Monday, December 31, 2012

Meet Louise, the Two-Faced Villain in "The Deception"

Photo by Fotolia
We've all known people like this, haven't we? People who are sweet as pie to your face and pretend to be your best friend when, in reality, they have their own agenda, and their only interest is in using you. With friends like that who needs an enemy, right? Meet Louise Dickenson, one of the antagonists in The Deception. Louise is more than happy to be your friend, provided you have something of benefit to her, which makes her such a great antagonist. She's the kind of woman we all love to hate.

Louise is a semi-retired commercial photographer. Years before, she was the photographer who shot all the print ads of Carrie, the leading lady, when she was a child model. The two forged a friendship, or so Carrie believed. Later on, when Carrie became a commercial photographer herself, Louise mentored her.

Louise is now an art photographer. She has a show coming up at a local art gallery, and she's also picked up a private commission for a series of photos of a female nude to display in a private home. Louise plans on including the nude photos in her upcoming show as well, but first she needs a model. Knowing  Carrie is down on her luck, Louise decides to help her by offering her a well paying modeling gig, but when Carrie hesitates, Louise skillfully calms her fears by convincing Carrie that she really is trying to help her. Finally, Carrie accepts, but the experience leaves her feeling manipulated and exploited, and as events unfold, she'll discover that Louise was never her friend.

Louise is a fictitious character, but she's loosely based on a family member who was also a master manipulator.

MM

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Blame It On Too Many Soap Operas and My Misspent Youth

© Can Stock Photo / ginosphotos
Sometimes people ask me what motivated me to become an author, or why I write contemporary romance. Well, blame it on my misspent youth, because for many, many years, I was a soap opera junkie. It started when I was in about the sixth grade, and it lasted through high school and college, and into adulthood. I can even blame it on my mother too. Instead of telling me to go do something more productive with my time, she got me started on her soaps.

I used to schedule my college classes around my soaps. (Yes, there actually was a time when we weren't able to stream.) Having my first VCR was a truly liberating experience. I could have a life since I could now tape my soaps and watch them at my convenience, and I taped my favorite soap everyday for years.

So, what was it about soap operas that was so compelling?  According to my old high school drama teacher, soap operas were real life, exaggerated. Back in the day, when soap operas relied on classic plot lines, such as extra-marital affairs, illegitimate children, and long-lost family members, viewers could make a connection because they were believable stories.

The other thing that made the soaps so compelling was, I believe, the characters. I never watched the now defunt All My Children, but I certainly know who Erica Kane was. Another unforgettable soap character, and one of my all-time favorites, was Dr. Marlena Evans on Days of our Lives. Having two great actresses, Susan Lucci and Deidre Hall, play those parts certainly helped, but behind those two talented actresses were talented writers who helped transform these fictitious characters into believable, three-dimensional people.

So, looking back, that was my inspiration. I too strive to create believable, three-dimensional characters such Ian Palmer, Gillian Matthews, Carrie Daniels and Alex Montoya, just to name a few. I also work hard to create believable stories, with plot lines similar to soap operas. My stories are about characters who get involved with the wrong people, long-lost lovers who are reunited, and people who are betrayed by the ones they trust the most. In other words, real life, somewhat exaggerated.

MM

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Halloween Excerpt from "The Reunion"

In honor of Halloween, I am sharing a Halloween excerpt from the pages of The ReunionGillian, the leading lady, has been invited to participate in a haunted hayride. While she is there, she'll confide in a stranger. Or so he seems. Please enjoy this sample from The Reunion and have a safe, and happy, Halloween.

MM
* * *
Gillian was warming herself at the heater when she heard someone walking up behind her. She turned around to discover she'd been joined by someone in a Grim Reaper costume. Whoever it was seemed to be staring at her.

"I'm sorry," he finally said. Gillian noticed he had a raspy voice. "I was told I'd be working with a blonde lady."

"Well, I was a blonde until a few weeks ago. Now I'm a redhead. The name's Gillian, by the way." She extended her hand.

"John. Pleased to meet you."

They shook hands. John explained that he was one of the locals, and he seemed to be curious about her. The sound of clopping hooves, nervous laughter and chatter told them the first wagon was approaching. Gillian pulled up her hood. At John's cue she ran up to the wagon, calling for help, while he chased after her. Their brief performance brought startled screams from the passengers. The wagon rolled on and they returned to the heater.

"So why would a blonde lady want to become a redhead?"

"It's a long story. Let's just say I'm celebrating a new lease on life. The old me was the blonde, the new me is a redhead."

As they were talking she caught a whiff of something familiar. It was the cologne that Ian always wore. The scent was a distraction. She had reminded herself that it was a popular brand and other men used it too. John became quiet. A short time later another hay wagon came by and they repeated their scary performance in the dark maze. After the wagon left, Jeremy came by to check on her.

"How are you doing?" he asked.

"So far, so good. Wait a minute, Jer. It looks like you've got a little smudge. Let me fix it for you." He leaned down as she removed one of her gloves and gave him a quick touch up. "There, that's better." 

"Thanks." Jeremy wrapped the reins around the saddle horn and reached down with both hands to pull her hood up. "You need to keep this on so you can stay warm. I don't want you catching cold."

"Got it. Thanks, Jer."

"You're welcome. I'll come back a little later to check on you again."

Jeremy rode away. Gillian turned back and noticed John watching her intently. It was starting to make her feel uncomfortable.

"I take it he's your significant other," he finally said.

"Actually, he's my best friend. Probably the best friend I've ever had."

"How so?"

Despite her growing discomfort with his questions, something deep inside told her John was trustworthy. She decided to follow her instincts.

"It's a long, complicated story. I'll just sum it up by saying I wouldn't be here talking to you right now if it wasn't for him. That man literally saved my life not too long ago. I don't remember it, but I'm told I fell into some water and nearly drowned. He's the one who rescued me."

"I see."

"You know, it's kind of ironic. Here I am talking to you, dressed up as The Grim Reaper, when I've met the real thing."

"Was it scary?"

"To tell you the truth, it really wasn't, and it's the only part of the entire incident that I can remember clearly. I was heading toward a light and I wasn't planning on coming back."

"Why not?"

Gillian sighed. "I'd just lost the love of my life. I had no reason to remain here and I wanted to cross over. Then I thought I heard my friend, Jeremy, calling me. The next thing I knew I was back at my backyard pool, only I wasn't in the water. Somehow, I was suspended over it. Jeremy was in the pool and he was holding a body in his arms, which I knew had to be mine. I saw his face. He had a look of shock, guilt and sorrow. He was shouting at me to stay with him. I knew, right then and there, that if I didn't come back it would destroy his life, so I had no choice. I had to come back, even though I didn't want to. I watched him lay my body out on the deck, and then I felt something like a tug. The next thing I knew he was rushing me to the hospital. That's why I'm still here."

She started smelling the cologne again and she looked at him more closely. The costume he wore didn't reveal much about him. He was wearing a full mask, with a robe and hood, and he appeared to be bundled up underneath it. A strange thought crossed her mind, but it couldn't be. Larry said his father was spending the day in Fort Collins with friends. John remained silent for several minutes. Finally, he found his voice.

"Well... Gillian, wasn't it?"

"Yes."

"Well, Gillian, your life is a precious gift. It's something that you must never, ever take for granted. You may think you came back for your friend, but that's not the reason why you're still here. You're here because your life is far from over, and you're meant to be here. I'm sure your family and friends, and your true love, are elated that you're still with them. And who knows, maybe your true love will return to you someday."

"Thank you, John. I appreciate your insight, but as far as my true love goes, I'm sorry to say that some things just aren't meant to be. Nice thought, though."

"Never say never."

The hay wagons returned several more times, but for the remainder of the evening, John said very little. Gillian was relieved when she finally heard the sound of Jeremy's approaching horse.

"That was the last one," he said as he rode into her section of the maze. "Are you ready to go, my dear?" Jeremy extended his hand and helped Gillian get back up behind him. She wrapped her arms tightly around his waist.

"Good night, John. It was nice meeting you."

John waved goodbye as the horse cantered away. He listened to the sound of the fading hoof beats. Once they were gone, he reached up, pulled down his hood and removed his mask. He heard his cell phone going off in his pocket.

"Is she still there?" asked the woman on the other end of the call.

"Jeremy just picked her up. Thanks, Laura. I owe you one."

He disconnected his phone and looked down the maze. Gillian and Jeremy were probably already halfway back to St. Eligius.

"My God, Gilly-girl, what have I done to you?"

# # #

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

You Novel Writers are Evil

That's a fellow author told me the other day. Of course, she didn't mean it literally, (I hope), although she had a point. Some of the things we novel writers do to our characters is just plain mean. Then again, some of those characters have it coming.

I was telling her about Scott, one of the antagonists in The Deception. Let's face it. Scott isn't the nicest guy on the planet. He's a married man who put himself out as a single guy, and his actions hurt a lot of people, especially Carrie, my leading lady. Once she and her friends figure out that Scott's stories aren't adding up she ditches him, and I'd planned on writing him out of the story at that point. Then someone else told me, no, I couldn't just write him off so quickly. Readers would expect him to be punished for what he did, and they'd be disappointed if he were able to simply walk away, so I took the advice. Later on in the book Scott is arrested for a crime he didn't commit, and he gets his comeuppance in the form of a humiliating strip search. I then told my fellow author that I went online and read testimonials by real people who've had this experience, and I based Scott's story on those real-life accounts. That's when she looked at me and said, "You novel writer's are evil." What can I say? She wrote a memoir, while I write fiction. Below is a short excerpt. You be the judge.

MM
* * *

Scott let out a sigh. He was trapped in a nightmare he couldn't wake up from. They arrived at the jail and once again he was taken into another small room for questioning. The door opened and a thirty-something blonde woman entered, taking her seat across the table from him.

"Finally, a friendly face."

"Hello there, Scott. My name is Deputy U.S. Marshall Diane Hall, and I'll be taking care of your booking. After we're finished, Billie Hughes, with the Phoenix FBI office, wants to talk with you." She handed Scott over to two male deputies. Once again, he was taken away be photographed and fingerprinted. When they finished he was escorted into another room.

"Okay," said one of the deputies. "I want you to slowly and carefully remove each item of your clothing, one at a time, and hand it over so we can inspect it."

"Why?"

"It's routine, sir. Take off the shirt, then your shorts, and your shoes and socks."

Scott did as he was told. When he was done, he was standing in his underwear.

"Did you not hear me, buddy? Remove your drawers and hand them over."

"What? Then I'll be standing here naked."

"That's why we call it a strip search."

"What! Are you kidding me? Why are you doing this? I've been accused of a non-violent crime."

"Sorry, it's routine. You're going into the general jail population. We have to search you for contraband."

For the first time in his life, he knew the feeling of being violated. It was the most humiliating experience of his life and the deputy seemed to be taking an unusually long time. When they finally finished, they led him to a shower. They watched him while he showered, and handed him an orange jail suit with a pair of open-toed rubber shoes when he was done. As soon as he was dressed, he was taken to an interview room, where Billie Hughes was waiting. As he took his seat, she opened her folder, removed a photo, and pushed it across the table toward him.


# # #

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Jason Matthews, the Deadly But Never Seen Villain in "The Reunion"

Photo by Fotolia
I'll usually have more than one villain in my novels, and Jason Matthews is one of the antagonists you meet in The Reunion. Interestingly enough, he's never actually seen, but his presence is most certainly felt, and he has a major impact on the story.

Leading lady Gillian, has a history of getting involved with the wrong men. An artist by profession, she tells Ian, the leading man, her story of visiting Tombstone, Arizona, to do some research after being commissioned to do a series of paintings about the Old West. While in Tombstone she happened to meet Jason, a bartender and street performer. Handsome and charming, Gillian asked Jason to model for the paintings. He not only accepted her offer, he quickly swept her off her feet. Gillian believed she'd finally found her true love, and the two eloped a short time later.

Gillian's happiness with Jason, however, would be short lived. Instead of being the man of her dreams, Jason became her worst nightmare. She eventually divorced him, and because they had no children, she believes he's in the past. Nightmares, however, sometimes have a way of recurring, and her worst nightmare comes to life once again when she learns that Jason has murdered his current wife. He's now on the run, and the authorities believe he's looking for her. What makes the character even more sinister is the fact that he's lurking, but never actually seen, leaving both Gillian, and Ian, to wonder where and when he will finally strike.


MM

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Meet Alex Montoya, Leading Man in The Deception

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Alex Montoya, the leading man in The Deception, has to be one of the most likable, not to mention sexy, characters I've ever  created. He's strong, yet quirky and vulnerable at the same time. The American-born son of a Spanish immigrant father, Alex is American in every way, while his father still clings to Old World customs and traditions.

Alex and Carrie, the leading lady, have a friendship dating back to the fourth grade. They remained friends through high school, but when they ended up going to colleges on opposite ends of the country they drifted apart. Ten years later Carrie deeply regrets letting Alex go. After her identity is stolen, and she's accused of a serious wrongdoing as a result, a friend arranges for her to meet with a bright young attorney who can help her. Much to her surprise, that bright, young attorney is none other than her long-lost best friend, Alex.

I created Alex in part as homage to a friend who was the first American born child of Italian immigrant parents. While proud of her heritage, she too sometimes found herself in conflict with her parents whenever they tried to impose their Old World expectations on her. He was also inspired by a real-life cousin who's an attorney and dedicated family man. In fact, the book is dedicated to him. 

If I had to describe Alex in one word, it would be loyal. He's the kind of man who's willing to go the extra mile for the people he cares about, while not expecting anything in return. That's what makes him a positive role model.

MM

Saturday, September 15, 2012

It's Jarring, Life Shattering, and It Can Happen in an Instant

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I'm starting to get some feedback on The Deception. For the most part it's been good, with some minor criticism here and there, but that's to be expected. After all, none of us can please all readers all the time. However, one comment was about the sudden end to one of the characters. I'm told it was too jarring and too over the top.

Warning! Spoiler Alert!

I decided to kill off a character in a traffic accident, and no, I don't warn you about it. That's because it's one of those things in life that really does happen, without warning, for the victims or their survivors, and afterwards life is never the same. It's a reality I know all too well. About ten years ago I lost a young cousin to a car crash. It was completely unexpected. One minute he was a healthy twenty-year-old man. The next minute he was gone forever.  My own life hasn't been the same since 1992, when I was sideswiped by an armored car going sixty-five miles per hour in a twenty-five mile per hour zone. I'm still alive, obviously, but it left me with a permanent injury. Twenty years later I'm still flabbergasted about how my life was changed so suddenly.

That said, my decision to kill a character in a car accident may indeed seem over the top for some of you. Others, however, disagree. Since the character who is killed is one of the "bad guys," I've been told by other readers that the scene made them fell vindicated, as they thought it was the character's "bad karma" that got them there.

Like it or not, it's one of those tragic events that happen all too often. I guess the point I'm making is to never take life for granted. It can, without warning, come to a sudden end.

My thought for the day.

MM

Friday, September 14, 2012

I'm Beginning to Scare Myself

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I've had some wonderful feedback on some of the antagonists in my novels, like Ryan Knight in The Reunion, and I'm pleased to be creating people you love to hate. The other day I was describing an antagonist I'm developing for my new novel, The Journey. Her name, at least for now, is Denise Sanderson, and she's going to be exceptionally nasty. As I was describing her to a fellow author I had to stop myself in mid sentence and say, "You know, I don't know where these people are coming from, but it's kind of scary when I stop and think about it."

Ask any novelist and they'll tell you that after awhile the characters will start creating themselves. They'll tell you who they are. That said, they still spring from somewhere deep in our creative psyche, so where are all these bitches and bastards coming from? I've always considered myself a good person, and I've always tried to treat others the way I would want to be treated.

Some of my villains, like Jason and Ryan in The Reunion, were inspired by some of the not-so-nice people I've encountered in my own life. Writing about them has been very cathartic because it really has helped me release a lot of previously unresolved issues. But other antagonists, like Maggie in The Deception, and Denise, in The Journey, are totally fictitious. They have no real-life counterpart--at least no one who I can recall, so it's made me wonder. Do I really have some deeply buried darker side?

Probably. 

Whether we want to admit it or not, all of us have a dark side. These antagonists represent our fears. They represent the sense of outrage, frustration and injustice, that most, if not all of us have encountered at one time or another. These antagonists give us the opportunity to vicariously act out our own anger and frustration. Maybe that's why we're so delighted when we finally see them get their just desserts. It gives us a chance to purge our own demons, and that's a good thing. That said, they still scare me.

MM

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Meet Carrie Daniels Leading Lady in "The Deception"

Photo by Fotolia
I really wanted to give Carrie Daniels, my Deception leading lady, a nice, girl-next-door quality, and judging by the comments I'm receiving from reviewers, it looks like I've hit my mark.

A freelance photographer and former child model, Carrie's entire world is about to come crumbling down. Three years earlier her mother suffered a debilitating stroke, and Carrie went from riches-to-rags once her mother's insurance ran out. Her financial calamity, however, is only the beginning of her problems. Doug, her significant other for the past ten years, is about to dump her. Once that happens, Carrie will be left homeless and vulnerable, making it all too easy for Louise, her former mentor, to seize the opportunity to exploit Carrie for her own selfish gains.

As the story unfolds, Carrie experiences both sides of infidelity. She's shocked and devastated when Doug admits he's been unfaithful to her. She'll later be deceived by Scott, a married man who presents himself to her, and her best friend, as a man who's single and available. Carrie leaves the relationship once she realizes things aren't adding up, but by then it will be too late as Scott's wife, Maggie, seeks revenge. Yet despite her troubles, Carrie remains resilient as she tries to make the best of what she can. She's the kind of character you can root for--sweet on the outside, but strong on the inside.

Carrie is a mostly fictitious character, in that I didn't model her after anyone in particular, although I may have put a little of myself into her. Photography has always been one of my life's passions, and, in my younger days, I too dreamed of being a model.


MM

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Why My Books are Religiously Neutral

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Someone recently asked me a very interesting question. Was The Reunion a Christian-oriented romance novel? I told her no, it was not. This is because I want readers of all faiths and beliefs to read, and enjoy, my books.

There are authors out there who, regardless of their genre, write novels geared toward readers of their faith. For example, last year I met Mormon author at a book signing. She informed me, quite matter-of-factly, that her books were LDS romance books. I looked at the covers, and sure 'nuf, the words, "LDS Romance," were included in all the subtitles. And since I'm not Mormon, she kind of looked down on me, as if I had two heads or something.

I'm pleased she has a faith that she believes strongly in, and if her religion enhances her life for the better then I'm all for it. However, from a marketing standpoint, she was limiting the scope of her readership to a very small percentage of readers.

As someone who believes in a higher power, my characters are also believers, but none are churchgoers because I don't want to endorse one religion over another. Any references made to God are generalized, and are stated with phrases such as, "then we'll all say a prayer that he'll be be found soon, safe and sound."

I admit I'm more spiritual than religious, meaning I believe in God, but I don't follow the dogma of any particular church. My parents weren't churchgoers, so I didn't attend Sunday school. As an adult, I found that whenever I joined a church, regardless of the denomination, I never stayed long due to the inevitable back-biting, politicking and out and out feuding going on amongst various members. 

So there you have it. I have my own set of spiritual beliefs, however, I don't use my books to proselytize or endorse any particular religion. I leave that up to the theologians.


MM

Friday, July 13, 2012

Sweet, Sensual or Erotic Romance?

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In the world of romance writing there are three distinct sub-genres.
  • Sweet Romance
  • Sensual Romance
  • Erotic Romance or Erotica
Sweet Romance is squeaky clean. There is no sex between the characters. All passion is expressed through kissing, hand holding and perhaps brushing a hand along a face. Suitable for young teens or readers with strong religious or moral principles.

Sensual Romance includes a few sex scenes, but the language usually isn't harsh and the scenes typically aren't described in an overtly graphic way. The emphasis is on the character's emotions, and the scenes are included so they can consummate their relationship. In other words, the characters aren't having sex just because they can. The scene is there because it's a part of the storyline, but the plot doesn't revolve around the sex scenes. Oftentimes there are only a few sex scenes within the entire story.

Erotic Romance is all about the sex. The descriptions can be quite graphic and the story may include variations such as threesomes, orgies or bondage. Two characters falling in love isn't what the story is about. It's all about the characters having sex and a lot of it.

When I started writing romance novels I decided to write sensual romance. To me, it's the most logical choice because it's what most readers expect. My lead characters make love, but only after they've fallen in love and are emotionally invested in the relationship. Once their relationship is consummated I usually don't write another sex scene between the two as it would be redundant. I'll instead have scenes with foreplay followed by pillow talk. 

From time to time, however, a leading man or lady gets involved with the wrong person, and on those occasions I may approach the sex scenes a little differently. For example, in my upcoming novel The Deception, Carrie, the female lead, has just ended a long-term relationship. She then meets Scott, who isn't who he appears to be. Scott knows Carrie is emotionally vulnerable so he takes advantage of her. Because Scott is a one of the villains in the story, the sex scenes between him and Carrie are a little racier, but even then my sex scenes aren't overly graphic. I'm more interested in what the characters are feeling during the scene. Alex, leading man, doesn't appear until after Carrie's relationship with Scott has ended. The one thing I won't do is have my protagonists bed hopping.

If you're looking for sweet, squeaky-clean romance I'm afraid you won't find it in my books. However, if you're looking for a believable story that will leave you feeling satisfied as a reader, I'll think you'll be pleasantly surprised.


MM

Monday, July 9, 2012

Yes, I Write More Than One Draft

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The other night I was watching Stephen King's Misery. Good flick, but not totally believable. I mean I bought the bit about the romance author being held captive by the deranged fan. Do a Google search and you'll find similar accounts of real-life events. No, I'm talking about the male lead, Paul Sheldon, producing a perfect first draft on a manual typewriter no less. Yeah, right. Like that would really happen in real life. The other unbelievable scene is when he and his agent are discussing the fact that his novels put his daughter through college. Really???? Hey, it's only a movie, but that scene made me laugh.

Okay, so the book was written in 1987. Back then the traditional publishers, (or the Big 6 as we authors like to call them), ruled the industry. They really did give big advances, at least to some authors. And I suppose that back then some authors probably made a good living off their books. No doubt Stephan King was one of them. However, it's certainly not the case today, but I digress.

Watching those perfectly written first drafts coming out of Sheldon's typewriter was a real hoot. Fun scenes, but pure fantasy. In the real world, we authors write many, many drafts and revisions. And then a funny thing happens when we write, particularly when we write novels. Our characters come to life, and they change and evolve right before our eyes as the plot unfolds. This means we may have to go back and rewrite earlier chapters. (Which I actually enjoy doing.) The point is that what you read in my books is the result of many rewrites and revisions, and that's before sending the manuscript to my editor.

But hey, I still enjoyed the movie. We authors love our fans, and Misery is a nightmare fantasy of a worst-case author-fan relationship. If you like suspense, without a lot of blood and gore, I recommend it.


MM

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Meet Ryan Knight, the Despicable Villain in "The Reunion"

Photo courtesy of Fotolia
You know, creating devious, diabolical, despicable villains really is too much fun. Take Ryan Knight from The Reunion. He's certainly raised a few eyebrows and he sure got both my editor's and my proofreader's dander up. That's when I knew I'd created a great villain.

Ryan appears in the flashback chapters. He's a college student getting ready to graduate and embark on his career as an architect. He and Gillian, the leading lady, have been dating for a couple of years, but lately their relationship has become strained. Ryan's been putting in a lot of overtime at the architecture building. He says he's having to work late on class projects, but Gillian is having her doubts. A few days after his graduation he asks her to stop by his apartment. He has news he wants to share. Gillian believes he's going to propose to her, but Ryan's idea of a proposal is the last thing she ever expected to hear.

Ryan was inspired by several real life men I've known; a moody ex-boyfriend, my ex-husband, and a good friend's ex-husband. With a cocktail like that you know you've got a real monster on your hands. My editor commented that Ryan was, "a bit mental." But my proofreader had me rolling on the floor. Apparently she'd printed out some of the pages and was working on them in her apartment complex laundry room, and Ryan had made her so mad that she started yelling at him and calling him an S.O.B. (Only she didn't say the abbreviated version.) She then told me that she looked up and noticed other people in the laundry room were giving her some very strange looks. She was so mad at Ryan that I worried she would quit on me. I had to keep reassuring her that Ryan only appeared in the flashback chapters, early in the novel, and that his appearance ended at chapter six, with only rare mentions of him throughout the rest of the novel. Thankfully she stayed on board, and all I can say is that's a real villain.

MM

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Two Kinds of Other Women


My inspiration for  The Deception began a few years ago when I happened upon a blog by a psychic reader talking about the questions she's most often asked by clients. One of the questions was, "When will he leave his wife for me?" Needless to say, her post had a lot of comments, and I noticed a trend. It seemed that everyone believed the "other woman" knew he was married, and she's lying if she says she didn't know.

I may not have the credentials to be a relationship expert, but as a romance writer who's also been single for much of my adult life, I can attest to the fact that if experience really is the best teacher, then I must be a relationship expect many times over. It's been my own life observation that there are actually two kinds of other women out there. One is the aforementioned mistress who knew from the get-go he was married, but chose to get involved with him anyway. The other is a good woman who's been deceived. I'm here to talk about the latter.

Typically these are single women looking for a meaningful long-term relationship, or marriage. They happen to meet a seemingly nice man who appears to be single. He's not wearing a wedding ring. He's not mentioning a wife or girlfriend. And, in some cases, a mutual friend also thought he was single. Then, later on, after she's become seriously involved, she finds out he's married. She'll feel just as shocked and betrayed as the wife who's been cheated on, only she gets a double whammy. People will side with the wife, as she's an injured party. And, just like in that psychic's blog, they'll condemn her and say she's lying when she says she thought he was single.

This can be very devastating and it can do untold damage to her self-esteem. She's accused of setting out to intentionally hurt the wife when she didn't know there was a wife. She may be left with some serious trust issues. And in some cases she could have been so manipulated that she really does believe he'll leave his wife for her--someday. And sometimes he does. However, it's been my observation that most of these guys are players. They want to have their fun, but they have no intention of ever leaving their wives. After all, their wife is their safety net in case the other woman decides to get serious.

The Deception is the story of a good woman who meets up with such a player. He comes into her life at a time when she's emotionally vulnerable, and he intentionally leads her to believe that he's single too. It doesn't take long, however, for her to realize that something isn't adding up. Unfortunately for her, by the time she ends the relationship the damage has been done and she's left to deal with the unintended consequences. While my story may be fiction, I'm sorry to say that real-life versions of it happen everyday. The point I'm making with this book is to not to judge others too harshly.  Sometimes people simply aren't who they appear to be.

MM

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Meet Gillian Matthews, "The Reunion" Leading Lady

(c) Can Stock Photo Inc. / photography33
And now for another true confession...like Ian Palmer, the leading man in The Reunion, Gillian, the leading lady, is also based on a real person--me. Granted, we're not clones, but we do have a few things in common.

Gillian has had a successful career as an artist, and she's even had a little bit of fame to go along with it. And while she's done well professionally, her personal life has been a bit of a disappointment. Gillian has a knack for getting involved with the wrong men, but that all changes when she travels to Denver for an opening at a gallery and a man from her past suddenly reappears. Ian Palmer is the one man she never got over. Gillian and Ian resume their friendship, and, once again, become lovers. Unfortunately, her world will shatter once again when something unexpected occurs behind the scenes. Later on, she'll become the object of affection with a new, and much younger man, while Ian attempts to win her back for a third time.

Okay, so maybe my life hasn't been quite so dramatic as Gillians. Or has it? I survived a car crash that, had it happened a split second sooner, may have killed me. And yes, there really once was an Ian in my life, but, thankfully, he's never reappeared. And doggone it, I haven't found myself enamored by a younger man--at least not yet. However, like Gillian, I started out my career as graphic designer and artist. I also lived in Denver for a time, and while I was there, a few of my paintings were accepted in some juried art shows.

So there you have it. Gillian is my alter ego, of sorts, even though I've never experienced most of the things that happen to her in The Reunion. That's where imagination takes over, and it's what made writing The Reunion so much fun.
MM

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Meet Ian Palmer, Leading Man in "The Reunion"

(c) Can Stock Photo Inc. / photography33
I'm going to let you in on a little secret that until now, only my closest friends knew. Ian Palmer, the leading man in my novel, The Reunion, was inspired by a real person.

Ian is an architect who appears in most of the story as a middle-aged man. He's had a successful career, working his way to a prestigious position with a large architecture firm. His personal life, however, has been less than stellar. He married the wrong woman for the wrong reasons, and the marriage ended after he discovered his wife had cheated on him. Now Ian's life is about to change. He has a second chance with Gillian, his long-lost love, but his new-found happiness will soon be put to the test. As new challenges come his way, Ian struggles to balance Gillian, parenthood, and his career, which is about to come to an unexpected and untimely end.

Ian also appears in this story as a young man. During the flashback chapters readers will see him as an outgoing but ambitious college student who, just by chance, happens to meet Gillian, the girlfriend of one of his classmates. The two quickly become friends, and, after Gillian's relationship with Ryan ends, they become more than friends. Unfortunately, Ian's ambition and desire to succeed will be their undoing, at least the first time around. It's this younger Ian who was inspired by someone I once knew.

Photo by Marina Martindale
Now I can't divulge his real name. That would violate his privacy. I've also gave him a different physical description and hometown than his real-life counterpart. What I can tell you is that just like the Gillian, I attended Arizona State University, and while I was there I met a young architecture student who turned out to be the love of my life. In fact, how I met him was pretty much the same way as I've described Gillian meeting Ian. So, for those of you wondering about his real identity, that ought to narrow down to a few thousand people.

Does the real Ian know about The Reunion? Somehow I doubt it. We lost touch with one another years ago, and I've long since moved on. But if he ever should hear about The Reunion, I hope he'll like it, and I hope he'll take the Ian character as the complement he is meant to be.
MM