Saturday, July 31, 2021

NEW Release!! Wish on a Star by Laura DeLuca Available Now!


Danielle Hoelz gave up her dreams of a life on the Broadway stage when her daughter was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.

Once the star of an iconic television series, Reed Overture is struggling to stay relevant in a world that’s almost forgotten him.

When nine-year-old Isabelle is given the chance to make her wish come true, she invites her favorite performer to South Jersey under the pretense of giving her guitar lessons. In reality, she's plotting to rekindle her mother’s passion for music. Maybe she’ll even get them to fall in love.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Get Scrooged #FREE for Christmas in July!



Stan Hope never cared much for his son-in-law—Justyn Patko.

His black clothes and body piercings were bad enough, but the ridiculous notion of dragging Rebecca off to Broadway with a new baby on the way pushes Stan over the edge. How much can a father take?

After losing his cool at a holiday party, Stan gets a visit from three unexpected spirits. Can they help to change his close-minded ways?

Friday, July 9, 2021

Get Brigid's Flame #FREE on Amazon


River is a struggling author who is depressed about his failing career and his strained relationship with his girlfriend. On the sacred night of Imbolc, he looks to the Gods for inspiration. The goddess Brigid answers his prayers. In her arms, his passion is rekindled. 

Also included with this short story is a sneak peek at Falling Star, A Jersey Girl Novel.


Sunday, July 4, 2021

Meet the Jersey Girls (And Guys)



Drew DiPalma feels like he’s living a lie. He’s had it with his Hollywood persona, the high-maintenance women, and his sleazy agent.  To escape the madness, he flees to a tourist town he’d often visited as a child. He never expected to find love on that little island. Then he stumbles upon Lainey alone on the swing set of a deserted beach.

After a dozen internet dating disasters, Lainey Riccardo has given up on romance—until she meets a West Coast hunk who has no trouble winning her heart.  But Lainey only knows him as Drew, not the Oscar-nominated actor who’s constantly scandalized in the tabloids. When she learns the truth, will the small town Jersey girl be able to accept Drew’s fast-paced life? Or will the truth drive her away forever?



 Meet the Jersey Girls (And Guys)


Since the Jersey girls series is set in my home county, many of the characters were based on people I actually know--from old high school friends to my current besties. I tried to stay true to personalities as much as possible, but there were times when I had to elaborate for the sake of the story. Even when a friend inspires a fictional spin-off, sometimes the characters take on a life of their own.  Here are a few of the people who helped to make this series a reality, each of which has touched my life in some way.



Erin, Laura, & Stephanie
Erin
Erin and I graduated together from Wildwood Catholic High School in 1994. We weren’t close back then, but ten years later we became co-workers at an insurance agency.  She became one of my closest friends and was my maid of honor at my wedding.  In our high stress level job, we learned the value of a good laugh. One of our favorite pastimes was giggling at the people who used to email me when I tried the internet dating scene, so I made sure to work this into the story. Erin was also one of my most supportive friends when it came to my writing. She helped proofread for me way before I was ever published.


Elisa

Elisa
I met Elisa when I went back to work after I split up with my first husband. My two older children attended her daycare. It wasn’t until a few years later that I discovered we shared a similar spiritual path. Thanks to her, I was introduced to an amazing circle of women I am blessed to call Sisters.  Her character is a little wilder than she is in real life, but I think I may have been channeling her younger self because she has some pretty interesting stories from her twenties.


Artist: Sharon Coslop

Sharon
Like her fictional counterpart, Sharon is an amazing artist and a woman of strong spirit and wisdom. She became the fourth Jersey girl because I wanted one of them to stay single. While I love a good romance, I also firmly believe a woman shouldn't require a man to be happy or fulfilled. Sharon is a remarkable example of a strong and independent woman who is a role model for many.  She is someone I look up to as a teacher and adviser, and she becomes that type of matriarch to the girls in the series and even  some of the guys. The photo above is one of her sculptures.


Andrew


Drew /Andy
Originally the male love interest in Falling Star was based on my crush for Leonardo DiCaprio.  When I finally decided to make a real effort at writing this story (which was on the back burner for ten years), I decided my cousin Andrew DiPalma was perfect for this role. He’s a real actor in Hollywood and while he hasn’t received mega fame status yet, I have no doubt it will happen eventually.  In addition to being a talented artist, he's also one of the sweetest guys you could ever meet.  He even flew all the way from the West Coast to be my youngest daughter's Godfather. Check out on IMDb or his face book page.

Laura, Erin, & Stephanie
Stephanie
When Stephanie joined the crew at the insurance agency, she, Erin and I quickly became the three musketeers. I couldn’t have a story that involved Erin without including Stephanie. We all had a lot of fun together and the Playboy Bunny outfits mentioned in Falling Star were totally inspired by actual events. That's my tail on the left.

Blanche
Though sadly, she’s no longer with us, Blanche was one of my favorite clients. She was in her nineties and still running a little Doll Hospital where she repaired porcelain dolls. All the little stories she tells in the book are inspired by real events in her life that she shared with me. 

Trevor
Trevor is the owner of Woody’s both in real life and in fiction.  When I started this series I decided it would be fun to include some of my favorite local hang outs, and Woody’s was the first one I thought of. Trevor graduated from Wildwood Catholic with Erin and I. Years later I reconnected with him when I dated a musician who played at his bar. Woody’s helped inspire many of the scenes in this series, especially In Perfect Harmony.  

Haroula

Haroula
Yet another Wildwood Catholic alumnus, Haroula was one year ahead of me in grade school and high school.  Today she manages her family business on the Wildwood boardwalk, a place called The Hot Spot which also makes an appearance in Falling Star. She was very influential in the relief efforts after Super Storm Sandy, just like she is in the story. She is a stellar example of what it means to be a proud Jersey Girl. No story set in Wildwood would be complete without this long time pillar of our community.

Happy

Happy
Adding Happy to the mix was a last minute decision. I was writing a scene with a drum circle and I knew I couldn’t leave out the best drummer ever. I met Happy years ago at an open pagan ritual. He’s an amazing musician and has been a big influence in our local pagan community. 

Greg
Just like in the story, Greg is Erin’s dad and one of the executives at the insurance agency.  He was my boss for many years and he was amazing to work for. While unfailingly strict, he always treated his employees with respect. He also was a great supporter of my work years before I ever got published. 

Dwayne

Dwayne

Yes, even the cab driver has a real life counterpart, o
nly he drives a Fed-Ex truck instead of a cab. Because of my day job as a review blogger, I see him almost every day when he drops of some packages.  He's one of those people who always has a smile on his face. Whenever I see him, he says, "Hey there, New Age Mama" (that's my blog's name) and it always makes me smile right back. 





Shadow Cat, Snowfox, Phoenix, and Misty

There are a few scenes that take place at Sharon's house and there was no way I could leave out her furry companions. All three of the cats and their dispositions are inspired by Sharon's actual pets. I didn't have the pleasure of meeting Shadow Cat before she crossed the veil, but this gray beauty lived for over twenty years. Snowfox was a magnificent  white feline who you couldn't resist trying to pet, but she often got you with her claws if you did. Phoenix, who is still with us today, is an orange ball of fluff you just can't help but fall in love with.  

Lainey's cat Misty was loosely inspired by by own little guy Onyx. I got Oynx when I was working  on final edits and changed things around a little so Misty would look like him. Originally, she looked too much like Shadow Cat and it was a little confusing, so I changed things up.
 
So now that you’ve met the Jersey Girls and their friends, be sure to pick up a copy of Falling Star and get to know them a little better.

Friday, July 2, 2021

Get Horrified #FREE on Amazon



Tom Rittenhouse is in over his head. After only one season, his best friend Lord Justyn is leaving him to run their dinner theater alone. With seven days to perfect their production of Franken-freak, Tom braves a Nor’easter on his birthday to lead their first dress rehearsal. To add to his stress, the set is plagued by strange accidents and mysterious messages. When an employee vanishes, Tom fears one of his feuding castmates may be out for blood. With danger, ghosts, and nylon stockings around every corner, this is certain to be a birthday Tom will never forget.




**Spoiler Alert**

You don't want to read Horrified until  you've caught up the other books in the series because it will give away several of the previous villains!



Get started with Book 1, Phantom to see how the story began.

Friday, June 25, 2021

Destiny is #FREE on Amazon



Gabriella is a witch. The problem is, she doesn't remember. She repressed the memories of her powers years ago when her mother was murdered. Now, the warlock who was responsible for her mother's death has set his sights on Gabriella. He is determined to use her fear to turn her to the dark side of magick…even if it kills her. Her mother's spirit is reaching out to warn her, but even that she pushes away. Desperate to save her daughter, the spirit finds a male witch–one that just happens to be in love with Gabriella. Darron is more than willing to help but the two young witches will have way more to battle than just an evil warlock. There are overbearing jocks and petty rich girls who get tempers flaring and often set Gabrielle and Darron at odds.

There is more to the story than Gabrielle and Darron could even imagine. There are terrible secrets to be revealed, battles to be waged, and lives will be lost. Only after Gabrielle and Darron both come to terms with who they really are and open themselves up to the true meaning of magick, can they have any hope of fulfilling their destiny.  


Gabriella and Darron thought their magickal battle was over when they defeated the evil warlock, Richard. When her Aunt Donna seeks Gabriella's help in rescuing her catatonic daughter from the Dark Coven, Gabriella discovers that her cousin holds a power within her that would be catastrophic in the hands of the evil witches. Her coven sets out on a journey that may be their last. Along the way, they meet new allies, face devastating treachery, and battle not only the Dark Coven, but the darkness within themselves. When Gabriella finally comes face to face with the cousin she never knew existed, her true destiny is unveiled and the fate of the mortal world is in her hands.


Wednesday, June 23, 2021

The Many Masks of Phantom




People often ask writers how they come up with their characters. Are they based off real people or are they entirely fictional? For me, its normally a mix of both. I might give a character the first name of one friend or the last name of another. The bad guy might have the same name as the nasty customer I had to deal with at work that day. And sometimes characters completely create themselves. But I have to admit, that the characters in Phantom were inspired by the people around me more than any other book I have written.  With the release of Phantom coming in just a few weeks, I thought it would be fun to introduce some of the people who helped make Phantom one of my favorite novels so far.

Rebecca Hope-Rebecca is the main character, and she gets the lead role of Christine in the play . She isn't really based on anyone in particular, but I did give her a few of my own characteristics. In the first chapter, I mention that she was normally hiding in the orchestra with her violin instead of trying out for a role. That was totally me in high school.  I was always too shy to try out for musicals, even though I really wanted to. But unlike Becca, I was a much better violinist than a singer anyway, so I was better off where I was. She also shares my nervous energy, and of course, we are both obsessed with the Phantom of the Opera in all its incarnations.





Jay Kopp - In my book, Jay Kopp is the class clown. The one making jokes at all the wrong times, and who thinks he is a whole lot cooler than he really is. The real Jay Kopp is not much different (LOL, Jay). Instead of the class clown, he is the office clown.  Here is a man who is in his forties, but still makes faces behind the executive president's back while he's handing out awards. A man who every single solitary day, walks out the door at closing time and yells, "Stick a fork in me, I'm done."  A man who has somehow wound up with the nickname of "Muffin" among his female coworkers. The picture above is from our "Inappropriate Pollyanna" and shows Jay enjoying his big busted mouse pad. Some of his other shenanigans include tapping a picture of my husband (than new boyfriend) all over the office, including the toilet seat, and dressing up as Flav of Flav, and no, it wasn't Halloween. As you can tell, our little group had a tendency to stray away from corporate etiquette and we loved every minute of it.   All that being said, Jay is actually a really sweet guy, a hard worker, and a wonderful husband and father.  I think I stayed pretty close to Jay's real personality in my book, I just made him thirty years younger.


Mr. Russ - Mr Russ is the school janitor. He's a little on the dirty side and  he's definitely not all there. Again, he is based on a real person, but I can't say his name because I don't want to get sued. When I was working, there was a old man who worked in one of the buildings on the same street. I would run into him at Wawa  all the time, and he decided he had a crush on me. Finally, he came in the office one day with a pack of tickets for the Lion King on Ice, and wanted to take me and my children. Ummmm...creepy!  Of course I told him as nicely as possible that I couldn't do that, and explained I was in a relationship for the hundredth time.  He got a little angry, I got a little freaked out, and thus I had to turn him into the creepy school janitor in the book. His name is different, but his physical description is right on. If you read this book, you'll understand why he made me nervous.



Carmen Webber -  Carmen is one of Rebecca's best friends. When I created Carmen, I was really thinking about one of my best friends, Viv.  I gave her a lot of Viv's personality traits, but when it comes to her looks, I was thinking more about her daughter Sarah. Sarah is closer to Carmen's age.  So she sort of wound up being a combination of them both, but she definitely has a little more attitude than either of them.  On a side note, their last name is Zarfati, which is also the name of one of the characters in my Destiny series.

Debbie O'Neill  & Wendy Wright - Both of these girls got their first names from people I worked with.  Wendy is the class snob, and there was a girl at one of our offices in North Jersey that always had an attitude when she called. Plus she sounded like a valley girl. I was trying to decide on a name for Wendy and she happened to call that day in a particularly miserable mood, and so she became my b***h.  With Debbie, it was more a physical thing.  Someone was leading a meeting and she looked exactly the way I envisioned Debbie, so she took her name.



Darlene & Matt:  Darlene is a good friend and was my former High Priestess before she moved out of state. She opened her arms to me when I was new to the Craft and completely on my own, and I learned a lot from her. When she didn't get "a part" in Destiny, I promised to put her name in Phantom. She took it a step further and asked me to add in her best friend Matt as well, so I made them someone's parents. What's funny is, I never really intended to include any parents in the book, but adding Darlene became a big part of one of my favorite scenes. Meeting Darlene & Matt is a fun part of the book, so I can't say too much more. But if you met the real Darlene, you would definitely find that she and her namesake have the same remarkable ability to speak in complete paragraphs without taking a single breath.


Tom Rittenhouse:  This is the guy who gets the role of Raul. Tom is very much like my first real boyfriend, even though I don't think I realized it myself until I read back through the book when it was done. He was a surfer. He was the star of the high school musicals. He even had hopes of being an actor someday. He did get a few small parts in TV and Broadway in college, but as far as I know, he gave up on Hollywood and is back home now.  I don't know where he is to get permission to add a photo or his real name.  Darron from Destiny has some of his characteristics as well. I think since he was my high school sweet heart, he comes back to haunt my high school characters...



Tempest: Tempest is a Gothic Belly Dancer. I already devoted a whole post to her here. But just to recap, she used to live in the area, and I look a few dance lessons from her. I also watched her perform live and was so entranced with her performance that it inspired one of my favorite scenes in the book. If Phantom is ever made into a movie, I am hoping she will play herself:)




Justyn Patko (AKA-Lord Justyn) - When I tell people that Lord Justyn was based on a real person, most of them look at me like I'm crazy. They think he's my imaginary friend.  But, nope, he is real, and here is! Like my character, the real Lord Justyn is a Gothic Pagan who also happens to be a musician and an actor.  I never spoken to Justyn outside of cyber space. We met on MySpace before I met my husband. I don't even remember how. But I do remember how all his notes would have a little old world charm in them. We would talk about books and movies, and, of course, magick and the Craft. He even read Destiny way before it was published. I would be lying if I said I didn't have a little crush on him. But in the real world, when we lived in different states and I was a single mom, there was no way it could have worked. Not to mention the fact that I am several years older, and not really the cougar type. Maybe in another time or another life it could have happened, but in this life, I could only make him into one of the most amazing characters I have ever created. It all started because I was writing him an email while Andrew Lloyds's Weber's musical was playing the background. I started to think how great he would be in the role of the Phantom...one thought led to another, and Phantom was born.



Finally, this photo is of my friend Jared Patko. He was handsome. He was fun. He was hilarious.  He was an amazing artist. He also suffered from severe Bipolar Disorder. In 2009, Jared took his own life. I had just started Phantom when this happened, and I wanted to immortalize him in some small way. I had promised him I'd use his name in a book eventually, and he had hoped to draw the cover art. Phantom  is also dedicated to Jared as well as the real Lord Justyn.



Well, that pretty much sums it up. Its amazing how even the smallest things that people do and say can touch our lives and bring about inspiration. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing for these folks will probably depend on who lives, who dies, and who the killer really is. But you'll have to read Phantom to find all that out. I have to wrap up this post with a quote that I drew completely at random from a hat during a  game my Circle was playing last month. "Be careful, or I'll put you in  my novel!"