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!

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CREATING ROMANTIC CONFLICT @PRosemoor #mgtab

CONFLICT IN EVERY SCENE/TENSION ON EVERY PAGE

Writing a romance? This goes to the heart of the story, the thing that keeps the reader reading…

•    Conflict/tension between the hero & heroine drives plot and keeps the reader turning pages

•    Romantic or emotional conflict is something inside the heroine and/or hero that creates a problem  exacerbated by their situation

•    Emotional conflict grows from feelings, doesn’t need to be logical, can’t be reasoned away. It comes from experience, how the character sees him or herself

•    What prevents your characters from making that leap into love is more than just external forces. Love is a matter of the heart, and not about the events, no matter how dramatic

•    The conflict must be both believable and substantial enough to carry the book

•    Emotional conflict should always be in the characters’ and the readers’ minds.

•    External conflict prevents your characters from accomplishing their goals

•    Internal conflict which comes from the characters themselves (Theme) should go along with the external conflict of the story that comes from the circumstances, or is created by other characters. (Plot)

•    Don’t substitute external conflicts for internal ones; enhance emotional conflicts by using externals to provide a context

•    The best romances are built around a complex emotional conflict played out against  an equally interesting story (external conflict) that forces the characters to deal with each other and their issues.

•    Whatever is happening externally in the plot should somehow reinforce what’s going on internally in your characters’ hearts and minds. Think of the plot as a journey where your characters face obstacles that help them confront their inner demons and conflicts.

•    So make sure the final resolution of the romantic conflict comes from inside your characters and not from the events.

Next time, I’ll cite some examples of how to make conflict work for you.

 

 

 

 

My current release, In Dreams, has a ton of conflict, both internal and external. Um, the heroine is running for her life…

 

 

 

 

CALLING ALL AUTHORS AND READERS TO STAND UP

CALLING ALL AUTHORS AND READERS TO STAND UP

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I am an author and avid reader and like most of us I spend a lot of my day sitting!  Thanks to my daughter who teaches stress management and health and wellness solutions I have started to STAND UP!

That’s in large part due to research showing that the cumulative impact of sitting all day for years is associated with a range of health problems, from obesity to diabetes to cancer.

Because the average office worker –AND AUTHORS AND READERS LIKE US spends 5 hours and 41 minutes sitting each day at his or her desk, some describe the problem with a pithy new phrase that’s undeniably catchy, if somewhat exaggerated:

Sitting is the new smoking.”

Here are some fun facts (and not so fun facts) I’ve gathered by perusing GOOGLE about the benefits of standing vs sitting.  Think about it!! And then according to the experts:

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Here’s a list of some of the benefits of standing vs sitting scientists have found so far.

Reduced Risk of Obesity

“Failing to take advantage of these constant movement opportunities, it turns out, is closely associated with obesity. And research suggests that our conventional exercise strategy—sitting all day at work, then hitting the gym or going for a run—”makes scarcely more sense than the notion that you could counter a pack-a-day smoking habit by jogging,” as James Vlashos puts it in the New York Times. The key to reducing the risk of obesity is consistent, moderate levels of movement throughout the day.

“Step one is get up. Step two is learn to get up more often. Step three is, once you’re up, move,” he says. “And what we’ve discovered is that once you’re up, you do tend to move.”

Reduced Risk of Type 2 Diabetes and Other Metabolic Problems

“The conclusion that for people already at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, the amount of time spent sitting could be a more important risk factor than the amount of time spent vigorously exercising.”

Reduced Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

“Since, scientists have found that adults who spend two more hours per day sitting have a 125 percent increased risk of health problems related to cardiovascular disease, including chest pain and heart attacks.  Even when the researchers controlled for the amount of exercise, excessive sitters were still 34 percent more likely to develop heart failure than those who were standing or moving.”

Reduced Risk of Cancer

“A handful of studies have suggested that extended periods of sitting can be linked with a higher risk of many forms of cancer. Breast and colon cancer appear to be most influenced by physical activity (or lack thereof).”

Lower Long-Term Mortality Risk

“Because of the reduced chance of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer, a number of studies have found strong correlations between the amount of time a person spends sitting and his or her chance of dying within a given period of time.

A 2010 Australian study, for instance, found that for each extra hour participants spent sitting daily, their overall risk of dying during the study period (seven years) increased by 11 percent. A 2012 study found that if the average American reduced his or her sitting time to three hours per day, life expectancy would climb by two years.”

REMEMBER

“Five or more hours of sedentary sitting, according to Dr. David Agus, is the health equivalent of smoking a pack and a quarter of cigarettes. Yikes!”

 

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/five-health-benefits-standing-desks-180950259/#VawCXQyFAG0D8S1X.99