Blog Archives

#FrankieWIP Long Time No See!

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A quick update about Emergence and why I’ve not been around much.

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

#FrankieWIP New Shifts, New Routine…All Mucked Up!

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A little update, a little apology and a little explanation…

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

#WriteTip Character Bio: Kai Burton

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To be able to write a convincing character, you have to know your character inside and out. Not just their appearance or how they speak, but how they think and feel and why they act the way you imagine. You are the creator of this person, to convince others this person is real, you have to know the character and believe in them yourself. Take these two character bios for example:

1)

Name Bob Brown
Reason for being in story Street cleaner. Just a bit character for my main character to interact with

2)

Name Bob Brown-AKA- Can Man
Reason for being in story Can Man imparts advice to main character which will help her in solving the crime.
Interesting points for character and run down 1) Can Man cleans the street with a broom on which is tied a red ribbon.

2) Not paid to clean the streets, just does so every day.

3) Ribbon on broom is from a little girl who gave him the broom to replace the one which was broken the day Bob saved her from being hit by a car.

4) Bob moves stiffly because he broke his leg in the incident.

5) Bob cleans the street for no pay or recognition because his own daughter died when she tripped over a can and fell into oncoming traffic

Obviously this is only for illustration purposes. A bio like this is only relevant for your major characters. There can be bit-characters, background people who do not need a backstory. But having a little backstory for your main characters makes them more believable, makes them come alive in the mind of your readers. A character bio will make your character come alive in your own mind, and allow you to create a well rounded, believable character.

The character I’d like to show today is Kai Burton from my book Malevolence. He is the main protagonist of the story and much of it revolves around him. The person I feel resembles Kai the most is Gerard Butler. Though this isn’t an exact match, it’s near enough for me to base Kai’s character picture on Mr Butler.

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Name Kai Burton
Reason for being in story Main Protagonist
Details DOB: 05/06/1973

Body: 6’2” tall. Dark blue eyes, dark shaggy brown hair. Perpetual five o’clock shadow. Well built physique. Small scar above right eyebrow.

Personality: Dependable, loyal, trustworthy and reliable. But also cynical, moody, stubborn and at times intimidating–especially following an event which took place two years prior to Malevolence.
Interesting points for character After almost fifteen years of service in the army, Kai has his fair share of horror stories. He suffers from PTSD and crippling nightmares, though he does not allow this to define him.

A very focussed and intelligent man, Kai is the one in the story who many rely upon for friendship and help.

Run down Kai struggled to find work after leaving the army and answered an advert to join the team at fictional Kali Institute in Edinburgh as a paid research subject. He and his best friend Logan McKenzie both entered the Mentis A-3 trial, and both suffered the consequences.  

Kai became what is referred to as a Mind Adept; an evolved person who developed telekinetic and telepathic powers. But it’s not easy being a Mind Adept; it’s not like it is in comic books or movies at all. In fact, it is extremely punishing for those who evolved into Adepts, especially those who were left with the most powerful effects of the serum. Most of the Adepts struggle daily with their powers, some even withdrew from society after finding it too difficult to live near other people.

Kai is one of the strongest Adepts. His mind is powerful, his abilities far reaching. He is able to hear and sense the thoughts and emotions of those around him and over quite a distance. He is able to project his own thoughts and emotions to others, as well as manipulate objects with his mind. But being this powerful has left him with a mind far more fragile than one might believe.

He has a hard time dealing with his abilities, even though he has been in possession of them for over two years by the time Malevolence begins. Often overpowered by the thoughts of others around him, Kai struggles to maintain equilibrium within his own mind. There are times his abilities overrun and he finds himself inundated with the psychological information from others. This can lead to a very dangerous condition called, Overload–something Kai has experienced on a few occasions.

  Kai has learned to protect himself against Overload and psychic saturation by blocking his powers. This puts him under a lot of psychological and physical stress, something which leaves him utterly exhausted. This is when he is at his most vulnerable and the danger of Overload is at its most high, therefore Kai tends to sleep a lot. This allows his brain to rest and recover from processing such large volumes of psychological information. If he does not rest, his powers get out of control and this can lead to dangerous situations.
  It is because of the danger his powers and mind pose that Kai made the decision to become a full-time tenant living within the Kali Institute. There are a few of the original test group living at the institute after self-contained flats were built in the below-ground levels following the disaster of the MA3 trial.

   Despite all of this,  Kai is actually the most balanced of the Adepts. His regimented and disciplined mind allows him to wield his powers far more skilfully than almost all of the others. He is highly proficient in their use making him the second most powerful of all the Adepts.

   Kai’s belief that the Kali institute had a duty to care for those affected by the MA3 serum, and his convincing advocacy of this belief led to management creating the homes in the below-ground levels of the institute. It also led to the formation of training and counselling programs for those who struggled with their powers.

   Kai is driven to find Louise–creator of MA3–with the hopes of forcing her to reverse the effects, and bring her to account for what she did during the trial.  As a result, he makes himself a target for her hatred and wrath.

And there you have it. The character bio of the lead male character in Malevolence. This is a slightly modified one as spoilers have been removed. But this character sheet allows me to understand Kai and his part in the story. I hope you find this as useful as I do and that this post will help you in your writing! 😀

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

 

 

#FrankieWIP Malevolence Ebook, Print Edition and Better Luck!

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So as promised, I have better news this week! I think I will just forget last week ever happened! Blurb print edition now on sale! Click the image! 😀

 

 

Music by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)

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

#SamWIP: Labor Day – More on that New Story

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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 Full Fibro Failure

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So I had to cut this twice as my dog kept barking! I apologize for not uploading yesterday, but the video explains why I couldn’t! And a little update on Malevolence print copy and Emergence manuscript.

The Spoonie theory mentioned in the vlog which Fibrolites and Lupus sufferers adopt can be read about here.

Music by Kevin McLeod at Incomputech.com

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

#FrankieWIP Happy Dragon Emerges!

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Fixed Malevolence PDF for print and Emergence is definitely emerging! 😀

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

#WeCreate Creative Gifts for a Dragon

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Art come in many forms, and this week I was presented with two very special creative pieces which left me very happy.

The first one was actually started a few weeks ago when Sam began writing a fanfiction based on my book Malevolence. She based the story before the happenings in Malevolence, way back when Louise first developed the MA3 serum which caused so many problems for my characters. We got to see Louise and her marvelous mind at work, and witnessed the lengths she would take to successfully create Mentis. The final chapter went up a few days ago and reached a momentous climax which left me grinning like an idiot. Sam captured Louise’s ego-driven malevolent nature perfectly and provided a part of the story I had not contemplated writing. As I have said before, fan fiction is special and a valid writing form, as it allows fans a glimpse into the lives of characters from books, television shows and films that they wouldn’t normally get a chance to see. Sam provided such a story and I absolutely loved it!
You can find her story here.

The second piece of art I received was from Chaos. It was my birthday on Wednesday and she drew me a picture as a present. I did not expect the gift and when I opened it, I knew exactly what I was looking at!

It is a picture of Logan McKenzie from my book Malevolence! Chaos has read the first chapter of the sequel–Emergence–and was able to create a digital artwork from that one chapter alone. If you have read Malevolence, you will know what happened to Logan and should recognise the emotions behind the art. Logan’s posture, his pensive expression and the colours used completes a scene which perfectly captures the first chapter and Logan’s frame of mind. I absolutely love it! I love it so much I even have it set as my background image on my laptop!

So no matter what your creative outlet is, whatever you create is worth creating. It might make a rather miserably frustrated Dragon who can’t upload her PDF file,  smile 😉

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

#WriteTip Screaming Frustration and Frankie Dragon Meltdown

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Apologies again for my lack of timely updates this week. The heating system renewal saga continues and finding a quiet few minutes to write is damn near impossible. Anyway, while the workmen carry on working installing our new boiler and replacing all the pipes, I decided to work on the Malevolence PDF for print edition. Sounds simple enough, fix the pdf and upload it to Blurb and that’s it! Yet, this simple decision has led to a Frankie Dragon meltdown of epic proportions which continues to plague me as I have yet to successfully upload any file to Blurb.

I spent an hour attempting to fix the file yesterday morning, tweaked the format, and fixed the errors created a few months ago with a “search and replace” malfunction. Once I had this lovely new file I started uploading to Blurb. The first attempt failed, giving no indication as to why it failed. It said there was an error, but could give me no more details. While grinding my teeth in frustration, I tried over and over again–with no success. After the tenth attempt, I began to lose it. How hard can it be to upload a simple PDF file?

Back in May, I encountered the exact same problem and ended up allowing Sam one-time access to my account in order to upload the file. She managed to upload the same file I had problems with–within a few minutes!

After the tenth attempt yesterday, I tried a different browser. Three in fact. I turned off firewalls, ad-blockers; every browser add-on I could find was switched off. I dug out my other laptop which runs on Lubuntu, uploaded the file from there. I even tried uploading onto both the dot-com and dot-co-dot-uk Blurb addresses. Nada, error and failure. By this time my teeth were being ground down to pegs, my hair was fraying with all the tugging and my throat was in tatters with all the curse-filled ranting.

I then tested the PDF file in Adobe Acrobat and found there was an irreparable problem with the PDF file itself. I fixed the issue and made a brand new, lovely file and thought this would fix the problem. I eagerly uploaded the file with the expectation of the issue being fixed, only to find that the file failed again. As I stared at the screen I could almost feel the blood vessels in my brain pulsing on the verge of bursting…

In the end–after several hours of trying–I contacted Blurb customer support. I received a timely response from Jessica requesting more information as well as providing a few suggestions of things to try. Unfortunately, these were solutions I had already exhausted. After a few emails, Jessica spoke to her tech team about the issue. Their response was this was a highly unusual issue, and that perhaps it was a connection problem at my end. This would explain why I can’t upload the exact same file that Sam can upload. So I turned off my wi-fi and connected my laptop to my mobile phone internet. Different connection should work, right?

The file upload failed again. My laptop nearly went careening through the window at this point, thrown across the room in disgust. My husband was wary, afraid to make another suggestion while the dog kept her distance. I must have been exuding a dark cloud of ominous fury which they both obviously sensed. Perhaps the sulfurous smell was not coming from the construction bricks the workmen were drilling, but from my frustrated hellish anger!

Later, I went to bed in an absolute howler of a mood with the hopes of getting up today and have it all miraculously fixed, perhaps even a message from Jessica with a reason and solution to my ongoing problem. So far I have received no more replies from customer support, but I expected this given that it is the weekend. Also, customer support is in America so works on a different time-zone from me.

First thing I tried was a test upload which failed. One single upload failure came back with an internal error flag. This might mean it has nothing to do with me at all, that the issue in fact lies with the Blurb servers. I also decided to look into PDF file formats and such, wondering if there was a problem there. I discovered that Blurb uses PDF-X3 files. As I was unsure whether my file was of this type, I researched how to create such a file and made yet another shiny, new, larger and more perfect file. I was sure I had it right this time. This had to be the reason for the file failing. I smiled as I set the file to upload. Watched the progress bar with anticipation and hope. Nearly screamed when the processing bar froze and upload failed yet again. In sheer frustration and with the bloody-minded determination of a fool, I tried over and over, sure that one file would slip through and somehow dance around the Blurb servers with glee.

The last file failed about fifteen minutes ago and I am now at the end of my tether. My nerves are frayed, my temper short. My teeth are sore, my head is aching, my family present me with wary grimaces when I look at them. The workmen have gone quiet as they install the new copper pipes below the house. And I sit here, fuming and defeated at last as I shake with cold and wish there was some bloody heat in this house.

This should not be so difficult! There should be an explanation for the failures, but none are given so I am at a loss as to why I can not upload!

I am currently waiting on Sam coming online, to ask her to try uploading my file like she did before. I am 100% sure she will get it uploaded within minutes again, while I have spent over a day trying to do the same thing. I should not have to wait on my friend in America coming online just so I can upload a PDF file.

If you take into consideration all the times I have tried to do this, it equates to four months of fruitless attempts. I know it will likely end up being something very simple to fix, a stupid mistake somewhere which is preventing me from uploading. But, at this moment in time, this does not help me and I sit here ranting as my temper breaks again for the fifth time today alone.

Perhaps Malevolence is destined to remain in ebook format only…I will let you know…

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

#FrankieWIP Noise, Laughs and Writing!

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Apologies for no update yesterday. As you will hear in this video, we are getting a lot of work done in the house and it is too noisy to vlog. Even though the house is in a state of upheaval, I’ve managed to get a few things done this week 😀

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