Debra Salonen talks “Montana Rogue”… plus a reader giveaway!

MontanaRogue-300dpiResearch: It’s a tough job but somebody has to do it.

Here’s a truth about writing: sometimes research is dry, boring, and tedious. Sometimes, however, you find yourself spending hours…or days…watching videos that feature Channing Tatum and assorted handsome hunks dancing their tight little buns off.  Is this a great job or what?


I never know what I’ll pick up from my research. For instance, the video below showed me there’s a huge variety in the types of dancing out there. This was something my hero, Tucker “The Full Mountie” Montgomery, experienced firsthand when he returned to his off-season job and found a new, up-and-coming “Nordic god” had twerked his way into Tucker’s headliner spotlight.  Watching “Ragnar the Bold’s” hip-hop, twerky kind of dance made Tucker realize he was done with that part of his life. Here’s the scene where reality hits home:

He forced himself to focus on his breathing as he stood in the wings of the stage and watched Ragnar the Bold shake his ass. The man could move, Tucker had to give him that. A touch of hip-hop in his routines seemed to appeal to a younger crowd. Toss in a few slides and spins that made the women in the front rows gasp and blink and you had instant sex appeal.

What did I just see, he could almost hear them thinking to themselves. Was that his junk?

All part of the show. Tucker had played a little peek-a-boo when he first started. It was all fun and games as long as there wasn’t some jerk from the morality police sitting in the front row with a video camera. Tucker leaned around the curtain far enough to look at the first few rows. Excited, happy, and lusty women shoulder to shoulder clapping and stomping their feet. Just what you wanted to see if you were about to strip and shake your booty for them.



Now, full disclosure, I haven’t seen Magic Mike XXL on the big or little screen, but it’s on my list. I doubt that the plot is high concept–or any concept other than making money–but it still looks like fun. And Andie MacDowell reminds me of my heroine, Amanda.  Here’s a scene from Tucker’s final American Male dance:

Sure enough, the Maroon 5 song Sugar started, and as usual, the beat worked its magic. He’d gone round and round with management to get a more provocative song, which fit his mood. The lyrics of this one seemed to hit a little too close to home, but once the words triggered the memory of one little taste of Amanda, the rest of the routine came naturally.

As part of his trademark moves, he got a running start and slid off the end of the stage so he could snake his way through the front rows looking for a likely partner. Someone like…

“Holy crap,” he swore, holding out his hand to a girl with chocolate brown hair and eyes that said, “Me, me, pick me.”

The girl he held in his arms every night in his dreams.

Amanda. And every morning he awoke with more broken pieces. He had a million of them.

Do I care why she’s here?

Not if she was ready to pour a little sugar on him.

He picked her up, legs straddling his waist.

“Come on, Sugar, I’m right here. Are you with me?”

“Yes, please.”

He spun them about, lifting her to the stage, where the show called for him to pretend to kiss her. Could he stay in character–keep the mask on long enough to survive the pain twisting his insides into a thick, hard knot? He swooped and shook his ass. She laughed and clapped, obviously playing the willing victim.

But when he pressed his hips to hers, she grabbed his butt cheeks and squeezed hard. He bucked and rolled off her. He made a naughty-naughty gesture, shaking his finger at her. The crowd went nuts. He did a few squats and twirls to the music, then gave her his hand and pulled her to her feet.

Amanda was here. She looked hot. And available. And damn if he’d let her go again.



Now, in addition to watching sexy men dance and strip, I also had to do research at Yosemite Zip Lines because Tucker is building a zip line outside of Marietta, Montana and I’m nothing if not thorough. ;-) In fact, we took my husband’s four brothers and one of their wives along to help me get the full experience. What a rush!

Here’s my very own ZIP from Yosemite Ziplines in Mariposa, California:


As you can see, I had a lot of fun researching this book. I hope you’ll get a kick out of Tucker’s and Amanda’s story, too. Have any of you ZIPPED before? Or watched a male burlesque show? Inquiring minds want to know…and one winner will be drawn from your responds for the prize package below.

Happy reading, everyone.


Deb Magic Mike prizeWrite to Deb in the comments and you could win Montana Cowgirl in paperback and the Magic Mike movie!


  1. Thanks for letting me share my tedious, exhausting research! ;-)

    I’m working on revisions for my Tule Christmas book: MONTANA MIRACLE, and I’ll be around if anyone has any questions.

    I’d love your comments.


  2. I’ve never zipped before but before my strokes I planned on it…maybe next summer cause we have zips all over this part of massachusetts…. as for Burlesque shows with men… no I didn’t even know that was a thing….sounds yummy

    1. Good luck, Diana. It’s such fun. I hope you can give it a try. The Yosemite Zip Line team is super helpful and takes great of people with health challenges. One of the men in our group lost his thumb and a finger in an accident just 3 weeks earlier. He made it through the whole course.

      1. Yes, he is very cute and I picture Tucker looking like him. I forgot to say, I have visited a male strip club a few times with friend (many years ago).

  3. Exhausting research but someone’s gotta do it! ;) II can’t wait to read this! I’ve never zipped before…I think I’d be scared but it sounds so cool! I’ve watched a male strip show…hot and fun and a little embarrassing lol!

    1. I totally agree on the embarrassing part. I went to a male strip show once a long time ago. I felt a lot more comfortable watching the movie and YouTube videos. LOL.

      Zipping really isn’t scary after your first go. It’s exhilirating!

  4. no…never zipped…lol…and I’m old….so….
    chances are slim & none….saw Chippendales one time in my younger days ;)

  5. I have not ziplined before. I scared of heights so not able to do. I have also not been to a burlesque show either. Would love to go. Would love to win. Thanks for the chance

  6. Not good with heights… but in Rome with my mom in the late 70’s… we did a night tour…ummm the last club was pretty wild and both my mom & I spent a lot of time digging around in our purses… due to embarrassment… well I was with my mother!! LOL!!

  7. Thank you so much for coming and “getting your zip on” with us at Yosemite Ziplines and Adventure Ranch.I used to think I had the best job in the world owning/marketing fun to folks from around the world but your research and development trips are bomb ! So if you need a research assistant ,I’m your gal! “zip on” :)

  8. Victoria, I realized too late I forgot to put a link to your website in my blog. I was going to look it up and go back. Too much on my brain. But my whole family had SUCH a great time. We liked it a lot better than the other one we tried. Yosemite Ziplines and Adventure Ranch Rocks.

  9. So glad you ‘endured’ all that grueling research on our behalf! Yes, and it was fun but I took the lower line since I’m a bit acrophobic…thank you for the intro-you are new to me but that will be remedied!

    1. If you come to California–and I highly recommend adding Yosemite National Park to everyone’s MUST SEE list, I highly encourage you to give this zip line a try. Super safe and, yet, thrilling. They zip a lot of corporate accounts, like Google.

  10. No…and no, to both questions. Should I put it on my bucket list?

    Congratulations on the new release. I am now reading Nicole Helm’s Keep Me, Cowboy and your book is next on my list to read.

    1. Zipping? Yes. Yosemite? Absolutely. Magic Mike? LOL. I won’t tell, if you don’t.

      Thanks for adding Montana Rogue to your list, Mirjam. Hope you like Tucker and Amanda as much as I do.

      1. I am enjoying Tucker and Amanda’s story so much, you even mention the Netherlands, which is where I am from :-) Now off to work and saving the last part of the book for tonight.

  11. No I’ve never zipped line but would love to try it some day. I’ve seen some chippendale hotties strutting their stuff around Las Vegas but have never been to a show of theirs. Looking forward to reading your latest book!!

  12. No, to both questions. I dont about zipping,.im terrified of heights, but would love to go to.a male strip show

    1. Hi, Melissa.
      Sorry to be so slow in replying. I had to finish my Christmas book and lost this thread in the process.

      I totally get the fear of heights thing. My sister was the same way. She never would have zipped, but she did attend a male burlesque show a time or two. ;-)

  13. I have never zip lined before. It looks like a ton of fun. I went to a male strip show with girls from work for my bridal shower party and another persons shower as well. We had a blast. Those buns are nice….lol

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