Behind the Scenes – An Unusual Weapon

With less than three weeks until the release of Deadly Devotion, I thought it would be fun to give you a behind-the-scenes look. 

Ever wonder what weapon you’d grab to defend yourself if you were cornered?

Kate Adams, the main character of Deadly Devotion, is a researcher specializing in herbal medicine. She works with plants every day. She’s surrounded by plants. She knows things about plants you’d never have imagined.

She’s also driven to find out the truth about how her fellow researcher and dear friend really died. And more than one person wants to stop her. 

So what weapon would Kate grab if cornered in her lab?

A cactus?


Or maybe stinging nettle?


myrtle spurge

If you guessed this last plant, you’re right. Do you know what it is?

Here’s the scenario:

She’s alone in her lab when no one should be in the building. She hears approaching footsteps, the scrape of a key in the lock to the only door in or out. She has no idea if the person about to come through the door is friend or foe. She  snaps off a runner of the pictured plant, and praying the juice doesn’t spurt on her fingers, brandishes it against her intruder, who responds:

“What did you plan to do? Whack me with that weed?”

She jabbed the air with it, trying to act playful. “You bet. This baby works way better than pepper spray. Not only will the sap make your eyes and skin sting horribly, it’ll make your face swell fatter than road kill on a hot summer day.” 

“Ni-i-ice.” He shuddered playfully. “Lucky for me I’m your friend.”

But is he???

And what is this strange-looking plant Kate brandishes as a weapon?

At the time I was writing this story, one of my daughter’s fellow horticultural students was thinning out this popular ornamental and got the sap on his hands, and face, and yes, it swelled and stung and was not pretty.

Unfortunately, my daughter didn’t learn from his mistake. The following weekend, while thinning out the same plant from our garden, she got sap squirted in her eyes. Oh yes, it stings!

After flushing them and calling poison control, she ended up going to the doctor’s for a salve to relieve the effects. And…

the scene above was born. 😉

Oh…and in case you were wondering, the plant is called myrtle spurge.

Your Turn: 
What’s the most unusual weapon you’ve read about or could imagine using if someone snuck up on your at work or home?

By the way…  Deadly Devotion is already available for preorder at many online stores at awesome sale prices–prices that often jump once the book releases. Click here for direct links to order Deadly Devotion.

Image of cactus courtesy of thaikrit at   Image of stinging nettle courtesy of BrianHolm at


  • Oh wow. Like pepper spray. Very cool. Glad your daughter is okay!

    I noticed when I was making the bed a few months ago, my hubby has a golf iron under the bed–for just such an emergency. 🙂

  • And the moral of the story is : beware of befriending the author! She’ll use you as a guinea pig in a book. 🙂 Love how you used that scenario and how it fits with the heroine’s character. And what a surprise it would be for an intruder. Can’t wait to see your book on the shelves!

    If I was fending off an attacker my klutziness would likely be my weapon of…well not choice, but I’m sure I could be lethal by tripping, stumbling, knocking something down — all of that just comes naturally. And I once had a killer bunny who could make a guard dog cringe. Who needs a weapon when you have a Velvet Ears Cottontail?

  • This post was fascinating, Sandra. But just thinking about that plant juice stinging your daughter’s eyes is making my eyes water. 🙁
    SO excited about the approaching release of DEADLY DEVOTION, and SO proud of YOU!! 🙂

Great to "see" you here today! I look forward to reading your comment.