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

Salvaging a Milestone Birthday

So today is a big day for me. It’s a milestone birthday — one that I had planned to celebrate with travel and festivities. I was going to bask on the beaches of Kauai. I was going to indulge myself and get out of town for a few weeks during the long, cold, snowy, miserable winter. But, alas, there’s an international health crisis, and I’m not going anywhere.

pretty cover picI was feeling bummed about this, of course, as are a lot of people who had to cancel cruises, weddings and other fun events. I’m not really complaining. I know it’s the right thing to do, and I want us to kick Covid-19 to the curb. Still, it’s hard to not feel a little sad.

What salvaged this birthday? My publisher, The Wild Rose Press, by chance scheduled release day for my new novel on my birthday! Another occasion to celebrate! While I can’t hold an actual release party or book signing, I can throw a virtual book bash! So that’s what I’m doing. I hope you’ll join the festivities on my Facebook Author Page (join the party). We’ll have virtual champagne and chocolate. I’ll introduce you to Kristen, Reed and Dylan, and “The Story Between Us,” and I’ll give away a few books! Hope to see you there!

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

Ta-dah! A shiny new cover!

After a couple of years of writing, revising, editing, querying, and editing some more, my contemporary romance The Story Between Us is inching its way into the world! Today, I’m excited to release the cover. The book will be published later this summer or early fall by The Wild Rose Press for its Sweetheart line.

SBU_reveal2

 
When a children’s book author gets a story idea from a young fan who’s lost his parents in a tragic accident, she knows she’s hit gold. She sees a bestseller and heartwarming keepsake. But the boy’s guardian sees exploitation.
Stay tuned for release date!
Happy reading to all!
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?

Trip down Memory Lane salutes Teachers

I could never be a teacher. I don’t have the stamina or the patience — and I don’t have enough control over my facial expressions. (It’s probably the eye-roll.) So I have a high regard for good teachers.

Having gone to public schools and sent two kids to school, I’ve seen a thing or two go down in the classroom. I’ve been a room parent and school volunteer. I’ve witnessed classrooms in total disarray and classrooms that function like clockwork thanks to a special kind of person who can only be described as a rock star, or maybe a saint!

I’m delighted to pay tribute to one such teacher in a new anthology that features me and 38 other authors from around the world sharing everything from heartwarming to hilarious essays about teachers and teaching. It’s called Will Work for Apples, and it released today in ebook and paperback formats.

My piece is about a favorite memory from third grade and the fabulous teacher who cheered me to one of my greatest childhood achievements! It’s called A Wagon and A Wink. It’s about jump-roping, persevering, and a little encouragement!

apples for website

Are you a teacher? An education advocate? Need a year-end teacher gift or simply enjoy true stories? You might need a copy of Will Work for Apples! 🙂

Happy Reading!

Darlene

Amazon: http://bit.ly/WILLWORKFORAPPLESamazon
Kindle: http://bit.ly/WILLWORKFORAPPLESkindle
iTunes: http://bit.ly/WILLWORKFORAPPLESitunes
B&N Nook: http://bit.ly/WILLWORKFORAPPLESnook
Kobo: http://bit.ly/WILLWORKFORAPPLESkobo

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

It’s book-for-a-buck month!

That’s right. During the month of July, Smashwords digital book seller is having a huge sale — and lots of books are only $1. That’s a great deal! And that means you can get my contemporary romance Something Good for only a buck!

Something Good was a Rone Award second-place winner in 2015, and also won Still Moments Magazine’s award for Best Ending. It has a 4.7 average review rating on Amazon, and some great reviews!

“… an absorbing story of redemption that’s hard to put down.” – Kirkus Reviews

“With surprising plot twists and unique character conflict, Something Good more than lives up to its name!” – InD’Tale Magazine

Get Something Good for $1

CoverOnly.SG.lowres

Grab your copy, and enjoy!

Darlene

International Women’s Day: Strong Women in Fiction

urlIt’s International Women’s Day!

I was with a group of women fiction writers last week, and someone mentioned the occasion. The authors at this meeting realized we all write about strong women. To celebrate International Women’s Day this year, each of us agreed to post an excerpt from our writing featuring one of our strong female characters. And we want to share them with you.

Unexpected_Legacy_CoverI present Kate Austen, interim principal of a suburban high school, who faces hostility from male peers in Unexpected Legacy, fiction with romantic elements.

Bruce accompanied Kate to the office where they signed the log for opening the school safe, deposited the money, and locked up again. Bruce had already turned, heading for the door, when Kate glanced at the log. Her head snapped up.

“Bruce?”

He stopped and gave her a nod. “See you Monday.”

“Bruce, wait a minute. I don’t see your signature on here for any other day this week. You said you’d put the money in the safe.”

“Yeah. I did.”

She clenched the clipboard in her hand, but resolved to keep her voice calm. Don’t overreact, Kate. “Without signing and without a second staff member verifying what you put in?”

He shoved a hand inside a pocket and scowled at her. “It’s nothing that needs to be verified, Kate. There’s no accounting on this. It’s completely outside of school business.”

She bristled at his tone. “I disagree. Any time we’re collecting money, whatever the reason, there needs to be careful record of it and personal accountability. We’re talking about several thousand dollars here, and it’s our responsibility to make sure that every dime collected is accounted for and used for the purpose it was intended.”

Bruce’s eyes shifted from her to somewhere beyond her, as if he were bored by the conversation. When he looked back at Kate, his eyes challenged her. “Are you suggesting I would mishandle funds?”

“Not at all, but if there were ever a question of propriety, we’d need to be able to show clear and accurate records.”

Bruce continued to stare at her a moment, then glanced at his watch. “Are we done?”

Kate let go of the log. “We can discuss this further on Monday,” she told him, her voice clipped. “From now on, please refrain from putting anything in or taking anything out of the safe without my authorization.”

Your authorization?” he repeated.

“Right.”

Both hands went to his hips as he stared hard at her. “District policy says another staff member.”

“I’m aware of that, but you didn’t follow district policy, so I’m adding a stipulation. For the time being, I’d like you to see me if you need access to the safe.” She gave him the sweetest smile she could muster. “Just to be sure we’re on the same page.”

To read posts from other women authors about their strong women characters, please follow the links below. Happy International Women’s Day! Enjoy!

Darlene

Joyce Brown, author of cozy mysteries

Pamela B. Eglinski, author of suspense and historical fiction

Theresa Hupp, author of historical fiction

Juliet Kincaid, author of historical fiction