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Welcome to A Writer’s Garden where writers who are gardeners or just love gardens will be sharing their garden and flower stories, as well as a bit about their writing. Today’s writer/gardener guest is Everley Gregg. Everley will be talking about the roses in her life. Welcome, Everley!

As far as gardening talents go, mine are a bit weak. Although I absolutely love delicate flowers like the orchid and cyclamen, I struggle to keep them going. Either I water too much or not enough. Too sunny a window or not enough light. My son gifted me a miniature gardenia for Mother’s Day and I keep hoping I don’t kill it! Nearly two months and it hasn’t bloomed yet…

Roses, however, are tough. Thank goodness this flower is such a sturdy specimen.

Scattered about our home are a number of rose bushes, stubborn, tough ladies I stuck in the ground over the years and then forgot about—until, like magic, they shock me with brilliant blooms every spring. And shock me they do, because by the time they bloom, I don’t even remember what color they were supposed to be. Apparently, the two alongside my walkway are supposed to be red. And red they are—gloriously, brilliant red.

On my front steps, since last summer, was a small pot in which a miniature rose once lived. Poor thing spent the entire winter out there, a single, bare branch sticking up through the snow. Every day when I came and went, the bony, thorned finger pointed at me, accusing me of neglect. This spring, a number of times, my husband asked if he should throw it in the trash.

“You know, honey, I think that plant on the porch is dead. Do you want me to—”

“No. I’ll take care of it.”

I’m so glad the rose heard him. A few days later, tiny green leaves appeared on that bony finger.

Just last week we transplanted the struggling plant into a bigger pot, with new soil and a sunnier location—on a roller thingy so I can move it inside when winter comes. Just look at it now! It’s even got a bud on it. I wonder if these blooms will be red, like the others?

There is another red rose that has come into my life. Her name is Rose Diamond.

In 2019, I suffered a debilitating shoulder injury that cost me my career as well as many other activities I’ve enjoyed all my life: fishing, golfing, archery, bowling. My favorite sport by far, though, was riding horses. I started riding at the age of eight, and since adulthood, spent very few years “horseless.” I was informed I would likely never ride again.

So what did I do, at the tender age of 63, with limited use of my dominant right arm, when the doctors delivered this damning decree? I bought a horse.

And yes, her name is Rose Diamond. Brilliant red she is, and a diamond through and through. We snapped this photo the day she came home, my daughter showing her off.

With the help of a skilled and sympathetic occupational therapist who specializes in the equestrian sport, I now have dreams of riding again—on my Rose. Honestly, since she came into my life last fall, there were many times when she was the only thing keeping me going. Animals have almost supernatural healing powers. Horses are no exception.

Writing—my other passion, almost as essential as breathing—has been a challenge with a “stupid” right hand. But much like that stubborn rose on my front porch, I persevere. My latest romance series is medieval historical. Is it any wonder the book I was working on when Rose cantered into my life was entitled “The Knight and the Rose”? Mayhap. It is the second in my series called Forgotten Flowers of Flanders, published by Dragonblade Publishing.

So yes, the theme for my life of late has been the rose, a species known to be tough. Hardy. Difficult to kill. I so needed the inspiration of this tenacious flower over the last few, trying years. And in so many, different ways, the rose has been there for me.

My sister-in-law is a photographer who lives two states away. We finally got a chance to spend some time together last month after lockdown eased. I was telling her about my horse.

“What’s her name?”

“Rose,” I replied. “Rose Diamond. Isn’t that lovely?”

Her eyes widened. “Have I got a photograph for you!”

Terri took this photo way before Rose came into my life, back in 2019. The year I was injured. Probably the very same month…

The diamond in the center of this gorgeous bloom was her grandmother’s engagement ring. She called the photo “Diamond Rose.” I told her she was clairvoyant.

Except she got the name backwards. 🙂

About the Writer/Gardener:

Everley Gregg is in love with medieval history. She’s always been mysteriously drawn to Flanders, the area of the world now encompassing France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. If she ever gets to go back in time, 15th Century Flanders is where she’d want to be.

In this life, Everley resides in Massachusetts with her husband of over 40 years (she’s an expert at happily-ever-after). Her other loves (besides writing) are raising Persian cats, riding dressage horses, and reading. Everley earned her MFA in creative writing from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA., and also writes award-winning supernatural suspense and women’s fiction as Claire Gem.

Everley loves to hear from her fans! Sign up for her newsletter at www.everleygregg.com.

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The Knight and the Rose

By Everley Gregg

Will a proud knight fight for the widow’s honor . . . and heart?

Fifteenth Century, Burgundy

Beverielle Buchanan wears a shroud of guilt she didn’t earn. The daughter of a tavern wench in the Flemish port of Antwerp, she is one of many of Duke Philip’s bastard daughters. But the duchess, Lady Isabella, brings the girl home to court to raise as a lady. Beverielle’s Scottish roots rise to the surface when she meets the brawny Highlander knight. But in a cruel twist of fate, she is betrothed to an Italian merchant of the duke’s choosing. Only three months married, and she finds herself a widow. Her hopes for capturing the heart of the Scottish knight renew until she discovers she may already be carrying the Italian’s child.

Honoring the Auld Alliance, Knight Ròidh Keegan left the Highlands to join Duke Philip’s army in defense of Burgundy. His fealty over, he’s planning his trip back to Scotland when Beverielle, the flame-haired girl he met at Coudenburg, arrives at Germolles Castle. The then-gangly child has blossomed into a lush young woman. Now, however, she is a widow, and a pregnant one at that. Can the knight, soon to be laird of his own castle, still consider the Scottish lass for his bride? His heart says aye, though a long journey and many obstacles lie in their path. But Keegan is a knight, trained to fight.

Will he take on the battle for Beverielle’s heart and honor?

Want to read more? You can find The Knight and the Rose at Amazon