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[Pen/Pencil Review][Writer Post] I Suck — As A Blogger

Posted by reudaly on June 22, 2016 in Conventions, Life, writing instruments |

Because of crazy random happenstance I totally missed doing both my blogs this week. So… oops. In my best Stephen Amell/Green Arrow voice… I have FAILED. THIS. BLOG! At least this week.

And… SoonerCon is in A DAY AND A HALF! Eep! But bright side? Tomorrow is my Friday at the day job — and I have a plan to make the deadline on a team project (in which one member has done NOTHING) before I leave. YAY! That’s been weighing on me — I was assigned to be the team lead. Yay.

Yoga’s gone well. I have one more week – then a month off before it starts again in August. I’m determined to keep it up through FenCon, just because this is the busiest most stressful time of the year, and I want to see if it helps. Love the class, and I can use July to figure out blog stuff and work on the book I have “due” on September first.

Now I need to do a quick revision on a piece I got back today, then starting anew tomorow kicking butt and taking names.

See you in Oklahoma.

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[Writer Post] New Experiences. New Challenges.

Posted by reudaly on June 15, 2016 in Conventions, Writing |

Yesterday I was asked to do something I’ve never been asked to do before. NO! Nothing like THAT! Come on! This is a family-friendly blog.

Though I can’t go into detail yet (hopefully soon, but not yet), this is the culmination of one of the most surreal writing experiences of my life. I can’t wait until I can tell you all about it. SO STOKED! Wait? Do people still say that? Can I even pull that off? Anyway, seriously, y’all, this is so weirdly cool…

And I needed a weirdly cool. June has decided to bust out ALL over with Stuff To Be Done RIGHT NOW! I’m steadily chipping away at those deadlines (some of which are dependent on OTHER PEOPLE doing their share), there’s still some flailing going on – resulting in a few days of No Word Counts FOR YOU! BUT…but…these are things we live for (and a good reason for the yoga class I started).

Was on the receiving end of some Day Job Kudos this week (which was unexpected) – but that leads in to a VERY long day tomorrow and an odd day on Friday. I guess it’s good to be needed and appreciated, but it does result in challenges for the writing side. I will make the time. I will get it all done. Just have to get through the next 9 days. Then it’s all about SoonerCon.

SO VERY MUCH looking forward to SoonerCon. And if you haven’t seen it yet there’s a nifty link to my schedule — please come see us and hang out. SoonerCon is one of the best fan run conventions in the region. I look forward to EVERY YEAR. Besides, unless my Oklahoma friends have come to Texas or ordered online – you haven’t had a chance to see Tarbox Station live and in person yet!

Come see us. Buy Books. End of pitch. 😎

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[Pen/Pencil Review] RERUN – The Austin College Gift Pen

Posted by reudaly on June 14, 2016 in Review, writing instruments |

In honor of my niece, Suzanne, who’s coming home from Greece and getting married in about a month. This is a rerun of the pen she gave me from her College – Austin College (go Roos!) – in 2013.


This week’s pen blog is another one of the pens I got received for Christmas. It’s an Austin College Retractable that my niece, Suzanne gave me.
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This pen is lovely. The body is black plastic, but with a lacquer shine. It’s a promotional type pen, so the hardware isn’t the best, but it’s not the cheapest. I was pleasantly surprised to find it had a Parker Style GEL ink in it. In a 0.7mm, I’m sure, but that was a pleasant surprise.
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The pen is about 5.25-5.5” long with the point extended and is not slender, but not thick. It’s light but not completely featherweight and pretty well-balanced. This pen has a click retraction mechanism that is smooth and secure. This pen has little in the way of frills. No grips. But also no weird edges, so if it’s wide enough for you (or slender, depending on your preferences), it’s a comfortable pen. I’m happy to use it on a fairly regular basis – though I am trying to be careful not to rub off the college name or ding it up too much.
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The numbers:
1. How does it work?1 – It’s decent. Mechanically there’s nothing wrong with the pen. The mechanisms and clip are pretty solid for a promotional/gift type pen.
2. Grip and feel0.5 – Though there are no edges to really dig in, there’s also no grip to the plastic. It’s okay, but can get tiresome.
3. Material1 It is a good quality promotional type pen. It’s plastic, but good quality plastic. It doesn’t feel “CHEAP”.
4. Overall Design1 – It’s good for what it is. It’s a pretty pen that’s meant to look good and promote the college. It does that. It’s not uncomfortable to work with, and it has a good ink.
5. Price Point0.5 – You know? I have no idea. It’s a college bookstore pen. It’s probably about $7-$10 because it’s more to promote the school and be a gift than it is to be an everyday writing pen. And being it’s from my niece? I’m not going to go digging around to find out.
GO ‘ROOS!

I give it 4 out of 5 Bronze Pencils
Pencil 4.0

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[Pen/Pencil Review] ARGGGGGHHHHH

Posted by reudaly on June 13, 2016 in Review, writing instruments |

I’ve signed up for a yoga class on Monday nights for the Mondays in June.

There are crazy Day Job Deadlines in June.

Pen blogs may happen on TUESDAYS in June.

Worst poem EVER.

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[Writer Post] When I Grow Up

Posted by reudaly on June 8, 2016 in writing instruments |

There’s an age-old question people ask and get asked AT ALL AGES: What do you want to be when you grow up? As if there’s a right answer to that. PISH. Please. Let’s just address the big element in that – who actually wants to grow up? Being a Grown Up is totally overrated, or we wouldn’t get so excited when we successfully “Adult”.

So what do I want to be when I grow up? Yes, assuming that ever happens. I want to be what I am right now – a writer. A storyteller. A writer of what is what’s still in flux. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not turning away from fiction writing – not ever – no matter what happens to our ever-changing industry.

However I keep discovering other stories to tell. More things to do with the storytelling. Two years ago I was writing jewelry descriptions for an online outlet and other things. This year I’m writing all the things about emergency preparedness – social media, website, articles, everything. Tomorrow it might be adding coffee blogging to pen reviews and these random.
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I might have stumbled on the fact that there’s a coffee and tea trade show starting at the convention center on Friday – and I can’t go… bummer.

There are stories everywhere. True stories, fictional stories, stories somewhere in between – funny, sad, romantic, scary, beautiful stories. And I want to write ALL THE STORIES – which probably explains a lot about me. And there’s no waiting for “when I grow up”. Those stories are begging to be told now – yes, also explaining the noise in my head and why I’m finally trying yoga).

So if you’re wanting to write. If you feel the stories in everything – don’t wait until you grow up – indulging your inner kid is part of the fun of the writing and storytelling – do them now. Write them. Send them out to be published. Be awesome.

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[Pen/Pencil Review] Pilot MR Retro Pop Collection – 1.0 mm Ballpoint

Posted by reudaly on June 6, 2016 in Review, writing instruments |

We return to Pilot this week with a pen that I found at Target and fell in love with. This is the Pilot MR Retro Pop Collection ballpoint pen. This is the only piece I’ve found so far in the Retro Pop Collection, so I’m looking forward to seeing what else they bring out.

From Target's Website.

From Target’s Website.


According to the literature – these pens are a Pilot Retro Pop Collection. Not sure what that means, but the Pilot MR ballpoint does have classic lines and a smooth look. The gunmetal gray of the metal barrel doesn’t show fingerprints or chipping. The checked pattern around the center is a classic design – I want to say herringbone, but I could be wrong (not a fashion person). The metal clip is strong and shiny. The tapered design is smooth and comfortable for the 5.5” length.
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The ink comes in a metal conical tip with a smooth line. The 1.0mm point makes a decent, but thick line. The ink dries quickly, doesn’t seem to smear for the size of the point and retracts well. This pen is available at Target – it’s not cheap but it’s not overly expensive and looks good. It’s refillable with, I THINK, the Dr. Grip refills, but I have to do some further research to refresh my memory.
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To the numbers:
1. How does it work?1 It’s good. It feels like it has the low viscosity ink for a smooth writing experience. The retractor works well. The tip is solid and smooth.
2. Grip and feel0.5 – It’s smooth metal, no real ergonomics, but that’s also the nod to the retro. It’s long enough to be comfortable, but just barely.
3. Material1 It’s a metal alloy – light but sturdy with a matte finish to the barrel.
4. Overall Design1 – I like this design. The classic lines and colors are smart and smooth. The clip is sturdy and the barrel is wide enough to be comfortable.
5. Price Point0.5 – It’s an okay price point for a metal retractable pen – but you can find them on sale. They run $9.99 to $12.99 at Target. This pen is refillable and I need to find one that isn’t 1.0mm
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4 out of 5 Bronze Pencils

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[Writer Post] Words, Conventions, Drama

Posted by reudaly on June 1, 2016 in Books, Conventions, Writing |

It’s Wednesday. Trying to be on track. Trying to avoid convention drama – but I was the cause of some it, so that ship sailed. And for a short work week, it’s been a very stressful, chock full of STUFF week (except Monday – the holiday – that was pretty low key). But hey, I think I’m going to squeak a major Day Job deadline. So bonus points for that, right?

Can someone tell me what it is about 1) it being JUNE already? And 2) WHY IS EVERYTHING DUE IN JUNE this year? Kinda rhetorical since all my deadlines for June are Day Job related. But dude, the pile on! Though when it all gets done? It’s going to look GOOD on my completion rate – but the flip side is that the pile won’t get much smaller.

Flush Fiction, Volume II: Twenty Years of Letting It Go!

Price:

(0 customer reviews)

0 used & new available from

Good news! I have been writing during the pile on. So yay. And the first stand-alone Four Redheads of the Apocalypse short story is out in Flush Fiction II. This one is for Ed Dravecky at the request of Robyn Winans. I hope people like it – and it was a bit of closure for me as well. I hope people like it. And there’s a bunch of other WONDROUS authors – and the stories are about 2500 words or less.

Tarbox Station

Price:

4.5 out of 5 stars (4 customer reviews)

0 used & new available from

The print version will be available (along with Tarbox Station and the other Redheads novels) at SoonerCon. I hope to see a bunch of you there to sign books and talk and have a great time. I’ve got my schedule for that – and will post it closer to time and after any changes have been made. And pretty sure LobbyCon will be a go at least one night. We have too much fun with that.

I should get back to writing (and typing – long hand pages count, but eventually they have to be pixels, too) because not only do I have projects that need to be finished… there’s a great line of things waiting to be STARTED. Best get to it.

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[Pen/Pencil Review] Paper Mate InkJoy Fine Point – The Blues

Posted by reudaly on May 31, 2016 in Review, writing instruments |

Today’s blog post is an add on to the last review I did – because YESTERDAY was Monday (not Today). Today we check out the Paper Mate InkJoy GEL pen in the 0.5mm FINE point (as it should be). The 0.5mm are slightly harder to track down and come in unusual collections. This package contains “The Blues”. Yes, they have a pack that’s three shades of blue.
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The ink is really good. I do give Paper Mate that. I bought the these at Staples. Staples carries more variety of these pens than Target or Office Depot, which makes me happy. Target only carries black in the 0.5mm – Office Depot carries one of the odder 8-packs (no traditional blue in that one). Staples carries pretty much all of them in both tip points.
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The Paper Mate InkJoy gel pens are 5.75″ long retracted and extended. The barrels are slightly thicker than your typical retractable stick pen. The barrel is smooth and is mostly rubberized plastic for a comfort grip. There’s a clear-ish hard plastic front panel that lets you see the level of ink in the refill that also includes the clip – which could snap if you mess with it long enough. The tip is conical and metal, and so is the plunger on the retraction mechanism. The tip screws off to refill the ink and sets smoothly to avoid any ridges.

The deal with the InkJoy gel pens is supposed to be really smooth and quick drying – compared to Pilot G2 (which is a lofty goal – G2 is pretty much THE standard). So do they measure up? Actually yes, they do. These pens have good ink reservoirs with rich tints to the ink. The conical tips are smooth and lay down a solid line. The feel is good. The ink does seem to dry quickly – except in my moleskine calendar which has really slick pages. EVERYTHING smears on that.
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These blues are the light blue from the multi-packs that actually fairly rich for a light blue. The “classic” blue you expect to find (love having a second one of those), and a darker blue that reminds me of a denim blue that I love but don’t use as much so I don’t use it up too quickly even though I know I can just go get more.
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They’re comparable to other gel pens – running between $5-$6 for the 3-packs – depending on where you get them and if they’re on sale. These are available at most common retailers. I said in my other review that I’ll be getting some more of these. And I have. I’ve bought all the 0.5mm options except the one multi-pack that has the greens in them. But then I have to “justify” the other fashion colors that I don’t really need multiples.

To the numbers:
1. How does it work?1 The ink is decent, and comes in decent point sizes. The retraction mechanism is solid.
2. Grip and feel1 – It’s fairly basic retractable pen, but long like a stick pen. The rubberized plastic goes all the way around and up the back of the pen to give a comfortable feel for long-term use.
3. Material1 – It’s rubberized and translucent plastic pen. It’s solid for what it is.
4. Overall Design1 – It’s an InkJoy that I can get behind. The pen is colorful, comfortable, and solid.
5. Price Point0.5 – These run close to $2 a pop which is about on par but seems a touch high. They should be refillable, but I’m not seeing refills for these yet. If they do end up having the refills, then they will be a solid pen for everyday use.

4.5 out of 5 Bronze Pencils

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[Writer Post] Flush Fiction and Other Things

Posted by reudaly on May 25, 2016 in Life, Writing |

It’s Wednesday, and by golly, I’m going to get a blog post written.

I do actually have offical permission to announce I will have a story in Flush Fiction, Volume II: Twenty Years of Letting It Go! by Yard Dog Press. It will be available in ebook very soon (link coming), and in print for SoonerCon.

The story is the first stand-alone Four Redheads of the Apocalypse Zoe based short story. It’s also a tribute to a late friend, Ed Dravecky, as requested by my good friend, Robyn. It’s also a big chunk of closure for me – and, I’m told, a highly entertaining story. I hope you enjoy it.

Speaking of SoonerCon… I just got my preliminary schedule. It looks good (and less…FRANTIC…than last year. Still crazy busy, though, so YAY!). I can’t wait. I LOVE SoonerCon – they take me seriously when I say “don’t kill me” to the question of “how many programming items do you want to be on?”. It’s also some of the best people you’ll ever want to work with.

We’ll have a great time. You should be there. Because, frankly, I’m cutting back a bit on the appearances this year. Some by choice. Some due to circumstances beyond my control. I’ve had to balance energy with cost of doing the “for profit” shows that I’ve been supplementing with. We’ll see what happens.

Also, getting back to normal. Currently writing on THREE projects (yes, I know – focus issues) and getting something done on all of them. And there are SO MANY other projects that need work. Hopefully my four-week (on Monday nights) Curvy Yoga class next month will help corral some of the plot bunnies and random hamsters in my head. It’ll at least be a new experience, since I’ve never done yoga before – but I’m being swept up in a ground swell of inclusiveness by good friends. We’re all in it together. So onward and upward – FORWARD PROGRESS!

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[Pen/Pencil Review] PaperMate InkJoy Gel Pen – 0.5mm Classic Colors

Posted by reudaly on May 23, 2016 in Review, writing instruments with Comments closed |

Today’s blog post is an add on to one of the last reviews I did. Today we check out the Paper Mate InkJoy GEL pen in the 0.5mm FINE point (as it should be). The 0.5mm are slightly harder to track down and come in unusual collections. This one package is what I call “the classic colors” – red, blue, black.
IMG_2998
The ink is really good. I do give Paper Mate that. I bought the these at Staples. Staples carries more variety of these pens than Target or Office Depot, which makes me happy. Target only carries black in the 0.5mm – Office Depot carries one of the odder 8-packs (no traditional blue in that one). Staples carries pretty much all of them in both tip points.

The Paper Mate InkJoy gel pens are 5.75″ long retracted and extended. The barrels are slightly thicker than your typical retractable stick pen. The barrel is smooth and is mostly rubberized plastic for a comfort grip. There’s a clear-ish hard plastic front panel that lets you see the level of ink in the refill that also includes the clip – which could snap if you mess with it long enough. The tip is conical and metal, and so is the plunger on the retraction mechanism. The tip screws off to refill the ink and sets smoothly to avoid any ridges.
IMG_3005
The deal with the InkJoy gel pens is supposed to be really smooth and quick drying – compared to Pilot G2 (which is a lofty goal – G2 is pretty much THE standard). So do they measure up? Actually yes, they do. These pens have good ink reservoirs with rich tints to the ink. The conical tips are smooth and lay down a solid line. The feel is good. The ink does seem to dry quickly – except in my moleskine calendar which has really slick pages. EVERYTHING smears on that.

Finally an InkJoy that DOES bring me joy. I am so glad I’ve spent more money than I probably should on these pens. I actually do love them – a lot. . They’re comparable to other gel pens – running between $5-$6 for the 3-packs – depending on where you get them and if they’re on sale. These are available at most common retailers. I said in my other review that I’ll be getting some more of these. And I have. I’ve bought all the 0.5mm options except the one multi-pack that has the greens in them. But then I have to “justify” the other fashion colors that I don’t really need multiples.
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Oh, and I let my Day Job boss use one of the black ones. He fell in instant love with it. We might be buying them for the office in the near future.

To the numbers:
1. How does it work?1 The ink is decent, and comes in decent point sizes. The retraction mechanism is solid.
2. Grip and feel1 – It’s fairly basic retractable pen, but long like a stick pen. The rubberized plastic goes all the way around and up the back of the pen to give a comfortable feel for long-term use.
3. Material1 – It’s rubberized and translucent plastic pen. It’s solid for what it is.
4. Overall Design1 – It’s an InkJoy that I can get behind. The pen is colorful, comfortable, and solid.
5. Price Point0.5 – These run close to $2 a pop which is about on par but seems a touch high. They should be refillable, but I’m not seeing refills for these yet. If they do end up having the refills, then they will be a solid pen for everyday use.

4.5 out of 5 Bronze Pencils
Pencil 4.5

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