Alice is in the House! Please Welcome Alice Abel Kemp to the Blogathon!

Alice Kemp

Say hi to Alice Abel Kemp!

I asked Alice to talk about herself, and she very kindly opened up in all kinds of fun ways.
Take it away, Alice!

 What I want readers to know: I would like readers to know that I have a passionate commitment to women’s equality. Trained as a research sociologist, my dissertation and subsequent research publications focused on women—why their earnings remain low compared to men’s, the effects of job segregation, and the burdens of poverty. I am most proud of a textbook I published in 1994—Women’s Work: Degraded and Devalued. I still receive small royalties for reprints although the book is long out of print.

I loved teaching women’s studies classes. Just this summer I heard from a former student that my class from over twenty years ago transformed her life. She’s now an Associate Dean of Business at a big university in New Orleans.

But after twenty years I was ready for something different. Writing academic stuff was always hard for me. In contrast I found the freedom of fiction writing exhilarating. When Debby Gilbert told me she loved my first romance (The Red Halter Top), I was hooked. One of my rewards now is that I have my women characters face difficult situations but succeed and thrive.

When did I become serious about writing romantic fiction: My first exposure to non-academic writing was a workshop at my university on writing memoirs. I drafted one, but never finished it after Katrina overturned all our lives in New Orleans in 2005. Several of us academics formed a writers group that exposed me to all kinds of seminars, conferences, and the Romance Writers of America. The Red Halter Top resulted from the local RWA chapter’s writing challenge. I wrote the novella in a month and published it in 2013. Since then I had two romantic suspense stories published in 2014, and another accepted this Spring.

My writing process: Most importantly, I strive to write every day. A yellow stickie on my desk says “Write First,.” and another pink one says “Write Every Day.” I write in the morning when my household is mostly quiet. Our three dogs finally settle down, and the parrot stops complaining. I need quiet to focus.

I have a tiny altar on the desk – with a votive candle I light, a few crystals sitting on a small alice2ceramic leaf, a tiny crone figure, a small statue of a Goddess found in the ruins of Knossos in Crete, a tiny amethyst penguin, and tiny blue dolphin from Sicily.  These items inspire and comfort me.

Hobbies: I’ve always loved to sew and fell into quilt making while still on the faculty. Current quilt is for my daughter and her partner.  alice3Across the years I’ve made over twenty quilts, mostly for family members and for our beach rental house on the Gulf. In addition I crochet. My favorite pattern is a Prayer Shawl http://www.shawlministry.com/crochet_patterns.htm. These are made with a prayerful intention for the well-being of the recipient.  alice4 Both are satisfying hobbies because you have a tangible result in your hands. Publishing either academic articles or romance novels is a long process—sometimes a year or more before stuff is in print. With my hobbies I have something to show for my efforts today.

Current Work: I’m currently working on The Tenure Scandal, a sequel to The Jury Scandal. The protagonist is a women sociology professor (big surprise). Her husband is a homicide detective she met in the first book. In this story she’s drawn into the intrigue of the history department where professors are being killed, apparently to eliminate competition for tenure.

Inspiration comes from all over the place. Often I include crimes that have been in the news. The most fun inspiration I’ve had is with the plot for The Taste of Her, my most recent publication. I have an Idea folder where I intend to stick scraps of possible stories, meaningful quotes, and images that catch my attention. Ready for a new manuscript last year, I opened the folder, anticipating a treasure trove of goodies. There was one yellow stickie in the otherwise empty folder with the phrase, “he loved the taste of her skin.” In a flash, the whole story appeared—a villain who licked women’s bodies before stabbing them, a woman homicide detective who chased this creep and was almost his victim. Published last December, the wonderful cover and blurb are here.

thetasteofherTHE TASTE OF HER is the story of Margaret Angelo, a New Orleans homicide detective. Despite the sexism of the NOPD, she works to catch a serial killer, the Slasher, who kidnaps women, assaults them, and gets off on licking their bodies before he kills them. Although devoted to her job, Margaret longs for a life partner. She reconnects with a high school acquaintance, Jim, whom she hires to paint her house. They begin a relationship, but Margaret is kidnapped by the Slasher and faces certain death. The other detectives manage to rescue her, but the Slasher escapes their trap. He is losing control and hunts Margaret down, determined to finish her. With Jim’s support, can she escape this mad man?

BUY LINK:  AMAZON:

Thanks so much for visiting with us today, Alice! And best of luck with your newest writing ventures!

Posted in Soul Mate Publishing, 2015 August Blogathon | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Hello. My name is….

Hello sticker

I am a new member of the Soul Mate Publishing Blog, so I thought I’d make my first entry a fairly simple introduction.  Hello. My name is Phyllis Middleton. I am a Colorado native who was transplanted to Texas via a marriage.

Go Navy

Although I’ve been writing stories since the eighth grade, my career didn’t go that direction.  I wanted to join the Navy out of high school.  I had no clue what I would do in the service, but that’s where I wanted to go.  My family, on the other hand, was adamant that I couldn’t join because the Viet Nam conflict was still going on and it was too dangerous.

HA!  As it turned out, two years later, I was hired as a civilian at the Pueblo Sheriff’s Department.  When I turned 21, I was given a Deputy Sheriff commission and a career was made that was more dangerous than any of us could have ever imagined.  While a deputy, I’d been shot at, held hostage, held at knife point and those are the highlights.  I can’t even count the number of fights and scrimmages I’ve endured. It made for an exciting life of adventure and I loved it.  I expanded my experiences there to become a Detective and Crime / Death Scene expert.Deputy Sheriff badge

I later moved to Denver where I worked as a senior investigator for the Denver Coroner’s Office.  I saw a lot, did a lot, and learned a lot.  I don’t think I need to explain my duties and experiences there.  After twenty years of being in public service, I moved onto the civilian world and I’ve been working for nearly another twenty years in private security.

Semi-retired now, I started writing again in 2005.  I joined the Romance Writers of America and then my local RWA in Dallas (DARA) where I learned the craft of writing.  I found that  to be a huge task.  I had the imagination.  I had plenty of experiences to write gripping action.  Still, I had a ton to learn!  POV, plotting vs. pantser, voice, GMC, ARC’s …on and on it went.

In 2005, I’d written my first book of 86,000 words in three months’ time with the intent of getting it published.  It took 9 years to polish it and get it published.  Albeit, I didn’t constantly work on it for all those years, but it took that long for I wanted that book to the first to be published.REJECTED

In Feb/Mar 2014, I submitted my query and partial to Soul Mate Publishing. Later, I received the email requesting the full, which I sent.  I admit that I’ve had a number of those types of letters and emails, only to be told things like “we love your voice, but the story isn’t right for us” or “we love the story, but can’t fit it in our line” so when SMP requested my full I really wasn’t expecting to go much further.

WE WANT YOUThen it happened to see a May 5th email from Editor Debby Gilbert not only saying she loved the story but wanted to publish it!

I had to read the email a number of times.  Hubby was funny. I called him and gave him the news and he said, “That’s nice.”  I think I told him it’s not just nice, but wonderful news!  I’m not sure, but I figured he got the hint that was BIG news.  Then I HAD to tell my closest writing friends, but I couldn’t announce it officially until the contract was signed, sealed, and delivered.

Since then, I’ve learned even more about the editing process; cover art and learning more about marketing not only the book but promoting myself as well.  So, here it is. My first book.  NINE LIVES, TWO DOWN, is a romantic suspense/thriller and was released just a few months ago  in March 2015. NineLivesTwoDown200

Don’t you just love this cover?  I hope that all those who read my book will enjoy it!

Posted in Soul Mate Publishing | 12 Comments

RWA & NYC

The Terrible Trio Does Dialog

The Terrible Trio Does Dialog with T.L.Costa,, 2nd from left moderator, and that’s Kristan Higgins on the far right.

RWA does not stand for ready, willing and able, at least not for us writers. RWA stands for Romance Writer’s of America. RWA knows how to travel. This year’s annual conference was here, in my hometown, New York City. I holed up at the Marriott Marquis for 4 days. For those of you who have never experienced this hotel, you will be in for a treat, especially if you like being on a cruise with about 2000 cruisers. The only difference is that instead of eating all day as you would on a cruise, you attend business meetings and workshops. The morning speakers were great, and the workshops were magical.

Jennifer Iczkiewicz,noraroberts,gailingis

Jennifer Iczkiewicz,noraroberts,gailingis

NY, NY a wonderful town

NY, NY a wonderful town

For the first time, I moderated a workshop. That meant I introduced the panel of speakers in one of the workshops. I loved doing that. I haven’t done any public speaking or teaching in a long time. It was fun having everyone’s attention and telling them about these speakers that were about to enhance their knowledge bank.

Regina Kyle, moderator &Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Regina Kyle, moderator &Susan Elizabeth Phillips

The workshops ran all day everyday, from 9:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. There was only a 45-minute break at noon. Hardly enough time to grab lunch or just miss it.

Jamie Beck selling all her books

Jamie Beck selling all her books

Everyone was concerned about the elevators. No problem. All the elevators were automated. You push a button for your floor number on a wall panel, every elevator has a designated letter. And escalators between the first and ninth floor made it even easier to navigate. The hotel handled all 2000 writers well.

So, what was my favorite activity of the conference? Was it the Fun Home Broadway show? Dinner at Frankie and Johnny’s? The photo shoot with the amazing Marti Corn looking around with me around Broadway to have a great background in my photos? Getting my makeup professionally done for the photo shoot? The trade show for writers where some form of chocolate flowed at every table? Although all that was great, my favorites were my meeting with Gwen Reyes of Fresh Fiction and best of all was getting to know my chapter colleagues, meeting new authors and seeing two of our members, Patty Blount and Katy Lee’s names, on the marquee for the highest awards given to writers. They both were finalists in the Rita Award category.

Brownstone of NYC

Brownstone typical of NYC

By the time this great conference ended, we were exhausted and ready to go home.

RWA, thank you for an exhilarating experience.

Have you had a romance with New York City?

Posted in Soul Mate Publishing | 3 Comments

A Soul Mate Christmas Anthology

Whoo hoo! We’ve done something new recently!

kissing santa

Wikimedia commons public domain picture

In response to a call for Christmas themed novellas, we concocted one entitled Kissing Santa about a mall Santa and a mall elfette who meet at a Santa conference and fall for each other, but with a twist. Did you know there are really Santa Conferences? We didn’t, but when Donald discovered this, our imaginations went into overdrive.

After a couple weeks of plotting and writing, we sent Kissing Santa to the editor at SMP, and have recently been informed that we are one of the Magnificent Seven that senior acquisitions editor Char Chaffin chose. (Her words, not ours.) The anthology will have seven, 10,000 word, steamy novellas and be ready in time for your Christmas reading pleasure.

We had a lot of fun writing this short book. Short is not in our vocabulary when it comes to writing. If you’ve read our Turning Stone Chronicle series, you know that we write complex, long story lines with multiple POVs, as many as five sometimes. Getting everything into 10,000 words using two POVs and without wandering off into a second plot line was a challenge, but we did it. At least after we’d weeded out a bunch of those pesky words Catherine is so fond of—twice.

The editor wanted lots of Christmas in the book, so we thought a Santa conference was a perfect setting. A ballroom of Santas is pretty Christmasy, if you ask us. We also brainstormed for turns of phrases that had Christmas flair to them. After all, when you can say things like his body reacted to her quicker than Santa went up the chimney you can get in the Christmas mood rather fast. ☺

Anyway, we’re rather excited and crowing about our newest success. Hope you don’t mind.

Look for A Soul Mate Christmas Anthology this fall, just in time for your holiday reading pleasure.

 

 

 

 

Posted in From the Desk of CD - | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Victoria’s Vignette’s for the day Pitching and RWA

I juIMG_1437st came back from New York and RWA.
Going to see writer friends and the masters of the genre thrills me. I go every year I can. I’ve learned so much from every RWA conference. And once again this year some of my friends are going and one of my soulmate sisters couldn’t be my roommate this year. I’m so lookingforward to books from friends. One I’ve read and I can’t wait for everyone else to read. Sheena
Snow and her robots are going to knock your socks off Sparked_805x1275-380x602in Sparked. Then reborn_850HIGH-pic-682x1024Jane Ederlyn which are actually two awesome women are going to force me to read about vampires. (With my name being Victoria Ann Margaret Pinder aka VAMP, I’ve always left those books for my mother who clearly loves all things with fangs. Both of my friends pitched tese books at RWA Nationals to Soul Mate Publishing and were offered contracts. There books come out soon as both of them finished their edits. I’m so excited for my friends. They both sElecting_Love_LARGEay amazing things about their editor and mine, and now all of us are about to be published. So the 305 Miami people are all excited, but it truly started with RWA Nationals. They both pitched great book in person and now they finished their edits. The books will be out this year and I’m so excited for them.

My own edits for Electing Love were slightly delayed, but I sent them in. As soon as I know the date, I’ll pass that on. The book is much cleaner now though so Debby Gilbert will hopefully be happy. I actually didn’t pitch to Soul Mate in person, though I did push my friends too. I pitched initially online. needed a lot of work, but my writing has grown so much since then. I’m so excited about 2015 and the releases of books. And it all started with pitching. After RWA Nationals, the authors all come home clutching those business cards like our lives depended on it.

Posted in Soul Mate Publishing, Victoria's Vignettes! | Leave a comment

Important Things

This is my first blog for Soul Mate, so I’m new to most of you. Honestly, I’m still sort of new all the way around.

light-681540_1280In light of that, I’ll tell you a little bit about me. I live in the southern United States, and I’m probably older than you think I am. I have a husband who my friends have knighted as Mr. Perfect, and he pretty  much is. (Seriously … he does his own laundry.) I have a day job, parents, in-laws, siblings, and a huge extended family.  We’ve been through a lot lately: depression, broken bones, adoptions, new babies, extended illness, funerals, retirement…

Since I live away from my family, I also have a large network of friends. Best friends, close friends, friends I know in person, and those I know from online. Some friends I see daily, some I talk to regularly on the phone, and some I chat with in passing. A few I just met at the Romance Writers of America Conference in New York City.

montmartre-726987_1280My friends have been through a lot too: sending children to college, job dissatisfaction, struggling through their journeys both in life and in writing. Some are struggling with serious illnesses.  Those illnesses make me think about all the other friends I’ve lost.

And I’m over here with a book under contract …

All these developments, have made me reflective.

First, obviously, it’s not all about me. There are things going on in my life that are more important than my book. I need to look up from my keyboard and pay attention. I need to listen to those around me instead of thinking about plots and conflict. Life is full of REAL conflict every day.

live-511556_1280But second is that life is short – too short, and nothing should be taken for granted. Not the husband asleep in his chair, the family in another state, or the friend on the other end of the phone. And not that you’ll have time to write.

See, here’s the thing … several years ago (more than I care to admit), one of my high school English teachers told me I wasn’t creative.  Since she was someone I admired, I believed her. As a result, I never wrote another word of fiction. I didn’t even take fiction classes in college. I stopped writing.

woman-792162_1280Until four years ago, when I decided I’d try. If I truly did suck at it, no one needed to know. And that first story did suck, because I’d spent years running from being creative. I didn’t have the tools. But the bug had bitten me, and I love learning new things – so I dove in head first.

And now I have a book under contract ….

The journey isn’t over. It’s only just begun. I’ll be learning new lessons about writing for the rest of my life. I could have started earlier, true – and I wish I had. I’ve wasted far too many years.

hand-791230_1280Because life is short.

What are your creative dreams?  Are you pursuing them? What has been the most encouraging moment so far in your journey?

Mia 

Find me at:
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Posted in Happy Days With Mia, Soul Mate Publishing | 11 Comments

DOING A BOOK READING—OR MAYBE NOT

DickJaneRun jpegI shy away from doing book readings. For good reason.

You see, when I read out loud, I do it in a staccato monotone.

That droning voice is the reason I don’t even volunteer at my local writers’ groups to read their work out loud, let alone my own.

Okay, one reason for the way I read out loud is that I was a secretary and took dictation. Reading back shorthand isn’t a fluid process because translations are based on the sounds of the strokes written. When the boss gets revved up, my hand moved faster and so the phonetic symbols tended to become warped. Therefore, reading back a word that got slurred in the writing had to be sounded out— was it supposed to be an L and not an R? D-greg L n R jpeg

As a writer, I slow my speech when speaking into a tape recorder. That helps me catch “sound effects,” like too many s’s in a sentence. I can also listen for rhymes or tongue twisting phrases. I’m basically editing as I speak and listen, and I since it’s only me talking, I don’t care if I’m reading in a monotone.

Writers must strive to hear the cadence and flow of their words. This requires fine-tuning their inner ear to catch the word-kazoos that break the flow of the narrative. Unfortunately, when I’m singled out to read work, doing so sounds like a three-year-old reading, “see Spot run. See Jane run. See Dick run.”

So, these days, rather than embarrass anyone, including myself, I decline reading manuscript copy out loud and forgo doing book readings.

How about you? How fluid is your ability to read out loud and comprehend what you’re reading and hearing?

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Posted in Catherine's Cup of Tea!, Soul Mate Publishing | Tagged , , | 4 Comments