As I mentioned last week, my newest book in the Covenant Falls series, The Seal’s Return, will be available Wednesday, February Ist in both e-book and large print paperback format which means I’m in launch mode at the moment.   In other words, I’m trying to spread the word as far as I possibly can.  To order, just go to Amazon/Patricia Potter/The SEAL’s Return.

In other books in the series, dogs  – mostly rescue dogs — have been characters in the stories.   In The SEAL’s Return,  my SEAL chose a horse instead.   It wasn’t planned in the beginning, but one day he was out running when he passed a pasture and spied several horses.  One, a Buckskin named Jacko, trotted to the fence, and memories flooded back from early childhood.   The entire plotted story abruptly changed.   (I love it when that  happens).

Jacko changes everything for SEAL Jubal Pierce and inspired  a new plot line that will persist through the next two Covenant Falls novels and possibly more. It took me to websites about the therapeutic value of horses for vets.  I was amazed at the growing number of horse therapeutic programs for vets, including one here in Tennessee.

One of the most successful programs was started by a SEAL himself.  It’s called Heroes and Horses and is located in the heart of Montana Wilderness.   According to founder and former SEAL Micah Fink, the program is on a mission “to inspire and challenge a generation of soldiers struggling to cope with the trauma of war.   Veterans who come to Heroes and Horses have been shot, burned, blown up.  They are wrestling with physical and emotional scars.  Many feel isolated and untethered.”  Micah Fink believes that “undergoing a rough program can go a long way to restore shattered notions of self-worth.”

Some other programs train veterans for jobs in the equine field.    Some include families.  Some, like the Montana programs, involves fairly long stays.   Others may include shorter periods.  Most are free for veterans.   The search not only gave me information to help Jubal but inspired me to continue the plot line into the next several Covenant Falls books.   (f you’re interested in reading more about them such programs, just google Heroes and Horses).

In “The SEAL’s Return,” there is no such program yet in Covenant Falls, but the connection between my hero Jubal Pierce and Jacko is leading to the founding of one in the next book.

Part of the joy of writing is the sudden appearance of an unplanned story line.  It always come from the characters themselves, not the author.   It comes from the growth of these characters and they often turn in directions the author never anticipated.   When I reread some of my older books, I  wonder how some secondary characters elbowed his way into becoming a major character in a subsequent book.    I can honestly say that none of my books have followed the initial proposal.

But I’m  wandering off topic.   I just wanted you to know about the programs because the seed begins in “The SEALs Return,” and will grow in the next several Covenant Falls  books.

I hope you’ll join me on this ongoing journey.  Even I don’t know what will happen next.TheSEALsReturn_PatriciaPotter_cover


It’s a “twin” thing!

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.

TWiNS Friends for Life (1)

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:

babe ruth quote

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:

sisters are connected


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.



Happy reading and have a GREAT weekend!




We did it – Carolyn

Well, folks, we did it. And people smiled and hugged, and acted politely to one another. Yes, there were marches and protests, but the star of the show on inauguration day was not the new president, but the American people. George III of England is supposed to have said that if George Washington turned down the kingship of the new country—whatever the heck we were going to call it—he was the greatest man in history. (Probably not an accurate quote, but you get the idea.) I’m not talking politics here. You don’t know who I voted for. I have no idea who you voted for. The point is, when push came to shove, as my mother would say to me important occasions—behave yourself.

Like the day after Christmas, we will probably be back to squabbling on Monday. I hope not.

As for me, I rode my horse Sailor yesterday for the first time in about four months. We didn’t do much except walk, but I think we both enjoyed it. The world has gotten in the way of my seeing Sailor for way too long. I was afraid he’d forgotten me, because one of my trainer’s assistants has been taking him out to walk a couple of times a week.

Not so. He started wuffling at me before he could see me. Granted, he knows I carry carrots and other goodies, but he stuck his nose in my hand without even looking for a treat. First. Then he went searching for the carrot pieces. We are both old guys, he and I, and with the infirmities that come with age. I look up at his 17.2 hand height and think about how far down it would be to fall and how it would hurt to land. He probably looks up at me and wishes I actually had lost that fifty pounds I should have lost last year. But in general, we tolerate one another very well.

I was afraid that I had totally lost my nerve when I had my last birthday. It’s not that easy for me to get my leg up over the cantle of my saddle. I do not want to catapult myself to land on my head on the other side. Therefore my trainer stands on the other side to poke me back if I start to slide. Think of the white knight in Alice Through the Looking Glass who toppled every dozen steps or so. Of course, he was wearing body armor, but actually I think all that steel and chain mail must have complicated things even further.

We didn’t ride long. Both of us need to organize our muscles. I tried to explain to one of my instructors at my dance class that the way to stop my horse is not to pull on the reins—God forbid—but simply to sit a little deeper in my saddle. He stops as though I have pulled the plug on the light socket. At least I have broken the taboo I had forced on myself. I hope I can keep going. And so can he. In the meantime I will continue to drive my Zoe horse to my carriage. I’m just looking at the butt end rather than between the ears that way.



About Books, New and To Come (Pat)



First of all, I want to apologize for being missing in action for the past few weeks.

Life got in the way:   Flu, a bad fall the Monday before Christmas, the holidays, a birthday, and visiting friends and relatives all conspired against my fulfilling my weekly visit with you.  I promise to do better in the future.

Christmas was good, even with a black eye and injured knee, and then the holidays were brightened when Tara Taylor Quinn and husband Tim visited me on New Year’s Day which also happened to be my birthday.   It was a great present,    Tara and I have been close friends since serving together on the board of Romance Writers of America.    Both of us writing for Harlequin Super Romance only deepens the bond.

But now it’s back to business!

The good news is my fourth Covenant Falls Book,The Seal’s Return, will be available  February lst, and I’m trying to catch up on promotion efforts.   I’m far behind, but I’m spending this week and next trying to make up for it.   Just go to Amazon/Patricia Potter/The Seal’s Return to per-order the e-book version or large print paperback.

More good news!!!!  I just received the go ahead for three additional Covenant Falls adventures which will make a total of seven.   I love my quirky town of Covenant Falls that seems to have a magical healing affect on returning veterans.  I’m thrilled to tell more of their stories.

But now more about my February release.

The SEAL’s Return tells the story of former Navy SEAL Jubal Pierce and Dr. Lisa Redding.   Both are newcomers to Covenant Falls.  Jubal plans to stay a day or two to visit old friend Chris Manning from the second book in the Home To Covenant Falls series.   After a mission gone wrong with resulting permanent injuries, Jubal is rootless when he leaves the SEALS.   He has no family, no goal, no plans.    His life, quite simply, is a mess.

Dr. Lisa Redding’s life, on the other hand, is just taking off.  She has received a coveted   Fellowship in Pediatric Surgery at a major Chicago hospital.  But her path takes a detour after her mother’s death, and her teenage brother and sister become her responsibility.   When her deeply troubled brother is arrested for drug possession and auto theft, she reluctantly gives up the fellowship which would consume all her time and takes a temporary position with the Covenant Falls Medical Clinic.    It wouldn’t be easy for her brother to get into trouble in the peaceful community, or so she hoped, and she could reclaim the fellowship the next year..

I knew I was asking for trouble with these two.   There could rarely be a worse match. Lisa is a healer who has witnessed  the horrible results of violence at her hospital, and she doesn’t like it at all when a foot loose former warrior takes an interest in her brother.   She’s sacrificing her career to keep Gordon away from exactly that.

Jubal is none too happy with her, either.   He hadn’t planned to stay even a few days in Covenant Falls, but when he finds a kid starting a fire on the property where he’s staying,  he thinks a lesson needs to be taught and, darn it, the kid reminds him of his own rough teenage years.  While there’s immediate physical attraction between Jubal and Lisa, they both are dismayed and determined not to let it develop.

Their lives are going in different directions.   He feels the meaningful part of  his is over, and hers as a surgeon is just beginning. It takes the birth of a colt for him, and the premature birth of a baby for her that help them discover they have far more in common than either believed.

I might add that neither of the above events were planned when I started writing The Seal’s Return.   In Chapter Four, Lisa and Jubal took over and wrote their own story.   That’s the joy of writing.   At some point in the process, I have to throw out the initial proposal and just tag along as the characters go their way.    That’s the most wonderful  aspect of writing fiction.  I’m constantly amazed at what happens.

I hope you love Jubal and Lisa as much as I do.  You can pre-order the e-book or large print paperback now for a February 1st delivery.

And a late Happy New Year to all!!!!



Releasing a new book is a process! But it never gets old!

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. 

DebraSalonen Stranger meme2


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. ;-)

DebraSalonen Rancher 99.jpeg

Amazon     AmazonUK    AmazonAU   KOBO    BNNOOK   iBOOKS    PLAY



PS: I highly recommend seeing the movie HIDDEN FIGURES! I loved it!



In Praise of Deadlines (sort of) Caroline

Deadlines… Writers live and die by them. Usually we cuss them. I always tell my editor to give me a date a week to ten days before she actually needs whatever it is I am writing. Lie to me. That way if I slip a couple of days, I will still make the REAL deadline and will not screw my editor’s life up. I also realize that most of us actually would never accomplish a darned thing without the pressure of a deadline. I have always envied writers who get their term papers done a week ahead of the due date. I tell myself that I work better under pressure, but since I’m never NOT under pressure, I have no idea whether that’s true or not.

I think the worst deadline case I ever personally experienced was for a paper in a graduate seminar on Bertrand Russell’s theories of divorce. Oh, for pity’s sake! Who cares? Who remembers? I certainly wasn’t able to work up any great enthusiasm either for him or his theories. This was in the days before computers when papers had to be typed carefully and corrected with White Out and ink erasers. And somehow the correction never lined up perfectly with what was excised.

I am a very fast typist, although not necessarily a clean one. I used to buy White-Out in a six pack. I finished the paper at one-thirty in the afternoon. The seminar started across campus at two. I made it, read the paper, got an A on the thing (which I did not deserve, but hey…) and vowed to be better disciplined the next time.

How did that work for me? Guess.

At any rate, I had to get the new anthology of short stories for our Malice in Memphis writers’ group edited and returned to the authors by yesterday’s meeting, so that their final proofreading and editing could be done before next Friday. The stories will be tied in to the Memphis in May festival. The publisher needs them by the first of February, so I’m already cutting it close.

How is it that when times are tight problems previously unseen surface and snarl at you? I discovered I had the wrong version of one story. The author had sent me a later one, but it hadn’t showed up on my computer. Oh, lovely. Then I received a very late story that has some problems that must be dealt with before it is publishable. Then there were the corrections the writers had not fixed. For those of you who have ever judged contests, you know that there is nothing more frustrating than to get a manuscript to judge THIS year that has not been corrected from LAST year.

At least there is time to fix everything (one hopes) that has to be fixed and still meet the publisher’s deadline.

I truly believe that with each anthology, the stories get better. Thus the writers are getting better. Hooray! That’s why we started this in the first place.

Incidentally the Malice in Memphis Ghost Stories anthology (available on Amazon) is doing really well. The first anthology of crime stories is still selling as well.

Check out our Malice in Memphis web site to find out more.


#fridayfreebie on Friday the 13th

Really? The year barely gets started and already we have a Friday the 13th?

The only safe course is to hunker down with a cowboy, right?

Why, yes, I do have one in mind. He’s free at the moment, too.

Debra COWBOY free2017


But, seriously, folks, if you’re interested, here’s a site with all you ever wanted to know about PARASKEVIDEKATRIPHOBIA, which is fear of Friday the 13th (the day, not the movie).

Be safe out there! And happy reading!



Celebration dates – Carolyn

Remind me again how much I like winter in the south. At this point it is 20 with a wind chill of about 14. That’s Fahrenheit, not the Celsius stuff. The hose is frozen in the barn, which means that I have to fill buckets with water and trot them the entire length of the barn so that the horses will have water to drink. Warmed water. I have a tank heater in the trough that keeps the water at least liquid. I also have three inches of snow in the pasture and on the road, which will make driving to church problematic. It is Elvis Presley’s birthday and the anniversary of the battle of New Orleans. Elvis is older than I am, but it’s also my birthday.

In my family birthdays have always been celebrated either not at all, or with jokes. The best one I can remember from my youth was the time we presented my mother (who abominated birthdays) with an elaborate multi-layer cake with a gigantic icing cigar complete with icing smoke and embers. I don’t recall that she was thrilled.

Neither George nor I could ever remember for sure the date of our marriage. We were married by the mayor in a tiny little Mairie (town hall) in Olivet, France. They presented us with a bright red Livret de Famille slightly larger than a passport with pages for the births and deaths of twelve children. I explained to the mayor that I had intention of filling it up. It lives in our lock box. Each year in the fall I would make a trek down to the bank to check the date we should celebrate.

The mayor was a small, plump gentleman who was wearing with his tweed jacket the sash of the Legion D’Honeur. From his age I would assume he earned it during his boyhood in the Second World War. Lord knows what he did, but it must have been extraordinary. I knew a number of people who ran messages to and from the Maquis (the partisans) when they were barely out of nursery school. Their ages would not have protected them nor their families had they been captured.

The entire wedding thing was a chaotic disaster from start to finish. I wrecked my VW bug on the way to Orly airport to pick George up on the Monday before the wedding. Then we had to drive to Paris—putting a quart of oil in the bug every twenty miles or so—to get a single stamp on a single piece of paper. We had to enlist the services of the diplomatic group of the US army to intercede with the Mairie so that they would marry us without a six-week waiting period. We had the paper giving us that privilege, but the French bureaucracy decided to be as obstructive as possible.

There was not a wedding band in Orleans big enough to fit me. We found one in the PX at 5:00 pm on Friday evening.

And I got the flu. My recollection of the wedding is hazy. I had a hundred and three fever.

I gets worse. But more of that at another time. Incidentally, we were happy together for 47 years, so we did something right.



Happy First Friday of 2017!

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.

Happy reading!



Hog Jowl and Black-eyed peas – Carolyn

I have to run to Kroger to pick up some canned black-eyed peas and country ham for biscuits. I draw the line at hog jowl. I’m sure it’s fine for seasoning the pot, but something about the whole idea of those bristles just turns me off. When I was a child, my uncle Jim, the only farmer in my close kin, would drive to town to bring us a packet of hog backbone for Christmas. It can’t have been as good as I remember. Nothing could be. It was a great delicacy. He only gave it to us once a year at New Year’s. I have lady peas in my freezer, but they won’t substitute for black-eyed peas. I just found out that the number of eyes in the peas confirms the number of good days in the coming year. I, personally, could use 365.

Christmas in Memphis frequently is hot. This year went overboard. The temperature was over seventy degrees. I had to run the air conditioner for an hour or so just to get the ambient temperature down inside the house for Christmas breakfast.

We never did get the tree up and decorated. My daughter’s surgery kept her from shopping for presents. She couldn’t drive. Thank God I had enough stuff for them to open. My mother used to say that everybody needed three presents—one funny one, one good one, and one sentimental one that made you cry. I managed, but just by the skin of my teeth.

I truly have reached the age where I don’t need anything—except big things like a new computer and a couple of new barn doors. I had plenty of carrots and apples for the horses and enough gifts for my children to open to mess up the den. Good enough. They offered to decorate the tree on Christmas morning, but all I could see was having to take it down two days later all by myself. Since we decorate with miles of ribbon, I would have had to sit and wind it up spool by spool. I may actually be forced to get a fake tree, although I am dragging my feet.

Today is the start of 2017. My birthday (never you mind which one) is a week from today. When I look at all I have not accomplished this year, I wonder if I will ever catch up. Like the Red Queen in Alice (or was it the white queen? The ditzy one, at any rate), I have to run as hard as I can just to stay in one place.

This year I have decided to create a white board with all the items around here that need to be repaired and replaced. I will then hang it up somewhere I can’t miss it and try to click off an item a week. I suspect like most resolutions, that one will go by the board quickly, no pun intended.

But at this time the horses have fresh round bails of hay and plenty of food. So do the cats. Me, too, if I could figure out something I actually want to eat—except for black-eyed peas and country ham, that is.

Boy, do I hope we can all get our act together this year! If we can’t manage to agree, let’s at least manage to be polite to one another. What I wish for everyone in the new year is love and peace and health and enough money to hold it all together. Happy New Year, y’all.