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.
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.
Sometimes the people we think we can trust the most are the very people who’ll betray us. As I mentioned in an earlier post,The Betrayalis also agood cop vs bad cop story. Kyle Madden, the leading man, is a good cop who risks his both career and his life to save Emily, the leading lady. However his partner, Beau Fowler, is also his nemesis.
A thirty-year police veteran, Beau has been a good cop who’s caught his fair share of bad guys, but during that time he’s also been passed up for promotions, oftentimes by younger officers he helped train. Now his luck appears to be changing. He’s been called to investigate a suspicious death at the home of a well-known motivational speaker. It’s the high profile case he’s been waiting for. All he has to do is get a conviction and he’s sure to get his long overdue promotion–even if it means framing an innocent woman. In Beau’s mind, people sometimes have the misfortune of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Beau Fowler is a purely fictitious character, who, sadly, is inspired by the occasional bad cop out there who inflicts harm innocent citizens. Fortunately such officers are rare, as most are like Kyle; good people who put their lives on the line each and everyday.
I decided I would make Emily St. Claire, my leading lady in The Betrayal, a loving, devoted wife. Emily is happily married to Jesse, her college sweetheart, and she put her dream of becoming a concert pianist on hold, at least for a time, taking a job as an office manager so Jesse could launch his own career. And now that he’s become successful, it’s Emily’s turn to pursue her dream.
Unfortunately, Emily’s world is about to be turned upside down. She’ll get the shock of her life when she discovers Jesse has been unfaithful to her. Emily, however, is nothing if not resilient. She returns home to her father, and her piano, determined to follow her dreams, with or without Jesse. But as she begins to follow her dream, her life will take another unexpected turn. An unforeseen tragedy will lead her to Kyle, a man who’ll love her unconditionally, but before Kyle can pursue her, he has to save her from another enemy, determined to destroy her.
I wanted Emily to be the polar opposite of Maggie Andrews, the betrayed wife in The Deception. Both women have been deeply hurt by their husband’s infidelity, but Maggie chooses to take her wrath out on Carrie, her husband’s mistress, even with the knowledge that Carrie was completely unaware that Scott was married and had already ended the relationship. Maggie is a bitter, unhappy woman, who uses her husband’s affair as an excuse to destroy another person’s life because she believes doing so will somehow make her feel vindicated.
Emily, on the other hand, tries her best to handle her husband’s infidelity with grace and dignity, but another man will soon take advantage of her vulnerability, causing her to make a decision she will later regret, and that others will use against her.
While Emily is a fictitious character, the inspiration for her story came from two different friends. One was a man I dated many years ago who had caught his ex-wife in the act. The other was a friend who never forgot the day her father came home and caught her mother being unfaithful. Adultery doesn’t just harm the spouse who was cheated on. It affects others as well, and both The Betrayal, and The Deception, are stories about the long term consequences of infidelity.
One of the things I enjoy doing as an author is crossing characters from one novel into another. After all, they’re just sitting there, doing nothing, so I may as well put them to work, right? One of these crossover characters is Kyle Madden, who we first meet in The Reunion. Kyle is the police detective who warns Gillian, the leading lady, about her ex-husband, Jason.
As I began formulating the plot line for The Betrayal, I decided to include a good cop/bad cop story, with my leading man being the good cop. The story would be set in Phoenix, and, rather than create a leading man from scratch, I decided to use Kyle. He’d only played a minor role in The Reunion, as a generic police detective, so he had plenty of potential. In The Betrayal, Kyle becomes a thirty-something divorced dad whose wife had left him, and their young son, a few years earlier. Kyle wants very much to be a good father, but his demanding career takes up too much of his time, and it has left him feeling burned out.
Kyle first meets Emily, the leading lady, at an art gallery opening, but they’re destined to meet again. This time, however, it’s official police business, and Kyle soon realizes that Emily is being framed for a crime she didn’t commit. As he fights to prove her innocence, he’ll discover that one of his fellow officers is behind the nefarious plot.
Kyle is a hero who was inspired by real heros, all of the dedicated real life police officers out there who put their lives on the line for the rest of us each and everyday.
The other day my illustrator, Wes Lowe, sent me the sketch for the cover illustration forThe Betrayal. Part of the story takes place at a southern Arizona winery. Believe it or not, we really do have wineries in Arizona. We may not be Napa Valley, as they are all mom & pops, but they do make some very nice wines.
McPherson Vineyards, where this portion of the story is set, is a fictional winery. It’s named after the Scottish clan I’m descended from, and it’s loosely modeled after a real-life southern Arizona winery in the tiny town of Elgin, in the Santa Rita Mountains. This is one of the most beautiful and scenic parts of the state. It’s still off the beaten path and I hope it stays that way. I love the unspoiled beauty, and taking an occasional Sunday off and driving to the winery that was the inspiration is a real treat.
I’m hoping to have the finished cover illustration soon, then it’s off to the publisher. Look for The Betrayal to be released later on this summer.
I finally have The Betrayal back from the editor, and it was certainly worth the wait, as this time I had to do a revision.
The Betrayal is a story of lies, deceit and infidelity that climaxes when a potentially deadly conspiracy is launched against Emily, the leading lady. However, I was facing some real-life challenges of my own as I was writing the story, which resulted in my having to set the manuscript aside for weeks at a time. When I finally finished it there were a few continuity errors that I couldn’t see, but Cynthia, my editor, sure caught them. She told me the last few chapters would need to be revised, and by the time I was done both of us were delighted at how much those changes improved the storyline. Now, I can’t divulge too much, as I don’t want to spoil it for you, but I can, however, give you a sneak peek, so here you go. And enjoy.
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Emily glanced at the dashboard clock as she waited for traffic light to change. It was nearly one o’clock. In the hour since she left Dr. Lerner’s office, her entire world had collapsed around her, and she wasn’t sure where to go next. Should she get a hotel room? Or would she be better off staying with her father? Granted, he’d never been fond of Jesse, but he wasn’t one to say I told you so either. The light turned green. She sighed and pointed her car toward her father’s house. Ten minutes later she pulled into the driveway.
The house looked quiet. Her father didn’t get off work until five o’clock, and Susan worked until seven, assuming today wasn’t her day off. With any luck, Emily would have the place to herself for a few hours. She still had the house key her parents had given her when she was a teenager. Hopefully, Susan hadn’t changed the locks. She put her key in the lock. It turned. As she stepped into the foyer, she got an enthusiastic greeting from Lurch. Lurch was part sheepdog, part collie, and part something else though no one knew exactly what, but whatever he lacked in pedigree, he more than made up for in love and affection. He put his big paws on Emily’s chest and she wrapped her arms around him.
“I know, buddy. It’s good to see you too.”
She gave the dog a pat on the head and stepped into the kitchen. To her relief, Susan was nowhere to be found. She fixed herself a glass of ice water and headed into the family room. A number of family photos stood on top of the mantle. She picked one up and gave it a closer look. It had been taken at the University of Arizona, shortly after the commencement ceremony had ended. Jesse stood in his cap and gown, his face beaming as he held up his diploma. Emily stood at his side, her face glowing as she showed off her engagement ring. She let out a sigh.
“I think we can safely throw this one away now.”
She took the photo from its frame and ripped it in half, taking its remains back to the kitchen and dropping them into the wastebasket underneath the sink. She refilled her water glass and took it down the hallway to her old room. Her posters had all been taken down and replaced with other artwork, but it still had the furniture she grew up with. A framed photo sat on the nightstand. It had been taken shortly after the family had moved into the house. A fourteen-year-old Emily sat next to her mother on a chaise lounge by the pool. She picked it up and caressed the glass over her mother’s face with her finger.
“I miss you, Mom. Everyday. And most especially today.”
She set the photo down and plopped down on top of the bed. Lurch came up and joined her. She wrapped her arms around him and burst into tears.
There is more to The Betrayal than just one betrayal. The Betrayal is also a good cop bad cop story, and for some that has already created a bit of a controversy. When I first started working on the manuscript I posted something on Facebook about the villain being a corrupt police detective, while the hero is a good cop who eventually catches the bad cop. Within a few hours of posting someone started losing their lunch, posting a scathing comment to the effect of how dare I write a story about a bad cop.
My response was that the story is fiction, and what part of the hero being the good cop did he not get? Then it was on to the unfreind button.
I honestly do believe that the vast majority of police officers out there are good people, thus my leading man, along with a few supporting characters, are all good cops. Unfortunately, however, there are a lot of bad ones out there too. They can, and do, destroy innocent lives as well as tarnish the reputations of all the good cops out there. Yes, The Betrayal is a work of fiction, but good or bad, its inspiration comes from real life.