You Novel Writers are Evil

That’s a fellow author said to me the other day. Of course, she didn’t mean it literally, although she had a point. Some of the things we novel writers do to our characters is just plain mean. Then again, some of those characters have it coming.


I was telling her about Scott, an antagonist in The Deception. Scott isn’t the nicest guy on the planet. He’s a married man who puts himself out as a single guy, and his actions have hurt a lot of people, especially Carrie, my leading lady. Once she and her friends realize Scott’s stories aren’t adding up she ditches him. I planned on writing him out of the story at that point, but then someone else told me, no, I couldn’t just write him off so quickly. Readers would expect him to be punished for what he did, and they’d be disappointed if he were able to simply walk away. So, I took the advice.

Scott is later arrested for a crime he didn’t commit, and he gets his comeuppance in the form of a humiliating strip search. I told my fellow author how I went online and read testimonials by real people who’ve had this experience, and I based Scott’s story on those real-life accounts. That’s when she looked at me and said, “You novel writer’s are evil.”

Well, what can I say? She wrote a memoir. I write fiction.

Marina Martindale

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Meet Jason Matthews, the Deadly villain in The Reunion

A man in his black cowboy hat tips it with his fingers to say hello.
Photo by Fotolia

Jason Matthews is one of the antagonists you meet in The Reunion. He’s never actually seen, but his presence is most certainly felt, and he has a major impact on the story.

Gillian, the female lead, has a history of getting involved with the wrong men. An artist by profession, she tells leading man Ian her story of visiting Tombstone, Arizona, to do some research after being commissioned to do a series of paintings about the Old West. While in Tombstone, she happened to meet Jason, a bartender and street performer. Handsome and charming, Gillian asked Jason to model for the paintings. He not only accepted her offer, he swept her off her feet, and Gillian believed she’d finally found her true love. The two eloped a short time later.

Unfortunately, Gillian’s happiness with Jason would be short lived. Instead of being the man of her dreams, Jason became her worst nightmare. She eventually divorced him, and because they had no children, she believes he’s in the past. Nightmares, however, sometimes have a way of recurring. Gillian’s worst nightmare will suddenly come back to life when she learns that Jason has murdered his current wife. He’s now on the run, and the authorities believe he’s looking for her. What makes the character even more sinister is the fact that he’s lurking, but never actually seen, leaving both Gillian,and Ian to wonder where and when he will finally strike.

Marina Martindale

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Meet Carrie Daniels, Leading Lady in The Deception

© Can Stock Photo / photography33

I wanted Carrie Daniels, the lead character in my romance novel, The Deception, to have a girl-next-door quality. Judging by the comments I’m receiving from reviewers, I must have hit my mark.

A freelance photographer and former child model, Carrie’s entire world is about to come crumbling down. Three years earlier her mother suffered a debilitating stroke, and Carrie went from riches-to-rags once her mother’s insurance ran out. Her financial calamity, however, is only the beginning of her problems. Her significant other is about to dump her. Once that happens, she’ll be left homeless and vulnerable as her former mentor seizes the opportunity to exploit her for her own selfish gains.

Carrie experiences both sides of infidelity. First she’ll learn that significant other has been unfaithful to her. She’ll then meet Scott, a married man who presents himself to her as single and available. Carrie leaves the relationship once she realizes things aren’t adding up, but by then it will be too late as Scott’s wife seeks revenge. Yet despite her troubles, Carrie remains resilient as she tries to make the best of what she can. She’s the kind of character you can root for; sweet on the outside, but strong on the inside.

Carrie is a mostly fictitious character. While I didn’t model her after anyone in particular, although I’ve put a little of myself into her. Photography is one of my life’s passions, and, in my younger days, I dreamed of being a model.

Marina Martindale

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Sweet, Sensual or Erotic Romance?

Photo of a woman's legs.
Photo by Fotolia.

Within the romance genre there are three distinct sub-genres.

  • Sweet Romance
  • Sensual Romance
  • Erotic Romance or Erotica

Sweet Romance is squeaky clean. There is no sex. All passion is expressed through kissing, hand holding and perhaps brushing a hand along a face.

Sensual Romance includes a few sex scenes. However, the language typically isn’t harsh and the scenes usually aren’t described in an overtly graphic way. The emphasis is on the character’s emotions. The scenes are included so they can consummate their relationship, however, the plot line doesn’t revolve around the sex scenes. Oftentimes there are only a few such scenes throughout the story.

Erotic Romance is all about the sex. The descriptions can be quite graphic. The story may include variations such as threesomes, orgies or bondage. The story isn’t about two people falling in love. It’s about the characters having sex and plenty of it.

Why I write sensual romance

I write sensual romance. To me, it’s the most logical choice. It’s the romance genre I enjoy reading, and it’s also what most readers expect. My lead characters make love, but only after they’re emotionally invested in the relationship. Once their relationship is consummated, I usually won’t write another sex scene because it would be redundant. I instead use foreplay or pillow talk. 

From time to time, however, a leading man or lady gets involved with the wrong person. This usually happens early in the story, and it happens before the two lead characters have begun their relationship. On those occasions I may approach the sex scenes a little differently.

For example, in my upcoming novel The Deception, Carrie, the female lead, has just ended a long-term relationship. She then meets Scott, who isn’t who he appears to be. Scott knows Carrie is emotionally vulnerable so he takes advantage of her. Because Scott is a one of the villains in the story, the sex scenes between him and Carrie are a little racier, but even then, my sex scenes aren’t overly graphic. I’m more interested in what the characters are feeling during the scene. Alex, leading man, doesn’t come on the scene until after Carrie’s relationship with Scott has ended. The one thing I won’t do is have my protagonists bed hopping.

If you’re looking for sweet, squeaky-clean romance I’m afraid you won’t find it in my books. However, if you’re looking for a believable story that will leave you feeling satisfied as a reader, I’ll think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Marina Martindale

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Meet Ryan Knight, a Despicable Villain in The Reunion

A young man with blonde hair in front of a light background.
Photo by Fololia

You know, creating despicable villains really is too much fun. Ryan Knight from The Reunion is a great example. He certainly got my editor’s, and my proofreader’s, dander up.

Ryan only appears in the flashback chapters, but he makes an impact. Ryan is a college student about to graduate and embark on his career as an architect. He and the young  Gillian have been dating for the past couple of years, but their relationship has become strained. Ryan is putting in a lot of overtime in the architecture building. He says he’s working late on class projects. Gillian, however, has her doubts.

A few days after his graduation, Ryan asks Gillian to stop by his apartment. He has news he wants to share with her. Gillian believes he’s going to propose to her, but Ryan’s idea of a proposal is the last thing she expectes.

Ryan was based on several real life men I’ve known; my ex-husband, a moody ex-boyfriend, and a good friend’s ex-husband. With a cocktail like that, you know you’ll have a real monster on your hands.

My editor commented that Ryan was, “a bit mental.” I also worried that my proofreader would quit on me. Ryan had certainly made her angry. So much so that I had to keep reassuring her that he only appeared in the flashback chapters. He would make his exit in chapter six. After that, his name would rarely be mentioned. Thankfully, she stayed on board.

I’ll conclude by saying that in fiction, conflict creates the drama, and Ryan certainly knows how to create some conflict.

Marina Martindale

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Meet Gillian Matthews

leading lady in THE REUNION

A smiling woman with long blonde hair.
© Can Stock Photo / photography33

Gillian Matthews, the female lead in my romance novel, The Reunion, has had a successful career as an artist and a little fame to go along with it. Her personal life, however, has been a disappointment. She has a knack for getting involved with the wrong men. That will change when travels to Denver for a gallery opening, and man from her past will suddenly reappears.

 Ian Palmer is the one man she never got over. They soon resume their relationship, but her world will shatter once again when something unexpected occurs behind the scenes. She’ll later become the object of affection from a new, and much younger man, while Ian attempts to win her back for a third time.

Gillian is based on a real person. Me. I was a graphic designer before I became a writer, and we’ll just say that my personal life given me some great fodder to work with.

Marina Martindale

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