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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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.


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* * *

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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The Book Trailer Banned by Amazon

As most of you probably know, I write sensual romance, and when Rob Resetar  and I produce a book trailer it may include a brief romance scene, but it’s hardly porn. But don’t tell that to Amazon.

The Deception is the story of a woman who’s been exploited, and I’ve been using this book trailer video on Amazon for sometime to do 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, and it works perfectly, so I’m not buying it. Someone at Amazon didn’t like this book trailer, so they flagged it.

So, for your viewing pleasure, here’s the book trailer that Amazon banned.

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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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A New Edit and a New Look for THE DECEPTION

The original front cover.
The original 2012 cover.

I’m doing a minor edit on an earlier novel, The Deception, while I wait for my editor to finish up my latest novel, The Letter. The two stories are similar. Those who have read The Deception will, no doubt, enjoy The Letter, and vice versa. I wrote The Deception in 2012. It was my second novel, and I’ve improved in my craft since then, so I wanted to do some fine tuning.


The story and its contents remain the same. Most readers won’t notice the editorial changes. I’ve removed some filler words and redundancies, and rephrased some of the dialog to make the characters’ points of view a little more clear.

The updated book cover.
The updated 2018 cover

The most noticeable change is the cover. Inspired by real-life stories of revenge porn, and the havoc it creates in people’s lives, The Deception is the story of a woman badly exploited in a profoundly ugly way. However, the original cover, shown above, has created some controversy as some have not understood the reason behind it. While still sexy, the new look is less controversial, and it blends well when displayed with my other titles.


The new, updated version  will be available in early February.


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What I’m Most Often Asked

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

As an author people ask me a lot of questions, but what I’m most often asked is are your books a series?

And 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

The Reunion was my first contemporary romance novel. When I wrote my second contemporary romance novel, The Deception, I set a chapter at Hanson Sisters Fine Art, which is Gillian‘s gallery 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 leading 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 some references to events from The Reunion, but they are only vaguely discussed. I worded them in such a way so those who who hadn’t read The Reunion would simply see it as a part of the backstory. In other words, you don’t have to have read, The Reunion, in order to read, and enjoy ,The Journey. 

Kyle Madden, the leading man in my next contemporary romance novel, The Betrayal, was a minor character in The Reunion. He was the police detective who warned Gillian about her ex husband. This time around the roles are reversed as Gillian makes a cameo appearance.

I’m currently working on my fifth contemporary romance novel, The Stalker. Jonathan Fields, a featured character from The Deception, has already made an appearance. So far no one’s been to Hanson Sisters Fine Art, but then again, I’ve only just started writing.

Marina Martindale

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The Inspiration for THE DECEPTION Opening Scene

A photo of a merry-go-round at the fair.
Photo © by Gayle Martin.

The other day I was chatting with a friend who’s reading The Deception. She said she wanted to deck the boyfriend who dumps leading lady Carrie in the first chapter.  This chapter was inspired by a real-life event.


A few years ago my friends and I visited Seaworld in San Diego. As we walked around the park we happened to pass by a well-dressed young lady sitting on a bench, sobbing her eyes out. A young man, most likely her boyfriend, stood next to her, a very serious look on his face. As we hurried past I realized he’d brought her there to dump her, thinking she wouldn’t cause a scene.

I’ll never know for sure what happened, but that picture stayed in my mind. And you know what happens when something stays in a novel writer’s mind, don’t you? It comes out in a story. In this instance, it became the inspiration for the opening scene of The Deception, but with a different location. This time the lady is dumped at The Arizona State Fair. Her boyfriend also thinks dumping her in public means she won’t cause a scene, but he’s wrong. Very wrong. Dumping someone in public only adds more humiliation to the person being dumped.


Inspiration can from anywhere and everywhere, oftentimes when I least expect it.

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Photo Shoot Shoot

Photo of a photography studio.
Photo by Marina Martindale

We’re still hard at work for the new book trailer for The Deception. Today videographer Rob Resetar shot two more scenes; a love scene between Carrie, the leading lady, and Scott, one of the antagonists, and the photo shoot scene. The photo shoot happens early in the novel. It’s the watershed event that shapes the rest of the story.


We still have a few more scenes to film. With any luck, the book trailer will be complete right after the first of the year. In the meantime please enjoy this except from The Deception about the photo shoot.
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an excerpt from The Deception


Carrie woke up to her ringing cellphone. She rolled over and scooped it up from the floor.”Hello.” Her voice sounded groggy.

“So what the heck is going on with you?” asked the woman on the other end of the line.

“Louise?”

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

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Meet Scott Andrews the Deceiver in The Deception

© Can Stock Photo / photography33

They’re out there. The liars. The cheaters. The scumbags. The players. The married men who put themselves out as single men. And, like the predators they are, they like to prey on unsuspecting single women, looking for lasting relationships.

Scott Andrews, the antagonist in my romance novel, The Deception, is one of those predators. Handsome and charming, Scott can, and does, pass himself off as a single man. He presents himself as the perfect catch for a single woman looking for her soulmate. And, unfortunately, for the woman, she has no idea that Scott’s married.

A mutual friend introduces Scott to leading lady Carrie, the leading lady. As usual, he presents himself as a single man, and he hasn’t just fooled Carrie. He’s also fooled their mutual friend, Allison. Not only does Allison believe that Scott is single, she also thinks he might be a good match for Carrie, who’s recovering from an earlier breakup. Scott quickly takes advantage of her vulnerability, but Carrie will soon realize things aren’t adding up. By then it will too late, and the consequences will leave her life shattered.

Scott is inspired by someone I once knew, as well as stories other women have told me. He may be a fictional character, but there are, unfortunately, many real life Scotts out there. Stay safe, ladies.

Marina Martindale

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