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[Pen/Pencil Review] The Platinum OLEeNU Mechanical Pencil – 0.5mm

Posted by reudaly on March 2, 2015 in Review, writing instruments |

Today’s blog is a mechanical pencil from Platinum. The last thing I reviewed from Platinum was the Preppy Fountain Pen, so I thought it was time to try something else. This is the Platinum OLEeNU Mechanical Pencil.

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At first blush, this is a typical mechanical pencil. It has a clear barrel with a frosted rubber grip and accents. It’s 11mm diameter is a comfortable size for long-term writing. The grip gives it a slight squish for added comfort. It’s about 5.75″ long, which makes it long enough to be comfortable. The metal tip retracts into the barrel completely to protect the lead in a pocket or purse. The eraser is the typical white rubber eraser under a clear plastic cap.

It comes with a good 0.5mm lead. It’s a standard lead point, but where this differs is the in the clutch mechanism. With most mechanical pencils, when the lead gets down to a certain length, the clutch stops working and you end up wasting part of the lead. This one claims to let you clutch all the way down to the last millimeter, which lets you get more use out of the lead. I haven’t used it down that far, but I like that idea. The literature says in order to use that much of each lead, there has to be one extra piece of lead, I would take that to mean this comes with four leads instead of the standard three.
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The literature also says the metal tip has a dual structure that protects the lead from breakage. This I can attest. I thought the pencil felt more secure, that it was harder to break the lead. I had a friend borrow the pencil, and she said how much she liked it because the lead didn’t break as much. It’s also got a spring to absorb shock – for those like me who tend to put a lot of pressure on a tip. The lead advances through the typical pusher through the eraser, as well as with an automatic advance mechanism.

This is a “go to” mechanical pencil. I like it a lot. I picked it up from JetPens. It’s not overly expensive, but it’s not dirt cheap either, but if the mechanisms work the way advertised, then this will pay for itself in longevity.

The Numbers.

1. How does it work?1 – This is a solid mechanical pencil. It has two ways to advance lead. It does protect from breakage as much as possible. It seems to let you use much more lead than typical mechanical pencils.
2. Look and feel1 – I like that it’s transparent plastic. But it’s also long enough and wide enough to be comfortable without being blocky.
3. Material1 – It’s plastic. The innovative stuff is in the mechanics where you can’t see.
4. Overall Design0.5 – The only knock? When I was erasing some samples, I ended up advancing the lead quite a bit and had to put that back before I snapped off a significant length of lead. But other than that, it’s awesome.
5. Price Point1This pencil runs $3.30 on JetPens.com. That’s more than some everyday mechanical pencils, but with the mechanics totally makes it worth it.

4.5 out of 5 bronze pencils.
Pencil 4.0

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[Spotlight Post] Leonard Nimoy – The Final Farewell

Posted by reudaly on February 27, 2015 in Life |

I always have been, and always shall be, your friend.

Today has been a challenge. Dallas/Fort Worth has endured Winter Weather conditions all week, making commutes a…challenge. Today we ended up with several inches of snow (which is a lot for us) during the work day. While watching the beauty (and danger) of the deteriorating weather, the news hit of the passing of Leonard Nimoy.

From Gawker Newsfeed

From Gawker Newsfeed


Leonard Nimoy is, was, and always will be a Science Fiction Icon. He embodied one of the most recognizable characters ever created. I challenge you to find someone who doesn’t know where “Live Long and Prosper” came from. He brought Spock to life – an alien who co-existed with Humans, worked with them, and didn’t (necessarily) want to kill all the Humans he came into contact with. He brought us the idea of a race of beings who embrace logic, try to subsume emotion – which provided hours of entertainment by creating the Ultimate Comedic Straight Man.

I’ve always loved the love/hate bickering relationship between Spock and McCoy. It’s a type of chemistry-laden, dynamic character relationship that I’ve always wanted to create. I know part of that was the chemistry between Nimoy and DeForest Kelly (which I hope Dee met Nimoy at the gates with some witty line like: “It’s about time you got here, you green-blooded hobgoblin”). I get why he rebelled against the part for awhile – Nimoy really was so much more than Spock – but Spock is why so many of us are who we are now. The kids that went into science that are now changing the world because a weird dude with pointy ears did science, so they could to. The writers who, like me, wanted to be worthy of creating stories and characters that resonated like these did.

Found on the Internet.

Found on the Internet.


These passings are always inevitable. But Star Trek and Spock were so part of not only my life – but also the lives of everyone I consider part of my “tribe”, my Community – that Nimoy’s passing hit hard. My Social Media feeds today – with INCHES OF SNOW IN OUR AREA – was 90% Nimoy’s passing. I lost count of how many times the Wrath of Kahn funeral scene was linked on my Facebook Feed. I can’t watch that. Not today. Because today, it’s not the farewell to a character that can find a way back – it’s the FINAL Farewell to the man who brought life to the character.

Mr. Nimoy, I never got to meet you, but you were so important to me, to people I know and care about. We will miss you. We will toast your parting at our conventions. You will go to the stars with every astronaut, every daydream, and every future discovery. We want your family and close friends to know that we mourn with them – to paraphrase the Mind Meld – their grief is our grief, their mourning is our mourning. And though it’s not an exact paraphrase… The Grief of the Many Joins the Grief of the One or the Few.

Boldly Go, Mr. Nimoy, your Final Frontier awaits.

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[Writer Post] It’s AND Not OR

Posted by reudaly on February 25, 2015 in Books, What I'm Reading, Writing |

Today’s writing post… and there’s more stuff hitting fans. How much fun is that?

A couple of days ago an article on XOJane.com started circulating on my Facebook feed. The title of the article: “I Challenge You to Stop Reading White, Straight, Cis Male Authors for One Year” with a picture of a circled out Neil Gaiman book held by a woman of color.

Rayguns Over Texas

Price: $15.29

(0 customer reviews)

4 used & new available from $10.74

The premise of the article was supposed to be to challenge readers to read outside their comfort zone. To read books that aren’t in their normal shelf or scope. That’s not how it read. It read as “boycott all the books by White Dudes”. I can’t support that. Not even a little.

Do I want people to read more books by all kinds of people? Absolutely because, hey, I’m a woman writer that should mean more people reading my book. BUT… but I would rather they read my book because they’ve gotten to me, or like the genre, or just want to try something new – not because of my gender or other “minority” attribute. If that’s a deciding factor, okay, I hope you like the story and come back for more.

More Stories That Won’t Make Your Parents Hurl

Price: $15.59

5.0 out of 5 stars (1 customer reviews)

7 used & new available from $2.00

If you’re reading my book INSTEAD OF reading someone else’s because of their skin color, gender, or other identifier? That’s NOT OKAY. I will not now nor will I ever support anything that causes a fellow author to lose sales (which then could mean the end of a career), because then we’ll never have books by someone who has produced art in the past… BECAUSE OF THEIR SKIN COLOR OR GENDER.

Expand your horizons. Read men, women, black, white, LGBT, religious…heck read Flying Purple Spaghetti Monsters, I don’t care, but don’t STOP reading those things that got you reading in the first place. Find things that stretch you, entertain you, and then tell your friends. Tell the world with your hard earned dollars.

The Four Redheads of the Apocalypse

Price:

(0 customer reviews)

0 used & new available from

Make this kind of challenge an AND not a OR. Really, there’s room for all of us on the bookshelves. If you want to read books that aren’t “the same old, same old” or are of different perspectives, types of authors, etc… go check out Yard Dog Press. They don’t call us a “taste of strange” for nothing.

The Anthology From Hell: Humorous Tales from WAY Down Under

Price:

4.3 out of 5 stars (15 customer reviews)

0 used & new available from

Don’t know what to read? Try anthologies. Short pieces that introduce you to a wide range of writers styles. They’re AWESOME!

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[Pen/Pencil Review] Zebra Surari Emulsion Ink Retractable Pen

Posted by reudaly on February 23, 2015 in Review, writing instruments |

So I have several brands of pens that I like – it’s no secret. I tend toward the “Two Ps” from Japan, Pentel and Pilot. But lately, Zebra has been rising on my list. They used to be a lower end pen (like Huyndai and Kai to Honda and Toyota) but have been getting better and better (like those same car companies).

Today’s pen is the Zebra Surari retractable Emulsion Ink Pen with a 0.7mm point in black ink with a black body. The pen is a typical length, about 5.5″ long with a tapered body with a nod to ergonomics. The clip is thick plastic, so it’s sturdy enough. It’s not going to breaks easily. It’s harder to see the ink levels with the black barrel, but the dark barrel gives the pen a sleek look.
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The 0.7mm point is solid metal with an emulsion ink. The black ink is a cross between gel and ballpoint ink. It’s a smooth flowing ink that dries quickly with some smearing with a deep, rich hue and solid line. The ink did skip and smear a little on less porous paper. It’s thick enough to give a good line but fluid enough to not glob up and it does dry pretty quickly.
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The Surari is refillable with the EQ-0.7 which makes it an even more affordable pen over the long haul – which is amazing since it’s already an affordable work horse of a pen.
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The Numbers.

1. How does it work?0.5 – This is a solid working pen. The ink is rich and quick drying but still has some smearing and a touch of skipping. The point is solid. The retractor mechanism is pretty standard.
2. Look and feel1 – It’s a solid pen with good lines and a solid clip.
3. Material0.5 – It’s plastic. There’s a nod to ergonomics but it’s still all plastic
4. Overall Design1 – It’s functional. It’s an average length retractable pen with some artistic details. It’s got a good color ink and fine point. It’s a good point.
5. Price Point1 – This pen is affordable and refillable. The pen is $1.65 on JetPens.com with available refills. The refills run about $1.35.

4.5 out of 5 bronze pencils.
Pencil 4.0

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[Spotlight][Writing] ConDFW and Editing

Posted by reudaly on February 20, 2015 in Conventions, Spotlight, Writing |

Okay, so I totally forgot to do posts this week. It’s been a busy week getting back in gear after ConDFW – and I had both a Federal Holiday (which I actually had off) and my birthday which threw a modicum of chaos into my week.

Julia Mandala and me at the Makeshift Roadshow.

Julia Mandala and me at the Makeshift Roadshow.


ConDFW went well. They’re in a new hotel which is a bit sprawling for its current size, but has nice social space. We just need to find a way to let more people know about it. The numbers have been dwindling – Dallas Comic Con’s Fan Expo the week before doesn’t help. But not all fans are just, about the actors and buying the STUFF, there are still readers out there. I know there are – because I sell books at comic book shows. We just have to find out how to get them back to have the interaction with him that makes fan-run literary conventions so much fun.

And ConDFW was fun. Lots of cool stuff happened – even with limited paneling because even though this is my JOB (it is a job, a business, don’t ever think it’s not), it’s when I have some of the most fun doing my job. I talk to people. I network. I catch up. And even though I come out of if it wrung out and exhausted, I’m also creatively recharged, encouraged, and generally have at least a small pile of Plot Bunnies. Then, if things go really well (which they somehow tend to do at ConDFW) I also find the experience to be some combination of surreal, humbling, and ego-boosting all in one fell swoop.

So, please, please, please come to ConDFW next year. We need you. Bill Ledbetter and I had EIGHT people at our 11 am Sunday morning reading… that’s a GOOD THING. That’s prime check out time and after folks either had good times at the parties or in the bar – that those souls came is awesome. They got to listen to the first couple of chapters of my novel (which I’m HIP DEEP in edits for) and a couple of people said very nice, very encouraging things afterwards. And yes, all those people I didn’t quite listen to, that “read it out loud” thing really does work.

Speaking of which – I need to knuckle down and get the edits done. I have lots to do and need to get it done. I have plans for time management. I’m probably going to bail on a social engagement tomorrow or just go really late because I need to get this thing DONE. The edits are at times painful – but it will be a better book when it’s done. It’s not quite as awful as I thought it was going to be after talking to my editor, but it’s not easy. And now, I have to get back to it.

Hopefully soon I’ll have more news for you!

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[Pen/Pencil Review] Paradise Pen Company Pilgrimage

Posted by reudaly on February 16, 2015 in Review |

There’s not going to be a pen review today. I’m too wiped from ConDFW – and since I’m actually off the Day Job today for President’s Day (yay!) – my brain is taking the day off.

But I will mention that Saturday night, Jimmy and I took six of our friends from ConDFW over to the Dallas Galleria to visit Paradise Pen Company for my annual birthday visit.

It was so much fun to take people I care about to one of my favorite stores to drool over the pretty, pretty pens and such. I did get a couple of things for my birthday (thank you, John and Jimmy) which will show up here eventually.

Mike Braun tried out a couple of lead holders by doing a couple of sketches – that are now in the shop cases – or were Saturday night. Go by and check them out. The Paradise Pen Company guys are GREAT. This is why I buy from them when I can.

We will return to our normally scheduled pen blog next week.

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[Conventions] ConDFW 2015 Schedule – Repost

Posted by reudaly on February 13, 2015 in Conventions, Spotlight, Writing |

I’m reposting my ConDFW schedule! Come see us!

Rhonda Eudaly

FRIDAY:
PROGRAMMING 2 (MADISON)

Friday, 8pm: Yard Dog Road Show!
Panelists: Kathy Turski, Melanie Fletcher, Rie Sheridan Rose, Dusty Rainbolt, Rhonda Eudaly, William Ledbetter, Frank Summers, Teresa Patterson and others!
The fantastic authors of the Yard Dog Press put on their always entertaining Road Show! Make sure not to miss this.

SATURDAY:
PROGRAMMING 3 (HAMILTON)

Saturday, 11am: The “Frozen” Phenomenon
Panelists: Gloria Oliver (M), Mary Gearhart‐Gray, Cassandra Rose Clarke, Rhonda Eudaly, KM Tolan
There have been more and more animated movies (and regular movies, for that matter!) that feature female leads which are exceptionally strong. The most recent of these was Frozen, and girls, even very young girls, are reacting strongly to the relationships between the female leads and the music in this movie. What’s up? There is not the usual Disney “princess” thing going on with these girls. The reaction is different and worthy of being discussed.

PROGRAMMING 2 (MADISON)
Saturday, 12pm: Shared World Anthologies: Playing in a Sandbox
Panelists: Larry Atchley Jr (M), Chris Fulbright, Rhonda Eudaly, Sue Sinor, Kevin Hosey Our panelists talk about creating anthologies in a shared world, and the difficulties that result from playing in someone else’s sandbox. What are the rules? Who are you allowed to kill or marry? How dramatic can you be when large events that you may not be able to alter are happening around your characters? These topics and others will be discussed.

AUTOGRAPHS (DEALERS ROOM) Saturday, 3pm: Rhonda Eudaly, Julia S. Mandala, Dusty Rainbolt

PROGRAMMING 2 (MADISON)
Saturday, 5pm: Flights of Fancy: Fighters in Space
Panelists: William Ledbetter (M), Rhonda Eudaly, C. Dean Andersson, T. M. Hunter, Chris Donahue
From Star Wars to Battlestar Galactica, the stories and images of fighters going against unimaginable odds has fired the imagination. We call upon our panelists to look at these small craft and talk about how to write for them: for instance, what kind of propulsion do they have? What level of realism should be used when talking about fighter battles? These questions and others may be covered. Just remember, Red Five is STILL standing by.

SUNDAY:
READING (ADAMS) Sunday, 11am: William Ledbetter, Rhonda Eudaly

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[Writer Post] [Rant] People Matter – All People All the Time

Posted by reudaly on February 11, 2015 in Life, Writing |

I am beyond words today. I should be working on my novel edits – which I have been, but now I have to get this off my chest.

I’m not a gamer. I don’t play one on TV. Today I stand with gamers – and game developers – in my support of Zoe Quinn, Anita Sarkeesian, and Brianna Wu. I don’t know these women -though I’ve been acquainted with Frank Wu for years now. What these women are dealing with is…so unbelievable that “insane” is just too mild a word.

I can’t begin to imagine having very public rape and death threats coming at me over months. I can’t being to imagine what it’s like to have a Law & Order episode written about what’s happened to me, my colleagues, and my family. I don’t ever want to know – that wasn’t an invitation. I’m a woman in SF…we have these issues – and others.

Last month the US celebrated MLK Day. Dr. King’s famous “I have a dream” speech. Well, maybe it’s time we revisit that, because as much as I want to hide under the bed and hope things like this aren’t happening – they are. And it’s making me angry.

I pray for the day Gene Roddenberry’s vision of the future comes to pass. Where humanity (and alien life) has moved beyond the petty crap we’re all still dealing with. Unfortunately, that day is not today.

Occasionally I say stupid things. We all do. I don’t care about skin color or gender or who wants to be in a relationship with whom. I may not understand or agree with you, or be PC, or a whole number of things. But what I cannot stand, cannot tolerate are the Extremist Nut Jobs or Jerks.

I look forward to the day people are judged based on ability, on their character, and for no other reason. I look forward when children are told they can “Be anything they want to be” and have it actually mean something without worrying about whether or not they’re “plain of feature” or “good at X for a Y.” People are important. People matter.

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[Pen/Pencil Review] Pilot BeGreen Precise V5 – Blue Ink

Posted by reudaly on February 9, 2015 in writing instruments |

Apparently I’ve picked up a lot of Pilot Pens lately – that’s not a bad thing. I do like Pilot. The G2s are undeniably a benchmark pen. But I’ve also come to appreciate others in the family. Jimmy’s always liked the Precise V family. I’m coming around. This is the BeGreen Precise V5 in blue.
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The reason I’ve been hesitant to embrace the Precise V family of pens is the needle point. I’ve always been a little afraid of needle points because they always felt flimsy to me, like I would bend or break them (and I think I have in the distant past). This pen has a solid feeling point for the heavy-handed writers. This is a 0.5mm – hence the V5 – but it’s still a decent point.

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The pen is about 5.5″ long capped and close to 6.25″ with the cap posted. It’s light but well-balanced. The ink is richly pigmented and flows well from the tip. The lines are smooth and the ink dries quickly on paper with minimal smearing. The barrel has transparent panels to let you see the ink level. The cap cover matches the ink. The logo panel is green with ink matching portions to the barrel so you know which pen you’re picking up.
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Pilot’s BeGreen lines of pens have high recycled materials content for the environmentally friendly. The BeGreen Precise V5 has 89.2% recycled content. The blue and black versions of the pen are refillable for a further economy to an economical pen. This is a good workhorse pen that has a price point, so if it’s stolen off a desk, it’s no big loss.

The Numbers.

1. How does it work?1 – This is a solid working pen. The ink is well-pigmented. The point is relatively solid for a needle point.
2. Look and feel0.5 – It’s a basic stick pen. There’s no real ergonomics. It’s all plastic with a clip that could snap off if you mess with it too much.
3. Material1 – It’s recycled plastic. It does have the highest recycled content of any of the BeGreen line I’ve picked up lately.
4. Overall Design1 – It’s functional. It’s an average length stick pen with a decent point and ink. It’s refillable and eco-friendly
5. Price Point1 – This pen is affordable and refillable. It’s a good deal. I got this pen on JetPens for $1.80. Refills come in blue and black for $2.00 for a two-pack.

4.0 out of 5 bronze pencils.
Pencil 4.0

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[Spotlight Post] North Texas Comic Book Shows

Posted by reudaly on February 6, 2015 in Conventions, Spotlight |

Oh, yeah, Friday. Tomorrow I’m doing something for Fan Day’s Saturday Night Shindig, which reminds me I didn’t get to talk about North Texas Comic Book Show last week.

North Texas Comic Book Show (NTCBS) is a similar but much smaller show than Fan Expo. Chris is the organizer and focuses on the artists and cosplayers – at the moment. It might expand in the future, because it does seem to be gradually getting bigger and better for the attendees.

The attendees that currently come to NTCBS are a core group. Some were friends of the organizer and/or the artists – but it does appear those core people are telling people. And this last show, News Fix 33 (CW 33) came by and did a story – which is awesome. Though I do have to question their title – “Comic Book Show Draws Thousands” – thousands of WHAT they don’t say, because it wasn’t PEOPLE.

Don’t get me wrong there were people there over the two days – but they were a lot of the SAME people. Hundreds maybe, but not thousands – because if there were, we’d’ve been shut down for breaking a bajillion fire codes – which is always a good problem to have.

This was a “squeaker” show for me. I made just over table costs – but barely and not until the last few hours of the show. I sweat the show. I did, because though it’s NOT all about the money, that’s a major factor. The other major factor was, and is, meeting people and trying to attract new readers. The comic books shows are a harder sale to make – because these are folks generally looking for specific things. They’re not always there to look for prose, but I get some – and they’re not people I’d necessarily meet anywhere else.

It’s completely worth it. THIS show… though not as flashy (or expensive – WAY, WAY less expensive) as Fan Expo – it’s got heart. It’s got GOOD people involved. Even if I’d not made money at this particular show, I would go back. In fact, I “strayed” to do the bigger show and have come back just because it’s less expensive and more intimate. I can get to know people here. I can’t at the big show.

So if you’re into comic books – really into comic books – and comic book art, consider coming to the next NTCBS (I hear they’re doing a Spiderman theme) and support a growing show.

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