This is really just a scene – but sometimes that’s all you get out of an idea. It’s fairy tale based, sort of.
Prompt: An Unexpected Union
Words: brothers, potato, common, hands, boyfriend, alphabet, scribble, hydrangea, sandwich, tug of war
Once upon a time there were two brothers who were in a frantic tug-of-war over a sandwich, for they were very hungry.
“You are never going to be boyfriend material if you act like common idiots over food,” said the young princess sitting by the hydrangeas scribbling the alphabet on her tablet.
The brothers immediately stopped arguing and turned to the younger girl, their sister. “We’re princes, potato-head,” the older one said. “We don’t have to be boyfriend material.”
“Right!” The boys clapped hands in a high five.
The princess merely rolled her eyes and continued working on her lessons. “You keep thinking that. I’ll keep thinking in general. We’ll see who comes out best.”
The only problem with lovely four-day weekends for one’s birthday, is that suddenly you have to do a bunch of blogs in quick succession because schedules get all out of whack. And, we’re taking a day trip on Saturday to Killeen, TX for reasons which will be another blog post so more schedule whacking (somehow that should be more fun than it sounds, right?).
But… I am somewhat better about words counts. I wrote and submitted a brand new 2000 short story (which ended up having technical difficulties) – which, if it goes will be a good story all around. So fingers crossed for good news.
Debris & Detritus seems to be doing well. Though I hear there was some issue with some formatting in the ebook. If you have one of those that wasn’t fixed or updated, let me know, I think I have ways for you to get it fixed if you want. Seriously good people in this project.
Speaking of seriously good people doing projects, I’m tooting the horn about Mark Finn & Rick Klaw’s new endeavor that’s happening over at Kickstarter. They’re trying to put together a Weird Anthology for World Fantasy 2017 called Chicken Fried Cthulu. They’re not quite a third of the way to their goal – and it’s a worthy goal. So go check it out and support it if you can. Not to mention awesome Mark A. Nelson artwork.
Now I need to go work on stuff before the creative high from ConDFW burns away without me taking FULL advantage of it – even with crazy busy Day Jobs in which I get to do crazy random things.
Today’s review is a day late because I took a four-day weekend for my birthday. It was a nice, quiet, restful weekend that was exactly what I wanted. So besides that, let’s talk mechanical pencils. This one is from Tokyo Pen Shop and Zebra – its’ the Zebra Tect 2Way Light 0.5mm in light green.
This is pencil is just fun. I picked the light green because… duh, green. It’s a sturdy plastic body with a bit of ergonomic grip as darker green rubber rings near the metal tip. The pencil is about 5.8″ long and has both a click mechanism to advance lead and the new(ish) shaker mechanism that also extends the lead. However, there’s a twisting “lock” at the top of the lower third of the barrel that switches the pencil from click advance to shaker. Personally, I’m always a bit iffy on the shaker aspect so I like the choice. There was a bit of a learning curve with the locking part, but I have a tendency to overthink and have fumble fingers. But once you realize the lock is a relatively narrow ring, it’s fine.
< This pencil has a translucent barrel that lets you see some of the mechanisms. And it comes with standard HB lead, but with a fairly high density. I don't see it breaking as much as past leads. It’s long enough to be comfortable with enough nod to ergonomics to not be overly tiring – and I used it a lot over my birthday weekend to finish hand-writing the zero draft of the story. I didn’t had any more lead, and I’m still going (though I’ll replenish it with high-density B because I like darker lead) with what came with.
Next week, I hope to have a really interesting story to share on the blog – or it could just be another review. Stay tuned.
1. How does it work? – 1 It’s a decent mechanical pencil. The lead by clicking or shaking and retracts easily. The lead seems sturdy and less prone to breaking.
2. Grip and feel – 0.5 – It’s a plastic mechanical pencil with a nod to ergonomics. It attempts to be comfortable and generally succeeds but it can be tiring.
3. Material – 1 It’s plastic but solid metal accents in the clip and tip. The locking mechanism is decent when you figure it out.
4. Overall Design – 1 -It’s a mechanical pencil. It’s got a good lead mechanism and a retractable eraser. It is what it is.
5. Price Point – 0.5 – This one is more expensive than what I expect from Zebra – and available pretty much through online retailers like Tokyo Pen Shop. I’m not seeing it on the US website. It’s $10.00, which for a plastic mechanical pencil is a bit more than I want to spend, but it’s solid and decent and pretty cool.
4 out of 5 Bronze Pencils
Note: This story is very Sarah Kuhn-esque. I was reading her book, Heroine Complex when I wrote this.
Prompt: Chasing the Enemy
Words: demon, bystander, escaped, parakeet, destiny, hammer, singing, ash, cathedral, heels
Why did I have today of all days to wear heels? The thought echoed through my brain with every painful step.
Of course it happened on the day I was singing at the cathedral for a friend’s wedding. We didn’t know anything was wrong until ash floated down on the bride and groom instead of rice or flower petals.
The death squawk rang out across the sanctuary as the demon parakeet dive bombed a bystander. That’s when I went to work. Destiny totally sucks when I was rocking the high notes. Now I had to rock the running heels trying to catch a molting, flittery BIRD. How it escaped the portal traps I had no idea, but I was NOT about to let it attack and feed.
I wish I knew where these things I was “chosen” to kill had come from then maybe we could figure out why these chirpy demons demanded pounds of flesh, but until then?
The demon lit on a bird feeder in the garden. I removed my shoes. It might not be a hammer, but the metal spikes worked as well as a bludgeon. Now to find a stain remover to get demon guts and feathers out of my dress.
Rant Warning Ahead:
It’s Wednesday. It’s a short week for me – taking off Friday for a 4-Day weekend (Monday is a Federal Holiday and the city has it off, YAY!) – that just means more stuff in less time. Yay?
Let’s talk about ConDFW. It’s a small convention, very literary. I <3 this convention. Always have. Always will. I’m hoping they can keep it together. I like the layout of the new hotel. Plenty of places to hang out and gather and talk. The sleeping/party rooms/consuite was a minor hike but not unpleasant. The hallway outside the panel room could get congested but you knew where ALL the panels were because they were on ONE hall. The restaurant course corrected (I’m told) after being (predictably) understaffed on Friday.
It’s a great convention for meeting up with other writers and recharging creative batteries. In fact, I’m now under a tight deadline because something came up AT THE CONVENTION. We also pre-launched Debris & Detrius to a lovely response. Which leads to the sticking point… Fan Entitlement.
One of the authors was apparently told she failed as a con-goer because she failed to give someone her full attention during a group signing. Um…what? NO. Stop. Halt. Back the Entitlement Truck up. 1) She’s an AUTHOR not a con-goer. She’s there doing a JOB not just hanging out. 2) She’s a HUMAN BEING not a robot. 3) YOU are not the center of the universe, cupcake.
The situation was weird – group signing, no defined system for getting 5-7 people to sign books, so there were crossing paths and people hanging out and like THREE conversations going on at the same time. It was (good) chaos. So if you got your delicate feelings hurt, you have to take some of the responsibility for that. You picked the chaos to approach. And DUDE, by dumping some kind of YOU SUCK on an author struggling to be extroverted when most authors are cave-dwelling introverts? You’ve done a lot more damage than you perceive to have been dumped on you. NOT COOL. ALSO? You may think you’re being all “constructive” but that’s passive-aggressive bull, you don’t know how many POSITIVE comments it takes to undo that kind of damage. ALSO? We are not there for YOU. We’re there for the collective. It’s PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE to give Every. Single. Person. 100% of our attention 100% of the time. Deal.
Also consider other aspects of timing – my Saturday Schedule had me on programming at 10 am, Noon, 2 pm, 4 pm, and 8 pm. But Rhonda, that gives you an hour to be sparkling and shiny to all the fans of the world. NO. No it doesn’t. At some points in there I had to 1) pee, 2) eat lunch and/or dinner, 3) get into formal wear for Redheads, 4) get OUT of formal wear, and 5) SELL BOOKS. I was “on” and performing – with a personal issue in there that we won’t get into – for almost 11 hours straight that day. At one point I thought I’d HALLUCINATED AN EMAIL because it disappeared into another folder, that’s how scattered I was trying to make everyone happy and be the dazzling professional (stop laughing). So before anyone judges anyone else, take a step back, take a breath, and realize 99% of the time, it’s not about you.
Sorry for the rant, but it has to be said. Now… I have a deadline to meet.
Happy post-Convention Monday. I’m actually going to get stuff done (darn it!). This is going to be a mish-mash. One… don’t forget, Tokyo Pen Company in Iowa. Coupon Code RHONDAEUDALY gets you 10% off until the end of the month. I just used it myself for a small collection of stuff (yes, that’s a hedgehog pencil sharpener). Coupon code works AND the order I put in on Friday? It was in my mail box today.
But there’s also a pen from the Black Sampler Collection from JetPens. This is the UNI Signo 0.28mm retractable pen. Yes, you read that correctly… 0.28mm. It’s one of the finest points I’ve used. And this one was a bit surprising to me. Not only is it a modern-looking retractable pen, I was pleasantly surprised by the feel of this point.
The ink is good for so fine a point. You’re going to lose some depth/darkness in an ink tone the finer the point. But this feels thicker and darker than it should. The conical tip means it’s not as scratchy feeling than some needle points.
These pens run just over 5.5″. The mechanism is smooth. The rubber grip is not textured and seems to be only a slight nod to comfort. The barrel is fine but not EXCEPTIONAL, but it’s a cool pen for what it is, which is a good editing or notation pen if you need something easily transportable and super fine.
Let’s see the numbers…
1. How does it work? – 1 – it works well. The ink dries quickly – especially being such a fine point, but it doesn’t feel that fine and has a solid barrel..
2. Grip and feel – 0.5 – The length is typical for a retractable pen. The barrel is slightly rubberized. But there are no real ergonomics.
3. Material – 1 – It’s a plastic retractable pen. It’s all plastic. The retraction plunger is kind of cool.
4. Overall Design – 1 It’s a decent design for a plastic retractable pen. The ink is decent and dark for a 0.28mm, it’s a smooth decent line. The mechanism works well. It does what it’s supposed to do.
5. Price Point – 0.5 – For a retractable gel pen, the price is…MEH… it’s $2.50, but it’s a 0.28, so that’s not all that common. It’s not the cheapest, but it’s not the most expensive.
Or something like that (I wrote a draft of this yesterday). I’m busy trying to nail some stuff down for ConDFW in JUST TWO DAYS! Ack! There’s a new anthology appearing and a Redheads sketch to polish up. Cats to herd. Ducks to row. That sort of thing.
My schedule is light for Friday, just a reading and a panel. Then Saturday… wow, Saturday. I have even hour panels from 10 am to 8 pm (except 6 pm) – including Redheads and a Road Show. So if I appear to be a bit frazzled or seem to blow past you without acknowledging you – it’s probably because I’m rushing to the restroom or to find some food. It’s not you, it’s me. PROMISE. But Sunday I have just one 11 am panel.
But it’s going to be awesome. I look forward to ConDFW every year. I know they’ve struggled a few years. I hope we keep it going. So come out and join us.
Until I see you there – and so I keep up the momentum – here’s this week’s “Write the Story” exercise:
Prompt: Drama In and Out of the Lab
Words: microbiologist, telephone, hidden, bystander, trench, inside, international, shoe, heights, persuade
“Is creating a hidden trench just inside the lab’s entrance really a good idea?” I asked, easing back toward the cluttered lab tables.
“You won’t let me drop anyone from the heights of the building.”
I sighed. “Dr. Boulder, we’ve been through this. I don’t like the idea of a bystander getting hurt by shoe salesmen going splat on the sidewalk.”
“Humph.” Dr. Boulder reset the holographic projector that disguised the trench and set a bridge. Boulder returned to tinkering with another project. And I went to answer the telephone.
This was my life now. I could’ve been a rich, corporate microbiologist doing research to make Twinkies actually survive a nuclear winter, but no. I let my graduate advisor persuade me to be…here. Boulder was an internationally renowned scientist. It was a great honor to work with one of the greatest minds of the world.
Except he was bat crap crazy. My job was to provide the net – avoid the traps, and keep us both alive.
A startled scream and a meaty thunk followed by a plaintive “JOANIE” dragged my attention back to the crumpled form of a paranoid scientist. He forgot the ejector panel. I grabbed the trauma kit. Just another day in the lab.
Here we go. Pen review day. Woo hoo! I’m getting stuff done on schedule again! Let’s hope I can maintain! This is a multi-pack of Sakura Ballsign retractable gel pens in the 0.4mm tip.
These are an interesting line of pen. These are slimline retractable gel pens but with a bow at the grip to make the grip diameter wider and easier to handle. The grip part of the barrel is tinted the ink color, but the rest of the barrel is transparent. The ink is smooth and rich in a long refill that makes the barrel seem to have an inner color match lining, but it’s actually the ink barrel with a lining.
The plunger to the pen does have a color match lining with a slight ridge to the end cap. The retraction mechanism is solid. The clip is small but seems strong. I don’t foresee the clip snapping off unless you fiddle with it for an extensive amount of time. The pen runs just over 5.25” long both retracted and point extended.
The line is thin, obviously, it’s a 0.4mm – which I like – with a conical tip. The colors are rich and dark for such a thin line and these are the “classic” colors – red, orange, green, blue, and black. They do come in specialty inks – like metallic, but I like to start classic. It works well on regular paper as well as the homemade journal paper I’m also currently using. It’s comfortable in the hand even without much in the terms of ergonomics. I foresee it working for quite a while.
1. How does it work? – 1 It’s decent. The retraction mechanism is solid. The tip and line are smooth and solid.
2. Grip and feel – 0.5 – This is no frills plastic retractable pen. The grip is slightly wider than the barrel but that’s all the nod to ergonomics it has. The barrel is slim, which might not appeal to some.
3. Material – 1 It’s a no frills plastic retractable pen, but it’s solidly built and cool looking plastic retractable pen.
4. Overall Design – 1 – It’s a cool looking, well-writing pen. With such a fine point, it’s sometimes difficult to get a solid line. This does very well. The clip, though small, is sturdy, and the mechanism solid.
5. Price Point – 0.5 – It’s a touch on the expensive side. These run $2.70 each – or $13.50 for 5 (no discount for multiples) and only available through an outlet like JetPens. They do come in a variety of colors and multipacks.
4.0 out of 5 Bronze Pencils
Friday, 5pm: Rhonda Eudaly, Patricia Burroughs
Friday, 6pm: How Many Last Jedis Are There?
Panelists: Tracy S. Morris (M), Mark Finn, Rhonda Eudaly, Michael Ashleigh Finn, T. M. Hunter, Bradley
We all know the title of the upcoming Star Wars VIII film to be “The Last Jedi”. However, Jedi seem to grow like weeds in the novels – Order 66 got a lot of them, but there were always those few who hid on Coruscant, or Dagobah, or on a ship sent out of the galaxy, or…you get the drift. It’s time to speculate and debate on the Star Wars Universe. Try not to wreck the room with lightsabers.
Saturday, 10am: Unlikely Sources of Inspiration
Panelists: A. Lee Martinez (M), Gloria Oliver, Lillian Stewart Carl, Rhonda Eudaly, Patricia Burroughs,
In this day and age of the Internet and wide exposure to many cultures, there are plenty of strange and unlikely sources to inspire you to write, draw, costume or even perform. From anime to webcomics to taking bus trips to strange locations, the human condition can express itself in many ways. Our panelists relate some of the more unlikely ways they get inspiration.
Saturday, 12pm: The Best Books Nobody Ever Heard Of
Panelists: Patricia Burroughs (M), Carole Nelson Douglas, Rhonda Eudaly, A. Lee Martinez, Dantzel
Cherry, Paul Black
The primary rule of this panel is this: NO SELF PROMOTION. Bring examples, and audience participation is welcome as well! Be prepared to be grilled ruthlessly on why you like the book, of course! Bring paper and pen so you can take notes, and hopefully you’ll find some great reads.
Saturday, 2pm: Rhonda Eudaly, Patricia Burroughs, Michelle Muenzler, Beth Teliho
Saturday, 4pm: Redheads of the Apocalypse
Panelists: Rhonda Eudaly, Julia S. Mandala, Linda Donahue, Dusty Rainbolt, Mark Finn
The always entertaining Four Redheads of the Apocalypse talk about their latest publication, as well as many other topics!
Saturday, 8pm: Yard Dog Road Show!
Panelists: Christopher Donahue, Linda Donahue, Rhonda Eudaly, Melanie Fletcher, K. Hutson, William
Ledbetter, Julia Mandala, Tracy Morris, Ethan Nahte, Gloria Oliver, Teresa Patterson, Dusty Rainbolt, Rie
Sheridan Rose, Bradley Sinor, Sue Sinor, Mel White
The fantastic authors of the Yard Dog Press put on their always entertaining Road Show! Make sure not to miss this.
Sunday, 11am: What Tickles Your Funny Bone?
Panelists: Melanie Fletcher (M), Rhonda Eudaly, Paul Black, K. B. Bogen, Tracy S. Morris
From simple fart jokes to more esoteric strangeness such as Dirk Gently, humor is always subjective. Thus, let’s find out what our panelists think is funny, and see if the audience agrees! Of course, vice versa also applies.
So, yeah, everything’s off a day – so to kinda get everything back on track, I’m going to talk a little bit about ConDFW being next weekend and then post a story. If you’re in the area, you gotta come out to North Fort Worth. There’a new anthology doing a sneak peek with the publisher, editor, and several authors in attendance.
My word counts have suffered this week, but I promised I’d post some of these writing exercises which run about 200 words.
Prompt: A Family Mystery Uncovered
Words: Sunday, secret, wallpaper, swap, sister, curiosity, island, notebook, marathon, demand
A Family Mystery Uncovered
Sister Helen tried hard to concentrate on the homily as was demanded during mass, but that Sunday she struggled. After a marathon research session, the previous day, her curiosity wouldn’t be quenched.
Her convent sat on a beautiful island – nearly a paradise on Earth – but she knew it held secrets within its walls. Just the extent of those secrets remained to be determined.
Not that Helen could talk. She had her own ghosts she’d left behind when she took her vows and her new name. All the sisters did. But now she wondered if the swap was as good a deal as it seemed, not that she regret her decision one bit. The convent and the order had saved her.
The question began with a loose edge of wallpaper in her room. She’d peeled back the layer to reveal words and symbols written on the plaster. Now her notebook overflowed with arcane sigils and geometry and question after question. Her restless sleep punctuated by magical dreams of Templar Knights and religious mystism.
She didn’t know what it all meant to her family of God, but one thing she did know…
DAN BROWN GOT IT ALL WRONG.