Cozy Wednesday with Author Dorothy St. James (Giveaways too!)

cozy wednesdayWelcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am so excited to Welcome Dorothy here today!

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Oh, the things a cozy mystery author must do! Oh, the hardships! 


While conducting research for my White House Gardener Mystery series, not only did I spend several seasons visiting D.C. and the White House gardens to make sure that I soaked up the atmosphere and the feel for the area…

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I also, lurked through the D.C. parks—sometimes at 4:30 in the morning—so I could act out in my mind the murders that take place in the books.

However, the biggest sacrifice for these books has happened…not in D.C. …not in my garden… but in my kitchen!

For the past several years my tiny house has been turned into a makeshift plant laboratory. While writing the first book in the White House Gardener Mystery series, Flowerbed of State, the kitchen counters were covered with pots of pineapple tops as I tested the best way to sprout the top of the pineapple. This also meant that every time I found myself at the grocery store, I was picking up a new pineapple to work with. And as a consequence, my husband and I ate scores of pineapples that year.


This past year while researching Oak and Dagger, the third and latest book in the White House Gardener Mystery series (and this year’s release), I wanted to do another kitchen-to-garden section at the end of the book. Instead of pineapples, I had the brilliant idea to include instructions on how to grow the tops of carrots and the bottoms of onions. Of course, I couldn’t include the instructions until I tested and determined the best ways to grow the carrots and onions.

Once again, my kitchen was transformed into a garden laboratory.

First, I grew carrots in the garden just for this purpose.


Thankfully, my husband didn’t mind when I gave him the task of eating the bottoms of the carrots.

I then placed the carrot tops in various glasses and set them on every available windowsill and counter space I could find. I repeated the process until I was satisfied that the carrots would sprout and grow for even someone with the brownest of brown thumbs.


Grow the Tops of Your Carrots

This is a quick and fun gardening project that anyone can do. When you are preparing your fresh carrots, cut off the top of the carrot (about a half-inch will do). Remove all but a few small leaves from the top.

Fill a glass or bowl with water. Set the carrot in the water so that it is partially submerged.

Place the glass or bowl in a sunny window. Change the water every few days. In a few weeks the carrot will sprout roots and new leaves will grow.

Plant the rooted carrot in a pot or in your garden.

You won’t grow new carrots from the plants, but swallowtail butterflies will enjoy feeding off the nectar from the flowers.

* * * * *

The same time that the “Great Carrot Experiment” was going on, I also experimented with sprouting the bottoms of my onions—the part of the onion that has those scraggly roots. And these onion bottoms, given time and attention, will produce new onions! Here’s what I learned:

* * * * *

Grow the Bottoms of Your Onions

Did you know you can grow a new onion from just the bottom part with the roots? Well, you can! Here’s a fun gardening project to try.

Cut off the bottom of your onion, the part with the dried roots. Leave about an inch to an inch and a half of onion with the roots.

Allow to dry for a couple of days in a well-ventilated area. This will allow it to form a callus and help prevent it from rotting.

You can get the roots started by soaking in water for a few days. (It’s fun to watch.) Or if you’re impatient plant the onion root-side down in a pot, burying it about a half-inch deep pot, or you can even plant it directly in the ground. Within a few weeks the onion will sprout.

* * * * *

Who knew that writing adventures for my plucky White House organic gardener, Casey Calhoun, would also send me on new and challenging adventures? I sure didn’t! It’s rarely a dull moment for this author. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.


About This Author

White House Garden 2 025 dorothy st. jamesDorothy St. James is the pseudonym for author Dorothy McFalls. As St. James she writes the White House Gardener Mystery series. (Book 1 — Flowerbed of State, May 2011), (Book 2 — The Scarlet Pepper, April 2012), and (Book 3 — Oak and Dagger, April 2013). Dorothy is a master gardener who loves puttering around in her garden and trying out new techniques.

You can find Dorothy at her website:, on Facebook:, or on Twitter:

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Oak and Dagger
(A White House Gardener Mystery)

3rd in Series
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group (April 2, 2013)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Mary Ann Lasher
Cover Design by Olivia Andreas
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425252031
E-Book File Size: 868 KB

Oak and Dagger (A White House Gardener Mystery #3)


A simple tree planting leads to chaos at The White House. A schematic is missing from the Grounds Office and a set of important papers has also disappeared from the Curator’s Office. The gardeners are getting blamed for both. On top of that Casey is getting death threats, the First Dog is digging holes all over the South lawn and the First Lady’s sister is creating her own havoc.

Then the curator is found dead is a secluded garden and all the evidence points at Gordon Sims, the chief gardener. Casey just has to clear his name. When she learns all the chaos and the murder could have something to do with a two hundred year old treasure she realizes she must move fast before the killer strikes again….

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Casey Calhoun is a smart spunky protagonist and she is not afraid to get her hands dirty or stand out in the pouring rain to track down the killer. I am happy her relationship with Special Agent Jack Turner is moving forward. We also learn a bit more about Casey’s past.

There was so much happening in the installment that the pages were flying. The First Lady has her hands full with her twin boys and while her sister is supposed to be there to help she seems to have an agenda all her own. The decorator hired to create the nursery has much more interest in being out in the gardens instead in the space he is responsible for decorating. Jack is acting strange and seems to stand Casey up a lot. Gordon is in the hospital and Casey and Lorenzo have to work together and they never see eye to eye. The assistant curator is a strange little man who just happens to have rented the apartment below Casey.

Dolley Madison was important to this story. In fact the book starts with a quote from the famous First Lady: “And now, dear sister, I must leave this house or the retreating army will make me a prisoner in it by filling up the road I am directed to take.” Each subsequent chapter starts with a First Lady quote and I really enjoyed all of them.

Hang on tight! This story is a wild ride! I loved it!
a perfect escape

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Would you like to win a copy of this wonderful book?

Thanks to the people at Penguin
I have 2 copies to giveaway!!

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.



A White House Gift Packet
that includes:

  • a hand dyed indigo book cover
  • an official White House Historical Association bookmark
  • and an autographed copy of Flowerbed of State

Just leave a comment for Dorothy to enter!!

Contests Will End April 24, 2013 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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43 thoughts on “Cozy Wednesday with Author Dorothy St. James (Giveaways too!)

  1. I really enjoyed the first two books in the series and am looking forward to this one.

  2. Sounds like a fun series! I really appreciate that Dollycas introduces me to authors new to me. Thanks for offering this giveaway!

  3. I’m on a mission to read books by authors who will be at Malice Domestic who I haven’t read yet. I’ll be reading “Flowerbeds of State” soon.

  4. What a fun series. I have been growing onions on my windowsill and wondered why they have been rotting! Thanks for the tip to dry them first. Dee

  5. Oh my I just have to start this series! It sounds so good. Thanks Dolly for “introducing+ me to some new authors to read!!!

  6. I’m really interested in reading this series. I love the onion and carrot suggestions.

  7. I live a few hours from DC and have taken my children there to see the historical sites. It is an amazing place to visit. I would not want to drive there though. The metro is great. This is a series that I have not started yet, but I love reading about places where I have visited.

  8. This would be a new author for me and would love winning so I could add her to my ever growing list of authors that are a must read! Hope I’m lucky enough to win! BTW-great ideas for growing carrots and onions!!

  9. Those look like great raised beds. I would love to plant in them. My favorite things to plant are onions and shallots.

    Love the gorgeous cover! Thanks for the giveaways!!!

  10. I am new to your books and cannot wait to read them all. This is my favorite genre and love finding new authors. Congrats on the new release!

  11. Oh, this sounds like a great series. Intimidating, too, working with such a public and well-knowns setting. I can see why there was a need to spend so much time there!

  12. Love the Oak and Dagger cover. So cute. Flowerbed of State is a cute cover too. Your series sounds wonderful. Thanks for the giveaway.
    Sue B

  13. Dorothy I enjoy your books. I hope to one day visit the White House. Thank you for the giveaway

  14. I remember growing carrot tops as a kid! Would love to win! Thanks so much for stopping by!

  15. Thank you so much for having such an amazing giveaway!! I would so love to win Dorothy’s Gift Pack! And the book sounds SO SO GOOD!! I’m definitely going to get the series and start reading them!! Thank you again for having such a generous and amazing giveaway!!!

  16. Thanks for the tip on regrowing onions – I haven’t tried that one – done with carrots though. Also thanks for the giveaway

  17. Sounds like a great series. I would enjoy reading the book. Love the cute cover. Thanks for having the giveaway.

  18. I love this series. I look forward to reading this book. I called my “local bookstore” and they are ordering some for the store, also.

  19. I’m new to this series and it looks exciting and fun! The carrots and onions were interesting to read about, but I have a non-existant green thumb and all but the hardiest plants survive. Thanks for the giveaway!!

  20. I would love to win this book, it sounds really good. I’m doing an Avocado seed right now, rooting it in water about ready to plant it in a pot. Isn’t it cool watching it root and grow. Your book really is neat. Thanks Donna Harris

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