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

Pandemic Pollyanna

With all the scary news stories spreading faster than the actual Corona Virus pandemic, I think it’s time to play The Glad Game. It was created by one of my Favorite Fabulous Females of Fiction, Pollyanna. The premise is simple: look for the good in every bad situation.
As Pollyanna said, “When you look for the bad, expecting it, you will get it.” So, let’s search out bright spots!
What are the two suggestions to keep healthy? Hand washing and social distancing. Cool! I have loads of fancy sweet-smelling soaps (a passion of mine: read Naked in the Winter Wind, a perma-free novel) and now I can share a few bars with friends without feeling like I’m suggesting they stink.
Social distancing: lots of schools and gathering places are shut down and events canceled here. What about your area? I believe that’s just a reason to read more (or maybe write more). My daughter’s wedding was canceled when the venue called her and said they were shutting down until further notice. Her glad: she still had her fiance’.
If you’re not sick, remember to be grateful. Or to paraphrase Pollyanna, ‘There’s your glad!’
The moral of the story: Accentuate the positive! But still, wash your hands. You want to spread optimism, not germs.

An eye-opening way to spend those hours of social distancing: reading about this Mama and her triplet chicks! No news updates guaranteed! Read the first four stories of my new series, TRIPLETS: THREE AREN’T ONE, only available in these sets. (The fifth story is still in process)

Invincible Secrets and THE SET UP. Where it all begins: with Mama. Learn Grace’s secret and how she tries to deal with it. Gritty women’s fiction.

All That Glitters: Glitz, Glam, and Billionaires. Come live the life of the privileged in this set of stories about movie stars, princes, and billionaires. This is where you’ll find the story of Vickie in DIAMONDS AREN’T FOR EVERYONE.

Doctors in Love 2: Sexy and Determined. Brought up by a father who ran a non-profit mobile medical clinic, Ria’s healing skills were evident at an early age. Could she mend a wounded heart? THAT MAGIC TOUCH, one of seven stories about healers helping others.

Cute But Crazy – Wacky, Wonderful Women. Once you’ve read about Mama and the first two triplets, you’ll be ready for Tori in HOW LOVE GROWS. Her imaginary friends just might be real, but will the young pot grower who came to help Papa on the marijuana grow site believe her or think she’s CUTE BUT CRAZY? – The Authors’ Billboard first Romantic Comedy set. Preorder now. Read in two days (March 20).

The Case for Paperbacks by @AyalaRachelle

My bookshelf

My house is literally full of books. Books I’ve collected since I was a child [I still have a ragged Barney Beagle] to books I purchased just this week. If you’re like me, your kindle is also burgeoning with books. I have over 5000 at last count.

My friends tell me to declutter and sometimes, I have rather reluctantly said goodbye to many of my books (sniff, sob, I still mourn them). After all, why hold onto the paper or hardback when I can simply download an ebook to my ereader?

The answer is simple. With 5000+ books in my kindle library, I’m constantly forgetting I have a book. How many of you have gone to a book page, hit “purchase” only to have Amazon tell you you already have the book? Thank goodness Amazon does this, but that doesn’t count the books I have on Nook and Google Play, not to mention borrowed from Scribd or Overdrive.

So the other day, I got to thinking, and maybe it’s a dangerous thing since I’m supposed to be decluttering so that when my husband retires we can move… Books that I have in paper form are like friends I see in person, my neighbors, my cousins, my relatives, and my old school friends who live within fifty miles of me. Books I have on kindle are like social media friends. And while I love my social media friends, they don’t occupy the mind space and physical space as people I get together for coffee, walks, and parties.

It’s the same with ebooks. Now, don’t kill me here. I love ebooks. I love the convenience, the ability to have thousands in my account and countless more available at any time or any place. But I don’t “bump” into them the way I do with my paperbacks. They don’t bring back memories, and I don’t pick them up and flip to a bookmark or a crease in the spine or discover a long-forgotten sticky note or bookmark, and they definitely don’t transport me back to when we first met.

Paper books, meanwhile, are like old friends. A couple weeks back, in the throes of decluttering, I kept putting a set of books into a box, then taking them back out and reshelving them, then trying to resolve to give them away. I made excuses for them. They’re yellowed and wrinkled, no one would want them, and I can’t bear to throw them in the garbage. But they’re taking up space! Logically, all these books exist as ebooks. I can simply do as Marie Kondo says: to discard them, knowing that if I ever wanted to read them again, I can buy the ebook or the audiobook.

BUT… here is the big question. Will I remember them?

This particular set of cozy mysteries was written by Carolyn Hart. While flipping through these yellowed paperbacks, I was transported back to my younger days, scouring bookstores to buy her latest Death on Demand mystery. I’ve quite forgotten Max and Annie throughout the years as my reading tastes diverged to romance and suspense thrillers. But because I could not throw away that set of books, I am now reliving the 1980’s by re-reading my Death on Demand stories. I’ve even downloaded the audiobook so I can have it read to me–the font on the old paperback being kind of small for my senior eyes. I’ve rediscovered that series and was so pleased to discover that it is STILL GOING after all these years.

It’s all because I had the paperbacks. A paperback from 30 years ago can remind you of an author you loved and lost touch with. A paperback is like a loyal friend sitting on the shelf winking at you when you walk by, and a paperback is something you can pass on to others. As an author, a paperback is a living reminder to your readers about you. Who knows? Twenty years from now, the reader you have now might rediscover you and be joyously surprised that your series is still going on. Or your paperback has been passed from friend to friend, making you new friends to the farthest corners of the earth.

Now that, is like having a friend for life!

p.s. I have the black covered collector’s hardbacks of the Agatha Christie mystery library [a subscription series] and I’m NOT parting with them. Besides, my daughter has tagged them all already. Agatha is a friend for life and beyond.

What do you think? Do you buy paperbacks of the books and authors you like? Do you keep every autographed paperback of your writer friends? [I do]. Or do you let them go to share and spread the joy?