Friday Photo: Scene Board

(c) Sloan Parker 2011

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.

Writing Update & FAQ: Are you still going to write more with Luke, Richard, and Matthew?

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.

Get Me Off or Get Off Me

Funny Typo on Hotel Sign

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.

Link Roundup: m/m Role Playing Game, Customize an m/m, A Coming Out & more

  • 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.

The Long Goodbye

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)

(c) Sloan Parker 2011

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.

(c) Sloan Parker 2011

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.”

(c) Sloan Parker 2011

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.

(c) Sloan Parker 2011

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.