I did a little poll on Facebook to see how much setting matters to readers. So far, it’s clear that the setting for a book or series influences some readers a great deal and other not so much. Poll: http://bit.ly/2A3hou1
I asked because my new series features 8 single title novels that are unconnected except by location: the West Coast. Why the West Coast?
I’ve been a California resident since 1980 and have visited every spot where these books are set–from the high Sierra to California’s agricultural heartland to the rugged Oregon coast. But as romance readers we all value the importance of a hopeful, heart-tugging happily-ever-after, right? So that why the series is called West Coast Happily-Ever-After.
These books have a few other things in common, too–including strong heroines who know their minds but aren’t afraid to listen to their hearts. Several are mothers, one is a wannabe mom, and another falls into the role through unimaginable loss. The men in their lives are no slackers. They’re strong, successful, and, once they find the woman who rocks their world, will do whatever it takes to gain her trust…and her heart. You can read more on my website: https://debrasalonen.com/west-coast-happily-ever-after/
Book I: HER FOREVER COWBOY released wide this week. I’d like to give a shout out to my wonderful cover designer, Rogenna Brewer. I think she sets just the right tone: hopeful and fun–just the way love should be.
Available here: iBooks BN GooglePlay Amazon KOBO Universal B2R
And many thanks to BookBub for the New Release Alert today. Are you following me? It’s simple, free and no obligation.
Good morning! We had rain last night—our first after a long, hot, dry, smoky summer. The trees are smiling…and so am I.
I’m also super excited to announce the birth of a new series: West Coast Happily-Ever-After.
This collection of contemporary stand-alone romance novels is set in the American west. From the Oregon coast to the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada mountains to the Central Valley of California–and a few other unique destinations, you’ll meet heroes and heroines who know who they are and what they want out of life. But who wants to make that journey alone? Given the right person…the right timing…maybe a helpful dog that knows every human deserves to live happily ever after and you’ve got yourself a love story. Because on the West Coast, happily-ever-after is state-of-the-heart.
Book 1 – HER FOREVER COWBOY – now available for preorder through iBOOKS, releases wide 11/1/17.
A bull rider and a New York executive walk into a Nevada B&B…
Single mom Anne Fraser has sacrificed plenty to get ahead in the world of corporate hotel management. Just ask her eight-year-old daughter, Zoey. When her stepfather asks Anne to fill her late mother’s shoes at the Silver Rose Guest Ranch, Anne can’t say no. Even if the job includes sharing the reins with the man whose kiss she’s never forgotten.
Will Cavanaugh planned to be the top bull rider in the country. He’s come close in his fifteen-year career, but now an injury has him sidelined for the summer. He answers his grandfather’s plea for help but soon realizes he’s facing a new dilemma. Could one summer with Anne and her daughter possibly be enough? Or is it just the beginning?
Battered and a bit disillusioned by life, Will and Anne return to the Silver Rose to repay old debts. To fall in love again. But, just for the summer.
Or, maybe…for a lifetime.
READ MORE HERE: HER FOREVER COWBOY
WHO LIKES FINDING NEW AUTHORS AND READING FREE BOOKS?
I’m also very pleased to share this fun offer from BookSweeps. I’ve teamed up with 45+ fantastic authors to give away a huge collection of Sweet & Mild Small Town Contemporary Romances to 2 lucky winners, PLUS a brand new eReader to the Grand Prize winner!
You can win my novel, SWEET SUMMER’S KISS, plus books from authors like Barbara McMahon, Tara Taylor Quinn and Nancy Robards Thompson.
ONLY 3 DAYS LEFT to enter the giveaway!!!
Click here: JOIN.
Good luck, and enjoy! Deb
Are you a bit Friday the 13th phobic?
Not me. Half the time I don’t know what day of the week it is until I’m forced to look at my weekly planner.
Last year, I decided to make this day a promotion angle. I can’t remember if it worked. LOL. But why let a good meme go to waste? Grab it here: BABY.
I hate to be bearer of bad news, but I live in California and the sad fact is our sky is a gray haze of smoke because there’s a disaster going on a hundred or so miles to the north. Everyone I know has some connection to this area—my FedEx driver this morning told me his uncle was awoken at 4 AM by a sheriff’s deputy pounding on the door. He was told to evacuate right that moment. By the time the husband and wife got into the car with just the clothes on their back, the fire had hopped the back fence and was racing toward their home. The house was destroyed. Luckily, the man had the foresight to store all of his important papers at the bank, so only the copies were lost…along with all of their possessions. I guess that’s the bright side, but still…the loss is almost unfathomable, even after witnessing such devastation first hand.
I know there are many reputable charities and GoFundMe pages available if you’re looking for a way to help those impacted by the NorCal fires. I donated to this woman because her story broke my heart and actually made me sob.
Here’s the article: http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/12-Bernese-mountain-dogs-two-dachshunds-lost-in-12274310.php#photo-14338385. This poor woman was awakened by a sheriff and forced to leave her home, even as she cried, “My dogs! My dogs are inside.” By the time the deputy returned, the house was engulfed and her eight Bernese Mountain dogs, four Bernese puppies and two dachshunds were dead.
I researched the Bernese breed when I wrote BLACK HILLS BILLIONAIRE and fell in love with these gentle giants. If you’re a dog lover, you can probably relate to Patti’s anguish. Donate to Patti here: Patti lost it all
So…I don’t know about you, but I need a little escape. I just bought the 2nd book in Patricia McLinn’s Caught Dead in Wyoming series. I loved the first one—smart, intriguing, a fish-out-water story with a lot of twists—and can’t wait to dive into this one. Click on the cover to learn more and buy from your favorite retailer.
Have a great weekend.
The weather definitely has changed around here—thank heavens! Our very long, very hot, dry and smoky summer is officially in our rear view mirror. That means it’s time to think about comfort foods. For me, that means soup.
I am an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink kind of soup enthusiast. Last night’s meal was inspired by finding a great deal on smoked ham hocks and a package of dried beans in the cupboard—the sixteen-variety-soup-mix type. (Cool thing about this kind of dried beans is you don’t have to soak overnight.)
Here’s the recipe. It’s super simple, not super fast. I didn’t start early enough in the day to use the slow cooker, but the smell of this simmering on the stove all afternoon was definitely a plus.
Start the beans. Follow the directions on the bag: add beans to 6-8 cups hot water. Heat, boil for five minutes, then set aside and let soak for 1 hour.
Start the body of the soup. Chop 2 medium onions and peel four cloves of garlic. Add ham hocks to pot. Cover with water and set on medium heat to boil for several hours.
Squish the soften garlic cloves with the back of a spoon. Add the beans when they are done soaking.
An hour or two before serving, pull out the ham hocks and cut the meat to bite-size pieces. Discard bones and return meat to the soup.
Add chopped carrots, celery, or anything you need to use up. (In my case, leftover green beans, leftover sweet potato, and a bit of chard from my garden.)
Add beef or chicken broth or water for desired consistency. Simmer until ready to serve.
Given the salty flavor of the ham hocks, the only seasoning I added was pepper.
Serve with bread, crackers or cornbread.
How’s that for simple? Do you have a favorite soup? I’m always looking for new recipes. Feel free to share on my DebraSalonenAuthor Facebook page.
Have a great weekend!
I’m reading the first book in this awesome boxed set by C.J. Carmichael. I’m so hooked! The heroine’s father! What’s up with this man? Grr.
Just wanted to stop in and let everyone know about a very special anthology that is publishing on the 17th of this month. These ten stories are written by Harlequin Superromance authors and most of them connect to full length, already published books which means you can binge read for a good long time! The anthology is available for pre-order now! For a limited time these ten stories are just .99! Click the photo to get the deal!
Thanks to Tara Taylor Quinn for getting this valued blog back up and running. I don’t know what went on behind the scenes, but I’m sure Tara got in a good punch or two because here we are.
I’m currently working on a new series while enjoying a much needed break in the weather. This has been a rough summer for my part of California: hot, dry and way too many fires. To kind of bring you up to date, I’ll share a bit from my most recent newsletter.
We just celebrated my daughter’s “Fabulous & Forty” birthday with a big party and dancing under the stars. The weather finally has a touch of chill in the evenings, and we couldn’t be happier. The photo below is of Kelly with two great friends from high school. (Kendra, left, Jenni, middle, and Kelly, right.) I’m so proud of these awesome women, who are kind, generous, supportive of each other, involved in their community, and great role models for their children.
The day after the party, my hubby and I made a 50-mile drive to view some of the more remote burn areas of the Detwiler Fire. We were amazed by how huge the scope of this fire was, but you can’t help but be impressed by how many homes were saved. Kudos to CALFIRE and all of the fabulous First Responders. Every day, we see huge trucks on the highway carting away debris from the fifty-plus destroyed homes, but Mother Nature has already begun the work reclaiming her hold at the base of so many of the skeleton trees.
Next week, I’ll share a couple of fun autumnal recipes and other timely news, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t share the latest–and final–book in our Love at the Chocolate Shop series.
Sweet Dreams, Baby
by C.J. Carmichael
Three weeks ago, Portia Bishop mailed a letter to the father of her baby, Saddle Bronc rider Austin Bradshaw. It’s a letter she should have written a long time ago—like when she first found out she was pregnant, shortly after she ended things with Austin, dropped out of college, and went running to her family in Marietta, Montana.Austin has loved Portia since he first laid his eyes on her in college. A year ago, he convinced her to do something impulsive and very romantic. Now, as he opens her letter, Austin has two reasons to return to Marietta–win back the heart of the woman he still loves and convince her he’s a good bet for a forever man and father.
Twelve months, twelve sweet romances, six authors. If you like chocolate and romance, you can’t go wrong. #whatlovetasteslike
I hope you’re enjoying the last few days of September. See you next week! It really is good to be back.
Yesterday we had a heat index over 105 degrees. Tonight we’re down in the sixties. Go figure. Yesterday the horses were solid sweat balls. Tonight they are probably shivering. Summer in the south is always insane, but it’s too early for our usual three or four days of cool temperatures in September, before it goes back up over 105 until October.
I have horse friends who have two abodes—one in Maine where they spend the late spring, summer and early fall, and one around Orlando, Florida, where they spend the winter. I’m not certain I could get used to moving lock, stock, horse tack, carriages, and all the household things, clothing and such twice every year. One of my friends drives a fifty-foot horse trailer. She is maybe five feet three on her best day. Her husband loads her up here in Memphis or there in Florida, and goes on about his business, leaving her to drive this behemoth full of large live animals four hundred miles all by herself. I have trouble driving my two-horse trailer with one horse and one carriage. I certainly can’t back it up very well. She, on the other hand, got stuck in a fast food parking lot towing that trailer and had to back the whole rig out into the highway. She did it, too. I would have gotten out, called Triple A, and asked them to hire somebody to do it for me.
Trailers tend to be satanic anyway. A number of years ago I was part of a pit crew (never again) for a sports car driver I was dating. We were racing in Daytona—not the Nascar thingie, but a small sports car race. Miserable. The men worked on the car all weekend. The girls barely got a soda, much less a meal. On the way home on Sunday night after the race, dehydrated, hungry, sunburned and exhausted, we were driving through north Florida on a desolate and probably alligator infested highway, when suddenly the trailer with the car on it coasted right by the truck, crossed in front of us and came to rest halfway down an embankment. The tow bar had broken. My date, the driver, hopped out of the truck, ran to where the trailer was canted off the road, and forgot he’d been smoking his pipe. He stuffed it in his pocket.
Two minutes later he came hopping back to the truck in the process of yanking his jeans off and beating out the smoke and flames that were erupting out of his pocket.
He was singed, but not burned. We all spent the night and most of the next day trying to find someone to weld a new tow bar on the front of the trailer.
There is no place to party down in the back roads of Northern Florida.
Two weeks later, he called me to ask me if I wanted to spend the weekend with his crew while he drove at Watkins Glen.
The heat index is over a hundred and five degrees, and there is no sign of rain or a break in the heat for most of next week. I’m not surprised. This is why I hate summer. I have to drag out to the barn three times a day to top off the horse’s water. Even if it didn’t evaporate or get drunk much more than normal (and a good thing too), sitting in the sun it literally gets to hot to drink.
They spend their time under the big fan in the barn, and only go out at dusk when there are long shadows. Then they spend all night grazing in the pasture. It’s always amazed me how well they can hide in plain sight at night. They stand still under a tree or even in the open. Unless the moonlight catches their eyes, you can walk to within five feet of them without seeing them. I think they do it on purpose. If horses could snicker (as opposed to nicker, which is a whole other thing), I think they would snicker at us human beings, who can’t see what’s right in front of our noses.
My big old Zoe mare has the remains of an abscess in her off fore hoof (that’s the right side). My farrier dug it out, but I think it may actually have graveled before we got to it. When a horse has a gravel, it means that the abscess, rather than going down the hoof wall until it bursts with a lot of nasty stuff, works its way up the hoof until it reaches the top and bursts out there. Same nasty stuff, but it takes longer and is harder to dig out.
That means that my friend Beverly and I have not driven Zoe in a month. We tried a couple of Sunday afternoons ago, and that’s when we discovered she was obviously in pain. One of the ways to tell is that a lame horse will nod its head when it steps on the painful hoof. And according to my nurse/driver friend Beverly, I should be treating the sore place in her hoof by soaking it with sauerkraut juice—something about the acid. I don’t consider myself a real horseman, but I have been around horses for a long time. Never heard of the sauerkraut cure. I do know about the caster oil ointment for arthritis, and the DMSO pain killer. I know about giving garlic and vinegar to horses in their feed to keep them from being bitten by flies and mosquitoes. I know about soaking beet pulp and feeding a handful of it in the winter with horses who suffer and lose weight during cold weather.
But there is a ton I do not know that the old timers knew and used when there wasn’t a friendly neighborhood veterinarian around.
And horses can be stupidly counter-productive. I would like to run the cold water hose over them when they are hot. I’ve had horses that love it. Not mine.
And the best way to draw an abscess is to stand the sore hoof in a solution of Epsom salts. My Zoe, however, who is never even tied when my farrier works on her, will absolutely not put her foot in a soak of warm Epsom salts. When Zoe does not want to do something, it is wiser not to ask her.
We will continue to fight the heat the best way we can.
Well, it’s finally summer the way we expect summer to be in the mid-south. Nuts. The living is definitely not easy. My horse children are standing in the barn in front of the fan and giving me the skunk eye when I walk in to feed or water them. Obviously the heat is all my fault. And this morning my friend Beverly and I intend to drive Zoe. She will not be happy, but we have to do it early or we won’t be able to do it at all.
We have had a relatively mild summer so far, which probably means that it will be over a hundred in October. And seventy on Christmas. Don’t talk to me about climate change! Tell it to Antarctica.
In the meantime, those of us who can hunker down in the air conditioning and try to avoid doing much else. I did get my story into Belle Books for the new Mossy Creek book on Christmas in Mossy Creek. Since it’s been a while since the last one came out, I’ve forgotten everybody’s names, though I do remember that the Garden Club drinks lethal Mimosas at their meetings.
Forgetting characters’ names is apparently endemic among writers. It’s like being in a play. It closes on Saturday night and by Monday morning the actors can’t remember their lines. I asked one of my friends one day what she was reading, and she told me a book about so-and-so and so-and-so. I asked her who wrote it. She replied, “You did, fool!” So remembering the names of the Mossy Creek Garden Club ladies is way beyond my pay grade. That is why God, in His infinite wisdom, gave us copyeditors, may they be blessed.
Now I’m going to be writing the next book about those wonderful people, animal rehabilitators. I turned in the first in the series a week ago, and the Mossy Creek story on Thursday.
Maybe it’s a good thing it’s hot and getting more miserable every day. I have no desire to go running around in the out-of-doors collecting sunspots and getting dehydrated.
Oh, and by the way, despite what Hoagie Carmichael says in his song, there is no oleander in Memphis. Pity, because it’s a lovely poison. I’d like to use in a mystery some day, but I’d have to have it harvested in California.