Bring on the cookies–It’s Release Day

Gingerbread, shortbread, frosted sugar, chocolate chip…what do these have in common? Sure, they’re cookies, but they’re also one of the main ingredients in a new collection of holiday stories from The Wild Rose Press!

square release day

Get in the holiday spirit this year by curling up with your favorite beverage and a Christmas story–and don’t forget the cookies! The novellas cover a range of genres including everything from contemporary romance to cozy mysteries and werewolves.

Today is release day for my novella “Cookie Collision!” Here’s a peek at it and a few others from the contemporary romance collection.

Happy reading! Let the merry season begin!
Darlene

–Justin moved into the room, set the things on a side table, and perched on a chair. Watching her, he could practically see the pain fade from her face. Her brow smoothed, and the tension he’d noticed around her lips disappeared. He fought the urge to brush a kiss across her forehead. She looked way too peaceful to disturb. But now what? Sit here and watch her sleep? Sneak out the door? He couldn’t leave it unlocked, and he had no idea whether she’d be down for the night or if she did power naps.

Finally, he took off his shoes and quietly padded to the kitchen to deal with supper. For now, everything could go in the fridge. Feeling like an intruder, he moved stealthily around her kitchen. With that task completed, he grabbed a newsmagazine from a basket and settled into a chair across from his patient…and/or dinner date.

Twenty minutes later, Alana stirred. She pulled up her arm and adjusted her position. Then her eyes opened.

“Hey,” he whispered.

She bolted upright. “Oh, my gosh. Justin. Did I fall asleep? I’m so sor—”

He held up a hand. “Shhh. No worries.” He handed her the glass of water and tablets. “Why don’t you take a couple of these then I’ll wrap your ankle.”

For him, the biggest issue was not the condition of her ankle but trying to stay in professional mode and ignore the feel of her smooth leg under his hands. Seated on the table in front of the sofa, he forced his eyes to focus on the strip of fabric as he wound it around both foot and ankle and secured it firmly. “How’s that feel?”

Alana nodded. “That’s amazing. It’s better already.” Luminous eyes met his. “Thanks.”

“You’re welcome. Keeping it tight is the key.” He couldn’t help himself. He reached out and touched her hair. “Sorry you had a bad day.”

A light sparked in her eyes, and she sat straighter. “I didn’t have a bad day.”

Frowning, he cocked his head. “You didn’t? Looks like the ankle was, well, a big pain.”

She grinned. “It was. Except for this stupid ankle, I had a great day. I got two offers on the house, and another couple that’s interested is supposed to let me know tomorrow. That means we could have a bidding war and get more than our asking price. And that is a good thing.”

Justin couldn’t help laughing. He held up his hand for a high-five. “Very nice.” He loved her triumph-over-adversity attitude.

“Hey, food’s in the fridge. Easy to heat up whenever you’re ready.”

“Oh, okay. Thanks.” She glanced toward the kitchen then met his eyes again. “Are you— Can you stay?”

He felt a pull deep inside as those questioning blue eyes leveled on him. Yeah, he wanted to stay.–

Get your copy today!

https://www.amazon.com/Cookie-Collision-Christmas-Cookies-Darlene-ebook/dp/B09FXHKZDH/

https://books.apple.com/us/book/cookie-collision/id1585465393

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cookie-collision-darlene-deluca/1140147032?ean=2940162321422

The entire cookie collection

includes about 50 books.

Here’s a peek at a few other contemporary romances. Enjoy!

Red Velvet Crinkles and Christmas Sprinkles by Maria Imbalzano

perf5.000x8.000.indd

Favorite quote from author:

“Dean’s gaze zeroed in on her, and her thoughts fuzzed. No way was she going to get out of this chair, sporting flannel pajamas and bunny slippers.”

Book Description:

Competitive, work-obsessed Bella Simonetti has just been fired from her high-paying job at a Manhattan law firm. At an all-time low, she returns home and helps her parents at their small-town gift shop, but the business is failing and may not make it past the Christmas holidays.

Successful landscape architect Dean Jackson is like a son to Bella’s parents. But he’s a persistent annoyance to her—he seems to have forgotten his unforgivable blunder thirteen years earlier.

When Bella transforms her parents’ gift shop into a cookie cottage, Dean’s generosity and magnetic smile are hard to resist, and those feelings of unrequited adolescent love come rushing back. But can Bella let go of the past and accept Dean for the man he is today?

https://www.amazon.com/Velvet-Crinkles-Christmas-Sprinkles-Cookies-ebook/dp/B09FYVGDWR/

Tinsel and Tea Cakes by Jill Piscitello 5117yDXeTHL

Step back in time for an unforgettable winter wedding. 

Book Description:

Hair stylist Scarlett Kerrigan lost her job and her apartment. To alleviate a touch of self-pity, she succumbs to her stepmom’s pressure to attend a wedding in the New Hampshire White Mountains. Unfortunately, she runs into the vacation fling who promised the moon but disappeared without an explanation. Months have passed, but she is not ready to forgive and forget.

After a chaotic year, executive Wes Harley settles into his family’s event venue, The Timeless Manor. His carefully structured world is shaken to its core when Scarlett arrives for the Victorian Christmas wedding weekend. The feelings he never quite erased flood to the surface.

When secrets are revealed, will a magical chateau and a sprinkle of tinsel be enough to charm Scarlett?

https://www.amazon.com/Tinsel-Tea-Cakes-Christmas-Cookies-ebook/dp/B09J3FHCP8/

Let it Snowball by Margot Johnson perf5.000x8.000.indd

Christmas tours brim with cookies, lights, and…unexpected romance?

Book Description:

Divorced, empty nester Merilee is on a roll. Filled with scrumptious cookies and old-fashioned fun, her Christmas bus tours aim to add festive spirit to her hometown and new meaning to her lackluster life. Too bad her reserved driver slams the brakes on fun.

Widowed farmer Ross needs a little joy to combat his December blues. Behind the wheel, he wears a Santa suit but can’t muster a convincing ho-ho-ho. Too many memories block his road to happiness…until irrepressible Merilee sparks a snowstorm of unexpected feelings.

In two weeks of holiday tours, Ross might drive Merilee crazy…or will romance snowball inside their lonely hearts?

https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B09FX386MR/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i0

The Gingerbread Cookie Code by Ann M. Trader 51zGTWNKSaL

Computer geeks write code… and sometimes they bake them in gingerbread.

Book Description:

Clay Blackstone, avowed bachelor, is an ambitious computer design engineer at a prestigious firm. When an accident puts his dad on crutches, he returns home to help with his family’s Christmas tree farm, never expecting to find romantic entanglement with an alluring woman he remembers as a tomboy in braids.

As a single mother launching a bakery business, Shelby Turner has experience with measuring cups and watercolor paints, but not handsome, intriguing men—especially one who is her secret schoolgirl crush.

Between her sweet treats, his tech savvy, and their combined chemistry, will they risk their hearts and discover the code to their happily ever after?

https://www.amazon.com/Gingerbread-Cookie-Code-Christmas-Cookies-ebook/dp/B09GNNRW1M/

Are you a seasoned holiday book aficionado? Just browsing some holiday reads? 

Hope you’ll find a new favorite in the cookie collection!

Comments or questions for the authors? Leave them here!

Cheers to all!

The Year we went with Wacky

p1010898p1010902

So we’re planning to get a Christmas tree this weekend. We always get a live tree, and almost always end up going on one of the coldest nights of the year. That’s not the plan, as I am a winter weather wimp, but as fate would have it . . . that’s the way it goes. I’m watching the forecast, but whatever, the schedule says it’s this weekend. Because we don’t want to wait too late.

One year, a few years ago, we decided to wait until both kids were home from college before getting the tree. You know, make it a fun family outing.

Well, we did have that, but when we pulled up to our longtime Christmas tree lot, the place was packed up and put away. Gone. Except for . . . this.

One lone deformed tree had been left behind. I mean, this tree made Charlie Brown’s tree look like perfection. At least his was shaped like a tree! This thing looked more like a shrub in need of a serious trimming — something fitting for a Dr. Seuss scene. Sitting in the car in the cold, we considered our options. Go drive around and try to find another lot that was open? I have no idea whether there were any others that still had trees. It didn’t matter, though,  because a kind of poor-baby sympathy began to well up for this pathetic little tree-thing that nobody wanted. Plus, it was free, right?

In the spirit of Christmas, we decided to give the thing a home. So, we loaded it up and took it with us. My husband had to hack and saw on it just to get it into the tree stand. Once inside the living room, there was a definite “now what?” moment. Laugh or cry?! Well, we dressed it up as best we could with our usual ornaments. Had we known this is what we’d end up with for the year, we might have come up with a clever “theme” more fitting of the situation. But time was running out, so we made do.

In the end, we kind of liked our wacky little Seuss bush-tree. It was worth some laughs. And made a fond family memory!

 

Do you have a favorite let’s-make-the-best-of-it holiday story? Do share!

Oh, the pressure of the purchase!

presentsMy Christmas list looks a little different this year. There are two new names on there – for the first time, I’m purchasing gifts for my kids’ significant others. Both kids have special people in their lives this year, and both are visiting/traveling with us for Christmas.
I’m looking forward to spending time with them and getting to know them better, but I have to say, there’s a little stress that comes with this. Will I be judged on the success of the gift? Will it be cool enough? Is it age-appropriate? The right color? The right style? Will I embarrass my child in some way? The pressure is on!
During this shopping quest I stopped a stranger in Macy’s to inquire about the person and age she’d picked up an item for. I whipped out my cell phone and took a photo of a potential gift for my daughter’s boyfriend and emailed it to her. Then called and debated the pros and cons of said item and got the thumbs up before finally purchasing the gift.
I’ve been waiting to wrap the other gift until I could get the other kid’s blessing. Strike one. Just found out this morning that it’s off the mark. Now, only a few days before the big day, I’m going to have to hit the shops again. Did I mention pressure? I think I’m armed with a better idea of her tastes, so hopefully one stop, and the mission will be accomplished. Then it’s on to the next step – spectacular wrapping! Wrap that shows good taste, and attention to detail and time invested in making it special. Whew!

The other gift-giving experience that caused some stress this year were the two group exchanges in which a participant gets to choose the gift (based on the wrapping) and then others can “steal” as the exchange goes on. Both my book club and a writers group I belong to did this. The object, of course, is to end up with an awesome gift. And, for me, to be one of the people who offers a good gift. I want the present I give to be desired! I want it to be stolen, perhaps repeatedly. And I want the person who receives it to be happy.
It’s terrible to watch the expressions of gift receivers and know that they don’t love what they got. To watch them eagerly display the gift in front of them for all to see, hoping that it will get stolen – and then to see the unwanted item sit there, overlooked for the rest of the festivities. A dud.
I’m happy to report that in both of these groups, my gift was stolen/traded at least once! Ahh, success!

Maybe I worry too much. But then again, who doesn’t like to receive the perfect gift?! If you’re still shopping, good luck! If you’re done, congrats! Hope all your gift giving and receiving is right on target! Enjoy the holidays!

Give them books

P1050936One of my all-time favorite Christmas gifts growing up was a complete boxed set of Laura Ingalls Wilder books. I still have them today, and they are a treasured possession. But over the years, I haven’t received many books as gifts. I suppose it’s hard for people to know exactly what I like or what I’ve read, but books are awesome gifts (hint, hint for friends and family who may be stopping by).

What could be easier to wrap than a book? And they stack nicely. Ooooh, a tower of books would look lovely under the tree! This year, I’ve discovered another fun way to give books. Fun, easy and inexpensive! By purchasing an ebook as a gift and printing out the coupon myself, I can easily tuck it into a stocking or add to a larger gift item. Know someone who enjoys curling up with a beverage and a good book? Tuck a tasty assortment of teas or coffee into a mug or cozy throw blanket along with a coupon for a digital book. Simple!

The other great thing, of course, is shopping from your computer. Especially if the weather happens to frightful where you are. And no shipping fees. This is a biggie for me. I hate to spend money on shipping!

So, while I’m writing, my gift book certificates are printing on my home printer. Easy, schmeasy.  Happy shopping and gifting . . . and reading! 🙂

 

p.s. A digital copy of my newest contemporary romance, Her Greatest Risk, is on sale Dec. 10, 11 and 12! That’s a great price for a delightful stocking stuffer!

buy on Amazon

 

 

Merry Christmas to all!

flower ornamentWishing you all a very merry Christmas and holiday season! Hope the next few days find you snuggled close with friends and family. As we close out 2104, I’m grateful for all the friends, fans and followers who’ve supported my work. It’s always so humbling to read the many four- and five-star reviews and know that I’ve touched a chord, made a connection, brought a smile or tear through my books and characters.

May you find many books under your tree, and have plenty of time to read them in the new year!

Peace and Joy to all!

Darlene

It’s Cookie Time!

cookie tipHere’s what I’ll be doing for the next three to five days. It’s one of my favorite things to do for the holidays — and honestly, my one culinary talent!

Making the cookies is a three-day process, and I like to give or serve them one day after being frosted, so this requires a cookie schedule – a chart of who gets cookies when, and the ideal time for frosting.

I’ve got one batch baked, and another mixed. Once those are cut and baked, the real fun begins! Decorating is a slow process. (Some would say tedious.) By the time I’m done, my fingers will cramp from wielding the pastry bag, but it’s worth it when friends and family enjoy the finished product! If I do say so myself, they taste as good as they look! Hope you get to enjoy all your favorite treats this season!