#SamWIP: New Books, Free Books, Old Books, and THE Book

Sam av

In this video, I’ll talk about the books I bought last week, how A SHINY FOR TRICK is doing now that it’s free, show off the hardcover proof of THE BLOOD OF NERYS, and talk about all of the work I’ve accomplished on ACHILLEA.


S.K. Balk lives in the frozen wasteland of Northern Michigan. She is the author of the dystopian medical sci-fi THE BLOOD OF NERYS (also available in print) and short fantasy A SHINY FOR TRICK (forever free for your entertainment!).

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#SamWIP: Book Buying Binge and OMG SO PRODUCTIVE

Sam av

I have been -SO- busy. Doing what I am supposed to be doing and devoting my soul to the words.

Check it.


Check out the #SamWIP category every Monday to hear about Sam’s current projects!

S.K. Balk lives in the frozen wasteland of Northern Michigan. She is the author of the dystopian medical sci-fi THE BLOOD OF NERYS (also available in print).

#SundayReview: The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss

Sam av

Today, I bought my first audiobook. Soon after, I bought the second. I’ve been working on my set aside love for reading. 2016 was better for that. 2017 is going to be even better. Part of my effort in fixing the deficiency is where I put books. I have books in every nook and cranny now. One by the bed, one in the bathroom, one at work for my breaks. Last year I bought my first smart phone, and I put books on my phone for when I get stuck places.

This year, I’m trying to expand into audiobooks. It lets me ‘read’ when I would be otherwise unable. I travel a lot for work, going 2-4 hours each way for meetings. I go to Iowa once a year and Chicago once a year. Audiobooks presented a logical choice. Add that to my growing distaste for the radio and my utter disgust for the state of politics.

I should have done this sooner, honestly.

I’ve been eyeballing The Slow Regard of Silent Things for quite a long time now. Honestly, the only reason I haven’t bought it already is solely because it’s short. The price tag on books being what it is, I didn’t want to shell out for a book I could finish in an hour. But I spend my book profits on non-practical things, so slightly expensive short books might have been something I would buy. I put Slow Regard in my shopping cart a few times, and then I took it back out.

This morning, the first Audiobook I downloaded for my two hour drive was The Complete Works of Edgar Allen Poe, another compendium of awesome I haven’t had the chance to read yet. Unfortunately, being 16+ hours long made it a long download, and I wasn’t going to be able to finish downloading it before I hit the road this morning.

It was the perfect moment for rash decisions.

Because I NEEDED a book on this drive, and I was already going to be late for my meeting. Suddenly, a 60 page novella didn’t look half bad. So I threw my hands in the air, said “Fuck it,” and shelled out the $15. It’s a three and a half hour audiobook. Perfect.

I downloaded Slow Regard this morning. I have already listened to it THREE TIMES.

It is breathtaking.

Patrick Rothfuss opens the book by telling you it’s probably a bad idea to buy it. Which is brilliant, because it already has the listener quirking an eyebrow and paying very close attention. Why does he even think this?

Slow Regard breaks every rule. It’s too short. It has no real plot. No real conflict. Very little dialogue. One character. It’s…what most people might consider tedious. Nonsense. Without purpose. It’s part of and yet not part of his popular series, The Kingkiller Chronicle, in that it concerns one of the books’ minor characters. But it doesn’t add anything to that plot. It doesn’t advance the plot. You don’t see the main character at all. And it is for these reasons that he cautions the prospective buyer to really think about their choices here.

This is, as he points out, a strange tale. A bit…different.

It’s about a girl, Auri, who lives beneath the university in a place she calls The Underthing. She is a free spirit. In a lot of ways she reminds me of characters like Luna Lovegood, Radical Edward, or Tersa from the Black Jewels trilogy. Something in her is not quite right. A little broken, but not altogether unhappy.

“To be so lovely and so lost. To be all answerful with all that knowing trapped inside. To be beautiful and broken.”

She lives in a world all her own. She sees things in ways others do not see. Mundane objects are personified. They have feelings. They might suggest or say things. All of them are special in some way.

“There was a door, but it was terribly bashful, so Auri politely pretended not to see it.”

She travels around the Underthing, usually running and barefoot, to set things in their proper place and search for proper gifts for ‘him.’ It is obsessive and yet sweet. Objects might be fickle and change their minds about things. They might become angry and want to be moved. They might be restless and need to be used. Some become ‘free to go,’ and can be taken. But Auri would never take something that is not ready to leave, even if she wants it very badly for herself.

 

What I find intriguing about Auri the most–because I have read the books–is how the true power of Auri is hinted at, only just, throughout. She used to be, I gather, an incredibly talented student at the university until something happened that dramatically changed her life. She mentions the Masters often, remembering lessons from chemistry. Sometimes, she throws in a bit of knowledge about chemicals and their uses. It’s an interesting juxtaposition, the words hitting like a sledgehammer when they happen. She’s traversing tunnels, obeying the fickle whims of buttons and kissing snails, and then she thinks about iridium, or identifies the materials that are used to make a thing.

What makes this audiobook so particularly charming, in my opinion, is that Pat has taken it upon himself to be the narrator. Yes, he is reading his own book to you. Personally, I love that. It means he is telling the story exactly the way it is intended to be told, with the right pauses and emphases and everything.

I listened, more intent on this story than any story I have read in years. I sighed and swooned at the words. They are the loveliest of words. I appreciate the made-up words like ‘answerfull’ and how many adjectives inanimate objects can feel. Like ‘thuggish and terse,’ or ‘garrulous and bawdy.’ It might sound strange…but I could understand how she feels. Childlike. Oh, what a restless key, so in want of a lock! Yeah. That actually makes perfect sense. Keys should want locks. Or how she hesitates as she considers things (Maybe…but no. No, she knew better than that.)

When the book ended, I kept listening. I wasn’t ready for it to be over. I could have listened to this for many more hours than three and some.

Much to my beleaguered sadness, Pat used the end of the book to, in a way, apologize again. He tells the story of how he broke down to a friend (Vi) about how he thought his own story was a mess and how he couldn’t publish it. But his friend loved it, for the same reason I love it and so many others seem to as well. This is a story for us. For the artists who appreciate playful tales that just needed to come out. For a chance to sit in quiet awe and praise a brave work that breaks all of the rules and doesn’t apologize for it.

For being itself.

“It was wise enough to know itself, and brave enough to be itself, and wild enough to change itself while somehow staying altogether true.”

I keep talking about Pat because he is a wonderful human, and it bums me out that he ever feels like his words are simply not good enough to be shared. In his end note, he talks about his friend’s words and how they struck him as one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to him. About how someone else is already writing those books for other people who like books that have all of the things. THIS book is for people like ME. Actually, what she said was:

“Fuck those people. Those people have stories written for them all the time. What about me? Where’s the story for people like me?”

When he said this in his endnote, it hit me. Hard. Because that’s how I feel, all the time. I like to experience the unfiltered things that come straight from the heart of an artist. The raw, unrefined love that pours out onto a page when no one is watching. The art an artist makes for themselves, just to look upon and think, “Yeah. This is what I wanted to do all along.” But they don’t because they’re so focused on thinking about what everyone else wants that they set their own desires aside for a ‘later’ that never comes.

THIS is why Pat wrote it. And then when he did it, he knew that people would hate it. And some of them did. He was right about that.

But some of them didn’t. Some of them loved it.

“…one comment people have made over and over again and again, phrased many different ways, is this:
‘I don’t know what other people will think. They probably won’t like it. But I really enjoyed it.’
It’s strange to me how many people have said some version of that.”

This soared straight to the top of everything, guys. This just became my number one. It’s so perfectly lovely, so shy, so okay with itself. It’s a tiny piece of beauty that was created just so it could be. Something that existed just because it needed to. 

This is what I scream about every time I come here. Do the things. Do the things you want like no one is hovering over you. There’s a time and a place for rules. This isn’t one.

He ends the book with something I usually find sickly-sweet and fake, but because it is Pat, I know he absolutely means it.

This story is for all the slightly broken people out there.
I am one of you. You are not alone. You are all beautiful to me.
Pat Rothfuss

I cried. After all those lovely, gentle words and the passionate account of how drunken Pat confessed that he thought people would just be purely pissed, and then this…yes, I cried. And I smiled because I was crying.

And then I did something I have never, ever done, not even once.

I restarted it from the beginning. Immediately.


S.K. Balk lives in the frozen wasteland of Northern Michigan. She is the author of the dystopian medical sci-fi THE BLOOD OF NERYS (also available in print).

Check out our #SundayReview category to find out what we are reading, watching, or learning about storytelling in all of its forms!

#FrankieWIP Catching Up!

Frankie Av

Hi everyone! I do apologize for being absent a while. I was ill for three weeks and only just beginning to feel like myself again. I’m still a bit rough, so no video today!

I’ve been editing Emergence with every free moment I get when I have the motivation. It’s going good so far, though there have been days I’ve stared at a chapter for hours before actually doing something! XD But that is a hold-back particular to my fibromyalgia, and-because I know this-I forgive myself if I’m unable to complete more than one chapter a day.

A few days ago when I was unable to concentrate at all on writing, I read the next few chapters of Emergence. I read up to chapter twenty-six, and the more I read, the more I was convinced that someone else wrote the pages then stuck them in my drive. They just seemed too good and creepy to be something I had written in a hurry during NaNoWriMo. It was quite surprising to find that one or two chapters will only require a little editing, unless I change parts of the story. Which I did when rewriting the last chapter I worked on. Not a huge change, but one which will have future ramifications for the characters.

Through reading, I discovered that I have pretty much solved how the third book to the trilogy will play out, so I’m very pleased! I knew how the third would end, but only an inkling on why it would end that way. Now, looking at everything with fresh eyes, I see the threads I wove into the story which will accumulate to complete the third book. It’s all very exciting. In fact, I got so excited about it that I jumped onto the Dead Pete society conversation and just squee’d for a few minutes! XD

So, that’s about it for me, save to say I’m still collecting My Little Ponies and geeking out over new additions to my collection. I’m also planning to make a display for them this weekend! I’m a very busy Dragon!

Hope you are all well, and I’ll catch you all next week 😉

F.R. Donaldson lives in scenic Scotland. She is the author of the psychological sci-fi MALEVOLENCE

 

#WriteTIP: All of the Writing Advice I Have, the Mega Post

Sam av

I am on lunch break and I’m in an interesting mood. History tells me that now is a good time to put some words down because it means they are going to come out weird, and weird is good.

For me.

There are so many thousands of writers out there, and post after post about the right and wrong things to do, what to do when you’re stuck, etc. You might ask yourself why you would care to read mine, then? Our aim with this blog is to inspire you. We want to make it impossible for you NOT to write. Remove the fears. Heap on the encouragement. Lead by example.

This is going to be a long post. I’m going to throw down everything I’ve got. Are you ready? Let’s go!

Where Do You Even Begin?

  • Throw out anything you’ve ever been told that is holding you back. If someone mentioned a ‘rule’ of writing that made you feel inept, forget it. If someone told you that you weren’t cut out, forget that, too.
  • Say stupid things. Don’t tell yourself your idea is bad. In your own mind and by yourself, be as weird and as out there as you want. Nothing in your own mind is too weird, too cliche, too overdone, too tropey, too dirty, too controversial, too scary, too fucked up, too anything. You are not TOO. You are you.
  • Imagine every possibility. Re-envision your idea as many ways as you want.
  • Start anywhere. With the character, with the plot, the villain, the setting, a single line of dialogue, a color. Wherever feels right.
  • Go anywhere. Skip around. Write the ending and then the middle and then a smut scene and then a death.
  • It’s okay to work on multiple things. If an idea only holds you for five fleeting minutes, that’s just fine, too.

Do not set limitations on your imagination. Your imagination is far more powerful than you can ever know. Tear away those chains and find out.

Things to Keep in Mind When Writing

  • Writing is hard.
  • Some days are easier than other days.
  • There may be long, pronounced periods of no productivity.
  • You will think you suck at writing.
  • You will want to throw it away.
  • Most writers do not write constantly
  • It doesn’t have to be perfect right now. The written word can be adjusted infinite times.
  • There is no right or wrong way to approach your task.
  • Every story is different, and some need to be written in different ways. They are as tricky and unique as people and require a significant amount of effort to ‘get to know’ them.
  • Set attainable goals. Maybe you can’t write 2000 words every day. Can you write a few hundred? Or can you write three days a week?
  • You will only get better if you keep writing. It’s okay to take breaks, even long breaks, but you won’t improve until you put words down.

Writing is a discipline, but not all of us are rigid enough to keep to it. It’s okay to fall off the wagon once in a while as long as you’re committed to getting back on it. No one can tell your story except for you. You are uniquely qualified to tell it.

Tips for the Writer Mind

  • Removing something from your mind frees it up for more processing. If you have an idea, write it down so you can think of the next one. The more you do this, the more you will think up.
  • Staring at a screen for hours decreases the quality of your work. If it’s not working today, find something else to do.
  • When you can’t write, read.
  • When you can’t read, play a video game or watch a movie.
  • Working on your story does not always mean writing. It might mean drawing pictures, searching pinterest for inspiration, sketching out timelines, scribbling maps, writing scenes for the story you don’t intend to publish, talking to someone about your story, thinking about a problem, or taking care of yourself.
  • Your mind is a delicate, amazing machine and requires a rich environment to thrive. Feed it well. Rest it well. Provide variety to hit all of its good buttons.
  • Reward yourself for good work.

Keep your word machine sharp with practice and discipline. Surround yourself with stories and bask in the magnificence of it all. Stories are everywhere. Soak it up.

Your Environment

  • Protect your writing time.
  • Learn to say “No” sometimes.
  • Remove distractions. This includes kids, pets, spouses, friends, family, the television, obnoxious background noise, and sometimes even disruptive music. Struggling to write through this is not an option. It will burn out your brain as it tries to focus on too many things.
  • Turn off social media. It’s a drug. It floods your mind with numbness and shuts the whole machine down.
  • Your writing space should be easily accessible, comfortable, conducive to writing, and have everything you need in it. Mine has notebooks, folders, binders, pens, pencils, blank paper if I want to draw, a flat, uncluttered surface, speakers for my music, a basket of snacks, and space enough for my laptop. There are books on either side of me if I need to pull one for reference.
  • A lot of people like to write with music. It’s hit or miss for me. I can’t write to music with words I can understand or I start singing and divide my focus. And sometimes, I need the music off completely. I know people who need utter silence, and I know people who can’t write without music.

Your writing space should have everything you need and be the place you go to write and work on writing. Make that the habit, and writing will come more naturally.

Take Care of Yourself

  • Don’t be too self-deprecating. It’s okay to be critical of ways you can improve, but tearing yourself and your ability down is self-defeating.
  • Know yourself. Your limitations, your weaknesses, your strengths. Find your method and stick to it.
  • Try new things. It gets your brain thinking about new stuff.
  • Get out of the house sometimes
  • Change up your routine once in a while. Sometimes that’s all you need to shake something loose.
  • Ask for help. Writers are noncompetitive. Friends can help by offering feedback or bouncing ideas off of. It can be hard to open up, but it’s absolutely critical.
  • Rest.
  • Pamper yourself. Get the good coffee and drink it. Have a bubble bath once in a while. Sit in the dark with music on and shut your eyes. Buy a small gift for yourself you don’t need. Get good pens and notebooks. It’s okay to geek about them, too.

After You are Done Writing

  • Celebrate!
  • DO NOT PUBLISH! Your work of art needs some aftercare.
  • Rest it. Let the words sit for a while and work on something else
  • Go back and edit! Polish up those words and make them shine! Now is the time to make sure you’ve used the right word choice. Editing is how you make sure your story is at its absolute best before sharing it with the world.
  • Beta! You need people to read your story and make sure it’s working. Betas will help you identify strengths and weaknesses and highlight plot holes for you to fix.
  • Keep going! Write more things!
  • At some point, you have to accept where the book is and let it go. Could you keep making it better? Sure! But if you hold onto it forever no one else will ever get to read it. Write ANOTHER book. A BETTER book. Keep moving!

The feel of finishing a manuscript is amazing! Make sure you enjoy it, but don’t get so excited that you release your novel before it is ready.

Publishing

Ask yourself what you want out of publication, and decide whether traditional or self-publishing is right for you. Don’t let anyone else influence your decision. This is your work. Each pathway has its own share of ups and downs, so choose what you like better. Do your research for both sides. This isn’t a decision you should take lightly.

The publishing world is changing. Get what you want out of the work that you’ve done. Make the right choice, and then never regret it.

There are books that are terrible and books that are amazing. Most likely, you’re somewhere in between. That means yes, you CAN write publication-worthy stories.

Remember…no one can write your story except for you.

You just need to do it! And you absolutely CAN!


S.K. Balk lives in the frozen wasteland of Northern Michigan. She is the author of the dystopian medical sci-fi THE BLOOD OF NERYS (also available in print).

Check out the #WriteTip category for more writing advice and tools from Frankie and Sam!

 

#SamWIP: How I Kind of Accidentally Invented Zoroastrianism After it Already Existed

Sam av

Deep in the drudgeries of Twitter, I discovered a lord of demons named Aeshma. In my quest to understand this demon, I uncovered more information about an old, old religion I’d never heard of that shares enough similarities with the religion I’ve built in ACHILLEA to freak me out.

The same thing happened to a friend of mine who accidentally wrote part of the Kalevala after the fact.

Beyond that, I have a lot to update you on about my projects and how much I’ve gotten done in the past week.

So this video covers the glimmers of Zoroastrianism in ACHILLEA, my editing on current projects, and the ten chapters I have read of EMERGENCE, as well as the new workspace.

Happy New Year to all of you! May 2017 be sweet to you.


Check out the #SamWIP category every Monday to hear about Sam’s current projects!

S.K. Balk lives in the frozen wasteland of Northern Michigan. She is the author of the dystopian medical sci-fi THE BLOOD OF NERYS (also available in print).

Happy New Year!

Hope 2017 is a great year for you all! 😀

Doodled on my new art package XD

4j1ukng2

#OurWorld: Homeless in Winter

Sam av

There are a lot of days now where I’m uncertain about the future of our world. It feels like the world is one feather away from collapsing upon itself sometimes. Tensions are rising between nations. It looks like there are foreign countries strengthening relationships. The U.S. isn’t everyone’s best friend. Our people are desperate.

I see the best of people and the worst of people, almost side by side. Today I read a thread on Facebook where someone in my community was looking to pay for someone to take her mother grocery shopping because she’s not able to drive, and almost thirty people offered to do it for free. I’ve seen a lot of similar posts for aging folks in our community who need help with shoveling lately, too.

And then, today in my town of residence, there was a news story about someone who stole Christmas presents from underneath a Christmas tree while the family was at the neighbor’s house.

Troubling.

I spend a lot of time thinking about the future. The economic situation seems precarious. Sometimes it feels as if any day will herald a horrific crash reminiscent of the housing crisis in 2008. I wonder if I’m ready for it when it comes. If the people I know are. I worry for my friends, family, and neighbors. I give a lot of myself to complete strangers through what I do for work. I take my responsibility very seriously.

Are we going to make it? Because what if we don’t? What if we lose everything?

Addressing the homeless problem has always been tough for me. I’d never seen homeless people when I was growing up. They were always here…but in places I never saw growing up because I never went to those areas. It was harder when I moved to the city. They’re much harder to ignore there. I see them with their signs at intersections. They ask me for change. When I first started to encounter struggling humans, I was too poor myself to help them.

I hate saying No. It was awkward for me to decline, but back then, I pretty much had to.

When I got to Pittsburgh (I lived there for a few years), I could help a little more. I gave a few dollars here and there for bus fare and such. It was also in Pittsburgh that I started to hear stories about how people made profits off pretending to be homeless, or how they’d just take your money to buy drugs and alcohol.

This upset me. That anyone would pretend they were poor so people would give them free money disgusted me. To prey on charity, while making those that truly need help look like greedy leeches? That’s awful. And I didn’t want to be part of the problem by giving people money to fall victim to their addictions either.

I was torn. After all, I still wanted to help.

I made the decision to offer things instead, rather than money. And whatever I’ve done for those in need has been geared this way ever since. Sometimes, too, I sit and talk with people a bit. I’m terrified, of course…I was raised to be paranoid about my health and safety, though sometimes I think this is wrong…but I’ve learned that a lot of people just need someone to listen. I can definitely do that.

But you know…even then…

I have a friend who jokes that I live “North of The Wall” (reference A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin). It gets bitterly cold up here. Temperatures are already falling to subzero numbers. I–HATE–being cold.

I could not imagine having to survive out there. I don’t care what lands a person on the street in the first place. The fact that anyone might be stuck out there in this frigid, barren wasteland frightens me a bit. Dying of exposure is a very real possibility.

I’m proud of my community, for stepping up. I’ve had the privilege to be involved with a lot of giving efforts, especially around the holidays. The people up here are pretty fantastic, all things considered. Seeing thirty people offer to take an old lady to the grocery store or help a different old lady keep her driveway clear or shovel her roof gives me a little hope. One of the people I play Pokemon Go with gathered up a bunch of winter coats, hates, gloves, scarves, etc. to give away downtown. She even made up a batch of chili to go with it. There are charity drives for blankets and coats and food.

Even in my small community, there are more than ninety people living on the street. That number shocked me. We’re not perfect, even here. We still can’t help our most vulnerable. I know more people than I thought I did that spent at least some time without a bed of their own.

I feel like this problem is one people like to ignore. It’s uncomfortable. It’s there, in front of us. It’s personal. It forces us to examine the contents of our soul, compare Haves and Have Nots. Makes us feel a little guilty for not suffering. To make assumptions about whether or not someone deserves a little help. Yeah. It’s a human thing. We aren’t perfect beings.

Christmas is a season of giving. For most people, that means presents. Gift giving and gift receiving. It’s also an important season for charity. Please don’t forget about our less fortunate. For a lot of people, it isn’t about the presents. It might not even be about food. Some people are just trying not to freeze to death.


S.K. Balk lives in the frozen wasteland of Northern Michigan. She is the author of the dystopian medical sci-fi THE BLOOD OF NERYS (also available in print).

Check out our #OurWorld category on Tuesdays to tune into some of the causes we think are important to raise awareness.

#SamWIP: I Moved My Desk

Sam av

Coming off the holiday season, and trying to squeeze in today’s word count…so I’m skipping the video.

I have updates on several fronts:

  • Christmas
  • Writing Space
  • Story Progress
  • Personal Writings

Christmas

Obviously, Christmas just happened. It’s been busier than I typically appreciate. I’ve done a lot of driving and I still have miles to go this coming weekend. But the tone is pretty low-key, so that’s nice. So far I’ve gotten an electric blanket, coffee, stuff I bought for myself (because I can), some REALLY nice sheets, assorted drinkware, a television for the household, and some other odds and ends. Totally winning on the gift-giving front as well.

The family spirit is a little broken this year. A lot of us are going through some pretty personal shit. We’re putting on good faces for the family, but the subdued sentiment is still there. I get the foreboding sense that the next few years are going to be extraordinarily difficult. My sister and I were talking about it today. We have some things to prepare for. Ugly things. Things most people have to go through at some point, but I despise when life catches me unawares.

The interesting thing about this Christmas is that there are more children in the family now. I have to be a responsible adult who is cool to children. I’m still looking for my comfort zone on that. I’ve never liked children, but there are kids in my life now who are pretty cool, so I’m trying to learn how to be a cool auntie.

I bought myself a book of war texts to beef up my writing. It has The Art of War, The Prince, On War, and Letters to His Generals. Already started on it. I’m ecstatic. Strangely enough, I’ve never read The Art of War. It’s this really fancy hardcover edition with a slipcase.

Writing Space

I’m currently in the process of cleaning out the room that has been My Office. I haven’t really used it at all. There are reasons for that.

  1. The catbox is in there so it smells like poo 85% of the time.
  2. There’s a baby gate up in the doorway to keep the dogs from eating said poo, which makes the room a pain in the ass to get into.
  3. My chair is not comfortable.

Now. My writing space is supposed to be a comfortable, accessible place for me to be creative and unbothered. Because of these reasons, I haven’t used the office for writing, and because of that, this room is being wasted.

I’ve moved my desk and my bookcase into the Master Bedroom, which is like…15 x 14. There’s plenty of space in here. Husband doesn’t ever hang out in here.

With the room cleared out, we can turn it into a guest room. It also doubles as a good place for people to hide when they’ve had enough of the rest of the household. We have a big place, but it has a lot of people and a lot of pets in it, so it can be hard to find a quiet place to just BE. I’m an advocate for people having a quiet place to think and hide. All of us need one from time to time. It helps us make sense of our thoughts and form plans for how to deal with the problems we’re going through at the time.

It’s a work in progress, but I hope to have it cleared out in the next couple of weeks.

Story Progress

Discipline…still working on this. I’ve been pretty good up until Christmas. Arguably, I should be able to take a break during Christmas, but by next Christmas I want to be good enough not to need to do this. I should be able to bust out 1000 words every day, no problem. This is not beyond my skill set.

The story I keep talking about (still no title on this one) is shaping up nicely. I had a friend read it, and he says it’s pretty good. I’m forming connections with the characters and learning who they are better. I’ve got a good sense of where it’s going. Ideas are evolving.

I just made it to 40K last week, so that’s good news. I think this one’s going to be around 90-120K. Depends on how the next section goes.

Odd. I started it as a goal to write smut. Smut hasn’t really happened yet, so I’ll be dialing that up this week.

Personal Writings

I mentioned I was shooting for 1000 words a day. I actually HAVE achieved this every day except for Christmas Day itself. I’ve been taking some time to write personal works. I have started a negative thoughts journal. I keep it at work for obvious reasons.

The other thing I’m starting on is a deeply personal project about what I’m going through right now with my mom. I don’t know if it will ever get published, but I hope that it helps me process what’s going on, and maybe it will help me some day in the future to read over again.

Maybe not.

Alrighty, time to get writing. Hope you all had a nice holiday, too! Good night!


Check out the #SamWIP category every Monday to hear about Sam’s current projects!

S.K. Balk lives in the frozen wasteland of Northern Michigan. She is the author of the dystopian medical sci-fi THE BLOOD OF NERYS (also available in print).

#FrankieWIP Christmas Cold and Editing!

Frankie Av

A short update owing to my cold and the fact I’m losing my voice! XD

F.R. Donaldson lives in scenic Scotland. She is the author of the psychological sci-fi MALEVOLENCE