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

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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?

Surviving restaurant week . . .

It’s restaurant week in Kansas City. Or, as my husband and I refer to it, “Amateur Week.” Neither of us is much of a cook. We don’t enjoy the process, and just don’t have a flair for it. So we eat out a lot. And when restaurant week comes around, it messes up our rhythm. Our usual places are busier than normal and some dispense with their regular menus, instead offering only a pre-set, fixed price three- or four-course meal. For me and my husband, who often split an entree and add sides, the price increase is pretty significant.

But worse, restaurant week means forced cooking — a stock-up trip to the grocery store and an attempt to feed ourselves at home. For seven days!! I’ve used my crock pot twice this week – pretty sure that’s a record. So far, I’ve made pulled pork, chicken and noodles, chili, and lemon-pepper baked chicken. Spaghetti is in the line-up for the weekend, and maybe a breakfast-for-dinner option or baked potatoes. Nothing fancy, that’s for sure!

This year, there’s actually a silver lining. Restaurant week just happened to coincide with a big snowstorm. This is a happy thing! I can escape the winter weather during a time when I was going to stay home and cook anyway! Hooray! Spaghetti is in the line-up and maybe a breakfast-for-dinner option or baked potatoes. Nothing fancy, that’s for sure!

Okay, I’ll mention that I did one time get what I consider amazing praise for my cooking. I had my daughter’s group of friends over for a baked-potato bar during senior year when they were allowed to go off-site for lunch. I was completely shocked to read that one of the girls had written in my daughter’s yearbook, “Your mom’s baked potatoes are da bomb!” I am not making this up! Haha! Who writes something like that in a yearbook? Must’ve made an impression, right?!

Anyway, I think we’ll survive, but I’m really glad it’s only one week!

Do you enjoy cooking? What are your easy go-to meals?

Darlene

2018 – Year of Memories and Modifications

Well, I didn’t publish a book in 2018. I wrote one, but it’s pending an agent’s interest. I took a break from working on two other novels to write this post. One is a women’s fiction, and the other a contemporary romance that might be the first in a series. So my goal for 2019 is to publish at least one of them!

penned con signingIt was a busy year. I attended several author/reader events locally as well as the Romance Writers of America conference in Denver and the Penned Con book fair in St. Louis. Met up with writer friends, made new connections and had a blast meeting readers.

Plus, we had a lot of action on the home front. Both kids graduated in May – fortunately, a week apart. One with a bachelor’s degree and the other, her masters. Being my son’s final college tennis season, we traveled to a few more of his matches, which took us from Orlando to Kalamazoo and several places in between. Lots of fun times and memories made! And, I’m happy to report both are gainfully employed and pretty much self-sufficient! Woo-hoo! I’m calling that parental success! 🙂

That said, we are now truly empty nesters. And that feels weird. And it changes everything! No more winter breaks that last three to four weeks. No more “Spring Break.” Our daughter was home for Christmas, but only for a few days. We were only able to fit in a quick overnight to see my folks because both kids had to be back at work the day after Christmas. Our daughter flew back to New York on Christmas Day. This new reality is cramping my style, for sure!

But it’s like the old saying, “The only thing constant is change.” It just keeps coming!

I don’t know what 2019 will bring, but I’m hoping for new adventures, new connections and new books! Wishing you all peace, good health and happiness!

What are you looking forward to in the new year?

Darlene