featuring guest authors; crafting tips and projects; recipes from food editor and sleuthing sidekick Cloris McWerther; and decorating, travel, fashion, health, beauty, and finance tips from the rest of the American Woman editors.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


Darlene Deluca writes women’s fiction and contemporary romance, and likes to explore relationships—what brings people together or keeps them apart. Her characters seem like real people with real issues that readers can relate to. Her debut novel, Unexpected Legacy, advanced to the quarter-finals in Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Award. Learn more about Darlene at her website. 

Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but flowers come in a close second. Flowers are the language of loveand what can cheer a girl up faster than a bright and colorful bouquet of fresh flowers? Okay, chocolate and a massage might be up there as well, but today, we’re talking about flowers!

As a gardener and florist, Megan Monroe, the heroine in my sweet contemporary romance, Meetings of Chance, is surrounded by flowers. But since her mother’s death, cheer is hard to come by. Not only was her mother the force behind the beautiful Monroe gardens, she was Megan’s business partner in Fresh Flowers, the floral business they operate from their charming turn-of-the-century farmhouse.

Without her mother, doubts creep in. Can Megan and her grieving father keep up the gardens? Can she run the business alone? Does she even want to? Confused and saddened, she wrestles with those questionsuntil a bride-to-be and her mother arrive to interview Megan for a wedding job. That’s when she learns there’s a rumor going around town that Megan’s mother was the real talent behind the business. With pride and reputation at stake, Megan sets out to prove them wrong. The answer? Flowers, of course! And not just any flower – sunflowers, one of the cheeriest flowers of all.

“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow. It’s what sunflowers do.”Helen Keller

While her mother was partial to the myriad shades of roses growing in their gardens, Megan has an affinity for the whimsical, less formal blooms. The bride’s swatches of eggplant-colored fabric for her bridesmaid dresses ignite Megan’s imagination. Sunflowers against that deep purple hue equal instant impact!

On the day of the wedding, Megan rises before dawn to clip stems of sunflowers, snapdragons and zinnias. Starting with sunflowers as the central focal point, she crafts dramatic and eye-popping centerpieces and bouquets.

The result, in spite of the bride’s anxiety, a cut finger and a lost spool of ribbon? A gorgeous wedding, renewed confidence, and a much-needed spray of cheer!

A Few Facts About Sunflowers . . .
~The scientific name of the sunflower is Helianthus, Helia for sun and Anthus for flower.

~Sunflowers are a great choice for planting to attract birds to your yard.

~A well-known sunflower characteristic is that the flowering heads track the sun's movement, a phenomenon known as heliotropism.

~Sunflower plants can stand from 3 to 18 feet tall, and can grow easily in many types of soil as long as they have direct sunlight and a constant source of water.

~There are two kinds of sunflower seeds -- black and striped. Oil is made from black seeds; snacks are made from striped seeds.

~There is only one flower on each sunflower stem, and each head can contain as many as 2,000 seeds.

~Sunflowers originated in North America. Today, there are more than sixty different kinds of sunflowers growing in the United States, Europe, Japan and Russia. Some aren’t even yellow!

Additionally, sunflowers are the state flower of Kansas, my home state. Many times while driving from Kansas to Colorado I’ve had the pleasure of seeing fields of crop sunflowersrows and rows of big yellow blooms that stretch as far as the eyes can see. It really is a spectacular site. And a sure way to put a smile on your face!

Meeting of Chance
She wants her old life back . . . He wants to leave his behind.

After her mother’s death, Megan Monroe is convinced her life has been tossed into a high-speed blender. Normal is long gone. While dealing with a grieving father, single-handedly running the family’s floral business and trying to re-shape her own career, she’s suddenly confronted with a troublesome new neighbor and an explosive secret from her mother’s past.

She can’t tell her father, and her sister refuses to believe, so Megan presses on alone, forced to carry a secret she didn’t even want to know. Determined to uncover the truth, she finds herself turning to a man she’s not sure she can trust.

Tom Blake has fled his city life to escape the publicity of a high-profile divorce. Planning to lie low, he has no intention of being drawn into someone else’s family angst. But he runs into more than he bargained for when he meets his new neighbors. In an unexpected turn of events, he finds himself thrust into the role of confidante and on the last path he wanted to travel – a path that threatens his plans for the future.

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Angela Adams said...

I always associate sunflowers with a sign of Spring. Thanks for the post.

darlene deluca said...

They tend to signal summer in our area. It's always so fun to see the big commercial fields of them as we drive between Kansas and Colorado!

Thanks, Angela, for stopping by!

Melissa Keir said...

Awe! Sounds like a great story. My grandma painted a picture of the five of us girls as flowers. I was always the sunflower while one of my sisters was a rose. I felt ugly next to her. I love how you have shown Sunflowers to be uniquely beautiful!

All the best!

darlene deluca said...

Oh, Melissa, that's a great story! I love roses too, but I think sunflowers are cheerier!
Thanks for stopping by!

darlene deluca said...

Funny, I did one of those Facebook quizzes today . . . what's your color? I got yellow! Guess that explains why I like sunflowers!

Thanks so much for hosting me, Lois!