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[Pen/Pencil Blog] Pentel Color Shades Writing Pack – Green

Posted by reudaly on August 29, 2016 in writing instruments |

A few weeks ago I wrote that I have a problem. Back-to-School displays are my weakness. On the trip to Walgreens that gained me the fine point BICs (still don’t have “traditional” colors) X-tra Precise. I also found the Pentel Color Shades Writing Pack – in Green. And even though I’ve pretty much reviewed all things Pentel, I still had to buy this. I have a problem. I’d like to say I could quit any time, but then there wouldn’t be a blog.
Honestly, I just saw the green and went for it. I didn’t read the packaging AT ALL. So I rather expected this to be all black ink with green barrels. And… no. There’s a PENTEL RSVP RT medium point (so 1.0 mm) retractable ball point pen, An ENER-GEL X 0.7mm gel pen, a WOW! 0.7mm mechanical pencil, a Hi Polymer eraser and a Clic Eraser in this pack (other colors available if you don’t like green – but who doesn’t like green????)
The pencil is a pencil. Pentel has relatively dense lead – this is a classic HB – and it doesn’t break easily The eraser is under a translucent cap, which I’ve not used (though decent erasers) because I have better erasers to use. Speaking of… I LOVE the Clic Erasers. Feels like a pen with a super long eraser that ratchets out. I annoy people with the eraser clicking. But there’s ALWAYS eraser available.

The Ener-Gels are a perennial favorite. The ink pigment is dark and relatively fast-drying. The conical point flows freely with little skipping or glopping. The ballpoint is always iffy. Not a fan of 1.0 mm – but the ink is a regular green, not a light green (no matter what the barrels say). RSVPs do well with the smooth flow and limited glopping. Retractables make everything clean.
The Clic Eraser is 5” long, the pens and pencil run between 5.75” and 6” long for a “standard” size in mechanical pencils and retractable pens. There are ergonomic grips on all but the click eraser for comfort. They’re all balanced well.

The issue is availability and cost. Right now they’re only showing up online at Amazon and Ebay. You’ll have to catch them at box stores before Back-to-School is over. They’re more expensive online. I think I paid $4.99 at Walgreens?
The numbers:

1. How does it work?1 These are decent tools in a decent (and kind of fun-looking) pack to handle all the elements of school or work.
2. Grip and feel1 – They have good grips and feel for being basic plastic writing tools..
3. Material1 For an inexpensive plastic pens and pencil, they’re solidly built. The retracting mechanism are solid. The barrels are cool
4. Overall Design1 -It’s a pretty cool package. Everything is classic Pentel. Kind of doing a matched set is pretty awesome.
5. Price Point0.5 – I got these at a local Walgreens. $5 is a good price if you can find it – $1 an element is good. Unfortunately, if you find them on line they seem to be running more – Amazon is showing between $7 – $9 – which is a bit much, I’m afraid. And they seem to be “seasonal”.

4.5 out of 5 Bronze Pencils

Pencil 4.5

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[Writer Post] All the Updates

Posted by reudaly on August 24, 2016 in Conventions, Writing |

Happy Blog Day Wednesday. Getting ready for Geekinomicon next weekend. Running a panel at 6 pm on Friday – don’t know if anyone else is going to be on it or if it’s just me. If you’re one of my OKC folks or can be one of the OKC folks, come out and support the show – and me. And if you want to buy some books? That would be cool, too.

Writing is going pretty well – or at least it’s going. Sometimes slow and steady wins the race, right? It’s okay to be the tortoise instead of the hare.

There will be a new Redheads book – Wrath of Satan – is in galley proof stages (and thank goodness for Julia and her grand attention to detail). We’re doing our meeting this weekend about the 10th Anniversary Bash for Redheads of the Apocalypse. If you are/were/or ever thinking of being a ROTA supporter, come celebrate with us at FenCon!

Speaking of FenCon, now is the massive gear up. Holy Cow, that’s in a month! It’s down to details now – which is when I get busy. So crazy time ahead in 3…2…1… BE WARNED! Be AFRAID!!!!

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[Pen/Pencil Review] Owl Stress Pen Novelty

Posted by reudaly on August 22, 2016 in Review, writing instruments |

I love Back-to-School time. It’s one of my Most Wonderful Times of the Year. All the lovely office/school supplies ON SALE. It makes my poor heart flutter. Especially when I can hit a Walgreens or CVS or other store and find some awesome novelty pens. This year was no exception. Walgreens had these amazing Owl Stress Pens for $1.99. I had to buy one for my friend, Meredith (she loves owls) and if she gets one, I get one.
This is a novelty pen, so the expectations are not high with pens like this. This one is top heavy, obviously, there is an owl on top. The pen barrel is a bit short – the whole pen is short, it’s only 6.5” long. There’s a flare to the base of the barrel, so there’s a slight nod to ergonomics. It’s not a pen for long-term writing unless you have a small hand.
The surprising part is the smoothness of the black ballpoint ink. The conical tip is smooth. There’s very little skipping or glopping. The point is on the fine side – like a 0.7mm. Which is AWESOME. Always like when something doesn’t default to 1.0mm or larger.
The selling point is the owl though. It’s a stress “ball” of sorts. Have a co-worker, family member, or random school mate that makes you want to pop someone’s eyes out or pinch their heads like a zit? (Eww, I know, imagery!) This pen lets you DO THAT. Squeeze the owl and the eyes pop out. SO MUCH FUN! And keeps you out of HR or the principal’s office. Win/Win.
The fact you get this in a pen that actually writes decently for $1.99? PRICELESS!
The numbers:
1. How does it work?1 It’s works fine, solid ink flow and a decent tip. The therapeutic aspects are just a bonus.
2. Grip and feel0.5 – There’s a nod to ergonomics, but it’s short and not well-balanced
3. Material1 It’s a cheesy plastic novelty pen. You get what you pay for.
4. Overall Design0.5 – The cap doesn’t post – in fact the cap is probably superfluous. It’s short, oddly balanced, but so much fun you can’t quite NOT use it. Though I’m using it for less a pen and more for the stress aspects.
5. Price Point1 – It’s not outrageous. It’s $1.99 on at Walgreens. For Back-to-school on a budget, it’s not necessary. For stress-relief that has a functional purpose? $2 is a good price.

4 out of 5 Bronze Pencils
Pencil 4.0

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[Writing Post] Geekinomicon and Deadlines

Posted by reudaly on August 17, 2016 in Conventions, Writing |

Annoucement (Especially my OKC folk!):
GEEKINOMICON!, September 2-4, 2016 – I will be a panelist – and have a table in their Small Press area. One of the panels is already on the schedule – stuff is always being added. But there will be so much more to do than autographs and buying stuff. I know this because 1) I know how hard Devin Pike is working on that; and 2) I’m not a celebrity draw, and I’m there! Come support this, please? Cox Convention Center!

Now… Deadlines. Yeah, I’m going to blow that arbitary YA deadline. Sorry, Larry, you really tried. I really tried (not giving up YET) but, dude, it’s so not going to happen. Between day job stress and crap and just normal life stress and crap… stress and crap happened which has an effect on the writing. There’s been family trips and conventions (and now new conventions) and this is the “busy” time of the year.

I am writing. Regularly. I didn’t spew all those things out as excuses. They are things that happened that delayed what I’m working on. But I am currently working on three projects (because I’m a masochist and details for one ongoing project keeps popping up when I SHOULD be working on ONE THING) – but the priority is the YA novel – but there’s an anthology that I REALLY, REALLY want to be part of.

So I’m WORKING. I’m moving forward (which was the goal for this year). I’m not going to make the deadline. ASAP. Promise. Mostly because I want stuff off my plate and elsewhere.


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[Pen/Pencil Review] Premptive Post

Posted by reudaly on August 15, 2016 in Review, writing instruments |

I am in a training class for 2.5 days for work with yoga tonight (yoga is becoming very important). The likilyhoodnof there being a review today is prett slim.

I gave actually started my inventory/purge of my massive amounts of pens, so we will see where we head from here. I will do my best to get something up is week — but today is iffy.

Love seeing pen companies respond to the social media – if there is something you want to see — let me know.

I am totally open to suggestions from all areas, actually.

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[Writing Post] And hey…It’s Wednesday

Posted by reudaly on August 10, 2016 in Books, Writing |

Yes, this day nearly got away from me. But here I am once again, getting a blog post in. These four day work weeks are AWESOME for the long weekends, but heck on knowing what day it is.

We spent a lovely weekend in south Texas – beyond San Antonio – in the middle of nowhere. We got to see some amazing scenery both on the trip down through the Hill Country and while we were in south Texas. And that triggered a plot bunny (or two). We’ll see how that turns out, since there’s an awesome anthology I want to submit to soon.

This same trip gave me a detail or two for another ongoing project.

What it didn’t give me was a word count. I own that, even though I took stuff with me and I did LOOK at said ongoing project – I really needed the time to decompress and disconnect. I haven’t had that in a while.

But since I’ve been back there’s been “back on the horse”-ing. I’m doing my darnedest to make my September 1st deadline, but I’m not sure it’s going to happen. /sigh Because, of course, I keep getting stuck on stupid little things like coming up with names for characters.

Rebel Mechanics: All Is Fair in Love and Revolution

Price: $6.25

4.3 out of 5 stars (56 customer reviews)

52 used & new available from $3.74

I have been reading – quite a bit during the trip. I thoroughly enjoyed Shanna Swendson’s Rebel Mechanics (had to go order the sequel – Rebel Magisters). I re-read J. Kathleen Cheney’s The Seer’s Choice and then her newest novella – Whatever Else. It’s different but just as well put together.

Whatever Else


5.0 out of 5 stars (5 customer reviews)

0 used & new available from

Now it’s time to put the finishing touches on the latest Redheads of the Apocalpyse book before our 10th Anniversary Bash at FenCon in September. See you there!


[Pen/Pencil Post] Wooden Pencil Sampler

Posted by reudaly on August 8, 2016 in Review, writing instruments |

Pencils are hard to review. I’ll try to do some for these on an individual manner, but in the last order from, I did pick up a “Wooden Pencil Sampler – B”
I am a fan of wooden pencils. There’s a sense of accomplishment when you use one down to the nub. And by doing a sampler, I can try some of the more artistic types of pencils as well as regular old pencils.
I chose the “B” leads, because I prefer the darker, softer leads – even if that means they don’t hold points quite as well as harder ones. I look forward to playing with these over time.
Yes, I know this isn’t much of a review, but hey, I’ve actually had something of a vacation this weekend, and I’m lucky to get this far before going back to yoga and work. Let’s see how these pencils perform over time!


[Writing Post][Convention] ArmadilloCon 38

Posted by reudaly on August 3, 2016 in Conventions, Writing |

I totally meant to do this blog post earlier in the day – but here we are. But it’s still Wednesday. I’m on track. The word counts have been a bit…less awesome…but I’ve been doing random bits of things since getting back from ArmadilloCon.

ArmadilloCon is in the rear view. It was awesome as always – but it’s different from some of the other convention. This one is more of a working convention because it’s really more about writers for writers. The writing/literature panels all had 15 – 20 ish people, but apparently the art panels weren’t quite as well attended. Hmmm… but as a writer, it was cool.

The weird thing about ArmadilloCon is that when people went to panels…they WENT TO THE PANELS – and STAYED there. The Dealer’s Room was often nearly empty (and that didn’t count the handful of tables that either didn’t sell or the sellers never showed). Tea Punk had to skedaddle Saturday evening because of a BIRTH in the family (YAY!!!!! Shiny new fan child!) Never saw many people in the art show at any one time either.

So it was hard to judge just how many people were there. But I still love this convention (and not just because I knew where Michelle Muntzler stored her amazing cookies) because of the professional connections and getting the creative juices flowing, talking to other professionals – meeting new fellow professional (and of course, helping out with Fannish Feud is AMAZING). There are now SO MANY THINGS I want to do – but I have to stick with the plan. There’s a PLAN, darn it.

Saturday got stupid busy, but I LIKE stupid busy. The panels were interesting. I had people (including someone I don’t know) at my 7 pm reading – so I didn’t get to do much more than MEET Mark Finn’s wife (after hearing about her for literally YEARS). But the best part of the entire convention is hanging around tables (and the bar) and having THE BEST conversations with other authors about The State of the Industry and the different experiences people are having with people like J. Kathleen Cheney and Martha Wells.

Now it’s time to get cracking on said plan. Because there’s work to be done. More conventions ahead. More product needed. And SO MANY plot bunnies!

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[Pen/Pencil Review] KUM Scribble Tip Top Pencil Cap and Sharpener

Posted by reudaly on August 1, 2016 in Review, writing instruments |

I’m a huge fan of the Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil. No bones about it. That little sucker is the thing I’ve always needed that I never knew I needed. So when I was on JetPens last, I found something similar but different and decided to try the KUM Scribble Tip Top Pencil Cap and Sharpener.
The KUM Scribble Tip Top Pencil Cap and Sharpener works like the Perfect Pencil but is cuter and more child-like. But the price was okay for a trial for a different and extra pencil extender and sharpener (and cap to keep the point from breaking.
The Scribble Tip Top cap is about 2.25″ long and comes with a white stubby pencils, so the initial length is about 5.0″ long – with the cap posted to the non-sharpened end, it makes the pencil itself about 6.5″ long. The cap is thick plastic with a blue plastic clip and a flip cap that covers the sharpener that’s nested inside. There are doodles decorating the cap for a whimsical appearance.
The sharpener pulls out of the cap with ribbed edges that secure the sharper to the cap. The sharpener works pretty well for being about an inch long. However, there’s a bit of an issue with the sharpener – the grip is really close to the blade, so my fingers catch graphite dust and shavings making the sharpener dirty to work with.
Then there was a further test – I tried the cap with generic pencils – both round and hex. The round pencil that are generally used as promotional giveaways was tight, but you can get the cap on – barely. The Berol Mirado hex pencil fit well. Capping it on erasers was tight, so maybe not that. But definitely use the slightly narrower of the typical pencil.
I still love the idea. This thing works as it’s supposed too. It doesn’t cost a lot, and there’s something to be said about having a pencil sharpener always available – and being able to protect the points. But honestly, it’s not as good as the Faber-Castell. I’ll keep this one around, for back up uses, but it’s not my first choice

The numbers:
1. How does it work?1 It’s one of those things that if you love wooden pencils, it is a must have. The cap is secure. The sharpener does a good, tight point.
2. Grip and feel0.5 – There’s no real “grip”. It does make shorter pencils easier to use and regular pencils a bit long – but the plastic is a bit bulky and the sharpener is a bit short.
3. Material1 It’s strong quality plastic with a decent metal-bladed sharpener that seats securely. Clip feels strong and unlikely to snap off.
4. Overall Design0.5 – The cap needs to be a touch wider to better accommodate round pencils, and I would desperately love a slightly different design to the sharpener to keep the graphite dust of my fingers. I don’t want to have to clean my fingers all the time.
5. Price Point0.5 – It’s not outrageous. It’s $4 on Jet Pens. That’s cool. Nothing to break the bank over – but being the same price point as the Faber-Castell Perfect Pencil – I’d spend the money on that one instead. But it’s still a good price.

3.5 out of 5 Bronze Pencils
Pencil 3.5

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[Writing Post] Oh, Hey… it’s Thursday

Posted by reudaly on July 28, 2016 in Conventions, Writing with Comments closed |

It’s been one of those weeks. Again. But in getting ready for ArmadilloCon tomorrow – and having a short week at work – I totally lost track of what day of the week it was.

We have done some work on the house. I’ve finished up the edits on a short story.I got three of my beta reader’s notes in. They were pretty much all the same — which is a big flashing sign that there might be issues with those bits. Seriously… if three people have issues with the same bits? It’s not the reader. It’s the story.

And… then my 1650 word short story now comes out to 1550… and that’s how that works.

So come see me and a whole bunch other really cool, awesome authors and artists, head to ArmadilloCon! It’s going to be fun!

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