Changes – For The Better

            When a person experiences a catastrophic event, it changes the way they breathe, work, play, eat, everything – I’m sure you get my meaning.

My husband Joe died seventeen months ago and, not only was he my soulmate and lover, he was the inspiration for the Cindy’s Crusades series. He and I collaborated the story Dinosaurs and Cherry Stems, a fun fictionalized-nonfiction tale about events leading up to how we met, became lovers, and eventually married. We named ourselves Cindy and Jay DeMatteo and although many elements of the story were true, we took many literary liberties with the rest. The book, an award winning, bestseller, inspired a sequel The Sugar Ticket, and a bunch of other novellas followed, introducing new characters and plots, but always including the Cindy and Jay couple from Dinosaurs. This is the link to Cindy’s Crusades: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B078MG52BT

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B078MG52BT

I’d begun a third novel Don’t Bruise the Bananas around the time Joe got sick and, after he spirited off to a better dimension, I decided to rewrite Bananas without the fiction. I hope to get it finished very soon. Here’s a taste:

Because I have been floundering with writing such profoundly devastating events, with Joe’s whispered encouragement, I created a new series called Love’s Salvation. Currently, there are five standalone stories in my new collection, with more on the way. Here’s the link to Love’s Salvation: Love’s Salvation

On October 6, the Authors’ Billboard will release an intense collection of stories now available for pre-order Invincible Diversity: A Premier Collection of Eight Exceptional Stories, Four Brand-New, From New York Times and USA Today Bestselling, Award-Winning Authors. Eight unique and unusual love stories that tackle the tough issues we face every day – racial acceptance or intolerance, whether black, brown, red or yellow, differing religious views, sexuality, family and social values, and so much more. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08GQ57C7Z


https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08GQ57C7Z

In addition to our many Romance and Suspense anthologies, we’ve just released a Second Bestselling Comedy Collection: Cute But Crazy: Ditzy Dudes: SIX BRAND NEW Side-splitting Romantic Comedies plus two read-tested surprise titles by Eight New York Times and USA Today Bestselling and Award-Winning Authors, CUTE BUT CRAZY 2 – DITZY DUDES is the follow-up boxset to the Bestselling Cute But Crazy – Wacky, Wonderful Women.
Get ready for another Romantic Comedy box set from the fabulous Authors’ Billboard gang. Come get acquainted with these charming and sexy Ditzy Dudes and the ladies they bring Happy (and tickle-bone funny) Ever After’s to. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B087R31WXG

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B087R31WXG

Mimi’s Gang and the Authors’ Billboard are already looking forward to the Christmas Season. This year we’re excited to present: DEAR SANTA: A Christmas Wish

http://Dear Santa: A Christmas Wish (The Holiday Series Book 3)

DEAR SANTA is filled with 18 brand new stories about characters who have special wishes to ask the big guy during this season.Most of us have had experiences when something we’ve desperately wanted is so close that Santa seems the perfect person to ask for the miracle.
When one believes, it’s amazing the conflicts that are overcome and the surprises that can follow.

You’ll be amazed by each of these fantastic holiday books full of Christmas cheer and thrilling romance we’ve written for your entertainment. Pre-Order Here! http://Dear Santa: A Christmas Wish (The Holiday Series Book 3)

Thanks for hopping by and don’t forget to check out our monthly contest – Win Gift Cards, eBooks and more! Enter here: https://authorsbillboard.com/

One Year Later: How Quickly Time Passes

Tuesday, September 29, will be my mother’s 93rd birthday. She and my dad were married almost 70 years when he died on October 1, 2019. Losing the love of her life was devastating, and while she’s still with us, she’s not the same. She lives in a delusional world of her own making.

Within three months, the strong woman I’d known all my life was gone. She was unable to stay in the house and had to be placed in a long-term care facility. I visit her each week–standing at the front door, talking to her over my cellphone because of COVID 19, worrying every single day about a potential outbreak at the home.

We all handle grief in a different way. My mother can’t face hers, so she’s created this imaginary world where she’s a queen. She talks about her castles in Africa and France, about the honors she’s receiving, and about the gifts being sent to her. She talks to people every day on the imaginary phone line. In fact, she refused to talk to my sister on the real phone because she was talking to her on the line!

She still knows us, but we aren’t part of her new reality. So while I miss my dad, I’m mourning the loss of my mother, too.

In my novel, Hello Again, my heroine is also lost.

For Charley Winters love means loss and pain. She’s spent the last five years struggling with her grief. Existing, not living. Drawn to Saskatchewan, she travels west take the job she’s always wanted. But life gets complicated when she’s rescued from a vicious tornado by her dead husband’s double, a man who makes her feel things she hasn’t in years. Add to that a native myth, a shaman, a green-eyed wolf, and her husband’s ghost … Can she lift a millennia old curse and find joy and love again?

Hello Again is available for only 99cents USD from now until October 12, 2020. Join Charley as she learns to love again.http://bookShow.me/B01FGN88I6

This month brings more goodies your way via the Author’s Billboard Box sets. After the year we’ve had, I think we’re all ready for a little Christmas Magic. Eighteen authors offer you new stories perfect for the holiday season and all for 99 cents USD. So, hurry and order your copy today. It’ll be delivered to your mailbox on October 27, 2020.

Universal link with all vendors https://books2read.com/DearSanta 

Individual links:

 Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Amazon.uk / Amazon.au / B&N / Apple / Kobo /

Stay happy and stay safe, Susanne

Bittersweet Beginnings 🍂🍁

Have you ever wanted something so badly that when you finally got it you didn’t know how to react? Well, it’s happening to me now. For weeks, I’ve been wondering what to write in this post, and here I am now, living my big day and not knowing what to say.

2020 is one of the most difficult and controversial years in our contemporary history—I know some of you survived much more difficult times. All of this year, I tried not to complain, not to despair, not to fear the future. I faced it with a smile on my face and forced optimism, immersing myself in work. Because, like everyone else, I had plans for 2020.

Today is the launch of my new pen name and the release of my first book in a new genre.

It’s the beginning of an era for me.

I’ve been planning this moment for a whole year. I’ve poured so much heart, sweat, tears and sleepless nights into this project, trying to perfect every single detail of my new adventure. I’ve agonized for months before I decided to start writing under a new pen name, because I wanted to keep my audiences separate and not mislead my romance fans by giving them mysteries and thrillers.

For weeks I’ve studied potential pen names before I chose Melinda Colt, a name that is actually close to my own, Melinda Coliolu. It does sound better though, and it evokes action, danger, hopefully a little sexiness—all that I try to include in my books. Plus, it’s easier to pronounce. 😊

During the past year I have worked relentlessly to write the first three novels in my new series, The Irish Garda Files. I have researched, hunted for information, knocked on doors, and even reached out to An Garda Síochána, Ireland’s police force, to assist me in my writing. With every sentence, I struggle to offer my readers the best product, the most authentic and heartfelt journey. Of all my hobbies, reading has been my favorite since I was four years old. Escaping into books and living along my favorite characters is such a fantastic experience it’s impossible to describe. I want to give that to my readers. If only one of you escapes in my stories and loves them so much you wish they never end, then my mission as a writer is complete.

I spent the past few months preparing frantically to launch Dare Game, the first book in the series. My hands still shiver with anxiety as I check my sales and reviews. What if readers won’t like it? What if people won’t buy it? What if it will get buried among the millions of books on Amazon and no one will find it?

I’ve never been this honest and open about my feelings in a public post. I’ve learned the hard way never to show vulnerability, because in this day and age a lot of people prey on it just for kicks. I know I will get some hate for this post. I know I will get some indifference. But, most of all, I hope I will get some love and understanding.

Because launching a dream of this magnitude during a frigging pandemic sucks!

I know you’re well aware of that. All over the world people lost their jobs, cancelled their weddings, went bust in their businesses, got separated from their families, lost loved ones, or lost their lives prematurely.

We’re living some crazy times. It seems that everything is trying to kill us—Covid-19, the weather, the worldwide political and financial crisis, and pretty much everything we eat, drink, or breathe. Everyone is affected by some or all of this.

To me, September 22nd 2020 was all about me and my new book—the light at the end of the tunnel. I literally survived this entire year dreaming and dreading this day. Well, today isn’t about that anymore. According to Google, on this fall equinox we’re celebrating a number of things: Falls Prevention Awareness Day, National Elephant Appreciation Day, Hobbit Day, National Ice Cream Cone Day, National Singles Day, National Temperature Control Day, National Voter Registration Day, National White Chocolate Day.

All of these things are more important than one book. Because while this book might be valuable to me, those things up there are valuable to all of us. All I can hope for is that one day, maybe decades from now, my writing will matter enough to be included in a list like that—maybe somewhere between ice cream and chocolate.

For today though, I just want to share my joy with you, and hope you won’t judge me too harshly because of my weaknesses.

And if you’re wondering what I’ve been talking about for the last ten minutes, feel free to check out the infamous—not yet famous—Dare Game. I would be honored to hear your opinions.

 

Stay healthy and safe,

Melinda

What I miss the most…

CoronaVirus has locked me at home since mid-March–six months to the day. At first I thought it would be a three to four weeks confinement and accepted the situation with resignation. I prepared myself a uniform for grocery shopping, something easy to wash regularly, and I chose a pair of pants and a long-sleeved shirt I was about to give away, my oldest pair of sneakers, a cap, and the little yellow purse I hate. Unfortunately after three washes, these clothes shrank…and I uploaded five pounds all around.

In front of Walmart

But grocery shopping once a month was not enough outing for oxygen breathing. I was suffocating at home, writing eight hours a day or chatting on the phone. I hardly saw my grandchildren once or twice a month, on the beach or in their backyard, always with masks on and never for more than twenty minutes. To exercise, without mask, I walked on the building catwalk with my Fitbit recording 4 to 5 miles a day. I lost my claustrophobic feeling but developed a horrible pain in my left heel, diagnosed as Plantar fasciitis by the podiatrist. I had to stop walking and I started swimming–actually floating with a noodle–in the ocean, or swimming in the building pool if I was on my own or with only two or three people. Now I bought a foot peddler and use it while watching TV at night.

Life has changed so drastically. I miss hugging my grandchildren. I don’t even see the Chicago grandkids. I miss seeing my friends and our Saturday evening dinners in a restaurant or at each other’s place. I miss shopping at the mall or my favorite stores. After gaining fifteen pounds during this pandemic, my wardrobe is reduced to a pajama with elastic band and a t-shirt. I miss wearing dresses, jewelry, makeup. And oh God, how I miss going on cruises! I don’t think I’ll ever feel comfortable in a plane or a cruiseship again.

Unfortunately, we lost too many relatives during the last six months, two to the Covid-19 and several to strokes, heart problems, and even a goal bladder inflamation, all not treated on time for fear of going to the hospital. I was tested once for Covid-19 when I had a cold in July and was so relieved the results were negative.

Now I live day by day. It’s too depressing to remember the easy-going life from before Pandemic and too scary to think about the future. As long as I can swim, use my peddler, cook and write, I count my blessings.

I just uploaded four new books, funny stories and heart-warming romance that will cheer you up. They are on pre-order:

His Son, Her Daughter: High school sweethearts reunited after twenty years by their small children. Their conflicting baggage prevents them from fully trusting each other. Yet what wouldn’t Daniel do for his son and her daughter? https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08HKPNRWH

To be RELEASED on Septenber 23, 2020

Sunshine Over Snow: When his children manage to ruin his second wedding, Brad is caught between a furious fiancée and an offended ex-wife, both determined to keep him and make him pay for his mistakes. https://www.amazon.com/DP/B08HHNSSSK

To be RELEASED on October 14, 2020

Half a Dozen with Love: At twenty, Tammy is left with the responsibility of five brothers and sisters. Dr. Jack Conan stops the Foster Care system from separating the children, but his unorthodox solution may complicate Tammy’s problems—or bring her into his arms? https://www.amazon.com/DP/B08HKQSRYC

To be RELEASED on December 2, 2020

Between Babies and Girlfriends:Abandoned baby twins, a former girlfriend, an almost fiancée complicate Dr. Brian Dutton’s life to no end.

To be RELEASED on February 11, 2021