How audiobooks changed my life #mgtab @melinda_de_ross

Now a very popular format, ten years ago audiobooks were still making a shy debut – just when I needed them most. Reading has always been my biggest passion, but as I worked in an office all day with my eyes fixed on a computer screen, traditional reading became an increasingly difficult hobby. My eyes got tired easier, my neck became stiff from bending over a book. Not to mention that one can’t multi-task while reading a printed book. That was when my husband suggested I tried audiobooks.

At first I was reluctant. It seemed completely weird listening to someone read a book out loud. It didn’t sound the same when I read it in my head. However, my love of books was stronger than my stubbornness, so one day I took a chance and bought an audiobook. I remember it was Sandra Brown’s “Smoke Screen”, which was lucky because the narrator, Victor Slezak, is simply magic. From the first moments I was drawn in by his voice, fascinated by the way he interpreted each character, thrilled to hear the story brought to life. A love affair had begun!

Fast forward thousands of audiobooks listened and a career change later, and here I am today – a writer myself, who’s just producing her second audiobook. It’s funny how in the short run we never truly realize how much we’ve achieved, but sometimes in the rare moments when we take a good look back, we can be stunned by how far we’ve come from a certain period of our lives. Sandra Brown’s thrillers are still among my favorites, and although I like to think I’ve developed my own storytelling technique, her style will always be an influence on me. I know it shows in THE PLOT, my first suspense romance that was released as an audiobook. I had the privilege of working with an incredibly talented narrator, Austin Walp, who brought my characters to life in a way that still makes me grin in wonder whenever I listen to it.

An unconventional romance…

At 18, Yoko Hirano falls prey to a human trafficking organization and is forced into a lifestyle nightmares are made of. When the young Japanese girl escapes, her only focus is exacting revenge and saving other girls from the same fate by bringing down Michael Chen, the powerful mobster who destroyed her innocence.

Between two misfits…

Four years later she meets antiques dealer Mark Chandler, the only man who ever treated her with respect. Though she is torn by her unfamiliar feelings for him, Yoko’s grand scheme doesn’t involve falling in love, and a man like Mark would never want her if he discovered her past. What she doesn’t know is that he has his own dark secrets…

Brought together by love and revenge.

Mark never thought he could lose his head over a woman, but the haunted eyes of his beautiful new employee fill his soul with desire and tenderness. When he learns about what had happened to her, his vengeance knows no limits. Nor does his resolve to help her heal and discover love.

You can listen to a sample of THE PLOT on YouTube, watch the book trailer, and if you want to hear more, you can find THE PLOT on Amazon as well as on all major audiobook distribution channels. Enjoy!

Fondly,

Melinda

Balance in Life

My husband often asks me to balance my time. To prove his point he showed me an article about the value of balance. According to that article, most of our troubles are due to imbalances.

We should divide our day in such a way that we can balance work, family time, socializing, exercise, spiritual time, and fun time. If a person works eight hours a day, drives half an hour each way to work, breaks at lunch for an hour, exercises for an hour, and sleeps seven hours, this adds up to a total of eighteen hours. I assume the remaining six hours are used for family time, fun, socializing, and spiritual time.

I am not sure in which category I can fit cooking, dinner and dishwashing time. Reading should go under the hour or two of fun time. And what about writing?

I retired from my day job years ago and write full-time—or to be more accurate I sit in front of my computer full time. I can manage an hour to exercise or walk every day. I can cook twice a week and eat leftover or eat out the rest of the week, socialize two or three times a week. I consider this to be a perfectly balanced life.

Except… Around Christmas time, I deliberately put work aside. With the kids visiting it’s impossible to reach my computer, considering there are always a couple, or more teenagers sleeping in my office who can never sleep early or wake up early. So I graciously relinquish my work area and remain in the kitchen where I’ve already spent two weeks cooking, baking and preparing for the family gathering and a happy holiday. Call it family time, fun and socializing,

Yes a perfectly balanced life. Except on the two days I have to take care of the grandchildren, picking them from school, driving them to their various after-school activities and waiting for them, cooking and serving dinner—all of that goes under work and family time. Let’s not forget their adorable Cocker spaniel, Bosty, that I have to walk—call it exercise and fun.

Quite a balanced life. Except on the weeks where I have a deadline for a book and write nonstop to finish my story and edit, or format a multi-author box, or promote a new release… The eight hours of work morph into twelve or fourteen hours of non-paid overtime. Forget exercise, except running to the bathroom, forget family time, my husband swore that I become deaf during this period and never answer with cohesive sentences.

Considering there is so much I want to do, I’m still faced with the same problem of balancing my time.

I think balancing one’s time is wonderful. In theory. I always learned that to be successful you ought to give your main goal your 101%.  So how can you divide your time in multiple activities and still be successful?

Yet some people manage to multitask and be successful at everything they do. If you are one of these fortunate people, how do you do it?

Don’t forget to check our two new boxes:

Unforgettable Passion – Unforgettable Charmers (The Unforgettables Book 10)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet and Sassy in the Snow: Find Your Winter Romance!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy the Modern Princes Series:

A Bride For Prince Paul: She can’t abandon her patients for his crown!
A Bodyguard For The Princess: A murder at Harvard in Princess Chloe’s student building.
Jingle With My Princess: The doc and the princess… He saves lives but Princess Charlene may save his heart.

Crossover Fiction: Building Your Supernatural World @PRosemoor #mgtab

I’ve always been drawn to supernatural stories, especially where romance was involved.

I’ve been asked many times how I was able to create the worlds that populate crossover fiction – I combine romance with suspense with supernatural elements.

I’ve just resurrected WOLF MOON (The McKenna Legacy Book 7), RT Book Review’s Best Intrigue of 2007. It’s on digital pre-order and will be published on May 24. Are you ready for a werewolf story? WOLF MOON is closer to horror than urban fantasy — it has the monsters you’re sure are there but you can’t see until they show their true colors in the big finish. Of course it’s a story with a sweeping romance throughout, one very different than you might expect.

 

Aileen McKenna came to the remote town of Wolf Creek to study wolves in the wild and ran into Rhys Lindgren, an enigmatic man with dark secrets and a connection to the local wolf pack. Frightened townspeople were convinced a predatory wolf was on the loose after three men were found dead in the woods. Rhys didn’t blame the wolves any more than Aileen, and she intended to prove their innocence. But would Rhys take her into the snow-covered forest to do that? She’d have to be alone with him and trust him to draw out a killer…

Pre-Order Special price 99c now through May 27 (pub date May 24)

 

https://tinyurl.com/Wolf-Moon-Amazon

https://tinyurl.com/Wolf-Moon-Smashwords

I taught a segment of urban fantasy in my Writing Popular Fiction class at Columbia College Chicago for fourteen years, so I had to come up with some tips for my students and would like to share them with those of you who are as intrigued by woo-woo stories as I am.

Is your main character human or preternatural (supernatural)? If human, does s/he have magical or other powers? Is there a love interest who is of a different type of creature? Do any human characters know about the magic going on around them or is the presence of preternatural characters secret? Is there an overriding conflict due to the preternatural presence?

Are you using the present day world? An alternate history? What are the rules of your new world? Make a list. Then stick to it. What kind of magic can be used? Remember that magic always has a price.

What is the social structure of your world? If the preternatural characters are known, are they considered monsters or do they have legal rights? How do your preternatural characters differ from others in other stories? Make them your own.

What kinds of challenges will your protagonist face? What are your protagonist’s strengths? Weaknesses?

How much romance will your book have? Is this book one in a series, and if so, does the same romance carry through multiple books or does the romance change? If you’re developing a series, what is the over-arcing element that continues through several books?

In January, I published ANIMAL INSTINCTS (Kindred Souls Book 1), the first  of an urban fantasy romantic thriller series — today’s Chicago with  a supernatural underground.

Half-human, half-Kindred, Luc Lazare doesn’t want more complications in his life. He’s focused on protecting his shapeshifting family and love is the last distraction he needs. Skye Cross has the ability to talk to animals. Her most recent animal rescue mission–stopping an alleged dog fight–actually involved shifters in a primal battle. Skye quickly finds herself caught in a dangerous world she never knew existed, while relying on a man she couldn’t possibly trust. Coming from two different worlds, can Luc and Skye overcome the obstacles fated to keep them apart? 

https://tinyurl.com/AnimalInstincts-Amz
https://tinyurl.com/AnimalInstincts-BN
https://tinyurl.com/AnimalInstincts-iBooks
https://tinyurl.com/AnimalInstincts-Kobo

The next time you read a paranormal romance of any kind, see if you can answer the questions I posed above. And above all, enjoy!

Be My Valentine

Valentine Day Heart on White Background

Did you know that on February 14th we are really celebrating ‘St.’ Valentine’s Day? So, who was this saint and what did he do that made him saintly? Actually, three different men named Valentine were martyred and recognized as saints by the Catholic Church.

History has contributed several Valentine legends.

Depositphotos_4962044_l-2015One such legend says that Emperor Claudius II outlawed marriage for young men because in his opinion, single men made better soldiers than family men. Valentine continued to perform secret marriages for young couples. His reward? Claudius had him put to death.

Another legend tells of an imprisoned Valentine sending the first “valentine” after falling in love with his jailor’s daughter. He wrote her a love letter signed “From your Valentine.”

The truth behind the legends may be a little murky, but all the stories describe Valentine as a heroic and romantic figure.

So what about St. Valentine’s Day? How did that emerge? Some claim the Christian church created St. Valentine’s feast day to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia, a fertility festival. Members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, gathered at a sacred cave where they sacrificed a goat for fertility and a dog for purification. They took strips of goat hide soaked in blood to the streets, using it to smack women to make them more fertile in the coming year.

Holiday Card. Heart from paper. Valentines day

Today, Valentine’s Day is not celebrated the same way around the world. For example, in Japan and South Korea, women give their men chocolate.

In Norway and Denmark, men send rhyming love notes to women anonymously. The woman must guess the sender. A correct guess and she wins an Easter Egg later that year; a wrong guess and she owes her secret admirer an Easter egg.

In Wales, the custom is to give love-spoons, a tradition started when a Welsh sailor carved decorated spoons of wood for a lady he was interested in courting.

 

I’m celebrating Valentine’s Day by offering a Book Boyfriend Valentine for .99 this weekend.DropDead.Twitter Is he Drop Dead Gorgeous or Drop Dead Guilty? You’ll have to read to find out!

Amazon
BN
Smashwords
iBOOKS
Kobo

Happy Valentine’s Day!