My latest newsletter was sent out yesterday. It includes the release date for HOW TO SAVE A LIFE (October 24th!), a link to a chat I had with Luke Moore from the MORE series, and news about my latest free read at Amazon.
My website has been updated with all the behind-the-story info for MORE THAN MOST (More Book 2). I shared most of these during the book’s release party, but now all the character interviews, playlists, related blog posts, and character sketches for the series are available in one place. And if you haven’t read it yet, don’t miss the brief conversation with Matthew that takes place before the third book in the series.
Today is the last day of my MORE THAN MOST release party. Thanks so much to everyone who’s stopped by. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading all the comments with the giveaway entries. You guys are the best. Hearing from individual readers who’ve enjoyed my work makes the difficult days in this business truly much brighter. THANK YOU!
Today is also the last day to enter the giveaway. We’ll be selecting a winner tomorrow, May 4th. I hope you enjoy the final, and my favorite, post of the blog party.
A Conversation with Matthew
The following conversation between Sloan and Matthew takes place after MORE THAN MOST (More Book 2). Slight spoiler alert for MORE THAN MOST.
I rang the bell, and a short moment later the door flew open. Matthew’s eyes lit up the moment he saw me. “I’m so glad you called. I’ve been waiting forever to talk to you.”
I returned his smile. “Yeah, me too.”
“Come on in.” He stepped aside and gestured for me to enter, moving with an animated excitement I found contagious. “The guys should be home soon. I know they’d love to see you.”
“That’d be great, but I’m afraid I can only stay for a minute.”
“Oh, okay.” Despite his words, his tone demonstrated he wasn’t too disappointed by that we’d be alone. Maybe he didn’t just want to talk to me. Maybe he needed to. “Let’s go in the living room.” He laughed as he pointed down the hall. “I guess you know the way.”
I laughed with him. “Yeah, I do.”
We settled ourselves on the couch, and he turned to face me, pulling one leg up onto the cushion between us. I matched the pose and didn’t bother getting out a pen and paper. With him, taking notes would’ve felt wrong. It was more like we were two old friends catching up.
Although he did seem slightly nervous, and that bothered me. But it didn’t diminish the smile he couldn’t seem to contain. He was wearing skinny jeans, a black T-shirt with gray lettering that read Keep Calm and Rock On, and white athletic socks that were too big for his feet and hung off the ends of his toes. Richard’s socks? I didn’t ask.
“You seem happy,” I said.
He nodded. Then he dipped his head and folded and unfolded the bottom edge of one pant leg on his jeans.
He shrugged. “Richard said you’d probably know stuff I haven’t told anyone yet, stuff I haven’t even realized about myself.”
“I hope that doesn’t bother you.”
He met my stare, and the anxiety melted away. “Nah. I trust you.”
“Thanks.” I paused, for the first time, unsure if I could push him the way I did Richard and Luke. But we both needed me to. “I think you just don’t like that I know something you haven’t told them yet.”
He bit his lower lip and fiddled with his pants again. He whispered his next words like Richard and Luke were there with us and might hear him. “I guess.” Then his head shot up, his eyes wide. “It’s not something I’ve been keeping from them. It’s just… stuff I think I’m finally starting to understand.”
“I know.” I offered another smile. I hated that I’d upset him. I leaned forward and laid a hand over one of his. “I think you’re worrying too much. You just need to talk to them.”
He nodded and drew in a deep breath like that was easier said than done.
Just then a puppy came barreling into the room. She pressed both front paws against the couch and tried to scramble up the side without success. Matthew reached down and scooped her up.
When she was situated on his lap, I spoke again. “She’s even more adorable in person.”
He laughed as he stroked her head between her ears. “She’s a sweetheart.”
“So are you.”
He blushed, his gaze never leaving the dog.
I decided to offer him a reprieve. I sat back. “So, Matthew, if there was one thing you’d want readers to know about you, what would it be?”
He stared off toward the hall leading to the front door. “I don’t know… I guess…” Then he seemed to settle on something. He confidently met my stare. “That I love Richard and Luke.”
I smiled at him once more. “I think people get that.”
“Yeah?” He sighed. “Good.”
I shifted around and settled my right leg on the floor again. “Well, I don’t have a lot of questions yet. I just wanted to touch base, make sure you were okay with what was going to happen next.”
He cocked his head to the side and studied me with curiosity.
I hesitated, searching for the right words. “There are still a few things you have to work through, Matthew.” I waited again in case he had anything he wanted to ask. When he didn’t say more, I stood. It was probably a good idea for him to think through what I might’ve meant and what he was feeling about it before we talked more. “I better get going.”
He stayed seated and watched me with wide dark eyes. “But…”
“I’m doing fine. More than fine.” He stared down at the puppy again. “Aren’t I?” The insecurity in those two words broke my heart.
“You are, but…” I was having a hard time offering more.
He lifted his head and searched my eyes. Then he looked to the hall again like he could see Luke and Richard standing there, or was thinking through what I’d said. With a deep breath, he sat taller, the tension fading away. He nodded. “Yeah. Okay.” He set the puppy on the couch beside him and got up. “I guess that means we’ll be talking more soon.”
“I hope that’s okay.”
He threw me another one of those killer grins. “I can’t wait.”
Enter the Release Party Giveaway for a chance at a $25 e-gift card to All Romance eBooks and a bundle of Sloan Parker’s novels in print. You can enter the giveaway once per day for a total of seven entries per person. The giveaway ends 11:59 PM on Sunday, May 3, 2015.
I met Richard at his townhouse this time around. It was late at night by the time we both found a few minutes to talk that day. He opened the door and greeted me with a smile and a nod. He was in faded jeans, a plain white T-shirt, and equally white athletic socks with no shoes. He looked good doing the casual thing.
He leaned against the open door, and I could tell he was happy to see me, not the least bit nervous of what I might ask. He’d given this interview more consideration than the last one. Now he had me all figured out.
Or so he thought.
As I made my way inside, I mentally tossed out the questions I’d prepared, trying to come up with new ones that he wouldn’t have anticipated.
I sat in a chair in the living room, and he chose the couch across from me. I crossed my legs and opened my notepad, clicked my pen so I was ready. He rested one ankle on the opposite knee, his left arm draped over the back of the open space on the couch beside him. He looked at home in that pose. Or maybe it was the room we were in. Maybe it was just him and where he was in his life.
Or maybe I was wrong about all that.
The living room wasn’t as neat as I’d expected based on my first visit to the same house. Although, nothing much was out of order. The only signs of disarray were a haphazard stack of magazines on the coffee table between us and loose office papers on the far end of the couch.
The room just seemed to project a sense of unease, like his carefully ordered life had been altered slightly by something—or someone.
I gave the papers on the couch a quick glance, trying not to let him see my attempt at determining if the unexpected clutter was his, Matthew’s, or Luke’s.
“You’re awfully quiet this time,” he said. “Is everything okay?”
I was taken aback by his words, and even more by the concern in his voice.
I hadn’t expected him to give me much thought. I always figured he spent our time together thinking about the reason I was there—to learn more about him and the men in his life.
I should’ve known better. This was Richard.
I was touched that he considered me at all, and even more that he genuinely cared if I was okay.
His relaxed demeanor had slipped away. He was intensely scrutinizing me. “Are you a happy person, Sloan?”
I watched him in return. I wanted to remind him he wasn’t writing a book about me, but I didn’t want to give him any ideas. “I just get focused when I’m writing.” I probably came across as too serious, too internally preoccupied. “Yes, I’m happy. More than I’ve ever been. You?”
The surprised, almost angered look that flashed across his face wasn’t something I’d seen from him before. He unfolded his leg, leaned forward, elbows on his knees as he kept those serious green eyes focused on me. The empty space between us seemed to shrink in an instant, and he hadn’t left the couch.
“No matter what is going on with me or my business, I have them. That’s what matters to me. That’s all I need to be happy.” He’d pointed toward the stairs in the hall on the word them.
“Just because you want something to be true doesn’t—”
The tone of his voice convinced me to move on.
I indicated the staircase with a tilt of my head. “Are they in bed?”
“And you’re stuck here talking to me?”
He nodded, then eased back against the couch again, his voice returning to the more casual tone he’d started our conversation with. “You like to do that sometimes, try to throw me off my usual routine, shake me up a bit.”
Apparently he did have me all figured out. He really needed to stop giving me that much thought.
I said, “You know, I was thinking about Luke the other day.”
“Yeah?” He glanced into the hall, and a grin hit his lips. “I do that a lot too.”
“That I do know about you.”
We both laughed.
“Is he happy?” I asked when the laughter died off.
I could hear the hesitation in that last word.
When I didn’t ask anything more, he looked my way and added, “He has a few things to work out.”
“About his dad?”
He didn’t say anything to that. Instead he asked, “Is that why you were thinking about him? Wondering if he got his happy ending?”
“Actually, no. I was thinking about how very different the two of you are. Despite how closed off he was, Luke just jumped into my skin and started typing, telling his story, the words flowing as if he’d been dying to get them out, whether he wanted to admit that in the beginning or not. But you… You’re a conundrum. You rely on communication like it’s the air you breathe, yet you hold a lot inside. You have no trouble telling me the details of events. Sometimes you even share what you’re feeling, and then sometimes you don’t. Why is that?”
He hesitated again. Or maybe he was trying to find the right words. “What I’m feeling, my emotions… Those are things people will use against me if given the chance?”
“What people? Luke and Matthew?”
He laughed again at that. “If it were just you, I might be compelled to share more, but you’ll just end up telling everyone else.”
“That’s what a writer does.”
He gave an amused snort and nodded. “Touché.”
“So I’ve got most of your story figured out, but there are just a couple of holes I need to fill in.”
“And you would like me to make that easier for you?”
“I would, yes.”
“All right.” He was back to his signature knowing grin that slightly curled the corners of his lips. His arm was lounging over the top of the couch again. “You went into this thinking it would be Luke who’d pushed me to see things more clearly. You forget that ultimately change comes from within. That certain spark, that characteristic that I need in order to overcome my greatest conflicts, is already a part of me. I just have to push aside my own obstacles—the ones I’ve been pretending don’t exist.” He stopped, and I knew he wouldn’t admit what those obstacles were. Not out loud. Not yet.
Then he spoke again. “You also forget how smart Matthew is about these things. He knows what he wants now, and in the end, he won’t settle for less.”
“The end of this book or the next?”
He raised an eyebrow. “Now that’s a good question for the writer.”
And with those words, I knew that was all I was going to get from him right then. We’d get a chance to talk more when we got back to working on the story.
As we said our good-byes, I was left pondering what exactly it was that Matthew wanted.
I’m currently gathering questions to include in a new Q&A section of my newsletter. If there’s anything you’d like to ask one of my characters, I’d love to hear about it. Specifically I’m interested in questions for any of the characters in MORE and HOW TO SAVE A LIFE (my two series books), but I’d love to hear your questions for any of my books.
If you have something you’d like to ask, post your questions in the comments section here on the blog or send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org (please put “Questions for your characters” in the subject line). I may not use all the questions I receive right away, but I’ll be sharing as many as I can in the next several editions of my newsletter.
Thanks so much. I can’t wait to see what you guys want to know about.