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. 


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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. 


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.

* * *

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.