Sunday, October 19, 2014

Weekly Winners, NJRW Conference, and Elizabeth Boyle

I was a winner for attending the NJRW "Put Your Heart In A Conference" at this link.

I am also a winner with my interview with Elizabeth Boyle at this link.  

We have winners at SOS Aloha ...

From my travel blog, Aloha On My Mind, celebrating the Navy's 239th birthday and the WRW Luncheon
- Diane wins a book choice from my convention stash.

- Angela wins a print copy from me.


- Joe's Daughter wins a book choice from my convention stash.


Michele Gorman's PERFECT GIRL
- Kim H. wins a book choice from my convention stash.


Stacy Finz's GOING HOME
- Girlygirlhosier52 wins a digital copy from Stacy.

- BN100 wins a book choice from my convention stash.

Regency Masquerades Box Set
- Erin wins digital books from the authors.

Christi Caldwell's FOR THE LOVE OF THE DUKE
- Betty Hamilton wins a digital copy from Christi.

Heather Ashby's FORGET ME NOT
- Shannon wins a copy from Heather.


Winners, please claim your prizes by sending your mailing address to


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Aloha to Vanessa Riley and SWEPT AWAY - Book Review and Giveaway


Vanessa Riley is celebrating the release of SWEPT AWAY ...

Charlotte Downing, the Duchess of Charming, wants what she wants. Today, it's a fine pair of lacy slippers crafted by the renowned Ella's Establishment. To be picture perfect for her presentation to the queen, Charlotte will survive crashed ceilings and falling bricks. Yet, has she met her match in the conservative merchant, whose autumn-colored eyes make her pulse race, especially when he says no?

Caught between the glittering world of the ton and the respectable profession of selling shoes, Edwin Cinder can't understand the lady's persistence or the fire lighting her blue eyes when she's challenged. With his lack of pedigree, there's no chance for this common God-fearing man to win her hand, but he'll risk all to save the duchess from the ravages of a London gale.

Swept Away is a Regency retelling of Cinderella with a twist.

A light wind swept over the corn, and all nature laughed in the sunshine. - Anne Bronte

It is a strong wind that inspires Edwin Cinder to react to a creaking sign hanging over Charlotte Downing, the Duchess of Charming.  She mistakes him for an aristocratic son when he is, in fact, a shoe merchant whose mother married an earl.  In turn, he mistakes her as the companion.   Edwin and Charlotte meet again at the Earl's soiree where they realize the status of the other.   Although they walk away, fate brings them back together.

Riley delivers an innovative mashup of the Cinderella story.   The Regency version of this fairy tale is sprinkled with purpose - the hero and heroine seek to make a difference in their respective societies.   I commend Riley for adding faith into the story that is a natural progression of the plot.  I also appreciate that the characters are not perfect, giving them room to emotionally grow in SWEPT AWAY.    

Recommended reading for fans of lighthearted Regency romance.

I received a print copy from the author for an honest review.

I am giving away a print copy of SWEPT AWAY to one randomly selected commenter.  To enter the giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about your favorite fairy tale.

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, October 18, 10 pm in Baltimore.  

3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, October 19.


Kim in Baltimore 
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Learn more about Vanessa and her books at

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Aloha to Jill Marie Landis and TOO HOT FOUR HULA - Book Review and Giveaway

I contribute a weekly column to USA Today's HEA Blog called State of Romance.  This week, we visit New Jersey, the Garden State, at this link

This weekend I am hobnobbing with the New Jersey Romance Writers (NJRW) Put Your Heart In A Book (PYHIAB) Conference (link).    The luncheon speaker is Stella Cameron.   She is a frequent visitor to the island of Kauai.  In fact, I believe she has met the Hula Maidens from the Tiki Goddess Mystery series .... TOO HOT FOUR HULA is Book 4 in this "Ohana" series.

A marauding monkey, a mysterious murder, middle-aged hula maidens, and mugs full of Mai Tai's. Just another day in Tiki Goddess Paradise . . .

Crime-solving sleuth Em Johnson and her Uncle Louie, owner of the famous Tiki Goddess Bar on Kauai, head for the Cocktail Shake Off Competition in Honolulu. What is supposed to be a fun trip to a mixologist contest turns weird when Louie's legendary "Booze Bible" is stolen, and Em's ex-husband winds up dead--with Em the number-one suspect. Sexy Kauai detective and part-time fire dancer Roland Sharpe rushes to Em's side along with the unpredictable Hula Maidens, whose detective skills are even more haphazard than their dance routine at the island tiki bars. Toss in an escaped monkey and a killer who wants to make this the Last Call for someone's honky-tonk tiki-tossing night out, and it's going to be another wild escapade for Em and her Hula Maidens.

A seven-time Romance Writers of America finalist for the RITA Award, Jill Marie Landis also now writes The Tiki Goddess Mysteries (set on the island of Kauai, Hawaii, where she lives with her husband, actor Steve Landis.) Her books are not only known for their intense emotion, but for characters you'll remember long after you turn the last page. Visit her world of tiki totems, hula maidens and tropical fun at

Hula dancers at the Hane'aki Heiau

Hula is the language of the heart, therefore the heartbeat of the Hawaiian people. - King Kalakaua

The gang from the Tiki Goddess - Uncle Louis, his niece Em, and the Hula Maidens - leave the comfort of Kauai for the Cocktail Shake Off on Waikiki Beach, Oahu.  It may be a quick 40 minute flight to Honolulu, but the Hilton Hawaiian Village is a world away as Oahu's premier tourist mecca. The gang are out of their league among the competitive bartenders, beauty product conventioneers, and fans of the Hula Maidens (from their ill fated reality show).  Uncle Louis' effort to win the title is hindered by the theft of his famous Booze Bible, the Maidens' impromptu hula shows, and Em's unexpected lunch date with her ex husband.

Chaos erupts when the Maidens search Oahu's questionable neighborhoods for the Booze Bible, the Shriners arrive at the hotel, and Em is accused of murdering her ex husband.  Landis delivers the Aloha spirit in this cozy mystery with Hawaii's beauty as the backdrop.   The Maidens stand out in TOO HOT FOUR HULA with their quick thinking at every challenge that comes their way.  Their antics at the Aloha Stadium Flea Market is pure pleasure.  The icing on top is Em's reward for watching out for Uncle Louis and the Hula Maidens - no spoilers here!

Recommended read for fans of cozy mysteries, laugh-out-loud adventure, and Hawaiian culture.  TOO HOT FOUR HULA is outrageously funny, just as Jill Marie Landis intended.   

I purchased a copy of TOO HOT FOUR HULA.

Souvenirs from Aloha Stadium Flea Market

I am giving away a print copy of TOO HOT FOUR HULA to one randomly selected commenter.  To enter the giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about flea markets - do you have one in your area?  If so, what do you like to buy from it?   The Aloha Stadium Flea Market is stocked with everything possible in Aloha print.  But I always looked for the bakers from Molokai selling sweet bread.

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, October 25, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, October 26.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Aloha to Heather Ashby and First Drafts (part 2)


KINDLE PAPERWHITE GIVEAWAY: There’s still time - LIKE Heather Ashby’s Author Facebook page (link) by midnight October 21 for a chance to win a Kindle Paperwhite.

Welcome back for Part 2 of writing first drafts. If you remember from last week - link - I compared first drafts to scooping sand into a sandbox. I can make sand castles later, but first I need to gather the sand. Here are a few tips I’ve learned that help me keep my hands moving and the word count rising as I pile sand into my sandbox – and complete my first draft as quickly as possible.

I set in Bold Face Red any word or phrase where I’m tempted to check for spelling, if I already used it in the story, or if further research is required. I am forbidden to check it while writing. That could lead me down twisted, time-suck paths such as other chapters, the Internet, email, and Facebook. (See # 5)

I know to use the following words sparingly in a final copy, because they are frowned upon in the writing industry: just, very, that, really, felt, thought, up, down, adverbs and too many adjectives. (Instead of using adverbs and too many adjectives, use stronger verbs and nouns.) HOWEVER, in my first draft, I don’t worry about any of these words. I just write. I just let it flow. Later I will do a find/search for just, very, that, felt, thought, really, up, and down and decide if they are absolutely necessary or can be deleted. I check the adjectives and adverbs in subsequent drafts and see if I can’t find stronger nouns and verbs.

I don’t worry about my personal Overused Words. Mine are: eyes, breath, smile, laugh, oh, just, and a whole slew of cuss words. (I write about sailors.) I spend several days at the end doing a find/search for these words and change/switch them out, so that smile, laugh, grin, chuckle, a smile lit her face, humor glinted in his eyes, etc. are spaced out and used appropriately. (I keep a list to work from so I can cross them off as I use them.) I’d rather spend a day tweaking these words than lose my train of creative thought while drafting. The Millennium Phrase Book by Rebecca Andrews is an invaluable resource for word substitutes. She gives you over 3,500 samples to inspire you to write your own. (The lastest version is for all fiction genres, not just romance.) 

I do the same for Viscerals. I know exactly where I need to have a character experience a physical reaction to something (fear, joy, shock, surprise, lust, etc.) But if that reaction doesn’t flow from my fingertips, I type VISCERAL and keep going. When I’m done the draft, I do a find/search for the word, VISCERAL and replace it with the right words. Andrews book is also an excellent source for visceral reactions. The Emotion Thesaurus – A Guide to Character Expression by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi is another outstanding resource. 

I set my phone’s timer for a certain number of writing hours every day and start typing. If I take a break for anything besides writing (see #2), I have to hit PAUSE. I can check my email or do research—or eat lunch or go to work or take a nap—but I still have to write for a set number of hours that day. And the time doesn’t count until I hit RESUME. This keeps me focused on the prize—finishing the book. 

The bottom line? Understand that the first draft is going to be re-worked many times over after you finish it. Think of your WIP as an oil painting. An artist lays in a sketch of the composition first, like a rough draft. Once she has the total picture, she goes back and layers in colors and depth. She works it and re-works it until she has a masterpiece. Just like I lay in detailed descriptions and other ways of saying my overused words. But for a rough draft? As I always tell my writing students: “Rough drafts are like Outback. No rules; just write.”

Thanks for inviting me, Kim. I have a question for your readers: Please let me know what you learned in these two lessons or any writing tips you have for completing first drafts quickly. One lucky commenter will win a copy of FORGET ME NOT, Book #2 in Love in the Fleet.


Heather Ashby is a Navy veteran who taught school and raised a family while accompanying her Navy husband around the United States, Japan, and the Middle East. A retired teacher, she is now an Amber House Books author of the military romance series, “Love in the Fleet.” Her debut novel, Forgive and Forget, was voted “Best of 2013” Romantic Suspense by Suspense Magazine. Forget Me Not, was a Golden Heart® Finalist and 2014 Military Writers Society of America Winner for military romance. Never Forget released September 9, 2014. In gratitude for her Army son’s safe return from Afghanistan and Iraq, Heather donates half her royalties to Fisher House Foundation in support of wounded warriors and their families. Go to for more information.

NEVER FORGET – Book #3 in “Love in the Fleet”

With 7.5 tons of World Trade Center steel melted into her bow, what if there are more souls aboard the USS New York than the sailors and Marines stationed there? And what if those souls can help the troops defeat al-Qaeda this time?

When Gwyn Pritchard reports aboard the USS New York, she’s the only person who sees 9/11 spirits roaming the decks. As the sole survivor of an IED blast, Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant Adam Connor is wrestling with his own haunted past, but when he learns Gwyn is seeing ghosts aboard their ship, he becomes her confidant . . . and her lover.

Passions rise to fever pitch when the New York rushes to liberate hostages in North Africa. Can the spirits provide the right intelligence for the Marines to save the prisoners? Can Gwyn help the ghosts move on to the light? And can Adam and Gwyn find the love they’ve searched the world over for?
Twitter: @HAshbyAuthor (link)
Facebook: Heather Ashby Author (link)
Forgive and Forget link
Forget Me Not link
Never Forget link

Mahalo, Heather, for your advice to beginning writers!   To enter Heather's giveaway of FORGET ME NOT, Book 2 of the Love in the Fleet series:

1.  Leave a comment - Please let me know what you learned in these two lessons or any writing tips you have for completing first drafts quickly.

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, October 18, 10 pm in Baltimore.  

3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, October 19.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Aloha to Christi Caldwell and FOR THE LOVE OF THE DUKE

Christi Caldwell is celebrating the release of FOR THE LOVE OF THE DUKE:

After the tragic death of his wife, Jasper, the 8th Duke of Bainbridge buried himself away in the dark cold walls of his home, Castle Blackwood. When he’s coaxed out of his self-imposed exile to attend the amusements of the Frost Fair, his life is irrevocably changed by a fateful meeting with Lady Katherine Adamson.

With her tight brown ringlets and silly white-ruffled gowns, Lady Katherine Adamson has found her dance card empty for two Seasons. After her father’s passing, Katherine learned the unreliability of men, and is determined to depend on no one, except herself. Until she meets Jasper…

In a desperate bid to avoid a match arranged by her family, Katherine makes the Duke of Bainbridge a shocking proposition—one that he accepts.

​Only, as Katherine begins to love Jasper, she finds the arrangement agreed upon is not enough. And Jasper is left to decide if protecting his heart is more important than fighting for Katherine’s love.

USA Today Bestselling author, Christi Caldwell blames Judith McNaught's "Whitney, My Love," for luring her into the world of historical romance. While sitting in her graduate school apartment at the University of Connecticut, Christi decided to set aside her notes and try her hand at writing romance. She believes the most perfect heroes and heroines have imperfections and she rather enjoys tormenting them before crafting a well-deserved happily ever after!

Christi makes her home in Southern Connecticut where she spends her time writing, chasing around her feisty six-year old son and caring for her twin princesses in training!

Christi loves to hear from readers. To learn more about what she is working on, you can find her on Facebook at Christi Caldwell Author, Twitter @ChristiCaldwell, or visit her website

Christi is giving away a digital copy of FOR THE LOVE OF THE DUKE to one randomly selected commenter.  To enter the giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about "Frost Fair" - are you planning on attending any holiday fairs?

My church is sponsoring a Fall Fest with a craft sale, bake sale, homemade soups, and even a White Elephant sale.

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, October 18, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, October 19.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Christi offers an excerpt from FOR THE LOVE OF THE DUKE:

He settled his large, hand over hers.

Katherine jumped.

“I suggest unless you merely want to trade death by drowning for death by the wheels of a carriage, that you release the handle, madam.”

His flat, emotionless tone conveyed boredom. Why, he might as well have been commenting on the weather or offering her tea.

Katherine snatched her hand back, feeling burned by his touch. “You are a m-monster,” she repeated.

He tugged free his wet gloves and beat them against one another. Drops of water sprayed the carriage walls. “Your charge grows unoriginal and tedious, madam.”

And in that moment it occurred to Katherine just how ungrateful she must seem. The towering stranger might be a foul-tempered fiend, but he’d saved her. Her lips twisted. Whether he’d wanted to or not.

“Forgive me, I’ve not yet thanked you.” She took a breath. “So thank you. For saving me. From drowning,” she finished lamely.

His shoulder lifted in a slight shrug. “I’d hardly ruin the amusements of the day by watching you drown beneath the surface of the Thames.”

She expected she should feel outraged, shocked, appalled by those callously delivered words…and yet, something in his tone gave her pause. It was as though he sought to elicit an outraged response from her. Instead of outrage, Katherine was filled with her first stirrings of intrigue, wondering what had happened to turn his black heart so vile.

Katherine did not rise to his clear attempt at bating her. “My name is Lady Katherine Adamson.” Pause. “I imagine I should know the name of my rescuer.”

He said nothing for a while, and Katherine suspected he had no intention of answering her. She sighed and reached for the curtained window.

“Jasper Waincourt, 8th Duke of Bainbridge.”

Her eyes widened. “You are a duke,” she blurted.

He arched a single, frosty black brow at her. “You’d be wise not to make designs upon my title, madam. I’d not wed you if you were the last creature in the kingdom.”

She blinked. Oh, the dastard. Katherine jabbed a finger at him. “And you, well I wouldn’t wed you if you were the last creature in the world, and the King decreed it to spare my life.”

His lips twitched. But then the firm line was back in place, so that she suspected she’d imagined the slight expression of mirth. “It is good we are of like opinions, then, madam. We are here,” he said.

She angled her head. And then the carriage rocked to a halt.

The sudden, unexpectedness of the stop, propelled Katherine forward, and she landed in an ignominious heap atop the duke’s chest.

It was as though she’d slammed into a stone wall. All the breath left her. She looked up at him through her lids…

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Aloha to Kimberly Kincaid and STIRRING UP TROUBLE

Kimberly Kincaid is stirring up exciting for her new release, STIRRING UP TROUBLE, Book 3 in her Pine Mountain series ...

Sloane Russo's turned a decade of crazy jobs and whimsical travel into a career writing steamy novels set in exotic places. Trouble is, Sloane's flat broke now--and she can't channel sun-drenched beaches in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The only fast cash in town comes with some seriously distracting temptation: Gavin Carmichael, hot, handsome and oh-so-hard-headed.

Gavin isn't the impulsive Don Juan of Sloane's novels. He's raising his thirteen-year-old half-sister, and he's pretty sure he's supposed to act like he's never heard of fun. Sloane is way too sexy and irresponsible to be his idea of a good tutor for Bree, but the unpredictable anti-nanny may be irresistible as well. . .

Follow Tour 
Goodreads link
Amazon: link
B&N: link
iTunes: link

Kimberly Kincaid writes contemporary romance that splits the difference between sexy and sweet. When she's not sitting cross-legged in an ancient desk chair known as "The Pleather Bomber", she can be found practicing obscene amounts of yoga, whipping up anything from enchiladas to √©clairs in her kitchen, or curled up with her nose in a book. Kimberly is a 2011 RWA Golden Heart® finalist who lives (and writes!) by the mantra that food is love.

Her digital Line series is all about the hot cops and sexy chefs of Brentsville, New York. She is also the author of the Pine Mountain series, which follows small town singles as they find big-time love. Kimberly resides in Virginia with her wildly patient husband and their three daughters.
Facebook: link
Twitter: link
Goodreads: link

Aloha to REGENCY MASQUERADES - Box set with Brenda Hiatt, Lynn Kerstan, Allison Lane, Gail Eastwood, Alicia Rasley, and Elena Greene

Regency author Elena Greene joins us today to chat about REGENCY MASQUERADES - a box set of six Traditional Regency romance novels of secrets and disguises ...

When Kim was kind enough to agree to host us, she asked us how groups of authors come together for projects like this. We can’t answer for other groups (though many of them probably came together in a similar way) but we’ll be more than happy to share our journey. It’s all about the community of romance writers.

Alicia was the one who first conceived the idea of an ebook bundle of reissued traditional Regencies, the goal being to attract new readers and spread the word about all of our individual reissues as well as our new stories. She sent out a request for interested parties on the Regency Loop, a long-standing online community of Regency romance authors where we share research and writing news. One by one, the rest of us responded. Although some of us are good friends, some of us had only met before at writers’ conferences or online communities such as the Regency Loop or the Beau Monde, Romance Writers of America’s Regency special interest chapter. Yet even from the beginning, we trusted one another enough to join Alicia in this venture.

We wanted to have some kind of a theme for the set and soon realized that we’d all written stories where the plot involved either the hero or heroine (sometimes both) being in disguise. We all love how a disguise both conceals and reveals character’s issues and desires, the drama that occurs when the masks are removed, and the final message of being loved for who you really are.

So Regency Masquerades was born. We exchanged flurries of emails, making plans for formatting, for cover art (done by the talented Tara at Fantasia Frog Designs (link) and for promotion. We have a diverse set of skills and levels of experience, and eventually everyone found a role to play in making the project come together.

We’re just one example of the strength of the romance writing community. We’ve always always shared knowledge of the research and craft of writing. Now that we can self publish our backlists, it’s a natural way to help one another in the belief that “a rising tide lifts all boats”. Rather than see ourselves in competition, we know that romance readers are so eager for good books that we can better please them by working together.

And so this week, we launched Regency Masquerades and we’re delighted to see that it’s hitting the top of the Amazon Kindle historical romance and other lists.

Readers can buy Regency Masquerades at Amazon (link), Barnes & Noble (link), iBooks (link), and Kobo Books (link). Learn more about the set at our Facebook page,

And here are our author websites and Facebook pages.

Brenda Hiatt ~, and

Lynn Kerstan ~ and

Allison Lane ~ and

Gail Eastwood ~,, and

Alicia Rasley ~, Facebook link, and

Elena Greene ~,,

Thank you for hosting us!

I am giving away a digital copies of REGENCY MASQUERADES:

Six beloved bestselling and award-winning Regency authors bring you six full-length novels of disguise, deception and secret identities. From sweet to subtly sensual, these traditional Regency Romances demonstrate that true love can see through even the most elaborate mask!

This special, limited-edition set includes:

Daring Deception, by NYT and USA Today bestselling author Brenda Hiatt

When her brother promises her in marriage to pay a gaming debt, Miss Chesterton dons a disguise to prove Lord Seabrooke a fortune hunter. But even as she gathers evidence, she finds herself losing her heart to the handsome Earl.

Lucy in Disguise, by RITA® Award-winning author Lynn Kerstan

A charming aristocrat in trouble is rescued by a young woman disguised as a Lancashire Witch. Love comes swiftly, but she’ll only agree to wed if they protect her friend, a fearful heiress, from a greedy and dangerous family.

The Earl’s Revenge, by award-winning author Allison Lane

A battle of wits unmasks the secret lives of the Earl of Bridgeport and his former fiancée Elaine Thompson. Only love might prevent ruination.

The Lady from Spain, by award-winning author Gail Eastwood

A young woman posing as a Spanish widow returns to England after Napoleon’s war, set on a dangerous quest. Can the handsome lord who must unmask her also turn her heart toward love?

Gwen’s Ghost, by RITA® Award-winning authors Alicia Rasley and Lynn Kerstan

An unredeemed rake must mask his true self so that he can undo the damage he caused with his life--and his death.

The Redwyck Charm, by multiple award-winning author Elena Greene

Heiress Juliana Hutton masquerades as an opera dancer to escape an arranged marriage to the Earl of Amberley, but fate has different plans...

Plus the authors are giving away a special digital prize package:

Gabriella by Brenda Hiatt, The Rake and the Spinster by Lynn Kerstan, The Prodigal Daughter by Allison Lane, The Captain’s Dilemma by Gail Eastwood, Poetic Justice by Alicia Rasley, and Lord Langdon’s Kiss by Elena Greene.

To enter the giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about masquerades ... what costume would you wear?

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, October 18, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, October 19.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City