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[Writer Post] Times They are a Changin’

Posted by reudaly on May 24, 2017 in Writing |

My Day Job Organization is in “Transition”. A lot of it. That’s what happens when executive leadership changes. No one knows what’s going to happen in the long run. This is also my last week of training for Lean Six Sigma Green Belt — then I have to complete my project (or find out if the transition stuff will make my project obsolete before I even do it). There’s no danger (currently) to my job, which is great because I do love it.

So there’s some “Brain Goes Ow” because of the training. And with a trip, 2 weeks home, trip, 2 weeks home (lather, rinse repeat) concentration is half shot to heck. Or more than half. I’m trying to keep everything going and getting just everything back in gear.

But it’s a struggle right now. It really is. But everything will get better. There will be an even keel again.

But for now? Brain Zombie. But hey, but hey… three day weekend coming up that should help.

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Circumstances…

Posted by reudaly on May 22, 2017 in Life |

Due to training at work, catching up from last week’s conference, and family events… this week’s blog posts are going to be off schedule.

Just FYI.

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[Write the Story] Magic Interferes with New Orleans

Posted by reudaly on May 19, 2017 in Writing |

Prompt: Magic Interferes with New Orleans

Words: matriarch, throat, impossible, vinegar, apology, slice, microwave, raspberry, choose, snore

Story

Father Richard Leloup carefully placed the massive tome on his desk. The microwave dinged in the corner. He took out the bubbling cup of hot water and added the raspberry tea bag. He hoped it would help his scratchy throat as he opened the book. An envelope slid out. He sliced the seal and removed the page. Suddenly his tea tasted like vinegar.

Beware! Before you choose to continue this path, know the peril before you!

Magic may seem as commonplace as a snore to you now, but it wasn’t always such. There was once a time when magic seemed impossible. This, before you, is the history of magic in New Orleans. From the time it began until my end, for it is ever-growing, ever-evolving, ever-devouring the city I love. Make no mistake, magic will be the end of New Orleans for it feeds off greed, depravity, all the things that New Orleans make no apology for.

Continue your quest at your own risk. Magic has a life of its own, and it’s darker than most souls. Your soul will be at risk.

Leloup stared at the page signed by Marie Leveau, voodoo matriarch herself. He felt a shiver race down his spine and fear spike in his chest, but it was too late to turn back now. He had to find a way to use magic to defeat magic before everyone in New Orleans died. He couldn’t let that happen.

Word Count: 241
Written: 4/17/17

Note: I wrote a story for DIRTY MAGIC: NEW ORLEANS. This piece is in that universe.

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[Writer Post] From the Road

Posted by reudaly on May 17, 2017 in Life, Writing |

I’ve been trying to figure out what to do about the blog today – since I’m at a work conference in San Antonio. There was a train of thought at one point, but that’s totally derailed. Puns totally intended.

Discovered it takes extra-extrovertiness when you’re being all pleasant and networky with a group where you don’t know a whole lot of people – and they’re not “tribe”. But I did find out I know more people than I realized — and it’s easier if you do presentations, because then SOME conversations start with, “Oh, you spoke at that class…”

But I totally “Dude Packed” for this trip. 4 days of essentials in a carry-on and personal item. I picked up a bunch of swag, so there will be some challenge packing for the trip home.

Then totally discovered a friend – who also works for the same organization – is here at a DIFFERENT conference only a couple of hotels away. Coincidences do kind of happen.

I did do a tiny bit of writing this week. Now feeling a bit…done. But look… a post.

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[Pen/Pencil Review] Shachihata Artline BLOX Mechanical Pencil – 0.5mm

Posted by reudaly on May 15, 2017 in Review, writing instruments |

This week’s pen is the other of the Christmas pens from JetPens. It’s the Shachihata Artline BLOX line. This is, I guess, technically (from the name) a pen more designed for artists, but this particular line is geared to those who love LEGOs or MegaBlocks (which means Kids of All Ages). I bought these are “stocking stuffers” for both Jimmy and myself at Christmas – one fiber tip pen and one pencil apiece. Today we’ll talk about the pencil.

This pencil is the Blox 0.5mm mechanical pencil. I bought the claimed the orange and blue. Jimmy ended up with the red and yellow. This pencil is more normal in length. It’s about 5.5″ capped or uncapped. The cap does not post. The end of the pencil is a green push in plunger. There is no eraser.

It’s triangular with interlocking knobs (like a LEGO but not) on two of the three sides. There’s tapering to the point so that there’s some nod to ergonomics. It’s not as weird and uncomfortable as it first appears, but it’s definitely NOT streamlined. It’s more comfortable than it should be and relatively light but balanced so you don’t get as fatigued as you probably should. It’s supposedly a “drawing pencil” but I don’t know how much someone would really draw with this? It’s more along the “novelty” lines because, hello, non-branded LEGOs you can write with.

The lead feeds in from the green plunger in the back end of the pencil. The led that comes with it is okay. I have just put extra because it doesn’t come with a lot of lead. It’s a decent pencil that doubles as a toy. The clip is non-existent, so snap them together or something, there’s no securing it to anything else It’s also a decent price point – less than $3 each It’s an okay pencil.
The numbers:

1. How does it work?1 – The it comes with pretty decent lead. The mechanism works well.
2. Grip and feel0.5 – It’s neither completely uncomfortable, but it’s not comfortable either. The grip is smooth plastic, but you have to adjust your hand to keep the interlocking bits from digging.
3. Material1 – This is an inexpensive plastic with toy bits.
4. Overall Design0.5 – Physically the pen is well-made and designed to do what it’s supposed to – write smoothly and comfortably. HOWEVER, it’s also a novelty. The triangle design and interlocking bits may not suit a lot of people. The cap does not post, so could be lost, but attaching it to one of the sides is a bulky option.
5. Price Point1 – It’s pretty cheap. It’s $2.60 on JetPens. For a decent quality fiber point with toy accents, it’s an okay price point.

That’s 4 of 5 bronze pencils.

Pencil 4.0

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[Write the Story] Unsolved Mystery

Posted by reudaly on May 12, 2017 in Writing |

This one comes to you via watching way too much House of Cards – which is such a fascinating show for being weird, twisty, amazing, depressing, and depressingly amazing.

—-
Prompt: Unsolved Mystery

Words: murder, green, agreement, traditional, carpenter, snake, sugar, kidney, congress, jam

Story:

“What have you gotten me into, Sugar?” Dirk muttered under his breath, rubbing the sore spot above his kidney.

Sometimes the PI business was dangerous, but this was more than even he bargained for. Dirk Carter wouldn’t have it any other way. Sure it wasn’t like traditional TV and movie portrayals, but his other option was being a carpenter. He was allergic to sawdust.

“Come on, you snake, show your face.”

He wasn’t sure who he addressed, after all he was outside Congress watching and waiting. The leads led here, though no one believed a murder even actually occurred. In fact, it was the one thing every law enforcement agency were in agreement on. Nothing indicated a crime.

“And they’re all wrong!” Dirk slammed his fist into his steering wheel—avoiding setting off the horn and airbag and revealing his stakeout. “And there he is.”

Dirk followed his quarry at a discreet distance—after all, no matter how invested he was he wasn’t green. He’d done this before. Countless times. His quarry zigged and zagged as if anticipating a tail. Dirk kept up until a traffic jam interrupted his forward progress and thoughts.

He pulled over and parked, going on foot. He caught a glimpse of his quarry ducking down an alley. He moved quickly. That was his mistake.

“You think you know something others don’t?” a voice said in his ear. “No one will investigate her…or you.”

Everything went black.

Word Count: 241
Written: 3/31 – 4/2/17 (House of Cards influenced)

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[Writing Post] Perceptions and Development

Posted by reudaly on May 10, 2017 in Life |

This is an odd week. Not sure why. Just is. This time next week, I’ll be winding up a Day Job Conference in San Antonio – hopefully celebrating a successful co-presentation. This past weekend I attended DFWCon which is a writers’ CONFERENCE (not a convention – there’s quite the difference).

No Good Deed

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I’m one of those “ambivert” people — I like being at social gatherings (and yes, conferences are social gatherings) but the GOING to the gathering is something I dread. This was one of those times. But hey, I paid a lot of money to do some writerly professional development, by golly I was going to suck it up and go.

Ash and Quill (The Great Library)

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Really glad I did. I actually went to panels and took notes. I talked to amazing authors. I chose not to pitch to editors or agents — there’s nothing I feel is anywhere near the point I would feel comfortable trying to sell just yet — but now…goals. I also have some panel ideas to pitch to the programming folks for panels.

Stillhouse Lake

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It also did the thing that I wanted it to do. Let me catch up with writer friends who have books coming out in July. It also did a bit of a butt-kick to get back to writing work…Really, really want to do that. Really, really am going to do that.

Also came up with a plan for a couple of other things. Which also means getting ones butt in 12 kinds of gear. The Spring has been busy – the Summer is ramping up to be the same.

The books I mention here are coming out in July. They’re written by really awesome women who write really awesome books. Please consider pre-ordering. The Kara Connolly is a time traveling, Olympic archer who accidentally creates Robin Hood — can’t wait to read this one!

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[Pen/Pencil Review] Shachihata Artline BLOX Pen in Green

Posted by reudaly on May 8, 2017 in Review, writing instruments |

This week’s pen is one of the Christmas pens from JetPens. It’s the Shachihata Artline BLOX line. This is, I guess, technically (from the name) a pen more designed for artists, but this particular line is geared to those who love LEGOs or MegaBlocks (which means Kids of All Ages). I bought these are “stocking stuffers” for both Jimmy and myself at Christmas – one fiber tip pen and one pencil apiece. Today we’ll talk about the pen. Next week, the pencil.

This pen is the Blox 0.4mm fiber tip. I bought the green one for me and the red one for Jimmy. Both for Christmas and because we have complimentary favorite colors. This pen is LONG – especially with the cap posted (which is does do). With the cap posted, it’s over 7″ long. It’s about 5.5″ capped or uncapped. The cap can either post to the end of the pen or you can snap it to one of the sides.

It’s triangular with interlocking knobs (like a LEGO but not) on two of the three sides. There’s tapering to the point so that there’s some nod to ergonomics. It’s not as weird and uncomfortable as it first appears, but it’s definitely NOT streamlined. It’s more comfortable than it should be and relatively light but balanced so you don’t get fatigued from it being a giant pen. It’s supposedly a “drawing pen” but I don’t know how much someone would really draw with this? It’s more along the “novelty” lines because, hello, non-branded LEGOs you can write with.

The 0.4mm point doesn’t detract from the ink. The green is rich and dark. The lines are smooth. There’s only a little “scratch” from it being a fiber tip. Not sure how long it’ll last before the tip frays or breaks but it seems solid. It’s a decent pen that doubles as a toy. The clip is non-existent, so snap them together or something, there’s no securing it to anything else It’s also a decent price point – less than $3 each It’s an okay pen.
The numbers:

1. How does it work?1 – The line doesn’t skip, has minimal blobs, and doesn’t smear easily. The cap posts well.
2. Grip and feel0.5 – It’s neither completely uncomfortable, but it’s not comfortable either. The grip is smooth plastic, but you have to adjust your hand to keep the interlocking bits from digging. It’s can be quite long with the cap posted but it’s both light and pretty well balanced.
3. Material1 – This is an inexpensive plastic with toy bits.
4. Overall Design0.5 – Physically the pen is well-made and designed to do what it’s supposed to – write smoothly and comfortably. HOWEVER, it’s also a novelty. The triangle design and interlocking bits may not suit a lot of people. If you don’t like really long pens, don’t post the cap. If you don’t post the cap, attaching it to one of the sides is a bulky option.
5. Price Point1 – It’s pretty cheap. It’s $2.10 on JetPens. For a decent quality fiber point with toy accents, it’s an okay price point.

That’s 4 of 5 bronze pencils.

Pencil 4.0

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[Write the Story] A Couple on a Cruise

Posted by reudaly on May 5, 2017 in Writing |

You’ll see that several of these stories will be heavily influenced by what I’m reading, writing, watching, or listening to (commutes are now dedicated to podcasts). This one derived from catching up on Blindspot apparently. 😎
_________________
Prompt: A Couple of a Cruise
Words: nosy, sponsor, passenger, willing, smile, brew, yellow, neighbor, hundred, stairwell
Story:

We ducked into the stairwell just as our neighbor bounced out of her room. It was petty, I know, but she’s nosy and bouncy and always smiling. It made both of us crazy. And you know what? Passenger cruise liners? Not a big as one might think, especially when you’re trying to avoid a certain someone.

“I heard the elevator ding,” Scott said, tickling my ear with his breath. “It’s probably safe.”

“Are you willing to risk it?” I asked.

“We should count to a hundred to make sure, right, Remi?”

I smiled. “Probably safest.”

There are many ways to mark that kind of time without getting bored. It was a pleasant respite. When we once more emerged from the stairwell the corridor was empty. We slipped into our cabin and locked the door behind us. It was a large cabin, way nicer than we should have but our trip was “sponsored”.

“We need to clean the bathroom before the maids show up,” Scott said, pulling off his shirt and digging into the bag on the luggage rack. “It should be yellow, not…”

“The gloves are in the top zipper. And we can make it more…orange. Like the sunset. Then to the luau? These jobs always make me hungry.”

“Whatever you want, Remi.”

Word Count: 213
Written: 3/22/17

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[Writing Post] Spectrum and DFWCon

Posted by reudaly on May 3, 2017 in Life |

I’m having a “so much to do but no pressing deadlines so….” week with almost nothing to show for it. That has to change. There’s something to be said for “allergy season” and brain muddling, but that’s just an excuse, especially with how active the next four to six weeks are going to be. I have one writers’ conference and two Day Job conferences coming up so TRAVEL! Yay.

Spectrum Fantastic Art Live was awesome, but not what I thought I was going to do at it. There was no sitting in the lobby or bar and writing (because it wasn’t that kind of facility). There was a lot of walking and stairs and stuff – which is good, but doesn’t inspire carrying stuff around. I did meet and talk to a lot of cool artists – from legends to rising stars. Helped out John Picacio some, because Texans stick together – also figured out that we’ve known each other since 2004 when we met at the WorldCon Art Show in Boston. Time flies.

Might have (maybe) volunteered myself to a potential ginormous writing project (how’s that for specific) if an article that I need to be working on RIGHT NOW, DARN IT. I need that project like another hole in my head, but it would be pretty darn cool to do. A piece of David LaRocca’s speaks to me of story ideas – just not necessarily elder god vein the way he intends it, or maybe there is some tendrils there. We’ll see. Enjoyed spending a bit of time with Sara Felix, as well as Jimmy Holloman, Sherrie Dean, and Allison Stein before running into Jimmy Murray.

The Spectrum Awards show was cool, because it was a show. Dancers, a comedienne MC, and the like. It was very nifty. And of course, there’s always a bit of “what is this equivalent to”? in my brain. So… even though the Chesleys are given out at WorldCon or NASFIC, they’re voted on by association members – so, like a Nebula Award. The Spectrum Awards are a juried thing… so like World Fantasy Awards. The Hugos are the Hugos, bless them.

And though I thought I would come back all shiny and bright and ready to write – I came back to Lean Six Sigma training that was all foreign concepts to me – STATISTICS. And the complicated stuff. Only the fact I’m a Redheaded Missourian is keeping me in the program. I was not the only one who was confused and frustrated. The instructor seemed to think this stuff was the easiest thing in the world, and we should get it first go. Um, no, that’s not the case. And if you struggled once, ANY question you had after that had to be painstakingly OVER-EXPLAINED. So not conducive to well, ANYTHING else.

But… this weekend I’m going to DFWCon. A writer’s conference. Most people are going to pitch to agents or editors. I’m going to hang out with writers, get my brain back, and maybe learn stuff. I have work I can pitch if necessary, but none of the agents seem to take what I write. So that pressure is gone. Huzzah. We’ll see how this goes.

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