Coronavirus and the Next Meal

Greetings, friends! Hope you all are safe and well during this crazy, difficult time.

Here at my house in the days of Covid-19, it’s all about the next meal. I feel like I no sooner finish the cleanup from one and I’m to thinking about the next! What is it? When is it? What’s needed? How long to cook? How much prep? Is it thawed? Do we have all the ingredients? Is there anything in the fridge about to go bad? Didn’t we just make that?

And the biggest question: are we capable of doing this? I am not a cook. Before social distancing and the coronavirus occurred, my husband and I ate out almost every night. Exceptions were made for nasty weather or scheduling conflicts, but we are regulars at a lot of local eateries. And eating out accounted for a good chunk of our social life as well. I miss it so much!

What a difference a month can make. My 37-year-old crock pot and slightly newer dishwasher are getting a workout like never before. Both my kitchen freezer/fridge and the spare in the garage are at max capacity. That never happens unless we’re having a party! Sadly, that is not the case.

I’ve become a fan of meals that can cover two days, at least a dinner and next day’s lunch. Crock-pot turkey breasts are great. Easy tacos and soups. Lots of fresh veggies!

We’ve tried carryout a few times because we really want our favorite restaurants to make it through this difficult time. Unfortunately, it’s been kind of hit-and-miss and not all foods are ideal for take-out. For now, thanks to grocery stores and delivery peeps, we’re managing to feed ourselves. Though the repertoire is limited, we’re making it work!

How’s the cooking/eating going at your house?

Darlene

Let’s talk cookies (the sugar kind)!

Hey, friends, who’s looking for something fun to do on a shut-in Friday afternoon? Tomorrow I’m taking a little break from writing to host a group chat about making cookies! Specifically – making sugar cookies. If you’ve known me long or follow me on social media, you’ve probably seen a number of cookie posts. At 2 p.m. (central time) tomorrow, join me on my author page, and we can share tips and tricks on making and frosting these sweet treats! #socialdistancing
https://www.facebook.com/Darlene-Deluca-282385088481413/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel&eid=ARAAAWDdmnLAmnZfeEfW8Sc_IShUWHmafWKqwa5ZzK-2ffV5vo3rpE-t3kuHtMLbds6sRtVsFNqMsX6N

I’m not a baking professional by any means, but I’ve been doing this a few years and people often ask me questions about my recipe, the process and my frosting techniques. Thought it might be a fun thing to do while we’re all hanging out at home! 🙂

Hope to “see” you there!

Darlene

In Review: a Decade of New Direction

Wow! What a decade!

As I pondered a New Year’s post last night, it occurred to me that my entire career as a fiction writer has happened in this decade. My first novel, Unexpected Legacy, hit the market in January 2013. For me, the decade began in flux as I left a 21-year corporate position that, over the years, included a combination of writing and art direction.

It took a while, but I finally decided to try my hand at fiction and put on paper a few story ideas that had been bouncing around in my head for several years. I spent the first couple of years of the 2010s learning the craft of fiction writing, working with other aspiring authors, attending writing groups and conferences, and attempting to understand the publishing industry, which for the entire decade has been in a state of change. Have to say, it’s been a challenge to bull’s eye a moving target!

IMG_6646Happily, I’m ending the decade with seven published books, an essay in an anthology, a new romance in the queue with The Wild Rose Press publishing house, and works in progress that include a women’s fiction story, a general romance, and a Christmas romance.

Though the decade has had its challenging moments, I learned a lot about marketing and social media, and I met some fabulous people! Here’s a shout out to all the industry professionals, especially librarians and bookstore staff, who value and help promote local authors and reader events. Another shout out to the authors, both struggling and on the bestseller lists, who take time to make connections with other authors, to lend a hand (or a Facebook share) to help others succeed.

In 2020, I’m hoping to become a hybrid author – with books published both through the independent route and also the traditional track. I hope for time – time to write all the words and finish works in progress. And I hope for new opportunities and meaningful connections.

On a personal level, it was also a momentous decade. Both kids graduated from college – one also earning an advanced degree. Both are employed in their chosen fields and pretty much paying their own way in the world. They’re happy and healthy, and I feel I can take a mother’s proud bow for a job well done! 🙂

I’m imagining the next ten years will be some of the most exciting years yet – bringing perhaps weddings and grandchildren and more completed and published books! Goals, as usual, include spending quality time with family and friends, a little traveling, and reading more books.

Wishing all my friends, fans and followers peace, good health, and the happiest of new years!

Darlene

What are your hopes or goals as we head into the 2020s?

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Happy-Thanksgiving-2018Whether you call it counting your blessings or having an attitude of gratitude, it’s always good to take time out of our busy schedules to reflect on and give thanks for the good in our lives.

Whether you’re traveling, staying home, gathering with a large group or hunkering in with a good book and throw blanket, I hope this Thanksgiving gives you a cornucopia of good things to celebrate – friends, family, jobs, shelter, and anything else that enriches your life!

Best wishes for a lovely day!

Darlene

Fabulous Fall in the Finger Lakes

The good thing is we had nice weather and were able to be outside enjoying the vineyards, orchards and state parks. But the books I loaded on my Kindle? The contest entries I need to read and judge? Those works-in-progress waiting on my computer? Nah. Didn’t write or read a word!

Fall in central New York was just too pretty!

After checking the weather forecast almost every hour for a few days before we left (yes, it changed by the hour!), we expected some rain and chilly temps. Lucky for us, it… changed!

My husband and daughter and I visited a lot of great places where I could’ve spent all day on a bench with a book. What could be better than a book and a pretty perch on a sunny day with the sound of a waterfall in the background? Had I been alone, that most definitely would’ve happened. Instead, we hopped from one beautiful venue to another for four days. We walked leaf-carpeted paths, hiked alongside stunning waterfalls, and sampled the local cider and wines. And couldn’t stop taking pictures! The colors were amazing.

Hope you enjoy these select few.

 

Happy Fall to all!

Darlene

Presents from Across the Pond!

I didn’t go to London for Wimbledon last week with my husband and my son, but I got some good stuff, anyway.

Remember those souvenir T-shirts that said, “My parents went to wherever and all I got was this T-shirt?” Yeah, my souvenirs are way better than that. I got all three of the items I suggested before they left! 🙂

The English like their tea, right? Me, too! I would’ve fit right in. And I probably wouldn’t have had to carry around my own tea bags or ask if the tea was freshly brewed at all the restaurants like I do in the U.S. of A.

I was happy to learn that in London, the hotels actually cater to tea-drinkers. Instead of a coffee pot for coffee drinkers – and pretty much nothing for those of us who don’t appreciate coffee-flavored tea from water that’s been run through the coffee maker – there was tea service in the rooms!

Too bad I wasn’t there to see that, but it makes me smile, anyway. Can’t wait to try this new-to-me brand. Mango and Earl Grey – mmmmm.

And then there’s the chocolate. They did well. Or, I did well. A chocolate library?! Ha! Two of my favorite things combined. Extra brownie points to the hubs who carried these hefty chocolate bars in his bag through two airport terminals due to flight issues. This little “library” weighs a ton!

Next? A very British silk scarf from a museum there. The lightly printed architectural drawings with bold royal blue and gold border look . . . well, royal!

They had a great time being tourists and taking in the amazing tennis at Wimbledon. While I enjoy watching tennis, I’m not a big fan of lines or “queuing up” as they call it. So I declined. I’m happy they had a fabulous father/son experience. And I appreciate they took the time to think of me while they were at it!

If you’re vacationing this summer, happy travels!

What’s your all-time best souvenir?

Darlene

 

Just a Little Flower Power

Last week, I took a road trip that wound through nine states plus a chunk of Canada, passed by four of the Great Lakes, and included a visit to Holland, Michigan — apparently the tulip capital of the U.S. I’d never been there before, and wasn’t sure what to expect from the little town that boasted of its tulips and quaint features.

Turns out, it was a charming town and the tulips were fantastic. So was our timing. My sister and I arrived just a few days after the annual tulip festival. The crowds were gone, but the tulips still put on a stunning show and offered plenty of photo opportunities.

We had a fun day (our only sunny one of the entire trip) walking through the town square shops, visiting the farmer’s market and strolling through rows and rows of gorgeous, colorful tulips. I must’ve taken hundreds of pictures. Couldn’t help myself. So many bright, cheery blooms! They still make me smile!

Enjoy!

Darlene

What’s blooming in your world?