Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Plant Whisperer By Leigh Riker



I have to admit I don't have a very green thumb (hanging head in shame). Oh, I can keep my indoor plants alive most of the time. But do they thrive? Lately, not so much. While working on a new book, I've managed to kill off all but one of my African violets. And she's not blooming.


On the other hand, outdoors Mother Nature is really showing me up! The azaleas in front of my house have about finished for this spring and ditto for the pretty white viburnum. But the rhododendrons are in full bloom. The day lilies are growing like weeds. And the purple irises are coming out now.


Hmm. Kind of like the characters in the book I'm writing. Months ago I submitted a proposal but, as things always happen sooner or later, my story people have since taken over. One day my hero suddenly came up with an amazing line all by himself, which delighted me. With that he was alive, off and running in a surprising direction.

As always, I'm tempted to meddle, but I know by now it's better to sit back with the laptopand let the story happen. A few days ago I finished (or my people did) the first full draft of the book. Weeping. That's a good sign too, right? 


Still, like Mother Nature sprinkling new growth with a gentle rain, thats only a first step. Now that my characters have let me find out who they really are, the fun has just begun. Next, I get to whack that manuscript into perfect shape, using an imaginary hoe to clear out all the weeds. Whats that, you say? Excuse me. My heroine, a professional household organizer, is telling me theres no such thing as perfection. A place for everything and everything in its place was her mottountil she learned the hard way that we're all just human, doing the best we can. Shes right. That, like my hero speaking up for himself, can lead you to some pretty interesting places, actually.

Anyway, Mother Natures not perfect either. Last winter's cold weather killed every bit of the lovely heather along the road by my mailbox. Sad, but She did the best She could. Like me with my African violet?

I may not be a Plant Whisperer, but just as real gardeners sow seeds and nurture what comes up until it blooms, in writing a new book I'm a Word Whisperer!

Here's a peek at the cover of my July book.
 I hope you'll like that story and the next one too.

Has a character surprised you lately as you write or read? How does your garden grow this spring? Beautifully, I hope.



33 comments:

  1. I have a brown thumb too. Plants enter my house at their own risk...I'm not responsible! I do admire the fact that you are a word whisperer though. I can't do that, but I can devour the words on those printed pages once they are published!

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    1. Love that, Karen. "Plants enter my house at their own risk." Hope you enjoy all the Heartwarming books!

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  2. Other than not flowering, your African Violet looks healthy to me!

    We had a warm and sunny weekend, and it seems that in just two days everything turned green from brown, and my plants are starting to sprout.

    I hope your characters will be happy with the final draft of your manuscript! :-)

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    1. Kate, that violet is the survivor. You should have seen the others!

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  3. What a super cover, Leigh! Not only does it make me hungry to read the book...I kinda want a hot dog all of a sudden! And your flowers and plants are GORgeous! Have a wonderful Wednesday!

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    1. Love it! I wouldn't mind a hot dog myself--and I'm not usually a fan. Those rhododendrons are lovely, aren't they? That's my husband's doing.

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  4. What a super cover, Leigh! Not only does it make me hungry to read the book...I kinda want a hot dog all of a sudden! And your flowers and plants are GORgeous! Have a wonderful Wednesday!

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  5. I have a black thumb. Period. I've added a character to a book (after a long discussion with my editor) and now I have to stop him from taking over. :-)

    Love your cover--Heartwarming covers are so great!

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    1. Isn't that so true? Those secondary characters just love to take over. Glad you like the new cover. Yes, all the Heartwarming covers are terrific.

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  6. I love listening to my characters telling me where their story is headed. I’ve never been good with houseplants, but my Peace rose is about ready to bloom, the only plant I’m responsible for. Wonderful cover.

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    1. Oh, beautiful--wish I could see your Peace rose. I left roses behind in CT and I still miss them. Hope your characters are behaving for you! They do get good ideas, though, don't they?

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  7. For someone who had a mother who could grow anything from seed or slip, I am hopeless. I have a few cacti that live outside. Other than that I've resorted to metal flowers in pots. My kids accused me of killing my silk indoor plants even, so I've given up. And Leigh, your plants are gorgeous. So is the book cover. I haven't received May books yet and now I'm ready for July.

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    1. What a great idea: metal flowers in pots. I haven't managed to kill the few silk plants I have indoors, but there's still time. Your cacti are a good solution. In my experience they are quite hardy. Glad you like the new cover. See the redhead poking her face out between the hero and heroine? Is she asking for a book of her own??

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  8. Fantastic cover, Leigh! I might have a green thumb if California wasn't in a drought. We're supposed to cut water back 30%! Bye-bye, flowers and lawn.

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    1. Thanks, Mel. Again, all our covers are great. I've been reading about your drought. It's terrible. And the cutbacks are pretty severe. Here's wishing for some rain--heavy rain--to water everything and refill the reservoirs. But it looks like a long, dry summer.

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  9. I love to garden! But can't grow a houseplant to save my life. And outside this year is SO neglected with a deadline looming(: Congrats on your first draft! I love your comment about 'your story people taking over'! So far, that's happened to me with every book. Oh, how I wish I could plot a little better LOL!

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    1. I'm sure you plot just fine, Carol! But those stubborn secondary people just keep having their way. I talked with Victoria about this last summer, and I think they take over because they're simpler to deal with; they don't bear the same responsibility the hero and heroine do. So I tend to relax and let them go. Now to tackle that draft….

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  10. I think I'm about to be surprised by a character in Carol Ross's Heartwarming book I'm currently reading, A Case For Forgiveness.
    There's nothing growing in my front yard because we had to have a huge tree removed and we have to re-sod, etc. and it's looking a mess at the moment. Your flower bushes are looking lovely though.
    I love that cover!! What does the emblem at the bottom say? I'm on my IPHONE and can't see it. ) : I don't ever remember seeing that on a Heartwarming cover. Congrats on the new book!!

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    1. Laurie, I'm glad you like the new cover. I had to go look at my JPeg image and blow it up--but it appears to say 100% Heartwarming Novel. I hadn't seen that before either. Sorry to hear about your tree and the new sod that hasn't taken hold yet. Here's hoping you have a lush green lawn soon. My hubby gets credit for that lovely bush in bloom.

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    2. Laurie, I've been looking at that cover again and I think it really says "100th Heartwarming Novel." I need to double check with my editor, but you were so right; I haven't seen a seal like that before either.

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  11. My garden does not grow, LOL. In fact I have one rose bush out in the back yard and the rest is dirt. The more I ignore the rose bush, the better it is, so we've come to a mutual understanding that aside from occasional watering with leftover shower water (drought!), we ignore one another. :) As far as character surprises--I love when a character you think you know walks on the page with a completely different personality than you had planned...they take over (and beg for their own story). Might make the story I'm currently working on more difficult, but sure makes me anxious to get to theirs. :) Great post, Leigh!

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    1. Ha-ha. Love it! You've discovered a new way of gardening--sheer neglect. I guess I've tried that lately too without knowing I was doing so. Character surprises keep us engaged with the story. But maybe those who demand their own book are yet another way of avoiding the current one!

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  12. I have a house filled with philodendron because they're so hardy they practically walk to the sink for water. My neighbor takes care of the outside for us - small lot so we pay him off in coffee shop gift certificates. About the African Violet - another neighbor asked me for my egg shells - said she'd read that the calcium was good for them. When characters take over, I'm never sure whether it's brilliance on my part, or lack of discipline, but it's exciting and I always follow along. Your cover is beautiful, and so is that two-inch high rough draft. Isn't that the best feeling?

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  13. Well, I just lost my comment while trying to get the screen to go back down to size after it suddenly ballooned. Here I go again. Philodendrons are the bomb! I have one that takes care of itself. I don't think I could kill it if I tried (harder). How interesting about the egg shells for the violet. I must try that to see if it will bloom again with better care. Brilliance or lack of discipline--who can say? But going along to get along seems to work out in the end. Thanks about the cover and the draft. I love piling up pages! Wonder how many will end up on the cutting room floor.

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  14. I miss having a garden! Freesias are my favorite. Can't wait to have a vegetable garden again too :)

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  15. Love Freesias! I buy them at the store sometimes and they're not only beautiful, Heidi. They last forever.

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  16. I love plants and flowers and when we shop I'm always tempted to get a small one to take home. My grandsons just look at me with that look and say "why bother....they'll just die". LOL. I tried to explain that even short lived things can bring joy. My outside roses are gorgeous this year and they did it all on their own. Your story sounds fun. Hope to read it soon.

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    1. Thank you, Brenda. Go ahead and buy that small plant. It needs a home! Love the outside roses, especially when they take care of themselves.

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  17. Thank you for the chance. Happy Mother's Day. I don't really do many flowers, but I do have a vegetable garden.

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    1. I love growing veggies in container pots. Missed the last two years, though, so I'm determined to get some this spring. Thanks for the Mother's Day wishes. Same to you, if that applies.

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  18. I love to enjoy my neighbor's flowers. :-) Flowers have more sense than to come to my house. And my friends know better than to give me flowers. Beautiful photos. Now I get to enjoy yours.
    And I love your cover!

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    1. Thanks, Patricia. Hope you have many neighbors' flowers to enjoy this spring!

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