Entering the Home Stretch for “The Scandal”

A photo of the Los Angeles skyline seen through mist.
© Can Stock Photo / trekandshoot

With only a few more chapters to write my next contemporary romance novel will soon be ready go to the editor. I am loving this story. It’s coming out 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 with this novel I’ve learned a lot about the television and movie industry. I also 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, shorty after I decided to write a book about Hollywood, the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke. Interesting timing, but I didn’t want to emulate it in my novel. I opted instead to have my lead antagonist be more of a Roman Polanski. However, it came out a bit too creepy for my taste. After several revisions it was still too creepy, and I simply didn’t like it. So, I had to go back create more of a Hugh Hefner inspired character, along with a Marina Martindale twist. This time, it worked. Perfectly. 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.


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And Now for Some of My Other Characters

A horse and a dog in an open field.
© Can Stock Photo / Callipso88

My readers have given me a lot of nice feedback about the characters in my contemporary romance novels, and I love them too. However, 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. They may not be as cunning as their human counterparts, but 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. Her dachshund, Duke, also becomes the catalyst in a major life changing event. However, these animal characters can do good deeds as well. Some even end up being the unsung heroes in the story. Lurch, the lovable mutt in The Betrayal, helps 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. 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.” 


Marina Martindale

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Colorado Dreaming

Along with Hollywood, my next romance novel, The Scandal, is also set 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. Must be 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 one of the most beautiful and scenic states in the country.


Like Telluride and Durango, Steamboat Springs is an old ranching and mining town that’s now a popular tourist destination. It’s a few hours’ drive from Denver and Colorado Springs. This makes 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 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, for now I’ll end this post 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.


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It’s Creepy All Year Long

The Stalker Book cover

I’ve had some nice reviews for The Stalker on Author’s Den. 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. It’s definitely high on the creep factor, making everyday seem like Halloween for leading lady Rachel. After reading this excerpt, you may agree. Enjoy.

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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.

To read more of this excerpt, please click on the link below.

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The Letter is Now Available

A composite photo of the book cover in paperback, electronic tablet and phone.

My newest romance novel, The Letter, is now available on Amazon and on Barnes&Noble.com.


The Letter is the story of a man hounded by a former girlfriend. She’s unable to accept that their relationship has ended and she refuses to let go. While not as dark of a story as The Stalker, readers will enjoy its many twists as turns. The Letter is a tale of misunderstandings and miscommunications. It’s also about people who aren’t as they appear to be.

Please enjoy the sample chapter I’ve posted below.

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* * * 


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.”

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What is Wrong with Me? I Haven’t Killed Anyone.

An image of The Letter book cover.

My latest romance novel, The Letter, differs from my others. This time I didn’t kill any of the characters. Not one. And that’s a first for me.


Now please don’t get me wrong. I’m not a sociopathic serial killer. At least not in the real world. But as a novel writer, I have to create conflict and drama in my stories to keep them interesting. And when it comes to creating drama, death is about as good as it gets.


Most of the time, the dearly departed is a notorious villain with whom karma has finally caught up with. Big time. In four of my novels a bad guy, or gal, got what was coming to them. The one exception was The Journey, where I had to kill a supporting character who I truly liked. So much so that I tried writing alternate scenes in which she didn’t die, but they just didn’t work as well. Killing this character off heightened the drama, which made the story more intense and a more interesting read. Nevertheless, having to write this character out made me feel genuinely sad.


There is one character in The Letter I thought of killing off. Like most of my “victims,” she was a despicable antagonist. However, unlike the others, this character also had a young child, and I simply couldn’t bring myself to create an orphan. So, this time, instead of an untimely if not painful death, it’s a terrifying near death experience. Surely you didn’t think I’d let a villain get away scot-free, did you?

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The Forgotten DECEPTION Chapter

The Deception front cover.

While I wait for my latest romance novel, The Letter, to come back from the editor, I thought I’d do a minor edit on The Deception. The two stories are similar, and in the five years since I wrote The Deception, I’ve improved as a writer. I wanted to go back and tweak some of the text to make the story flow a little smoother. However, as I was working, I kept wondering where one of my scenes went. I recalled writing it, but I wasn’t seeing it. Short story long, it had somehow been overlooked when the book was typeset, and I had missed the error. Yikes!


Fortunately, it wasn’t a pivotal scene. In the missing chapter, one of the villains is arrested and carted off to jail. The villain has committed a serious crime. Thankfully, in a prior chapter, another character has come forward with enough evidence to guarantee a conviction. This meant it had already been established that the villain would end up in jail. Then, near the end of the book, the villain is seen appearing in court. The missing chapter, however, was a nice, “you had it coming,” moment. Readers would get to see the surprised villain put in handcuffs and hauled away.


The new, revised edition of The Deception, includes the missing chapter. It’s now available for the Amazon Kindle, and update the print edition will be available soon.


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Coming Soon The Letter

Photo of hands on a computer keyboard.
© Can Stock Photo / Kurhan

Life has been hectic, crazy, strange and over the top. Whenever that happens manuscripts inevitably get pushed to the side, but by golly, I finally got it done. My next novel, The Letter, has gone to the editor, just in time to be stalled in her inbox as she gets ready to move across the country. Sometimes you have to either laugh or cry. But it also gives me a grace period in case I get a middle of the night inspiration for a last-minute change.

Like my previous novels, The Letter has plenty of plot twists as the characters deal with unexpected challenges. However, leading man Danny is more fallible than some of his predecessors. He’s haunted by issues from his past that he can’t seem to exorcise, while leading lady Stephanie is a woman with backbone who calls it as she sees it. However, she sometimes does so without considering the long-term consequences.

Look for characters from my other novels to make an appearance. Jesse St. Claire from The Betrayal makes a cameo, while Paul, a supporting character from The Reunion, also has a significant role.

The Letter should be available late spring, 2018.

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Themes and Plotlines

An image of a pen with a light bulb on top writing in a book.
© Can Stock Photo / khunaspix

At long last, I’m finally in the home stretch for my upcoming contemporary romance novel, The Letter. Its theme would be don’t judge things by their appearance.

Some of you may be wondering, what’s a theme?

A theme is separate from the plot line. A theme is the underlying part of a story, such as the moral, or perhaps a comment about society or human behavior. I’ve posted the themes from my earlier novels below, but don’t worry. If you’ve not read all of them I won’t spoil the story.

Forgiveness — The ReunionIan was the one true love of Gillian’s life, but he suddenly ended their relationship for no apparent reason. If Gillian can forgive him, she stands a good chance of having a future with him. This theme carries over into a subplot concerning Ian and a member of his immediate family.

Adultery and Its Consequences —The Deception and The Betrayal. Adultery is a great theme for the romance genre. It’s an opportunity to explore the repercussions for everyone involved, as it often affects more than the two primary parties. In The DeceptionCarrie, a single woman, meets Scott, a married man who has presented himself to her as a single man. In The Betrayal, faithful wife Emily unwittingly catches her husband, Jesse, in the act with another woman. Both women’s lives are turned upside down by circumstances beyond their control.

Revenge — The Journey and The Stalker. Life isn’t always fair, and we’ve all experienced times when things didn’t go our way. However, it doesn’t mean someone has intentionally thwarted us. Sometimes stuff simply happens. Unfortunately, there are people out there who subscribe to the notion of don’t get mad, get even, and their quest for vengeance inevitably harms others who are innocent. In The JourneyDenise seeks revenge on Jeremy for having turned down her romantic overture years before, while Craig, in The Stalker, relentlessly hounds Rachel for getting a promotion he felt she didn’t deserve.

Those are my themes, at least so far. We’ll have to wait and what my next theme will be. Until then, happy reading.


Marina Martindale

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Writing Dialog and Experiencing my Character’s Emotions

Photo of a lonely woman sitting in front of a pond.
© Can Stock Photo / Escander81

One of my cousins used to be an actress. She once told me how she experienced her characters’ emotions as she portrayed them. She said performing emotionally charged scenes often left her feeling drained.

The same is true for me as a novel writer. With nearly every character I create, I experience their emotions as I write. Writing dialog is what drives those emotions.

I’m currently working on my next novel, The Letter. Leading man Danny has a serious problem. Martha, a woman from his past, refuses to let him go. I’ve been building up to a major confrontation between the two for sometime. This past week I finally wrote the chapter where their conflict reaches its crescendo. I expected this scene to be fun to write. Martha has caused Danny a lot of grief, and I wanted him to feel vindicated. However, as I wrote the dialog, I started feeling emotions I didn’t expect to feel.

Danny begins the conversation in a civil tone, telling Martha he wants no further contact, but an obsessed Martha refuses to listen to reason. As the scene plays out, Danny becomes more and more frustrated. As he tries to get through to her, his tone becomes more harsh. Then, in the middle of it all, I started feeling anxious myself. Harsh words, even when justified, can hurt like a fist. Some of the verbiage brought back bad memories of arguments I’ve had in my own past. By the time I finished writing the scene I felt as if I’d been sucker punched.

I planned on writing Martha out of the story after this scene, but now I think I’ll keep her around. She has a real knack for pissing people off, and talent like hers shouldn’t go to waste. While another antagonist will be the main focus for the remainder of the story, Martha will seek revenge on those who she thinks turned Danny against her.

The Letter should be available by the spring of 2018. Meantime I’m going to go chill for awhile.


Marina Martindale

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