were in the same room as the rest of us which was a good move on the organizer’s part. I was able to use the line “To find me, go to the Power Rangers and turn around.”
Bad News – It was a first year show in a commuter community, the celebrities were what the organizers could afford (which was a good move), which aren’t the “A-Listers”
Good News – I wrote four pages of a brand new short story inspired by a comment made during the Saturday panel I was on with Steven Brust. A friend of one of the voice actors gave me a couple more elements.
Bad News – I had time on Sunday to write four pages of a short story.
Good News – The folks who were there were willing to spend money.
Bad News – There were very few folks there. Some of the lack of attendance was beyond the organizer’s control – TWO major local events landed on his dates (one promised not to but did, the other he didn’t find out about until the weekend of).
The people who were there were a lot of fun. I named one character of my short story after the two actors across the way from me. (And this weekend I need to watch a Netflix movie because I promised and it sounds hysterical.) Another character is named for the guy who gave me elements. I need to get back to that because, even though it’s four pages of kind of stream of consciousness (first person, so allowable to a degree) it’s pretty good and I want to see where it goes. And also, because of that pesky “Finish Stuff” mantra that plagues me. Though I didn’t need a new project right now, there are so many that need my attention, but I can’t ignore a plot bunny of this magnitude.
I am going to give Waxacon one more year – there was a discount, and the organizers made the right sounds about how to address the issues. I always give a benefit of the doubt. Here’s hoping next time is better.