Monday, July 8, 2019

The Scandal Has Gone to the Editor

Finally, after more than a year of writing, The Scandal has gone to the editor. Once again, I feel like a mom whose kids have just moved out. You think you're going to feel happy, and part of you does, but at the same time, you also feel sad. I guess you'd call the feeling bittersweet

I've genuinely loved writing all of my novels, but some have been more fun to write than others, and on the pleasure to write meter, The Scandal is right up there with The Reunion. The inspiration came from one of my cousins who, years ago, had a major role on a soap opera, and she was kind enough to not only invite me to visit the set, she also invited me to her wrap party when she left. And by the way, a soap opera wrap party is like any other corporate party. The only difference is the faces are more familiar. But then again, when you're a writer, you can add a little unexpected drama to make a corporate party a whole lot more interesting, which is exactly what I did in The Scandal.

Now, just so you know, Lauren McAllen, my lead character, is actually not based on my cousin. About the only thing she and my cousin have in common is they don't hang out with the Hollywood crowd, and not all actors do. Just like doctors, attorneys, and architects, actors are all unique individuals. Some are party animals. Some have drug or alcohol issues. Others get on political soap boxes. They may make the headlines, but not everyone in Hollywood is that way. Some actors go home and hangout with their families, and their social circles don't necessarily include other celebrities. In other words, off camera, they're more like the rest of us, and that's who Lauren is. If anything, she's an extension of me; a woman totally devoted to her craft who feels truly blessed to be able to follow her dream and do what she loves.

The Scandal is also my most researched novel to date. As a writer, I strive for accuracy as I want my stories and my characters to be as realistic and believable as possible. And while visiting the set and watching a taping was truly an honor and a privilege, it hardly makes me an expert on television production, so I spent a lot of time reading articles on how things work on the set what happens behind the scenes. Hopefully, I've come close.

Look for The Scandal to be released later this summer.

MM

Thursday, June 27, 2019

The Letter Book Trailer

Once again, my good friend Rob Resetar has helped me create an amazing new book trailer. This time for my most recent novel, The Letter, and his original musical score is his best one so far. Seelie Studios assisted with the casting, and I'm very pleased this video. I hope you're as excited about it as I am. So please, enjoy The Letter book trailer.


Friday, June 21, 2019

The Scandal Book Cover

Once again my illustrator, Wes Lowe, has come through and he's created his best cover illustration to date. 

The Scandal is the story of soap opera star Lauren McAllen. Lauren has recently left the soap that made her famous and has landed a supporting role in a major motion picture. But before the camera rolls, her dream of stardom shatters when the studio head is accused of wrongdoing, and she's unwittingly caught up in a major scandal that rocks Hollywood.

I'm still working on the manuscript, and hope to have it complete and ready to go to the editor in early July. While this book has been the most interesting one to write so far, it's also required more research, and revisions, than anything I've done before, but trust me, it'll be well worth the wait.

MM



Thursday, May 30, 2019

A Sequel May Be In The Works

© Can Stock Photo/khunaspix
The inspiration for my stories comes from my life experiences, family stories, or stories others have told me of their life experiences. For example, one of my cousins backed out of her wedding at the last minute after suddenly realizing she was in love with the best man. Those are the kind of stories that inspire me, and I planned on using it for the next novel, after I complete The Scandal. Then I remembered. I'd already used it as a backstory for one of the characters in The Letter. It was one of the main characters, and, interestingly enough, at the end of the book, this particular character's storyline was left a bit ambiguous. 

Hmm...

Now I'm not going to tell you which character I'm referring to as I don't want to spoil it for those who haven't read it yet, but there are some possibilities as well as some challenges. Yes, this individual was one of the main characters, but not necessarily as likeable as the other main characters. Mind you, this isn't a bad person, but rather someone who's stuck in the past and unable to move forward. But then again, a conflicted protagonist can be interesting character indeed. So, I'll play around with the idea a little longer, and in the meantime, if you haven't read The Letter yet, you may want to check it out. Summer is upon us, and it would be a nice beach read.

And by the way, my cousin ended up marrying the best man, and they had a family. So far as I know, they're still together. 

MM  

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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The Letter Book Trailer is Almost Ready

Photo by Gayle Martin
We're busy putting the final touches on my upcoming book trailer for The Letter, and each trailer seems to be better than the one before. Once again I'm working with Rob Resetar of Rob Resetar Video, and he's come up with some amazing ideas.

In The Letter leading lady Stephanie falls on hard times, so Josh helps her earn extra cash hiring her as an artist's model, and we've included a scene in the book trailer.

The Letter is available on Amazon, and BarnesandNoble.com

MM

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Friday, May 17, 2019

Yikes! I've Created Another Sexy Villain

© Can Stock Photo / Ostill
Ask any fiction author and they'll tell you that characters have minds of their own. And believe me, I have experienced this phenomenon many times myself. There have been times when a character came out much differently than originally planned, and it's always been for the better.

Most of the time I try to make my villains as despicable as I can. After all, there's nothing more fun than a villain we love to hate, and it's great when he or she finally gets their comeuppance. Some of my more dastardly villains include Scott Andrews, the married guy putting himself out as a single guy to entice unsuspecting single women in The Deception. Then there's Beau Fowler, the corrupt detective in The Betrayal, who attempts to frame an innocent woman for a crime she didn't commit. And finally, there's Craig Walker, the sociopathic villain in The Stalker, who'll resort to kidnapping and murder to get what he wants. 

Other villains, however, have had a certain quality about them that makes them more complex, more charismatic and, for lack of a better word, sexy. Jeremy Palmer in The Reunion was the first. Originally intended to be a rogue character who would do his dirty deed and be quickly written out of the story, Jeremy turned out to have that special charisma. So rather than being someone to despise, Jeremy instead became a rival, competing with his father to win Gillain's affections. Josh Ramsey in The Letter was originally intended to be a conman, but when the chemistry between him and Stephanie unexpectedly sizzled, his character had to revamped into a mystery man who wasn't who he appeared to be.

So now it's happening again, this time with Calvin Michaelson, in my upcoming novel, The Scandal. Cal's a Hollywood mogul and a womanizer who's earned himself quite a reputation as a playboy. He too was intended to be a despicable villain for readers to hate, but as his character evolved he became more dynamic than I expected, so now he too is being revamped. He'll still be a playboy, but by the end of the story a new and completely unexpected side to Cal will be revealed. 

The Scandal will be available later this summer.

GM

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Thursday, May 9, 2019

Entering the Home Stretch for "The Scandal"

© Can Stock Photo / trekandshoot
There's only a few more chapters left to write and my next novel will be ready go to the editor. I am loving this story. It's come out so much better than expected. It includes an amazing cast of characters and it's probably my most well researched book so far. 

As my readers know, I put a lot of time and effort into making my storylines as realistic and believable as possible, and I've learned a lot about the television and movie industry. So as I've gone along, I've had to do some major revisions, but that's okay. Each revision makes the story that much better. I also had to revamp my main antagonist. 

As luck would have it, it was shorty after I decided to write a book about Hollywood that the whole Harvey Weinstein scandal broke, but I didn't want to emulate it in my novel, so I opted to have my lead antagonist be more of a Roman Polanski. However, it came out a bit too creepy for my taste, and after several revisions it was still too creepy, and I simply didn't like it. So, finally, I had to go back and do more of a Harvey Weinstein inspired storyline, but with a Marina Martindale twist. This time, it worked. Of course, he's not my only villain, and as I'm wrapping up some of my loose ends another antagonist is poised and ready to strike. And that's all I have to say about that.

If all goes according to plan, The Scandal will be available this summer.

MM

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Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Working on The Letter Book Trailer

Photo by Gayle Martin
Lights, camera, action! We've gone into production for my next book trailer, this time for The Letter. Once again I have my faithful crew, cameraman Rob Resetar and Jim Glinski, my drone operator, along with three amazing actors. We had a great time shooting and now we're going into post production. Look for the book trailer soon.

MM

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Back to the Land of the Living

© Can Stock Photo / ESchweitzer
No, I haven't fallen off the planet, although it may appear that way. I don't know exactly what I had, but whatever it was, I've never been this sick for this long in my life.

It started at the end of February. I felt like I was coming down with mild cold and I really didn't feel bad at all. A few days later I looked in the mirror and noticed I had an eye infection. (Conjunctivitis.) Then it spread to the other eye. Typical. Conjunctivitis is highly contagious but it's usually not serious; it's just irritating. Unfortunately, it was only the beginning. My ears decided they had to get into the act as well.

First the Eustachian tube in my left ear started hurting. Bad. Really, really, bad. Then it ruptured and started bleeding, and I wasn't exactly pleased at that point. (Panicked is more like it.) So I went to urgent care and they prescribed antibiotics. The eyes cleared up, but then I ended up with ear infections in both ears so I spent the next couple of weeks hardly able to hear. Someone suggested Flonase, so tried it, and that got them to drain some. However, as I'm writing I'm still not fully recovered. I was finally able to get in to see ENT physician a few days ago. Thankfully, the ruptured eardrum has healed, and she says I'm on the mend and doing well. It's about time, as I also had a c diff infection a few weeks ago. I got it from the antibiotics, and trust me, it wasn't fun either. C diff is a potentially deadly superbug that's become an epidemic. It affects people of all ages, and it usually happens to people who've been very sick and taking antibiotics, as I was. 

While I was sick I thought I'd spend some time writing, but it was really hard for me to focus. No doubt infections affect your brain as well, so I spent most days napping, playing solitaire, hanging out on Facebook and watching YouTube videos. That's when I stumbled on a young filmmaker whose work is really impressive. His name is Arthur Dark, and his YouTube series is called Hollywood Graveyard. While it may sound morbid to some it's actually well researched, full of interesting history, and it's well produced. This kid has talent and, hopefully, he'll go far.  Meantime, if you're so inclined, go check him out. 

I'm finally feeling better and getting back to doing the things I enjoy doing, such as playing my piano, going out and listening to live music, photography, blogging, and, of course, writing. I'm finishing up my latest novel, and I hope to have it out this summer. 

MM


Wednesday, April 17, 2019

An Easter Chapter from "The Letter"

I try to include major holidays in my novels, and in my most recent book, The Letter, leading lady Stephanie spends a bittersweet Easter with her new boss and his husband, while Danny finally realizes the time has come for him to make some changes. Please enjoy this excerpt from The Letter. 


By the time Easter arrived the winter snow had melted away and the trees were starting to bloom. Stephanie pulled up in front of a large, single-story house with a huge cottonwood tree in the front yard. She shut down the engine and grabbed her bottle of wine. Walking up to the front door, she heard a dog barking inside. A bald man with a dark brown goatee opened the door and greeted her with a smile.
"You must be Stephanie."
"I am. And you must be Dwayne."
"That would be me." He gave her a nod and she followed him through the door. Once inside she handed him the wine while a yellow Labrador sniffed at her clothing.
"Bella! Behave." Dwayne gave the dog a strong look as she wagged her tail. Stephanie stroked her head.
"It's okay. I love dogs." She was still petting the dog's head when Paul entered the room and greeted her with a hug.
"Happy Easter, and thanks for coming to visit our humble abode."
She looked around the beautifully furnished room. Antiques were proudly displayed on the shelves, with several paintings hanging on the walls. "I would hardly call this place humble. In fact, it looks like a photo from a home decorating magazine."
"Now you're making me blush," said Paul.
"You should have seen it when we first bought the place," added Dwayne. "It was a real fixer upper."
"It was indeed," said Paul. "Every night we'd come home from work and change into our grubbies. We ripped up carpets and replaced drywall. Then we repainted every room and refinished all the cabinets. The place looked like a war zone for months."
"But we eventually got it done."
"Then came the fun part." Paul's face was glowing. "Dwayne went antique hunting with me, but picking out the flooring, the paint colors, and, of course, the artwork, was my department."
"You know, some of these paintings do look a little familiar," said Stephanie. "I recognize the styles of some of our artists."
"Very good." Paul gave her a nod of approval and showed her around the rest of the house while Dwayne took the dog outside. Afterwards they rendezvoused in the kitchen where the scent of the roasting lamb made their mouths water. Dwayne offered her a soft drink and they sat down at the small table in the breakfast nook.
"We'll be eating in the dining room," said Paul. "It is Easter after all, and we don't use it all that often. So, enough about us. How was your Easter morning?"
"Okay, I guess." She still missed Danny but thought it best not to bring him up. "I had a nice, quiet morning, and then I called my mother to wish her a Happy Easter."
"Dwayne and I have an Easter tradition. Every year we spend Easter morning helping with the Easter egg hunt at a shelter for homeless families."
"We believe that helping others in need is what the spirit of the holiday is all about," added Dwayne. "And we both love kids, so it's very gratifying to see all the happy smiles on their faces."
"Although we'll occasionally have to referee whenever two kids spot the same egg at the same time. So far, we've not had any knock down drag out fights, but that's because we keep a few extra eggs off to the side. That way whichever kid loses the argument still has something for his Easter basket."
"But it's also exhausting," said Dwayne. "We have to get an early start. Then, after the hunt is over, we stay and help serve breakfast, so we're usually beat by the time we get home. We'll chill for a couple of hours, and then it's time to put the lamb in the oven."
"Sounds to me like the two of you have a wonderful holiday tradition," said Stephanie. "Easter was nice, but kind of low key while I was growing up. I remember hunting for Easter eggs in the backyard when I was little, then, after my father passed away, Mom and I started going to church on Easter morning, but we somehow got out of the habit once I started high school." She talked about going to college in Boulder, and her decision to stay in Colorado after she graduated. Paul finally asked her the question she hoped would not be asked.
"So, I take it you never heard back from the fellow you were dating before you came to work at the gallery?"
She shook her head. "No. I made sure it would never happen. I blocked him from my phone and my email."
Dwayne perked up. "So, if you don't mind my asking, what did he do that was so terrible?"
"He cheated on me."
"You're sure about that? You know sometimes things aren't as they appear."
"I wish I were wrong, but, unfortunately, I'm not." She sighed. "I accidentally came across a stack of cards and letters from his old girlfriend. Turned out he was taking a time out from her to date other women, just to be sure she was the one. She even knew me by name."
"You know it's illegal to read other people's mail."
"Dwayne's a lawyer," said Paul.
"Really?" Stephanie perked up. "I used to work for Davidson, Franklin and Arias, although it's probably just Franklin and Arias by now. But to answer your question, the letters were in a folder which accidentally fell off a desk, and all of them were outside of their envelopes. As I went to pick them up I couldn't help but see them, and trust me when I say, I really wish I hadn't. Once I saw them I was horrified, so I ended it, right then and there, and I've not spoken to him since."
"That's understandable, but again, things aren't always as they appear..."

***

Danny spent Easter morning hiking and taking photos at Red Rocks State Park and had worked his way to the amphitheater as the sunrise service was nearing its end. He stopped to listen to the words of hope and new beginnings and he thought of Stephanie. A part of him would always love her, but he realized it was time to move on. Even if he never married, there was no reason for him to spend his life alone. What he needed was a woman who could be a good friend. 





Sunday, February 24, 2019

And Now for Some of My Other Characters

© Can Stock Photo / Callipso88
I get a lot of nice feedback about my characters and I love them too, but let's not forget my other characters. The nonhuman ones.

I love animals and I grew up around dogs and horses, so it stands to reason that some of my characters are dogs and horses. And while they may not be as cunning as their human counterparts, dogs and horses do what dogs and horses do, and sometimes it creates problems for the protagonists. In The Reunion, a black mustang named Miss Mollie puts Gillian in a real jam, while her dachshund, Duke, becomes the catalyst in a major life changing event. However, these animal characters can do good deeds as well, and some even end up being the unsung heroes in the story. Lurch, the lovable mutt in The Betrayalhelps save Emily's life, while Lucy, Shane's dog in The Stalker, becomes attached to Rachel, much to Shane's chagrin. My upcoming book, The Scandal, will also have a canine character. This time it's an English springer spaniel named Barney, who belongs to leading man Chuck.

Those of us who have pets will tell you they really are part of the family, and my two real-life dogs are no exception. Of course, they wish I'd spend less time writing and more time with them. In fact, if it were up to them, I'd dote on them twenty-four/seven. But lucky for them, they have a nice big cozy dog bed right next to my writing desk. Now, if only I could get them to give me feedback on my writing. Unfortunately, about the only words they really seem understand are, "eat," "food," and "treats." 

MM






Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Are My Characters Based on Real People?

Photo by Gayle Martin
People are genuinely curious about what I do, and I often hear questions, such as are my books a series, and are my characters based on real people? Yes, a few of my characters have been inspired by real people I've known, such as lead protagonists Ian and Gillian in The Reunion. Others are villians, such as Martha in The Letter, and Craig in The Stalker.  

So what do I mean when I say a character is inspired by a real person? Does it mean the character is a clone of that person, perhaps with a different name? The answer is no, they are not. They are based on my memories of people I've known and I use those memories as a template to create a unique and fictitious individual. Ian, for example, was based on an old college boyfriend, and I incorporated some of his positive aspects into Ian, such as his desire to succeed. However, none of us are perfect, and my old boyfriend certainly had his faults too, but most of those characteristics were not part of Ian. Oddly enough, I've found some of his negative traits in antagonists in other stories, although I didn't realize it until after the book was published. Funny how our minds work.

Whether inspired by a real-life person or not, each character I create is fictitious, and each is a unique individual in his or her own right. And I must be doing a good job, because I've had some interesting feedback from my readers. Some truly hated my villians and were happy to see them get their comeuppance. Others shared their frustrations over protagonists making bad decisions. My all time favorite, however, came from a lady who told me she was reading one of my books in her apartment complex laundry room. One of the antagonists made her so mad she started cursing him out, then she looked up and saw other people in the laundry room giving her strange looks. Her story was the highest compliment a reader could ever give me.

MM

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

New Year New Kitchen

BEFORE
Photo by Marina Martindale
Sometimes life happens, and we writers get distracted. Such was the case with me in January. My house was built in 1965. I purchased it in 2008. Someone did a not so lovely kitchen remodel in the 90s, and it really looked dull and dated. And while I loved the idea of a new kitchen, I wasn't so gung ho on the idea of turning my home into a construction zone. So, I kept putting it off. And putting it off. But it had to be done, sooner or later. 

AFTER
Photo by Marina Martindale
So my kitchen went offline for most of January, with my appliances, dishes and cookware piled up in my dining room. And while I was able to do edits and revisions, I simply was unable to write. Funny how our minds work. When we're under a lot of stress our creativity just goes.

Thankfully, all things come to an end, including a kitchen remodel, and the end result was well worth it. As I loaded my dishes and cookware into the new cabinetry it felt like I was moving into a new home. So now that it's over I'm back at work on my latest novel, The Scandal, which I plan to release this summer. I'm also coming up with an idea for the novel after that. It's good to be back.

MM

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Sunday, February 10, 2019

Remembering Rosamunde Pilcher

Photo by Marina Martindale
I was an avid reader long before I ever dreamed of becoming an author, and I'll always remember my mother giving me one of her books and telling me I had to read it. She said it was one of the best novels she had ever read. The book was The Shell Seekers, and the author was Rosamunde Pilcher.

As soon as I started reading I was instantly pulled into the story and I couldn't put it down. Such amazing, unforgettable characters. And even though it was a long book I was sorry when the story finally came to its end. Since that time I've read other Rosamunde Pilcher novels, and all were amazing. She truly was a gifted storyteller, and she has been and always will be an inspiration to me as an author. She will truly be missed.

MM


Thursday, January 10, 2019

New Year, New Newsletter

Happy 2019 everyone. Now that the holidays are officially over I wanted to let you know about some exciting things are happening here in "Marina Land." I'm working hard on my next novel, The Scandal, and it will be available later this year.  I'm also launching a newsletter, and I'll be giving away a free Kindle edition of one of my books in each issue. All you have to do to enter is sign up for the newsletter and then open it when it arrives in your inbox. And by the way, you'll also get a nice sample of my latest novel, The Letter, absolutely free when you sign up. The sign up form is at the bottom of the page. Your information is safe and secure and it will never be shared with a third party. You can also unsubscribe at any time.

MM