Sunday, July 20, 2014

Okay, So Maybe It Was Watching Detective Shows, Along with Those Soap Operas

Funny the things that inspire us as writers. Back in December, 2012, I posted about how many years of watching soap operas has influenced my writing. (Blame It On Too Many Soap Operas and My Misspent Youth.) Yes, growing up in the golden age of television had an effect on me, but it wasn't just watching the soaps. I watched a lot of detective shows too. I was even reminiscing about it the other day with a friend.

As a teen and young adult, I loved watching Columbo and the original Hawaii Five-O. Both shows were very well written, and even though both used formula writing, the scrips were still good enough to keep me coming back week after week. And, unlike detective shows of today, there were no overtly graphic images. No bodies laid out on the autopsy table. No gory, mutilated or half burned corpses appearing on camera. Good writing doesn't need that kind of visual imagery. Facial expressions or comments made by other characters will tell us what we need to know, and our imaginations can do the rest--probably better than the guy who designed that fake corpse.

What made Columbo great was the bumbling title character, brilliantly portrayed by the late Peter Falk, along with all the bad guys who thought they could outsmart him. What made the show fun was the way Lt. Columbo solved the crime by seizing on some obscure, overlooked detail that even surprised the audience. And along with spectacular scenery, Hawaii Five-O also had well thought out plot lines. While the characters may have been as well developed as Lt. Columbo, there was one unforgettable nemeses named Wo Fat. Kudos to the script writers of both.

Crime stories make for great drama as they create the ultimate conflict. That's why I've always included crime subplots in my novels. Whether it's Gillian's murderous ex-husband on a rampage in The Reunion, Scott's jilted wife's twisted scheming in The Deception, or the revenge seeking Denise wreaking havoc in The Journey, these crime subplots create the tension, and the drama, that keeps you turning the pages. Look for more in my next novel, The Betrayal. Until then, happy reading. (And by the way, you can rent old episodes of Columbo and Hawaii Five-O from Netflix.)


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Meet Allison Santiago, Supporting Character from THE DECEPTION

Photo by Can Stock Photo
Someone reviewing The Deception once commented about how we should all be so lucky to have friends like Steve and Allison, two of the supporting characters. Well, guess what? I really do have friends who are just like Steve and Allison, that's why I'm paying homage to them in the book.

Allison Santiago has known Carrie Daniels, the leading lady, since high school, and their friendship has lasted into adulthood. That friendship, however, will be soon put to the test when Allison introduces Carrie to Scott, a man she's also known for several years. Allison thinks he might be a good match for Carrie, who's recently ended a long-term relationship. But unbeknownst to Allison, Scott has a secret, and it could be Carrie's undoing.

Allison was inspired by several of my friends, but she resembles one woman in particular. She's much like her literary counterpart as she's been steadfastly loyal friend for almost ten years now, and she's someone I can always count on. Friends like her may be hard to find, but they really are out there.


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

It's Time for a Time Out From My Time Out

Photo by Marina Martindale
My how time flies. It's been such a hectic year between doing some much needed work on my home, traveling, making new friends, and catching up on life in general. I've also been working on the manuscript for my next novel, The Betrayal, but I've been having a hard time keeping up with that as well. I think I need a time out from my time out.

I know people who love to retreat into their man cave, or their woman cave, or just their cave in general. Some stay home, pulling the blinds and shutting off their phones and computers. Others like to retreat to the mountains and pitch a tent in the wilderness. I prefer to travel. My favorite cave is a beach, or a cruise ship. Cruise ships are great because no one can bother you when you're out in the middle of the ocean, and for me there is something about a large body of water that soothes my soul.

Retreating to our caves can be a good thing. We all need an occasional time out to gather our thoughts, analyze, and regroup. But there's also too much of a good thing. Analyzing your problems is one thing, running away from them is quite another and it solves nothing. Ignoring things only makes them worse. Trust me on that one. Nor do we want to make the people around us worry. Yes, family and friends can be annoying at times, but the fact that they worry means they care. And in a good way. It's not the same kind of worry your mortgage company gets when they don't hear from you.

So that said, it's time for a time out from my time out from this blog, and I'm going to start posting once again. See you soon.


Sunday, June 15, 2014

New and Improved Book Trailers for THE REUNION and THE DECEPTION

I know, I know. Life happens, and I've been busy. One of my latest projects has been a slight revision of my book trailers. I'm still using original music, but it's now from a different artist; my good friend, Malik Alkabir. Malik is a jazz saxophonist here in Tucson and I hear him play every Sunday night at Old Pueblo Grill. He and his companion, Stephanie, are two of my biggest fans. Thanks for being a contributor, Malik. Here here are the links to my new, and improved, videos.

The Reunion video:
The Deception video:

Photo: Malik on Sax
Photo courtesy of Tucson

Monday, March 3, 2014

Meet Cassie Palmer Leading Lady in THE JOURNEY

Photo by
Cassie Palmer is a character best described as grace under pressure. Seemingly naive and shy on the outside, Cassie is actually an iron lady in disguise.

We first meet Cassie in The Reunion, when Gillian and Jeremy stop for breakfast at a truck stop diner in Idaho Springs, Colorado. Gillian suddenly finds herself reunited with her long-long best friend, Samantha Walsh. As they are getting reacquainted Samantha unveils another surprise--her daughter, Cassie. Gillian is surprised. Jeremy's life will never be the same.

Cassie and Jeremy soon become friends, but I don't want to spoil too much of the story for those who haven't yet read The Reunion. Cassie returns in The Journey. This time she's the leading lady. As the story begins, she is critically injured in a car crash that leaves her fighting for her life. Later, as she begins the long road to recovery, her world will turn upside down once again, yet through it all, she remains gracefully resilient.

Cassie is a purely fictitious character not inspired by anyone I know in real life. She is, instead, an inspiration for those times when we feel overwhelmed by all life's obstacles.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Wishing Everyone a Belated Happy New Year

Yes, Marina Martindale is alive and well. I've just been very busy working with a home remodeling project, which, as you can imagine, has been a major distraction. But still, lots of exciting things are happening, which I will be posting about very soon. In the meantime, I hope all of you enjoyed your holiday season and I'd like to wish everyone a Happy 2014. It's going to be a very good year.

More later,


Sunday, November 10, 2013

THE JOURNEY is now available on Amazon.

At long last, The Journey is now available on and

The Journey is a continuation of The Reunion, with Ian's oldest son, Jeremy, in the leading role. Many Reunion fans have told me their favorite part of the book was the "romance" between Jeremy and Gillian. (It was my favorite part of the book as well.) Some of you have also told me that Jeremy was a very sexy guy. (I think so too.) So, what else can you do, when your leading man has a sexy son? You write him his own story.

The Journey is a much darker story than The Reunion. It begins with a tragedy and the death of a well-liked character from The Reunion. It's followed by another tragedy when Jeremy is kidnapped. The Journey is a story of hope and perseverance. It's also the story of the love between two brothers. But enough prattle from me. Here is a sneak preview from The Journey.



* * *

The knot in Jeremy's stomach grew tighter, the closer he got to the hospital. It seemed like every traffic light turned red in front of him, and all the other drivers were going slower than usual. It felt as if an eternity had passed before he finally pulled into the emergency entrance. He parked his Jeep and raced across the lot, slipping and nearly falling into the slush before reaching the emergency room doors. Once inside, he rushed to the admissions window, asking if his wife had arrived yet.
"Her name's Cassie. Cassandra Palmer. They're bringing her in by helicopter."
The clerk typed something on her keyboard. "She's not here yet, but we're expecting her to arrive within the hour." She handed him a clipboard with some paperwork and told him to take a seat.
He pounded the pen against the clipboard. "What the hell? You've got to be freaking kidding me, lady! My wife may be dying, and you want me to fill out a bunch of damn forms?"
"Calm down, sir." Her voice had a firm, no-nonsense tone. "The doctors need to know her medical history, what medications she may be taking, and any allergies she might have. Someone will come to talk to you, very soon."
He shook his head, letting out a loud sigh as he grudgingly took his seat. A nurse soon approached him.
"Mr. Palmer?"
"Come with me, please."
She escorted him to an elevator. They took it to the third floor, then down a hallway to a small private waiting room. As he handed her the clipboard, she asked him to take a seat.
"The helicopter will be landing shortly. Once it arrives, she'll go straight to surgery. Right now, I need to go over her medical history."
She took out her pen and started asking questions, taking notes as Jeremy responded.
"Well, it sounds like she's in good health, and that'll certainly weigh in her favor. I have one last question for you. Is your wife by chance pregnant?"
"No." Jeremy shook his head. "She's been on the pill for the past few years. We weren't quite ready to start a family yet."
A profound sadness swept over him. He might not only lose his wife, he'd lose the family they would never have. His thoughts were interrupted as another nurse entered the room to announce that the helicopter had just landed. Both women rushed out. Jeremy followed them down the hall. A pair of double doors opened at the end of the hallway. Cassie was wheeled inside, surrounded by a group of people wearing dark-blue scrubs with matching caps. Jeremy stared in disbelief. Cassie looked more dead than alive. An oxygen mask covered much of her face, but what he could see looked ashen. Her hair was streaked with blood. A large, clear plastic box with bloody fluids hung off the side of the stretcher. Another bag, with cherry-colored fluids, hung off the foot. Cassie was bleeding out. He noticed a tube coming out of her side and she was hooked up to several IV lines as well as a monitor. He took a few steps toward her as they wheeled her away, but before he could get too close he felt someone grab him by the arm.
"Cassie! No! Wait! Cassie!" He kept shouting her name as he tried to free himself.
"Come with me, sir," said a female voice behind him.
He stood by helplessly as they turned down another hallway and whisked her out of sight.
"Please, sir, come with me," repeated the woman behind him. "They're taking her into surgery. Trust me, she's in very capable hands. We have one of our best trauma teams working on her."
He looked over his shoulder. A nurse stood behind him, holding his arm. She was young, blonde, and pretty. She gently led him back to the small room where he'd been before. He took a deep breath as he tried to keep the tremble in his voice down.
"How is she? What's her condition?"
"I'm afraid I don't know the details. All I can tell you is she's probably going to be in surgery for the next several hours. One of the doctors will talk to you as soon as they're able. In the meantime, is there anything I can get you?"
"No, thank you." Something about her seemed familiar, although he couldn't place her. "I'll be okay, but please, keep me informed on how she's doing."
"Of course. Just so you know, someone will be coming in to check on you periodically as well. So for now, I'll let you be, but if you need anything, anything at all, come talk to us at the nurses' station. The hospital cafeteria will be open for about another hour or so, if you'd like coffee or a sandwich, and the chapel is just down the hall."
"Thanks. I'll be fine."
He looked at his watch as she stepped away. It was a few minutes past eight. He wondered how everything could have gone so terribly wrong.