Monday, December 3, 2018

Remembering Gloria

Photo by Marina Martindale
It's been a challenging couple of weeks. My  dear friend, and proofreader, Gloria Gray, suffered a serious stoke earlier this month, and, sadly, she has passed away from complications.

Gloria was my proofreader for The Stalker, and The Letter. She had been a proofreader for a newspaper for many years, and she was a delight to work with. She had an eagle eye when it came to finding typos, misspellings or wrong homonyms. She would also let me know if a paragraph seemed ambiguous or confusing so I could change the phrasing. She used to talk about the characters and the things they did. She really loved my books, and was one of my biggest fans. I talked with her a few times about my current book in progress, The Scandal, and she told me how she really looked forward to proofreading it.

Gloria and I also shared a love of music. In fact, we met through a mutual friend who is a jazz singer. I also took her with me to a few other musician friends' gigs, and she always enjoyed them. 

People like Gloria don't come along everyday. She had a good heart and she always had your back. She will most certainly be missed.

MM

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

My New Blog

Don't worry, Marina Martindale's Musings will still be here. However I've started up a new photography blog.

As most of you already know, photography, like writing, is one of my life's passions. Must be why some of my characters, like Carrie Daniels in The Deception, and Danny Woodruff, in The Letter are photographers as well. I've even shared a few of photos here. However, this blog really is about my books, so the new one is for photography only. And don't let the name fool you. I create things under different names. I hope you'll go over and have a look. Here's the link.


Meantime I'm coming along on my latest manuscript, so stay tuned for more.

MM

Saturday, November 17, 2018

A New Composite Video

Photo by Marina Martindale
I've done enough book trailer videos by now to combine footage from all of then into a cool little mini-trailer inspired by you, my readers. The one comment I read time and time again in your reviews is that you couldn't put the book down, so this new video illustrates the point. I'll be using it on Facebook and Twitter, and probably on Amazon too.

Thanks, you guys. You're the best, and I love hearing how much you enjoy my books.

MM


Friday, November 2, 2018

Colorado Dreaming

Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
Photo by Marina Martindale
Along with Hollywood, my next book, The Scandal, will also take place in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. I lived in Colorado in the late 1990s, and it truly is a beautiful state. Sometimes I wish I hadn't left, however, circumstances were such at the time that I had no choice. Maybe that's why I've used Colorado as a location in so many of my novels. It's a way for me to go back and visit, at least vicariously, a state that, in my opinion, is one of the most scenic and beautiful in the country.

Steamboat Springs is an old ranching and mining town that's now become a popular tourist destination, much like Durango and Telluride. It's also a few hours' drive away from Denver and Colorado Springs, making it the perfect literary location as it's easy for my characters to travel back and forth from those bigger cities to Steamboat Springs. It also has a cool sounding name. 

Living in Arizona means I'm fortunate enough to be able visit Colorado, and a few years ago I took a trip there that included Steamboat Springs. Since that time, however, I've acquired much better camera equipment, and I've learned how to shoot and edit video. I hope to return to Steamboat Springs sometime soon, but in the meantime I'll end with a video I shot of southwestern Colorado, (under a different name.) It features Ouray, another beautiful mountain town that looks a little like Steamboat Springs.

MM




Colorado Dreaming from Gayle Martin on Vimeo.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

It's Creepy All Year Long

I've been getting some nice reviews for The Stalker on Author's Den, and the readers are pretty consistent with their comments about not being able to put the book down. 

The Stalker is probably my darkest story to date, and it's definitely high on the creep factor, making everyday seem like Halloween for leading lady Rachel, and after reading this small sample you may agree. Enjoy.

* * *


They headed out to the parking lot. After Alice drove away, Rachel turned her attention to Shane.
"So, what'd you think?"
"I like her. She's like you, in a lot of ways."
"You think so? I always thought that because we're really only half-sisters, we weren't that much alike."
"Well, in that case, you're each other's better half. Seriously, you two have a great relationship. I wish I could have been closer to my own sister, but there's such a big difference in our ages. By the time I was old enough to get to know her, she'd gone off to California for college. After that she only came home for short visits."
"It's never too late, you know," said Rachel. "Maybe you should call her sometime, just to say hello."
"Well, maybe. We'll see. Meantime, I'll walk you to your car."
Rachel was parked a few spaces away. She stepped up to the driver's side door and reached into her purse for her keys.
"Thank you again, Shane, for such as wonderful evening. I'm glad you liked my sister."
"You're welcome."
He gazed into her eyes and slowly leaned down to kiss her. It was a gentle, yet passionate kiss. When it was over, he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her in close as he kissed the top of her head. A sense of calmness came over her as she basked in the warmth of his embrace, but her mood quickly shattered as pair of glaring headlights shined in her face. A red pickup truck slowly drove past. She watched as it turned out of the parking lot and drove away.
"Are you all right?" asked Shane.
She nodded toward the street. "That truck. I've seen it a lot lately. Over the past few weeks it's been going up and down my street."
"Are you sure? There are plenty of red pickup trucks in Tucson."
"Yes, I'm sure. It's a red Dodge Ram, with California plates."
"And that's a popular model. Maybe someone from California recently moved into your neighborhood."
"Maybe," she replied, "but that particular truck has a small dent, just above the left rear wheel, and I recognized the same exact dent on the truck that just drove by."
"It's okay, Rachel. I know what you're thinking, but it's been weeks since we bumped into Craig Walker, and you've heard nothing of him since. I'm beginning to think his being at the same hotel where we had our reunion was one of those weird coincidences. In the meantime, we're only a few blocks away from your place, so it's entirely possible that someone from California has just moved into your neighborhood."
Rachel remained unconvinced, but she didn't want to start an argument. "Well, hopefully, you're right. Maybe it is just a coincidence."
She unlocked her car door and Shane gave her a final hug and another quick kiss before she slipped behind the wheel. He stood by as she fired up the engine and waved goodbye as she slowly headed out of the parking lot.

* * *

The Stalker is available on Amazon and BarnesandNoble.com






Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Stalker Book Trailer

Drum roll please. The new book trailer for my novel, The Stalker, has gone live, and I couldn't be happier.

My good friend Rob Resetar, has done it again. The Stalker is a much darker story than my other novels, and Rob wanted to do it film noir style, to give it a more creepy feel. The result is amazing. He's really captured the essence of the novel.

Enjoy the video.

MM

Monday, October 1, 2018

Entering the Home Stretch for my Next Book Trailer Video

A makeup artist at work during production of The Stalker Video.
Photo by Marina Martindale.
The Stalker book trailer video will be launching soon, and, just like before, I'm working with my dear friend and co-producer, Rob Resetar, of Rob Resetar Video.

The Stalker is my darkest story to date, and we wanted a dark, creepy feel to the video, so early on Rob decided film noir would be the way to go. It was the perfect choice, and the result, once again, is spectacular. I'm really look forward to launching it. I also have some other exciting projects lined up with Rob, and will tell you more about them later. 

MM

Saturday, August 25, 2018

I'm Going Hollywood

© Can Stock Photo / PerseoMedusa
My next book, The Scandal, begins in Hollywood, and I'm having a blast writing it. Hollywood a bizarre place indeed. There's no other place like it in the world. (Thank goodness!) Things happen there that you could never, ever, get away with anywhere else, which means that as writer, the sky's the limit. My characters are doing all kinds of crazy stuff. No wonder I'm having so much fun writing this one.

The inspiration for this story goes back many years to when I was a young, budding artist, and I had a cousin who played on a soap opera. She was kind enough to allow me to draw the cover art for her fan club newsletter, and, when she left the show, she invited me to her wrap party.

Now, here's the dirty little secret. Hollywood wrap parties are just as boring as any other corporate employee party. The only difference is the faces are more recognizable. However, in my story, my character's wrap party will be anything but boring.

I've created a lead character who's very different from my cousin. She's completely fictitious, and the title implies, she'll be unwittingly caught up in a major Hollywood scandal, with the rest of the story focusing on her struggle to reinvent herself and move on to a whole new chapter in her life. So stay tuned.

MM

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

No Politics Just Entertainment

I posted this meme on Facebook with the comment, I swear, on everything that is holy, this story isn't set in Washington, D.C. And people are getting the joke. They're giving it lots of likes.

All jokes aside, I keep my books politically neutral. I do so by design. It doesn't matter if I'm conservative or liberal, roughly half of my fans would be the opposite, and I don't want to lose half of my fans.

As a fiction writer, my job is to entertain my readers--not tell them what to think or who to vote for. The whole idea of reading a novel is to take a break from reality for a little while. Something which, in my opinion, the romance genre does quite nicely, as the focus is on the relationship between two people who've fallen in love. As a footnote, romance includes a number of sub-genres, such as sweet romance, (no sex) erotica, and gay and lesbian, which, depending on the authors, may or may not have political undertones. I happen to write sensual romance. It seems to be one of more popular styles of romance, again with the focus on the relationship between two lovers.

For those who are interested, there is a genre called, "political fiction." Famous novels in the genre would include George Orwell's 1984 and Animal Farm. I read both when I was in high school, and they are indeed interesting books. There's a time and a place for everything, however, my novels aren't the place for a political debate. 

MM



Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Meet Martha Morrison, the Antagonist in THE LETTER

© Can Stock Photo / zdenkamicka
Unlike many of my antagonists, Martha isn't an evil person, although she is extremely annoying. She's the kind of person who gets under your skin like a bad rash.

Martha and leading man Danny dated briefly, and Danny told her upfront there would be no strings attached. What he didn't know was that the recently divorced Martha had been married to her high school sweetheart, the only man she'd ever dated. Lonely and vulnerable, Martha ignored Danny's conditions and latched onto him, believing that he was the man she was destined to spend her life with. Danny met Stephanie a few weeks later and ended his relationship with Martha. But even without Stephanie, Danny had already decided to move on. 

Martha's reaction to their breakup wasn't what Danny expected. She thinks Danny simply needs a time out, and she fully supports him dating other women. In her mind, dating other women will prove to him, once and for all, that she's the only woman for him, and she's willing to wait for as long as it takes. In the meantime, she'll stay in touch. She starts with emails and text messages, but when a family member openly disapproves, she switches tactics and starts writing hand-written letters to eliminate an electronic paper trail. She also thinks hand-written letters are more romantic. And while Danny never responds to any of her messages, he's keeping all of her letters in a file to build a case against her; a move that, will, unfortunately, have serious unintended consequences for him.

Unlike like Craig Walker, Martha isn't a stalker, nor has she set out to intentionally cause any harm. She's a desperately lonely woman, afraid of being on her own, and unable to accept the fact that Danny isn't love with her.

We have a saying in the writing business that goes, You can't make this stuff up. Martha is loosely based on a woman who dated a friend's husband before he married my friend. The old girlfriend kept writing him love letters after they'd broken up because she believed he'd come back to her someday, but he of course never did. 

MM




Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Remembering Dennis

Photo by Marina Martindale
It's been a difficult couple of weeks for me. While I was in Prescott I learned that one of my cousins, and one of my favorite people, had passed away rather suddenly and unexpectedly.

Dennis was a cousin by marriage, but I've known him since I was ten years old, so to me, he was just as much family as his wife. He had a great sense of humor and always went the extra mile for others without expecting anything in return. He was also an attorney, and part of the inspiration for Alex Montoya, the leading man in my second novel, The Deception. In fact, I dedicated that book to Dennis.

Like Dennis, Alex was a hard working attorney willing to do whatever it took to see to it that justice was served for leading lady, Carrie. Of course, there were differences between the character and the real-life man who inspired him. Alex was thirty-something and single, but not necessarily looking for love, which is, of course, a prerequisite for a lead character in a romance novel. His real life counterpart, however, married his college sweetheart at the age of twenty-four, and was also a dedicated family man. Their personalties are also different as each and every character I create is a unique individual, and never a clone of any real-life person who may have inspired them. 

In honor of Dennis, I'm including this brief excerpt from The Deception, because like Alex, Dennis was dedicated to his clients.

MM
* * *


After they ended the call Alex picked up the message sitting on his desk. It was from Louise's attorney, Jack Collins, who called while he was out. He dialed the number and was immediately connected.
"Thanks for returning my call," said Collins. "I've received the letter you faxed me this morning and I've already spoken to my client about it."
"So what does she have to say? Is she willing to work with us to find out who really sent the photos to Gentry Magazine?"
"No, I'm afraid not. In fact, we've decided to follow through and file our claim against Ms. Daniels."
"May I remind you sir, that Mrs. Dickinson will be receiving a generous fee from the magazine as compensation for the unauthorized use of her photos. So may I ask the reason why she intends to pursue my client?"
"Certainly. It's our understanding that when Ms. Daniels called Mr. Wyman's office she told his secretary quote, 'I can't find my release form. Would you mind emailing a copy to me?' We're told that during that call she sounded very calm and collected. She never once came across as angry or upset. She even thanked Mr. Wyman's secretary, when she congratulated her on winning the contest."
"Yes," said Alex, "she admits making that call. She was trying to get a copy of the release form without raising suspicion. She needed to see the signature because she knew she hadn't signed it. She also tells me that the email address they had on file wasn't hers, and that she had to give them her correct address so she would receive their file."
"We understand that's her story. However, we're of the opinion that your client, possibly with the help of at least one other individual, has conspired to make it appear as if the photos were submitted without her knowledge. We believe that her partner either signed the release form, or that Ms. Daniels attempted to distort her own handwriting when she signed it. Either way, she did so that in the event she got caught, she could then turn around and claim her signature was forged. Ms. Daniels is in dire financial straits. She needed the five-thousand dollars to help pay her mother's medical expenses. She didn't count on Mr. Dickinson being a subscriber to Gentry Magazine."
"This is a joke, right?"
"It's not a joke, Mr. Montoya. We're serious."
"In that case, I have to ask you if you've completely lost your mind. If that's the kind of fantasy world you and your client want to live in, go ahead. I have the five thousand dollar check my client received from Gentry Magazine. She freely turned it over to me. Are you also not aware that this is a criminal, as well as civil matter? Ms. Daniels has already filed a police report. She never had any intention of cashing that check, and we've also informed Gentry Magazine that she had no intention of ever cashing it. If you want to file your frivolous lawsuit, go ahead. We'll be defending her and we believe that once the court hears our side of the story, we'll prevail."
Alex ended the call and hung up the phone in disgust. Louise was going after Carrie out of pure spite. He wadded up the message and threw it at the little miniature basketball hoop attached to his wastepaper basket. He smiled as he made his shot. His mind flashed back to high school. He had made the varsity basketball team his junior year, and even though Carrie was hardly a basketball fan, she nonetheless attended as many games as she could so she could cheer him on.
"And now, Alex, the ball is in your court. Whatever you do, don't let her down."
It was time to go back to work. He needed to enlist the services of an old and trusted friend. He turned to his computer to look up the number and he quickly dialed, drumming his pencil on his desk while he waited for someone to pick up.





Monday, June 25, 2018

Prescott, Arizona Travels

When I'm not writing I enjoy traveling and photography, and one of my favorite places to visit is Prescott, Arizona. This scenic historic town is about a three hour drive from Tucson, and it's a lot of fun. Whenever I'm here I enjoy shopping, being pampered at the hotel spa, and, of course, photography. I shot these at the historic courthouse. It's one of my favorite spots in Prescott as there is plenty of shopping and unique restaurants right across the street, and the historic Sharlot Hall Museum is also close by.

Another thing I do in Prescott is write. When I'm not out shopping or taking photos I'm hanging out in my room and writing, as there are fewer distractions. I don't have to stop in the middle of something to get to an appointment or run errands, and, most especially, there's no cooking or cleaning. The hotel is refreshingly quiet too. So please enjoy the photos while I go to work on my next novel.

MM


Saturday, June 16, 2018

Meet Stephanie Ellis, Leading Lady in THE LETTER

© Can Stock Photo / aletia
I really like Stephanie, my leading lady in The Letter. She has a lot of spunk, and she's not afraid to call it as she sees it.

As the story begins Stephanie is a legal secretary who's been in a relationship with leading man Danny for some time. Stephanie wants to know where their relationship is heading, but whenever she tries to bring it up, Danny quickly changes the subject. 

Stephanie's relationship with Danny will take an unexpected turn when she accidentally stumbles on a card sent to him by another woman. While Vanessa, her best friend, thinks the sender is nothing more than a lonely ex, Stephanie remains unconvinced. Is she really an ex? Or is Danny still seeing his old girlfriend on the side? The old girlfriend, however, will soon be the least of her worries as her world suddenly spirals out of control. And while things aren't necessarily as they appear, she'll make a rash decision that will change her life forever.

Stephanie is a purely fictitious character. However, the opening chapter of The Letter is based on a real-life event that happened to a close friend of mine many years ago. 

MM

Monday, June 11, 2018

It's Time to Start Planning my Next Novel

Now that The Letter has been successfully launched, it's time to start planning my next novel. And, as typically happens, my inspiration comes for the strangest places. 

A few months back I was reminiscing about a distant cousin who, decades ago, played on a soap opera. I was a young artist at the time, and I used to create the cover art for her fan club newsletter. When she decided to leave the show, I was invited to watch her final taping and attend her wrap party. It was an interesting experience, to say the least, and then the thought hit me. Why not use the wrap party as a starting point for my next novel? Why not have my next leading lady be a successful actress who suddenly decides to walk away from Hollywood for good because she no longer knows who she really is? Then, a few weeks later, as I was playing around with ideas, the Harvey Weinstein scandal erupted, and I thought wow, here's even more inspiration for a good novel.

The working title is, The Scandal, although that title is subject to change. And, just so you know, the lead character will not bear any resemblance my cousin. She's a unique character with her own set of issues, and her life will be very, very different from my cousin's. 

If all goes according to plan, The Scandal should be out in about a year. Give or take a couple of months.

MM

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Meet Danny Woodruff Leading Man in THE LETTER

© Can Stock Photo / barsik
Danny Woodruff is probably my most complicated leading man so far. Hard working and ambitious, he intends to work his way up the corporate ladder; all the way to the top. He also loves leading lady Stephanie. Or at least he thinks he does, in his own way. Unfortunately, Danny has a problem. He's haunted by women from his past.

The story begins with Danny and Stephanie having been in a relationship for some time. Stephanie wants to know where things are going, but whenever she tries to bring it up, he changes the subject. He's perfectly happy with the status quo, and he's not sure if even he wants a wife or a family. As the story unfolds we learn more about Danny's past and his struggle to overcome it. However, the ending may not be what you were expecting. 

Danny is a composite character inspired by men I've known in the past. He may not be my most likable leading man, but he's probably the most realistic.



Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The Letter is Now Available

My newest novel, The Letter, is now available in paperback and for the Amazon Kindle. It's also available in paperback on Barnes&Noble.com, and look for upcoming ebook editions available for iBooks and for the Nook reader. 

The Letter is the story of a man being hounded by a former girlfriend who is unable to accept the fact that their relationship has ended. While not as dark of a story as The Stalker, The Letter is a story of misunderstandings, miscommunications, and people who aren't as they appear to be. Like my other novels, the plot twists and turns to an unexpected and surprising ending.

In the meantime, please enjoy this sample chapter.


MM

* * * 

Vanessa sighed in relief as she brushed a stray lock of short blonde hair away from her eyes and rang the doorbell. The door slowly opened, revealing a sullen looking Stephanie on the other side.
"Sorry I'm late." Vanessa struggled to keep the frustration in her voice down. "I found the visitor's parking lot, but the numbering system here is so bizarre. I've been all over the complex and back trying to find the right building."
"It's okay." Stephanie motioned for her come inside, and as she crossed the threshold Vanessa took in her surroundings.
"Nice condo. I'd say Danny has good taste."
"I suppose."
Vanessa's brow furrowed. "Are you okay? You seem upset about something."
Stephanie silently nodded toward the kitchen, offering her friend a cup of coffee as she pointed to the stools in front of the breakfast bar.
"Stephanie, if you're not feeling well, it's okay. We don't have to go to the mall if you're not up to it."
"I'm okay. We'll leave in a few minutes." She grabbed the carafe and filled a mug for Vanessa. "But first, I want to show you something."
"What's up?"
Stephanie set the steaming mug on the bar and reached for a card resting on the other counter. Her face looked somber as she sat down on the barstool next to Vanessa.
"As you know, Danny went to the office this morning to catch up on paperwork, and he told me to help myself to coffee and cereal whenever I got up."
"Well, that was certainly thoughtful of him." Vanessa picked up her mug and took a sip.
"I suppose." Stephanie's voice sounded uncertain. "After I got up, I discovered that the TV remote wasn't working, so I went to get some fresh batteries. You know how everyone has a junk drawer in their kitchen."
"Uh huh," nodded Vanessa.
"So, while I was searching for the batteries, I came across this. It was stuck in the back of the drawer."
She set the valentine card and its envelope on the breakfast bar. Vanessa raised her eyebrows as she set her coffee mug down.
"So, who's Martha?"
"You're about to find out," said Stephanie as she picked up the card.
"Wait a second." Vanessa's voice was firm. "I can understand how finding a card addressed to your boyfriend from some other woman would upset you, and trust me, if I ever came across a letter addressed to Mike from another woman I'd be mad as hell. But Stephanie, you really shouldn't have opened it."
Stephanie gave her a sharp look. "It was outside of its envelope and stuck to something else. When I removed it all from the drawer, the card fell on the floor. I had no idea it was there, and when I picked it up I noticed it had a note written on the inside."
"So, did you read it?"
"Not intentionally, but at that point, it would have been hard not to." Stephanie's voice was firm but sad. "Danny and I have had an exclusive relationship for some time now. Or at least, I thought we did."
"I understand. So, what did the note say?"
Stephanie opened the card and read it. "Dear Danny. You know you're still my valentine, and I miss you. So does Brayden, but don't worry. We understand you're still on a time out, and we're okay with it. We just wanted to wish you a happy Valentine's Day, and let you know that we're thinking of you and we can't wait to see you again. Love, Martha."
Vanessa looked stunned. "Wow. I'm sorry, Stephanie."
"Me too. It was quite a shock."
"I'm sure it was. So, who's Brayden?"
"I have no idea," shrugged Stephanie.
"I wonder if she has a kid."
Stephanie grimaced. "I wondered the same thing. And if Brayden is her son, then who's his father? Danny?"
"Hopefully not. So, was there anything else?"
 "Nope, that was it. But now that I've seen it, I feel like I've opened Pandora's box."
"I'm sure you do. Has Danny ever mentioned anything about her before?"
"Maybe…I'm not sure. When we first started dating, he mentioned that he'd recently broken up with someone, but he didn't elaborate."
"I see. And has he ever mentioned anything about having a kid?"
"Nope." Stephanie shook her head as she spoke. "When we first met, I asked him if he had any kids, and he said he didn't."
"Well, in that case, if she has a child, then it probably isn't Danny's. I just hope he hasn't been seeing you on the rebound."
"Me too."
Vanessa wanted to reassure her. "You two have been seeing each other for some time now, haven't you?"
"Yep. For about eight months now."
"Then that's certainly a good sign. So, here's what I think. I think if you were just a rebound fling, or if he were actually on some sort of hiatus from this Martha person, he probably would have ended it with you by now."
"Maybe."
Vanessa looked at her watch. "Well, why don't we head over to the mall, like we planned? That should help you get your mind off things for a little while. And while we're there, we'll find you a hot new outfit. You mentioned something earlier about you and Danny having plans tonight, right?"
"Yeah, we do." Stephanie took Vanessa's mug back into the kitchen. "We were planning on spending the rest of the weekend together. He's taking me to dinner tonight, then tomorrow afternoon we're going to O'Malley's Grill to watch the Rockies game."
"Well, that certainly sounds encouraging." Vanessa hopped off her barstool. "He wouldn't be spending the entire weekend with you if he were still involved with Martha. And besides, Valentine's Day was months ago. She may have just been feeling lonely at the time. I'm sure by now she's moved on and found someone else."
"Hopefully. But it still doesn't explain why Danny's holding onto her card."
"No, it doesn't, and you may want to have a little talk with him. Nothing good ever comes from keeping secrets from one another."