Blog Archives

#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).


D&D Happened.


#DnD #amwriting #amrevising #sorrynotsorry

Hello all! Where does time even go? I’ve been plugging along at all things. Cuddling my newborn niece, reading, writing, editing, beta-ing for Frankie…being a Dungeon Master.

I’m reading it!


#amreading #amrevising

Hello all! Sam here!

This is a rather short one, but I’m pretty caught up in my job right now and am on my way out the door.

If You Have a First Draft… What’s Next?


Sam here! 😀

We’re in the home stretch of NaNoWriMo (seven days left!). To all the writers out there, this is an exciting time. Either you’re frantically trying to catch up, frantically trying to finish, or… frantic. You’re just frantic. Maybe you just completed a draft or are about to complete a draft. And maybe it’s your FIRST DRAFT EVER. Maybe this will be your first novel. Congratulations to you!

What do you do when you finish it?!?

What you don’t do is publish it. PLEASE don’t publish that. Your word-baby needs nurture and care. In this video, I’ll talk about that.

I’m also offering my services to you as a beta/editor for free.

For free.


And no worries. I have zero interest in stealing anyone’s story. I have my own style, I write really fast, and I have a real, deep, abiding fear of breaking rules (which includes laws). Furthermore, and this is my arrogance talking, I love my own work more than I would love putting my name on someone else’s.

If you’re interested in having some help, you can email me. My email is on our profile page, but I’ll give it to you here as well: I’m going to want to talk to you a little as a human being before I go ahead and just accept your story, so please don’t just dump your manuscript in my inbox and run. Bonus: practice by sending it with a query letter and I can critique that, too. I have experience with writing them (and being rejected a lot).

Let’s fill the world with great stories and change it for the better. 🙂

OK. Onto the video.



I fixed Achillea. #amrevising

I know I’ve whined about my lost novel a lot in the past, but I don’t think I can quite convey to you just how tortured I’ve been for the story that was lost. A quick recap: My first novel was my attempt to save an abandoned fanfic brought about by my cowriter disappearing (now reappeared, 18 months later!) by scrubbing it up into a novel that was different enough from the canon as to be unrecognizable. I put a lot of work into changing up the world and the characters and adding a cast of original characters to really build my story into a place that was wholly mine.

Unfortunately, I failed. The story was excellent. The cast of original characters was ON POINT. None of my betas were disappointed and all without exception were starved for a sequel. HOWEVER, there were a couple of major, major plot devices that were canon from the fandom I’d written from and I hadn’t found a way to lose them in the original telling. I tested all of my betas on this point (because plagiarism is BAD and I didn’t want to be guilty of it) and all of them agreed it was safe from being recognizable.

And then Stella read it. And Stella disagreed. She pointed out 4 major points that would absolutely need to change and 1 point that was flawless (Heike, obviously. That bitch is fabulous).

I thought I was strong. I thought I had enough confidence and enough ability to bounce back from this like a champ. Yeah, I can fix this, I thought. But over the next few days, I was thoroughly defeated, and that feeling carried far into the spring and has never quite faded. I’ve played with ideas of how to fix Achillea, but nothing quite seemed right. As of today, that changes (see video).

So yeah. I know I’ve whined a lot, but even with all the whining I’ve done, it still isn’t enough to properly demonstrate just how destroyed I was for having lost this story. I can only blame myself, and it ruined me as a writer. The spark was gone. The confidence was broken. I simply–could–not. My art was tarnished. The ideas dried up.

October has been a blessing. I’m cured. I think I’m fully recovered now, and I’m ready for whatever the future brings.

Thank you for sticking with me, blog warrior. Your presence means so much! ❤

Writing versus the Wrists #writerproblems


I haven’t updated in a while because my wrists will not let me.

Review for Elegy for a Dead World:

#Research: It’s Fucking Important. LONG LIVE THE REBEL ACACIA!


DISCLAIMER: foul language.

Something happened to me today. Something I absolutely have to share with you. Any time you are writing a story that has some basis in reality (which is most of us, though luckily us fantasy writers get away with more), you have to make sure to be accurate. The moment you’re inaccurate–and this includes reneging on things you’ve told the reader–you lose credibility as a writer. Because of this, researching your topics is incredibly important. That’s why sometimes you’ll hear of writers asking completely off-the-wall questions like:

Can someone describe to me the process of starving to death? One of my characters has stopped eating and I get a feeling she’s not coming back from this one.

I once spent several hours researching poisons.

In my novel, ACHILLEA, the language of flowers is used as a mode of communication. Flowers have meanings, after all. The most commonly known is the red rose of romantic love.

I have a scene where two of my characters are meeting in a greenhouse in front of some acacias.

KUDOS TO YOU if you just went “Hm… no, that could never happen.”

When I first wrote it, I googled “Acacia Flower” and I found this:


I don’t know what possessed me to reevaluate that decision, but today I googled Acacia and I found this:


Which, as you can see, are not even CLOSE to the same thing. I think to myself–after the freak out–“No big deal. I can fix this! I’ll just change the color–WAIT. That looks like it’s on a tree. IS THAT A TREE FLOWER? OMFG IT’S A TREE FLOWER. FUCK ME.”

As it turns out… yes. It’s a tree flower. Wikipedia says so. Now I think, “I can still save this. I’ll just move my characters outside, beneath a tree. Let’s see what this tree looks like.”

It grows on this tree, in fact:

Scanned by:  Retouched by: DT-MB QC'd by: DT-MBLook familiar? Yes? Because that’s totally one of those African Plains trees that you see in THE LION KING.

Can this get any worse? How tall do my characters have to be to touch the flowers on this thing? OH WAIT.

Acacia Tree with Giraffe

Yeah. That IS a fucking giraffe.

In case you need a comparison to how tall an acacia tree is in comparison to a giraffe in comparison to my characters, here:


NEEDLESS TO SAY, I don’t think she’ll be touching them thar flowers. *facepalm*

Desperately, I searched the Internet for a solution. I tweeted about my rage. I considered scrapping the scene. I even considered using magic to fuse together acacia and some other greenhouse bound plant like begonias into some sort of hybrid mutant thing I could grow in a greenhouse (it’s entirely possible in my world… but would look like exactly what it was: an author ass-pull to fix a problem as a result of me being an idiot).

MAGIC OCCURRED, but not the Lirin kind. I found the solution to all of my problems.

This rebel acacia tree. It’s not too large. I think my characters can reach it!



In conclusion, be careful about what you put in your stories. You don’t want to be immortalized as a complete moron. *facepalm*

Special Guest Panderp: Weekend Warriors


I have a special surprise for you today! Jori came over for a weekend. I had most of it off (1pm on Friday through Monday morning!), so I made it my goal to completely finish this revision by work on Monday. Spoiler alert: I didn’t manage to do it. I’m partway through Chapter 12 (of 17). The good news is that I’m at 133K. THIS IS TOTALLY HAPPENING!

Also, if you ever get that random urge to keyboard smash while wearing a stupid hat… don’t. I nearly lost 4K of story today by being an idiot. I was like, “How crazy would I look if I just went nuts on this keyboard right now wearing this goofy ass hat?” Visual aid:


Jori and I laughed our asses off this past weekend. And, since she was still here and I needed to make a video for you, I invited her to join me for it. Hilarity ensued. Enjoy the video!

Jori on Twitter: @jor_jor51


That Etsy shop (If Heike DID cross stitch, she’d totally do this):

An example: