Hello and welcome! I am so excited to be part of the 5th Annual Authors in Bloom Blog Hop. Thanks for stopping by to visit little ole me out here in the Great Plains of the US.
I write contemporary western romance…basically, smart women meet yummy cowboys and sexy fun ensues. Some of the stories are romantic comedies, others involve sizzling forbidden loves, and my Christmas novella is a sweet, clean romance. All of my novels involve life on the prairie, where people are outdoors all the time (whether they’re riding horses or skinny dipping).
My favorite part of the Great Plains is all the vibrant plant life that Mother Nature bestows on us, sprinkling purple chicory along the roadsides, red and white clover through the fields, elderberry in the ditches, and every color of coneflower imaginable wherever there’s even a smidge of dirt and a hint of rain. I’m particularly fond of the majestic goldenrod and the purple loosestrife…just thinking about the vibrant fields of color makes me smile.
But with Mother Nature putting on such a spectacular show, my own garden quite honestly pales in comparison. Plus, all the luscious flowers attract deer, rabbits, woodchucks, skunks, squirrels, possum, mice, and birds (birds galore!), who line up for the free buffet line that I call my garden.
So what’s a gal to do?
I take a cue from Mother Nature herself and incorporate a variety of herbs in and around my garden. I surround my garden area with catnip to ward off mice and other creepy crawlies (like skeeters!). I love the lemony smell when I walk through the bushes (which can grow well above the knees if left to their own devices), and my cats love me when I return to the house. I always harvest a bit for the kitties before the catnip gets too mature and dry the leaves to help alleviate any boredom among my three felines. One healthy catnip plant usually provides enough dried catnip to last through the winter, and I bag up any extra for my friends’ kitties.
But catnip is great for humans as well. A cup of catnip tea before bed helps me sleep through the night. The tea and leaves can also help with headaches as well as flushing toxins from the body. There’s a whole host of benefits from this hardy plant that is covered with white flowers once mature.
The thing is, just like everything thing out here on the plains, catnip serves many purposes. It keeps critters away (some say it is as much as 10 times stronger than DEET), helps entertain my cats, and provides health benefits for the humans. The plant gives off a pleasantly fresh smell and is pretty darn easy to grow, even for someone like me (whose thumb leans more to the black than the green).
Of course, a few caveats: I am not a medical professional, so please do your own research before using/ingesting catnip. Also, be careful re-introducing yourself to your kitties if you’ve been out in the catnip. Some of my felines have been known to attach themselves to my legs the minute I walk in the door. Make sure you protect yourself from kitties easily excited by catnip (they really can’t help themselves, you know…and they don’t mean to latch on so tightly with their teeny tiny claws ::shudder::).
My other favorite plant in the wild is nettles, but I’ll have to save that post for next year. 😉
If you think you might enjoy my romance stories, I hope you’ll sign up for my newsletter and enter the giveaway for my latest book, So Wills the Heart (read more about this book as well as reviews). Although all my stories are set in the same small towns, they are standalone books (and psst…you can nab the first e-book in the series, Vibrant Heart, free at your favorite retailer).
Once again, thanks for stopping by to visit, and now—on to the goodies!
Don’t forget to enter the blog hop’s GRAND PRIZE drawing for a Kindle Fire or Nook (winner’s choice) along with a 2nd prize of a $25 gift card.
To enter, leave a comment (and include your contact email in case you win) below. Only those visitors who visit EACH and EVERY stop are eligible to win. Eligibility will be verified by hop’s end. Winners will be posted on both the first (Dianne Venetta) and last (BloominThyme) websites.