My Yard as a Battleground

Yep. I am at war. It happens to some degree every year. I plant flowers in my yard and squirrels, rabbits and chipmunks team up to trample them, dig them up, or chow them to the ground.

The first under attack this year is the gorgeous hibiscus on the patio. You never know what will go first. The critters sometimes have different favorites from year to year. The hibiscus have been targets before. But usually it happens at the end of the summer after we’ve at least had a little time to enjoy them and they’ve had a chance to put on some growth. Not this year. I thought I’d purchased decent-sized plants. Yeah, I did. But when branches are constantly gnawed off, they get thin quickly.

I present my case: see the fallen — downed branches, lifeless leaves and stemless flowers. Unfortunately, I have few weapons with which to do battle. A BB guns stands ready beside the patio door. But since any movement alerts the varmints to our presence, that doesn’t do much good. I’ve tried every chemical and trick in the book –– Irish Spring soap, cayenne pepper, human hair, fox urine, etc., etc. These guys are undeterred. In fact, I’m pretty sure they get a good laugh at my expense.

Sigh. So I’m reduced to the ugliest of options. Chicken wire. See for yourself. Isn’t that lovely?! Caged flowers. All the rage. Really.

The ordeal leaves me frustrated, exhausted and envious of the beautiful gardens I see around me. It shouldn’t be this hard to grow a flower or two!

I’d love to hear your garden success stories. Or, if you just want to commiserate, have at it!

Summer Romance: Five Alluring Getaways

This is for all you romantics out there who are looking for a cool getaway! Bon voyage!

I Luv2cruz!

Ah, the romantic summer vacation –warm days, scenic wonders, interesting things to do together —  a chance to reconnect away from the every day drudgery that saps the amour right out of you.

I’ve been consulting with my romance-writer friends, and we agree that these five trips are the best for reviving the romantic spirit:

  1. Rhine River cruise. Was it the day of castle-lined scenic cruising? The strolls through quaint, flower-filled towns? Or perhaps the gourmet dinners with real French champagne night after night? All I can say for sure is that falling in love again in this setting is as easy as nachtisch.
  2. Italy. Really, just anywhere — a tour, a cruise, a week in Rome — doesn’t matter. Multiple trips to the bel paese may be necessary to explore the full range of romantic options! I would suggest a tour of Venice, Florence, and Rome by…

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Drum roll, please… It’s Release Day!

Here it is! It’s finally done! It’s the end of a journey — it’s book three in a trilogy, the last installment in a heartfeltPageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00031] story of three friends in a small Kansas town.

The three stories in this series are companion books. They feature a trio of close-knit women who’ve been friends for a long time – each story focusing on one of the friends. The series will take you on a ride through their ups and downs as women, wives, mothers, bread winners and civic leaders. Through joy and pain, new love, longtime love and lost love, these women pull for each other, catch each other when they fall, and embrace life. You’ll wish these gals were your friends in real life!

Barefoot Days is Mary’s story — the story of a strong, beloved woman who suddenly faces fear and loss when her rock-solid world is shaken.

Available now in ebook or paperback!

Readers are saying:

  • Like in all of Darlene Deluca’s books, these characters seem very realistic and the reader really comes to care about them. I especially enjoyed hearing more about the characters that appeared in the first two books of this series, and seeing where life had taken them. The engaging characters, realistic dialog and compelling storylines make for another great book from Deluca!
  • There’s plenty of drama, romance, and a scary medical mystery, told with Deluca’s trademark honesty and sensitivity to real human issues and the ways that real people, like us and our own friends, try to cope with grace and kindness.
  • Barefoot Days is about how the bonds of friendship and love of family can turn despair to hope and fear to strength.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00031]

Get Book Two

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00031]

Get Book One

Comment here or on my Facebook Author Page for a chance to win a digital copy of Barefoot Days or a $10 Amazon gift card now through Sunday, April 23!

 

 

Cover Reveal! Take a peek!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00031]Ahhhh . . . doesn’t that image make you want to curl your toes in the grass? I’m so excited to share the cover of Barefoot Days, the final novel in my Women of Whitfield small town trilogy! Book three takes readers back to Whitfield and the lives of three women who share a special I’ve-got-your-back friendship.

Barefoot Days is Mary’s story.

Mary Logan believes in the goodness of people. She believes in grace under pressure. But when the ugliness of human nature touches her family, and a series of seismic events shake up her world, she’s put to the test again and again.

She and her husband are supposed to be enjoying the benefits of early retirement. Their nest is empty. It’s time to travel and re-focus. It’s their time. Then an alarming diagnosis and an unexpected announcement from their daughter change everything. Facing the possibility of heart-wrenching loss, Mary finds herself breaking commitments, forcing smiles, and keeping secrets.

Until now, her cup has always been half full. Will a positive outlook be enough to withstand the challenges ahead?

Though final edits are still under way, you can pre-order your digital copy of Barefoot Days now! Release date for both ebook and paperback is April 21, 2017.

Happy reading!

Romance at the Grand Canyon

SB2017_020As part of a spring break road trip, my husband and I visited the Grand Canyon last week. I’d done a small plane tour many years ago, but this was the first time for either of us to walk the south rim of the park. Have to say it was pretty incredible. We arrived in late afternoon as the sun was beginning its descent, and the moon was rising. Made for some nice photos.

We stayed overnight in the Village, then went back to the scenic vistas of the south rim the next morning. There were fewer people, and we wandered the path without jockeying for position at the lookout areas.

At one area, a little farther out from the main path, we came upon a young couple enjoying the view, and they asked if we’d take a photo. Lucky them. Their timing was perfect, as my husband is a professional photographer.

Turns out they’d just gotten engaged! And it just happened to be our anniversary. Kind of cosmic. We spent the next several minutes chatting and taking photos. The photos probably won’t be their “official” engagement pictures, but I’m sure they’ll be treasured. Of course, he didn’t take just one. He knew how to place them for the best lighting, and the best composition. And he remembered to have the young woman place her hand where her new engagement ring was front and center. It was a short but fun photo shoot.

I don’t remember their names. We’ll never see them again. But it added to the romance and ambiance of our Grand Canyon experience. This is how memories – and stories – are made. Little snippets. Chance meetings. Unexpected connections. Intertwined with life’s big events.

They don’t know us, but we’re forever part of their story. I love that.

Real flower or cheap plastic?

I’ve got spring break on my mind. And sunshine. And all the things I love to do when we’re in California, like go to the beach and stroll through Huntington Gardens. Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens is one of my favorite places. It’s absolutely beautiful with a stunning Japanese garden, rows and rows of gorgeous camellias, and one of the most incredible desert succulent displays I’ve ever seen.

On my last visit, I went by myself, and was able to go at my own pace, leisurely strolling along and taking about a bazillion pictures. Some of the strangest plants reside in the succulent garden. You might look at the photos here and think I picked up that cheap plastic flower at a craft shop or pulled it from an ancient, dusty floral display at an estate sale.

Nope. This flower is real. That color is real. I’d never seen that color in nature before! It really does look fake, both in color and texture. It grows almost like a yucca, standing several feet tall. With a little internet research, I found it’s called a puya flower. One site even had it listed in a collection of plants “from a bad sci-fi movie!”

I’m not sure I even like it, probably because it doesn’t look real, doesn’t seem to fit in with the other flowers. But it kind of fascinates me, too. I love flowers. I attempt to grow them, but heat, rabbits, squirrels, mosquitoes, etc. prevent me from doing a very good job of it. So I tend to get my flower fix at public gardens. Whether I discover a new-to-me plant variety or just enjoy acres of beautiful color, they’re just plain fun. My eye candy!

Enhancing your Romantic Getaway!

Whether your getaway-for-two is over Valentine’s Day or not, by land or by sea, you can enhance your romance wherever you go — without spending a fortune. Here are some inexpensive and easy tips: Find a garden. It could be right there at your resort, in a park near your hotel, or part of an […]

via Easy Ways to Enhance Your “Getaway” Romance — I Luv2cruz!