Sunday, August 27, 2017

Writing Dialog and Experiencing My Characters' Emotions

Photo by Marina Martindale
One of my cousins used to be an actress, and she once told me how she experienced her characters' emotions as she portrayed them. She said performing emotionally charged scenes often left her feeling drained.

The same is true for me as a novel writer. With nearly every character I create, I experience their emotions as I write my scenes. Writing the dialog is what drives those emotions.

I'm working on my next novel, The Letter. Leading man Danny is being hounded by Martha, a woman from his past, and I've been building up to a major confrontation between the two for sometime. This past week I finally wrote the chapter where their conflict reaches its crescendo. I expected this scene to be fun to write. Martha has caused Danny a lot of grief, and I wanted him to feel vindicated. However, as I wrote the dialog I started feeling emotions I didn't expect to feel.

Danny wants no further contact from Martha. He begins the conversation in a civil tone, but an obsessed Martha won't listen to reason and she refuses to let him go. As the scene plays out, Danny becomes more and more frustrated with her. As he tries to get through to her he becomes more verbally harsh. Then, in the middle of it all, I started feeling anxious myself. Harsh words, even when justified, can hurt like a fist, and some of the verbiage brought back bad memories of arguments I've had in my own past. By the time I finished writing the scene I felt as if I'd been sucker punched by both Danny and Martha.

It was at this point that I'd planned to write Martha out of the story completely and have another antagonist take over, but now I think I'll keep her around. She has a real knack for pissing people off, and talent like hers shouldn't go to waste. While the new antagonist will be the main focus for the remainder of the story, Martha will be seeking her revenge on those who she thinks turned Danny against her.

The Letter should be available by the spring of 2018. Meantime I'm going to go chill for awhile.

MM

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Meet Annette --The Mistress You'll Love to Hate in THE BETRAYAL

Photo by CanStockPhoto.com
There are two kinds of women who get involved with married men. Some are like Carrie, the leading lady in my earlier novel, The Deception, who are duped into believing the man is single and available. Then there is the other kind. She knows upfront that the man is married, but she chooses to get involved with him anyway.

Annette, one of the antagonists in The Betrayal, is the latter. Not only does she know, from the get-go, that Jesse is a married man, she also knows his wife, Emily. Jesse, however, is nothing if not charming and seductive. He takes full advantage of the fact that Annette has become disillusioned with her significant other, and he uses it as the catalyst to initiate their affair. In her own mind, Annette has convinced herself that not only would she be a better wife for Jesse, she's actually doing Emily a favor by breaking them up. She knows Emily put her dream of becoming a concert pianist on hold to help Jesse with his career, therefore, she is, "helping" her by freeing her so she can finally pursue her dream. Emily, however, doesn't see it that way.

Jesse soon tires of Annette. He ends the affair and tries to win Emily back, but Annette has no intention of going quietly into the night. She comes up with her own desperate scheme to get Jesse back, and the consequences will forever change the lives of everyone involved.

Annette is a purely fictitious character, and, thankfully, not inspired by anyone I've ever encountered. There are, unfortunately, plenty of real life Annettes out there. That's what makes her the woman you'll love to hate.

MM

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Soon to be Released Betrayal Book Trailer

Photo by Marina Martindale
One of the projects that has kept me so busy over the past few months has been the book trailer for The Betrayal.

Ever have one of those projects that seems to fight you every step of the way? It's been that kind of an undertaking. We had lots of unexpected challenges which took up more time than we expected, and I even ended up having to buy a used piano along the way. Fortunately, we're now in the home stretch, and it's coming out nicely. I got to work with some amazing actors, and my good friend, Rob Resetar, of Rob Resetar Video, was extremely helpful, as usual.

Photo by Marina Martindale
Even with all the challenges, I still had fun. I drove up to Phoenix to shoot the opening footage, and spent the day with my sister-in-law. I also took a drive down to wine country to shoot some road footage. (Yes, we really do have wineries in southern Arizona.) Rob thought it had some problems, so golly gee, I had to take a second trip down there to do a reshoot. Nothing like having a good excuse to do a little wine tasting and have a picnic lunch with my friend, Maria, who came along with me.

Thankfully, all the footage is finally in the can, and we're now in post production. In the meantime, I love playing my new-to-me piano.

MM

Friday, August 11, 2017

Meet Rachel Bennett, Leading Lady in THE STALKER

Photo by CanStockPhoto.com
Rachel Bennett, the leading lady in The Stalker, has a serious problem. A man from her past is obsessed with her.

A twenty-eight year old graphic designer, Rachel has recently returned to her hometown of Tucson, Arizona, and is attending her ten-year high school reunion. While she's there she's reintroduced to Shane MacLeod, a fellow classmate who she briefly met while serving on the yearbook committee. Rachel may not remember Shane, but he certainly remembers her, and as they're busy getting reacquainted another man from Rachel's past suddenly reappears. A former coworker, Craig Walker, has been stalking and harassing her for the past few years, and no matter how hard she tries to seek justice, the system keeps failing her.

Fortunately for Rachel, it's all about to change. Shane is undaunted by Craig, and, with his help, things finally appear to be working in her favor. But unknown to them, Craig is about take his revenge, and Rachel's life will never be the same.

Rachel was inspired by an acquaintance who was once hounded by a former colleague. She's a courageous woman determined to regain control of her life, and she's not afraid to back down from a fight.

MM

Monday, August 7, 2017

I Wish There was a Genre Called "Relationship Fiction"

Photo by CanStockPhoto.com
This may sound arrogant or even hokey, but I get weary of hearing myself say, "I write romance novels," whenever I'm asked about what I do. People either think I'm writing cheap schmaltzy novels, or they think I'm writing erotica. Neither is the case, as there is so much more to what I write.

I write stories about human relationships. Love isn't limited to a man and a woman falling in love and living happily ever after. Love is about all kinds of human relationships; the love of a parent to a child, the love between siblings, even the platonic love between close friends. The romantic love between a man and woman is only a part of my story. 

The Journey includes a heartwarming subplot about the relationship between brothers Jeremy and Larry Palmer, as Larry puts his life on hold for a time to help his ailing brother through a life altering crisis. That's true love. 

In The Deception, a father literally takes a bullet meant for his child. That's also true love. 

In The Betrayal, leading lady Emily's long estranged aunt finally reaches out and accepts her like another daughter. That too is love.

The reason why I write romance, instead of science fiction or mystery or horror, is because I've always been fascinated by the complexity and dynamics of human relationships; not only between lovers, but between family members as well. Of course those relationships can be part of the storyline in those other genres, but the romance genre is the only one where the primary focus is on human relationships. I'm just trying to expand the boundaries.

MM

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Meet Jesse St. Claire the Unfaithful Husband in THE BETRAYAL

Photo by CanStockPhoto.com
What would a story of betrayal and adultery be without a cheating spouse? Jesse St. Claire, the unfaithful husband in The Betrayal, is perhaps my most complicated and enigmatic antagonist to date. Unlike Scott Andrews, the cheating husband in my earlier novel, The Deception, Jesse really isn't a player. In fact, he's never cheated before. A highly successful motivational speaker, Jesse steadfastly claims to love his wife, and, in his own strange way, he does. Or, at least he thinks he does.

Jesse has built his career on helping people take control of their lives, but his own life begins spiraling out of control when his wife, Emily, catches him in the act with Annette, his personal assistant. As Emily packs her bags and walks out the door, a determined Jesse tries to come up with a plan to win her back. Not only does he want to save his marriage, he also wants to save his career. Unfortunately for Jesse, bad habits prove difficult to break, and his past soon comes back to haunt him, forcing him to once again betray his wife.

Jesse is a fictitious character not based on anyone I know. His inspiration comes from many stories of unfaithful men who claim to love their wives, which, for those of us who don't cheat, is something we can never fully understand.

MM