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Welcome to the 6h Annual Authors in Bloom Blog Hop where you’ll gather a TON of gardening tips and new recipes! What could possibly be better?

Dianne Venetta_AIB Logo_2015

Nothing. Not if you’re a gardener, anyway!

Now for my tip. Sulfur is best known for its ability to control insects and fungal diseases, but it may offer other benefits in the garden, as well. Not only is it necessary to produce enzymes, vitamins and amino acids, it reduces the soil pH of alkaline soil, albeit very slowly. It also promotes plant protein, and increases the nutritional content of the pepper.

green-pepper-beautiesNow for my tip: many gardeners swear by sulfur to increase pepper production and fruit quality. For a fun way to add sulfur to your soil, add a couple of match sticks to the planting hole instead of sulfur powder (available at your local garden center).

Match Sticks and Sulfur

I stuck a few matches around my pepper transplants and can’t wait to see the results.

Match sticks pepperSome gardeners bury a bunch of matchsticks in a hole, cover with an inch of soil, then put in their pepper transplant. Try both and compare! Epsom salts, which contain both sulfur and magnesium, can also be used as a fertilizer by diluting the salt at a rate of 2 tablespoons per gallon. Spray it on the leaves when the pepper plants first flower and develop fruit.

For my prize, I’m offering a two-tiered microgreens sprouting tray. Perfect for your kitchen and totally healthy for your body, this giveaway is all about your health. Microgreens are currently the rage at your favorite farm-to-table restaurant and for good reason. They pack a powerful punch of antioxidants.

Two-tiered Seed Sprouter

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You are also eligible to win the grand prize ereader (value $200). To win the grand prize, you MUST visit each and every author/blogger on the hop. Some authors might offer more than one entry to win, ie. a “follow” on Twitter or a “tweet,” maybe even a visit to their Facebook or Pinterest page, however only one entry is required to enter. Don’t want to enter a particular giveaway?

Nook

No worries. Simply enter grand prize giveaway here, then leave a comment in the author’s comment section of their Authors in Bloom post and you’ll remain eligible to win. Each site will post the links of participating authors, but please feel free to reference my site to find the author link list at any point in time.

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REMEMBER: If you choose not to enter a particular giveaway, please at least LEAVE A COMMENT on their giveaway/post. Only those visitors who visit EACH and EVERY stop are eligible for the grand prize ereader and gift card. Eligibility will be verified by hop’s end. Winners will be posted on here and our landing page, BloominThyme.com.

“Giveaway ends April 5th at 11:59 PM EST. Open to Legal Residents (18 years of age or older) of the US only. Prizes from BestForTheKids.com cannot be shipped to PO Boxes. Winner will be selected by Rafflecotper.com and be notified by email. Winner will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected. Please note that Dianne Venetta, host of the Authors in Bloom Blog Hop, is not responsible for sponsors that do not fulfill their prizes. I have represented each sponsor with the expectation they will fulfill their prize and in a timely manner. I will contact the sponsor regarding your prize(s). The sponsors, in most cases, are shipping their items to you directly. I will make every effort to assist you in obtaining your prize. If there is an issue with a sponsor, please notify the blog you won a prize from within 30 days for assistance, after that we may be unable to assist you. The product provided for the review was free of charge from the company. The product offered for the giveaway is free of charge, no purchase necessary. My opinions are my own and were not influenced by any form of compensation. Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are in no way associated with this giveaway. By providing your information in this form, you are providing your information to me and me alone. I do not share or sell information and will use any information only for the purpose of contacting the winner.” VOID where prohibited by law.

Now get hopping, you have a bunch more chances to win!

 

Not only am I a “fool for books” but I’m a fool for romance and today, I’m giving away copies of the romance novel that started it all for me. Jennifer’s Garden is book #1 in the Gables Trilogy and an endearing story about a woman who is caught between her mother’s dying wish and taking the risk of a lifetime with Jackson Montgomery.

Jennifer's Garden (The Gables Series) by Dianne Venetta

He’s the man hired to complete the landscaping for her new home—the venue for her upcoming wedding. Jackson’s everything she never wanted in a man, but as the job progresses, his lure pulls strong. It’s an attraction she cannot deny.

And one that puts her career on the line. This is one story that will have you cheering for love to conquer fear.

“IndieReader.com declares it a pretty great read…a smoldering romance filled with tension, twists and blooms perfectly.” — Happy Ever After, USA Today books

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Next, mark your calendar for my 5th Annual Authors in Bloom Blog Hop. The ten day extravaganza starts April 7th and runs through the 16th where almost 50 authors and bloggers offer fabulous gardening tips and fresh recipes, just in time for spring! Plus, each site will host a giveaway in addition to the grand prize erader and $25 gift card. Trust me, you won’t want to miss this giveaway hop…

Dianne Venetta_AIB Logo_2015

Now, remember…

Excited to be taking part in the Read-A-Romance month this year, courtesy of my Bloomin’ Warrior, Lorelei of Lorelei’s Lit Lair! This year, the program calls for sharing the joy of romance. For me, the joy is endless. Not only in my writing, but in my life.

I’ve found that love tends to sneak up on you in the dark of night and shout: hey, it’s me! (Better than a dark alley, right?) It finds the most unexpected of venues and brings together the most improbable of mates. Ask my heroine, Lisa Richardson, in NOT WITHOUT YOU. How many women find their soul mate on the top of a mountain in Colorado?

Probably few. Very few. Now me, I happened to find mine at the base of said mountain. Yep, picked my dream hubby up in a resort village bar, but I can blame the entire event on a match-making friend (God bless her) because I can tell you—I was not even remotely looking at the time! *sigh*

That’s what I mean about sneaking right up on you. But it wasn’t love at first sight. (Ahhh…the plot thickens.) Briefly married early on in my life, I had grown somewhat skeptical of finding the perfect mate. Did that creature even exist? Many of my contemporaries were looking for men equally or more successful than themselves, which these days, can limit your pickings rather quickly. Women have become very successful and independent, you know. Why, it can be downright difficult to find an equally and compelling man under these circumstances! (Hence, the mountain.)

But no matter how difficult the search, we do strive. HEA is what dreams are made of. It’s the fuel for our hearts, the pull to our soul. Now granted handsome, smart and successful didn’t work so well for me the first time but I didn’t want to give up. Like everyone else, I wanted it all. I had kids on my horizon (already named my daughter!) and I wanted to be whisked away by tall, dark and handsome, darn it.

Which is why I read romance. Stories of love, journeys of persistence against the odds and the promise of a lifelong devotion filled me with hope. It reminded me that a man was out there waiting for me, looking for me. He existed. And he could be anywhere—across the backyard fence, one aisle over at the grocery store, or waiting for me at the top of a mountain. All I had to do was believe in him and carry on. With romance novel in hand, of course.

Mandys-peach-blossom-300x199

Yes, reading romance is a joyful escape. Even once you’ve found Mr. Right, delving into the lives of others and vicariously experiencing their first kiss, first secrets, first love reminds you of your own. It’s a guilty pleasure, a stress-relieving escape. It exercises your heart muscle and reminds you how wonderful life can be. Whatever you do, don’t put down that novel! Your spirit depends on it. *smiles*

Ask Lorelei–she discovered romance novels and it changed her life. Read how here.

Recommendations: Some of my favorite romance authors include the giants, Nora Roberts and Susan Elizabeth Phillips, but I’ve also found some new authors to enjoy like Christy Hayes, Tracy Solheim and Sharla Lovelace.

Questions for the author:

1 – Tell us about a moment in your life when you experienced sheer joy.

This might sound odd, but I experience sheer joy when fishing with saltwater reel. There’s nothing like catching the “big” one that fires adrenaline through your limbs and joy through your heart. It’s exciting! It’s mysterious. You don’t know what you’ve snagged, but you know you’ve caught something and it’s time to reel it in. Focused, you struggle to bring it in, worried you might lose it. It’s you against the fish. It’s intense, exhilarating! And when you finally haul that bad boy onto the boat, the gratification streaming through you is amazing. It’s a win!

 DV fishing

Then, you release the fish back into the ocean and try again. Could be hours before you get another bite, could be minutes. One never knows and that’s half the thrill!

2 – Tell us about a place that brings you joy, or is attached to a memory of joy.

The mountains. Whether it’s North Carolina, Tennessee, Colorado or Wyoming, I love being in and around the mountains. It smells different, feels different. It makes me want to be outside and in the thick of it. Guess that makes me a nature girl, but I can honestly say, I love the wild outdoors.

Aspen river

3 – Tell us about a sound that brings you joy.

Spanish Flamenco music brings me joy. It unwinds my mind, unleashes my spirit and allows my heart to fly. The rhythmic sounds, the pulsating drums…images of dancers and abandon take over and I’m gone. Done. If you need me, I’ll be in my happy place!

4 – What recent book have you read that brought you joy. Why?

Wow. That’s a tough one. I read a lot and across genres, fiction and non-fiction, there are so many that fit this question. For fiction, I’d choose Gone With The Wind due to its sheer volume of experience, its slate of characters and depth of history. Scarlett O’Hara isn’t a heroine most authors would write due to her obnoxious personality, yet she carries the novel through sheer determination and willpower. You gotta like that in a gal!

5 – And for fun, the joy of choice ;o) ~ Pick your Chris!

Chris Pratt ~ the primary reason I enjoyed the latest Jurassic Park movie!

Drawing:

Not Without You (Silver Creek Series) by Dianne Venetta

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Bio:

Dianne lives in Central Florida with her husband, two children and part-time Yellow Lab–Cody-body! When not whacking away at her keyboard crafting her next novel you’ll find her in their organic garden chasing grasshoppers and plucking hornworms all while drawing wild analogies between kids and plants and men. Definitely men.

Author Dianne Venetta

A girl’s gotta have fun, right?

When she’s not knee-deep in dirt or romance, Dianne contributes garden advice for various websites and volunteers in school gardens (a crazy existence to be sure). But at the end of the day, if she can inspire someone to stop and smell the roses–or rosemary!—kiss their child and spouse good-night, be kind to a neighbor and Mother Earth, then she’s done all right.