Oops! Carolyn

Oops! I owe everyone a big apology. For the first time in my memory, which isn’t all that great at the best of times, I simply forgot I was supposed to post yesterday. As the prayerbook says, I have left undone which I ought to have done. I can’t blame it on being too busy, either. The day was glorious—probably the last we’ll have under 85 degrees until mid-September, and my friend offered to drive Zoe with me. Add that to going to church later than usual—summertime schedule for the first time, and I got simply discombobulated. So I do apologize. Forgive me. I promise I’ll do better next week.



Reading…the great escape!


Oh! The places you'll go because...you READ!

We all need to disappear now and then. Be somewhere else. Be somebody else. Books are a much healthier alternative than some means of escape, wouldn’t you agree? ;-)

But how do you pick which book to read when there are a zillion or so choices out there?

Reviews can help. Word of mouth is still the most powerful advertising money can’t buy. (For everything else, there’s BookBub.)

My newest book released on Tuesday. So far, I have two reviews — one from a reader in the UK and one from Australia. (I love this so much.) I’d like to share them because Amazon doesn’t co-mingle reviews between its stores.

Offering a beautiful balance of humour and romance, this book was a real page turner f

 AMAZONUK: Romance with a nice touch of humour, 18 May 2016 By Shelagh

This review is from: Black Hills Outcast: a Hollywood-meets-the-real-wild-west contemporary romance series (Black Hills Rendezvous Book 5) (Kindle Edition)

It’s no secret that I love Debra Salonen’s books And Black Hills Outcast is no exception. Offering a beautiful balance of humour and romance, this book was a real page turner for me. There were rolling on the floor funny moments (imagine dumping a box of sex toys at the feet of a man you’ve just met), some nice touches of passion and also a backstory dealing with the difficult issues of death and cancer. I thought these were handled with grace and dignity.

Guilt can do awful things to a person and Rufus Miller, hero of Black Hills Outcast, is dealing with a bucketload of it over the death of his brother Stephen. This is not recent death but rather one that occurred while both boys were teenagers, but that hasn’t stopped Rufus from feeling responsible. He and his guilt are hiding out in the Black Hills after a cancer scare ended his modelling career..

Rachel Grey has always been the model daughter, living up to her mother’s expectations with regard to both her career and her marriage until the moment she finds her husband cheating on her. Her divorce acts as the catalyst for Rachel to spread her wings and launch herself into a new career, much to her mother’s horror.

I loved the interaction between Rachel, bursting with creative ideas designed to promote Rufus and his wonderful Dreamhouses, and Rufus, keen to sell as many Dreamhouses as possible while preserving his privacy and anonymity. You could just tell that there was going to be friction there!

Black Hills Outcast is the latest book in the Black Hills Rendezvous series and if you’ve read the other books you’ll quickly feel at home in the quirky town of Sentinal Pass, however if you haven’t, don’t worry. This book stands alone very well. I loved reading it and have no qualms about recommending it.

Outcast new wht

#2 AmazonUK – MF

I think this is my favourite of the series! Rachel’s helpless honesty and frank responses made me laugh. Rufus’s whimsical but insightful creativity touched me – plus I like a man who steps up for his girl. There are some great visual moments too!

The vein of recognition of wishes and aspirations, hope and second chances, runs through the book in many different situations and the reason for Rufus’s solitude is the grit within the pearl of this book.

It wouldn’t be Black Hills without family, dogs, gossip, fun and some hot romance – plus a magical ending!

This is part of a series but you don’t have to have read them in sequence, Black Hills Outcast more than delivers on its own.

So, go ahead, make some author’s day–and maybe help someone who needs to leave the real world behind for a bit.

One last picture. I’ve been in the mountains writing this week, and I want to share our glorious spring with you. Have a great weekend, wherever you are!

Deb Salonen hiking Lewis Creek


PS: in case you’re interested in escaping into BLACK HILLS OUTCAST, here are the buy links. :-)

iBooks: http://littl.ink/+ryZ8
KOBO: http://littl.ink/BHOutcastKO 
Amazon: http://littl.ink/BHOutcastAZ 
BN: http://littl.ink/BHOutcastBN


Malice in October – Carolyn

Yesterday was our monthly Malice in Memphis mystery writers meeting. At the moment we are planning our fall retreat weekend at St. Columba’s, a big area of wooded land dotted with lodges.

The place itself is magical—to find so much wooded land in what is the middle of suburbia is a surprise. The cottages where the meetings are held are hidden away in the trees where you practically have to kick the deer out of the way to get to the front door. We meet Halloween weekend, so it’s usually cold enough to have a fire in their fireplace and wear our hand grenade jackets on our walks.

And work. We have brainstorming sessions, sessions on pacing, characterization, plotting, goal, motivation and conflict, self-editing, and this year some real down-and-dirty sessions on working with social media. Which I do not know how to handle at all.

With fewer and fewer actual bookstores surviving, and more regular publishers firing their mid-list authors, sometimes I feel as though those of us who write for a living are hanging on by our fingernails. It’s kind of like working for a buggy whip factory when automobile factories were being built.

One of the basic problems about e-books that I see is that it’s impossible to know whether the book you are opening on your Kindle or Nook is professionally done, or is simply a first attempt by somebody who got his friends and relations to post positive reviews.

I find I stick to authors I have read previously and know are good. That’s tough on the newbies, and cuts me out of some great new books, but I have to play the percentages.

I read the classics by choice. Since I usually read at least one mystery a day, I am always looking for authors I can trust. All too often I take a chance on an author I’ve never heard of before, only to find that the author doesn’t even understand the rudiments of grammar. For example, one doesn’t ‘continue on.’ One ‘continues.’ Even Agatha Christie has Poirot ‘shrugging his shoulders.’ What else could he shrug? His toenails? And don’t get me started on commas.

We have an obligation to learn and use proper grammar and syntax, or to hire a good editor who does. Plot, characters, pacing, etc., etc., and so forth, are hard enough to handle without having to worry about grammar.

When I do find an author I fall for, I tend to download all the books he or she has ever written. Then I go through them like a hot knife through butter (cliché—shame on me). I want to urge them to write faster, so I can have a new book quicker. I get ticked if they have the temerity to stop writing, even if they’ve died to get away from me. Readers are selfish pigs. I know I am.

Our yearly retreat is an attempt to help our group to write better. Our aim should not be simply to get published, but to write such a good book that we deserve to be published. If only that was all it took.



Love At First Sight? Does It Exist? (Pat)

I write romance novels.    I didn’t know I did until I wrote my first book.

I had never read what I would call a modern romance.   I had read, and loved, Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart and other and other Gothic novels.   I loved books by Frank Slaughter and Frank Yerby,  the masculine take on romance.   I gobbled up the Williiamsburg series by Elsweth Thane which chronicled the romances of one family in a series that started with the American Revolution and went through World War II.   Should I  also mention that Gone With The Wind was my favorite book?.

But I had never read a modern romance novel until after I finished writing a book.and started wondering if I could sell it.

I didn’t set out to write a book that would sell.  I was frustrated in my publicrelations job and one day read an article in a western history magazine.   Ideas bombarded me until I sat down at a typewriter (Yes, a typewriter) and started writing.   I  never intended to  write  a salable novel. I was writing for my own pleasure.   But when I finished, I read an article in the local paper about a course at Emory University: “How To Get Published.”    I signed up for it, and one of the speakers was a romance writer who talked about the genre and I thought, “Wow, that’s what I just wrote.”   She went on to talk about Romance Writers of America and a local chapter in Atlanta where I lived.

I joined, submitted the manuscript  in a contest, won first place at a conference that was attended by editors.   One asked to see it and bought it the next week.    I was off and running.

There wasn’t love at first sight in that book, but I have written books where there is, including the book I’ve just completed.   I am a believer of such magic although I haven’t experienced it myself.

My mother and dad did.    My dad met Mom during depression years.  She was a student at the University of Minnesota.   Dad was a student at a trade school because he couldn’t afford a four year college.   He paid tuition by working in the cafeteria.    His brother took him to a  church social.   When they entered, Dad’s gaze was riveted by my mom who stood across the room.   He turned to his brother and said, “I’m going to marry that girl.”

His brother laughed.  “No, she won’t look at you.  She’s an university girl.”

But  he did ask her out, and she did say yes, and they did get married despite her father’s vehement opposition.   He didn’t send her to college to marry someone with few prospects.

Her father did not go to the wedding.   She always said she thought Bill, my father, was so brave to come into their house to pick her up and take her to a church for the wedding while her father glared at their every step and refused to attend.   It was the one time her mother refused to obey him and went by herself to the very small wedding.

The irony was that dad worked himself up the ladder with that trade college diploma to be on of the leading engineers in the space program.   He was one of Werner Von Braun’s deputies.  Mom saw the drive and intelligence and, I have to add, charm.

Second instance: my cousin was on leave in San Francisco (he was a carrier pilot during the Korean War) when he saw a woman walking while he was riding in a bus.   He got off the bus, met her and they were married three days later because his leave was over the next day and he was heading back to war.Third instance is my fellow blogger, Carolyn McSparren.   She saw her future husband across a military bar in Germany, and that was it.   But I’ll let her tell her own story.

Do you have any stories of love at first sight..



When the irons in the fire conspire against you…

Ever feel like you just can’t get ahead? Two steps forward, stumble, face plant…you get the picture.

This week has been one interruption in the game plan after another. I tend to beat myself up about deadlines–even the self-imposed kind. But life really is too darn short and the only deadline we can’t avoid is the BIG one. In the meantime, we need to play more, hug more and just do the best we can. So, here’s my brief revelation for the day.

Stumble on


Stumble on!



Grand Finale and Giveaway! (Tara Taylor Quinn)

On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

Book Tour Grand Finale for
His First Choice
By Tara Taylor Quinn

We hope you enjoyed the tour for TTQ’s newest addition to her Where Secrets are Safe series. If you missed any of the stops, go back and check them out now…

Launch- Welcome to the Tour for His First Choice

I can promise you that if you join me in this journey, you’ll be welcomed with a sense of friendship and belonging. My posts are authentic and my books are heartfelt.

Becky on Books- Excerpt

JEM COULDN’T BELIEVE his eyes when he pulled into Uncle Bob’s on Saturday, glanced toward the beach and saw Lacey Hamilton in double. In both forms his fantasies had taken. One was drably overdressed, and the other rather undressed. He skipped over the version with long, tanned legs exposed, and stared at the one with loose black cotton shorts that hung to her knees.

deal sharing aunt- Spotlight

Night Owl Reviews- Interview

What is your latest book, His First Choice, about?

A twist I’ve never seen or read before in the romance world, but a story I believe needs to be told – one that speaks to the heart of true romance. Lacey is an ex-child star whose identical twin sister is still in Hollywood, a soap opera star. Though she and her sister have identical looks, her sister always shines brighter. Lacey has moved to Santa Raquel to be a family services social worker. As part of the ‘Where Secrets Are Safe’ high risk team, she meets Jem Winston, whose four year old son is showing signs of abuse. Jem’s story is a heart breaker. His First Choice delivers his happy ending.

Beck Valley Books- Not an Ordinary Book

This book is…not ordinary. I think it’s powerful. And emotionally compelling. And I hope so much you give it a chance. I can tell you why I think this, and hope this. I can describe Jem to you. He’s the hero of my heart.

underneath the covers- Imagine

Imagine, you’re identical twins. You both look exactly the same. And yet…she gets all the attention. Can you imagine how difficult that would be? You adore your sister. She’s sweet and kind and really good to you. But…wouldn’t that be hard? Always feeling second best, without even knowing why?

You can imagine…or you can pick up a copy of His First Choice and live the life with Lacey Hamilton – and her identical twin Kacey – as they figure it all out.

EskieMama Reads- Excerpt

He thought about telling his son they absolutely did not want to speak with the other woman. Telling him that for their own safety they had to stay away from her. But he couldn’t figure out how to do so when Levi had been told she was a friend. He’d let her take Levi alone to a playroom. He’d let her in their home, to see Levi’s room and most prized possessions.

Lady Amber’s Reviews- Coming in First

Kacey, my heroine, isn’t the middle child. As a matter of fact, she was born first. But she seems to slide into the background her entire life. She’s overshadowed by her identical twin sister.

I’m not a twin. Didn’t even have a sister – though I always wanted one desperately – but I understand those feelings of being ‘on stage’ (for her, literally) of being at the event, but not coming in first. Not shining the brightest.

Thoughts of a Blonde- Review

“A gut wrenching story that hooked me by the first page and had me feeling so many emotions throughout! I smiled at the adorableness of this little boy, I ached for the pain being felt, I felt anger, and most of all, I hoped for a happily ever after for these two special guys that wormed their way into my heart. Highly recommend!”

Harlie’s Books- Review

“I can not stress that while Ms. Quinn’s books have a message there is also some of the best love stories to date. Poignant, relatable and emotional. You can’t help but fall in love with both characters. Ms. Quinn tackles the hard issues but in the end, love always wins. Always…”

Brooke Blogs- I Am Honored

I’ve said since the moment I started writing for Harlequin that I write to touch women’s lives. To find them where they are and give them a heart-felt boost – whether it be by giving them a couple of hours of enjoyment, to replenish themselves, so they can step back up to their plates. Or, more often, to reach out to hurting hearts, to hold on gently, and walk with them back to the road to joy.

Wishful Endings- Not Your Ordinary Romance

My books are filled with hard topics, issues that face real women, without any sugarcoating to make them more palatable. I didn’t choose this route. The voices, the stories, the people that appear in my head, chose me.

Don’t forget to enter all the giveaways at the end as well!

His First Choice (Where Secrets are Safe)His First Choice
(Where Secrets are Safe #8)
by Tara Taylor Quinn
Adult Contemporary Romance
Mass Market Paperback & ebook, 384 pages
May 1st 2016 by Harlequin Superromance

The best decision they’ll ever make

Lacey Hamilton is used to living in the background. Overshadowed her entire life, she stepped out of the Hollywood limelight and into the role she’s meant to play: a counselor, part of the High Risk Team started by The Lemonade Stand women’s shelter in Santa Raquel.

Her caseload leads her to the doorstep of Jeremiah “Jem” Bridges to rescue a little boy. She’s not supposed to fall in love with the rugged construction worker and his adorable son. Love and duty, though, don’t always agree. Especially when a truth is uncovered that neither she nor Jem is prepared to face.

GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & NobleHarlequin

The author of more than 70 original novels, in twenty languages,Tara Taylor Quinnis a USA Today bestseller with over six million copies sold. A 2015 RITA finalist Tara appears frequently on bestseller lists, including #1 placement on Amazon lists, and multiple showings on the Publisher’s Weekly Bestseller list. She has appeared on national and local TV across the country, including CBS Sunday Morning.

Tara is a supporter of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. If you or someone you know might be a victim of domestic violence in the United States, please contact 1-800-799-7233.

Are you a blogger and would like to join a future
Six Months of Heart Stopping Tara Taylor Quinn tour event?
Find out more and sign up HERE!

Heart Stopping Tara Taylor Quinn Giveaways


$20 VISA Gift Card (US only)
ebooks ofWife By Design,Once A Family, andHusband by Choiceby Tara Taylor Quinn(open internationally)
Ends May 11th

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Kindle Fire with Six Pre-loaded TTQ Books (books 1-6 fromWhere Secrets are Safe series)
US only
Ends August 31st

To Enter: Submit your receipt online for your pre-order or purchase of any of Tara Taylor Quinn’s six releases being promoted on her Heart Stopping Tour (Love By Association, His First Choice, The Promise He Made Her, Strangers in Paradise: Sheltered In His Arms, Sheltered In His Arms Audiobook, and For Love Or Money). Enter as many times as you purchase. One book purchase equals one entry (one receipt per entry and must be uploaded at time of entry).


1st Place:25,000 Harlequin My Rewards Points – equivalent of 5 free books, reader’s choice of any book published by Harlequin/MIRA/Carina Press.
2nd Place:15,000 Harlequin My Rewards Points – equivalent of 3 free books, reader’s choice
3rd Place:10,000 Harlequin My Rewards Points – equivalent of 2 free books, readers choice
Open internationally
Ends August 31st

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Beth’s Day – Carolyn


Today is Mother’s Day. I was looking back over previous blogs and discovered that I have written several Mother’s Day blogs about my own mother, a remarkable woman I (and everyone else) called Beth. I don’t remember ever calling her anything else, although I must have. She did television commercials and had a talk show locally in which she was known as Beth Marsh. Since southerners want to place everyone we meet into some kind of stratum, I learned to introduce myself to strangers as Beth’s daughter.

Not that it cut any ice with the girls I went to high school with. I suspect that had the internet been around, they would have led the cyberbullying parade. I didn’t have a clue about how to fit in. I had exactly two dates in high school, and one of them was a disaster. The cops brought me home because my date had been speeding, tried to run, and wrecked his car in the attempt.

I went to a private girls’ school where most of the students came from rich, socially prominent families. I did not. They were members of Cotillion Club. I was not. Their mothers were members of the Junior League. Mine was not.

Where they all hung out in the afternoons, I went home to take a nap so that I could join Beth at the local theater to help backstage with whatever play she was in at the moment. I designed and built costumes for my first show when I was thirteen. I don’t know how good they were, but they didn’t fall apart, and I was asked to do another show.

I missed out on the usual teenage rebellion, basically because I had nothing to rebel against. I had freedoms my classmates did not. I was not expected to be a debutante. I didn’t even know most of the boys who made up the pool of possible husbands. The ones I did know bored me.

At the theater, I was accepted as just another worker bee, but looking back, I can see that I was looked after and protected from uber-stupidity by Beth. I even did some acting. Boy, was I bad! I give great thanks that I never wanted to be professional. I would have starved if I’d had to rely on my talent on stage to eat. I was never jealous of Beth, however, because I was good at things she couldn’t do, and she always made certain I knew that.

Many of my high school acquaintances started the steep slide to adult alcoholism at that point. Not me. Who had time to drink? Do drugs? I was having too much fun to screw with my own personal reality. And I never fully realized that whatever I did at the theater, Beth was aware of. I never caught her protecting me, monitoring me, but I know now she must have.

She gave me at least the illusion of freedom to choose my own path. That’s quite something to give a kid. I wish I could thank her.


Happy Mother’s Day (9 affordable ways to celebrate)

As I head off to the beach for some badly needed R&R, I’d like to wish you all a Happy Mother’s Day! I find the day particularly poignant because my dear mom suffered a health setback on Mother’s Day 2008 and passed away two days later. I still miss her so much.

Daisy B. Robson 1913-2008

Daisy B. Robson


Before I leave, I’d like to share 9 great ways to celebrate Mother’s Day, if Mom’s idea of R&R (or yours) is relaxing with a heartwarming book. (This is exactly what I plan to do.)

My wonderful publisher, Tule Publishing, has created three special Mother’s Day gifts for Book Girls and their moms. I’m honored to be paired with two gifted author friends, Melissa McClone and Alissa Callen, in: MOTHER’S DAY IN MONTANA, which is offered exclusively to NOOK readers. Buy: HERE.

The other two Mother’s Day bundles are:

Mother’s Day Romance Bundle features CJ Carmichael, Rachael Johns & Kate Hewitt, and is available only at KOBO. I just purchased it: HERE.


Exclusively at iBOOKS, check out this wonderful threesome: A Mother’s Day Romance Collection with Sarah Mayberry, Jane Porter & Kat Latham. Yours:HERE.

These are limited time releases. Enjoy! And Happy Mother’s Day!

A bit of dogwood beauty from my favorite place: Yosemite National Park. Spring 2016


All the best!



Goodreads Giveaway! (Tara Taylor Quinn)

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Good Father by Tara Taylor Quinn

The Good Father

by Tara Taylor Quinn

Giveaway ends May 12, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway


Reaching…Keep Reaching (Tara Taylor Quinn)

I write romance. Harlequin Romance. Because I spent my teen years and my early twenties, reading Harlequin books. Not just one of the series, though I had my favorites, but any of them I could get my hands on. Those books helped me through some very difficult times. They set my sights high for myself. Harlequin heroines have integrity. They are decent, bottom line kind, trying their best people. I measured myself against them.

Harlequin heroines always find love. No matter their mistakes, their adversities, they keep getting up every day. They keep trying. They keep having integrity and reaching out. They’re always reaching out – to the world, to those they care about, to a society that needs us all to think of each other. A society that can only be successful if we make choices that are decent. Kind.

Because Harlequin Books were such an important part of my life, because they were such a friend and helpmate, I wanted to spend my career putting more of them into the world – so that women who were reaching out like I was, would find the books reaching out to them. This past week I received the most incredible honor. I was told that my current Harlequin Series, Where Secrets Are Safe, is the basis for a scholarly paper being presented in Sheffield in the UK in June, as ‘an instrument of change.’ The theory is that the books reach out to women and help shape and mold society through them. In short, the books help women. I’ve never even been to the UK, but my books are there, reaching out to women.

So today I say to all of us, just keep reaching…