2014: An intersection of fiction and real life

P1040474I have to say most of the time I’m not all that giddy-excited about ending one year and starting a new one. Most years have been pretty good. I suppose, though, it’s a good time to take a moment and reflect.
A couple of weeks ago, I went through the year in photos to create the annual custom calendar for my dad for Christmas. Turns out, we had a lot going on in 2014. As a family, we went places and did things. We had a once-in-a-lifetime event.
The biggest event of the year was my son’s high school graduation. Not only did that mean we were sending our awesome son off to college, it meant my husband and I became empty nesters. That’s been very strange, and kind of sad. But it’s also been fun to see him mature and thrive, to deal with new situations and responsibilities. For me, his graduation also meant the end of an era – years and years of volunteering in the kids’ schools. No more band concessions, book fairs, debate boosters, tennis banquets, etc., etc.
It was a year for vacations that included spring break in California and a trip to Joshua National Park near Palm Desert. And our daughter was able to fly in to join us. Made our annual trek to Colorado in July and then headed to the east coast in October for a little beach action and visit with our daughter who’s now out in the working world. Lots of fun times.

Of course my real life intersected with a life of fiction! In 2014, I published my fourth novel. Have to say that is really cool. There were times I doubted I could finish even one. I strengthened ties with critique partners, sold a few more books, and created a new website. I met other authors, made connections with retailers and readers and librarians. As Three Writers of Romance, my critique partners and I were guest speakers and spotlighted in a local magazine.

Looking to 2015, I see a lot more activity. I’m kicking off the new year with my fifth novel – yes, FIFTH. “Second Wind,” the second book in my Women of Whitfield small-town trilogy, launches Jan. 10.
The months will zip by, and once again we’ll be in California for spring break. This time, we’ll get to see our son play college tennis in an invitational tournament there! Hopefully, shortly after that, our daughter will be accepted to a PhD program and will take a huge step in furthering her education and career. The pace won’t slow down at all in April, as my husband and I will join a friend at the Final Four in Indianapolis (Come on, Jayhawks, let’s get it together!), then I’m scheduled for a book sale and signing at a women’s event in Dallas.
In what promises to be a highlight of the coming year, my book club is planning a girls’ retreat in a lovely natural area near Branson, Mo. I’m going to need those four days to unwind, rejuvenate, relax and write. A change of scenery always seems to get the creative juices flowing.

I can’t say what the second half of the year will bring, but I know I can count on a busy schedule. I’ll look forward to seeing what opportunities unfold for my kids. I’ll keep writing – hoping that 2015 will be a two-book year. I’ll attempt to keep up with the changes in the publishing industry, and working to connect with readers. I’ll probably fight with technology and be overwhelmed by social media and marketing.
My goals for the year, I suppose, are to enjoy the travels and times with my family. To eat lunch out with friends as often as I can. To read, and to write books that resonate with others who love to read and get lost in a world of fiction.
Happy New Year and happy reading to all!

Let the festivities continue!

Well, Christmas is over, but the festivities are not! Crossing my fingers in hopes that the weather will cooperate this week, and I’ll be able to attend two annual holiday events that are always full of merriment and camaraderie – get togethers with longtime friends with whom I have a history.

Tomorrow night is supposed to be my book club’s holiday dinner, dubbed the traditional salmon feast and winter solstice celebration. Last year we rescheduled three times, and finally gave up. It just wouldn’t have been the same in July. I ended up handing out the cute little individual gourmet teas I’d purchased as partxDSC_0715y favors at a random book club meeting several months later. Not the same at all.

On Friday, I’m supposed to have lunch with three friends I used to work with in corporate America. We bonded twenty-plus years ago over bad bosses and a ridiculous working environment – oh, and words. As writers and editors, we have common talents and interests. Now we have so many experiences in common. Kids and college are some big ones. Many years ago we went our separate ways, but we’ve kept up our annual holiday luncheon. We try to kick off spring with a Mother’s Day lunch, and until recently, we added in a family summertime event. Alas, the kids are almost all grown now and the last summer soiree was just us girls and spouses.

The forecast for Friday is a wintry mix. Temperatures are supposed to plummet. Our event is to take place at least thirty minutes away (that’s on a good day). We’ve rescheduled twice, and I’m hoping the bakery will indulge me one more time when I call tomorrow and change the date for the required chocolate dessert I’ve had on order. But mostly I’m hoping we can make our little get-together happen. I’m looking forward to laughing over the memories and stories that will undoubtedly surface, and to hearing updates on the college kids. And this year, for the first time, to hear about wedding plans. The first of our children is engaged.
More memories to be made. Fingers crossed!

Merry Christmas to all!

flower ornamentWishing you all a very merry Christmas and holiday season! Hope the next few days find you snuggled close with friends and family. As we close out 2104, I’m grateful for all the friends, fans and followers who’ve supported my work. It’s always so humbling to read the many four- and five-star reviews and know that I’ve touched a chord, made a connection, brought a smile or tear through my books and characters.

May you find many books under your tree, and have plenty of time to read them in the new year!

Peace and Joy to all!


Drum roll, please . . . here it is!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00031]Here it is, the cover for my new women’s fiction novel “Second Wind!”

The cover says so much about the story, but of course, you’ll have to read it to understand how the images and title and storyline all work together.

I love the bright colors, and the sunflowers, which capture a windy day on the plains of Kansas, where the story is set.

“Second Wind” is book two in my Women of Whitfield series featuring a group of longtime best-buddies who support and encourage each other through life’s ups and downs in the small town of Whitfield.

They raise kids, manage homes and careers, run community events and organizations, laugh, live and love.

Pick up a copy of book one, “The Storm Within,” to get to know these women – people you’d want to be friends with in real life!

It’s Cookie Time!

cookie tipHere’s what I’ll be doing for the next three to five days. It’s one of my favorite things to do for the holidays — and honestly, my one culinary talent!

Making the cookies is a three-day process, and I like to give or serve them one day after being frosted, so this requires a cookie schedule – a chart of who gets cookies when, and the ideal time for frosting.

I’ve got one batch baked, and another mixed. Once those are cut and baked, the real fun begins! Decorating is a slow process. (Some would say tedious.) By the time I’m done, my fingers will cramp from wielding the pastry bag, but it’s worth it when friends and family enjoy the finished product! If I do say so myself, they taste as good as they look! Hope you get to enjoy all your favorite treats this season!

Read a story . . . find a friend

Hello, everyone! Thanks for stopping by today. Darlene here. I was a guest on a women’s radio talk show this week (Plaid For Women), and the host asked me a question that made me think, and that I’d like to share. “What’s the most important thing you want people to remember about your books?”

My answer is that I want readers to know that when they open a Darlene Deluca novel, they’re going to find characters they can relate to – people they could be friends with in real life.

My books, regardless of whether they are straight women’s fiction or romance, are primarily about women, and for women. There’s often a friendship theme, but there are also situations and stories relating to women’s careers, parenting, home and family – issues of interest to women.

“Meetings of Chance” features sisters as friends. In “The Storm Within,” the main character deals with death and divorce, and it’s the love and support of her friends that get her though the dark times. In “Unexpected Legacy,” the heroine is a go-getter high school principal. You can imagine all the issues she deals with, and when love comes knocking, career and personal life are at odds. My most recent novel, “Something Good,” is a contemporary romance, but again, it’s not just about finding romantic love. It focuses on Mandi’s concern for others, her generosity, and her friendships. It’s about digging deep, as women often do, to overcome struggles and keep going even when times are tough.

My characters are well-rounded women who juggle careers and personal issues, and find love whether it’s through romance or solid I’ve-got-your-back girlfriends. Like I said, the kind of women you’d want to be friends with!

By the way, the next book in the Women of Whitfield trilogy, which features a group of friends in the small fictitious town of Whitfield, will release Jan. 10, 2015. The story focuses on Dana, and includes Mary and Claire from “The Storm Within.” A great place to find a friend!

Plaid For Women interview