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.

Reward yourself!

Announcer: “Deb Salonen, you just finished the final book in your Screw Senility series! What are you going to do now?”

Deb Salonen: “I’m going to Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park to hike 7 miles round-trip and climb a dome with a 360-degree view at 9,000′ elevation.”

Announcer: “Uh…excuse me? What about going to Disneyland?”

Deb: “Nope. Sorry. That’s my writer pal, Julie Kenner. Hi, Julie!!! Hope you’re having fun! :-)”

Everybody’s got his or her own reward list, right? Mine involves great views in one of the most beautiful spots on the planet. Check out these pics.

Deb Salonen at Tuolomne Meadows, Yosemite National Park
Author reward #1: drinking in the beauty of nature at 8,600′.
Author reward #2: climbing a dome to check out the 360-view at 9,000′
Debra Salonen Yosemite National Park
Author reward #3: the view from the top.
Deb Salonen yoga in Tuolumne
Author reward #4: doing yoga on top of the world with two of my favorite people.
Jon-Paul Salonen and Ruth Smiley in Yosemite National Park
My son and daughter-in-law who are leading Nature’s Medicine Yoga and Ayurveda Retreat to this very spot in two weeks.

Let me guess: A 7-mile hike and steep vertical ascent–even in a place as spectacular as Yosemite National Park–is not your idea of a reward, right? I get that. And I’m not saying ‘Go here and do this” when you achieve that certain milestone you, at times, doubted you’d ever reach. I’m just saying: reward that monumental effort in the best way suitable for you.

Writing a book is no easy task (understatement). It can be grueling, brain-wracking/wrecking, solitary and, unfortunately, thankless at times. But when you’re committed to a story–or in this case four, connected stories–and you type The End on that final story, you’re entitled to a reward.

So whether you’re headed to the Happiest Place on Earth, like Julie, Mickey Mouse   or to your local massage therapist’s table (my usual reward), enjoy every minute–you earned it!

What’s your next reward going to be?


Oh, and by the way, THE BIG BANG! THEORY (Book IV in my Screw Senility series) will be released any day.  Just waiting on the last of my editorial vetting and new cover.




Yesterday was a typical writing day. It went something like this:

Step 1 – Facebook.

I go back and forth on whether to write first, then do the social media thing or the other way around. I went to FB first because I wanted to check on the status of the Carstens Fire (much better today, BTW). (This was the view from Yosemite Natl Park looking west toward Mariposa, when the fire was raging at its worst.)

@2013 Troy Montemayor

And on M-W-F, On Fire Fiction, my authors co-op, sponsors special focus days: Man Candy Monday, Fur Baby Wednesday and First Line Fridays. Images are fun. This one got me a whole lot of likes.


Step 2 – Twitter.

I read my group feed and re-tweet a bunch–especially the fun stuff.

Next, I load-up my daily Tweets on Hootsuite (Is that cheating? Probably, but I do spontaneous Tweets, too. Really. I do.)

I even Tweet pics when something comes up. This one is from this morning when my loving hubby delivered my newly re-finished picnic table.

Let the picnics begin!
Let the picnics begin!

Step 3 – Pinterest.

This isn’t a given. Sometimes, I get drawn to a blog on FB or Twitter and find something “pin-worthy.” Like this cool shot.

Go climb a tree--and read a book while you're at it.
Go climb a tree–and read a book while you’re at it.

Step 4 – Blog.

If you’re reading this, you know I don’t blog every day. I’d NEVER get any writing done if I blogged every day. And whatever would I blog about? My routine or something equally stupid? My animals? Of course not, that’s what embedded YouTube videos are for. ;-? Check out the newly added feature to my home page: Dog Wars.

Step 5 – Write the book.

Which brings me to the subject of this blog. (In my newspaper writing life, they’d call that “burying the lead.”)

A snippet.

Some days Once in a great while, the writing flows and your characters sparkle with such life and pizzazz you can’t wait to share their words with the world. I’ve reached a pivotal place in my Screw Senility series Book IV, THE BIG BANG! THEORY. The Black Moment. Judy has just made love with the man of her dreams. She’s made the deepest, most soulful connection possible and is basking in the afterglow when the inevitable happens… Mr. Perfect speaks. He says something candid, truthful (from his point of view) and wrong (in Judy’s point of view). She sees him a new and unflattering light that shakes her to her core. Her HEA (happily-ever-after) implodes. She grabs her clothes and hops in a cab where she has the following conversation with her BFF, Pru (who is in Iceland with the infamous Gerald, her Mr. Perfect):

Such a frivolous, insignificant word.
She’d connected with that man on a level you only read about in romance novels. And, now, instead snuggling and cuddling and laughing and getting it on again, she was sitting in the back of a cab feeling a little tender in her lady bits and ridiculously exposed, naked where her emotions were concerned.
Her phone vibrated against her hip. Pru. Cosmic timing, perhaps?
“What’s wrong?”
“What do you mean? You could tell I was upset from one word?”
“I’m an intuit. Did you know that’s the name of an Eskimo tribe?”
Judy rolled her eyes. “Well, sorry to disappoint, but nothing’s wrong. Not really. I’m in a cab leaving Judge Canby’s. We had lunch.” Sorta. We both ate, anyway. Her naughty smile felt forced.
“Cool. But something’s wrong. I feel it. Unless it’s that soup I ate for dinner. I think I saw seaweed and tentacles of some kind floating in it.”
Judy couldn’t help but chuckle. She adored her friend. Normally, she would have shared every tantalizing moment of her encounter with Wiley, but not this time. Some things were simply too painful.
“Buddy’s memorial is Sunday. I know you can’t make–“
“I’ll be there. That’s the reason I called. My flight arrives tonight at midnight.”
“Your flight? What happened to Gerald?”
Pru sighed weightily. “Where should I start? The bar bill he ran up with the floozy from Gestalt? Or the limp dick that couldn’t get hard without porn playing in the background on a widescreen TV. Porn starring a certain bimbette named DewE.” She sighed again. “Some things just aren’t meant to be, Judy.”
Judy bit down on her lip. Wasn’t that the truth? “I know what you mean. I just had sex with my mother.”
A loud honk preceded the taxi swerving sharply to the right, toppling Judy over since she’d been too upset to remember to buckle. “Hey,” she cried. “I was speaking figuratively, not literally.”
The cabbie’s gaze met hers sheepishly in the rear view mirror. “Sorry.”
“She’s eighty-three. And so not my type.”
Judy returned the phone to her ear. “Are you still there, Pru? We just missed sideswiping a bus. The perfect end to the perfect day.”
“So you and the judge did the dirty?”
“How was it?”
Judy lowered her voice. “Freaking transcendental. Best of my life. That convent is looking better and better. After Wiley, I’m ruined for other men.”
Pru groaned. “You wish. Don’t make any hasty life-altering decisions. I’ll be home soon and we’ll figure this out.”

So, what’s your routine? Does it help you accomplish what you need to accomplish…or are you easily side-tracked by snippets and other nonsense?





Pinterest for Writers

Writers write…and pin

For those of you who didn’t just flee the room with your hands over your ears, crying, “No more social media. No more, I say!”…pull up a chair. I’ll make this short and simple.

Why would any author add another time suck to her busy life?

One answer: Visuals.

We tell stories about people. The people in our stories live in houses.

Judy's judge's home.
Judy’s judge’s home.

 Like the judge.

They wear clothes.

The judge shows up in jeans--like Harrison Ford. What's not to love?
The judge shows up in jeans–like Harrison Ford. What’s not to love?

Like the judge.

Some are tall, with silver-hair and a commanding look.

The judge, of course.
The judge, of course.

Like the judge.

They drive cars.

The judge's sweet ride - a '64 Mustang.
The judge’s sweet ride – a ’64 Mustang.

 Like the judge.

Sometimes, they eat at Greek restaurants.

Judy and the judge had to eat somewhere. How romantic is this?
Judy and the judge had to eat somewhere. Romantic or what?

All of these photos were pinned from Google images. I don’t own the copyright to any of them. I haven’t edited them in any way. I’m certainly not claiming ownership and I’d happily take them down if asked. These photos are starting points for my imagination. And they’re saved for reference on my Pinterest board, which makes a valuable archive.

The second value in Pinterest pins is they provide new content for your website and/or blog and on Facebook and Twitter. According to Mari Smith (, an expert in online marketing, the top-viewed type of content on Facebook is: #1 photos, #2 status updates, #3 video, #4 links.

Pinterest makes it very easy to share your Pins on Facebook and Twitter. One click and it’s done. What you do after that is up to you.

For example, this morning I Googled: Greek restaurants. I clicked on images, found a lovely setting, which I pinned to my Bang! Pinterest board. I also shared it on FB and referenced it by asking my friends to teach me about Greek food. Screen shot 2013-06-05 at 4.57.26 PM

That post garnered a bunch of likes and replies, which is awesome connectivity in this busy day. I even got in a plug for my book “Bang! You’re Dead” and the one I’m writing “The Big Bang! Theory.” But best of all, I learned about Greek food from people with honest preferences. This was a writing win-win for a small investment of research time.


You. In the far, far back.


No. You may not be excused. Pinterest is a valid writing tool. don-t-be-a-tool Don’t be one–use it wisely. And have fun.


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.


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?


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

With a nod to David Bowie, I’m humming this song while I write my first blog in nearly a year. I stopped blogging because of an inundation of spam that seemed to follow each new post. Hopefully, David Newberry, my  techno-geek (I use that term with the utmost respect), has fixed this problem while he tweaked my website.

What do you think of the new color scheme?

As much as I liked the old header, its placid, romantic feel just didn’t seem to fit with what I’m now writing and publishing.

So, out with the old and in with the new…courtesy of the incomparable Kim Van Meter (who also does my covers).

My release date for my second Screw Senility novella, IN WITH A BANG!, was Monday, March 4. Sadly, life intruded in a not-so-pleasant way and I missed my deadline. My editor and publisher and I had words (don’t ask), but what can you do when a beloved canine member of your family dies unexpectedly? You put books and deadlines aside while you comfort your daughter and bury her dog.

My sweet granddog, Tuesday. She will be missed.

So, please look for my new book to…be…released…soon. I promise. Here’s the super fun cover. Thank you, Kim!

The sooner I get the manuscript uploaded, the sooner the book will be out, so…’til later, my friends.


Spring works for me

I took this photo a few minutes ago. Not trying to rub it in for all you poor folks suffering in colder, snowier climes, I swear. I simply thought you might like a reminder of what’s coming.

Yesterday, I was working on my synopsis for my WIP (work in progress) and came to a stumbling spot. I had two characters, both of whom I found interesting and engaging and important to the hero and heroine, but a nagging thought in my brain–placed there by my father-in-law, Milt–made me question whether or not both characters were necessary.

Milt, who is 86, read my last book, THE GOOD PROVIDER, and he told me he liked the story but thought there were “…too many characters.” He couldn’t keep them all straight.

I’ll admit up front that I don’t take criticism well, but, this was valid feedback. That book came out BEFORE Supers went back to the longer word-count, which might have affected how quickly certain information needed to be delivered. It’s part of an ongoing series (Spotlight on Sentinel Pass), which means tying in characters from previous books. Plus, the opening scene takes place at a wedding where there are lots of people, lots of names to remember.

This small but ernest critique stayed in the back of my mind as I began writing the opening for my new book. I found myself second-guessing two of the secondary characters. Were they too much alike? Did/could they serve the same purpose? Which one could I do without? The crotchety first-floor neighbor who fills the role of Wise Old Man (from the Heroe’s Journey) for the hero? Or, the heroine’s father, who serves this purpose for the heroine as well as causing her angst.

I waffled.

I walked.

It worked.

Spring worked. A shoulder-into-the-wind sort of breeze loosened up the cobwebs. The brilliant blue skies with jagged contrails and the sort of white clouds we only see this time of year made change seem limitless and possible.  The burgeoning buds on the trees reminded me that beginnings are fluid. I returned with my answer.

The two characters remain, but only one will have an on-page speaking role. Her father is going to stay in Denver. She still has to deal with her angst and daddy-issues, but she’ll share the hero’s Wise Old Man –and, of course, the hero and heroine will help each other to find their way.

So, that’s how Spring works for me.