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

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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

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

Chocolate Cracked Earth (flourless chocolate cake)
Recipe Type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Deb Salonen
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8
(adapted from the foodnetwork.com/Tyler Florence by my daughter-in-law, Ruth Smiley)
Ingredients
  • 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
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar , plus 1 Tablespoon (I used 1/2 cup because of the candy bars.)
  • 2 C heavy cream (I like to whip mine with 1/2 teaspoon sugar and a few drops of vanilla flavoring)
  • confectioners sugar for dusting (optional)
Instructions
  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.

 

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Excerpt:

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!

Deb

Bullies suck!

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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.

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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?

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Do you remember your first kiss?

I bet if you ask that question to 50 men, you’d get 50 vacillations. “Hmmm.” “Maybe.” “I think so…no wait. I’m not sure.”

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But ask a woman, and you will hear…the details. In color.

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I was invited to participate in Cindy Jack’s First Kiss Friday blog today. Here’s the link: First Kiss.

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I shared my heroine Judy Banger’s first kiss with her much younger lover, Jed. It’s sweet, a little needy on her part and opportunistic on his part. Judy later blames her fling with Jed on PTSDS: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Sex. But, at the time, it feels good. Very good.

Anyone who is brave enough to share their first kiss, will get 5 bonus entries in this month’s contest.

Deb

Hot Summer Snippets – MORE BANG! FOR YOUR BUCK

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*****DISCLAIMER****

My July contest is called Hot Summer Reads. One winner will be able to pick two titles from the six awesome choices. To introduce you to these authors and their books, I thought I’d give you “snippets” pulled straight from the stories, however…

HOT means these snippets are meant

for an ADULT audience.

***If you’re under 18–or offended by adult content–stop reading. My regularly scheduled PG-13 blogs will continue on days other than Mondays and Thursdays. Are we good?***

~~~~~~~

Only three days left to enter. Here is your final book choice. Good luck to all the adventurous souls who have entered!?! Today’s SNIPPET features the THIRD book in my Screw Senility series: MORE BANG! FOR YOUR BUCK

~Judy unearths a box from her past—sex toys, costumes, handcuffs, anything your basic BDSM aficionado might need. She’s prepared to take on Lewis Fusco alone—until Prudence O’Riley, straight off the plane from Greece, appears. Before she can entertain second thoughts, Judy finds herself tied to a bed, in the company of not one, but two naked men and a whip named Gerald. She only has one question: Who called the Judge?~

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SNIPPET:

Pacing in five-inch platform heels had to be the worst exercise in the world, Judy thought an hour or so later. She wanted nothing more than to slip her left foot free from its torture device. But undoing the glittery zipper at her ankle required better balance than she possessed. Or a chair–something the hoteliers hadn’t seen fit to provide on the fourth floor landing.

How long does it take to eat a plate of cocktail weenies and nachos? What if Lewis isn’t as cheap as we thought? Surely Pru would call if they went to dinner. Wouldn’t she?

“This sucks,” Judy muttered, shifting her weight to her right foot. She’d half way made up her mind to go back to the room when her phone made its goofy bird chirp.

A text.

Judy pawed at her cleavage to pull out her phone and snickered a moment later when she read the single word: cumming.

A reminder of their ongoing debate. They’d gone round and round about the spelling of that word at their two-person book club a month or so back. Pru had picked an erotica e-book for them to read and discuss. The woman author wrote a hot, fast-paced story that had Judy squirming in her seat a few times, but she’d used the word cum–in all its linguistic forms–in place of come. Pru approved; Judy did not.

Judy grabbed the handles of her basket and slipped around the corner beside the ice machine to wait for the loud ding of the elevator. She’d heard the sound a dozen or so times since her vigil began, and each ding brought a quick squirt of perspiration under her arms no matter how deeply and calmly she breathed. She’d definitely need to send Pru’s trench coat to the dry cleaners when this night was over.

Ding.

Judy squeezed her arms tight to her body and sucked in a quick breath before peeking around the corner.

“Your father was such a character,” Pru said in an overly loud voice. No Oscar nod there. “And a dear, dear friend. I’m so glad we had a chance to toast Buddy’s life and share a few memories, Lewis. People need that sort of closure, you know, and since you’re not having a formal service…”

Judy ducked back and closed her eyes. Would you like a little guilt with your grief, Mr. Fusco?

“This looks like a very nice bottle of wine, by the way,” Pru added, the sarcasm probably only noticeable to Judy. Nice equaled boring in Pru-speak.

For some reason, the inclusion of a bottle of wine in the equation triggered Judy’s panic button. She pressed her fist to her lips to keep from crying out, “No, Pru. Stop. Only a hooker goes to a strange man’s hotel room alone.” But hadn’t that been her plan, too? Why was she okay with risking her own safety, but not Pru’s?

“How’d you and my dad meet again?”

Lewis’s voice held a slightly sardonic edge–as though he might be humoring this person but wasn’t completely buying her story.

Judy peeked around the corner. They’d reached his room–two doors down from the elevator. Their backs were to her, but she saw him hand Pru the bottle before reaching into the back pocket of his slim-fitting denim jeans to withdraw his billfold.

The jeans made him look a wee bit more approachable and less like a minor celebrity slumming with his father’s less-advantaged friends at Buddy’s wake.

“I had lunch with a friend who used to work at Heritage House. She introduced us. Buddy and I hit it off right away.”

His hand froze an inch above the card reader. “Your friend’s name wouldn’t be Judy Banger, would it?”

Judy jerked back, her heart racing. How could so much animosity be infused in one simple question?

“N..no.” Even Pru seemed rattled by his tone. “It’s Babette. I believe Judy took over after Babette moved to Portland to be closer to her son.”

True…just not factual. To Judy’s knowledge, Pru never met Judy’s predecessor.

“Oh.”

Straining to hear over her wildly thudding heart, Judy waited until she hoped the coast was clear then hurried down the hallway. She couldn’t remember if they’d decided on this part of the plan. Was she supposed to wait for another text? Could her feet handle another wait?

Hell, no.

Her fist hovered in knocking range of the door when she spotted the brass night lock sticking part way out. Oh, Pru. No wonder you won the mystery dinner.

She stepped closer and pressed her ear to the inch-wide opening. Only a few words made sense: “hope,” “happy,” “sex.” Good words. Positive words. But these were followed by “bitch,” “user,” and the c-word she refused to repeat. Shawn had called her that almost daily toward the end of their marriage.

Judy stiff-armed the door and marched into the room with as much forcefulness as shoes with rhinestone ankle bands allowed.

“That’s enough,” she cried. “You’ve got something to say? You can say it to my face, Lewis Fusco.”

🙂 Go Judy! Did I mention her basket is filled with sex toys? And a tawse. Yes, a tawse. (I had to look it up, too.)

Good luck to everyone who signs up for this contest. And Happy Hot Summer Reading!

Deb 

 

Hot Summer Snippets – IN WITH A BANG!

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*****DISCLAIMER****

My July contest is called Hot Summer Reads. One winner will be able to pick two titles from the six awesome choices. To introduce you to these authors and their books, I thought I’d give you “snippets” pulled straight from the stories, however…

HOT means these snippets are meant

for an ADULT audience.

***If you’re under 18–or offended by adult content–stop reading. My regularly scheduled PG-13 blogs will continue on days other than Mondays and Thursdays. Are we good?***

~~~~~~~

July is almost over. Have you picked which books you want if you win?

Today’s SNIPPET features the second book in my Screw Senility serie: IN WITH A BANG! 

“Pending an administrative review at work, Judy Banger has time on her hands and much, too much, on her mind. Is Buddy Fusco’s son really going to sue her for his father’s wrongful death? Is the hunky carpenter Judy hires to eradicate the bad juju in her bedroom really more interested in laying her than a new floor? Might the sweet young cop, Officer Candy, be persuaded to stall the autopsy until Judy has a chance to talk some sense into Lewis Fusco? The combination has all the makings of an X-rated episode of I Love Lucy. Judy Banger, you’ve got some ‘splaining to do.”

DEBRA SALONEN BANG 3

SNIPPET:

“Can I ask you something? About Buddy?”

“Sure.”

“Was he taking Viagra?”

She nodded. “He popped a pill as soon as he got here. You knew about it?”

He raked his fingers through his hair, causing a thick chunk to fall across his forehead. It took every ounce of self-control Judy possessed not to brush it away ala Barbra Streisand with Robert Redford’s golden locks in The Way We Were. She swallowed a big gulp of beer, instead.

“A few weeks ago, I heard Buddy and a couple of barflies discussing whether or not Viagra was safe. One guy said he used it all the time with no side effects. Another said he heard about a fellow who wound up with one of those infamous four-hour erections. Went to the emergency room, but he’s fine now.” He looked at a point over her shoulder as if picturing the exchange. “Buddy said–and I’m not making this up–that he’d die happy if his pecker made it into one last hottie.”

He got his wish. She’d never been hotter. She still got a little breathless remembering her orgasm. If she closed her eyes, she could almost–almost–recall the sensation. She flexed her labia, reveling in the residual dampness.

“I guess he got his wish, huh?”

The question held a husky, suggestive resonance. Sexy.

Reality check. He might not be a baby, but that didn’t mean he wanted to do the lust and thrust with her. “We made love, yes. He took the pill and it…um…worked really well.” Where’d that breathy rasp come from? “We both had a good time…right up to the moment I realized he was dead.”

“That must have been hard.”

Hard.

“No pun intended, I’m sure.”

He leaned a bit closer. “Maybe a small one.”

Oh, crap. He had a sense of humor, too. In addition to her weakness for good hair, she was a sucker for men who made her laugh. His wicked smile looked good enough to eat–or put to use elsewhere on her body. But could she trust her man-woman radar or had residual high-resolution sexual reverberations altered her ability to distinguish between small talk and come-ons?

She fluffed her hair and let out the breath she’d been holding. “Death has a way of sucking the humor out of a room. I’m pretty sure I’ll never smile–let alone make love in my bedroom until the last trace of Buddy’s memory is wiped clean. If paint and a new floor doesn’t do it, I’m selling this place and moving away.”

Once the market improves.

His smile faded. “Sorry if that comment came across as inappropriate. But I think Buddy might have appreciated it.” He set his beer can on the counter. “I’ll email you a quote tonight. If you need a day or two to get a competing bid, let me know. I have a big remodel starting next week. It’ll eat up a month or so of my time, but I could do you…I mean, yours on a Saturday.”

His blush made her relax a little. Had she read too much into his suggestive tone? Was she being ridiculously hypersensitive? Either way, he was right. Buddy would have laughed his ass off at the whole damn situation.

“I trust you. Tomorrow works for me. Let me give you my email address.”

She walked to the wall phone where she kept a notepad and pen. She scribbled the information then returned to the counter to hand it to him. “I like the cherry wood, too. Could I keep this sample to take to the paint store?”

“Of course.” He stood, one hand still holding his beer can on the counter. “I apologize if I said something to upset you, Judy. It sucks the way Buddy died because you’re the one who has to deal with all the crap that comes next.”

I know, right? Except for Pru, nobody had shown her the least bit of sympathy. “Thank you,” she said, blinking back the extra moisture in her eyes. “This whole thing has been pretty aw…aw..ful, actually.”

Admitting the awfulness out loud removed the finger in her emotional dike. One sob slipped and another followed crashing on its heels. Tears came faster than one tissue could stem. A white cotton handkerchief just like the one her father used to carry appeared in her hand. They still make these? She blubbered noisily. Once the worst of the emotional tsunami had passed, two strong arms wrapped her in a hug, pulling her against a broad, masculine chest that smelled of fresh air, pine and working man. Her heart melted right along with her good intentions.

“Would you…? No, of course, you wouldn’t. We don’t even know each other.”

“We sorta do. We shared a bottle of champagne and a box of Girl Scout cookies after I finished your deck. Remember? We didn’t have long–you were picking up Buddy to treat him to a movie. I remember thinking what a kind person you are.”

She shook her head, suddenly mad at everything and nothing. “No. I’m not. I killed Buddy.”

His eyes narrowed. “Buddy made his own choices,” he said, his tone stern. “He knew the risks and decided being with you was worth what came next. That says a lot about you in my book.”

Judy liked his book. She wished she had a copy.

He tucked his thick, calloused knuckle under her chin and made her look at him. “Would I what?”

Kiss me? Fuck me? Make me forget my life is in the crapper? All of the above? But he couldn’t, of course. He might be able to handle one or two of the three, but if he had to ask… “Would you like another beer?”

“I’d rather kiss you.”

His lips caught hers partway open with surprise. Apparently his tongue took her lack of resistance as an invitation. It dipped, stroked and teased as if they’d been doing the lingual tango for years.

“Have we done this before?”

She shared his bemusement completely. “Only in my dreams.”

His mention of the champagne and cookies had triggered a memory. After a few minutes of friendly flirting with her sweaty, hunky contractor, she’d taken Buddy to see Magic Mike–a movie about sweaty, hunky male strippers. Later that night, her shower’s spray nozzle proved an acceptable substitute for a certain male body part Judy never expected to entertain in person. If that’s really what he was offering.

“You want to have sex with me?” she asked, hoping her incredulity wasn’t broadcast in her tone.

“Yes. Do you want to have sex with me?”

Um…yeah. Who wouldn’t? But what about Buddy?

A gruff voice she’d never hear again came through loud and clear in her mind chortling, “Go for it, Judy baby. He’s got a cock and he’s not afraid to use it. Makes him perfect for you.”

“I do. But Buddy isn’t even buried yet. Doesn’t this feel faintly sacrilegious?”

He brushed her cheek with the back of his hand–considerably smoother than the opposite side, her errant brain noted. “Like I said, I didn’t know Buddy well, but I’m pretty sure he’d be the first to say life doesn’t come with any guarantees. You only live once, so you damn well better go for it.”

 

🙂 That’s Judy for you. So much for good intentions, right?

Good luck to everyone who signs up for this contest.

Deb 

 

Why Happy Endings Matter

The news this week has been heartbreaking.

Two faces of our time.

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Too young, two dead.

Lost to gun violence and drugs. Futures ended. Families, loved ones, communities devastated.

I want to turn back the clock and do something to change this reality. Send Trayvon in a different direction. Give him a couple of buddies to walk with. Distract his killer with something positive and useful. I want Corey to wake up that morning feeling strong and empowered, in control of his addiction demons. I’d have his beautiful girlfriend show up unexpectedly, and they’d realize that “Why, yes! Today would be a great day to elope!”

And I can do that…because I’m a writer who believes in happy endings. Apparently, I crave them.

When I started writing my Screw Senility series, I had no intention of ending it with Judy Banger in a wedding dress. H.E. Double-toothpicks No! (If you’ve read any of this series, you know the language is…um…colorful.) I reveled in the fun and liberty of writing a heroine who wasn’t constantly worrying about what her hero would think. Judy was a rebel. She didn’t need no stinking hero. 😉

But as I got to know her better, I realized she might not NEED a hero–a partner, a soul-mate, but she wanted one. And when an interesting hero-type showed up–much to my surprise!–I began to believe that maybe–just maybe–she’d get her HEA (happily-ever-after). I didn’t realize until the Black Moment how strong Judy was and how much was resting on her hero (the Judge) stepping up to do the right thing. (Which thanks to Judy, he now had a clear understanding of what the Right Thing involved.)

I do realize that real life doesn’t offer a convenient editing option. I can’t undo the pain and sadness so many people–the famous or the not-so-famous–must deal with every day. But, I can make things turn out right in my books, and when you’re reading this series I hope you’ll chuckle, cringe, laugh out loud, blush and…finally, sigh contentedly. All will never be right with the world, but things in Judy Banger’s world are lookin’ pretty darn happy.

Big Bang! Theory

Here are links for KINDLE and NOOK. (iTunes will up shortly on my website).

Did the last book you read end happily? Have you ever re-written a story in your head when it ended poorly? Oh, come on, surely you didn’t let Kevin Costner get on that damn boat in Message In A Bottle, did you? Did you?

Deb

 

New Cover Reveal!

Big Bang! Theory

 It’s here. The Big Bang! Theory cover.

(And the book itself is not far behind, I promise.)

I’m so excited to share my final Screw Senility cover. Didn’t my cover designer Kim Van Meter do a great job?

Strangely, I hadn’t thought of giving Judy an HEA — Happily Ever After–until I saw the “vector” (the art image Kim purchased to use in the design) of the plump lady carrying her skinny groom. Yes, the characture is over the top and not really Judy or her judge, but it’s fun and tells you a lot about the story in one glance.

When I showed it to a friend, her response was: “Judy’s losing weight not gaining it. She looks bigger in this pic. I have to check.”

I LOVED her concern for Judy. So I put all four covers together so you can see the progression.

Screw Senility Collage

Yes, Judy is losing weight, but she’s never going to be a skinny mini. She’s earthy and real and that’s what my readers love about her. Here are a couple of fun quotes from reviews:

“Judy Banger, a woman of a certain age, has endured teasing about her name all her life. Now she’s banged an oldster to death. Oops!” ~Sue

“I’m still laughing every time I think of Judy Banger and her thoughts on sex and life in general.” ~Barbs

“While Debra has classically written “family-based romance” stories, she has strayed here in this short story that celebrates the empowerment of a single woman in her …mid 50s? Judy Banger is all personality, hip and sass, yet she’s down to earth, and thinks things through carefully–how she manages to get into these situations…well, I can only attribute it to plain bad luck.” ~ Rasa

“I have never read anything like this. Nothing even close, in fact. I’m not referring to the erotic parts of the book, but to the outrageous, hilarious protagonist.” ~ Sheri

“Baby boomers who can laugh at themselves and acknowledge our on-going interest in sex will enjoy this explicit “coming of age” for Judy Banger. Yes, that is really her name.”~Paula

“Move over Ethel there’s a new chubby blonde neighbor in the trailer park and she might just screw your man next.”~ BookGoddess

 Reviews are the lifeblood of self-publishing sales. So far, I’ve been super lucky. I’ve only received one 1-star review on BN. Here it is:

“I have read several books by this author and they have always been very interesting. I won’t purchase any more of this particular series. It is much too graphic for my taste.” – anonymous

 Seriously, this is my ONLY review for any of this series on NOOK. Either Nook readers don’t read me or they’ve been scared away by this bad review (which obviously is based on a matter of taste, which of course is that reader’s right and opinion but since it’s the only review, it really looks bad.)

I need some Nook loving. Anybody? Pretty please…

 ~~~~

I just got my manuscript back from two copyeditors. Hope to have it On Sale next week. Woo-hoo!!

 Here’s a little EXCERPT:

Why me? Why did I have to be the one to break the scandalous news to Fletcher’s dad? Your son is opening a sex club for people who like a little pain with their pleasure.

Judy decided Wiley looked like the type who preferred to pull off the bandage in one quick snap rather than inching it off, so she added the rest. “He emailed me his business plan last week. Probably because I told him I used to work in a law office. He said he’s got a realtor looking for an old house in an area already zoned for business. Some communities are more open to this type of business than others. You probably know that.”

She didn’t mention Fletcher’s offer to have her move south and be his office manager. An offer she hadn’t completely crossed off her list of possibilities. The only thing holding her here was her house, which she figured was “underwater.” She’d need to wait out the market or lose what she had into it.

“What kind of sex club?”

“I assume it’ll cater to people who like BDSM. Bondage, sadomasochism–“

“Got it.” The intensity of his stare made her gulp. Was that the look he gave condemned prisoners headed to prison for life? “Is it legal?”

“If you’re zoned properly and you maintain a strict no-minors policy, I believe so. You’re a judge. Why ask me?”

“Is my son gay?”

Judy gulped too big a swallow of coffee. She didn’t have the simple yes or no answer he wanted. She could have repeated what Fletcher told her before he left town. “Dad’s always known I was different, but he spent my entire life trying to make me conform. All that did was drive us further apart. Oddly enough, Judy, meeting you is what convinced me I needed a start fresh.”

“Me?” she’d shrieked. “Why me?”

“Because you’re authentic. You don’t pretend to be anyone other than who you are, and I like who you are. I’m ready to start liking myself again.”

Judy didn’t believe that for a minute. She’d never been anybody’s role model and didn’t want to become one.

She also hated gossip and sure as hell didn’t want to be caught in the middle of a father-son power play. “You’re asking the wrong person,” she told Fletcher’s father. “Does it matter if he is?”

She gave the man credit for answering without a hint of hesitation. “Not in the least. I want him to know that, but how do you say the words without sounding condescending or patronizing? We’ve never really been close, but we generally could talk things out–until he picked becoming a cop over going to law school. The dispute turned ugly. We’d go for days without speaking. Frankly, I was surprised when he stuck around. I thought he’d made peace with his choices. Apparently, I was wrong.” His sigh seemed weighted with disappointment. “Do you have regrets, Judy?”

She hooted softly. “I’m fifty-four years old. You don’t live that long without wishing you’d done a thing or two differently.” She paused. “Like buying Intel when I had the chance. ‘Let my ex talk me out of it. Second biggest mistake of my life.”

“I take it he was the first?” His half-smile was among the most handsome she’d ever seen. I wonder where meeting Wiley Canby will rank on my list of regrets? Time would tell. Nothing good would come from the powerful magnetic pull she felt toward him, of that she was certain.

Look for it SOON!

Deb

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.

PMclinn_Boxset

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.

Why?

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

Ok?

Good.)

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.

More sex!

Oh, my, Debra! More? Really?

Forgive the salacious title, but it fits. Here’s why:

  • Ebooks are fluid.
  • Epublishing is not yo’ mama’s written-on-paper-bound-to-hang-around-for-as-long-as-yard-sales-exist kind of production.

Got typos? Fix ’em.

Hate your cover? Change it.

Missing a scene? Add it.

As long as the story is alive in the mind of the author, there is room, time and potential for change.

As a writer, I find this both scary and exciting.

Why?

Because most of the authors I know are perfectionists who can agonize for hours over the placement of a single word. Myself, I’ve tweaked a story to near death only to have my editor shrug off my concerns with a casual, “Oh, that’s nice.”

“Nice? Don’t you see the blood and brain matter on that page?” I wanted to shriek at her.

"Nice? I'll give you nice!"

Anyway, the point of this blog is, as the title says, “More sex.” Here’s why:

Now $1.99!

In my second Screw Senility book, In With A Bang, I committed the writerly sin of falling in love with a cool line–a really nice cliffhanger line, granted–at the expense of story.

I knew this in my gut, but I didn’t listen to my inner author…until a reader–thank you, Ruth–asked, “What happens with Jed the Contractor? Do he and Judy get together in the next book?”

“Um…no,” I stutter while my brain scrambles to remember who Jed is. “He and Judy are just friends. Didn’t I make that clear?”

Of course not, dufus, or she wouldn’t have asked.

I realized immediately that poor Jed the Contractor got screwed. Or, rather, did not get screwed quite enough. He and Judy had unfinished business.

In a conventional print book, I, the author, and you, the reader, would be SOL (So…out…of..luck–don’t ask me why there’s only one O. I don’t know.) But this an eBook. I’m the ePublisher. So, guess what?

I added a new scene.

And yes, yes, yes (this is more affective if you say it ala Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally), it’s a sexy scene. A very Judy Banger scene. Jed got lucky. Very lucky. French tickler lucky.

When Harry Met Sally “I’ll have what she’s having.”

There’s a lot to be said for satisfaction, don’t you agree?

Deb

PS: If you purchased In With A Bang! and your ereader doesn’t let you upload the most recent version, please contact me.

Spring blossoms with great books…

Oh, happy day — a very Good Friday!

Spring has arrived in wild, reckless profusion. The birds are carrying on something fierce outside my window. A small green and black snake just wound his way through my newly planted garden.

I love Spring. And the Easter Holiday is one of my personal favorites. I have great memories of dressing up in all my newly purchased finery–hats and gloves were a must–to go to church.

Competitive egg dying is a more recent thing, but when my nephews showed up at Grandma’s, egg hunting became a contact sport.
Nowadays, I’m seeing all sorts of toys, games, hair ties, kites and non-candy goodies showing up in Easter baskets.

This Sunday, several generations will gather at my brother’s and sister-in-law’s home to watch the “old” kids hide eggs for  the “new” kids while parents snap pics and grandparents snap pics of their kids snapping pics.

I will be taking the day to turn the “online” off and reconnect via “face time,” not Facebook. But, since this is a writer’s blog, I thought I’d spread some reading goodness in case you’d like to treat yourself to some fun, spring books for your eReaders libraries. Click on any image to take you right to the Amazon page.




Now $1.99!

$.99 Fun read!

A great Kindle buy at $.99

LOL fun! $.99

Double RITA nominee! Now, just $.99

May you begin next week and the new month with hope renewed.
Happy Easter! And Happy Spring!
Deb