Debra Salonen’s Montana Darling

I have been loving Debra Salonen‘s Big Sky Mavericks series and am really looking forward to reading book 3, MONTANA DARLING, which released today.  An award-winning journalist and author of over 26 publishing novels, Debra has an amazing voice and infused humor and warmth in her stories which makes it so easy to fall in love with her characters.

I invited Debra to share more about the new story with all you because I know it’s one you’ll want to read!  Please help me welcome Debra Salonen!


Thank you, Jane–and New Year’s greetings to all of your fabulous friends!

I’m so excited about my new Tule book, MONTANA DARLING.

I love connected books, and this is #3 in my Big Sky Mavericks series. It’s Mia’s book. Mia. As I wrote in my Dear Reader letter: “Poor Mia. That’s what everyone says. A breast cancer survivor and single mom, Mia’s fed up with having things taken from her. Look out, hot, gorgeous, interesting stranger camping on her land. You’re about to meet your match…your perfect match.”

I only had a vague idea of Mia’s hero when I started the book, but I knew he had to be exceptional. And…oh, my…Ryker is very special. I love what one reviewer wrote about him: “Ryker was just the sweetest and most understanding man a person can fall in love with.” I did fall in love with him. I hope you do, too. Who wouldn’t love a man who makes you see yourself through his loving eyes?

I’m working on Meg’s book, MONTANA MAVERICK. This book has been full of surprises, too, starting with the opening line: “It was a dark and stormy night…”

What? That’s been done before? LOL. Just wait. You’ll see…

Do you like description or dialogue to open a book? One winner will get the prize below.



Here’s an excerpt from Montana Darling:

They waddled quite gracelessly through the wet yard to the patio, which provided enough protection for Ryker to shake out the umbrella and stash it in a dry corner. He pulled a key from his pocket. “Side door,” he said, drawing her with him. “The slider is very sticky.”

Mia had been to Bailey’s workshop several times, but never at night. They kicked off their shoes and boots on a wide woven mat. “My socks are wet.”

“Mine, too. We can dry them on the register in my room.”

His hand was warm and comforting. “Want some tea or cocoa? Won’t be as good as Sage Carrigan’s.”

She squeezed his fingers. “Nothing right now.”

Was that signal clear enough? She wanted something that had nothing to do with food. She wanted him, God help her. She even brought along a couple of the condoms she bought in Bozeman the last time she was there. Not for fear of pregnancy, but because she hadn’t taken him up on his offer of a doctor’s report.

Her lack of female plumbing was another reason why this fling with Ryker could never go any further than a little temporary fun. He wasn’t even thirty. He’d want children at some point. He deserved a family of his own. She wasn’t the right woman for him…long-term, but for tonight? She wasn’t a sex fiend, but she felt fairly confident they’d both enjoy what was about to happen.

“What’s it like living in a jewelry store?” she asked as they passed the new showroom.

He shrugged. “Ask me in a week. When I was doing school pictures, I left in the morning before the ladies got here and they were gone by the time I got back.” He paused, his smile a bit mischievous. “But they’re really nice. They think I’m too thin so they leave plates of goodies for me. One of the ladies–I don’t know which–makes the best brownies on the planet. Do you want one?”

She did. “I cut sugar out of my diet because somebody told me or I read somewhere that sugar feeds cancer cells.”

He pulled her close. “But you got rid of the cancer cells.”

“I did, didn’t I?” What was her excuse for cutting pleasure from her diet? As a punishment for getting sick in the first place? “Okay. Give me a brownie.”

His smile triggered something silly, bright and magical inside her. She applauded when he danced like some crazy hipster down the hallway to the kitchen. He was a young Tom Cruise in white socks and blue jeans, with a mop of curls and laughing eyes.

He returned a second later in serious waiter mode–a yellow plate resting on his uplifted hand. “Madam,” he said with a phony French accent. “If you weel follow me. Your table..or should I say…bed…is waiting.”

Bed. The b-word. God, I’m really going to do this, aren’t I?

His bow was her answer. Tonight was about having fun.

Exactly what he made her want to feel again. Ryker Bensen was the right man to remind her she was still alive.


Thank you, Debra, for sharing with us today!  Readers be sure to download your copy of MONTANA DARLING today and to help Debra celebrate her new release, I’ve got a special JP Friends Collection prize for you, filled with books, giftcards, a book necklace with your first initial, reader goodies and so much more!  For a chance to win, leave a comment and you’ll be entered!  I’ll announce a winner on Monday, January 12th.

1-9-2015 JP Blog



  1. This book sounds like the perfect one to spend a winter evening wit – curled up in my favorite chair in my Jammies with a hot cup of tea. Ah ….. Heaven!

    1. Thanks, JanieC. I’ve never been a stickler for one way or the other to open a book. Sometimes it depends on the book. My new one has a rather exciting opening–despite that opening line. LOL.
      At my brilliant editor’s suggestion, I added a prologue to DARLING. This is how it starts:
      The boy lifted his face to the sun and inhaled deeply.
      Heaven, he thought, is Montana in the summer.

    1. Good luck, Cheryl from WA. Jane has the most brilliant prizes. Maybe the bookmarks I sent her will reach this package in time to be included. If not, I’m giving them away on my newsletter. (which is accessible on my website) 😉

    1. Thank you so much, Marie. I just read the most amazing review of it. Really touched my heart. But I’m a little emotional right anyway because my daughter just went into labor.

    1. Isn’t Marietta a fabulous community? I’ve enjoyed every story I’ve read in this setting. My next series will branch out a bit as my characters explore the area more.

  2. I am looking forward to start reading the book today. As soon as the grocery shopping and some chores have been done, I have a date with my couch, some tea and your book!

  3. I have already read. Loved Mia and Ryker. Everyone needs a Ryker in their life. He made Mia feel beuatiful again. Can not wait to read Meg’s story, should be interesting.

  4. I like a little description at the start of the book, not a lot but just enough to get me really interested. I love your books so I know that this one will be just as wonderful as the others.

  5. I’ve been really looking forward to this book … Ryker sounds like my kinda man !! 🙂

    Congratulations on your release and I hope this year brings you Joy, Good Health, Success and plenty of good books to read !! (other than the ones you write!!) 🙂

  6. I love to start out with description as it sets the stage for the entire book to begin. Can not wait to read this!

    1. Heidi, that might be why my editor suggested the prologue because the setting is very important to this book–takes place on the land that is in dispute and connects them. Good reminder. Let me know what you think.

  7. Oh my…a fun, frolic”y”, fraught with anticipation and cute to boot…excerpt! Now I gotta read them all! Love your writing Miss Debra! I hope you have a banner day! Maybe my guys’ll give me a gift certificate for my birthday and I can get them all!

  8. I do like some description or dialogue at the beginning of a book because it helps make the story more interesting. I love the cover of this book and I can’t wait to read it. It sounds awesome.

  9. I have to admit I’m really enjoying this series. I downloaded it and I’m hoping to read it this weekend. It’s to cold out to do anything else but cuddle up by the fire and read.

  10. This is a delightful and wonderful series which I enjoy greatly. Reading this is an escape. Thanks for your great books and this lovely giveaway.

  11. I am all set up to read this! In feet pajamas, have monster mug full of Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa with mini marshmallows & my favorite comforter &. Pillow! Thank u for such a generous giveaway!

  12. Hi Deb; I guess I generally like description to open a book, but really doesn’t matter – it really depends on the book. I don’t know how I missed this series – I’ll have to get busy reading it – sounds great and can’t wait to get started.

  13. Lovely post!! Regarding your question, Deb: It depends on the author’s skill, regarding dialogue vs. description openers. In media res is hard for newer writers–luckily, you ain’t one of those. So either works (in my opinion) under skilled hands. ;o)


    1. Bless your heart, Sydney. I’ve had books that open themselves–no questions asked. Others, have taken two or three starts to get right. Funny! Maybe new authors don’t realize that, but they’ll learn. There is no ONE right answer, only the answer that is right for that book.

    1. I’m going to bed early tonight to do just that. I finished Jane’s amazing The Kidnapped Christmas Bride a few days ago. Loved it. Am reading another Tule Christmas title right now, but it escapes me. Long day.

  14. Just finished Montana Darling today, and loved it. I like either description or dialogue, whatever fits the mood the author want to go with is fine. I don’t remember what it was for this book, but it kept me turning the pages until I got too sleepy last night and so I finished it this morning. Love a lazy weekend morning!

  15. This is the first I’ve heard of this series but now…. I am so looking forward to reading the entire series! Thanks for sharing it with us Jane. 🙂

  16. I love books that open with description. I think it is especially fitting with the Montana setting. This is a wonderful series and I can’t wait to read more!

    1. Denise, the setting is huge for this book, so I’m very happy my editor suggested the prologue, where that works great. In Mia’s POV she’s in her parents’ basement when the story opens. Not so cool.

  17. It depends on the author and the book. Some set up the story better with dialogue and some with a description. As long as it grabs my attention it’s all good. Ryker is a great name!

  18. Congrats on the new book, Deb. I picked it up yesterday and am eager to read it. Loved reading the excerpt above!

    1. Hugs, Marcy. Honestly, I’m blown away by some of the great reviews for this book. It seems to touch a chord with readers and that is a fabulous feeling for an author. Let me know if it resonates with you. Fingers crossed.

  19. Oh my!!! I can’t wait to finish my other book so I can start reading this one. I think I”m already in love with Ryker, just from the excerpts I’ve read. Thank you Debra for continuing this series.

  20. Congratulations on the new release! I have loved the other books in this series and I have this one downloaded and just waiting for me to get time to sit and devour it.

    I am not a stickler for description vs dialog to open.

  21. A story of recovery and redemption.
    Second chances and hard fiughtbhsooybebtubgsfought happy endings
    This is why I love the Tule stable …. Romance… Yes … But every story has a human issue as secondary story

    The skilled writing of each. Author shines thru

    Love it x

  22. My tbr list is crazy long but Im definately adding this to it 🙂
    Congrats on the new release!
    Thanks for the chance!

  23. I think I need to the Evelyn Wood Speed reading course. Or somehow slow down the speed of time to read all these wonderful books that are being written by Tule writers. Is there some sort of ‘special power’ that stops time around me that I could buy??

  24. Hi Jane, Thanks so much for this great chance to win all the goodies.
    To answer your question; Do you like description or dialogue to open a book? I would have to say that it depends on the story. I feel it would need to be decided by the author of the novel. I have favorite authors, and like their writing style. So I will venture to say I Iike them both. Again Thanks loads. Kimberly Anderson

    1. Good answer, Kimberly. I’ve done both, of course. I even opened one book in the point of view of the dog. “George knew what he was about to do was wrong, but…” George is a Great Dane. 😉

  25. I love the name Ryker.I’m puting this series on my TRL right now.You’re a new Author for me Deb and that’s why I’m so happy to meer you here.Happy Weekend. 🙂
    Carol L

  26. I do like a little description to open the book. Montana Darling sounds like a wonderful boook based on the excerpt posted.

  27. Debra,
    Congratulations on the release of MONTANA DARLING. Thanks also for the excerpt. A nice peak at the characters and what is happening in their lives.
    Montana is such beautiful country. It takes special people to live there and appreciate it. I am sure your book is a reflection of this.
    Best wishes for a successful release.

  28. lovely excerpt of Mia and Rykers, Montana Darling – I’ve not read Debra Salonen’s novels before, thanks for sharing

  29. Sorry, my friends. The system seems to let me respond to one or two then it bops me out and tells me there’s an internal error. Maybe I talk too much.

    But I’ve read and appreciate each and every one of you for commenting–and for all your support of writers and books.

    I wanted to share that my daughter gave birth yesterday to a 7lb14oz baby girl. Her name is Poppy. A glorious day, for sure!


  30. Deb, first of all congrats on the new grand baby and what a sweet name. Thanks so much for the excerpt of Mia’s story…you had me at the first sentence. I must read that book! Thanks Jane for sharing Deb with us.

  31. that amazing sounding book would go great with my new blue blanket dh gave me for Christmas and throw in a cup of hot chocolate. Oh la la.

  32. Congratulations on the new book! I prefer dialogue, but description is good, as well, as long as it’s not too much description, and gets to the story quickly.

  33. I prefer description to open a book so I know the setting and background of the story.

    Congrats on your granddaughter. You’ll treasure every moment with her!

  34. Congratulations on the new book, can’t wait to read. Yes, I like to have a description of the book before I read it, I even like a “snip it” in the front of the book. Really enjoying all of the Montana books

  35. It depends on the story whether which opening I like best. I am looking forward to Meg’s story. I also really enjoyed Bailey’s parent’s story.

  36. #49, Kimberly Anderson, Your name was picked as the winner. 🙂
    Drop me an email with your mailing address please and I’ll get prize in the mail to you soon!

  37. The Montana series are wonderful!! With this being Read-a-thon day you can bet your bottom dollar I’ve set aside today to do nothing but read. Can’t wait to start reading Montana Darling. The use of real-life health issues is always a plus in any read!!!

  38. Congrats on the new book Debra 🙂 I favor description at the start of the book. Thanks for the chance to win.

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