I’m pleased to announce that my latest contemporary romance novel, The Scandal is now available. The Amazon Kindle edition is ready for downloads, and the paperback version will be available within a few days.
This was a fun book to write. So much so that part of me wished I could keep writing it forever. Be careful what you wish for. I ended up making many, many last-minute revisions and missed two deadlines as a result. Sure, it got a little stressful at times, but it was well worth it. I’m very pleased with the final result and I hope you will be as well.
So now comes the fun part. I get to go on hiatus for awhile. It’s not that I don’t love writing, but I have to take breaks every once in awhile. My dogs will be so pleased. So while you all enjoy my next book I’m going to be doing some photography and playing with my piano. And, if I’m lucky, I might take a road trip or two. In the meantime, however, I’ll be posting on this blog. By the way, in case you’re wondering, I’m already formulating my next book in my mind. It’s called, The Rival. I plan to start working on sometime after the fist of the year, but for now I’m going to go outside and play.
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.
Work on my upcoming contemporary romance novel, The Scandal, has been interesting, to say the least. Ask any author, and they’ll tell you all books present their challenges as they’re being written. However, we authors always manage to work through them. That said, some books are simply more challenging than others. The Scandal has certainly presented its fair share of issues, and then some. I will admit, however, that it’s been such a fun book to write that I haven’t minded doing all the extra work. In fact, I’ve enjoyed spending the additional time with it. Truth be told, I don’t want this book to end.
Is it life imitating art, or is art imitating life?
The Scandal is set in Hollywood. Its lead character is a soap opera star. However, as luck would have it, the Harvey Weinstein scandal, and the MeToo movement, started while I was working on the treatment. Sometimes life imitates art, but really? Did it have to go this far? I take pride in writing original stories. Then there was the other issue. The MeToo movement has been controversial from the start, and I keep my books politically neutral. I also want to keep my books from becoming too dated.
Striving to keep my story separate from any real-life scandals, I decided I would make my lead antagonist more of a Roman Polanski character, but it came out too creepy. I revised it, and it still came out too creepy. So, the third time around, I changed him into a Hugh Hefner like playboy. It worked. He’s a womanizer and a cad; the kind of guy you’d like to slap across the face, but he’s no longer skin crawling creepy. I really liked this new version of him. So, now that he’d been, “fixed,” so to speak, I kept going. Finally, I finished the manuscript and sent it to Cynthia, my editor. She made her changes, and now it’s gone to the proofreader.
The second edit.
Proofreading is also called the second edit, and I have a new proofreader. She’s doing an amazing job. If something seems off as she’s reading, she lets me know. As it turns out, there were a few remnants from the earlier drafts which, while rewritten, came across as too confusing to her. As a result, two chapters had to have more extensive rewrites.
This is why a second edit is so vital. Not everyone will catch every error, and having an extra pair of eyes makes a big difference. As a result, these chapters are much improved, but having to take extra time has slowed down production just a bit. However, my publication date is set for early October, and we will be meeting that deadline.
The next Marina Martindale contemporary romance novel, The Scandal is back from the editor and we are in the process of proofreading. The Scandal will be available this fall. In the meantime, here is a sneak preview. Enjoy.
The Scandal Sample Chapter
Lauren McAllen wrapped her
hands around the steering wheel and held on tight. Raindrops splattered the
windshield while the wipers furiously knocked them away.
“You may think you’re
getting him back, Ashely,” she hissed through clenched teeth, “but trust me,
it’ll never happen because he’s all mine now.” A defiant smiled broke out
across her face, but it instantly turned into a look of sheer panic and terror
as she frantically yanked the steering wheel back and forth. Unable to regain
control of the car, she threw her arms across her face and braced herself for
“Cut!” shouted a man’s
voice. “And that’s a wrap.”
As Lauren relaxed, she turned
her head and smiled. “So, we got it?”
“Perfectly,” he replied, “but if you wouldn’t mind waiting here, the director would like to speak with you for a moment.”
I consider myself lucky have grown up in a house full of readers. Both of my parents enjoyed reading. Dinner table conversations were often about the books they were currently reading. They liked spy novels, but they also read mainstream fiction.
I loved horses when I was a kid. I must have read the entire black stallion series. Marguerite Henry, however, was my favorite author. I read Brighty of the Grand Canyon from cover to cover many times over. I also loved her Misty series. Beverly Cleary was another favorite. Beezus and Ramona are timeless.
I took English lit courses throughout high school. This introduced me to many different genres. Of course, some were more interesting than others. Oftentimes, however, my biggest challenge was putting the book down. Sometimes I wanted to keep going to the end, but I couldn’t get too far ahead of the rest of class.
As an adult, if you’ll pardon the pun, I fell in love with the romance genre. Like my parents, I also enjoyed mainstream fiction, so, from time to time, I borrowed one of their favorite novels. I think this is why my romance novels are somewhat similar to mainstream fiction. Authors such as Arthur Hailey and Peter Benchley must have influenced my writing.
I started writing novels because I wanted to write the books I’d enjoy reading. I wasn’t as concerned about how many books I would sell, or if I would become rich and famous, as I was about writing a story that I could fall in love with and lose myself in. In other words, it’s about the joy of storytelling, and I write out of my own love of reading. I figured if I wrote the books I would enjoy reading, then there would be others out there who would enjoy reading them too. Turns out, I was right. I’m getting some wonderful feedback from you, my readers, and I thank you for your support. It makes me happy to know that you are enjoying my books.
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.
Finally, after more than a year of writing, my latest contemporary romance novel, The Scandal has gone to the editor. Once again, I feel like a mom whose kids have just moved out. You think you’re going to feel happy, and part of you does. But at the same time, you also feel sad. I guess you’d call the feeling bittersweet.
I’ve genuinely loved writing all of my novels, but some have been more fun to write than others. On the pleasure to write meter, The Scandal is right up there with The Reunion. The inspiration came from one of my cousins who, years ago, had a major role on a soap opera. She was kind enough to not only invite me to visit the set, she also invited me to her wrap party when she left the show. And by the way, a soap opera wrap party is like any other corporate party. The only difference is that the faces look more familiar. But then again, when you’re a writer, you can add a little unexpected drama to make a corporate party a whole lot more interesting, which is exactly what I did in The Scandal.
Now, just so you know, Lauren McAllen, my lead character, is actually not based on my cousin. About the only thing she and my cousin have in common is they don’t hang out with the Hollywood crowd. Not all actors do. Just like doctors, attorneys, and architects, actors are all unique individuals. Some are party animals. Some have drug or alcohol issues. Others get on political soap boxes. They may make the headlines, but not everyone in Hollywood is that way. Some actors go home and hangout with their families, and their social circles don’t necessarily include other celebrities. In other words, off camera, they’re more like the rest of us, and that’s who Lauren is. If anything, she’s an extension of me; a woman totally devoted to her craft who feels truly blessed to be able to follow her dream and do what she loves.
The Scandal is also my most researched novel to date. As a writer, I strive for accuracy. I want my stories and my characters to be as realistic and believable as possible. And while visiting the set and watching a taping was truly an honor and a privilege, it hardly makes me an expert on television production. So, I spent a lot of time reading articles on how things work on the set and what happens behind the scenes. Hopefully, I’ve come close. Look for The Scandal to be released later this summer.
Once again, my good friend Rob Resetar has helped me create an amazing new book trailer. This time for my most recent contemporary romance novel, The Letter,and his original musical score is his best one so far. Seelie Studios assisted with the casting, and I’m very pleased this video. I hope you’re as excited about it as I am. So please, enjoy The Letter book trailer.
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 landed a supporting role in a major motion picture. But before the camera rolls, her dream of stardom shatters. The studio head is soon accused of wrongdoing, and she’s unwittingly caught up in a major scandal that rocks Hollywood.
I’m still working on the manuscript. I hope to have it complete and ready to go to the editor in early July. While this book has been the most interesting one to write so far, it’s also required more research, and revisions, than anything I’ve done before. That said, trust me when I tell you it’ll be well worth the wait.