2018 Baltimore Pen Show – Part 6

Alright, this is it. The big one. The one we’ve all be waiting for…whoops, nope, this isn’t Harry Potter. This is my last BWIPS 2018 post. I hope you’ve enjoyed reminiscing with me. If you haven’t yet, go read parts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 before continuing.

When I left you yesterday, we were all heading back to the hotel for the “official” pen show after dark fun. Somehow, between leaving Frank & Nic’s as one big group, and arriving at the hotel (a 5-minute walk if you’re going slow) we separated into multiple smaller clusters of 3-8 people.

Jim made a beeline for the hallway between the show rooms as soon as it became apparent that that was where the “event” was being held. Jim wanted a good spot, and I tagged along with him.

Soon Cary Yeager and a gentleman whose name I don’t know came down the hall and started setting up the area. I helped bring out and set up the chairs so my conscience would be clear when I didn’t stay to clean up.

Slowly, people filtered down from the bar and lobby, filling the little hallway area to overflowing.

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2018 Baltimore Pen Show – Part 5

Welcome back to my BWIPS experience write-up. Today starts the pen show after dark shenanigans. If you haven’t read parts 1, 2, 3, and 4, you might want to go do that. This post is back to a shorter length, but tomorrow’s (which should be my last post) will probably be rather long.

The announcement that the show was official over (for the day) was a bit of a bummer, but it also meant that it was time for after-show shenanigans.

It took me a while to locate Jim, who I found sitting with Adam at the Bertram’s Inkwell table. At that moment, the plan was to stick with Adam to enjoy the after party.

But when we got shoo’ed out of the room, we found ourselves in a crush of people. For a while, we sat and listened to Larry Ragland of Diplomat Pens play the guitar. I even had some fun dancing. Te was kind enough to let me include some photos she took.

Larry Ragland playing guitar Dancing to Larry Ragland's guitar playing

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2018 Baltimore Pen Show – Part 4

Welcome back to my BWIPS experience write-up. If you haven’t read parts 1, 2, and 3, you might want to go do that. Fair warning, this post is longer than I intended it to be because there’s a lot to say. That said, I hope you enjoy it.

When I last left you, I was on my way to the Bittner table to buy a Homo Sapiens Bronze Age (VHSBA). There were a couple of people in front of me, so I waited, mostly patiently, for them to finish. Finally, it was my turn. Cindy Bittner was very efficient. She had my Homo Sapiens Bronze Age Maxi with a medium nib packaged up and checked out in a couple of minutes.

Happy as a clam, I met back up with Te and Jim, and we went to the Chesapeake Room to await the Organics (Studio) 101 chat with Tyler Thompson.

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2018 Baltimore Pen Show – Part 3

Welcome to part 3 of my BWIPS 2018 experience write-up. If you didn’t read part 1 or part 2, I highly suggest you do so before continuing with this. I’d like to take a moment before I start to mention that the more I “got into” the pen show, the less I remembered to take photos. So you’ll be seeing less for this installment.

As I was leaving the Herbert Pen Company table, I spotted Jim, and went to grab him so he could pick up his own pen. Of course, in doing so, I lost Te along the way. These things happen at shows. We’re walking along, happy as can be, then suddenly, “Oooohhh!! Shiny!!!”

Jim was a very happy Pen Sloth once he got his hands on his pen. I may be biased, but I think my pen is a little bit nicer. ;-). His is beautiful, though. It reminds me of Thai iced tea.

Herbert Pen Company Pen

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2018 Baltimore Pen Show – Part 2

Welcome to part 2 of my BWIPS 2018 experience write-up. If you didn’t read part 1, I suggest you do so before continuing with this.

– – –

I walked into the large room through the second door. The table immediately to my right is, for some reason, completely lost to my memory. I’ll blame it on pen show excitement.

I walked down the row and spent a few minutes staring at the Kanilea Pen Company pens. They’re absolutely beautiful, but, for some reason, they just don’t call to me. I’ve yet to figure out why.

Just past Kanilea was Jonathon Brooks/Carolina Pen Co. Unsurprisingly, the pens at his table were absolutely beautiful.

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2018 Baltimore Pen Show – Part 1

I, like many of the fountain pen lovers in the Washington, DC area, attended the Baltimore Washington International Pen Show this weekend. I only went on Saturday because Friday I had to work and Sunday was my release party, but it was still fantastic. You may recall that I blogged about my experience at the Washington DC Fountain Pen Supershow (my first ever pen show) last August. I had so many positive responses, that I decided to blog about this experience as well.

Let me start by saying that the two shows are nothing alike. Well, ok, there are pens, and pen people, but the atmosphere is so different. DC is frenzied, Baltimore is calm. Baltimore is a significantly smaller show, but I think it benefits from that, because it’s a more intimate show. It really feels like everyone knows each other.

The shows were also different for me because I knew more people, and I knew more about pens. I recognize that this will color my impressions of the two shows. You might want to keep that in mind as you read about my BWIPS (I love that acronym! It’s so fun to say!!) experience.

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Friday Reads: FanFiction

I can’t believe February is over! March is going to be nuts! The Most Special Chosen is out tomorrow. You can pre-order it now on Amazon. And make sure you check out my Facebook release party on Sunday, there will be a ton of giveaways and takeovers by some fabulous female authors.

This month’s Friday Reads is very different. I’m not recommending a book, I’m recommending a… let’s call it a genre.

I’m a huge fan of fanfiction. Good fanfiction that is. And yes, such a thing exists.

I pretty much only read Harry Potter fanfiction. There are just so many fun ideas within that single sub-genre, I haven’t manage to expand to much of any of the other sub-genres yet.

If you’re a Potterhead like yours truly, or even if you’re not, honestly, I suggest giving fanfiction a try for whatever fandoms you’re part of.

It will never replace books, obviously, but in those “low income” interludes between paychecks when you’re dying for something new to read, fanfiction is a godsend.

Understandably, the online thing may pose a problem, after all, neither wifi nor cell signal are available everywhere, and you don’t want to eat through your data. However, the fanfiction.net app (Android | iOS) lets you download stories for offline reading. There’s also ficsave.xyz which downloads ePub, mobi, and txt files at the press of a button. I tend to prefer the app when I’m reading a story in progress since it will automatically download new chapters, but I like ficsave for finished stories since there’s no worry of the author deciding to remove the story from the site.

So if you have some extra time, I highly suggest you check out FanFiction.net. Some of my favorite authors include robst, chem prof, Clell65619, old-crow, and Rorschach’s Blot. Go take a look. Maybe even try dabbling in some fanfiction writing yourself. It can be fun to take a story precisely where you want it to go. Heck, I’d love to see some The Most Special Chosen fanfiction. *wink*

But be careful, fanfiction can pull you in, and before you know it, you can’t separate canon from fiction. Don’t worry, though, it’snot like I’ve doomed you to a black hole that will suck you in and consume your life or anything. Mwahahaha.

If you’re a fanfiction reader, or writer, drop your favorite author or story below. I’m always on the lookout for something new.

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Friday Reads: A Hunger Like No Other

2017 has ended, 2018 is here! Happy January, everyone! I hope you had a fabulous holiday season. Let’s hope 2018 is a great year.

It’s the first Friday of the month, and that means Friday Reads! In case you missed it, you can take a look at last month’s Friday Reads on Memnoch the Devil.

Cover of A Hunger Like No OtherA few weeks ago, I decided to re-read A Hunger Like No Other (AHLNO) by Kresley Cole. AHLNO is a very special book to me. A gift for Valentine’s Day nearly 11 years ago, it was the first “adult” book I read.

I absolutely adored, still adore, Ms. Cole’s take on the various mythologies. Valkyries, vampires, werewolves, Ms. Cole eventually includes everything that’s “mythical” in the series in one way or another.

But beyond how great the story is, AHLNO, carries a lot of meaning for me. As I re-read AHLNO, I realized just how much my writing was originally influenced by reading it. The Most Special Chosen would probably be very different if I’d never read AHLNO. There’s even a chance that I would never have finished The Most Special Chosen, much less published it. AHLNO gave me ideas, some of which were incorporated into The Most Special Chosen, some that live on in the dark recesses of my brain that house fantasies.

If you haven’t read AHLNO or any of the rest of the Immortals After Dark series, I highly suggest you do so. They’re fun, sexy, and well-written.

Have you read any of the Immortals After Dark series? Did you like them? Which one was your favorite (if you can choose)? Leave me a comment below. I love reading comments. Until next time, I hope you have a fabulous time reading.

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The Joy of Coco

There will be spoilers towards the end of this post, but I’ll warn you first.

I saw Coco for the second time on Saturday. And while it didn’t hit me quite as hard in the feels this time, it was still an amazing movie.

The first time I saw Coco (on Thanksgiving), I was blown away, absolutely enchanted, and amazed to see my heritage, Mexican heritage, portrayed on the big screen in such a beautiful way. As Chantel mentions in this Pero Like video, it was amazing to see a story that happens to be set in Mexico, rather than a story about being Mexican.

The Rivera family from Coco

At its heart, Coco is about family. That family just so happens to be Mexican, and living Mexican lives. Therefore you have a rich tapestry of Mexican culture woven into the story. But the central theme of family can be (and has been) played out in any other setting (think Brave, The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, Finding Dory, Inside Out, etc.). I think this is part of what makes Coco so special to me. The Mexican culture isn’t highlighted, isn’t glorified, it’s just there. But you can’t help but appreciate the beauty and richness of it.

Granted, in Coco, the focus is on one particular facet, Dia de los Muertos. But you get to see other bits as well. With Ernesto de la Cruz, you get a glance at old films. With the music competitions, you get a look at mariachi music. There are also alebrijes, lucha libre, ballet folklórico, chanclas, and on and on, but you get the idea.

Growing up multicultural, I never really paid much attention to people saying that it means a lot to see yourself represented in movies, TV, etc. That was a failing on my part, I know. But Coco opened my eyes to just how much it can mean. There were multiple times I found myself tearing up in sheer joy at seeing Mexican culture portrayed correctly. I can only imagine how great it was for all of the abuelitos going to the movies for the first time and seeing the magnificence that is Coco.  

So if you haven’t seen Coco yet, stop reading here (there are spoilers coming), and go see it while it’s still in theaters. Really, it’s worth it. If you have seen Coco, then let me share with you a little something I noticed when I watched it the second time.


***Spoilers Ahead***


It didn’t take me long on the first go around to figure out that Ernesto wasn’t Miguel’s great-great-grandfather. And it didn’t take much longer to determine that Hector must, therefore, be Miguel’s great-great-grandfather. What I didn’t pick up on, and really should have, is that because Ernesto stole Hector’s guitar, there was likely something nefarious going on.

And speaking of the guitar, did you notice that it’s the first hint the viewers get about who Miguel is actually related to?

The guitar has a gold tooth.

Head of the Guitar from Coco

Hector has a gold tooth.

Hector from Coco

Ernesto does not.

Ernesto de la Cruz from Coco

It’s even on the movie poster. Talk about fabulous foreshadowing. Did you catch that hint? Let me know in the comments.

Note: All images found through Google.

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Friday Reads: The Other Boleyn Girl

Wow, it’s November already! Where has the year gone? You know what the first Friday of the month means: Friday Reads! If you missed it, take a look at last month’s Friday Reads on Crossroads in the Dark III: Monsters Under Your Bed.

Cover of The Other Boleyn GirlI’m going back to Tudor England this week with The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory. Before I go any further, if you’ve seen either movie, store that memory away for now, this is about the book. In typical book-to-movie fashion, neither did the book justice. That said, The Other Boleyn Girl (TOBG) book has been a favorite of mine for years. When I first bought it, I had this edition, which I *THINK* is the original paperback edition.

TOBG was one of the first “adult” books I read. It was either end of high school or early in college, when I had my own money and could buy whatever I wanted, without parental input. It sparked the realization that books could contain a lot more than what I’d been reading, and sparked an interest in several other genres and styles. TOBG was my adult “gateway book”, if you will.

TOBG was also the book that sparked my interest in Mary Boleyn. For those of you who aren’t familiar with that name, she was sister to Henry VIII’s second wife, Anne Boleyn, and Henry’s official mistress before he fell in love with Anne. There’s also a high likelihood that 2 of her children were his.

SIDE NOTE: This post will contain what some people would consider spoilers. I don’t, simply because TOBG is based on history, and major plot events are common knowledge.

One of the things I like most about Philippa Gregory’s early books (I don’t know if she still does this, because I’m rather behind in my reading) is that she presents “what if” scenarios. For example, in TOBG the reader is given major hints that Anne Boleyn really did sleep with her brother. This adds a different feel to the story that most books about the Boleyn sisters don’t have.

Granted, having these “what if” scenarios means that the book isn’t “real” history. So take what you read with a grain of salt. After all, it’s categorized as historical fiction for a reason. But just because you aren’t being handed a factual account of Mary Boleyn doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it.

And enjoy it, I do. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve read TOBG. I read my first copy to death, literally. The pages started coming unglued and falling out of the book. So I went out and bought a second version. Then an ebook, which, thankfully, can’t ever fall apart.

Part of what led to me reading TOBG so much is the amount of compassion I felt for Mary Boleyn. She’s written as a very kind, somewhat naive character, and many times I just wanted to give her a hug and tell her things would turn out alright in the end, despite knowing they wouldn’t.

Have you read The Other Boleyn Girl? What about other historical fiction books? What’s your favorite era in history? Leave me a comment and let me know, and make sure to check back for next month’s Friday Reads. I hope you enjoy your weekend.

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