The pen is mightier than the keyboard

writing-1209121_1920Maybe this is a sign of my old age, but I think better when I write things out by hand. Once I get started writing, the words are coming too fast for my hand to keep up. Since I can’t be bothered to learn shorthand, I reach for the keyboard once I’m in the flow. But to get the tap flowing, I have to start out with a pen and notepad.

Specifically, I write with a fountain pen. I got into the habit of writing when I took the train to work and now it’s automatic: I get on the Max, and the pen comes out. It is amazing how many looks I get writing with a fountain pen. It fascinates people.

I recommend using a fountain pen if you can. The ink flows easily and you don’t have to press down, but unlike most gel pens, it’s easy to refill the pen and keep going. You can keep the same pen for years. Some people don’t like to loan their pens out to other people. They say the nib has been worn down in a way that just suits the way their hand pressed the pen onto the paper, and loaning the pen out changes the shape of the nib. I don’t know if that’s the case, but it is true that all fountain pens are not created equal. I’ve purchased pens that were a pain to write with. And I’ve purchased others that were a joy.

Another thing I like is that the ink comes in a variety of colors. I experimented with loading my pen’s cartridge with a mixture of turquoise and navy blue inks, and I’ve found this is the shade I like best for autographing books. But you can also get ink in purple or pink or green or… well, there are a lot of options.

I have just found a new time sink: an ink comparison website.

Warning: once you start writing with a fountain pen, you might become addicted. Proceed at your own risk.

Cool Cat Cards

When I started to think of myself as a writer, it never occurred to me that I might need business cards. I’ve had business cards given to me as a result of different day jobs, but I never came close to using half of the cards I was given.

So you’d think I’d be the last person to recommend writers go out and get business cards. Ha! Fooled you. I think writers do need them. For specific uses.

A writer might use business cards if:

  • They’re introduced to an agent or editor at a convention.
  • They meet a bookstore owner who might want to stock their books
  • They are going to visit subject matter experts such as museum curators or docents at historical villages.
  • They’re giving ARC copies to reviewers
  • They’re mailing copies of their book to winning contestants of giveaways

And if you’re going to get business cards, I have to put in a good word for Moo. I love their cards. I’ve tried companies that offer free cards and only charge for shipping, and frankly I’d rather deal with Moo. I love the quality of the paper and the swiftness of the delivery, but what really won my heart was two things: a) you can order the cards in as low a quantity of 50 cards and b) you can create up to 5 different kinds of backs for the cards. They have a large selection of graphics on offer, but I uploaded photographs instead. I am very happy with the result!


The cards come in a sturdy little box that you can use to store other people’s business cards as well. They’ve included a couple of dividers to help you keep things sorted out.

One odd thing: I understand the tabs that are labeled “Mine” and “Theirs” but I don’t understand why there’s a tab labeled “NSFW.” Doesn’t it defeat the purpose to have a business card that is Not Safe For Work?

The English Lieutenant’s Lady is on Instafreebie

I’m participating in a Wild West Giveaway on Instafreebie.

The English Lieutenant's Lady

Available on Instafreebie

I was hesitant to join at first. I thought Instafreebie only allowed for books that were free everywhere. The English Lieutenant’s Lady is free to people in Kindle Unlimited. But apparently that counts. The catch is that I can only put up the first 10% of the book in the giveaway, to comply with Amazon’s terms of service.

If you like Western novels, there are over a dozen free on this giveaway. Go check it out!

A hero with a cat… works every time


My First Ever Book!

I received a lot of compliments on the cover of His Forgotten Fiancée (though the credit, of course, should go to the Harlequin Art Department). I think it’s mostly the fact that the cover features a tall, handsome man and a kitten. Something about that combination is irresistible.

For example, look at the Japanese movie trailer below. A tall, handsome Samurai, a ruthless warrior, who has one assignment that he cannot fulfill: to assassinate a cat. Instead, he adopts the animal.

Samurai Cat

I am reminded of the “story” that KD James gave out about how she came to be the human caretaker of a small white cat. Is that story true or was it just a cover for a darker truth? I mean, the name she gave the beastie was “The White Ninja.” Pretty suspicious coincidence, methinks.