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Cover Reveal Seed Savers Lily!

The cover for the new Seed Savers-Lily is here! The story of Lily takes place in August, so this cover reflects late summer and daytime rather than the night cover of Treasure, making it light and airy. I hope you like it.

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Lily’s release date is August 30 and will be available on preorder soon. 🙂 Here is the blurb:

It’s definitely not what she had in mind for summer vacation.

When her friends disappear under mysterious circumstances, thirteen-year-old Lily sets out to discover more about the secret organization with which they were involved. Her investigation unearths a disturbing secret from her own past, unsettling her world even more. In the meantime, Lily makes a new friend and falls for a mysterious young man even as she remains unsure whom she should trust. As her world crashes down around her, Lily struggles to decide what to do next.

Lily is volume two of the Seed Savers series but can easily be read out of order. It is is a suspenseful and reflective book with themes of self-empowerment, trust, acceptance of diversity, gardening, and politics.

and a few reviews:

“This series fills the void for younger-audience dystopians. Even so, older readers will love it too! I enjoyed Lily, and after that ending, I can say with confidence I will be reading the next one in the series.” –My Full Bookshelf Reviews

“With the arrival of Lily, I expected to get ‘the further adventures of Clare and Dante,’ but what I got was much more. Lily, a side character in the first book, Treasure, tries to continue the mission of saving seeds in her hometown after the disappearance of Clare and Dante. Rather than getting Treasure all over again, a common fault in sequels in general, Lily is a book all its own and full of secrets, secrets, and more secrets.”–Anakalian Whims

“Getting to know Lily and her story was a pleasant surprise. I found that I liked Lily a lot and want to know what she does next. I’m rooting for her to find what she is looking for! I’m also surprised to say that I liked the second book in the series even more than the first. I’m looking forward to reading book three to see where  Smith takes us next.”–Mrs. Nelson, middle school teacher

Sandra 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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Review of Seed Savers-Treasure

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Ohh, my publisher just sent me this review of Treasure posted on NetGalley. I don’t often repost reviews because it seems kind of braggy, but it really made my heart sing. The reviewer mentioned a lot of things I always hope people will think and say. So pardon me for reposting, but sometimes we need a little encouragement. If you’re a fan, rejoice with me. If you haven’t heard of the Seed Savers series, it’s a good intro.

Here it is, from NetGalley Reviewer, “ar r” about Seed Savers-Treasure:

5 Stars

A book with a cast of diverse characters importing real life lessons for children! Yes!  Sign me up for the whole series please! A dystopian novel featuring teens that doesn’t require romance to stand up on it’s own two feet, sign me up twice.

It’s the future but an uncomfortably near future. Growing your own food is banned and it only took a generation for people to forget how to plant things and to convince children that food only comes from a store but… There is a gentle rebellion happening though, no not a bunch of teenagers fighting to the death or dragons descending from the sky… but a rebellion of knowledge and in knowing your history. There are many parallels to present day here for readers but as each person might see or feel a different one, I’ll leave those to be discovered by you.    

In the very near future nearly everything is GMO, comes from a can and no one would know what to do with a  sunflower seed if you spit it at them. Flavors don’t exist as much more than a superfluous title for food colored mush. A few children have a chance encounter and their lives change.  The story follows Clare, her brother and their friend Lily as they are allowed into an underground insurgence of seed savers and plant growers. It is a crime to have seeds in this world and Clare has been given a small envelope full of them and the knowledge needed to make them blossom into something world changing.

The children learn about plants, how to grow them, the patience and skill it takes for some and lack of skill for others. When the government agents come knocking Clare takes her brother on the run, where they learn the strength they have in themselves and show remarkable independence.

This is a great book series for middle age readers and garden lovers alike. There is diverse cast of children included, race, religion, socioeconomic backgrounds… and it’s just like that, the characters exist as themselves without beating you over the head with “look this character is Christian and this one is Jewish” and I think the soft subtle differences help encourage young minds (subliminally) to be accepting – because people are different.

I will seek out the other books in this series and read ’em even if they aren’t here for review, that’s how much I like ’em. I’ll go out and buy them.

This link will take you to a page where you can choose from different booksellers if you want to read Treasure for yourself. Book 2, Lily is due by the end of this month. Stay tuned for the cover reveal!!

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Sandra 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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Introducing Lily of Seed Savers

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As many of you know, my Seed Savers books are being republished with Flying Books House. The first book in the five book series, Treasure, was released June 11. Book two, Lily is scheduled for release August 30.

Lily is a character who is left behind halfway through book one and this is her story. It takes place at the same time as the second half of book one. As with book one, there is a big focus on gardening.

But who is Lily? Lily is Clare’s best friend. She turns 13 in Seed Savers-Lily. Lily likes to draw and write. She journals to sort out her feelings. In book two, we discover Lily is guerilla gardening in a future where gardening is illegal. Her birthday is August 30–the release day for the new upgraded Lily.

In anticipation of the release, here is an excerpt where Lily experiences salad for the first time. If you don’t know anything about the Seed Savers series you might want to start here.

Ana was on her front porch rocking in a white wicker chair. A floral fragrance pleased my nostrils. Downtown never smelled like this. I realized I was smiling.

“Have you eaten?” Ana asked as I dragged my bicycle up the steps.

“Yes,” I answered.

“Well, I haven’t. You said you’d like to learn how to prepare food. I thought maybe we could start with a salad.”

My heart leaped. This was something I’d been dreaming about. All that lettuce growing around town and not knowing how to make it taste good.

“Okay,” I said. “I can always eat more.” I followed her in and plopped down in my usual spot at the table. She gave me a look that made me wonder what I’d done wrong.

“Lily, preparing food is not the same as prepared food. It entails effort.”

I jumped up. “Sorry.”

“I have already gathered the lettuce from the garden because it’s best done before it’s too warm outside,” Ana explained. “Easier to wash when it’s fresh and crisp.”

Wash? Of course you would wash food from a garden!

Ana opened her refrigerator and withdrew a bag filled with vibrant green and red lettuce leaves.

“This has already been washed, but let me explain the process. I like to fill the sink with water and submerge every leaf,” she said. “Make sure all the little critters float off.”

My face betrayed my surprise. “Critters?”

Ana smiled. “Yes, dear. We’re not the only ones who appreciate good food. Expect an occasional worm or bug, but don’t worry about it. That’s why we wash it. Also, sometimes it gets dirty from watering or rain when the soil splashes up.”

“But what if we miss a ‘critter’?” I persisted.

“Extra protein.”

I wasn’t sure if this was a joke or if Ana was serious.

Ana continued with her instructions. “After the lettuce is submerged, I often pass each leaf under running water just to be sure, then drop it into my handy salad spinner.” She took an ancient plastic contraption out of her dish drainer and showed me how it spun. “This helps remove excess moisture. Now,” she said, opening the bag, “for the salad.”

Ana drew two plates from her cupboard. She tore up the leaves and placed a small pile on each plate. Opening the fridge again, she pulled out a tube-shaped green vegetable.

“Do you remember this one?” she asked as she held up the vegetable. I strained to remember. Like a foreign language, I found it hard to recall all the new words gardening introduced into my vocabulary.

“Cumber something?”

“Cucumber,” Ana said. “They’re great in salad. Radishes and tomatoes also dress it up. But I’m afraid I don’t have either of those right now. However, I love the flavor of fresh herbs.” She opened a drawer and pulled out a large pair of scissors. “Come along.”

I followed Ana out the back door, nearly tripping over Mrs. Fluffbottom. Ana wove her way along the stone path, snipping here and there.

“I love a touch of dill,” she said. “Basil leaves are also good. And of course, cilantro. Parsley, chives, mint, whatever you’ve got and whichever you prefer.” Ana looked happy and healthy out among her plants. The herbs tucked in her apron pockets, she walked back toward the house, stopping only to cut off the tip-tops of some green onions. Once inside, Ana didn’t even wash the herbs, but simply snipped them over our salads. Just like that—from garden to plate. The fragrance was startling.

Keep checking back. I’ll have the new cover ready to show very soon!

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Sandra 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!

Order Seed Savers Treasure now!

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Garden in the Sky-Book Excerpt

 

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Today I’m sharing another excerpt from Seed Savers-Treasure. This is the scene where Clare and Dante first see Gruff’s balcony. In the end, they eat flowers. Can you guess what flower it is?

He led them out of the kitchen and back through the main room, then disappeared behind some curtains to a sliding glass door that opened onto the balcony they’d seen from the street. His sitting room, thick with plants, was nothing compared to this. The balcony exploded in vegetation. Plants were everywhere—on the floor, on benches, on the wide railing. Pots were stacked and tiered. Gruff pointed to some large containers bearing three bushes. Each bush held the little round blueberries; a few of the berries were green. He plucked off a large dark blue one and popped it into his mouth.

“Blueberry,” he said simply.

Clare’s mouth dropped open in disbelief. Her eyes darted from the floor to the benches and railing. “You grow these blueberries right here? But—”

Before she could finish, however, she noticed the wall of the apartment building. Trellises of lush, verdant vines bearing large, green tomatoes covered the wall. Her hand flew to her mouth.

“Those are your tomatoes?” Dante asked, having seen them.

“Sure are.”

“But, but how can you have them out here in the open?” Clare asked in astonishment.

Gruff motioned the children to sit on the porcelain stools and wooden boxes. He sighed. “Nobody really cares about New Jersey. Least of all this town, or this part of town. Perhaps you noticed.” He waved his hand toward the dilapidated and vacant neighborhood.

“Just to be safe, I pick the tomatoes before they turn red and let them ripen inside. Not that it matters. Not much enforcement goes on around here. For anything. Hmph.” He stared straight ahead. “Society has given up on us.”

The children listened in quiet disbelief as Gruff told his story. “In the beginning, when the regulations for urban gardening first began, we were careful. But the truth is,” he paused, and his eyes grew hard, “by the time seed saving and gardening became illegal, most folk didn’t notice or care. They had grown used to processed and packaged food. In time, people forgot food came from living things.”

He shrugged his shoulders. “Most folk, ‘specially city folk, knew nothing about producing their own food. But some of us weren’t so easy to get rid of. We went underground, so to speak.” The light was coming back to his face. “We networked. We called each other Seed Savers.”

He smiled. “We’re strong in number, even now. Yes, Clare, I used to be careful about where I grew my food. And then one day it dawned on me: Nobody has plant knowledge anymore. People see a bush, a tree, a flower, but they don’t know the names. They don’t know what’s edible and what’s not.

“GRIM doesn’t drive through this neighborhood. Little by little, I began replacing my ornamentals with edibles. And nobody noticed.” He let out a long sigh and stuck out his lower lip.

The children’s eyes wandered from the storyteller to the plants, bushes, and even trees, on the balcony. “All of these make food?” Dante asked.

“Nah. Some are just flowers. But they are flowers you can eat,” he said, winking.

“What!?”

“Sure,” said Gruff. He reached over and picked a bright red flower and handed it to the boy. “Try this.”

Dante held the soft flower in his hand. He giggled and then bit into it. He chewed it up.

“Well?” Clare asked, “How is it?”

“Good,” said Dante. “Have one yourself.”

“Are the yellow ones okay to eat?” she asked Gruff.

“Certainly. Be my guest.” Lifting it to her nose, Clare first smelled the flower. Then she brought it to her lips and nibbled a tiny piece. It wasn’t bad. A little spicy, but not unpleasant. If she had known, she might have described it as a slightly nutty flavor.

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Treasurefinanewfront copySandra 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!

Order Seed Savers Treasure now!

 

 

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How Does Your Garden Grow?

We’re nearing the end of July and it’s time for the midsummer garden clean-up. I finally pulled out the peas, making room for other plants still in pots or for later plantings…

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The first round of raspberries is finished (mine produce twice a year), and I’ve finished picking clean two of my three blueberry bushes. I brought in my last bunch of lettuce, though the cucumbers are starting and there’s cabbage out at my mom and dad’s place (my extension garden :)), so I’m not lacking for salad and I have enough lettuce stowed in the fridge to feed a horse.

It’s hot and dry. In a place known for rain, we begin to miss it about now, especially since the rain ended six weeks earlier than usual this year.

I planted bush beans this year, as well as the fence climbing pole beans. The bush beans have a shorter days to harvest window, so even though they take up more space than the pole beans, I’m enjoying fresh beans for dinner. I have three kinds: purple, green, and green with purple stripes. 🙂 Yum.

My peppers are looking good and so are the tomatoes. The lettuce leaf basil is humongous and the thai basil so pretty.

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So far, it’s been a good gardening year.

How is your late July garden looking?

Sandra 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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My Favorite Time of Year on the Farm

Yesterday I went out to the farm where I grew up. I go most every Sunday to visit Mom and Dad. In the summer, I also go to visit the farm. Or more accurately, to graze.

I started at the raspberries, but since I have so many of my own at home I just plucked a few off as I passed by. The blueberry patch, on the other hand, was a prime target. With over 40 bushes (over 50 years old!) I like a nice sampling. With Dad trailing along, I worked my way up one side and down the other. I didn’t bother with the middle row. My favorite way to eat blueberries is fresh off the bush. Since the first picking of these bushes was to occur the next day it was the best time to be there!

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Dad couldn’t help wanting me to take a photo of how loaded the hazelnut (a.k.a. filbert) trees are. These are the current cash crop of the farm.

After that I moseyed over to my sister’s house next door to see how the Marionberries were doing. They’d been picked a little close so I didn’t find many sweet ones. 😦

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Last came the cherry tree. I like to leave cherries for last because of the sweetness factor. Never eat the sweetest fruit first.

 

I came equipped to pick enough to can 7 quarts. Dad offered to let me use the cherry picker. Oh, yeah!

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After I was finished, I backed the cherry picker up and announced, “I wanna see how high this thing goes!” It brought a grin to my dad’s face. 🙂

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A view of my parents from my perch.

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Looking over the filbert orchard from up in the cherry picker.

My mom got a little worried when I was so high up so I didn’t quite take it as high as it would go. Maybe next time. 🙂

Here are my cherries after I’d gone home and canned them in a hot water bath. (Before and after.)

 

I hope you enjoyed a peek into my Sunday evening. What’s growing in your neck of the woods?

Sandra 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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Secret Signs & Symbols

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Photo by Irina Kostenich on Pexels.com

As I was enjoying the purple flowers in my garden today, I was reminded of the role purple flowers play in my Seed Savers books.

In Seed Savers-Treasure, as Clare and Dante travel cross-country in search of a place where gardens still exist, they discover the secret signs and symbols that help members of the underground Seed Savers Movement identify each other. The first sign is purple lupines. Here is an excerpt from chapter 27, Preparing to Leave.

He taught them how to read the night sky and how to find friends.

“Years ago, when gardeners had to go underground, so to speak, they developed signals still used today. When you looked up at my balcony what was the first thing you noticed?”

“Your purple flowers!” shouted Dante.

“Yes, the pansies. I wish you could have seen the lupines. Lupines were really the chosen flowers for our code, but alas, they finish blooming early in the summer around here. So we keep anything purple alive that we can,” he said, smiling.

“What’s so special about lupines?” Clare asked.

“Well, for one thing, everybody has roses,” Gruff said, winking. “The story is this: about a hundred years ago, a mountain in Washington state blew its top. Forests were blown away. The land was devastated. It’s said that the first plants to emerge from the ash-covered land were wild lupines. They’re tenacious—like us. We, the Seed Savers, will come back someday, too.”

“Wow,” said Dante. “So, if we see some place with a lot of purple flowers, they might be friends?”

“Right,” said Gruff. “But there’s more. Obviously if lupines grow wild or if someone likes purple, that wouldn’t be enough to go knocking on their door and ask if they were Seed Savers. The next sign is a symbol of a circle within a circle.”

“A circle within a circle?” Gruff grabbed a pen and paper. “Like this,” he said, drawing. He drew a circle as best he could, and then right outside of it a second circle, enclosing the first.

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“It’s an ancient sacred symbol of mother earth, or earth goddess, and the fertility and fruitfulness she embodies. If you go outside my door and take a good look, you’ll find I’ve painted a small one down near the bottom. Anyway, if you find the purple flowers and the symbol, you can pretty much figure they are Seed Savers. But just to be sure, there is one last test. Knock at the door. If someone opens it, first ask, ‘Are you the resident here?’ If they say yes, then ask, ‘Do you know where Amber Jenson lives?’”

“Who is Amber Jenson?”

“She’s not anyone. Well, I’m sure she is someone, but the name is random. Initially the Network wanted to use the name of an early worker in the movement, but it was deemed too dangerous. We’ve never had a problem so far with these three signs. And GRIM hasn’t figured out any of our means of communication. Be very careful with the knowledge.”

Gruff made the children sleep during the day and stay up at night. It would be easier, he told them, if they were used to a nocturnal lifestyle before departure.

 

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Sandra 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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