Spin-offs Not Sequels

© Can Stock Photo / pichetw

A question fiction writers are often asked is will they write a sequel. Some authors do write sequels or perhaps they’ll write an entire series of books, as I did with a series of novelettes I wrote in the 2000s as Gayle Martin. The Luke and Jenny series of historical novels for young readers was about two modern day youngers taking a summer road trip with their mother. Along the way they stopped at historical sites where they traveled back in time to learn the real history of the American west. While each book in series was about a different historical figure, there was an overall plotline that carried over each book; the road trip the two kids were taking with their mother.

When I switched genres and started writing contemporary romance novels I made the decision to not write sequels. Sequels can be problematic as they tend to be redundant and are often not as good as the original. My books would be stand alone novels and each story would end with complete closure. However, there were times when I created a supporting character who was interesting enough to warrant having his or her own story, as was the case with Jeremy in The Reunion. He soon his own book, The Journey, but The Journey wasn’t a sequel to The Reunion. It was a spin-off.

Simply put, a spin-off is when characters from one story are put into a different story. The late producer Norman Lear created a television show in the 1970s called, All in the Family. It was a huge hit, and those of you born in the eighties and beyond have no doubt heard of it or have seen it. All in the Family soon had a spin-off called, Maude, which in my opinion, was a whole lot funnier. Maude was Edith Bunker’s outspoken cousin who was first introduced in an episode of All in the Family. Interestingly enough, Lear later produced a spin-off from Maude called, Good Times, which was about Maude’s housekeeper, Florida Evans. All three shows were hits and ran for several seasons.

Hey, if it was good enough for Norman Lear, then it’s good enough for Marina Martindale. Along with The Journey, I’ve written two other spin-off novels; The Betrayal, another Reunion spin-off, and my newest novel, which I’ve just started, called, The Diversion, which is a spin-off from The Betrayal. It’s lead character, Tonya Claiborne, was a strong supporting character with a lot of potential. Look for The Diversion in 2021.

Marina Martindale

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Yikes! I’ve Created Another Sexy Villain

© Can Stock Photo / Ostill

Ask any fiction author. They’ll tell you characters have minds of their own. Believe me, I have experienced this phenomenon many times myself. There’ve been many times when a character came out differently than planned, and it’s always been for the better.


Villains in particular have a certain quality about them. They’re typically more complex, more charismatic and, for lack of a better word, sexy. Jeremy Palmer in my debut contemporary romance novel, The Reunion was the first. Originally intended to be a rogue character who would do his dirty deed and disappear, Jeremy ended up having a special charisma. He went from being a rouge to becoming a rival who would compete with his father to win Gillian’s affections. Josh Ramsey in my later contemporary romance novel, The Letter was intended to be a conman. Then the chemistry between him and Stephanie unexpectedly sizzled. So I revamped him into a mystery man.


I strive to make my villains as despicable as I can. There’s nothing more fun than seeing a villain we love to hate get their comeuppance. Some of my more dastardly villains include Scott Andrews in my contemporary romance novel, The Deception. Scott was a married man presenting himself as a single man to entice unsuspecting single women. Then there’s Beau Fowler, the corrupt detective in The Betrayal. He tried to frame an innocent woman for a crime she didn’t commit. And finally, there’s Craig Walker, the sociopathic villain in The Stalker. He’ll resort to kidnapping and murder to get what he wants. 


Now it’s happening again. This time it’s Calvin Michaelson, in my upcoming contemporary romance novel, The Scandal. Cal’s a Hollywood mogul with a reputation as a playboy. Intended to be a despicable villain for readers to hate, his character became more dynamic than expected. He too is being revamped. He’ll still be a playboy, but at the end of the story a new and completely unexpected side to Cal will be revealed. 

Marina Martindale

Update

The Scandal is now available on Amazon and Barnesandnoble.com.

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Remembering Dennis

A bouquet of flowers.
Photo by Marina Martindale

It’s been a difficult couple of weeks for me. One of my cousins, and one of my all time favorite people, passed away rather suddenly and unexpectedly.


A cousin by marriage, I’ve known Dennis since I was ten years old. To me, he was just as much family as his wife. Dennis had a great sense of humor. He always went the extra mile for others, never expecting anything in return. Dennis was also an attorney. And the inspiration for Alex Montoya, the leading man in my second novel, The Deception. In fact, I dedicated The Deception to Dennis.


Like Dennis, Alex was a hard working attorney. He’s willing to do whatever it takes to get justice for leading lady, Carrie. Of course, there are significant differences between the character and his the real-life inspiration. Alex was thirty-something and single. He’s not necessarily looking for love. That’s a prerequisite for a lead character in a romance novel. However, his real life counterpart married his college sweetheart at a young age. Each is a unique individual.


In honor of Dennis, I’m including this brief excerpt from The Deception. Like Alex, Dennis was dedicated to his clients.


MM


* * *

After they ended the call Alex picked up the message sitting on his desk. It was from Louise’s attorney, Jack Collins, who called while he was out. He dialed the number and was immediately connected.

“Thanks for returning my call,” said Collins. “I’ve received the letter you faxed me this morning and I’ve already spoken to my client about it.”

“So what does she have to say? Is she willing to work with us to find out who really sent the photos to Gentry Magazine?”

To read more, please click on the link below.

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Amazon Banned This Trailer

It was simply too hot for them to handle
Photo by Marina Martindale

The Deception is a contemporary romance novel about a woman who’s been exploited. Like my other contemporary romance novels, it’s sensual romance. This romance subgenre includes a few, shall we say, love scenes. However, it’s not erotica. Most of the action takes place outside of the bedroom, and what few love scenes are included are there to enhance the plot.

So, when we produced the book trailer for The Deception, Rob Resetar,  my videographer, and I wanted to include a brief romance scene, but it’s hardly porn. However, Amazon didn’t see it that way.

I was using the video on Amazon for book promotions. However, they are no longer allowing me to use it. Their official reason is that the file format is out of date. However, I have another book trailer in that same format on Amazon, and it works perfectly. Someone at Amazon didn’t like this book trailer, so they flagged it.

So, for your viewing pleasure, is the book trailer video that was too hot for Amazon.

Marina Martindale

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The Forgotten DECEPTION Chapter

The Deception front cover.

While waiting for my latest contemporary romance novel, The Letter, to come back from the editor, I decided to go back and give my earlier contemporary romance novel, The Deception, a read as the two stories are similar. However, as I was reading, I kept wondering where one of my scenes went. I recalled writing it, but I sure wasn’t seeing it. So, when in doubt, pull up the manuscript, and viola! There it was. Somehow, this chapter had been overlooked when the book was typeset, and I had managed to miss the error. Yikes!


In the missing chapter, one of the antagonists is arrested and carted off to jail. Thankfully, in a prior chapter, another character had come forward with enough evidence to guarantee a conviction. This meant it had already been established that the villainous antagonist would end up in jail for a very long time, so the story still worked. However, the missing chapter was a nice, you had it coming, moment for the reader. 

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.


Marina Martindale

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A New Look for THE DECEPTION

 

I’m doing a minor update on an earlier contemporary romance novel, The Deception, while I wait for my editor to finish up my latest contemporary romance novel, The Letter. The two stories are similar. Those who have read The Deception will no doubt enjoy The Letter, and vice versa.  

 
The original Deception cover.

The most noticeable change is the book cover. Inspired by real-life stories of revenge porn, The Deception is the story of a woman exploited in a profoundly ugly way. However, the original cover created a bit of a controversy as some didn’t understood the reason behind it. While still sexy, the new look is less controversial. I also think it’s a prettier cover. 

Marina Martindale

a sample read from The Deception

Carrie slammed the phone down in disgust. It was the third crank call she’d received that morning. The calls had all come to her office number, posted on her website and she wondered if her website had somehow been hacked. She called her webmaster and asked him to investigate. He called back a short time later. Other than heavier than usual traffic that morning everything appeared to be normal. In the interim, she had received yet another obscene phone call, so they decided to take her phone number off the website. Within an hour the harassing calls had stopped.

Carrie tried to pull herself together and go back to work. The calls were disturbing, and she was having a hard time concentrating. She heard the bell at her front counter and stepped into the reception area to find Marcy, her letter carrier.

“Good morning, Marcy. How was your Fourth of July?”

“Nice and quiet,” she said as she placed the mail on the counter. “I have something you need to sign for.”

Carrie signed the form and Marcy handed her a large, thick envelope. The sender was GMH Publications, from Los Angeles. She didn’t recognize the name, so more than likely it was a prospective client. Marcy said goodbye as Carrie took the mail back to her desk and opened it. Inside the big envelope was a check, payable to her, for five thousand dollars. Attached to the check was a personally signed letter from Caleb Wyman, publisher of Gentry Magazine, congratulating her for winning the photo contest in their latest issue.

“What on earth? I never entered any photo contest. Not for anyone, and most certainly not for you.”

She reached back into the envelope and pulled out the remaining contents. It was the latest issue of Gentry Magazine. As she thumbed through the pages something familiar caught her eye and she heard herself shrieking.

 

The Deception is available on Amazon and Barnesandnoble.com.

 

 

 

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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 contemporary romance 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 she 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.

Revenge — The Journey and The Stalker. Life isn’t always fair and things don’t always go our way. However, it doesn’t mean someone has intentionally thwarted us. Sometimes bad things happen. 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 Relationship Fiction

Photo of an open book with stars coming out of it.
© Can Stock Photo/kudryashka

This may sound arrogant, or perhaps hokey, but I sometimes get weary of hearing myself say, “I write contemporary romance novels,” whenever I’m asked about what I do. People think I’m writing cheap, schmaltzy novels. Or they think I’m writing erotica. Neither is the case, as there is so much more to what I write.

I write stories about human relationships. Love isn’t limited to a man and a woman falling in love and living happily ever after. Love is about all kinds of human relationships. The love of a parent to a child. The love between siblings. Even the platonic love between close friends. The romance between and man and a woman is only a part of my stories.

For example

One of my contemporary romance novels, The Journey includes a heartwarming subplot about the relationship between brothers Jeremy and Larry Palmer, as Larry puts his own life on hold to help his ailing brother through a life altering crisis. That’s true love. 

In The Deception, another contemporary romance novel, a father literally takes a bullet meant for his child. That too is true love. 

The Betrayal, another contemporary romance novel, includes a story of a long estranged aunt who finally lets go of the rivalry she carried for her deceased sister and reaches out to her niece, accepting her like another daughter. That too is love.

The reason why I write contemporary romance, as opposed to science fiction or mystery or horror, is because I’ve always been fascinated by the complexity and dynamics of human relationships. Not only between lovers, but between close friends and family members as well. Of course those relationships can be part of the storyline in those other genres. However, the romance genre is the only one where the primary focus is on human relationships.


Marina Martindale

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What I’m Most Often Asked

A photo of books on a shelf.
© Can Stock Photo / Baloncici

As a contemporary romance author people ask me a lot of questions, and the question I’m most often asked is, “Are your books a series?”

The answer is no.

Some authors write series books which their readers seem to like. However, the authors who I consider as mentors, such as Rosamunde Pilcher, don’t write their books in a series. Their novels are stand alone books. One trick I have borrowed from Ms. Pilcher is to take a minor character from one book and incorporate him or her into another. She took a minor character from The Shell Seekers, and used him to introduce a new cast of characters in September

My first contemporary romance novel was The Reunion. (Which will always be my personal favorite.) When I wrote my second contemporary romance novel, The Deception, I set a chapter at a fictitious location I used in The Reunion. It was a nice way to incorporate the two novels together.

My third contemporary romance novel, The Journey, comes the closest to being a sequel. It uses the same cast of characters as The Reunion, but it too is a stand alone book. Ian and Gillian, the lead characters from The Reunion, appear in The Journey as supporting characters. Their story has already been told. This time the lead characters are Ian’s son, Jeremy, and his wife, Cassie. There are references to events from The Reunion included as part of the backstory. However, I worded them in such a way so those who haven’t read The Reunion, won’t be confused.

Kyle Madden, a lead character in my next contemporary romance novel, The Betrayal, also had a bit part in The Reunion. This time around the roles are reversed when Gillian makes a cameo appearance.

While I won’t be able reference every prior novel in my later books, I’ll continue to include something from one of my earlier contemporary romance novels, such as a scene set at a same fictional location, or a minor role for an earlier character. Those who have read the earlier books will enjoy the references, while those who haven’t won’t feel left out. 

Marina Martindale

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