The Taste of Her is a romantic suspense contracted with Soul Mate Publishing and coming out sometime this year. I am very pleased about this. When I shared the good news with friends, sometimes they’d ask me how I come up with my stories.
The Taste of Her was the easiest plot to design. Briefly it’s about a serial killer who delights in licking women’s bodies before he kills them. The homicide detective on the case who’s close to identifying him is herself kidnapped. You know romance stories have to have a happy ending, so I don’t need to go into any more detail here.
The origin of this story involves a practice I suspect many writers employ. I have a manilla folder (when I can find it) with the label “Story Ideas.” I’d done as much as I could on The Third Wife, a historical romance that chronicles a Seventeenth-Century witch who is befriended by a talking cat. I’ve worked on that story for a couple of years, and I needed to put it aside, let it rest, and start something new.
Tidying up my very messy desk one morning, I found the “Story Ideas” folder. Oh, great, I thought. Just what I need–a collection of ideas I’d saved. I got myself a fresh cup of tea and settled down to peruse the scrawled notes I anticipated were in the folder. I laughed when I opened the folder because there was just one yellow sticky inside. On the sticky, I’d written or copied a line from somebody’s work that I liked. I make all kinds of notes like this, copying good phrases, descriptions, and examples that I use to trigger my own writing. I don’t use any of them verbatim, just as triggers.
The note said: He enjoyed the taste of her skin. That was it. I stared at the note, and in a flash the entire plot of my story emerged. I envisioned a perverted serial killer who licked drugged women’s breasts just before he killed them. I could see a female homicide detective who struggled with sexist assholes in the homicide bureau and her over-bearing retired cop father. She fought all of them to be put in charge of a task force to catch the killer. She went undercover in the bar from which several of the victims had been abducted. And then she’s kidnapped in front of her own home. Etc etc etc.
All the pieces were there. I grabbed a yellow pad and jerked out my story structure notes from Michael Hague’s workshop I’d attended at the Romance Writers Convention in NYC three years ago (http://www.storymastery.com/). Within thirty to forty-five minutes I’d scribbled out the entire plot. Writing it took a little longer, but I had the entire framework. This was the first manuscript where I resisted my tendency to edit extensively as I write. I tried hard to just get it down on the page. When I finished, I found a fellow writer from my RWA chapter who was willing to read it for me.
I will acknowledge her in the publication because she gave me six single-spaced pages of notes and suggestions that were golden. I did a thorough revision based on her comments and sent it off to Debby Gilbert, the publisher at Soul Mate who’d contracted The Red Halter Top, my first fiction publication. Debby replied within a couple of weeks, sending me a contract. So stay tuned; I’ll promote this one when it’s out on Amazon. In the meantime, check out The Red Halter Top. Link is to the right on this page. It’s a novella, straight sexy romance. Give it a good review if you like it. If you don’t, just tell me. (-: