Rodeo cowboy, prosecutor, and author Marty Martins was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the oldest of six children and son of a Milwaukee police officer.
Martins attended the University of Wisconsin where he organized the first intercollegiate rodeo team at a Big Ten school. In 1969, he received a rodeo scholarship to Cal Poly in Pomona, California, earning two varsity letters and leading the rodeo team. In 1972, he qualified for the National Intercollegiate Finals Rodeo in bareback bronc riding. He graduated the same year with a bachelor's degree in Animal Science and a minor in Journalism.
After college, Martins continued to compete in professional rodeos across the United States and Canada (his two daughters had been in 20 states before they started first grade) and added rodeo announcing to his repertoire his last four years on the circuit, working the mike at the sport's biggest events. During his final years in rodeo, Martins was also managing editor of the national sports magazine, Rodeo News.
The travel took a toll on Martins' first marriage. In an unsuccessful attempt to repair his family, Martins quit rodeo and went to law school. He attended classes at night while working in General Dynamics' Space System Division and was a single father six months each year. After passing the bar exam, he joined the San Diego District Attorney's Office.
Martins retired in November 2010 after 23 years as a career prosecutor. For five years he was assigned to a drug and gang task force where, during a 40-month period, he prosecuted a record 437 defendants. Martins for eight years was also editor of the Law Enforcement Quarterly, an award-winning legal and training magazine for police officers, prosecutors and judges.
Because this prosecutor related so well with police officers, Martins was hand-picked to serve as the District Attorney's liaison to 11 law enforcement agencies, providing legal training and being available for legal advice 24-hours a day. He held that post for 12 years before returning to the courtroom. Martins received numerous commendations throughout his career but is most proud of having been named Prosecutor of the Year by the California Narcotic Officers Association in 1998.
Martins says he had the basic idea for The Blizzard for a long time. For several years he had been doing research and writing a historical novel about ancient Hawai`i, but set it aside when his wife, Jyl, was diagnosed with cancer. One night in December 2008, worried about Jyl and unable to sleep, the old idea of The Blizzard haunted him. As the night wore on, Martins traced out how the story could develop, and added in some of his law enforcement experience. Before morning, he had most of the plot worked out.
During writing periods over the next twelve days, he had the bulk of the story in his computer. Months of polishing and editing followed, then an additional year trying to get the attention of an agent or a publisher. Finally, mimicking Vince Flynn, one of his favorite authors, Martins decided to self-publish The Blizzard.
One of Martins' greatest joys was finishing the book so his dear wife could read it before she died. Her praise would have been enough, but The Blizzard has met with critical acclaim and brought numerous calls for a sequel.
Martins has begun work on a sequel that will carry Chet and Melanie into early adulthood with expected turbulence and some surprises. He promises it will not become a series. In the meantime, the historical novel about "pre-contact" Hawai`i remains one that Martins vows will be finished some day.
Marty Martins lives in Hawai`i with his rescue dog.
In this sequel to Marty Martins' award-winning debut novel, The Blizzard, high school sweethearts Chet and Melanie maintain their exclusive relationship through college until a betrayal results in a breakup just before graduation. Pushing through the heartbreak, Chet leaves for Marine Corps officer training in Virginia while Melanie begins her career in suburban Chicago. Melanie falls in love and marries Carl, a suave young banker who helps her recover from a broken heart. Unfortunately, things aren't always as they seem, and she uncovers truths about her husband and secrets he's hiding. While Melanie struggles with her new single life, Chet becomes best friends with JP, a fellow officer. But when he brings the handsome black Marine home one weekend, unexpected sparks fly between JP and Chet's sister, blinding them to how both their families might react to their relationship. Years later, Chet and Melanie are surprised by a chance encounter that leaves them wondering if they will be reunited by fate. Can they rekindle the romantic bond they once felt? Or will her ex-husband and his resentment toward Melanie ruin their chances to finally be together?
What happens when a teenage girl flees after physical abuse at the hands of a classmate, only to be saved from certain death by a boy she has consciously avoided? And where can she turn after her father's rage and inability to listen to his daughter's explanation cause a community's rush to judgment against this boy who has acted heroically and ethically? These are the compelling questions posed in The Blizzard by Marty Martins, one of those rare novels that grabs our attention and holds it until the final page. Teenage and adult readers will be immediately engaged, fascinated, and delighted by the creative way in which the author explores the teenage world of dating violence, teenage abstinence, and the difficult decisions facing today's youth.
Amazingly well written, The Blizzard, is a brutally honest,
emotional read. As a parent of older teens, the vocabulary
is like, awesome! Mr. Martins has completely captured the
essence of teens, the dilemmas, and often difficult choices
they must face in today's world.
-Linda McMaken, Librarian, Cincinnati, Ohio
Sure, this is a coming of age story with moral lessons
and all that, but most of all it's a terrific read. Marty
Martins tells a compelling tale, with fully-formed characters,
physical and mental challenges and a well drawn plot. While
it is "young adult fiction," I -- who have not
been a young adult for a bunch of decades -- found it fascinating.
It's in no way condescending, preachy or otherwise starchy.
For readers of any age, it's a great story about a couple
of kids and their world, their challenges, their eventual
success, and shows that no one has a patent on maturity.
Mostly, though, it's just a well-written, intriguing read.
The author really draws you into the story. The well written characters and the great plot line kept me up all night.
-Catie Vargas, Black Rose Reviews
Martins did not need superfluous language to hook me in;
the story did it on its own. I loved the style of the conversations
and what the characters talked about. To me it was very
realistic debates on sex and relationships that I've had
with my own friends, and Martins did it without sounding
Chet was probably the biggest surprise to me. At first, I believed him to be the preppy and goody goody perfect son. Then you see the sarcastic, self-confident boy who would do anything to win the heart of the girl he adores. I really enjoyed this book.
-Jordyn, The Secret Life of an Avid Reader
Having taught for 35 years, I could certainly relate to
all the nuances about high school and teens. It had a good
message and was also a "page turner." Can't wait
for the sequel.
-Retired High School Teacher, California
Once I got into it, I could not put the book down! The
storyline and the way the various challenges were covered
make this book a must read for high school students and
-Police Investigator, California
It had a point, developed characters, and humorous quips
that didn't take away from the situation. A young person
reading this will see beyond the story and get the point.
-GATE Teacher, California
Martins is like Van Gogh, only with words.
When Martins describes a scene I feel like I am there.
When he describes a person I can picture them immediately.
-Tom Basinski, author of "No Good Deed"
Far surpassed my expectations. The plot and characters
were well thought out and moved right along. The story line
is one that needs to be told and spread far and wide. Our
young people, and our oldsters, need to realize that being
a gentleman is not something outdated, and that chivalry
is not dead
-Fred Muller, Texas
Marty Martins has written a compelling story from middle
America that will grip the hearts of parents and young people
alike. It's about making the right choices in today's hot
culture, leading to life-saving results. This is a must-read!
- Mark Larson, KCBQ Radio, San Diego
The dialogue flowed with aural authenticity. Natural dialogue is hard to write; Martins did a good job.
-English professor, Wisconsin
I enjoyed The Blizzard from cover to cover. The
main character, Chet, is a true role-model for other teens.
I caught myself wishing I could have been Chet as a teenager:
I would have enjoyed living by his sense of adventure, caring,
and most importantly his sense of courage. This book should
be read by all teens as a foundation for establishing what
it means to be "good.
-Gang Detective, Southern California
This sequel to The Blizzard is just as outstanding and entertaining as The Blizzard was!
The Yellow Balloon tells the story of what happens next in the lives of Chet, Melanie and all the people their lives touch. It draws you in from the very beginning with the last sentence of Chapter 1, “Little did he know her finger would never wear the ring.” From that point on, the book takes you on an unexpected rollercoaster of a journey that does not let up.
Marty Martins has a writing style that is so detailed and descriptive that the reader feels like part of the story. The characters seem so real. Their lives, experiences, mistakes, struggles and successes are all too easy to relate to as part of life.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves to read. I also recommend reading The Blizzard first. Between these two books, you are left with a sense that you not just know these characters, but that you were a part of their journeys.
This is a great book.
In the ‘Yellow Balloon’, we catch up with Chet and Melanie who started their relationship in Marty’s previous book, ‘The Blizzard’. Now older, they are having an adult relationship that, like all adult relationships, begins to have challenges. Heartbreak ensues and the story continues with Chet and Melanie moving on with their lives separately. Chet gets commissioned as an officer in the Marine Corps, and Melanie marries a handsome banker. So you have to ask, why do you care?
Because this is a great book, that’s why. Marty does an outstanding job developing the characters and describing the interactions between them. You quickly develop a desire to know what makes these characters tick, and when you find out, the characters, both protagonists and antagonists, come alive.
So as the story unfolds, you genuinely care what is going to happen next. That is much easier to say then it is to do as an author and Marty knocks it out of park.
Like I said, this is a great book.
So why would you want to read this book?
Do you like romantic stories that are both realistic and authentic? This book is for you.
Do you like military stories that capture relationships between warriors that is believable and interesting? This book is for you.
Do you like ‘what if’ stories about political and military actions that could happen and how they might actually occur? This book is for you.
Do you like courtroom drama that is described as only someone with real-life experience can? This book is for you.
Do you like stories that capture, in enjoyable detail, adventures in the great outdoors that make you want to grab your gear and head for the mountains? This book is for you.
The story goes where you think it will go…but with a natural, realistic rhythm that makes feel like a surprise even when you see it coming.
But then Marty takes the story to a place you don’t expect for an exciting conclusion.
So do yourself a favor and get this book. Settle in and enjoy the story of Chet and Melanie, and their families and friends. And feel good about dedicated Marines, loyal families, and young love.
Like I said…this is a great book.
What literary, book review, or publishing advice blog do you recommend?
In Marty Martins's novel, The Blizzard, readers are taken on a journey that touches on questions of morals and ethics, and the need for parents to learn to communicate with their children. Melanie Hondel is the all-American high school student. She is popular, pretty, and attracts the attention of more than a few boys. One of them is Chet, who Melanie thinks is handsome enough, but whose determined self-reliance she has always found a bit strange and hardly romantic. When Melanie refuses the advances of a classmate, Tommy, and is beaten by him, she flees into a blizzard, where she falls through the ice. Her cries for help are heard by Chet, who is able to save her. They find refuge in an isolated cabin, where they shed their icy clothing and huddle together for warmth…in bed. Rescuers arrive the next day, followed closely by Melanie's father, and there is confusion and anger. Mr. Hondel insists that Chet be arrested and refuses to accept his daughter's explanation, thereby leaving everyone convinced that Chet is dangerous. What ensues is an emotional and very important story about parental expectations, the decisions teenagers and young adults must make that impact their self-respect, their confidence, and their relationships with parents and community. This is a novel about coming of age, romantic love, and the importance of trust.
The Blizzard author, Marty Martins, is no stranger to the effects of physical violence, having been a prosecutor in Southern California for twenty-three years. He has also been an adjunct professor and a publicist. In addition to contributing articles to numerous magazines, he served as editor of two trade magazines and was a contributing editor to World Book Encyclopedia. Before entering the courtroom, the author was on the professional rodeo circuit for nineteen years as a bareback bronc rider and, later, as a rodeo announcer.
Martins grew up in Wisconsin, where he experienced both the fun and perils of snow, and saw his share of blizzards. He also spent a lot of time in northern Illinois, including accompanying a friend on his trap line.
A veteran trial lawyer, the bulk of Martins' career involved investigating and prosecuting drug dealers. During a five-year assignment with a drug and gang task force, Martins vertically prosecuted over 430 criminal defendants in one forty-month period. He received numerous commendations from law enforcement agencies, including DEA and the FBI. In 1998, he was named Prosecutor of the Year by the California Narcotic Officers Association.
Martins lives in Hawai`i with his two dogs.