Valerie Comer

Today Valerie is joining us on the back porch. Valerie has a new book out this month. Raspberries and Vinegar.

She's doing a blog tour promoting her book and agreed to stop by and share with us today. I've asked her to focus on her dog and her lifestyle on a farm.

Tonight I asked my son to ask me to roll the compost and it was so disgusting we both about gagged. It's not always easy or popular, but we're trying to do our little bit.

Now, here's Valerie...




Once upon a time we adopted a puppy. He was a black Lab and (supposedly) Border collie cross, and he bumbled into a whole lot of trouble…and onto the pages of the novel I'd just started developing.
Our neighbors have two Border collies. It's pure poetry watching these dogs round up the cows, sheep, or even pigs, and move them to a different pasture. I dreamed that some day Brody would be just as graceful as the dogs next door. Hoped that his Border collie roots might shine through, because we, too, live on a farm and it would be useful to have a little help when the cows get out. (Not that they ever do.) (You don't believe that, do you?)

When Brody tipped the scales at about 110 pounds, the only parts of him that looked like they might have collie roots were his white chest and a couple of white paws. He doesn't have the sense God gave to herd dogs, nearly always going for the head of the animals rather than their heels and instinctively charging them at the wrong moment.

By then, his alter-ego—a purebred pup named Domino—had become a full-fledged major character in a romance novel that bore his name in its working title: Domino's Game. Although he was certainly a scamp that continued to get in scrape after scrape, Domino became the dog I'd expected Brody would become.

Domino was born of the last litter raised by a farm family who bred Border collies for sale. Without his presence in the story, I'm not sure how I'd have gotten a somewhat snobbish and very opinionated local-food advocate to fall for the junk-food-loving reluctant farmer next door. But when both characters love the same puppy, they already have a start on a relationship, however tenuous.

As time went on, the story's title changed to Raspberries and Vinegar: A Farm Fresh Romance. It released on August first from Choose NOW Publishing:

Sweet like Raspberries. Tart like Vinegar

Josephine Shaw: complex, yet single-minded. A tiny woman with big ideas and, some would say, a mouth to match. But what does she really know about sustainable living as it relates to the real world? After all, she and her two friends are new to farming.

Zachary Nemesek is back only until his dad recovers enough to work his own land again. When Zach discovers three helpless females have taken up residence at the old farm next door, he expects trouble. But a mouse invasion proves Jo has everything under control. Is there anything she can't handle? And surely there's something sweet beneath all that tart.

On the heels of Raspberries and Vinegar are the other two books in the series. Wild Mint Tea comes out in March 2014, and Sweetened with Honey closes the series in December 2014.

These Farm Lit stories release in an era where consumers are starting to pay attention to where their food comes. Farmers' markets are springing up all over the country along with organic box programs and vegetable gardens. Many trapped in urban high-rises grow herbs on their windowsills and seek out grass-fed beef.

My husband and I have lived on the farm for more than half of our thirty-plus years together. We raise much of our own meat, keep bees, and grow a large garden from which we freeze, dehydrate, and can a lot of food for winter. Hazelnut and walnut trees keep us supplied with nuts, and our raspberry and strawberry beds are prolific. We're grateful to live where we can purchase locally grown organic grains and a vast array of fruits and vegetables we don't grow ourselves.

We've chosen this lifestyle for two reasons. One, we care what we put in our bodies and wish to be as healthy as possible. Two, we care deeply about our three young granddaughters and are concerned about the world their generation will inherit. For now, we'll do everything we can to help supply real food for their growing bodies: organic food, seasonal food, and local food.

Our dog Brody is five years old now. He, too, loves those little girls and is patient when they hug him and sit on him. He's also happy to clean up the floor around their chairs at mealtime! Even overgrown not-Border-collie puppies appreciate real food.