Meet Craig Walker — the Evil Villain from THE STALKER

Craig
© 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, and while he found her attention flattering, he had much bigger plans for Rachel, and they went well above and beyond being her mentor. His plans, however, were suddenly foiled when she accepted a promotion he felt she did not deserve. Unaware that she had 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. He intends to have her at all costs, whether she wants him or not, and he’s finally come up with new 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

Cover Sketch for THE LETTER

Sketch by Wes Lowe

Once again, Wes Lowe will be doing the cover illustration for The Letter. He’s sent me the pencil roughs, and I’ve selected this one for the final cover

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 she 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

 

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, such as Alex Montoya in The Deception and Shane MacLeod in The Stalker. Danny is haunted by issues from his past that he can’t seem to resolve, 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

 

Entering The Clean Up Phase

Photo courtesy of GoDaddy

I’ve been busy putting the final touches on the first draft for my upcoming novel, The Letter, and I’m now in what I call, “the cleanup phase.”

Something that has always bothered me with many novels is that we would reach the big climax scene, and then, once it was over, shazam! Everything magically falls back into place right then and there, and then, one or two pages later, everyone rides off into the sunset. The end.

Wouldn’t it be great if real life was as simple?

Since I’ve always strived to make my stories as realistic and believable as possible, I include a “cleanup phase,”after the big climax. This gives my characters a chance to deal with the aftermath of whatever happened during the climax. It can be as short as an epilogue, or as long as several chapters. If a character is injured, you’ll see his or her recovery. If a villain gets arrested, you’ll find out how long the prison sentence is. If someone leaves town, he or she will have the chance to say goodbye. The leading characters will work out whatever unresolved conflicts they may have. In other words, I tie up of all the loose ends. I don’t write sequels, so I want each ending to be as complete, and as satisfying as possible for the reader.

MM

Themes and Plotlines

Photo courtesy of canstockphoto.com © Can Stock Photo / khunaspix

At long last, I’m finally in the home stretch for my upcoming novel, The Letter, and the theme for this novel would be things aren’t always as they appear to be.

Some of you may be wondering, what’s a theme? A theme is separate from the plotline. A theme is that underlying part of a story, such as the moral, or perhaps a comment about society or human behavior. I’ve posted the themes from my earlier novels below, but don’t worry. If you’ve not read all of them I won’t spoil the story.

ForgivenessThe Reunion. Ian was the one true love of Gillian’s life, but he suddenly ended their relationship for no apparent reason. If Gillian can forgive him, she stands a good chance of having a future with him. This theme carries over into a subplot concerning Ian and a member of his immediate family.

AdulteryThe Deception and The Betrayal. Adultery is a great theme for the romance genre. It’s an opportunity to explore the repercussions for everyone involved, as it often affects more than the two primary parties. In The Deception, Carrie, a single woman, meets Scott, a married man who has presented himself to her as a single man. In The Betrayal, faithful wife Emily unwittingly catches her husband, Jesse, in the act with another woman. Both women’s lives are turned upside down by circumstances beyond their control.

RevengeThe Journey and The Stalker. Life isn’t always fair, and we all experience times when things don’t go our way. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean someone has intentionally thwarted us. Sometimes stuff simply happens. Unfortunately, there really are people out there who subscribe to the notion of don’t get mad, get even. In The Journey, Denise seeks revenge on Jeremy for having turned down her romantic overture years before, while Craig, in The Stalker, relentlessly hounds Rachel for getting a promotion he felt she didn’t deserve.

And those are my themes, so far. We’ll have to wait and what my next theme will be. Until then, happy reading.

MM

 

 

The Deception Book Trailer

Life happens, and I spent a busy summer producing a new book trailer with my good friend and fellow videographer, Rob Resetar, of Rob Resetar Video.  Like all my book trailers, it presented its own challenges, but I still had a lot of fun. Rob and I got to work with some amazing actors, and I even spent a day in the southern Arizona wine country shooting the road footage from my dashboard.

The Deception is the story of Emily St. Claire, a devoted wife who literally catches her husband in the act with another woman. Determined to rebuild her life, Emily returns home with her father to pursue her dream of being a concert pianist, but little does she know that a new, and deadly, betrayal is about to unfold.

Enjoy the book trailer.

MM

 

 

 

 

 

Meet Jonathan Fields — Crossover Character in The Deception and The Stalker

Photo by canstockphoto.com

Once again I’m bringing a character from an earlier novel into a more recent one. This time it’s Jonathan Fields.

We first meet Jonathan in The Deception as an Internet security and forensics expert who helps identify the person responsible for framing leading lady Carrie for something she did not do. As the story continues, a new and surprising connection between Jonathan and Carrie is revealed.

Jonathan was one of those characters whom I really liked. He’s smart, he’s sexy, and he’s an unlikely hero with plenty of potential for me to work with. So I brought him back in The Stalker. This time around he’s Shane’s boss, and, just like in The Deception, he helps leading lady Rachel identify an enemy out to destroy her.

Like most of my characters, Jonathan is fictitious and not based on anyone I know personally. There are, without a doubt, many real-life Jonathans out there, working quietly behind the scenes to make cyberspace safer for all of us.

MM

Update on my Upcoming Novel THE LETTER

I’m busy working on my upcoming novel, The Letter, and, as with my other novels, I’m having a great time getting to know this cast of characters.

The Letter is a story of things not being as they appear. Stephanie and Danny, the two leading characters, are in a happy relationship until Stephanie accidentally uncovers a love letter from Martha, a woman from Danny’s past. As the story continues, she’ll discover even more compelling yet circumstantial evidence, causing her to reach the wrong conclusion. Convinced that Danny has been cheating, she leaves, and with the start of a new job she meets Josh, who introduces her a whole new world. Unfortunately for Stephanie, Josh isn’t who he appears to be.

The Letter is turning out to be more of a classic romance, much like The ReunionThe story is set in Denver, as was The Reunion, and look for Paul, one of the featured characters in The Reunion to have a featured role in The Letter.

The Letter is inspired by a real-life event which happened to a good friend who accidentally came across a letter to her fiance from his old girlfriend. The ex girlfriend wanted him back, but she eventually moved on, and my friend and her fiance have been happily married for many years. However, this happened before email, text messaging and social media, so adapting the real incident to 21st century technology was a bit of a challenge.

Look for The Letter to be available in early 2018.

MM

Writing Dialog and Experiencing My Characters’ Emotions

Photo by Marina Martindale

One of my cousins, who used to be an actress, once told me how she would feel her characters’ emotions as she portrayed them. She said that performing emotionally charged scenes 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 usually the catalyst that 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 of them 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 really has been a pain in the butt who most certainly has it coming, and I wanted Danny 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, but an obsessed Martha refuses to let him go. As the scene plays out, Danny becomes more and more frustrated with her unending state of denial, and as he struggles to get through to her he becomes more verbally harsh. I started feeling anxious as I wrote the dialog. Harsh words, even when justified, can hurt like a fist, and some of the verbiage I used brought back memories of arguments I had with men from my own past. By the time I finished 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 spend some time going after those who she thinks turned Danny against her.

The Letter should be available by the spring of 2018.

MM

 

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