About Debra Salonen

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.

Merry, merry, my friends!

Holiday newsletter header 2017

I can’t believe Christmas is just three days away. Well, two for us, since we have family gathering here on Christmas Eve! It’s always exciting times filled with hope, expectations (perhaps a tad unrealistic), more calories than needed, and, in our case, laughter. I wish all that and more for you, my friends!

And, if you find time to escape into a book, I’ve made one of my favorite holiday stories just 99¢ for a short time. (Universal buy links here: CALEB 99¢)

CALEB 99¢

Several recent reviews brought me such glee, including this one:

“Caleb’s Christmas Wish is not your usual Christmas story: It is a heart warming, compassionate, insightful book that I loved reading and definitely recommend.
The story is centred on the grieving process of a group of individuals united by a sudden and heartbreaking tragedy.
I loved the way the author outlines the reactions of each protagonist. Each one of them deals with the situation in his/her own way, not always making the best decisions: sometimes doing the wrong thing, often confused, sad, or even mad in a very realistic and involving troubled emotional journey.
For the two adults, Jake and Allison, grief surfaces old emotional traumas. Both of them must accept past and present life events and find the inner strength and motivation to resume living a full, even if changed, life.
Caleb, so realistic in his reactions and thoughts, touches the deepest cords of the reader’s heart.
The mother-in-law persona is a real stand out – intelligent, generous and sensitive, she cannot avoid going through the stereotypical feelings towards younger generations, becoming bitter, unfair and self absorbed. I loved how Jake and Allison help her find peace, offering understanding and reassurance rather than confrontation.
Father Avila is a lovely side character, always demonstrating his faith with actions, always offering support and understanding.
Caleb’s Christmas Wish, however, is far from an academic psychological analysis. It is a true Christmas story about how love and family can heal human suffering. The book raises deep reflection topics making the reader appreciate the true spirit of the Holidays.”

Happy hugs and marvelous holiday wishes!!!

Deb

 

The merriest…er, busiest…month of the year

Hello, all, Today began by singing “Happy Birthday” to my youngest granddaughter, who turned 1 at 12:14 this morning. I truly can’t believe how fast this year flew by. Della snowman 1 year I’ve been absent from this blog (and social media) because I took a week out of my life to fly to Oregon to take care of my invalid sister while her son was away. I’m so glad I had this time with her. She’d moved recently and was in need of help unpacking. Since I moved earlier this year, I felt like an old pro at it. It brought me a great deal of satisfaction to make her new living quarters safe and pretty. Plus, we had time to do some “girl” stuff, like shopping, hair and nails, and a day trip to the coast. Astoria, Oregon, may be one of my favorite destinations. Jean Oregon 2017 Helping someone with chronic health problems is a good reminder to: take care of yourself NOW. (Apologies for shouting, but Jeanne would be the first to say she wishes she’d made better choices for herself (exercise, weight loss, healthy diet) over the years. For me, it comes down to priorities, and in 2018, my goal will be to do one positive, healthful thing for myself every day. Inspirational Quote on Notepad. My Holiday newsletter goes out Monday. If you’re interested, sign up here: DEBNEWSLETTER. Ten days to Christmas! But whose counting. ;-) Happy Hanukkah wishes to all presently celebrating. Deb

Black Friday FREEBIE

Black Friday is all about bargains, right?

So what’s better than FREE?

Red Christmas  background with luminous garland. Vector illustration

I’m so happy to share this FREE holiday story that has had some great reviews, including one from Library Journal.

verdict-sweet-affecting-and-just-plain-fun-this-holiday-charmer-is-a-delightful-addition-to-the-series-and-a-perfect-companion-to-a-mug-of-hot-chocolate-and-a-crackling-fire

Here’s the Universal Buy Link: Books2Read + one for Canadian readers: AMAZONCA + one for Australian readers: AMAZONAU.

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Hope you had a great Thanksgiving. Our son hosted in his new home. It was a lovely, peaceful day with temps in the mid-70s. Couldn’t ask for a nicer day. I tried to upload a photo, but WordPress just isn’t cooperating today. Sorry.

Happy reading,

Deb

 

 

Happy Friday. Happy Veteran’s Day. Happy Birthday. Happy Frock Swap.

It’s Friday! TGIF!

Tomorrow is Veteran’s Day! Hooray!

November 11th is also my birthday!

birthday candles

Sharing your birthday with a national holiday has its benefits. Since my mother was a postal worker, she always had the day off when I was growing up and normally, I’m able to spend the day with my granddaughters since they’re out of school. Since the holiday falls on a Saturday this year, they have today off and we’re going to a Frock Shop. Have you ever been to one?

I don’t know who introduced the idea to our Sierra Foothill Charter School fundraising group, but we’ve held five or six. Here’s what happens:

1. You, your friends, family, neighbors, etc. clean out their closets and give the bags of goodies to the Frock Swap hostess. (I LOVE this process and adhere to the Oprah Rule: if you haven’t worn it in the past 12 months, out it goes.)

2. The hostess and her helpers pick a date and time for the Frock Swap.

3. Depending on the date and time, appropriate refreshments are provided. (We’ve had tea and crumpets…pizza and beer…to wine and appetizers that knock your socks off…at the last one we even had a DJ who kept us dancing for hours.)

4. You pay a nominal fee to cover the cost of refreshments then shop till you drop–just as you would at a thrift shop. You decide how much the garments you pick are worth (whatever you think you’d pay for them at a thrift shop or resale store) and drop your money in a jar. Simple, huh? Totally on the honor system because nobody has anything invested in this except for time, which, although the set up does take time, it usually involves a lot of giggling.

5. Then you grab a glass of wine or bubbly water, mingle, visit, nibble and smile a whole lot.

I have found some remarkable treasures at Frock Swaps. In fact, the jeans I have on at the moment were a great find at the last affair. This will be the first year for two of my granddaughters to attend. Afterward, there will be cake. :-)

Whatever you have planned this weekend, I hope you’ll take a moment to say a prayer for all of the military members in harm’s way and their families. And please remember with a smile those served in years past. Some may be gone, but their sacrifice made it possible for us to remember them today. My two favorites are my father and father-in-law: Reuben Robson and Milton Salonen.

Deb

PS: my newsletter went out today. In case you missed it, I included a little birthday gift freebie in it. Newsletter

Setting matters…

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

West CoastHappily-Ever-After FB header

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.

Deb_HEA Flash

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.

Deb_Her Forever Cowboy300dpi1000x1600

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.

Happy reading!

Deb

Rain! A new series! A great bargain! Life is good. :-)

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.

 West Coast HEA 1

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.

Deb_HEA Flash

Book 1 – HER FOREVER COWBOY – now available for preorder through iBOOKS, releases wide 11/1/17.

 Deb_Her Forever Cowboy300dpi1000x1600

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

Happy Friday the 13th and #whatchareadingthisweekend?

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.

Friday 13th FREE

 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.

Patti lost it all

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. Left-Hanging-screen

Have a great weekend.

Deb

 

First Soup of the Season & #WHATCHAREADINGTHISWEEKEND?

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.

 Cooked legumes and vegetables in a bowl

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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Squish the soften garlic cloves with the back of a spoon. Add the beans when they are done soaking.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.)

  6. Add beef or chicken broth or water for desired consistency. Simmer until ready to serve.

  7. Given the salty flavor of the ham hocks, the only seasoning I added was pepper.

  8. 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!

Deb

PS: #WHATCHAREADINGTHISWEEKEND?

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.

Welcome back, Storybroads! It’s good to be home.

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.

Welcome, Autumn header

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.

Kelly and pals

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.

after the fire

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

Carmichael-SweetDreamsBaby

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.
Purchase SWEET DREAMS, BABY
          

Twelve months, twelve sweet romances, six authors. If you like chocolate and romance, you can’t go wrong. #whatlovetasteslike

All 12 covers

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I hope you’re enjoying the last few days of September. See you next week! It really is good to be back.

Deb

Summer heat alert: treat your laptop like your puppy

(I’m sharing my cautionary tale because, although it makes me look dumb, it might save you from a similar experience–or worse!)

laptop summers

We’re dealing with record-breaking heat in the Central Valley of California–and most of the West–right now. Triple digits means the day is a groaner. But you still have to live your life. For me, that means getting in my car to deliver my granddaughter to her gymnastics practice while I do my normal weekly shopping and errands. I slipped my laptop into its padded carrier in case I finished my errands early and had time for a little work at Starbucks. To keep it safe from theft, I placed it on the floor of the backseat then went about my business.

Sadly, an extra stop for my hubby meant no computer time over an iced latte. And while my groceries were safe and chilled in the two coolers I brought, my poor laptop was sweltering in its padded–not insulated–carrying case on the floor of the car. I unloaded it last (had to get the cold stuff in the fridge, right?).

Even before I unzipped the bag, I could feel the heat emanating through the padding. My sweet silver MacBook Pro was almost too hot to handle. I slid it to the counter in the air-conditioned room and prayed to the computer gods that I hadn’t just killed it. I also watched it carefully hoping it didn’t combust. I gave it an hour to return to normal temperature, then with heart in my throat, I opened it.

To my profound surprise and relief, although it had shut down in a desperate act of self-preservation, no doubt, it started and seems to be working fine. But that hour of gut-wrenching worry was not fun–especially when it was completely avoidable.

Here’s my advice: if you’re traveling with a laptop, here’s a simple rule of thumb: Treat your laptop like a puppy. You wouldn’t leave your puppy in a hot car, you shouldn’t leave your laptop, either.

Never leave either in a hot car.

Have you ever experienced this? Do you have any tips for summer time writing or traveling your laptop? I’m going on a road trip next week and plan to bring my laptop, so there may be moments when I can’t carry it with me. Mine was on SLEEP mode at the time. Would turning it off completely have helped?

Stay cool, my friends.

Deb