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

It’s just a little bit of smoke-Yeah, right!!

If you have ever had a fire in your house, you might understand the title of my post today! On December 2nd, things got a little crazy in our house. Well, I guess I should say that got a little crazy for me!

I was sitting on my couch a little before nine in the morning, working on my laptop and enjoying my coffee. I’d just finished a book a couple of days before and I was thinking of taking the month off to enjoy the holidays. In fact, I’m pretty sure at the time, I had been digging through recipes that I wanted to try out.

Anyway, as I sat there, there was a huge ZAP that went through my house and my lights flickered. For a moment, I thought that a tree limb must have come down someplace and hit a power line. I didn’t think anything else about it, and a few minutes later went into my kitchen to cook breakfast.

Except when I turned my stove on, I suddenly realized that I could smell something funny, kind of sweet in a way and I checked my burners, then ran downstairs, that funny zapping noise now causing me a little bit of concern. My basement was fine, and I returned to the kitchen, where everything was normal, except the odor was stronger and I glanced toward the hallway. Imagine my surprise when I saw smoke drifting down my hallway!

I rushed down the hall, threw open my office door (Which leads to a big addition to our house — including our bedrooms) and found the room full of hazy smoke! SNAP–talk about a zap! my heart about jumped out of my throat!

Clothes, I needed clothes, shoes too! It’s cold out! I have never gotten dressed so fast, my robe, slippers, PJ’s went everywhere as I looked around and didn’t see any flames. Crap! Was it in the walls? Not good!

I raced back to the kitchen, my dogs were getting antsy, and luckily went right out the back door when I opened it. Phone, keys to the car and I finally called 911.

On my way out of the house, I opened the garage removed my car in case I needed to put my dogs somewhere safe, and then waited.

Four fire trucks showed up at my house. FOUR! I was the talk of the neighborhood for a couple of days, and I even got the chance to meet a few neighbors that I hadn’t really known well.

The good news is that it was a major electrical short in my addition’s heating unit in the attic, and the fire had been contained to that- we were lucky! The bad news… That little bit of smoke caused such a mess!

Over fifty loads of laundry were done the next week, and I slept on the couch for two weeks. My hubby was out of town for the first week, wasn’t he lucky, and when he returned, he snagged a cot from work so he could sleep next to me in the living room.

Everything had to be cleaned, new beds had to be purchased, the walls had to be wiped down, the carpets professional cleaned and the air ducts! Needless to say that I didn’t get much holiday baking done, but that side of the house has never been so clean!

I feel for anyone who has ever had a fire in their house. I could not imagine having lost all of our things, or even a portion. Dealing with insurance and contractors is never fun, but luckily about two weeks after the fire, things started to fall back into place.

Never one to let an opportunity go, of course, my experience will be put to good use as I add it to an upcoming book in the Loving A Young Series! Make sure to check it out! Wesley, Book 1 released in December, and Henley, Book 2 releases on January 25th! Huntley will be the book where I deal with this story. It seems only fitting since Hunt is a fireman!

Choose a Man: Navy SEAL or Fire Fighter

Two twenty-something women are sitting in a bar in San Diego or New York City. In the lounge of PF Chang’s or Ruth’s Chris Steak House. One of these women is you. You’re wearing four point five inch glossy red strappy sandals, one leg crossed over the other so your black and white polka dot skirt is halfway up your thigh. You’re chatting with your friend and she’s wearing light pink matte lipstick, a three-inch wide pink Bakelite bangle bracelet and her blond hair in a high ponytail of cascading waves.

You know you both look hot, but you always do. So, it’s no big deal. Another warm summer night out in the city. You feel the attention, but it’s like a second skin—always there. Music, clinking glassware and slightly tipsy conversation surrounds you while you take your second sip of your Singapore sling then exhale to relax after your initial catch-up with your friend.

Now you look around. At the men. And there are plenty of them.

Are you in the neighborhood pop-spot near the Coronado Navy base filled with newly inducted warriors?

Or are you in the neighborhood hot spot of a downtown Manhattan Firehouse frequented by hot-off-their-shift lifesaving men?

Do you want the kind of man who would kill to protect you?

Or do you want the kind of man who would run into a fire to save you?

Don’t worry, there is no right or wrong answer—unless you say neither. (But what woman would say that? Honestly?)

You might say either would do, but I think most would have a preference, most of us would see the subtle distinction and maybe come down on one side or the other.

Me, you ask? I’d go for the Navy SEAL. Don’t ask me why.

But I’m going to ask you (fair or unfair) which you would pick and WHY?

Go ahead—tell me.

In the meantime, I’m working on a few stories starring two best friends. One is a Navy SEAL and the other is an FDNY Fire Fighter. Coming soon…

Catch up with me and my progress on these stories at www.StephanieQueen.com.