posted on August 11, 2020 by Mariah Ankenman

Grow a Little Love

In The Roommate Problem, the hero, August, is a floriculturist. August likes to grow flowers, he enjoys eating healthy, whole foods. Mo is the exact opposite. She hasn’t met a deep-fried cheese covered dish she hasn’t liked. Their taste in food isn’t the only thing they don’t have in common. August is an introverted neat freak while Mo is life of the party…who leaves every room looking like it just had a party in it. But despite their differences the two have an undeniable chemistry that soon turns these roommates into bedmates.

Now I’m going to be honest here and tell you all I could kill a house plant by looking at it. My mother is a fantastic gardener, but sadly that gene did not pass on to her daughter. Instead I got her corny sense of humor, thanks mom. When it came to knowing how to grow plants and flowers, the meanings behind them, things my character August would know, but I was lost in the woods.

Lucky for me, I not only have the expert advice of my mom, but my father-in-law just happens to be a landscape architect and gardener. He passed his skills onto my wonderful husband. These skills and knowledge came in very handy when I had a million research questions about flowers while writing The Roommate Problem. But it’s also come in handy in another way recently.

Like most people out there, the state of the world has completely upended our lives. We’ve been doing our best to keep our spirits up and help out where we can. One thing we’ve accomplished this summer is starting our very own garden. My husband always wanted to start his own garden, but this season he finally had the time. The best part about it was our kids got to help out. They love watering the garden with daddy, checking the vegetables and herbs to see if they’re ready yet. We even have a few pumpkins growing. Hopefully they’ll be ready in time for Halloween. Who needs to go to the pumpkin patch when you have your own!

Another great thing about starting your own garden is the community it instills. Our zucchinis are producing in an abundance far larger than we can eat. Whenever we get too much produce we leave a basket on the neighbors’ porch. Some days we wake up to a fresh basket of apples from our neighbor’s apple tree as a thank you. The old saying is true; sharing is caring.

While my husband and kiddos have been dutifully tending to the garden, and mommy stays away so the plants actually have a chance at life, I’ve been making all kinds of delicious treats with the fruits—or vegetables rather—of their labor. Zucchini chips, zucchini bread, zucchini quiche (I told you we grew a lot of zucchini). Fresh and delicious food just steps out our back door, it’s a bright spot in our day to be sure.

Another bonus about a garden is fresh herbs. For cooking yes, but also…infusions. One of my more unique hobbies is vodka infusions and I have been having a blast using the fresh herbs from our garden to infuse mint vodka, basil vodka, I might even try a garlic vodka. Could be good in a Bloody Mary, who knows?

While the world might seem a bit bleak and dark at the moment, there’s something healing in growing your own food. Cultivating the earth, caring for it and watching as it produces the nourishment needed to live. Sharing that gift with those around you. Teaching new skills to the younger generations. There’s joy and hope to be found around us even in the darkest of times.

I started reading romance because I needed to see more hope in the world. I started writing romance because I wanted to give others that hope. Romance is about hope and love. Growing love is a lot like growing food. If you use care, take the time to cultivate and nurture, good things will grow to nourish your body and soul.

Share something that has been helping you find joy recently for a chance to win a $10 e-gift card to the Ripped Bodice. And if you’re looking for something to consume to brighten your day, make you laugh, swoon and fall in love, then check out The Roommate Problem, out now from Entangled Publishing.


Mariah Ankenman

Mariah Ankenman

Bestselling author Mariah Ankenman lives in the beautiful Rocky Mountains with her two rambunctious daughters and loving husband who provides ample inspiration for her heart-stopping heroes. Her books have been nominated for the prestigious RWA Golden Heart and CRW Stiletto awards. Whether she's writing hometown heroes or sexy supernaturals, Mariah loves to lose herself in a world of words. Her favorite thing about writing is when she can make someone's day a little brighter with one of her books.

10 thoughts on “Grow a Little Love”

  1. Avatar Shelley Pierce says:

    Rock painting has been helping me find joy recently.

    1. Avatar Mariah Ankenman says:

      My mom taught my kiddos rock paint last summer. They love it!

  2. Thanks so much for having me on today!

  3. Avatar bn100 says:

    finding new authors

    1. Avatar Mariah E Ankenman says:

      The BEST!

  4. Avatar Patricia Harris says:

    I became a first time Mimi at the end of February, so baby cuddles has brought me tons of joy.

  5. Avatar Angel Crum says:

    I have been scrapbooking more, and it has brought such joy to look at old pictures and see the kiddos grow up

  6. Avatar G.Bisbjerg says:

    I have taken great pleasure in putting in an herb garden. It has been wonderful for cooking and tisanes. But even more exciting has been getting involved with the volunteer group, Friends of the Library. These are difficult times but books bring us entertainment, diversion and solace. It feels good to help find ways to get funds for the library. Our library is limited to curbside pickup, and similar to many others, are facing decreased funding. So we are finding different ways to sell the donated used books and other items, socially distanced tailgate sale in the parking lot, selling online, etc. The pandemic has made me feel helpless in many ways so the volunteering in a safe way has been uplifting for me. And, I get to be around books!

  7. Avatar flchen1 says:

    Books, of course, and I’ve also been doing some long overdue decluttering. It’s been heartening to find treasures we can share with others in our community!

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