Rediscovering the Joy of Writing and Two New Reader Giveaways


Today I’m a guest over at On Top Down Under Book Reviews, helping them celebrate their blog’s 4th anniversary. I’m sharing more about my experience writing The Haven #2 and also offering up a giveaway. Check out the post at this link: Creativity, Disappointment, and Rediscovering the Joy of Writing. Be sure to comment there to enter the giveaway before October 18th.

Here’s a full list of their other anniversary events and giveaways.


This week I’m also taking part in the massive Halloween Giveaway hosted by Diverse Reader. There are more than 40 prizes up for grabs and some fun posts by an amazing list of authors who are answering questions such as:

What’s your favorite thing about Halloween?
Tell us the best costume you ever wore for Halloween?
What’s your best Halloween memory?

What’s your favorite Halloween or scary story and why?

Stop by and check out all the fun, and be sure to enter the giveaway. The authors’ posts are divided into two sections: Part one & Part two (check out mine in part two).

The contest ends on October 20th.

Good luck!

Writing Life: The Rewards of Patience


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.

Love this phase of writing!

The Haven Book 2 Manuscript

Pictured above is the binder containing the rough draft of Seth and Vargas’s story, HOW TO HEAL A LIFE (The Haven Book 2). I’m currently reading through it, revising, and adding more emotional depth and substance to the manuscript, and it’s going really well. I’m surprisingly pleased with the opening of the story, and that’s usually where I do most of my reworking. Knowing I’ve got a good handle on the beginning has me even more excited about this one.

I’ll keep you posted on the progress! Watch my newsletter and works-in-progress page on my website for more updates on this and my other projects.


The Mind of a Writer


(c) Sloan Parker 2013

While taking my daily walks this past week, I noticed two swans had moved into my neighborhood. They do everything together. Fly, bathe, swim, groom. Admittedly I know next to nothing about the life of swans. (Although I do believe they can form life-long monogamous pair bonds and are fiercely protective of their nests. My hon was even chased by one as a kid.)

As I watched these swans, I found myself asking question after question.


(c) Sloan Parker 2013

Will they stay here? Or is this a stopover for them? How long have they been together? What will happen if one of them passes away?

I’m walking and thinking. My mind pondering the past and future of these swans.


(c) Sloan Parker 2013

More walking, more thinking.

Of course, like I’ve always done since I was a kid, if I don’t know something, I make up my own story for it.


(c) Sloan Parker 2013

Now these swans each have a tragic backstory that led them to the moment they met. I know how long they’ve been together and that one is older than the other. I know how many obstacles they had to overcome to get to this peaceful, contented place they now live.

Then I stopped, stared at the swans, and laughed at myself. I could’ve been pondering and plotting my next book. But noooo… I’m dreaming up stories for two swans. Swans!

Thus goes the mind of a writer, a daydreamer.


The series bible and another chance to win a copy of HOW TO SAVE A LIFE

(c), oonal 2008

This week I guest blogged at Rarely Dusty Books talking about the importance of keeping a series bible and how I almost totally messed up Walter Simon’s backstory. Stop by to check it out and to enter to win a copy of HOW TO SAVE A LIFE.

It’s all in the Details: Writing a Series