One of my Facebook friends recently posted about Hollywood, saying, in part, All I’m asking is that you give me good characters, not tokens, and good stories, not lectures.
Such is the sorry state of the entertainment industry today. It’s no longer about entertaining. It’s about using entertainment to push a political agenda, and it’s not going over well with the general public. I think this is why TV ratings overall are down, and why there were fewer butts in seats at movie theaters long before Covid came along. I’ve never been much of a sports fan myself, but lately I’ve been reading plenty of news articles about how television ratings for professional sports have dropped dramatically now that the various sports leagues have made it about politics instead of playing the game. People seek out entertainment because they want to take a break from politics and just be entertained, and when you use entrainment to lecture people they’ll simply walk away.
My contemporary romance novels are written solely to entertain my readers, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. If I wanted to lecture anyone I would write whatever nonfiction genre would be the most appropriate for the point I wanted to make. However, I made the choice to write contemporary romance. It’s my favorite genre, and like my readers, I simply want to be entertained.
Fiction revolves around conflict, and how the characters react to and resolve the conflict. That’s the essence of a plot line, regardless of the genre. I stick to the outcomes readers want and expect. Good overcomes evil. The antagonist suffers the consequences of his or her actions. However, I don’t lecture my readers. I’m a storyteller. My job is to entertain my readers with my stories. I’m neither a teacher or a preacher, nor do I want to be, and I leave the politics to the politicians.
I know I haven’t been around much lately, but I have a really good excuse. I’ve been busy moving. I recently sold my home in Tucson, Arizona, (as The Beatles once sing about someone leaving their home in Tucson, Arizona), and I’m now living in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
I’m a native Arizonan and have lived in Arizona for much of my life. I was born and raised in Phoenix, which is why many of my stories are set in Phoenix. I moved to Tucson twelve years ago. Tucson was much like Phoenix was when I was growing up, although Tucson had more of an arts community. Unfortunately, in recent years Tucson has been changing, and not for the better. By the end of 2019 I knew the time was quickly coming for me to look for a new place to live. So, long story short, I came to Las Cruces because I have friends here; a fellow novel writer named David Lee Summers and his family. I’ve known David and his family for nearly a decade, and it’s better to relocate to where you know someone.
They say art imitates life, but it this case it was the other way around. In my latest contemporary romance novel, The Scandal, my lead character, Lauren, moves to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. I describe her new home as being out in the country, with a mini kitchen in her backyard, and she’d found the home online. So here I am, a year or so later, and my real estate agent in Las Cruces sends me a link to a home that, while in town, backs up to a big arroyo, (a dry wash), with a large open space, making it appear as if it were out in the country. It also has a mini kitchen in the backyard. So, what else can I say, other than like Lauren, I really love my new home.
I’m almost finished unpacking, and once I’m settled I’ll start working on my next book. More later.
I’ve recently completed a minor re-edit for one of my earlier contemporary romance novels, The Journey. I know. I’m turning into too much of a perfectionist. Occupational hazard I suppose. However, no worries for those of you who’ve already read The Journey. The story is exactly the same as before. All I did was some minor rephrasing and removed some filler words.
I’m also working on the treatment for my next contemporary romance novel. Its working title is The Rival. The story will be about a bride-to-be whose fiance abruptly calls off the wedding, and then, later on, decides to cause even more trouble for her. It’s part romantic triangle and part stalker, although it won’t be nearly as dark as my earlier novel, The Stalker.
In the meantime, I need to take a short break and catch up on a few other projects which have been sitting on the back burner for far too long. I signed up for some online courses, years ago, which I started but never completed because I was too busy with other projects. So, before I start my next big project, I want to finish them. I also want to take a few road trips later on this year. In the meantime, I’ll still be here, and I’ll still keep you up to date.
I know I’m a little late wishing everyone a Happy New Year this year. Sometimes life gets hectic. Then one day you look up and say, “Holy cow! Is it really the middle of January already?”
Yep, it happens.
For some reason 2019 seemed to be more more difficult year than usual. The holidays were difficult as well, so at least it was consistent.
First my hair salon caught fire. Not only do I get my hair done there, I also treat myself to a weekly manicure. It was nice to have a short break in the middle of my hectic work week, so it was like a home away from home for me. The fire happened the Friday before Christmas. Fortunately, the salon had already closed for the day, so no one was inside the building at the time. However, it will be a good six months before it can reopen. Thankfully, the parent company has several other salons in Tucson, so I’m able to keep my appointments, but it’s not the same as we all miss our “home.”
Will this be fodder for another book? Who knows. Or perhaps it’s life imitating art, as a fire occurs in my most recent contemporary romance novel, The Scandal.
An unexpected loss
Sadly, another tragedy struck the following night when a friend was killed in a car crash. Jesus Limon was a well loved local actor here in Tucson. His loss shook the entire performing arts community, as well as his fans and friends. He was one of those people who lit up a room whenever he walked in, and he always had a smile, even when times were rough. I never once heard him say an unkind word about anyone, and everyone loved him in return. People like him are rare, and he will be deeply missed. And yes, I will definitely be dedicating a future book to him.
So on to 2020
So, what’s new for 2020? I’m currently working on a minor re-edit for my romance novel, The Journey. The story will remain the same. I’m simply rephrasing some of the narrative and eliminating filler words to make it read a little smoother. I’m also formulating my next contemporary romance novel. It’s working title is, The Rival. It will have a similar theme as The Stalker, although it won’t be as dark of a story. It’s about a vengeful ex who’s furious when he hears his former fiancee has moved on with her life.
So Happy 2020 everyone. Let’s hope it’s a happier year for all of us.
A few years ago I came across a Facebook meme a musician friend had posted about the rules for dating a musician. It was an interesting read. It made the point that a gig is not a date, and not to expect your boyfriend or girlfriend to give you their undivided attention as interacting with the public is part of their job.
For those of us who work in creative fields, whether it’s music, acting, fine arts such as painting, or writing books, public appearances come with the territory. Interacting with fans or followers is an important part of our job, and it’s imperative that we make a positive impression. We also work an unconventional job. We generally don’t work a normal 9 to 5 work week, and writers and artists in particular often work at home. In other words, while we have a lot to offer, and while we very much appreciate your love and support, we’re not your typical boyfriend or girlfriend.
By the way, most of these rules would also apply if you have a friend or a family member who’s an author or an artist.
the rules for dating a writer
Writing is our passion. It is not a hobby.
Authors and writers are often introverts. Please don’t mistake our quietness for conceit or arrogance.
Writing is not a performance art. Please allow us the time and space to work on our craft.
Please don’t quiz us about our works in progress. If we want you to know what we’re working on we’ll be happy to tell you about it.
Never, ever look over our shoulders while we’re writing!
A missed deadline can be a career killer. If we tell you we’re on a deadline it doesn’t mean we’re trying to avoid you. It means we’re on a deadline.
Please don’t tell us about this great idea you have for a book unless you’re actually writing it.
If we want your feedback we’ll ask you for it. If we don’t, then please don’t tell us what you think we should be writing.
Please don’t ask us to make you into a character in one of our books.
A book signing is for meeting fans and promoting our books. It’s not a place for you to hang out.
Please don’t brag to your families, friends and coworkers about how you’re dating an author. We’re not trophies.
Please don’t ask us for free copies of our books for your friends and coworkers.
Never ask us how much money we made on our last book, or how many books we’ve sold, unless you want us to quiz you about how much money you job pays you.
We work in an extremely competitive business and we can’t all be as famous Stephen King or J.K. Rowling. Never confuse talent with fame.
As many of you already know, photography, like writing, is one of my life’s passions.
I was living in San Francisco in the 1980s. I was free lance graphic designer and attending an art college where I planned on getting a master’s degree. San Francisco was a beautiful city back then, and at the time I had a Nikkormat (Nikon) 35mm camera. Needless to say, I did a lot of photography whenever my budget allowed it.
October 16, 1989 was a strange day for me. The sun was shining and the weather was warm; a nice reprieve from the foggy San Francisco summers. You’d think I would have been out enjoying the sunshine, but something was sucking the energy right out of me. I had to do some shopping, and that short trip to the store zapped what little strength I had.
Woke up the next morning feeling like myself again. It was October 17, 1989. Game three of the World Series between the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland A’s was scheduled to take place that evening at Candlestick Park. I also had a class that afternoon, all the way across town in a building near Pier 39. It was midterms, and we had to do a special project. Once we were finished the instructor said we could leave early, which was a relief as many of my classmates were hoping to beat the game traffic.
I left about thirty minutes earlier than normal. Took the bus downtown, caught the streetcar which would take me to my apartment, about three blocks away from the Pacific Ocean. All seemed normal until we felt a strange shaking as we exited a tunnel. Funny how our minds work. I thought maybe a car had hit a power pole, which, in turn shook the electrical line powering the streetcar.
No such luck. We’d just been hit by a 7.1 earthquake. The streetcar had auxiliary power which got us a few blocks away from the tunnel before it quit running. From there I would have a long walk home.
Earthquakes are strange creatures. They travel in waves. As I walked I was amazed to find one block almost normal, except for the power being out. Another block I’d see broken glass and store merchandise dumped all over the floor. The next block again looked normal. No damage. No evidence of any shaking.
I was finally able to flag down a taxi and get a ride home. Thankfully, my apartment did well. No breakage, although a glass cabinet had slid about six inches across the floor. Oddly enough, all of the breakable collectibles inside were undamaged. My upstairs neighbor, however, had a lot more shaking. His living room furniture had all toppled, and the glassware in his kitchen exploded. He found pieces of broken glass for weeks afterwards.
The aftershocks, while expected, got to be unnerving at times, and the collapsed Cypress Structure freeway in the East Bay was unbelievable. The scale was massive. This elevated freeway was some thirty feet off the ground, and the collapsed section looked to me as if it went for about a quarter mile or so. Forty-two people died in that collapse and many others were seriously injured.
I left San Francisco the following year. Somehow a master’s degree wasn’t worth risking another big earthquake as this one wasn’t the big one, and I had no intentions of being there when it hit. Then again, earthquake or not, the cost of living was so high I would have left once I got my degree.
So fast forward to the present day. I’ve been scanning my old 35mm slides and restoring them as jpg files. I’ll be putting the best of the best on my SmugMug site, (under the name Gayle Martin.) Needless to say it’s brought back many memories of my time in San Francisco. Oddly enough I stopped taking photos after the earthquake. I think it’s because as a community we were all freaked out after October 17, 1989. Even now, on the thirtieth anniversary, I can still recall the images from that day as clearly as if it had happened yesterday.
Now that my latest contemporary romance novel, The Scandal, has gone to the editor, I’ve decided it might be a good time to update my website. I’ve cleared out the clutter. I’ve also added links so you can download free sample chapters. I also added a page for my book trailers. You can also sign up for my newsletter. Each month I give away a free copy of one of my novels. All you have to do to enter is subscribe to my newsletter, and open it once it arrives in your inbox.
Writing is one of my life’s passions. I put my heart and soul into each and every romance novel I write, and my blog is where you’ll get the inside scoop. You’ll learn more about your favorite characters, and I’ll talk about what inspires me. And when I start working on my next novel, you’ll be the first to know.
Sometimes life happens, and we writers get distracted. Such was the case with me this past 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.
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 contemporary romance novel, The Scandal, which I plan to release this summer. I’m also coming up with an idea for another contemporary romance novel after that. It’s good to be back.
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. 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.