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[Writer Post] Updatery

Posted by reudaly on July 29, 2015 in Books, Writing |

It’s Wednesday. I’m about to have a bunch of people over for dinner. So, here we go… some semblance of a blog post. Let’s go with “Updatery…”

My book is out – at least in electronic form. The print copy is coming, and now I have the cover up on Amazon. I know of TWO WHOLE copies that have sold. If there are more, yay. But to those two – and to Margaret who’s already reviewed it – THANK YOU!!!! If you feel so compelled, please buy and review. I know most of my friends are waiting for the print version. That’s cool, too. And now the cover shows up! Oh, and apparently the print IS also now available! Score! If you buy the ebook, get it from Amazon. If you order the print online, get it from YardDog, please.

Tarbox Station

Price:

4.0 out of 5 stars (1 customer reviews)

0 used & new available from

ArmadilloCon was great. Good panels. Good audiences. I know there were people there I wanted to see – but didn’t because our paths just never quite crossed. I barely got to speak to J. Kathleen Cheney – and we had a signing together, but she was on the other side of Martha Wells. Michael Ashleigh Finn and I had a joint reading Friday night at 9 pm – EIGHT people showed up. I was very grateful.

This was an oddly scheduled convention for me. I tend to do the early panels (much more of a morning person than a late person). But this convention was not that. I didn’t even start my Saturday of paneling until 2pm – but then went to 11 pm (that 10 pm Comics on TV panel was both fun and hard). Then there was talking with Joe Lansdale and a table full of fun and awesome folks before doing a tour of parties. It was…interesting… not being the one that had to have the alarm set. 😎

ArmadilloCon was also good for one thing… Joe Lansdale flat out asked me if I was still writing regularly. I am – though not always brand new fiction words – with all the editing I’ve had to do and blog posts. But now I’m determined to be BETTER about making sure the writing regularly means new words on top of the other stuff – like the Redheads read through.

Next up on the docket – there’s Christmas play I need to finish. Then I figure out my next project. There are projects needing finishing – both long and short fiction – so we’ll see. But I’m leaning toward the YA fairy tale universe(ish) novel /novelette (depending on how long it comes out), since a story I just sold ties into it…

Fortunately – after tomorrow – the “major” things currently on my calendar this week will be done. We have no plans to leave the house this weekend. Now I need to go cook up a bunch of bacon and sausage for a waffle dinner. Yum…

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[Pen/Pencil Review] Uni-Ball Air Rollerball Multi-Pack

Posted by reudaly on July 27, 2015 in Review, writing instruments |

Last week I had to pick some notebooks up from Staples (they were on serious sale for Back-To-School), and I was sent unattended. Always a danger, because hello, PENS ON SALE! Not only were these on sale, they said “NEW!” Yeah, I had to buy a package of Uni-Ball Air – in the Black, Blue, Red package.
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The Uni-Ball Air promises the ability to write at any angle with a bold line – while being a 0.7mm rollerball. I’ve actually had to look at these again. I played with these all day today and before I left for ArmadilloCon – and I would’ve sworn they were conical fiber tips. It was taking another look at the packaging that made me do a double check. And sure enough… they kinda had me fooled.
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The ink is – as they claim – bold. The ink is rich and dark with minimal smearing if you hit it right after writing. For a 0.7mm, the line is thicker than I would expect with a more “brushed” kind of look and soft point feel that I associate with fiber tips. The ball rolls smoothly with little or no skipping or scratching. Seriously, I was afraid of the tips mushing or feathering – that’s how much I thought the packaging was wrong, but it’s not, because I did a test to write with the side of the cone. Nothing happened. The conical tip is color coordinated with the pen and LOOKS like a fiber tip without being one.
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These pens are a standard stick pen length at 5.5″ long capped and 6.5″ long with the cap posted. The barrel is a little thicker than standard but comfortable holding a huge ink reservoir that looks like you should be able to refill them. The reservoir is pressurized somehow – because I did do the upside down and against a wall writing test. They work at the odd angles. Uni-Ball calls this ink “Super Ink” and is supposed to protect against fading, water, and fraud…so I just ran a wet finger across a scratch piece of paper I wrote on. Nothing happened to the notes I made on the pen.
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This is a pretty nifty design – there’s attention to detail on the barrel. The body has a textured pattern for a sophisticated detail. The tip and grip are molded plastic with a gray plastic detail. The barrels match the ink colors. The grip is a solid molded piece with no ridges until you get to the locking part for the cap. The cap is semi-transparent with a molded plastic clip – which would be the weak link with heavy use.
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Now to the numbers:

1. How does it work?1 This pen works well. The ink flows well and is pretty dark and rich. It lives up to the hype of writing at all angles.
2. Grip and feel0.5 – It’s plastic. Well done plastic but completely plastic. There are some ridges for the cap lock that can dig in.
3. Material1 It’s all plastic but for the most part the detailing and design are pretty nifty. The clip will be the first thing to fail.
4. Overall Design1 – Okay, I like it since it managed to surprise me. The ink and design are well done. I see this as a solid, every day pen.
5. Price Point0.5 – These aren’t going to be cheap. These were on sale at Staples (and are still registering) at $7 for a 3 pack – that’s kind of expensive for a plastic stick pen, but it works as advertised, and if it’s refillable, it could be a solid long term pen. They normally run $9.99 – which is still expensive for this kind of pen.

I give it a 4 out of 5 bronze pencils.
Pencil 4.0

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[Writer Post] Things to Do. People to See

Posted by reudaly on July 22, 2015 in Conventions, writing instruments |

Hello, Wednesday. Let’s try to put together a blog post. It’s one of those weeks of “Things To Do” and “People To See”.

Good News:
1. The eBook version of Tarbox Station is now available! WOO HOO!

Tarbox Station

Price: ---

 


2. I’m part of SF Signal’s Mind Meld this week.
3. ArmadilloCon starts on Friday – and it’s going to be a lot of fun and a lot of work.
4. North Texas Comic Book Show went really well. I was glad to see the increased turn out with the addition of Gigi Edgley and Richard Hatch. Looking forward to seeing what the organizer does to grow the show.

MEH News:
1. I ordered the wrong title of an anthology I’m in for ArmadilloCon – didn’t realize until packing for North Texas. Fortunately Michael Ashleigh Finn will have copies for us to sign at our joint reading Friday night.
2. I went to Office Max to get the spiral bound memo notebooks I use for my promo notebooks. They had the most affordable option – a 12 pack of notebooks for about $9. The switch to Office Depot branded stuff has taken over and now, my notebooks are TWICE as expensive because Office DEPOT only offers 3 packs of notebooks for $4. Working on options now, but might not be available before ArmadilloCon this weekend.

Now to get the housework done before our dogsitter (my nephew, JD) comes to hang out with us tomorrow night. Freya isn’t instant warming up to strangers IMMEDIATELY, so we’re giving him some time to get to know her while we’re here. There’s also packing and some baking to be done.

Things to do! Allons-Y See you at ArmadilloCon this weekend!

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[Pen/Pencil Review] The Optimus Felt Tip 2 Pack

Posted by reudaly on July 20, 2015 in Review, writing instruments |

Last week I hit up a Dollar General for some inexpensive plastic ware to transport cookies to a show. If I’m doing that, I’m also going to hit up the “Back to School” and office supply aisle. Which is where I found this misprinted set, and had to have it – for a $1. The back card and pens are assembled correctly. The face card? Printed upside down.
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I was a little disappointed that the pens came in two sets – green/blue and red/purple. I really, really wanted a red/blue set just for the Optimus Prime joke. But that’s me… These are 5.5″ inches long capped and 6.5″ long with the caps posted.
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There’s nothing overtly special about these pens. They’re light with no ergonomics. The tips seem a little long, which means they could probably fray or worse with hard use. But the color is good. The lines are sharp. But, they do have solid metal clips and the caps post securely.
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Considering these were only a $1, I will cut a lot of slack to a pen. But it’s a pretty decent utility pen if you like felt tips. Or, if you want a decent pen that can lost, stolen, or destroyed during a school year? The price is right.

Now to the numbers:

1. How does it work?1 This pen works well. The ink flows well and is pretty dark and rich.
2. Grip and feel0.5 – It’s a cheap pen. It’s plastic. It has little in regards of grip. There are ridges that can dig in, and it’s a bit long.
3. Material1 This is an inexpensive, plastic pen. It is what it is. It’s a serviceable specialty color gel ink. It’s got some nice detailing.
4. Overall Design0.5 – For what it is, it’s decent, but I feel like the felt tip is too long and can be too easily destroyed..
5. Price Point1 – These are CHEAP. Two for $1. If you need a truly inexpensive writing experience, this is it.

I give it a 4 out of 5 bronze pencils.
Pencil 4.0

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[Conventions] ArmadilloCon 37 Programming

Posted by reudaly on July 17, 2015 in Conventions, Writing |

Come join us for fun and merriment!

ArmadilloCon 37 Programming

Fr2100B Dual Reading
Fri 9:00 PM-10:00 PM Southpark B
Eudaly, Finn

Sa1400D Fannish Feud
Sat 2:00 PM-3:00 PM Ballroom D
Bobo, DeNardo, Duchamp, Eudaly, Kelley, Leicht*, Hollas, Liu, Morrow, Sarath, Wilson
Come see our Fans vs. Pros game show event.

Sa1600DR Autographing
Sat 4:00 PM-5:00 PM Dealers’ Room
Cheney, Eudaly, Finn, Latner, Reed, Webb, Wells

Sa1800A Attracting and Growing an Audience for Your Work
Sat 6:00 PM-7:00 PM Southpark A
Eudaly*, K. M. Hoover, Melton, Picacio, Rose

Sa2200F Comic Books on TV
Sat 10:00 PM-11:00 PM Ballroom F
Bey, Eudaly, Klaw, Lalumiere, Porter*, Rogers

Su1300D Learning from Others’ Mistakes: Writing Errors to Avoid
Sun 1:00 PM-2:00 PM Ballroom D
Burton, Eudaly, Finn*, Latner, Swendson
You don’t have to make every writing error personally. How do you use others’ failures as a way to improve your own work?

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[Writer Post][Spotlight Post] Hello, Pluto, You’re Looking Fine…

Posted by reudaly on July 15, 2015 in Spotlight, Writing |

It’s Wednesday, and it’s a writer blog day, but I’m not really going to write about writing today. Because today, even though I’m a writer – I’m a Big Fat Science Geek – actually this whole week because through the miracles of modern technology I’ve watched us finally get to see Pluto in all its glory.

Yes, on my phone and iPad, I’ve been streaming the media briefings and such going out live from Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab. Friday, I’ll be streaming the next news out of NASA headquarters. Even though I’m not “scientific” I’m excited by the discoveries coming out the preliminary data and pictures. Pictures that are detailed and amazing and evidence of WATER ICE. And to see the New Horizons teams so very, very excited.

A NASA released photo I grabbed from the WSJ. The emotion is beautiful.

A NASA released photo I grabbed from the WSJ. The emotion is beautiful.


Oh, and for the record… I’m firmly…FIRMLY in the PLUTO IS A PLANET camp. MY solar system has NINE planets (and orbits uphill both directions barefoot in the snow).

The technology that’s been decades in the making, that’s been nearly a decade to come to fruition… and to find out there’s so much we didn’t know that can be applied to other bodies. I pray… I PRAY HARD… that the amazing thing the New Horizons teams managed to achieve through all the politics, all the budget cuts, all the “why do we need this” – leads to MORE. More inspiration, more insight, more adventure. I want these scientists and engineers not only have an entire career of analysis and discovery, but also use this as a stepping stone to greater achievements.

Another NASA photo of Pluto. Details are astounding.

Another NASA photo of Pluto. Details are astounding.


I hope the videos, the interviews, and the data gets pushed out through media, social media, and education to inspire young minds to take what these teams have accomplished and use it as a stepping stone to further research the planets, moons, and Kuiper Belt. The New Horizons Team has gone where no one has gone before – they’re living that dream, and they’re sharing it with us through TV, through streaming. We got to live that moment with them…in the very best vicarious manner.

And what I love more than anything is in looking at the list of the team leads for this historic project is the number of women listed in the team leads. WOMEN can do science. WOMEN can do math. WOMEN can send a small robot the size of a piano THREE BILLION miles away to give us the first, best look at the farthest planet in our solar system.

Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t do something. No matter who you are. No matter your age, gender, or ability. If you want to be a scientist – do it. Want to write the next best seller – DO IT. Want to learn to cook or paint or build houses? Don’t let anything stop you. And now, I need to go follow my own advice and write a best selling … something. 😎

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[Pen/Pencil Review] The Pilot Hi-Tec-C Maica in Black

Posted by reudaly on July 13, 2015 in Review, writing instruments |

I just found a pen I picked up from JetPens.com a while back that I haven’t reviewed yet. It’s another in the Pilot Hi-Tec-C line. This one the Maica line – which is a “fashion” type stick rollerball pen. The fashion part is in the logo medallion and the point size on the smoky cap.
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It’s also a chance to revisit this pen again. I’ve wrote about the Hi-Tec-C before in other points and colors. This i. I really do like the Pilot Hi-Tec-C line – in any color because they do points like 0.4mm (and smaller). It runs almost 6.50″ with the cap posted, and 5.75″ capped – which is just a shade longer than others in the line. This pen has been comfortable in my hand in other incarnations and remains so now.
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This one is black ink with a smooth line. The grip has dimples that allows for a better grip – there is a little bit of a ledge that can dig in, but it’s in a good place for comfort. The barrel is about half transparent but with black accents.
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The cap has a faceted dome on the top of the cap. There’s a small loop on the cap, but no clip. The cap has some detailing and posts securely to the back of the barrel.

It’s a pretty pen. It’s a solid pen for so fine a point. And it’s relatively affordable but only available online through places like JetPens from Japan.

Now to the numbers:

1. How does it work?1 This pen works well. The ink flows well and it’s comfortable.
2. Grip and feel0.5 – The grip is actually textured into the plastic with dimples. For the kind of pen it is, it’s okay. It does have a ledge near to the grip that can dig in.
3. Material1 This is an inexpensive, plastic pen. It is what it is. It’s a serviceable specialty color gel ink. It’s got some nice detailing.
4. Overall Design0.5 -It’s a good pen for everyday use. It’s a go-to pen. Pilot makes a good pen. The cap doesn’t have a clip, it’s got a small loop.
5. Price Point1 – For a possibly disposable pen (though it does have refills) and the fact that you can only order it from JetPens, it’s not the least expensive pen on the market. It’s $2.50 a piece. It’s not that bad, and it’s refillable and comes in lots of colors.

I give it a 4 out of 5 bronze pencils.

Pencil 4.0

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[Writer Post] And Here We Are

Posted by reudaly on July 8, 2015 in Conventions, Life, Writing |

Man, I’ve been a huge slacker this week. The galley proofs for the book are back with Yard Dog Press, the next time I see it, it’ll be a real book, Pinocchio. There’s still something very surreal about that.

And, after three weeks of travel, two conventions, three deadlines, adopting a new dog, and having family over for a good visit and to meet the dog… I needed a break. Just a few days of readjusting back to not running full bore. And really, who wouldn’t be distracted by this face?
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I totally forgot my pen blog. I almost forgot this. I do have another deadline looming at the end of the month that I need to get cracking on. It’s started, it just need finishing. Then…then I need to figure out what the next move is.

I have a couple of projects in process. I should probably finish one of those. I’m in one of those places where there could be another book in the Tarbox universe…if there’s a call for it. It’s sold as a stand alone – but I’ve got some thing that can be explored there if it sells enough and/or has enough demand for another one. I started making notes.

A lot has to happen first. Like the next deadline. And two more shows/conventions. Oh, yeah, and FenCon

Come see me:

July 18th – North Texas Comic Book Show – Dallas.

July 24-26th – ArmadilloCon – Austin

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[Spotlight] SoonerCon 2015 Recap

Posted by reudaly on July 3, 2015 in Conventions, Podcast/Media, Writing |

So many things going on, and I totally missed my Wednesday blog post day – and now it’s Friday – but that makes this both a “spotlight” and a “writing” post, because this is my SoonerCon wrap up post. (So it’s way long) I know it’s been a week since SoonerCon began, but it’s been that week. Today is a day off from the Day Job so I can finally relax after about three weeks of heavy movement, I need some down time. I do have a deadline of late tomorrow (I said end of this week), but it’s pretty much reading, so yay.
Tarbox Station
I don’t know what I can add to what other people have said about SoonerCon. Aislinn Burrows, who does programming and promotional stuff, actually asked why I bust my behind for SoonerCon when they work me like a dog. (Seriously, they’re trying to find the “Just don’t kill me” line in how much programming they can put me on. This year came close but didn’t succeed.) And it’s because of what so many other people have commented on through Social Media.
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SoonerCon 1) doesn’t take itself too seriously (unlike some literary fan-run cons can); 2) actually is able to blend some of the best elements of Media Conventions and Literary Conventions to appeal to a wide age group; and 3) treats all elements of programming with equal amounts of respect and programming elements. This is why I say SoonerCon rocks, and if conventions want to grow and expand, check out what they’re doing and figure out how best to integrate some of their practices. Also, they’re all around good people who know how to throw a good party.
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My programming was… extensive. Even the programming on Friday had at least as many audience members as panelist… well, the Screenwriting 101 was a bit light, and it was one of the few panel where I ended up saying, “I’m on this panel to be pretty.” Only because I was THE LEAST QUALIFIED on the panel, and was enjoying listening to the other panelists tell stories about their experiences. It was awesome, I just didn’t have as much to contribute as the other panelists, so I shut the heck up and LISTENED or asked my own questions – which is what a pro does in this position.
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The Yard Dog Press Road Show melded with the Art Show Reception at 8 pm – which was awesome. The reception had alcohol. We’re all a lot funnier when our audience is imbibing. And we had an unwitting audience, even if some of them were trying not to be entertained by grown adults acting completely insane. But a good time was had by all.

Saturday was a marathon. The “Club” level of the Sheraton has a small breakfast buffet. Ever since we started rooming with Lys and Shado Wiley (Aislinn, you’ve met them. We need to get them on programming… they do all kinds of things aside from writing. They’ve been on cast of a ren fair and haunted house park – so acting/dialect/costuming.) we’ve gotten rooms there. This time we couldn’t, but worked out having access – go Lys. We pay a bit more, but it’s totally worth it for BACON in the morning. I took off running with the Koffeeklatch, then panels and readings followed by the Art Auction.
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I had way too much fun on the “Build a SYFY Saturday Night” though our team was, I’ll admit it, thoroughly trounced by Team Bland Lemon. We came up with a kick butt trailer. They did the whole dang movie. But we raised some money for charity, and I’m told there will be video.
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There were some early miscommunications with the auction, resulting in me ticking off a couple of people, but it all worked out. All feathers are now unruffled. Art was sold. Money was raised for charity. But when that many people run tired for that long a period it happens. The fact that it all blew over relatively quickly with no long-term recriminations… that’s a sign of pros, even if they’re all volunteers and fans.
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Sunday was two great panels and hanging out with actors. The two writing panels I was on had twice the number of panelists (and one was at 11 am). The last one was great until the very end when we hit a hot button topic and the last few minutes was a debate on that (but it was civil just…passionate). And then in my “Whirlwind Goodbye Tour” took an hour fifteen minutes.
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Among the lovely people I met along the way: Haileigh Todd – a discovery of Rachel Caine. She plays “Eve” in the Morganville Vampire Webseries. She’s adorable. I gave her some books (because she wanted to know what I wrote – and technically she’s a “college kid”). She’s awesome support whatever she’s in.
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Got to spend time with Larry Nemecek – and a very last minute Double Star Trek Continues Doctor photo with him and Chuck Huber (who’s also a voice actor/actor) in his penguin onesie. SO MUCH FUN. Chuck is an interesting guy. Ian Sinclair is a voice actor I made a point of meeting because he was a plot point in our “Build a Better SYFY Saturday Night”, and I introduced him to Haileigh for networking – met his and Jamie Marchi’s dogs (being walked by Marchi…so met her by accident). And then there was the lovely and talented Robert Picardo – who let us mob him for a photo op (unintentional) on Saturday night during our traditional “LobbyCon” – ask me about that some time – and again on Sunday morning at breakfast when he inadvertently locked himself out of his room and had nowhere else to wait for a new key than with us.
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THIS is why I love SoonerCon. Not only do I get worked a lot. I get to hang with amazing people from different aspects of creative endeavors. I’m treated like a friend and a professional. AND we get to meet new and crazy people. It has everything. And now I’ve rambled on for a lot longer than I intended, too. Time to work on the galley read for the book some more.

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[Pen/Pencil Review] BIC Atlantis Exact Fine Point Ballpoint

Posted by reudaly on June 29, 2015 in Review, writing instruments with Comments closed |

I found the Bic Atlantis Exact fine point multi-pack in blue, black, and red on a sale rack in Office Max. Since it was a rare BIC fine point pen in the US, I decided I needed to try them. You know… for the blog, of course.
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These pens are much more to my liking than the last Bic Atlantis I tried. The 0.7mm needle point gives me the line I’m looking for. The ink is smooth without being either globby or scratchy. The colors are rich for the size of the line. And the size of the ball point does give a precise feel – which is probably why they call it “Exact”.
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The pen is about 5.75” long both retracted and with the point out, which isn’t a bad length. The barrel isn’t as curvy as other more hourglass shaped pens in the Atlantis lines. Most of the barrel is wrapped in soft rubber matching the ink over smooth white plastic, creating accents. The cap and clip are carved white plastic with a fairly sturdy clip. The plunger has an insert that also matches the ink.
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It’s a more “traditional” feel to the barrel, which I do like. I’m not sure if these are being phased out or what, but I hope not. I could get used to them.

The numbers:
1. How does it work?01 It’s decent. No frills. But it’s a good fine point retractable with good ink and lines.
2. Grip and feel0.5 – It’s an inexpensive, plastic, no frills pen. The rubberized plastic on the barrel adds a bit of comfort, but it’s not a cushy pen.
3. Material0.5 It’s okay for what it is. It retracts fairly solidly. But it’s an inexpensive retractable pen with a decent point. Not the most solidly built pen on the planet.
4. Overall Design0.5 -It’s a basic retractable ballpoint pen with a nod to ergonomics.
5. Price Point1 – If you can get them, they run $4-$6 for the three pack. You can order them online from Amazon and other retailers, so you might be able to get them cheaper. They do come in 12 packs, which drops the price point, but those are mostly just the black inks.

3.5 out of 5 Bronze Pencils

Pencil 3.5

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