The good, the bad, and the ugly

Dear friends,

It’s been a while since I was able to check in and give you an update. This is one of the most challenging things that I ever wrote, because the past months have been very difficult for me. My father was diagnosed with lung cancer at the end of November, so the holidays were dark and grim in my family. Just when the first spring sunrays seemed to head our way, war started in Ukraine. I live in Romania, which shares a border with Ukraine. It’s fortunate because we are able to help hundreds of thousands of refugees, but it also makes the horrors of war too close for comfort. However, I have no right to complain. I can’t even imagine what the poor people across the border have to endure every moment, living and dying in constant bombardment, as their country is destroyed, inch by inch.

The thought that this destruction might extend throughout the whole world is daunting. I’m only thirty-six years old, and already I’ve lived through a pandemic, the terrible illness of a loved family member, and now I am witnessing a war.

Needless to say that all of this has affected my creativity. I want to apologize to you all. I know you’re waiting for the next books, and I am struggling harder than you think to write the best mysteries that I can. That includes a lot of research, endless brainstorming, writing, deleting, not to mention mustering the physical and emotional state to write. I’ve had a lot more bad days than good, so the progress is slow, but I try to celebrate the small victories, like hitting the first 10k of a new book!

It’s a new series, which I’m very excited about. I can’t tell you anything about it yet, so please be patient with me. I just hope you will continue to share these small joys and make these baby steps with me.

In the meantime, I would love to offer you a free short story from my Lovestruck collection, which is available exclusively on my website, melindadeross.com. Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! 🙂☘️

Also, I have another series that I would love to recommend, because as a friend of mine says, we all turn to books for solace when reality becomes too harsh to endure.

If you would like to help the people of Ukraine in any way, fellow AB author Stephanie Queen has generously put together an anthology of ten stories, and 100% of the proceeds will be donated to support Ukrainian refugees all over the world. Please consider buying this box set, so that someone who had to abandon their home can have a hot meal, medicine, or a bed for the night.

Stay safe,

Melinda

7 Must-Dos in 2022

Around the start of the new year, many of us would have already decided how we’re going to improve ourselves and our lives. We create lists of goals we plan to achieve. But just looking at, or thinking about everything on our plates can be daunting. When we become overwhelmed, we shut down and very little gets done.

For 2022, I’ve decided to do things a little differently, starting with the fact that I didn’t do any kind of graphic to share how many books I published in 2021. If I had, I’d have been comparing it to the larger number I produced the year before and you know how that goes …

We women tend not to take good care of our mental health. Fact is, if we’re not in optimal shape, we can’t take care of others. Here are my suggestions for making life just a little easier on ourselves.

  1. Don’t assume a task is going to be hard to do before you get started. Worrying about it builds up a lot of anxiety that’s often a waste of time once you get started and everything flows together smoothly.
  2. Stop worrying about things that may never happen. Ninety-nine per cent of the issues we worry about never become reality. Don’t buy trouble. Live in the now. Even if you have challenges, remember they don’t last forever.
  3. Enjoy the present moment. Life is short and when we’re old and can’t do the things we used to, that’s when we’ll look back and see how much time we wasted. Time and energy used up thinking about challenges that didn’t happen cannot be restored.
  4. Whatever is on your heart to do, do it now. Whether it’s a course in baking bread, crocheting, or writing a memoir or novel. Today’s the right time. Just. Do. It. Visualize what you want, then chase after it as if someone is trying to take that dream away from you.
  5. Rest. That’s it. Get enough sleep to give your body the chance to repair itself. Our brains and bodies and will not operate at the level they’re meant to if we keep cheating on sleep.  
  6. Read every day. Aside from learning new things, the written word (especially in the form of fiction) can take you away from your current circumstances and transport you to places you may have only heard about. Be an armchair explorer. It doesn’t cost you much.
  7. Nothing is as important as your peace of mind. Preserve it with everything in you. As best as you can, stay away from toxic people who suck the joy out of you. Pray. Meditate. Preserve your peace. Strive to be happy.

Go forth and enjoy your year!

For today only, my romantic suspense novel Grudge, is free to download at lrd.to/grudge

Corra Bingham is on an island vacation, recovering from a bad break-up, when she realizes she’s being stalked. Against her wishes, a determined police office, Phillip Denham, takes her under his wing. Using his skills as a detective, he races to find answers that will prevent Corra from ending up on a slab in the morgue.

Download here

Download your copy today! lrd.to/grudge

Texting vs. Talking

God gave us tongues and ears to speak and hear, and skin and arms to touch and hug. When we stay away from other people, we aren’t able to hug them and give and/or get the psychological comfort that human touch can give. And when we stop talking to one another, we remove the sound of the human voice. This is why solitary confinement is so hard on many of us.

There is great comfort in the sound of another human’s voice. If you can’t go see your friend or relative, then call them on the phone. Better yet, Skype them so they can see you talk to them. Don’t send a text message. Especially if they are isolated, they need to hear a voice, even if you say the same thing you would have texted. The human voice has a huge range of inflection to it. You can say, “I love you,” in many ways, giving those simple words many meanings, even being sarcastic when said. Those meanings do not come across in the printed word of a text message. People need to HEAR the meaning, along with the words.

When I’m working I turn on talk radio. I can listen when I want to and not listen when I’m thinking about other things. But I can listen to talk radio a lot longer than I can listen to just music, as much as I love music. The radio commentators make me laugh and smile, and sometimes get me angry at an injustice done, or sad for someone else. I can read the same information, but reading the words usually doesn’t evoke the same kinds of feelings. So instead of just texting, use your phone to call, especially someone who you know is all alone during this time.

Do your part for mental health, which can be harder on people than poor physical health. Let them hear the sound of your voice, encouraging them onward. Reading a good story will also help. Send your friends a copy of a book you love.

Turnagain Love was the first book I had published. I wanted a story that had humor, pets, and a situation that people found funny. It makes an ideal read for someone who wants a gentle story that is rated PG. Send this to an elderly relative to give her a spot of cheer. This is also out in a print edition with large type.

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