Posts tagged with: 80s romance

Meet 2016 Golden Heart Finalist Melanie Novak!

Today we’re welcoming Mermaid Melanie Novak, 2016 Golden Heart Finalist in Romantic Suspense with RUBY RED!

Melanie Novak lives, reads, and writes in Pittsburgh. Though she lives with only her sixteen-year-old cat Jasmine, she has a posse of friends and family close by to rescue her when her toilet overflows or she locks herself out of the house. When not reading and writing, Melanie enjoys walking, going to the movies, and following Pittsburgh Pirates baseball. She can’t decide if she’s more excited about Outlander finally coming to the small screen or the upcoming Gilmore Girls revival.


When a multi-million dollar ruby belonging to Marie Antoinette is stolen from Lamont Auction House, Addison Merritt’s career—and the survival of the boutique house—is on the line. Addison teams up with sexy U.S. Marshal Michael Wright, but they are not the only ones looking for Rosette’s Ruby.

And others are willing to kill for it. 

As the danger mounts and time runs out, Addison takes a bold gamble and risks everything—including her heart—to recover the ruby.

That sounds thrilling—and you KNOW the Rubies are psyched to have a ruby-centered story out there in this year’s Golden Heart! We’ll be cheering for you in San Diego, Melanie!!

Melanie’s here today to talk with us about first times…with romance novels, that is.

Take it away, Melanie!!


Novak_Melanie HeadshotYou Never Forget Your First

I don’t remember how old I was when I read my first romance novel, but not old enough to know that what went on between the hero and heroine behind the closed bedroom door was a lot more than kissing. I read in absolute amazement as the scene unfolded. This was an eighties romance novel with all the trimmings—bodice ripper cover, politically incorrect hero, a not-entirely-willing-but-completely-satisfied-afterwards heroine.

I still didn’t understand everything that happened in that scene, but one thing was certain. 

I was hooked. 

When my mother sat me down to tell me about the birds and the bees, I informed her that I knew all about it. When a brief round of questioning confirmed this, she asked, “Did Cousie tell you?” Cousie was—of course—my beloved cousin and senior by four years. 

I will admit Cousie provided a few details and clarifications, but she hadn’t told me. Valerie Sherwood and her swashbuckling buccaneers and corseted ladies already had. 

I first tried my hand at writing a romance novel in 2006. I was twenty-five, and I’d read dozens of romances by then. Inspired by the Torino Olympics, I made my hero and heroine star-crossed figure skaters who were paired with the wrong partners. 

With FIRE AND ICE, I proved to myself that I could maneuver around work and life, overcome a dismal first draft, and research all the things I didn’t know about skating. 

I could finish.

I typed the final sentences of FIRE AND ICE on the fourth of July. As I did, fireworks exploded outside my window. Oh please. Personal fireworks for my finale? How cheesy is that?

Hey, don’t blame me. I didn’t write the scene. This was real life, not fiction.

FIRE AND ICE, it must be said, was met with deafening silence from the publishing world. I read it now, years later, and I see its flaws. But I still see those fireworks.

2016 is shaping up to be a year filled with firsts. My third novel, RUBY RED, has garnered a Golden Heart nomination. This is more than my first Golden Heart. This is the first external recognition I’ve received for one of my original works. Lack of external recognition wouldn’t stop me from writing—I’m not sure anything would stop me from writing—but let’s not lie to each other. External recognition is wonderful.

In July I’ll attend the Romance Writers of America conference for the first time, and in the process I’ll see San Diego for the first time. For the first time, I’ll be querying agents with a bona fide feather in my cap.

And this, dear reader, is my first blog post.

You can bet I won’t forget it.

Your turn readers! Tell me about a first in your reading or writing life: the first romance novel you read, the first book that made you want to write, or the first book you wrote. I can’t wait to read your responses in the comments.


Find Melanie on the Web 

Twitter: @MelanieNovak31

Instagram: novak_melanie


The Latest Comments

  • Louisa Cornell: It’s a great first line, Louise! I am looking forward to reading the book!
  • Lenee Anderson: The murderer is David’s best friend. I’m concerned if I said something along the lines of...
  • Darynda Jones: This is great, Lenee, especially for a first attempt. Wow. I’m wondering if the stakes can be...
  • Darynda Jones: YES!!! I love it, Vivi, but Autumn’s is adds that twists that grabs me. Great job both of you!
  • Heather McCollum: Yes, this works! Thank you Autumn! You are awesome!!


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