Goodbye, 2019. (A video) and Hello, 2020!

Goodbye, 2019, that was quite a ride!

Here’s a quick video look back in the rearview mirror.

Video 2019 in review:

Insider news:

We have a tentative “flash” for my Property Sisters of Montana series. (A “flash” is what they call the recognizable “logo” that you see on each cover to signify its part of a series.) The amazing and creative Tule Publishing team is working on the covers as we speak. I really love this flash and wanted to share it with you.

(Note: the actual application version may change.)

I say a nightly prayer to the Cover Gods that my Property Sisters covers will be knock-your-socks-off gorgeous. (But I’d also be happy with: must-grab-and-read-this-book). 😉

Book “Ghosts” of New Year’s Eve Past


Don’t look down and don’t give up.

Justin Oberman‘s credo for living his adventurous–some might say death-defying–life to the max served him well until the unfortunate outcome of a climb made him walk away from the sport he loved. A lucrative new job offer could pave the way to a more traditional life in Marietta, Montana, where his two best friends have fallen in love with the women of their dreams. But settling down always seemed more daunting than Everest and not worth considering until a mysterious lady in red walks into his life on New Year’s Eve. Suddenly, that happily-ever-after stuff Flynn and Tucker have been raving about looks within reach.

The first fall is always the hardest.

Nikki Magnesson Richards has loved Justin Oberman most of her life. First, from the safety of her brothers’ old tree house. Later, with unrequited teen-age angst. Her poorly thought out attempt to get him to notice her cost them both dearly. Now, a dozen years later, her fairy godfather boss has orchestrated the most romantic meeting possible–the Big Sky Mavericks Masked Ball for Charity. A kiss at midnight with her very own Prince Charming isn’t too much to ask, is it? But what are two star-crossed lovers supposed to do when one kiss isn’t enough?

*Previously titled Montana Rebel

Love, Montana series
Book 1: Her Hero to Love
Book 2: Her Rogue to Tame
Book 3: Her Rebel to Kiss

Here’s a little excerpt for HER REBEL TO KISS. My hero, Justin, has just met an intriguing woman in red at a charity masked ball in Marietta, Montana (setting for my new series):

Copyright © All Rights Reserved

… He had to say something or risk looking like an insensitive brute. “Death happens.” Brilliant. “I lost a colleague to depression.”
She crossed one knee over the other and sat forward to ask, “Are you a mortician?”
“No. Why? Do I look like a mortician?”
Her grin made his fingers itch to take off her mask. “No. But it seems like a depressing field. A doctor, then?”
He shook his head.
“Ambulance driver? EMT? Homicide detective?”
His laugh felt rusty but good. “I climb mountains and fight fires.”
She put one hand to her chest—a mock gesture of shock. “Dear me. Not at the same time, I trust.”
It was Justin’s turn to make a so-so gesture. “Generally, not. But it can feel like mountain climbing when you jump out of a plane and find yourself ten miles and five thousand feet in elevation away from the action.”
“Ten miles? And you have to walk that? With full packs?”
He nodded.
Although he couldn’t see her eyebrows beneath the mask, he could sense them lifting to give him a droll look. “Forget suicide. That would kill me.”
Although he assumed asking personal questions flew in the face of the whole masquerade thing, he found his curiosity piqued. Besides, he’d never been very good at playing games—just ask his sisters. “What did your late husband do that caused the post-traumatic stress issues?”
“Military explosives. Ironically, he was injured when his truck ran over an IED on his night off.” She looked over his shoulder where Justin could hear the orchestra warming up. “We met in rehab.”
She made an offhand gesture toward her back, as if her injury wasn’t worth mentioning. And, yet, it had been bad enough to require a stay in a rehabilitation facility. Brave girl.
“I’d never met anybody so glad to be alive. He inspired me—and everyone else—to work harder. Unfortunately, he set the bar for his own recovery a little too high.”
Justin got it. He’d had a climbing friend who was told he’d never walk again, let alone climb. A handful of pills and a hot tub did the trick. “How long did he stick around?”
“Until I was back on my feet.” Her beautiful blue eyes sparkled with unshed tears. “Although by then, he resented me so much for being able to walk again, the last sound I heard was an empty gin bottle hitting the door after I closed it behind me.”
Crap, he thought, regretting his questions. No wonder people wear masks to these things.
Justin didn’t have any magical words to ease her pain. What could he say that she wouldn’t have heard a thousand times before? So, he said nothing. They sipped silently as the cello player warmed up with a hauntingly beautiful riff.
He looked over his shoulder to confirm his guess. Sure enough, Tucker’s mother, Caroline Mayhue, was seated in the front row with her gleaming instrument braced between her knees. Her distinctive white-blond hair and dramatic black gown made her whimsical red mask completely ineffectual. Marietta’s community orchestra must have done collective back flips of joy when a celebrated cellist from the New York Symphony joined their ranks.
He quickly scanned the area behind the stage, looking for Philip—Caro’s friend/lover/pilot. Sure enough, the man stood watch—sans mask—beside the rear door. Justin didn’t know him well, but Tucker had a great deal of respect for the man who was far more than the chauffeur most people took him to be.
“A full orchestra,” the lady in red murmured. “Such extravagance usually speaks to deep pockets.”
“Not mine, alas.”
Her attention turned his way again. “Well, we’ve heard my sad—”
“But anonymous.” He inserted.
Her grin set off a chain reaction of inner explosions he hadn’t felt in a long time. “My sad, but anonymous, story. Now, it’s your turn. Only fair.”
He looked at the amber liquid still remaining in his glass. Had the alcohol loosened his lips so much he was about to tell his past to a stranger with eyes that had seen too much? Maybe he could blame the mask for providing the safe illusion of camouflage she’d ducked behind.
“My father was a highly decorated firefighter in Los Angeles. He was knocking out a three-alarm apartment house fire when my mother went into labor with me. This was pre-cellphone days, of course. She called the station and left messages with everyone she could reach. We don’t know for sure if Dad got the message or not, but some of his buddies speculated that Dad—who was a by-the-book safety fanatic—failed to double-check a spot on the floor because he was in a hurry to get to the hospital. When it gave way, he fell straight into the flames below. Mom said he hung on long enough for her to tell him about me, although the nurses wouldn’t let her take me into the burn unit. She never forgave them for that.”
“I wouldn’t have, either.” She touched her glass to his. “To your mother.”
She tossed back the rest of her drink and stood, wobbling a tiny bit. She grabbed the edge of the table before Justin could reach out.
“Ah,” she said, laughing. “Nothing like that first little buzz that comes from truly fine alcohol.”
She picked up her cane and started away, pausing to make a follow-me motion. “Let’s dance before the sad mojo settles in for a stay. That’s how my ex explained his various lapses. It was never his fault. Just sad mojo.”
For a woman with a cane, she moved pretty damn adroitly, Justin thought, trotting at her heels like a retainer or puppy dog. He couldn’t decide which.
Horny puppy dog, maybe. The slight catch in her step made the line of red fabric shimmy from hip to floor. He couldn’t wait to settle one hand at the small of her back.
Since the orchestra was playing an old-fashioned waltz, she rested the walking stick against the back of a chair at one of the tables ringing the dance floor and offered him her hand. Her fine bones felt fragile to the touch, but when they started to move as his mother had taught him so many years ago, her grip solidified. “You’re stronger than you look.”
Her beautiful eyes met his without apology. “I’ve had to be.”
Her answer intrigued him in a way that made his juices flow. The sort of feeling he got when he stumbled across a challenging boulder to free climb or heard about a peak he’d never tackled before. Suddenly his plans for the evening seemed a ridiculous waste of time. Who in his right mind would spend the night alone when he could get to know someone as beautiful and intriguing as this woman?
“Ah, Viola, I think we’re in for an amazing evening.”
He brought her hand to his lips and kissed the peachy skin, his gaze never leaving hers. Her step faltered for a second before she smiled and relaxed against him, as if he’d passed the first level of competition and was free to move on to the next.
Challenges were part of Justin’s DNA. He couldn’t wait to see what other tests the mysterious Lady in Red had in store for him.

Purchase HER REBEL TO KISS here!

Only a few more days to grab this unique collection!


Last week’s Q&A was: Will you be awake at midnight on Dec. 31, 2019, to usher the new decade in? Yes or No?

WOW! I was surprised to learn 98% of you planned to be awake at midnight. Although some said they’d be reading, not reveling. I was so humbled I decided to go to a party in the neighborhood. It was loud and fun. I was definitely awake. Thanks for peer pressuring me out of my winter hermit mode. 😉

My two randomly selected winners this week are:

Mary (KK@Y) – YES
Gloria Gibbel – NO

(Mary and Gloria congrats. Please email me your pick of either a $5 Starbucks or a $5 Amazon gift card.)

This week’s Q&A: Resolutions: Yes or No?

I’m a rock solid no. Luckily, I’m usually so “over” the holidays with all the rich food and candy that January just naturally feels like a fresh start with my usual eating and exercise habits kicking in.

(Two winners will be chosen by random drawing to receive either a $5 Starbucks gift card or a $5 Amazon gift card. Please reply the usual ways: email or on my DebraSalonenAuthor Facebook page.)


Next week: more Property Sisters “insider” news. I turned in my revisions over the holidays and guess what my editor said?

FIRST KISS TUESDAY: from Montana Cowboy – a stroll down memory lane

I don’t know about you, but I feel like a stroll down memory lane. This stroll happened to be inspired by a photo on Facebook. That happens, doesn’t?

Me at a book signing at Epic Alpacas– where I did my research for Montana Cowboy. The book wasn’t out in print yet, so I only had copies of Montana Cowgirl to sign. But I still had fun and I got to hang out with some of the cutest critters on the planet. #Ilovealpacas

Montana COWBOY

Austen Zabrinski looks the part —

He’s got the ranch, the boots, the hat and even a few head of cattle, but everybody in Marietta, Montana, knows the former golden boy of Marietta High is a wealthy politician, not a cowboy. And even though that nasty scandal in Helena might have knocked him down a notch or two in the polls, what kind of a fool would trade access to the halls of power in Helena and a Harvard law degree for a ranch in western Montana? Possibly one whose new neighbor, Serena James–the woman the guys at Grey’s Saloon call “…the Red Hot Llama Mama”–makes him start to think about what he wants out of life, instead of what’s expected of him.

Serena James knows trouble when it hops her fence–

Moving to Montana and deleting her blog seemed like the perfect solution to her online stalker problem. Serena’s ready for a fresh start, but when her escrow on her ranch falls through, she has to scramble to find an immediate but temporary safe haven to rent for her herd of 50 alpacas, two llamas and one giant dog. Serena’s barely moved in when Austen Zabrinski–the man her landlord called “my absentee ranch owner brother who lives and works in Helena”–hops the fence in need of a lift. Even at first glance, Serena can tell he’s nobody cowboy, but who’s to say that isn’t a good thing? A little tryst with her gorgeous, sexy, here-today-gone-to-Helena-tomorrow neighbor might be the perfect welcome to Montana.

Excerpt © Tule Publishing

What’s his story?

Since they’d practically had sex–in her mind–she decided to ask.

Once he was seated with his safety belt snug across his flat belly, she turned the key in the ignition and put the truck in gear.

“So, fill me in. You own a ranch your brother called a tax write-off. You’ve as much as admitted you’re nobody’s cowboy. You wear three-hundred-dollar jeans. I don’t see a wedding ring. Your nose is sunburned. So I take that to mean you don’t have a wife or live-in girlfriend to remind you to put on sunscreen.”

He let out a gruff cough. “Very observant. The jeans are two years old.”

“But look brand new.”

“I don’t–didn’t–come to the ranch very often in the past.”

She waited.

“No wife. Never married. My last…friend-with-benefits wanted more than I’m in a position to give at the moment. I’m not sure we’re still friends. But I’m positive the benefits have been canceled.”

She’d always been a sucker for smart men with a sense of humor. The leftover dewy feeling in her crotch–and the fact she was a stranger in a strange land–made her bold. “So, if someone new to the area was interested in that sort of position–friends-with-benefits-no-strings-attached–how would one apply? Online? Or in person?”

He tossed back his head and gave a deep, masculine laugh that sent a stream of shivers down her spine, pooling conveniently in her already primed lady parts. Her hands tightened on the steering wheel.

Since they’d reached the end of her driveway and had no traffic behind her, she threw the shifter into park and turned to face him.

Before she could offer any slightly embarrassed disclaimer for such an obvious come on, he released the latch on his safety belt and moved closer.

“In person. I go with my gut. Usually one kiss will do. Either there’s chemistry or there’s not.”

“Chemistry. Crap. My least favorite subject in school. But I do like kissing.”

She leaned in, too.


Austen could have come up with a dozen–make that a trillion–reasons not to kiss this beautiful stranger. But, for all his reputed logic and claims he was a rule maker, not a rule breaker, he was lonely. And…as much as it killed him to admit the fact, he’d reached a point where he was unsure of what to do next. Him. Rudderless. Now, living in the moment seemed like the only rational choice he had.

Besides…she offered. It wouldn’t be neighborly to turn her down. Right?

He caught her lips, which were softer than he’d imagined. A perfect match to his. Her eyes remained opened…for their initial contact, then her lids lowered in a sultry, utterly into it way that made him give a low, unplanned growl. What was it about that moment of surrender that brought out the beast in him?

When her perfect lips parted to invite him in, he closed his eyes, too. She tasted good. Mint gum? Maybe just leftover toothpaste. But there was sweetness, as well. A hint of honey. And he wanted more.

While his mouth plundered, his hands moved down her back to pull her closer.

“Um, oh…no. Seatbelt,” she murmured.

He pulled back and looked down. “Oh. Duh.”

He stabbed the release button so she could slip free of it.

They stalled…for half a second before she grinned and plastered herself against him. “Um. You’re a good kisser. Very good. But I want you to be sure. No doubts.”

She wasn’t aggressive, just methodical. As if she were hitting all the bullet points in a textbook called Rules of Kissing. Austen could have stopped her at any point and said, “You’re hired.” But a part of him couldn’t wait to be taken to school.

She nibbled and teased. Her tongue engaged his in a clever, nonverbal debate. A first for him. Kissing had always been a mere step on the road to the big show. With Serena, a stranger, the playful exploration was fun.

What would sex be like with her?

Would? Hell, no. Will. What will sex with Serena be like?

He wrapped his arms around her possessively. He had to find out. Now. Right now.

Honk. Honk.


 Did that make you smile? It always does me. 😉 If you happened to miss this book, here are the links. 



Google PLAY



If you prefer to read in print form, you’ll find this book in the Big Sky Mavericks Collection, Book I – Family Matters.

Happy reading,





What is it about February?

First, we agree to let an overgrown squirrel predict the weather, then we blithely allow the flower industry, candy makers and greeting card people to run rampant over our hearts.

Speaking of hearts. Did you hear that the candy makers who supply the bulk of the world’s supply of that Valentine’s Day staple “Conversation Hearts” blew it? Whoever decided to sell the company to another company too inept to look at a calendar–V-Day is FEBRUARY 14th, people…well, not my problem.

I bought early because some traditions–even the silly ones–must be adhered to. 😉

One GOOD thing to come out of this Valentine mayhem is celebrating Romance Novels. I mean, why wouldn’t we? Boy meets girl. They have issues. True love prevails. They live happily-ever-after. People who don’t read romance novels call that a formula. I call it magic. Reading can be magical. A good book can transport you out of a life that might be missing conversation–let alone conversation hearts–into a world of rich emotion, forgiveness, and joy. There may even be chocolate.

And here’s my Valentine to you: 50% off BOOKS II AND III of the Love, Montana series in the Tule Publishing BookStore, using the code: LOVE50 (copy this code then click the links below)

HER ROGUE TO TAME – Tule Bookstore link:

HER REBEL TO KISS – Tule bookstore link:

(The code is good for both titles: please share the love! Since Book I – HER HERO TO LOVE – is still FREE for one…more…day, that means you can read the entire series for less than a bag of Conversation Hearts. ;-))