Fountain Pen Review: Conklin Duragraph ‘Water’

I’m running behind on my pen reviews, so it’s time to catch up!

This Conklin Duragraph is from their Elements series, and I just couldn’t resist the mix of clear and colored resin for the ‘Water’ finish. I ordered it in a medium nib. I have it inked up here with Tobacco Sunburst by Diamine.

What I Love: I’ve had this pen since March (told you I was behind!), so I’ve had some time to really get to know it. This thing is just rock solid. It’s always a ready starter, with no need to encourage the ink to get flowing. I noticed as I was taking the pictures that there’s a bit of ink splattered on the inside of the cap. I can only conclude that this is from dropping it a few times, because it’s never leaked on me. The enclosed converter holds plenty of ink, and the nib is quite smooth. The pen is a great weight, and I feel like I could write with it all day without issue.

What I Don’t Love: This nib is really stiff, so it doesn’t always give me quite the feel I’m looking for when I’m writing. As I’ve noted, though, it’s still very smooth. The nib is black while the trim is rose gold, which I think looks a little silly.

Overall, I think this is a pretty great pen. I liked it enough that I my very next pen was a Conklin as well, but that’s a different review!

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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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Tarot Tuesday!

Tuesday has been quite a day, and I almost didn’t get this posted! This single-card spread is from Doreen Virtue and Radleigh Valentine’s Animal Tarot set. These cards are full of gorgeous and fun animals, and I have such a good time working with it!

This card is about making decisions without hesitation, no matter what anyone else might think about them. It’s also about making sure you take care of yourself, even if there are others who need you. Just like they say during the safety check at the beginning of a flight, you have to put your own oxygen mask on first!

I’m terrible about this, to be honest. I’m always so worried about what my husband or my kids might need that I put myself on the backburner. As always, the cards are pointing out what I’ve been struggling with. I was actually just thinking as I went to pull a card that I don’t know what I want to do this evening, because I’m too concerned my own needs will overshadow what someone else wants.

I guess this means it’s time to work on some of the numerous projects I always have waiting on a To Do list and get some of them done!

I’ve paired this card with my Que Sera sphere, which is helpful for accepting and dealing with responsibilities. It’s one of my absolute favorite stones.

Are there any decisions you’ve been putting off?

What does the Two of Winter mean to you?

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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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World Building: Small Businesses

While we think a lot about plot when writing a story, it’s also vitally important to build the world around the events your character experiences. Where will they bump into an old flame? When they lose their job at a big corporation in the city, what mom ‘n’ pop shop will hire them?

Small businesses can be great fodder for many genres, but they are the backbone of cozy mysteries. The ones I’ve listed here can be run by only a handful of people, which makes for closer interactions between the employers. Have a family run the place and you have even more drama.

If you’d like other handy lists or articles to help keep you inspired, check out my Writers’ Resources page.

  • accountant’s office
  • antique store
  • art gallery
  • bakery
  • bank
  • book store
  • butcher shop
  • cafe
  • car repair/auto body
  • cleaning company
  • coffee shop
  • convenience store
  • computer repair
  • craft store
  • daycare
  • doctor’s office
  • flower shop
  • funeral home
  • gas station
  • hair salon
  • hardware store
  • horse stable
  • HVAC company
  • insurance office
  • interior design company
  • jewelry store
  • law office
  • lumber mill
  • music store
  • new age shop
  • organic grocery store
  • pet groomer’s
  • pet rescue
  • pet store
  • pharmacy
  • photography studio
  • plumbing company
  • real estate agency
  • tea shop
  • used car lot
  • video store

If there’s a business you’d like to see here, leave a comment and I’ll add it!

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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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Tarot Tuesday!

Let’s see what the week has in store for us! This single-card spread is from a very old tarot deck I picked up when I was a teenager. There’s no information as to the publisher or what the deck is called. If you recognize it and have any info, I’d love to know! It’s a similar style to the Rider-Waite/Smith-Waite classic decks.

The Three of Cups is about togetherness and celebration. It signifies holding each other up in support and love and the coming together of communities. It could possibly describe a very busy social calendar as well.

While it’s somewhat amusing to see a card that signifies community and friendship in a time when we can’t gather safely, I think this card is a valuable reminder of just how much we need our friends and loved ones even when times are hard. We can still reach out through phone calls, texts, and social media to love and support one another.

The kids are getting ready to go back to school, so my calendar certainly seems overwhelmingly full compared to the blank pages for the last few months!

What does the Three of Cups mean to you?

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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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Tarot Tuesday!

Let’s see what the week has in store for us! This single-card spread is from Diana Cooper’s Dragon Oracle Cards set, which is just so gorgeous and inspiring. And of course I love dragons!

This card is all about pure, warm-hearted love and the ability to take it all in. It isn’t always easy to let ourselves be loved or to see love in the world around us. You have to prepare your heart for it. You’ll be surprised at how your own expansion of love can affect those around you.

Personally, I think we all need to open ourselves up to some love right now. I see so much adversity on social media and on the news. Everyone is at each other’s throats, staunch in their opinions. I see far too many people who aren’t willing to open their eyes to the good in the world. I hope this changes soon.

I’ve paired this cards with some pieces of rose quartz, which also signify unconditional love.

What does the Rose Pink Dragon mean to you?

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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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Remembering Calix Now Available for Kindle!

If you preordered Remembering Calix, it should now be available on your Kindle device! Didn’t preorder? That’s okay, because now you can just go buy it! This is a little sci-fi space opera that just wouldn’t leave me alone, and I had to write it. I hope you enjoy!

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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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Tarot Tuesday!

Let’s see what the week has in store for us! This single-card spread is from Doreen Virtue and Radleigh Valentine’s Animal Tarot set. These cards are full of gorgeous and fun animals, and I have such a good time working with it!

This card is not only about making detailed plans for future endeavors, but also acting on them immediately when you do! The coins falling suggest the success that will come to you when you follow this advice.

You can see we’re looking at a male seahorse here, which isn’t just for making a pretty card. Male seahorses are the ones who gestate and give birth, so the Prince of Autumn also suggests a person who is dedicated and trustworthy.

For me personally, I find this card especially interesting because I was just discussing future plans for a book series I have in the works. I’ve already dedicated an entire new notebook to it, where I’ve been organizing my ideas. I’d say the universe is telling me to go for it! 😀 There’s also the fact that we just finished up Father’s Day!

What does the Prince of Autumn mean to you?

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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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Hobbies for Your Characters – Writers’ Resources

Just as a quirk can make your character more interesting, so can their hobbies! Having a hobby gives your character something to do, whether they stumble into the craft shop and discover a murderer or build model planes while discussing their crumbing marriage. What hobbies would you add?

  • fishkeeping/aquarist
  • cross-stitching
  • knitting
  • crocheting
  • painting (oil, acrylic, watercolor)
  • spelunking
  • reading
  • playing a musical instrument
  • cryptozoology (Big Foot, anyone?)
  • history buff
  • volunteering (there are more ideas on this here)
  • hiking
  • kayaking
  • swimming
  • fishing
  • hunting
  • poetry
  • diving
  • sailing
  • sci-fi conventions
  • historical reenactment
  • crystals (either as a rock collector or in a New Age sense)
  • antiquing
  • tarot cards
  • bicycling
  • cooking or baking
  • scrapbooking
  • gardening
  • making fishing lures
  • writing
  • traveling (by boat, plane, bicycle, motorcycle, etc)
  • martial arts
  • running
  • crafts
  • playing billiards/pool
  • watching football
  • collecting (stamps, figurines, spoons, shot glasses, etc.)
  • surfing
  • sailing
  • photography
  • horseback riding
  • parasailing
  • skydiving
  • origami
  • mountain climbing
  • golf
  • gambling
  • skateboarding
  • chess
  • yoga
  • blogging

I’ll continue to add to this least, so feel free to check back! Also take a peek at the other information on my Writers’ Resources page!

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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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Cover Reveal and Pre-Order Available!

I’m happy to say that Remembering Calix is now officially available for pre-order! It will download automatically to your Kindle reader on July 1st! To celebrate, I’m sharing the full cover with you. Enjoy!

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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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Cover Tease for Remembering Calix

My newest novella, Remembering Calix, is currently available for pre-order! Check out a partial cover reveal below, and keep your eyes open for the full, official cover!

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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 Detective.  Her 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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Filed under On Writing, science fiction, Self-Publishing