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

A Colt is born

Colt

Or simply a new pen name, a new identity, a new beginning.

Many of you know me as Melinda De Ross, writer of quirky romantic comedy and tension-filled romantic suspense. But like many of my favorite authors and role models, including Nora Roberts, Sandra Brown, Loreth Ann White, and others, I feel it’s time to expand my horizons. I’ve always wanted to write crime thrillers and mysteries, but only after being a professional writer for seven years did I feel I was ready. And this is how my new pen name, Melinda Colt, is born.

garda seriesMy first dive into the crime thriller genre is a series of detective mysteries with a twist of romance called The Irish Garda Files.

Why Irish? Well, I felt there are enough FBI, NYPD, LAPD, and other PD’s books out there – some of them true masterpieces I could never surpass, written by talented members of this very group. So I wanted to write something new, something different. Ireland is a country with a low crime rate, but An Garda Síochána, their police service, is extremely competent and well-trained. I’d imagined how the fictional Garda detectives I have created would solve complicated, challenging cases, and this is how the first three Garda Books came to be: Dare Game, Killer Score, and Foul Play. I hope the flesh-and-blood Garda members will never have to confront such twisted killers in real life, but I know they deserve to be the heroes in my books.

Researching this series was a huge operation and I’d like to thank the Garda Síochána themselves for being so helpful and patient when I reached out and asked for their cooperation. I was pleasantly surprised by their promptitude as they answered my questions and explained police procedures I didn’t know about. My books are fictional, but as crime thrillers go I wanted to offer you, my readers, the most authentic experience I could create. I hope you’ll be there with my detectives, both male and female, go over the clues, inspect murder scenes and cyber data, feel the tension that builds up when they know a serial killer will strike at any moment and it’s up to them to make sure there isn’t another victim.

The first three books in The Irish Garda Files are up for pre-order, and I hope one day I will reach JD Robb’s record and publish the 50th Garda book. I’m just getting started and writing these books is incredibly fun and rewarding.

While I worked on them last year and prepared my launch, I outlined every detail, calculated the timing, worked very hard to make the moment when I present my new pen name perfect. I thought I had everything figured out – except I didn’t predict this moment will be in the middle of a pandemic. But you know what? I won’t let this get in the way of my celebration – not the virus, not the quarantine, not even the financial crisis that will follow.

dare-game_preview-coverThis is just a phase and we’ll get through this together. What better way to practice social distancing than to escape in captivating stories that tear us away from every alarming piece of “breaking news”?

To make you forget about it for a while, it’s my pleasure to offer you an exclusive preview into DARE GAME, the first Garda book, which you can download by subscribing to my newsletter HERE.

I would love to have you in my VIP club and share my journey with you! My author friends and I will offer you free books as often as possible to get through these difficult times. My social media accounts are just taking off and I very much hope you’ll join me there.

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And because I always like to save the best for last, I have a special Easter present for you: for a limited time I have decided to put DARE GAME, the first book in The Irish Garda Files, at the introductory price of 99 cents. Click on the image below to grab your copy today!

Stay safe and escape into books!

Melinda Colt signature

New Year, Fresh Start, New Resolutions

Have you noticed how hard it is to get used to a new year? At least for me it’s always a challenge for the first couple of months when I have to fill in the date. Thinking back of my childhood, it’s hard to imagine I’m in 2020. I mean, back then, that was the future! In one of my favorite movies, Back to the Future, Steven Spielberg had imagined a much more evolved 21st century. According to him, by now we should all travel in space cars, have voice-command appliances, and eradicate most illnesses. Wasn’t he an optimist, back in ’86 when he made the first movie?

While we’re working on technologies that will eventually make all of these things possible, everything is moving slowly. And although we can definitely survive without flying cars and smart refrigerators, our quality of life depends on our health.

When we’re healthy we are unaware of how important this is. It’s only when we’re confronted with illness—or worse, death—that we start appreciating what truly matters in life. I’ve had such a terrible revelation right after Christmas, when I learned that a high school mate of mine died of cancer at the age of thirty-three. The news was shocking for all of us who knew him. We all hoped and prayed for a miracle until the last minute, but in vain. I can only shudder when I think of his poor wife and six-year-old-son, who have to deal with so much grief. I was touched by how many people jumped in to help them, morally and financially. It’s probably not that much of a comfort, but seeing this proof of kindness reassured me there’s still hope for humanity.

It’s a bitter irony that I have just finished a book where the hero is a researcher and fights to cure cancer. Although the book is a fictional suspense romance, a lot of the medical facts are true. With medicine advancing fast, I pray this terrible disease will soon be eradicated forever and stop being a constant threat to us and those we love.

In International Affairs: LONDON, Dr. Gerard Leon develops not one, but two cures for cancer, with the help of Linda, a beautiful and wealthy Italian artist. If in life we’re not guaranteed a happy ever after, one of the things we can do is look for it in books…

She has the money; he has the brains. In their quest to cure others, can they also heal each other?

Gerard Leon is a physician and researcher. Linda Coriola is an artist and philanthropist. After losing loved ones to this silent killer, they both fight cancer in their own way—her with money, him with scientific breakthroughs.
Neither expected to fall in love, but when they do, it’s hard, fast, and mind-blowing.
But they have a common enemy who will stop at nothing to see them fail. Can they give into their feelings, stay focused on their goal, and live to fight another day?

International Affairs: LONDON is the first book in a new series of suspense romance novels, International Romance Collection. I hope you will love these stories as much as I enjoy writing them!
If this isn’t in your New Year’s resolutions list, remember: stay healthy. When it comes to most illnesses your body will give you signs so you can do something before it’s too late–don’t ignore them! It doesn’t matter that you’ll keep your job, or get that promotion, or keep that relationship, or do whatever you want to do if you won’t live long enough to enjoy them. We can find love, build fortunes, make dreams come true, but the one thing we can’t buy is our health. It’s the most precious thing we can have. Take care of yourselves above all else. ❤

Here’s a photo of me on Christmas Day. I had the best time of my life during the holidays because hubby took two weeks off work, so we spent every minute together. We didn’t go to any parties or fancy events, we just enjoyed our time together cooking, watching TV, staying at home, shopping or just walking the streets and goofing around. 🙂

Frustrated Beyond Words

Have you ever had a day or event planned and it all fell apart for no apparent reason? I think we all have.

I was super stoked about releasing the 12th box set in the Sweet and Sassy series: SWEET AND SASSY HEROES. Pre-orders had been live for two weeks, promotions purchased, newsletters written (by all the authors in the set and a few others who weren’t), interviews given, videos produced: you name it.

And then the email from the big guys (who shall remain nameless): Your pre-order has been cancelled.

No reason was given, so as the publisher of the set, I made phone calls. After I spoke with three different representatives — including one at the senior level — I found out that they were as confused as I was. They still can’t figure it out, so asked for 72 hours to find an answer.

Corporations aren’t human, but they do make the same kind of mistakes. You know what I mean: dumb and unexplainable, costly and embarrassing, but mostly frustrating.

What can we do?  I guess we  – authors, readers, promoters – all have to be patient and wait for the Big Guy to find out why they thumped us off their list. Keep watching, though. SWEET AND SASSY HEROES will arise again: meaner, sassier, sexier. You can’t keep the great ones down, and this set is stainless!