Debra Salonen wrote her first screenplay at age 11 for the television series Flipper. The plot involved the older brother's romantic interest in a young girl, presumably Debra. The story--like Debra's showbiz career--never evolved past the "what if?" stage, but Debra's addiction to writing has never faltered.
"I've always found a way to incorporate writing into any job I happened to hold at the time...well, except for my stint as a flaxseed counter in college," she said dryly. "Don't ask--it wasn't pretty."
As an aide in a preschool, she went from distributing milk and cookies to writing the monthly newsletter. Her stringer work for a local newspaper turned into a full-time position as a feature writer and assistant editor. Salonen says that exposure to human-interest stories fed her writer's soul, laying the groundwork for a wealth of imaginary characters and situations.
"Modern fiction provides the medium to touch people's lives. If your characters are real, in the sense they face real problems and possess real hopes, wants, needs and flaws, people can identify with them. My stories are about imperfect people who must learn life's lessons, heal old wounds and find inner forgiveness before they can truly love another person. I think these are universal themes most people, men and women, can relate to."
Salonen, who lives in the foothills near Yosemite, credits the support of her family with a hand in her success. "My ivory tower is on the second floor of our house. My son recently used an extension ladder to hang a wind-chime outside my window to encourage the creative spirits to stop by for a visit."
She also recognizes the value of networking and associating with fellow writers. "The first hurdle you face as a writer is admitting you are one--like any other addiction."
"I'm thrilled by the validation publication provides, but I also feel a sense of accomplishment for all those people who have helped me learn my craft and encouraged me to believe in myself. Writing is a team effort directed by life experience, associations, imagination, and spiritual connectedness," Salonen said.
Salonen is currently at work on two new projects for the Superromance line. Her Flipper screenplay is on the shelf collecting dust--right where it belongs.
But her brother, Cole, thinks that's a huge gamble, and she can't disagree. At the very least, he tells her, she should go for a known quantity and ask his old friend and best poker buddy, Blake, to be the dad.
Blake's certainly a known quantity, all right.
He's Annie's first husband...
Jonah knows Krista has a not-so-hidden agenda, but sparring with her over cocoa at their Secret Santa meetings is the most fun he’s had since returning to his old hometown. Krista may come across as all business, but Jonah’s positive he’s glimpsed a little girl inside her who wants to believe in Santa... and in love.
Baseball player Brett must get rehabilitation for his shoulder if he wants another season in the Major Leagues. He and his partner, Benj, take off to the boonies to stay with physical therapist Ralph, a tough-talking, routine-setting guy, and Jean, Ralph’s Cajun lover, who cooks as well as he loves.
Brett and Ralph butt heads from the beginning. Ralph wants Brett to be more in touch with his feelings; Brett wants Ralph to give him his therapy and leave him alone. Benj and Jean get along far better, with Jean showing Benj around the kitchen and reassuring him when things with Brett get strained.
Before Ralph can even begin to work on Brett’s shoulder, though, Brett faces an even more difficult physical challenge, one that does more than threaten his career. He and Benj have to work through some tough issues, making decisions that will affect the rest of their lives together. Their gradual friendship with Ralph and Jean helps them through the bad times, but even that might not be enough to pull them through.
Single mom Anne Fraser has sacrificed plenty to get ahead in the world of corporate hotel management. Just ask her eight-year-old daughter, Zoey. When her stepfather asks Anne to fill her late mother’s shoes at the Silver Rose Guest Ranch, Anne can’t say no. Even if the job includes sharing the reins with the man whose kiss she’s never forgotten.
Will Cavanaugh planned to be the top bull rider in the country. He’s come close in his fifteen-year career, but now an injury has him sidelined for the summer. He answers his grandfather’s plea for help but soon realizes he’s facing a new dilemma. Could one summer with Anne and her daughter possibly be enough? Or is it just the beginning?
Battered and a bit disillusioned by life, Will and Anne return to the Silver Rose to repay old debts. To fall in love again. But, just for the summer.
Or, maybe...for a lifetime.
Nathan Kent owes his wife a baby. A fresh start on the West Coast seems like the perfect fix. He’ll make partner while Casey nests in their small, but hip San Francisco apartment. Too bad whipping his law firm’s dysfunctional office into shape gobbles up all his time and energy, leaving Casey vulnerable to her estranged father’s plea for help. How are they supposed to get pregnant when she’s living in the Central Valley, running a campaign that could ruin his career?
You can go home again…with the right incentive.
Casey Kent swore off California at age fifteen when Red Buchanan, her widower father--the first man to break her heart--banished her from Willow Creek Ranch. Sent to learn “girl stuff” from her maternal aunt in Boston, Casey vowed never to return. But when Red needs her help to fight a threat to his home and livelihood, Casey can’t say no. Even if that means leaving Nathan alone with a beautiful, power hungry barracuda.
Lisa Malden fell in love with Joe in seventh grade, but it was his twin brother, Patrick, who wooed her, who pursued her, who proposed to her when she found out she was pregnant. And he would have married her if his life hadn’t been cut short in a drunk driving accident.
Seventeen years later, single mom Lisa is worried that history might repeat itself. Her son is in trouble. Her life is at a crossroads. And her one conviction – that Patrick was the father of her son – has been brought into question. But can she trust Joe with the truth? The men in her life have always left. Why should this time be any different?
Are you ready for Act III, Sentinel Pass?
Change hit the sleepy, Black Hills town of Sentinel Pass like a tsunami from a blockbuster movie when Hollywood heartthrob Cooper Lindstrom fell in love with the Pass’s favorite daughter, postmaster Libby McGannon. It was only a matter of time until other locals, including the members of Libby’s Wine, Women and Words book club, get written into the script.
This contemporary western romance collection includes books 8, 9, & 10 set in the Black Hills, Malibu, LA, and Louisiana. In this small town, secrets, mystery, murder and revenge are more than plot points in a script, when love is at stake.
Black Hills Rancher
Cade Garrity, Kat’s newly returned brother, has agreed to run their father’s ranch for the interim because he’s pretty sure he’s failing at being a single dad. The last thing he needs/wants is to get mixed up in some Hollywood mayhem that involves Jessie Bouchard, the beautiful stuntwoman he hired to babysit his daughter. As if her job description isn’t dangerous enough, Jessie also seems to have picked up a stalker.
Black Hills Stranger
Jonas Galloway has a lot of nerve asking for help from Remy Bouchard—his high school sweetheart whose heart he broke after a terrible secret destroyed their hopes for a future together. But his seven-year old daughter, Birdie, has disappeared and Remy is the only one he trusts to find her. After all, Remy’s unique abilities saved his life when he was a child. Remy is only home long enough to wrap up her affairs and sell her childhood home. Then she’s moving to the Black Hills to start a new life. But can she turn her back on a child in need? Never. Even if working with Jonas breaks her heart for good.
Black Hills Legacy
Robyn Craine, new owner of The Mystery Spot, has big plans for the Sentinel Pass tourist attraction, and she gambled her surprise inheritance to buy the adjoining piece of property to turn her business into a year-round travel venue. Robyn doesn’t have time to fall for Liam Temple, a handsome actor whose tycoon father is ready to go to war over Robyn’s land. Liam’s break-out role is in the works. He has no intention of falling for the feisty, Harley-riding local who somehow wound up in his father’s crosshairs for buying a hunk of land Bill Marston thinks belongs to him.
Are you ready for your close-up, Sentinel Pass?
Change hits the sleepy, Black Hills town of Sentinel Pass like a tsunami from a blockbuster movie when Hollywood heartthrob Cooper Lindstrom falls for the Pass’s favorite daughter, postmaster Libby McGannon. It’s only a matter of time until other locals' love stories, including the members of Libby’s Wine, Women and Words book club, get written into the script.
This contemporary western romance collection includes the first FOUR books in a TWELVE-book series set in the Black Hills, Malibu, LA, and Louisiana. In this small town, secrets, mystery, murder and revenge are more than plot points in a script, when love is at stake.
BLACK HILLS BABY
Hollywood heartthrob Cooper Lindstrom needs money to get his late mother's homicidal bookie off his back. Black Hills postmaster Libby McGannon’s online “deal” sounds like a goldmine—exactly the kind of TV sitcom audiences love. Libby might be the ticket that pushes Coop back on top of the ratings, if he can keep from falling in love with her.
BLACK HILLS BILLIONAIRE
Success can hide a multitude of secrets, but when Hollywood's "wunderkind" producer/director Shane Reynard agrees to set his pal Cooper’s TV sitcom in the Black Hills, he knows he’s risking more than a boatload of money. He's risking a war with the brother he hates. What he didn't count on was making Jenna Murphy--his first love and biggest regret--a target.
BLACK HILLS BAD BOY
Look out, Sentinel Pass, Jack Treadwell's got a brand new Harley--and attitude. No more “Mr. Nice Guy.” He’s bad to the bone…sort of. Single mom Kat Petroski knows love-at-first-sight can’t be trusted, and happily-ever-after only exists in romance novels. She’s too busy—and too smart--to fall for a RUB--rich urban biker. Until she does.
BLACK HILLS BACHELOR
A miner and a movie star? Even Hollywood thinks pairing celebrity actress Morgana Carlyle with Sentinel Pass miner Mac McGannon is a bad idea. The only person who thinks it’s the best news ever is Mac’s young daughter, Megan, who insists Morgana Carlyle would make the perfect replacement mom. Even if Mac secretly agrees, it’s clear Morgana isn’t who she claims to be.
BLACK HILLS RENDEZVOUS II includes:
BLACK HILLS NATIVE SON
BLACK HILLS OUTCAST
BLACK HILLS WHITE KNIGHT
BLACK HILLS RENDEZVOUS III includes:
BLACK HILLS RANCHER
BLACK HILLS STRANGER
BLACK HILLS LEGACY