• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Goodreads
  • RSS Feed

You can view Marina’s blog feed below or view the blog directly by clicking here.

Marina Martindale's Musings

We have moved Marina Martindale's Musings to a new blog host.

As you  may have noticed, the coding in this blog has become corrupted, and it is literally falling apart before our very eyes. We have tried, over and over again to fix this problem, but it is on the server, and Google has removed the link for blog authors to alert Blogger if there is a problem.

Since Blogger doesn't care, we have migrated to WordPress, and, I'm happy to say, we were able to successfully export our most popular posts.

Please visit us at our new address,

This blog will be deactivated in two weeks, so please be sure to update your bookmarks.

Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you on the other side.

Author: Gayle Martin
Posted: July 15, 2016, 1:17 am
We've had a great run on Blogger, however, the time has come for us to move to a new blog host.

As you have no doubt noticed, this blog file has become corrupted, and I have spent hours trying to make Google aware of the problem, but they don't care. They have removed the link that allowed us to contact them, and the "feedback" button is useless, as I have been trying for weeks to alert them to the issue, but it's getting worse, not better, because Google is no longer supporting Blogger.

I have set up a new blog at WordPress, and I will do my best to try to import the posts over, although it may prove difficult as this blog has become so corrupted I now only have a 50-50 shot of getting a post to go into the edit mode. So, if I can't export the blog, I'll have to start again from scratch.

The new web address is: Please be sure to update your bookmarks, and thank you again for supporting this blog. It was fun.

Author: Gayle Martin
Posted: July 13, 2016, 5:27 am
Photo by
Sometimes the people we think we can trust the most are the very people who'll betray us. As I mentioned in an earlier post, The Betrayal is also a good cop/bad cop story. Kyle Madden, the leading man, is a good cop who risks his career, and his life, to save Emily, the leading lady. However his partner, Beau Fowler, is also his nemesis. 

A thirty year police veteran, Beau has been a good cop who's caught his fair share of bad guys, but during that time he's also been passed up for promotions, oftentimes by younger officers he helped train. Now his luck appears to be changing. He's been called to investigate a suspicious death at the home of a well known motivational speaker. A high profile case. All he has to do is get a conviction and he's sure to get his long overdue promotion--even if it means framing an innocent woman. In Beau's mind, people sometimes have the misfortune of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  

Beau Fowler is a purely fictitious character, who, sadly, is inspired by the occasional bad cop out there who inflicts harm innocent citizens. Fortunately such officers are rare, as most are like Kyle; good people who put their lives on the line each and everyday. 
Author: Gayle Martin
Posted: June 18, 2016, 12:22 am
Photo by
I've spent the past few months back inside the writing tunnel. The writing tunnel is that magical place where my stories are created. Okay, it's actually a den I converted into an office, or even the occasional hotel room, but nevertheless, the writing tunnel is where I go to let my imagination take over and create my stories. 

Readers tell me it's hard to put my books down. And you all should see it from my end. I get up each morning and try to put in a little writing time before getting bogged down with all the "real job" stuff. Then, in the evenings, instead of watching television, I'm back into my manuscript, working out the next scene, or the next chapter, or creating a new character. It's so much fun. I just wish I could figure out why I'm still paying for cable. Must be for those times when I'm not writing.

Sometimes people ask me how I do my job. Do I work out a detailed outline first, and then follow it verbatim? Or do I just sit down and start writing? It's a little bit of both, actually. First I'll write a treatment, or short plot summary. It's not too specific, and it's only a few paragraphs long. It's my idea for the basic story concept, but not much else. I use it mainly to get the story started, and so I'll have a rough idea of how it will end. Once I start writing the actual story I set the treatment aside and go where the characters take me. Then, when I'm finished with my story, I'll go back and look at the original treatment. Without exception, it's remarkably different from the finished novel, and sometimes the ending will be different as well. Someone once said life is what happens when you're busy making other plans. I think the same could be said for good story writing.


Author: Gayle Martin
Posted: May 29, 2016, 11:31 pm
Photo by
I decided make Emily St. Claire, my leading lady in The Betrayal, a loving, devoted wife. She's happily married to Jesse, her college sweetheart, and she's put her dream of becoming a concert pianist on hold, at least for a time, taking a job as an office manager so Jesse could launch his own career. And now that he's become successful, it's Emily's turn to pursue her dream.

Unfortunately, Emily's world is about to be turned upside down. She'll get the shock of her life when she discovers Jesse has been unfaithful to her. Emily, however, is nothing if not resilient. She returns home to her father, and her piano, determined to follow her dreams, with or without Jesse. But as she begins to follow her dream, her life will take another unexpected turn. An unforeseen tragedy will lead her to Kyle, a man who'll love her unconditionally, but before Kyle can pursue her, he has to save her from another enemy, determined to destroy her.

I wanted Emily to be the polar opposite of Maggie Andrews, the betrayed wife in The Deception. Both women have been deeply hurt by their husbands' infidelity, but Maggie chooses to take her wrath out on Carrie, her husband's mistress, even with the knowledge that Carrie was completely unaware that Scott was married, and had already ended the relationship. Maggie is a bitter, unhappy woman, who uses her husband's affair as an excuse to destroy another person's life, because she believes doing so will somehow make her feel vindicated. 

Emily, on the other hand, tries her best to handle her husband's infidelity with grace and dignity, but another man will soon take advantage of her vulnerability, causing her to make a decision she will later regret, and that others will use against her.

While Emily is a fictitious character, the inspiration for her story came from two different friends. One was a man I dated many years ago who had caught his ex-wife in the act. The other was a friend who never forgot the day her father came home and caught her mother being unfaithful. Adultery doesn't just harm the spouse who was cheated on. It effects others as well, and both The Betrayal, and The Deception, are stories about the long term consequences of infidelity. 


Author: Gayle Martin
Posted: March 1, 2016, 12:33 am
One of the more interesting challenges I face as an author is writing believable dialog, especially when the conflict has intensified and the characters are feeling the pressure. Those are the times when an, "oh my goodness gracious me," just won't cut it. But then again, I don't want to take it too far the other way and risk offending you, my readers, as I'm aware that some of you have certain limits as to what language is and isn't appropriate.

When necessary, my characters will say an occasional, "damn," or "hell," and oftentimes that's enough to make the point. Sometimes a character, usually a villain, may call a woman a, "bitch," or even a, "whore," but since he or she is the bad guy, the character is meant to be offensive. I want you to hate my villains. They're not meant to be nice people. 

There may also be occasions when a character may exclaim, "son of a bitch." This might happen if they're suddenly shocked or surprised by something. It can also happen when they're referring to a male villain who's done something outrageous. Again, my villains aren't meant to be nice. They're supposed to make other characters angry, and dialog is the most effective way for them to express their anger. It's also the kind of language we hear in real life when someone is angry.

There are, however, places where I draw the line. First and foremost is using the Lord's name as a curse word. While I may not overtly religious, I still believe in God, so to me, it's disrespectful. That's why you'll never hear any of my characters, not even the villains, saying the, "G-damn," word, or using the names, "Jesus," or "Christ," as curse words.

The other word I won't use is the "f-bomb," as some readers simply find it too offensive. This can be tricky, as there are some situations when even a, "what the hell," may not be enough. That's when I'll have another character interrupt just in time. That way the word is implied, but not actually said.

I realize there are some folks out there who may even find the word, "damn," offensive, but as an author, I know I can't be all things to all readers. I'll also be the first to admit that my novels aren't for everyone. So if you're looking for a good, sensual romance, with believable characters who speak the way that real people talk, but without being potty mouths, you've come to the right place.


Author: Gayle Martin
Posted: January 27, 2016, 7:48 pm
Photo © Copyright 2016 by Gayle Martin. All Rights Reserved.
Happy New Year everyone. I hope your holidays went well. I spent mine with good friends from the local Tucson music community. As a writer I get along quite well with musicians, as well as other writers. We creative minds all understand one another. And, as with other friends, I listen to their stories, sometimes getting inspiration for other novels.

As mentioned in my last post, 2015 ended with me hitting some rough waters, forcing me to purge a few people from my life. Dealing with other people's unending drama, day after day after day, sucked the creative energy right out of me, but now that some time has passed, I'm feeling relaxed and happy and more like my old self again. So as I sail into calmer waters, my creativity once is again flowing as it should be. I've started working on my next novel, inspired, interestingly enough, by the Facebook rantings of one of my former friends, who, from time to time, battled online with a former associate, essentially over artistic differences. Hey, I'm a writer. It kept showing up in my news feed, so what else can I say?

My next novel is called The Stalker, and it picks up well beyond where this Facebook feud leaves off. The leading lady is a graphic designer who once befriended a coworker she looked up to, but their friendship came to an abrupt end after she got a promotion he felt she didn't deserve, and he's been harassing her ever since. I'm also thrilled with the way Craig, my antagonist, is developing as a character. To the outside world he's seemingly likable and well respected journalist, but he has a dark, sinister side that he keeps well hidden, making him one of my most devious villains to date. He's right up there with Maggie Andrews, from The Deception, and Denise Sanderson, from The Journey

I'll be sharing more updates as I progress on my story, but, in the meantime, here's to a happy and prosperous 2016 for all of us.


Author: Gayle Martin
Posted: January 17, 2016, 8:34 pm
Well 2015 has been an interesting year, to say the least. I launched my latest novel, The Betrayal, and I had some happy times, but it's also been a year of unexpected challenges and sudden endings.

For me, 2015 was the a year The Universe decided to do some housecleaning, and several friendships came to an abrupt end. Some were more acquaintances than friends, while another had been my best friend for the past ten years. And while the circumstances were strange, if not bizarre, all of them showed their true colors, and none were pretty. One was a person who loved to stir up the drama, and after awhile you just get tired of it. And even though I wasn't that close to her, I still wish her the best. Another friend turned out to be a mean, ugly person hiding behind a pretty face. Fortunately, she wasn't someone I was particularly close to either, and I'm happy to no longer see her unending stream of selfies on Facebook. 

Losing my best friend, however, was a bitter pill to swallow. In some ways, losing your best friend is worse than ending a romantic relationship. Your best friend is always supposed to be there, no matter what. I know that in the beginning she really was a friend, but things changed. Instead of both of us being givers, she, over time, had become a taker.

The friendship finally ended when she chose to ignore my boundaries and attempted to forcibly drag me to into the middle of a major family crisis against my will. And while I'm truly sorry this incident occurred with her family, it wasn't something that I was in any way involved with. Therefore, it wasn't my responsibility. She, however, didn't quite see it that way, and that, as they say, was that.

Yes, I've already been asked. Will these people appear in any of my future books? Well, you never know, but if they do, rest assured their literary counterparts will get their just desserts.

Author: Gayle Martin
Posted: December 24, 2015, 11:41 pm

The question I'm most often asked is...Are your books a series?

And the answer is...No.
Photo by

Apparently a lot of authors like to write series books, and readers must like them, but the authors who I consider to be my mentors, such as Danielle Steele and Rosamunde Pilcher, do not series books. Their novels are all stand alone books, as are mine. One trick I have borrowed from Ms. Pilcher, however, is to take a minor character from one book and incorporate him or her into another novel, as she did when 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 novel, and when I wrote my second novel, The Deception, I decided to have a chapter take place at Hanson Sisters Fine Art, the gallery owned by Gillian, the leading lady in The Reunion. In an early draft of The Deception, Gillian's sister and business partner, Cynthia Lindsey, made a cameo appearance. However, the scene was later cut and replaced Cynthia being discussed in a conversation between two Deception characters. Either way, it was a nice way to incorporate the two novels together.

The Journey comes the closest to being a sequel as it uses the same cast of characters as The Reunion, although it too is a stand alone book. Ian and Gillian, the leading characters from The Reunion appear in The Journey. However, their story has already been told, so this time around they are supporting characters only. The lead characters in The Journey are Ian's son, Jeremy, and his wife, Cassie. There are also references made in The Journey to events that took place in The Reunion, but they're only vaguely discussed, and I worded them in such a way that those readers who hadn't read The Reunion would 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. Also look for George McCormick, a featured character in The Deception, to make an appearance in The Journey.

Kyle Madden, the leading man in The Betrayal, was a minor character in The Reunion. In The Reunion, Kyle was the police detective who warned Gillian about her ex husband, Jason. This time around the roles are reversed, and it's Gillian who has a minor role when, once again, a scene takes place at Hanson Sisters Fine Art.

I'm currently working on my fifth novel, The Stalker, and 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.


Author: Gayle Martin
Posted: December 1, 2015, 7:36 pm
Photo by Marina Martindale
Sometimes it's fun to take a short break, (and just a short break, mind you), from writing to shoot some photos, and perhaps a little video footage, for the next book trailer.

Our next book trailer will be for The Journey. In The Journey, the leading man's life takes an unexpected detour, and along the way he spends a few weeks at a Montana horse ranch. So, during a recent trip to Prescott, Arizona, I decided to do a little horseback riding and shoot a little footage.

I was a real horse lover when I was a kid. Maybe that's why parts of The Journey, and The Reunion, take place at horse ranches. That said, I had my own show horse when I was in my early teens, but that was, shall we say, awhile back. Still riding a horse is like riding a bicycle. Or so they say. It's not that you forget how to ride a horse. It's that your body doesn't quite move like it did when you were a teenager, but I digress. One thing I will say is that when you're on horseback you can venture far off the beaten path and see things that many people don't get to see.

Photo by Marina Martindale
The Journey book trailer will go into production soon, and even if we don't use any of the footage I shot that day, the opportunity to spend a little time back country made it all worthwhile. 

Author: Gayle Martin
Posted: November 18, 2015, 10:51 pm
Rob Resetar has completed THE REUNION book trailer, and it was well worth the wait. To say that I love it would be an understatement. Rob hit this one out of the ballpark! As I mentioned in a previous post, we had some real challenges to overcome during production, so the project took a lot longer than we planned, but it certainly worked out in the end.

I want to thank Rob, and everyone else who was involved with this project, for all your time and effort. We couldn't have done this without you.


Author: Gayle Martin
Posted: November 11, 2015, 10:25 pm
Photo by
One of the things I enjoy doing as an author is crossing characters from one novel into another. After all, they're just sitting there, doing nothing, so I may as well put them to work, right? One of these crossover characters is Kyle Madden, who we first meet in The Reunion. Kyle is the police detective who warns Gillian, the leading lady, about her ex-husband, Jason.

As I began formulating the plot line for The Betrayal, I decided to include a good cop/bad cop story, with my leading man being the good cop. The story would be set in Phoenix, and, rather than create a leading man from scratch, I decided to use Kyle. He'd only played a minor role in The Reunion, as a generic police detective, so he had plenty of potential. In The Betrayal, Kyle becomes a thirty-something divorced dad. We learn that his wife had left him, and their young son, a few years earlier. Kyle wants very much to be a good father, but his demanding career takes up too much of his time, and it has left him feeling burned out. 

Kyle first meets Emily, the leading lady, at an art gallery opening, but they're destined to meet again. This time, however, it's official police business, and Kyle soon realizes that Emily is being framed for a crime she didn't commit. As he fights to prove her innocence, he'll discover that one of his fellow officers is behind the nefarious plot.

Kyle is inspired by all of the dedicated real life police officers out there who put their lives on the line each and everyday. 

Author: Gayle Martin
Posted: October 31, 2015, 7:03 pm
Photo by Marina Martindale
Having been born and raised in Arizona, as well as having spent most of my adult life here, is the reason why I've set all of my novels, at least in part, in Arizona. 

Now when most people think of Arizona, they probably think of cactus and desert, and they'd be right. We certainly have plenty of cactus and desert, but there is so much more to this great state. It's actually quite diverse. We have forests and grasslands, and rivers and lakes. There are places where it snows, sometimes quite heavily, during the winter. We even have the Grand Canyon. About the only thing we don't have here is the ocean. So, as a writer, this gives me a lot of possibilities.

Photo by Marina Martindale
Arizona is always changing, and over the past few decades a brand new industry has emerged here--wine making. One of the areas where wines are made is Santa Cruz county, in the southernmost part of state. This area is only about an hour's drive from where I live, and it's also one of the most beautiful parts of the state. This is why I've set part of The Betrayal in Arizona wine country.

Photo by Marina Martindale
My most recent trip down there was to shoot some video footage for The Betrayal book trailer, and I picked a perfect day to visit. (Have I mentioned that photography, like writing, is one of my life's passions?) This time of year when the grass, which is normally yellow, turns green from the summer monsoon rains, and the grapes are ripe and ready for harvest. It's the prettiest time of year, in one of the most scenic parts of the state, and it certainly made for a most memorable day.

Author: Gayle Martin
Posted: September 23, 2015, 12:07 am
Photo by Rob Resetar
Photo by Rob Resetar
Yes, I'm alive and well, although I've been a little under the weather lately, so I'm running behind on my blog posts. Even so, I've been keeping myself busy. Once again I'm working with Rob Resetar on a new book trailer video, this time for The Reunion.

Of all the novels I've written, The Reunion is the one nearest and dearest to my heart. The story was inspired by someone I loved, and lost, many years ago, so I really wanted this trailer to be special. Unfortunately, it got off to a bumpy start due to circumstances beyond our control. As a result, we had to stop production and recast, but they say things happen for a reason. In the end I was delighted with the new cast. They exceeded my expectations, and I'm really looking forward to seeing the final cut. And when I do, you all will be the first to know. In the meantime, I'm sharing a few production stills.


Author: Gayle Martin
Posted: September 11, 2015, 6:25 pm
Good news everyone. The Amazon Kindle edition of The Betrayal is now available for pre-order, and the print edition will be out very soon. Look for The Betrayal to be available for the Barnes & Noble Nook, and other devices, in coming months. To pre-order the Kindle version, please click here, on on the link on the left.

In the meantime, for those of you who simply cannot wait, here is a sneak peek from The Betrayal. Enjoy.


* * *

Emily glanced at the dashboard clock as she waited for traffic light to change. It was nearly one o'clock. In the hour since she left Dr. Lerner's office, her entire world had collapsed around her, and she wasn't sure where to go next. Should she get a hotel room? Or would she be better off staying with her father? Granted, he'd never been fond of Jesse, but he wasn't one to say I told you so either. The light turned green. She sighed and pointed her car toward her father's house. Ten minutes later she pulled into the driveway.
The house looked quiet. Her father didn't get off work until five o'clock, and Susan worked until seven, assuming today wasn't her day off. With any luck, Emily would have the place to herself for a few hours. She still had the house key her parents had given her when she was a teenager. Hopefully, Susan hadn't changed the locks. She put her key in the lock. It turned. As she stepped into the foyer, she got an enthusiastic greeting from Lurch. Lurch was part sheepdog, part collie, and part something else though no one knew exactly what, but whatever he lacked in pedigree, he more than made up for in love and affection. He put his big paws on Emily's chest and she wrapped her arms around him.
"I know, buddy. It's good to see you too."
She gave the dog a pat on the head and stepped into the kitchen. To her relief, Susan was nowhere to be found. She fixed herself a glass of ice water and headed into the family room. A number of family photos stood on top of the mantle. She picked one up and gave it a closer look. It had been taken at the University of Arizona, shortly after the commencement ceremony had ended. Jesse stood in his cap and gown, his face beaming as he held up his diploma. Emily stood at his side, her face glowing as she showed off her engagement ring. She let out a sigh.
"I think we can safely throw this one away now."
 She took the photo from its frame and ripped it in half, taking its remains back to the kitchen and dropping them into the wastebasket underneath the sink. She refilled her water glass and took it down the hallway to her old room. Her old posters had all been taken down and replaced with other artwork, but it still had the furniture she grew up with. A framed photo sat on the nightstand. It had been taken shortly after the family had moved into the house. A fourteen-year-old Emily sat next to her mother on a chaise lounge by the pool. She picked it up and caressed the glass over her mother's face with her finger.
"I miss you, Mom. Everyday. And most especially today."
She set the photo down and plopped down on top of the bed. Lurch came up and joined her. She wrapped her arms around him and burst into tears.

Author: Gayle Martin
Posted: July 19, 2015, 4:42 pm
Finally, it's done. The Betrayal will be ready for printing and distribution this week. 

I started The Betrayal back in November, 2013. This is the longest it's ever taken for me to complete a book, as I had a few personal challenges along the way that slowed things down. Fortunately, that's all in the past, and now my work is done--for now.

The Betrayal is similar in many ways to my earlier novel, The Deception. Both books have adultery as the theme, but this time around Emily, the leading lady is the wife who was cheated on. And, unlike Scott Andrews in The Deception, Emily's husband, Jesse, isn't a player. Jesse honestly loves Emily, but he made the mistake of taking her for granted, and now he'll have to fight to get her back. Look for Steve Hudson, a supporting character from The Deception, to have a minor role, along with another Deception character, Frederick Lancaster. Kyle Madden, a supporting character in The Reunion, is the leading man in The Betrayal, and Gillian Palmer, the leading lady in The Reunion, will also make a cameo appearance.

I really can't say too much more, as I don't want to spoil it for the rest of you. Suffice to say that just like my other novels, The Betrayal is full of twists and turns and plenty of surprises. 

And now to start my next novel, The Stalker.


Author: Gayle Martin
Posted: July 13, 2015, 12:11 am
Photo by
I may not be a formula writer, but there are certain rules for basic plot structure that fiction writers have to follow. A protagonist is trying to acheive a certain goal, but an antagonist gets in their way. This creates the conflict that drives the story. The conflict builds to a climax, followed by a conclusion. This is, for all intents and purposes, the tonal scale for a novel writer. And in romance, the expected conclusion is for the couple to end up married, or engaged, or to make some other commitment to one another.

My first three novels, The Reunion, The Deception, and The Journey, all ended with the leading characters getting married, or, in the case of The Journey, remarried, but with my upcoming novel, The Betrayal, I've deviated of course. In fact, I've kind of done it in reverse.

The Betrayal is the story of a married woman who discovers, in a rather bizarre way, that her husband is cheating on her. So, instead of a protagonist finding her true love and getting married, I've have a protagonist trying to get herself unmarried. Of course, she'll still meet Mr. Right along the way, but this time the ending is different. Emily, the leading lady, is once again single, and while she and the leading man are most certainly in love with one another, neither are ready for a commitment, leaving the other characters, and the reader, speculating that they will probably marry--someday.

I took this path with this story because I think it's more like real-life. Divorced people are often gun shy at the idea of remarriage. I also think readers like variety. I know I do as a writer, and having all my characters go up the aisle at the end of each novel gets redundant over time. It might make me a "formula" writer, and that's something I don't want to become.

Look for The Betrayal to be released later this summer.

Author: Gayle Martin
Posted: July 4, 2015, 5:29 pm
The other day my illustrator, Wes Lowe, sent me the sketch for the cover illustration for The Betrayal. Part of the story takes place at a southern Arizona winery. Believe it or not, we really do have wineries in Arizona. We may not be Napa Valley, as they are all mom & pops, but they do make some very nice wines.

McPherson Vineyards, where this portion of the story is set, is a fictional winery. It's named after the Scottish clan I'm descended from, and it's loosely modeled after a real-life southern Arizona winery in the tiny town of Elgin, in the Santa Rita Mountains. This is one of the most beautiful and scenic parts of the state. It's still off the beaten path and I hope it stays that way. I love the unspoiled beauty, and taking an occasional Sunday off and driving to the winery that was the inspiration is a real treat.

I'm hoping to have the finished cover illustration soon, then it's off to the publisher. Look for The Betrayal to be released later on this summer.
Author: Gayle Martin
Posted: June 28, 2015, 5:48 pm
Photo Courtesy of
I finally have The Betrayal back from the editor, and it was certainly worth the wait, as this time I had to do a revision.

The Betrayal is a story of lies, deceit and infidelity that climaxes when a potentially deadly conspiracy is launched against Emily, the leading lady. However, I was facing some real-life challenges of my own as I was writing the story, which resulted in my having to set the manuscript aside for weeks at a time. When I finally finished it there were a few continuity errors that I couldn't see, but Cynthia, my editor, sure caught them. She told me the last few chapters would need to be revised, and by the time I was done both of us were delighted at how much those changes improved the storyline. Now, I can't divulge too much, as I don't want to spoil it for you, but I can, however, give you a sneak peek, so here you go. And enjoy.


* * *

Emily glanced at the dashboard clock as she waited for traffic light to change. It was nearly one o’clock. In the hour since she left Dr. Lerner’s office, her entire world had collapsed around her, and she wasn’t sure where to go next. Should she get a hotel room? Or would she be better off staying with her father? Granted, he’d never been fond of Jesse, but he wasn’t one to say I told you so either. The light turned green. She sighed and pointed her car toward her father’s house. Ten minutes later she pulled into the driveway.
The house looked quiet. Her father didn’t get off work until five o’clock, and Susan worked until seven, assuming today wasn’t her day off. With any luck, Emily would have the place to herself for a few hours. She still had the house key her parents had given her when she was a teenager. Hopefully, Susan hadn’t changed the locks. She put her key in the lock. It turned. As she stepped into the foyer, she got an enthusiastic greeting from Lurch. Lurch was part sheepdog, part collie, and part something else though no one knew exactly what, but whatever he lacked in pedigree, he more than made up for in love and affection. He put his big paws on Emily’s chest and she wrapped her arms around him.
“I know, buddy. It’s good to see you too.”
She gave the dog a pat on the head and stepped into the kitchen. To her relief, Susan was nowhere to be found. She fixed herself a glass of ice water and headed into the family room. A number of family photos stood on top of the mantle. She picked one up and gave it a closer look. It had been taken at the University of Arizona, shortly after the commencement ceremony had ended. Jesse stood in his cap and gown, his face beaming as he held up his diploma. Emily stood at his side, her face glowing as she showed off her engagement ring. She let out a sigh.
“I think we can safely throw this one away now.”
 She took the photo from its frame and ripped it in half, taking its remains back to the kitchen and dropping them into the wastebasket underneath the sink. She refilled her water glass and took it down the hallway to her old room. Her posters had all been taken down and replaced with other artwork, but it still had the furniture she grew up with. A framed photo sat on the nightstand. It had been taken shortly after the family had moved into the house. A fourteen-year-old Emily sat next to her mother on a chaise lounge by the pool. She picked it up and caressed the glass over her mother’s face with her finger.
“I miss you, Mom. Everyday. And most especially today.”
She set the photo down and plopped down on top of the bed. Lurch came up and joined her. She wrapped her arms around him and burst into tears.

Author: Gayle Martin
Posted: May 16, 2015, 6:01 pm
Finally! I've got my next manuscript completed. I started way back in November, 2013, and it's the longest it's ever taken me to finish a book. Now I'm not making excuses, but 2014 was an "interesting" year for me, to say the least, and I've been dealing with some exceptional real-life challenges.

Adultery is once again the theme, but unlike The Deception, this leading lady is the wife who's been cheated on, and the other woman knows he's married. In some ways The Betrayal is like The Reunion. It's actually two novellas put together in one novel. The first half is the story is about Emily, the leading lady, struggling to rebuild her shattered life after discovering Jesse's infidelity. The second half focuses on her friendship with Kyle, the police detective who's out to prove her innocence when she's accused of a crime she didn't commit. And if a police detective name Kyle seems familiar to you, it's because he's the same Kyle Madden who appeared in The Reunion as the detective who warned Gillian about her ex-husband, Jason.

As a sneak preview, I'm posting an unedited sample from The Betrayal. Please note the final version will vary.



* * * 

 Emily St. Claire reached for another tissue to dab the sweat off her forehead. She then grabbed her water bottle, but the once cold liquid had turned lukewarm. She took a few swallows and glanced at the clock on the waiting room wall. It was only eleven-fifteen. The air conditioning had stopped working at nine forty-five. Ninety minutes of down time and the office was now sweltering. She heard Dr. Lerner’s voice coming from the hallway. He was busy performing a root canal and having to apologize to his patient for the added discomfort of the heat. The front door opened as she gulped down the last of her water. Andrea stepped inside. Her makeup was beaded and creased and wisps of her red hair had stuck to the sweat on the side of her face. She walked up to the window separating Emily’s desk from the waiting room.
“It feels even hotter in here than it does in our office.”
“Must be one of Murphy’s Laws,” replied Emily. “The air conditioning will always conk out on the hottest day of the summer.”
“Any word on when they’ll get it fixed?”
Emily shrugged her shoulders. “Your guess is as good as mine. I tried calling the property manager again about twenty minutes ago, but I’m still getting a busy signal. I’m sure by now they’re aware of the problem.”
“Yeah, I kept getting busy signals too, which means must be. Meantime Dr. Hapner had me reschedule all our afternoon patients. Turns out two of them are really sick, so they’re on their way right now. Then, once we’re done, we’re closing up shop and calling it a day.” Andrea chuckled. “I love the idea of having an afternoon off, but why does it have to be on a day when it’s over a hundred and ten degrees outside?”
Emily gave her another shrug. “I don’t know. Must be the price we pay for living in Phoenix. At least we don’t get snowed in during the winter.”
“Yeah, but a good old-fashioned ice storm would sure feel nice right about now. And I’ll bet you’re glad now that you got the new haircut.”
Emily ran her fingers through her short, blonde hair. It felt strange to no longer have her long locks. “It’s lower maintenance all right, but Jesse wasn’t too thrilled with it.”
“That figures. Have you told him yet?”
“No, not yet.”
“Well, keep me posted. I’m anxious to hear how he reacts. You can always let your hair grow back, you know, but at least for now you’ll be much cooler. Meantime, I have to get back to work. I just wanted to stick my head in the door to see how you’re doing. Hopefully, we’ll all be back to normal by tomorrow morning.”
“I’m sure we will be.”
“Are we still on for lunch Friday?”
“You bet. See you, Andrea.”
Andrea took her leave while Emily tried the property manager once again. This time her call went through. After punching a few buttons she got a live person on the line, who told her a repairman was on the way, but to not expect the air conditioning to be back online until much later in the day. She heard approaching footsteps as she hung up. Dr. Lerner had finished with his patient. His normally crisp white shirt was wrinkled and soaked with sweat.
“Any word on the air conditioning?”
“I’m afraid it won’t be back on until the end of the day. Meantime your eleven-thirty had already rescheduled for next Tuesday. Your next patient is due right after lunch.”
He frowned. “And if it’s this hot now, it’ll be unbearable by this afternoon. Go ahead and take care of Mrs. Baxter. After that I want you to call everyone who was supposed to come in this afternoon and have them reschedule. We’re taking the rest of the day off. Hopefully, we’ll all be back to normal by tomorrow morning.”
“I’m sure we will be. Thanks, doctor.”
He nodded and walked away. Fifteen minutes later Emily stepped out to the blazing midday sun. She smiled to herself as she walked across the parking lot. She decided she would stop at the grocery store on the way home so she could prepare a surprise dinner for Jesse. She hurried across the shimmering pavement and hopped into her car. The steering wheel burned her fingers as she fired up the engine and turned the air conditioning on high. After a few hot moments the air began to feel deliciously cool. A smile broke out across her face as she drove off. Tonight’s dinner would be the perfect opportunity for her to tell Jesse the time had come for him to keep his end of their bargain.
She soon pulled into the grocery store parking lot and hunted for a space. Once inside she grabbed a cart headed down the isles. Tonight she would prepare her famous chicken divan—one of Jesse’s favorites. She picked out her ingredients and tossed a bouquet of fresh flowers into her cart before she headed to the checkout lane. Ten minutes later she pulled into her driveway and frowned. Annette’s white Civic was parked in front of the house. Something unexpected must have come up. Emily sighed as she pressed the button to open the garage door. Once inside she grabbed the grocery bags and hurried out of the hot garage. The cool air felt heavenly as she stepped inside the house and headed straight to the kitchen.
“Hi guys. I’m home.”
No response. The house seemed unusually quiet. She set the bags on the counter and went down the hallway. Jesse had converted one of the downstairs bedrooms into his office. She tapped on the door and smiled as she slowly pushed it open.
“Hey guys. The air conditioning went out and I’m—”
Her smiled faded. The room was empty. The lights were out and Jesse’s computer was shutdown. She started getting a bad feeling but quickly brushed it off. Perhaps Jesse and Annette were out by the pool. She went to the living room and opened the sliding glass door.
“Jesse! Annette!”
No answer. The backyard seemed eerily quiet and no one was by the pool. She closed the door and headed toward the staircase. The upper floor contained the master suite and a rarely used guest bedroom. Jesse would be leaving for Houston on Friday to facilitate a seminar. Perhaps he and Annette had gone upstairs to decide what he should pack. She took a deep breath and started up the stairs, trying to ignore the gnawing feeling that something was terribly wrong. The knot in her stomach grew tighter as she turned on the landing and headed up the remaining flight. She could hear muffled voices as she approached the bedroom door. Jesse must have turned the TV on. She turned the knob and slowly opened it.

Author: Gayle Martin
Posted: March 19, 2015, 8:43 pm

Kudos once again to Rob Resetar for creating another awesome video.

Author: Gayle Martin
Posted: March 7, 2015, 11:58 pm
Photo by
If I had to list the most evil of the villains I've created so far, Denise Sanderson would certainly be at the top of the list, especially since she's the last person readers would expect to be evil.

Denise is a young, pretty nurse who, at first glance, appears to be genuinely compassionate and caring. And maybe she was, at least for a time, but Denise also has a darker side. It all goes back to when she was in nursing school. Back then she liked to frequent a bar called O'Malley's Grill, and she became friendly with one of the bartenders--Jeremy Palmer. She even fell in love with Jeremy, but he didn't feel the same about her so he turned down her advances. He soon moved on and forgot about her, but unfortunately for him, Denise neither forgave, nor forgot, his rejection.

Jeremy and Denise would meet again, but this time under entirely different circumstances. Denise, now a nurse, has been assigned to care for Cassie Palmer, Jeremy's new wife, who's been seriously injured in a car crash. She quickly befriends both Cassie and Jeremy, and while Jeremy can't quite place her, she seems familiar nonetheless, and he feels he can trust her. Unfortunately for him, Denise will use his trust to unleash her revenge, and Jeremy's life will never be the same.

Denise is a fictitious character, but she also represents a deep-seeded fear many of us may have. What if the people we trust to take care of us during our most vulnerable times really don't have our best interests in mind? Kind of makes you wonder, doesn't it?

Author: Gayle Martin
Posted: February 3, 2015, 3:47 am
Photo by Marina Martindale
New Year's has a way of making people feel nostalgic and I guess I'm no exception. The high point of my 2014 was a road trip I took to Steamboat Springs, Colorado, in July with Geneva, my good friend and beta reader. 

I passed through Steamboat Springs for the first time back in the 90s, while traveling with my (now ex) husband, and I was struck by how beautiful it was. Famous for its ski resort, ranching is still a part of the area around Steamboat Springs, so when I wrote The Reunion, I decided to set the fictitious St. Eligius Ranch about twenty miles away from the town. It's a former cattle ranch turned horse sanctuary, and it's the home of Laura Palmer, ex-wife of leading man Ian Palmer. A number of key scenes in the novel take place at St. Eligius Ranch, including the story's final climax. Later on, when I wrote The Journey, I also set a number of scenes at St. Eligius Ranch.

Photography, like writing, is one of my life's passions, so while I was there I photographed scenery that closely matched some of the descriptions of St. Eligius Ranch. It was a wonderful trip. One I'll remember fondly for many years to come, and it's a place I hope to revisit someday. In the meantime, please enjoy this scene from The Reunion, as Gillian, the leading lady, visits St. Eligius for the first
Photo by Marina Martindale

Happy New Year,


* * * 

Before long the horses were saddled and they mounted up. Will stayed behind, explaining he had work to do. Laura rode a young buckskin gelding she called Fred.
"He's Miss Mollie's son," she explained. "He was a young foal at her side when we adopted them two years ago. I think he'll turn out to be a fine horse, but he still has some rough edges to work out."
Laura led them away from the barn and onto a narrow trail leading through a lush meadow. Gillian couldn't get over the sheer beauty of it. The aspen trees were turning gold.
"When I first came here, I was an ex-housewife who didn't know one end of a horse from the other," explained Laura. "I was originally hired as a bookkeeper for Will's veterinary practice. The next thing I knew I was writing grants, planning fund-raisers, and doing everything else I could think of to keep money flowing in the door for the foundation to help care for these animals. Back then, I was living in the cottage, that's what we call the fifth-wheel trailer, and I soon became friends with Will. He taught me, and both of my boys, how to ride. He also taught me how to help take care of the horses. Along the way I've been kicked, bitten, and occasionally stepped on, but I've learned to cope with it. Horses are easy. Two sons aren't."
"Thanks, Mom," said Jeremy.
"Anytime," she replied. "Some of the ones we get are simply neglected or have owners who,
Photo by Marina Martindale
for whatever reason, are no longer able to care for them. Those are the easy cases, and we can usually get them to new owners right away. Others arrive abandoned, injured or starving. They need some
TLC, and we're often pretty successful with them as well. But we also get the occasional hard-luck cases. Those are the ones that have suffered some serious abuse, and it never ceases to amaze me just how cruel some human beings can be. They usually need complete rehabilitation, but we're not always successful. There've also been a few that we've had to put down as soon as they arrived. Those are the ones that really break your heart." 
They continued across the meadow and began working their way toward the ridge. Laura went on with her story.
"This ranch used to be called The Flying M, and it's been in Will's family for over a century. When Will's father inherited it from his great-uncle, it was still a working cattle ranch. Will's dad was also a veterinarian. He started up the veterinary clinic, and he started taking in injured and abandoned horses. By the time Will finished veterinary school, they decided to stop raising cattle and add a horse sanctuary to the clinic. They sold about half the acreage, and the name, to that big dude ranch resort next door. Will renamed the place St. Eligius, since he's the patron saint of horses and those who work with them. That pretty much sums it up. The foundation survives mostly on grant money and donor support. We also do a number of fundraisers throughout the year. One is coming up soon, and that's the haunted hayride that we do every year with the Flying M. It's the last Saturday in October and we always have a lot of fun while we're at it. We have volunteers of all ages who come and participate, and the boys always come to help out as well."
"Isn't it snowing up here by then?" asked Gillian.
"A little bit, sometimes, but the snow doesn't really start accumulating until around Thanksgiving. Our big event, however, is our gala and auction in Denver, in February."
Fred decided to start acting up. Miss Mollie got agitated as well, but Gillian pulled the rein tight and got her under control.
"You okay, Mom?"
"Yeah. He's just being the equine adolescent that he is. I'm going to run him back in to let him get it out of his system. I've got some work to do as well. You two take your time."
Laura turned Fred around and he took off in a dead gallop. Gillian and Jeremy watched as she raced across the meadow.
"You know, she's really not so bad," said Gillian
"Well, I would certainly hope not."
"Our first meeting didn't go so well." Gillian turned Miss Mollie toward the ridge. "She meant well, but she showed up, unexpectedly, at the gallery one day and really threw me for a loop. Maybe having Ian out of the picture makes a difference."
"You and I didn't get off to the best start either, if you recall."
"Yeah, but you were just looking out for your dad. You wanted to make sure I wasn't some manipulating tramp."
They rode for another couple of hours, stopping occasionally for Gillian to snap a few photos. By the time they were ready to head back, she decided that not only would she be happy to donate a painting, she would create one exclusively for their auction. Jeremy was pleased. He couldn't wait to give his mother, and Will, the news. They rode back down the hillside and into the meadow.
"Sometimes, on the way back in, we like to run the horses through the meadow," explained Jeremy, "but I think maybe we'll skip it this time. I don't know if you're up to it or not."
Gillian turned to face Jeremy. "You're right."
She spurred Miss Mollie forward and the mare took off like a rocket. Just like her son, Fred, Miss Mollie was a good runner.
"Well, how 'bout that?" A big smile broke across Jeremy’s face. "You're going to need that head start, Missy."
He spurred Pretty Boy forward and raced after her. His mount was a bigger, faster horse, and he soon caught up to her. They were in a virtual tie by the time they reached the barn.
"Okay, Miss Smarty-Pants, I stand corrected," shouted Jeremy as they slowed their mounts down.
Author: Gayle Martin
Posted: January 4, 2015, 9:26 pm
Photo by Marina Martindale
We are 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.


* * * 

Carrie was awakened by the sound of her cell phone ringing. 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.
"Yes, Sweetness, it's Louise. Karl and I ran into Steve and Allison last night at Hernando's. Allison said Doug dumped you at the state fair, and that for the past few weeks you've been camping out in your photography studio, even though they've offered you their guest room. So what the hell happened?"
"I got dumped. Doug found himself some bimbo who he's decided he's in love with. I really didn't have a choice. I had to move out."
"What about the house?"
"It's deeded solely in Doug's name, but even if I were to make a claim on it, my mother's creditors would end up with the money."
"So why haven't you found an apartment?"
"I've been looking, Louise. The problem is they all want to collect some hefty deposits up front, along with the first month's rent. Unfortunately, because of Mama, I just don't have the cash to do it. Once I pay off my monthly expenses, the rest has to go to help pay her bills. Nursing homes aren't cheap, you know."
"I know that, but you need to find a decent place to live. Your studio isn't in the best part of town, and you're probably violating some city code by staying there. Not to mention the fact that Christmas is only three weeks away. I'll bet you don't even have a tree."
 "Actually, all things considered, I'm doing just fine." Carrie tried to sound upbeat. "Yes, I'm renting warehouse space in an industrial area, and no, I won't be putting up a Christmas tree this year, but you needn't worry. I'm okay, really. The tent city jail is nearby so there's plenty of police and sheriff's deputies around. My break room has a mini kitchen, and I'm sleeping on an air mattress in the back room where it's surprisingly quiet. And back when I signed my lease I had the landlord put in a shower for the models to use. So you see, I'm okay. I have all the amenities I need to live comfortably. It's not like I'm living in a cardboard box underneath a bridge."
"I understand," said Louise. "However, the reason I'm calling is because I think I may have a solution for you, that is, if you don't mind doing another modeling gig."
"I haven't done a modeling job in years. You know that. Besides, I've just turned thirty. In the world of print modeling, I'm ancient."
"It's not a print modeling job. I need an art model. I've just picked up a private commission. Some well-to-do couple in Berkeley just bought themselves a big house. Apparently, they're serious practitioners of tantric yoga, or some such thing, and they want a serious of black and white photos of a female nude, with some curves on her, to display in their new home. You'd be perfect for the job."
Carrie let out a sigh. She desperately needed the extra cash, but she wasn't sure if this would be the best way to get it.
"I've done some nude work, Louise, but I was always behind the camera, not in front of it. All the photos were done for advertisements. Even though the models were nude, you didn't see anyone's privates."
"I understand if you feel a little shy about doing this, Sweetness, but you'd be working with me. They want something erotic so yes, they'll want to see all the goods in the photos, but they won't know your name or anything else about you. You'll be completely anonymous and I promise you the photos will be tastefully done. It's fine art, not pornography."
"Who would see the photos?"
"They'd be for the client's personal, private use only. That's what's written in the contract. They can only be displayed in their home. The only people who would ever see them would be the couple themselves and whoever visits them. They're not allowed to publish them anywhere, not even on their personal blogs or websites."
Carrie let out a sigh as she thought it over.
"How much does it pay?"
"Enough to put you into a decent apartment in a good neighborhood. It should cover all the deposits plus your first month's rent."
"All right. So when and where do you want to do the shoot?"
"Next Saturday, at my home. Karl has an early-morning tee time and will be spending the entire day on the golf course. It'll be just you and me."
"What time?"
"It'll be a fairly long shoot, so let's have you here early, about eight o'clock in the morning. Bring a curling iron and some nice barrettes along with your makeup kit. We'll be doing some different hairstyles, so we'll have to spend some time working on your hair and makeup throughout the day. And do you by chance have a pair of strappy, opened-toed shoes? Preferably in black."
"Yes. They're black patent leather."
"They'd be perfect, so bring them along." The excitement was building in Louise's voice. "The shoes, barrettes, and some costume jewelry are the only things you'll be wearing. You'll also need bathrobe that you can slip on in between shoots."
Carrie still wasn't sure. Louise must have sensed it.
"Look, Carrie, you don't have to do this. I can call the agency and have them send another model. I just figured that right now you needed the money."
"I know, Louise, and you're right. If the city were to find out I'm living here, they'd probably fine the heck out of me before my landlord kicked me out on the street."
"Good. We'll have you living in a decent apartment before you know it. We might even be able to get you a Christmas tree too. But I need to let you know one other thing."
"What's that?"
"I have a show coming up at Hanson Sisters Fine Art in February. I'd like to include five prints from our shoot as a series of hand-signed limited editions. They'd be sold with the same restrictions as the ones going to the couple in Berkeley. You'd remain anonymous, and the photos cannot be published or displayed anywhere in public, except of course for the gallery, but that would be the only time."
Carrie let out a sigh. There had to be a better way for her to get into an apartment. She glanced at the calendar hanging on the wall. It was the first week of December, the time of year when business normally slowed down. This year would certainly be no exception and things wouldn't start to pick up again until late January. If she didn't act now, she'd be living in her studio until March or April, and the longer she stayed, the greater the chances of someone finding out and reporting her to the city. She let out another sigh, knowing she had no other choice.
"Okay, Louise, I'm your girl. I'll be there, Saturday morning, eight o'clock."
"Good. You really won't regret this, Carrie. You'll be proud of these photos, I guarantee it. I'll email a contract and release form for you to sign. Make some copies for yourself and bring them with you on Saturday."
Carrie couldn't shake the bad feeling she started getting after she ended the call. She thought it over and realized she was probably just nervous. She'd never been photographed in the nude before, and the idea of total strangers looking at her naked body made her feel uneasy. Then again, she'd be doing it for Louise, and she owed her success to Louise's hard work. She looked at the clock. It was time to get up. She had work to do and she'd be better off focusing her thoughts on the nice apartment she'd soon be living in.

Author: Gayle Martin
Posted: December 13, 2014, 10:55 pm
The other day I was chatting with a friend who's reading The Deception. One of the things she talked about was wanting to deck the boyfriend who dumps the leading lady in the first chapter.  I told her this chapter was inspired by a real-life event.

Photo by Marina Martindale
A few years ago I went to San Diego to attend a book festival, and the following morning my friends and I decided to spend the day at Sea World. 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, with a very serious look on his face. As we hurried past I thought to myself, "I'll bet that son of a bitch brought her here to dump her, probably thinking she wouldn't cause a scene." I'll never know for sure, as I didn't see them again, but that picture has always 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. Instead of Sea World, the lady is dumped at The Arizona State Fair. The leading lady's boyfriend thinks that by dumping her in public she won't cause a scene, but he thinks wrong. Very wrong. There's never a good time or place to dump anyone, and doing so in public only adds more humiliation to the person being dumped.

People often ask me where I get my inspiration. I have to say it comes from anywhere and everywhere, and oftentimes when I least expect it. 

Author: Gayle Martin
Posted: December 13, 2014, 5:30 pm