Rules for Dating a Writer

© Can Stock Photo / NicoletaIonescu

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.

Marina Martindale

the rules for dating a writer

  1. Writing is our passion. It is not a hobby.
  2. Authors and writers are often introverts. Please don’t mistake our quietness for conceit or arrogance.
  3. Writing is not a performance art. Please allow us the time and space to work on our craft.
  4. 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.
  5. Never, ever look over our shoulders while we’re writing!
  6. 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.
  7. Please don’t tell us about this great idea you have for a book unless you’re actually writing it.
  8. 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.
  9. Please don’t ask us to make you into a character in one of our books.
  10. A book signing is for meeting fans and promoting our books. It’s not a place for you to hang out.
  11. Please don’t brag to your families, friends and coworkers about how you’re dating an author. We’re not trophies.
  12. Please don’t ask us for free copies of our books for your friends and coworkers.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
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San Francisco Thirty Years Later

The Golden Gate Bridge behind a field of flowers.
© 2017 Gayle Martin. All Rights Reserveed

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.

MM

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Like It or Not I’m Back by Popular Demand

© Can Stock Photo/ ShutterM

Earlier this year I deactivated my Facebook account. I even posted an article about it on this blog called, I’ve Closed Out my Facebook Account and I Couldn’t be Happier. Facebook has become toxic, and I could no longer deal with their shenanigans. However, many of my friends have told me they miss seeing my posts. Then a website consultant I work with highly recommended reactivating the account because my Facebook business pages would improve my overall visibility on the web.

So, like it or not, I’m back by popular demand, but only on a limited basis. I’m there to post to my business pages. I won’t be spending much time with my personal account, and I damn sure won’t be commenting on other friend’s posts. Not because I don’t care about them, but because that’s where all the trolls always came from. A friend would post about the sky being blue. Several of us would comment and say, “Yes, the sky is blue.” But, evitibily, some asshat friend of theirs would target me for harassment and bullying, even though others had also commented that the sky was blue. Perfectly okay for them to bully me, but if I tried to defend myself Facebook would come after me, and not them. Apparently you can bully people all you want on Facebook–you’re just not allowed to defend yourself.

I deactivate, I don’t delete

So I’m back, for now, but I may go back and deactivate my account from time to time. And, by the way, deactivating your account isn’t the same as deleting your account. Deactivating your account is like putting it in the freezer. No one will see it or have access to it while you’re away, so no worries about anyone posting on your timeline. Then, when you’re ready, all you have to do is reactivate it, and you’re back to where you left off.

So the lesson I learned from all of this is that it’s perfectly okay to take a break from Facebook, and I may still go back and deactivate my account from time to time. In the meantime, if you’re on Facebook, here’s a link to my business page, and I hope you’ll give it a like.

Marina Martindale

https://www.facebook.com/authormarinamartindale/
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I’ve Closed Out my Facebook Account and Couldn’t be Happier

The word unlike in blocked letters with a thumbs down graphic.
© Can Stock Photo / Curioso_Travel_Photo

As a romance author, I’ve been told, many times, how important social media is for promoting my books. And while it’s certainly a good tool, times have changed. Social media simply isn’t what is once was.

I was on Facebook for nearly a decade. At first, it was a lot of fun, and a good place to promote my books. I also reconnected with family and friends I’d lost touch with. But that was then, and this is now.

Facebook has changed, and not for the better. Once word about Facebook privacy violations became public I noticed my ads no longer had the reach they once had. People were closing out their Facebook accounts. Others were spending less time there.

Because I’m an author, I thought I had no choice but to put up with Facebook, even though I too no longer wished to be there. Then came the other big issue. Censorship. Facebook was targeting certain groups, such as conservatives and Christians, for censorship, but not others. For me, this is completely unacceptable. The same rules must apply equally to all.

Like many others, I’ve had enough of Facebook’s shenanigans. Author or not, I was done. So I took a deep breath and deactivated my account. And you know what? I feel so much happier for doing it. It’s like ending a bad relationship. At first it’s upsetting. Then you feel a sense of freedom and relief. It’s like having your life back.

In lieu of Facebook, I’ve started up a newsletter. I’m spending more time blogging, more time writing, and more time doing other things I enjoy. And, interestingly enough, my book sales are up.

Please don’t feel that because you’re an author or artist that you have to be on Facebook, because you don’t. There are alternatives. Blogging is a good place to start. Just saying.

MM

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I’ve Updated my Website

A photo of books, a red rose, and a glass of wine on top of a table.
Photo by Marina Martindale

Now that my latest 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.

My website is www.marinamartindale.com, so come and take a look.

MM

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Welcome to Marina Martindale’s Musings

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.

For more information about Marina Martindale please visit the website at MarinaMartindale.com.

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Back to the Land of the Living

Sometimes life isn’t much fun

© Can Stock Photo / ESchweitzer

No, I haven’t fallen off the planet, although it may appear that way. I’m exactly sure what I had. But whatever it was, I’ve never been this sick for this long in my life.


It all started at the end of February. I felt like I was coming down with mild cold, so 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.) It quickly spread to the other eye. Typical. Conjunctivitis is highly contagious, but usually not serious. Just irritating. Unfortunately, it was only the beginning.


My left ear suddenly ruptured and started bleeding. I wasn’t exactly pleased at that point. (Panicked is more like it.) The following morning I went to urgent care. They prescribed antibiotics, and they helped some. The eyes cleared up, but both ears were infected. I spent the next couple weeks hardly able to hear. Someone suggested Flonase, and it helped. However, as I’m writing, I’m still not fully recovered. I finally saw ENT physician a few days ago. Thankfully, the ruptured eardrum has healed. I had some other complications as well, but I’m finally on the mend. It’s about time.


I tried to do some writing while I was sick, but it was hard for me to focus. No doubt infections affect your brain as well. So I spent most days napping, playing solitaire and watching YouTube videos. That’s when I stumbled on an impressive young filmmaker. His name is Arthur Dark. His YouTube series is called Hollywood Graveyard. While it may sound morbid to some, it’s actually well researched, full of interesting history, and well produced. This kid has talent and, hopefully, he’ll go far.  Go check him out. 


Now that I’m finally feeling better I’m getting back to doing the things I enjoy doing. I’m playing my piano and out and listening to live music. I’ve resumed blogging, and, of course, writing. I’m busy finishing up my latest novel, and I hope to have it out this summer. 


MM

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New Year New Kitchen

BEFORE
Photo by Marina Martindale

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.

AFTER
Photo by Marina Martindale


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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Remembering Rosamunde Pilcher

Photo of a bouquet of flowers.
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. 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

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New Year, New Newsletter

Happy 2019 everyone.

Now that the holidays are officially over I want to let you know about some exciting things are happening here in “Marina Land.”

I’m working hard on my next novel, The Scandal. 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. The sign up form is at the bottom of the page. Your information is safe and secure and will never be shared with a third party. You can also unsubscribe at any time.


MM

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