Posts Tagged ‘Smashwords’


Tuesday, January 10th, 2017


 Montana COWBOY

Austen Zabrinski looks the part —

He’s got the ranch, the boots, the hat and even a few head of cattle, but everybody in Marietta, Montana, knows the former golden boy of Marietta High is a wealthy politician, not a cowboy. And even though that nasty scandal in Helena might have knocked him down a notch or two in the polls, what kind of a fool would trade access to the halls of power in Helena and a Harvard law degree for a ranch in western Montana? Possibly one whose new neighbor, Serena James–the woman the guys at Grey’s Saloon call “…the Red Hot Llama Mama”–makes him start to think about what he wants out of life, instead of what’s expected of him.

Serena James knows trouble when it hops her fence–

Moving to Montana and deleting her blog seemed like the perfect solution to her online stalker problem. Serena’s ready for a fresh start, but when her escrow on her ranch falls through, she has to scramble to find an immediate but temporary safe haven to rent for her herd of 50 alpacas, two llamas and one giant dog. Serena’s barely moved in when Austen Zabrinski–the man her landlord called “my absentee ranch owner brother who lives and works in Helena”–hops the fence in need of a lift. Even at first glance, Serena can tell he’s nobody cowboy, but who’s to say that isn’t a good thing? A little tryst with her gorgeous, sexy, here-today-gone-to-Helena-tomorrow neighbor might be the perfect welcome to Montana.

Excerpt © Tule Publishing

What’s his story?

Since they’d practically had sex–in her mind–she decided to ask.

Once he was seated with his safety belt snug across his flat belly, she turned the key in the ignition and put the truck in gear.

“So, fill me in. You own a ranch your brother called a tax write-off. You’ve as much as admitted you’re nobody’s cowboy. You wear three-hundred-dollar jeans. I don’t see a wedding ring. Your nose is sunburned. So I take that to mean you don’t have a wife or live-in girlfriend to remind you to put on sunscreen.”

He let out a gruff cough. “Very observant. The jeans are two years old.”

“But look brand new.”

“I don’t–didn’t–come to the ranch very often in the past.”

She waited.

“No wife. Never married. My last…friend-with-benefits wanted more than I’m in a position to give at the moment. I’m not sure we’re still friends. But I’m positive the benefits have been canceled.”

She’d always been a sucker for smart men with a sense of humor. The leftover dewy feeling in her crotch–and the fact she was a stranger in a strange land–made her bold. “So, if someone new to the area was interested in that sort of position–friends-with-benefits-no-strings-attached–how would one apply? Online? Or in person?”

He tossed back his head and gave a deep, masculine laugh that sent a stream of shivers down her spine, pooling conveniently in her already primed lady parts. Her hands tightened on the steering wheel.

Since they’d reached the end of her driveway and had no traffic behind her, she threw the shifter into park and turned to face him.

Before she could offer any slightly embarrassed disclaimer for such an obvious come on, he released the latch on his safety belt and moved closer.

“In person. I go with my gut. Usually one kiss will do. Either there’s chemistry or there’s not.”

“Chemistry. Crap. My least favorite subject in school. But I do like kissing.”

She leaned in, too.


Austen could have come up with a dozen–make that a trillion–reasons not to kiss this beautiful stranger. But, for all his reputed logic and claims he was a rule maker, not a rule breaker, he was lonely. And…as much as it killed him to admit the fact, he’d had reached a point where he was unsure of what to do next. Him. Rudderless. Now, living in the moment seemed like the only rational choice he had.

Besides…she offered. It wouldn’t be neighborly to turn her down. Right?

He caught her lips, which were softer than he’d imagined. A perfect match to his. Her eyes remained opened…for their initial contact, then her lids lowered in a sultry, utterly into it way that made him give a low, unplanned growl. What was it about that moment of surrender that brought out the beast in him?

When her perfect lips parted to invite him in, he closed his eyes, too. She tasted good. Mint gum? Maybe just leftover toothpaste. But there was sweetness, as well. A hint of honey. And he wanted more.

While his mouth plundered, his hands moved down her back to pull her closer.

“Um, oh…no. Seatbelt,” she murmured.

He pulled back and looked down. “Oh. Duh.”

He stabbed the release button so she could slip free of it.

They stalled…for half a second before she grinned and plastered herself against him. “Um. You’re a good kisser. Very good. But I want you to be sure. No doubts.”

She wasn’t aggressive, just methodical. As if she were hitting all the bullet points in a textbook called Rules of Kissing. Austen could have stopped her at any point and said, “You’re hired.” But a part of him couldn’t wait to be taken to school.

She nibbled and teased. Her tongue engaged his in a clever, nonverbal debate. A first for him. Kissing had always been a mere step on the road to the big show. With Serena, a stranger, the playful exploration was fun.

What would sex be like with her?

Would? Hell, no. Will. What will sex with Serena be like?

He wrapped his arms around her possessively. He had to find out. Now. Right now.

Honk. Honk.



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Happy reading,




Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

(Oops. Sorry, my friends. I switched dates on this one because my publisher let me know the sales price wouldn’t go into effect until Thursday, but I forgot to make the change on Word Press. My sincere apologies for inundating you with blogs.) Montana Maverick BookBub ad

 Montana Maverick

Sparks have always smoldered between Meg Zabrinski and Henry Firestone, but falling in love with Hank and his ready-made family would mean giving up her dream. Something lone wolf Meg isn’t ready to do until…well, you know. Sometimes one kiss can change everything.

Excerpt © Tule Publishing

She shoved the phone in her pocket and took a deep breath of air. “Smells like snow.”

Her exhale created a puffy white cloud that looped around her head like a halo. “Ken ordered me not to go looking for you last night,” she told him.

“That bastard.” Hank drove his fist into the palm of his other hand. The cracking sound made Rook spin about and race up the steps. He planted himself at Hank’s feet, eyeing Meg suspiciously. “How’d he justify that?”

“Said he didn’t want to have to recover my body, too.”

Rook’s growl matched Hank’s.

Hank leaned down and stroked the dog’s wide flat head. The snow and ice felt like shards of glass against his palm. Slowly, his tension eased. “Thank God you didn’t listen to him.”

She made a sound of pure disgust. “I stopped listening to Ken Morrison a long time ago.”

He could tell there was more to the story. Somewhere in the back of his mind, a memory raised its hand, but he ignored it. Anybody who traveled the backcountry probably had a run-in with SAR’s resident megalomaniac.

“How soon is the next wave supposed to hit?”

She shrugged then stepped closer and put out her hand for Rook to sniff. “A couple of hours. Why?”

“I left a bunch of stuff in Betsy. Dog food, for one. Tools. My log.”

She nodded. “You should take a video of the crash site. Maybe you’ll be able to see what brought her down.”

They were close enough to touch each other, and it took every ounce of willpower Hank had not to pull her into his arms and kiss her. “Wow,” he said, curling his icy fingers tight. “People have always called you brilliant. Now, I see why.”

Her sardonic grin made his heart rate speed up. Had she always been this beautiful? Yes. But business dress and heels were fake beauty. No makeup, messy hair dancing in the cold breeze, a blush of chafed skin from last night’s rescue made her the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen.

Their gazes met and held for one heartbeat…or ten. Something passed between them. A sigh. A hint of possibility. An open-ended question.

Meg was the first to look away. “Just being practical,” she said, taking a step back.

Her voice sounded different, throaty. She reached for the handle of the storm door. “I know Ken Morrison. He’ll try to turn this recovery into a photo op and pin the blame on you. I have a video camera you can use. I’ll make sure the battery is charged while you get ready.”

Video. The GoPro. “We need to finish opening gifts, first. The one I got JJ might be just the ticket.”

He followed her inside. “Are you sure you’re okay with all this? I mean, damn. I drop out of the sky into your nice peaceful life, and suddenly you’re stuck babysitting? That seems messed up.”

She hung her heavy jacket on a hook then spun around to open the cupboard above the washer and dryer. “Yeah, well, normally, I’d volunteer to hike back with you, but hauling all four kids up the mountain sounds like a really bad idea. So, you take this–” She pulled a small black camera-type case from a shelf and turned to face him. “And I’ll bake cookies with Annie and Bravo.”

She reached out and touched his upper arm. “Henry, nobody planned this. We have to roll with the situation. You should hurry.”

She turned to go but he stopped her. He couldn’t help himself. His life was upside down and in the toilet with vultures circling, but Meg made him feel as if everything was manageable. He pulled her into a hug.

“Thank you,” he said, his voice thick with emotion.

She stiffened at first, but gradually hugged him back. “You’re welcome.”

He had no idea how long they stood there. Meg in her pink and gray camoflage-print pajamas, him in sweats and a pair of men’s slippers he’d found in the guest room closet. They were virtual strangers, yet they fit together like they’d done this a million times over the years.

When she lifted her chin to look at him, he kissed her. He couldn’t not.

Her lips were sweet…and minty. The flavor surprised him at first but captivated him, too. He wanted more of this spicy wonderment. As sweet as it was, he wanted to find the flavor of Meg.

When he closed his eyes to take the kiss deeper, Meg stiffened a tiny bit. A badly needed reality check.

He let her go. “Peppermint.”

She nodded. “Annie shared her candy cane with me.”

“Annie’s the most generous soul I’ve ever known, next to her mother.” He stepped back. “I should go.”

“Yes. Quickly. You don’t want to get caught in another storm.”

“I’ll take JJ.”

“Good idea. His feet look about my size. He can use my snowshoes.”

She reached for the doorknob but paused. “What was that kiss for?”

“You…impress me. Most people would be overwhelmed by this situation. Four kids. A virtual stranger. You take charge and get things done. I respect the hell out of that.”

“Oh. Okay.” She slowly turned the knob. “But, for the record, you’re not a stranger. I feel like we have twenty years of history between us. Not easy history, but I always felt like we held each other in mutual respect. Didn’t you?”

“Yes. Definitely. And if I’d known you tasted like candy canes, I wouldn’t have waited twenty years to kiss you.”


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And, did you know you can read more about Henry and Meg’s journey in MONTANA MIRACLE? It’s true. Don’ t you love connected series?)

Happy reading,



EAT=LOVE=TUESDAY Deb Salonen’s Chocolate Cracked Earth (flourless chocolate cake)

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014


Food=love in my books.

Eek, I ran out of friends. 🙂 LOL.

Actually, I forgot to put out the call for more recipes/excerpts. Easy fix (I hope). So, improvising today, with a yummy recipe from my daughter-in-law, Ruth.

And since Smashwords is promoting “Read An eBook Week,”

I’ve put a bunch of my ebooks on sale thru March 8. Here’s an excerpt from Are We There Yet, which you can pick up for 50% off by using this code: REW50 Click here: Smashwords


Me. Happy. Rain is here. Spring to follow. 😉

Chocolate Cracked Earth (flourless chocolate cake)
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
(adapted from the Florence by my daughter-in-law, Ruth Smiley)
  • 1 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
  • (I used 1(one) 8-oz package of semi-sweet chocolate and 2(two) 3-oz 70% dark chocolate candy bars...because I failed to read the recipe before I went shopping. But, this worked. Simply use less sugar--see below.)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 9 large eggs, separated
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar , plus 1 Tablespoon (I used ½ cup because of the candy bars.)
  • 2 C heavy cream (I like to whip mine with ½ teaspoon sugar and a few drops of vanilla flavoring)
  • confectioners sugar for dusting (optional)
  1. ~Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 9-inch springfoam pan.
  2. ~Put chocolate and butter into the top of double boiler and heat over about 1" of simmering water until melted.
  3. ~Whisk egg yolks with the sugar in a mixing bowl until light yellow in color. Whisk a little of the chocolate mixture into the egg yolk mixture to temper the eggs. (This will keep the eggs from scrambling from the heat of the chocolate.) Then whisk in the rest of the chocolate mixture.
  4. ~Beat the egg whites in a mixing bowl until stiff peaks form and fold into the chocolate mixture.
  5. ~Pour into prepared pan and bake until cake is set and the top starts to crack.
  6. ~Test with a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake. It should come out with moist crumbs clinging to it.
  7. ~The recipe says: 20-25 minutes; mine took 35-40 minutes.




A sex addict? Me? Judy swallowed her laugh for fear it would lead to a full-blown crying jag. The effort was painful. Her grimace must not have been pretty because he lifted his hand toward her shoulder in a gesture of support before changing his mind. Maybe cops weren’t allowed to show their human side. He left without another word.

Since nothing was required of her for the moment, she escaped to the bathroom. She put down the toilet lid and sat, dropping her head to her hands. How the hell had life gotten so screwed up?

Why me?

“Why not me?” Judy said aloud.

Her voice echoed off the walls of her compact potty room, bringing with it the memory of her final conversation with Shawn. “Face it, Judy, you’re a slut. Why else would you take back your maiden name after our divorce? You grew up a Banger, and now you’ll die a Banger. Good luck with that.”

His caustic cynicism and stated conviction that she’d never find another man to love her still made her bristle.

She scrutinized the card she held. Nice thick paper with raised letters. No expense spared. The name Wendy Wiggman was followed by a plethora of letters, some capped, none that mattered to Judy. In her book, “Ph.D.” stood for “Pay here, Daddy.” Some people had money and advantages, others didn’t. Judy had a doctorate in being screwed–first by her demanding, judgmental mother, then by her selfish, hedonistic husband. She was an equal opportunity scapegoat.

She’d always been a bit naive and trusting, but when exactly had she turned into a gullible fool? Why had she believed Buddy when he told her he was healthy enough to have sex? Because she’d trusted him not to risk his life on one quick thrill, she supposed. Who would do such a thing?

An old man with nothing to live for.

Her chin quivered as grief threatened to return, but she sternly closed off her tears. Anger felt more empowering. Buddy was dead. Tears wouldn’t change the fact. But the way he died left her with a big fat mess on her hands–and a tarnished reputation she’d probably never live down.

“I am sick and tired of being the screwee,” she muttered, crumpling the elegant card in her fist. She didn’t even care if screwee was a word. The Universe knew what she meant. “I ought to just say, ‘Screw it!’ and start living up to my name.”

She squared her shoulders and sat a little straighter. I could, you know. The sex part was downright awesome right up to the moment she realized Buddy was dead. She wasn’t getting any younger and the only men looking for women her age weren’t exactly spring chickens. If not now? When?

She knew what her mother would say. “Why can’t you be more like your sister? Live a normal, respectful life. God is going to punish you for your willful wildness. Just you wait ‘n see.”

Ironically, Mom had slacked off on her criticism after Judy married Shawn. Ironic because Judy’s marriage was anything but normal and respectful of those holy vows her mother held so dear. The fact they’d never been able to have children was viewed as God’s judgment. Judy’s divorce had added ‘disappointing loser’ to her catalogue of faults.

But Judy called her divorce a step in the right direction. And, although she’d never told anyone–especially her mother, the main reason she’d taken back her maiden name was to honor the only man who never judged her–her father.

While some might argue that Cecil Banger didn’t live long enough to get to know his daughter well–a belly full of gin and a poorly marked train crossing took care of that when Judy was eleven, she preferred to believe he would have been her champion to this very day. After all, Mom had been hypercritical of Dad, too. Some even speculated Cecil chose the train over his wife’s constant nagging.

And while Judy may have made her share of mistakes over the years, she’d learned one lesson well–life didn’t give do-overs. Drink and drive, you die young and your family suffers. Marry the wrong man and watch your youth disappear. Wait too long to take that magic pill and…poof!…it’s lights out.

Buddy’s death might prove publicly humiliating for her, but at least she was alive to deal with the fallout. She could whine and moan or she could embrace this tragedy as a wakeup call to snap out of her complacent rut. The time had come to accept her failings and stop apologizing for her name, her weight, her sexuality.

She’d been a virgin when she married Shawn. He introduced her to sex then called her a slut when she had the audacity to enjoy the games he made her play. After her divorce, she’d let guilt and low self-esteem–augmented by her mother’s fanaticism and her sister’s unwavering criticism–steer her into another role: neutered martyr.

Well, screw that.

She shifted back and forth on the toilet seat. She still could feel a faint tingle of arousal–Buddy’s parting gift to her. She’d feared her sensuality had burnt up in a flurry of hot flashes, but Buddy proved otherwise. She had a vagina and she knew how to use it.

For the first time in hours, a smile started to form on her face. She stood and walked to the mirror. She fluffed up her hair and re-applied the lipstick she’d bought for the occasion. Maybe the snippy cop couldn’t see it, but Judy Banger was a sexual being. From this point on, she planned to do exactly what she wanted, with whomever she wanted whenever the opportunity arose. If society–and her family–blushed…so what?

“I owe it to Buddy,” she said, faking a saucy smile. “If I learned anything from this–besides what a 71 is–then he didn’t die in vain.”

She’d made resolutions in the past, but this epiphany felt different. She’d already started down a more proactive path just by working out at the gym. Where this new road would take her was anybody’s guess, but she was going to have fun getting there.

 Remember: this is the “less naughty” version. If you want to pick-up all of the Screw Senility novellas for FREE, here are the links:

Bang! You’re Dead  Free Screw Senility #1

In With A Bang! Free Screw Senility #2

More Bang For Your Buck  Free Screw Senility #3

Big Bang Theory Free Screw Senility #4

And my sweet short story, 100 Years or More is also free this week, in case you missed it.

A Hundred Years of More Free – a short story

Happy reading!


Bookclub update and…PayPal censorship? Really?

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

Our Wine, Women & Words Book Club selection for February

We had so much fun at Book Club on Sunday, but we forgot to take a photo. Alas.

Here’s what you missed:

The Menu

~pork loin with baked apples

~green salad with honey-roasted pecans and MacIntosh apples

~vegan greens

~apple pie and ice cream

Do you detect a theme? Hint, hint. 😉Steve Jobs was a genius who changed the world. I couldn’t agree more. But, his extremely long biography was filled with a great deal of minutia that probably meant more to people who actually get into computers. Since I just purchased my first Mac two years ago, I’m a late-to-the-game convert. And, all agreed that genius or not we never could have been married to the man. LOL.

So, our big debate came over what to read next. Strange as it sounds, we picked Ray Bradbury’s  Fahrenheit 451. Why?

Well, believe it or not, this is National Read an E-Book Week! And since most of us read the Jobs book on an e-device of some kind, that got us talking about the possible demise of paper books…which got us thinking–can we live without our books in book form? I think not. But, as our hostess, Judy, demonstrated when she produced four electronic devices that can be used for reading (at least one belonged to her hubby): iPad, iPhone, Kindle and Kindle-Fire!–we also love, love, love the convenience of e-books.

My three self-published entries into the e-book world are on SALE this week. In fact, my short stories are both FREE and the biography I co-authored is HALF PRICE. That works, huh? Here’s the link:

And, I just found out that my lone single title release for Harlequin, 2005’s BETTING ON GRACE, has been released as an e-book on eHarlequin, Amazon and Google Books. I have mixed feelings about this because the book was out-of-print and I’d hoped to e-publish it myself. But that didn’t happen–and that’s not the book’s fault. It was a lovely book that I poured a lot of my soul into and it got horribly shorted when Harlequin’s distribution machine hit a rough patch. So, if you missed it (a lot of my loyal readers did!!!), here’s the eHarlequin link:

Another topic of conversation that came up at Book Club was the Paypal’s request/demand that Smashwords remove all titles containing bestiality, rape, or incest from sale, otherwise they threatened to deactivate Smashword’s PayPal account, which is the main vehicle for paying all authors.

Regardless your views on any of those topics, is it really PayPal’s place to decide what can or cannot be published? That’s one dangerous, slippery slope to start down. And, as a writer and a reader, I’m not happy about it.

As Smashwords’ founder Mark Coker wrote, “All writers and their readers should stand up and voice their opposition to financial services companies censoring books.  Authors should have the freedom to publish legal fiction, and readers should have the freedom to read what they want.”

If you’d like to let the money men of corporate America know how you feel about censorship of any kind, here are some links:


American Express:



EBay (which owns PayPal):

It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.

Read well and prosper, my friends.