June 2006

Dear friends of Desert Rose Books,

It seems that by the 4th of July every year, I've relaxed into a summer routine. This summer is no exception. Most of the hard work gardening-wise is behind me and already I've begun harvesting herbs to use in the kitchen. The lavender plants are full of purple spikes and the geranium is spilling over the sides of their hanging pots. I've created an outdoor room of sorts on the back patio. Alongside the geraniums I've hung up a few Japanese lanterns. I've also brought over a chair and a small table for the cup of coffee that I never seem to be without. Once the mid-day heat abates, it's a perfect little alcove to spend some time in. While out searching nurseries for unusual plants I came upon a sorry looking bonsai that I was able to purchase for practically nothing. The Bonsai has sprung back to life. It's growing so well now that I almost hate to prune it. As always, summer for me is all about gardening. Included in this newsletter is an article on Basil - my favorite herb to grow and to cook with. I've also developed some recipes using fresh basil that you can find on the recipe page at the Desert Rose Books site.

By now, many of you have read the novel 'Whispers on the Wind'. I've appreciated the kind and wonderful feedback that so many of you have taken the time to send me. I want to remind you that I would be happy to put up your reader reviews on the site. In fact, I'm soliciting your remarks. If you have a moment, please string together a few sentences that express your thoughts on the novel and send it to me. I would love to hear from you and more importantly would be honored to include your comments on the review page. As a self-published author, getting word out about the novel is akin to an uphill battle. For this reason, your support has meant the world to me. Thank you again for picking up a copy of 'Whispers on the Wind'. As always, if you know anyone who you think might enjoy this novel, please feel free to forward a link to my site or this newsletter to them. Thank you! Some of you may be interested to know that the sequel is well underway. At present, I don't have a publishing date for continuation of Kate's story but, should have it soon.

I hope that you are finding time to enjoy these summer months. Summer is a reprieve for many of us. We're running around a little less and stepping outside to enjoy the weather a little more. Enjoy wonderful summer and I'll be in touch again in August.

All the best,


Herb Gardening Series - Part Two - Fragrant, Aromatic Basil

by Bridget Geegan Blanton

I've been planting herbs in my summer garden for years now and Sweet Basil tops the list as a perennial favorite. The scent of fresh Basil is to me, the scent of summer. The year 'round availability brings fresh Basil to my kitchen counter all winter long and even then, its unmistakable fragrance reminds me of summer. These days, I include other varieties of Basil alongside the common Sweet Basil. Thai and Cinnamon Basil with their smaller yet aromatic leaves, are found amongst the collection of herb pots happily growing on my sunny back patio.

Like most herbs, Basil is easy to grow. This mediterranean herb loves the sun. Aside from regular watering and grooming, this herb is low maintenance and will produce for you all summer long. Prolong the life of your plant by harvesting the outer leaves regularly. Once the plants are established, pinch off the top to encourage a bushier plant. Basil has the best flavor just prior to flowering. To delay flowering, simply pinch off the soft buds before they open. As with all herbs, the best time to harvest is early in the morning, in the hours after the dew and before the strong, afternoon sun. However, quite often I'm out the back door with my kitchen shears to grab a few stems of Basil in midst of preparing the evening meal. If you have time in the morning, it's actually quite peaceful to step outside and harvest Basil and some of the other herbs that you've been growing. Go ahead, commune with nature and harvest some herbs in the gentle morning sun. It will do your soul some good.

Traditionally, Basil has been thought of as an herb used in Italian cooking. It may surprise you to learn that Basil is equally common in Thai cooking. As a rule of thumb, remember to have fresh basil on hand for dishes that call for tomatoes or coconut milk. Basil is a perfect complement to these ethnic staples. If you can't use all of the fresh Basil you've harvested, simply place the stems in a jar of water and refrigerate. If you have a little leftover Basil, simply slice it and toss it with your salad. The addition of Basil in not at all overpowering in a simple salad; instead it seems to add a fresh, aromatic flavor.

Please visit the recipe page at desertrosebooks.com to find two pasta dishes that I've developed to take advantage of this season of fresh Basil. Also, don't forget to add fresh Basil to your next salad. You'll be pleasantly surprised.


Strawberry Pecan Dinner Salad

Shredded white chicken from a store bought roasted chicken

Combination of field greens and romaine lettuce

Sliced fresh strawberries

Mandarin orange segments

Candied pecans

Brianna's Home Style Blush Wine Vinaigrette Dressing

Line plates with lettuce mix and top with shredded chicken. Add sliced strawberries, mandarin orange segments and candied pecans.

Sprinkle with Blush wine Vinaigrette dressing

Omit the chicken and you have an easy, excellent side salad.


Summer is the perfect time for a great book! We're traveling, we're at the beach or we're kicking back enjoying the lull in the schedule. Whatever the reason, its a great time to read. Desert Rose Books is offering a $3.00 coupon that is good through the month of August. Simply include this portion of the newsletter with your mail order form and take $3.00 off the total price.

Next month:

Part Three of the Herb Series - Scented Geraniums.

Visit Desert Rose Books Community Page and view the Parts I and II of the Herbal Series.

And now a parting thought...

Flowers always make people better, happier and more positive. Flowers are sunshine, food and medicine to the soul.

Desert Rose Books hopes you've enjoyed our brief publication. As always, your comments are welcome.

Please visit us at www.desertrosebooks.com Home of the historical fiction novel, 'Whispers on the Wind' Pick up a signed copy at our online bookstore for just $14.95. Experience the writing style of Bridget Geegan Blanton. Visit the sample chapter page that portrays a portion of the new historical fiction novel, 'Whispers on the Wind'

Enjoy your day. As always, thanks for spending a little time with us. Desert Rose Books