Another Conversation with Matthew from the MORE series


The following conversation takes place early on during MORE Book 3 (More Than Ever).

Matthew opened the front door, and his face lit up with a huge smile. “Hi, Sloan.” As it always was with him, he seemed so excited to see me.

The feeling was completely mutual.

I offered him a return smile. “I’m glad you had time for a visit today.”

“Me too. Come on in. I was just starting dinner.” He motioned me inside and then led me through the house and into the kitchen.

“Can I help?”

“Sure. I’m making fajitas. With homemade tortillas. You wanna chop the vegetables?”

“You got it.” I got started on the onions and peppers while he set to mixing the ingredients for the tortillas. After a few minutes of silence, I asked, “Where are the guys?”

“Still at work.” He opened his mouth to say more, and I knew he was going to talk about Luke and Richard and how they were doing and what they were up to. I didn’t want to hear about them right then.

Before he could say anything, I asked, “How have you been doing lately?”

He lowered his head and shrugged. “I’m okay, I guess.”

“You still waiting to hear about that job?”

“Yeah.” There was a long pause. He took a deep breath. “I really want this one.”

“I know you do.”

He nodded. Keeping his gaze on the dough he was now kneading on the surface of a wood cutting board, his next words poured out in a rush. “I’m not gonna ask you how it turns out because I know I have to wait, but if there’s anything you can do…” He trailed off.

I set the knife down beside the strips of peppers and onions and gave him my full attention. “I’m going to do my best for you, Matthew. I promise you that.”

He smiled at me again, his eyes beaming with genuine affection. “I know you will.”

I probably shouldn’t have said anything more, but I couldn’t keep the words inside. “Thank you for trusting me with your life. It means a great deal to me.”

He laughed. “I should be the one thanking you. I wouldn’t be me without you. I’d be somebody else.”

I laughed too. “I guess that’s true.”

Then he studied me with an intensity that reminded me of Richard. “You’re going to make me tell them about the other stuff that’s been on my mind lately, aren’t you?”

“Don’t you think you should?”

“It’s not a big deal. None of it is.”

“That’s not true, and you know it.”

He finished with the dough and then went to the sink to wash the sticky residue from his hands. After drying his hands with a towel, he turned to face me. His voice wavered on his next words. “Yeah, I know.”

“It’s going to be okay. They love you, and they’re going to help you through this.” I took a step toward him and grasped one of his hands in mine. “But most importantly, you’re going to help yourself.”

He wiped a tear from his cheek and nodded. He met my stare and squeezed my hand. “Yeah. I am.”

Haven’t read the MORE books yet? Read the opening chapters for free here: MORE book 1 and book 2.

A Favorite Moment from HOW TO HEAL A LIFE

This quote is from one of my fave scenes in HOW TO HEAL A LIFE

Behind the Story: Pinterest Board and More Extras for HOW TO HEAL A LIFE

When I’m working on a book, I like using visuals to help inspire the story descriptions. I also find myself drawn to songs that I feel are a good fit for the characters and what they’re going through. You can check out my Song Playlist and Pinterest Board on the Behind the Story page of my website. (The playlist that I shared a couple of weeks ago has been updated to include additional songs.)

I’m also excited to share that HOW TO HEAL A LIFE is in the Book of the Week Poll at Love Bytes. You can check out the poll and vote here. Thanks so much for the support!

Also, a big thank-you to everyone who sent in personal notes about how much you enjoyed the book and to those who have left a review at bookstores. It all means so much to me, and the reviews really do help new books gain more visibility. Thank you! I have the best readers. Much love to you all. ❤

Writing Life: The Rewards of Patience

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Photo License: CC0 Public Domain

“That’s the magic of revisions – every cut is necessary, and every cut hurts, but something new always grows.”  ― Kelly Barnhill

“The writer must have a good imagination to begin with, but the imagination has to be muscular, which means it must be exercised in a disciplined way, day in and day out, by writing, failing, succeeding and revising.” ― Stephen King

“The best advice I can give on this is, once it’s done, to put it away until you can read it with new eyes. When you’re ready, pick it up and read it, as if you’ve never read it before. If there are things you aren’t satisfied with as a reader, go in and fix them as a writer: that’s revision.” ― Neil Gaiman

I recently hit the point in revising HOW TO HEAL A LIFE where I’m even more connected to the story and the characters. I’m adding those extra little touches that allow for deeper meaning and emotional impact. I’m learning far more than I knew I was missing about who these characters are. At the same time, I’ve been strengthening their interactions, tweaking the overall story arc, and filling in any plot holes.

It feels really good to be at this point. I wanted to wrap this book up MONTHS ago, but I’m so very glad I stuck it out and kept on plugging away at the revision phase instead of calling it “quits” too early. I would’ve been seriously disappointed in myself. Especially when it came to this book. Seth’s journey is a difficult one, but I always hoped that would make the book all the more emotional and powerful for the reader. I wanted to give his story the attention it deserved. 

Now it’s coming together to be what I’d always envisioned for his story, and I couldn’t be happier.

I have a bit more to go with the revisions, but for me, this is one of the most rewarding parts of the writing process. I can’t wait to do my next read-through and see the full effect.

Sloan’s Favorites: Learning to Love Again

Here’s another one of my picks for my “Favorite Scenes” blog series. It’s an excerpt from my second novel BREATHE.

Why I chose this excerpt: This scene includes one of my favorite moments from BREATHE, when Jay shows Lincoln his tattoo of the two wolves running side by side and tells him that he wants a future together, all while they stand in the location where they had their first kiss.

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Lincoln sucked in a long breath with Jay’s words. He watched the other man leave. Jay didn’t falter as he made his way through the bar and out the rear entrance. The door closed behind him, and Lincoln faced the line of whiskey bottles.

Could he really do this?

He wanted to believe he owed it to himself. The truth was, he owed it to both of them.

He stood and followed the same path Jay had, passing by the old guy sipping whiskey at a table near the bathrooms. Lincoln didn’t hesitate. He shoved open Sonny’s back door and exited into the warm night air. The full moon lit the parking lot more than the streetlamps.

Jay waited for him, leaning against the wall near where they’d first kissed, where they’d first touched.

“Come here.” Jay tugged him in close.

Lincoln couldn’t trust himself to hold Jay. He stared at the man’s chest—where the blood had been when he’d lifted Jay into his truck and drove him to the hospital, where he had pressed against the blood-soaked shirt as he raced through the streets, listening to the breaths gurgling out of Jay, feeling the tears stream over his own cheeks. “Are you okay?”

“I am now.”

He kept staring at Jay’s chest; it moved up and down with each breath. He’d spend forever watching the man breathe if he could.

Jay cupped Lincoln’s chin and forced his head up until their gazes locked. “I’ll be okay if you say yes. I don’t want to live without you.”

“This—us—it can’t work.”

“It has to.” Jay brushed his lips over Lincoln’s ear. “I don’t want to lose you.”

The warmth of Jay’s body against his made it hard to think. Lincoln gripped Jay’s hip in his hand. “Can you promise me every time you look at me she isn’t all you’ll see? That you won’t see everything I took from you?”

Jay kissed along Lincoln’s cheek and chin to the corner of his mouth. “Every time I look at you all I see is you. I can’t promise it’ll be easy, but I don’t even want to think what it’ll be like if we don’t try. She deserves to be remembered, to be talked about. I’d like to share her with you. I know you’re strong enough to learn to love her too. Not to hate yourself because we’re here and she’s not.”

“You give me a lot of credit.”

“You’ve earned it.” Jay wrapped his arms around Lincoln’s neck. The press of Jay’s mouth to his melted Lincoln’s resolve to think instead of feel. He pulled Jay closer. Their tongues met, like old lovers, tentative, slow at first, relearning each other, remembering what was so good about being together.

Lincoln fell into the sweet oblivion of kissing Jay. His world shrank to that parking lot, to the two of them.

Slowly Jay placed one chaste kiss after another on Lincoln’s lips before speaking. “I was thinking…”

“You think too much.” Lincoln leaned in. He wanted more of that kiss. More of Jay.

Jay pressed two fingers to Lincoln’s lips. “You need somewhere to live. And I could use help fixing up my place.”

“You can’t seriously—”

“I want you to live with me. If it’s too weird to live in my house, I want us to get our own place.”

“Jay…my sister needs me.”

“She’ll have you. She’s got the money to buy a new house. To take care of Jessica, the boys. There’ll be more than enough.”

“What are you talking about?”

“I gave her my share of the settlement. I never wanted it. It was my parents and Stuart who started it all.”

Lincoln stared at Jay, then grabbed him by the back of the neck and crushed their mouths together. Jay Miller couldn’t possibly be for real.

How the hell had this man, practically a kid, whom Lincoln had hurt so badly, kept from turning into an angry, jaded person? How had Jay learned to love again?

Following his lead was the least Lincoln could do. He wanted a life with Jay. Wanted to believe they could move beyond the past and really live again.

Wanted to believe forgiveness and love were enough.

Jay held Lincoln’s face in his hands. “Come home with me, Linc.”

Lincoln rested his forehead against Jay’s temple. “You’re sure?”

“I am.” Jay lifted the sleeve of Lincoln’s T-shirt and traced his fingers over the destroyed tattoo. “The eagle’s a symbol of courage and wisdom. Some believe if you can embrace both, you can fly above all of the shit in your life.”

“All of it?”

Jay nodded and rolled up his own shirtsleeve. The outline of an eagle feather crossed his upper arm; two wolves filled the interior of the feather, running side by side.

Lincoln ran the tips of his fingers over one wolf, then the other. “Why?”

“I wanted you to know…to see…we can both live beyond our pasts. Together.”

(c) Sloan Parker, 2010. All Rights Reserved.

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