Blog Archives

With Every Season New Growth Emerges

It’s the cycle of life, the way things were meant to be. Like I tell my children, embrace change: it is the only constant in life. And change is upon us here at Women Unplugged. I’ve enjoyed sharing with you and will continue to do so, only elsewhere… BloominThyme for you gardeners. My author website for the romance lover in you. New this year, I’ve begun a children’s series using the pen name DS Venetta called Wild Tales & Garden Thrills — fun fiction for ages 7 – 10 centered around an organic garden. Book #1 Show Me The Green! has been released with book #2 about school gardens on the way this spring.

Venetta, Dianne- Show Me the Green! (RGB)

Also new this spring is book #4 in my popular Silver Creek series. Only With You takes readers on an adventure in the sky as helicopter pilots Roan Phillips and Kelly Jones struggle to save their friends from an avalanche. It’s a mountain adventure you won’t soon forget.

Not Without You_XL_1200 px @ 300 dpi high res

For the gardening enthusiasts, don’t miss my annual “Authors in Bloom” where your favorite authors share their gardening tips and favorite recipes, plus offer prizes and SWAG! It’s 10 days of nonstop giveaways beginning April 7th.

AIB Logo

Sign up for my quarterly newsletter and be the first to know what’s new and exciting. But wherever that might be, let’s keep in touch. Here’s to a fantastic 2016!

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Another New Year

And I, for one, am glad for it. I love new years. They signify new opportunity, new hope–new everything. As an avid gardener, I embrace the chance to begin a fresh new gardening season, improving upon the last. This year, my goal is corn. I’ve grown corn. I’ve had success, as you can see from this beautiful specimen…

Corn harvest_2015

But alas, I’ve also had less than stellar results. On other cobs, my corn kernels were full and beautiful, up to a point.

corn missing kernels

*sigh* Something about pollination, or the lack thereof, prevented the cob from filling out to its peak of perfection. Might be due to a fluctuation in watering. Might be due to the fact that my corn plants weren’t staggered appropriately alongside one another, allowing for the wind to carry “the goods” from one corn plant tassel to another.

However, I will NOT be deterred. Persistence and perseverance are the name of the game in gardening (this applies to my writing career, as well) and I WILL prosper. In fact, I’ve already learned how to make lemonade from my lemons: a lovely roasted corn side from my half-pollinated cobs.

roasted corn

Doesn’t it look divine? It was, and totally easy to prepare. Simply scrape the “good” kernels from the cob, the ones kind enough to grow properly, and toss them with olive oil, salt and pepper. I threw in a few chopped red jalapeno to the mix, just for fun. Spread mixture out onto a baking sheet and roast for about 15 minutes. Delicious! And a wonderful beginning to a fabulous new year.

Spirit of the Season

Like Kimberly, I’m looking at Christmas in a new light this year. My kids are teenagers now, and while they haven’t lost all of their magical appreciation for the season, they do have a very frank understanding of Santa which significantly alters the gift-giving angle. After all, the reason for the season isn’t gifts, its God. Jesus.

Kids are great

Makes a gal feel kind of superficial and materialistic focusing on the shopping business. So I won’t. This year isn’t going to be about finding the perfect gift, the one that lights up their faces on Christmas morning. Nope. There will be gifts Christmas morning, but greatly reduced. I’ll carry the sentiment through Christmas dinner. As hostess for the family gathering, I’ve asked the relatives to dispense with our customary gift exchange. It only adds chaos to the evening, anyway. I mean, we’re talking 25 people for dinner and my house is far from a mansion. Trust me when I tell you it gets a little crazy. And to exchange gifts right before we’re serving a home-cooked meal? Double the chaos. We need all hands on deck to carve the turkey, make the gravy, toast the marshmallows atop the sweet potatoes, warm the veggies… The list goes on.

gingerbread house

Recently, I discovered that one family in our community celebrates the season without gifts. For themselves, that is, including their kids. Instead, they wrap a gift box, cut a slit in the top, then deposit money into it throughout the month. A week before Christmas, they take the money and buy food for the hungry, clothes for the homeless; wherever they see a need, they fill it.

I like it. It embraces the charitable spirit of the season and reminds me it’s time to focus on the basics. Family, friends, charity, hospitality, song and prayer. How about you? Any changes this season to your celebration?

When You Feel Like A Salmon

Keep swimming.

That’s how I feel these days, like I’m swimming against the current. How do I expand my reach, boost my discoverability factor? There’s a sea of books on the market, a torrent of good stories to choose from. It’s overwhelming. For me as a reader, finding that next great book to enjoy can be a challenge. Do I want romance or mystery? Espionage or intrigue? Do I want an established author or do I want to try someone new?

An indangered Chum Salmon, Oncorhynchus keta, (aka. Dog Salmon) attempts to jump a small dam on the Deschutes River in Tumwater Washington. The concrete in the foreground is the opening to a fish ladder.

As an author, it’s proves a different challenge. How do I reach readers looking for stories like mine? Book fairs, expos, online, social media–potential readers are everywhere, but I can’t be. How do we connect? Word of mouth, freebie giveaways or glittery ad banners?

Maybe I should join Kimberly in her yoga endeavor. Might calm my energy, streamline my thought process. Would probably improve my sleep, too! But seriously, as I find myself counseling my high school daughter on her education going forward, I find myself drawing on the tried and true words of wisdom. “Love what you do.” You’ll be doing a lot of it. “Don’t give up.” The time will pass anyway.

“Stay true to your dreams, and your dreams will stay true to you.” Persistence pays. Perseverance makes you stronger. **breathe** Life is a journey to be enjoyed, right?

Surprise Visitor

I began the day gardening, enjoying some of Florida’s first fall weather, and was surprised to come across this little guy while amending my beds with compost.

toad visitor

He popped out of the dirt as I was raking over my row. Not very cute, but friendly enough. And odd, because I didn’t realize toads lived in compost. And when I say “in” compost, I mean “in” as in beneath the leaves and dirt. He had to have been buried fairly deep for me not to have noticed him while transferring the stuff from compost pile to wagon. Huh. I always thought toads lived in dark, wet places–not dark, wet and dirty! Who knew?

But it was an interesting find. As I continued with my business of gardening, he happily hopped away, leaving me to wonder if he’d find his way back to the compost pile. Do toads have a sense of direction like, say, cats? I guess I could have followed him, or helped him along his way–except that I’m not THAT much of a nature girl. Sunny, outdoorsy, yes. Icky, yucky, no.

hornworm beast in action

Doesn’t make me a bad person, does it? I mean, I regularly squash bugs and fat, hungry hornworms (to save the lives of my plants, of course). This little fella should be happy I left him alone! Hopefully, he’ll warn his friends that the compost pile is NOT the place for toads eliminating future such dilemmas.

Oh, well. Just another life in the day of a gardener. How did you spend your morning? Everybody’s life looks a bit different, doesn’t it? 😉

 

 

 

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