Friday, October 2, 2015


"I wasted my youth on you. You've let yourself go. Look at you! I don't even want you anymore!"

That's what Steve Cavanaugh said to his wife, Liz, before leaving her for Gloria, a plaything in her twenties. Seeing the anger in Liz's eyes, he bolts for the door as she hurls a vase at him. Barely missing his head, the vase crashes into the wall.
He mocks her. "You broke it! I was going to give that to Gloria."

This fictional scenario sets the stage for "Love's Sweetest Revenge," the upcoming first book in my "Castle in the Sun" romance series.
Although Steve has some redeeming qualities, such as being a good father and provider for the twin sons he had with Liz, he says and does many detestable things. This continues even after Liz begins a relationship with Carlos Martín, a brilliant, sophisticated and of course, handsome Presidential aide. But Steve just cannot bear to see Liz happy, especially with someone so accomplished.

When I started the series, I didn't expect Steve to play a major role. He was supposed to be a background character, the ex-husband referred to in passing.

As I wrote, however, Steve kept stepping out from the shadows and I realized he has an important role. He is the antagonist or villain essential to every story. He represents the challenges we all need to overcome.
Who can better appreciate home's warmth than one who has struggled through the wind and rain?
Whatever they are, the "Steves" in our lives test us, just as the character in my book tests Liz and Carlos' relationship. These people and problems can embitter us or make us flex our mental and spiritual muscles to grow stronger.
A friend who reviewed my book had her own take on Steve. "He's a control freak, wanting to manipulate Liz and Carlos like puppets on a string."

Here is what Steve said to Carlos after learning about the motorcycle accident that nearly killed him. "Too bad about the Harley. Maybe it was just too much bike for you."
So where did I get the dialogue for this character? Much of it came from my mild-mannered husband, Dan. Might there be a little bit of Steve inside every one of us?

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