SA Collins

Words and Errata

nanowrimo2014

When is a goal not a goal?

When is a goal not a goal?

Answer: When the 50K word count has been reached but you ain’t done with the danged book!

 

My newly created cover image.

My newly created cover image.

 

So my NaNoWriMo goal is within sight – I’ll have my 50K tucked away by this evening and I’ll post it for validation. Whoo-hoo! I did it and I finished it well before the November 30 deadline! I am proud of myself for pantsing it along.

Now, to the real task – of getting the damned thing in order cause it sorta feels like I’m trying to hug fog at the moment. This shit is nebulous as all hell and I need to straighten it up. Not that it can’t be done but fuck me if I know how to do it.

I guess I am gonna have to poll my beta’s and see where I am missing shit…I know what I want to do, just in the thrust of gettin’ to my goal I think I have some massive holes in plot and narrative.

So yay, me! Well done! (That sound you’re hearing is the patting of my own back – cause sometimes you just gotta to keep ya goin’).

Above is my adjusted cover art. It’s rather subdued but at least it’s got some umph, no?

Thoughts on it?

As a rule of thumb I am opposed to those manly half naked men on the covers – I just think that most of that will look so damned dated down the road.

Also, while I have your attention – what do you think about the word “adventure” in the tag line? It’s not really an adventure – more of an experience, tale, event (now that’s just plain lousy)?

The story does have some angst that I am gettin’ to now. Just not much in the way of adventure – I mean it’s not a wolfy Indiana Jones. Even though I can sorta see Harrison as a wolf man.

Anyway, the goal for NaNoWriMo will be reached by tonight. The story – eh, not so much.

And it’s been nice to have Steve Grand in the rotation to get my boys where they are. Only now it’s gonna get darker – a whole mess darker. I may have to switch up the playlist for a bit to get into the groove. Riley, Hank and the boys are in for some bad assed times. Then my HFN for the moment.

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Free reads of where I am up to the 50K mark will be posted later on tonight.

Then I need to pen some more of Marco’s Angel’s volume – I’ve left him sorta hanging and he’s got shit to say now about his burgeoning love for all things Elliot. The boys in my worlds are gonna drive me bat-shit crazy!

Til next time…

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Our Dirty Little Secrets – Part 2

Our Dirty Little Secrets – Part 2

 

Author pal - Jayne Lockwood/Savannah Smythe

Author pal – Jayne Lockwood/Savannah Smythe

 

My on-going conversation with Savannah Smythe/Jayne Lockwood on the craft of writing, how gay authors are under represented in our own literary house, and my forthcoming novel – Angels of Mercy.

Check them out over at the following locations –

Savannah Smythe Blog  (the continuing conversation from my blog post a few days back)

ladyjauthor  (a rather intense discussion about how gay authors are sidelined as guests in what should be their own literary house – I really step into it this time….)
Check them out and see what the hubbub is all about!
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Running with the Pack – Part 3

Running with the Pack – Part 3

 

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Another Badge Achieved!

 

25Knanowrimo

 

25,009 words! <– That’s HUGE!

 

I’ve broken the 50% mark in the story. Three chapters in and I am half way to my goal.

 

So where are things now? Well, Steve Grand is still in the soundtrack rotation and things seem to clip along quite nicely when his songs come on. My boys seem to respond to him. Don’t know why that is again, but I’m just letting Steve take the muse role and just roll right along with it. I get into a groove when that happens. I almost disappear into the story itself and I just channel what Hank, Riley, Tanner and the others all have to say about my little lust filled horror story of gay were’s in Sparrow’s Holler, WVA.

Some interesting developments happened – ya see, when I am driving to my Clark Kent day job, I have a solid twenty minutes a day to ponder my tales – and yeah, I am usually listening to Steve there as well. I think it’s Riley (the Alpha of the story who responds to him most – I seem to work out kinks in his backstory in my head when Steve’s on the iPod in the car). So yeah, Riley and Hank are getting sorted and coupling up nicely. Hank is still leery cause he don’t know why any of it is happening – the boys who have taunted him off and on have suddenly flipped a switch and now they are all about Hank. They can’t get enough of being around him.

And of course this presents drama… duh, duh, duuuuuhhhh!  <– that was supposed be that high radio drama music there where someone is bitin’ their knuckle like Carol Burnett did on her TV show back in the 70’s – just sayin’…

Anywho, back in Sparrow’s – Hank and Riley are gettin’ closer and all the while Hank questions what it means (cause hey, it’s 1956 people and there was no internet nor did people even TALK about gay stuff back then – or so the hubby tells me). So while Riley and Hank have their intimate moments and Hank is left bewildered on why he’s all cuddlin’ up to the hottest boy on campus, he is also left bewildered on why Riley’s boys are all into them as well.

As Hank says quite clearly on what he has bitten off –

“I thought I had me a boyfriend – now it looks like I got me eight. Mama’s just gonna shit…”

Yeah, and she ain’t the only one neither, Hank.

The story seems to have this wolf mentality threading through it nicely. No real were moment yet, but it’s coming. I am actually introducing the novel baddie right now in the story. So yeah, I hope I nail it like I got it in my head.

So here’s the dealio with my writings: I write Gay Lit Fic. I make no bones about it. BUT what that means is that while my stories have a strong romantic element (cause hey, that’s always a good thing – it brings out the gentle humanity in us all, I think) – it is NOT M/M romance fare. While it has strong sexual situations, it is NOT erotica. I just don’t write to a given formula. Those elements are present but when I use love it is a means to an end. It serves a purpose other than romance for the sake of romance. And I NEVER pull punches in the sex department, either. I refuse to water it down. Sex happens, people. It’s what makes our lives enriching and exciting. Passion is a VERY good thing in my books. But it’s also a character device that I use to move the characters forward. It’s meant to propel the story in some manner.

The sex in my books are not a “one handed read” as one of my erotica author buddies so eloquently puts it. I mean, if someone thinks they’re sort of hot, well yippee ki-yay for you! That’s not the intent of their being there from my perspective.

Take Hank for example:

Inspiration for Hank O'Malley in my story

Inspiration for Hank O’Malley in my story

 

Hank is a really attractive guy but is one of those boys who doesn’t have the first clue that he is. He thinks he’s rather average. That there’s nothing special to him. He’s just a country bumpkin eking out a life in a small town in West Virginia.

It happens.

But Hank is anything BUT average. He’s wildly beyond average – and he’s about to find out what that means. And here’s the odd thing about Hank, the thing that makes him very fascinating to me – he doesn’t want any of it. When he discovers what he truly is and what it all means, he tries to deny it – to push it, and the boys further away from him. The boys go through a lot of pain and torment because of it. Hank is basically refusing pack life. Why? Because he hasn’t turned yet. So to him its spook and legend.

But the threat that visits them just before Hank’s first night of turning – in his own family store, no less, does give him something to consider. A reason to hear the boys out about what is truly going on in Sparrow’s Holler, what the pack means to the town, and how wonder of all wonders, how Hank’s own missing father has played a huge part in it all that Hank was never told about.

Hank’s got quite a bit on his mind and several balls to juggle – it’s no wonder when he looks in the mirror he can’t see what everyone else sees.

 

Another of Hank O'Malley - tough luck lookin' like that, huh?

Another of my Hank O’Malley – tough luck lookin’ like that, huh?

 

Basically put, Hank’s a hunk but he’s a fairly clueless hunk until his boys are threatened. Then there’ll be no stoppin’ him. Hank is a dark horse. A very, VERY, dark horse (or wolf, I should say) in this tale. He doesn’t want the mantle, he doesn’t want the notoriety or attention.

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And in due course he gets plenty of attention… from his boys and the girls in town. It’s all too confusing. Part of the time Hank just longs for the simplicity of everything that was before any of this happened. But once you turn, you can never go back.

So the first book is spent on trying to get Hank to become the hero he is destined to be.

It won’t be an easy road. But then again, if it were – what would be the point of tellin’ it?

So a small acknowledgement to my project muse – Steve Grand has released a few new tunes on iTunes as well as a few other places. Please check out his site and buy his songs, dammit! This man deserves our continued support! He’s breathing life into my boys and that’s helping me reach my goal of 50K in 30 days. So far, so good.

 

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Think I’ll spin up another and get back to it…

 

SteveGrandred1

The red goes so well with my wolves…

 

Thanks Mr. G for givin’ my boys something to run with … were Riley and the boys here for real – I am sure they’d say thank you too!

Peace – OUT!

 

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Runnin’ with the Pack – Part 2

Runnin’ with the Pack – Part 2

 

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Love a boy in wolf's clothing, don't you?

Love a boy in wolf’s clothing, don’t you?

So it’s been four days of NaNoWriMo craziness. I am happy to report that I am nearly half way to my goal: 22,252 words written thus far!

That’s 22,252 out of 50,000… about 48%. That’s HUGE!

Whoo-hoo! (insert Wolf Howl here)

But I know this is only the beginning. And to be honest, this was because the week leading into it I had a fair amount sorted in my head. But now, well, we’re catching up to where I am still debating how things are gonna play out. Organically (because I am a through and through pantser when I write), I am already seeing deviations of where my wolves are taking me. Beyond where I thought I was going to go.

But it’s like that for me. I have a goal, I have an arc, but what happens is that my characters are fully formed in my head by the time I put them down to digital bytes and bits. They are present – front and center – and they often know their world better than I do! And that, from me, the God of their universe – and yet, my characters still surprise me.

It was that way with Angels of Mercy. It’s turning out to be the same with HO’M,O too.

The final cover artwork. Blood included.

The final cover artwork. Blood included.

Hank O’Malley is one helluva discovery for me. The past few weeks I’ve been absorbing my Appalachian dialects, polling my husband’s past because he was born in West Virginia and grew up in and around there.

And here’s the funny thing: Normally, I listen to film scores when I write. I tend to think cinematically, so my stories tend to be that way – so orchestral scores seem to be a perfect fit. The odd thing? This time I seem to fluctuate between those scores (usually of the Danny Elfman, John Williams or Bernard Herrmann variety) and something completely off track – I am also finding myself drawn to listening to Steve Grand‘s offerings. They aren’t contemporary to the time I am setting the piece (1956 in West Virginia) but there’s something homey and irrefutably connected about Grand’s take on things that I just seem to be goin’ with it and not askin’ too many questions along the way – mostly cause I don’t have time to spare for this if the book has to be done in 30 days.

If it works, it works – right? Steve Grand being the emotive core of my boys in Sparrow’s Holler? Well, that’s fine by me.

As much as Jay Brannan proved to be the emotive core for Angels, Grand’s music is the wellspring for my wolves of Sparrow’s Holler. Who knew? I sure as hell didn’t. I just put on Steve’s latest releases and three or four rounds of the playlist and I was writing like a fiend. Who am I to question the muse of the project? It coulda been worse… and Steve is far above anything like that. Like Brannan, Grand inspires me – I love men who are living their lives openly and with such conviction I think that is what I am emotively responding to and imbuing my characters with. Grand and Brannan both are openly gay artists, brilliant and accomplished writers in their own right, and if they give me little creative spark to play with – I am all the better for it.

So yeah, that was a surprise in and of itself. But for some reason it works – I dunno, maybe cause I could see Steve as one of the wolves? What do you think?

Grand fanboy here and proud of it! #teamproud #teamgrandfam

Grand fanboy here and proud of it! #teamproud #teamgrandfam

But it’s more than that. I think the reason it’s clicking is because there is a solid thread of warmth that weaves its way in Grand’s work. A humanity that I need to be reminded of as my wolves take over. Grand’s music addresses this beautifully. I think that is why I’ve navigated his way.

(Sidebar: I can’t wait for the album to drop – hint, hint Steve-a-rino)

Maybe that’s why I am tunin’ in as I write about my werewolves of West Virginia.  And with so much of the were lore established in the M/M genre, I am having so much fun putting my spin on things. Meaning that just because you’re the Alpha of the pack, doesn’t mean that you’re the one in control. I’ve got a new take on things that I hope will give my story an edge to it that hasn’t been present in the gay weres stories that have been out there before. Hank is an Omega in the pack, but in a way that’s never been done before – and it could prove to be an epic game changer.

Either way, Hank O‘Malley, Omega (where the title HO’M,O comes from – the main character of the story) – has that same quality Grand puts forth in his music. The exuberance and the temperance of a life that is rooted in who he was brought up to be. Yet, his life experiences are starting to color that. But the story isn’t a happy one – it’s a dark tale – I mean, they are werewolves after all. That’s not to say there isn’t hope and love threaded within the tellin’ of the tale. Cause there definitely is…

For a boy who was a loner, just work at his Mama’s general store and school to mark the passing of time for him, his world has been slowly evolving around him. He hasn’t paid much attention to the subtle changes in the 8 boys on the football team who always run together. Boys who used to taunt him and shake him up from time to time. Now, there’s a subtle difference in the air. It seems the Cavanagh High School Wolves means a helluva lot more in the town of Sparrow’s Holler than anyone thought.

Hank chides them in his mind and refers to them as “the pack”. Those eight boys, alternatingly mischievous, brooding, and lust-filled — these boys are always together. And they rule the school with an iron paw. Their word is law – even when held up to the Principal himself.

And then there’s Hank. Loner that he is – not seeing how these boys have been slowly circling him. Moving ever so much closer – as if their own continued existence depended upon Hank joining their ranks. And they’d be right about that.  Hank is something special in the way of Omega’s within the pack. He’s different in ways that the boys can’t even imagine. Hank is the dark hero of the tale.

So yeah, 22,252 words out of 50K goal. And I am only in chapter 2! Yeah, so gotta figure out how I am gonna reign this one in so I don’t go for another 205K word epic like my first volume of Angels.

I’d like for this to be a side line of short stories that have a greater arc to them. Like those serial short films that our parents or grandparents went to in the 1940’s and 50’s. Slim offerings – a morsel at a time.

At 22K words and only two chapters in? I think I have my work cut out for me to start moving forward at a greater clip to get to my HEAFN (Happily Ever After, For Now) for the first installment. I need to think like those directors of those quickie shorts of the 50’s. Gonna have to tuck in my inner Cecil B. DeMille and think more like oh, I dunno – (face palms and realizes that I generally watch epic films) one of them directors of those classic horror movies of that era. Ya know, like Don Siegel (yeah, I just IMDB’d it) like in Invasion of the Body Snatchers? Or better yet, Erle C. Kenton of House of Dracula (where Lon Cheney, Jr. makes his appearance as Lawrence Talbot/The Wolfman). Yeah, that’s more like it.

Okay, enough of this – I need to be writing the novel again.

Earbuds in place, Grand’s Stay is cued up – time to go run with the wolves again.

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@stevegrandmusic – thanks for givin’ my boys something to run with!

Peace – OUT!

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Runnin’ with the Pack – Part 1

Runnin’ with the Pack – Part 1

 

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So my first day of writing in the NaNoWriMo contest is coming to a close. I do have other things to do and write, ya know. I think I’ve knocked this one out of the park though. It’s a solid first effort.

 

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The average is 1600+ words a day to hit the target of 50K. I’ve been sorting out what I was going to do for the first day of solid writing that it all sort of flowed almost FASTER than I’d could type (which is fairly fast).

Don’t know that all of them will go as smoothly but at least I’ve got a solid start.

Today’s word count – 9,042 (or 20 pages) 

 

Teen Wolf Hottie

Teen Wolf Hottie

 

Not bad for a first haul. According to the nanowrimo site I should be done in about 8 days at this rate. I don’t know that that will happen as I had a bit of time to sort it all in my head so when I hammered it out it was one long stream of consciousness brain dump I was on. Now that I am nearing the end of that ‘brain storming session’ I think that I will find that my pace might slow a tad here and there.

I do think that my total word count will easily eclipse the 50K bar. Only because I write like a fiend when I am in the groove of it all. But I just hope I don’t overwrite the whole damned thing. My goal is not the 50K, but that I can limit myself to an actual short novel.

As I’ve said before, I think Cecil B. DeMille epically when I write. It’s just how my gay perspective thing is on it. But yeah, with these weres, so gonna let them have a fun, scary and satisfying romp. It’ll be brief but hopefully not the only one of the series (because while I may give it a HEAFN at the end of this book, I will definitely leave it open-ended enough to carry if forward if people seem to like it).

Anyway, said I was gonna blog about the process – so yeah…

DAY ONE – 9, 042/20 pages!

Not too bloody bad in my book…

Now time to go make dinner – my work is never done, it seems.

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