Summer is here!

I won’t show you our projected temperatures for next week. Why bother, right? It’s summer. Heat happens. I’ll show you this beautiful by-product of the hot weather, instead. Deb Salonen summer flowers The heat can be a bit of a distraction and, I’ll admit, it tests my patience. Today, a simple task that should be blow-and-go turned into a study in frustration. I wanted to make sure the link that appears as a QR code on my new bookmarks was working. The code will take the interested party straight to a sign-up page where they can join my newsletter and get a free book. Simple in theory, but since I’m already signed up my newsletter, I got an error code. Come on, really? Pretend I’m not me. I do it all the time. Sigh. After much too much time and wasted effort and bad words (the heat! I blame the heat!), I think it works. If you haven’t signed up for my newsletter and would like a FREE sweet read, click on this meme. And, please, please, let me know if it doesn’t work. (Just click on the meme.) love coffee newsletter (1) My next newsletter will include an offer for one of my new bookmarks! I’ll be giving them away at RWA in San Diego, too, where I’m signing print copies of these two books. This is my first signing in quite a few years, and I’m super excited. Miracle Baby DSalonen If you’re in the neighborhood (alphabetically…Potter…Quinn…Salonen…), please find me and say HI.

RWA Signing


Here are the details: 2016 RWA Literacy For Life Book Signing.



In praise of stepfathers – Carolyn

One of the first truisms I learned in my anthropology/sociology class was that men do not want to raise other men’s children. And that one of the reasons for harems and purdah is to keep women sufficiently contained so that men can have a pretty good idea that they are the biological fathers of the children who become their heirs.

But never 100%. Most herd animals fight to corral as many females as possible during the rutting season. Not only do they fight off contenders for their females, but they keep an eye on the females constantly in case they should stray. And run themselves ragged while they are doing it.

So let us praise stepfathers—the good ones. This is something I know about. I had the finest possible stepfather any kid could have. I may not have shared his gene pool, but I was his daughter in every sense that mattered.

My mother divorced my biological father before I was born. It was the tail end of the depression and the run up to WWII. Nobody had any money. Bill, the name I called him from the start, was one of the few in my mother’s acquaintance who had an actual job. He was a dispatcher with the police department. This despite a law degree and an engineering degree. He bought an old house in what became the Garden District in Memphis, installed my mother, me, and her sister and brother-in-law, who had no jobs, in that house. I was not quite two when he married my mother in the living room with wallpaper hanging off the walls, and no heat except coal fires in the five fireplaces in the house. Shortly thereafter he went off to be a naval officer in Brunswick, Maine. He wrote my mother letters, but he also wrote me. I lived for those letters. I also lived for the summers I spent in Maine with him and my mother.

He could fix anything. Good thing, too, since we didn’t have the money to hire repairs. I don’t think my biological father ever paid child support, although God knows we were poor. I once heard Bill tell my mother, “I don’t want that man’s money to pay for my child.” He had perfect pitch and tuned our piano by ear. He could play any instrument known to man. He had put himself through college playing in a dance band. He taught me to ride a horse, dance the tango, sail a boat, and drive a car. He loved theatre and ballet and opera and read constantly.

After I married my first husband and moved to Philadelphia, he visited regularly because his company was based in Camden. The first weekend he spent with us, he bought us a big room air conditioner, because, he said, it made married life possible in the summer.

One January he had spent the weekend with us and had flown out Sunday night. Monday morning at my job I put my hand on the telephone and dropped it as though it were on fire. I’ve never had precognition before or since, but at that moment I knew. His plane had crashed Sunday night in a sleet storm south of Charlottesville. No one survived.

Somehow my mother and I survived. I’m not certain how.

He took some other man’s two-year-old brat and made me his. God bless him.



Finding Dory

I #amwriting. I have a deadline. The best way to keep my head in my story is to write, write, write. I do not have time to go to a movie. That said, I’m taking my granddaughters to see Finding Dory today. Dory You know why. Life is too short. We need to budget time to play, too. We need to maintain our connection to living and breathing people, too. Especially in light of all the sadness and loss we’ve experienced as a society this past week. I shared my feelings on that subject in my newsletter, if you’re interested. WHY I READ–AND WRITE–ROMANCE

I also shared this lovely video: WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW. It did my heart good.

I have a feeling seeing Finding Dory will be good for my heart, too. Plus, you just can’t go wrong with grand-girl time.

Have a great weekend. Go find yourself some joy, Deb

PS: Book 6 in my Black Hills Rendezvous series released on Tuesday. If you need a romantic escape, you can start reading for free HERE. -Romance that warms your heart with hope, humor and happily-ever-after.-


Horse shows and heat – Carolyn


It is 97 degrees on my patio without a breath of breeze. I knew the beautiful weather was too good to last. This is why I don’t like summertime. My poor horses are standing in the barn with their faces to the big fan, but they are still miserable. The nasty little green head flies are out. They bite like Rottweilers. The horse flies are starting to come out as well. They bite too, but they’re easier to avoid. My big ole Zoe hates flies with a passion and will buck if she gets bit on the behind, so we fly spray and fly spray. She has a crocheted head net with ears to keep the flies out of her ears. Anything more—like a fly sheet—is too hot for her to wear.

My friend Beverly and I drove Zoe on Thursday morning early before the heat descended. Heaven only knows when it will be decent to drive her again. None of us—Zoe included—needs to be working in the heat. Even in the early morning, it’s over 80 degrees and climbing.

The weather was good, however, for the Germantown Charity Horse Show, which took place all week. This year they have expanded the breeds and types of class they offer. We had a dozen or so carriages—a number had Gypsy Vanner horses in draft. Gypsy Vanners are frankly, just adorable. They were bred to pull the Gypsy wagons in Europe and the UK. They’re generally only about 15 hands high, which makes them too small for me to ride, and sturdy. Most are black and white with manes down to their knees and heavy feathers on their ankles. They’re good-natured and have amazing stamina, which makes them perfect for long treks pulling the elaborately decorated Gypsy wagons. This year they won most of the carriage classes. In Europe they’re familiar, but in this country, they are still a big deal.

Theoretically, horse shows no longer allow built up walking horses—the ones with the ten inch pads on their front hooves and chains around their ankles to make them unnaturally high-stepping. What they call ‘the big lick.’ What everybody else called cruelty. I can finally watch a walking horse class at a horse show without wanting to hit somebody.

There’s nothing as pleasurable as a ride on a flat shod walking horse. They were bred and trained to cover long distances and ride the soybean fields or follow the quail hunts all day long and leave both themselves and their riders in good shape the next day. I grew up watching the old farmers slouch in the saddle while their horses ate up the distance without breaking a sweat. Again, they are good natured. So long as there’s not a mare in season in the vicinity, even the stallions seem to tolerate one another.

This year we also included Paso Fino. Again, too small for me to ride, but with their short, tapping gait, they are great to watch. I always think of “Trip Trap Trip Trap, Billygoat Gruff” when they do their thing across the plywood bridges that allow you to count how many beats they get per yard.

Today I am hunkering down inside and hoping we don’t get tornadoes when the weather breaks. It’s always something.




Busy Weeks Coming!

My blogs may be rare in the next few weeks.

My great niece whom I dearly love is getting married in two weeks and it will be a three day non-stop party with relatives coming from several states.  The wedding itself will be held Saturday, June 25 at Memphis’s much acclaimed Zoo with partying beginning the day earlier and running through Sunday.

I’m finishing the fourth book in the Covenant Falls series.   The first three books were about vets returning home and rescue dogs.   In this one, I’m introducing Quarter Horses to the mix.  I now know a great deal about birthin’ foals and Quarter Horses in general.  I also had great fun researching the Navy Seals.   My hero, Jubal Pierce, is a former Seal  who’s having a hard time adjusting to small town life.

And then there’s the upcoming Romance Writers of America conference approaching in San Diego.   It’s one of my favorite cities, and not entirely because it’s the home to Navy Seals.  I’m in the planning stage so I won’t miss anything.    If anyone has a suggestion about places to go, please pass it on here..

I’m also thinking ahead to book five of the Covenant Falls.   I plan to take the Quarter Horses another step farther.

Inbetween all this, I’m, trying to promote my backlist – - Romantic Suspense, Western Historicals and Scottish Historicals — that are now available as ebooks.  There’s been a number of sales, including Bookbub that sent one of my books to number one on the Amazon Romantic Suspense list.   Wow.

This week through June 14th one of my favorites, TWISTED SHADOWS, is included in Barnes & Noble’s Beach Reading Sale, which runs from June 1 to June 14 . During the sale TWISTED SHADOWS will be down priced at $1.99

One of my favorite romantic suspense tales.

One of my favorite romantic suspense tales.

I hope you check it out.

Have a great weekend.



Last day of school…let the wild rumpus begin!

I was lucky enough to have to deliver kids to school this morning. Everyone wanted to go EARLY! And why not? Today is the last day of the school term. The first day of summer vacation. The beginning of something totally new for the eighth grade students who move on to junior high.

When we arrived, my son was setting up his PA system for the guest DJ (my eldest granddaughter) to play music for an all-school dance party. This song has been in my head ever since.  (No offense, Flo Rida, but the Golden State Warriors are front and center, right now, in California.)

I had tears in my eyes the whole way home.

I’ve been asking myself why and all I can figure out is milestones of every kind remind us of how fast life speeds by. These moments, which really are just small stepping stones when you’re a child, add up so quickly to the path in our distant past.

Since I grew up in a time when summer vacation was three, full months (June, July and August) and all my closest friends lived in my neighborhood, we hung out daily and played kick-the-can every evening–our bare arms and legs a feasting ground for mosquitos. Our long hot days revolved around swim lessons–if your mother remembered to sign you up–and afternoons at the town pool, which held the coldest water on the planet. (Truth. Ask anyone who grew up in Brookings, South Dakota.)

My friends and I safely slept in a pup tent in my back yard. We slept as late as we could once the sun penetrated the musty-smelling fabric that turned the opaque igloo into a sweatbox. Some afternoons, we’d go to the library to read in the air-conditioned cool to gather strength for our next full day of fun.

My granddaughters have lots of plans for the summer: hiking trips, visits to distant grandparents, swimming in my “big box of water,” and chilling. We called that: doing nothing. I’m pretty sure I complained to my mother about not having something to do. Oh, my, how delicious that sounds to me, now!!

But, my summer will be jam-packed with a deadline looming, a new release every month, a trip to San Diego for RWA, and our hiking retreat to the High Sierra in August. Summer just isn’t the same as when school let out…way back when.

So, how’s your summer shaping up? Travel plans? Will anyone be in San Diego, July 13th. I’ll be signing copies of BLACK HILLS BABY and MONTANA MIRACLE. I haven’t done a signing in a very long time, and I’m excited.

I’m also excited to tell you that BLACK HILLS WHITE KNIGHT, the 6th title in my Black Hills Rendezvous series, is now up for preorder, releasing wide on Tuesday. You can start reading HERE.

Let's jet!

This book really touched my heart. It tackles some serious topics, such as spousal abuse and end-of-life choices, but there’s kindness, forgiveness, and a great deal love to bring a smile, too. Here’s one of my favorite lines:

The best gift a mother can give her daughters is to love herself.

With love and happy wishes for a memorable summer,


(And tongue-in-cheek apologies to any Cavalier fans. I have such a fan-girl crush on Stephen Curry.)



Whew! I’m back – Carolyn

I couldn’t get on storybroads last week for some unknown reason. This week I managed again, so here I am a week late. Seems all I do these days is apologize!

There is a wonderful show on National Geographic Wild about a veterinary practice in (I think) Miami that handles exotic animals of all kinds. No dogs, cats, or horses, but everything else. I watch the show every Saturday night and am continually enthralled at the connection between human beings and their pets. And I am also enthralled that the doctors who work to keep the pets healthy like them, whatever species they are. Last evening they worked on a Siberian lynx—about the size of an Irish wolfhound—with a mega-hairball that had to be surgically removed. A wild animal capable of doing plenty of harm if riled up. But an animal that loves its owners and is loved by them.

The next patient was a ball python that had been savaged by the live rat that had been given it for dinner. Apparently, the rat turned the tables and gnawed into the python. I am not a snake person, heaven knows, but it truly was a beautiful snake, and the vet who worked on it seemed to love it. And also loved the pullet that for some reason couldn’t stand. And the pot-bellied pig that needed shots. Pigs, apparently, scream bloody blue murder whenever they are restrained. I suppose noise is about the only defense they have. Except for wild boars, of course, with their tusks and bad attitudes.

Another vet show follows a vet in Alaska and across the Canadian border who handles everything from puppies and kittens through musk ox and moose calves. I thought that musk oxen were the same thing as yaks. Not so. Musk oxen are huge and extremely bad-tempered. Yaks are much more easy-going and can be used as pack animals. Darting a musk ox to sedate it to get its shots is dangerous!

I have enormous respect for the veterinarians who devote their lives to protecting and caring for non-human species that mostly do not relish nor understand their intervention. Doctors for human beings have to learn about only one species. Veterinarians have to know about dozens. They never know what they’ll be faced with when they come into work in the morning. The first patient may be an egg-bound tortoise that requires surgery on its shell. The second may be a sick chinchilla or a bad tempered Gila monster.

And somebody loves each of them. If we have dominion over the animals, then we also have responsibility for their well-being. All too often they suffer at our hands without understanding why they suffer. Thank heaven for the animals lovers out there, whatever their animal of choice, and for the veterinarians that help us to protect them. Long may they serve.



Pinterest: I Love It (Pat)

I have fallen in love with Pinterest.

My Storybroad partner and friend — Tara — introduced me to it at the Romance Writers of America Conference in New York last summer.   She is only too aware of my ineptness in social media,  but she had the infinite patience to walk me through establishing an account.   She told me I would love it.   I just knew I would hate it.  I’m not good at social media and I’m a dunce at anything electronic.

As usual she was right and I was wrong.   I not only love it, I am consumed by it..  She knows me better than I do.

My greatest vice and most valuable tool in writing books is curiosity.   I call it a vice because it can lead me into trouble.   I start researching one tiny little fact — like how much money a Navy Seal makes (for my book in process) — and two days later I surface from my computer after being led through their training, exploits, use of military dogs, weapons, etc.   One little tidbit leads me to another, and on and on and on.   I can’t stop myself.

Pinterest is a minefield for someone inflicted by the curiosity virus.  One thing always leads to another.

For instance, I started Pinterest with one purpose in mind: to promote my books.   One board per book.

After six months, I have about one hundred boards about, well, everything.

My most popular one seems to be “Need A Smile” with pins that are guaranteed to make you smile.   Could be a duck smelling a flower or a grinning dog.   Whatever, I dare you to leave with smiling.

Then there are more serious boards.   Frontier History offers photos of real time photos of famous bad men — and good ones like Texas Rangers — along with various Native American tribes, mining camps, houses of ill repute,  etc.

There’s history boards.  The American Revolution offers photos of the founding fathers, music, short media pieces of the causes of the war, and just about anything and everything about the American Revolution.   Same with the Civil War Board and World War II.

There’s a board devoted to the love of dogs and another with photos of baby animals.

One of my favorites is a board on Fascinating Women.   They range from Harriet Chalmers Adams, an adventurer and feminine badass, who was regarded as the foremost woman explorer of her time.  She founded the Society of Woman Geographers.  There’s also Rosanna Osterman, a civil war nurse who was also a spy and helped the Confederates retake Galveston on New Year’s day.   There’s other women who saved hundreds of Jewish Children during War World II, who fought beside their husbands in the American Revolution and the Civil War or who served as spies during those two wars as well as World War II..   It’s very large board.   There’s just no end to fascinating women; they’re great  inspiration for future heroines.

There’s breathtaking photos on a board called, of course, Breathtaking Photos.  And there’s photos of nearly familiar and unfamiliar animals.

The fun is going to the board of someone who likes one of my pins.   I find more wonderful tidbits of history, or life, or humor.   It’s endless knowledge.

Another favorite is music.   There’s wonderful music available.  Much of it is Scottish, including exceprts from Lord of the Dance.

I should emphasize that yes, I have boards on my books.   Come visit them.   Just type in Pinterest and search papotter0004.

I might add Tara is one of my most favorite people in the world but, darn it, she infected me with Pinterest.    Be cautious or you, too, might catch the bug.


Where will your summer reading take you?

I need a hammock.


By Pactola Lake in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota.

Pactola Lake

It’s on my bucket list, but, alas, I don’t see it happening this summer because my big excursion will be to San Diego for RWA. The conference will be exciting, interesting, and fun because I get to reconnect with a lot of friends, but business travel is much less relaxing than swinging in a hammock with my Kindle. Sigh.

Fall in love in the Black Hills

I was tickled today to discover that Amazon has all five of my Black Hills titles grouped together on one page. BHRENDEZVOUS  

On June 14, I’m releasing BLACK HILLS WHITE KNIGHT, Book 6 in my Black Hills Rendezvous series. Cover reveal coming soon on my newsletter. Are you signed up?

So, two questions: do you have a hammock? If so, describe the setting. I’m so jealous.

And second, what are you reading? I’m finishing up my book club read: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.



Happy Memorial Day and the start of summer

I’m late posting this today because I’ve been busy helping my hubby set up our “big box water.” That’s what I call our above ground pool, which we set up and take down every season for the pleasure and enjoyment of our grandchildren.

Deb Salonen above ground fun

The girls were splashing, laughing and making their grandfather grin with joy before the water was even knee deep.

I’d never pictured myself as the owner of an above-ground pool, but we live in an area that does not lend itself to in-ground pools. We would have had to remove five oak trees before we started digging–and praying we didn’t hit a house-size rock. We opted for the seasonal route which allows us to recycle the water and still have some pleasant, cool afternoons with our grandchildren.

While the kids are splashing in the big box of water, I’ll be sitting in the shade reading this great collection. Somehow, it’s seems appropriate for a Memorial Day weekend. And, luckily, it’s a super price of just 99¢.



Make it a good one, my friends! And please remember those who secured our freedom!
PS: Here’s what our lovely wet winter brought: cactus flowers. We haven’t seen this kind of blossom in four years!
Memorial Day beauty Deb Salonen