Three moms. Three friends. Three stories.

square whitfield on coneflowers

Mother’s Day is right around the corner, so today I’m giving you a little peek inside my women’s fiction trilogy, The Women of Whitfield–because it’s the perfect gift for moms who read! Claire, Dana and Mary are longtime, I’ve-Got-Your-Back friends who live in a small Kansas town. Their lives intersect and intertwine, and they are there to support each other through the journey. To laugh, cry, and love through it all.

Book One: The Storm Within:

Elise caught a whiff of mint as her mother spoke. She’d obviously put a mint in her mouth as soon as she arrived to help clear her breath. From what? Cigarette smoke? Alcohol? Elise groaned inside. How could she take her mother to her in-laws’ house in this condition? In her entire life, she’d never seen her mother so unkempt and weak. Instead of her usual stylish pumps or boots, she wore a pair of basic loafers, and her normal confident gait had been replaced by an unsteady shuffle.

Elise helped her up the stairs and into the house. “Do you need to freshen up before we go?”


Elise let go of her. “Okay, you do that, and I’ll gather everyone up.”

Oh, shit. Oh, shit. As Brian came down the stairs, Elise grabbed his arm and pulled him aside. “Mom looks like hell, and she’s acting like she can hardly move. This is not going to be good.”

He peered down the hall. “You think she should stay here?”

“I can’t leave her by herself.”

“Look, we gotta go. It’ll be fine. All she has to do is sit around and eat.”

“Why don’t you go ahead and get the kids in the car, and pull into the driveway so she doesn’t have to maneuver through the garage.”

Five minutes later, when her mother still hadn’t emerged from the bathroom, Elise knocked on the door. “Mom, you doing all right?”

“I’ll be right out,” came the raspy response.

She leaned against the wall, and rubbed her temples. This was so much worse than she expected.

An eternity later, the door opened, and her mother stepped out. She’d tried to fluff her hair up a bit, and was standing a little taller. A slight improvement. Elise put on a smile. “Okay, you ready? Where’s your jacket?”

“Oh, let me get that.”

She retrieved the leather jacket from the bathroom, then Elise helped her put it back on. It was like having another child.

Book Two: Second Wind

By Friday evening, Dana wanted nothing more than a quiet night at home, and an early date with her pillow. She gave Chase a smile as he pushed back from the table and carried his plate to the kitchen sink. He was doing a pretty decent job of picking up after himself and keeping Claire’s place clean. But when he walked back past her and said, “See you later,” she whipped around.

“What do you mean? Where are you going?”

Chase shrugged and scooped his keys up from the coffee table. “Going out. Can’t hang around here all night.”

“Why not?” He hadn’t been ‘around here’ for more than an hour or so every day as far as Dana could tell. Except to sleep. “Chase, come on. You barely told me anything about your day. I know you saw Poppa, and that’s it.” She’d resisted the urge to question him over dinner, hoping he’d offer some information on his own. No such luck. She hated playing twenty questions. Hated being the bad guy even more.

Chase’s jaw hardened. “There’s nothing to tell, Mom. If there was, I would tell you. Quit bugging me, okay?”

Dana scooted the chair back, fighting to keep her cool. “You know, if you’d talk to me and tell me what’s going on, I wouldn’t have to keep asking you.”

He spread his hands in front of him. “Nobody was around today. I turned in some applications.”

“I think we ought to contact a head hunter.”

Chase rolled his eyes, his head shaking back and forth. “God, Mom. Those are for professionals. They’d laugh me out of the office.”

She let out an exasperated sigh. “Listen, I’m trying to help you.”

“What do you want me to do? It’s Friday night. I can’t make business calls now. I can’t get online. There’s no internet. I mean–”

Dana held up a hand to stop him. He was right about all that. And she’d broken her resolve to let the job thing go until next week. “Fine. Where are you going?”


“In Paxton?”


“Why can’t they ever come here? I’d like to meet them. Besides, I hate you doing all that highway driving at night.” Her mother’s accident had been the result of an aneurism and had nothing to do with the traffic or road conditions, but the road from Whitfield to Paxton was a two-lane highway with a narrow bridge and railroad tracks, and there was always truck traffic. It still made Dana nervous.

“Luke’s got the big screen and game system, Mom. What would we do here?”

“Claire’s got a pool table downstairs, and there’s a TV. Heck, you could go to Bailey’s and hang out. Watch a game. You could take turns, at least.”

“Maybe tomorrow.”

“Or you could contact some of your high school friends. I’m sure some people are around.”

“I told you, I don’t know anybody here anymore.”

“Have you even tried?” she asked softly.

Chase’s grunt was muffled by the closing of the door.

Dana watched her son’s car pull away from the curb and wondered where was that adorable kid who never left the house without saying “I love you.” What happened to the kid who would still allow her to grab his hand for a few moments even in high school? She missed him.

Book Three: Barefoot Days

“Listen, sweetie, I’ve been pregnant before. You might start getting morning sickness. You’ll get tired more easily. You won’t be able to do lifting and moving after a few more months. You might need some help.”

“I’ll let you know. Just don’t try to manage me, okay? That doesn’t help.”

Neither would any retort that came to mind, Mary reminded herself. Instead of responding, she busied herself in the kitchen while Sara sipped her coffee. With a little luck it would improve her mood.

“Mom, you do realize that until two days ago I thought I was in love with someone else, right?” She pulled a top over her head and reached for her jeans.

Mary moved forward and ran a hand down Sara’s shoulder-length hair. “I do. I’m sorry. I’m not making light of that. But…well, maybe the best thing for getting over him is finding the real Mr. Right, hmm?”

“I have no idea what Evan is doing now, Mom. Heck, he could be married. I told you, we don’t talk anymore.”

“You would know, because I would know.”

“Whatever. Give it a rest, okay?”

“Fine, but for the record, I don’t think he’s dating anyone.” She leaned in, meeting Sara’s eyes in the mirror. “And I know he isn’t bringing anyone with him to the wedding.”

The Women of Whitfield series is available in paperback or digital formats from your favorite online retailer. Here’s what a few readers have to say:

The Storm Within:

— It was hard to read this book, and yet I could hardly put it down. My heart ached for Claire & all she experienced. I pulled for her cheered on her friends & family. Her friends were the absolute best. Everyone should be so blessed in their friends. You don’t want to miss this one.

— This was a hard book to put down. I got so involved with the characters that I shed tears for dark moments and tears for joy when things worked out. Ms Deluca is a powerful story teller and has deep insight into human frailties and strengths.

Second Wind:

— I loved Dana and her friends, found her family by turns endearing and completely annoying (and always interesting!), and was eager to find out how this strong woman, stressed past what she thinks she can handle, finds strength in herself, with the help of friends, family, and her own good sense.
‘Second Wind’ is riveting as she moves through enough new challenges to take anyone’s breath away. Ms. Deluca understands friendship and being a mom, and Dana’s story speaks to me about inner strength, and about finding our way through life’s transitions.

Barefoot Days:

—  This author once again struck a chord with me. Compelling story line with characters I could relate to. All set in a town that felt like I could live there. The third in her Women of Whitfield series, but it stood alone. You won’t have to read the others in the series to enjoy this book, but you’ll want to!

— I‘ve now read all three books in Darlene’s Women of Whitfield series, and I’m so sorry the series is ending. I absolutely love these books! The characters are so well developed that I feel like I actually KNOW them and that they are my friends. Mary, Claire and Dana are the kinds of friends every woman hopes she has. And I think Darlene saved the best story for last. I found myself laughing with them, crying with them and rooting for them.

Happy reading!


That time I didn’t win Mom of the Year

Sometime you just have to laugh.

Ever have one of those brain cramp/senior moments? You know what I’m talking about, right? Now think about those in terms of Mom moments. Here’s one for youIMG_9869—It was kind of a silly sad incident, but it’s also provided a lot of laughter over the years.

One morning in all the rush to get everyone to work or school on time, I breezed into the kitchen to help manage the chaos. Every day we packed a lunch for my son, who happened to be the World’s Pickiest Eater. This kid ate peanut butter and jelly, or honey, every day of his life for YEARS. Even when we went out to eat, which was often, we’d pack a sandwich and take a little bag with us.

Anyway, on this particular morning, I saw the day’s sandwich sitting on the counter, so I grabbed a plastic bag, shoved the sandwich inside and completed the lunch bag with a juice box and whatever else went in that day. Done. Move along. Chop, chop.

Well, later that day…my son opens the bag at lunchtime only to discover his “sandwich” is actually two slices of bread. No peanut butter. No jelly or honey. You can imagine his surprise! Yum!

In my defense, it looked like a sandwich! This little incident, while trivial, has become an example of my (not too many) failures in the Mom department. He survived. And I can handle being laughed at a little. We’re not perfect. Things happen. And it’s little shared memories like this that bond us and keep us real. 🙂

Is there a little incident that kept you from winning Mom Of The Year? Happy MD

Enjoy the day!


Mothers of Character

blog orchidIt’s Mother’s Day! The day to honor all of the loving, hard-working moms in our lives. As a daughter, of course, I reflect on the relationship with my mom, so fortunate that she’s still with me and in good health. As a mom, I’m grateful for the joy that my two awesome kids bring to my life. And as a writer, I can’t help thinking about all the mothers in my novels.

Here’s just a quick introduction to a few of them:

There’s Dana, the single mother in Second Wind, who works diligently to provide for her kids, give them a stable home environment, and send them to college. She’s a steadfast encourager who does all she can to give support and direction to her children.

“Chase, like I’ve said a million times, you have so much potential. You can do whatever you want. You need to believe in yourself.”

“Yeah? What good does that do if no one else will?”

“Chase.” She waited until his eyes met hers. “I believe in you.”


In Unexpected Legacy, Grace, the hero’s mother, unconditionally accepts the 16-year-old grandson she didn’t know she had.

She got up from her chair and in three quick steps threw her arms around Matt. “Of course we’ll help,” she said as she hugged him tightly. “I want to meet this boy.”

His mother was a slight woman, a good foot shorter than him, but those were the most comforting arms he’d ever been wrapped in.


In Something Good, Mandi’s mother plays a supporting role – a steady presence primarily in the background. While Mandi’s relationship with her father is a little rocky, her mother is rock-solid.

Mandi punched in her mother’s number.


“Mandi? Is something wrong?”

The worry in her mother’s voice tugged at Mandi. She didn’t always see eye-to-eye with her parents, but she could always count on them. They were her safety net, and tonight she wanted to feel safe.

“Yeah, there is. I don’t want to go home tonight. Can I come there?”

“Of course. Are you all right? Where are you? Do you need us to come get you?”

“No. I’ve got my car. I’m leaving the diner now. I’ll tell you about it when I get there.”

“I’ll wait up.”

Light spilled onto the porch, and the front door opened before Mandi stepped out of her car. She hurried up the stairs to the welcoming entryway of her parents’ house, and stumbled into her mother’s arms.


The mother/daughter relationship in The Storm Within is complicated. Claire struggles to accept the death of her son and forge a closer relationship with her daughter who’s always played second fiddle. While they haven’t been close, Elise refuses to give up on her mother.

Claire’s fingers grazed the small trinkets.

“You’re not upset that I took Ben’s things and put them in here, are you?”

“Of course not. I love it. And I love that I can still take them out and touch them. It’s very thoughtful, Elise.”

She swallowed hard, and took Elise’s hand. “This has been a tough year for both of us. I know I put you through some bad times. I’m sorry for that.”

When tears spilled down Elise’s cheeks, Claire wiped them away, Ben’s words echoing in her ears again. It’s gonna be okay. “No more tears,” she whispered. She gathered her daughter into her arms. “I love you, honey.”

“Love you, too, Mom.”

Though Elise’s words were muffled, Claire understood each one.


Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms who love and support unconditionally!