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!



Finding Dory

I #amwriting. I have a deadline. The best way to keep my head in my story is to write, write, write. I do not have time to go to a movie. That said, I’m taking my granddaughters to see Finding Dory today. Dory You know why. Life is too short. We need to budget time to play, too. We need to maintain our connection to living and breathing people, too. Especially in light of all the sadness and loss we’ve experienced as a society this past week. I shared my feelings on that subject in my newsletter, if you’re interested. WHY I READ–AND WRITE–ROMANCE

I also shared this lovely video: WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW. It did my heart good.

I have a feeling seeing Finding Dory will be good for my heart, too. Plus, you just can’t go wrong with grand-girl time.

Have a great weekend. Go find yourself some joy, Deb

PS: Book 6 in my Black Hills Rendezvous series released on Tuesday. If you need a romantic escape, you can start reading for free HERE. -Romance that warms your heart with hope, humor and happily-ever-after.-

Reading…the great escape!


Oh! The places you'll go READ!

We all need to disappear now and then. Be somewhere else. Be somebody else. Books are a much healthier alternative than some means of escape, wouldn’t you agree? ;-)

But how do you pick which book to read when there are a zillion or so choices out there?

Reviews can help. Word of mouth is still the most powerful advertising money can’t buy. (For everything else, there’s BookBub.)

My newest book released on Tuesday. So far, I have two reviews — one from a reader in the UK and one from Australia. (I love this so much.) I’d like to share them because Amazon doesn’t co-mingle reviews between its stores.

Offering a beautiful balance of humour and romance, this book was a real page turner f

 AMAZONUK: Romance with a nice touch of humour, 18 May 2016 By Shelagh

This review is from: Black Hills Outcast: a Hollywood-meets-the-real-wild-west contemporary romance series (Black Hills Rendezvous Book 5) (Kindle Edition)

It’s no secret that I love Debra Salonen’s books And Black Hills Outcast is no exception. Offering a beautiful balance of humour and romance, this book was a real page turner for me. There were rolling on the floor funny moments (imagine dumping a box of sex toys at the feet of a man you’ve just met), some nice touches of passion and also a backstory dealing with the difficult issues of death and cancer. I thought these were handled with grace and dignity.

Guilt can do awful things to a person and Rufus Miller, hero of Black Hills Outcast, is dealing with a bucketload of it over the death of his brother Stephen. This is not recent death but rather one that occurred while both boys were teenagers, but that hasn’t stopped Rufus from feeling responsible. He and his guilt are hiding out in the Black Hills after a cancer scare ended his modelling career..

Rachel Grey has always been the model daughter, living up to her mother’s expectations with regard to both her career and her marriage until the moment she finds her husband cheating on her. Her divorce acts as the catalyst for Rachel to spread her wings and launch herself into a new career, much to her mother’s horror.

I loved the interaction between Rachel, bursting with creative ideas designed to promote Rufus and his wonderful Dreamhouses, and Rufus, keen to sell as many Dreamhouses as possible while preserving his privacy and anonymity. You could just tell that there was going to be friction there!

Black Hills Outcast is the latest book in the Black Hills Rendezvous series and if you’ve read the other books you’ll quickly feel at home in the quirky town of Sentinal Pass, however if you haven’t, don’t worry. This book stands alone very well. I loved reading it and have no qualms about recommending it.

Outcast new wht

#2 AmazonUK – MF

I think this is my favourite of the series! Rachel’s helpless honesty and frank responses made me laugh. Rufus’s whimsical but insightful creativity touched me – plus I like a man who steps up for his girl. There are some great visual moments too!

The vein of recognition of wishes and aspirations, hope and second chances, runs through the book in many different situations and the reason for Rufus’s solitude is the grit within the pearl of this book.

It wouldn’t be Black Hills without family, dogs, gossip, fun and some hot romance – plus a magical ending!

This is part of a series but you don’t have to have read them in sequence, Black Hills Outcast more than delivers on its own.

So, go ahead, make some author’s day–and maybe help someone who needs to leave the real world behind for a bit.

One last picture. I’ve been in the mountains writing this week, and I want to share our glorious spring with you. Have a great weekend, wherever you are!

Deb Salonen hiking Lewis Creek


PS: in case you’re interested in escaping into BLACK HILLS OUTCAST, here are the buy links. :-)


Do you believe love conquers all?

That’s one of the questions I was given by ManyBooks, a new promotional site I decided to try to get the word out about my Black Hills Rendezvous series and my free book: Black Hills Baby.

It’s a really great question. Really great. Especially for a romance author. I mean, if not, then why am I doing what I’m doing? But writing stories allows you to have some control over the actions of the characters, which is far different from watching someone you love trying to make sense of a so-called love that is not healthy. Possessiveness, verbal abuse, mind games and power struggles are not any part of what I define as love, no matter how much the person using the term tries to make you believe it.


Here’s what I wrote:

Do you believe that love conquers all? Why?

Define: “love”. I’ve seen people do really rotten things in the name of love. In my opinion, a committed relationship is a living, breathing entity that takes work, compromise and a certain degree of selflessness to stay vital. But, if you’re willing to work for it, love is everything romance novels make it out to be, so my answer is: of course.

Read the whole interview HERE.

So, tell me…do you believe?

Have a great weekend, and happy reading!


Ah, the lovely rains! Guess who will be pulling weeds this weekend?

Ah, the lovely rains! Guess who will be pulling weeds this weekend?

Taxes, new release and a free book


Poor April–opens with fools and half-way through sits the most-hated day of the year. So named by Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas.


The man makes a good point.

“When over 90 percent of returns are done by professionals or tax software, that should be a wake-up call that our tax code is far too complex,” Brady said.

My accountant charged me $495 today–and because we signed the return online, I wound up printing the file myself–all 58 pages!!!


So, to make up for this, I have some good news to share–and even something for FREE.

First, my first-in-series BLACK HILLS BABY is free EVERYWHERE, including Amazon online stores in Australia, Canada and the UK.


Here are the links:

AU Store -
UK Store -
CA Store -
Amazon - 
iBooks -
BN -
Google Play -

And, secondly, I have a new book releasing, too. BLACK HILLS BACHELOR, Bk IV in the Black Hills Rendezvous series, in out now. This is Mac’s story.


Do you like complicated heroes who don’t think they’re complicated? Single dad Mac McGannon is as real and down-into-the-earth as it comes. He’s a miner, after all. No storybook nothin’ for him. But he’s also the guy who rescues broken things–a dog nobody wants, a hawk that left a scar, his late wife who kept secrets she took to her grave. He has no intention of falling for a glamorous Hollywood star with a hidden past–rife with secrets that could impact everyone, including Mac and his little girl. My beta readers tell me it’s the connection between love and loss that really spoke to them in this book.

Bachelor meme



I don’t know about you guys, nothing makes me more inclined to disappear into a good book than Tax Day.

Happy reading, my friends.





What are you reading?

I get asked this all the time, but this week, the question came up more often than usual…because, I as I learned, it was READ ACROSS AMERICA Day on Wednesday.


Who knew?

So…what are you reading?

I’m finishing up the last of my six RITA books, which are top secret so I can’t discuss the titles or my opinion of them. But I can tell you that for the first time EVER, all of the books were from Indie publishers. Not a single title from a New York traditional publishing house. Wow.

On my Kindle, I’m reading:

Exposed by C.J.Carmichael             AMAZON


This is the third book in the trilogy, but BURIED, the first in the series, is FREE. I highly suggest you give it a try if you like mysteries. I am really enjoying the series and will be sad when it’s done. (But I’m also looking forward to some answers. ;-) )

Speaking of FREE books, MONTANA COWGIRL, Book I in my Big Sky Mavericks series is free for a few more days. Here’s how BookBub described it:

A heart-tugging Montana love story! Fifteen years after leaving for rodeo stardom, Bailey returns home to rebuild her shattered life. Can she find a second chance with Paul — the man who cursed her for leaving him behind? 


$4.99 Free!

Available for a limited time

The Best-Laid Plans…result in a plot

I always identify with characters in books that convince themselves they’re doing the right things for the right reasons and tell themselves no one will get hurt. Of course what happens next is the plot of your story.

In my new book, MONTANA ROGUE, my hero, Tucker Montgomery is in a transitional stage of his life, although he thinks this only applies to his career, not his love life, too. My heroine, Amanda Heller, has started the process of breaking free of some weighty, familial bonds to find her own way, but that process is not without challenges–especially in A family like Amanda’s. They tell themselves they can do what they need to do while enjoying a short summer fling–something Tucker calls “roommates with benefits.” They’re grown-ups. Who could possibly get hurt?

Magic Mike meme

Of course, once their hearts become engaged, everything changes.

Here’s a snippet from their “Black Moment”:

      Watching her grandmother break down in court–her daughter more embarrassed by her mother’s tears than sympathetic–had crystalized a shell over Amanda’s heart. Screw love. Screw family. Not that either of those words belonged in the same sentence with the name Heller.

      “So, you’re throwing in the towel? Rolling over to your parents’ every demand?”

       “You don’t know them, Tucker. You don’t know what my father is capable of. I do. I know when to cut my losses.”

      He gestured toward himself. “I’m one of those losses?”

     The biggest. Even bigger than Molly.

      “Let’s cut to the chase. We made an agreement. You upheld your part of the bargain. The house looks great. It should list for well over what the estate would have gotten if we hadn’t spruced it up. In return for your help, I agreed to handle your PR for your grand opening and design your website.”

      He crossed his arms, eyes narrowed as if waiting for the other shoe to fall. “Yeah, and now, you’re leaving with three more days of grand opening activities to go.”

      She stepped to the dresser to rest her hip against it. Her feet were throbbing and her calves screamed from standing in the heels she’d grown unaccustomed to wearing. But, as much as she wanted to kick them off and go barefoot, she didn’t dare get out of costume for fear he’d see through her performance.

       “As someone wisely pointed out when he tried to talk me into setting up my own business in Montana, I can do nearly every bit of the follow-up from anywhere in the world. In this case, I will be hands-on in New York, while you and your team make things happen on the ground. I will file a report tracking the online hits, referrals, and visits to your website. Your sales next week should reflect the word-of-mouth generated from Facebook and Twitter. And I’ve already engaged a dozen rollercoaster enthusiasts who have agreed to blog and tweet and share videos in return for a free ticket.”

       She tossed up her hands. “The rest is up to you. I’m positive Mountie’s Marvelous Zip Line and Enduro Course will be a huge success.”

      He didn’t say anything for a couple of heartbeats.

      The pause gave her time to memorize his face. She thought she detected a couple of new worry lines across his brow. She’d seen behind his carefree Cajun boy mask. She knew how much he cared.

      “What happens to the cat?”

       “I spoke with the director of Molly’s care facility. If you take Peaches there in a carrier, they will help him acclimate to the change. Apparently, they do this all the time.”

        “They’ll probably drug him,” Tucker snapped.

        “True. But at least my grandmother will have one familiar face around for as long as she has memory to draw upon.”

       “And the piano?”

       “I told Mother I wanted you to have it because you paid to have it tuned, and she laughed at me.”

       Actually, June had spewed a sip of her fifteen-dollar martini. “What will a man who lives in a tent do with a baby grand?”

       The memory fueled the anger Amanda been suppressing ever since she walked into the hearing room to find her mother and the newly hired Montana attorney waiting to brief her on the Heller plan. The only satisfaction Amanda had felt all day was the look on her mother’s face when she spotted Austen Zabrinski, the first lawyer Amanda had ever met who knew how to dress. Austen made her mother’s hired hack look like the “podunk guttersnipe” Molly had called him, loud enough for everyone in the family courtroom to hear.

        But even someone as savvy and politically connected as Austen couldn’t prevent the inevitable.

      Amanda pushed off from her roost and marched to the closet. Her giant suitcase sat right where she left it after her move from the Graff. She flung it on the bed, unzipped it with a quick, angry thrust that broke a nail. She popped her finger in her mouth to nibble down the uneven nail.

       Tucker’s body language changed. “Amanda, slow down. Let me help.”

       “No, you can’t help. Nobody can.”

        “What’s that supposed to mean? You’re not an indentured slave. This is still a free country. Nobody has a gun to your head, right?”

       More like an AK47 trained on the people I love.

       “You’re wrong. There might not be a gun to my head, but, believe me, you don’t say no to people like my father.” Not without horrible repercussions. “And, as my mother has pointed out numerous times in the past how many hours since she arrived here, I owe them my loyalty.”

        Tucker stood with the powerful grace she loved about him and walked to her side. “Amanda, you’re wrong about that. Loyalty is earned, not bought.”

       She turned, grabbed the thickest wad of hanging clothes she could embrace, and walked the armload to the open suitcase. “And they say I’m naive,” she muttered. “Grow up, Tucker. This isn’t a game. This is my life. My career. My future. If I don’t get back on the Heller express now, it’ll run over me.” Along with everyone I care most about.


        She pivoted, her heels digging into the carpet. “It’s over, Tucker. We had some fun. We both knew this wasn’t long-term. You’re going back to American Male, aren’t you? As soon as the zipping season ends?”

        He swallowed. “Yes, but that’s a couple of months off.”

       “So, what am I supposed to do in the meantime? Live in a tent on the mountain with you? Do I look like a tent-living mountain girl?”

       Say, yes. Please say, yes. She held her breath waiting for his answer.

       His gaze started at her shoes and worked upward, slowly. Finally, he searched her face. She wondered if the make-up she’d borrowed from her mother would successfully hide any trace of her tears.

       “No,” he said, shaking his head slowly from side-to-side. “You look like the other Amanda. The New York society girl.”


Awww, heck. I hate when that happens.

Luckily, I believe people can learn from their mistakes and love will prevail. That’s why I write–and read–romance novels. I crave my happily-ever-afters. Don’t you?

Happy reading!



PS: below are some buy links to MONTANA ROGUE in case you’re interested, and here’s a link to my Tule Publishing blog – It’s a tough job but… — if you’d like see some of the research that went into this book, including a YouTube video of my own zip line experience.




Who’s Your Hero?

What defines a hero-

My new Big Sky Mavericks story is releasing today. As you can tell from the title, the meaning of the word “hero” comes up from time to time in this book. For me, the definition of the word goes well beyond the narrow parameters most people tend to attribute to it.

Yes, acting heroically is spectacular and important and good. Running toward a catastrophe instead of away is very brave and deserves recognition and reward. But, sometimes, the small, nearly obscure challenges — like a single mom doing the best she can without a lot of support — can require a huge dose of bravery without any hope of recognition.

I tossed out this question on my Facebook page a few days ago: “Who’s your hero?” I was going to pick out a few answers from the 100+ to share, but when I started reading them, I realized each is the TRUTH for that person, and each answered my question. Some are very touching. (If you don’t have time to read them all, please scroll to the bottom to see a wallhanging a friend made for me. :-)

Bonnie Jackman Gonzales Just finished Montana Hero, soooooo good. You didn’t say book hero, so my Granddaughter Cassie she saved her husbands life when he had an accident with a high powered firework. she keep it together and got him to the emergency room faster than an ambulance coming for him would have been, he would have bleed out if they had waited.

  •  Misty Garoutte Clarkson I like all heros men women and animals alike just finished a book where a dog saved a little girl right before his heart gave out
  • Jenelle Reyes Liked and shared! My sister Kat is my hero! She’s the strongest person I know. She’s been through so much with her health and keeps fighting!
  • Melissa Tippie My hubby is my Hero ~ He’s a volunteer fire-fighter & EMT smile emoticon
  • Callie Barbara Cuddy It used to be my husband, but he’s leaving me, so I guess I’ll have to be my own hero.
  • Carrie Porter Evans All veterans, especially my friends and family and my Mom.
  • Jennifer Schultheis My husband is my biggest hero. He is exactly the kind of guy I want my son to grow up to be. Honest, loyal and hardworking. Thank you for the chance. Sharing! 
  • Shannon L Schoolcraft Its a mix between my dad and my mom. They both have been through a lot and i look up to them. They are the strongest people that I know. 
  • Pamela Lowery My mom is my hero, we lost dad 2 years ago, and she has become our rock and glue and has held the family together. They were married 52 years and had never spent a whole day apart.
  • Casandra Kluber My mother is my hero!
  • Connie Kline Fischer I love my husband but I have to say my sons share this. They make me so proud every day of my life. Mike and Matt: you guys are the best! heart emoticon heart emoticon
  • Jackie Hammond My daughter. She is a wonderful mom and a beautiful person. She has taught me so much over the years.
  • Jeanne Sheats No particular person – the everyday people that help others.
  • Lourie Staib Both of my parents, they both fought like crazy to stay alive for my benefit & in the end their health failed them both.
  • Linda Rimer-Como My mom is my biggest hero, she us there for me no matter what.
  • Linda Henderson My daughter. She is an amazing mother. Her 12 year old son has aspergers and a he is his biggest advocate. She’s amazing.
  • Linda White My Daddy is my biggest hero, he has endured the loss of my mama, survived lung cancer and other related illnesses and has kept a positive outlook through it all!
  • Suzie Gaspard Quebedeaux My grandmother! I called her Granny. She passed away on my 35th birthday but she is still a hero to me. She had 12 children (the youngest had Down’s Syndrome), had 60+ granchildren. She had the patience of a saint. I NEVER heard her raise her voice or say a bad word about one person.
  • Morse Dawn My mom
  • Janine Rowe My husband who always stands up for me even when I do something questionable.
  • Jackie Maxwell Awesome socks. And your books, of course! I have five heroes-Nick, Joe, Beej, Danny, and Molly
  • Dawn Cripps My husband he kills spiders for me and I have never felt safer with anyone in my life
  • Judy Thomas My biggest hero is my daughter.
  • Angelina M Linan I would say my kids because without them i don’t think I would work as hard.
  • Lynn Clayton my son
  • Dawn Anderson My mom and grandma
  • Crystal Holloway My biggest hero is my dad.
  • Shari Drehs Bartholomew My biggest hero is my husband.
  • Carol Schwartz My mom who passed in 2012
  • Jennifer Matusik Ingman My youngest daughter is my hero. She has endured a lot medically, yet she never lets is keep her down!
  • Dana Wintch Tillack My mother!!!
  • Judy Pflueger My sister, Sheila.
  • Carole Fiore my cousin Joanne for she fought cancer twice and she’s doing great!
  • Judy Stephens Burr Too many to name ! 
  • Brianna Birch The Veterans who don’t come home! Especially one of my husband’s friends named Benjamin who we named our son after. Thank you for the opportunity! Liked and shared
  • Susan Newkirk My hero is my son – who is small – but never let’s anything stop him !!! Congrats on your new release !!
  •  Taylor Lynn Hanagan My grandmother who recently passed away. Always so loving. So positive. Saw the good in every situation. Put herself last no matter who or what it came to. 
    True definition of an angel. heart emoticon
  • Alexis Sapphire Liked and shared ty my hero’s are my kids 
  • Lorie Sullins Payne My cousin who survived cancer but daily deals with problems with her arm and shoulder while working as a nurse
  • Eileen Aberman Wells Liked & shared!! Can’t wait to read it!! One of my heros is my younger son who has overcome many obstacles in his life to become the awesome person he is now. Another is my younger daughter who is a trauma nurse. My other two kids aren’t bad either.
  • Kathleen Elliott Clark My husband who fought a battle against kidney cancer, but lost. he was the strongest person I know And I miss him every day. He passed away in 2012 at the young age of 64.
  • Deborah Favorito My hero is all the veterans, soldiers and all the men and women who have lost their lives to protect ours.
  • Judith Voss My mother, who in 1950, left China at the age of 20 to travel to French Guiana to an arranged marriage to a man she had never met. She spoke no English. Eight years later she was widowed with five children between the ages of 7 and 1 to provide for.
  • Kelli Jo Calvert Jo Rowling!
  • Melinda Garza My Dad!!!
  • Deanne Patterson My biggest heroes are my 12 kids . They mean the world to Me 
  • Connie Heim Reynolds My biggest hero is my hubby. He quit his job to take care of me when I had breast cancer. A side effect of the medicine is I have memory problems. He patiently waits while I search for a word.
  • Sharon Baker My youngest brother who has passed away. I miss him.
  • Marie Cassini My dad, and my husband.
  • Charish Otte Liked and shared!!! My dad is my hero!!!
  • Aisha Panjwaneey Just finished it today. Loved it. My 13 year old nephew is autistic and he’s brilliant. At music, at art, at math. He can emulate just about every accent he’s ever heard. And he’s obsessed with planes of every kind, commercial, Air Force, military you See More
  • Audra Holtwick My family are my heroes because they put up with me
  • Diane Blaser My biggest hero is my 91 year old father who is the very best man I know (my husband is second best). My father and I have grown so much closer since my mother died 23 years ago and I married my husband because he was so much like the man my father is. Liked and shared! Thank you!
  • Marlene Roberts Engel My daughter who was totally blind and passed from cancer at the age of 13 is my hero.
  •  Suzanne Smith Congratulations, that’s wonderful! My biggest hero is my husband who has stood by me, saved my life and is my soulmate heart emoticon 
  • Tanya Jayne Phillips My biggest Hero is my husband who is amazing before and especially since becoming disabled. Supporting and caring for me and my girls. My daughters are my heroes too along with my parents and in laws. I know that’s a lot but it’s true. 
  • Dawn Schlauderaff My daughter working full time and going to school full time to become a nurse this fall.♡
  • Mai Tran mom is the biggest hero of mine
  • Tina Peterson Our Soldiers, I have a lot of family in the military, or were in the military and they deserve to be my heroes… they risk/risked everything to give us freedom and peace of mind. They are the best of the best.
  • Debbie Adams-Rice My hubby Vietnam vet has overcome a lot thank you for the chance liked and shared
  • Jennifer Roberts Bernard Liked and shared. My hero is not one person but, the men and women who fight to protect me. I know they give up everything for me!
  • Marcy Shuler Military personnel and first responders are my heroes.
    • Debra Salonen, author This book is dedicated to the men and women on the front lines of the wildfires. Too much of that around California right now.
  • Michele Gray My dad. A survivor of colon cancer and all the suffering he endured and prevailed.
  • Ria Alemina My dad is my biggest hero, he can do many things, men job, women job, you name it and he can do all! He’s so talented in many things! I’m so proud of him!
  • Melissa Adkins Jesus Christ. He has blessed me very well.
  • Jill Steinberg-Bieber Liked and my father who worked his whole life put me into business took care of my two boys from the time they were born a man that loves without condition and is always doing something special for me. A thoughtful man who takes a cooking class and wants me to be part of it a father that just calls to go to lunch And a movie I’m truly blessed and jack is my hero
  • Sara Zehr My grandparents!!
  • Milica Jovanovic My dad. 
  • Lilian Gamble Liked and shared, my mom
  • Maria Colon My husband… Who is an amazing husband, veteran(22 yrs) and father.
  • Shelagh Merlin My daughter is my hero. She’s just amazing and despite life kicking her in the guts really hard once or twice she ALWAYS has a positive attitude and a warm smile. And she’s a fantastic mother too!
  • Debbie Ward My Kids & Grandkids are my Heros!
  • Mary Goodman My biggest hero is my brother who took care of me and my sister when we were little but better than that we are still close
  • Magdica Duvnjak Liked and shared, my husband heart emoticon
    Like · Reply · 7 hrs
  • Hina Tabassum Khatri My Parents. They have educated us, my siblings and I, even when that wasn’t the norm in the community.
  • Beatrice Banda My Daddy is my hero
  • Kelly Ballenger My Grandpa. He was always there when I needed him and was a hoot to be around. I have some great memories.
  • Terri Walsh My husband is my hero! 
  • Sheri Carter Biggs Ŧ My hero first and foremost is my Savior Jesus Christ and secondly is my 80 year old daddy who still gets up EVERY day to go to work as the School District mail man and helps take care of my sweet mama and me.
  • Melissa Keith My hubby. He’s in the Navy.
  • Sue Peace In real life my father, in fiction Eve and Roarke smile emoticon
  • Peggy Clayton my real father always has been
  • Kelly Iliakis my boyfriend rob is my hero! love these contests!



A friend gave us this piece of art a few years ago. It hangs by my door as a reminder. We are EACH the hero of our own lives. If life gets you down, give yourself a hug then “try again tomorrow.”

With love and gratitude,


PS: If you’d like to read MONTANA HERO, here are some links. Or you can read the first chapter at TULE PUBLISHING. The initial reviews are great! I’m so delighted.


Amazon     iTunes     KOBO     Google Play     Amazon UK

70 Books (Tara Taylor Quinn)

That’s it.  That’s me.  70 Books.  As of today, July 1, 2015, with the release of:

OnceUponAFriendshipIt’s a second milestone as well.  Once Upon a Friendship is my first novel with the Harlequin Heartwarming program.  This series is like Superromance without graphic sex and language.  Or, as I think of it, don’t over do the swearing or body parts.  The stories are as deep, as complex, the people are like the rest of our friends.  I’m incredibly happy with Once Upon a Friendship.  It’s the story of three college friends, two girls and a guy, who’ve become like family.  They buy a historic apartment building in downtown Denver, to save the homes of elderly residents who’d been given their moving orders.  One of the friends owns the popular coffee shop on the first floor.  And ttq style, things get all mucked up.  There’s a crime, a bodyguard, a family no one knew existed…and a friendship that is being challenged at its very core.

To celebrate #70 I thought I’d give you a peek back:

My very first published book: YesterdaysSecretsNumber 10 click for eBook:

HeartofChristmas Number 20 was listed on the Amazon top selling Superromances this month.  Click for eBook:


Number 30 is a Kindle deal right now!  Just 1.99:


Number 40 is based on my parent’s true life love story Click for eBook:


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The end, the lovely end

Montana Hero quote

You’ll have to forgive me. I’m a little brain dead. I sent off my completed manuscript this afternoon. I finished the first draft of this book several weeks ago, but the second read seemed to take forever. It required some spit and polish and toning down some noisy secondary characters.

This happens sometimes. Do you know anyone who thinks their story is utterly fascinating and hogs the spotlight? This happened in my second published book. I knew the story I wanted to tell. I had the characters all lined up, a plot and everything. Then the hero’s best friend showed up and suddenly, it was all about him. And, darn it, he was pretty fascinating.

Luckily, I learned from my first experience. This time I cut  every flashy scene with Hero #2 in it and and pasted it in a file called: MONTANA ROGUE. That title fits him to a tee.

Since I’m so tired, I’m going make this blog short and sweet. The sweet part is the Sneak Peek scene I shared with my newsletter followers. Here you go:


Mid-January, the San Bernardino Mountains wildfire

      Flynn Bensen recognized the dream the minute it started in his sleeping mind.

     His old frenemy was back. The homestead looked exactly as he remembered it. An authentic log cabin in the high Sierra, aged to a rummy golden brown from dozens of summers. Its metal roof was rusted so poetically you’d have thought God used a fine-tipped paintbrush to add just the right touch of umber. The word bucolic came to mind. A word Flynn never used until that day last September.

     He tried to resist the pull. He knew how this story ended. Why subject myself to it again?

      I won’t fall into the trap. I’ll turn left instead of right. I’ll ignore the whinny.

       But the eerie sound filled his ears, sending a shiver through his body. The horse’s abject fear seized hold and wouldn’t let go.

        Suddenly, he was deep in the fire zone. Heat from the hundred-plus temperature made every breath pure agony. His pack felt as if he’d loaded it with lead weights. His legs seemed disconnected from his body as he pushed onward toward the horse pen. Two frightened animals, the whites of their eyes visible at every turn, paced, reared, and tossed their heads. Every whiff of smoke drove them closer to the brink of frenzy.

     This time will be different, he told himself. This time I’ll do it right.

     This time I’ll save her.

      The position of the old woman’s body never changed. Her head rested inches from the watering trough, face turned away, as if she couldn’t bear to watch what happened to her beloved animals. She seemed smaller in hindsight, fragile and delicate. Spikes of silver hair stuck out like a bad wig. But she was breathing…always breathing. Just enough to give him hope.

       “Stay with me, now. We can do this,” he said, picking her up in his arms like a small child. Why hadn’t he thought of that before? Nobody deserved to be tossed over a shoulder like a bag of rocks as he had that day. If he’d cradled her to his chest like a child, maybe she would have felt loved, respected, care for. Maybe she’d have stayed connected to him, to life.

    “You’re gonna be okay. Just breathe. You can do that. Breathe. Breathe.”

      Someone shook him. Hard. The woman fell from his arms. He watched her drop into the flames of the fire that had been chasing them. He lost her. Again.

      He cursed and swung wildly, hoping to hurt whomever it was that made him drop her.

      “Flynn. Wake up, Buddy. You’re dreaming.”

     “Again,” another voice muttered. “What’s it going to take to make these nightmares stop? Drugs? I’ll find them. Just tell me what kind.”

     Flynn blinked, coming back to the real world.

     “I think he needs to see a shrink. Classic case of PTSD.”

     Awareness washed over him like a splash of rainwater from a bucket. He sat up, shaking his head like a wet dog, and looked around. He was on his cot in the tent cabin he shared with Tucker and Justin. His best friends. Brothers- in-arm.

      Tucker “Mountie” Montgomery stood, arms akimbo, in baggie sweats and an army-green T-shirt. His scowl barely put a dent in his heart-throb handsome face. Even half- awake and pissed off he probably would have had his choice of groupies if any knew he was a wilderness firefighter in his day job.

     Justin squatted a foot or so away. His standard issue undershirt and thigh-length gray shorts emphasized his compact muscles–finely honed from his off-season occupation: free climbing.

     Flynn swiped at a bead of sweat that rolled into his eyes, stinging. “Another nightmare?” he asked.

     “Same one, different night,” Tucker muttered. “Next time I’m making a Youtube video, I swear.”

      He threatened that every time. But Flynn couldn’t blame him for being upset.

     In the off-season, Tucker belonged to an elite, extremely well-paid troupe of dancers/entertainers that performed for audiences–mostly women–around the world. He told everybody he couldn’t afford to lose valuable beauty sleep. His fans deserved for him to look his very best.

      “Sorry, man,” Flynn mumbled. His throat ached, as usual. After every nightmare, he’d awaken to a body that somehow actually believed he’d just survived a close brush with death on the fire line.

       Justin handed him the metal water bottle sitting on the floor beside the cot.

     Justin Oberman–or “Goat,” as the other members of the crew called him–was the deep one. Ascetic, vegetarian, poet, and death-defying free climber who could scramble up sides of mountains like his surefooted namesake. “Flynn, this isn’t your fault, man. It sucks that your brain can’t let it go, but it’s been six months. Something needs to give, dude.”

They told him that every time this happened. This was their first group deployment of the New Year, but he’d been wrestling with this dream ever since the horrific fire near Yosemite National Park.

       “We all know–your conscious mind knows–you did everything in your power to save that lady,” Tucker added. “You’re the hero among us. Ask anyone.”

     Flynn smiled at that. False modesty wasn’t Tucker’s style. I must be in worse shape than I thought.

      “Flynn, it was her time,” Justin said, repeating an argument Flynn had heard from others. Even the coroner confirmed the victim’s chances had been small to none. The subdural hematoma caused by the impact from hitting the water trough would have been tough for even a healthy young person to survive.

       Tucker threw up his hands impatiently. “She probably wouldn’t have lived even if you could have predicted the fire would veer away from her place at the last minute. But for all our sakes, we have to find a way to get the message to your subconscious.”

        Flynn shifted sideways, his feet landing on the dirty canvas floor with a muffled thud. His friends were right. Flynn thought getting back on an active fire line would purge his guilt. The physicality and exhaustion that came from walking four miles from a drop zone to the leading edge of a fast-burning forest fire then beating Mother Nature into submission sounded like the answer. Surely after a ten-hour day he’d be too exhausted to dream.

But, so far, that hadn’t been the case. He only felt drained–physically and emotionally. The answer to this problem seemed glaringly obvious in the pre-dawn gloom. “I need a different job.”

        Tucker’s epithet echoed in the stillness, and may have been heard three tents over.

       Justin’s sigh seemed to start at the center of his soul and vibrate outward.

       Flynn had been wrestling with the idea ever since his brother emailed him a link to a job opening for Head of Operations, Crawford County Search and Rescue, Marietta, Montana. He looked at his friends, soberly. “I’m moving to Montana, guys. I just filled out the application online and won’t know for a while, but there’s a good chance I’ll be manning a desk in the very near future. You two will have to keep the WildFire Hot Shots going without me.”

Tucker and Justin exchanged a look.

    “They have mountains in Montana, right?”

     “And fires in the summer, too, I’ve heard.”

      Flynn got their meaning. They’d saved one another’s lives too many times not to be able to read what went unsaid. “But Kentucky is home base for both of you.”

      Justin shrugged his broad, powerful shoulders. “It’s only a place if your friends aren’t here.”

      Tucker nodded. “Truth.”

      Flynn looked from one to the other. “Ryker sent you the job link, didn’t he?”

      “He thought you might need a kick in the pants,” Tucker said, plopping down on the cot, crowding Flynn’s space like he always did. “I’ve been looking at property online for awhile and I think I’ve found the perfect spot for Mountie’s Most Awesome Montana Zipline and Enduro Course.” He flashed the grin that drove women in his audiences wild.

        Justin rolled his eyes. “That’s the dumbest name I’ve ever heard.”

        “I like it. So do my investors. They’re lining up as we speak.”

       Older women with more cash than sense, Flynn thought. But who was he to criticize? Tucker lived boldly, followed his dreams, and always came out smelling like a rose. The guy had more than enough money to risk on a short-lived investment.

        “Our independently wealthy friend can dabble in a new commercial enterprise, but I put in for a transfer ten minutes after reading the email. It got approved yesterday. This summer, I’ll be in Yellowstone, which on my map appears to be in your neck of the woods. If that Search and Rescue gig doesn’t work out, I’ll put in a good word for you. Maybe you can get your old job back with the Park Service.” His serious smile told Flynn he meant every word. “But, for the record, I think this change of venue will be good for you. Hopefully, no more wildfires means no more nightmares.”

      Flynn agreed. He stood and the two exchanged a quick, manly hug that Tucker immediately crashed. “Oh, you guys,” Tucker said, wrapping them both in his long and very strong arms. “It’s a moment, isn’t it? A fresh new beginning for the MHS.”

       Flynn gave him a look. “The what?”

       “The Montana Hot Shots. We were the Wildfire Hot Shots. I just changed it. We have a Facebook page. Didn’t I tell you?”

       Justin stiff-armed his way free and headed for the tent flap. “Screw social media. I wouldn’t even carry a stinking cell phone if not for you two.”

        Flynn let out a long sigh. He’d been worried about breaking the news to his buddies. Maybe that tension is what triggered tonight’s episode. His nightmares had been coming less frequently–or so he told himself–since his visit to Marietta last November. Seeing his brother so happy, in love and looking toward the future, made the stark emptiness of Flynn’s life all the more disappointing by comparison.

       Would a change of venue rid Flynn of his nightmares? He didn’t know, but Ryker had made a fresh start in Marietta and found the woman of his dreams–the living, breathing, sexier than heck kind of woman. Maybe, Flynn would get lucky, too.

       But, honestly? He’d settle for a good night’s sleep.

Have a great weekend, everybody!


PS: I took the pretty shot of the bamboo this morning after yoga. It spoke to me. :-)