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

Bookish & Sexy women – not a myth! #mgtab @melinda_de_ross

I love books ever since I’ve learned to read, and although I enjoy many genres I find myself particularly drawn to stories that feature booklovers. Perhaps because everyone likes to live vicariously through their fictional characters; for a bookworm like me it’s easy to relate to another bookworm – even if she’s fictional. I also enjoy humorous stories and, of course, happy ever afters. If I wanted reality I’d watch the news. Instead, I like to surround myself with positivity and look harder at the brighter side of life.

This urged me to start my Bookish & Sexy Collection, a compilation of romantic comedies and chicklit stories about book-loving heroines and the men who love them.

“Each woman is a story” is my motto for this collection, because every story has its particularities and they can be read as stand-alones. What they have in common is beautiful, quirky heroines who sometimes don’t know how appealing they are, and sexy heroes who manage to love them the way they deserve. It’s not easy to love a woman who believes in fairytales and Prince Charming, because we have higher expectations than most. However, when we do find our Prince Charming, we give him the moon, the stars, even an entire galaxy.

So far, the Bookish & Sexy Collection includes three full-length novels (Celebrity, Unabridged, and Sacked!), a novella (Boyfriend Wanted for Christmas), and a novelette (Meeting Sam Klaus). Together, all of these stories cover a lot of ground, and while there’s no set formula for each of them, you can be sure you’ll find a lot of romance, some great laughs, and characters you’ll fall in love with!

Celebrity follows the journey of a gutsy woman who sets out to remake her life Hollywood-style, while dealing with betrayal and learning to handle success.

Unabridged is a second-chance romance between a modern Cinderella and the Prince Charming she abandoned years ago because she didn’t fit in his rich world.

Sacked! is the tragi-comic – accent on comic – job hunt of a klutzy young woman whose record-breaking bad luck turns when she meets a charming but troubled widower.

If you enjoy shorter reads, Boyfriend Wanted for Christmas is a perfect sum-up of an American Bridget Jones who starts a manhunt to find herself a boyfriend within a week. Online dating has never been more eventful…

And finally, Meeting Sam Klaus is what I call a reader magnet, a short story to give you a taste about what the series is like. This little romance is all about atmosphere and makes for a perfect read while you wait in line at the dentist or the DMV. 🙂

As you can see, there’s a story here for almost every taste – and they’re all free on Kindle Unlimited. There is no reading order, the stories are connected only through a theme that will carry out through the series. I hope you’ll give these sexy booklovers a chance to brighten your day, and if you like them please leave a review on Amazon. Happy reading!

How audiobooks changed my life #mgtab @melinda_de_ross

Now a very popular format, ten years ago audiobooks were still making a shy debut – just when I needed them most. Reading has always been my biggest passion, but as I worked in an office all day with my eyes fixed on a computer screen, traditional reading became an increasingly difficult hobby. My eyes got tired easier, my neck became stiff from bending over a book. Not to mention that one can’t multi-task while reading a printed book. That was when my husband suggested I tried audiobooks.

At first I was reluctant. It seemed completely weird listening to someone read a book out loud. It didn’t sound the same when I read it in my head. However, my love of books was stronger than my stubbornness, so one day I took a chance and bought an audiobook. I remember it was Sandra Brown’s “Smoke Screen”, which was lucky because the narrator, Victor Slezak, is simply magic. From the first moments I was drawn in by his voice, fascinated by the way he interpreted each character, thrilled to hear the story brought to life. A love affair had begun!

Fast forward thousands of audiobooks listened and a career change later, and here I am today – a writer myself, who’s just producing her second audiobook. It’s funny how in the short run we never truly realize how much we’ve achieved, but sometimes in the rare moments when we take a good look back, we can be stunned by how far we’ve come from a certain period of our lives. Sandra Brown’s thrillers are still among my favorites, and although I like to think I’ve developed my own storytelling technique, her style will always be an influence on me. I know it shows in THE PLOT, my first suspense romance that was released as an audiobook. I had the privilege of working with an incredibly talented narrator, Austin Walp, who brought my characters to life in a way that still makes me grin in wonder whenever I listen to it.

An unconventional romance…

At 18, Yoko Hirano falls prey to a human trafficking organization and is forced into a lifestyle nightmares are made of. When the young Japanese girl escapes, her only focus is exacting revenge and saving other girls from the same fate by bringing down Michael Chen, the powerful mobster who destroyed her innocence.

Between two misfits…

Four years later she meets antiques dealer Mark Chandler, the only man who ever treated her with respect. Though she is torn by her unfamiliar feelings for him, Yoko’s grand scheme doesn’t involve falling in love, and a man like Mark would never want her if he discovered her past. What she doesn’t know is that he has his own dark secrets…

Brought together by love and revenge.

Mark never thought he could lose his head over a woman, but the haunted eyes of his beautiful new employee fill his soul with desire and tenderness. When he learns about what had happened to her, his vengeance knows no limits. Nor does his resolve to help her heal and discover love.

You can listen to a sample of THE PLOT on YouTube, watch the book trailer, and if you want to hear more, you can find THE PLOT on Amazon as well as on all major audiobook distribution channels. Enjoy!

Fondly,

Melinda