Guest Blogger Anna Louise Lucia

DL FRONTsampleaGrow Your Own

Has anyone else really got into the big ‘grow your own’ push lately? I’ve always loved gardening, and for two blissful but short years had the loan of an allotment and did the vegetable thing then. But for most of the time we’ve had our own home, we’ve been a bit lacking in the garden department. We have a postage stamp front garden, half of which I turned from an overgrown car port into a mad jumble of cottage garden faithfuls, delphiniums cheek by blossoming jowl with roses, clematis, granny’s bonnet and cat mint. The other half is…. fallow. *looks embarrassed*. Yes, that’s what we’ll call it. It’s lying fallow…

But this year, I’ve really gone for the vegetables in containers thing. I have courgettes (zucchinis) in a galvanised trough, tomatoes in a window box propped up on logs, lettuces anywhere I can find a space, and potatoes in some specially bought extra-deep bags. The potatoes are already going great guns, although no-one seems to have told the FIRST earlies that they’re supposed to be farther on than the SECOND earlies… the main crop potatoes know their place, though, and are following on in sedate fashion, secure in the knowledge they won’t be harvested until late summer/early autumn. Occasionally I can be found in the back yard, going, “STOP growing so fast! I’m running out of compost!” at the potato bags.

And then there are the herbs. Now herbs are not a new departure for me, far from it. That front cottagePotato garden patch has marjoram, parsley, mint, sage and chives. The thyme’s never quite lasted through our soggy winters, though. Now in the back I’ve planted more sage, more marjoram, and three different thymes. I’ve also decided to risk sowing coriander, a herb I use a bunch of (no pun intended) in summer, but I’ve never had a lot of luck with annual herbs…

(STOP PRESS – my bad luck continues. I was in the kitchen when I heard Husband mutter, “I can’t believe we’ve got weeds germinating in here already…” Although I flew out the door, and risked my neck across the slippery sandstone flags, I wasn’t quick enough to stop him ‘weeding’ the new sprouts of coriander. Back to the ol’ drawing board. On the plus side, we fell about the place laughing…)

TomatoI’ve always avoided doing a lot of container vegetable gardening, because of the maintenance. Feed and water, keep an eye on pests, treat organically when they show up. I know how easy it is for a plant to get stressed if it’s had to wait an extra day for a good soak, and then suddenly you’re picking aphids out of your salad have a really successful slug farm. I thought I didn’t have time, and probably couldn’t be relied on. I hated the thought of plants lacking care, and going to waste.

So I didn’t grow any plants.


I’m spotting a familiar refrain, here.

You see, I know first hand that it’s very easy to avoid the things you’re afraid you’ll fail at. It’s easy to keep on polishing that manuscript instead of submitting it. Easy to carry on writing the things you KNOW you can do, when you really, really want to write that something different.

It’s easy to say, “this book will be rejected, so I’m not going to try.”

Dangerous Lies was very nearly the vegetable that was never grown. Somehow, in spite of the protestations of critique partners, I’d convinced myself that it sucked. It took a great read from the wonderful Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writer’s Scheme, and a few other little kicks up the backside, to convince me it was worth a try. I submitted it, and it sold on proposal, a few weeks later.

So what are you going to ‘Grow Your Own’ of, in the garden, or in your life? Leave a comment, and I’ll pick a winner to receive a signed copy of Dangerous Lies!

Anna Louise Lucia’s latest book, Dangerous Lies, is out now. “Marianne Forster was only spending time with a gorgeous man in the hot sun of Morocco. It wasn’t anything more than that… until she was kidnapped on the way home.”

All About Romance awarded Dangerous Lies an ‘A’ review, and their ‘Desert Isle Keeper’ status, saying, “Holy golly Moses. I’ve never put a publishing company on my auto buy list, but if this is what Medallion is putting out, considering the other recent stellar reviews here at AAR, I might just have to change my mind.”



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17 responses to “Guest Blogger Anna Louise Lucia

  1. Fun blog. We’re growing lettuce this year, something we haven’t done before. Though I have to admit that my husband is in charge of it.

    I’m writing sci fi romance, which is new for me. My next book is a new idea. I might do first person, something that hasn’t worked for me before. I’m writing a snippet now. (Though I should be writing the synopsis for my wip.)

  2. Cool, Edie! Both the lettuce and the first person sci fi romance (which I would LOVE to read, btw – I cut my reading teeth on sci fi). Our lettuces are doing okay – and I’ve never had much success with lettuce before!

  3. Margaret A. Golla

    Congrats on a great review, Anna!
    I have a huge and multi-faceted garden–I just don’t grow veggies. 🙂 In Oklahoma they grow like mad and get all gangly and top heavy and then when the summer heat, humidity and drought hit and they get tough and yucky. Ick! Veggies are too much work.
    I think I’ve hit my stride with this middle-grade novel I’m writing. I really enjoy the humor and I have a built in critic with my eight year old!

  4. Blimey, yes I can imagine the OK climate might be a bit much to overcome! And it’s a lovely feeling when you’ve hit your stride!

    I have to laugh, I took that picture of the potatoes in the green bags above about four days ago. The shoots are now six inches above the top of the bag! They’re getting out of hand!

    As, indeed, is my writing. I appear to have started writing a synopsis with no real intention of doing that!

  5. Crystal B.

    We are growing a vegetable garden and flowers. I love fresh veggies and when the flowers bloom.

  6. Anna take more pics of your garden! I love garden pics! I have a lovely front and back yard. professionally designed and maintained. It’s very pretty, and low maintained for me. But I so much enjoy planting my pots every year. I do have an herb garden hidden behind the wall of touring cypress. Basil, thyme, oregano, mint and chives. They thrive back there. but it never occurred to me to mulch them! Going to do that this weekend!

    as far as not taking a shot for fear of failure, it’s hard for so many to just push forward. but if we don’t push then we don’t learn and if we don’t learn we are destined to fail again and again.

    I think too many people consider themselves a failure when they fail at something. We must remember failure is a verb, not a noun.

  7. Oooooh Karin! That’s fantastic – failure is a verb, not a noun. OMG, I think you just changed my life! *eyes go slightly unfocused*

    I’ll admit I’ve been very much guilty of noun-ing failure. I even hate saying or writing the word, makes me feel so bad…

    That’s a nice selection of herbs you’ve got there. Have you ever considered a rosemary bush somewhere? I love mine, by my front gate. And yes, I’ll take more garden pictures and let you know. 🙂

  8. Great blog! Best of luck with Dangerous Lies and CONGRATS on the awesome review.

  9. Interesting, Anna. Mama could grow anything! I can grow things that are willing to fight me back and live anyway.

  10. Anna, great post and wonderful review!

    I’ve don’t do outdoor plants but I love houseplants. They don’t love me. My huband brings them home and I kill them. Not intentionally, you understand!

    As for what I’m going to “grow my own of” right now–I’m starting a new book.


    Barbara White Daille

  11. Jane

    I have one cactus, a couple of aloe vera plants and an African violet.

  12. I knew I forgot one. I have a MONSTER rosemary bush. 🙂

  13. I love my flowers, too, Crystal – and there’s nothing quite like eating food you’ve grown yourself. 🙂 Thanks for popping by! (Sorry I missed you earlier!)

    Thanks Delores! 😀 I was really pleased.

    LOL Mary! There are still a few things that have to fight me to survive, too – like lavendar. Love lavendar, but it’s too cold and wet here to grow it!

    Good luck with your new book, Barbara! I used to have a good hand with houseplants, but this house just seems to dislike them… that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!

    Ah, Jane – do you snap off bits of your Aloe and use it for burns or dry skin or skin irritations? Great stuff, Aloe Vera!

    Ah, I’m relieved, Karin! I couldn’t do without my rosemary…. *g*

  14. Folks, I’ll pop in later on to randomly pick a winner of the signed copy. I think due to the time difference, I’ll wait till I get home my evening time. 🙂

  15. Well, I pulled a name out of the hat, and it’s Crystal! Congratulations, Crystal! I’ll ask Melanie to get in touch, but if you see this, can you e-mail me on anna (at) annalouiselucia (dot) com?

    Thanks, Melanie, for hosting me, and thanks, everyone, for a lovely time.

  16. What a great idea..I think i will start me a Garden and write a book too lol ive got a green thumb and Have a great story to tell! Thanks for the inspiration!! Oh…What vegitables can be grown indoors with low lighing or maybe grow lamps huh?

  17. pearl

    Congratulations on the release of Dangerousl Lies. Your photos are wonderful and colorful. I plant a vegetable patch each year and hope for the best. The flowers in the garden do well and I enjoy the striking colors. Best wishes.

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