Monday, November 27, 2017

Is Gaming Relevant in a Reader's World?

As an author of both children's fiction and non-fiction as well, I am a huge believer in the power of words.  And that over video games. This does not mean that I'm a stranger to video games.  On the contrary, I grew up playing games in arcades and at home on old systems like the Commodore 64.  For most of my life have I felt that anyone over 18 should give up video games and that if a child plays too much they will stunt their ability to learn.

Those are opinions, how much based upon fact, who knows?  However, I have to say that the older I get the more I realize that this form of entertainment is the Millennial's way of communicating, interacting, bonding, and just plain old having fun.

After stumbling on a blog the other day I had to laugh to myself because it evoked my own fond memories of playing video games.  The author is Maldavian Arcturus and if this writer continues, there may be much more interesting word art to come.

You can view the article at:

Friday, November 19, 2010

New York, New York!

Fall is a great time of year, and it's even better in New York City!  In October I took a few days to travel to The City of cities.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the trip:

Jazz Band in Central Park

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Times Square

Ray's Pizza

Hudson River

Friday, September 3, 2010

One of My First Loves - Astronomy

My 12.5 inch reflector at twilight in West Texas.
My love for astronomy began when I was a child and simply looked up at the night sky and stared in awe at all of the stars.  In suburban Illinois in the 1970s, there were plenty of stars to appreciate.  Now that I live near a big city, it much more challenging to find a clear dark sky.  For the best views I now travel to low population sites where there is little or nearly no light pollution.

As I grew a little older I began to dream of being able to see more clearly the sights the heavens held high above.  At the library I discovered Sky & Telescope magazine, where I poured over articles and photographs of magnificent astronomical objects.  My favorite middle school teacher, hinted to my father at Open House one night just how much I would love to have a telescope.  To my surprise that fall my parents gave me my first telescope - a 4 inch diameter reflector!

Now, twenty-six years later, I still have that telescope, along with several others.  My interest in telescopes and the night sky is very much alive and borders on obsession.  Soon (oh, give me about two or three weeks), I will have a special tab set up on this blog site entitled, "Astronomy."  After you take a look at the photos there, I'm sure that you'll fall in love with astronomy too.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Coming Soon...A new short mystery story

“So Patricia, what’s with Mr. Ambrose tonight?” the owner said.

“I was wondering that myself Tony,” only her eyes turned towards his table as she wrote in the reservation log. The subtle disagreement there had turned into a full blown argument, although Mr. Ambrose and his friend were trying hard to keep it from being readily apparent.

Her eyes returned and finally looked up at him, “Tony, did you notice anything strange about him?”

“Other than the obvious seething anger?”

“Clearly, but I’m referring to the way he is dressed. That fedora,” she leaned forward, her voice an intense whisper.

“Ah that. No I’ve never seen him wear it before. Striking red feather against that beautiful gray,” he remarked with admiration.

With solemnity Patricia replied, “It wasn’t a feather.”

Scrabble by C. T. Martin...
available February 17, 2011 at:

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A New Mini Mystery

Going Out on a Limb
by C. T. Martin

"You can only stay here one night Dave," she said.

"Why?" he asked.

"You toss and turn too much, I can't get any sleep!"

that, you would turn me out of your home?" Dave pleaded.

"Yeah that, and not to mention you're a fugitive from justice! I don't need the cops finding that thirty grand you lifted from the bank,
in my house!" she exclaimed.

Early that morning Dave crept out of her home with his sack full of loot. Soon he spotted a pickup truck at the drugstore. The driver had stepped inside and left the engine running.

"Here's my chance," Dave thought. At first he intended to steal the truck, but then thought better of it. Hiding the money was one thing, trying to hide a stolen truck was another. He waited for the owner to return.

"Excuse me," he started politely.

Guarded, the man looked at Dave and replied, "Yes?"

"If you don't mind, I'm gonna go out on a limb here and ask if you can give me a lift into the city?"

"Well, I am headed in that direction. Hop in, but you ride in the flatbed."

Dave was fast asleep when his chauffeur pulled up to their destination. The driver walked towards the tall white building marked, "Courthouse," where he worked as a clerk. It wouldn't take long to find a cop inside willing to verify, that the man sleeping in the back of his truck, was a wanted bank robber.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Loquacious "Lost Symbol": A Review of the New Novel by Dan Brown

You've seen it in bookstores everywhere. There's even been television specials devoted to its conspiracy theory storyline. If you have not already noticed, it is here - Dan Brown's latest thriller featuring the character Robert Langdon in his novel entitled The Lost Symbol.

So is it a winner, worthy of spending your hard earned cash on and adding to your library? In a nutshell the book is quite good, and does deliver as a thriller and a good quick read. If you liked the main character in the last novel, you won't be disappointed, as he stays true to form as a quick witted intellectual who deals with the pressure of the CIA breathing down his neck, while solving the mystery of his friend's disappearance, and dodging the clutches of a murderer. Although the author has repeated the formula that made The Da Vinci Code work so well, this new foray into the depths of Washington, D. C. just doesn't have the same pizzazz. Perhaps the reason why is that it seems to be a duplication of the same old formula. A completely different take would have been nice, but then that wouldn't necessarily guarantee the following of the fans of his other works.

The first fifty pages or so are very slow paced and left me wanting him to just get on with it. Thereafter it does begin to raise an eyebrow or two, as you are then whisked away into wondering the whys, hows, and wherefores of the plot.

The conflict is well written, tight, and controlled, making the reader care about the personal plight of the characters. It is done so well that the book actually surprised me with an ending to one of its storylines that I just did not see coming. You know the author has done well when a smile comes across your face like a reflex while reading the punch line.

The mystery, this time revolving around the Freemasons and a pyramid that has hidden symbols and messages inside, is quite intriguing. As can be expected of a novel of this caliber, the reader is not allowed to solve the puzzle very easily, but instead is led through various loops almost to the point of agony. This does lead to some frustration.

For a 500+ page novel it is somewhat loquacious. The thriller could perhaps have been done in about 400 - 450 pages. The ultra short chapters keep the reader in a quandary, as the mind, along with the character Robert Langdon, tries desperately to understand the mystery of the pyramid and its actual relevancy and importance in the real world. After all, in The Da Vinci Code, it was clear why and how an altered understanding of Jesus Christ and whether or not he had a descendant, would be an important secret to be either kept or revealed. In The Lost Symbol, however, the writer falls short of showing why the mystery of the pyramid is so monumental. The real mystery is in fact not revealed, but left open in a set of cryptic phrases that leaves one no closer to pondering the reason why so many people had to go to such great lengths (including death) to hide such information.

If you are new to reading this author, I suggest reading The Da Vinci Code first. Everything considered, however, The Lost Symbol is a good read, especially if you are a fan of Mr. Brown's other novels. However as a reader, I prefer succinct where possible, and loquacious only where necessary.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Martin Mystery Chronicles

My latest web site, The Martin Mystery Chronicles, is finally completed. [] I have several mini stories posted now and will continue to do so every Sunday. I strive to make them suspenseful, humorous, and of course short. Most of them are under 1000 words, making them perfect for a quick read before your favorite sport comes on television. It might even move you to pick up the latest mystery or thriller that's still sitting in your Barnes and Nobles bag.

I hope you enjoy reading my stories as much as I enjoy creating them. Please feel free to drop a comment on the blog to let me know what you think! I am also available via email.



Sunday, November 1, 2009

Wanted Dead or Alive

It's been one week since the beginning of our weekly mini story series, posted on the mystery web site. All stories are staying true to the cause - engaging stories that are truly short. Remember - a new story is posted every Sunday! Go to

The first (The Vulture Affair) was a very short story about a gruesome turn of events involving vultures - a must read if you haven't already done so.

The second story posted was actually an extra one, made available on Saturday. In Attic Assault we find out what is behind the strange sounds and odors coming from the attic of a young widow.

Today's story diverges from the norm and attempts to bring some humor to your Sunday. I hope you have a good hearty laugh as you read Extreme Arachnophobia: Arachnid - Wanted Dead or Alive.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Mini Stories

"The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder"
Alfred Hitchcock

Sometimes the same can be said of a story. Most of us have at least a novel or two lying around that we know will be a great read, but do not start it for lack of time. Enter the mini story.

Mini stories are great. They can pack much of the thrill and excitement, along with the twists and turns of a normal length short story in a very small package. They are especially practical for those lazy Sundays - you know, when you want to finish the last stretch of that novel you've been tackling, but you'd rather hit the couch with the remote instead.

Well, don't feel guilty, because I'm about to do the same thing today. But before you dive into your favorite movie channel, may I suggest a quick mini story first? They are usually less than 1,000 words and may even make you chuckle or give you a healthy laugh.

Beginning today, we will be posting a mini story on our web site, under "Mini Stories," every Sunday through the end of 2009. (The mystery web site that is at .net - see If you like them, please drop a comment here on the blog. Who knows? Maybe we'll continue during 2010.

Mini Story for October 24, 2009: The Vulture Affair

Well, in honor of the mini story and out of consideration for your bladder - that's all for now!

Have a great read,


Sunday, October 4, 2009

What Are You Reading Right Now?

Okay folks, is it just me or has it become evident that our society is slowly if not rapidly, withdrawing from reading? By reading, I do not mean perusing news on the internet, the latest celebrity gossip, or sports updates. When it comes to truly doing some serious reading whether fiction or non-fiction, does it take a college professor or employer to force Americans to read?

Ten years ago the question, "What are you reading right now?" still begged to be answered, at work, school, the bar, parent/teacher conferences, etc. However now it seems that when returning to work on Monday, no one dares brag about a weekend filled with reading the latest James Patterson novel or a textbook about orthographic projection. Have video game consols and the internet taken over our communities? Some surveys say that the average age of serious gamers is 30. Thirty, as in years old? Yep. (Girls, take guess at what that second job your boyfriend took really is).

What about digital reading devices? Will they forever cast aside the value of the printed page? I hope not, but their use does make me wonder if we are becoming more efficient or just more like automatons. Okay, okay, pessimistic comments aside, I will revert to being the eternal optimist and dare to ask everyone out there, what are you reading right now?


P.S. I'm reading: Scarpetta by Patricia Cornwell; The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Fall or Fright?

Hello everyone! I thought I'd start off this blog with a no holds barred, no right or wrong discussion about the current state of entertainment during the fall season. Is it just a time to commemorate the season of fall and harvest, a time to be thankful to God for family, love, and life? Or is it a time to conjecture about the journey of those that have died before us, a time to revel in the whole mystery of that ever present question: Is there life after death? We as a society seem to be more and more engrossed in the pursuit of an answer to that question. Maybe it just seems so because in this 21st century we have such a vast amount of media with which to explore this subject. We have books, video games, movies, and the internet to name a few, that suck us into the world of vampires and other undead creatures. What began years ago with bobbing for apples, going on hay rides and telling scary stories at night, has turned head first into a thirst for the unknown. With the passing of time each medium pushes the envelope by becoming more violent, more bloody, and more magical.

Remember when the now famous Harry Potter series was first published? Parents across America were upset with the normalization and popularization of wizards and witchcraft. Now, that dispute has long faded into the antique shop of things that were once offensive, but have become object lessons in tolerance.

On the other hand, surely there are still many people out there who would rather do without all of the superstitious and supernatural slant given to the season. Many parents and schools in fact do not support the traditional Halloween celebrations. Indeed, after reflecting on the events of 9/11, many Americans have reflected on just how precious life is, and how more can be done to celebrate life in this fall/winter season. But does that necessarily make it wrong or undesirable to have entertainment that thrills, chills, and horrifies?

So what do you think? Should the fall be a time to focus solely on family and thankfulness, or a time to revel in the chills we get by exploring the mysteries of the afterlife through fiction media? Let us know what you think!