Prompt: Tension in Suburbia
Words: muffled, medical, orchid, par, reign, animal, church, shirt, snatch, grin
“Do you know who to call if there’s an emergency?” Sheila asked as she deadheaded an orchid and rotated the posts under the grow lights.
A muffled snort from the formless blob of teenager in the corner could’ve been a response, but that would’ve meant Sheila’s voice getting past the music blaring through headphones. Par for the course.
Sheila moved on to the other plants in her makeshift greenhouse. She kept the flowers close to the interior walls. The other plats thriving in the Three Season glassed in sun room were containers of food plants and the tithe plants for the current mob reign. Her sleep middle-class neighborhood now provided a significant percentage of medical-grade marijuana now part of the block’s “peace tax”.
Sheila harvested the now mature plants, wiping her hands on her shirt before taking the bundle to her car. She tossed a pre-packaged meal at the teenager blob. A hand snatched the packet and returned a grin and nod to Sheila.
She couldn’t wait for school to start again when the sloven teen animal emerged as her functional teenager once more, interacting with words once more.
“All right. I’ll be back.”
Sheila drove carefully through the oppressively quiet street, past the church, and to the park. She felt the eyes on her as she passed. She knew she was watched as she left the “offering”. She held her breath until she was back in her garage. They were “safe” for another growing season.
Word Count: 246
I’m once more on this blasted merry-go-round called Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda, Oughta.
Yes, I know it’s not productive.
Yes, I know it’s self-defeating.
It still happens to all of us. At least I recognize it for what it is. I’m muddling through this weird, weird year. SO much has gone on an is going on. We’ve had folks staying at our house for more than weekends – which is awesome that 1) we have the place for them to stay, 2) they can come to us. BUT… it isn’t as conducive to writing as one might like when one is both a borderline introvert and a hard-wired hostess – which I am. There’s a drive that says, “I must take care of these people whether they need/want me to or not…”
We’ve lost a couple of friends and extended family this year – which always takes bite out of things. Which is the circle of life. The travel that’s been done and still FOUR more events ahead is both exhilarating and exhausting. Random personal things on both sides of the “Are you kidding me?” spectrum – like the Farmer’s Insurance commercials. Then there’s the political/current event morass that we are currently stuck in. Yay…
All these things make you take a look at sporadic word counts or the closed notebook and say, “But I SHOULD BE… Oh, I OUGHT TO BE…” and feel that death spiral of “I suck”.
Guess what? That’s a stupid Brain Weasel that needs to be chased out by whatever chases away weasels. I don’t want to say “exterminate” – because, well, I’m a critter person even if they’re imaginary brain critters. (Hey, I love me some plot bunnies). So let’s alchemy the crap out of them and turn Brain Weasels into Plot Bunnies! Magic! Either that or find a way to break the merry-go-round. Okay I need to stop here I’m getting dizzy.
So if you’re on this merry-go-round also? Know you’re not alone – I’m on the Green Dragon just up the way. We can Pop The Weasel together. (HEY! I figured out my metaphoric pun! That was too much effort.)
This week features something from Jimmy’s line of blogging pencil – the Pentel P207 in Metallic Mint Green. This mechanical pencil was also a gift from my husband – but through Amazon, so you can get this one a lot easier. And probably other retailers.
If you want all the nitty gritty on the Pentel 200 Sharp pencil series – please check out Jimmy’s blog at Nimrodd’s Blog: Pentel P200 Sharp Pencils and more. Though I have yet to see the “more” unless it’s the history of this pencil. He’s the SERIOUS collector
The Pentel Sharp P207 is a fairly standard mechanical pencil. The body is enameled in what they call metallic mint green. It’s pretty shiny and definitely green. The hardware is metal probably aluminum, maybe stainless. According to JetPens, it’s 5.6” long and 0.3” in diameter. It’s the classic hexagonal barrel with the grooved grip, but no other ergonomics.
The cap over the eraser is both secure and easy to remove. It’s snug enough that it’s not going to go flying off your pencil, but you don’t have to be Hercules to get it off in order to refill it. The needle tip guards the lead and lets you see where you’re writing.
It works with standard 0.7mm mechanical pencil lead. I still prefer 0.5mm, but this writes well and doesn’t seem to break easily. The eraser is refillable with the typical white rubber erasers. It’s a solid workhorse, classic mechanical pencil. No frills.
1. How does it work? – 1 – It’s a mechanical pencil. The mechanism advances smoothly. The cap is secure but easy to manipulate to get to the eraser. It’s easy to refill. Everything you want in a pencil.
2. Grip and feel – 1 – Better than I suspected. The grip is what it is, but the grooves give it some comfort and there’s nothing to dig into the fingers.
3. Material – 0.5 It’s a standard mechanical pencil. Metal hardware, hard plastic enameled body. Nothing super fancy. Nice “paint job” though
4. Overall Design – 1 – It’s a decent mechanical pencil. It doesn’t feel all that cheap or all that expensive. The needle does seem to protect the lead which doesn’t seem to break very easily.
5. Price Point – 0.5 – These run between $6 and $8 depending on where you find them. There’s a bit of a premium for the metallic body. For a fairly standard pencil, it’s not the cheapest, but it’s not the most expensive. You’ll get your money’s worth if you’re willing to spend it.
I give it 4 out of 5 Bronze Pencils
Prompt: The Problems of Celebrities
Words: tabloid, existence, dolphin, bunker, surgery, parade, chase, master, smash, possum
“Don’t believe everything you read.” Ariel shook her head. “Especially in that tabloid.”
“So you don’t think…” Cindy swiveled her head to check out her reflection in the mirror.
“That dolphins are the master race? Sure. Absolutely.” Sarcasm dripped from Ariel’s words. “And that’s a weird photo from a parade no shot is flattering then.”
“So you don’t think I need surgery?” Cindy finally turned away from her dressing table in her tower bunker of frilly princessdom.
“I think I want to smash whoever put that idea into anyone’s head.” Ariel paced laps around the tower room. “If I could, I’d play possum until the pageant cycle was over.”
“But Fairest of Them All is the time-honored tradition…”
“Oh letting our male counterparts off the hook? If our existence is based on looks, so should theirs.”
Cindy rolled her eyes. “The Handsome Prince contest is just as grueling. Charming is not the goal there. Let’s face it, in the chase for the Happily Ever After Rose, we’re all in it together for the same shallow reasons – ratings. Not that anyone at the network will ever see it any other way. Now hand me my glass slippers and get your tail in gear. We’re late.”
Word Count: 204
It’s the Wednesday after ArmadilloCon. It’s not the most relaxing week ever, but I’m getting there.
No fan run convention is created equal – heck no convention PERIOD is created equal. They all have their unique strengths and things that make us love them. Kind of like people. Where some could be more for the fan-building or social networking, others are more writer-centric business leaning. ArmadilloCon is that business side of things for me.
It’s been one of my favorites for years for going and meeting and doing. I get to hang with my professional buddies and get inspired, industry info, and just be around my creative fellows. In many ways, it’s totally recharging and motivating. I don’t sell a lot of books there, but there are other trade offs for me personally (in the constant struggle of expense/time : return on investment ratio). This year seemed bigger and YOUNGER than years past (GOOD THING) probably thanks to Tamora Pearce (whom I didn’t get to meet, darn it!)
This year I did a pretty even mix of fandom topics – Sidekicks and why we love them and Star Trek:TNG a generation later; to writing topics – morning pages and flavors of flash fiction. I missed being part of Fannish Feud, but it is what it is. The panels were packed – my smallest audience was SIX PEOPLE, and that was my reading at 5:30 pm on Saturday. And a 6:1 ration is nothing to sneeze at – they’re my motivators, too. Those six people come to all my readings – they keep me on my toes in a “Holy crap, what NEW THING can I read to them? They’ve heard all my stuff!!!!! AHHHHHH!!!!!”. The 10 am Saturday Morning Pages panel? TWENTY people at 10 am! but that was part of the kick butt writers’ workshop track that ArmadilloCon is kinda famous for.
All the panels were significantly full – which is a mixed blessing in some ways. We heard lots of people talking about how they wanted to go to such and such panel but there were FOUR MORE awesome ones AT THE SAME TIME. Good problem to have for PANELS, not so good for dealer’s room and art show. When are people supposed to shop when they’re ALWAYS at panels? Randomly weird Catch 22.
The other logistical issue is the fact – to this day – some moderators don’t get that an hour-long panel really ISN’T an hour long. It’s 50 minutes so people have time to travel to their next panel or go to the bathroom or both (but not in that order), and then, if not careful CAN (but doesn’t have to) create a cascade effect in the schedule. Part of that can be fixed by having the schedule SAY X:00 AM – X:50 AM – and not just having that “rule” hidden in the moderator notes THAT (let’s face it) no one reads.
This ArmadilloCon resulted in some business being done for me. A good butt-kicking that I’ve needed after a few months of Real Life Getting In the Way with some deadlines and accountability being hurled at my head with Superhero Strength and Velocity. Sometimes we all need it, just like I need ArmadilloCon. If you have the opportunity, we’ll see you next year end of July/beginning of August.
Next up: SmallCon!
This week’s pen review takes a look at the Pentel Kirari Get. This one is a 0.7mm retractable with Ener-Gel ink refills. This line came from Tokyo Pen Shop and come in pink, purple, and gold. The gold is a bit beige-y for me, but for what I’m doing it’s the right color for me.
I’ve been pleasantly surprised by this pen, I’ve mentioned my tendency for retractables on the work desk. This is one of them. This one is both pretty and practical. It’s a good size – 5.75″ retracted, and 6″ with the point out. The diameter is wide enough to be comfortable, but not overly wide. The grip is shimmery rubberized with some wave patterning that makes it easy to hold onto for longer periods of time.
The barrel is beige/gold plastic base with metal accents and clip. The clip identifies the pen NOT as Kirari, but as KL307. The ink is basic black. The Ener-Gel ink is a does dry quickly, but it is a gel based ink, so there’s a drying factor on slicker paper. The 0.7mm metal tip gives a decent line – it’s not as fine as I typically love, but it’s not broad and gloppy. It’s easily legible and quick drying. It’s also refillable. BUT… what I’ve done is replace the standard black with a Ener-Gel 307 BROWN refill. Which is basically the same ink but keeps the whole pen in a earth tone feel – and I have a Hobbit journal that SCREAMS for brown ink, so I’ve been doing a lot of that lately.
This pen runs #5 on Tokyo Pen Shop. I haven’t found it anywhere else. It’s more expensive than some others, but with the refill and comfort level, it’s not a bad price. It’s one I grab often, especially if the journal is close by. If you want something different than your basic Energ-Gel or want something a bit more professional looking but not overly expensive – this one’s good. Tell the Tokyo Pen Shop Folk I sent you. Someday, we’re going to Iowa to visit them. If you’re IN or near Iowa, go on my behalf!
1. How does it work? – 0.5 It’s decent. No real frills but different colors and grip pattern. The ink is bold and the roller smooth. There can be some smearing, but it’s liquid ink. It happens, especially on slick paper. It does dry quickly, but needs drying time.
2. Grip and feel – 1 – It’s an inexpensive, plastic, no frills pen. It has a grip that’s pretty comfortable. The length and balance are good.
3. Material – 1 It’s recycled plastic, but it has a good mechanism and good ink. If you’re ecology conscious or just want to help keep plastic out of landfills, this is a good thing.
4. Overall Design – 1 -It’s a basic retractable liquid gel ink pen. It’s refillable or disposable. It is what it is.
5. Price Point – 0.5 – It’s a bit more expensive at $5, but it’s not overpriced considering you can’t get it easily in this country without hitting up Tokyo Pen Company – but as evidenced here, I refilled it already. The brown refill was $1.25. You can’t go wrong.
4.0 out of 5 Bronze Pencils
Prompt: On the Campaign Trail
Words: president, dove, tremble, column, united, secretary, impression, soup, milk, armor
“We must show a united front,” Galahad said, wiping soup from his neatly-trimmed beard. “We cannot let the secretary…”
“Oh, stop, Galahad.” Lance signed in his goblet of milk. “This is not the time for force. We must present the dove of peace.”
“Oh, for Heaven’s safe.” Gwen rubbed her face. “Would you two strap on your Big Boy Armor and just get in the column?”
Galahad and Lance sputtered and stuttered but took their places like they were told. Gwen didn’t care if they were being petulant brats as long as they gave the impression of a united front. It was hard enough having to make a show of force to a country that didn’t even have a proper monarch. They had a president or some other such nonsense. How did people pick someone to rule? Like a beauty contest or something? Preposterous!
“For Camelot and Arthur!” Gwen fought the tremble in her voice and sword arm. It wasn’t nerves, it was exhaustion from days on the road herding knights in the proper direction. But by the Heavens she would succeed. There would be a treaty or a surrender before she returned. Which was why Arthur sent her. Failure wasn’t in her vocabulary. She was well-versed in both methods.
Time to see which was mightier. The Pen or the Sword.
Word Count: 221
Note: After watching DC’s Legends of Tomorrow Camelot Episode
If you’re in Austin this weekend, please come out to ArmadilloCon and see me and a bunch of other amazing authors and artists! I can’t wait to be there and be part of such an amazing convention.
I was asked to be a speaker at smallCon on September 9, 2017. I’m so very excited to be part of this particular event.
Adults $25, Students 12-18 $5, 12 and under FREE! Use code “aug30” for 30% off all ticket prices! http://www.small-con.org/tickets/
September 9th at Addison Conference Center
And though she be but little, she is fierce!
Now, for the rest of it… apparently my warranty ran out on my last birthday. I am dealing with some relatively common but not fun health issues. I’m getting all the recommendations, getting all the information and developing the treatment options and plans. Since it seems to hit all at once, it’s been…distracting. I am fortunate to have a proactive health care professionals and supportive family. I am and will be all right but the distractions of life got in the way of some of the writing I “should” be doing. I have been managing to do some of the flash fiction exercises and day job stuff.
The takeaway? Stuff happens. You do what you can and keep going forward.
This is going to be a slapdash type of post. We starting to prep for ArmadilloCon. There are some other things happening this week that are occupying brain space. So it won’t be a “traditional” review post. But it’ll be something. 😎
I get to go and do weirdly random things in my Day Job. Not just conferences, but other meetings in “exotic” locales – such as The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. Did you know the Federal Reserve Bank has a museum? You might. They do school trips and other are open to the public for that. But there’s also meeting rooms and a coffee/gift shop.
The Federal Reserve Bank has a GIFT SHOP.
I totally played tourist at my last meeting there. Obviously I bought a pen, but also a decent portfolio for other meetings and such. The prices weren’t bad. The pen has shredded money in it. The pencil was a gimmee pencil from the museum, which may be made from recycled, shredded money for all I know.
It’s a bit ironic that I gave money BACK to the Federal Reserve Bank, but yes, yes I did because. Hello, it’s me. I do these silly random things. And really not that expensive. The portfolio was less than $20, the pen was like $2. Granted the logo is just embossed on and could rub off and it’s obviously not leather, but still. It’s cool. And the pad that came with it? Has days and dates you can circle to date your meeting notes or story draft. The pen is a typical black ink ball point.
Prompt: History Rewritten
Words: funeral, condemn, distribution, button, sink, art, jealousy, brain, tax, lover
Ellie couldn’t condemn Connor for what he did. The brain does funny things at funerals. This situation was no different. But there was an art to time travel, and just hitting the button wasn’t it.
“This is a huge mistake, you know that, right?” she asked. “You have no idea what’s going to happen if we mess with the timeline.”
“Don’t go into a time wave distribution lecture on me, Ellie. I’ve heard it. I get it. I just don’t care.” Connor’s expression was grim.
“You know this isn’t a sink or swim situation. We’re both going to drown in this.”
Connor turned on her with a primal snarl. “You didn’t have to come.”
“Oh, please, like I was going to let you rampage through history. Someone had to be a voice of reason.”
That got a snort of derision from her partner. They’d worked together for years, but that was all. Ellie admitted feeling a brief pang of jealousy when Connor’d introduced her to his lover. But Seven had been good for him. Now…they were going to tax their resources.
A moment later, they materialized on a street corner. A vehicle bore down on Seven. Ellie rushed into traffic and shoved Seven out of the way. She felt the vehicle hit her, then nothing. It better have been worth it.
Word Count: 221