Thursday, October 30, 2008

Demons, Curses, and Other Weird Things That Go Bump In the Night.

© Marta Stephens 2008 all rights reserved

One fact few people know about me is that my paternal grandfather, Marcelo Ruggero, was a stage and film actor in Buenos Aires during the 1930s to the mid 1950s. He was a local sensation in his days. By the time I was born, he had long retired, but his stories lived on through my father. I was always particularly drawn to the tales about the strange things that often plagued the crew and actors during certain productions; illnesses, props disappearing, etc.

Actors often say they have to “get into character” in order to not only understand who they are trying to portray but also the character’s motivation. Immersing him- or herself into the role of the character is what ultimately brings the character to life on screen. As a writer, I understand this principle quite well. I talk to my characters more often than not, don’t you?

But what happens when the plot is not of this world? When demons play a supporting role and/or are the focus of attention? Recently, I was talking to a good friend of mine and retired journalist about some of the odd and unexplained things that happened after I submitted THE DEVIL CAN WAIT to my publisher. None of the incidents were life-threatening and individually, each could have easily been brushed off as coincidence. Still, something didn’t feel right and thus I decided to make a list and noticed a pattern begin to form. At every critical stage of production some unexplained occurrence caused a delay making me wonder if someone or something was trying to prevent the inevitable.

My friend listened intently and then had this interesting fact to share with me. “Years ago I was lucky enough to get together with Gregory Peck, Lee Remick and Billy Whitelaw at the close of filming for The Omen. They told me scary yarns about what went wrong on set – and even the destruction of a whole spool of key footage when a light plane was struck by lightning. It seemed Hell itself was on the job, doing all it could to put a spoiler on the famous 666 movie.”

In many ways I’m not alone, but for now, I'm content in knowing that I hold the winning hand because like it or not, THE DEVIL CAN WAIT will arrive on November 3, 2008, and Homicide Detective Sam Harper is again on the move against a formidable adversary.

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You'll find the blurb, excerpt, updates, and reviews at

Marta Stephens writes crime mystery/suspense. SILENCED CRY is available online at familiar shops such as all the Amazons, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Books-a-Million, and Powells. Other locations include, but are not limited to those listed on her website.

THE DEVIL CAN WAIT, BeWrite Books (UK) November 3, 2008

SILENCED CRY (2007)Honorable Mention, 2008 New York Book FestivalTop Ten, 2007 Preditors and Editors Reader Poll (mystery).

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


© Marta Stephens 2008 all rights reserved

... to my next book launch!
November 3 ~ THE DEVIL CAN WAIT ~ Book two in the Sam Harper series

I don't know about you, but long after the novel is written, edited, and is put through a rigorous proofreading by several people including my trusted critiquers, my publisher and 2-3 editors, I worry and begin to second-guess myself. You know, What if I change that sentence to read like this? Does this chapter drag? Is the dialogue ... should I ... Maybe I could ...

Eventually I stop, but the questions seem to go on and on. Please tell me I'm not alone!

I guess if asked what it feels like to pour my heart and soul into a manuscript and then wait for reader reaction I'd have to respond with this: Think back to your first school dance. Remember the butterflies and the pent up excitement knowing you were going to have the best time of your life, only to have the euphoric feeling get shattered by the dreaded thought,

"What if no one asks me to dance?"

Okay, so maybe it's not that nerve-wracking, but I dare say that most authors probably do catch themselves holding their breath just bit until the reviews start flowing in. With well over 50 review copies in circulation, the magic in my neck of the woods started to happen over the past several days with this review written by Lynn Pritchett, Media Inc., Contributing Writer:

"Is it prophecy fulfilled or selfishness, greed, and bad choices? . . THE DEVIL CAN WAIT is a suspenseful freight train of action . . . Can the Devil really wait? . . . If you read one book this season make it THE DEVIL CAN WAIT . . . reminiscent of . . ."

Please do leave Lynn a comment!

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November 3, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-905202-86-7
Bewrite Books (UK)
Paperback: 316 pages

Marta Stephens writes crime mystery/suspense. Pre-order an autographed copy of THE DEVIL CAN WAIT at

Also available after the release date in online shops like Amazon, B&N, BAM, or give your favorite bookstore owner the ISBN and ask them to order a copy!

Honorable Mention, 2008 New York Book Festival
Top Ten, 2007 Preditors and Editors Reader Poll (mystery)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What's Your Challenge?

© Marta Stephens, 2008 all rights reserved

My darling girl ... when are you going to understand that being normal is not necessarily a virtue? It rather denotes a lack of courage. ~Aunt France, Practical Magic

Aside from being one of my favorite and fun movies, I think this quote from Practical Magic applies to every aspect of writing. Let's face it, we writers aren’t necessarily “normal” and it does take courage to expose our inner soul to the world.

For those not familiar with my work, I write crime mystery/suspense and up until a few years ago, my work was something I shared only with family and friends. Close friends. People who love me; in whose eyes I can do no wrong. It was a safe place to be, but a little voice in the back of my head nudged me forward. I expanded my circle to include an amazing group of talented fellow authors -- the real test of endurance. It wasn’t long before my writing evolved from a pastime, to a passion, and now an addiction. A good addiction because perseverance has led to the release of the second book in my Sam Harper series, “The Devil Can Wait” on November 3. So to those who wonder if your dream of becoming a published author is realistic, it is. Just keep at it.

What keeps me going? The challenge to top my previous attempt; to write a better book, develop a smarter marketing campaign, create an attention-grabbing book trailer and a captivating cover. Why? Because once a writer is published, he or she becomes a public figure and anything less than the best is a step in the wrong direction.

Maybe I am obsessed, as a few special friends “affectionately” dare to call me (admit it, you have). Do I hit my mark every time? No, of course not. No one does, but unless we try, unless we ask the questions and charter a new path, we’ll never know our full potential. So crawl out of the comfort zone and feel the edge of an uncharted road beneath your feet and see where it leads.

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Marta Stephens writes crime mystery/suspense. Her books are available online at familiar shops such as all the Amazons, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Books-a-Million, and Powells. Other locations include, but are not limited to those listed on her website.

THE DEVIL CAN WAIT (November 3, 2008)

SILENCED CRY (2007)Honorable Mention, 2008 New York Book FestivalTop Ten, 2007 Preditors and Editors Reader Poll (mystery)