Whew! It’s finally done, and I’m pleased with the final results. As I mentioned in my prior post, I’ve become more hands on with my book trailer videos, and I’m loving it. Makes sense, as my background is in fine art, and my degree is in drawing and painting. I also studied photography, and it too is one of my life’s passions. Granted, it’s taken me a little while to make the jump from 35mm to digital, but one of the great things about a DSLR camera is you can also shoot video. And there you have it.
I did most of the filming and nearly all of the editing. My good friend, Rob Resetar, of Rob Resetar Video, shot the kidnapping scene and did the musical score and final audio mix. Wish I could take credit for the drone footage, but it too was shot by another friend.
Enjoy the video, and if you haven’t read it yet, you’ll like, The Journey, especially if you’ve read The Reunion. While not exactly a sequel, both books use the same cast of characters, and The Journey begins about eighteen months after the end of The Reunion.
Hi everyone and Happy New Year. No, I didn’t fall off the planet. I’ve been busy learning a new skill–video production. Not to worry, I’m still working with my good friend Rob Resetar, who did the book trailers for The Reunion and The Deception. But since I’m also a photographer, I’m now shooting and editing the video in house, and leaving the musical score and audio mixing to Rob, who does it so much better than I do.
We’re currently in post production with the book trailer for The Journey. Those of you who’ve read the book know it’s a complicated story. Whittling it down into a minute and forty seconds wasn’t easy, but, with a little help from my friends, I got it done.
The biggest challenge was recreating the scene where Jeremy, the leading man, has been left for dead in the snow. Shooting the scene in the snow would be problematic. We actually do get snow in the mountains in Arizona. The trick is knowing far enough in advance when it will happen. This leads to the even bigger challenge of getting everyone together to go shoot the scene, as people have other commitments, such as day jobs. There were some other issues as well, so my solution was to shoot it in my backyard, using fake snow. It’s amazing what you can create with rock salt, cornstarch, a little mud, and some fake blood. So, once again, with a little help from my friends, I got it done. Afterwards I found out this is the way Hollywood does snow scenes as well. Nice to know I did it right.
The book trailer will be launched sometime in February.
If I had to list the most evil of the villains I’ve created so far, Denise Sanderson would certainly be at the top of the list, especially since she’s the last person readers would expect to be so evil.
Denise is a young nurse who seems to be genuinely compassionate and caring, but Denise has a darker side. When she was in nursing school, she frequented a bar called O’Malley’s Grill, and soon fell in love with one of the bartenders–Jeremy Palmer. Jeremy, however, didn’t feel the same about her, and when she tried to make their relationship more than friends he turned her down. Jeremy soon moved on and forgot about her, but Denise neither forgave, nor forgot, his rejection.
Jeremy and Denise would meet again, but under different circumstances. Denise, now a nurse, has been assigned to care for Cassie, Jeremy’s wife, who’s been seriously injured in a car crash. She quickly befriends both Cassie and Jeremy, and while Jeremy can’t quite place her, she seems familiar nonetheless. He feels he can trust her, but Denise will use his trust to unleash her revenge, and Jeremy’s life will never be the same.
Denise is a fictitious character, but she also represents a deep-seeded fear many of us may have. What if the people we trust to take care of us during our most vulnerable times really don’t have our best interests in mind?
Sometimes characters can be problematic simply because of who they are. Such was the case for Laura Palmer, Ian Palmer’s ex-wife in The Reunion.
We all know that in real life, ex-spouses can be a headache, so it would have been all too easy for me to make Laura into a stereotypical bitch. But then again, life isn’t always what we expect, and being eternal optimist I am, I’d like think there are ex-spouses out there who are like my late grandmother–good people trying to make the best out of awkward situations. Besides, I didn’t want to make Laura too common and too predictable.
Laura bursts onto the scene as soon as she learns about her ex-husband’s new romance. Of course she wants to check out Gillian, the leading lady. Her motive, however, isn’t a scheme to try to win Ian back. She’s found someone else. She doesn’t want Ian back. Her motive is her children, and because she’s a good mother she wants to meet with Gillian to draw up the ground rules regarding the kids. Naturally, she’ll bring up Ian during the conversation. Laura is nothing if not direct.
As the story unfolds readers will see Laura not as a witch, but as a woman mislead into a marriage by a man who now admits he married her for all the wrong reasons. She may have looked like Gillian, but she wasn’t Gillian, and for too many years he made her miserable because of it. Fortunately for Laura, she’s found happiness with her finance, Will, and she’s built a new life for herself, helping him run a horse ranch near Steamboat Springs. For a “villain” she’s turned out to be surprisingly likable.
Cassie Palmer is a character best described as grace under pressure. Seemingly naive and shy on the outside, Cassie is an iron lady in disguise.
We first meet Cassie in The Reunion, when Gillian and Jeremy stop for breakfast at a truck stop diner in Idaho Springs, Colorado, where Gillian suddenly finds herself reunited with the diner owner, her long-long best friend, Samantha Walsh. As they get reacquainted Samantha unveils another surprise–her daughter, Cassie. Gillian is surprised, but Jeremy’s life will never be the same.
Cassie and Jeremy soon become friends, but I don’t want to spoil too much of the story for those who haven’t yet read The Reunion. Cassie returns in The Journey, and this time she’s the leading lady. As the story begins, she is critically injured in a car crash that leaves her fighting for her life. Later, as she begins the long road to recovery, her world will turn upside down once again, yet through it all, she remains gracefully resilient.
Cassie is a purely fictitious character not inspired by anyone I know in real life. She is, instead, an inspiration for those times when we feel overwhelmed by all life’s obstacles.
I seem to have gotten into the habit of creating some really evil antagonists. So much so that they’re even scaring me and leaving me wondering, “Where on earth are these people coming from?” Then my good friend and fellow author, David Lee Summers, explained to me that the antagonist doesn’t always have to be an evil villain. He or she could simply be someone whose goals are contrary to the protagonist’s goals. So, after listening to David’s comments, I decided to give it a whirl and come up with an “un-evil” antagonist. Someone who stands in the way of the protagonist, but has no evil intentions.
Harrison Tyler, or Hal, as his friends call him, is a nurse practitioner with an orthopedic surgeon, and he’s one of three antagonists who appear in The Journey. We first meet Hal during a time when Jeremy, the leading man, is missing and presumed dead, while Cassie, his wife, is still recovering from a broken leg. The time has come for her cast to be removed, and as luck would have it, the technician is out that day, the job falls on Hal, who immediately falls for Cassie. Her brother-in-law, Larry, is also there. He can see that Hal is a decent guy, so he encourages her to go have coffee with him. A reluctant Cassie finally agrees, just to get Larry off her back.
Cassie sees Hal as a friend who’s come into her life at a time when she really needs one. To Hal, however, Cassie is a rare find. And while he hasn’t quite fallen in love with her, he knows he wants her, and he’s willing to wait patiently until she’s ready for him. And if it means having to be persistent, if not a little manipulative, so be it. His intention isn’t to cause any harm. He simply wants to make Cassie his–before it’s too late.
Hal is a purely fictitious character and not inspired by anyone I’ve ever met in real life. He’s a nice guy who’s found himself in the awkward position of wanting something he can never really have, but still trying to reach for it anyway.
It’s funny how things sometimes work out. Jeremy Palmer was originally intended to be a rouge character in The Reunion. He would make a brief appearance, do his dirty deed, and then disappear into the night. But sometimes things don’t go exactly as planned. As I was writing The Reunion, I came to realize that Ian, the leading man, wouldn’t have had such an evil son. So Jeremy went from rogue villain to a rival, competing with his father for Gillian’s affections, and creating a storyline that many readers tell me was their favorite part of The Reunion. Jeremy blossomed. Okay, he jumped off the page. He became a sexy, vibrant character worthy of having his own novel, The Journey.
We first meet Jeremy in The Reunion as a twenty-one-year-old bartender. He has his father’s good looks, and his mother’s bold, sometimes too direct, personality. Jeremy isn’t one to mince words. He likes to get straight to the point, and his bluntness occasionally gets him into trouble.
The Journey begins approximately eighteen months after The Reunion has ended. Jeremy is now working as an engineer, and he’s happily married to Cassie. (You really didn’t think Ian would have allowed him to steal Gillian away, did you?) Jeremy’s world turns upside down the night Cassie is seriously injured in a car crash. He rushes to the hospital and stays by her side. While Cassie recovers they befriend Denise, one of Cassie’s nurses. Denise seems familiar, and while Jeremy can’t quite place her, she has never forgotten how he jilted her, years before. Denise wants a second chance with Jeremy, and she’s about to unleash an evil plan to win him back.
Jeremy is a purely fictitious character. He wasn’t inspired by anyone I knew in real life, although his character is very similar to the young Ian seen in the flashback chapters of The Reunion. The younger Ian was inspired by someone I knew, long ago. And just like his father, Ian, Jeremy will make his fair share of mistakes, no doubt making some readers saying, “Like father, like son.”
As I write more novels I find myself getting into the habit of using crossover characters, meaning I’ll take a supporting character from one book, and use him or her in another novel. Must be a habit I picked up a few years ago when I wrote a series of children’s books under a different name. The same two kids appeared in all the books, so I got comfortable with the idea of carrying characters from one book to another.
George McCormick, from TheDeceptioncharacter, was my first crossover character. A crusty ex homicide detective turned private investigator in The Deception, George is hired by Alex to prove Carrie’s innocence after she’s wrongly accused of plagiarism and copyright infringement. Later on, when Alex disappears, Carrie sends George to search for him.
George went on to appear in my next novel, The Journey. This time around he’s been hired by an insurance company to investigate the disappearance and apparent murder of Jeremy Palmer. While not as big of a role this time around, George nonetheless plays a pivotal part in the story.
Crossover characters make the novels more fun. Readers will recognize those characters from other novels, and it’s a nice way to interconnect my stories. Look for more crossover characters in future novels.