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

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!

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. 🙂

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