Sunday, 14 May 2017

And following New Inks, New Notebooks...Part Two...

And following on from Part One, here are the other notebooks that came across to review.

First on the lineup is the Story Supply Notebook

Because everyone should have a supply of stories...
Thick card cover over thin lined paper, and I do mean thin lined, this paper was designed for those who write small (like me), it's double copper stapled, and the inner front cover contains a small plaque that lets you write your details, what's in the book, and in the event of loss, return to...


The paper itself is a little thirstier than many of the other books, but it's pleasant to write on and I do like those thin lines.  Given the thickness of the card cover, it's a sturdy journal, little bit stiff for the back pocket, but if you're using it for every day carry, very good.

Which brings me to the journal that got the most intensive testing, the Clairfontaine Retro Nova

Not all colouring on the front cover comes with every journal.
This requires a little explaining, whenever my nieces come over to visit, they want to have a go with the pens and practise writing and drawing, and I can't just give them any paper to work with, I have to give them something that they won't have any problems with, and one that can stand up to occasional hard wear and tear.

So...


Not only did it survive, but it did so with style, as with most Clairefontaine, it's 90gsm, but with a slight Ivory tint to it, threadbound for extra resiliency and with only minimal bleedthrough even through every nib known to me had been applied to the other side of it.  Same solid construction as the Story supply, so maybe a bag book rather than a back pocket book.

And that brings us to the Dark Horse in this particular set of reviews...

This is the Silvine Pocket Journal


Deceptive on first glance, it's a small (110/72) notebook with a stiff card cover.  The paper within is fine (feels like 80gsm), but it has a curious texture to it, slightly rough to the touch, not enough that it distracts from writing on the page (unless you can only write on Tomoe River), so much so that I was inspired to write with several different inks on it, just to see...


But most impressive of all was 


No bleed through at all, and while I appreciate that I write with thinner nibs, several of the other notebooks had the same inks on them and bled through.  The binding is sewn and bound properly with matching thread, and all the pages are perforated for easy removal when you want to keep an idea elsewhere.  The utility of this journal is unparalleled, small enough to fit in any pocket, solid paper that doesn't bleed but doesn't need blotting, and as solid a binding and cover as any of the other Journals.  

Without question, in the context of every day carry, my choice is the Silvine, surprisingly good notebook in a very handy size.  Not quite wallet sized (which would have rendered it perfect), but close enough to add to a passport sized fauxdori without bulking it out at all.  

Thanks again to Stuart from Pocket Notebooks, it's good to see that notebooks are still evolving and better yet, still in demand.

And following New Inks, New Notebooks...Part One...

So last week it was new Inks, this week, courtesy of Stuart from Pocket Notebooks, curiously enough...

It's Notebooks...

I've been given a whole bunch of Notebooks to have a look through and review, as always, no payment received, but nor have I paid for the books in question.  The initial thought was that one or two notebooks might come through, so imagine the surprise when just a few more came through...

And they range from cheap and cheerful to very specialised notebooks indeed.  So in no particular order, I'm going to start with the California series, which come in two different versions, The Back Pocket Journal, and the Back Pocket Tomoe River Journal.

If you gonna be a bear...

Be a Grizzly...
The upper notebook is the Tomoe River version, 48 sheets of Tomoe River paper string bound and tied, my own proclivities regarding Tomoe River paper are well known, it is the best paper in the world for writing with a fountain pen, bar none, and the paper here is exactly that.  

The quandary I had here was that while I always carry a fountain pen and I always carry a notebook, I found myself wondering if I'd actually use this particular Journal because TR tends to need blotting paper to ensure that you don't end up copying your writing to the next page, and it's no different with this.

The other Journal I liked a lot, with 105gsm paper and a very smooth finish, the ink test went like this...


Some bleed through, it's a thirsty paper, and despite being 105, it's not thick enough to hide most inks that were tried on it.  That said, it's a nice Journal with good binding and a solid cover, which would make for a very good pocketbook.  I would use this more than the Tomoe River version, but both are reasonably priced for a set of three books.

Next up was the Inky Fingers notebook

Because which one of us doesn't have Inky Fingers...

Interesting this one, the cover (as can be seen) is glossy cardstock.  The paper within is something else though. 80GSM wheat straw paper that resists feathering and bleeding quite well whilst being very tactile to work with.


As evidenced above, the bleed through was significantly less than the California 105, and with the feel of the paper itself (not quite silk, not quite satin), it justifies its higher price tag.  Binding on the book is twin staple, and the ruling on it is 6mm, which is larger than I tend to use, so of less interest to me, but anyone using a broader nib will certainly find use in this.

Next up is the Darkstar Nomad

Because everything should have an EPIC name...

Name not withstanding, Darkstar are some of my favourite notebooks and for good reason.  The Nomad is no exception, the cover is plain cardboard, the paper within is 100gsm dot gridded in blue rather than black, and as I use a Darkstar for my regular Ink testing, I can attest to the quality of the paper within.


There is some bleedthrough, but it doesn't drink the pen and it's got a nice feel to it when writing.  The pages are slightly larger than most of the pocket books, which allows you to write without fear of taking up all the pages, and the notebook itself is twin staple bound.  I am biased due to previous experience when it comes to Darkstar, but this is a lovely notebook.

Which brings me to the end of part one...

The other notebooks (and my conclusions) are in part two...

In case anyone's mind is already made up though, all of these can be found at www.pocketnotebooks.co.uk

Monday, 8 May 2017

New KWZ Inks

So...

I've been away a while again...

This I find is something that happens periodically, in particular when you're building up to the biggest and best games show (I don't count Essen, you can't sit down and play games there) outside of the States.

But I find myself with time once in a while, and recently, I got given a whole bunch of KWZ sample inks to try for free from Pure pens.  As those who know me understand, just because I got it free doesn't mean that I'm going to say good things about it, the things have to be good as well...

Cheerfully however...

So there were four inks in the sampler, Honey, Gummiberry, Brown Pink, and Azure.


With each one I've taken a bit of a different step to how I used to do ink reviews, because I know that my writing and favoured pens are often too fine to let the real colour shine through.  So in each case, I've also took a shot of the tissue that I used to clean the pens up when I'd finished refilling them, which gives a much broader spread of the colour in question and lets everyone get an idea of what the ink looks like on a broader pallette.  All the writing samples are on a Darkstar notebook, which incidentally is my favourite for using as an ink journal, just the right blend of absorbency, doesn't drink the pen, doesn't leave the ink sitting on top of it for an hour.

We'll start with Honey


This is one of the less viscous of the inks I tried, far lighter than it seems to be in the bottle, and though I suspect it would be far lighter on less absorbent paper, on the paper I was using, it looks excellent.


I don't think the colour would hold as well on something like Tomoe River or similarly non-absorbent paper, but on Darkstar it works really well.

Then I tried Brown Pink, and I have to say with this, there was a certain amount of head scratching when it came to the name of the ink.  I mean, it's either Brown, or it's Pink, the two aren't exactly compatible...


Or so I thought, because while the sample here (to me) looks more purple than anything else, when you get it on the paper and start writing, it's something a little bit special...


The problem here is that the photos don't really do this particular ink justice, when you're looking at it, it does have that rich brown hue, and the edges come up lighter, almost as if the ink separates when you're writing with it.  Now I know that that's not something most people look for in an ink, but in this particular case, it works really well.  It's not my favourite of the inks that I got to try, but it's a very close second.

So then I came to Azure


The closest comparison of inks that I could have to this is Diamine's Deep Dark Blue, but this ink has a richness of colour that shines through even on a finer line.  It's easily the most viscous of the inks that I tried here, and that comes through on the writing test.


I don't use dark blue's too much, too close to black for this man's eyes, and whereas things like Deep Dark Blue have a strange sheen to them when they dry, this stays the same colour you wrote with from Wet to Dry.  I like this one, it's the best of the deeper blue's that I've seen in recent times.

And that brings me to my favourite for this bunch, this is Gummiberry...


Because everyone knows I'm a sucker for a good purple, and this is the most interesting one I've seen, in the bottle it looks like Imperial purple, on the tissue test it looks like Tyrian Purple, but on the page...


And I should point out that this is a Sailor EF nib, one of the finest nibs I own, and prone to jamming with many inks.  In this case, this wrote smooth and easy from the off, dried well, but covered well, and I like that it had a faint scent to it as well as being a nice ink to work with.  Easily my favourite of the samples that I've tried, and one I'd consider picking up a full size bottle of.

KWZ inks are available from Pure Pens at http://purepens.co.uk/acatalog/KWZ-Ink.html

Friday, 17 March 2017

And following on from yesterday - Readers Required...


I need to get back on track with what I was doing before all the delays occurred, so I'm looking for readers again, I've got several books where I'm looking for first impressions, more to see if the story holds interest in the first place than anything else, most of them are nearly completed (2014 was a good year), and wouldn't take much to finish off.

What I've got is as follows

In Iron Clad -

I don’t remember the sun…

I hadn’t been born when the lights went out, but mum used to tell me of the days when the light was free for everyone, not rationed by the guilds and fed through failing bulbs and dynamo’s

All I know is the darkness…

And the work…Always the work…

Alone in the world with nothing to look forwards to but the endless breaking of ships in the dark of the Umbralux docks, Green knows she has nothing coming, death comes for everyone, and she’s no exception, the only question is how long she has before it comes to her.  A ship returns from the far east of the Cold dark, it’s crew missing, it’s cargo plundered, nothing left of value on board to anyone, but a means to make a new life on the waves for those who have nothing else to look forwards to. 

With a crew consisting of a Onceman, three Milrats, a fellow docker, and a Rat Nav, Green sets out into the darkness, there to search for the person who owned the ship, a man she’s never known.


Her father… 

---

Ocean of Stars -

A routine scavenging operation in the Tyrannous stars becomes a journey to the other end of time when they encounter a derelict in space.  Torn from the raiding lanes, the crew find themselves in a world where ships roam the stars on sails of solid light, and the universe is no longer the place they thought it to be. 


Pressed into service on the pirate frigate Unbroken Dawn, the crew find themselves at the mercy of Captain Morgan, a woman hunting the mythical treasures beyond the incandescent death offered by Argents Breath, willing to sacrifice anyone and anything to get what she wants.   As the Unbroken Dawn nears the object of the captains obsession, the crew have to decide if they want to follow her to untold riches (with a side order of death), or consider mutiny (and a side order of death) to take the ship and return to their own time.

---

Regiment B -

There was a world where science had overcome all ills, where technology had an answer to almost everything, and the dawn of a brighter tomorrow was on the horizon…

This is not that world…

On this world, the machines rebelled against their owners, and the Cult of the Pure rose to show mankind of the folly of making use of technology, they promised safety and security in return for not using the technology that had caused all the strife.

But the cult never mentioned that the machines were still out there, and the only ones with the power to stand against them were the deviants who they preached hate against, those who had suffered grievous injuries in battle or in life, and only through the aid of forbidden implants did they exist from day to day.  These are the last chance of humanity, reviled by those they protect, they form humanities last defence.

Regiment B


Struck down by the machines, Vincent Emerson is given the choice between the restricted life his injuries will allow him, or service in the Regiments at the cost of the life he once knew…

----

Let me know if any of them interest...

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Rejection, something all writers must come to deal with...

So today, after 14 months waiting for a response, a card, anything to acknowledge that there was a chance that I was still in the running, I got the rejection through from Gollancz.

Not on a card (I'd had one of those before), but on their website listing the books that they are still considering, with a note that indicated that if you hadn't had a card for your book, it must have been lost in the initial cut when no cards were being sent out.

I can't easily articulate how much that particular line hurt, especially when the previous updates had said that everyone who hadn't received a card or notification was definitely in second reading, and then in third and so on.

Interestingly enough, I was at the London book fair yesterday, and I went to the Hachette stand (Gollancz owners) and asked if there was any news, said I was willing to wait, did wait, and was told no one was available.

Today the confirmation comes out...

I'd like to think that the appearance of someone asking at the stand prompted them to actually tell people what the score was, but I'll never know on that score, I said yesterday that I'd have been happier finding out yesterday in person rather than two months later on a card, today, I'm at least released from the wait, and my spirits are lighter as a result.

It's the waiting that kills us, not the refusal...

Understand me when I say that in my heart (as in the heart of all writers), I didn't believe I'd get through, but there's still the gleam of hope within, and to be told that you could have been getting on with things rather than hoping that things could be on the way, well, it's a sharp taste of life.

I'm not discouraged, I still write every day, and now I can submit the books to others, because while I was thinking there was a chance gollancz would want it, I didn't, because the last thing a large publisher wants to hear is that you sold it to someone else while they were looking through it.

So two of the books that I'm most proud of stayed sealed for fourteen months...

And that's down to me and I know it...

No more...

Be aware all agents, there are submissions coming your way now, and if you want them, don't wait, because you're not the only one's who've got them now...