Why I’m Fiercely Independent

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khunaspix

People sometimes ask novel writers questions which may seem condescending, although most of them don’t mean it in a negative way. They’ve simply never met an author before. A question I often hear is have I been published yet? The answer is yes, I’m published.

My publishing journey

The publishing industry changed dramatically in the late 20th century. The invention of the personal computer and the World Wide Web gave authors  options they’d never had before, and the big publishing houses no longer dominated the industry.

I was a freelance graphic designer when this new technology came along. Most of my projects were designing magazines and catalogs. It was sort of fun, but it was never my passion. I loved creating fine art. I also loved writing, and I was ready for a career change.

In 2006 I wrote the first in a trilogy of historic novelettes for young readers. (Under a different name.) I also got lucky. I happened to meet a small press  publisher who was very selective about who she published. Thankfully, she accepted my manuscript, and she soon became more than just a publisher. She was also my mentor. After publishing the third and final book in the Luke and Jenny series I was ready to start writing full length contemporary romance novels for adult readers. At the same time, however, my publisher was changing her business model to specialize in children’s books. We talked it over, and we both agreed that I was ready to start up my own publishing company. So I created Good Oak Press, LLC.

Why I choose to remain an independent author

With traditional publishing the author sells the rights to his or her work to the publisher. This means the author no longer owns their work. It now belongs to the publisher, and the publishing company can do whatever it pleases. Oftentimes this means the work is edited to the point where the author no longer recognizes it. Their name may still be attached to it, but it’s a far cry from what the author actually wrote. The other problem with traditional publishing is that it relies heavily on a premade formula. This limits the author’s creativity and forces him or her to work inside a small box. 

A lot of thought goes into my contemporary romance novels. Each and every character has their own unique personality. Every bit of action and dialog is written for a reason. I also put a lot of thought into choosing my locations. If my story is set in Denver I don’t want someone changing it to Boston. If my character is a blonde named Erika I don’t want someone changing her into a brunette named Sarah. Each author has his or her own unique voice, and I don’t want anyone taking away my voice.

I take my work seriously. Not only is my name on the book, my publishing company’s name and logo is on it as well. I work with an amazing editor who understands me and doesn’t change my voice. A professional illustrator creates my cover art, and my graphic design skills sure come in handy. I know how to typeset and design a book. People often tell me my books look like they came from a big, New York publisher. This is the biggest and best compliment any reader can ever give me.

Marina Martindale

 

 

The Scandal Book Cover

A book cover with a woman buttoning her blouse. Two men are standing behind her, and the famous Hollywood sign.

My illustrator, Wes Lowe, has come through once again, and he’s created his best cover illustration to date. 

The Scandal is a contemporary romance novel set in Hollywood. Soap opera star Lauren McAllen has recently left the role that made her famous and she’s landed a supporting role in a major motion picture. Unfortunately for Lauren, her dream of stardom will shatter before the camera starts rolling. The studio head is soon accused of wrongdoing, and she’s unwittingly caught up in a major scandal that rocks Hollywood.

While this contemporary romance novel has been the most interesting one to write so far, it’s also required more research, and revisions, than anything I’ve done before. I’ve learned a lot about television and film production, and it’s. very interesting 

Marina Martindale

Update: The Scandal is now available on Amazon and Barnesandnoble.com.

A New Look for THE DECEPTION

 

I’m doing a minor update on an earlier contemporary romance novel, The Deception, while I wait for my editor to finish up my latest contemporary romance novel, The Letter. The two stories are similar. Those who have read The Deception will no doubt enjoy The Letter, and vice versa.  

 
The original Deception cover.

The most noticeable change is the book cover. Inspired by real-life stories of revenge porn, The Deception is the story of a woman exploited in a profoundly ugly way. However, the original cover created a bit of a controversy as some didn’t understood the reason behind it. While still sexy, the new look is less controversial. I also think it’s a prettier cover. 

Marina Martindale

a sample read from The Deception

Carrie slammed the phone down in disgust. It was the third crank call she’d received that morning. The calls had all come to her office number, posted on her website and she wondered if her website had somehow been hacked. She called her webmaster and asked him to investigate. He called back a short time later. Other than heavier than usual traffic that morning everything appeared to be normal. In the interim, she had received yet another obscene phone call, so they decided to take her phone number off the website. Within an hour the harassing calls had stopped.

Carrie tried to pull herself together and go back to work. The calls were disturbing, and she was having a hard time concentrating. She heard the bell at her front counter and stepped into the reception area to find Marcy, her letter carrier.

“Good morning, Marcy. How was your Fourth of July?”

“Nice and quiet,” she said as she placed the mail on the counter. “I have something you need to sign for.”

Carrie signed the form and Marcy handed her a large, thick envelope. The sender was GMH Publications, from Los Angeles. She didn’t recognize the name, so more than likely it was a prospective client. Marcy said goodbye as Carrie took the mail back to her desk and opened it. Inside the big envelope was a check, payable to her, for five thousand dollars. Attached to the check was a personally signed letter from Caleb Wyman, publisher of Gentry Magazine, congratulating her for winning the photo contest in their latest issue.

“What on earth? I never entered any photo contest. Not for anyone, and most certainly not for you.”

She reached back into the envelope and pulled out the remaining contents. It was the latest issue of Gentry Magazine. As she thumbed through the pages something familiar caught her eye and she heard herself shrieking.

 

The Deception is available on Amazon and Barnesandnoble.com.

 

 

 

THE LETTER Book Cover

The Letter front cover.

My illustrator, Wes Lowe, has once again created a brilliant cover illustration for my upcoming contemporary romance novel,  The Letter


The Letter begins with lead character Stephanie’s accidental discovery of a love letter to Danny, her significant other, from his old girlfriend. Hurt and confused, Stephanie is unsure of what to do. A close friend advises her to talk to Danny, but she hesitates. After thinking it over, Stephanie assumes that his ex was simply feeling lonely and has since moved on. Unfortunately for her, things are not as they appear.


Look for The Letter in late spring, 2018.

Marina Martindale

The Stalker Book Cover

Once again my illustrator, Wes Lowe, hit it out of the ballpark. His cover art for my upcoming contemporary romance novel, The Stalker, captures the essence of the story perfectly. 

The Stalker is the story of a woman harassed by a former coworker. Rachel considered Craig a mentor until she got a promotion he thought she didn’t deserved. The magazine they worked for as since gone out of business, but Craig is still harassing her, and the stakes are becoming deadly. 

Marina Martindale

A sneak preview of The Stalker

They excused themselves from their table, and Shane led the way to a lounge on a lower mezzanine level. A man playing a guitar sat off to the side while a few hotel guests were seated around the tables. Shane led her to a long sofa and a waitress soon arrived.

“Would you like a glass of chardonnay?” he asked.

“Yes. It’s my favorite. Thanks.”

He turned to the waitress. “Make it two.”

Their server stepped away and Shane turned his attention back to Rachel. “So, now that we know all about what we did in college, what happened after that?”

“I ended up in Reno, Nevada,” said Rachel. “I accepted a position with a regional magazine called Sierra Life. It was a lifestyle publication with features on local history, architecture, home decorating ideas, places to visit, that sort of thing.”

“I see. So, what did you do there?”

“I worked in the art department. I did most of the ad layouts, and I helped the art director put each issue together. It was challenging but fun at the same time; sort of like putting a puzzle together.” She paused for a moment and a frown came over her face.

“What’s wrong? All of a sudden, you don’t look so happy.”

Rachel sighed. “While I was there, I had some unexpected challenges.”

“Really? Like what?”

“Well, I’ll spare you all the boring details. Let’s just say I had a coworker who turned out to be, well, rather difficult.”

“You mean you had a coworker from hell.”

“That, my friend, would be an understatement,” she said. “Hell wouldn’t have wanted him, because he would have taken the place over.”

“Wow. So who was he?”

“One of the staff writers. We never dated, or anything like that, but he got into the habit of joining me in the break room for coffee, and we’d talk. Nothing serious, just, you know, everyday chitchat. I guess you could say he was an office buddy, although I did look up to him. Then, later on, the art director left, so I applied for her position. By then I’d been with the magazine for about eighteen months, so I knew the formula, inside and out. I figured it would be a good career move. However, what I didn’t know at the time was that, Craig, my break-room friend, didn’t exactly agree.”

Update

The Stalker is now available on Amazon and Barnesandnoble.com.

 

The Betrayal Book Cover

Book cover for The Betrayal.

Once again, Wes Lowe, has outdone himself and created yet another outstanding illustration for my book cover. This time for The Betrayal


I’ve been working with Wes for over ten years. I first discovered him back when I was writing a series of children’s books, (under a different name.) Then when I changed genres I tried a different approach to my covers, and we’ll just say it didn’t work, so I contacted Wes.


Wes just doesn’t meet my needs, he exceeds them. Every time. I can’t imagine ever publishing another book without one of Wes’ illustrations on the cover. 


MM

The Journey Book Cover

The Journey Book Cover

Kudos to Wes Lowe. Once again he’s created a beautiful cover illustration for my next novel, The Journey.


Wes and I go way back. He started doing my cover illustrations in 2007, when I was writing my Luke and Jenny novels, (under the name Gayle Martin.)

I found Wes by happenstance when I was working on the second book in the Luke and Jenny series. The illustrator who did the first book cover wasn’t available, so I was left scrambling. Granted, I have a degree in fine art, but it had been years since I’d picked up a paintbrush. However, I still knew what to look for, and I could speak the lingo. So, I began my search and soon found Wes. Not only was he available, I also liked the tone of his emails. He came across as warm and he had a positive attitude. The illustration he created for me didn’t just meet my expectations. It exceeded them. Wes turned out to be a much better artist than the gentleman who did my first cover. Thus began a beautiful friendship. Our next project would be creating a new cover illustration for the first book.


Wes also did the cover illustrations for The Reunion and The Deception.
This latest illustration has an interesting twist. The other night I posted it on Facebook, and a number of people commented that the young lady looked a lot like me. Oddly enough, Wes and I have never met in person, although he’s probably seen my head shots on my websites. I thought that maybe he had used one of them as a model. However, it turns out that he didn’t. Must be one of those interesting coincidences. Or maybe it’s just the Universe reaffirming that I’ve found the right illustrator.


MM