Today is super busy, so the post for today/this week is my current programming for ConDFW next week. This year they are running me ragged on Saturday. If I’m inadvertently rude to anyone, you can see why. Apologies in advance.
AUTOGRAPHS (THE GALLERY)
Friday, 5pm: Julia S. Mandala, Rhonda Eudaly
MAIN PROGRAMMING (JEFFERSON)
Friday, 6pm: Humor Recipes for the Soul
Panelists: Barbara Ann Wright (M), John Scalzi, Rhonda Eudaly, Kathy Turski, Bill Crider, K. B. Bogen
With all the talk of mashups and combining genres, we need to talk about humor in various genres. What is considered funny in Science Fiction? What is considered funny in Epic Fantasy, or even Urban Fantasy? We bring our distinguished panelists to the kitchen table and get them to spill their delicious secrets.
Saturday, 10am: J. Kathleen Cheney, Rhonda Eudaly
PROGRAMMING 4 (JACKSON)
Saturday, 12pm: Crowdsourcing 101: Kickstarter and You!
Panelists: Aaron de Orive, Rhonda Eudaly, Melia Newman
If you were to talk to a random person online about Kickstarter, you would probably hear about this project that stole their money because it promised much then died. However, Kickstarter and other crowdfunding platforms (Indiegogo, Gofundme, etc.) have an impressive success rate – only 1 in 10 fully funded projects fail. How do you succeed in doing a Kickstarter? What do you look for in investing IN a Kickstarter? What rights do you have if your Kickstarter fails? Our panelists discuss these issues and more.
PROGRAMMING 3 (HAMILTON)
Saturday, 2pm: The Short Story: Advantages and Benefits.
Panelists: David Gray (M), Mary Gearhart‐Gray, Rhonda Eudaly, Barbara Ann Wright, Larry Atchley Jr.,
The short story is often overlooked by the average reader unless they read certain literary magazines or short story collections. However, they are a gem that should not be discounted so readily. Our short story writers talk about the benefits of writing short stories as opposed to writing novels.
PROGRAMMING 3 (HAMILTON)
Saturday, 4pm: The Hard Work of Writing Humor
Panelists: Julia S. Mandala (M), Rhonda Eudaly, Kathy Turski, Sabine Starr, Bill Crider, K.B. Bogen
Writing something humorous is just as rough as writing something disastrous. You have to do research, you have to make sense, and you have to be funny at the same time. Our writers talk about what they do to work through the grind, and how to maintain your sanity.
PROGRAMMING 3 (HAMILTON)
Saturday, 6pm: Redheads of the Apocalypse
Panelists: Julia S. Mandala, Linda Donahue, Rhonda Eudaly
Yes, it’s that time again – and the craziness that is the Redheads of the Apocalypse are doing a press conference. Should be a lot of fun, and they’ll answer any questions you have…
PROGRAMMING 2 (MADISON)
Sunday, 11am: The Art of the Contract
Panelists: Julia S. Mandala (M), Rhonda Eudaly, Lawrence M. Schoen, T.M. Hunter, David L. Gray
If you want to try more traditional ways of publishing, you’re going to need to learn how to read fine print. Our publishers talk about contracts, what to look for and what to hold out for.
It’s been a busy weekend, and today is also busy – so this is a pseudo-rerun. Part of my Christmas haul was the companion piece to a dual tip highlighter I ran in October. The Kokuyo Beetle Tip dual tip highlighter this time in Pink and Yellow.
…You can use one or the other sides – or you can play a double line. It’s kind of fun. But it’s a highlighter, there’s not a lot new you can say about highlighters…but the dual tip lets you do different things. And the pink and yellow inks are bold for the lighter colors. Because the ink is liquid, there’s some smearing if you highlight over pen ink.
This Kokuyo Beetle Tip dual highlighter is 5.2″ long with the highlighter capped and 6.2″ long with the cap posted. It’s a bit wide for the hand – because there are TWO inks in the barrels, and there are no ergonomics, but it’s a cool little tool and not too expensive.
1. How does it work? – 0.5 It’s decent. There are ways that can mess up. You can get green in your purple and purple in your green
2. Grip and feel – 0.5 – This is no frills plastic. It’s a bit wide to be completely comfortable and it’s a simple tube. There are no ergonomics.
3. Material – 1 It’s a no frills plastic with a purpose.
4. Overall Design – 1 – It’s a cool looking, fun tool. You have options for what you need to highlight.
5. Price Point – 1 – It’s pretty affordable. It’s $2.25 on JetPens. It’s fun, useful, and not an unreasonable investment.
4.0 out of 5 Bronze Pencils
When I put this week’s pen on my JetPens Wishlist, it was more from a curiosity factor than anything else. It ended up as part of my Christmas haul, so I have the prime opportunity to check it out – Yay, Wishlist! I’ve developed a taste for Pilot’s Acroball line I have to be in a “mood” for gel pens or fountain pen. BUT… there’s always a place for ballpoints and the Acroball line is rapidly becoming one of my absolute favorites.
The Acroball ink is an oil-based ink that I’ve talked about before. It provides a smooth line with rich, dark pigments – including the green ink, which is by far the most difficult to do well – with minimal glops or smears. The barrel is clear plastic for a demonstrator style that lets you see the levels of the ink. The grip is a tire-pattern rubberized grip that gives a decent feel. The barrel is a bit thick, but it’s normal for the type of the pen and still comfortable. The color retracts by pushing a second plunger. The clip is spring loaded, sturdy, and easy to use.
The barrel is 5.7” long and the ink points are a fantastic 0.7mm conical point with a color band around each refill to confirm color. The ink is refillable in both 0.7mm AND 0.5mm which makes this a useful, all around pen that will last quite a while. If you don’t like the clear barrel – they do come in six different colors.
1. How does it work? – 1 It works really well. The retraction mechanisms are solid. The ink is solid and rich.
2. Grip and feel – 1 – This has a good feel. There’s nothing “extra” to the pen. The barrel is only as wide as it needs to be to hold the inks. The rubberized grip makes it pretty comfortable.
3. Material – 1 It’s a decent quality plastic pen with refill options. The plungers and clips are sturdy and functional
4. Overall Design – 1 – For a pen that should be a lot bulkier, this pen is sleek, functional and designed to do what it needs to do.
5. Price Point – 0.5 – It’s kind of expensive – and probably only available online through JetPens or the like – I don’t remember seeing them in stores. The multipen runs $8.25 for the first one and between $1.50 and $1.75 for the refills. It’s not something to be bought and lost – but it’s a good all around bpen.
4.5 out of 5 Bronze Pencils
Wow. It’s been a hard month when it comes to losses. After all of last week’s deaths, we started out this week hearing about Glenn Frey from The Eagles. Though I wasn’t a die-hard fan, I enjoyed the music and his acting talent. He was an iconic musician and his passing leaves a major hole in music. But today I learned of the impending loss that hits closer to home… David G. Hartwell, editor. (There have been conflicting reports of his actual loss – but his condition is DIRE..) The link I shared earlier today has been retracted.
I did not know David Hartwell well – or really at all – I’m sure I encountered him either at World Fantasy in Austin in 2006 or World Con 2013 in San Antonio, but I don’t have an awesome story like many of my friends. He was just always a part of the SF/F community, an editor I always wanted to work with but never had a chance. He was THERE. A presence. A presence that will be sorely missed by those who had the privilege to work with him and know him.
Also found out this week that ApolloCon has been cancelled for 2016. I knew they were facing some logistical issues; I understand the decision. I hope they can come back from the break. I really do. Losing ApolloCon not only leaves a hole in my summer calendar – it leaves a hole in the regional map for artists, authors, and fans. It was the main – maybe the ONE – fan run literary convention in HOUSTON. That’s a HUGE hit to fandom. Houston has always had a fan base and has been a vital part of Texas Fandom. We need a convention there – and not ONLY For-Profit Comic Cons. We need to reach all the fans. We need ApolloCon to come back stronger than ever.
So with all the deaths and losses racking up – and it’s still JUST JANUARY! – January, YOU. ARE. FIRED! Security will escort you from the premises. Your things will be sent to you. There’s the door.
The ways January does not suck…
I still have the Half Price Books signing coming up on Sunday (1-3) at the Flagship Store just off 75 and Northwest Highway. Please come, even if you have all my books and such. The more people that come in for my signing encourages the store to take risks on other authors. So by helping one (me) you help all of us. Boost the signal!
I’ve made FORWARD PROGESS (the 2016 goal). After way too long putting things off – I have both my independent chapbooks up on Amazon in ebook form (you still have to get the hard copies for me – for now). It’s just another way to try do more with what I have while writing more stuff. I have the author page which has pretty much everything – anthologies, too – on it. It’s stuff that should’ve been done, and now it is. ONWARD!
Finally – CONDFW! ConDFW is Valentine’s Weekend, but please come out and support the fan run conventions. There’s a comic con in town that weekend – and I get the appeal – but the literary conventions are a lower key way to meet authors, artists, and have the opportunity to actually get to know them and learn something about the literary/SF world. We would like you to spend money with the dealer’s room and art show and authors, but it’s not as big of a money sink as the more commercial shows. Check it out. And help keep fandom alive and active in the area.
There’s a sad by product of having Federal Holidays on Monday… I totally forgot about the blog post. So, here we go – a day late (again). But here we go. Not doing a rerun. 2016 is about moving forward. Back during the holidays I found something at Dollar Tree that made me have to have them for the Stockings.
Dollar Tree had “Anti-Gravity” ballpoint pens in a silver finish and a black. Jimmy got the black for his stocking. I got the silver. Now the point of these pens is that they have the pressurized ink barrels to make them like Fisher Space Pens – able to write at any angle and such. However… being a DOLLAR I had very low expectations.
These pens aren’t nearly as…mismarked… as I thought they would be. In fact, the pen does actually write at odd angles. The ink is…adequate. It’s a broader point than I would like, I’m guessing a 1.0mm, but it’s actually a decent pen. The ink feathers a bit on the rough, handmade paper of the journal but is fairly smooth on regular paper. There’s some glopping, but it’s not that bad.
The pen is about 5.5” long with the point retracted and nearly 5.75” with the point extended. The barrel is a light metal with molded accents and a sturdy clip. The pen is cast with an ergonomic design and etching to make a decent grip. The wider grip is fairly comfortable, and it’s better balanced than expected. The twist retractable mechanism is solid. Who knew?
1. How does it work? – 1 It works better than expected. It does actually write on an angle.
2. Grip and feel – 0.5 – It’s all metal with molded etchings. There’s nothing soft about it – and if you have a tight grip, those etched moldings can dig in and be tiresome later.
3. Material – 1 It’s actually METAL – maybe aluminum, but most likely a base metal alloy with a solid clip, recitation mechanism and a pressurized ink refill.
4. Overall Design – 0.5 – There’s nothing wrong with this pen but the size of the point – and though I know it’s my preferences – it’s part of the review process. And the fact you might have to go searching for it or order from the website while they have them in stock
5. Price Point – 1 – DUDE, it’s $1. ONE DOLLAR at Dollar Tree. It’s refillable with a pressurized refill. Even if it didn’t work AT ALL (which it does), it’s A DOLLAR. How can you beat that?
4.0 out of 5 Bronze Pencils
Oh, Wednesday… you’ve come back around. And now… here we are… on track for some things and behind on others. Same song, second verse. But I feel (sort of) okay with it – because I’m currently reading Felicia Day’s book, You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost), and just got through most of the part where she struggled with writing (though I don’t do the video game thing but still… relatable). It’s a good read – I highly recommend it.
I broke through the … blargs… that kinda hit during the holidays. Some of it might actually have something to do with the “Team Building” meeting we had at work last Friday – which was more a “clearing the air” of all the bad vibes going on in the office. It was not FUN, but it did actually seem to accomplish stuff. I’ve actually had a decent week so far on that front.
And now… I’m really and for true getting back on track. No limping along in the name of productivity. I’ve not only committed editing, but also creating new word counts. I had a break on the article I should’ve had sent to Sara Felix weeks ago (fortunately I haven’t blown any deadlines YET), and that should be done/do-able by the end of the week. So that will be one thing off the “to do” list.
At the Day Job I’m the person who Get’s … STUFF… Done. I need that to follow me home more often. Also made some progress on FenCon stuff, so momentum! Let’s roll with it. It helps that I’ve been able to have an awesome reading list to help inspire me to get my butt in gear.
Now… to stop talking and start doing. And don’t forget… Come see me at Half Price Books Flagship on Sunday, January 24, 2016 from 1-3 pm. Even if you don’t buy books from me – come to the store, say hi, and buy books there so they will book me and other authors LIKE me again. It’s the best way for authors like me to connect with new authors. Also looking into some new shows. Still taking recommendations.
Let’s check out a Uni-ball offering today. This pen was… a mistake that I put on my JetPens Wish List by mistake because this is a broad point – and we all know how I feel about those. Today is the Uni-ball Signo Broad UM-153 Gel Pen in Blue Black ink.
For the most part, the only problem I have with this pen is the size of the tip. The Uni-ball is about 5.5” capped and 5.8” long with the cap posted. The cap does post securely. The blue black ink is rich and dark. On a rough paper like my handmade journal, there’s no smearing. Quick drying ink. On slicker paper, give it a couple of seconds to dry. The point is conical but the 1.0mm tip is just too big for me. The line is wide and unwieldy.
The barrel is mostly clear with a gold band identifying (I think) the point size – but the packaging is in Japanese, so there’s that. The ink reservoir is ample. There’s rubberized grip for a nod to ergonomics and comfort. This pen is theoretically refillable. Because these are Japanese Uni-ball’s they’re only available through sources like JetPens.
1. How does it work? – 1 In purely function – it works as well or better than expected. The ink is smooth, rich, and dries really quickly. There was no immediate smearing on handmade paper.
2. Grip and feel – 0.5 – There is a rubberized grip for a nod to ergonomics. But the broad – 1.0mm – point makes the feel too big and unwieldy.
3. Material – 1 It’s a decent quality plastic pen with the option to refill the pen. The cap posts securely.
4. Overall Design – 0.5 – There’s nothing wrong with this pen but the size of the point – and though I know it’s my preferences – it’s part of the review process.
5. Price Point – 0.5 – It’s expensive for a seemingly typical stick gel pen and you have to order them online only – they’re from Japan – they run $2.50 on JetPens.
3.5 out of 5 Bronze Pencils