Did you ever try speed-dating?

Speed-dating wasn’t a thing when I was single (shortly after the last ice age), but the subject comes up in my friend Marin Thomas’s new Love at the Chocolate Shop book, Sweet Home Cowboy.

speed dating

I had so much fun READING these Speed-dating scenes, I wound up WRITING one–from MY characters’ points of view–in MY book (Sweet Summer’s Kiss), which releases next month. I can’t wait to see how many readers make the connection and what they think of the idea.

two pair of cowboy boots

Here’s a snippet from Marin’s book, followed by a snippet from mine. Same scene…only different.

Rosie opened her mouth to speak then frowned at a woman two tables away from Elena. “Gretchen, I thought you were dating someone?”

“As I keep telling people—my sister in particular, one date does not a relationship make,” Gretchen said, not looking up from the menu.

“Especially when the female half of the equation disappears without leaving so much as a glass slipper behind.”

Gretchen’s chin shot up as a hunky-looking stranger slipped into the chair across from her. “Hi, Cinderella. Fancy meeting you here.”

“Daniel. What–?”

“Let’s save the chit-chat for the event,” Rosie said. “Each date will last three minutes and the lady will ask the first question. After the gentleman answers, he’ll ask the next question and so on and so forth.”

“What are these for?” Gretchen’s new tablemate asked, holding up a notepad and pen with the chocolate shop logo on them.

“Feel free to use the paper and pens to jot down names, phone numbers or anything else that will help you remember each other,” Rosie said. “When the timer goes off, the ladies will remain seated and the gentlemen will move down one table, then we’ll begin another date.”

“When do we get to sample Sage’s chocolate candy?” Wren asked.

“After the first round we’ll take a break. Sage picked out a lovely Cabernet Sauvignon donated by the Two Old Goats wine store to go with her chocolate wine covered coconut stuffed dates.” Rosie held up the plate of chocolates from Elena’s table. “Sage would like to know what you think of her chocolates, so please fill out the questionnaire before you leave.”

Rosie returned the dish to the table. “Before I forget to mention it, the chocolate shop will host a second speed dating event a week from today. If you’re interested, there’s a sign up sheet on the counter.” She twisted the knob on the timer. “Ready…set…begin.”

“What’s your last name, Wesley?” Elena asked.

“Banks,” he said. “Where are you from, Elena?”

She frowned. “You’re not going to ask my last name?”

“You can’t answer a question with a question.”

“Las Vegas.” She nodded to his hat. “Are you a real cowboy?”

“Born and raised on a ranch north of Livingston. How old are you?”

“Twenty-five. How old are you?”

“Twenty-seven.” He narrowed his eyes. “Do you have a boyfriend?”

“I had a fiancé but not any more.” She ignored the questions in his eyes and asked, “Do you live on your family’s ranch?”

“No. I’m the caretaker of a rural property outside of Marietta. What do you do?”

“I’m an elementary schoolteacher. What’s your favorite color?”

“Brown.”

“Then why are you wearing a blue shirt?”

He shook his head. “My turn.”

The cowboy was a stickler for rules.

 

Sweet Summer Kisses Open

In case you’re curious, my hero and heroine met on New Year’s Eve and she left in a bit of a rush–not unlike Cinderella, although she kept both of her shoes on–this is Montana, after all.

As she stowed her bag under her chair, she heard a voice say, “Gretchen, I thought you were dating someone?”

I wish.

She picked up the menu Rosie had left on the table. “As I keep telling people–my sister, in particular, one date does not a relationship make.”

Gretchen kept her focus on the menu to avoid any other personal questions, which left her completely blindsided when a male voice said, “Especially when the female half of the equation disappears without leaving so much as a glass slipper behind.”

Gretchen’s chin shot up as Daniel Andrews slipped into the chair across from her. “Hi, Cinderella. Fancy meeting you here.”

“Daniel. What–?”

Rosie cleared her throat to get people’s attention.

“Let’s save the chit-chat for the event,” Rosie said. “Each date will last three minutes and the lady will ask the first question. After the gentleman answers, he’ll ask the next question and so on and so forth.”

Daniel picked up a notepad and pen with the chocolate shop logo on them. “What are these for?”

That same crazy zing she’d spent five months pretending she’d imagined shot through her system at light speed, blocking Rosie’s answer.

If Jonah could isolate and duplicate the chemical reaction that happens every time Daniel comes close to me, he’d make a fortune.

Not that Jonah needed money. According to Krista, he’d bought a cute little “starter” home a few blocks from his and Daniel’s parents’ to live in with Krista and their puppy until their new dream home–a future wedding present–could be designed and built.

Luckily, Krista’s move had opened up her condo so Gretchen could move into Marietta—a opportunity that meant she could avoid buying a car for the time being. Her bike had been a fraction of the cost and she loved the exercise. Fluctuating hormones also meant fluctuating weight gain. One reason she limited her chocolate consumption.

And Krista had sublet at a reasonable price because Gretchen’s six-month internship didn’t pay very well. Which meant…I live alone.

The thought hummed through her body as if the past five months hadn’t happened. No roommate to introduce Daniel to if I wanted to take him home tonight.

A pleasant warmth not unlike her body’s reaction to a gulp of Copper Mountain Chocolate Shop’s cocoa filled her mid-section.

So wrong on so many levels. No. Not happening. Nothing’s changed.

“You go first.”

Her breath caught in her throat when she realized Daniel was talking to her. “Pardon?”

He tapped his watch. “We only have three minutes. You ask the first question. Then it’s my turn.”

“Oh.” She folded her hands on the table in front of her and wet her lips. “Why are you here?”

“I like chocolate.”

Liar, she mouthed.

His grin lit up the room. “My turn. Why did you disappear?”

“Crisis of conscience. I did it for your own good.”

His beautiful ebony eyebrows pulled together above his elegant nose.

“My turn again. Why are you here?” She made a circling gesture. “In Marietta.”

“Job opportunity. Starts Monday.”

A clutching sensation in her belly warned her there was more to this answer, but he didn’t give her a chance to ask. “I’m a big boy. Don’t you think I’m capable of deciding what’s good for me and what isn’t?”

“You don’t know me.”

“I know more than you think.”

A skitter of panic vibrated through her body. Some locals called Marietta the gossip capitol of the world. But he couldn’t know the truth about her. Her sister the pastor was the only one with that knowledge. “Guessing doesn’t count. I should go.”

He reached out but didn’t touch her bare arm. His fingers hovered, like a magician ordering a rabbit to appear. “Can we go somewhere and talk when this dating thing is over?”

Maybe she owed him that. An explanation. The one she’d decided covered all bases without really saying anything. It seemed to work with her new girlfriends, maybe Daniel would buy it, too. “Okay.”

Before she could say more, Rosie’s timer went off. Daniel got up with the same ease and grace he’d shown when they’d danced. He studied her, his eyes searching for something she couldn’t give him before turning on one heel and walking to the next table. She didn’t recognize the pretty young woman with the messy brown hair and warm complexion seated one table over, but she didn’t have time to decide whether watching Daniel flash his trademark smile at another woman made her jealous or not because her view was blocked by a pair of wide shoulders and a black cowboy hat.

Each male to sit across the table from her had merits of his own but none held a candle to Daniel Andrews’s pure charisma. The Two Old Goat’s cabernet paired perfectly with Sage’s chocolate wine covered coconut stuffed dates. She’d just filled out Sage’s survey when a familiar touch closed about her elbow. “If we’re quick, we can slip out before they start Round Two.”

She froze. “What if you miss out on meeting Ms. Right?”

He rubbed his nose against the side of her cheek and put his lips to her ear. “I’ll settle for Ms. Right Now.”

And, darn, if her traitorous body didn’t want the exact same thing.

 

Have a great weekend, everyone! I’m off to a car show. Some of the vintage models are actually older than me. ;-)

Deb

PS: Marin Thomas has a couple more days of Speed-Dating fun on Facebook. Prizes galore and you get to hang out with Marin Thomas!!! Here are three of the links! Have fun!

https://www.facebook.com/LoveattheChocolateShop/

https://www.facebook.com/MarinThomasWesterns/

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMarinThomas/

New cover choices! You pick!!

Here’s something fun for your Friday: help me decide which font for my new cover. Do you like 1) or 3)? (Number 2, which was my hubby’s fave, was already eliminated by Jane Porter’s readers.) ;-)

or

sweetsummer3

This cover is for my July release, which I’m hard at work on. Leading up to that release, however, my Love at the Chocolate Shop colleagues have two yummy books for you to devour.

Newly released yesterday is THE CHOCOLATE TOUCH by Melissa McClone. (Click on image to buy from your favorite vendor.)

the chocolate touch cover

 Chocolate expert Chantelle Cummings arrives in Marietta, Montana with two goals—sign copies of her new book and research a quaint local chocolate shop. When she meets former Air Force captain York Parker passing out chocolate samples, her visit turns sweeter than she ever imagined.

Or you can preorder June’s SWEET HOME COWBOY from Marin Thomas. (click on cover)

Sweet Home Cowboy cover

 When Marietta newcomer Elena Puente is coerced into attending a speed-dating event at the popular Copper Mountain Chocolate shop, she’s blindsided by a serious attraction to local cowboy, Wesley Banks.

 

Happy reading, my friends! And, please, your input would be so appreciated. Which cover grabs you? 1 or 3?

Deb

A good deal more…

Have I told you about The Inheritance collection?

I heard about this project at a NINC conference. (Novelists, Incorporated is a professional group I’ve belonged to for a number of years.) We were in Florida, and several friends were discussing creative ways to get new work into the hands of new readers. I listened wistfully since I’d already committed to writing a new series for Tule Publishing at the time.

Then, about a year later, one of those friends invited me to join the group. A good number of the books in the series had already been released, but mine would come out as lucky number 13. (It’s possible they miscounted and thought I was number 12. ;-) )

The concept was so fun and intriguing. A wealthy humanitarian with a bit of wanderlust travels around interacting with normal Joes and Josephines. Occasionally, someone would do something that impressed him and he’d add his or her name to his bequeathal list. Not all the gifts were money. In my heroine’s case, the gift came to her through her late mother’s estate. It was a complete surprise, but it allowed her to buy a neighboring piece of property that accidentally came up at auction for nonpayment of back taxes. An oversight the owner quickly regretted.

This gift sets in motion a chain of events that brings two mismatched lovers together, as well as opens the door to a thirty-year-old mystery–one someone might go to any lengths to keep under wraps.

One of the many interesting marketing ideas this creative group came up with was the Inherit the Charms contest. Each month’s new release author would share three possible charms that held some connection to their book.

CharmBanner

Mine were these:

Debra charms. jpeg

Why those three?

#1- The Eiffel Tower

Robyn Craine’s late mother, MaryBeth, had her sights set on seeing the world before she died. A busy nurse and single mom, she pinched pennies to be able to take her young daughter to Europe every other summer and to famous tourist destinations in North America on the off years. Robyn treasures the memories her mother created, but Robyn’s worldview is a lot smaller: the Black Hills of South Dakota. She loves her home and the business she plans to grow using the inheritance her mother left when she passed away a year ago—the gift from a generous patient MaryBeth helped. To celebrate her mother’s love of travel, Robyn wears a charm of the Eiffel tower—one of her favorite memories.

#2  –  Motorcycle charm

Robyn is very much her own person. She loves math, balancing the books at the Mystery Spot, and then jumping on her motorcycle to cruise around the Black Hills. And because she rides, Robyn’s friend, Jenna, introduces her to Sentinel Passtime TV heartthrob, Liam Temple, who roars into her life on a Harley. Robyn does what any red-blooded Black Hills girl would do, she hops on her bike and takes him for the ride of his life.

#3 – The Chapel in the Hills

As Liam’s and Robin’s relationship heats up, they find themselves at a difficult crossroads. Liam’s family crisis and career are pulling him back to Los Angeles. Robin, who has never had any reason to trust the word of a man, can’t turn her back on her business obligations, her friends and her dreams on the “possibility” Liam is the love her life. She seeks answers at her mother’s favorite spot: the Chapel in the Hills-an exact replica of a famous Norwegian stave church.  When Liam shows up, the answer to her dilemma is all too clear.

As you can see, the winning choice of my three was the Eiffel Tower. And the winner of this one-of-a-kind prize was named this week. Congratulation, Giselle P.

Inheritance charm bracelet

If you’re even a little intrigued by this concept, right now, KOBO books is running a special promotion you won’t find anywhere else. And, you should know you can download the KOBO app for free. I read mine on my phone, laptop, and notebook.

The+Inheritance+Kobo+Teaser

Here are the links:

http://store.kobobooks.com/p/inheritanceCA

http://store.kobobooks.com/p/inheritanceUS

http://store.kobobooks.com/p/inheritanceUK

http://store.kobobooks.com/p/inheritanceAU

http://store.kobobooks.com/p/inheritanceNZ

Have a great weekend. My newsletter is going out on Sunday and will include some other great buys in my READ4LESS segment. You can sign up here: newsletter.

Best,

Deb

If your WIFI goes out and you can’t get online, are you still alive?

My Internet provider provided me with a modem, which apparently left itself open to malicious hackers. On Monday afternoon 2,000 people in this service area lost Internet connection for five very long days. Thanks to my phone, I was able to track the company’s progress (or lack of it) in fixing the problem. My old router–with its new, invisible bandage–was returned to me late yesterday afternoon. Several thousand emails are on my ToDo list today.

The FaceBook response to this problem ranged from furious to frivolous. Yes, I would love to read instead of working, but I forgot to update my book list on my Kindle and it doesn’t load without WIFI. Grrr.

My takeaway from this experience? I am much too dependent on the Internet where my work is concerned. I have a new book releasing on Tuesday, and some of the joy and excitement a new release normally brings fell by the wayside when I couldn’t create new memes, update my website or send guest blogs to the friends who generously scheduled me on their sites. Frustration is not fun.

But today IS Good Friday. And I am very relieved to be back online so I can write this blog because I want to wish everyone a Happy Easter and wonderful Spring Break.

And, if you’re looking for a new romantic-suspense to take with you on your travels, this book will be live on Tuesday.

The final book is here-Nothing like an unconscious doppelgänger to ruin a perfectly good day at the Mystery Spot.

 Robyn Craine has two loves: her Harley and the Mystery Spot, the Black Hills tourist attraction she bought with funds from her late mother’s estate, an inheritance that included a generous gift from billionaire Harold Hopewell. With a chance-of-a-lifetime expansion in the works, Robyn doesn’t have time to babysit the handsome Sentinel Passtime actor who shows up to do “research”–especially when she figures out his connection to the wealthy businessman/politician trying to sabotage her new project.

 Liam Temple has no intention of falling for a Black Hills local. His agent has Liam’s breakout, big budget movie deal lined up. Even though Liam likes his current Sentinel Passtime gig, he promised his late sister he’d win a Golden Globe by thirty-five. The last thing he needs is the distraction of a feisty, Harley-riding tourist trap owner caught in Liam’s father’s crosshairs for buying a hunk of land Richard Marston thinks belongs to him. But when Robyn’s stunt double is attacked, Liam recognizes his father’s MO and Liam makes keeping Robyn safe his first priority.

You can start reading for Free on my website: LEGACY.

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/black-hills-legacy-inheritance/id1114674932?mt=11

KOBO: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/black-hills-legacy-the-inheritance

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06Y2JZ7KR

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06Y2JZ7KR

Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B06Y2JZ7KR

Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B06Y2JZ7KR

BN: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/black-hills-legacy-debra-salonen/1126170910

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=05abDgAAQBAJ

Have a lovely weekend, my lovelies. May the bunny bring you oodles of chocolate.

Deb

Judge a book by its cover…please!

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!!!

salonen-chocolateshop-medium

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!

40.jpg-nggid03411-ngg0dyn-300x900x100-00f0w010c010r110f110r010t010      65.jpg-nggid03425-ngg0dyn-300x900x100-00f0w010c010r110f110r010t010   64.jpg-nggid03448-ngg0dyn-300x900x100-00f0w010c010r110f110r010t010      27.jpg-nggid03402-ngg0dyn-300x900x100-00f0w010c010r110f110r010t010

52.jpg-nggid03501-ngg0dyn-300x900x100-00f0w010c010r110f110r010t010

Click here to: VOTE

Have a great weekend, everyone! Happy reading!!

Deb

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.

Black-Hills-Stranger-Generic

Black-Hills-Rancher-Generic

Happy reading and have a GREAT weekend!

Deb

 

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

Preorders here: AMAZON   AMAZONAU   AMAZONCA   AMAZONUK   ITUNES  BNNOOK   PLAY  KOBO


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

HAPPY READING, MY FRIENDS,

DEB

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

 

#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

KINDLE: http://littl.ink/MTCOWBOYAZ 
IBOOKS: http://littl.ink/MTCOWBOYIB
GOOGLE: http://littl.ink/MTCOWBOYGP 
KOBO: http://littl.ink/MTCOWBOYKobo
BN: http://littl.ink/MTCOWBOYBN

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).

http://www.fearof.net/fear-of-friday-the-13th-phobia-paraskevidekatriaphobia-or-friggatriskaidekaphobia/

Be safe out there! And happy reading!

Deb

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.

debrajanfbheader

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

jan17-newsletter-prize

I’m back to work on my next book–no rest for the writer types. Have a great weekend, my friends.

Happy reading!

Deb

My 2017 resolution, what’s yours?

I have one simple resolution for 2017: more nature, less drama (unless it’s in my books).

the-earth-has-its-music-for-those-who-will-listen-george-santayana

I took this photo on the hilltop behind my daughter’s house. The wind seemed to be talking to me, but we’ve been out of touch too long. I couldn’t make out all the words. It broke my heart a bit.

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Are you successful in making them stick?

A friend of mine suggested I try this site for inspiration, but I have to admit I’ve been too busy to do more than glance at it:

KaiZen https://medium.com/the-mission/get-1-better-every-day-the-kaizen-approach-to-self-improvement-b79c9e045678#.fp833xyyy

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.

Deb

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.

rebel-mask-1