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

Diana Gabaldon and me

Is there someone in your life who made a huge difference even though you’ve never been introduced? Well, I have and her name is Diana Gabaldon.

Photo courtesy Variety – Terrence Patrick

How did she impact my life on such a grand scale? It started with a gift. My eldest daughter gave me a paperback book for Christmas. On it was a little handwritten tag. ‘The story of the most perfect man in the world.’ Yup. Outlander, the story of a time traveler and the man she fell in love with.

The story reignited my fascination with time travel that H.G. Wells had lit when I was a teenager. When checking her website to see if she had more books, I noticed we were born the same year and both attended the same university at the same time. I wondered if she had endured the same jerk I had for Freshman English. Until he came into my life, I loved writing. What stuck with me, though, was her declaration that if you love to write, WRITE!
My passion to create stories had returned. What would happen if I fell into Outlander? I couldn’t get that idea out of my head. Little themes kept sprinting through my head, twisting through forests of elaborate scenarios, bumping into encounters between her fictional characters and mine.
So, overcoming the literary passion-gutting of my Western Literature professor at NAU thirty years earlier, I started to write again. Working full time and with a daughter in school, all I had were late nights and stolen moments for my new obsession. Of course, I couldn’t use Outlander, so I created a different fictional time travel story. The premise remained the same, though: an older woman is rejuvenated and awakes in a different time, interacting with fictional characters from her favorite romance novel.
I didn’t publish anything for a long time, but I did keep writing. Did I even want to be published? Well, sort of. I wanted my novels to be available to my daughters and granddaughter (no male heirs). Being published had to be the best way to do that. Photocopies and journals were easily lost. Searching library systems for Nana’s name would be easier.
I had four books written before I published my first one. The first two in the series still weren’t ready to be shared and I knew it. I cringe when I look back at my early drafts. But you know what? The passion kept me going. Now if I reread my stories, I smile with pride. I didn’t give up. I didn’t think I’d ever finish that first book (now free), Naked in the Winter Wind but I did. Right now, I’m working on number thirty-one. Take that, NAU Professor!

No matter who inspires you, take that kernel of desire and work toward your dream, revel in your passion. Do no harm and be respectful, and who knows, maybe you’ll be an inspiration to others, too!
Thanks, Diana!

Love living the life of the rich and famous but without the debt or paparazzi? Check out ALL THAT GLITTERS: GLITZ, GLAM, AND BILLIONAIRES. See if your Mr. Marvelous is in here.

Sweet & Sassy Holiday #mgtab @natalieann121

Just 99 cents!

Capture The Magic Of The Holiday Season With This Brand New Collection Of ELEVEN CHRISTMAS ROMANCES, SIX BRAND NEW, From New York Times & USA Today Bestselling, Award Winning Authors.

During Christmas, an angel comes to the rescue, the hardest decisions are made, assignments turn deadly, choices are made, lovers realize they are meant to be together, dreams come true, true love comes from distracting romances, and old loves show up in the nick of time.

Mischievous Christmas Angel (new): Mimi Barbour, New York Times & USA Today bestselling author: He couldn’t cope with life or love without the help of his special angel.

My Girl (new): Jacquie Biggar, USA Today bestselling author: Sometimes, the right decision isn’t the easiest one to make.

Two Hearts’ Christmas Promise (new): Tamara Ferguson, USA Today bestselling author: Can an Air Force pilot convince his fiancé that beauty is only skin deep, when her news assignment turns deadly?

Carnations & Hot Toddy Kisses (new): Stacy Eaton, USA Today bestselling author: Is it destiny or fate that brings the past and present together?

Burning for the Nanny (new): Suzanne Jenkins, USA Today bestselling author: When Firefighter Leon Saint gets a surprise visit from a one night stand, a beautiful neighbor with a reputation comes to the rescue.

Because You Said So (new): Dani Haviland, USA Today bestselling author: Sometimes that’s all it takes.

Holiday Love: Natalie Ann, USA Today bestselling author: Can the magic of the holiday make these coworkers realize they are finally meant to be together?

Once Upon a Christmas: Denise Devine, USA Today bestselling author: When old friends reunite, will a new enemy keep them apart?

The Right Kiss: Mona Risk, New York Times & USA Today bestselling author: What’s a girl to do when she dreams about another man while in her fiancé’s arms?

Her Christmas Secret: Alicia Street, USA Today bestselling author: Lila courts a cold-hearted investor for her handmade toys, but finds herself instead drawn to a handsome maintenance man. With her sister’s family on the line, a distracting romance is the last thing she needs.

Right Man/Wrong Groom: Patrice Wilton, New York Times & USA Today bestselling author: When an old love shows up for the wedding, Nadine has to make that final choice.

Danger & Romance, the Beachcomber Investigations Way

 Beachcomber Danger, the 8th book in the Beachcomber Investigations romantic detective series is now out!  I’m just as proud of this baby as I was of the first. So far reviewers agree.

If you like a little danger with your romance, this is the series for you. Set on Martha’s Vineyard, ex-special ops legend Dane Blaise wrestles (literally!) with his attraction to bombshell ex-Scotland Yard detective, Shana George. Along the way, their assignments involve kicking some badasses while they manage to keep each other from harm–or at least they manage to stay alive.

Each book can be read as a stand-alone, but I always love reading a series in order. (You could start with the box set of the first four books HERE.)

But today I’m celebrating the Newest Baby: Beachcomber Danger

Here’s the tab:

The trouble with being stupid-in-love is that it makes you stupid. And you have your whole world to lose…

Dane Blaise was once a special ops legend, so he’d been in danger before.
But not like this. This time it counted for all the marbles.

Shana was not going to let Dane take on this assignment without her, though she knew he wanted to. The stakes were off-the-charts high. This was about saving the President. And there was no way she would let him shield her from the dangerous consequences.

The only problem was, when someone was out to assassinate the President of the United States, things got complicated. They had a way of spiraling out of a man’s control until legendary status meant shit.

And in the end, there was nothing left but you fighting for the life of the one you loved most…

Excerpt from Beachcomber Danger:

Chapter 1

They were blessedly alone at this ungodly hour of the morning. Dane ran behind Shana along State Beach, mostly for the view of her backside. He could catch her and pass her if he’d wanted to. Sweat trickled down his temples and he bent his head to wipe the sweat off on his sleeve. When he did, he caught a glimpse of a moving car out of the corner of his eye.

He turned his head only slightly to see two men in a gray sedan creeping along the road about fifty yards behind, tracking them.

Picking up his pace, he caught up to Shana.  Ever the competitor, she speeded up to try and stay ahead of him. Before she got too far, he managed to snag her t-shirt, almost tearing it from her shoulder. She slowed and swung around, pulling the shirt back on while she scowled at him.

She was about to protest but he quieted her with a look and hauled her in close. He didn’t want it to be obvious to the men in the car that he’d made them. He had no idea who they were or what they were up to, but it was scalded into his DNA by now to be cagey. Never play it straight.

He put an arm around Shana’s sweaty body, enjoyed the effects of running with the heat and humidity of the day rising, and nuzzled her ear while he whispered.

“Two men in dark glasses and suits are following us in a non-descript sedan. What does that tell you?”

“Are you in trouble with the feds?” It was both good and bad that she stopped squirming in his arms.

“No.”

He thought for a moment, running his mind in reverse back to the last time he’d had a run-in with a federal law enforcement agency. The ATF. One of their agents had been bad and they hadn’t been thrilled that Dane had been the one to discover this fact. But the man had killed their client’s husband and Dane and Shana had nailed him with a recorded confession and a gun aimed squarely at him with intent to kill. No one was happy about that mess. As a reward for uncovering the ATF agent’s drug ring, Dane had been threatened with imprisonment for his so-called interference that they’d insisted labeling as obstruction of justice. But that fiasco ended a while back with a truce.

“Then what’s it about?” Her scowl changed over to something more loving, not worry, not yet.

“I’m hoping it has nothing to do with the President’s upcoming vacation on Martha’s Vineyard, but I’m not that optimistic.”

She stood stock still now and looked at him.

“Do you think they want us to—“

“No. I think they think we’re suspicious characters and they’re keeping an eye on us.”

She slapped his arm and took off at a sprint before he could stop her. Damn.

Now he’d have to catch up with her. And he’d have to acknowledge that she was probably right. The feds, likely secret service, wanted something from him—from them. He needed to remember he wasn’t in this alone. And never would be again.

Order Now at Amazon for $.99 or FREE on Kindle Unlimited.