Tag Archive | The Red Halter Top

The Origin of my Next Publication

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. (-:

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Procrastination or a Break?

How we define what we’re doing is a matter of perception. My writing plan is to write 5 days week for 4 hours, but I’m not doing that right now. Mardi Gras was a good excuse since one of the big parades goes through my neighborhood. But that was last Saturday and Fat Tuesday was two days ago. The really good news is that I received a contract from Soul Mate Publishing the beginning of February for a new story–The Taste of Her. Will advise when it’s going to be published. That success makes me very happy, and perhaps after I quit celebrating, I’ll get back to work.

What I’m doing instead is taking pictures in City Park. IMG_0895
Here one of the black swans, swimming toward us. See how his wings are lifted. That’s aggressive behavior. He’s telling us not to get too close. We had our 3 dogs with us.
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Here’s why. The two have built a nest on a small island in the lagoon that runs along City Park Avenue. Hopefully, folks won’t notice them since they blend in so thoroughly. The orange stripe on their beaks is almost the only way you can find them. We are in great hopes that they will produce cygnets in a couple months. We haven’t any cygnets, black or white, since before Katrina. See my post about the black swan that was injured protecting her nest from vandals last spring. Post title is “Wildlife in New Orleans” from March 19, 2013.

So enough procrastinating this morning. And by the way, if you haven’t read my first novella, The Red Halter Top, I have to ask – “What are you waiting for?”

Red Letter Day-First Publication

Today is the DAY. My novella, THE RED HALTER TOP, is out – available on Amazon. Whoopee, Dancing and Singing. Red Halter Top 5 final copy 72 DPI
In the meantime, Spring is almost over in New Orleans. Azalea bushes are finished and returning to big, boring bushes that now need to be trimmed. The one overhanging my driveway especially.
French Quarter Fest starts tomorrow–a three-day food, music and drinking festival on the streets of the Quarter. Here’s a link, if you’re interested: http://www.fqfi.org/frenchquarterfest/ But the bad news is that strong thunderstorms and rain are predicted for this afternoon and into tomorrow. Bummer.
The biggest Spring festival is Jazz Fest – http://www.nojazzfest.com/ This is a ten-day long outdoor festival held at the Fair Grounds, a race track about five blocks from my house. I used to live even closer, and these two weekends tie up the parking, congest the traffic, and from my porch I can hear the sounds of the festival, but not any one musician. There are dozens of stages, big star performers, and it seems like hundreds of food booths and juried crafts for sale. You can’t just show up and try to sell your handicrafts or food. You have to submit samples for their approval. Hopefully, the weather will be better for Jazz Fest. But except for shutting down the huge music stages with all the electrical sound equipment, thunderstorms don’t seem to deter the crowds. See more details here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Orleans_Jazz_%26_Heritage_Festival . Besides the threats of thunderstorms, the other warning about Jazz Fest is that by the end of April, we’re into summertime. It’s very hot and humid.
So after promoting my novella and promoting New Orleans, I am happy to report that I started a new story as soon as I finished that blog about what to do next. https://aliceakemp.com/2013/03/26/how-do-you-decide/. I opened a folder I’d set up labeled “New Ideas” and guess what I found inside? I laughed out loud. There was only one sticky note with a phrase I’d written down from something I read. The phrase was “He loved the taste of her mouth.” And a whole story opened in front of me – the title: “The Taste of Her” is a murder mystery where the bad guy seeks to lick the women he captures and kills. I’m nearly fifty pages into it and having a great time.

What goes on in the Spring where you live? What are you working on? I’m also finishing a quilt for my husband’s niece. Will post some pictures next time.
Have a beautiful day, and if you decide to buy my book and like it, give me a good review and tell your friends. If you don’t like it, please just tell me. (-:

Caesar’s Recovery

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This is Caesar – he’s a 15-month-old British Lab. They look somewhat different from the typical Labs we see with their long noses, but he has the personality of a Lab, especially now that he’s no longer in pain. He had severe bilateral hip displasia. Notice in the picture how he sits funny.
But now he’s good – two FHO surgeries – femoral head ostectomy, where they cut off the head of femur where it has been grinding in his hip socket. Rehab exercises are building muscles back to support the femurs.
While he was recovering from the surgeries, it was necessary for my husband, my sons, and my grandson to carry him up and down the steps to go outside. We live in what’s called a raised basement house, that is, we live on the 2nd floor, and the ground floor is the basement (and 2 rented apartments). Houses in New Orleans don’t have basements underground because most of the city is built on filled swamps.
Anyway, I digress. Carrying a 68 lb. dog up and down steps wasn’t fun, and I can’t do it – bad back. But that’s all over. He’s healed up, although his butt was shaved and is still absent the hair.IMG_0339 But it’s starting to grow back.

These days he’s able to leap up on the couch without any trouble and sleeps there for hours. Another couple weeks of rehab – where they have him walk a treadmill in water and other strengthening exercises, and he’ll be good to go.

What kind of pets do you have? Are they in good health? We’ve got 2 dogs and 2 birds. Only quiet here so long as no one rings the door bell or the parrot runs out of food. If I can’t work in the noise and the mess, I’m in trouble, my friends.
One last thing – be on the lookout for my short story – The Red Halter Top, coming out on with Soul Mate Publishing on Amazon April 10. I’ll post the link.