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[Pen/Pencil Review] Oopsie

Posted by reudaly on December 5, 2016 in Life, writing instruments |

Yeah. There was ground. There was running. There is no blog.

There’s a bit of a new normal at work. One in which I’m a busy little beaver. I’m going to be at my desk for a sum total of 2 days (this morning, tomorrow afternoon, and Thursday).

So… I have to figure out scheduling again. Next year.

But tonight I will finish Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.

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[Writer Blog] ‘Tis the Season

Posted by reudaly on November 30, 2016 in Writing |

For Hallmark Movies. While I’m in Maryland, I have access to the Hallmark Channel and a room to myself. So I’m decompressing from my class by having sappy Christmas movies playing in the background. And now apparently they have a Hallmark Movies and Mysteries Channel. THEY SO NEED AN APP!

It’s one of those times of the year that I indulge the sappy side – a bit more difficult now that we’ve cut cable, but sap will find a way. I have a week of Hallmark Channel here, and I’ve found a few on Netflix and Hulu. So I can make that all happen.

And yes, I’ve piddled around with some ideas of my own for these super sappy movies. If I do one of them in the grand scheme of writing, it won’t be in script format. Mostly because I don’t have any contacts in that area. But I could do an independent novella or novel or whatever. If I do THAT, then I can pick my mom’s brain on how to make that work, because she’s actually DONE one and is doing really well.

Warm Mulled Kisses: A Collection of 10 Christian Christmas Novellas


4.3 out of 5 stars (27 customer reviews)

0 used & new available from

And now to admit that I have to go and put in an appearance at Karaoke night at the campus pub. It’s a tradition around here. Tomorrow is a big day of class and then a class barbecue. Then the wrap up and I will finally make my way home to my family and my comfy bed.

Home is a wondrous word.

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[Pen/Pencil Review] A Driveby Post from Maryland

Posted by reudaly on November 28, 2016 in Review, writing instruments |

As my social media followers know, I’m currently a long way from home. My Day Job has sent me to Maryland to do a week long training. My brain is full from today’s lectures and beginning exercises. It’s a solid day of SO MUCH INFORMATION. But it’s good. I am taking a class in Emmitsburg at the National Fire Academy and the Emergency Management Institute.


The picture is horrible, but it’s a fireman memorial.


But hey, look! Pens! I bought them in the little gift shop. How cute is the dalamation pen? So there’s something pen related today. I hope to have a brain for the writing blog on Wednesday.

Eastern time zone is weird when you’re used to Central time.

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[Writer Post] Nerd Year’s Eve & Panel Questions

Posted by reudaly on November 23, 2016 in Conventions, Life, Writing |

Happy Thanksgiving! (Well, Thanksgiving EVE). It’s going to be a weirdly low-key yet frantic holiday for me. Welcome to my world. Low-Key in that there’s only five of us doing Thanksgiving this year – so I made RESERVATIONS. Frantic because I’m going to a week-long Day Job Training in Maryland on SUNDAY. Jimmy will be a single Dog Dad for a whole week. WHEE!!!!!
My Day Job has expanded and is about to get longer term busy (but this is a good thing), though with every Creative Professional there’s the upstream battle of “Why are you here, a semi-literate monkey can do what you do.” Harsh but true. And the ever popular… “Oh, next time we do this, you should let ME (random coworker) get an early draft to add a major thing you missed.” (Info I’ve asked for over and over again for two months and didn’t know about.) True story. BUT… still… this is what pays for me to do things like….
MARVELOUS NERD YEAR’S EVE! I’ve talked to the brave (hah) soul who’s doing the program scheduling. She LOVES the panel descriptions (pre-approved by the MOST AWESOME, Devin Pike). I’ve created a series that (I hope) provides some basic background on not JUST prose writing but also applies to comics, scripts, art, CONTENT. Since OVERALL, the advice is relatively universal. Or at least CAN BE. One of the most resonant pieces of advice I heard was (thank you, Jimmy, for telling me who said it) was Mike Grell’s philosophy of “Full Units of Entertainment”. He was talking comics, but it was true of prose.
If you want to know more… come to the panel in December!

So I’ve posted this on Facebook – need to get it on Twitter – and now here. I’m soliciting from all my Creative Professional friends (especially artists and comic creators) their favorite resources: market lists, podcasts, blogs, etc.) I will at least do a short handout for links that people can take away with them. So if you have a favorite resource – shout it out.
So, sidebar… this is all about Paying Forward. We HAVE to pay forward folks. New writers, artists, creators are NOT competition. They’re what will keep our genres, our pop culture, everything moving forward. I totally told a teenage girl in Barnes and Noble last weekend to contact me in the future if she wanted to do something with the stuff she’s written. I’d talked to her mom over a stocking stuffer display about this kid who couldn’t limit herself to ONE BOOK (yay), found out about the kid, encouraged said kid in front of the mom. We need these kids. We need them to love to read and write and create. Besides, she could be the next JK Rowling or Stephen King, and I want in on that ground floor.
Pay it forward, folks – or help me do it by sending me those links and suggestions.

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[Pen/Pencil Review] Sakura Grosso Ball Ballpoint Pen – 0.7 mm – Orange

Posted by reudaly on November 21, 2016 in Review, writing instruments |

Here we go. Pen review day. Woo hoo! Last one before Thanksgiving and doing a training week! Today’s pen was from my last order from JetPens. This is a Sakura Grosso Ballpoint Pen with orange accents and black ink.
This is an interesting ballpoint pen. It’s a slightly wider than normal ballpoint that has a white plastic barrel and plunger with translucent orange accents above and below the grip. The grip part of the barrel is molded gray rubber with an ergonomic design. The ink is smooth and rich in a 0.7mm conical point that’s smooth and dark. However, the ink only comes in black.
The plunger to the pen does have wide and white to match the main barrel. The retraction mechanism is solid. The clip is a sturdy binder style clip in metal and translucent orange plastic for a solid feel. The pen runs about 5.7” long both retracted and point extended.
The line is thin, obviously, it’s a 0.7mm – which I like – with a conical tip. The color is a nice dark black. It has a solid line with little smearing, glopping, or skipping. It is refillable with a very affordable refill.
Let’s see the numbers…

1. How does it work?1 – it works well. The ink dries quickly – the 0.7mm point doesn’t smear easily. The line is good and dark. It’s a solid pen.
2. Grip and feel0.5 – The length is good, the plunger is good. The grip is OKAY. The gray rubber grip isn’t super comfortable, but it tries?
3. Material1 – It’s a plastic retractable pen with a sturdy clip
4. Overall Design0.5 It’s a decent design with an economical design that goes anywhere and does its job. It’s a bit wide for a standard retractable which will make it a comfort call.
5. Price Point1 – You have to order these, but they’re worth it. These pens run $1.80 on JetPens with refills running just under $1 but only in black.

That’s 4 bronze pencils out of 5.
Pencil 4.0

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[Writing Post] Potential Writing Challenge

Posted by reudaly on November 16, 2016 in Writing |

I am – was (probably will be?) – struggling for a topic today. It’s Writer Post Wednesday. I’ve kinda had my Day Job do a major shift that will mean “quiet weeks” will be a thing of the past (but that’s a good thing?) But with all the chaos that’s still swirling from last week, there’s not a lot to say. If you’re participating in NANONO – Good For You! Half way done! Woo! But for me, I’m back to writing, but it’s not mass quantities again. Brain is recovering from the vacation it went on without me.

But then… this was shared on my Facebook page from Thomas Harrell…

He asked if that’s how some of my books started. I admitted sometimes it was. He replied, if I could tie all those things together, he’d be interested in reading it.

Um… well, now it’s like it’s a challenge. Right? And you know me, kinda dig these weird challenges to take something cliche-y and make it interesting. Turn it on its ear. And I’ve been needing something that’s a challenge. So here we are. Let’s see what happens.

Does anyone want to take up the challenge, too? See where it takes us? Who knows maybe I can make it fit an anthology I was stalled on… Hmmm… Darn it. Now I might have to do it! Who’s with me???


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[Pen/Pencil Review] The OHTO Sharp Pencil – Forest Green – 0.5mm

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

It’s no secret that I have a wide-ranging love all kinds of writing instruments (or this blog wouldn’t exist). And I go through cycles where I want to write with a certain KIND of instrument. Gel pen, fountain pen, pencil… But when it comes to pencils – it’s sometimes more difficult. Mechanical pencils give a good solid performance and are refillable, etc. But there’s also something satisfying about traditional wooden pencils. Sometimes I use wooden pencils to feel like I’ve accomplished something by the wearing down, but it’s also seems wasteful of resources.
Which may be why I gravitated (jumped on with both feet?) to the OHTO Sharp Pencil on JetPens. It’s a mechanical pencil with a 0.5mm lead in a forest green wooden pencil body with a pink eraser cap that is also the lead advancement mechanism. It’s the best of all the worlds.

The body is the traditional hex shape with a short “sharpened” point with about a 6.5” length, which is shorter than a traditional unsharpened wooden pencil, but long enough to be comfortable in the hand. The diameter seems to be the same – but maybe a bit narrower – than an analog hex pencil, so you might need to add a pencil grip to give it some ergonomics.
The lead is a traditional 0.5mm HB – I still prefer 2B – but is sturdy. The tip mechanism is brass. And the mechanicals are inserted into a wooden hexagonal pencil. Lead is loaded into a barrel under the eraser button The eraser button is solid but I’m not seeing replacements for them, so maybe use an external or cap eraser. The button fits into the classic crimped metal top to the pencil.
This is a pencil that has to be ordered from a retailer like JetPens. This is still a Japanese line and not yet widely available in the US. I accidentally ordered two – but that just means I get twice the joy – and they come in three colors – dark red, forest green, and brown. It’s a bit on the expensive side, but not horrible – since it’s mechanical and can be refilled with the lead of your choice.

The numbers:
1. How does it work?1 It works just like any other mechanical pencil. Click the eraser, get decent lead out, retract. I haven’t had a lot of trouble with breakage of the lead.
2. Grip and feel1 – It’s a wooden pencil body with mechanical pencil guts. As with any wooden pencil, there are no ergonomics, but the wood has warmth that plastic doesn’t.
3. Material1 It’s strong quality wooden body with solid mechanics with the eraser button and brass tip. It’s well designed.
4. Overall Design0.5 – It’s solid, but I’m not seeing eraser replacements, which is a drawback. If you want to keep it all working, you have to use a separate eraser at some point.
5. Price Point0.5 – You have to get this online – or if you find a store that carries OHTO, let me know. It runs $4.60 on JetPens, which means it’s not a cheap pencil, but it’s also not ridiculous. If you want the convenience and longevity of a mechanical but the feel of wood – this is your pencil.

4 out of 5 Bronze Pencils
Pencil 4.0

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[Writer Post] Moving Forward

Posted by reudaly on November 9, 2016 in Life, Writing |

I’ve tried to write this blog a couple of different times today. Neither one worked.

I could write about the elections, but I won’t.
I could write about the vitriol, the fear, and the anguish on my social media feeds, but I won’t.

That would just be adding to the noise. Instead… lets talk about Moving Forward.

No matter what happens now, we move forward. We continue.

My brain has come back from whatever vacation it took without me last week. I’m starting to get back into my groove. Which means moving forward there, too. Which means continuing.

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[Pen/Pencil Review] G-Free Ballpoint Pen by Sailor – Mars

Posted by reudaly on November 7, 2016 in Review, writing instruments |

There’s one thing a writer needs to be able to do – write. Any time. Anywhere. At any angle. In any condition. I talked about the Power Tank a couple of weeks ago, now there’s another, Sailor has released an economical and convenient pressurized pen for “all-terrain” writing The G-Free. What’s kinda cool about these is that they’ve named their barrel colors after the planets. I bought “Mars”
The the G-Free Mars by Sailor Ballpoint pen is a pretty nifty 0.7mm ballpoint and is refillable. The barrel is about 5.7″ with a black clip and plunger. The pen extends with the plunger and retracts by clicking the clip. The grip is softer molded plastic in a triangular pattern for an easier grip.
I like the 0.7mm conical tip. It’s smooth and dark for the size. It doesn’t seem to skip or glob nor does it feel scratch on paper like some finer points can. On glossy paper, there’s a small bit of smearing if you rub it right away, but it dries quickly. The only quibble I have is that there’s a kind of bounce/spring to the ink mechanism, so the point squishes back into the barrel just a bit. The ink is black, but uses the G-Free LV Ballpoint pen refills but only seems to come in black in so ar.
These are also relatively economical, compared to Fisher but more expensive than the Uni Power Tank. The pen itself runs $5.50 JetPens with the refills being $1.80. You do have to order them, I don’t believe they’re available widely in the US. But they’re worth it if you do a lot of work on clipboards or just at odd angles. It’s a really solid pen that you can use for quite a while, and if it walks away? Not expensive to replace – unlike Fishers.

Let’s see the numbers…

1. How does it work?0.5 – it works well. The ink dries quickly – the 0.7mm point doesn’t smear easily. The line is good and dark. There’s a bit too much spring in the point for it to be perfect. There’s a learning curve to figuring out the clip retracts the point.
2. Grip and feel1 – The length is good, the plunger is good. The grip is ergonomic and more comfortable than many pens of this style without getting into a much more expensive pen
3. Material1 – It’s a plastic retractable pen. For a pressurized pen, it’s pretty darned comfortable
4. Overall Design1 It’s a decent design with an economical pressurized design that goes anywhere and does its job.
5. Price Point0.5 – You have to order these, but they’re worth it. If you write in challenging conditions, this is a good investment at $5.50 a piece and $1.80 for the refills Very economical for a solid office pen. But it’s more expensive than others of it’s class.

That’s 4 bronze pencils out of 5.
Pencil 4.0

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[Writer Post] Taking a Trip to Oz

Posted by reudaly on November 2, 2016 in Life, Writing with Comments closed |

Maybe the Wizard can give me a brain. I admit to being completely disjointed and unfocused for the last couple of weeks. My concentration has been crap. Creative output? A complete farce. I mention this because it’s NANOMO – or NANOWRIMO – whichever. It’s National Novel Writing Month, and I laugh in its general direction.
There are many things I hope to accomplish in November – like shedding the mantel of Snot Monster (yay allergies!) is high on the list. I’m sure that has Nothing. At. ALL. With the lack of brain. I have several things pending at the Day Job – not the least of which is a major deadline and a week-long training in another state. Writing 50K words on a new project? Yeah, not going to happen.

So what am I going to do? There’s still quite a bit of typing to do on existing projects. I’m going back to a collaborative project that’s been languishing that’s been in a rewrite/editing mode for a while and needs finishing. But that should help jump start some brain cells. The same with the typing on the existing and yet unfinished project. I fell off the story, so that should help me get back on track for that.

Sadly, I think I’m going to have to bail on a market that I was hoping to get a piece done for – unless one of those “WRITE ME NOW!” stories hits me in the next couple of days (hahahahahahahahahaha) or a week. Sometimes you have to know when to cut your losses. Right now, that lovely little themed anthology being edited by a friend just isn’t happening (Sorry, Viv). Granted the deadline isn’t until the end of the year, so it could happen, I suppose.

Hopefully everything will clear up in a big burst of mental sunlight and burn away the fog. But for now, I’m going to keep muddling through and seeing where I go from here. But for now… Ray Bolger said it best:

I could while away the hours
Conferrin’ with the flowers,
Consulting with the rain;
And my head I’d be a scratchin’
While my thoughts are busy hatchin’
If I only had a brain.

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