Debut Novel Turns Ten!

Wow! Today, my first published novel turns ten years old. Unexpected Legacy, which combines general fiction and sweet romance story lines, was published after I meandered my way through a serious learning curve. I have a degree in Journalism and spent the first 30 thirty years of my career writing newspaper and magazine articles and communications materials, so I already had the basics of writing. But stepping into the world of fiction, I had to learn a new way of writing. I had to learn about working with critique partners and beta readers. I had to establish a social media presence and learn how to format a 99,000-word book for publication. That was an exercise in frustration, to be sure! All of the elements, from coming up with a title, to polishing the book, to creating a cover, came together after what felt like months and months of struggle. I still remember the nervous excitement of pushing “publish” and opening the package that held my first author copy. The fun payoff! 🙂

As my first novel, Unexpected Legacy still holds a special place in my heart. I re-read it last week and made some tweaks. Tightened it up. Took out some unnecessary words. It’s amazing how every time I read back through one of my novels I still find things I want to change, scenes I might write differently today. That said, when I got to the last page, I found that I still liked the characters and the story. I’m still proud of the accomplishment and happy to have it out in the world.

I also went back and read through some of the reviews and was touched that the book struck a chord a few readers. Here’s one of my favorite reviews:

UL review on balloons

In celebration of the anniversary, I’ve put the digital version on sale for just 99 cents. Have an E-reader? Hope you’ll add Unexpected Legacy to your library! It’s available at all the usual online retailers in both ebook and paperback versions.

Happy new year, and happy reading!

Darlene

Unexpected Legacy:

Matt Dalton’s world is spinning off its axis. Without warning, he’s thrown into the world of parenting a teenager. Matt meets his son for the first time when the sixteen-year-old is dealing with the consequences of a tragic car accident. Not only has Brady lost his best friend, he faces disability and scars both physical and emotional.

Determined to do whatever it takes to give his son a second chance, Matt looks to his alma mater to step up and help Brady regain his athletic abilities and sense of self. But sparks fly when he meets the high school principal, the captivating Kate Austen. Kate is ready to take Brady under her wing, but to her that means helping him refocus and find a new passion – using his brains rather than his brawn. Kate fully expects the younger Dalton to come with issues and challenges . . . his father may prove to be the biggest one of all.

Though the chemistry is hard to ignore, Kate fights to keep her personal feelings and professional life separate. At the same time, Matt struggles to gain his son’s trust, and Brady must face the road to recovery and find a way to accept the changes in his life.

Unexpected Legacy is a compelling story of bravery, compromise and resilience.

https://books.apple.com/us/book/unexpected-legacy/id595649773

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/unexpected-legacy

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/unexpected-legacy-darlene-deluca/1114072427?ean=2940044236271

Who’s Feeling Lucky?

Do you enjoy discovering new authors? Have you ever been hesitant to try a new author? Maybe your budget doesn’t allow you to try all the authors you’d like. Well, here’s a super opportunity for you! While this weekend might be all about shopping, here’s one thing that won’t cost a dime––enter for a chance to win eight books from a group of Kansas City authors. It’s a multi-author, multi-genre opportunity!

oban giveaway (1)

One lucky reader (U.S. only) will win all eight books. The books will be mailed in December after the close of the contest. Keep them for yourself, or give them as gifts! You can visit the Of Books and Nooks website to check out the individual authors and their work. 

While we all write individually, the group has teamed up to offer you a glimpse into the lives of writers, travel adventures, recipes, book reviews and more! Come along and follow us!

Don’t miss this opportunity.

Good luck and happy reading to all!

Darlene

Holiday Giveaway

Happy New Year to All!

271098469_10224856985669917_6246361412632917612_n

Wow! That was a fast year! For me, it was full of ups and downs, but mostly ups. My daughter got married, and my son got engaged! We had showers and a bachelorette get-away and a fabulous wedding and reception. Lots of special memories were made.

I published a holiday novella with The Wild Rose Press and finished a full-length romance novel that’s now in the editing phase. Just completed the rough draft of a short story for an anthology, and getting back to a women’s fiction novel I started a few years ago. It promises to be a busy year ahead!

Of course not everything was rosy in 2021. I lost a brother-in-law to cancer. And we didn’t end the pandemic. We didn’t get to travel freely. To kick off the new year, I’m supposed to go on my first ever cruise this month. Sadly, that might not happen. While it’s frustrating, I’m trying to do my part to follow guidelines and science and get through this.

Come on, 2022! Let’s make it a good year!

Wishing you all a peaceful, prosperous and happy new year with books to read and time with all your favorite peeps in all your favorite places! Cheers!

Darlene

That time I didn’t win Mom of the Year

Sometime you just have to laugh.

Ever have one of those brain cramp/senior moments? You know what I’m talking about, right? Now think about those in terms of Mom moments. Here’s one for youIMG_9869—It was kind of a silly sad incident, but it’s also provided a lot of laughter over the years.

One morning in all the rush to get everyone to work or school on time, I breezed into the kitchen to help manage the chaos. Every day we packed a lunch for my son, who happened to be the World’s Pickiest Eater. This kid ate peanut butter and jelly, or honey, every day of his life for YEARS. Even when we went out to eat, which was often, we’d pack a sandwich and take a little bag with us.

Anyway, on this particular morning, I saw the day’s sandwich sitting on the counter, so I grabbed a plastic bag, shoved the sandwich inside and completed the lunch bag with a juice box and whatever else went in that day. Done. Move along. Chop, chop.

Well, later that day…my son opens the bag at lunchtime only to discover his “sandwich” is actually two slices of bread. No peanut butter. No jelly or honey. You can imagine his surprise! Yum!

In my defense, it looked like a sandwich! This little incident, while trivial, has become an example of my (not too many) failures in the Mom department. He survived. And I can handle being laughed at a little. We’re not perfect. Things happen. And it’s little shared memories like this that bond us and keep us real. 🙂

Is there a little incident that kept you from winning Mom Of The Year? Happy MD

Enjoy the day!

Darlene

Petals, posies and blooms, oh my!

Happy May Day! It’s been a gorgeous (but slightly cool) spring. The flowering trees have been stunning, and the perennials are bursting with color. And all I can say is Yay, Spring! It’s such a relief when the cold is behind us and we can get outside again. My husband and I took our first walk of the season the other day. It’s fun to get out see people and peek at everyone else’s yards. There’s something about the warmer temps and sunny skies that just makes me feel better! Hope you are enjoying the blossoming of spring. Here are a few snapshots that capture the color and mood!

Might be a great day for a book and a glass of iced tea on the patio!

Darlene

A Little Shot; A Very Big Deal!

A year ago today the Covid-19 crisis cut short my spring break trip to see my sister in Dallas. I’m so happy to report that I marked the anniversary of that date by getting my first Covid vaccine!

While inklings of disaster were just beginning this time last year, I stuck to my plan and drove from Kansas City to DSC_1045Dallas. Spent a beautiful day at the Dallas Arboretum, where there was plenty of room to spread out and avoid others. But the next day, we attempted to do some shopping, and everything felt weird. So, after only two days, I packed my bags, turned around, and drove nine hours back home.

By then, the Big 12 basketball tournament and the NCAA tournament—the big dance—had been cancelled. For a KU grad and Jayhawk basketball fan, this was huge. News reports were bad, and things were not looking good.

It was a terrible year. The pandemic messed up milestone birthday celebrations for me, my mom, and my daughter. No book signings or author events. Restaurants shutting down. People out of work. Vacations cancelled. Holidays without family. People dying without loved ones at their side. One of my brothers died in 2020. No family was present, and we were unable to have a memorial service.

It’s heartbreaking that so many people were lost. I’m so grateful for the scientists and medical professionals who worked tirelessly to save lives and bring us an effective vaccine.

It’s such a relief to see light at the end of the tunnel. I was a little apprehensive to get the shot today. I’ve been known to pass out during a blood draw. Turned out it was just a little prick. No big deal. But, actually, it’s a very big IMG_9475deal. It’s a shot of hope. I feel as if I’m getting my life back. Five more weeks—and I’m counting down the days.

All of a sudden my blank calendar is filling up! So far, yesterday and today I’ve made several long overdue appointments— hair cut and color (Yikes! It’s been a full year!), teeth cleaning, and a mammogram. Most exciting of all, I booked flights for an author/reader event in Connecticut in July. That just happens to coincide with a bridal shower for my daughter. Her engagement was the one bright spot in this tedious, awful year. We now have so much to look forward to. Let the fun begin!

Happy spring to all. Hopeful that you, too, are seeing light in the days ahead.

Darlene

Authors, libraries and books! Oh, my!

Hello, everyone! Hope your weekend is off to a great start! Today is the final day of Mid-Continent Public Library’s Local Author Fair. I’m one of the authors featured on the 1:30 p.m. (CT) panel discussing books, writing and publishing. In the past, this has been a really fun live event where I’ve met readers while selling and signing books.

locautpan3Alas, this year it’s a virtual event. But, hey, that means more people can tune in, and you can do so from the safety of your own home! I’ll be discussing my writing journey, the women’s fiction and romance genres, and featuring my newest release, “The Story Between Us.” The panel highlights four different authors writing a variety of styles and genres.

Many thanks to MCPL for all their work in putting this together and supporting local authors. Hope you’ll join us!

perf5.000x8.000.indd

“The Story Between Us” is a sweet romance available in both digital and paperback formats from a variety of online resources. Click here to visit the Amazon page, learn more, and check out the reader reviews!

Is your book club meeting virtually? Choose one of my books to read and discuss, and I’m happy to join the meeting online! Find discussion questions and contact me on the website.

Happy reading to all!

Darlene

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