May Book Club=6; mosquitoes=1million

The Wine, Women and Words Book Club met last night to discuss my May Superromance, PICTURE-PERFECT MOM and New York Times’ bestseller, The Shack. The heroes of both books were named Mac. That’s about it for common bonds, but both garnered a lot of talk. All thumbs up for Picture-Perfect Mom, I’m happy to say. Mixed reviews for The Shack. Since my mother used to warn me never to discuss religion or politics at a party, this book made for an interesting discussion.

photoHere we are happily enjoying our early summer evening on the patio, dining on strawberries and whipped cream. As Donna (second from the left) says, “Life is short, eat dessert first.”

We were sipping wine and munching on fried tofu and grilled veggies when the first of the vampire invaders arrived. About the time we finished the main part of our meal, they brought reinforcements. Mosquitoes. To reference The Shack, we cried, “Papa! What were You thinking?”

Deb

PICTURE-PERFECT MOM – 4.5 stars!
blog: http://debrasalonen.com/wwwbookclub/
www.debrasalonen.com

Twitter your life away

I was suffering from Twitter phobia until Harlequin goddess of all things hip and cool Jayne sent me this link to the New York Times technology article about  Twitter. One word: wow. Can it be that easy? Do I dare? Can I learn brevity?  Will I become lost in the technology vacuum and die a slow-lingering death from time sucking vampires?

I really hope not, because I’m going to try. If Oprah can do it, so can I.  Wish me luck.

Deb

May…oh, my goodness

Somehow I lost a month.

Actually, I know where it went. I have the pictures to prove it. You have no idea how much I want to say I was in Italy or Spain or on a cruise. But, no, I was a helping my son and husband refurbish a sadly neglected mobile home that my daughter is moving into. Check out the before and after photos at my son’s blog: http://www.salonens.biz
Extreme Trailer Makeover, Wow! Almost Ready for the move in!

As the saying goes, it’s all about location, and this location is great. Within walking distance of the elementary school, and since she plans to open a Day Care later this summer, we couldn’t pass up the chance to help her make this happen. This is a most positive thing and I’m really happy to have been able to contribute–plus, it’s spring so working outside is a gift. But, boy, am I glad to get back to my real job.

Speaking of which…the first three people to respond to this blog will receive the following FREE book: MARRIED BY MISTAKE by Abby Gaines.  In the back of this lovely book, you’ll find an excerpt from my new book, PICTURE-PERFECT MOM. And in case you missed my January release, DADDY BY SURPRISE, you can pick it up on sale at eHarlequin.  Hurry, hurry. It’s 40% off!!! Click here: eHarlequin.com – For Women Who Love to Read

Also, May means my friend Brenda Novak is holding her month-long online auction to raise money for Juvenile Diabetes Research. Here’s the link to my Spotlight on Sentinel Pass gift basket and a chance to have your name in one of my books.  This is a great way to donate to a good cause AND get something cool for yourself.

Deb

Visiting another bookclub

So how fun is this? The “As Soon As I Finish This Chapter…” book club decided to read HIS BROTHER’S SECRET as their March selection and they invited me to be guest speaker.  Here’s a shot of our lovely hostess, Linda Scoggin (if the name rings a bell, it’s because I used it in the book–unfortunately, MY Linda was murdered by the bad twin. Hope that wasn’t too much information.)  She’s the lady in robin’s egg blue in the center of the group.  I knew everyone’s name at one point (as I was signing) but my sieve-like memory would undoubtedly get a few wrong if I tried to list from left to right. Suffice to say, they were a wonderful group. Great questions, great food and best of all–they loved my Spotlight on Sentinel Pass series!!! Yeah!

So, what’s the Wine, Women and Words book club currently reading? Brace yourself. It’s serious. It’s sobering.  (Yeah, I know…kinda goes against type, huh?)  It’s heavy.  It makes me want to be a better inhabitant of this planet.  Title: THE GREAT TURNING by David. C. Korten.

And Char just finished: NICK AND NORAH’S INFINITE PLAYLIST. Her comment: “They made a movie out of that? Really?” But it made her laugh and she felt really hip after reading it. Well, sorta hip.

Jenna just finished reading the new Harlan Coben thriller, HOLD TIGHT. It freaked her out a little, but she passed it on to Libby.  Jenna was going to suggest it as a WWW’s title, but Libby vetoed the idea.  She said  pulverized bodies keep her up at night. S till, it was exciting if you’re into thrillers.

Kat is half-way through Susan Gable’s new Superromance, A KID TO THE RESCUE.  She’s loving it. Nobody can remember what the April read is. Any suggestions?

Photos from Deb’s Lost Coast adventure up next….

Sneak peek at my May cover

Ah…May. Mother’s Day. Take a look at this fabulous cover and tell me…does this not cry “Buy me for any mother you know!”?  I certainly hope so.

What I loved most about this cover is the little girl (Mac’s daughter “Megan” in the story) looks so much like my friend Donna’s little girl named Morgan that everyone who knows Morgan picks this out right away. Now, add this strange coincidence to the mix–the heroine in the book is named Morgan.  Twilight Zone music, please.

I’ll be posting more about this book soon. I promise. I just turned in my revisions for Char’s book. That girl was a challenge, let me tell you.

Cheers!

Deb

60 years AND free books–what’s not to love?

2009 is Harlequin’s 6oth anniversary.  The entire year will be filled with fun things, special events and awesome prizes. Kicking off the party is a free book promotion available at www.HarlequinCelebrates.com We’re talking new books by great authors. You only get to pick one, but what a great way to try a new line you might have been curious about.

The only hitch? Oh, come on, you knew there had to be one, right? The books are digital downloads. I can say I’ve never tried this myself, but what better time?  Be brave. Be current. Earn bragging rights with all the smart kids you know.

Here’s what the whiz kids at eHarlequin sent me. Don’t ask me to interpret.

  • The titles are available as a PDF and in all eBook formats. There is no drm (digital rights management)
  • The titles are also available as a Stanza App for the iPhone and iPod Touch
  • The titles can also be found at all the online retailers like Sony, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Fictionwise.com, eReader.com, etc.
  • The 16 free books (one for every series) will be available throughout 2009.

The free books:

Harlequin American Romance, Once a Cowboy by Linda Warren

Harlequin Blaze, Slow Hands by Leslie Kelly

Harlequin Historical, His Lady Mistress by Elizabeth Rolls

Harlequin Intrigue, Crime Scene at Cardwell Ranch by B.J. Daniels

Harlequin Presents, Price of Passion by Susan Napier

Harlequin Romance, The Bride’s Baby by Liz Fielding

Harlequin Superromance, Snowbound by Janice Kay Johnson

Silhouette Desire, Baby Bonanza by Maureen Child

Silhouette Nocturne, Kiss Me Deadly by Michele Hauf

Silhouette Romantic Suspense, Stranded with a Spy by Merline Lovelace

Silhouette Special Edition, Dancing in the Moonlight by Raeanne Thayne

Love Inspired, A Very Special Delivery by Linda Goodnight

Love Inspired Historical, Homespun Bride by Jillian Hart

Love Inspired Suspense, Hide in Plain Sight by Marta Perry

Kimani Romance, Irresistible Forces by Brenda Jackson

Nascar, Speed Dating by Nancy Warren

The Wine, Women and Words Book Club voted and we’re going to read and discuss Linda Warren’s Harlequin American ONCE A COWBOY in March.  (February is a bust because Char and I are working on the revisions of FINDING THEIR SON.)  So, please join us. Linda’s a wonderful author, and who doesn’t love a cowboy?

What are you waiting for? It’s FREE!  Let’s celebrate!!!

Deb

Saying good-bye to a friend

Hi, all. Deb here. Sorry for the big gap in posts, but the Wine, Women and Words members and I have been busy working on Char’s book. Its title is: FINDING THEIR SON (coming in September). Between the holidays, revisions, promotions for DADDY BY SURPRISE and a wide range of family things going on, my poor brain just said “No” to blogging…or any other creative endeavor. In fact, it took the death of a friend to bring me out of my self-imposed cave.

One widely accepted rule in romance writing is: never kill the dog. If you’ve ever loved a pet and had to put that pet down, you can understand why the topic generates strong feelings.

Yesterday, we lost our dear dog, Lily.  She was in the prime of her life, which makes her death that much harder to accept. Until about a month ago she was fit, extremely active, a little neurotic and at times (such as when the UPS truck arrived) annoying as hell. But she was also sweet, shy, devoted to our older dog, Sydney, and at times (such as when the dinner bell rang or the jingle of the leashes sounded indicating it was time for a walk) loving and attentive.

Her death has left a smattering of holes, small and large, in the fabric of our lives. I looked out the window by my desk this morning, certain I’d see her glossy black coat shining against the brilliant green carpet of grass. She faithfully kept a lookout toward the creek lest small animals gathered for something nefarious. Had they actually attacked, she would have run as fast as possible in the opposite direction, but who can blame her for not being more confident? Her earliest days were probably uncertain at best. She might have overheard talk of destroying the unwanted litter. We know for certain the people whose mixed-breed female gave birth to Lily and her siblings were quick to dispose of the entire litter at the SPCA at a very young age. Lily had every right to feel insecure. She never completely trusted the fact that she would get another meal. You could tell by the way she wolfed her food and constantly went scrounging for more. That habit was her downfall. When she started putting on weight, we assumed she was foraging in the compost pile. We jokingly teased that she had an eating disorder—she binged but never purged.

What we didn’t realize until it was too late (actually, the vet said it was probably always too late) was she had a cancer growing in her belly, sucking up the nourishment of every meal, feeding its constantly expanding mass. He advised against surgery. He felt the invasive procedure would most probably only extend her very compromised life a short while longer and would leave her traumatized to boot. The human who loved Lily most was with her at the end. They said their good-byes. The rest of us, who were home waiting in utter and complete denial, are still suffering from empty leash syndrome.

If this were a romance novel, I’d most certainly have found a way to save the dog. Instead, I cried. I still tear up looking out the window and not seeing my pretty black dog sunning herself while pretending to guard us.

Now, do you see why I write romance novels?

Deb

A new year, a new blog…sorta

Hi,

My name is Kat.  Some of you may know me from the two earlier books in the Spotlight on Sentinel Pass series that Debra wrote. My book is going on sale this month. I can’t tell you how excited I am to have my deepest, most personal thoughts, foibles and dumb mistakes made public. Thanks, Deb.

Actually, the book—DADDY BY SURPRISE—turned out better than I expected. After all, this is my life we’re talking about. And I’m a screw-up. Ask anyone. Except Jack. Don’t ask him. He thinks I’m pretty darn amazing. That’s what makes this book sorta fun. That and the really weird, surprisingly sexy, off-the-wall part. I’d talk about it, but then I’d have to cry SPOILER. Don’t you hate that? Do you skip whatever follows or read it and wish you hadn’t?

I already polled our book club with that question. Here are their answers:

Libby – skips over it.

Jenna – skims over it, retaining only what she wants.

Char – erases the whole message.

I — read the spoiler and wish I hadn’t.

Very telling, don’t you think?

Anyway, this morning, when I woke up in Deb’s head, I had a very specific goal in mind to introduce our new Wine, Women and Words book club exchange, but now I’ve forgotten what it was. You try keeping up with two kids (Tag and Jordy are great, BTW, thanks for asking) and a new love. Jack is…there aren’t enough words. Trust me. Deb did her best, but a whole book isn’t enough. Guess that’s the good part of a connected series. We’re there in Mac’s book (in May) and Char’s book (in September). All of us book club gals will be in all the books.

Speaking of the book club, here’s how this non-blog book club works…we hope. We pick a book for the month and discuss it. We expect this to take a month because, although the main members of the club will get together for food and wine on a certain night, the rest of you Members-At-Large will chime in as you stumble across this.

The December book was: THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY.

Here’s a quick breakdown of each member’s response to date:

Libby: “I read it on the plane back to L.A. The worst part was trying not to laugh out loud and cry profusely in public. Cooper thought I was going to melt in a big fat puddle in the seat. Thank God for First Class—leather seats.”

(That’s not bragging. That’s just Lib.)

Jenna: “I told Shane he needs to bid on the movie rights. I loved the story. It played out in my mind once I figured out how to read it. Funny how letter-writing has become such a thing of the past that letter reading has also gone out of vogue. Can you picture someone writing a story made up entirely of text messages?

Char: I liked it but I wanted the author to give me more from inside each character. It was a little too superficial for me. But I loved the setting and historical element. The time and place were both new to me and I enjoyed learning about it. And the part about the people of the island having to make a decision within an hour of keeping their children with them during the occupation or sending them off to live with strangers broke my heart.

Kat: Thank God it was a little book. My head is so swamped with student teaching, the kids, the holidays, Jack…Speaking of Jack, he loved the book. He said he was rooting for the plain guy (not the suit) all along. He sees himself in that role. Jenna sees Toby Maguire. I loved the story and hope to read it again when my life settles down.

If you’ve read this book and would like to comment, please do. If you haven’t read it, post anyway just to say Hi. Deb is going to post something soon. She promises. She might even tell you the embarrassing thing that happened when she tried to buy the book at the Detroit Airport.

Kat has left the building… J

Welcome to the Words, Wine and Women Bookclub.

Discover, debate and discuss books over wine with Libby, Jenna, Kat and Char from Sentinel Pass in the Wine, Women & Words Bookclub.

Our First Book:

Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

“ I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.”

January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb….

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.

Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.

Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises, and of finding connection in the most surprising ways. (description from the hardcover, from randomhouse.com.)

Available for purchase:
Amazon.com | B&N

Questions

1. The most heart-wrenching moment for me in this book was when the parents on the island had to decide whether to send their children away to keep them safe or keep them near and hope for the best. What would you do?

2. There were some unconventional heroines in this book—the main protagonist, of course, but also the women who dared eat pig—and set up a book club. One woman fell in love a member of the occupying force and stood up to her brutal captors. Each was tested by her times and by love. Discuss.

3. Humor. For me, there were an equal number of smiles and tears in this book. Share your favorite example of each.