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.


Evernight Publishing | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

BookStrand | Smashwords | iTunes

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.

Authors in Bloom Blog Hop with S.J. Maylee #gardeningtips #romance

Dianne Venetta_AIB Logo_2015Welcome to the Authors in Bloom Blog Hop!

Gardening is one of my favorite things. Bright cheery flowers simply make me happy. From every window in my house, there’s a lovely view of one of my many gardens. I could talk about this topic all day. 😀

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

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Here are six of my general gardening tips:

  1. Plant for all the seasons. I’m in Michigan and many of my favorite flowers bloom only certain times of the year, but I keep this in mind when planning my gardens. This way, there’s always something blooming. Some of my favorites in the spring include Creeping Phlox, Pansies, and Tulips.
  2. Feed the veggies and the flowers. We function best when we have all our vitamins and so do our friends in the garden. It makes such a difference. Follow the directions on the product of your choice and keep feeding throughout the season as directed. You’ll definitely lengthen your time with those pretties.
  3. Prune. Don’t forget to cut back spent blooms. Not only does it keep your flowers looking fresh, but it gives space to the youngins to get the sun, water, and food they need.
  4. Plant a variety of flowers. Different size, shape, and color can add variety to your beds.
  5. Add pops of color to your deck and or porch with annual flowers. I’ve got my pots down to a method: something tall, something mid-height, and something to hang low. 🙂 If you can find different flowers of the same color, it can really look pretty in the pots.
  6. If you have a vegetable garden, I highly recommend a little fence to keep the critters out. I also recommend using a garden fabric. The soil around your vegetables will be highly fertile for pesky weeds. The weed barrier may be time consuming to lay down, BUT it will save you countless hours of weeding throughout the summer.

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My next release is book 1.5 in my Assassins and Sweethearts Series, Desire Protected AND it’s going to be a FREE read. 😀 I’m quite excited about this one. I’m in LOVE with my Assassins. Their stories are full of suspense and passion. I dare you to come fall in love with them too. ❤

DesireUnexpected-evernightpublishing-jayAheer2015-FinalImageBook 1 Description: 

Life is passing Nadia Duskin by from her position in the mailroom. It only fulfills two necessities, keeping the repo man away and keeping her up to date on her sexy CEO.


Ethan Wright is prepared to frighten and fire the nosey girl who sorts his company’s mail. After engaging with her at one of his favorite places in the world, he digs deeper.


Together, they find the kind of pleasure that could keep them satisfied for a lifetime. Her love may be the key to putting both of their lives back on track, but to what end? When a man he’s been contracted to kill threatens Nadia’s life, he forces her to face reality. Either they’ll delve deeper into the desires neither expected or they may die trying.


Be Warned: spanking, light BDSM, public exhibition

Excerpt from book 1, Desire Unexpected:

“It reminded me of you.” He shook his head. “It’s just from the museum gift shop. I wanted to give you something for putting up with me. I hope you like it.”

“Thank you.” She took the little box and sat on her battered sofa. “Please, take a seat.”

He sat next to her, but kept to the edge, confirming there was nothing relaxed about this visit.

After slipping the green ribbon from the box, she pulled off the lid and pushed back the tissue paper, revealing the item she’d so long desired. Her heart raced and she scooted closer to him. He had no idea what he’d done. Her secret crush giving her the piece of jewelry she’d long desired was incredibly perfect. Neither were really her style and she wanted them all the same. She looked at him with heavy tears stinging her eyes. Brushing the box from her lap, she slipped the bracelet onto her wrist.

“Thank you.”

“You’re welcome. I’ve enjoyed our time together.” He brushed away the tear that had rolled down her cheek and cupped her chin.

“Don’t say that like it’s over.” She took a hold of his wrist and pulled it into her lap. “It’s not, right?” Panic raced over her. If he wanted to leave, she wouldn’t stop him, but her whole body hurt with wanting him to stay.

“I’m no good for you, Nadia.” He took hold of her hands. “You deserve a nice man with an uncomplicated life. I can’t give you what you need.”

“That’s not true.” She put her fingers to his lips. “Don’t.”

He took a hold of her shirt, not pulling her closer, just squeezing the fabric in his fist.

“I don’t know what’s going on with you.” She brought her touch back to his hands, trying to ease the pressure. “I just know the only time I feel alive is when I’m with you. You’re on my mind constantly.” She lowered her gaze, losing her courage by the second. “There’s something between us and I want to explore it. I want to know what drives you insane with need. Don’t you want me too?”

“Shit, Nadia, I haven’t stopped thinking about you since the first day at the windows.” He let her go and pulled out of her reach to slip around to the other side of the couch with his back to her. “I want things from you that I’m certain would frighten you.”

“I doubt that.” Knowing she had to make her move now or risk losing him forever, she pulled her shirt over her head and tugged off her sweatpants, tossing them both on the chair. “Do you remember the questions I asked about you before we met?”

“You’re playing with fire.”

“No, I’m not into fire play, but I have a feeling you know what I need.”

“What …” He turned, his gaze swept over her body and he brushed his hand over his mouth. “You take my breath away.” He stepped toward her, adjusting the bulge in his pants. “You think you want to play?”

“I do.” She sucked on her lip, wishing she’d worn her one set of matching bra and panties.

“Fuck, I want this” He brushed her skin ever so slightly up her arms, across her chest, and down between her breasts. “I’ve had dreams about this moment.” He raised her chin, forcing her to look at him. He dragged his fingers through her hair and tugged the length of it back. “I want you at my mercy. Do you have any idea what it’s like to give someone like me control?”

“Yes, sir.” She arched her back, revealing her neck. He kept pulling and tingles of pain danced along her scalp. “Please.”

“Are you already asking for mercy?” He tugged her hair again “I don’t think you know what you’re starting.”

“I don’t want you to stop. I want more, sir.” Her breasts pushed against his chest and her grip on his arms tightened. “I want to know.”

Where you can find DESIRE UNEXPECTED:

Evernight Publishing | Amazon US CA UK

Barnes & Noble | All Romance eBooks | BookStrand | Smashwords

S.J. Maylee’s Giveaway:  I’m giving away one of my ebooks and one of my swag packs full of postcards, book charms, Assassins and Sweethearts pin, and a zipper pull.  To enter, leave a comment below about something you love about Spring Time and then click into my >> Rafflecopter << for more chances to win.

Be sure to sign up for my >> New Release Newsletter <<. You don’t want to miss the release of Assassins and Sweethearts 1.5, the FREE read. Also, one subscriber wins a $5 gift card in every issue.

book 1 and 1 5 coming soonGRAND 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 ereader and gift card. So, keep hopping. 😀

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to view this Linky list and visit other stops in the hop.

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

Tour ends April 16th at 11:59pm EST.