Apocalypse not welcome here

Apocalypse: an epic, life-altering disaster. Yup. That’s the last five days.
Friday, February 12: The weather forecast for my small, end-of-the-road town was for snow. Instead, we got freezing rain. Life went on, but the county shut down. That meant our little church didn’t get the food we normally redistribute later that day. We did get a paltry (but welcomed) 223 pounds of bread from the next town (thank you, Dallas Food Pantry!). We had potatoes, onions, apples, tortillas, and a few winter squash on hand, so residents went left thoroughly chilled but not empty-handed.
Late that night, it got worse. The wind blew extra portions of frozen rain. Trees creaked and moaned with the extra weight of their icy coats. Creak, snap, pop, crash! Limbs and branches dropped, sometimes taking transmission lines with them. The whole town lost power. Roads were shut or narrowed to one lane because of downed timber.
The next day, we found out firsthand how extensive the damages were. My husband and I traveled to four towns before we found a place to buy gas. By the fifth one, we were able to get propane. If you could find a place open, the lines at gas stations and fast food restaurants were unbelievably long. I thought I was back in the seventies during the gas shortage. Cell phones didn’t work, either. For the first time in at least a decade, I heard ‘All circuits are busy. Please try again later.’
It’s been five days now. We made do. My husband reconnected our old gas heater and propane tank. We have two generators alternately running the laptop, house refrigerator, sump pump, and battery packs and last night, the big screen TV and blue-ray player.
What I miss the most? Hot showers! By the second day, I couldn’t stand it and took a ‘saucepan’ shower. I heated water on top of the gas heater. You’ll have to believe me that the rest was accomplished by determination, not convenience.
We still don’t have internet. Email service is sporadic if I stand at the end of the porch or in the yard. We still have intermittent rain, so I’m porching it. I can’t search the internet, though, and I can post but not look at Facebook.
I started to get fed up with it yesterday. Now we didn’t have cell service! ‘Can’t connect to a Network’ showed on my phone. We drove to Dallas and picked up a signal. I called my daughter, told her the latest updates, then after grabbing some Mexican food takeout, came back home.
Still waiting for power. Will the world stop if I don’t have internet? No. Am I frustrated? Yes. What have I learned? I’m more prepared than I thought (lots of matches, food, and candles), but next time, I’ll have more movies downloaded on my Kindle and more battery packs for my flashlights.
Be prepared. Download a few good books in case you lose power, too.


Check out THAT MAGIC TOUCH, a sweet love story about a young woman brought up without electricity and other conveniences by her doctor dad as he serves the poor in the Appalachian backwoods, also part of Doctors in Love 2: Sexy and Determined box set.

https://books2read.com/DocLove2

Amazing Summer Adventures by @JoanReeves #mgtab

Vintage traveler suitcase with sunglasses straw hat old camera and maps.I’ve had the most amazing summer—and July hasn’t even ended yet. Let me tell you all about it.

I attended a high school reunion and met the first guy I ever fell in love with. He was a nerd in high school, but he left our small town and went to Harvard. Over the last ten years, his investments have made him a billionaire. Plus, he’s no longer nerdy looking. He’s completely gorgeous. He arrived at our high school in a stretch limo with his entourage.

I couldn’t believe he had come back to our little home town. For me, he was the one who got away.

Wait a minute. That didn’t happen to me. That happened to the heroine in JANE (I’m Still Single) JONES, the romantic comedy I’d written that went into the Sweet and Sassy Summertime Volume 1 Collection.

Nine SWEET AND SASSY STORIES of SUMMER, including Four Brand New, from New York Times & USA Today Bestselling, Award-Winning Authors. “Some like them sweet, and some like them sexy, but if you’re looking for a little heat, spice up your summer reading with this hot selection of stories!”

Sorry about that. Let me tell you about going on a hunt for hidden treasure. This was unbelievable. My father never gave me anything but a hard time until he died and left me a key, but I didn’t know what the key unlocked. However, he had arranged for this guy to join me in a Quest to find The Key To Kristina. We traveled to a lot of different locations, and there were some shady people following us.

To my surprise, the guy accompanying me turned out to be the kind of man I never thought I’d find. We had so much in common: both had ex-cons for fathers, both had a strong will. He called me opinionated and bossy, but I’m really not. I’m smart enough to figure some things out that he can’t. It was the greatest adventure. You’ll never guess what the treasure was. In fact, you’ll have to read…oh, wait.

I’m so embarrassed. That didn’t happen to me. That happened to Kristina Rivera, the heroine of The Key to Kristina, a new book I wrote for Fortune’s Favor: The Treasure. Oh, my, I had so much fun writing about Kristina and her Quest and Wyatt her partner who is a crusader for lost causes.

Fortune’s Favor: The Treasure 

Fortune favors the Bold, and bold women and men through the centuries have sought Fortune’s Favor in Life and Love.

A quest, hidden treasure, inheritance, Spanish Gold, and missing jewels inspire five riveting action adventure tales of women and men seeking redemption and rewards, searching for legacies, revealing secrets, finding romance, falling in love and winning that happily-ever-after that make all the challenges they must overcome worthwhile.

For the best Kindle Beach Read 2020, go treasure hunting with five NY Times, USA Today Bestselling, and Award-winning Authors as they seek Fortune’s Favor: The Treasure.

Let me rhttps://amzn.to/3fR1hoYegroup. I know I had some kind of adventure this summer. Oh, right. I know. I went to Last Chance Beach. I’d read the legend before. It’s about a woman and man back in the 18th or 19th century, I forget which, who had fallen in love. She was a rich man’s daughter; he was a poor young man seeking a way to make a living by writing.

The father had him thrown into the hold of one of his ships and sent back to the new world. The daughter ran away to find him. She searched for years until she ended up on this island that had been newly settled. He was there! He’d washed ashore after a shipwreck. They reunited for their Last Chance at Love which is how the island got its name. Anyway, that place is a popular vacation spot now. I went there because I really needed to de-stress.

It’s hard being a woman cop, especially when you’ve been undercover for almost a year. I stayed in this adorable cottage called Blue Moon House. My friend Bogey owns it. I had just arrived when someone broke in!

Well, he didn’t exaclty break in. He had booked the cottage for the same 2 weeks I was supposed to have it. I guess Bogey forgot to notify the management company that I was staying there. Of all the men on the planet, why did it have to be him aka the Jerk?

He’s a celebrity chef all the women are ga-ga over refused to leave. Can you believe that? We knew each other and already disliked each other. What happened next was completely unexpected.

Oh, no! I did it again. That wasn’t me staying at Blue Moon House. That was Chelsea Elliot and Zander Rojas. They’re the “stars” of Hot August Night, my story in the LAST CHANCE BEACH: Summer’s End Romance Collection.

LAST CHANCE BEACH, the island paradise where Dreams go to live again, and Wishes may come true. It’s Summer’s End on the island, and the cottages, condos, hotels, and bungalows are filled to capacity. There’s plenty of time left to find summer fun and summer love, new romances and second chances, hot alpha males and heartwarming heroes, love at first sight and romantic delight, enemies to lovers and opposites to attract.

Throw a log on the beach bonfire tonight and celebrate LAST CHANCE BEACH: Summer’s End, a special romance collection of 14 all-new short stories from bestselling and award-winning authors. These summer stories—created especially for this collection—will thrill the hopeful romantic in you. Some are sweet: some are sizzling! Some are humorous; some are serious.

LAST CHANCE BEACH: Summer’s End will make you want to book a vacation to the island of legend and love, the place where soul mates find each other and love at first sight happens all the time!

Being an Author: Best Job Ever

An amazing summer? Yes! I may not have left my home and office, but I did travel to all of these places in my imagination. Being an author is the best job ever because I get to create wonderful adventures and heartwarming small town stories—dramas, mysteries, and comedies. Then I’m the one who breathes life into the smart, sassy heroines and the brave, charming heroes who “live” the stories I write.

Click the “Keeping Romance Alive” image to subscribe to my newsletter. You’ll receive a free ebook when you confirm your subscription.

All of the box set collections mentioned above are only 99cents, and they’re all on Kindle Unlimited too!

Wishing you a fabulous summer of reading—the best and cheapest vacation for the mind and the spirit that you’ll ever find. Happy reading!

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.