I have one more free download of The Unrepentant Rake to give away, and it has to be used by the end of this month. But much as I adore the toe bone, I'm tired of blogging about it, so I'll switch topics -- sort of. Any idea what this is? If you're a southerner, you probably do.

When I was in high school, our English teacher gave us a public speaking assignment. We were supposed to talk for one minute (whew -- plenty long enough for me) about any subject we chose. The catch was that we had to pick an entirely different subject from a hat. We were given only a few seconds to think about a way to segue from the subject we drew from the hat to the one we planned to talk about.

How about this:

I learned from that teacher that it's possible to connect anything to anything (particularly if a whole bunch of your peers are staring at you -- although more likely they're worrying about their turn, but what teenager thinks of that?). I have to mention my story to let you know about  the free download, but I'd rather talk about The Destruction of the Demon Wisteria, bwa-ha-ha.

I don't know what's in that first picture. It spooks me out. In theory, there's a dead tree under all those dead-looking vines (shiver -- they're very much alive), but I'm not going in there to look. 

When I first moved to Georgia, I had no idea wisteria was a demon. I come from the Pacific Northwest, where wisteria grows SLOWLY. In Georgia, it runs rampant if given a chance. Southerners know this, but as an innocent northwesterner, I had NO idea. Consequently, the demon took over. A few weeks ago, we finally hired some people to cut it all down. They had machetes and chainsaws and did a great job. The second pic is of Wisteria Rampant after a haircut.

But that doesn't mean it's all gone. No, it's lurking now, and the battle will begin again in spring.

Here is a pine that's still alive and has a chance:

How does this connect with The Unrepentant Rake? Only loosely, in that I can't help but look for magic in everything. I can't help but see the wisteria as a demon, or a cat as the Faerie King in disguise. And when a holy relic -- the toe bone of a saint -- showed up on the pages of my story and paved the way to True Love, who was I to resist?

That one free download from e-harlequin is up for grabs, so please comment for a chance to win. :)


  1. Judy // January 26, 2012 at 11:50 AM  

    Barbara, Kudzu is creepy for a lot of reasons. And it's great that you see magic in it. That's why your stories are so creative! Good luck with this one...

  2. Beth Trissel // January 26, 2012 at 1:03 PM  

    Very interesting post. I enjoy the connections you come up with. Wisteria grows slowly here in the valley because we are so far North, while still being Southerners.

  3. Pamela Varnado // January 26, 2012 at 1:28 PM  

    So funny, Barbara. And it reminds me that I'm connected with nature. We need each other to survive. By cutting down the dead branches, you allowed the rest to breathe and flourish. Great post and now I have a better appreciation for my day.

  4. Nightingale // January 26, 2012 at 1:45 PM  

    When I saw the title, I thought you'd caught your toe in Kudzu! Very clever tie-in, Barbara, and how do you always get such great covers?

  5. Mary Ricksen // January 26, 2012 at 4:58 PM  

    I took a picturesque train ride in North Carolina, I never saw so much Kudzu in my life! Horrid stuff!

  6. Scarlet Pumpernickel // January 26, 2012 at 8:07 PM  

    Barbara, I should come and tend your wisteria for you! I am probably the only southerner who planted wisteria only to have it shrivel and die. I like you're teacher's idea of using one thing to spring board into another. I'm going to borrow this for my creative writing class. You're new book from Harlequin sounds great.

  7. Patrice // January 26, 2012 at 8:45 PM  

    What is a toe bone? I recognize the Wisteria from trips to the South Carolinas, and New Orleans.
    Do they get mossy looking too? I think I'll stick with our palm trees!

  8. Barbara Monajem // January 26, 2012 at 9:50 PM  

    I'd forgotten that kudzu looks a lot like wisteria in the winter! Kudzu and wisteria have quite different leaves, but both plants are very efficient at killing trees. :( However, I've heard that the roots of kudzu are edible, so I don't mind it quite so much.

    Thank you all for commenting. I will pick a winner tomorrow.

    Scarlet, I'm happy my teacher's idea inspired you!

    Patrice, in The Unrepentant Rake, the heroine owns a little silver reliquary containing a toe bone from St. Davnet, a 6th or 7th century Irish saint. It has special protective powers and helps bring about the happily ever after of the story!

  9. Mary Marvella // January 26, 2012 at 9:50 PM  

    Funny! With Kudzu or wisteria around, you dare not let your pets or old folks stand in one place too long. They will be covered!

  10. Barbara Monajem // January 27, 2012 at 12:37 PM  

    And the winner is: Beth Trissel!

  11. Josie // January 29, 2012 at 2:17 PM  

    Cute post, Barbara. Kudzu is another plant that grows rampant in the south.