A Review Roundup

Whew! It’s been a crazy, busy few weeks since the release of my newest book, “The Story Between Us.”  It’s a tense time for any author — watching sales and rankings and waiting for reviewers to render judgment. Reviews are slowly but surely coming in, and I’m happy to report they are looking good! 🙂  Here’s a peek:

A great book for this pandemic time period. You can lose yourself in this story and it will leave you with a smile. A well-written love story that even exposes the soulless nature of writing books for the Big Five. Recommended to every fan of Hallmark romances. This would make a must-watch Hallmark Channel movie. –N.N. Light’s Book Heaven

The Story Between BR

What I enjoyed about this story is the depth of the characters. . . I enjoyed watching Reed adjust, learn new skills he would need as a single parent, and realize that maybe there is more to life than becoming an executive in a large corporation. Overall a delightful book and we give this book 4 paws up.Leslie aka StoreyBook Reviews

**

I bought this book and read it in one day. It is excellent. The plot and characters kept me interested and I couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen next. — Amazon reviewer

**

“The Story Between Us” is an utterly charming tale of life, loss, and finding love in unexpected places. — InD’Tale Magazine

Crowned heart TSBU

“Kristen Hanover is a winsome heroine and THE STORY BETWEEN US is a satisfying romance that will warm your heart and renew your belief in the hope of happy endings.” –Marie Bostwick, NYT and USAToday bestselling author of Hope on the Inside

Next time you enjoy a book, consider leaving a short review! Many retailers, including Amazon and BarnesandNoble.com, and some reader sites, such as BookBub and Goodreads, give you the option of leaving a review. You just might make someone’s day!

Happy reading to all!

Darlene

“The Story Between Us” is available in digital and paperback formats.

Amazon

BarnesandNoble

Apple

Kobo

From a character’s point of view!

What a fun interview! A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of being a guest on author Amber Daulton’s blog where she “interviewed” Kristen Hanover, the lead female character in my new contemporary romance “The Story Between Us.” It was a fun exercise to really get inside my character’s head and think about how she would respond. Here’s what she had to say:

(p.s. Please excuse formatting issues! WordPress went and changed everything!! ERG!)

What’s your name?

Hi, I’m Kristen Hanover, heroine of The Story Between Us

What do you look like? I’ve got brown hair with reddish highlights that falls a few inches below my shoulders. I tend to wear it down or in a single braid. I also have green eyes and a smattering of freckles across my cheeks that seem to explode in the summer.

What time period does your story take place? It’s a story of contemporary life. We could be friends today!

For a visual storyboard of “The Story Between Us,” visit my Pinterest page! https://www.pinterest.com/darlenedelucaau/books-the-story-between-us/

What’s your goal in this story? What conflicts are you facing? To tell you the truth, they’re wearing me thin. I’m trying to focus on my career and really make the most of my recent success, but there’s so much going on to distract me. My brother is ready to sell the family farm following my mother’s death, so I’m facing the big clean-out and having to sell our horses – including my own pet, Star. It’s a tough, emotional time for me. Then I meet a really sweet kid and get a great story idea based on one of his heartwarming memories of his parents. I have visions of adorable illustrations and a treasured keepsake for this charming little boy who likes my books. I’m thinking of a dedication, maybe a scholarship fund from a portion of the sales. We’re both excited about the idea. Then his uncle/guardian accuses me of exploiting the boy – using him to make a couple of bucks. Whoa! Are you kidding me?

What is your occupation? Are you any good at it? Do you like it? I write children’s books, and I love it. My newest book shot up the charts and became a bestseller, so I’m now on tour visiting classrooms and bookstores and meeting my adorable young fans. Interacting with them is a blast. Kids are so funny, and I’m humbled to be an influence in their lives.

What skill do you have that you’re proud of? Why? Besides writing, I have a couple of skills, or talents. I can handle a horse pretty well and love to ride. I also play guitar. Now that I think about it, it’s interesting that both of these things are activities that help me wind down, to clear my head and let my thoughts wander. They soothe my soul. And I’ve found that they can help others. In this story, I’m able to connect with a little kid, that’s Dylan, by playing my guitar in a private jam session. Music has a way of bringing people together. And because I have some horsemanship skills, I’m able to help Dylan overcome his fear of horses, which has caused some issues on his grandpa’s ranch. I’m definitely proud of that accomplishment!  

What did you think the first time you saw Reed ? I noticed two things about Reed Armstrong right away. First, he was a fine speciman – good looking, nicely put together and kind of a hunk. But, second, I could tell he wasn’t thrilled about being dragged to a book signing that evening. He seemed bored and ready to get out of there. I caught that look of impatience in his otherwise gorgeous smoky blue eyes. So, while he sent my heart rate spiking, he also got my defenses up. After all, my book signing in a popular Dallas bookstore was a great place to be!

What do you wish your author had not told others about you?

Sigh. I don’t think it was necessary for her to tell everyone that I’d been warned, that I was headed for trouble and it was my own fault. Okay, yes, my agent had warned me about getting involved with fans. She said it was a bad idea – more than once. But Dylan is such a sweet kid, and I couldn’t turn away from him and his tragedy. His uncle…well, he needed help, too. They tugged at my heartstrings. Maybe I should’ve been more cautious, but come on, who wants to hear “I told you so?!”

“The Story Between Us” is now available in digital and paperback formats at a variety of online retailers.

https://www.amazon.com/Story-Between-Us-Darlene-Deluca-ebook/dp/B08DCVKMWV/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=darlene+deluca&qid=1599575413&s=books&sr=1-1

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-story-between-us-darlene-deluca/1137387092?ean=2940162985785

https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-story-between-us/id1525107147

As summer transitions into fall, curl up with a book that’s sure to offer all the feels and leave you with a satisfied smile!

Happy reading to all!

Darlene

The Moments We Wait For!

Well, finally, here it is! “The Story Between Us,” my new contemporary romance, is scheduled for release this month! Woot! So excited to launch the book into the world, and happy to announce the ebook is now available for pre-order at a discount price at Amazon, Apple Books and BarnesandNoble.com. Pre-orders will automatically download to your reading device on release day – Aug. 26th.

pre-order square

Here’s what advance reviewers have to say:

“Kristen Hanover is a winsome heroine and THE STORY BETWEEN US is a satisfying romance that will warm your heart and renew your belief in the hope of happy endings.” –Marie Bostwick, NYT and USAToday bestselling author of Hope on the Inside

“An utterly charming tale of life, loss, and finding love in unexpected places. A heartwarming and delightful read from start to finish!”  ~~InD’tale Magazine

I couldn’t put this sweet story down. The characters are so life-like. I found myself pulling for this couple to make it. Darlene’s stories never disappoint! – Toni A.

“The Story Between Us” is a sweet, poignant story about loss, love, and finding sparks that last. I recommend this 5 Sparkler book to anyone looking for a romance that tugs at the heartstrings in all the right ways. – Sparkling Book Reviews

Introducing Kristen, Reed and Dylan . . .

Her agent warned her not to get attached to a fan. But children’s book author Kristen Hanover is about to break the rules. Kristen meets a young boy who is a victim of a tragic accident and is drawn into the heartbreaking situation.

Six years ago, Reed Armstrong never imagined he’d actually become guardian of his sister’s boy. Now he is, and most days he’s not sure he’s up to the task.

When he and Dylan meet Kristen, Reed downplays his nephew’s crush on the author. But as their lives become unexpectedly intertwined, he finds himself captivated as well. Trouble is, she sells stories for a living. Does she truly care about Dylan…and Reed, or is she using them for her own career advancement?

The book is part of The Wild Rose Press Sweetheart Line and will also be for sale in paperback. Order yours today, and be prepared to complete your summer reading with a smile! 🙂

Until then, happy reading to all!

Darlene

Order at Amazon

Order at BarnesandNoble

Order at Apple Books

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?