Thursday, October 31, 2013

Less than 24 hours to go...

and over 92 middle and high school students (mostly middle) are signed up to write!

I hope CreateSpace can keep up with all the novel requests...

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Wow! Just wow!

Less than one week to go, and I've already run out of NaNoWriMo buttons and posters! Since starting this group, I've never had that problem (and it's a nice problem...). A month ago, I really thought that I'd have a drawer full of pens left over for next year. I have 84 pens...there are 85 signed up, and more coming in every day.

This is a good problem.

Friday, October 25, 2013

One week to go!

It's almost that time! NaNoWriMo is only one short week away, and the list of middle school writers is up to 58 as of this morning. That's the same number of students that I had last year in middle school and high school combined.

The Beginner Prize Packs have been flying out of my office, and the kids are excited to start receiving goodies. I've also set up an Instagram account for the kids to show off their writing as they go. You can follow it at FPARMY. To post to the account, either tag the picture @fparmy, or #hmsnano in the comments.

Wish us luck! This competition is going to rock this year.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Stretch Goals

There's a "stretch goal" for everything these days, so why not a writing club? Here at HMS we have started using incentives called "Spirit Sticks". There are a number of different kinds, for all kinds of groups. And I've got one for NaNoWriMo.

I've tried to think of an interesting way to earn these. Students already get the official NaNo button, just for taking on the writing challenge, so I wanted to make this prize something they had to work for. And I finally figured out the challenge.

Phobias. Yup, your character (protagonist, antagonist, or secondary) has to have a phobia, and it has to actually play a part in the story. It doesn't have to be a major part, but it shouldn't just be mentioned, either. And to make things more challenging, let's say it needs to be somewhat obscure, and it cannot be duplicated within the group.

Check out The Phobia List for a rather exhaustive listing of phobias. My secondary character, Jason Knight, has "daemonophobia", the fear of demons. And seeing as how my novel is a Supernatural Thriller, with demons, things could get interesting...

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The new NaNoWriMo buttons are awesome!

The people at the Office of Light and Letters (those behind NaNoWriMo), have updated their posters and buttons this year. And having grown up in the '80s, I love them. 8-bit pixels for the win!

Edison Beaumont from Brian Gray & Edison Pens

This one... hmmm... this one.

I've wanted an Edison pen for almost three years now. They are gorgeous, and write wonderfully, and everyone that has talked about their own Edison pens have done nothing but rave about them. Honestly, I never thought in my wildest dreams that when I emailed Brian Gray over at Edison pens about donating to our group, that I would receive an email back the very next day saying "Sure!"

Now I'm jealous...

I don't even know who the pen is going to yet (or even just what criteria the students have to meet to be eligible for it), but I'm jealous of them none-the-less. One of my students will have an Edison pen before me. There's got to be a way...

"Dear Santa,"

Monday, October 14, 2013

Zebra Zmulsion pens from Shu & JetPens is one of my most favorite places to visit and shop. They have some of the most unique writing supplies available, and there is something there for everyone. And imagine my surprise when I contacted JetPens, and got a reply from the CEO and co-founder of JetPens! And it got even better when a package of 70 Zmulsion pens showed up on my doorstep.

If you ever want to kill some time looking at pens and writing supplies, head over to JetPens or Goulet Pens. You'll be lost for hours.

Assorted inks & ink samples from Goulet Pens and Fountain Pen Geeks

Thanks to the generous donations of people over at the Fountain Pen Geeks forums and Goulet Pens, I am swimming in ink. There is a color of ink for every color of the rainbow (and even some that aren't). I couldn't believe the box that showed up on my doorstep from Goulet Pens, with over 80 ink samples! I'll try to get a picture posted later tonight, and attempt (I said attempt...) to get a list of the inks and color samples posted on the "Inks Available" page (but there are a lot... I mean, A LOT!).

I can't thank everyone enough for all of the support for these kids. They are getting excited, and can't wait to start their novels (quite a few have even asked if they really have to wait until November 1st... yes...). And big thanks to the Goulets from, and Pencils+Pens & kenshin over at the FPGeeks forums.

Writers Bloc gift certificates from Cheryl at Writer's Bloc

A big thank you to Cheryl at Writer's Bloc for the donation of THREE gift certificates of $10 each for They have tons of great stuff to fit any writer or style.

Assorted Chinese fountain pens

There are some really nice fountain pens in this set, especially the Jinhao Cartelo 100 (on the right in the black/tan case). These pens were donated by a wonderful member of the Fountain Pen Geeks Forums. Thanks jlikesink!

Private Reserve Orange Crush fountain pen ink from Sam at Pendemonium

I've started to become a real fan of Private Reserve ink, and the Orange Crush is one of those that is quickly becoming a favorite (and it's very close to Hutto Orange!).

Field Notes donated by Michele Seiler and Field Notes

These are some of my favorite notebooks around. I have a stack of them at home, and I carry at least one (if not 2 or 3) with me at all times, though my wife usually rolls her eyes when I have to run back inside to grab them. Field Notes also has special color editions that come out four times a year. These are always fun, and almost always sell out within a couple of weeks of introduction.

KUM pencil sharpeners from everyone at KUM in Germany

Oops... Apparently I forgot to take a picture of all the pencil sharpeners that KUM has sent us this year. Hey, I guess I did plan ahead, and took a picture when they first showed up. These are the best pencil sharpeners in the world, and the only ones that touch my "fancy" pencils.

Doane notebooks donated by Chad Doane of Doane Paper

These are great. I don't go anywhere without a notebook like this in my pocket.

Faber-Castell JUMBO Dot Grip pencils donated by Michelle Seeber & Faber Castell

These pencils are wonderful. I've used them many times in the past, and they are always a pencil I revisit.


Rotring Skynn donated by Pendleton Brown at Pendleton's Pens

Not only is this man a master nib meister, he loves the idea of kids writing novels, and especially writing them with fountain pens!

Lamy Safari donated by Karen Scott at Filofax, Inc. & Lamy

Lamy pens are some of my absolute favorite pens. I own five of them (a blue Safari, yellow Safari, neon yellow Safari -- which is just cool! --, green apple Safari, and Vista). The Vista is the very first pen I ever bought myself, and it has been one that is constantly in my rotation.

Pelikan Pelikanos donated by Nancy Kopec & Pelikan Pens

These pens are great, and are perfect for young writers. And they have left handed models, too!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Sheaffer 100, 300, & Calligraphy Set donated by Kathleen Pilkington and Sheaffer Pens

A Sheaffer Prelude fountain pen was my first fountain pen that I owned, and it is still one of my favorites today (although I do need to get the nib worked on. It's become a bit scratchy). The pen was a gift from dad, and I don't think he really knew what he was starting...

This is my Sheaffer Prelude, in Barleycorn Gold.

Piper Trillium Rhodium Ballpoint donated by Franklin-Christoph

Franklin-Christoph donated a large number of assorted journals as well.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Everything is better with pirates!

Even marching shows. Ahoy Hutto!

This is really what a "football field" is for.

The Hutto High School Marching Band heads to their first contest this Saturday. Tonight's the last Tuesday practice before show time. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Kaweco Sport Ice donated by Christiane Gutbertlet & Kaweco

Continuing with my posts of pen prizes, Kaweco graciously sent us 6 Kaweco Sport Ice fountain pens in blue, red, pink, green, orange, and yellow.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Prize packs

I'm working on putting prize packs together today. Every student that takes on the NaNoWriMo challenge will receive one of these packs. 
Each prize pack contains:
     1. Either a Field Notes or doane paper journal (for plotting, character sketches, etc...);
     2. Faber-Castell JUMBO Dot grip pencil;
     3. from JetPens, a Zebra Zmulsion gel pen;
     4. a KUM pencil sharpener (I LOVE KUM sharpeners! Everyone should have a least 3 or 4);
     5. stickers (sometimes you've got to celebrate that awesome scene, or perfect line);
     6. one dice (I know, I know. "Dice" aficionados will say "die", but after researching which is correct, it turns out BOTH are correct these days. Ah, modern English. I got this idea from my co-worker, Mrs. Hemenway. The die is used when you're stuck and don't know which way to go with your story. "The die is cast."). 

There is one thing missing that I'll add this week. I've ordered NaNo writers buttons, but they haven't arrived yet. 

Thank you again to all of the donors and supporters. We all can't wait until November 1st. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Preppys donated by Lisa & Brian Anderson, and Pens for Kids

I couldn't believe my eyes when I met Lisa and Brian Anderson at the Dallas Pen Show and was handed a bag full of Platinum Preppys to go out to my young writers. 40 Preppys in red, pink, blue and green will go into their hands. These are great pens, and I own 7 of them myself.

TWSBI 540s and minis donated by Philip Wang & TWSBI

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Creativity Already?

Kids are joining in every day, and with 30 left before NaNoWriMo starts...I hope I have enough pens?

I decided to try something a little more "creative" with the sign up this year. Normally, students interested in writing would simply stop by my door and let me know they were interested. This year, there is a "registration" form.

Some of the students are getting creative with their "Hero" names:
  • Wild Pirate
  • Vital Power
  • Captain Blocksalot
  • Shinobi Peach
  • The Invincible Hamster
  • Unicornasong
  • Rambo Chowbaca
  • Saxophone Man (guess which instrument this one plays...)
  • The Green Dragon
  • Night
  • Pokecrafter95
  • Geek Girl
  • Nerd Girl
  • Super Writer (predicting the future?)
  • Wild West (this one was creative...his last name is West!)
  • Deep Thought
  • Sceamintin
  • Z Fang
  • CB
  • Elite Band Chick (yeah she is!)
  • Leo Boy
  • Outstanding Red
  • Crazy Boy
  • Cerda
  • The Captain (hey, I get to have fun with this too)
  • Fire Blaid
  • Copurnium Cowfish
  • Writterholic
  • Fat Cacaque
  • Mister Super Man
And there's quite a few more that have already signed up. Time to get ready for writing!