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#YA Treats, No Tricks

As we approach the holiday season, there are bound to be numerous giveaways and promotions in time for gift giving and to ease the winter doldrums.

Right now I’m participating in one such giveaway featuring YA novels. Because the first book in my series is more middle grade, I’m giving away Heirloom, book three in the series.

Is it okay to read the series out of order? Yes!  In fact, I wrote a whole post on it here.

If you’ve already read the Seed Savers series (If not, what are you waiting for?), there are a dozen other books to choose from. Check them out here.

Each book has a rating to make sure its all treats and not tricks. Enjoy and share!

Discoveries share-2

S. Smith is the author of the awesome and award-winning middle grade/YA series, Seed Savers. Visit her Facebook and Pinterest pages. Follow her on TwitterSign up for the newsletter!

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Guest Post: The Three Ps of Camping: Planning, Preparation and Problem Solving

When I first started this blog five and a half years ago, I frequently posted about camping. More recently, I’ve narrowed my focus to gardening and books, with the occasional rambling or rant.

However, today I’m featuring a guest post by Jamie Strand about readiness for camping. If you’ve never camped before and aren’t sure where to start, be sure and save this article! The characters in my Seed Savers series certainly had to be prepared on their many adventures. 🙂


Photo by Pixabay

The Three Ps of Camping: Planning, Preparation and Problem Solving

by Jamie Strand

Clean breezes, crisp air, starry nights around a campfire, and the sounds of stillness and quiet: for many people, camping is both relaxing and an adventure. Millions of Americans take to the great outdoors each year, taking both active and restful trips into nature.

A camping trip needs some considerable planning, but it doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. It’s a fun and affordable way for friends and families to take a vacation filled with new experiences and adventures. But like many adventures, you have to balance fun and safety. When you’re camping, you are tucked away from civilization, where phones and GPS devices may not be reliable.

That’s why you can’t just toss a tent in your trunk and take off. Camping requires planning, preparation and problem solving. Take the time before the trip to get everything in order so you can enjoy the experience with fewer obstacles.


When you chose to camp during a specific time of year, the weather could have been predictable — but don’t expect Mother Nature to listen to weather forecasters. Plan for fluctuations in temperature and  weather patterns so you can pack the right clothing layers for rain and sun, and chilly mornings or warmer afternoons.

You’ll also need to plan for meals. If you’re car camping, you might bring along a grill or a portable stove. If you’re backpacking, you might rely on a campfire or a small can stove. Once you know your method of cooking, you’ll know what food to pack. Be sure to consider wildfires when planning for meals. All it takes is one burst of wind or one unattended smoldering coal to start a fire that can race through thousands of acres. Be sure to check the level of risk for wildfires before you go and if you smell smoke while camping, it’s best to pack up quickly and get back on the road.


Next, you’ll want to prepare for the activities you plan to do, keeping safety in mind. Make sure your first-aid kit is well-stocked and easy to access. If you’re going to be hiking, be sure to pack a smaller, portable kit that can help with blisters, cuts and bug bites. If you can fit an extra pair of socks in your pack, along with a map and a compass, you’ll be well-prepared for any curve balls nature might toss your way. If you plan on bringing your four-legged companion along, you’ll want to make sure he is prepared too by making sure his vaccinations are updated and his overnight bag is packed with all the essentials such as food, treats, water, bedding, waste bags, leashes, and any necessary medications.

It’s also important to research the specific wildlife live in the areas where you’ll be camping and hiking. For instance, some areas might have bears, but not all bears behave the same. Small little black bears might root around your campsite food storage, but they’ll run away if confronted. It’s a good idea to have coolers that lock and hang your garbage high in a tree. Grizzly Bears can be more aggressive, so you need to give them space. If you’re taking your canine best friend with you, it’s a good idea to research how wild animals in the area might react to Fido’s presence.

Problem Solving

It’s been raining and you can’t find enough dry wood to get the campfire started. You accidentally kicked over your cooler and spilled more than half the trip’s drinking water. The campsite is more primitive than you thought — and you’re out in the woods doing what bears do but with no toilet paper.

It’s inevitable — you’re going to forget something. Something isn’t going to go as planned. The most important thing to do is to not panic. With the right planning and preparation, a little problem solving can go a long way. If you prepared to use a campfire properly, you might have packed firestarters. Those can help get tinder burning quickly and brightly. If you run out of water you have options for purification — like chemical tablets, filters and boiling.

Camping trip contingencies can happen. An unexpected rain or snow storm can blow through and you’re without warmer clothes. You can blow out the sole of your hiking boot and still have miles to go. Or, in those scariest of moments, you forgot the chocolate bars for the s’mores. Stay calm and think through the situation. If you’ve planned and prepared, then problem solving will be a breeze.

Find out more at Jamie’s website: http://scicamps.org

S. Smith is the author of the awesome and award-winning middle grade/YA series, Seed Savers. Visit her Facebook and Pinterest pages. Follow her on TwitterSign up for the newsletter!


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Free Ebooks & A Paperback Giveaway


600 x 315 Book Nerd Social Media image

I’m a little late in announcing this, but there are still a few days left to grab some free ebooks in the September Ebook Extravaganza. There are fifty books of all genres to choose from and a $50 gift card to sign up for to win!

My book, Treasure, first in the Seed Savers series, is among the books you can download for free. This giveaway ends Wednesday.


If you’re like me, you might prefer a paperback book. Paperback giveaways are harder to come by. For the Love of A Good Book paperback giveaway is a contest where you can sign up to win a box of FIVE PAPERBACK books! This giveaway ends on Thursday. Here is an explanation of how to sign up for the books you want, since these books are also of multiple genres:

There are several “lots” consisting of 5-7 paperbacks to choose from. Click on this link first. You will see three more links. The first one will take you to a site to browse all of the books–but to see the books and not just the authors–you must go to the upper right-hand corner of the page to the pull-down menu “Indie Paperback Giveaway.”

Back on the original page, the other two links will show you 1)each “lot”of books 2)the sign-up form to list your preference of books. It’s a little confusing, but well worth it if you win the box of books.

Last, but not least, the second book in my Seed Savers series, Lily, is on sale for 99 cents until the end of September (ebook). Lily is available here:

 Amazon Smashwords, NookKobo,  iBooks

Take advantage of the savings, try some new authors, and I hope you are having a great fall as the changing of the seasons is upon us.

S. Smith is the author of the awesome and award-winning middle grade/YA series, Seed Savers. Visit her Facebook and Pinterest pages. Follow her on TwitterSign up for the newsletter!


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Watching My Garden Grow #4

Now that it’s September, it’s time for the last video of my backyard garden…that overgrown, tangled mess of a fall garden. Time to see what worked and what failed. In case you want to compare, here is the initial post from June.

Also, as I’ve been saying, we got a late beginning this year because of so much winter and spring rain. Which was followed by a very hot, very dry summer. We’ve also had days and days of smoke-filled skies from forest fires, not to mention a total eclipse of the sun. So it hasn’t exactly been a typical garden year.

That being said, some things remain the same. The hope as the seeds go in, and the harvest before the cold and dark of winter.


Anyone want to share about their garden? Perhaps it is spring where you live, and you are at the hopeful, expectant stage. 🙂 Comments and questions always welcome below.

S. Smith is the author of the awesome and award-winning middle grade/YA series, Seed Savers. Visit her Facebook and Pinterest pages. Follow her on TwitterSign up for the newsletter!

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#BacktoSchool with the Seed Savers Series

purple seed saver logo

All good things must come to an end, and so the summer of 2017 is winding down. It’s been a doozy, what with the solar eclipse and all.

But no need to be sad! Thousands of kids around the country are excitedly counting down the number of days to return to their classrooms and school friends (and in many places are already back!)

If you are a teacher, librarian, or parent, you understand the value of a good book. With so many distractions these days, kids might forget the comfort or excitement of a book that resonates with them.

Let me introduce the Seed Savers series–maybe someone you know is looking for a series like this one. Seed Savers is set in a future where gardening is illegal and real food is unknown. Three young friends must decide what to do when they discover the truth about the “old ways” of food. Out to stop them is GRIM, the government agency controlling the nation’s food.

Author S. Smith

Who might enjoy this series?

  • fans of Among the Hidden, The Giver, and other futuristic “What if” stories
  • adults & kids who like children’s books such as Little House on The Prairie and Anne of Green Gables. The main characters in Seed Savers start at age twelve.
  • children who like adventure, but not violence
  • teens and ‘tweens who like romance, but just a hint 
  • people who prefer not to read profanity
  • gardening class teachers and students
  • homeschoolers
  • folks who grew up on farms
  • folks who wish they had grown up on farms

More about the Seed Savers series

  • Five books in the series: Treasure, Lily, Heirloom, Keeper, Unbroken (Unbroken still to be released)
  • each book is available in paperback and ebook
  • Treasure has an audiobook, great for reading along with in class!! Read an interview with the narrator here.  
  • Available to order through the regular online sources. For schools and bookstores, available through Ingram ISBN 9781943345038. You may also email authorssmith@gmail.com to buy directly.
  • lexile for Treasure is 660
  • visit my website and Amazon author page for more info on each book
smallAudio book cover copy (Medium)

Listen to Treasure on Audible or iTunes!

Back-to-School Savings



“Smith’s Seed Savers books are great reads for young people on many levels. The action is packed with secret acts of civil disobedience, escape from evil GRIM thugs and independent cross-country treks. Plus, teens will both recognize and learn about issues surrounding food sources.  Seed Saver books have something for everyone: diverse characters, themes of empowerment, revolution, and even a little romance.” —Joyce Yoder, Middle School Principal

“My 10 yr old daughter says this series is the best she has ever read. She hopes volume 5 will be out soon. She said when she was finished reading this last book she felt like throwing a fit because she couldn’t read another in the series. My daughter is an avid reader and has never thrown a fit or said she had ever wanted to until she finished this book. Hope there are more to come in this series.” —Recent Verified Purchase Review on Amazon

“This is a great book for kids. I love how it brings back the importance of eating healthy fresh food, and does it in an entertaining way. I love to garden and am trying to pass the love on to my kids. I will definitely be recommending this book to them. I look forward to the next book. I wasn’t ready for the book to end when it did.” –From Julie on the Audible edition of Treasure

Does it sound like you or someone you know might enjoy Seed Savers? Give it a try! Pass on the information! And feel free to leave a comment below.

S. Smith is the author of the awesome and award-winning middle grade/YA series, Seed Savers. Visit her Facebook and Pinterest pages. Follow her on TwitterSign up for the newsletter!


Now Back To Your Regularly Scheduled Life


It was, actually, very cool.

Today was the big day, August 21, total eclipse of the sun traveling across the U.S.A. My hometown, Salem, Oregon, one of the first in the path of “totality.”

Dire predictions were made about millions of people descending upon us, traffic jams, gas shortages, etc. Nah. Not bad.

But those two minutes ( 1 minute and 57.6 seconds) when we could whip off our 99-cent eclipse shades and look directly at the moon covering the sun…worth it. Totally.

My husband and I did not go to a viewing party at Willamette University or the state fairgrounds or the baseball auditorium. We went out to the farm and sat between a filbert orchard and a berry field, joined by family from out-of-state.

When the moment arrived, we whooped and hollered and said how cool it was and that we wanted to see the next one in Argentina. And then those needing to return to Seattle hit the road immediately. Hubby and I lingered at the farm with my parents and other family members.

The time leading up to totality was nice, too. How it got still, quiet. The way the light changed and the temperature dropped. The chickens up at the house going back under cover.  (See slides below.)

Now I’m home, thinking it’s time to get back to ordinary life again after a few days with visiting family, preceded by a few days of cleaning in preparation for the guests. Sigh.

Back to canning peaches. Back to finishing the novel. Back to conferring about new covers for the books, paying bills, watering the garden.

Back to my regularly scheduled life.

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Were you in the path of totality? Have you ever experienced a total eclipse of the sun?

Leave your comments below :).

S. Smith is the author of the awesome and award-winning middle grade/YA series, Seed Savers. Visit her Facebook and Pinterest pages. Follow her on TwitterSign up for the newsletter!

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Watching My Garden Grow, Parts 2 & 3

So back in June I posted a video of my garden. It rained a long time here (seems long ago now) in the spring, so everything was late getting in. And traditionalist that I am, I grow everything from seed myself rather than bringing in starts (okay, maybe I’m just cheap), anyway, so this year everything is late.

July was a busy month for me, what with a week in Portland at the Master Gardener Convention and the Horticulture Society’s Children & Youth Garden Symposium. Then I had a week to get the house in order for the arrival of my daughter and boyfriend from out of state and to plan for my community center half-day camp (I’m the coordinator.) Then of course, there was the actual week of camp, simultaneous with the visit. Phew!


My lovely daughter & boyfriend sampling Marionberries.

During that time, I ran out and videotaped a July version of the garden, only to never post it. So this morning I taped it again, and am posting both.

Gardens amaze me. In the beginning, everything seems amply spaced (see June video), only to later grow into one big gnarly heap! Anyhow, I can’t seem to stop planting the darn things, even if they make it harder to leave and go camping during the heatwaves (which we’ve been having).

Here is my video of July 25, almost exactly a month after the Gonna Watch My Garden Grow post:

And, voila, almost like two posts in one, my video from this morning, August 5:

(I just watched these two, and the beginnings are similar, but I do show some of my container plants at the end of this second one. And I apologize that the videos are sort of hard to hear.)

What kind of garden do you grow? Comments always welcome in the section below. 🙂

S. Smith is the author of the awesome and award-winning middle grade/YA series, Seed Savers. Visit her Facebook and Pinterest pages. Follow her on TwitterSign up for the newsletter!

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