Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Inspiration for THE DECEPTION Opening Scene

Photo by Marina Martindale
The other day I was chatting with a friend who's reading The Deception. One of the things she talked about was wanting to deck the boyfriend who dumps the leading lady in the first chapter.  I told her this chapter was inspired by a real-life event.

A few years ago my friends and I went to Sea World in San Diego. As we walked around the park we happened to pass by a well-dressed young lady sitting on a bench, sobbing her eyes out. A young man, most likely her boyfriend, stood next to her, with a very serious look on his face. As we hurried past I thought to myself, "I'll bet that son of a bitch brought her here to dump her, probably thinking she wouldn't cause a scene." I'll never know for sure, as I didn't see them again, but that picture has always stayed in my mind. And you know what happens when something stays in a novel writer's mind, don't you? It comes out in a story. In this instance, it became the inspiration for the opening scene of The Deception, but with a different location. Instead of Sea World, the lady is dumped at The Arizona State Fair. The leading lady's boyfriend thinks that by dumping her in public she won't cause a scene, but he thinks wrong. Very wrong. There's never a good time or place to dump anyone, and doing so in public only adds more humiliation to the person being dumped.

Inspiration can from anywhere and everywhere, oftentimes when I least expect it.

MM

Photo Shoot Shoot

Photo by Marina Martindale
We're still hard at work for the new book trailer for The Deception. Today videographer Rob Resetar shot two more scenes--a love scene between Carrie, the leading lady, and Scott, one of the antagonists, and the photo shoot scene. The photo shoot happens early in the novel. It's the watershed event that shapes the rest of the story.

We still have a few more scenes to film. With any luck, the book trailer will be complete right after the first of the year. In the meantime please enjoy this except from The Deception about the photo shoot.

MM

* * *

Carrie woke up to her ringing cellphone. She rolled over and scooped it up from the floor.
"Hello." Her voice sounded groggy.

"So what the heck is going on with you?" asked the woman on the other end of the line.

"Louise?"

"Yes, Sweetness, it's Louise. Karl and I ran into Steve and Allison last night at Hernando's. Allison said Doug dumped you at the state fair, and that for the past few weeks you've been camping out in your photography studio, even though they've offered you their guest room. So what the hell happened?"

"I got dumped. Doug found himself some bimbo who he's decided he's in love with. I really didn't have a choice. I had to move out."

"What about the house?"

"It's deeded solely in Doug's name, but even if I were to make a claim on it, my mother's creditors would end up with the money."

"So why haven't you found an apartment?"

"I've been looking, Louise. The problem is they all want to collect some hefty deposits up front, along with the first month's rent. Unfortunately, because of Mama, I just don't have the cash to do it. Once I pay off my monthly expenses, the rest has to go to help pay her bills. Nursing homes aren't cheap, you know."
"I know that, but you need to find a decent place to live. Your studio isn't in the best part of town, and you're probably violating some city code by staying there. Not to mention the fact that Christmas is only three weeks away. I'll bet you don't even have a tree."

 "Actually, all things considered, I'm doing just fine." Carrie tried to sound upbeat. "Yes, I'm renting warehouse space in an industrial area, and no, I won't be putting up a Christmas tree this year, but you needn't worry. I'm okay, really. The tent city jail is nearby so there's plenty of police and sheriff's deputies around. My break room has a mini kitchen, and I'm sleeping on an air mattress in the back room where it's surprisingly quiet. And back when I signed my lease I had the landlord put in a shower for the models to use. So you see, I'm okay. I have all the amenities I need to live comfortably. It's not like I'm living in a cardboard box underneath a bridge."

"I understand," said Louise. "However, the reason I'm calling is because I think I may have a solution for you, that is, if you don't mind doing another modeling gig."

"I haven't done a modeling job in years. You know that. Besides, I've just turned thirty. In the world of print modeling, I'm ancient."

"It's not a print modeling job. I need an art model. I've just picked up a private commission. Some well-to-do couple in Berkeley just bought themselves a big house. Apparently, they're serious practitioners of tantric yoga, or some such thing, and they want a serious of black and white photos of a female nude, with some curves on her, to display in their new home. You'd be perfect for the job."
Carrie let out a sigh. She desperately needed the extra cash, but she wasn't sure if this would be the best way to get it.

"I've done some nude work, Louise, but I was always behind the camera, not in front of it. All the photos were done for advertisements. Even though the models were nude, you didn't see anyone's privates."

"I understand if you feel a little shy about doing this, Sweetness, but you'd be working with me. They want something erotic so yes, they'll want to see all the goods in the photos, but they won't know your name or anything else about you. You'll be completely anonymous and I promise you the photos will be tastefully done. It's fine art, not pornography."

"Who would see the photos?"

"They'd be for the client's personal, private use only. That's what's written in the contract. They can only be displayed in their home. The only people who would ever see them would be the couple themselves and whoever visits them. They're not allowed to publish them anywhere, not even on their personal blogs or websites."

Carrie let out a sigh as she thought it over. "How much does it pay?"

"Enough to put you into a decent apartment in a good neighborhood. It should cover all the deposits plus your first month's rent."

"All right. So when and where do you want to do the shoot?"

"Next Saturday, at my home. Karl has an early-morning tee time and will be spending the entire day on the golf course. It'll be just you and me."

"What time?"

"It'll be a fairly long shoot, so let's have you here early, about eight o'clock in the morning. Bring a curling iron and some nice barrettes along with your makeup kit. We'll be doing some different hairstyles, so we'll have to spend some time working on your hair and makeup throughout the day. And do you by chance have a pair of strappy, opened-toed shoes? Preferably in black."

"Yes. They're black patent leather."

"They'd be perfect, so bring them along." The excitement was building in Louise's voice. "The shoes, barrettes, and some costume jewelry are the only things you'll be wearing. You'll also need bathrobe that you can slip on in between shoots."

Carrie still wasn't sure. Louise must have sensed it.

"Look, Carrie, you don't have to do this. I can call the agency and have them send another model. I just figured that right now you needed the money."

"I know, Louise, and you're right. If the city were to find out I'm living here, they'd probably fine the heck out of me before my landlord kicked me out on the street."

"Good. We'll have you living in a decent apartment before you know it. We might even be able to get you a Christmas tree too. But I need to let you know one other thing."

"What's that?"

"I have a show coming up at Hanson Sisters Fine Art in February. I'd like to include five prints from our shoot as a series of hand-signed limited editions. They'd be sold with the same restrictions as the ones going to the couple in Berkeley. You'd remain anonymous, and the photos cannot be published or displayed anywhere in public, except of course for the gallery, but that would be the only time."
Carrie let out a sigh. There had to be a better way for her to get into an apartment. She glanced at the calendar hanging on the wall. It was the first week of December, the time of year when business normally slowed down. This year would certainly be no exception and things wouldn't start to pick up again until late January. If she didn't act now, she'd be living in her studio until March or April, and the longer she stayed, the greater the chances of someone finding out and reporting her to the city. She let out another sigh, knowing she had no other choice.

"Okay, Louise, I'm your girl. I'll be there, Saturday morning, eight o'clock."

"Good. You really won't regret this, Carrie. You'll be proud of these photos, I guarantee it. I'll email a contract and release form for you to sign. Make some copies for yourself and bring them with you on Saturday."

Carrie couldn't shake the bad feeling she started getting after she ended the call. She thought it over and realized she was probably just nervous. She'd never been photographed in the nude before, and the idea of total strangers looking at her naked body made her feel uneasy. Then again, she'd be doing it for Louise, and she owed her success to Louise's hard work. She looked at the clock. It was time to get up. She had work to do and she'd be better off focusing her thoughts on the nice apartment she'd soon be living in.

Monday, December 8, 2014

It's a Good Cop Bad Cop Story

Photo by CanStockPhoto.com
There is more to The Betrayal than just one betrayal. It's also a good cop bad cop story, and, for some that has already created a bit of a controversy. When I first started working on the manuscript I posted something on Facebook about the villain being a corrupt police detective, while the hero is a good cop who eventually catches the bad cop. Within a few hours of posting someone started losing their lunch, posting a scathing comment to the effect of how dare I write a story about a bad cop. My response was that the story is fiction, and what part of the hero being the good cop did he not get? Then it was on to the unfreind button.

I honestly do believe that the vast majority of police officers out there are good people, thus my leading man, along with a few supporting characters, are all good cops. Unfortunately, there are a some bad ones out there too. They can, and do, destroy innocent lives as well as tarnish the reputations of all the good cops out there. Yes, The Betrayal is a work of fiction, but good or bad, its inspiration comes from real life.

MM

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Meet Scott Andrews, the Deceiver in THE DECEPTION

Photo by Fotolia
They're out there. The liars. The cheaters. The scumbags. The players. The married men who put themselves out as single men. And, like the predators they are, they like to prey on unsuspecting single women, looking for lasting relationships.

Scott Andrews, the antagonist in The Deception, is one of those predators. Handsome and charming, Scott can, and does, pass himself off as a single man, presenting himself as the perfect catch for a single woman looking for her soulmate. And, unfortunately, for the woman, she has no idea that Scott's married.

Scott is introduced to Carrie, the leading lady, by a mutual friend. As usual, he presents himself as a single man, and he hasn't just fooled Carrie. He's also fooled their mutual friend, Allison. Not only does Allison believe that Scott is single, she also thinks he might be a good match for Carrie, who's still recovering from an earlier breakup. Scott quickly takes advantage of an all too vulnerable Carrie, but it won't take long for her to realize things just aren't adding up. By then it will too late, and the consequences will leave her life shattered.

Scott is inspired by someone I once knew, and by stories other women have told me. He may be a fictional character, but there are, unfortunately, many real life Scotts out there. Stay safe, ladies.


MM

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Okay, So Maybe it was Watching Detective Shows Too

© Can Stock Photo / ginosphoto
Funny the things that inspire us as writers. Back in December, 2012, I posted about how many years of watching soap operas has influenced my writing. (Blame It On Too Many Soap Operas and My Misspent Youth.) Yes, growing up in the golden age of television had an effect on me, but it wasn't just watching the soaps. I watched a lot of detective shows too. I was even reminiscing about it the other day with a friend.

As a teen and young adult, I loved watching Columbo and the original Hawaii Five-O. Both were well written, and even though both used formula writing, the scrips were still good enough to keep me coming back week after week. And, unlike detective shows of today, there were no overtly graphic images. No bodies laid out on the autopsy table. No gory, mutilated or half burned corpses appearing on camera. Good writing doesn't need that kind of visual imagery. Facial expressions or comments made by other characters will tell us what we need to know, and our imaginations can do the rest--probably better than the guy who designed that fake corpse.

What made Columbo great was the bumbling title character, brilliantly portrayed by the late Peter Falk, along with all the bad guys who thought they could outsmart him. What made the show fun was the way Lt. Columbo solved the crime by seizing on some obscure, overlooked detail that even surprised the audience. And along with spectacular scenery, Hawaii Five-O also had well thought out plot lines. While the characters may have been as well developed as Lt. Columbo, there was one unforgettable nemeses named Wo Fat. Kudos to the script writers of both.

Crime stories make for great drama as they create the ultimate conflict. That's why I've always included crime subplots in my novels. Whether it's Gillian's murderous ex-husband on a rampage in The Reunion, Scott's jilted wife's twisted scheming in The Deception, or the revenge seeking Denise wreaking havoc in The Journey, these crime subplots create the tension, and the drama, that keeps you turning the pages. Look for more in my next novel, The Betrayal. Until then, happy reading. (And by the way, you can rent old episodes of Columbo and Hawaii Five-O from Netflix.)

MM

Monday, March 3, 2014

Meet Cassie Palmer Leading Lady in THE JOURNEY

Photo by Fotolia
Cassie Palmer is a character best described as grace under pressure. Seemingly naive and shy, Cassie is an iron lady in disguise.

We first meet Cassie in The Reunion, when Gillian and Jeremy stop for breakfast at a truck stop diner in Idaho Springs, Colorado. The diner owner is none other than Gillian's long-long best friend, Samantha Walsh. As they get reacquainted, Samantha unveils another surprise--her daughter, Cassie. Gillian is surprised, while Jeremy's life will never be the same.

Cassie and Jeremy soon become friends, but I don't want to spoil too much of the story for those who haven't yet read The Reunion. Cassie returns in The Journeythis time as the leading lady. As the story begins, she is critically injured in a car crash and her fighting for her life. Later, as she begins the long road to recovery, her world will turn upside down once again, yet through it all, she remains gracefully resilient.

Cassie is a purely fictitious character not inspired by anyone I know in real life. She is, instead, an inspiration for those times when we feel overwhelmed by all life's obstacles.

MM