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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Saying Goodbye To A Muse

As some of you know, Matt Slagal in my Arbor U series is based on my real-life tumultuous relationship with an AF officer I met, then wondered if I'd ever see him again.  Most of the scenes in this book are fiction, however, there is a tiny little bit of real-life experience in here.  Nope, not gonna tell which scene; it would spoil the fantasy element.

If it hadn't been for that experience, I would never have written the story now titled Love Finds A Way, nor created the rest of the series. 

I actually dated 'Matt' off and on up until Jan 1991, when I finally decided I was happy where I was, and didn't need to go see him because he suddenly remembered my phone number again.

Saw this on Facebook yesterday and it pretty much sums up our relationship.

Anyway, 'Matt' found me on FB two years ago, and I was thrilled to learn he'd stopped drinking, cleaned himself up, and had been happily married for six years.  I became good FB friends with his wife, and it was through her the past month I learned 'Matt' had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer.  Long story short, my (now former) AF officer lost his battle early  Monday morning.  

As always with an unexpected illness or death, you realize the things you didn't do.  For instance, it appears I own the only copy of him next to the F-15 Eagle he was proud of.  'Matt' asked me to either send it to him or make a copy for one of his relatives.  Since it resides in a special photo album, and happens to be in storage, I was waiting for an opportune time to retrieve it.  That was five months ago, and I still have that photo in storage.  I don't even know which relative he planned to send it to.  I may take it with me tomorrow, and stop to make at least two copies.  There's gotta be a CVS or Walgreens between here and there.

The good news?  I've already got a story churning in my head about how to give 'Matt' the proper send off.  I don't know if it will be an AU book, or if Kenzie will take over the brain and smut it up.  But I do plan to get to work on it as soon as I'm finished with book #7, Love Weighs In edits.

*An ironic side note:  I did not have a weight problem when I wrote this book, and now when it's arriving in August, I'm not happy with the jean size I wear, not the number on the scale.  But I will never go to the same lengths as my heroine....there, you get a small hint at her story line!*

Anyway, enough wallowing in my own grief.  This is about celebrating the life of a muse, and 'Matt' was certainly mine!  He's also the basis for 'Steve' in Kenzie's Wild At Heart.  

Both 'Steve' and 'Matt' have issues which cause them a lot of pain and anger.  I think the following excerpt depicts his character the closest.  

“I'm not changing my life. If they don't like it, they can stuff it.” Matt moved his arm
from her shoulders and reached for his cigarettes.

“Sshhh, I'm not asking you to change.” Amy tried to be tactful. “All I’m asking is
that you not, er, curse so much.”


“Please?” She lifted her head to look him in the eye. “All I ask is that you clean up
your vocabulary for a few hours while we're with my parents.”

“You want me to kiss ass.” He lit the end of the cigarette and blew smoke toward the

“Not quite, I just want you to make a good impression.” Tears welled unexpectedly
in her eyes. “This is important to me.”

“Oh, all right, I'll watch what I say next weekend. Can I smoke and drink beer, or is
that also taboo?”

“Stop it!” Amy sat up to escape the smoke.

“What?” Matt gestured, waving the smoke toward his side of the bed.

“You know what I mean. I'd rather you not smoke, but a few beers won't hurt. I'm not
asking you to bend over backward; all I want is for you to be civil with them.”

“I'm always civil.”

“I didn't mean it like that.” Amy shifted onto her side. “I meant that sometimes, well,
you have a tendency to act antisocial, as a know-it-all.”

“I do what?”

Feeling herself losing ground, Amy groaned. The conversation wasn't going the way
she'd hoped.

“I would feel better if you and my parents were to start off on the right foot.” She
chose her words with care. “They have the stereotypical, California, military officer in
their minds, and I don't want them judging you that way.”

“Just out of curiosity, what exactly is the 'stereotypical, California, military officer'?”
Matt sounded amused.

Amy thought for a moment. “Promise you won't get upset? He's the dedicated
officer, but loud, rude, and disrespectful when off duty. He's lazy, a womanizer, an
alcoholic, and not someone to bring home.”

“So that's what your parents are expecting me to be.” Matt crushed out his cigarette.

“Not entirely. I've told them your good points, so they're not expecting Godzilla.
Now, can we drop the subject and get some sleep?”

“No, we can't.”

“Why not?”

“Because.” His voice lowered as he turned to her, his hand sliding down to cup her
breast. “This military officer has a naked, sexy woman in his bed and wants to take
advantage of the situation.”

I'll say goodbye tomorrow at his funeral..  In the meantime, if you'd like a copy of Love Finds A Way, leave me a comment about your first love.  Bonus Question:  Can you tell where I 'lost control' of the conversation above?  And how I 'saved' it? 


Cara Marsi said...

Molly, I'm so sorry about your friend. What a nice tribute you wrote to him. It's good that you were on good terms with him and his wife the last few years. Putting him in a book as a final tribute is a great idea.

AJ Best said...

My first love ever was TW. we just recently reconnected on Facebook and he wanted to get back together. It's been a roller coaster of emotion with the thought running through my head. I'm with another man, who wanted to marry me, but changed his mind, so the thought was provoking. Especially since my 'wedding date' is in two weeks.

Harlie Reader said...

I will say it again...I'm really sorry for your loss.

One question...did either he or his wife know about him being in you books?

My first, I haven't thought of him in forever.


Molly Daniels said...

@Cara: Thank you:) This is how I deal with grief; I write.

@AJ: Wow, what a sweet story! I guess it depends on how much time has passed; how much you both have changed; and if time can overcome the reasons you broke up in the 1st place.

@Harlie: ROFL! Yes, he was well aware he was a major character in the AU series, and his wife enjoyed LFAW very much and is looking forward to the others.

He joked that I owed him royalties; I said I'd give him a percentage when it started paying me 6 figures, lol!

Sandy said...

LOL He sounds a lot like my hubby, but he managed to grow up finally. Sort of. Sorry for your loss, Molly, especially you'd just found him in the last few years. I hope you remain friends with his wife.

Melissa Keir said...

You and I have talked about our first loves. TJ in Forever Love is loosely based on mine and I'll always be grateful for him, even though we haven't talked in many years.

I'm sorry about your loss. I can't wait to see how you send him off in your book!


Lori Beth said...

What a beautiful tribute!! I told my mom about Steve yesterday and she saddened. I'm not sure if she remembered him but I reminded her than he ran around with T.

This feels almost surreal to me. I'm sure to you, it's unimaginable that he's gone.

Amber Skyze said...

What a touching tribute to your friend. Sorry for your loss.

Molly Daniels said...

@Sandy: His wife is a WONDERFUL person! Really wish I'd been able to talk to her more yesterday, but friend Billie (aka BC Brown) had to sleep at some point, so left after the burial. And yes, he sort of grew up, lol!

@Melissa: Thank you! I'll try to do him justice, lol!

Molly Daniels said...

@Lori: Thank you sweetie....I told Terena about you, and they buried him in his AF fatigues. I was saddened there was no bereavement lunch; otherwise I'd have taken pics at the showing. It was a small gathering, but I did get to talk to several of his co-workers and see a glimpse of the man they knew.

And yes....lost it when I saw him lying there. Just so surreal; I kept expecting to wake up and discover it was all a dream.

@Amber: Thank you sooo much for your kind words this past week!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Molly ,I love the tribute, it was very touching, Steve would have loved it. It was great getting to meet you, just wish it would've been under better circumstances & not my husbands funeral service, it's nice to get to talk to you even if it's just through facebook & to know I have a friend who can put a smile on my face through the stories you tell me about Steve before we met, he always knew how to make me laugh. Thanks again for the beautiful tribute to Steve.

ted said...

awesome tribute..Steve and I were neighbors and co- workers in Sumner... steve had the biggest herart in the world.......... not much i can say...God Bless to all his family and friends

Molly Daniels said...

@Terena, I love the fact we're friends! I loved him dearly and would have done anything in my power to be with him back then. He's still in my head occasionally, lol!

Molly Daniels said...

@Ted: Thank you:) I loved hearing his stories about his time in the AF and the antics he pulled with coworkers. I really enjoyed talking to two women he worked with at W/M at the viewing; sounds like he hadn't changed much! I'm soooo happy he quit drinking.

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