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!!!

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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!

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Click here to: VOTE

Have a great weekend, everyone! 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).

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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.

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Let’s Read Holiday Books!

I love to write–and read– Christmas stories. I’m going to list a few that I’ve enjoyed recently, along with my new one, which I’m so thrilled to say received a lovely review from Library Journal!

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I’m working like mad to meet a deadline before the birth of my new grandbaby, so hopefully I’ll be able to share some photos in a week or two. Please feel free to add your holiday reading suggestions in the comments. I’m always looking for new books and authors.

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MONTANA SECRET SANTA, Bk III Love at the Chocolate Shop, Tule Publishing

KINDLE: http://littl.ink/MTSSAmazon

NOOK: http://littl.ink/MTSSBN

iBOOKS: http://littl.ink/MTSSIB

KOBO: http://littl.ink/MTSSKobo

GooglePLAY: http://littl.ink/MTSSPlay 

AMAZONAU: http://littl.ink/MTSSAZAU

AMAZONCA: http://littl.ink/MTSSAZCA

AMAZONUK: http://littl.ink/MTSSAZUK

start reading for FREE: http://littl.ink/MTSSTule


Other great holiday reads, including Dani Collin’s delightful:

Free! Don’t miss out. Click image.

I love all of Jane Porter’s holiday stories, especially this one:

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And don’t miss this wonderful new release from Jean Brashear:

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Click on image for Amazon link to 99¢ special sale, for a short time only!

Happy reading, my friends. See you next Friday…with a new baby in my arms, I hope.

Deb

 

 

 

#whatlovetasteslike

That’s the hashtag for Tule Publishing’s new “Love at the Chocolate Shop” series, which launched yesterday with the release of MELT MY HEART, COWBOY by C.J. Carmichael. melt-my-heart-cowboy This is a lovely, sweet romance with a focus on family and being open to new possibilities. There’s a secondary character–the hero’s sister who has developmental challenges on the Autism scale–that touched my heart.

When my hubby and I were visiting our old home town, we recalled a man in our neighborhood named Lee. Lee was probably ten or more years older than us, but his mind was…”different.” He didn’t understand things like personal boundaries and social graces. He was very sharp where certain things were concerned (remember Dustin Hoffman in Rainman?) and completely oblivious about things we took for granted. He once flew to Chicago, wandered around the airport for four hours and flew back home, where his worried parents were waiting for him. A triumph and complete success in his mind. He boasted about “visiting Chicago” for months. We went to college, moved away and completely lost track of Lee. His parents were old (well, everyone over 25 was old to us back then) and I never heard mention of siblings or other family. As we drove past Lee’s family’s house, we shared our memories of him–both funny and poignant in hindsight.

I wished I’d been a bigger, kinder person to Lee. I wish I’d been more like Rosie Linn in C.J.’s book. Do you have a “Lee” in your life? I’d love to hear.

You can read the first chapter of MELT MY HEART, COWBOY here: start reading for free.

I’m so excited to have a book in this line-up. Don’t you love the covers?! chocolate-four-covers I know I mentioned the Facebook Release Party last week, but here’s the schedule. I’d love to hang out with you on Wednesday, Oct. 12, from 3-8 PM (Pacific). You’ll have to join the Main Street Marietta private group to participate–and be eligible for all the great prizes–but you’re not obligation to remain in it once the party is over. chocolate-shop-party-times-jpg Have a great autumnal weekend–and stay safe Floridians and all those in Hurricane Matthew’s path.

Deb

#whatlovetasteslike

And we’re off…

Hubby and I are leaving for South Dakota in the morning. It’s been two years since I’ve been back. I’m really looking forward to a taste of autumn.

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Plus, it’s been a crazy busy month for me so far.

Wednesday was release day for my new Black Hills Rendezvous book: BLACK HILLS NATIVE SON. This book always tugs on my heart. It came to me one night as I closed my eyes and a voice said, “There’s an old black woman who lives in my head.” As you might imagine, that caught my attention. I tried to ignore it, but I HAD to find out more so I went to my office and wrote–just wrote. I was too tired to think, so what came out was quite a story. One I knew belonged to Char Jones, a member of the Wine, Women, & Words book club. And once I met Eli, I was seriously hooked.

elis-question

Here are the links, chickadee:

NOOK: http://littl.ink/BHNSBN 
Amazon: http://littl.ink/BHNSAZ 
KOBO: http://littl.ink/BHNSKOBO 
iBOOKS: http://littl.ink/BHNSiBook 
GooglePlay: http://littl.ink/BHNSPlay
AmazonUK: http://littl.ink/BHNSAZUK
AmazonCA: http://littl.ink/BHNSAZCA
AmazonAU: http://littl.ink/BHNSAZAU

Yesterday, I turned in my manuscript for my next Tule Publishing book. I’m super excited about MONTANA SECRET SANTA because it’s part of a 12-book series with 5 fabulous, celebrated and successful authors: C.J. Carmichael (who’s 2015 Tule Christmas book just sold to Hallmark!), Melissa McClone, Roxanne Snopek, Steena Holmes, and me. Here are the first three covers. Aren’t they gorgeous?

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SAVE THE DATE : Oct 12, from 4-7 PM (Pacific) to join us for a Launch Party in the Main St. Marietta Facebook group. You’ll need to join the group to attend, but feel free to leave after the event! Click here to go to the group. There will be prizes!

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I may not have the best wifi during my stay in South Dakota, so if I’m not here blogging here next Friday, you’ll know why. But hopefully I’ll be here to share some great fall photos.

Happy reading, my friends.

Deb

Autumn is here. What happened to summer?

First, let me apologize for being MIA for the past couple of Fridays. This is what happens when you overbook your life–with good things, don’t get me wrong. But when you’re go, go, going and you’re some place that doesn’t have wi-fi (yes, those spots exist, believe it or not), something has to give. For me that something was blogging.

Quick catch up. So this happened:

Annual High Country Creatives Retreat, which included my son and granddaughters this year since we had some cancellations. It was fabulous. We hiked, soaked in hot springs at the wonderful Muir Trail Ranch, swam in icy lakes at 10,000′ elevation (by swim, I mean I jumped in and survived the shock long enough to get out without dying), road horses and–best of all–my eldest granddaughter and I collaborated on a young adult novel. Discussing motivation, story arc and point of view made the trip worth every penny. And the views weren’t bad, either.

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I went from 7,400′ to sea level…

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San Simeon Revision Intensive - me, lap top, sand, waves and editor notes for my next Tule Publishing book: MONTANA SECRET SANTA. Good news: my editor loves the story. Extra good news: I love, love, love my new cover!

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Available for pre-order on iBooks now, but it will available wide 12/6/16. PREORDER.

~~~

And there’s this: I got my rights back to the only Black Hills book my former publisher had retained. Smack-dab in the middle of my 9-title series. But, now, that book is officially mine again, and I couldn’t be happier. I worked with a freelance editor and my favorite cover designer to get this into production ASAP. It’s been a crazy few weeks, but I’m very proud of the end result and excited to add Black Hills Native Son to my Black Hills Rendezvous series.

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Releasing wide on Tuesday, but available for pre-order on all platforms:

NOOK: http://littl.ink/BHNSBN 
Amazon: http://littl.ink/BHNSAZ 
KOBO: http://littl.ink/BHNSKOBO 
iBOOKS: http://littl.ink/BHNSiBook 
GooglePlay: http://littl.ink/BHNSPlay

~~~

So, I’d like to tell you I’ve settled back into my comfortable routine and I’ll faithfully blog every Friday, but…I leave next week for a trip to South Dakota (more research for my next Black Hills book) and I have two self-pub books releasing in October (what was I thinking?!), so…all I can do is try. Thanks for your patience and your interest. And thanks to my fellow Storybroads for putting up with me.

Happy reading,

Deb

 

Happy Mother’s Day (9 affordable ways to celebrate)

As I head off to the beach for some badly needed R&R, I’d like to wish you all a Happy Mother’s Day! I find the day particularly poignant because my dear mom suffered a health setback on Mother’s Day 2008 and passed away two days later. I still miss her so much.

Daisy B. Robson 1913-2008

Daisy B. Robson
1913-2008

 

Before I leave, I’d like to share 9 great ways to celebrate Mother’s Day, if Mom’s idea of R&R (or yours) is relaxing with a heartwarming book. (This is exactly what I plan to do.)

My wonderful publisher, Tule Publishing, has created three special Mother’s Day gifts for Book Girls and their moms. I’m honored to be paired with two gifted author friends, Melissa McClone and Alissa Callen, in: MOTHER’S DAY IN MONTANA, which is offered exclusively to NOOK readers. Buy: HERE.

The other two Mother’s Day bundles are:

Mother’s Day Romance Bundle features CJ Carmichael, Rachael Johns & Kate Hewitt, and is available only at KOBO. I just purchased it: HERE.

&

Exclusively at iBOOKS, check out this wonderful threesome: A Mother’s Day Romance Collection with Sarah Mayberry, Jane Porter & Kat Latham. Yours:HERE.

These are limited time releases. Enjoy! And Happy Mother’s Day!

A bit of dogwood beauty from my favorite place: Yosemite National Park. Spring 2016

 

All the best!

Deb

Road trip for Mother’s Day…the book kind

100116This is a first for me–a NOOK exclusive release!

I have to admit I’m pretty excited. I appreciate the reach of Amazon and the drive of iBOOKs, but, in my heart of hearts, I’m pulling for NOOK to keep the book market healthy, vibrant and–most of all–competitive. We, as consumers, can’t afford to lose any more players. So, when my publisher suggested offering an exclusive NOOK boxed set, I was all for it.

So, if you know any NOOK readers–say…your MOM, for instance–please share this great deal on three highly reviewed novels. (MONTANA COWGIRL has 109 5-star reviews on Amazon.)

You can pre-order here: Barnes&Noble or read more here: Tule Publishing.

And HAPPY EARTH DAY!

Here’s a little gift from my backyard.

Rock roses burst with color on Earth Day 2016.

Rock roses burst with color on Earth Day 2016.

Have a great weekend, my friends! And happy reading!

Deb

Too close to home

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On Wednesday morning around 8AM, a student at nearby UCMerced pulled out a hunting knife in a classroom on campus and started stabbing people. By the time the whole thing was done, 4 people were being treated for stab wounds–two seriously enough to be transported by helicopter to a trauma hospital–and the 18-year-old student who initiated the attack was dead.

My nephew is a parking guard at the UC. He works mornings. My first thought, of course, was: Is Michael okay? I also have many wonderful friends and several book club members who are faculty and work at the school. Were they all safe?

Luckily, the answer to those questions is: YES.

But safe doesn’t mean they were untouched by what happened. As Jamie, Michael’s wife who also works at UCMerced but at an off-campus facility, put it in a Facebook post, there’s plenty of heartache to go around in the aftermath:

So many of Mike‘s family and our friends contacting me to check on us today. The parents and staff at my girls’ school checking on his safety, and if the girls were worried and ok. To say that the events of today were shocking or sad is such an understatement. But the outpouring of love and support has filled my heart and I want you to know how appreciative we are. Neither of us were on campus when it happened. By some strange twist of fate, I had asked Mike to take Parker to her orthodontist appointment this morning. He normally begins work at 6:45. Selfishly, I’m so grateful that he was not there during the attack. He was later let on campus and my heart is heavy for the heartache he had to witness in the aftermath.
My heart is breaking for the families of the victims and the witness who now are dealing with experiencing such a tragic event. There are many stories of heroism, kindness, and love today. Please please please let these affect you more than the fear and sadness. 

This attack made national news, so you’ve probably heard as much as I have about the details: http://abc30.com/news/uc-merced-stabbing-suspect-identified/1069531/ As days go on, we’ll have more details about the who, how, when, and where, but what we may never fully know is the why. Revenge may have been his the motive, but why wouldn’t some sort of failsafe kick in to tell this young man that what he plotted was a very bad idea–that he could wind up dead if the acted on his bizarre plans? A very bad idea, indeed.

My heart is still heavy, but, taking Jamie’s advice, I’m going to try to stay positive, focus on the good around me and hug my loved ones. You have to start somewhere.

Deb

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PS: I have something new and fun happening on my website. My publisher, Tule, has set up an interactive sort of contest that allows readers to participate in “unlocking” chapters of my not-yet-released book, MONTANA MIRACLE. Chapter 1 is already open. You can download it here: http://littl.ink/DKS 

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.

       “Bullshit.”

        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!

Deb

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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.

iBooks

KOBO

Amazon