Keep Awake, Keep Writing

Currently Listening To “Two Elixirs” by Abney Park

I like this song. It’s about how I feel most of the time. Work all day–whether that’s actual work, class work, or other obligations–and then at night, there’s more to do. For me, night time means driving an hour to get to my classes (or driving an hour to get home from said classes), and then trying to squeeze in time to work on my writing. Sometimes I need help to manage it.

Of course, for me, caffeine is my poison of choice, and I have all kinds of it: tea, coffee, caffeine pills*. You name it, it’s stocked somewhere in my house. The downside of that, for me, is that I don’t actually have the luxury of indulging in my need for caffeine most of the time. Basically, caffeine and I do not play well, for all sorts of fun reasons. I can handle a little, but not generally enough to significantly help boost my energy.

So my writing ends up falling by the wayside more often than I like. And I just keep getting more frustrated because I know what I need to do: finish edits on my completed novel, work on a few other manuscripts I’ve got going, and now I’ve also got NaNoWriMo added to the list. Or rather, I will have it added to the list, starting Saturday.

What is a poor writer to do when there aren’t enough hours in the day to get writing done? Start multitasking, I guess. I’ve taken to jotting down notes on my cell phone when I have a minute, I constantly have some of my writing open on my laptop while I’m working and while I’m in class*, and Siri is a godsend for taking down dictation while on the road.

Basically, if I want to write, I have to figure out ways to make it work. We all probably do, unless we have the luxury of being independently wealthy or something.

But it’s so tiring sometimes. This time of year is when I really start to feel it, because come November 1st, I know just how crazy my life is going to get. NaNoWriMo. 50,000 words in 30 days. Or more than 50,000 words, which is what I’m aiming for. Last year I managed over 70,000, and that all turned into a complete novel by midnight on New Year’s Eve. A complete novel which has been relentlessly edited and beta-read and re-edited for almost an entire year now. I’m aiming to top that this year, and maybe get the whole first draft of this next project finished by the end of November. Which means that every waking moment that I’m not being forced to do something else, I’ll be writing. Or taking notes for later writing. Or trying to mentally walk through some new scene–or edit an old one.

As usual, I’m going to embrace the crazy. I’ll embrace it and dig a hole and live in it, for an entire month. Hopefully I’ll make it out the other end with my sanity intact. 😛


*I know, that’s probably not a great idea. I should probably be paying attention to the course material. But I only write during the dull classes, I promise.


My Current Short Stories (w/Previews)

Currently listening to: Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene (still. seriously, love this song.)

In honor of my latest story being posted on this afternoon, I’m posting a little bit about the four short stories currently available  on the site. I’ll give the title, word count, and genre of each piece, as well as the same preview you can see on*. And after each preview, I’ll also include one of Quarter Reads’ newer features, the subject tag associated with each story, to give you an idea of what, precisely, the story is about.

Surviving Faerie–A Word of Warning (*newest*)

Fantasy, 1482 words


Eat nothing.

Drink nothing.

Say nothing.

Those are the most important rules of Faerie. Or rather, those are the rules that will keep you safe if you find yourself stuck in Faerie. If you last a full day there without breaking any of the rules, you’ll be returned to the mortal realm unharmed. The denizens of Faerie hate it when they have to let someone go, so they do their best to make sure that you slip up. They’ve gotten very good at it; after all, when was the last time you heard of someone wandering into Faerie and coming home to tell the tale?

associated tag: Faeries


Horror, 1054 words


He found her in one of the dingy Whitechapel brothels. As soon as he stepped inside, he was drawn to her: a pretty, frail creature, no more than twenty years old. She was timid, frightened, and clearly new to a life of prostitution. Her dress hung loose on her undernourished frame, and when she coughed, he caught sight of a few drops of blood on her pale hand before she wiped it away onto her dark, threadbare skirt. He could practically smell death on her, could almost see the Grim Reaper himself standing behind her, waiting to steal her away from life. She was perfect.

associated tag: Vampires


Fantasy, 1978 words


Porcelain skin, auburn hair, glittering emerald eyes…without a doubt, Mirella was the most beautiful girl in the town of Velada—assuming that the accounts that I’ve heard about her aren’t wildly exaggerated—but she was also an absolute mystery. No one knew where she came from; one day she simply appeared in the main square.

After her arrival, Mirella walked silently among the merchant’s stalls, looking at the trinkets and goods for sale. Her movements were somehow disjointed, as though she wasn’t entirely comfortable in her own skin. She wore an expression of vague interest, though she didn’t stay at any one stall for more than a few moments before wandering to another. Curious, but wary, the townspeople drew nearer to the mysterious new girl in their midst. They tried to speak to her, to understand who she was and where she came from, but they quickly learned that she didn’t speak a word of their language.

Everyone was baffled. The girl spoke—she wasn’t mute—but no one was able to understand her words.

associated tag: Love

The Path

Fantasy, 1981 words


Stay on the path.

It was the only advice anyone ever gave Mira, and the only advice that mattered. Everyone knew that staying on the path was the only way to make it through the forest safely. The fair folk who lurked among the gnarled trees did not make it easy; they worked tirelessly to entice even the most wary travelers. The twinkling fairy lights and the tempting, ethereal music that often drifted through the otherwise-stale air of the forest had lured countless souls off of the path. Mira knew of no one who had escaped the fair folk’s grasp once they had strayed.

Stay on the path.

The phrase was a constant refrain in Mira’s mind as she stared at the beaten-down dirt. The moon was full and bright overhead, casting the half-dead trees in a luminous haze. It was risky, traveling through the forest at night; the fae were more mischievous and more attentive to the few lonely travelers who walked the path after sunset. But her mother was ill and the medicine woman lived in the heart of the forest. The gossips claimed she was half-fae herself, and Mira believed them.

associated tag: Faeries

REMEMBER: if you like the look of a story and would like to read the rest, it only costs $0.25. Just a quarter! What a deal, right? You get to read a nice story–one that has been screened by the staff to ensure there aren’t any terrible grammatical problems and that the story itself is of good quality, worth at least a quarter. ;P

In addition to myself, there are over 70 writers currently active on Quarter Reads, giving you an excellent selection of stories to choose from! Features on the site include a Top List, reflecting the most popular stories every day (which you can further narrow down by genre), a Recently Added List (customizable in the same way, and a list of all current Quarter Reads authors. A new site for writers and readers

Currently listening to: the sounds of my annoyed puppy, who can’t get up the stairs because of a baby gate we bought for exactly that purpose.

Today, I just wanted to take a quick moment to direct your attention to The site just launched earlier this week, and it’s worth a look.

What is it? It’s a site where writers can post their short stories (less than 2k words), and readers can, well, read them. Each story costs $0.25 to read (hence the ‘quarter’ part), and readers may tip the authors up to $1.00 if they enjoyed the story. You get to preview the story before you read it, though, and you only need to pay if you decide you’re interested in reading the story in its entirety.

Currently, I have 3 stories submitted on the site. To find them, simply search “Sofia Black” in the searchbar. Or you can find two of my stories in the “horror” and “fantasy” toplists, respectively. The third story, due to a broader genre definition, is not currently visible on any of the toplists. And of course, there are many, many other authors on the site, with their own wonderful stories. And it’s all just waiting for you to find it.


Gearing up for NaNoWriMo

Currently listening to: Yellow Flicker Beat, by Lorde

Hello, again! I’m back, and ready to get back to blogging (and writing!). My sister’s wedding was lovely, by the way. Here are a few highlights:

  1. My new sister-in-law’s younger sister and I frantically trying to find out where we were supposed to stand right before we were told to walk down the aisle
  2. Both of us also tripping on our way down the aisle (not our fault- there was this grate thing that they covered up with a long carpet but covering holes with a carpet doesn’t do much when you’re wearing stilettos)
  3. Both brides insisting on wearing shoes that were a fabulous mixture of “amazing” and “medieval torture device”, and steadfastly refusing to take them off, blood and blisters be damned
  4. My sister and her wife-to-be both sobbing and laughing like goofballs when they were exchanging their vows
  5. Fathers dancing in the embarrassing way only fathers can

And now, with all of that over and done with, and all of the centerpieces, clothing, and random decorations and such finally mailed out to my sister (my mother and I took custody of it all after the wedding since my sister was flying back to where she lives), I have some breathing room. Which means that I can turn my attention to some other important things. School, for one thing, but more importantly…


That’s right-NaNoWriMo. Also known as National Novel Writing Month. The project I “won” with last year turned into an entire novel, and I’m hoping to repeat that. Of course, that will mean months and months of editing, gathering beta readers, and more editing, but that’s down the line. For now, my focus will be on the main goal of NaNoWriMo: writing 50,000 words in 30 days, starting November 1st. It’s going to be crazy, and I can’t wait to get started.