Writing Space: Captain’s Cubby

Home Office - Captain's Cubby

This masculine writing space is from “A Fortress of One’s Own”, This Old House Magazine, issue May 2001

For a change of pace, I wanted to showcase a home office that might appeal to the male writers in our midst. This space has the cool colors that one might find on-board a ship with the bluish grey tones and natural woods. The desk is small and full of clutter, much as most home offices become in their regular state of use. What appealed to me the most was the insertion of a massive shelf unit that serves to turn this desk space into a private cubby. Not only is the author’s research materials close at hand, but the unit provides a measure of protection from distractions. It is the perfect place for the “captain” to plot a novel and sail full steam ahead into his next adventure.

No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links

writers-linksWelcome back for another Monday of writerly links here at No Wasted Ink. This week I found a hodgepodge of general writer’s links, plus a recounting of Ursula Le Guin’s speech at the National Book Awards. Enjoy!

How to take charge of your plot, writing a story from beginning to end

“we will need writers who can remember freedom”: ursula k le guin at the national book awards


A Better Way to Think About the Genre Debate

5 Things About Writing I Wish I’d Known 20 Years Ago

Ebook Publishing Gets More Difficult from Here – Here’s How to Succeed

How To Stop Being Lazy And Get More Done – 5 Expert Tips

Will our kids’ kids use commas?

Science Shows Something Surprising About People Who Still Read Fiction

Straight & Narrow vs Zigzag Helter-Skelter: Which Character Arc is your Protagonist on?

Christmas List For Fountain Pen Loving Writers

When it comes time for a Christmas gift, writers can sometimes be difficult to shop for. What we love to do best is to tell stories, and while you can purchase electronic gear for us, sometimes another option would be preferable. If the writer in your family uses a fountain pen for writing, there are accessories that could be wrapped up in a basket and would be greatly appreciated by any writer.

Noodler's black bottle

Give a Bottle of Ink

The gift of ink is always welcome to a writer. Most fountain pen users can always use another bottle of black ink. In the fountain pen world, there are a few popular ones to choose from. These are a few of my favorites.

Platinum Carbon Black
This premium Japanese black ink is waterproof and will be permanent for decades. If your writer needs to keep their writing around a long time or wants to sign checks with their fountain pen, this is a good ink for those needs.

Pilot Iroshizuku Take-sumi
This ink is not the blackest ink on the market, but it certainly has character. The name means Bamboo Charcoal and the ink shades from black to dark grey, rather like how the ancient pigments of charcoal ink did in japan’s past. It is not a permanent ink, but it is quite elegant to write with.

Noodler’s Bulletproof Black
All American made, Noodler’s Black is a favorite among fountain pen enthusiasts. Cost effective and very dark black, it is “bulletproof” which means that the ink is waterproof and fade resistant.

Aurora Black
This is the most popular black ink on the market. Aurora only makes two colors of ink, a black and a blue, but what they make, they make well. Aurora Black is considered one of the blackest inks available and it is suitable for fountain pens that need a more free flowing ink.

tsuki-yo bottle

Does your writer already have three bottles of black ink? Try a nice blue instead.

Noodler’s 54th Massachusetts
This Blue-Teal is bulletproof and flows well in a fountain pen. It is named after the first all black infantry unit in the Civil War. It was considered the ink of the year in 2013. Noodler’s ink is American made and you get a large bottle for a low price.

Pilot Iroshizuku Tsuki-yo
This ink is considered the most popular of the new Iroshizuku line and is a dark blue-teal-black. It is conservative enough for business use and is a wonderful unique shade. Tsuki-yo means “Moonlight” in Japanese. It is one of my personal favorites.

Edelstein Topaz
The Edelstein line is a well lubricated ink with vibrant colors. The Topaz is a cheerful turquoise blue with wonderful shading. It works well with a drier fountain pen.

Pelikan 4001 Turquoise
One my my first favorite inks is the inexpensive and somewhat dry Pelikan 4001 Turquoise. The ink is rich and vibrant on the page and shades wonderfully. It makes a great foil for a wet pen that you need to get better control over. I usually keep a pen loaded up with this ink on a regular basis.

rhodia notepad

Wrap Up a Few Notebooks

Apica CD-10
Apica notebooks are Japanese notebooks for school children. They are very plain and come in an assortment of sizes. The CD-10 is similar in size to our own American composition books. The paper is very fountain pen friendly and the notebook is affordable. It makes a great everyday notebooks for class notes, general writing and other daily uses.

Rhodia Notebooks
Rhodia is one of my favorite notebooks. I pick mine up from Dick Blick Art Supplies, but the are available all over. Their signature colors are black or orange. They are not hard to miss on the store shelves. Rhodia paper is smooth and white and feels great under the pen. The notebooks come in a wide assortment of sizes, in both top bound notepads and traditional side bound notebooks. You can get them with plain paper, quads or lined. My favorite size is the #16 which fits snuggly in my A5 sized book cover.

Composition Books with Brazilian Sugarcane Paper
While these handy notebooks are thought of for grade schooler use and perhaps not your first thought for gift giving, they are wonderful notebooks for writers to have around. I go through around ten of these each year for various writing projects and pick them up during back to school sales. The key is to find the ones that are labeled as being made in Brazil. If you look on the back of the notebook, you can find the country of original written on the label. These notebooks are made of sugarcane paper, the leavings of the sugar refinery process that used to be burned. Now days, the sugarcane husks are recycled into paper, creating a green product that not only saves trees, but happily is also extremely fountain pen friendly.


Toss in a Pen Case

Leverage Bomber Jacket Pen Wrap
This luxury pen wrap holds five fountain pens and secures them with a snap tie. The bomber leather matches their other leather goods including notebook covers, pen cups and other items.

Saki P-661 Roll Pen Case with Traditional Japanese Fabric
This inexpensive pen wrap holds several pens in a lovely fabric. It closes with a black tie. I’ve owned one of these to hold my Artist Pitt pens. It is functional, beautiful and lightweight.

Lookout – Three Pen Holster
Nock Co. is a new comer in the pen case business. Their kickstarter program was a wild success and the new pen cases in cordova fabric are quite popular among pen enthusiasts. They offer several different models of pen cases, the Lookout holds three pens in your pocket and wraps them in fabric to keep them safe. You can purchase models that also hold pocket notebooks with your pens too.

Franklin-Christoph Penvelope
I am in love with the leather of Franklin Christoph. I liked what I saw online, but when I managed to find their table at a local fountain pen convention and was able to hold their pen cases in my hand, I was hooked. I personally own a two pen case in boot leather and carry it everywhere. It still looks brand new even with daily use. They are best known for the Penvelope, a six pen case. The pen cases are affordable and perfect for gifts.

All of the inks and notebooks listed above are available via Amazon or gouletpens.com, with the exception of the composition notebooks. Locally, Paradise Pens at your mall should also carry them.

Author Interview: Raymond Bolton

Raymond claims that whether set here, or on another world, he tries to craft gripping stories about the human condition. This industrious author certainly is a man of all trades and brings much life experience to his worlds of fantasy. Please welcome Raymond Bolton to No Wasted Ink.

Author Raymond BoltonBy way of introduction, I am Raymond Bolton. Until my books take off enough to support me, I work as a hairdresser, spending part of every week in both Santa Fe, New Mexico and Portland, Oregon. I am on a plane every Wednesday. I’ve written some poetry, for which I’ve received some recognition, and four novels.

In 2010, having written only nineteen poems ever, I garnered third place in the Pacific Northwest Writers Association’s annual literary competition among over 1,200 entries. More recently, my novels have begun winning significant recognition. In 2013, under its working title, Renunciation, my debut novel, Awakening, was one of eight finalists among 950 entries from the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Europe and Australia in the Pacific Northwest Writers Associations Literary Contest. Hailed on BookViral.com as “a grand debut. An ambitious and well considered SF crossover… [that] breathes originality into the genre”, Awakening has received almost all five star reviews on both Amazon and Goodreads.

I am of the persuasion life is too short to squander. I enjoy fine food, so I have learned to cook. I am endlessly curious about the world around me, so I read and I travel. I like people—who else is there?—so I talk and listen and try to understand what I hear. Over the years I’ve driven trucks, been an FM disk jockey, produced concerts, served as a mainsail trimmer on racing yachts, piloted gliders, written software, worked as a hair stylist and owned and operated my own business—all with varying degrees of success. All have imparted a wealth of experience and taught great lessons. In the course of these doings I have had the privilege of meeting very accomplished individuals in the areas of music, movies, sports, technology, industry, finance and politics. Ultimately, all of this background comes together, struggles to find coherence and emerge in my writing.

When and why did you begin writing?

I have been writing ever since I can remember. It’s something I am compelled to do. If I could say why, I could explain the meaning of life.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

In the truest sense, I can say my work transitioned from a hobby—a way to occupy idle time—into something more serious in the early 2000s. A friend of mine, best-selling romance author, Brenda Joyce, said one was truly a writer when the story inside burned to come out. I realized they did. Many stories. Since then, I have been studying the craft, attending conferences and entering literary competitions. I am still becoming the writer I wish to be. It’s an ongoing process.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

I am working hard to complete Thought Gazer, the first volume of the prequel trilogy to my debut novel, Awakening (Regilius Publishing, 01/01/14). People call it a sci-fi/fantasy crossover because it treads the ground between the two genres while eschewing the traditions of each. While set on a world with two suns, there is nothing by way of science, nothing by way of magic. Instead, telepaths, or those with unique psychic abilities tip the course of events.

The warlord, Hath Kael, kidnaps Darva, an opposing lord’s sister, to force her brother’s capitulation. When Bedistai, from a tribe of hunters, foils the abduction and undertakes Darva’s return, an ally of Kael recruits Peniff, a telepath, to find the two. Instead, Peniff comes to the couple’s aid, then attempts to rescue his family—held hostage to insure his cooperation—before his betrayal comes to light. This is the story of a man, in all other ways ordinary, rising above his fears to do what he must.

What inspired you to write this book?

I was working on my debut novel and had created a character I found fascinating. Awakening, however, already had more characters than a Russian novel and I knew I had to can him. I really liked him, though, and in time I came to realize he could become the core that drove a prequel.

Do you have a specific writing style?

The language I use has been described as formal. It seems to suit my subject and their almost medieval setting better than the casual language of our day-to-day lives.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

My protagonist reads minds and the title seemed to fit. Like my stories, it told me what I should call it.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Overcome your fears. Do what you must. No challenge is so horrible or so great you cannot surmount it. Doing what is right, rather than what is easy, is one of the most difficult tasks for all of us. Still, when all is said and done, the outcome of having acted from one’s heart—even if it was not what one expected—is the easiest to live with, the best place from which to carry on.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Hah! Hardly. The people I know are truly diverse, but there’s not one mind reader among them. One reads the tarot, another translated the Popol Vuh, the creation story of the Maya, while yet another’s husband is the world’s foremost translator of the I Ching into English, but that’s as esoteric as it gets.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

John Steinbeck first introduced me to how powerful a story one could craft with only words. J. R. R. Tolkien was the man who introduced me to fantasy. Dean Koontz delighted me with the way he turns a phrase. I envy Donna Tartt’s richly descriptive scenes, and sometimes begin to approach them—emphasis on begin. Martin Cruz Smith is a master of combining tension with realism.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?

These days, I have to say it is the unparalleled George R. R. Martin. Every page he writes contains a lesson, whether it be dialogue, scenic description, examples of Show, Don’t Tell…the examples are endless.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

I am blessed to have discovered Natasha Brown. Her sense of color and form are at once unique and magical—so I guess there is really some magic in my books after all. Some people liken my covers to movie posters.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Write from the heart. Write what appeals to you. Don’t dumb down your work in an effort to appeal to the broadest market possible. If your work has depth, if it resonates as something real, something important, something believable on a gut level, your readers will find you.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Please support your favorite authors. They have labored for months, or even years, to give you those hours of pleasure you find between their covers. If you enjoyed the experience, take a few minutes out of your life to post a review, whether it be on Amazon or Goodreads, on Facebook or Twitter, even in the blog you use to journal to your friends.

Awakening Book CoverRaymond Bolton
Santa Fe, New Mexico AND Portland, Oregon


Cover Artist: Natasha Brown
Publisher: Regilius Publishing


No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links

writers-linksHappy December everyone! As we move into the holiday season, I have yet again prepared a nice list of writing related articles for your pleasure. Enjoy!

How to Launch a Self-Published Book

How to Stand Out in a World of Dull Podcasts

How To Make Your Writing Proposal Work

12 Literary Magazines for New & Unpublished Writers

Scotland and the Second Jacobite Uprising

Building Better Novels Through Conflict

The Christian Publishing Market With Jeremy Bouma

How Accessible Is Sci-Fi Romance?

Basics of Print Interior Design

Author Interviews * Book Reviews * Essays on Writing * Writer's Links

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