Meet Alex Montoya, Leading Man in THE DECEPTION

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Alex 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 decided to have Alex be of Spanish descent in honor of a friend I had years ago, who was also of Spanish descent. She had great pride in her heritage, and she often spoke of it. I also had another close friend who was the first American born child of Italian immigrant parents. She too was proud of her heritage, but she sometimes found herself in conflict with her parents whenever they tried to impose their Old World expectations on her.

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

Jason Matthews, the Deadly But Never Seen Villain in THE REUNION

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I typically have more than one villian in my novels, and Jason Matthews in The Reunion is another of my antagonists. Interestingly enough, he’s never actually seen, but his presence is most certainly felt, and he has a major impact on the story.

Gillian Matthews, the leading lady, has a history of getting involved with the wrong men. An artist by profession, Gillian tells Ian, the leading man, her story of visiting Tombstone, Arizona,  to do 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 Mr. Right, and the two eloped a short time later.

Gillian’s happiness with Jason 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 that he’s looking for her. What makes the character even more sinister is the fact that he’s lurking, but never actually seen, leaving Gillian, and Ian, wondering where and when he will finally strike.

MM

Meet Carrie Daniels, Leading Lady in THE DECEPTION

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I really tried 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, and, 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 will experience both sides of infidelity. She will be shocked and devastated when Doug admits he’s been unfaithful to her. She’ll also 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 did not 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

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

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I’m starting to get 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 I’ve received is about the sudden end to one of the characters. I’m told it was jarring and over the top.

Warning! Spoiler Alert!

I decided to kill one of the characters off 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, and 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 came around a bend, saw him coming at me from the opposite direction, and hit the accelerator, hoping I could get out of his way in time. Didn’t quite happen. 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 one of my characters 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 also been told that the scene made them fell vindicated, and they thought it was the character’s “bad karma” that got them there.

Like it or not, it’s one of those over-the-top things that really does happen to people, and it happens 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

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 to create 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 do 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

One of the Inspirations for THE DECEPTION

Kindle CoverIt always fascinates me where ideas for my stories can come from.  They can come from virtually anywhere. The genesis for The Deception actually occurred back in 2006, when I was blog surfing one night and I happened upon a psychic’s blog.  She worked on one of those on-line psychic websites, and her post was about the questions she was most often asked by her callers.  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 seem to recall participating in the discussion as well.  It was quite a debate about adultery and morality, and many of the comments were to the effect of the other woman always knowing that he’s married, and she’s lying if she says she didn’t know.

Well, it’s not necessarily so.  I’ve met plenty of women who’ve gotten involved with married men, and not all of them knew he was married.  I also once knew a man who discovered the woman he was dating was married too.  None were proud of the experience. It’s the kind of thing that can leave a person doubting themselves and no longer able to trust others.

I wrote The Deception as a story of what can happen when a good, honest woman meets a man who has not only presented himself to her as single and available, he was introduced to her by her closest friend, who also believed he was single and available.  The story may be fiction, but it’s inspired by circumstances that, sadly, happen all too often in the real world.

The point I’m making with this story is that we must be careful about judging others when we don’t have all the facts.  Another is that this can, potentially, happen to anyone, from any walk of life, regardless of their personal morality, because people can and do lie.  Hence my title, The Deception.

Happy reading.

MM