Book Review/Rant: Dangerous to Know by Barbara Taylor Bradford

I really need to do a better job of playing book roulette.

Although I’d taken a bit of a break from my bookshelf cleanout while I worked on some other projects, the cold rainy weather has put me in the mood to curl up with a hot mug of coffee and a good book.

I got the coffee part right.

I selected Dangerous to Know by Barbara Taylor Bradford mostly because the volume contained two novels and I’d already read one of them. (That was probably about ten years ago…oops!) This made for a quick way to clear out some shelf space.

As I usually do in a book review, I’ll start with what I liked. Bradford uses her eloquent descriptive powers to create gorgeous backdrops in the mind’s eye. The flawless writing made the beginning of Dangerous to Know an intriguing read with distinctive characters and the sense that a major revelation would be divulged at every turn.

Then things got weird.

I don’t want to give away too much, in case you’re determined to read this book, but I certainly wish I hadn’t. While things are a little uncomfortable when it’s revealed that a woman ends up marrying her own guardian, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. What starts out like a classic murder mystery turns into fictional dirty laundry that I’m hard-pressed to understand why anyone would want to write or publish.

And when it comes to the structure of the plot, holy exposition, Batman! Aside from a few arguments, lunches, and memorial services, Dangerous to Know gives several main characters the chance to unload every grievance they’ve ever suffered. This reflective diarrhea isn’t unpleasant to read, but it kept me wondering when the real story was about to start. It turns out that’s not until the very end, when an elderly deus ex machina steps forward to save the reader from the monotony of it all and fill us in on just how screwed up her family truly is.

Overall, I’m glad this experience is over. Wish me luck as I head to the bookshelf for my next read!

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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Book Review/Rant: The Missing Ink by Karen E. Olson

I almost drowned this book in the bathtub. That’s where I was when it really started to piss me off.

I’ll try to be as fair as possible and start off with what I did like about The Missing Ink. Olson does a good job of establishing the main characters and the feel of Las Vegas from a non-tourist perspective (at least as far as I can tell, never having been there myself). She keeps the story moving with new clues around every corner and lots of action scenes.

Now, in regard to establishing characters, it seems Olson wanted the main character to be a real jerk. Brett Kavanaugh (nice choice of names, not that she would’ve known that back in 2009) is a tattoo artist. I get that maybe she’s not going to be the most sophisticated person around, but it seems Olson forgot that the main character has to be at least somewhat likeable.

Brett’s coworker is a little person. Her name is Bitsy (really?) and she drives a Mini Cooper (double really?). Brett gets frustrated with the noise of Bitsy dragging around a wooden stool, which she needs in order to be able to reach things around the shop. At one point, Brett hears Bitsy getting really excited about something in the other room and says to herself, “It was like she’d finally found the Emerald City.”

It was at this point that I nearly drowned the book.

I didn’t, which is how I know that Brett also makes a lot of mental comments about her other coworker, Joel, who’s 300 pounds. He’ll slow her down when she’s trying to follow someone. He stands out in a crowd when wearing a white t-shirt. He won’t fit in Bitsy’s car. He never needs an excuse for sweets. Weight Watchers would make a lot of money off him. All probably true, but not very nice. And then Brett has the nerve to judge someone else for being judgy.

Brett is further established as being kind of an idiot. Her brother is a detective, and she constantly withholds evidence from him just so she can check things out herself. I completely understand that any mystery is going to demand that the main character do some of this, but it’s just way too much. In fact, Brett was avoiding her brother so much that I was starting to think he must be the bad guy. (Spoiler alert: he’s not.)

The mystery itself was somewhat decent for the most part, but by the time I finally got to the finale where all was revealed, it just wasn’t worth all the frustration of having to deal with the main character.

Now, I know this book was published in 2009, and a lot of things have changed over the last few years. Even so, I don’t think I’ll be picking up another book by this Karen.

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Diving into the World of Vintage Fountain Pens

I’ve always loved the idea of fountain pens, and a few years ago I started buying a few. More recently, I was interested in trying out some vintage pens, but I didn’t know where to start. When I asked for advice in an online group, some folks guided me toward websites for professional restorers. Other told me not to bother with anything vintage, because I was guaranteed to get a dud and be bummed about wasting my money.

Just because I ask for advice doesn’t mean I always listen to it! I’ve since purchased several vintage model through eBay. I have had a couple of duds, but I’ve also experienced the complete opposite end of the spectrum. Honestly, my Sheaffer Balance (c. 1937-1942) is my absolute favorite pen. If I had to get rid of all my fountain pens and only keep one, this would be the one on my desk.

Though I’m by no means an expert, I thought I’d pass along a few things I’ve learned along the way.

Restored or Original Condition: You have to know ahead of time if you want to buy a pen that needs restoration or one that’s already been restored. The ink sac in many older pens will likely be crumbled and useless, so you have to be prepared to replace this (and possibly work on other parts of the pen) if you buy a pen that’s not already been worked on. Read the listing carefully so you know if the item is in working condition and has a new sac. You’ll spend a lot less money if you’re willing to do the work yourself, but you’ll need to the know-how and the supplies. Personally, I have enough on my plate without another hobby, so I always buy restored.

Research: It helps to do your research ahead of time, before the auction is down to the last minute and you’re desperately trying to outbid someone. If a pen catches your eye, hit that search bar and see what you can find out about it! An internet search can tell you a lot about the history of the pen, including how old or rare it may be. Don’t forget to look for other eBay listings of the same pen so you know if you’ll have another chance. It also helps to know what kind of nib and filling system you’re interested in.

My favorite vintage finds: Sheaffer Balance, Eberhard-Faber Perma-Point, and Conklin Endura

Know Your Filling Systems: I still have plenty to learn myself, and since most vintage pens aren’t cartridge/converter pens, it’s wise to know what you’re getting into. For instance, that Sheaffer Balance I mentioned is a vacuum-fill. I wanted it because I thought it was neat, but a fellow aficionado made a good point: vac-fills are difficult to clean, so using any ink that’s waterproof, shimmering, corrosive, or iron gall would be a bad idea. Instead of changing colors out regularly, it’s better to pick a color and stick with it. (I chose Monteverde’s Olivine.) Other pens may be lever fill, touchdown, snorkel, etc., so figure out what will work best for you!

Know Your Nibs: What kind of nib do you like on a fountain pen? It seems that most vintage pens are fine or extra fine, with a few flexible nibs to be had. If you’re looking for medium, broad, or stub, you have a little more work ahead of you. Check for writing samples as part of the listing, and ask for one if it isn’t available. If the seller refuses because they don’t want to dirty the interior of the pen with ink, then you should move on. (A pen can also be dipped, tested, and rinsed, and I personally prefer writing samples so I know this is a nib I’ll like.)

There are also numerous different nib materials. It could be gold or steel, and the tipping material may yet be something different. If you don’t yet know what you like, this could be a great time to try it out!

Check the Seller: Like any listing on eBay, check the seller’s feedback and number of transactions to make sure they’re someone reliable to deal with. Find out what their return policy is. Look at their other listings, so you know if this is someone who deals with pens all the time or just happened to come across them at an estate sale. Ask questions before you buy.

You might not always get a pen you’re happy with. I have one that has a crack in the section that keeps it from feeding correctly. Another had a new ink sac, but the cap doesn’t fit correctly and it just dries out. My husband snagged one that writes beautifully…when you can get it to start. There are going to be some issues, as you may be dealing with something that’s close to a hundred years old. Do your research, be patient, and don’t get caught up in the urgency of an auction.

Have you purchased any vintage pens? I’d love to know!

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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Halloween Tarot Draw: Pick Your Card!

It’s Halloween! The veil is at it’s thinnest, and it’s time to soak up as much of that spirit magic as possible! It’s a great day to do a tarot card reading, don’t you think?

Study the picture below. If you have a question or situation you’re concerned about, hold that in the front of your mind as you choose your card. You can also simply pick the one that calls to you. When you’re ready, scroll down to find the meaning of your card.

Ready?

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#1 – Strength: The Strength card is pretty straightforward, suggesting strength, courage, determination, and the ability to take action. It’s a reminder to access all the power you have inside you (and you DO have it!) to go after your dreams.

#2 – The Devil: The Devil represents strange and unexpected occurrences. These don’t necessarily have to be bad experiences, but they’re certainly not ones you saw coming. It is also a reminder to be passionate, ambitious, and take action. You see the chains that are restraining the Devil on the card, and this is to show that you’re only held back if you allow yourself to be.

#3 – The Ten of Pentacles: The suit of Pentacles is all about material issues such as work and finance. The balanced images in this card show stability and permanence, and that your endeavors will bring you success. This isn’t the time to shake things up or rock the boat; just stick to convention and everything will be well.

Which card did you pick? What did it mean for you? I’d love to know, so feel free to leave a comment. And Happy Halloween!

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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Tarot Tuesday! Pick Your Card

It’s time for Tarot Tuesday once again! I hope you’re all doing well!

This week’s pull is from The Good Tarot by Colette Baron-Reid. These cards are just gorgeous and have so much energy when I’m working with them!

Study the photo below and see which card calls to you (1, 2, or 3). You may want to know what the week holds for you in general, or you may have a specific question in mind. Regardless of what you want to know, let your spirit guide you on your card. You’ll find the cards and their meanings below.

Are you ready? Scroll down to find your card!

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#1 – Emperor: This card represents authority and confidence. It may be telling you that this is a good time to follow the rules, or it may be reinforcing your own strength and authority. Look to people in authority for advice and aid. These figures aren’t limited to actual government officials, but could include an expert in a field, an elder in your family, or someone in your personal life that you’ve always seen as being in charge.

#2 – Strength: You’re strong. You’ve overcome things in the past, and you can continue to do so. Sometimes we may need to lean on someone to help give us that strength, as you see the woman leaning on the lion, but that’s okay! You’ll get through this with courage, and you’ll make miracles happen along the way!

#3 – The Hanged Man: Though this card might look a little scary, keep in mind that most of these cards aren’t intended to be taken literally! The Hanged Man shows us that there are times in our life that require sacrifice and surrender for the greater good. Is there something you need to let go of in order to make better things happen? Do you need to let go of the timeline you set for yourself and accept that fate may be driving things in a different direction? Though there are times when you need to take action, this is your time to wait and let things unfold in front of you.

Which card did you pick? Did it mean anything for you? I’d love to know, so feel free to leave me a comment!

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping and The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

Please note that I’m a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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Tarot Tuesday! Pick Your Card!

It’s been so hard to get around to these posts lately! I hurt my back a few weeks ago, and that left me barely getting through the day for about a week. Things are on the mend now, and it’s time to get back down to business. Let’s pick some cards for the week!

This card is from the Sacred Traveler Oracle deck by Denise Linn. In a time when many of us are faced with being stuck indoors or unable to travel, this is a great deck to help us think about new places as we work on our inner selves.

Choose the card from the picture below that calls to you the most (1, 2, or 3). If you have a question in mind, ask it. Let your heart and mind guide you.

Are you ready? Scroll down to find your card!

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#1 – Protected by Angels: You need to know that there are always angelic forces guiding your path. Even when it doesn’t feel like it, you’re heading in the right direction and constantly being guided. You simply need to be open, and you’ll feel their presence. You may even find physical evidence of this guidance in the form of a feather.

A secondary meaning for this card is that you are the healing, angelic force in someone else’s life.

#2 – Begin Now: It’s time to start that journey that’s been on your mind! This isn’t necessarily a physical journey, though it could be. Let go of anything that’s holding you back, and understand that you often have to let go of the old to bring in the new. You’ll never know what’s waiting out there for you unless you go find out for yourself!

#3 – Miracles: Something exciting and majestic is just waiting to happen in your life! Keep in mind that a miracle can take any number of forms. The more you pay attention to even the tiniest phenomena, the more you’ll see around you. Life itself is a miracle and a reason for celebration, so revel in the glory of it and know that bigger and better things are coming your way!

What card did you choose? What did it mean for you and the week ahead? I’d love to know!

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

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Contemplations on Romance as a Genre

I did a book review a while back on a Nora Roberts book. Someone left a rather snide remark on the shared post on my Facebook page, basically saying I was wrong for enjoying the book. I’ve thought about it a lot since then.

Romance as a genre is often thought about as smut for lonely moms that’s poorly written. I’ve caught myself thinking the same as I read for research. (Despite my passion for dragons and fantasy, most of my freelance work involves ghostwriting romance.) I’ve got plenty of books on the shelf from library book sales or that have been passed on by friends, and I dove into them expecting them to be terrible. I’ve actually found there are some really great stories between those cheesy covers.

Obviously, there’s got to be sort of appeal to the boy-meets-girl story. Even in action movies, the guy has to get the girl at the end, right? I personally find Die Hard to be an incredibly romantic story.

Perhaps the problem isn’t with romantic notions but in marketing. Current romance covers have changed quite a bit, no doubt in an effort to be appealing as a thumbnail for digital purchases. Shana Galen‘s books are an excellent example. I admit I always found the classic covers to be pretty amusing, with Fabio’s hair blowing in the wind and a simpering woman in a gauzy dress groveling at his feet. It’s corny, and it invites potential readers to judge the book by its cover. But hey, if you’re looking to get swept away by a romantic story, I guess that cover says it all!

I think we could also tackle the rather unhealthy relationships that are, well, romanticized in the genre. A couple who doesn’t communicate well enough to admit they’re crazy about each other can’t really have a happily-ever-after, can they? And why wouldn’t any reasonable woman run screaming for the hills when the man who’s so interested in her is known for being dangerous, either physically or mentally? I’ve thought a lot about whether romance creates unrealistic expectations. It might, but I think it’s also important for us to consider that real-life people aren’t perfect. You’ll find any number of people in the world who are bad with money or lose their temper or who suck at communicating or who leave their dirty socks on the floor, and yet they still manage to find The One. Maybe the romances we’re reading about are just far more relatable than we’d like to admit.

If you’re offended by the romance genre because of the sex, then I suggest you sell your television, cut up your library card, and trade your smartphone in for an old-fashioned flip phone. It’s everywhere. I’ve seen ‘worse’ stuff in music videos than I’ve read in some novels. In fact, most romance novels are about the emotional connection instead of explicit bedroom scenes. Sex is used as a marketing tool for men all the time, so what’s the problem if it’s marketed toward women? Would a cheap romance novel be an unacceptable marketing tool for a woman who has a lot of cooking and cleaning to do?

I certainly don’t have all the answers on this, but it’s something to think about. If you think romance novels are terrible, you might want to read a few and give them a fair shake. (Suggestions below) If you have read them and still hate them, then maybe just scroll along and let someone else enjoy the genre. It isn’t as though romance is going away any time soon!

For historical romance, try Shana Galen and Susie Murphy.

For something more modern, Nora Roberts is always a good start.

For fantasy romance, try Susan Carroll or J.R. Ward.

Who’s your favorite romance author, book, or series? I’d love to know!

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping and The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

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Lamentations on Creativity in the Modern World

Creativity comes from a wilder place inside us. We can access it when we go outside and rediscover the nature of ourselves. It takes hold of us when we travel, when the entire world–even something as insignificant as a convenience store–is new and different. It swells to the forefront of our minds just as we’re about to go to sleep, preparing us as we leave reality and tumble headlong into dreamland.

Our lives aren’t built around these inspirational moments in the modern world. We get up too early, rush around too quickly in the morning, and drive too fast to work. Our employers claim they want us to be creative problem-solvers, but it can only be within their own parameters. Lunch provides little escape as we drudge through cafeteria lines or wait impatiently in clogged drive-thrus to grab the same old meal. After clocking out–not a minute too early or too late–we do it all in reverse so that we can come home to a to-do list far longer than the evening.

Our weekends are booked months in advance as we attend the ball games, practices, concerts, and meetings of our children whome we’re programming to be just as busy as we are. The demands of Perfect Parenthood require that we cook and clean and work full time and love and cherish and indulge and discipline and throw a few crafts in there for good measure.

Family gatherings, yard work, shopping trips, and home improvements gobble up the last few hours after arguing over who’s been getting more done. We take a pill to go to bed and another to get up in the morning, shoving ourselves through a daily grind that even if it varies never truly changes.

The coronavirus pandemic doesn’t make this any easier. It has only added the tasks of making/buying/cleaning masks, exploring new ways to safely get groceries, shopping far in advance in case of postal delays, and figuring out how we’re supposed to do remote learning for our children while also filling all the roles listed above.

By the time we have a few moments to ourselves, we’re too tired to pursue the creative or adventurous pursuits we’ve been dreaming of.

Where and when, then, are we to find the time to explore that other part of ourselves?

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping and The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

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Tarot Tuesday! Pick Your Card

Since everyone seemed to enjoy getting a chance to pick their own card last week, I thought we’d go ahead and do it again!

This week’s selection is from The Akashic Tarot by Sharon Anne Klingler and Sandra Anne Taylor. The cards are beautiful both front and back, plus they have a matte finish that I’m rather fond of.

Study the photo below and see which card calls to you (1, 2, or 3). If there’s a specific question you have, feel free to hold that question in your mind and let it guide you toward the answer you’re seeking. It’s also okay if you don’t have a question and just want a general idea of what the week has in store for you.

Are you ready? Scroll down to find your card!

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Card #1 (on the left): Archangel Raphael

This card is all about healing energy and boundless love. Raphael brings numerous positive energies to the table, and he may indicate that someone is helping you right now. Expect healing or breakthroughs on a personal level.

Card #2 (center): The Ark of the Covenant

The Ark of the Covenant could represent legal procedures, title transfers, or working with professionals. On a deeper, more personal level, it can refer to fulfilling your own karmic contract as you grow and learn the lessons of life. We’re never too old for this to happen! There may be others helping you with this, and you’ll want to make sure they have your best interests at heart. Understand that everything you do affects far into the future.

It’s always important to study the imagery on a card. What draws my eye is the fact that part of the Ark of the Covenant is hidden behind the tent flap. We can see the outline of it, and we know it’s there, but we can’t see the details. To me, this means that we don’t always know what the future holds for us and that’s okay!

Card #3 (on the right): Adsum

Adsum is a word that roughly means, “I am here.” This card can signify that you are where you’re meant to be, that you’ve arrived at your goals or you’re on your way.

This is a really interesting card, because there’s more to see the longer you look. Note not only how many people surround the main girl in the photo but all the different kinds of people they are. You are being helped all the tine even when you don’t know it! Everyone from Spirit, your ancestors, or the people present around you are helping you on your way, and you can’t reach your goals alone!

Which card did you pick? Did it mean anything for you? I’d love to know, so feel free to leave me a comment!

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping and The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

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A Vintage Find: Sheaffer Balance Fountain Pen

Can you find love on the internet? Sure. I mean, that’s how I met my husband. But you can also head on over to Ebay and find a vintage fountain pen!

I’ve loved the idea of fountain pens for quite some time, though I only started actually buying them a few years ago. It’s a dangerous hobby, as it’s addictive and can be quite expensive. There are plenty of cheap fountain pens out there (like the Jinaho X450), but I find myself gravitating toward the more expensive ones (like the Pilot Custom 823, which I definitely don’t own yet).

Though I haven’t yet felt I could justify spending $300 for a pen, I was quite interested in trying a gold nib. The cheapest way to do this was to go vintage, and that’s when I found this beauty.

I’m no photographer, and this really doesn’t show how gorgeous this pen is.

This vintage Sheaffer Balance had everything I was looking for: a gold nib in medium flex, a vacuum system (something I hadn’t tried yet but wanted to), and fully restored internals.

That last part was really important! Many older pens are lever fill, which means they have an internal rubber sac that degrades over time. The vacuum systems have rubber diaphragms that can also break down. I’ll admit that I considered restoring a pen myself, not only to save money but also to make sure I got exactly what I wanted. I need another hobby like a hole in the head, and in the end it was easier to spend a little extra cash instead of doing all the research and work.

The next challenge with this particular pen was finding the right ink. Someone in the online fountain pen group I joined pointed out that anything permanent, corrosive, glittery, or difficult to clean shouldn’t be used in a vintage, vacuum-fill pen. That filling system also meant this wouldn’t be the sort of pen I’d want to constantly swap colors in.

After a lot of late-night shopping and indecision, I settled on Monteverde Olivine. I already knew I liked Monteverde inks from previous experience, and the price was too good to pass up. I knew I wanted this ink to match the pen (I told my daughter I was looking for ink the color of an old couch, and I meant that in the most loving way possible), and since I like a smooth writing experience I wouldn’t mind that it’s lubricated.

Okay. After all that, you probably just ant to know about the pen itself, right? Honestly, it’s amazing. The Sheaffer Balance feels wonderful in my hand, with just the right Goldilocks size and weight to avoid fatigue during a long writing session. The gold nib is mostly smooth with just a touch of feedback. It writes beautifully, and since the pen is close to one hundred years old I can forgive it for a few hard starts here and there. The vac-fill holds a lot of ink and is pretty easy to fill.

If you really want to know how I feel about this pen, I’ll tell you this: I told my husband recently that if I had to sell all my fountain pens and could only keep one, the Sheaffer Balance would be it.

What’s your favorite pen? Have you had any luck buying vintage? I’d love to know!

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

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