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

Are you Superstitious? #Inspiration #amwriting #mgtab @jacqbiggar @mimisgang1

 

I was recently a guest on author, Teri Polen’s blog and shared some of my superstitions with her readers 🙂

If you’re not superstitious, this featured author may change your mind.  She also confirms why basements in haunted houses aren’t a place you want to hang out.  Welcome Jacquie Biggar!

You’re in a horror movie.  Are you the final person, the first to die, the comic relief, the skeptic, the smart one, or the killer?

I would be the skeptic saying, “Yeah, sure that’s a real chainsaw with blood dripping all over my clean floor. When you’re done goofing off, I hope you plan on cleaning that mess up!”

Creepiest thing that’s ever happened while you were alone?

We lived in a haunted house when I was growing up. My bedroom was in the basement and normally the streetlight would shine through the three windows and provide plenty of light. But, once in a while I’d wake up and literally not be able to see my hand in front of my face. There’d also be a strong, malevolent presence (or maybe that was because I was scared witless!). I’d bang against walls and furniture to get upstairs, my heart drumming right out of my chest, and the light would be on outside. I could see it through the bay window and its glow lit up the kitchen.

Most scared I’ve ever been.

Are you superstitious?

Isn’t everyone? J I won’t walk under a ladder. If a black cat crosses my path, I’ll figure a way around it (tricky since we owned black cats!). If I spill salt, I don’t just throw some from the shaker over my shoulder, I scoop up the spill and throw it too. (Sorry, guy in the next booth!) Friday the 13th is the worst. I’m always waiting for something bad to happen. Some events from history include: Buckingham Palace bombed Sept 13th, 1940, a thirteen-year-old was struck by lightning Friday the 13th at 13:13, a cruise ship ran aground off the coast of Italy, and Flight 571 crashed in the Andes leaving its survivors to commit cannibalism.

What is the hardest part of writing?

Focusing!

No really, between social media, my pets needing attention (I have a calico and a German Shepherd), watering my plants because we’re under drought conditions and I can’t stand to see them die, visiting my mom each day, cleaning the house (if I have to J), making DH dinner and packing his lunch, and watching my favorite TV shows (There’s at least one each night) I have to force myself to sit down and concentrate on the book. And that’s not counting promo stuff.

Writing IS a full-time job and it’s important to slot out a timeframe that works- for you. Just because Betty-Lou has great success writing at 5 am (Oh, my gosh!) it doesn’t mean that will be your productive time. Heck, I don’t even function until I’ve downed three or four cups of coffee. Some write every day, and others only on the weekend. It’s all about finding the lane that works for you, and then sticking to it because you’re the only one who can create the magic.

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?

My critique groups have changed my way of writing. I belong to two fantastic groups. A local one where we share our work via email and meet once a month for an exchange of ideas, industry information, and gossip. J And an online group through the Kiss of Death RWA Chapter called Lethal Ladies. I’ve been the coordinator there for two years and value their insights immeasurably.

I feel critique groups and beta readers together make for stronger, cleaner storylines. After all, you want your book baby to be all that it can be, right?

What’s your work schedule like when you’re writing?

I’m lucky enough to be able to work full-time towards a successful writing career, which means I can spread my jobs throughout the day. I start by reading and commenting on my blog and those that I follow (don’t take this lightly, the blogging community is huge and they can help you if you’re willing to put in some effort), then I move on to Facebook, Twitter and my emails. After that, I take a break for family and pet-time.

The bulk of my writing takes place in the evening. The house is quiet and I can concentrate on my work. It drives me nuts to have the television on while I’m writing. I guess I’m an all or nothing kind of gal, lol.

 

 

Now on #Audiobook https://www.amazon.com/Beast-Within-Mended-Souls-Book/dp/B07BX446YX

 Haven’t joined the latest craze yet? Join here and get a free book- https://www.audible.com/pd/B07BWTYQK2/?source_code=AUDFPWS0223189MWT-BK-ACX0-112815&ref=acx_bty_BK_ACX0_112815_rh_us

And check out my other #audiobooks here: https://www.audible.com/author/Jacquie-Biggar/B00MSIJQBG

 

The Beast Within

Book 2 Mended Souls Series

She didn’t expect to land in the crosshairs of a serial killer.

Can two displaced angels save a woman from the clutches of a vicious psychopath?

 When Julie Crenshaw is offered a news reporter’s job on beautiful Vancouver Island she didn’t expect to land in the crosshairs of a serial killer.

Connor O’Rourke has seen his share of human depravities during his fourteen years as a homicide detective, but is still sickened by the murderer terrorizing his island shores.

And threatening his key witness.

As the stakes rise, can two people get a second chance at love?

Or will a killer be the winner?

Excerpt

Julie pulled into the paved driveway and parked in front of the single car garage just as the school bus stopped down the street and let off a rag-tag bunch of laughing, talking kids. All except her boys, last to step down from the vehicle. They barely glanced up from their inspection of the sidewalk when the doors slid closed and the bus signaled away from the curb.

She sighed and waited while they trudged the half block to their front gate. There were no waves or yelled plans to join the other kids in a game of street hockey after their dinner. No suggestions of an impromptu basketball match using the hoop above the garage door, or a bike ride to the nearby park. Nothing at all. In fact, Dustin looked like he had another of his perpetual mad-ons happening, with hunched shoulders and downcast expression. Meanwhile, Freddie tagged along behind, casting envious glances at the neighbor boy running down the street toward the others setting up for the hockey game.

“Why can’t we, Dusty?” Freddie tugged on his older brother’s jacket, barely slowing him down. “I want to play.”

Dustin stopped short, glaring at the laughing kids down the block. “They’re a big bunch of dummies.” He kicked at a stray pebble, sending it skittering down the walk.

Julie hiked her satchel higher on her shoulder and closed the car door. Dustin glanced her way, then trudged into the house without a word.

Julie’s welcoming smile flat-lined, her son’s continuing anger creating a hard ball of tension in her gut. She’d taken him to counselling after his father’s death, but it hadn’t done much to alleviate the guilt he carried. He felt the accident was his fault and nothing Julie could say would change his mind.

“Mom, can I go play?” Freddie giggled as the neighbor’s dog dropped a beat up ball glove at his feet.

She forced a cheerful expression and held out her arms. “Do I get a cuddle first?”

Young enough not to care who might be watching, he ran into her embrace, his chubby arms wrapping her waist in a bear hug. She held on a moment too long, reluctant to give up the scent of bubblegum and sun that clung to his soft skin.

“Mom, you’re squeezing me to death,” he laughed into her chest.

She gave one last clench, half teasing, half desperation, and let him go. “Be back in an hour, and watch out for traffic.”

“Okay, love you, Mom,” he said, grabbing the glove and heading for the street, his attention already half a block away.

“Love you, son,” she answered, and he was gone. Leaving her alone. Deflated.

She turned for the house, coming to a halt when she noticed Dustin standing on the other side of the screen. There was that knot again. Much as she loved her eldest son, Julie hated the undercurrents that ran between them like a tide of noxious gas. He’d been daddy’s boy, had followed Mike wherever he went, questions flying a-mile-a-minute. They’d often joked that the only time Dusty was quiet was when he was asleep.

Mike.

She missed her husband every day.

 

 

 Amazon- https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MQEVI55

Goodreads- https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32879778-the-beast-within

International linkhttp://books2read.com/TheBeastWithin

Also available in

Dangerous Temptation – Dark Passion

SEVEN Paranormal Romances to feed your appetite for danger!

Step into worlds with exotic and extreme beings, where emotions are heightened with a mixture of fear and passion. Become one with the Dangerous Temptations as you get to know the werewolves, vampires, faeries, shapeshifters, and nefarious ancient pharaohs who sneak into your mind, teasing and titillating, building your hunger for paranormal lusts that mere humans cannot resist.

https://www.amazon.com/Dangerous-Temptation-Passion-Rebecca-York-ebook/dp/B07HCRFPJT

International Link: http://books2read.com/DangerousTemptationDarkPassion

 

Author Bio

JACQUIE BIGGAR  is a USA Today bestselling author of Romantic Suspense who loves to write about tough, alpha males and strong, contemporary women willing to show their men that true power comes from love.

Free reads, excerpts, author news, and contests can be found on her web site:

http://jacqbiggar.com

You can follow her on at http://Facebook.com/jacqbiggarhttp://Twitter.com/jacqbiggar

Or email her via her web site. Jacquie lives on Vancouver Island with her husband and loves to hear from readers all over the world!

You can also join her street team on Facebook: Biggar’s Book Buddies

Or her exclusive Review Crew: https://jacqbiggar.com/join-my-review-crew/

And sign up for her newsletter-

http://www.subscribepage.com/jacqbiggar

FALL INTO THANKSGIVING #mgtab

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and because my family is divided throughout the Midwest, it’s easier for most of us to get together then as opposed to Christmas.

Fall foliage makes for a brilliant display here in Illinois, and decorating for the holidays is a pretty big thing in our area of the country. So, as both a former wholesale and retail florist, I’m sharing some methods for preserving greens.

PRESERVING FALL FOLIAGE

Glycerin/Water Method keeps the leaves fairly flexible. This preserving method works because the natural moisture present in the leaves is replaced by the glycerin solution, maintaining the leaf’s texture and form.

  • Glycerin
  • Water
  • Flat pan or disposable plates
  • A weight or something to keep leaves submerged
  • Leaves
  1. Mix the glycerin and water so that it is one part glycerin and two parts water. You only need enough to submerge the leaves — about one cup.
  2. Pour the solution into a flat pan, place the leaves in the solution, and then put the weight on the leaves to keep them submerged. (Tip: try using two Styrofoam or other disposable plates. Put leaves and enough glycerin solution to just lightly cover the leaves in the bottom of one plate. Then put the other plate on top of the leaves and solution. Now you can put a weight of your choosing on the top plate without getting the weight in the solution.)
  3. Keep the leaves submerged in the solution for 2-6 days.
  4. Dry the leaves gently with a paper towel. They should feel soft and pliable.

Pressing between wax paper.

  • Leaves
  • Wax paper
  • Thin towel or paper
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  1. Place a leaf between two pieces of wax paper.
  2. Put a towel or a piece of thick paper over the wax paper.
  3. Press on the towel or paper with a warm iron to seal the wax sheets together. This takes about 2-5 minutes on each side, depending on how moist the leaf is. Once you have finished one side, flip the leaf over and do the other side.
  4. Cut around the leaf, leaving a small margin of wax paper to ensure that it will stay sealed.
  5. Rather than cutting out the leaves, you may want to try to peel the wax paper off the leaves, leaving a coat of wax behind to protect the leaves. Try this on one leaf first to see if this method works for you.

Using a microwave:

  • Fresh leaves that have not dried out
  • Paper towels
  • Microwave
  • Acrylic spray from a craft store
  1. Arrange the leaves on top of two paper towels. Lay another towel over the leaves to cover them.
  2. Microwave the leaves for 30-180 seconds. Be very attentive and careful. Leaves that are cooked in the microwave too long can catch fire. The drier the leaves, the less time they will need. Leaves that curl after removal from the microwave have not been in long enough. Leaves that are scorched have been in there too long. Only dry them for a few seconds at a time.
  3. Let the leaves sit for a day or two and then finish by spraying an acrylic sealant on both sides of the leaves.

Learn more (includes some other cool projects): https://learning-center.homesciencetools.com/article/how-to-preserve-leaves/

And how does something like designing relate to my writing?

Sometimes the easiest way to come up with a new story is to write about what you know, and since I have a degree in Ornamental Horticulture, Tales of Dragonfly includes a heroine who’s not only a florist, but a wedding planner and designer.

In Flight: A Tales of the Dragonfly Novel

A woman who’s afraid to trust. Successful designer, Penny Wentworth has arrived from New York to take charge of the wedding flowers for the new owners of the Dragonfly Pointe Inn. As a single parent of a severely autistic and mentally impaired son, she has no romantic illusions; her experience with an abusive husband has left her wary of relationships.

A man who’s afraid to love. Haunted by his past since discovering a six-year old girl brutally murdered at Dragonfly Pointe over twenty-two years ago, Sam has intentionally avoided returning home. But after resigning from his job as a homicide detective in New Orleans when his marriage fell apart, Sam is now the chief of police in Crystal Rock, Wisconsin.

An undying passion that’s endured throughout the years. Penny’s escort for the wedding, Sam had once been the object of every single one of her teenage fantasies.

When Sam’s search for a killer leads him back through his tarnished past, will a woman who’s afraid to love be able to forgive a man who feels undeserving of her love?

My newly revised story, In Flight, is also included in the Bestselling Hotshot Charmers for only 99c.

I hope everyone has a beautiful Fall-

And a fantastic Thanksgiving to those of you in the U.S.!!

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The Birth of A #Hero #mgtab #Inspiration @jacqbiggar

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Readers often ask where do writers come up with ideas for their characters? In my case, the birth of a hero comes from a variety of sources. News reports, television programs, books I’ve read; all are great resources.

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But my favorite characters grow organically from stories I’ve already written. For my new release, Missing: The Lady Said No, the idea for my hero, Augustus Grant, came to me from a previous book where the main character was a mystery writer suffering from writer’s block.

Gus is the character my hero, Joel Carpenter, (in the holiday romance novel Silver Bells) was writing about. I fell in love with the bumbling detective and decided then and there he needed his own story!

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Gus is smart, irreverent, a little bit clumsy (okay, a LOT clumsy!) and still in love with the girl he let get away.

Rebecca Hayes.

Here’s a short excerpt. Gus is investigating a murder at a horse ranch and runs into the one person he never thought he’d see again.

Becky stood at the top of the grand staircase and felt the world give way.

Augustus.

It had been too long.

And not long enough.

She couldn’t believe he was here. Or maybe she could. It had always been his dream to become a detective. After all, that was the reason they had split up, wasn’t it? He’d craved the excitement, and she’d needed stability. Safety.

Well, it was too late now, on many levels. The best thing she could do would be to put on a brave face and escape with her pride.

“Hello, Augustus,” she called. Careful not to let him see her trembling, she gripped the banister and reluctantly went to join the man who had stolen her heart. He was every bit as tall as she remembered. Still just as handsome, too. A few more lines around the eyes and mouth maybe. She shied away from his lips, focusing instead on the crooked tie and wrinkled shirt. A wry smile touched her mouth.

“I see you still haven’t figured out the right side of an iron,” she murmured.

He glanced down and ran a strong, tanned hand down his chest. Something fluttered to life in hers.

He met her gaze with a grin that slowly faded away. “I looked for you,” he said.

Oh, God.

This wasn’t what she expected. After leaving Bourbonville and moving here, to Balmoral, she’d second-guessed her decision often, but never realized maybe he did too, just a little.

“You’re the cop. You could have found me if you tried.”

As you can see, there are a lot of unresolved feelings between these two. The question is, can Gus make it right? You’ll have to read on to find out. 🙂

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This is part of a branded series set around the running of the famous Kentucky Derby. I hope you’ll enjoy my story and give the other books in the Chandler County series a try!

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