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

Busy Summers & Peanut Butter!

If you are like me, you can’t believe it’s almost the middle of August! Where do our summers go? So busy!! Since June, I have finished writing four books, took a 12-day vacation, and now have had my almost 3-year-old grandson with me for a week and he’s staying for at least another week. Luckily, I have all my books written for this year so I can enjoy my time with him!

A few other of our Authors’ Billboard Authors have talked about Food in their monthly posts, so I thought I would share that I just learned how to make fresh peanut butter! It is so simple – All I do is pour a jar of Honey Roasted Peanuts into my brand new Pampered Chef Cooking Blender and set it to grind mode! Less than 3 minutes and I have perfect peanut butter!!! So good and no extra sugars! And thankful that I have this because my grandson has a peanut butter addiction!

Now, I’m not sure if my characters in the My Blood Runs Blue Series enjoy peanut butter or not, but the gang sure does have a knack for trouble! My Blood Runs Blue was the first book that I ever wrote, back in 2010. Shortly after that, I wrote Blue Blood for Life, and then the series got put on hold while I started writing a lot of other books.

In 2016, I got the chance to write a short story, The Pulse of Blue Blood, which is actually meant to go in between My Blood Runs Blue & Blue Blood for Life. For a long time, the series sat waiting for me, but I am working inally finishing it up. Mixing the Blue Blood, book 4, comes out August 21st – and the final book, Blue Bloods Final Destiny will release in the spring!

At the time that I started writing, I was a police officer. This series deals with Officer Kristin Greene finding out that there is a whole different world out there, and everything that she knew isn’t necessarily correct. It’s a sexy paranormal series with a lot of police procedural details. And right now, My Blood Runs Blue, The Pulse of Blue Blood and Mixing the Blue Blood are all $0.99 each.

I hope you all enjoy the rest of your summer!!! Now off to make jam in my new cooking blender to go with my peanut butter!

A Road Trip for Inspiration

This past weekend my husband and I took a fun roadtrip so I could get a first hand perspective of a town for an upcoming book that I am co-writing with another author (Love Inked, The Twisted Love Series). It was a spur of the moment decision to head up and check it out and one I am so glad that I made! 

Sunday morning, hubby and I jumped in my car and hit the PA Turnpike to go west and then north to the little town of Centralia. Now, it might sound that exciting to go visit a small town in the middle of no where, but this town has some serious history. If you search Centralia PA, you’ll see it listed as the Town that is No More. Google lists it as a Ghost Town.

Why is that? Well, it’s because Centralia was once a up and coming mining town, and in 1962 while burning some rubish at the landfill, they started a fire in a mining shaft below ground. Today, the fire still burns underground (and is expected to burn at least another 200 years) and the entire town has been evacuated (expect about 7 residences who refuse to leave). The history is quite fascinating, and my visit there was awesome!

The series that I’m writing with Amy Manemann is a Romantic Suspense/Police Procedural series, and while the majority of it takes place in Philly, Centralia is going to play a big part in the upcoming books. Love Inked, Book 3 in the series will introduce the town, and Book 4 (Title not announced yet) the two female detectives will visit.

Now what’s in Centralia? Not much. A bunch of streets that have no signs, but navigation will tell you what their names used to be. A lot of plots of land overgrown between the roads, broken cement stairs that used to lead to homes, and lots of graffiti! There are a few homes left, and a municipal building along with a church and two cemetaries.

What I also found there was a whole lot of inspriation for our series. As I looked around, I could picture where things would happen, and I felt like Kali (the character) was ready to take on the investigation!  That little creek in front of me here, well let’s just say that you might see that again on the pages of a book.

All in all, my hubby and I had a great time. Not only doing the reseach, but just spending the day with each other. I’m blessed that I have a husband who is so encouraging and willing to help me out! Now I can’t wait to figure out my next location so we can visit that one too!

If you want to know more about my trip and the Twisted Love Series, join the Twisted Love Series Addicts Group on Facebook, and check out the first two books, Love Lorn by Amy Manemann and Love Torn, by me. Those two books give the back story on the upcoming Book Love Inked that releases on January 3rd.

 

 

 

 

Working with a friend

As a writer, you spend a lot of time in your head, and you know where and how you want your story to go, but what happens when you co-write with someone?

Everything Changes – that’s what happens.

Recently, a good friend of mine, Amy Manemann (she’s actually like a little sister to me), decided to write a book series together. We threw some ideas back and forth about two female detectives working together who were complete opposites. The ideas started to take form and we really started to think on them.

It’s wasn’t long before we had our characters decided. She is writing, Detective Evie Harper, a rookie detective who is by the book, thinks before she speaks and lives by her integrity. Me? I’m writing Detective Kali Man, she’s been in major crimes for several years and she lives by never getting attached to anything. She’s a love them and leave them girl who doesn’t hold back her thoughts.

So how does it work when you write with another author? There are many ways, but this is how we do it!

Amy wrote the first book, a novella called Love Lorn, that introduces her character. It released in March. I wrote the second book, Love Torn, to introduce my character and it releases in May. In August, our first Co-Authored Book, Love Inked, will be released where these two come together as partners.

Love Inked starts out with Kali coming into work. I wrote the first chapter and then I sent it to Amy. She read it – laughed her butt off – made notes and then sent it back. Then she wrote Chapter 2 from Evie’s point-of-view and sent it to me and I did the same back to her. Generally, we know where the chapter will go, but we don’t know how the other person is going to get it there.

There is a theme to our series, Twisted Love, and that’s why we named it that. We keep a document with plot ideas and scenes for certain books so we can keep them flowing. Right now, the series will consiste of two novellas that introduce the series, and then four full-length novels that carry through one major crime and several smaller ones. Ironically, we are still writing book 3 of the series, Love Inked, but we already know how book 6 will end – and we even discussed what could happen after! 

It’s exciting and challenging to write with someone else because you never know what they might throw at you, and how you are going to need to deal with it. It’s kind of like real life in that way and makes the story even more exciting.

We even have a group on Facebook where come May 1st, you can get to know both Amy & I along with our characters. We’ll be doing live readings of our chapters, character interviews and giving your a few sneak peaks about what’s coming in the future!

You’re Welcome to join the fun! The Twisted Love Series Addicts

In the meantime, Check out Love Lorn and meet Evie Harper and get ready for Kali to hit the bookshelves with Love Torn on May 19th!