From award-winning journalist to nationally bestselling author with 26 published novels for Harlequin's Superromance and American lines, Debra Salonen brings humor and heart to her stories. She was named Romantic Times Reviewer's Career Achievement "Series Storyteller of the Year" in 2006. Her popular Indie release, Are We There Yet, has been called "laugh-out-loud funny, poignant and just plain fabulous!" Cowgirl Come Home, her newest release for Tule Publishing, is a full-length novel set in Montana.
Thanks to EVERYONE who voted for MONTANA SECRET SANTA’s cover in the recent Houston/Bay Area RWA “Judge A Book By Its Cover” contest! This sweet, yummy cover by the very talented artist Rhian Awni took 1st Place in the People’s Choice division.
I couldn’t be happier. To celebrate, I’m giving away a fun little prize on the Love at the Chocolate Shop Facebook page. Click here to enter: LATCS. Winning name drawn Sunday.
Here’s the prize: two autographed print books, two recipe cards and a sweet little “Peace” bracelet.
Best of luck and thanks for your lovely support. Happy Friday!
PS: I got so wrapped up in the heady joy, I forgot to mention that Michelle Beattie’s gorgeous cover, In The Arms of a Pirate, took 3rd Place honors in the Judges’s Choice catergory. Way to go, Michelle and cover artist Kim Killion.
I learned this morning that my beautiful, amazing cousin, Carol Bagby Gregory, who is four years my senior and lived with my family during my high school years while she was attending South Dakota State University has been moved to an Alzheimer’s facility, presumably to live out the rest of her life.
Carol was a social worker who cared for those who were easily victimized.
I can’t tell you how broken-hearted I feel. Carol bubbled with life, love, energy and joy from the moment I met her. Even before she moved in with us, I remember her taking me under her wing to explore her hometown of Rapid City, South Dakota, by bus–a first for a small town girl like me.
Her college years were a revelation and transformation for me. She brought fashion, flare, perfume and girly stuff into my life. She taught me how to wear makeup. She shared her amazingly well-stocked closet freely and took me shopping to help me find my own sense of style. With her guidance, I traded in my shy, nerdy cocoon for butterfly wings and self-confidence.
One of my most vivid memories is sitting with Carol on the floor of our kitchen, a tangle of arms and legs as we peeled apart each other’s split ends. My mother looked at us and said, “You two are like a pair of monkeys picking lice off each other.” Carol and I laughed so hard we wound up rolling on the floor in tears while Mom just shook her head.
I have tears in my eyes again as I write this. I will hold this memory for as long as I can, for Carol. I will visit her in my dreams and wish her Godspeed and tell her how much she meant to me. I don’t think I did that before it was too late. #ihatealzheimers #alzheimerssucks
Contests abound, but one of my favorites is the Houston Bay Area RWA “Judge A Book By Its Cover (JABBIC). And this year MONTANA SECRET SANTA, my lovely, innovative original watercolor cover from artist Rhian Awni, made the cut.
Color me delighted!!!
Did I tell you I called my editor at the last minute in a panic when I saw the first draft and realized I’d left off an important element? “We have to put a jacket on the beagle. No jacket and I’ll get roasted by dog lovers for abusing my beagle,” I cried. Next version: the beagle has a jacket. Whew! Kerfuffle avoided.
I also love how the artist captured the longing of someone being on the outside looking in and the hopeful patience of the dogs!
I’d so appreciate your kind vote–and while you’re there, check out these other great covers from Tule Publishing. You can vote for as many as you like!
Question: do you know anyone who is a twin? Are you a twin?
I am fascinated by birth order in general and it often plays a factor in my characters’ personalities. My two current Black Hills Rendezvous releases, BLACK HILLS RANCHER and BLACK HILLS STRANGER, feature the Bouchard twins–Jessie and Remy.
They are best friends, but as different as two people can be. I felt comfortable creating this dichotomy because my twin nieces, Leslie and Laura, are beautiful, accomplished young women who are best friends, but also very different. I love this about them and wanted to celebrate this uniqueness in my story.
First-born Jessie is an extreme athlete, a risk-taker, someone who meets every challenge head on–even when it comes to falling in love with someone who really needs a woman more like Remy in his life.
JESSIE’s favorite meme:
Sweet, kind, generous Remy would fix the world if she could. When her first love needs her help to find his missing daughter, she wants to say no, but how can she–helping others is what she does best?
Dreamer, worrier, caregiver REMY’s favorite meme:
If you liked connected stories, you can’t get much more connected than twins.
Click on the book covers below to buy from any vendor.
The butterflies arrive first. They settle in my belly from the moment I wake up on “Release Day” until every link is checked and the book is announced in my newsletter and fluttering about on social media, hopefully finding the readers who have been eagerly waiting to read it.
Slowly, very slowly, as every item on my Bullet List gets marked off, the panic recedes and a smidgen of euphoria blows the butterflies away…until next time.
That’s my process for a self-published new release.
But I remember feeling similar panic when I opened the first print copy sent by my publisher. Did they spell my name right? Does the back jacket copy match the book? Does my cover art work? Is the blurb too vague? Will readers love it or hate it?
These days I’m stressing about a wide array of technical questions–in addition to all of the above:
1. Is the book live at all vendors?
2. Did I remember to upload the right copy?
3. Did I make that final change my copy editor mentioned?
4. Is the first chapter of the next book in the back matter? Do the buy links work?
5. Will readers love it or hate it? (Some things never change.)
Only time–and reviews–will answer the last question, but the rest is all on me, and believe me, my fingers will be crossed from now until early Tuesday morning.
But here’s one up-side of self-publishing: I can offer discounted books any time I want, and since the heroines of BLACK HILLS RANCHER and BLACK HILLS STRANGER are twin sisters, I figured readers would appreciate being able to buy BLACK HILLS RANCHER for just 99¢ before STRANGER releases on Tuesday! Who doesn’t love a bargain? And these twins have some pretty interesting stories to tell. ;-)
TGIF takes on new meaning when it’s the first of the new year, doesn’t it? So fresh. So hopeful. So…wow, that week went fast!!! Is the whole year going to be like this?
New stuff abounds in Debland.
Rain up the wazoo–and boy, did our wazoo need it! They’re saying another storm is coming. I can’t wait! Although the down side when you get a lot of rain in one fell swoop is flooding and parts of Yosemite National Park have been closed just in case this next storm is as strong as predicted.
Yesterday, I got a new header for my Facebook and newsletter from the very talented Sharlene Martin-Moore.
And I’ll be sharing a new cover reveal in my newsletter on Sunday. Are you signed up? I’m doing a monthly giveaway in 2017. Here’s January’s gift. I love supporting fellow artists, including my talented photographer friend, Jackie Maxwell of JaxImages. Her calendars are just gorgeous. NEWSLETTER
I’m back to work on my next book–no rest for the writer types. Have a great weekend, my friends.
One of the quotes that made sense to me was: “You will never change your life until you change something you do daily”—Mike Murdock
That’s where nature comes in. My goal is to walk–and breathe deeply–every day. I am determined to give myself time to connect to the world outside my busy, frantic brain and truly focus on the world around me.
Will I be successful? Time will tell. All we can do is try, right?
Have a very happy New Year’s Eve, my friends. I’ll see you in 2017.
PS: If your resolution includes reading more, I do have a fun story that opens at a masked ball on New Year’s Eve. You can start reading for FREE here: MONTANA REBEL.
Yesterday, I posted this photo on Facebook with the caption: “Am I the last person to get my tree up?”
To my profound surprise, the answer was: “Not even close.” (You can see for yourself here: FaceBookPost.)
This response led me to question why I assumed the worst about myself. It’s only the first week of December. And, yes, we usually put up the tree right after Thanksgiving, but we did something fun instead (we hiked in Yosemite). So, I’m a little behind. Big deal, right?
I’m sure I’m not the only one who puts unrealistic expectations on myself, but I’ve decided to try to be kinder to myself this holiday season. Here are four positive affirmations I’ve printed out and plan to read aloud every time I start feeling the pressure to be “perfect” and/or to make things “perfect” for someone else.
I should have added: repeat as needed.
Have a great weekend. I will be shopping and I intend to keep these 4 steps close at hand.
I love to write–and read– Christmas stories. I’m going to list a few that I’ve enjoyed recently, along with my new one, which I’m so thrilled to say received a lovely review from Library Journal!
I’m working like mad to meet a deadline before the birth of my new grandbaby, so hopefully I’ll be able to share some photos in a week or two. Please feel free to add your holiday reading suggestions in the comments. I’m always looking for new books and authors.
MONTANA SECRET SANTA, Bk III Love at the Chocolate Shop, Tule Publishing