Just for fun here’s the scene board for Take Me Home (cleverly covered by my editing check marks to avoid spoilers). Each scene actually has 8 or more check mark post-its. I kept track of my read-throughs on a scene-by-scene basis. First time I’d ever done that, and it worked well for me. Gave me a nice sense of accomplishment at the end of every day.
It’s been a bit since I’ve posted an update on my writing progress, so I thought I’d share where I’m at with my stories.
If I didn’t mention it before I’m back to revising Walter & Kevin’s book, an erotic romantic suspense set in the same world as More. My goal is to have this book finished and submitted before the end of 2011. That may be pushing it since I usually spend more time revising than I do writing the first draft (and I have some research left to do), but I think it’s good to have a goal that pushes you to work hard. That said, I won’t submit it until I can feel really good about the story. I’ll keep you posted on the progress.
So far I’ve worked through some issues that were in the beginning of the first draft and came up with changes that I’m really happy with. I sliced and diced a few scenes, and it really made the story stronger so far. I also added one scene that knocked my socks off, even as I was writing it. I’m still amazed when that happens.
I’ve also drafted a new scene for my serial story More Than Just a Good Book. I’m hoping to add one or two more scenes and then publish part 3 in late October. I’ll share a link for part 3 when it’s available on my website or you can sign up for my newsletter to get the announcement.
Since my writing plans changed a bit during 2011, I thought I’d post the answer to a question I often get asked.
FAQ: Are you still going to write more with Luke, Richard, and Matthew?
Definitely. I still plan to complete 2 more books with Luke, Richard, and Matthew. I had originally planned to write one stand-alone release in between each MORE book. After Breathe, I took the time to outline all 3 of the remaining More books (which included Walter’s) and sent the story synopses to my publisher. They were interested in seeing Walter’s book next (at that time More was still a new release and we weren’t sure how well it would do with readers). Before I had a chance to finish Walter’s story, there was a submission call from my publisher for Christmas stories. I had already started notes for Take Me Home, so I worked up a proposal. That proposal was approved, and I took a break from Walter’s book to finish writing Take Me Home, which is now scheduled for a December 13, 2011 release. And I have to say, I’m so glad I did that because I love how Take Me Home turned out.
Now I’m back working on Walter & Kevin’s story, which has a working title but I’ll wait to share when I’m closer to finishing the book since it may change.
I’m not sure if I will be writing another stand-alone contemporary or Richard’s book next. I’m leaning toward Richard’s book, but in either case I will be finishing both Richard and Matthew’s stories. The boys have more to learn, about each other and themselves.
The above answer also explains the year gap between books. Since finishing Breathe, I have outlined 4 novels, written one manuscript, and completed a first draft for another, both novel-length. This means I should move more quickly through the next couple of projects in 2012.
I was scrolling through my work-in-progress the other day when three words caught my eye. “Get me off.” I couldn’t remember having one of my characters demand that from the other. Nothing wrong with that line, but how odd that I couldn’t remember something I had written on a current project. I stopped to review that section.
My character wasn’t talking to another guy. He was talking to a dog.
Wait. The line was “Get off me.”
What a difference the order of the words make.
I hope nothing like that ever slips by me.
And if it does, I hope to God my beta reader, critique partner, editor, the copy editor, or the proofer catches it.
Thanks to all those hardworking people behind the scenes who help an author put out the best work they can. And who save them from embarrassing typos like this.
- A Rush of Ideas: my group blog post where I talk about one of the aspects I love most about writing: the start of a new story. As I work on Walter and Kevin’s book, I’m getting the ideas down for a new story, and I’m having a fantastic time with it (and yes, I still have two more MORE books coming also). I love when there is no shortage of ideas.
- A yaoi role-playing game: Hot Guys Making Out. I read what one guy said about playing this game (in a private email) and it sounds neat. (Thanks to my uncle for sharing this one. Thanks, T!)
- Interesting… an M/M romance in which you enter your own details and customize the book.
- Joanna Stampfel-Volpe responds to a recent PW blog post on LGBTQ YA. On Being Used, the Lack of LGBTQ Characters in YA, and Why It’s Important to Work Together
Source: (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
- Repeal of gay ban causing few waves in military
- Airman tells dad he is gay as ‘don’t ask’ policy disappears. From his Youtube video: “I called my dad to tell him the hardest thing that gay guys will ever have to say.” Brought back memories of talking to my own parents. Not an easy thing to do even when everyone already suspects. (thanks to my niece for sharing the link. Thanks, A!)
- As gay military ban ends, officer sheds his alias
- I haven’t really had time to check out this blog but it looks interesting: gaytwogether
- For the writers out there, this is an excellent article from Joseph O’Connor. He shares his tips for writing fiction and I’ve included a couple fab quotes below.
- As Checkov said: ‘Don’t tell me the moon is shining. Show me moonlight reflected on broken glass.’ One of the strangest paradoxes of writing fiction is that the more you tell the reader, the less he or she knows. If you write ‘we were very happy indeed’ the reader thinks ‘big deal’. If you write ‘we grabbed each other and hugged and we couldn’t stop laughing’ the reader is in the scene. Putting the reader in the scene is everything to the storyteller. So describe what you can see, not what you know. Use visual words when possible. And never be afraid of leaving something out. Leaving something out is a powerful invitation to the reader, an incitement to the imagination of the person you must never forget. The reader is an essential participant in what you are writing. Meet them half way, and never more than that.
- From: Joseph O’Connor
- I think of it in musical terms. The writer is providing the sheet music. It’s the reader who is singing the song. To know who you’d like to make sing is an important factor. It also helps to stop writing being egotistical. Writing must always be about the reader, in the end, not the writer. If I have one single commandment, that’s it.
- From: Joseph O’Connor
- And another one for writers: Paper Boats: Bail water or bail out? Knowing When to Abandon Your Wip by Josh Lanyon
- And a little eye candy for everyone:
- Lastly, because you know I love this site, here are some screenshots from Damn You Auto Correct
Have a great weekend, everyone! I’ll be doing some brainstorming with my local writing group. We have such a blast when we get together to work on our story ideas. The conversations that come up are priceless. Last year there was mention of Fire Lube and artificial immaculate insemination and orgasming (is that a word?) your way across a room full of bodies. I wonder what we’ll discuss this time around.
Don’t wanna close my eyes
Don’t wanna fall asleep
‘Cause I’d miss you, baby
And I don’t wanna miss a thing
- Aerosmith (I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing)
Saying goodbye to someone you love is never easy. Saying goodbye to someone you’ve had in your life every day for 16 years is really tough. Saying goodbye over the course of weeks and months while you provide daily care for them and their fading body takes love and courage and compassion.
I’m hoping I’ll have no shortage of all three over the coming weeks, or maybe months. I’m not sure how long my cat has left, but the end is drawing near. His kidneys have decided to stop doing their job. After one serious crash he’s still here, but the end is closer than I’d like. I’m selfish when it comes to the people and animals I love. I would like another 16 years with him. And then another 16. Then 16 more. Sadly, that’s not how life for these little dudes works out.
He and I are oddly close. So close I can often tell what’s going on with him with one look at him. Once he was sitting on my chest while I was in bed, he gave me a long look, and I knew something was up. I told my partner, “I don’t think he feels good.” When we got to the vet, the doc took what I said seriously until he’d examined him. No fever, nothing abnormal that he could find. He checked his mouth. Nothing. He looked at me with kindness, but like I was nuts, explaining that he couldn’t find anything until he checked his mouth one more time. He found an abscessed tooth all the way in the back. The vet just smiled and said, “You’re right. He’s not feeling well.”
He’s the smartest cat I’ve ever met. Too smart sometimes. He tries to run cons on me all the time. Oh, I’m not doing anything with my paw. I’m just stretching, but as soon as you turn around I’m putting my paw into that glass of milk. He’s also the cuddliest cat. He likes to give hugs (actual hugs) and sit on my lap while I write. In fact, he likes to sit with his front legs draped over my arms impeding my typing, but it’s still nice to have the company during the long hours at the keyboard writing and revising and revising some more.
I’m not sure what I’ll do with myself when he’s gone. I have two other cats, but they tend to go off on their merry way during the day, only coming to see me once in a while when they want a little attention. Or food. They never forget the food. One of them is the sweetest cat I’ve ever had and he does like to sit with me, but he really doesn’t like the typing. And my muse doesn’t like going too long without writing.
So how does one say goodbye? With compassion and love, I guess. That’s all we can do.
We’ve been renting more movies than we have in a long time and cuddling with him while we watch. I’ve been taking more breaks during the day to sit with him and give him some love. He’s still doing some of the little things that show me he’s here and not feeling terribly bad yet.
I guess none of us know how long we’ll have with those we love. We just have to love them as best as we can for as long as we are honored to have them in our lives.
A: I’ve had this question come up a few times so I thought I’d explain.
If you’re searching for my ebooks on Amazon.com and key in “Sloan Parker” in the search bar on the homepage, you’ll get one of my novels but not the other. To find MORE you have to search within a department such as “Books” or “Kindle Books” or a category within those departments. However, BREATHE is available by searching anywhere.
Why is this? I contacted Amazon and learned it’s because MORE is labeled as “adult” content while BREATHE is not. Not sure how that happens, but the limitation in where you can search for it didn’t occur until several weeks after my publisher released the book at Amazon. My guess is the excerpt for MORE is highly explicit so either Amazon or reader comments/complaints bumped it to an “adult” rating. If anyone knows more specifics for how this label gets applied to a book, I’d be interested in learning more.
Now don’t get me wrong, MORE is adult content, so I have no issues with the labeling (although I wish the labeling was more consistent across all explicit content on Amazon.com and that all explicit materials were treated equally). I just wanted to explain how the search works for those who may have the same question as others have asked me.
So, if you’re looking for MORE for your Kindle on Amazon.com, it’s there. Just buried a bit. You can always go to my author page to view my books available on Amazon.com. Or you can search for my name directly via your Kindle since that searches the Kindle story only.
I’m guessing this limitation in searching for adult-labeled books may be the same for other erotic romances so don’t give up after one search. If there’s a book you really want from Amazon.com, drill into the “Kindle” or “Books” category and try the search again. I’m not sure how that works for print books, but I’m guessing it’s the same and you’ll need to browse to the “Books” category before performing a search.
This FAQ has also been added to my website’s FAQ page.
Occasionally for one of my quotes on the blog I share a favorite line or short excerpt from the work of another author of m/m romances.
Today’s quote is from K. A. Mitchell’s Regularly Scheduled Life, a moving story about life and love after tragedy. This scene takes place after Sean is injured in a shooting at the school where he teaches.
Sean nodded, and then they were alone for the first time.
Kyle squeezed Sean’s hand. “You fucking idiot.”
“I know. I’m sorry.”
Tears burned the back of Kyle’s throat. All through the anger and fear he’d managed to hold on, but the relief, the heart-stopping simple fucking joy that Sean was still here with him was enough to drain the strength out of him. He put his head on Sean’s chest, cheek finding heat through the thin gown. The smell was all wrong, laced with disinfectant and blood, but the warmth was enough. Proof of life.
- Regularly Scheduled Life by K. A. Mitchell
You can read more about this and other books by K. A. Mitchell at www.kamitchell.com
Two published authors who co-wrote a post-apocalyptic young adult novel were offered agent representation on one condition: that they make a gay character straight or remove him completely from the story. When they shared about the experience, they said…
When you refuse to allow major characters in YA novels to be gay, you are telling gay teenagers that they are so utterly horrible that people like them can’t even be allowed to exist in fiction.
LGBTQ teenagers already get told this. They are four times more likely than straight teenagers to attempt suicide. We’re not saying that the absence of LGBTQ teens in YA sf and fantasy novels is the reason for that. But it’s part of the overall social prejudice that does cause that killing despair.
We wrote this novel so that the teenagers we know—some of whom are gay, and many of whom are not white—would be able, for once, to read a fun post-apocalyptic adventure in which they are the heroes. And we were told that such a thing could not be allowed.
After we thanked the agent for their time, declined the offer, and hung up, Sherwood broke the silence. “Do you think the agent missed that Becky and Brisa [supporting characters] are a couple, too? Do they ever actually kiss on-page? No? I’M ADDING A LESBIAN KISS NOW!”
- Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith, From Authors Say Agents Try to “Straighten” Gay Characters in YA
- The first edition of the Hot Summer Days (HSD) Anthology is now available. You can get a copy via Goodreads. They have several ebook formats available. It looks like there will be four editions in total. My story will be in the fourth volume.
- A touching post by author Dorien Grey: On Being Gay, Parts I and II (scroll down the page to get to the posts dated September 2nd and 5th)
- A moving look back at 9/11 from a New Yorker’s POV: Walk Through 9/11/2001 Through Damon Suede’s Eyes
- For my writer friends out there an interesting article: Donald Maass, James Scott Bell and Christopher Vogler Discuss Story Structure
- I blogged at Loose Ends last week and shared several songs that sometimes help this writer out: Motivation for When Writing (Or Life) Takes the Hard Way. I’d love to hear what songs motivate you.
Like most Americans, I will never forget that day ten years ago. I remember exactly where I was when I heard that the first plane had crashed, then the next, and the next, and finally the last. I remember the impossibility of watching men and women jump to their deaths from the World Trade Center. I remember watching the twin tours collapse and not comprehending what I was seeing. I remember the tears, the fear, the countless stories of heartbreak and heroism that left me speechless.
I remember the chilling moment I saw a plane flying overhead on the day they started air traffic again. I remember talking with strangers in stores and on sidewalks, sharing news and comments as if we were old friends.
In honor of remembering that day and all who were lost, here’s an amazing memorial video and a link to the story of one of the day’s heroes and the brave mother he left behind.
Sand Art – “Never Forget” a 9/11 Momorial by Joe Castillo
Unexpected legacy left by hero of Flight 93: How a mom has “became a tireless advocate for issues that were important to her son.” “The openly gay rugby player was one of the heroic passengers who led a revolt against the terrorists on United Airlines Flight 93.” (I don’t think the video is available anymore, but you can still read the story).
What do you remember about that day?