Tuesday, July 31, 2018

No Politics Just Entertainment

I posted this meme on Facebook with the comment, I swear, on everything that is holy, this story isn't set in Washington, D.C. And people are getting the joke. They're giving it lots of likes.

All jokes aside, I keep my books politically neutral. I do so by design. It doesn't matter if I'm conservative or liberal, roughly half of my fans would be the opposite, and I don't want to lose half of my fans.

As a fiction writer, my job is to entertain my readers--not tell them what to think or who to vote for. The whole idea of reading a novel is to take a break from reality for a little while. Something which, in my opinion, the romance genre does quite nicely, as the focus is on the relationship between two people who've fallen in love. As a footnote, romance includes a number of sub-genres, such as sweet romance, (no sex) erotica, and gay and lesbian, which, depending on the authors, may or may not have political undertones. I happen to write sensual romance. It seems to be one of more popular styles of romance, again with the focus on the relationship between two lovers.

For those who are interested, there is a genre called, "political fiction." Famous novels in the genre would include George Orwell's 1984 and Animal Farm. I read both when I was in high school, and they are indeed interesting books. There's a time and a place for everything, however, my novels aren't the place for a political debate. 

MM



Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Meet Martha Morrison, the Antagonist in THE LETTER

© Can Stock Photo / zdenkamicka
Unlike many of my antagonists, Martha isn't an evil person, although she is extremely annoying. She's the kind of person who gets under your skin like a bad rash.

Martha and leading man Danny dated briefly, and Danny told her upfront there would be no strings attached. What he didn't know was that the recently divorced Martha had been married to her high school sweetheart, the only man she'd ever dated. Lonely and vulnerable, Martha ignored Danny's conditions and latched onto him, believing that he was the man she was destined to spend her life with. Danny met Stephanie a few weeks later and ended his relationship with Martha. But even without Stephanie, Danny had already decided to move on. 

Martha's reaction to their breakup wasn't what Danny expected. She thinks Danny simply needs a time out, and she fully supports him dating other women. In her mind, dating other women will prove to him, once and for all, that she's the only woman for him, and she's willing to wait for as long as it takes. In the meantime, she'll stay in touch. She starts with emails and text messages, but when a family member openly disapproves, she switches tactics and starts writing hand-written letters to eliminate an electronic paper trail. She also thinks hand-written letters are more romantic. And while Danny never responds to any of her messages, he's keeping all of her letters in a file to build a case against her; a move that, will, unfortunately, have serious unintended consequences for him.

Unlike like Craig Walker, Martha isn't a stalker, nor has she set out to intentionally cause any harm. She's a desperately lonely woman, afraid of being on her own, and unable to accept the fact that Danny isn't love with her.

We have a saying in the writing business that goes, You can't make this stuff up. Martha is loosely based on a woman who dated a friend's husband before he married my friend. The old girlfriend kept writing him love letters after they'd broken up because she believed he'd come back to her someday, but he of course never did. 

MM




Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Remembering Dennis

Photo by Marina Martindale
It's been a difficult couple of weeks for me. While I was in Prescott I learned that one of my cousins, and one of my favorite people, had passed away rather suddenly and unexpectedly.

Dennis was a cousin by marriage, but I've known him since I was ten years old, so to me, he was just as much family as his wife. He had a great sense of humor and always went the extra mile for others without expecting anything in return. He was also an attorney, and part of the inspiration for Alex Montoya, the leading man in my second novel, The Deception. In fact, I dedicated that book to Dennis.

Like Dennis, Alex was a hard working attorney willing to do whatever it took to see to it that justice was served for leading lady, Carrie. Of course, there were differences between the character and the real-life man who inspired him. Alex was thirty-something and single, but not necessarily looking for love, which is, of course, a prerequisite for a lead character in a romance novel. His real life counterpart, however, married his college sweetheart at the age of twenty-four, and was also a dedicated family man. Their personalties are also different as each and every character I create is a unique individual, and never a clone of any real-life person who may have inspired them. 

In honor of Dennis, I'm including this brief excerpt from The Deception, because like Alex, Dennis was dedicated to his clients.

MM
* * *


After they ended the call Alex picked up the message sitting on his desk. It was from Louise's attorney, Jack Collins, who called while he was out. He dialed the number and was immediately connected.
"Thanks for returning my call," said Collins. "I've received the letter you faxed me this morning and I've already spoken to my client about it."
"So what does she have to say? Is she willing to work with us to find out who really sent the photos to Gentry Magazine?"
"No, I'm afraid not. In fact, we've decided to follow through and file our claim against Ms. Daniels."
"May I remind you sir, that Mrs. Dickinson will be receiving a generous fee from the magazine as compensation for the unauthorized use of her photos. So may I ask the reason why she intends to pursue my client?"
"Certainly. It's our understanding that when Ms. Daniels called Mr. Wyman's office she told his secretary quote, 'I can't find my release form. Would you mind emailing a copy to me?' We're told that during that call she sounded very calm and collected. She never once came across as angry or upset. She even thanked Mr. Wyman's secretary, when she congratulated her on winning the contest."
"Yes," said Alex, "she admits making that call. She was trying to get a copy of the release form without raising suspicion. She needed to see the signature because she knew she hadn't signed it. She also tells me that the email address they had on file wasn't hers, and that she had to give them her correct address so she would receive their file."
"We understand that's her story. However, we're of the opinion that your client, possibly with the help of at least one other individual, has conspired to make it appear as if the photos were submitted without her knowledge. We believe that her partner either signed the release form, or that Ms. Daniels attempted to distort her own handwriting when she signed it. Either way, she did so that in the event she got caught, she could then turn around and claim her signature was forged. Ms. Daniels is in dire financial straits. She needed the five-thousand dollars to help pay her mother's medical expenses. She didn't count on Mr. Dickinson being a subscriber to Gentry Magazine."
"This is a joke, right?"
"It's not a joke, Mr. Montoya. We're serious."
"In that case, I have to ask you if you've completely lost your mind. If that's the kind of fantasy world you and your client want to live in, go ahead. I have the five thousand dollar check my client received from Gentry Magazine. She freely turned it over to me. Are you also not aware that this is a criminal, as well as civil matter? Ms. Daniels has already filed a police report. She never had any intention of cashing that check, and we've also informed Gentry Magazine that she had no intention of ever cashing it. If you want to file your frivolous lawsuit, go ahead. We'll be defending her and we believe that once the court hears our side of the story, we'll prevail."
Alex ended the call and hung up the phone in disgust. Louise was going after Carrie out of pure spite. He wadded up the message and threw it at the little miniature basketball hoop attached to his wastepaper basket. He smiled as he made his shot. His mind flashed back to high school. He had made the varsity basketball team his junior year, and even though Carrie was hardly a basketball fan, she nonetheless attended as many games as she could so she could cheer him on.
"And now, Alex, the ball is in your court. Whatever you do, don't let her down."
It was time to go back to work. He needed to enlist the services of an old and trusted friend. He turned to his computer to look up the number and he quickly dialed, drumming his pencil on his desk while he waited for someone to pick up.





Monday, June 25, 2018

Prescott, Arizona Travels

When I'm not writing I enjoy traveling and photography, and one of my favorite places to visit is Prescott, Arizona. This scenic historic town is about a three hour drive from Tucson, and it's a lot of fun. Whenever I'm here I enjoy shopping, being pampered at the hotel spa, and, of course, photography. I shot these at the historic courthouse. It's one of my favorite spots in Prescott as there is plenty of shopping and unique restaurants right across the street, and the historic Sharlot Hall Museum is also close by.

Another thing I do in Prescott is write. When I'm not out shopping or taking photos I'm hanging out in my room and writing, as there are fewer distractions. I don't have to stop in the middle of something to get to an appointment or run errands, and, most especially, there's no cooking or cleaning. The hotel is refreshingly quiet too. So please enjoy the photos while I go to work on my next novel.

MM


Saturday, June 16, 2018

Meet Stephanie Ellis, Leading Lady in THE LETTER

© Can Stock Photo / aletia
I really like Stephanie, my leading lady in The Letter. She has a lot of spunk, and she's not afraid to call it as she sees it.

As the story begins Stephanie is a legal secretary who's been in a relationship with leading man Danny for some time. Stephanie wants to know where their relationship is heading, but whenever she tries to bring it up, Danny quickly changes the subject. 

Stephanie's relationship with Danny will take an unexpected turn when she accidentally stumbles on a card sent to him by another woman. While Vanessa, her best friend, thinks the sender is nothing more than a lonely ex, Stephanie remains unconvinced. Is she really an ex? Or is Danny still seeing his old girlfriend on the side? The old girlfriend, however, will soon be the least of her worries as her world suddenly spirals out of control. And while things aren't necessarily as they appear, she'll make a rash decision that will change her life forever.

Stephanie is a purely fictitious character. However, the opening chapter of The Letter is based on a real-life event that happened to a close friend of mine many years ago. 

MM

Monday, June 11, 2018

It's Time to Start Planning my Next Novel

Now that The Letter has been successfully launched, it's time to start planning my next novel. And, as typically happens, my inspiration comes for the strangest places. 

A few months back I was reminiscing about a distant cousin who, decades ago, played on a soap opera. I was a young artist at the time, and I used to create the cover art for her fan club newsletter. When she decided to leave the show, I was invited to watch her final taping and attend her wrap party. It was an interesting experience, to say the least, and then the thought hit me. Why not use the wrap party as a starting point for my next novel? Why not have my next leading lady be a successful actress who suddenly decides to walk away from Hollywood for good because she no longer knows who she really is? Then, a few weeks later, as I was playing around with ideas, the Harvey Weinstein scandal erupted, and I thought wow, here's even more inspiration for a good novel.

The working title is, The Scandal, although that title is subject to change. And, just so you know, the lead character will not bear any resemblance my cousin. She's a unique character with her own set of issues, and her life will be very, very different from my cousin's. 

If all goes according to plan, The Scandal should be out in about a year. Give or take a couple of months.

MM

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Meet Danny Woodruff Leading Man in THE LETTER

© Can Stock Photo / barsik
Danny Woodruff is probably my most complicated leading man so far. Hard working and ambitious, he intends to work his way up the corporate ladder; all the way to the top. He also loves leading lady Stephanie. Or at least he thinks he does, in his own way. Unfortunately, Danny has a problem. He's haunted by women from his past.

The story begins with Danny and Stephanie having been in a relationship for some time. Stephanie wants to know where things are going, but whenever she tries to bring it up, he changes the subject. He's perfectly happy with the status quo, and he's not sure if even he wants a wife or a family. As the story unfolds we learn more about Danny's past and his struggle to overcome it. However, the ending may not be what you were expecting. 

Danny is a composite character inspired by men I've known in the past. He may not be my most likable leading man, but he's probably the most realistic.



Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The Letter is Now Available

My newest novel, The Letter, is now available in print and for the Amazon Kindle.

The Letter is the story of a man being hounded by a former girlfriend who can't accept the fact that their relationship has ended. While not as dark of a story as The Stalker, The Letter is a story of misunderstandings, miscommunications, and people who aren't as they appear to be. Like my other novels, the plot twists and turns to an unexpected, if not surprise, ending.

The Letter is also available in paperback on Barnes&Noble.com, and look for upcoming ebook editions available for iBooks and for the Nook reader. 

MM


Friday, May 25, 2018

Southern Arizona Wine Country



When I'm not busy writing books, I'm also a video geek. I've been doing photography since the age of nine, and, with new digital technology, I'm now getting into video. With help and inspiration from my good friend and fellow video geek, Rob Resetar, I've learned a lot about how to produce videos from the book trailers he's created for me.

I'm also willing to bet that many of you probably don't know that there are some wonderful wineries in southern Arizona. I certainly didn't know about them until after I moved to Tucson. They're down near the Mexican border in a beautiful part of the state. From time to time I'll pack a lunch and spend a day down there, and I also included it as one of the locations in my novel, The Betrayal.

I recently produced a little video montage about our local wine country, and Sonoita Vineyards, one of the featured wineries, was the real life inspiration for McPherson Vineyards, where Kyle hides Emily to save her from a hitman.


MM


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Yep, I'm Back

I originally started this blog back in 2012. It was right after I'd published my second romance novel, The Deception. I started out with Blogger and found it incredibly user friendly, even though everyone I talked to kept saying, "WordPress! WordPress! WordPress!"

Then, a couple years ago, I encountered some sort of a coding error that I couldn't fix, so I moved this, and all my other blogs, over to WordPress, and yeah, WordPress has some cool features that Blogger doesn't. It was also cumbersome and difficult to use, and it just wasn't as comfortable of a platform for me. Then the unthinkable happened. I went to post something on another blog, but when I tried to log into it I kept getting error messages. So I called GoDaddy, my WordPress provider, and was told that WordPress is susceptible to malware and hacking, and that's what had happened to my blog. Of course they could fix it--for an extra fee.

I am so done with WordPress! I'm migrating all my blogs back to Blogger. Maybe Blogger isn't as cool as WordPress, but it's a whole lot more secure. It too has some cool features that WordPress doesn't, and, as mentioned before it's so much easier to use. I have enough hassles in life. I don't need to deal with a blogging platform that's difficult to use and easy to hack. 

MM

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

What is Wrong with Me? I Haven't Killed Anyone.

My latest novel, The Letter, differs from all my others. This time I didn't kill any of the characters. Not one. And that's a first for me.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm not a sociopathic serial killer. At least not in the real world. But as a novel writer, I have to create conflict and drama in my stories to keep them interesting, and when it comes to creating drama, death is about as good as it gets.

Most of the time, the dearly departed is a notorious villain with whom karma has finally caught up with. Big time. In four of my novels a bad guy, or gal, got what was coming to them. The one exception was The Journey, where I had to kill a supporting character who I truly liked. So much so that I tried writing a few alternate scenes in which the character didn't die, but they just didn't work as well. Killing this character off heightened the drama, which made the story more intense and a more interesting read. Nevertheless, writing this character out made me feel genuinely sad.

There is one character in The Letter I thought of killing off. Like most of my other "victims," it was a despicable antagonist. However, unlike the others, this character also had a young child, and I simply couldn't bring myself to create an orphan. So, this time, instead of an untimely if not painful death, it's a terrifying near death experience. Surely you didn't think I'd let a villain get away scot-free, did you?


MM

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Book Trailer Banned by Amazon




As most of you probably know, I write sensual romance, and when Rob Resetar  and I produce a book trailer it may include a brief romance scene, but it's hardly porn. But don't tell that to Amazon.

The Deception is the story of a woman who's been exploited, and I've been using this book trailer video on Amazon for sometime to do book promotions. However, they are no longer allowing me to use it. Their "official" reason is that the file format is out of date. However, I have another book trailer in that same format, and it works perfectly, so I'm not buying it. Someone at Amazon didn't like this book trailer, so they flagged it.

So, for your viewing pleasure, here's the book trailer that Amazon banned.

MM

Thursday, February 1, 2018

The Forgotten DECEPTION Chapter

Well, golly gee. Stuff happens.

As I mentioned in my previous post, while I'm waiting for my latest novel, The Letter, to come back from the editor, I decided to do a minor edit on The Deception. The two stories are similar, and in the five years since I wrote The Deception, I've improved as a writer, so I wanted to go back and tweak some of the text to make the story flow a little smoother. However, as I was working I kept wondering where one of my scenes went. I recalled writing it, but I wasn't seeing it in the file. Short story long, it had somehow been overlooked when the book was typeset, and I missed the error. Yikes!

Fortunately, it wasn't a pivotal scene, which is why I hadn't noticed it before. In the missing chapter, one of the villains is arrested and carted off to jail. The villain has committed a serious crime, and, in a prior chapter, another character has come forward with enough evidence to guarantee a conviction, so it had already been established that the villain would end up in jail. Then, near the end of the book, the villain is seen appearing in court. The missing chapter, however, is a nice, "you had it coming," moment for readers, as you get to see the surprised villain put in handcuffs and hauled away.

The new, revised edition of The Deception, which includes the missing chapter, is now available for the Amazon Kindle, and update the print edition will be available soon.

MM

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

A New Edit and Look for THE DECEPTION

Original 2012 Cover
While I wait for my editor to get to my latest novel, The Letter, I'm doing a minor re-edit on The Deception. The two stories are similar, and those who have read The Deception will, no doubt, enjoy The Letter, and vice versa. I wrote The Deception in 2012. It was my second novel, and I've improved in my craft since then, so I wanted to do some fine tuning.

The story and its contents remain the same, and most readers probably won't notice the editorial changes. I've removed filler words and redundancies, and, when needed, rephrased some of the dialog to make the characters' points of view a little more clear.

Updated 2018 Cover
The most noticeable change is the cover. Inspired by real-life stories of revenge porn, and the havoc in creates in people's lives, The Deception is the story of a woman badly exploited in a profoundly ugly way by a trusted friend. However, the original cover, shown above, has created some controversy as some have not understood the reason behind it. While still sexy, the new look is less controversial, and it blends well when displayed with my other titles.

The new, updated version of, The Deception, will be available in early February.

MM

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Meet Craig Walker -- the Evil Villain from THE STALKER

© Can Stock Photo / Elenathewise
Few things are more fun about this job than creating truly evil, nasty, vile antagonists, and when it comes to mean, nasty and downright evil, Craig Walker from The Stalker is an absolute delight.

A writer by profession, Craig met Rachel, the leading lady, while doing a stint as a staff writer for a regional lifestyle magazine. Rachel considered Craig a mentor, but he had much bigger plans for her, and they went well above and beyond being her mentor. Those plans, however, were suddenly foiled when she accepted a promotion he felt she didn't deserve. Unaware that she had even applied for the position, he reacted with rage, and after a confrontation she ended the friendship. Craig, however, had no intention of letting Rachel go. He began stalking her, and he continued to stalk her long after the magazine went out of business. Craig wants Rachel, and he intends to have her at all costs, whether she wants him or not, and he's finally come up with plan for getting his way with her, once and for all.

Craig was inspired by someone who once stalked one of my friends and made her life miserable for a number of years.

MM

Monday, January 15, 2018

THE LETTER Book Cover

Once again, Wes Lowe has created a brilliant cover illustration for The Letter

While not as dark of a story as The Stalker, The Letter begins with leading lady Stephanie's accidental discovery of a love letter to Danny, her significant other, from his old girlfriend. Hurt and confused, Stephanie is unsure of what to do. A close friend advises her to talk to Danny, but she hesitates, and soon decides that his ex was simply feeling lonely at the time she wrote it, and has since moved on. Unfortunately for Stephanie, things are not as they appear.

Look for The Letter in late spring, 2018.

MM

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Coming Soon: THE LETTER

Life has been hectic, crazy, strange and over the top, and whenever that happens manuscripts inevitably get pushed to the side, but by golly, I finally got it done. My next novel, The Letter, has gone to the editor, just in time to be stalled in her inbox as she gets ready to move across the country. Sometimes you have to either laugh or cry, but it also gives me a grace period in case I get a middle of the night inspiration for a last-minute change.

Like my previous novels, The Letter has plenty of plot twists as the characters deal with unexpected challenges. However, leading man Danny is more fallible than some of his predecessors. He's haunted by issues from his past that he can't seem to exorcise, while leading lady Stephanie is a woman with backbone who calls it as she sees it, but she sometimes does so without considering the long-term consequences.

Look for characters from my other novels to make an appearance. Jesse St. Claire from The Betrayal makes a cameo, while Paul, a supporting character from The Reunion, also has a significant role.

The Letter should be available late spring, 2018.

MM