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.
(I’m sharing my cautionary tale because, although it makes me look dumb, it might save you from a similar experience–or worse!)
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.
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.
Happy Book Birthday, SWEET SUMMER’S KISS.
I’m celebrating the release of my second Love at the Chocolate Shop book! Release Day is always filled with butterflies in the tummy. Will readers like it? Did I cross every T and dot every I? What if they hate my characters or don’t get my humor?
You’d think after 40-some books I’d be past this, but no…it’s still the same. Until that first review comes in and then…there’s champagne.
I don’t expect everyone to love every book I write, but I do appreciate the generous reviews from readers who truly felt a connection to the story. This makes me over-the-top happy.
So, thank you, kind readers for taking the time to share your feelings. And in case you missed my newsletter, our Love at the Chocolate Shop series is almost done! I can’t believe my book is #10 out of the 12. In case you missed any, here they are.
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.
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.
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.”
“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?”
“Then why are you wearing a blue shirt?”
He shook his head. “My turn.”
The cowboy was a stickler for rules.
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?”
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.”
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.
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!
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.)
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.)
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)
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?
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.
Mine were these:
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.
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.
Here are the links:
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.
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.
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.
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
Have a lovely weekend, my lovelies. May the bunny bring you oodles of chocolate.
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!