I Am Not An Herb Farmer #SampleSunday

I am informed by Holly Jahangiri (the real one) that Google doesn’t think I’m an author. Google thinks I’m an herb farmer. As I told her, that’s what I get for naming my fantasy trilogy SAGE.

This excerpt will probably convince Google it’s right.

Andrin’s Tea

excerpt from SAGE
by Marian Allen

herbal teaHe lit a candle and stood before his herb-cabinet, debating which to choose for the central pot. The taste and scent of it would color his day; so, it must harmonize with the day. Perhaps he should take his vision into account when choosing.

Common sage, to soothe his nerves? Clary sage, to sharpen his vision ? He chose the dried leaves of the first, the salted pink-and-white flowers of the second. He carried a handful of each to the open kettle, meditating on their qualities and natures, and dropped them into the heating water.

He folded his blanket and rolled up his pallet and stored them in a cabinet carved with the device of the House of Onagros. As he performed the exercises which kept his aging body strong and supple, the smells of the sages filled the room; the Common was rich and bitter and astringent, the Clary was camphoric and piney. A strong smell, medicinal, and not entirely pleasant.

Andrin took some of the scented water out into a shallow bowl, washed himself and shaved his head, pouring the used liquid into a trench which led outside and into his garden. He dressed in his yellow silk robe, and slid his feet into red leather shoes.

Still the dream haunted him.

He shook his head and reached for a book at random. He would lose himself in commentary on one of the major texts of the Canon.

The book his unguided hand chose was THE SHIFTING PATH, the Wayfarers’ ancient book of divination. Then he realized that his effort to put the vision from his mind had become discordant; his harmonious path now lay through the vision, not around it.

The Waymaster put the book on a long low table next to an ebony box, poured himself a cup of sage tea and sat on a pillow before the table. He would drink his tea while he regained his balance, then would cast the pebbles, and follow the shifting path to wherever it would lead.

Outside the shuttered temple, dawn was breaking. Outside, the world began to stir. Inside, it was very still.


Holly said, as much as I write about my food and my pets, it’s a wonder Google doesn’t think I eat cats.

SAGE is available from Amazon in print and for Kindle, and can be ordered through your friendly neighborhood independent bookstore.

A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: What does your character drink when they need to think. Jane, what DID Callie drink, before it was b-l-doubleO-d?



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “I Am Not An Herb Farmer #SampleSunday

  1. Dan

    October 11, 2015 at 9:14am

    Wait, Google was wrong? What does that mean for the universe?

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      October 11, 2015 at 2:04pm

      I guess it means I have to learn to be an herb farmer. Google CAN’T be wrong!

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply
  2. Jane

    October 11, 2015 at 9:41am

    Nice, meditative excerpt, very suitable for a Sunday morning.

    Well, Marian, Callie USED TO drink that nasty old weak tea and watered wine they’d foist off on the Ladies of her time. But she did love a nice, spicy herbal restorative. Something like a cordial with a kick!

    Google thinks I’m a beer expert from England.

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      October 11, 2015 at 2:07pm

      I can’t imagine Callie EVER being content with negus and other Sunday School slop. A cordial with a kick sounds more her speed.

      Google is half-right. We be doing some beer consultation this Wednesday, right?

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      • Jane

        October 12, 2015 at 11:12am

        We most sincerely will!

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  3. A.C. Flory

    October 11, 2015 at 5:53pm

    Hey! We create worlds, we have to be interested in real things too. πŸ˜€
    Speaking of, have you read What Kings Ate and Wizards Drank? It’s not something you read at one sitting, but it is surprisingly interesting for a reference on pre-modern life.

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      October 12, 2015 at 11:05am

      I haven’t read it yet, but I bought it — I believe it was on your recommendation! Thank you! πŸ™‚

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      • A.C. Flory

        October 12, 2015 at 5:23pm

        Just finished it, and right at the end she includes some recipes you might want to skip. Let’s just say they are very un-vegan!

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        • Author

          Marian Allen

          October 13, 2015 at 8:45am

          I’m not vegan, Meeka. I just cook like one, most of the time. When I’m out, I’m flexitarian — I eat whatever’s put before me, or whatever looks good. At home, we eat so little meat it’s statistically negligible. πŸ˜€

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  4. Holly Jahangiri

    October 17, 2015 at 4:55pm

    Good news! Google no longer thinks you’re an herb farmer, apparently. Nor does it think you eat cats (yet). It does list “chicken recipes” as its first keyword combo for you. Apparently, it thinks you’re cooking FOR your cat. And you’d do well to serve up chicken recipes, salmon recipes, shrimp recipes, and perhaps a nice vegan carrot cake. (I don’t know how you’re going to make a vegan cream cheese icing, but do let us know!)

    I don’t make this stuff up, you know. I know you’re a writer – a damned fine one, if I may say so (speaking as one of your characters, I cannot sing your praises highly enough). Google’s still struggling to figure you out.

    How Google’s got me pegged as a writer from what it’s seen of MY blog, I’ll never know.

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      October 17, 2015 at 5:41pm

      CHICKEN recipes? Uh-huh. Vegan carrot cake sounds nice, but I would totally go dairy on the cream cheese icing.

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply

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