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Guest post: KD Bloodworth talks about thrillers and chilling suspense

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I hope the week is treating you well so far, and I’d like to introduce a very special guest for today’s post. Or better yet, I will let this great suspense author introduce herself…KD

Who is K.D. Bloodworth?

First of all, thank you for having me here today. Who is K. D.? That could be a very long and complicated answer. I’m a retired Baby Boomer, child of the Sixties, mother, wife, dog mom, birdwatcher, and storyteller. I have lived in ten or eleven different States in my lifetime. Hopefully, in my retirement the Great Smokey Mountains of North Georgia, USA is my final home.

What is your favorite genre to read and write, and why?

My favorite genre is suspense/thrillers. Stories that make me want to check and see if all my doors and windows are locked. I have no earthly idea why I enjoy them so much because in my real life I hate those feelings. I’m not sure what my favorite genre to write is, as I feel I have just begun writing. I did want my readers to feel the fear my character was going through in MrPerfect.com and the soon-to-be-released sequel Deadly Friend.

KD books

Have you always wanted to write?

I think the answer would be no. I did enjoy a journalism class many years ago but never gave thought to writing. My mother always said I should write a book about all my worldly adventures. In fact, I never cared for reading until I was in my late twenties. I read a few bestsellers from time to time, but I was having too much fun in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s to take time out for reading.

 How did you come up with the idea for your first thriller, MrPerfect.com? Is there a back story behind it?

All my books so far have come from actual events that happened in my life, in which I thought, what if this had happened instead? My imagination took over, and MrPerfect came to life. I cannot reveal what in MrPerfect was actually something that happened to me. I will say Sun Canyon is a real place where I have spent many happy afternoons.  It seemed as if in all the books I was reading all the characters were young, in their twenties and thirties. Once in a while, ya get an old forty-year-old in a book. I wanted to write about an older woman. Things to happen to people after forty or fifty that it seems the world forgets about. OMG, fifty-year-olds even have sex! (insert laughing)

Was MrPerfect.com always meant to be a series?

No. It was my readers that asked for more. One day the idea of Deadly Friend came to me. As with most of my concepts, they come to me in the early mornings, that time just before daylight, when I’m half asleep, or maybe half dreaming. I’m not sure. I also do my best writing in the early mornings.

Should we expect more from the MrPerfect.com series?

At this point, I think not. I think Dawn needs some rest and to have some good down time with her husband and dog. But you never know what the future may bring.

What kind of research did you do for this book?

Not much actually. I lived in that area, I was once a very active outdoors person, hunting, camping, fishing, shooting, and such. I did require some information on firearms about sniping. It helps to have a sharp-shooter husband.

The sequel to MrPerfect.com, Deadly Friend, is being released on 09/10/2018. Can you tell us a little bit about this friend?

I’ll just say Dawn and John believe they have put the past behind them, and their decision to start over in a new place with new jobs and new friends were the best things for them, now and for their future. Should I say, ‘best plans laid?’

What are you working on now?

My WIP (work in progress) is a book loosely based on stories my mother told me over the years about her family, growing up during the depression in coal mining towns in Oklahoma and Arkansas. My older cousins are also sharing stories that their mother—my aunt—told them about the same times. Again, I’m taking real-life experiences and allowing my imagination to run with them.  I thought I was going to write another thriller but this idea came to me, again one early morning, and I ran with it.

Can you give us a little morsel of your work-in-progress?

Fourth of July, 1926 arrived hotter than a firecracker. May and I would slip away every chance we got to go cool off in the swimming hole. A carnival came to town, but we hadn’t a dime between us to go. The big Flying Carousel sat at the edge of the grounds. May and I watched from a distance as people flew through the air, laughing and letting go with screams of delight. I wanted to feel that same joy. Knowing we would not experience their happiness of flying through the air, May and I retreated back to our porch.

Returning home, we found Blanch reading on the front porch, fanning herself in an attempt to cool off a bit. Mother had taken John down to the neighbors for some reason.

 “Blanch, everyone is at the carnival. We could go down to the swimming hole and take a dip. No one would know!” May seemed to be daring Blanch.

Blanch pursed her lips in thought, closed her book, and raised her eyebrows, “A cool dip would be delightful.” A flush crept across her cheeks at just the thought of such a brazen act. “I just couldn’t.”

May and I jumped to our feet, “Yes you can, Sister! We would never tell anyone! Especially Mother!”

Blanch’s eyes widened, a small smile appeared, as she rubbed the back of her sweaty neck. “I supposed you wouldn’t tell anyone, in fear you would get whipped too.”

To our surprise, Blanch closed her book, laid it on the table and stood. At first, we thought she was just playing with us, but she then began her descent on the steps. I think all three of us were in shock, but before she could change her mind, May and I, one on each side of our big sister, started leading the way.

Even Blanch was giggling like a young school girl by the time we reached the swimming hole. Luck be with us, there was no one around allowing Blanch to chicken out. Shucking our shoes and socks, then our dresses, the three of us were in the sweat, cool water in no time. May and I swam around while Blanch sat on a rock, up to her neck in the water. I wasn’t sure if our big sister even knew how to swim. All of a sudden she stood, and jumped into the middle, in the deepest part. May and I couldn’t believe our eyes. Blanch didn’t bob up right away which concerned us. Just about the time, we thought we should dive in to look for her, she sprung out of the water as if she had been shot out of a cannon.  She was laughing through pure pleasure.

What is your ideal type of reader, and what is your message for all the people who read your books?

I’m not sure if I have an ideal type of reader. I would like to think my stories strike a note of reality with readers. Like me, thinking this could really happen. Isn’t that where great fiction is supposed to take the reader? To possible reality?

I’d like to tell my readers that, although my books are fiction, they are all based on facts. Based on events that happened to my friends, my family, or myself. I’ll leave it for you to decide.

Thank you again for having me. There are several places people can find me, follow me, or get to know me better. I always say, viewer discretion advised, as I’m not PC, I say please and thank you like a well-mannered child but curses like a drunken sailor (at times). I have a weird, some say sick, sense of humor, too. But I’m honest, kind, and loving. It’s complicated!

Where to find K.D. Bloodworth and her books:

www.kdbloodworth.com

https://www.facebook.com/K.D.Bloodworth/

K D Bloodworth (@kdbloodworth) | Twitter

https://junction-publishing.com/authors/k-d-bloodworth/

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To be or not to be … mysterious?

Good Saturday morning everyone! I hope your weekend is relaxing and fun, as I try to make mine every week. I’ve been thinking about today’s post topic for some time now, and now I actually have a few minutes to tackle the question: do readers prefer to know their 3 sidesfavorite authors better, or do they prefer the aura of mystery that envelops some of them?

Opinions are of course different. Some authors think that hiding behind a curtain of mystery that separates them from the rest of us mere mortals makes them more intriguing, and attracts readers. However, most publishers encourage authors to be in as much contact with their fans, a theory with which I tend to agree.  Being an avid reader, I often find myself researching my favorite writers. I like reading about them, their biographies, their writing experiences, their personal lives. Knowing them as persons does not diminish in any way my interest in their work, but actually makes me respect them more, along with everything they have accomplished.

So, following an older post called Alpha-Me from A to Z, here are a few more personal things I’d like to share with my readers and fans, which I generally refer to as friends.

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  1. Definitely cats. Though I adore almost all animals—except for snakes, big lizards, and other such creatures only a mother could love—cats are my favorite companions. Having owned dozens across the years, I think they are loving, intelligent, classy animals, and numerous studies have proved they can be a true form of therapy for everything, from depression to rheumatism.
  2. Tea. I never drink coffee, because I’m a jittery person by nature, and coffee makes me literally climb the walls. Not a pleasant feeling, although my husband finds my nervousness and OCD fits very entertaining. :-/
  3. If I have to choose, I’d say music, although it’s ironic, because I’ve been a professional athlete for more than a decade (target shooter). However, I don’t follow sports (yes, I should probably be flogged for this, I know).
  4. BOTH! I’m a lover of any form of art, and both books and movies are at the top of my list. In fact, I’ve just finished watching one of my favorite duology, The Addams Family, for probably the dozenth time. After that, I’ll start The Jurassic Park quadrilogy, also for the dozenth time.
  5. Each has its charm, but generally I’m a person who loves words that start with S: summer, sun, sand, sea … and of course, sex. 😛

I sincerely hope you liked finding out these facts about me, and that I’ve offered you even a moment of entertainment on this lovely Saturday. Have an awesome weekend, my friends! ❤

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My precious!

Ever since I started my writing career I have been hearing things like “E-books are not real books”, or “I prefer having a paperback in my bookshelf than a Kindle full of E-books”. On the other hand, electronic materials are much more accessible, being easy to read even on a phone. This dilemma of electronic versus paper is more a matter of taste in my opinion, but also a matter of necessity.

For instance, I am an avid reader and not a day passes without my having a book as companion. But since I’m always in a rush, I prefer audio books. I’m never without my old, battered Mp3 Player, and even when I can’t afford to buy audio books, I make my own using a magic program called Text Aloud. This is not only for the convenience of those who are permanently multitasking, but also a miracle for blind people or those who have eyesight problems and can’t read print books.

2However, despite all these obvious advantages of electronic reading, I confess I will always adore the feel of a book in my hands. Thumbing through the pages, smelling the fresh or old ink, these are exquisite sensations to a veteran reader. And because I am a fanatical reader since I was four, I’ve always wanted to see my own books in print one day.

Well, I am delighted to say that day has finally come. Except for Be My Valentine, my only short story, all of my novels are now available as paperbacks, and I can tell you it was worth the waiting. I don’t know if you’ll think me silly or sentimental, but the truth is I cried when I held my paperbacks in my arms for the first time. It’s like holding a new born, seeing your work has finally become something tangible. Now I can say I am a truly accomplished author. ❤

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Here’s when you can take a closer look at my new babies, and I hope you’ll be as happy for me as I am! 🙂

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=melinda+de+ross+paperback

 

Booktastik Interview!

Want to know things about me even I didn’t know? Well, Dionne Lister from Booktastik has managed to get them out with her great interview skills. It’s a pleasure to be the featured author on the Booktastik website for two whole weeks! Check out my interview here or straight from the source. 🙂

Bookstastik

Melinda De Ross — An Author Whose Passion for Romance Shines Through

Today’s featured author is talented in more ways than one. She’s a journalist, author, and also runs a cover-design business with her husband — and it shows. Her covers are sexy and memorable. Melinda De Ross writes paranormal romance, and her latest release, The Plot, is just out. Melinda has written eight books, and some of those have even been translated into Romanian — her native tongue.

Thanks for joining us today, Melinda. You’ve obviously always loved writing, but at what age or time in your life did you realize that fiction writing was for you?

Hello, and thank you for having me as a guest! You’re right, I’ve always loved writing, and I love reading even more. I was working as a journalist ever since I was eighteen and writing poetry for the high school magazine. However, I truly discovered fiction writing when I was about twenty-three. (That is, excluding the cheesy and very improbable romance story I wrote when I was fifteen or so.)

To get serious, I wrote my first novella, a Paranormal Romance called Rendezvous, when I was twenty-three. The writing started as a form of therapy, as I was going through a very difficult time at that moment. It never occurred to me it would get published. To my amazement, it was, a little over a year later, after I translated it into English. Now, three years and two publishers later, my debut story is available on Amazon, and I have discovered that writing is not only one of my greatest passions, but my chosen career. I guess it chose me as much as I chose it.

Being Romanian, do you write the first draft in English or Romanian?

I’ve only written my first two books in Romanian, then translated them in English. Both Rendezvous and A French Kiss in London are now published in English and Romanian, but all of my other books are written in English. I prefer writing in English because, even though Romanian is also a very rich and melodious language, I feel I can express myself better in English. It’s the language of my heart.

What a lovely sentiment!

Do you read a wide range of genres, or do you only love to read paranormal romance?

As I said, I love reading, and I’m never parted from my i-Pod and my collection of hundreds of audio books. I like and have read books in mostly any genre, especially in my teens, when I read as much for love, as for the thirst of knowledge and having a solid general culture. However, Romance in all of its subgenres is my favorite.

Who are your favorite authors?

There are hundreds of them, but the names on the top of my list would be Sandra Brown, Nora Roberts, Diana Gabaldon, Jilly Cooper, Mary Stewart, Janet Evanovich… Not necessarily in that order.

If you’re looking for book ideas or need to fix a plot problem, what do you do for inspiration?

I usually have a dozen book ideas in my head, and my technique to put a book together is to inspire myself from wherever I can, but most of all from facts of life. I just finished a Romantic Comedy, which is mostly written from notes. I note everything I hear and see — a funny incident, a joke, something I see on the street or hear in the supermarket. There’s nothing more entertaining than life and people. That is my greatest inspiration.

Do you have a special place to write?

In my bedroom, with my laptop across my knees. I know it’s the unhealthiest habit and that is why I take vows to break it every day. So far, I’ve only managed to burden myself with a number of health problems involving my back, and with fibromyalgia.

Can you tell us about your new release, The Plot?

Well, the first thing I can say about The Plot is that it’s very different from what I’ve written so far, because it touches several sensitive subjects: human trafficking, prostitution, crime, and other things that our society is trying to hide. It is the story of a Japanese young woman who falls victim to a Chinese triad and its human trafficking network. The book shows Yoko’s journey from abuse, escape, revenge and finally, healing by falling in love. It’s a deeply emotional story, and I confess it was difficult to write at times, because I get very involved with each of my characters, and even though it has a happy ending, this young woman starts by being traumatized. I think of The Plot as a literary version of tremendously successful movies like Leaving Las Vegas, Pretty Woman, Memoirs of a Geisha, and other such masterpieces.

Do you write series books or standalones novels, or both?

Both.

What do you love most about being a writer, and what do you like the least?

I love that I can make my own schedule, and I hate research the most. It’s absolute hell to have to read dozens of pages about something just to write a paragraph. However, I do learn a lot of new stuff.

Do you have a favourite of all the books you’ve written, and what makes that book so special to you?

I love all of my books, because I pour my heart and soul into them, and each one has a piece of me in it. At the moment, I am very fond of The Plot, because as I said, it’s a strong, emotional story, and I made myself fall in love with Mark Chandler, the extremely attractive hero, who is a rather charming professional thief by night and art dealer by day. I think the most special thing about this book is the way Mark finds enough tenderness and patience within himself not only to accept Yoko’s past, but also to help her heal from her traumas and years of physical and emotional abuse.

One of your most interesting stories is Falling for Italy, where Sonia, the heroine, is a real tough target-shooting instructor with an addiction for fashion. How did you come up with that idea?

Sonia is kind of my alter ago. I was a professional target-shooter myself for over a decade, and I love a woman with a gun in her hand. Plus, I’m also addicted to fashion, to my husband’s distress. There’s something simply irresistibly sexy about a good-looking, well-dressed woman handling a gun, and I think the hero — the gorgeous Italian CEO, Giovanni Coriola — agreed. Writing that book was an incredible experience, and it’s not only one of my personal favorites, but has also been voted by readers as one of my best books.

Wow, you definitely put a lot of energy and passion into your work. Thanks so much for joining us!

Readers, if you want to check out Melinda’s books, there’s three below you can click on to go to Amazon, with the latest release on sale for 99 cents for a limited time, and if you want to keep up to date with what Melinda’s writing, you can follow her on Twitter @Melinda_de_ross, Facebook or her website. Happy reading!

This Halloween, the hunted has become the hunter… THE PLOT has begun!

Happy Saturday everyone!

You’re probably wondering what I’ve been up to this whole year, because apart from re-releasing some of my novels in two languages – English and Romanian – I haven’t actually released anything new. Until now.

I’ve been working hard on this story, because it has a very powerful emotional charge. It’s the story of a human trafficking victim who falls in the hands of a Chinese triad, and later makes it her life’s mission to get revenge. I know it will be very controversial and the reactions of my readers will vary. I’ve touched an extremely sensitive subject, and I can only hope I’ve done it justice.

That said, with the loud drum rolls in my years and the even louder hammering of my heart, I present you THE PLOT.

BLURB:The Plot Cover

REALITY IS NOT A FAIRYTALE. CAN A VICTIM OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING HAVE A HAPPY ENDING AFTER YEARS OF ABUSE AND DEGRADATION? ESPECIALLY WHEN HER ONLY FOCUS IS GETTING PAYBACK…

At eighteen, Yoko Hirano falls into the tentacles of a human trafficking organization and is forced into prostitution. Her first sexual experience is close to a rape, so she becomes traumatized and her opinions about men are low and unflattering. She uses her charms only as means of manipulation.
Four years later she meets the tall, dark and charming antique dealer Mark Chandler. They both acknowledge reluctantly the complicated chemistry between them, but Yoko’s grand scheme of things doesn’t involve falling in love, nor does she think Mark would want her if he found out about her past. To get revenge and prevent other girls from sharing her fate, she plans to ruin the Chinese triad that has destroyed her life and innocence.
However, she doesn’t realize that Mark can be an asset in her plans of bringing down the powerful mobster Michael Chen and his interlopes. Together, they make a quite formidable pair…

*WARNING: this book contains scenes of physical and emotional abuse, explicit language, cybercrime elements, sex and other adult content.

 

THE PLOT will be officially released on October 31st, but it’s now available for

preorder. I look forward to your impressions and reviews.

Preorder from Amazon.

Why bother?

We’ve all read books we liked at one time or another. And books we disliked. But how many of you bother to leave a review? I confess I’ve read thousands of books so far, but before I became an author myself, I didn’t even know much about reviews, how important they are to a writer and why.leave a review

I don’t know about other authors, but I learn very much from each review I receive. I learn what the readers like and dislike about my writing, I realize mistakes I wasn’t aware of making and learn to value the good points of my writing style. Simply put, reviews continuously help me grow as an author. Even the critic ones (I never call them bad) have helped me judge my writing and see it through someone else’s eyes.

I always try to make criticism constructive, but it’s important for an author to know which reviewers make a valid point. Some writers get depressed and discouraged when they get a negative review. I rarely do. Instead, I try to pick the bits and pieces that make sense, and separate them from the reviewer’s personal opinions. For instance, a reader who is a BDSM fan will never like my anti-BDSM comments. I can’t help that, nor can I let it change my own opinions. But when several readers have complained about some of my sentences being too long, I did try to rectify that, without changing my distinctive author voice.

And that’s why I began writing reviews myself for the books that have made an impression on me, whether it was good or bad. It’s not only to voice my opinion about the story, but also to help those authors improve and grow, just like I am doing all the time.

If my readers are happy, that makes me happy. So if you’ve already read my books or want to give them a chance, I would truly appreciate if you stopped by and let me know your thoughts. Each and every one of them matter. ❤ ❤ ❤

Melinda De Ross’s Amazon page: http://goo.gl/2nH9cC

 

 

To be or not be an Indie author

346199_0jbrYXq4Today’s publishing industry has become a paradoxical contradiction. The resources that are made available by a multitude of publishing platforms make it easy for just anybody to publish a book. That is a veritable miracle for writers all around the world, but at the same time, it may be a huge inconvenience. Why? Simply because everybody can publish a book, no matter how bad, and by doing so they increase the competition and reduce the visibility of good books.

But what other choice do writers have? The big publishers seem as unreachable as the moon. They all discourage writers to submit to them, unless it is by a reputable agent. Reputable agents are, in turn, difficult to approach. It seems the elite of the publishing industry has forgotten its mission and is, in fact, a closed circle. I personally know dozens of extremely talented authors who get rejection letter after rejection letter, with no concrete explanation. What do big publishers look for, I wonder?

The immediate answer that comes to mind is great books. But unfortunately, great books means commercial books, in today’s publishing jargon. The actual value of the writing is overshadowed by its marketing potential. Writers have to be more salesmen than creators of art. Editors are obsessed with the mechanical correctness of the text and fail to see the story behind it.

I have read thousands of books, and not once did I stop to analyze the benefits of “show versus tell”, or check the word count of a chapter. I’m sure the dozens of editors and publishers who rejected writers as J.K. Rowling or Stephen King bitterly regret it until this day. And why did they do it? Because they didn’t see great stories, but books with a low selling potential. They were afraid to take a chance.

So in the end, after analyzing the problem from all angles, there seems to be no choice for a talented author other than to be an Indie. If there is a way to get inside the fortress of the big publishers, I haven’t found it. This question will remain forever a mystery for millions of talented writers all over the world. And even when some of them will become famous posthumously, it will be too late, and no consolation to them. Not to mention the thousands of exceptional stories that will never see the light.

It’s sad when beautiful art dies in anonymity, to make room for bad scribbling that appeals to a twisted, perverted society.

Two years, going on forever

Someone wise told me once that, if a person is talented enough, the career chooses him or her, not the other way around. I’d like to think that’s true, since until two years ago I had no idea I wanted to become a writer. I was going through a very hard time, and I can honestly say that writing was my salvation. It gave me a purpose, and suddenly I reached heights I never thought I would.

JpegTwo years ago on this day I signed my first publishing contract, for my first novella. I can still recall the mad thumping of my heart and the butterflies in my stomach when I’ve read that email. Rendezvous with Hymera was a Paranormal/Mystery Romance, which of course now I see reflects my amateurishness in the craft of writing. Since then, I’ve learned a lot, evolved a lot, but at heart, Rendezvous with Hymera remains my first story and holds a special meaning for me. If it weren’t for that little book and an obscure, small American publisher called Front Porch Romance, I would have never even dreamed of being an internationally published author, or being offered to co-host a live radio show on a CBS affiliated radio network named Artist First. That was a fabulous experience, and even though I’ve moved on quickly, I’ve learned a lot from it and had tremendous fun while doing it.

During my first radio show as a guest, not a co-host, I was invited to read an excerpt from Rendezvous with Hymera. I will post it here, as a reminder of the lovely times I’ve had due to my first book, and as a token of celebration. Happy Birthday, Rendezvous with Hymera! ❤

 ~EXCERPT~

In the middle of the lake, which in darkness seemed a liquid abyss, with her back to the cottage, stood a woman. She was steeped in water to her waist, and her blonde hair hung loose on her naked back.

In her foggy mind blurred by wine and fatigue, Clara wondered how the woman could stand straight like that, considering the lake was over thirty feet deep. Suddenly, the woman turned her head and Clara glimpsed in the vague lunar light a ghastly, pale face and a pair of eyes as dark as the lake itself.

Next to Clara, a ferocious growl had a cold shiver trickling down her spine, causing all the hairs on her body to rise. She turned around slowly. Tony, showing his fangs in a threatening grin, was looking in the same direction, still growling lugubriously, his body tense in attack position.

She looked again through the window, blinking rapidly to clear her vision. The feminine figure was gone, but the water’s surface was covered by waves of translucent fog. The lake seemed to steam.

To those of you who are curious about my first literary attempt, I can only say I am sorry, but this book is no longer available for purchase. I hope you will check out my other books and judge my growth as an author for yourselves. ❤

To be on the other side of the pen

A LITTLE CHAT WITH MELINDA DE ROSS

INTERVIEWER: INTERNATIONAL AUTHOR ELISEI VIRGIL DOBRICA

 Interviu

A few months ago, I was invited to give an interview for a local newspaper, Realitatea Teleormaneana, owned by the well-known author Elisei Virgil Dobrica. I finally got the time to translate it for my English-speaking friends. Here’s what we talked about:

1. Melinda, give us a little background for our readers.

A: I’m rather an odd mix of Romanian, Russian, Cossack, and perhaps some other genes as well. Most of my ancestors were intellectuals, both my great grandfathers fought in World War One, and my Russian great grandmother was well known as a witch. All that said, I’m pretty fond of my background and have promised myself to make my genealogical tree one day, as a legacy for my children.

As for myself, I have graduated a Mathematics and Informatics high school, after which I graduated Law School. I have been a professional target shooter for ten years, but I was forced to retire due to health issues.

2. How did your literary career start? What have you accomplished so far, at the age of twenty-eight?

A: It’s a funny thing that, although I’ve worked as an editor for several local newspapers ever since I was eighteen, I didn’t realize my vocation was of being a writer until I was twenty-three. In a difficult period of my life, with the prompting and unconditional support of my family, writing helped me find myself again and discover my true vocation.

My first novel, Rendezvous with Faith (initially Rendezvous with Hymera) was published by two American publishers in April and September 2013 respectively. My next two novels, Mirage Beyond Flames and Dante’s Amulet, along with a short story called Be My Valentine are currently published by Secret Cravings Publishing, an American publisher located in Tennessee, winner of several literary awards and holder of an impressive literary portfolio of over two hundred authors. To me is an incredible privilege I have become a part of the Secret Cravings Publishing and I am confident things won’t stop here.

3. What is the subject of your latest novel?

A: My latest novel, Chronicles of The Blood Countess, is a very special project, a combination of Thriller, Suspense and steamy Romance, based on a real historical figure: Erzsébet Báthory, a bloody countess of the fifteenth century Hungary, who was labeled the most prolific female serial killer in history.

4. Why Melinda de Ross?

A: My real name, Anca-Melinda Coliolu, is a bit too long and difficult to pronounce in English. Melinda De Ross is a sort of American-ish version of Melinda Drozd, my maiden name. My father came up with this idea, as he uses the pen name Chriss D. Ross for his international works, soon to be published.

5. As far as I know, you write your books straight in English. Aren’t you interested in a Romanian publisher?

A: So far, I wasn’t; however, this year I want to expand my horizons, especially if a Romanian publisher would want to translate and publish my works. I write in English because I find this language more expressive, suggestive and melodious. Personally, I express myself better in English.

6. What themes/subjects do you prefer?

A: So far, I’ve experimented from book to book with several genres: Paranormal, Suspense, Comedy, Thriller. The only element that will never miss from my books is a love story.

7. What is a good book, in your opinion?

A: Ah, the first tough question… A good book is a story that doesn’t allow you to tear yourself away from it, not only when it’s midnight and your eyelids are drooping. You have to turn the page. No matter the genre, this is my vision on what a good book means.

8. Do printed books have a future, considering E-books are cheaper and much more accessible?

A: The printed books will never die. It might be cheaper and easier to read an E-book, but real readers will always feel the need to have their favorite books in their libraries, to thumb through them, enjoy the texture of the paper and smell the scent of ink and tale.

9. What are your hobbies?

A: One of the greatest passions of my life, besides my husband, are books. Ever since I was four and my mother taught me to read, books have been my dearest refuge. Besides that, I adore spending time with my husband, taking walks in nature, I like travelling, shopping—we are both addicted to shopping— and I love old movies.

10. Favorite food and beverage?

A: I admit I am a huge gourmand. I love traditional Romanian food (sarmale, mamaliguta, papanasi, ciorba de burta, etc), but I am also addicted to fast food, and I never let a day pass by without eating something sweet. Natural fruit juices are my first choice of drinks.

11. What are your favorite books? What authors influence you in your career?

A: The books are too many to count. I could give only a few examples, starting with Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, J.D. Robb’s In Death series, Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. As for classics, I enjoy Charles Dickens, Mary Stewart, Agatha Christie, and a few Romanian authors I like are Mircea Eliade, George Calinescu, Nicolae Filimon.

I’m very much influenced by Diana Gabaldon, Nora Roberts, Jilly Cooper, Mary Stewart, Sandra Brown, and so many others.

12. Favorite song?

A: Still got the blues—Gary Moore, Lady in red—Chris De Burgh, and a few dozen more.

13. Favorite actor?

A: Gerard Butler.

14. The dictum that guides you in life?

A: What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger – Friedrich Nietzsche.