Finally, Friday! Before and After…blurbs

Blurbs! Ack! Kill me now!

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.


Here’s the link if you want to learn more from Bryan Cohen and Abigail Dunard. * Want to see how Abigail Dunard and I write book descriptions? Click here to watch the webinar replay!

Have a great weekend!


Travelogue Tuesday: Sail away with me…

I’m baaack from my travels! Had fun, but brrrr….I only wore shorts once…for two hours…on the last day. Seriously. The weather was not our friend, but thankfully we had blue skies most of the time.

Here are a few pics. (Thanks to my new web guru for fixing the problem so these images finally showed up!)

When I wasn’t hanging out with the guys, I was perched in a sunny spot reading my final three RITA books. That is MY kind of working vacation!!!

The paparazzi was constantly hounding me. Here I am eating ice cream, proving it was almost warm once.

Next blog will be an update on my current website remodeling…and maybe a word or two about my next book. 😉

Read on…



Really? Monday? I’m so outta here!

It’s Bon Voyage time!

Hubby and I are joining two of his brothers for a four-day cruise to Baja and Catalina Island. I’m so excited.

I’m hoping I can share photos on Instagram and Facebook, and I’ll tell you all about it when I return on Friday (probably not early enough to blog, but there’s always Saturday.) 😉

Thanks to everyone who commented (on this blog and on FB) with cruising travel tips. I think I’m ready (at least, I’m as ready as a cruise virgin can be.)

Have a great week!


PS: My READ4LESS newsletter is going out on Wednesday with some exciting new bargains. If you’re not signed up, here’s the link: NEWSLETTER.

Finally, Friday! Weekend, here I come!


My first week after vacation was interesting.

The usual catch-with life stuff made more complicated by a stomach bug. I’d be tempted to blame Montezuma’s revenge, but the babies had it, too. (Heard it’s a popular bug at school right now. Sigh.)

I’m finally feeling human today, so I went out to play before a big storm brings us more rain! Unusual for March, but we will take every inch of rain and snow (in the mountains) we can get.

Grrr. I still can’t upload photos. This is getting old, WordPress!

Anyway, I hope you have a wonderful weekend!




Finally, Friday! Post-Valentine’s Day catching up…

Here’s something I find amusing:

Valentine’s Day fell on Ash Wednesday this year.

Today is Chinese New Year!

Easter will be on April Fool’s Day.

Can you tell I love reading the calendar?

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.

Find a Hero Who Will Give You Whatever You Need:

My contribution is Arley McNamara, hero in Love, After All.  Still just 99¢ for a few more days.

Have a great weekend of reading! 🙂


Finally, Friday! Confessions of a cruise virgin

Good Friday morning!

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?

😉 Deb

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.


Finally, Friday! A catch-all blog with an eye on the weekend!

Good Friday morning!

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.”

What I didn’t tell her is how long it took for the world to hear what many of this monster’s victims had reported over the years.  Here’s an interesting article on the subject.

I particularly like this line from that article:

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.






Snippet © Debra Salonen:

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?











BOOKS2READ (Universal):


DON’T MISS A SINGLE BOOK IN THIS MARVELOUS SERIES! (Click on the image to find out more from Tule Publishing.)


Happy reading, my friends!









FIRST KISS=TUESDAY from NEVER SAY NEVER by Debra Salonen #westcoastHEA


West Coast Happily-Ever-After, Book 2


FIRST KISS © Loner Llama Press


He stopped her.  “One confession at a time. I owe you an apology.”

She looked up. “For what?”

“For being an ass the day of Patrick’s funeral. I was mad at the world, and I needed somebody to blame for what happened. I didn’t care who I hurt in the process. You. My dad. Hell, I probably said something nasty to my mother, too, but I don’t remember.” He glanced toward the door. “Don’t ask her, okay? I’m a Kelly. Humbling myself once a day is all I can take.”

Her lips curved upward but only for a moment. “Why are you bringing this up tonight, Joe?”

“Because ever since you picked me up at the airport I’ve felt like there was some ponderous weight between us. Patrick. The past. Our past. And, of course, my asinine behavior at the funeral. I was hoping if I apologized we might find a way to get past it.”

“Why? Because we’re going to be working together—well, in close proximity—for the next few weeks?”

Her tone sounded contentious. “Yes, partly.”

“Because you’re already bored and need a little romance to spice up your stay?”

Momentarily stunned speechless, he watched her tap the corner of the envelope to her lips. “Well, I hate to disappoint you, but it isn’t going to happen. I may be a small town girl who is too afraid of life to risk leaving Worthington, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have plans. I do. And you aren’t part of them.”

Too afraid of life to risk leaving Worthington. His words came back to haunt him. The night by the lake, after they’d made love, Joe had asked Lisa to go with him. She’d refused, and he’d accused her of being too afraid to take a chance on a bigger life outside of Worthington.

“I was eighteen and full of myself. I thought I had all the answers when, in fact, I didn’t even know what the questions were.”

He shook his head and made a gesture toward the bar where the sound of laughter filtered under the door. “You proved me wrong, didn’t you? You’ve met your goal of graduating from college. You have a lot of friends who think you’re fabulous, and your son has turned out great—despite a few little age-related glitches. You have a lot more to show for your life than I do.”

She set down the card and took a step closer. “How can you say that? You’re a successful filmmaker. You’re living your dream.”

“I left here convinced I was going to be the next Steven Spielberg. That didn’t happen.”

She smiled the way she would have if Brandon had said something self-effacing. “So neither of us has set the world on fire,” she said with a shrug. “I’ve decided there comes a time when you either embrace your life—flaws and all—or give up.”

She shook her head and a lock of golden-red hair escaped from her fancy updo and danced across her shoulders. He took her by the wrist and pulled her a step closer. There bodies weren’t quite touching, but he could reach her by leaning forward.

He moved slowly, giving her a chance to back away, but she didn’t. He put his mouth on hers. She didn’t respond right away, but after a heartbeat her mouth opened. At first, all he could taste was the tangy flavor of the wine she’d been drinking, then her tongue touched his and memories poured into his mind. Even after all these years, she still tasted like Lisa.

This, he realized, was what he’d wanted all night. All week. Ever since he’d walked out the doors of the airport and seen her standing beside her perky little car. He needed this. He needed her.

But Lisa apparently didn’t need him.

Stepping back, she held on to the table with one hand and used the other to touch her lips, as if making sure they were still there.

“I stole a kiss, not your lips,” Joe said, trying to lighten the moment.

She didn’t smile. “I can’t do this, Joe. Not now. Not until… There’s something you…” She didn’t finish the thought. “I’m sorry. I have to get back to my guests.”

With that, she walked out of the room.

NEVER SAY NEVER is available at these vendors:

AMAZON  Kobo   iBooks   BN

All vendors: BOOKS2READ

And in case you missed West Coast Happily-Ever-After #1 (click image for Universal links): 

Happy reading!




West Coast Happily-Ever-After, Book 1


FIRST KISS © Loner Llama Press

“Why is it so important to be number one?”

He shrugged. “No doubt Dr. Freud would say it’s wrapped up in my dad dying. People have told me he might have won Best All-Around Cowboy the year he died. My folks were on their way home from a rodeo when their truck rolled and went into a ditch.”

In an effort to brush away the sadness in her eyes, he said, “Or, as your mother liked to say, it could be cussed orneriness. She said I inherited that from my grandfather. Bull riding is what I do.”

“Even if it kills you?”

Will startled. Did she know about his doctor’s report? He knew rumors had been circulating when he left, but surely Anne couldn’t have heard anything. “What’s that mean?”

“You’re getting older. Your body isn’t as malleable as a young kid’s. You could land wrong and break your neck.”

He released the breath he’d been holding. “Actually, I may not look it, but I’m in better shape today than I was fifteen years ago. I lift weights and run. And my timing is sharper.”

She took a deep breath. “I wasn’t casting any aspersions on your body.” The compliment seemed to loom between them and she quickly added, “So, you’re planning on going back to the circuit this fall.” It wasn’t a question.


She rose to her knees and started to gather up their mess. “And, I’m taking a new job, too–a promotion that’s long overdue. It sounds like we have our futures all lined up and ready to go. To get involved on an emotional level would be terribly foolish, don’t you agree?”

“When you put it like that…but–“

She didn’t let him finish. “We’re adults, Will, not kids. Proximity and unresolved lust just aren’t good enough reasons to risk involvement.”

Will agreed on an intellectual level, but the shimmer on her lips was speaking to him at a different level altogether. “So, we won’t get involved, but one kiss every fifteen years isn’t going to kill us.”

She started to disagree, but Will knew a proven way to distract a woman. He pulled her into his arms and kissed her.

Anne gave a token resistance–a mumbled uh-uh that almost immediately turned to uh-huh. There was a small clattering sound as the colored pens scattered on the floor. Her arms encircled his shoulders, her body flattened against his as her mouth opened.

She tasted salty and sweet. Popcorn and soda, plus an intangible quality that made him groan. And as their tongues met, Will knew he’d made a serious mistake. Fifteen years hadn’t been enough to make him forget, and now, he had nowhere to run.


HER FOREVER COWBOY is available at these vendors:

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Happy reading!