Thursday Through Time: The Diary by Melinda De Ross

fall 2Good morning. As I get ready to leave on another min-vacation, probably my last one this fall, I want to encourage you to consider giving this author a chance. I loved the premise of this story, the glimpse into Romania’s dark past, and the characters created to tell the story. Please welcome Melinda De Ross

Hello everyone! Since Halloween is getting close, I thought I’d treat you with a bit of creepy entertainment, and a 99 cents offer of THE DIARY, a suspense/gothic romance by international bestselling author Melinda De Ross.

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

Elizabeth_Bathory_PortraitErzsébet 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.

Here’s what Melinda says about writing THE DIARY:

“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. This is the blurb:


The Diary_99CIn 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.



The Diary CoverIn 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, Barnes&Noble




Melinda De Ross is an international author of Romanian origin. She writes in two languages, and her books combine the elegance specific to the European style with the modern appeal of the American culture. She has a Law degree and has been a professional target shooter for over a decade. Her favorite genre to read and write in is Romance, and anytime she prefers to watch a classic movie instead of going to a noisy club.

She loves to hear from her readers, and you can find her at:



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Midweek Tease: Holiday Magic Continued

MNew midweek tease imageWhen you’re on a roll, you do everything you can to stay there. At the moment I finishing edits for a friend and have to get done as soon as I can since I’m going on another mini vacation this weekend. So, here’s how Mark feels after seeing Georgia. Enjoy.

Mark pulled the car into his parking space in the underground parking and took the elevator up to the loft. The renovated warehouse housed nine apartments, with boutiques and a coffee shop on the ground floor. He and Georgia had purchased a third of the available space for their dream home. The condo consisted of two floors with windows on three sides—east, south, and west. Since Georgia had a green thumb, she’d wanted lots of natural light.

He punched in the code—the date of his screw-up—to unlock the door. Georgia had misplaced her keys twice in the ten months they’d worked on the condo together. The keyless entry had been meant as a surprise, ordered before the wedding. Since he’d paid for it, he’d decided to keep it on the off-chance the woman he loved would one day come back to him.

He entered the apartment, removed his coat, and hung it on one of the antique brass hooks along the wall. He walked over to the corner bar and poured himself three fingers of scotch, half of which he downed in one gulp. He’d told Georgia the truth. He didn’t drink much anymore, but at the moment he needed this.

The loft was open concept in design with the main area accommodating the kitchen, dining room, and living room. He walked over and flipped the switch on the gas fireplace, hoping the heat could dispel the cold in his heart.

When they’d purchased the space, it’d been completely empty, devoid of everything including a staircase to the second level. Georgia had designed the interior, and they’d worked side by side with engineers and carpenters to bring her ideas to life. The massive redwood beams had been stripped and stained and polished as had the underside of the cedar planks that formed the ceiling. The walls had been reinsulated and finished with old brick and cedar. Bright rugs covered the gleaming wood floors. Slate had been used in the kitchen and foyer.

The rest of this level consisted of a den he used as an office, a powder room, a laundry room as well as the large space originally designated to be Georgia’s workroom and his home office. The only thing in the room now was an elliptical machine he used when he couldn’t make it to the gym.

A pocket staircase led upstairs to the condo’s four bedrooms and a second flight continued to the rooftop patio he’d added last year. Georgia had suggested the idea and he’s worked with engineers to make it a reality. A four foot brick wall edged the building’s main walls on three sides. The fourth side consisted of a eight foot cedar wall for privacy should the neighbors choose to do the same. He’d stood out there more nights than he cared to remember staring up at the stars and begging for answers.

He walked over to the wall of floor to ceiling windows in the living room and looked out at the Schuylkill River. In the blackness he could see her as she’d looked tonight, not the way she was in his dreams. She was much thinner than she’d been, too thin. Her lush curves had vanished, and although she still looked magnificent to him, he knew he’d miss the way she’d felt in his arms. Her eyes were shadowed, no doubt from lost sleep over this mess Eleni had put her in and meeting him tonight. Since she’d decided to move back, she’d have to accept the fact he was part of her sister’s life, even if she refused to let him be part of hers.

Georgia had let her hair grow. Otherwise, it wouldn’t have been long enough to wear it as she had tonight, all sleek and smooth, its lively curls, similar in some ways to his own, tamed and hidden. They’d joked their children would have such curly hair that it would be a miracle if anyone could comb it. Her aquamarine eyes had been sad and shadowed. He swore at one point, they had brimmed with tears when that stupid song had been played. He wished there was something he could do to make them sparkle with happiness again, but he was the reason they didn’t.

Finishing his scotch, he decided against another. Drinking had started this problem. It wouldn’t clear it away.

No matter what the future brought, he’d never forgive himself for what he’d done to her, even if he didn’t remember doing it.

Why not get a jump-start on the season? Holiday Magic is available from Amazon


Don’t forget to check out the rest of this week’s teaser.

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Tuesday Tales: From the Word Truck

Badge for TT - very smallWelcome back to another edition of Tuesday Tales, the weekly blog where books are born!  Each week, a small group of authors share their current work in progress with you, This work is unedited and based on a prompt–either a picture or a word. This week, the word is TRUCK

I’m continuing with what I guess should be considered women’s fiction rather than a contemporary romance. Sometimes it’s hard to put a story in a box. Enjoy!

Mike had jumped into the lake, swimming out to her, and when he reached her, he’d pulled her into his arms. They’d stayed like that, a strange, four-legged creature treading water, keeping the loons at bay, watching the sun dip lower and lower on the horizon. Tears had tracked silently down her cheeks. He’d felt helpless, but he’d been convinced everything would work out. Why was it hindsight was twenty-twenty, but love was blind?

“T, it’ll be alright,” he’d said, pulling her naked body closer to his. “I know it isn’t what either of us want, but does another week really make that big a difference? We’ll write, I’ll call when I can, and before I have to report to Petawawa, I’ll come and see you. You’ll have started school, and I looked it up on the map. Vassar’s in Poughkeepsie, New York. That’s not so far away. I’ll rent a car and drive down there for the weekend. I’ll get a motel room, and we’ll make love in a bed instead of on a blanket.”

She shivered in his arms.

“Come on. You’re cold, and it’ll be dark soon. We need to get back to the resort. That road can be tricky in the dark.”

She hadn’t said a word about his plans, but instead had pushed herself out of his arms and had swum to shore.

They’d dried themselves with the old towel he’d stuffed into his backpack, and had picked up the evidence of their tryst. Twyla hadn’t spoken, but her tears had dried, and she’d seemed content, the silence between them comfortable. By the time they got back to the resort, the stars were out.

catch a falling star“Look! There’s a falling star,” she pointed to the eastern sky. “Have you ever wished upon a star?”

She’d parked her bike in the rack, across from the resort’s old, beat up, pickup truck.

“Not since I was a kid. Lydia and I used to argue about who would get the wish if we saw the falling star and both wished at the same time. She claimed stars only granted one wish, and whoever wished first would be the only one to get anything.”

“That doesn’t seem fair. What if a hundred people see the star and wish at the exact same moment? How can the star choose the one to grant?”

He chuckled. “T, I think stars can hand out as many wishes as they want to. What about you?”

“This is the first time I’ve seen one,” she admitted. “There’s another. Quick! Make a wish.” She closed her eyes and crossed her fingers. “Did you do it?” she asked.

He shook his head. “Didn’t get time. I was too busy looking at you. I’ll get the next one. If Lydia’s right, you’ll get yours. Besides, I have you, the girl I love more than anything. What else could I possibly wish for?” He’d dropped a quick kiss on her nose.

“I love you, Michael Morrison. I love you so much, it hurts.”

He’d kissed her again and winked. “Love you more.”

The sun dipped lower, a sudden flash of light making him blink, bringing him back to the present and his empty office. Michael turned away from the window.

There hadn’t been another star that night, but every time he’d seen one since, he stubbornly refused to make a wish. That night, they’d stolen one last kiss in the dark, and she’d promised to come say goodbye before they left, but he’d never seen her again. Later in the day, he’d learned her family had left just after six, two hours before he started work, and three hours sooner than Twyla had said. He shook his head. She’d even lied about that.

He grabbed his jacket from the hook on the back of the door and locked up. He needed a drink. With these memories rolling around inside his head, he wasn’t getting any sleep tonight. Maybe he should go with Lydia and confront her, ask her why she’d done it, why she’d played that cruel joke on him. He’d loved her damn it, and she’d claimed to love him, but to her, he’d been nothing but one last summer fling. It had hurt like hell back then and still did.

That’s it for this week! Don’t forget to check out all the other posts on  Tuesday Tales.

Same Time Next Year isn’t the only book born on Tuesday Tales.  Check out Hello Again, my paranormal/suspense/romance available from Amazon.




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Saturday’s Special Guest: Iris Blobel

What an absolute pleasure it is to welcome a dear friend from down under here to talk about her latest release. Iris and I met through a mutual author friend and I have become a real fan of her work. If you haven’t read any of it yet, I highly recommend you do. Best of luck with this new release!

~~ Fresh Beginnings ~~
(2nd Edition)
by Iris Blobel

Barnes and Noble:


♥♦♥ BLURB ♥♦♥

Jared Fraser, a landscape business owner in Hobart, Australia, sets out for a holiday to the USA to travel along the Route 66 in a motorhome. Looking forward to his first holiday overseas, he’s excited as he prepares himself for the journey. But little could’ve prepared him for crossing paths with a beautiful hitchhiker.

Will he be able to put his past aside and grab onto happiness?

Ivy Bennett thought leaving her boyfriend would be the hard part. It doesn’t take long to figure out how wrong she was. As she struggles with making a new start in her life, the last person she expects to lead her to happiness is a laid-back Australian on vacation.

But she will have to say goodbye again? And not only to Jared.


♥♦♥ EXCERPT ♥♦♥

Ivy enjoyed being with Jared. During their drive towards the Grand Canyon he told her of his home and described as much of Tasmania as possible.
“I always imagined Australia to be hot with white beaches and beautiful water.”
“That’s up in the north in Queensland,” he explained. “We have spectacular beaches as well. Tasmania is a small island in the very south. The last step before the Antarctica, so to speak.”
“That sounds cold!”
He laughed. “It clearly isn’t Queensland.” Settling his gaze on her, he continued, “But it has beautiful beaches as well. And a wonderful marine life. And the mountains. We have some stunning mountains in Tassie.”
“It sounds beautiful.”
He agreed. “Yes, it is. One of the best places on earth.”
Once they arrived at the National Park, they found a parking spot and walked towards the edge of the Canyon. She touched his arm to get his attention. Not that she needed to. His attentive nature drew her to him, and she couldn’t get enough of listening to him.
“I feel bad that you pay for everything,” she said in a low voice.
Jared waved his hand. “Nah. It’s only money and luckily the Australian dollar is—”
“Whether you can or can’t afford it, it doesn’t matter. I don’t like it.”
He stopped and turned towards her, causing heat inside her body. Her breath caught but she kept walking, yet, it took him only a few steps to catch up with her and, by way of placing his hand on her shoulder, to stop her.
“Wanna tell me why?”
Avoiding his stare, she lifted her shoulder in a casual shrug.
“A shrug is not really an answer, ya know that, right?”
Yes, she knew that. How could she tell him that she’d left Dylan because he’d spent all the money she’d worked so hard for? She didn’t want to be in the same situation, as in spending someone else’s hard-earned money. But deep inside she didn’t want to hurt Jared, either. She was enjoying her time with him so much, she wasn’t ready for it to end because of some silly pride.
Out of the corner of her eye, she spotted a little squirrel in the bushes and despite some guilt inside, it was a perfect distraction.
“Look!” she said louder than she’d intended. “A squirrel.”
With great relief, she noticed how her devious plan had worked. Jared quickly grabbed his camera and kneeled down to get the best shot possible of this little creature.
Kneeling next to him, she asked, “Don’t you have squirrels?”
Still trying to get that perfect photo of the little creature, he whispered, “Nope.”


Iris Blobel was born and raised in Germany and only immigrated to Australia in the late 1990s. Having had the travel bug most of her life, Iris spent quite some time living in Scotland, London as well as Canada where she met her husband. Her love for putting her stories onto paper has only emerged recently, but now her laptop is a constant companion.
Iris resides west of Melbourne with her husband and her two beautiful daughters.

Next to her job at a private school, she also presents a German Program at the local Community Radio.


Social Media Links:

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** Website ** Blog ** Twitter ** Facebook ** Goodreads ** Amazon Author Page **


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Midweek Tease. More Holiday Magic!

New midweek tease imageDon’t you hate it when things don’t go the way you expect them to? I’m running late today. Mea culpa! 

Welcome to another midweek tease, brought to you courtesy of Angelica Dawson. As always, the selection is varied with something to tantalize everyone.

My clip comes from Holiday Magic again this week– a sharp contrast to Georgia’s peaceful stroll through Central park last week.


Georgia was so angry she could spit nails. How could Eleni have been so stupid as to sign that contract without reading the fine print? She’d warned her, but it was just like her to ignore advice that would be commonsense to anyone else.

Discovering it was year-end time, and Mark would be underfoot every day was a low blow, but finding out she’d be expected to be his escort at the Christmas Eve Snow Ball? Eleni tried her best to placate her, but she was way beyond calming now. She hadn’t been this furious in years.

“Georgia, I told you the ball was one of my all-inclusive gigs, so don’t get bent out of shape about it,” Eleni said trying to shift the blame as she often did when she was caught red-handed. “Mark would’ve been there anyway. The organizing committee insisted on it. I told you before, he’s my partner, and the people who are covering the cost of our services want him there. They’re quite annoyed that I can’t attend, but they’ve agreed to let you stand in my stead. There’s no way Mark can give them the slip too. Look, you’ll probably be so busy hobnobbing with the elite, you’ll hardly spend any time with him. I’m sure some of your old friends will be there. It’ll be a great opportunity to reconnect now that you’ve decided to move back and join the living, and you can push your jewelry too. Who knows? If the Governor’s wife likes it, she might want some, and you could have a whole new client base in Washington.”

Georgia shook her head. “Forget it, Len. As Grandma used to say, ‘Whitewashing the pump won’t make the water clean.’ If you’d told me about all this, I’d never have agreed to help you out. I’m sure that’s why you’re springing this crap on me now. You knew I wouldn’t come if you’d been honest about it. I find it hard to believe you forgot to mention this. Seriously, you expect me to be his date for the night? That night of all nights? I’m sorry, but you’re out of your cotton-picking mind!” Her voice rose, attracting the attention of some of the diners, and she lowered it.

Eleni’s lower lip trembled, and Georgia knew the waterworks were next. It wasn’t fair. Her sister could read her like a book—a first grade primer, at that.

“Eleni Jean Baxter, don’t you dare cry,” she whispered through gritted teeth. Maybe it’s good I’m angry. At least when I’m angry I’m not feeling sorry for myself.

“Nobody gives you more trouble than you do yourself. You just don’t think things through. You’ve created this mess, and you really didn’t think about the way it would affect others. You have to stop jumping in with both feet before you test the water. One of these days, you’re going to get hurt.” She shook her head.

“I said I was sorry,” Eleni said mutinously, lower lip trembling, and tears brimming her emerald eyes.

“Leni, sometimes I’m sorry doesn’t cut it. This will be hard for Mark—well, maybe not hard, but uncomfortable at best.”

Eleni giggled. Georgia realized what she’d said, and the double meaning easily attached to it.

“Seriously? You’ve got your mind in the gutter now? You know what I mean.”

Disgusted with herself, Georgia couldn’t stop the heat suffusing her cheeks as her imagination brought the image of the naked man vividly to mind. Mark had a beautiful body. Heat spread through her. The one thing they’d always had was chemistry, lots and lots of reactive energy. She closed her eyes wishing the image away and focused on Eleni, trying to recapture the fury she’d felt moments earlier.

Want more? Holiday Magic is available through Amazon.

Please take time to visit the rest of this week’s teasers.

#MidWeekTease October 11, 2017


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Tuesday Tales: Picture Time

Badge for TT - very smallSurprise! I didn’t think I would be posting this week, but there isn’t much to do in the pouring rain so we came home a day early. Today is Thanksgiving in Canada, and I have a lot to be grateful for, not the least of which are those of you who follow my blog and support me each week.

This week is picture week and I’ve chosen the image below to go with Same Time Next Year, my contemporary romance.

woman in sunset


Standing, Michael turned to the window. The sun, hung low on the horizon turning the Pacific Ocean gold, pulling him back to another sunset fifty years ago. He could see her sitting cross-legged on the grass, staring out at Indian Lake sparkling in the glow of the setting sun. He’d only known her a little more than three weeks, but she was his everything, his destiny.

Twyla had been waiting for him when he’d finished work. Her eyes were puffy and red-rimmed from crying.

“What’s wrong?”

“Father arrived a week early. Oh Mike, we leave tomorrow. I don’t want to go,” she wailed, tears slipping down her cheeks.

Wanting to hold her, he stood there woodenly, nodding at the old ladies going into the store, his gut aching the way it had when Tom had sucker-punched him.


“I don’t know. He and Mother had a terrible argument, I think over money,  but I wasn’t paying attention.

“Your dad doesn’t have money problems.  It won’t be dark for at least four hours. Do you have to be back for dinner?”

“No. I made a scene and father said he would not look at me until tomorrow. I can’t wait for my birthday. Once I’m eighteen, he won’t be able to order me around.”

“Then let’s go to our place and talk.”

They’d ridden their bikes to their place, a point of land jutting into the lake. It was beyond the last cottage and no one went there to disturb them. He’d barely spread the orange plaid car blanket he’d borrowed for their picnic when she started to undress.

They made love with a desperation that wouldn’t be denied. He wanted to make it last, but the passion flared and the climax came too soon. Cheat heaving, Twyla stood and dove into the lake.

“T, wait for me.”

That’s it for this week! Don’t forget to check out all the other posts on  Tuesday Tales.

Same Time Next Year isn’t the only book born on Tuesday Tales.  Check out Hello Again, my paranormal/suspense/romance available from Amazon.


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Insecure Writers’ Support Group Monthly Blog Hop.


Welcome to this months’ hop. I was MIA the last couple of months thanks to holidays, but I’m back. This month’s question:

Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose?

I do it all the time. I often use places I’ve visited as settings and describe my reactions to them. For example, if I ate something I loved, I’ll mention that dish.  On another note, my characters often suffer my allergies, hang-ups, and preferences.

I would find it impossible to write without putting myself and my experiences into my books. My current wip is based on a place I visited and something that happened to a close friend post surgery, something that made a lasting impression on me.  Other books have touched on happy and sad events in my life or that of close family members. They all serve as inspiration.

Stop by and check out the rest of this month’s posts.


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