Welcome to the new home for Marina Martindale’s Musings.
After experiencing some technical issues with my previous blog host I’ve moved to WordPress, and I’m happy with the results. We have a new look, a more stable platform, and I’ve brought over the best of the best from my old blog. So please, pull up a chair, and make yourselves comfortable at the new home for Marina Martindale’s Musings.
At long last, I’m finally in the home stretch for my upcoming novel, The Letter, and the theme for this novel would be things aren’t always as they appear to be.
Some of you may be wondering, what’s a theme? A theme is separate from the plotline. A theme is that 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 Reunion. Ian 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 — The Deception and The Betrayal. Adultery is a great theme for the romance genre, and it’s an opportunity to explore the repercussions for everyone involved, as it often affects more than the two primary parties. In The Deception, Carrie, 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 all experience times when things do go our way. However, it doesn’t mean that anyone intentionally thwarted us. Sometimes stuff simply happens. Unfortunately, there really are people out there who subscribe to the notion of don’t get mad, get even. In The Journey, Denise 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.
And those are my themes, so far. We’ll have to wait and what my next theme will be. Until then, happy reading.
Life happens, and I spent a busy summer producing a new book trailer with my good friend and fellow videographer, Rob Resetar, of Rob Resetar Video. Like all my book trailers, it presented its own challenges, but I still had a lot of fun. Rob and I got to work with some amazing actors, and I even spent a day in the southern Arizona wine country shooting the road footage from my dashboard.
The Deception is the story of Emily St. Claire, a devoted wife who literally catches her husband in the act with another woman. Determined to rebuild her life, Emily returns home with her father to pursue her dream of being a concert pianist, but little does she know that a new, and deadly, betrayal is about to unfold.
Once again I’m bringing a character from an earlier novel into a more recent one. This time it’s Jonathan Fields.
We first meet Jonathan in The Deception as an Internet security and forensics expert who helps identify the person responsible for framing leading lady Carrie for something she did not do. As the story continues, a new and surprising connection between Jonathan and Carrie is revealed.
Jonathan was one of those characters whom I really liked. He’s smart, he’s sexy, and he’s an unlikely hero with plenty of potential for me to work with. So I brought him back in The Stalker. This time around he’s Shane’s boss, and, just like in The Deception, he helps leading lady Rachel identify an enemy out to destroy her.
Like most of my characters, Jonathan is fictitious and not based on anyone I know personally. There are, without a doubt, many real-life Jonathans out there, working quietly behind the scenes to make cyberspace safer for all of us.
I’m busy working on my upcoming novel, The Letter, and, as with my other novels, I’m having a great time getting to know this cast of characters.
The Letter is a story of things not being as they appear. Stephanie and Danny, the two leading characters, are in a happy relationship until Stephanie accidentally uncovers a love letter from Martha, a woman from Danny’s past. As the story continues, she’ll discover even more compelling yet circumstantial evidence, causing her to reach the wrong conclusion. Convinced that Danny has been cheating, she leaves, and with the start of a new job she meets Josh, who introduces her a whole new world. Unfortunately for Stephanie, Josh isn’t who he appears to be.
The Letter is turning out to be more of a classic romance, much like The Reunion. The story is set in Denver, as was The Reunion, and look for Paul, one of the featured characters in The Reunion to have a featured role in The Letter.
The Letter is inspired by a real-life event which happened to a good friend who accidentally came across a letter to her fiance from his old girlfriend. The ex girlfriend wanted him back, but she eventually moved on, and my friend and her fiance have been happily married for many years. However, this happened before email, text messaging and social media, so adapting the real incident to 21st century technology was a bit of a challenge.
Look for The Letter to be available in early 2018.
One of my cousins, who used to be an actress, once told me how she would feel her characters’ emotions as she portrayed them. She said that performing emotionally charged scenes 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 my scenes. Writing the dialog is usually the catalyst that drives those emotions.
I’m working on my next novel, The Letter. In one of the early chapters Stephanie and Danny, the leading characters, spend the Labor Day weekend at a bed a breakfast in Estes Park, Colorado. Writing the scene of them relaxing in their room and discussing their day hike in the woods was a pleasant experience. Danny, who’s also a photographer, has taken photos, and he’s showing them to Stephanie. After I finished the scene I felt calm and peaceful, as I too love photography, and one of my own life’s pleasures is to go out in the backcountry and take photos.
Unfortunately, not all is well with Danny and Stephanie. Danny is being hounded by Martha, a woman from his past, and I’ve been building up to a major confrontation between the two of them 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 really has been a pain in the butt. She most certainly has it coming, and I wanted Danny to feel vindicated. However, as I wrote the dialog I started feeling emotions I didn’t expect to feel.
Danny wants no further contact from Martha, but an obsessed Martha refuses to let him go. As the scene plays out, Danny becomes more and more frustrated with her unending state of denial, and as he struggles to get through to her he becomes more verbally harsh. I started feeling anxious as I wrote the dialog. Harsh words, even when justified, can hurt like a fist, and some of the verbiage I used brought back memories of arguments I had with of some of the jerks I dated in the past. By the time I finished I felt like I’d been sucker punched by both of them.
It was at this point that I’d planned to write Martha out of the story and have another antagonist take over, but now I think I’ll keep her around a little longer. Martha has a real knack for pissing people off, and talent like her’s really shouldn’t go to waste. While the new antagonist will be the main focus for the remainder of the story, Martha will spend some time going after those who she thinks turned Danny against her.
The Letter should be available by the spring of 2018.
There are two kinds of women who get involved with married men. Some are like Carrie, the leading lady in my earlier novel, The Deception, who are duped into believing the man is single and available. Then there is the other kind. She knows upfront that the man is married, but she chooses to get involved with him anyway.
Annette, one of the antagonists in The Betrayal, is the latter. Not only does she know, from the get-go, that Jesse is a married man, she also knows his wife, Emily. Jesse, however, is nothing if not charming and seductive. He takes full advantage of the fact that Annette has become disillusioned with her significant other, and he uses it as the catalyst to initiate their affair. In her own mind, Annette has convinced herself that not only would she be a better wife for Jesse, she’s actually doing Emily a favor by breaking them up. She knows Emily put her dream of becoming a concert pianist on hold to help Jesse with his career, therefore, she is, “helping” her by freeing her so she can finally pursue her dream. Emily, however, doesn’t see it that way.
Jesse soon tires of Annette. He ends the affair and tries to win Emily back, but Annette has no intention of going quietly into the night. She comes up with her own desperate scheme to get Jesse back, and the consequences will forever change the lives of everyone involved.
Annette is a purely fictitious character, and, thankfully, not inspired by anyone I’ve ever encountered. There are, unfortunately, plenty of real life Annettes out there. That’s what makes her the woman you’ll love to hate.
One of the projects that has kept me so busy over the past few months has been the book trailer for The Betrayal.
Ever have one of those projects that seems to fight you every step of the way? It’s been that kind of an undertaking. We had lots of unexpected challenges which took up more time than we expected, and I even ended up having to buy a used piano along the way. Fortunately, we’re now in the home stretch, and it’s coming out nicely. I got to work with some amazing actors, and my good friend, Rob Resetar, of Rob Resetar Video, was extremely helpful, as usual.
Even with all the challenges, I still had fun. I drove up to Phoenix to shoot the opening footage, and spent the day with my sister-in-law. I also took a drive down to wine country to shoot some road footage. (Yes, we really do have wineries in southern Arizona.) Rob thought it had some problems, so golly gee, I had to take a second trip down there to do a reshoot. Nothing like having a good excuse to do a little wine tasting and have a picnic lunch with my friend, Maria, who came along with me.
Thankfully, all the footage is finally in the can, and we’re now in post production. In the meantime, I love playing my new-to-me piano.
Rachel Bennett has a problem. A man from her past is obsessed with her.
A twenty-eight year old graphic designer, Rachel has recently returned to her hometown of Tucson, Arizona, and is attending her ten-year high school reunion. While she’s there she’s reintroduced to Shane MacLeod, a fellow classmate who she briefly met while serving on the yearbook committee. Rachel may not remember Shane, but he certainly remembers her, and as they’re busy getting reaquainted another man from Rachel’s past suddenly reappears. A former coworker, Craig Walker, has been stalking and harassing her for the past few years, and no matter how hard she tries to seek justice, the system keeps failing her.
Fortunately for Rachel, it’s all about to change. Shane is undaunted by Craig, and, with his help, things finally appear to be working in her favor. But unknown to them, Craig is about take his revenge, and Rachel’s life will never be the same.
Rachel was inspired by an acquaintance who was once hounded by a former colleague. She’s a courageous woman determined to regain control of her life, and she’s not afraid to back down from a fight.
This may sound arrogant or even hokey, but I get weary of hearing myself say, “I write romance novels,” whenever I’m asked about what I do. People either think I’m writing schmaltzy dime store 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 humanrelationships. 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 romantic love between a man and woman is only a part of my story. The Journey includes a heartwarming subplot about the relationship between brothers Jeremy and Larry Palmer, as Larry puts his life on hold for a time to help his ailing brother through a life altering crisis. That’s true love. In The Deception, a father literally takes a bullet meant for his child. That’s also true love. In The Betrayal, leading ladyEmily’s long estranged aunt finally reaches out and accepts her like another daughter. That too is love.
The reason why I write romance, instead of 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 family members as well. Of course those relationships can be part of the storyline in those other genres, but the romance genre is the only one where the primary focus is on human relationships. I’m just trying to expand the boundaries.
What would a story of betrayal and adultery be without a cheating spouse? Jesse St. Claire, the unfaithful husband in The Betrayal, is perhaps my most complicated and enigmatic antagonist to date. Unlike Scott Andrews, the cheating husband in my earlier novel, The Deception, Jesse really isn’t a player. In fact, he’s never cheated before. A highly successful motivational speaker, Jesse steadfastly claims to love his wife, and, in his own strange way, he does. Or, at least he thinks he does.
Jesse has built his career on helping people take control of their lives, but his own life begins spiraling out of control when his wife, Emily, catches him in the act with Annette, his personal assistant. As Emily packs her bags and walks out the door, a determined Jesse tries to come up with a plan to win her back. Not only does he want to save his marriage, he also wants to save his career. Unfortunately for Jesse, his bad habits prove difficult to break, and his past soon comes back to haunt him, forcing him to once again betray his wife.
Jesse is a fictitious character not based on anyone I know. His inspiration comes from many stories of unfaithful men who claim to love their wives, which, for those of us who don’t cheat, is something we can never fully understand.