Happy Thanksgivakkah! Celebrate with a recipe and my newest release!


Happy Thanksgiving! Happy Hanukkah!

I hope you’ve been enjoying the wonderful holiday recipes my lovely writer friends have been sharing this month: potato latkes, rugelahs and truffle cookies. I have one more for you: Terribly Terrific Toffee (or as Judy Banger calls it: Southern Crack). ūüėČ This one is super easy, delicious and it’s mentioned in my brand new holiday novella:

Is It Christmas Yet?


Amazon¬†and just 99¬Ę

Judy Banger has a secret. She’s no fan of Christmas. She’s suffered through fifty-four of them and, too late, she discovers she’s married to Wiley “Santa Claus” Canby. In four short months of marriage, Judy and Wiley have crossed off more items on their bucket list than most people do in four years. But, now it’s December, and Wiley wants to throw a big, blow-out holiday party to show off his new wife. Unfortunately, Judy’s never hosted a gala party in her life–especially not one that includes a cross-section of friends and family that would make Modern Family look like the Waltons.

What could possibly go wrong?

I’m thankful for such great friends and readers. Please enjoy this simple, easy-to-make, little gift from Judy and me:

Terribly Terrific Toffee!
Recipe Type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Debra Salonen (Borrowed from Jean Brashear)
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 5-6
Last year my friend Jean Brashear sent me a recipe she calls “Southern Crack.” Naturally, my heroine Judy Banger glommed onto the recipe and even mentions it in my new holiday novella: Is It Christmas Yet? Super simple, fast and fabulous! Enjoy!
  • 1 C unsalted butter (no margarine allowed)
  • 1 C brown sugar, tightly packed
  • 2 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 40-or so saltine crackers
  1. Preheat oven to 350-F.
  2. Line a 12X17 cookie sheet with aluminum foil AND spray with non-stick spray.
  3. Lay a layer of crackers on the foil.
  4. Melt sugar and butter until it begins to boil. Reduce heat and cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring often.
  5. Pour mixture over crackers. Spread to coat evenly.
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes (toffee will be bubbly).
  7. Remove from oven and let sit 3-5 minutes, then sprinkle with chocolate chips. As they soften and melt, spread to coat.
  8. Let cool. Then break into pieces.
  9. Optional: top with cracker crumbs or finely chopped nuts, but we prefer ours plain.

May your day of giving thanks and enjoying family be the sweetest ever!  





Bullies suck!



From the Diary of Judy Banger:

“He called me a fat, stupid cow last night. I missed the final question on Jeopardy. So, did he, but I’m a fat, stupid cow? Yes, I need to lose some weight, but when we fight the first thing I do is reach for the ice cream. Stupid, right? I know this relationship isn’t healthy, but if I leave, I’ll be admitting failure–another failure. Just like Mom predicted. So, what’s worse–listening to his bullshit or proving my mother right? It’s not like he hits me. It’s only words.”

¬†When I started writing my Screw Senility series, I had a very one-dimensional view of my heroine, Judy Banger. I knew she was older (54), overweight, out-of-shape and divorced. I assumed some stereotypes that were flat-out wrong. She wasn’t lonely, unhappy, or feeling sorry for herself. She’d started working out and she’d even started dating again. ¬†(So, that might not have been the best choice, but, at least, she was trying.) The point is: she’d decided life wasn’t going to change unless she changed it.

But, deep down, Judy was still dealing with the scars of an abusive relationship. And, because her ex-husband didn’t hit her, she stuck out the marriage longer than she should have. She made excuses for him. She forgave him his pettiness, his crass and demeaning slights, his power trips and vicious rants. She never once called him a bully, even though that’s exactly what he was. When some straw or another broke their already fractured marriage and she divorced him, Judy told herself she was okay. She was stronger for having survived. But the damage those cruel, hurtful words had inflicted remained, undermining her self-confidence.



Recently, someone very dear to me was the victim of a verbal attack by a bully. The shocking, disgusting slur sliced to the quick. Who says you can’t communicate tone via a text? The tone came across as intended: vicious and mean-spirited. Was the slanderous charge true? No. Not at all. But the wound bled for hours. It interrupted badly needed sleep. It brought tears and self-doubt–“Am I really that awful a person? Did I do something wrong to warrant this attack? I must have. Why else would someone say something so horrible about me?”

I turned to my heroine for advice. Here’s what Judy Banger taught me about bullies:

1. A person who calls you names is not your friend.

2. He or she does not love you. Love is about building up, not tearing down.

3. By diminishing someone else, a bully feels stronger, more powerful and in control–at the other person’s expense.

4. A questionable choice–such as liking, friending or, even, marrying an abuser–doesn’t make you a bad person. Mistakes make you human. That doesn’t give anyone the right to cut you down for it.

My lovely, vibrant, 54-year old heroine, Judy Banger, overcame spousal abuse to find genuine happiness and love at the end of my Screw Senility series. She found the strength to forgive herself for loving someone so mean and hurtful in the past and she overcame her fear of being hurt again to believe in herself and reach out with an open heart for the possibility of real love.

I wish that for all the people who, for whatever reasons, are presently dealing with bullies. Words can hurt or heal. What did yours do today?


Man Candy and other important things, like Google+ hangouts

I just got back from a 3-day writers retreat in Lodi. This was our second meeting of the West Coast members of OnFireFiction, the 12-member writers cooperative I joined earlier this year. We had tons of vital publishing decisions to discuss. First on the agenda, the upcoming promotional calendar for our fabulous 5-author release: Love Me Some Cowboy.


The book comes out Sunday, MAY 26! Pre-orders on iTunes have been great! Be sure to grab a copy, but in case you’re the gambling type, you can sign up for my CONTEST because I’m giving away a copy, along with a $25 Amazon Gift Card and a copy of any book in my Screw Senility series.

¬†The second most important thing we covered was¬†how to find and upload photos of hunky guys to share on OFF’s Facebook page. I chose several, including Chris Pine. Those eyes!¬†star trek man candy

Star Trek Into Darkness, here I come!

But, seriously, we spent most of the time staring at computer screens trying to get our group conference set up with the other 8 members of OFF, all of whom live East of the Rocky Mountains. 

images (Why, yes, that is a photo of the Rockies.


Because it’s my blog and I haven’t seen them in much too long.



Here’s what we found out:

Skype sucks with a crowd. We discovered it makes the sound of a braying donkey if people’s volumes were turned up. That was good for a laugh, but very hard to work around.

At one point each of us had a laptop open and were connected with one of our members on the east coast. Have you ever seen the TV show Elementary? tv-elementary-midseasonpremiere-500¬†Sherlock has 6-8 TV screens bunched together with different shows playing. That’s sorta how it was. And–news flash!–none of us is Sherlock Holmes. It was a headache in the making.

Day 2, we tried Google+ Hangouts.

Actually, this service worked pretty well ( you need a gmail account and you have to upload Hangouts). Nobody got dropped. When you reached a certain number of participants, Hangouts would arbitrarily mute certain people. I’m not saying who…okay, me. And Barbara McMahon. We’re not sure why. But, the point is: Google+ Hangouts worked. In case, you ‘re interested.

One of the fun things to come out of this brainstorming was a decision to have more fun with Facebook. If you friend OnFireFiction on Facebook, you’ll start seeing our Man Candy Mondays, Fur-Baby Wednesdays and First Line Fridays. We’ll post the first line of the book each of us (or whoever is around at the time) is currently reading and we’ll see if anyone can guess it. Readers can try to stump us, too. (That shouldn’t be too hard.)

Here’s another pic of the gang (Karen Sandler, Barbara McMahon, me, Ginger Chambers). Eating. Of course.

Lodi ladies


Happy reading!

Oh, and, by the way, Bang! You’re Dead is FREE on iTunes. Here’s the link: Bang! if you know anyone who reads on an iPhone, iPad or iPod.

My Unexpected Blog

Why “Unexpected”?

Well, check out what my Thesaurus says about the word:

amazing, astonishing, eye-opening, fortuitous, from left field, impetuous, prodigious, unpredictable, wonderful.

I get a little giddy thinking about all the possibilities: guest bloggers, Q&As with characters, super sexy, provocative photos OR pics of my dog, the rattlesnake we just killed, or anything else that might stumble into my corner of the world.

Snake, you say? 45″, 7 buttons. This big boy (or girl, I can’t tell the difference) ¬† ¬†scared the heck out of me while I was writing this blog. (It’s a beautiful spring ¬†day in Debland and my poor old deaf dog nearly got struck not ten feet from ¬†where I was sitting (on my deck).

What other types of unexpected goodies can you expect?

Well, for starters: How ’bout a Blow-out Sale?!

Or, as Judy Banger would say, "A blow job sale!"

I reduced the price on ALL of my short fiction titles to: $1.99.

(Price changed at Amazon and Smashwords; other venues should be up soon.)

Bang! You’re Dead! *¬†In With a Bang! *¬†Gator *¬†A Hundred Years or More

And here’s another deal: Unsuitably Perfect by Lisa Mondello, Barbara McMahon and Karen Sandler. ¬†Three complete, full-length romance novels from three bestselling authors for $4.99. You’ll have to do the math, but it sounds like a good deal to me. (I do words, I don’t do numbers.)

Three great authors, three terrific stories for one low price.

Read. Laugh. And if you’re eligible…Screw Senility. (I’m off to work on book III – More Bang! For Your Buck).