Welcome to my Second Acts Series!
Today, we have Wild Rose Press author Darlene Deluca sharing her multi-act life and new release, The Story Between Us.
Hello, everyone! Thanks for the opportunity to share my story – the one I’m living and the one I wrote! As far as career goes, fiction-writing is my third act.
In a way, I’ve always been traveling toward this path. English was always my favorite subject in school. Anyone remember the SRA reading program? Those color-coded reading levels that indicated just how big a reading nerd, er, expert, you were? Ha! Competitive reading. I loved it, and was almost always at the head of the class. As a kid, one of my favorite places to hang out was a small local library within walking distance of my home. Once I got a little older, say junior high, I’d take the bus downtown to the main library to expand my horizons – more books are better!!
Anyway, all of that led me to major in Journalism in college. And that launched me into my first act as a newspaper reporter. I was a reporter for a suburban newspaper outside of Kansas City where I learned a lot about how city government works. I covered numerous small suburbs, attended a gazillion planning commission meetings, park board meetings and city council meetings. But it was a low-paying job and the schedule had me working two or three nights a week. After a few years, I was ready to move on.
That led me to Act Two – Corporate America. I was on the ground floor of the move into desktop publishing. For many years, I wrote articles and produced newsletters for companies, their employees, and their customers. For 21 years, I was an editor, art director and producer for Hallmark Cards, Inc. in Kansas City. For about 17 of those years, I enjoyed the flexibility of working part time. As a mom, that was important to me because it gave me the opportunity to be more involved with my kids and their school activities. I was a Girl Scout leader, band mom, debate mom, soccer mom, tennis mom, room mom, etc. Though the part-time status kept me from climbing the ladder and a few levels of promotions (I mean, you can’t be serious about your work and only do it part time, right?), I wouldn’t have traded it.
And then 2009 happened. The economy went south, the market tanked, and people lost their jobs. I survived several rounds of cuts, but then it happened – I got my “downsizing” notice.
Long story short, it turned out to be the thing that released me and pushed me on to new, more exciting endeavors. I’m not a big fan of change. If the layoff hadn’t occurred I would probably still be plugging away at the same corporate job that I’d done for ten years.
That brings me to Act Three – writing books. At the time, the job market was not great for a 50-year-old woman. I had a Journalism degree, but all my clips were ancient because I’d moved into art direction and product development. And though I had a lot of art background and experience, I didn’t have the official art degree required for those kinds of jobs. Kind of between a rock and a hard place. The answer? Reinvent myself and forget Corporate America! (I even changed my name.) 🙂
So, I began writing novels. Interestingly, my new book was released a few days ago on my 60th birthday. That’s right, I “gave birth” at age 60! 🙂 Wow. It’s still a shock to say that number. The new book, “The Story Between Us,” is a sweet romance published by The Wild Rose Press. I have seven other full-length novels that are women’s fiction or contemporary romance.
Earlier this year, my plan was to cash out a small IRA and use it to celebrate my birthday. I was close to booking my reservation to attend a writer’s conference in Hawaii. And I’d begun researching VRBO options in Palm Springs and Palm Beach for a long winter getaway. Sadly, Covid-19 hit, and all of my plans came to an abrupt, screeching halt. Sigh. So I was pleasantly surprised when I got the email from The Wild Rose Press saying my book release date was on my birthday. Yay! Something to celebrate!
My advice for anyone thinking about pursuing a second act? If you can afford it, go for it! You never know when you’ll get another opportunity. Also, look for the positive in change. Sometimes it feels like a loss. You might be sad or angry or scared. But it might be the nudge you need to explore or develop that next act!
She sees a bestseller and heartwarming keepsake; he sees exploitation.
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?
Reed pulled his keys out of his pocket. In the doorway, he folded his arms and leaned against the casing. “Can I ask you a question?”
Chest pounding, Kristen forced a smile. “Of course.” She took a couple of steps toward him and braced a hand against the back of the sofa.
“Is writing your only reason for being here?”
Heavy, charged air closed around her. How to answer that? Honestly, of course, but…how honestly? “Well, writing is my goal for sure. But—” She glanced around the room before looking at him again. “I’d love to ride my horse, er, Star, and spend some time with…with people I like, too.”
As he pushed off from the door, a slow grin spread across his face. “Sounds like an excellent plan.” He sauntered closer. About a foot away, he stopped. “You’re good with dinner at the main house tonight? Don’t let Dylan bully you. You decide.”
She gave a shaky laugh. That was the plan, right? She couldn’t remember for sure. Her brain was going fuzzy. “I’d love to,” she managed to say.
He leaned closer, his breath warm on her cheek. She braced herself for a friendly peck, but when her eyes fluttered shut, his lips grazed hers. Hovered there, and when she thought her legs might give out, Reed caught her arm and pulled her slightly toward him, his lips covering hers again.
Sparks exploded in her brain, and she grabbed hold of his arm. All of her senses came alive and responded to the unexpected deluge.
A long moment later, he pulled back and brushed a thumb across her cheek. “See you in about an hour.”
Kristen could only nod. As soon as the door closed behind him, she collapsed against the sofa. She ran a finger along her bottom lip. That kiss…Oh, man. The chances of her getting any writing done this weekend just dropped from unlikely to who-said-anything-about-writing?
Darlene Deluca writes contemporary romance and women’s fiction, and likes to explore relationships – what brings people together or keeps them apart.
Her intent is to bring to life interesting characters that readers can relate to in real-life situations that combine a little fun, plenty of drama (with perhaps a tear or two), and big helpings of friendship, love and self-discovery, and will leave readers either cheering or sighing with a satisfied smile as they turn the final page.
The Kansas City author enjoys getting lost in a good story with a glass of tea, a bit of dark chocolate and a warm, sunny beach.
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