book

Less than two days to get your FREEBIE!

Hi guys! If you haven’t seen my latest posts, I just wanted to send you a reminder about my FREE book promotion for my suspense romance, THE PLOT. You have until tomorrow night at 23:59 EST to download the eBook for FREE, and get the audio book for only $7,95 from AMAZON.

For those of you who don’t know the story, here’s the 30 second uncensored trailer. Subscribe to my YouTube channel to see more of these! 😉

Download your FREE ebook here and if you enjoy it don’t forget to please, please leave a review. 😀

And because one treat is never enough for me, I have another one for you too. Check out the Authors’ Billboard July contest, enter to Win one of 2 X $20,00 Amazon gift cards, and check out more great book deals to stock your Kindle!

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Have a fabulous summer! ❤

 

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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.

Review of The Diary from InD’tale Magazine

Good Sunday morning, everyone! It’s a dreary, cloudy day here, one of those days when you just want to cuddle with a good book, a huge mug of hot chocolate and a spouse/kid/pet by your side. Lucky you if you have all of that AND time to read. 😀

My day has suddenly brightened an hour ago, when I saw that InD’tale Magazine has finally reviewed my book, The Diary, which I submitted in August 2017. I was a little anxious  because I know this magazine is quite exigent, and The Diary is one of my best books, so imagine my delight when I saw it got a 4 star review from Majanka Verstraete!

Without any more preamble, here is the much-expected review:

The diary teaser

stars-4 GOTHIC:  In Transylvania, a castle is uncovered that once belonged to Erzsébet Báthory, the infamous Blood Countess. Cameraman Hunter Cole and journalist Serena Scott are called to the castle to make a documentary about the discovery. The more they work together, the more they’re drawn to one another, as Serena uncovers certain hidden depths to Hunter’s character. As tension lingers between them and the attraction between them grows, can they still keep things professional? When in a nearby village, two girls are tortured and killed in a manner very similar to Báthory’s modus operandi, Serena and Hunter fear they might have a copycat killer on their hands. Then the question arises: who will be next?

As far as murder mysteries go, “The Diary” is quite solid, with a few unexpected twists. The throwback to Báthory’s way of working is intriguing too, as the Blood Countess was certainly an interesting historical figure, although quite frightening and deadly too. The author shines when describing atmosphere, not just in the old, decrepit castle, but also in the nearby village. There’s a palpable sense of isolation for both characters, contradicted only by the growing bond between them. Fans of mystery novels, especially ones with a lot of romance and historic twists, will definitely enjoy this book.

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THE DIARY—between legends and facts

Happy Monday, everyone! I hope you’re rested after the weekend, and since Halloween is getting close, I thought I’d start your week and mine with a bit of creepy entertainment. And a 99 cents offer of my suspense/gothic romance, THE DIARY.

Elizabeth_Bathory_PortraitI don’t know how many of you have heard of Countess Erzsébet Báthory, so I’m going to give you a little background.

Erzsébet Báthory (1560-1614) is a known historical figure and was a Hungarian countess, also known as Elizabeth Báthory, The Blood Countess or Countess Dracula. She has been labeled the most prolific serial killer in history, being responsible for the torture and murder of hundreds of young girls. The exact number of her victims is unknown, but is estimated at six hundred and fifty. It is speculated that she kept a diary with the names of all her victims, but if such a document exists, it has never been made public.

Living in an Eastern European country, I’ve heard about the countess since I was a teenager, but have only began studying her in 2014, when I decided to write a book that somehow included this horrific historical character. I watched countless documentaries and even two fiction movies about Elizabeth Báthory, and I confess that getting into her head was a terrifying experience. To me, it seems that evil, madness and all things that conjure up horror stories were festering inside this woman, who was allowed to indulge her demonic depravity simply because she was an aristocrat.

I thought I needed to understand her in order to write a book that included legends about her, even tangentially, but I soon discovered it was an impossible, maybe even dangerous ambition. That’s why I started the book by quoting Friedrich Nietzsche, who said that “When you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.”

So that’s how THE DIARY came to life:The Diary Cover

In the legendary Transylvania, a castle belonging to Countess Erzsébet Báthory is discovered. Cameraman Hunter Cole and broadcast journalist Serena Scott arrive to make a documentary about the discovery, and the sinister Hungarian noblewoman, known as the most prolific female serial killer in history.

The two Americans could cope with roughing it in a fifteenth-century castle, with no modern amenities. They can even cope with each other, despite their initial mutual dislike for one another, which gradually turns into a mind-blowing attraction.

But when two girls are tortured and killed in Báthory copycat style, the nearby village is shaken to the core. In terror, they wonder who will be next…

I’ll leave you with a short excerpt, and with the hope that you will find this post as compelling as I do. ❤

EXCERPT FROM THE DIARY

In the bathroom, I lit the three candles and placed the candlestick on the floor. It was lighter here because of the large balcony. There was an old-fashioned wooden tub in a corner, a few basins and some buckets. I turned one bucket bottom side up and put my towels on it, along with the soap and flashlight. Then I went outside onto the balcony and dipped my hand into one of the many containers. The water was still warm.

I went back in and dragged the wooden tub close to the balcony entry. I ran a finger over its bottom to check for dust, pleased to see that someone had cleaned it. When I lifted one of the water buckets and poured it into the tub, my shoulder screamed with pain. Irrationally, I cursed Hunter for not offering to help me, even though I had prohibited him to enter the room before I was done. I dragged another bucket to the edge of the tub and poured the water inside, deciding that should be enough.

I stripped off my jeans and T-shirt, then my bra and panties. I turned another bucket upside down and placed them on it. After I removed my makeup I stepped into the tub, enjoying the feel of the warm water. I didn’t quite fit in the tub, but complaining wouldn’t help.

It could be worse, I thought. What if I were as big as Hunter? How will he manage to wash in this?

The thought of Hunter naked was making me uncomfortable, so I firmly pushed it away, feeling my cheeks grow red. I stretched to get my bath sponge and soap, then started to wash thoroughly. After that, I just relaxed for a few moments in the fragrant water, staring out at the moon. It seemed lost in the inky-black sky, much as I felt in this foreign, strange place. Everything had happened so fast that I’d nearly forgotten why we were here. And when I remembered, an unpleasant shiver crept up my spine.

Had Erzsébet Báthory bathed in this tub? Had she bathed in the blood of virgins as the legends said? There was no concrete proof of that, but why else would she have killed all those young women? The official documents regarding her trial were held secret. It was even said that she’d kept a personal diary, but no one could attest to its existence. I didn’t know much about The Countess, so I would have to do a lot of research to put this documentary together.

I’d read that the evidence indicated the number of her victims to be around eighty, but according to the three-hundred witnesses that had testified at her trial, The Countess had murdered more than six hundred and fifty girls. It was preposterous to think of such atrocities. Even in the historical context, in those times when cruelty was far from unusual and the Hungarians were known for their bestial cruelty, this woman was a stand out.

I’d seen a couple of movies about The Countess’s life, but considered them a waste of time. They’d tried to picture her in a humane way, as a woman, mother, wife and healer, diminishing the most important thing for which she was known: her monstrous cruelty, and perhaps madness.

Lost in these sinister reveries, I jumped when I heard Hunter’s voice.

“Hey, Serena, have you fallen asleep in there?”

THE DIARY is available in eBook and paperback format everywhere books are sold online, and this week you can order it for only 99 cents from  AmazoniTunesKoboSmashwords

First peek into The Job Blower ;)

Hi there, everyone! Don’t know about you guys, but I am melting at 104 (40 Celsius) degrees, and I think my tongue is hanging out a little from all this heat. The only light at the end of the tunnel (or, in this case, the promise of coolness and shadows) is the trip to the mountains my husband and I have planned on my birthday in July. One week of mountain views, fresh air, and possibly bears. Although they are considered one of Brasov’s main attractions, I do hope we can pass this last bit of excitement.

I plan to take a well-deserved break from writing as well, but since I’m at it now, I’m going to post the first excerpt of my latest novel, The Job Blower. Now, I know the title sounds naughty to your dirty little minds (I was counting on that!), but in fact this is a non-kinky, explosive Romantic Comedy about a pretty air-head, Camilla Jackson, who screws up job after job, leaving disaster and destruction wherever she goes. Until she meets the handsome and troubled Carter Evans, of course…

 

But first, here’s a little sneak-peek into the book, right after Camilla is fired from her first job at a law firm:The Job Blower New

“I stopped by the supermarket and bought half a gallon of ice cream, three boxes of chocolates and a few other similar items any girl needs during a crisis. I’d just paid for my purchases when I realized I needed to pee quite urgently. I grabbed my bags and headed toward the ladies’ room. No one was about, but when I opened the door to a stall, I was confronted by the naked hairy ass of a man. I nearly dropped my bags in my indignation.
“Get out, you asshole! This is for women,” I shouted.
“So is this,” he said, turning around with his penis in his hand. I couldn’t help but stare for a moment, repulsed yet fascinated by the tiny appendage protruding from an impressive forest of pubic hair.
“Put that thing away and get out of here,” I shrieked, noticing from the corner of my eye that two other women had stepped into the room and were chattering loudly. They couldn’t see the guy, but I heard their intakes of breath when the guy asked me, “Wanna touch it?”
I pointed toward the door.
“Out!”
“No, no. Right here, so everyone can see,” the pervert said, still holding his wanger and wiggling it at me.
“Jesus!” I heard one of the women echoing my thoughts aloud as she inched closer to see what was going on. “Martha, call security!” she told her friend in a high, snooty voice. “Tell them there’s a naked man in the women’s restroom.”
The other woman took a peek at the exhibitionist, then clamped a hand over her eyes with a gasp and ran toward the door. I rolled my eyes in disgust and followed her. There weren’t many shocking things in Jersey, and I was really hard to shock.”


¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*¨)
(¸.•´ THE JOB BLOWER
You can find THE JOB BLOWER on Amazon, Smashwords and everywhere books are sold online. Whether if you’re going on a holiday or not, this is a great summer read. ❤

Three reasons why you should read

I’ve always heard that, ironically, writers read very little because of the lack of time. Well, I’m proud to be the exception to this rule. While it’s true I don’t have much time to read, I listen to audio books most of the day, and my Mp3 Player is always handy. Thanks to my husband and the wonderful technology that makes this possible, I can turn every e-Book in audio format with a program called Text Aloud. Listening to books makes my life better, it makes it easier to cook and clean 12507589_10153080083915834_2906003444876111692_nthe house—which I hate, makes loneliness less painful during the long hours my husband is at work. Books can put a smile on my face and help me relax as nothing else does.

I’ve loved reading ever since I was four and my mother taught me how to read. I suppose it was both an acquired as well as an innate taste, since my father is not only an avid reader, but a writer as well. Our home has always been filled with books of all kinds, and that makes the memories of my childhood pricelessly wonderful. I’m sad to see the generations that come after me read less and less. Maybe that’s why I’m so happy when I receive messages from teenagers who say they love, or at least like my books. That means they read, so there is still hope.

Why read? others ask me. Why read when you can play a game on your Play Station or watch a movie bursting with sex and violence? Well, I’ll give you 3 good reasons why books will make your life better:

  1. Reading makes you SMARTER.

It’s been scientifically proven over and over again that reading has tremendous influence in developing your intellect, improving your memory and imagination. It doesn’t matter if you prefer fiction or non-fiction, there’s always something to learn from a book. Your entire vision of the world changes, your vocabulary improves, and you become able to carry conversations regarding a number of subjects you’ll have to tackle one day for a job interview, or to impress a potential lover. You’ll never sit awkwardly again in a room full of smart people, embarrassed that you have no notion of ridiculously simple things, like on which continent Egypt is located, or who invented the light bulb. Shame on you! 😛

  1. Reading helps you RELAX.

Personally I prefer reading fiction, anything that contains a love story, to be more specific. Why? Because reading helps me escape the trivial or sometimes tragic problems of daily life. It gives me a state of optimism, a mental break from my inner turmoil, and sometimes even helps me find the most unexpected solutions to the problems I was trying to get away from. There’s nothing more stress-releasing than lying in bed or in a tub full of foamy hot water, reading a good book. I mean, what’s not to love about indirectly living the adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn from the comfort of your own bedroom?

  1. Reading makes you SEXIER.

FB_IMG_1455585468715You might think I’m crazy by this time, but I’ll prove to you in a minute that I’m not. It’s a known fact that women read more than men. Consequently, women find men who read immensely more attractive than those who don’t. After all, unless the woman you like is a sports fanatic, what the hell do you have to talk about together? This might shock you, gentlemen, but while you’re watching your favorite ball game, be aware that your girlfriend/wife is getting on with her current book boyfriend. Because you know what? Women who read are not only smarter, but those who love romance novels especially are also hornier and much more creative in bed.

So, guys, you’d better put down the remote and grab a book from time to time if you don’t want to be replaced by a fictional character. Better yet, buy your lover a pile of romance books and a negligee, and I can guarantee neither of them will collect dust! 😉

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

 

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. ❤