Former award-winning newspaper journalist Debra Salonen is a nationally bestselling author with 26 published novels for Harlequin's Superromance and American lines and one single title release for Harlequin Signature. Several of her titles were nominated for "Best Superromance," including UNTIL HE MET RACHEL, which took home that honor in 2010.
Debra was named Romantic Times Reviewer's Career Achievement "Series Storyteller of the Year" in 2006.
Her current Indie publications include ARE WE THERE YET? -- one woman's funny, quirky, risqué journey of self-discovery on the road to love, along with its holiday spin-off novella: IS IT CHRISTMAS YET? A foursome of naughty novellas in her Screw Senility series has been called "hilarious and groundbreaking." Additionally, she has published several well-reviewed short pieces, including a sweet "love story--not a romance" titled A HUNDRED YEARS OR MORE, and MY CHRISTMAS ANGEL, a sweet, second-chance-at-love romance.
Debra lives in the foothills near Yosemite National Park in California with her husband and two dogs. Luckily, her two children and three grandchildren live close by to keep Debra connected to the real world.
I hate to write book descriptions–or, blurbs most writers call them, which we all know are key to selling a book.
Blurbing (not a verb, but it is in my mind) should be an Olympic event. Think about it. You take several long, meaningful, and carefully thought out paragraphs that describe the story you just spent weeks or months, maybe years, writing then you mince said paragraphs into bite-size fragments designed to tantalize, tease, tell the reader just enough about the book to make her slap down her hard-earned money to buy it.
I’m terrible at it. Really bad. So, I signed up for a BestPageForward Webinar on the subject. (I’ll share the replay link below in case you’re interested.) I learned a lot. I learned that this process is really hard, completely subjective and brutally tough on the ego. You have two choices: develop a split personality or hire it done.
Since all my “pin-money,” as my late mother-in-law would say, is earmarked for my website remodel, I’m going with split-personality. Writer-girl is hiding under the covers while blurb-girl gets out her erase key and thesaurus.
Here’s my BEFORE and AFTER. I consider both works-in-progress and will take any/all suggestions gratefully.
How was your V-Day? Mine was routine because my hubby, bless his soul, was born without a romance gene. He means well, but the whole “one day of shouting out embarrassing professions of love” just isn’t his style. He likes to say, “I show you how much I love you every day…by working.”
He has a point. I used his tractor to haul the garbage cans to the community dumpster so he didn’t have to–that’s love, right? 😉
But we do have our mushy moments and we mouth, “I love you,” way more often than is probably necessary. (We’re old. We forget.)
I hope you had a lovely day of romance, complete with bling, baubles, and bubbly.
I’d planned to share this adorable video in my Valentine’s Day newsletter, but, alas, my VA’s computer died. EEEK! So, here’s my 14-month old granddaughter:
In case you missed it, I’m part of a fun Facebook promotion that runs through the 18th with some of the coolest authors on the planet. Instead of mushy Valentine sayings, we went for direct and honest.
This close…I came THIS close…to handing over all my pertinent information, including my social and a credit card to a bogus scam posing as Netflix.
I’m pretty darn savvy about these phishing scams, but this one played to the truth, which is what sucked me in. The credit card that I have on file with Netflix is about to expire, so this email struck me as real.
(I removed all the links, including the one I clicked on. )
Your account is on hold.
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We’re having some trouble with your current billing information. We’ll try again, but in the meantime you may want to update your payment details.
UPDATE ACCOUNT NOW
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Your friends at Netflix
2/14/2018 5:08:49 PM
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First mow of the season revealed this handsome fellow.
He’s a very angry racer snake. Not poisonous. Definitely not as happy to meet us and we were to meet him. I shared the teaching moment then let him return to his business.
Same day, my daughter fell and broke her right wrist in two places and sprained her left wrist while carrying the baby’s highchair back into the house.
My poor baby is the mother of three, including my youngest granddaughter who is only 1-year old. Try explaining to a one-year-old that Mommy can’t pick her up because her arm hurts. 🙁
But on the UP side, my friend Teresa Hill has put together this fun collection of heroes from books that currently are FREE or 99¢. Take your pick from Donna, Fasano, Lisa Mondello, Patricia Keelyn, Kathryn Shay, Judith Arnold, Patricia McLinn, Teresa Hill and me. You can’t go wrong–on the hero or the books. Here’s the link: ValentinesHeroes.
In LOVE, AFTER ALL – West Coast Happily-Ever-After #5, Arley, the hero in the meme above, is a great guy with a big heart. (He’s also a trust fund baby who is a bit bored and a little lost.) His current windmill-worthy mission is helping a sweet old woman fight the Powers That Be to keep her pet pig, Cuddles. Arley’s “1%er” parents aren’t amused. And they’re even less pleased when Arley is photographed kissing his attorney, Gwyneth–the woman Arley knows is his one and only true love. But convincing Gwyneth they’re destined to be together might be the biggest challenge of his life.
I hope your VALENTINE’S DAY is delightful–or, in my case, less eventful!
In two weeks, I’m going on my first cruise. A beginner cruise: four days, two stops, Baja. No problema, right?
OMG! I can hear the vast majority of you inhaling a shocked gasp. Everyone’s been on a cruise, right? Well, not me.
Here’s my list of excuses….ahem…sound and valid reasons for not going on a cruise.
1. I’m a reclusive artist type. Sharing a confined space–the ship is 856′ long– with 3, 450 other passengers doesn’t exactly call to me.
2. I’m a bit of a health nut. And, recently, I saw an allergist who tested me for food allergies. Guess what? I’m supposed to avoid: wheat, rice, goat milk, onions, honeydew melon and…wait for it…coffee. What do most people do on cruises? I’m told they eat and drink. Fact: most alcohol–including my fave: beer– is made from grains, such as wheat. Humph!
3. Germs! The flu is big news. I’m one of the few who’s doctor advised not to get a flu shot. The ship could be a giant petri floating dish. I’m already stocking up on hand sanitizer.
4. I love routine. I function best with routine. Sleep and exercise are my friends. I have a feeling my friends are going to stay home this time. 🙁
So…you’re asking yourself, why on earth has Deb signed up and paid good money for this cruise? Two reasons: snow and cold.
It’s neither of those things where I live. Here’s what my weather looks like right now.
But this isn’t about me. My brother-in-law, Don, lives and works in Sioux Falls, SD. A beautiful city…in summer. Here’s what his winter has been like: cold, snow, wind and more cold.
So, I’m going on a cruise for Don. For my family. And because it’s time to try something new. Plus, the first stop is Catalina, where I’m setting at least part of my next book. I also have a whole bunch of great books loaded on my eReader and I can drink “potato” vodka. 😉
Any cruising TIPS you’d like to share with a virgin sailor?
PS: Valentine’s Day is next week, and I have a special release price on my new novella, Love, After All. (Click on image for the buy link of your choice.) Or: Books2Read.
Something new today. I’ve been blogging on Fridays at a group blog called Storybroads for a couple of years, but the blog is undergoing some changes and I’m not sure how things will pan out, so today I’m testing something new. I’m calling it:
Finally, Friday! A catch-all blog with an eye on the weekend!
I hope it will be mostly fun, often frivolous, sometimes serious and somewhat meaningful.
Today, I need to tell you something IMPORTANT.
We’ve all seen the headlines, watched the award shows, maybe even added a #MeToo hashtag or two to our tweets and Facebook posts. But have you talked to your daughters or granddaughters about what is happening in the world today?
This morning, my ten-year old granddaughter came to my house for a ride to school. She is the sweetest child I know, with a kind spirit and open heart. She’s also a gymnast.
Coincidentally, a segment about the USAGymnastics sexual abuse scandal and the sentencing of a beast whose name I refuse to type had just ended, so I asked her if she’d heard about what had happened to some of her favorite role models.
She shook her head.
“Well, we should talk about this because a number of girls–including Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman….remember watching them win medals at the Olympics and then you went to San Jose to see them on tour?” She nodded, her full attention on the fate of her heroes. “…they came forward to accuse the team doctor of sexually abusing them.”
“Really?” she asked. “Did they get kicked off the team?”
My heart stopped for a minute and I had to fight back tears. “No, my darling. They didn’t get in trouble. They were very brave and they told the truth. Now, that doctor will spend the rest of his life in jail.”
“A doctor? Really?”
I explained to her how a person in power could make you think you wouldn’t be believed if you tried to tell someone what he or she did to you–even if you knew what they did was wrong or made you feel uncomfortable or bad. “It’s your right–even your responsibility–to tell someone so that person doesn’t do the same thing to other girls.”
In the courtroom in Michigan, the assistant attorney general, Angela Povilaitis, said: “We teach our girls and daughters to be too nice. To just ignore and put up with uncomfortable situations, to stay silent when they should be allowed to be heard.”
The women of gymnastics are no longer staying silent.
Don’t we owe it to the next generation of girls to teach them to speak up and never let the manipulators come between you and what you know is right?
What do you think? I’d love hear from you.
On a lighter note, my READ4LESS newsletter is going out tomorrow with some FABULOUS free or 99¢ bargain books from some amazing authors. (I’m also including links to my newly published Black Hills Rendezvous Boxed Sets Volumes 2 and 3.) Separately, you’d pay $11.97, so at $8.99, you’re saving 25% off the retail price.
Have a fabulous weekend, my friends. I’m always open to blog ideas. Feel free to email me.
With the entire table pressed into taste-testing service, Jonah stood and motioned for Krista to follow him across the room to an open space near a gorgeous holiday display. “Mom assured me this Santa thing won’t take every hour of every day. She said it’s gotten a lot easier since your partner set up an online presence.”
Krista tried not to inhale too deeply because his scent–a combination of winter fresh air, chocolate, and hint of pine–was too distracting. “We might consider creating a private Facebook group and doing the initial critique process for wishes there.”
He held up a hand for a high-five. “Great idea. Then, a few of us can meet here each morning to brainstorm ways to fill the agreed upon wishes and set a budget.”
The touch of his palm connected in a weird way that made her close her fingers in a fist as she dropped her hand to her side. “I may not be able to make every…” She pictured the check. “I’ll be here.”
“Me, too. It’ll be the incentive I need to walk the dogs early. Tonight, I’ll set up an overall plan and flowchart so we can track when and how our requests come in. We’ll need to do the same for the income side of things. I’m curious as to why the donation well suddenly went dry. The sooner we get our account set up online, the sooner we can track things in real time.”
Krista found his analytical approach reassuring. His grand gesture with the check might have had a bit of the theater behind it, but his approach to business was a lot like her own.
“Simple and transparent works for me. As I said earlier, my family is in show business. Nothing is ever straightforward when you’re surrounded by thespians.”
He moved a smidgen closer. “Simplicity of design is key to both my inventions and my business strategy. When I start overthinking something, I step back for a new perspective. I usually hop on my bike. Exercise is a great distraction for an overactive mind.”
“Well, this is Montana. Your bike riding is going to be limited to cycling in the gym for the next few months.”
She chewed on her bottom lip debating about how frank to be. He’d given her ten thousand reasons to say yes to this partnership, but what exactly would that involve? Her inner bullshit reader said he had to have another agenda. And she sure as heck never considered herself a spokesperson for Christmas.
“Blue Sky is my baby. Christmas is a one-off. Four weeks. Blow and go. It’s over and done and I’m looking at a new month, a new intern and no jobs lined up.”
“What about your partner? Is she out of the picture completely?”
Krista didn’t know and the not knowing kept her awake at night. She hated ambiguity. Black and white. Bottom line. Profit and loss. Those were her touchstones.
“Amanda should be able to provide backup by phone. But I want you to know that Blue Sky will always be my first priority.”
He held out his hand. “Understood.”
She shook it twice, intending to let go and return to their table, but as Sage passed by on her way to the counter, she said, “Mistletoe.”
Sage pointed up. “House rules. A kiss is mandatory.”
Krista groaned. She’d witnessed this bit of holiday mischief several times when she’d been in the shop. “But–“
Before she could express her protest, Jonah wrapped his arms around her–not unlike the way he had when he broke her fall. Only this time, he was in front of her. And his lips hovered an inch from hers, waiting for permission.
She closed her eyes and leaned in to get the silly kiss over.
The instant his lips touched hers, the magnitude of her mistake hit. Not only had Jonah Andrews been drinking her favorite cocoa, but the sweetness mixed with his natural chemistry created a potent combination that made her knees turn rubbery and her heart begin to pound. She kissed him back because she was powerless to do otherwise.
Luckily, a smattering of applause brought her back to her senses.
Cheeks burning, she turned and bowed. Being the daughter of an actor had to be good for something, right?
MONTANA SECRET SANTA is FREE for one week ONLY! Please SHARE the LOVE.