Tag Archives: gardening

#SATurday: The Secret Garden of Trees

2 May


From now on, one lucky winner will receive any eBook under $5.00 from Amazon every month. How? Well, every week, I post a Dark Member of the Week, and out of those members that month, one of them will be chosen for the monthly prize. Basically, the more you participate, the more your name gets entered into a giant, black cauldron – where the elders then work their magic to pick the winner! If you want to become a Member of the Dark, please email me at shannonathompson@aol.com. You are not required to do anything, and I will never give out your email. I will only email you during special events – like cover reveals or release days – and based on your participation, your website might be chosen as a Member of the Week. Those members are shared on The Timely Death Trilogy FB page and Twitter, and out of those spotlight winners, one of them will win the eBook prize. All April Members of the Week will be entered into the May lottery.

Good luck!

#SATurday: The Secret Garden of Trees

Let’s talk about trees for a moment. Why? Well, because I love them, and I often share my love for them on my Facebook and during my monthly Website Wonders – like these posts A Majestic Cathedral Made of Living, Breathing Trees, 12 Amazing Tree Tunnels You Should Definitely Take a Walk Through, and 16 of the Most Magnificent Trees in the World.

I’m not sure where my appreciation and admiration for trees began, but the first tree I remember loving was an old pear tree at my grandparents’ home. It was the only consistent home in my childhood, seeing as I moved around constantly while regularly visiting my grandparents during the summers and holidays. Mainly during Christmas. Which is why this pear tree memory stands out.

It was either the fall or spring, during that time of the year where it’s too cool to be summer and too warm to be winter. It was night too – which is even odder considering I can tell I’m very young, mainly by my lack of height in the memory. Everything was much taller than it should’ve been, and I have a feeling I shouldn’t have been outside, but I always have been a bit of a rebel, a bit of an explorer, a bit of an obsesser. When I get focused, I can’t get unfocused, so it’s highly likely that I snuck out – off the porch and around the bend to the place that I can only describe as a secret garden of trees (at least, in my child’s mind).


In truth, it was a makeshift grove, tucked away at the corner of the house, sheltered by the brick walls and a stone patio. The pear tree encompassed the little lot, and it hid a cracking, cement birdbath, something that equally fascinated me despite the fact that I never saw it being used. Even so, I loved sneaking into this spot, and almost every time, my mother caught me and told me I wasn’t allowed back there – something about it being right next to my great grandmother’s bedroom.

I probably only snuck back there a few times, but I still remember lying on the damp cement – staring up at the pears and the light spotting on them through the leaves – while fallen pears rotted around me. Nothing at all could’ve bugged me – not even the bugs – and I find that many trees have that effect on me.

Later in my life, we had a Dogwood tree, and a blackberry tree, and a willow tree, and a forest of all kinds of trees near me – at separate times but near me nonetheless. This morning, I noticed my neighbor has a red flowering tree – something I haven’t been able to see until recently considering I moved in during the winter. The colors are appearing – one at a time – all over my walk from my home to the coffee shop where I often write, and I am taking note of all the trees that accompany me along the way, and if I had to say anything at all, I’m just glad not every beautiful tree is locked away, tucked away, or hiding away in a secret garden.


Guest Post: S. Smith: So What’s That Book About, Anyway?

23 Nov

As you all know, I love reading other blogs, and I recently came across Author S. Smith: of the Seed Savers Series. As well as being an author, S. Smith is in the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and an OSU Master Gardener. So I asked her to guest blog, and here it is: Welcome, S. Smith!

The great thing about my books—the Seed Savers series—is that there are many strands, many possible themes. Before I explore some of these, a brief summary is needed. Seed Savers will consist of five books: Treasure (book 1), Lily (book 2), Heirloom (book 3), Keeper (book 4), and Harvest (book 5), the first three of which are currently available. The series is geared toward the middle grades, but the plot and writing are interesting enough for adults as well. Seed Savers is set in a not-too-distant future where (in the USA) gardening is against the law, and food has been reduced to five overly-processed food groups known only as Vitees, Protein, Snacks, Carbos, and Sweeties. In this future, our main characters Clare, Dante, and Lily find out about real food and try to make a change.

Author, S. Smith

Author, S. Smith

Obviously, gardening  is one of the major themes of the series. If the books seem to “teach” anything, it’s about how to grow food. A second theme is self-actualization. Because Lily and Clare are twelve when the series begins, we get to watch them grow and discover who they are and who they can be. This is a really wonderful age to write about. I spent the better part of the past ten years teaching in middle school and it’s why I wrote the book for this age group. As awkward as this age sometimes is, it’s also a wonderful time in terms of the kids coming into their own sense of being.

Also enjoyed by my readers (probably the older ones), are the political overtones of Seed Savers. Every day it seems we hear more and more about GMOs or about corporations in cahoots with the government, government spying through computers or drones, etc. This has always been a thread in the books and particularly in Heirloom, we learn the history of how the United States went from where it is today to the loss of freedoms evidenced in Seed Savers.

When I first started writing Seed Savers it was all about the food. I love good food. So I grow it myself, cook it myself; I know where it’s been and what is in it. But as the series continues, my favorite part has become the characters. In both Treasure and Heirloom some of the characters are on a journey. This lends itself to the reader meeting a lot of “side characters” along the way. As a writer, I’m more of a pantser than a plotter so I never know who might be walking down the street, slowing in the car behind you, or waiting to answer the door. I have to say I really like the characters in my books and I would love to have more of a dialogue with my fans about the various characters, both main and secondary.

I would be remiss if I ended without mentioning the slight romance in the books. Especially in Heirloom.

Front Cover

Front Cover

So what is Seed Savers: Heirloom about? Why should you read it? Some people would say you should read it because the kid across the street doesn’t know that carrots grow underground. Older readers might enjoy the nostalgia of growing up on the farm, reminiscent of Little House on the Prairie. Maybe the kids like the adventure, the romance, or the futuristic “what if.”  I like it because of all those things combined. It’s a fun book. It’s an interesting book. And it speaks to some important issues of our time.

Oh, and it has short chapters. I like short chapters. 🙂

Thanks for letting me post on your blog today!

Thank you for guest blogging, S. Smith!


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