10 Facts About Kudzu

I’m happy to welcome Wild Rose Press author Leanna Sain to the Power of 10 series. Today, Leanna shares ten important kudzu facts and her latest release, Half-Moon Lake.

Here’s Leanna!

Since the main character, Kathryn Dorne (aka Katelyn Eubanks) has some severe phobias linked to her mysterious childhood, one of which is a fear of kudzu, I thought readers might like to know a few kudzu facts. For those of you who are asking, “What the heck is kudzu?” here’s a definition: a quick-growing eastern Asian climbing plant with purple flowers, used as a fodder crop and for erosion control. It has become a pest in the southeastern US.

10 Facts about Kudzu

1. It was first introduced into the United States at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition by the Japanese in 1876.

2. Its lavender blossoms smell like grape Kool-ade.

3. In 1902, a botanist named David Fairchild warned of the plant’s invasiveness. He was ignored.

4. Shortly after that, the US Soil Conservation decided to use the vine for controlling soil erosion and paid southern farmers $8 an acre to plant it on their land.

5. Three years after the government started paying farmers to plant it, Mr. Fairchild published his warning about kudzu’s dangerous invasiveness in a scientific journal. He was still ignored.

6. By 1960, the government finally got the message and switched its focus from propagation to eradication.

7. By 1970, it was declared a weed, and by 1997, a noxious weed, but by then it was too late. Kudzu loves the climate and growing conditions in the South and had turned into an uncontrollable monster.

8. Kudzu roots can weigh up to 450 pounds and reach 7 feet in length. During the height of summer, the vine can grow a foot a day.

9. All parts of the plant can be used, which is a good thing since there’s so much of it. The vine can be used for basket weaving and for livestock feed. The blossoms can be made into jelly. Roots and leaves can be used in cooking.

10. In the medical field, they’re using kudzu to treat migraines and cluster headaches. Scientists are testing it for use in cancer treatments, alcoholism, allergies, tinnitus, vertigo, and high blood pressure.

Blurb

When Kathryn Dorne is summoned to Half-Moon Lake for the reading of her father’s will, she discovers a shocking truth.

Learning her name is Katelyn Eubanks is only the first surprise. Second, she had an identical twin sister who drowned at the age of nine. Since Katelyn can’t remember anything prior to that age, it seems more than mere coincidence. The biggest surprise is that her father, a man she never knew, left his entire estate to her, enraging other would-be heirs.

With her unremembered, but closest childhood friend, Levi, as well as help from the estate’s deaf-mute gardener and the outspoken cook, Katelyn searches for answers to questions that have plagued her all her life, but doing so, opens the proverbial Pandora’s box.

As her memories return, so does the danger she escaped fifteen years earlier.

Buy links

The Wild Rose Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

Bio

North Carolina native, Leanna Sain, earned her BA from the University of South Carolina, then moved back to her beloved mountains of western NC with her husband. Her “Gate” books have stacked up numerous awards, from Foreword Magazine’s Book-of-the-Year to the Clark Cox Historical Fiction Award from the North Carolina Society of Historians. Sain’s fourth novel, WISH, is a stand-alone, YA crossover.

Her Southern romantic suspense or “GRIT-lit,” showcases her plot-driven method of writing that successfully rolls the styles of best-selling authors Mary Kay Andrews, Nicholas Sparks, and Jan Karon into a delightfully hybrid style that is all her own. Regional fiction lovers and readers who enjoy suspense with a magical twist will want her books.

She loves leading discussion groups and book clubs.

Where to find Leanna…

Website/Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


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Spotlight on Leanna Sain

I’m thrilled to welcome The Wild Rose Press author Leanna Sain. Today, Leanna shares her story seeds and her new release, Red Curtains.

Here’s Leanna!

leannasainMy writing journey started with a gate.

A gate?

Yes. Let me explain.

We were invited to a friend’s house for a Halloween party and after dinner, we gathered up the kids, grabbed flashlights and glow sticks, and hiked out to a spooky old cemetery, with a fat yellow moon helping to light the way. Perfect for a Halloween night. You could practically see the ghosts swooshing about.

On the way back to the house, my flashlight glanced to the right of the trail and spotlighted a rough wooden gate. It struck me as odd. “Why?” you ask. After all, we were on a farm. Gates were usually a part of the package. Yes, but fences are also a part of the package and this one didn’t have that. It was just the gate, sitting there at the edge of a pasture, looking very out of place.

“What’s up with your gate?” I asked my friend. “No fence?”

She shrugged. “It was like that when we bought the place.”

I decided to ham it up a bit. “Dum, dum, DUM,” I was trying for spooky background music, for effect. “The gate to nowhere…”

She laughed and said, “Sounds like the name of a book. Why don’t you write it?”

Hmmm. “Maybe I will.”

That was the beginning; a seed that burrowed down in my brain and started growing. The result was my first novel (which turned into a trilogy.) Since then, the ideas have kept coming, and it doesn’t look like they’re going to stop any time within the next hundred years.

I got the ‘story seed’ for Red Curtains from a trip my husband and I made to Savannah, Georgia for our 26th anniversary. We were waiting for a tour bus when a homeless person, sporting an outlandish court jester hat, strolled by. He walked right up to a nearby mailbox, and proceeded to sprinkle some invisible substance around its base, all the while chanting words I couldn’t understand. I glanced sideways at my husband and murmured, “Fairy dust?” He just shrugged, too intent on watching what would happen next.

That’s when the bus arrived and I hurried aboard, finding a seat and scrambling through my purse for paper and a pen. The ideas hurtled out of the end of the pen, practically faster than I could write them. The seed planted in my brain and grew, and grew. One of the main characters would be a homeless woman (I needed her to be a woman, not a man), but what did I really know about that subject? Time for research! The results were staggering. I felt like I had to help, but what could I do? Well, Red Curtains—aside from being a good read—has another purpose: to bring awareness for this terrible crisis that continues to grow in spite of the unemployment rate shrinking. And also, I’ve decided to donate a portion of my book sales to the “Stand Down” program that I mention in the story. It might not be much, but at least it’s something. And if everyone does a little “something,” it’ll all add together to equal something significant.

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Blurb

Dead bodies, fake money and falling in love were NOT part of the assignment.

Cleo Davis must find a model for her senior art project or she won’t graduate. When she discovers Lily Telfair-Gordon, she gets more than just an eccentric old woman who spouts famous quotes, talks to ghosts, and wears a weird hat. Lily has unwittingly stumbled upon a counterfeiting ring, and Cleo gets dragged right into the middle of it.

Jonas Holmes, an investigative reporter for the local paper, is asking the question: why do bodies of homeless men keep showing up in the river? But the homeless are scared and won’t talk to him. When he finds Cleo and Lily, he thinks his problems are solved; he doesn’t realize that they’re just beginning.

While romance blossoms between Cleo and Jonas, they work together to see how the two things are connected, but will they find out before it’s too late?

Buy Links

Amazon | The Wild Rose Press | iTunes | Barnes and Noble | Kobo

Bio

North Carolina native, Leanna Sain, earned her BA from the University of South Carolina, then moved back to her beloved mountains of western NC with her husband. Her “Gate” books have stacked up numerous awards, from Foreword Magazine’s Book-of-the-Year to the Clark Cox Historical Fiction Award from the North Carolina Society of Historians. Sain’s fourth novel, WISH, is a stand-alone, YA crossover.

Her Southern romantic suspense or “GRIT-lit,” showcases her plot-driven method of writing that successfully rolls the styles of best-selling authors Mary Kay Andrews, Nicholas Sparks, and Jan Karon into a delightfully hybrid style that is all her own. Regional fiction lovers and readers who enjoy suspense with a magical twist will want her books.

She loves leading discussion groups and book clubs. For more information or to contact her, visit her website.

Where to find Leanna…

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads