The pandemic was crazy. My day job is a commercial property manager (I manage shopping centers). In the middle of March 2020, it all went nuts. Closures started hitting us, and of course, our poor tenants were freaking out. Our entire department went into overdrive, figuring out how to handle all of this and how to best support our suffering tenants. I was answering emails and phone calls as quickly as I could for days. I’d answer one email, and five more would come in. The worst part was not having exactly perfect answers for everything that came up. There was no rulebook for a global pandemic that caused the complete closure of entire countries.
And the whole time, I felt guilty. I still had a job. Several of my family members got laid off, with no idea if they’d still have a job when the lockdowns were lifted. Thankfully, they are all okay now, but it was scary for a while.
Then the riots. A lot of the riots destroyed commercial property and small businesses, so we went on high alert to protect the properties, and more importantly, the tenants and customers.
And then my mom caught COVID. She’s not young, and she has diabetes, so I was worried. She went to the emergency room the first day with a headache so bad she could barely stand it. But thankfully, that was the worst of it for her. She stayed quarantined and recovered.
As for my writing, I had a book release in June 2020. It was my first book with Revell, titled A Dream Within A Dream, co-written with Mike Nappa under the pen name Melissa Kosci. I had all these plans to promote, and a lot of it went out the window. I have a background in guerrilla-style marketing, which requires a lot of printed materials and face-to-face interactions. Yep, COVID put a kibosh on that. No one wanted to talk to anyone face-to-face, nor did they want to touch anything they didn’t absolutely have to. I did as much as I could and focused on social media, and thankfully, Revell was able to set up several interviews and a few guest posts. The reviews for that book are excellent, so I’m going to call that release a success.
Now, my next book is releasing with Revell in May 2021. This one is mine alone, under the pen name Melissa Koslin. I do feel like a learned something about marketing from the last book. I hope so anyway. I am finally able to do some of that guerrilla-style marketing, but it’s still limited. I’ve been focusing on building my social media following across multiple platforms and creating interesting (hopefully) posts about the book. I’m also building a launch team made up of family, friends, and my local writing community, and of course, I’m doing everything and anything the Revell marketing team sends my way.
The book is called Never Miss, and it’s about a former CIA black ops sniper who saves the life of a brilliant scientist, who has discovered that Ebola was man-made, and the deadliest strain ever is about to be released at the State of the Union address in an attempt to “cleanse” the earth of humanity.
Yeah, I know it sounds like it was inspired by 2020.
However, the book was complete and in the hands of the publisher before 2020 even dawned. I swear. The idea came from an amalgamation of several slivers of ideas that I liked that I haven’t done before. A kick-butt female sniper. A different form of terrorism than we wrote in A Dream Within A Dream, something biological. Taking out the entire leadership of the federal government with one strike. Two lead characters who are complete opposites, but both extremely capable. I wanted them to balance each other, to be the kind of people who know their strengths and are confident, but also know their weaknesses and are strong enough to recognize when the other should take the lead. I love the idea of showing people from diverse backgrounds, how people can be total opposites in so many ways, and yet they are equal.
I hope that my books can help make 2021 a little better. Never Miss is filled with drama and intrigue, but in the end, it’s about hope. Good people are out there fighting for the welfare of others. They don’t care about anyone’s race, or ethnicity, or political beliefs, or socioeconomic background. They don’t demand anything in return; they don’t expect anyone to adhere to any particular political beliefs. They just want to do the right thing. Most of those good people go unheralded. They don’t do it for the attention. They don’t want attention, nor do they feel they deserve it. But they are out there. It reminds me of the story Mr. Rogers told once. He’d seen something bad in the news when he was a child, and his mother told him to look for the helpers. There may be bad things happening, but there are always helpers. There are always those who will step forward and give a free meal to first responders, who will offer a hug, who will save the life of a complete stranger while putting their own life at risk. These are normal, every-day people. They are our neighbors, the bagboy at the grocery store, a homeless veteran on the corner, a truck driver. They aren’t anything more or less than the rest of us. Let’s all strive to be one of those helpers, to offer love to everyone (every single person) and for no particular reason. Just because it’s the right thing to do.
Melissa Koslin is a fourth-degree black belt in and certified instructor of Songahm Taekwondo. In her day job as a commercial property manager, she secretly notes personal quirks and funny situations, ready to tweak them into colorful additions for her books. She and Corey, her husband of twenty years, live in Jacksonville, Florida, where they do their best not to melt in the sun. Find more information on her books at MelissaKoslin.com.