author

My career in a single chart 📈

They say a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. It’s been more than six years since I took that first step and set off to be a writer, armed with nothing but thousands of books read and a vague dream I didn’t dare hope would come true. Unlike many writers who studied the craft and did everything by the book, I fumbled around like a bat in the sunshine, and over the years I made just about every mistake one could make in this industry. But I wouldn’t change a single thing, because each failure was a lesson learned. My career took shape with each book I wrote, with each publishing contract I signed, and each publisher I left. Six years ago I was scribbling my first novella on an old notebook, and today I’m still in awe of the technology that has become my business partner. Authors nowadays have access to incredible resources, for which I’m grateful every day. I am always excited to learn new things, always on the lookout to learn and improve both my craft and my marketing skills. And I’m even more excited to see my hard work is paying off.

This is most of my career in a single chart – my evolution as an author on Amazon. Picturing that vague dream that started six years ago, now I can’t believe how close I stay to that illusive #1, among thousands of brilliant authors and their fine works!

Author rank 15 august 2019

A new kindle book is published EVERY FIVE MINUTES on Amazon. According to the numbers up to date, there are over SIX MILLION EBOOKS on Amazon alone, and that number increases exponentially every year. It’s humbling and exhilarating to know I manage to stay afloat in this sea of words, and it motivates me tremendously that people all over the world read my stories. Some like them, some don’t, but I am happy they make an impression either way. As I’m expanding and exploring other genres, it’s my fondest wish to prove an author can be successful writing in several genres, and it’s my mission to write at least one story for each type of reader. Watch this space to see if I’ll succeed, and if you haven’t already, subscribe to my newsletter to receive the latest updates of my crazy, beautiful, breathtaking, heart-wrenching journey!

Yours,

Melinda

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Is it worth admitting you made a mistake and trying to fix it?

Marilyn

Have you ever noticed most people are far quicker to criticize than to praise? I know it’s probably human nature, I even do it myself sometimes without wanting to, but since I was subjected to this treatment more than the average person, I learned not to be so quick to judge.

I became a writer six years ago, and like in any other job, I learned along the way. Even Nora Roberts and Stephen King have bad books. Nicholas Sparks admitted he will never publish his first two novels, because they were not as good as his later work. Unlike him, I published nearly everything I wrote. I don’t know if that’s unfortunate or not, because I learned everything I know about writing from actually making all the mistakes in the business. Sometimes I made them more than once, just to be sure I learned my lesson.  😒 But some readers don’t understand that one can become a better writer only with time and practice. Writers are human, like any other people, and no book is perfect. I’ve managed to revise most of mine, and among them is Unabridged, a romantic comedy that was a bestseller at the time of its release in 2015. Back then, the first edition received mixed reviews, and while it got a lot of five-stars, there were plenty of one-star ratings and comments from readers. Some of them were mean for the sake of meanness, but others raised valid points, which in the end helped me make Unabridged a better book.

This year I have finally managed to rewrite it with the help of my great editor, Susanne Matthews, and republished the new edition with a new cover to match.

I was happy about my accomplishment, and naïve enough to talk about it in one of the author groups I am part of. To my surprise, one of the members asked me in a somewhat harsh tone why I had published Unabridged in the first place if I thought it wasn’t that good. Her question took me by surprise, especially since this is an author of average romance with terrible cheap-looking covers (see, I have a mean streak too, but I try to keep it tamed! 😜 ). Anyway, I answered frankly, the way I always do, and told her I published the book because at the time I was proud of my accomplishment, I wanted to share it with the world, and yes, I needed to make money from my writing—because the damn bills won’t pay themselves, no matter how much I sweet talk them. What shocked me the most though was that no one in that group thought of saying a nice word about the fact that I admitted my mistakes, and that I cared so much about what readers thought I decided to rewrite my book.

Some of the reviewers said Unabridged was mean and judgmental, yet here I was, in the real world, among real people, on trial for admitting and fixing a mistake I made. WTH? I certainly did not expect any medals, but I hardly expected to be judged for being less than perfect.

In the end, this was a good lesson regarding the way people think. And although I have read several terrible books lately, some of them from my favorite authors, I decided not to leave any bad reviews. Because I know that writing a book, even a bad one, is a tremendous effort, and I’m in no position to cut off wings I haven’t built. Life is too full of drama as it is, and I agree with Marilyn Monroe: imperfection is beauty. Who wants to be perfect? It must be boring as hell.

10/25/2018 – A small step for humanity, a huge milestone for me 🏆

A little over a year ago, the seed of what seemed like a crazy dream took root in my mind and heart: to become a USA Today bestselling author. Not only that, but I realized that if I made it, I would be the first Romanian in history to achieve this prestigious title. Since that moment, I worked relentlessly toward this goal, and I’m still amazed by how many incredible people I met on the way, people who joined me in my journey and fought hard to help me achieve my dream.

Together, we did it. I am a USA Today bestselling author!

https://www.usatoday.com/life/books/best-selling/week/2018/43/page/12/

USA Today

There are so many people I owe this accomplishment to, and if I miss anyone I apologize, but my hands are still shaking with excitement. Thank you Carmen, Mimi, Sue, Jackie, all my wonderful co-authors of Love, Christmas 2 and to all of you, my dear readers and friends, who bought this box set.

The hardest part was the torture of waiting and not being able to access the USA Today website – either because of GDPR or our famous hackers – but my dear friends kept me posted and sent me screen shots of our success, while I was stalking their posts and messages like a headless chicken. All in all, it was an experience I will never forget!

The most special THANK YOU goes to my husband, for being here for me, for believing in me, for offering moral and financial support, emergency hugs, pep talks, for playing housekeeper, tear-wiper, even chef when I was too exhausted, and never complaining when I worked twelve hours a day until 2 or 3 am, for keeping my spirits up with his endless supply of optimism, and for putting up with me – which is no easy job.

My soul mate, this victory is yours, as much – or even more – than it’s mine.     

we are the champions

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. ❤

Me1

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. ❤