Book Two in the Naked Eye Series Sprouts Wings

Being introduced to Social Services at a very early age as a result of entering the foster care program, I have always had an interest in social issues.

With my debut novel, Red Clay and Roses, I focused on the inequalities of people living in the Deep South during the 1950s-60s, Women’s Rights, and Civil Rights as I told the stories of a black family and an independent, high-spirited white woman and her relationship with an African-American man who was in medical school and became very active in the Civil Rights Movement.

For a long time, I pondered over how my social issues of interest could be written into genre specific novels. Historical fiction was not conducive to current issues, except by virtue of how it is that current issues came to be issues at all.

I read across many genres and have always loved a good crime novel. But what is “good” to me may differ from what is “good” to you. I enjoy the witty comedy of crime that is characteristic of Serge and Coleman in Tim Dorsey’s work. I love the way Carl Hiaasen integrates current issues and history into his eco-thrillers and crime stories along with humor. Randy Wayne White fascinates me with the historical elements of place and time and contemporary elements of technology and current events. Tim Baker keeps me amused with his iconic justice for Florida weirdo criminals. They are more than crime novels, they are adventure stories. Not gritty noir, not hardcore city streets…but regional crime fiction that illuminates the unique culture that is Florida.

With this in mind, I set out to write my first crime novel, Naked Alliances. My goal was to write a Florida regional crime fiction novel that addressed the social issue and crime of sex-trafficking. I chose a private investigator as a protagonist because they have the unique ability to sometimes skirt the law to accomplish their goals, yet have boundaries they are governed by. (Though, sometimes, my P.I. oversteps these.) Richard Noggin is a bit naive, and a bit scattered, but both brave and intelligent, in his own way. I wanted him to have a female co-protagonist who was strong, smart, and skilled…but not necessarily traditionally feminine. Brandi, a transsexual exotic dancer, who was a cop briefly, and served time in the military as an E.O.D. Specialist, became his sidekick.

I’m not a comedian, but wanted there to be opportunity for subtle humor, while keeping the social issues and crimes serious. To that ends, I’m quite satisfied with book one in the Naked Eye Series.

Naked Alliances should be released this September, if all goes well.

In keeping with Florida themed social issues and crime, I have completed the outline of my next book, titled Naked Malice.

Richard Noggin, P.I., a gambler, sets out to investigate the suspicious death of his investment partner and friend, Milton Rexrode, in Vegas, but another death at the Reedy Creek Kennel Club and Card Room raises his suspicions that another investment partner is guilty of murder. But when a string of young Seminole men in the 3320 member Seminole Nation die under suspicious circumstances, and the Federal agents investigating rule the deaths accidents, Council Elders fear these are crimes against humanity in a conspiracy to commit genocide.

Each and every Seminole man, woman and child receives a check of from $7000. to $150,000 per year from the tribes’ gaming industry and non-gaming enterprises. The tribes have quickly gone from poverty to immense wealth over the past three decades. With a new generation that has never lived in the thatched roof chickees of their ancestors, or suffered the deplorable conditions of reservation life in the sixties and seventies, new problems arise as they receive distributions that lead the young people to believe they do not need to go to school or work for a living. Crime, excessive gambling, financial irresponsibility, and drug and alcohol problems threaten the existence of their culture. This is the skeleton that forms the basis of my next crime novel.

Huge efforts are being made to bring the youth back into the fold and keep the nation and its culture intact.

The Seminoles were not originally a single tribe. They were an alliance of Northern Florida and Southern Georgia natives that banded together in the 1700’s to fight the European invaders, including people from the Creek, Miccosukee, Hitchiti and Oconee tribes. Later the alliance became even closer, and today the Seminoles are a united sovereign nation, even though their people speak two languages and have different cultural backgrounds.

I really want to shine a good light on the Seminoles. In recent years, they’ve taken a lot of heat for irresponsible fiscal management, and I’m trying to use the story to demonstrate the positives that are coming out of their progress.

23 thoughts on “Book Two in the Naked Eye Series Sprouts Wings

  1. Thrilled to hear that Naked Alliances is moving forward. Stick with it and see what you can build!

    In my own writing news, I’m trying to return to Northville and get it done. We’ll see how it goes.

    • Northville is a very good story that will appeal to a broad audience, young and old. Of course, I only saw the first part, but I liked the direction it was heading in.

      Thanks for the encouragement. I know Alliances is not a book everyone will love. Attempting to reach a niche audience is a challenge that comes with marketing regional fiction, especially when it comes to reviews that might be made by others who love the more hardcore crime novel. It’s not perfect. I re-read it recently and there are some things I might have done differently (like Noggin’s insistence on Brandi calling the police, then not calling the police when he was in her position), some minor inconsistencies…but overall, I liked it and I’m satisfied with it. The characters have room to grow within the series. The main thing is that I had fun writing it. If your work is fun, it doesn’t feel like work. 🙂

      • That’s one of the things I’m trying to get back to. I enjoyed writing the first part of Northville. Really enjoyed it. Halfway through part two, I got bogged down and stopped enjoying it. I’m reading through the draft now and have some ideas about how to break the logjam.

        • That’s good to know. Have you tried to write a a one sentence log-line? It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do but, after taking a class on it, I buckled down on it and it truly helped me understand my own story and where I needed to correct some things relative to protagonist goals and desired outcomes. It helped me direct the story when I had lost my focus in the scenes. Carrie Rubin gave me a couple of formulas and I worked with them until things made sense.

          • I haven’t tried a log line or a synopsis or a pitch for this story yet. Maybe that would work, but I also think I absolutely suck at that part of the publishing/writing experience, so trying to do it now may just add to my frustration. 😉

    • I love Old World Florida. Book One was based in New World Florida. Old World Florida is far more interesting. You get away from the city and out into the glades and it’s a whole different universe. So is going coastal. There are things I value about all three worlds, but I have to admit, I’ll be glad when we can move out of the city.

    • This is one of my favorite parts of writing a book, the research that goes into it between pulling together a fishbones outline and the fleshing out of a story. So much to learn and see.

    • They are really trying to use their resources for good. There are sources claiming unfair distribution of resources among family members of Counsel leaders, but then you also read about about outstanding things these family members are accomplishing with the monies they’ve been granted…so who is to judge.

  2. I didn’t know you had been in the foster care system, Susan. I’ve had a couple of friends who endured that, and it was apparently a nightmare for them. Thanks also for emphasizing your positive input of the Seminole community. I’m not Seminole, but I am part Mexican Indian and know full well the myths and legends that surround America’s indigenous peoples. Best wishes with the book release!

    • Thanks Alejandro. I try to look at the positives. I learned so much and met so many people from a multitude of religious and cultural backgrounds in foster care. Nothing bad really happened to me except date rape that was based on the reputation of Harpst Home girls at the orphanage I ultimately ended up in residing in. I look back on my foster care days as a blessing rather than with regret. My grandfather’s mother died in childbirth. It is rumored that his mother was Cherokee, but the family wrote her out of the history books written by the churches my great-grandfather attended. They mention his previous wife, but claim she was Irish, as his second wife was, but this second wife treated him horribly. He had to sleep in the barn and eat meals away from other family members. He was badly abused by both his father and step-mother.

  3. Sounds like you’re working hard, and it all sounds so interesting. Some escaped slaves also lived with and became part of the Seminole, as you probably know. Good luck!

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