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Gale Martin

Award-winning writer. Binge watcher. #Opera wonkette. My newest novel, a murder mystery called WHO KILLED 'TOM JONES'? is now available. @Booktrope novels at http://amzn.to/12Ti0NU Lancaster County, Pennsylvania · galemartin.me

On Writing

Reblogged from Derrolyn Anderson:

Book Review: Waiting for Prince Harry

An entertaining little read with an endearing protagonist. This read was for sheer enjoyment. Ellis used a supercute little pop quiz device to begin each chapter that actually proved really integral to the story.


I gave it four stars because the middle was a little soggy. A little too much time spent adulating each other. A little too much telling instead of showing. Kylie, the viewpoint character, told us at least 20 times how sexy Harrison looked. I guess I am in favor of painting the picture and letting the reader draw her own conclusions.


One other thing--though the book avoided (glossed over) any truly intimate scenes, Ellis' characters use the f-word liberally. Now, I am sure that this use is in character with a rough-and-tumble pro hockey player from Boston, but if that bothers you, you will be cringing a lot throughout.


But overall, lots of fun, and well written, too.



Source: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21846905-waiting-for-prince-harry

Review: Jane Austen Girl by Inglath Cooper

JanAusten Girl had an interesting premise, and it started off gangbusters--lively, funny, endearing. Then it turned into a much different read, a serious, somber book that left me feeling a bit betrayed, like I'd been dealt a bait and switch.


It almost felt like the author hadn't thought through where she was going with this book--for example, the book's high point occurred midway through the novel.  


She just abandoned one of the central plot points around which the whole book was conceived. Doesn't leave a lot of story to engage the reader for the last third of the book, does it?


While the story compelled me to finish it, it didn't fulfill its potential.


And the title was merely a calculated marketing ploy since "Jane Austen's" relevance to the storyline was paper-thin--wish I'd thought of that trick.


While some parts were inspired, I guess I expected a great deal more from the entire work, especially since Cooper's a RITA winner. 

Source: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/868651365?book_show_action=false

A sweet deal on a sweet read...but hurry!

"The perfect blend of mystery, humor, and romance."--Goodreads Reviewer



Pick up an ebook of WHO KILLED 'TOM JONES'? for just 99 cents through Sunday, Feb. 16 on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


What's the book about? Check out the book trailer.


Totally Groovy Book Launch for Who Killed 'Tom Jones'?--my new murder mystery!

Who Killed 'Tom Jones'? Book Launch--January 21-26

The Official Online Launch of my new murder mystery WHO KILLED 'TOM JONES'?
(and a chance to win some super groovy prizes through Sunday, January 26).

Are you one of those people who chronically laments, "I never win anything"?

Well, let me tell you. You can win some wonderful kitschy/retro stuff at my website at http://galemartin.me, including: 

  • Tie-dyed apron
  • Best of Tom Jones CD
  • yoga pants
  • puffy shirt
  • "This is Tom Jones" DVD set
  • ebooks
Stop by my website before January 27 to win! Hope to see you there. 

Yours in puffy shirts and skin-tight pants,


Book Review: Country Music's Jim Owen: An Amazing Life

4.25/5.0 starsJim Owens book cover


To say that country singer/songwriter Jim Owen has lived an amazing life is most assuredly an understatement. All the places he’s lived and traveled to, the people he’s met, the upscale and seedy joints he’s played, the way he’s embraced both success and disaster, the opportunities and challenges that he’s met and conquered will set your head spinning. The combined effect of all those life events might have done in some folks—myself included.


His unauthorized autobiography Country Music's Jim Owen: An Amazing Life is a written testament to a steely constitution and a will to thrive that’s a lot stronger than most people’s. But then, he’s been equipped with many more natural gifts than most of us—musical ability, the talent to compose songs, athletic talent, business acumen, charisma, character, and common sense.


You don’t have to be a country music fan to appreciate the wild ride Jim Owen’s talents have taken him on from his dirt poor childhood in Robards, Kentucky to living the high life in Las Vegas. Anyone will recognize many of the names he’s dropped in this book.


And while some would-be entertainers still fantasize about a life in show business, this book will likely convince others that the plain humdrum life out of the limelight is just fine with them, thank you very much.


Jim Owen comes to storytelling naturally, too. Clearly, he’s comfortable in the limelight, and not timid about dishing about others or chronicling some of his own foibles. For those who know country music well, this book provides savory glimpses into the private lives of dozens of stars.


You might not recognize Jim’s name, but if you know country tunes from a certain era, you’ll surely recognize his work, which has been recorded by the greatest names in and out of Nashville: Loretta Lynn, Mel Tillis, Porter Wagoner, Hank Williams, Jr., Frank Sinatra, Jr.


Whether you’ve heard of Jim Owen or not, whether you know his music or not, this is one man who most assuredly has lived an amazing life. And he’s got the autobiography to prove it.


Goodreads Giveaway -- A new murder mystery -- WHO KILLED 'TOM JONES'?

You're invited!


What's new, pussycat? How about a pre-launch Goodreads Giveaway (for all my cherished Booklikes friends) of my newest novel, a murder mystery called WHO KILLED 'TOM JONES'? My giveaway runs through Jan. 20. Win one of three copies for yourself if you like rollicking contemporary mysteries laced with romance (or for someone you like a whole bunch--I wouldn't give this book away to just anyone, only someone really special who will lend it back to you when they're done). Cheers and prosperity in the New Year! Yours in puffy shirts and skintight trousers!

Date: December 30, 2014    03:45PM -- January 20, 2014    11:59PM
RSVP by: January 20, 2014    11:59PM 
Venue: https://www.goodreads.com, US
Type: other
Website: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/76037-who-killed-tom-jones
Added by: Gale Martin


Enter to win an advance copy of Who Killed 'Tom Jones'?, my new murder mystery releasing on January 21, 2014.

“In Who Killed ‘Tom Jones’?, Gale Martin has perfectly captured the world of tribute artists and, also, the universe of Tom Jones fans.”—Ellen Sterling, moderator of TomJonesInternational.com, the world’s largest fan website.
Enter thru 1/20. 

This book giveaway is open to members in only the following countries: US.

Source: http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/76037-who-killed-tom-jones

Book Review: Charis: Journey to Pandora's Jar by Nicole Y. Walters

Nicole Y. Walters has created a magical literary escape for middle grade and young teen readers in Charis: Journey to Pandora's Jar, tapping into many middle schoolers' fantasies to live in and among the mythological gods they've studied in Language Arts and Social Studies classes. 

Walters empowers Charis, her youthful narrator, in ways that young readers will want to emulate while creating thrilling adventures for readers to experience vicariously. These include having a pocket-sized Nike as a bestie to visiting Pallas Athena in garden dreams. Charis is a smart, brave, and resourceful young lady with angel wings for a birthmark. Despite her supernatural experiences, almost like a 21st-century Odysseus, she remains amazingly grounded, unintimidated by the gods or mean girls, and steadfast to her goal of releasing the gift of hope into the world. 

The organizing theme of using parallel stories is particularly satisfying--while Charis's class is staging a school play about the myth of Pandora's Jar, Charis is living a comparable mythological adventure in real-time. 

Walters has crafted a gutsy, noble heroine in Charis, one who continues to discover things about herself as well as learn from her mistakes. Teen readers will feel compelled to cheer her on. As for parents, they will not only appreciate the great little mythological primer this book offers but also the fact that Charis, despite her otherwordly encounters and specially conferred status, remains a loving and decent child who doesn't devolve into that stereotypical bratty teenager who sasses her parents beyond anyone's tolerance. 

This work is carefully and creatively plotted with many surprising twists and turns as well as action-packed scenes. Walters even made a foul-smelling creature with snakes for hair sympathetic. And the best news of all is that there's definitely room for a sequel (or two).

Booking it in Vermont

Every time we make the trip to Brattleboro, Vermont to see my daughter, we visit Brattleboro Books, a big, old wonderful used book store where I've perused and ultimately adopted many once- and dearly-loved books. I like to think generally, at a macro level, that books are lovable--please don't dissuade me from that.


And I love buying used books. A good book isn't a once and done experience and should be enjoyed by as many people as possible until the spine cracks and the pages fall out. I also love the selection at Brattleboro Books--they have two floors stuffed with them and comfy couches set around for heavy browsers. I mean, I like to read the first five pages before I buy a book.


I usually pay half the list price for like-new books at Brattleboro Books. Plus, I'm supporting a longstanding small business established in 1989, no less.


However, this time I visited Brattleboro Books, I decided to go with a plan. I would take along a handful of recommendations ripped from my Book-a-Day Calendar,which I blogged about a few years ago to see if I could find any of these books at Brattleboro Books. I had about a dozen slips from calendar to match up. How did I make out?

Well, let's see.


I found a first edition of Anita Shreve's second book Strange Fits of Passion (which I finished this weekend) for $10.50, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski for $8.95, Ann Patchett's newest release State of Wonder for $7.75, and an advanced reader's edition of A Conspiracy of Paperby David Liss for $8.75 (you can even see the Book-a-Day page sticking out from its pages).


Total investment? $39.95. A handful of good reads and the whole process was loads more satisfying than impulse buying.

Win yourself a merry little Books & Bubbles Binge!

Books and Bubbles Banner

Is there anything more luxurious than relaxing into a frothy, foamy haven of scented bubbles and settling into a good read? After all the shopping, wrapping, baking, and decorating, is there anything you deserve more than a Books & Bubbles Binge? 


Three women's fiction authors with titles from Booktrope Editions--Laura Kilmartin,Meredith Schorrand me, Gale Martin--think someone special deserves a grand prize worthy of sinking their toes, their elbows, and their imaginations into. And that someone special is . . . YOU, of course!


Between December 5 and 15th, you can enter drawing here (via Rafflecopter) to win the absolutely perfect grand prize for the avid chick lit reader who deserves to pamper herself.


Here's what you win: 


  1. - Signed copies of Blogger Girl, Don Juan in Hankey, PA, Grace Unexpected, and Next Year I'll Be Perfect;
  2. Deep Steep Lavender Chamomile bubble bath
  3. Aura Cacia Aromatherapy relaxing lavender foam bath, and patchouli and sweet orange foam bath made from 100% essential oils for the mind, body, and spirit;
  4. - A lush lavender bath scrubbie; and 
  5. - A $10 Amazon gift card.


All delivered to one lucky winner before December 25. 


Total prize value: $95.


Visit my website to enter.


(Please note that this prize can only be mailed anywhere in the U.S.)

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

Romance. Gallantry. Humor. Vengeance. Dastardly Deeds. Giants. Swashbuckling heroes. A tender tale of true love.

I laughed. I cried. I swooned. I howled. I cheered.

Out of all the good books I've read in the past ten years, The Princess Bride was unequivocally one of the best-- satisfying whatever and wherever it 'itches.' If you want tenderness, it's there. Lunacy, it's there. Need a happy ending following a life and death struggle? Goldman's ingenious and somewhat fractured adult fairy tale, The Princess Bride, has it all.

Though the movie version directed by Rob Reiner is inspired, it no way replaces the book or diminishes the enjoyment of reading it. For one thing, so many details can't possibly be included in a feature length film, no matter how well written or directed.

If you've seen the movie but never read the book, you've missed out on dozens of inspired scenes: the six-fingered man and his retinue visiting Buttercup's family farm, the pathetic relationship between her parents, the tragic tale of the Princess Noreena who loses her hat, Wesley's life as a pirate-wannabe with the Dread Pirate Roberts, Fezzig's childhood as a professional wrestler, the rich relationship between Inigo's father and Yeste. These finally crafted chapters and splashes of backstory make the book a must read.

If you have favorite scenes in the movie as I do, you'll be happy to know that the most winning of them are taken directly from this inspired tale.

You can read this book in a weekend. And you can read this book ten times over (I have) and still find it engaging and wholly entertaining.


State of Wonder - Ann Patchett

This one is off to a slow start. Too cerebral? I'll give it a few more chapters before I say uncle.


It's a month later and I'm still struggling to stick with this book. 


Since it's Patchett, I'm expecting a big payoff if I hang in there. 


So many books, so little time. If I weren't taking the train on a daily basis and needed a book to read for a few minutes here and there, I'd probably give it the boot.

Strange Fits of Passion - Anita Shreve I wish I had read this before I began writing creatively because it is so instructive, and I was really intrigued by her craft--the method she used to unravel this tale. Pacing and revelation in this work are everything a reader expects from this author.

While I love her penchant of teasing out only what readers need to know to stay engrossed in the story, her main characters are always somewhat thin. I couldn't relate to her protagonists though I did feel for the battered woman. I just didn't get her.

And of course Shreve's books are unrelentingly sad. Would it kill the author to throw in an affirming ending once in a while? (Yes, I think it would. Just not her style.)

Yet, she draws attention to an important social ill without being preachy.

I inhaled this book rather than read it. Definitely a good read, even if I saw where it was headed, even if she was a little stingy in the character development.
The Dead Boy's Legacy - Cassius Shuman I simply couldn't put this book down. I thought it was ingeniously crafted, with two stories developing side by side in this novel. It is easy to villainize those who perpetrate unspeakable crimes against others. Yet, Shuman has painstakingly created a whole other life for his antagonist that humanizes him and makes you think long and hard about how "monsters" become who they are and who is really to blame for kids gone bad. Frightening, harrowing--simply a good read.
Traveling With Pomegranates: A Mother-Daughter Story - Sue Monk Kidd, Ann Kidd Taylor I appreciated the author of Secret Life of Bees more for reading this work. She is a different and very careful thinker. If you want to write a book people find meaningful, first fill your head with meaningful things.
Serena - Ron Rash I was somewhat prepared for this book having read a few short stories by Ron Rash. Yet, I was still overwhelmed. What a stunning work! Shockingly heartless and greedy characters beyond your imaginings set against lush and beautiful descriptions of North Carolina timber country during the the American depression. I hated the character Serena and kept wanting some evil to come to her, yet I loved this book. At one point, I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. What an extraordinary writer Ron Rash is. Surely one of the best authors of our time.