Authors in Bloom 2018 with S.J. Maylee #gardeningtips #romance

Dianne Venetta_AIB Logo_2015

Welcome to the Authors in Bloom Blog Hop!

Gardening is one of my favorite things. In fact, it even inspired my tagline.

Blooming Hot Romance.

Life can be harsh. <- There is some honesty. It’s definitely my truth. Over the years, I’ve looked to my garden for tranquility. But it can be such a big undertaking, so overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be. Below you’ll find links to my posts filled with tips from my first two years from the Authors in Bloom hop, including new tips for this year, and details on my giveaway and the grand prize. I hope you find something that makes your gardening life easier, less harsh, and enjoyable.

Keep reading for my gardening tips, my giveaway, AND how to enter for your chance to win the fab GRAND PRIZE!

S.J.’s Tips for Starting Seeds Indoors!

I’ve started seeds before, but over the years I’ve gotten a bit more committed. 🙂 Here’s a look at a few of the things I’ve collected, heating pad, mini and larger seed trays, mini and larger lids for those trays, peat moss plugs, and adjustable lighting.

Before I get started, I spend time reading about my seeds. I take notes on the blooming or harvesting stats. After subtracting from the day I want them to bloom, I determine the day I start my seeds. Just this past week, I started several sunflower seeds. I’ll be starting several more over the next couple months. This year, I’m attempting to have sunflowers blooming in my garden all summer long.

There are several seeds that I don’t start indoors. Carrots, peas, and cucumbers sprout quickly. After I prepare my garden in the spring, I place the seeds directly into the ground.

To start seeds indoors you’ll need to control a few things.

  • Heat : Seeds need warmth to sprout. Most homes are warm enough for the seeds, but this time of year, our home is a little cooler. A seed heating pad will lift the temp by about ten degrees.
  • Dirt : Most soil is a bit too heavy and, well, dirty. Lol. Yes, I did call most soil dirty. Seeds need a clean environment, free of disease and no competition for the attention of the important stuff like moisture, heat, and light. Sterile starting soil is the way to go. Peat moss also creates a lovely environment for seeds. It holds onto moisture, but not too much. It’s light and won’t stop the delicate roots from growing.
  • Container : The container is another area with lots of options. You certainly could put the soil in any small container. I’ve found peat moss plugs that fit perfectly into a seed starter tray. I have the smaller trays you see in the picture above, since I’m only starting a few seeds at the moment. Depending on how much growth you get, you may need to re-pot your seedlings before transitioning them outdoors. Here’s an extra tip: When transplanting, pull tiny plants up by the leaf, not the stem. The stem is delicate at this stage and easily damaged.
  • Moisture : Your seeds need water, but not too much. Your soil starter should be wet, but not dripping the day you put your seeds in place. Each day there after, you’ll want to ensure the soil is moist and the air has humidity. If you have a tray with a plastic lid, be sure to set this on your tray to hold in the moisture. You can be creative here, lots of lids will do, as long as light can get through. If your container has holes in the bottom and you have it sitting on a tray of some kind, put some water, not a lot, in that bottom tray. The starter soil can suck up the water as needed through the hole in the bottom of the container. The last thing you want is the seeds to dry out! Dry seeds do not sprout. Each day, check on the water in the tray as well as the soil. Add water as needed.
  • Light : Seeds don’t need light before they sprout, but as soon as they do, they’ll need light. Get ready! To ensure you don’t have leggy, bendy stems, you’ll want to supplement sunlight. A simple sunny windowsill is not sufficient for young plants. Don’t make your tender plants bend to find the light. If you want straight plants, get that light directly overhead. Florescent lights are perfect for this task, even better if you can position that light a few inches from your plant. As your plants grow, you’ll need to raise the light. I actually have a lid for the larger tray you see in the pictures that will accommodate my young plants once they’ve outgrown the shorter lid. By raising the roof and raising the light, you’ll be directly the plants straight up.
  • Notes: It will be some time until you can tell what’s what. Be sure to document what seeds you have where. I have popsicle sticks ready to stick in as soon as the lids come off. Also, take notes on your process, based on your results, you can get ideas of what to change for next year and what to do the same.

  • Hardening : Once your seedlings are growing strong, and the risk of frost has past, it will be time to transition them to growing outside. To start, take your plants outside for a few hours each day, in a protected (not windy) area, and bring them back inside at night. If you have a cold frame, that would be a perfect place to harden your plants. Each day, lengthen the amount of time you leave them outside and then at the end of a 7-day period, you can plant them in their final spot in your yard.

Hope these tips help!

Extra Tips:

General Gardening Tips – Authors in Bloom 2017

General Gardening Tips – Authors in Bloom 2016

Be sure to subscribe to my >> New Release Newsletter << One subscriber wins a $5 gift card in every issue.

Here’s a look inside the newest release in my Assassins and Sweethearts Series:

Unexpected Destiny

Book Description:

Elizabeth Martin thought she already had her happily ever after, that is until her husband mysteriously disappeared. Aidan Clery is a skilled assassin for hire who wants nothing more than to find the love of his life. Fate throws Liz in his path and everything is perfect, except Aidan just won the contract on her life.

The truth surrounding Liz’s estranged husband takes the pair on a dangerous journey. Nothing in their lives will ever be the same. Destiny may be unexpected but it will be up to Aidan and Liz to discover the truth and claim their real happily ever after.


Aidan turned off the faucet and caught the reflection of those gorgeous brown eyes in the mirror.

“Oops. Wrong door,” said his girl as she turned around.

“I can share.” He could handle the surveillance later. This woman deserved his attention.

She stopped and turned around. “Okay then.” She took a step toward him. “You know what? I should have asked for confirmation earlier.” Her gaze was full of mischief.

“You’re right. You should have asked.” He took a hold of her hand and pulled her close. “I sure would like to see that tiny scrap of lace.” And just like that his night got infinitely better.

She stopped her forward movement when their chests were a mere inch apart. A nice rosy blush heated her cheeks. He kept hold of her hand while her other played with the lapel of his dark leather jacket. “I can’t believe I’m doing this.”

“You need to get back to your friends?”

“Yes, but…” She licked her bottom lip. “Maybe I could stay here for a few minutes.”

“At least a few.” He tapped the bottom of her chin. “How about you start by telling me your name?”

“Liz.” Her gaze met his and he wanted time to stop. Something about the lonely look in her eyes called to him to not let her get away. She shifted closer. “Who are you?”

He pushed his finger over her waistband, rubbing her hipbone. “I’m Aidan.” He squeezed the hand he still held. Her soft body relaxed against his.

“I should probably go. I need to get my friends home.”

“I don’t think you should go anywhere.” He brushed his nose against hers.

A delicious moan slipped from her lips. “I don’t want to leave but I need to make sure they get home safely.”

“It’s nice of you to look out for them.” Damn, she smelled good. It was lilacs or roses or something.

“I’d rather stay here with you.” She leaned in and their lips almost met. “My friends are always right. I should have gone out with them months ago.”

“Stay a few more minutes.” He caressed over her hips to her round ass. Hot tension filled his thoughts. Forget a few more minutes, he’d take all night and then some to explore this beautiful woman.

“More.” She scraped her teeth over her bottom lip.

A second later, the door opened. “Lizzy, we got to go. Emily isn’t feeling well.”

She dropped her head to his shoulder and he wrapped his arms around her.

“Oh, I’m so sorry, Lizzy.” The woman held the door open. “You’re right. He is cute. Bring him with you. Emily won’t mind.”

“She’ll be right out,” he said. Once the friend left the bathroom, he brushed her hair behind her shoulders and stroked her back.

“I feel like I’m cursed.”

“You and me both, sweetheart.” He didn’t let her go.

“Well.” She looked up at him from under her long, dark lashes. “It’s not what I had in mind but would you help me with my friends?” The soft tone of her voice had him imagining how she’d purr if he made her come. “I think I might be the only one sober and they can be a bit much to wrangle into a cab. They live north in Edgewater and then we could do something, maybe go back to my place.” She worried her poor bottom lip once more.

“I’d like that.” He squeezed her ass. “Sure. I’ll help, Lizzy.” He tugged on her hair. Then he’d help himself to more of her.


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S.J. Maylee’s International Giveaway:

I’m giving away ALL the ebooks currently published in my Assassins and Sweethearts Series to one lucky commenter. To enter, leave a comment below with your favorite gardening tip and then click my >> Rafflecopter << for more chances to win.

GRAND PRIZE: We are giving away a Kindle Fire or Nook (winner’s choice) along with a 2nd prize of $25 gift card! Only those visitors who visit EACH and EVERY stop are eligible for the grand prize. So, keep hopping and comment at every stop. 😀

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Click here to view the list of links to the authors in the hop….

Winners will be posted on both Dianne Venetta’s blog and the BloominThyme websites.

Giveaway ends April 27th at 11:59pm EST.

Remember to take the time to smell the roses.