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A Seed Is Planted…

By Anna Doll


I am the gardening guru at my school, and with thirty-two raised garden beds, we have lots of space to grow new and enticing varieties of the standard spring fruits and vegetables. As an organic gardener, I find that it’s much safer, and infinitely more rewarding, to start our plants from seed.

But, oh, so many choices! I sent out an email to our gardening teachers inviting them to make their own selection of plants they’d like to grow in their classroom raised garden bed. As I was tallying the choices, I couldn’t help but get excited about the many and diverse varieties of tomatoes, peppers, squash, herbs, melons, corn and other vegetables we will be propagating from seed in just a few weeks.

The children will be watching for the first sign of green popping through the soil, waiting for the first leaves to form so that we can pop them under the fluorescent lights. Then we start the nurturing process—water, organic fertilizer, at least 14 hours of light, and a stable soil temperature for the growing root systems. At the same time, cold-hardy plants like spinach, peas, lettuce, broccoli and other brassicas will be directly seeded in the soil.

At last, the tender plants we’ve been growing inside can go out for a few hours at a time, getting a chance to “try out” the weather. In time they will stay outside overnight in the cold frame for a week or so to harden against the elements, getting ready for that shady afternoon when they are planted in the garden.

Unfortunately, not every plant will resemble the glossy picture on the cover of that seed catalogue we perused in December. And that “hardy producer” guaranteed to produce hundreds of pounds of delicious tomatoes may lose the battle against a lowly cutworm in the middle of the night. You pay your money (or plant the seed!) and take your chances.

This is where I am today. Planting that first seed in the garden of my self-publishing career. I’m optimistic that the time is right for my stories and my voice. I still carry that self-doubt that all writers do that the stories I want to tell, and how I write them, won’t resonate with a sufficient number of readers to make any money at it. But if you never put yourself out there, it’s a self-fulling prophesy. That I know, from experience.

So here goes! I hope you’ll follow my journey and will be sufficiently curious about my writing to give me a try. There will be a novella setting the stage for my Logan Springs series, and Carson’s story. I will re-release my first book, Sidelined by Love, with some changes, this spring, and Strike Three, You’re Mine will follow early this summer.

I hope you’ll come along for the ride!

For those commenting today, I am offering the chance to win a copy of When in Paris, a New Adult novel by my friend and fabulous author, Beverley Kendall. I read this book in one sitting…it is a phenomenal read!




Sandra Elzie - January 24, 2013 - 8:56 am

Hi Anna,
Wow, you garden…in a big way! I used to do that in California, but haven’t done any for the past 8 years. I love fresh tomatoes right off the vine and I gotta tell you, there’s nothing better than fruit picked at its peak from a tree. Yum.

Good luck with indi pubbing your books. Just hang in there & give it time to grow a following. Welcome to the blog!!!!

Pam Asberry - January 24, 2013 - 9:14 am

I am afraid I am not much of a gardener but I support my local farmers market. Welcome back to PFHT; I am looking forward to your books!

Susan Carlisle - January 24, 2013 - 9:17 am


I garden also but nothing on the scale you are talking about. My son-in-law does the planting and I do the gathering. We make a pretty good team. I just hope it won’t be so dry this year. There is nothing better than a tomato fresh out of the garden.

Marilyn Baron - January 24, 2013 - 9:19 am

I didn’t know you we’re a gardener. That’s wonderful. I do know that you’re a great writer since you’re my critique partner so I know you will have a successful publishing experience. So excited that you’re back with the blog.

Maxine Davis - January 24, 2013 - 9:36 am

Anna, Good for you! It’s hard sometimes to get the nerve to publish something, but you can’t sell it if it’s not out there. Do let us know as soon as it is available and I’ll be reading it shortly. Good luck.

Elaine Calloway - January 24, 2013 - 10:17 am

I loved your post, Anna. Gardening is something that always looks more tempting to me than the task actually is, and I do love those gardening books with all the beautiful flowers and plants :)

Congrats on your decision to take the self-pub journey! I am right there with you. It is nerve-wracking, but I have been much happier since making the decision. My first one will be out on 2/1, and I look forward to learning more as I go.

Let us know when your book comes out :)

Anna Doll - January 24, 2013 - 10:44 am

So excited to log in during my break and there are replies!

Sandy, you need to try tomatoes again. We are an all organic garden, so kids can pluck tomatoes right off the vine and pop into their mouth. And thanks for the good wishes. I’m not going to give up on traditional publishers, but I am excited about trying the indie pub right now. Cheers!

Anna Doll - January 24, 2013 - 10:47 am

Hi, Pam. We probably get our veggies from the same place. I’ve not been buying lately because we have been growing cool weather veggies because of the warmer weather. Had to cover them this week, though! Thanks for the good wishes about my books. I am looking forward to the ride!

Anna Doll - January 24, 2013 - 10:49 am

Hey, Susan, sounds like you have a good set-up! Is your garden near the kitchen? I find that people do much better with keeping it up if they can see it from the kitchen window.

Anna Doll - January 24, 2013 - 10:54 am

Marilyn, what we learn from blog posts! Once the summer gets going, you’ll hopefully get to taste some of the fruits of my labors. I am also going to have a garden at home since I’m not planning to travel much. Unfortunately I am the only gardener left at home. Can’t wait to get back in the game!

Carol Burnside / Annie Rayburn - January 24, 2013 - 2:24 pm

Anna, welcome back to PFHT! I can relate to both the gardening and the writing. Hubby and I have a sizable garden and enjoy the fresh bounty it brings to our table. What we can’t eat, I home can. It’s a ton of work, but there’s nothing better than fresh on the table.

Best of luck with your Indie endeavors!

Anna Doll - January 24, 2013 - 4:38 pm


No kidding! I was published by the Wild Rose Press their first year of operating as a publisher. I enjoyed working with some of my editors but, even with a new publisher, you don’t have the control you want/need for our project. This way, I’ll be able to approve my own covers and tell the story as I want it. I guess I want a little freedom right now! Thanks for your words of support and I look forward to shouting it from the rooftops when my books are available.

Hildie McQueen - January 24, 2013 - 4:41 pm

I can’t grow hardly anything, but for some reason some rosemary is growing very well in my unkept garden. I am considering an herb garden with cilantro, basil and parsley this spring. Will have to hit you up for some hints.

Anna Doll - January 24, 2013 - 4:42 pm

Elaine, I’m glad that we’re in this together! I’ll buy yours and you can buy mine! It is somewhat frightening to put your books out there with no one to blame (my copy editor was crappy…they didn’t give me a good cover…etc.) But I’m hoping it will allow me to write the kind of stories I want to write without having to worry if it “fits the line.” The only “line” I’ll have is mine! Thanks for the encouraging words…you go, girl!

Anna Dol - January 24, 2013 - 4:49 pm

Carol, I’m so glad to be back. It feels good! I’m impressed that you have help with your gardening. My husband not only doesn’t garden, he could care less what I am growing out there (unless it could potentially get us in trouble…but that’s another story…! I usually am back in school by the time canning season begins, so I typically just start giving it away or freezing out of necessity (my husband and kids have nearly lost toes from frozen bananas!) Anyway, I’m excited about the return to writing and looking forward to getting my books out there. Take care!

Anna Doll - January 24, 2013 - 4:59 pm

Hi, Hildie,

Ask away! If you want to grow cilantro outside, you need to do that now. Our cilantro is really taking off, and it hasn’t been affected at all by the freezing weather. Rosemary loves lots of sunshine, and can grow in just about any type of soil, so you must have it in a good place. Basil and parsley will do great in the summer heat. The cilantro will start to wither and go to seed once the really hot weather hits.

Cynthia Stephan - January 24, 2013 - 6:58 pm

Anna, I will love to read your stories. It’s exciting that you are an author and willing to share your life and experiences through the written word. You go girl :-))

Connie Gillam - January 24, 2013 - 7:49 pm


I love gardening. I haven’t had a “real” garden in several years, but when I did, I grew everything. Since the housing complex I live in doesn’t allow gardening unless it can’t be seen from the street, I’m reduced to growing a few things in pots.

As far as self-publishing, I struck my foot in last summer. I need more titles out there, but it’s been a learning experience. Wish you loads of luck.

Anna Doll - January 24, 2013 - 9:53 pm


I’ve liked a Facebook Page called Grow Food, Not Lawns. It’s a great place to get ideas for veggie gardening in “different” ways. I am amazed as to what lengths a person will go just to be able to grow their own food. Our current house has a back yard facing south with a large, empty space in the middle of the yard. I can’t wait to put in my raised bed in the middle of that space. I’ve heard that the more books you have out, the better self-publishing is. As a published author at The Wild Rose Press, I found that to be the case in all things publishing, whether you are publishing yourself or someone else is publishing your work. Get busy, girl!

Debbie Kaufman - January 24, 2013 - 9:55 pm

How cool! Never knew you had a green thumb!

Anna Doll - January 24, 2013 - 9:59 pm

Hi, Cynthia,

I will gladly let you! Now you realize I am a romance writer, right? I have been a romance reader for more years than not, and I love the fact that a real romance always ends with a “happily ever after.” At this point in my life, I’d rather read or watch a television program/movie that ends happily. I like suspense, but it’s always nice when there is a chance that the hero/heroine might end up together. They don’t have to, of course. Just the possibility of that is enough for me.

What I will not read are books that make me want to slit my wrists after reading them!

Thanks for your support!

Anna Doll - January 24, 2013 - 10:02 pm


Really, I don’t have a green thumb. I can kill many a plant, some that are really hard to kill! What I do have is a willingness to try lots of different ways to get those plants to grow and produce. And more times than not, they do!

Mary Preston - January 25, 2013 - 3:29 am

I just have to look at a plant sideways & it begins to droop. My Father had a green thumb. He actually gave me all my trees. He grew them from seeds or cuttings.

Tammy Waddell - January 25, 2013 - 4:58 pm

We are so lucky to have you at our school!!!

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