Thursday, July 20, 2017

RWA RITA Finalists Spotlight Blog Tour - Romance with Religious or Spiritual Elements

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The excitement is growing for the RWA Annual Conference next week at the Dolphin Resort on Walt Disney World.  One of the highlights is the RITA Award Ceremony.  Readers can watch it from the comfort of their own home:

The 2017 RITA Award Ceremony will be streamed live from the Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort on July 27 from 7 to 9 p.m. ET. Tune in at rwa.org to watch your favorite authors decked out in dazzling red carpet looks as New York Times bestselling author and emcee extraordinaire Ally Carter announces the winners of the romance industry's most prestigious award. You can find a list of finalists here or follow along our RITA Finalists Spotlight Blog Tour, which runs through 7/21.

Today, I spotlight Romance with Religious or Spiritual Elements.  Joining me is Pamela Ferguson, nominated for the Golden Heart Award for unpublished manuscript (although she has since sold her book!)  I met Pamela here in the Baltimore area and I asked her to help me define Romance with Religious or Spiritual Elements.


Pamela Ferguson is the author of sweet romances set in small towns. Specializing in gossips, meddlers, matchmakers, and happily-ever-afters, Pam loves dreaming up complications that wreak havoc in the lives of her characters. Her determined heroes and resourceful heroines are forever doing battle with narrow-minded mischief makers. Who knew there were so many bumps on the road to love?

When she isn’t writing, Pam can be found teaching English, travelling, and playing with her high-energy German shepherd puppy. Her small town romance Wings of Love has been named a 2017 RWA Golden Heart® Award Finalist in the Romance with Religious or Spiritual Elements category and will be published by Forget Me Not Romances later this year.



How do I define inspirational romance?

The term “inspirational romance” typically refers to romance fiction about characters who have a Christian world view. If you read across the submission guidelines for various publishing houses, you’ll see some consistent descriptions of what publishers want: emphasis on emotion rather than sensuality, no drugs or alcohol consumption by Christian characters, no preaching, etc. Those publishers who follow Christian Booksellers Association (CBA) guidelines often have more detailed recommendations for writers that align with the expectations and preferences of their readers.

I see inspirational romance as a subset of the RWA contest category Romance with Religious or Spiritual Elements. RWA defines this category as “Novels in which religious or spiritual beliefs are an inherent part of the love story, character growth and relationship development and could not be removed without damaging the storyline. These novels may be set in the context of any religious or spiritual belief system of any culture.” This definition is broader than the definition of inspirational romance since it includes all religious and spiritual belief systems.

Why do I write inspirational romance?

As a reader, I enjoy reading all categories of romance fiction. As a writer, I find my voice goes naturally to telling sweet, emotion-packed stories about the kind of love that surprises people, fills them with hope, and bonds them together despite society’s injustices. Love that inspires them to be better for each other and for the world around them. Sometimes a character’s faith is already established, sometimes it develops over the course of the book.

What can readers expect when they open an inspirational romance in today's contemporary market place?

First and foremost, readers should expect “a good story well told” with compelling characters, intricate plots, interesting locales, well-researched time periods, and vivid descriptions that, combined, deliver an emotionally satisfying love story. On top of that, there will be elements of faith and, in many instances, an underlying message of hope that the characters will overcome whatever obstacles are placed before them on the road to their happily ever after.

Mahalo, Pamela, for giving us a clear picture of Romance with Religious or Spiritual Elements.  And the finalists are ... 

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Close to You by Kara Isaac
Howard Books
Beth Adams, Editor

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Keeper of the Stars by Robin Lee Hatcher
Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Ami McConnell and Leslie Peterson, Editors

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My Hope Next Door by Tammy L. Gray
Amazon, Waterfall Press
Amy Hosford, Editor

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Trust My Heart by Carol J. Post
Amazon, Waterfall Press
Erin Calligan Mooney, Editor


Best wishes to the finalists ... and thank you for writing romance! I am giving away a book choice from my convention stash. To enter the giveaway,

1. Have you toured a religious or spiritual site - church, cathedral, graveyard, etc.? Two years ago, while visiting Boston, we also toured numerous churches including the Old North Church at this link.

2. Comments are open through Sunday, July 30.

3. I'll post the winner on Monday, July 31.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City


Military Memorial outside the Old North Church

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Wednesday's Warriors - Rev It Up, RWA's Literacy Signing, and Helping Military Families

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Next week I am attending the RWA Annual Conference at the Dolphin Hotel in Disney World.  Rest assured, I will be inside the hotel, appreciating the air conditioning and hobnobbing with authors. Having grown up in Florida, I have no interest in the parks.

On Thursday, I am moderating the panel I submitted:  

Rev It Up: World Building for Motorcycle Club Romances (RESEARCH)

Speakers: Mandy Rossmeyer, Jade Chandler, Laura Kaye, Kim Lowe, and Constance Phillips

Join four experts for a hands-on experience to “get patched” in the often-misrepresented motorcycle culture. Mandy Rossmeyer, events/promotion manager of Daytona Harley-Davidson, will offer an introduction to the HOG world, from the weekend warrior to the pros who thrash at Sturgis, and best-selling authors will share how they incorporate the motorcycle culture into romance novels for an authentic representation of this unique American identity.


Mandy, below, is a fellow Delta Gamma (DG) sister from the University of Tampa.  I have reminded her "what happened in Tampa, stays in Tampa."  We are joined by three authors who know a thing or two about motorcycles - Laura Kaye, Jade Chandler, and Constance Phillips.  I asked each of them to create their own biker moniker ... I'll share with you in my RWA recap. 


RWA is closing the conference with its annual "Readers for Life" Literacy Signing:

At the "Readers for Life" Literacy Autographing, hundreds of romance authors meet with and sign books for fans in this two-hour event, with the proceeds from book sales going to literacy organizations. In 2016, Romance Writers of America raised more than $39,000 to benefit literacy programs—bringing our total donations since 1990 to $ 1 million!

When: Saturday, July 29, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. ET

Where: Walt Disney World ® Dolphin Resort, Pacific Hall

Check out the list of participating authors at this link.

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Immediately at 5 pm, it is  ... ALL HANDS ON DECK!  

RWA invited me to donate a portion of the leftover books to military families ... the remainder is donated to local libraries ... books for all!

I am recruiting volunteers, including authors who just finished signing for two hours, to:

1.  Grab a box (look under the tables).

2.  Grab one book per authors and place in box.

3.  Once the box is filled, bring it to the "exit" area.  I will be standing by to label the box as "military" and acknowledge your volunteer effort.

I have brown hair, pulled back in a short pony tail.  I will be wearing an Aloha shirt.  The boxes left with me will be donated to:

a.  SHADES OF GREEN military resort at Walt Disney World.

b.  USO Lounge at the Orlando airport.

c.  Military spouses in Europe and Asia.

That's it!  15 minutes and you help military families ... and RWA to clear the room.

Driving to Orlando?  Live near a military base?  You are welcome to take boxes home with you to share with military families (and libraries) on (or off) military installations.  If possible, bring a few of your own tote bags in case we run out of boxes (everyone has extra totes at home).

Recruit a friend!  

Share on social media!
MANY HANDS MAKE LIGHT WORK!

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I am giving away a book choice from my convention stash to one randomly selected commenter.  To enter the giveaway,

1.  Check out the list of authors attending the Literacy Signing - who would you like to meet?

2.  Comments are open through Sunday, July 30, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3.  I'll post the winner on Monday, July 31.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Aloha to Jennifer Hoopes and HER COWBOY'S PROMISE - with excerpt and giveaway!


Jennifer Hoopes is celebrating the release of HER COWBOY'S PROMISE, Book 1 in her Fly Creek novel, from Entangled Bliss ... 

Three years ago, artist Emily White’s grief and survivor’s guilt sent her to the small Wyoming town of Fly Creek. Since then, she’s kept her emotions safely tucked away—until she meets the new rancher at Sky Lake Dude Ranch. Stetson in hand, the gorgeous cowboy’s arrival in her store immediately shakes up her world.

Adam Conley is only in Fly Creek for as long as it takes to fulfill his promise to his late cousin. The small town brings up too many memories of the life he left behind years ago. He knows his task won’t be easy, but the last thing he expects is the instant attraction to the reason he’s in town. Emily is beautiful, vibrant, and completely off-limits. He’s there to keep his promise—not fall in love.

But Adam’s secret will crumble everything Emily’s life has revolved around.


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Jennifer lives in a small town in Pennsylvania with her husband and two daughters. When not writing, she can usually be found elbow deep in flour or inhaling chlorine as she cheers her daughter on at a swim meet. She loves musicals, caramel and roller coasters, and lists Machu Picchu at the top of her bucket list. She is a member of RWA and is the President of her local chapter, Central Pennsylvania Romance Writers. Find out more about Jennifer and sign up for her newsletter at www.jenniferhoopes.com

jenniferhoopes.com
facebook.com/jenniferhoopesauthor
twitter.com/DumplingJenn
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Jennifer offers an excerpt from HER COWBOY'S PROMISE ...

Emily turned to catch a look of confusion written all over Adam’s face.

“What?”

He shook his head and grabbed her hand. “You seem a very surprising woman today. Wondering just what got into you.”

I’m trying to live again.

Emily smiled.

“I’ve changed my mind,” he said abruptly.

Her smile faltered. Had she done something wrong? Was she so rusty she was downright off-putting?

“A-about what?”

“Seeing you soon.”

“Oh.” Emily tugged at her hand, but Adam held firm. If this was his way of letting her down easy, he was failing spectacularly.

“I want to see you now. Or as now as can be. Is the shop open today?”

Excitement burst through veins and not used to the giddy rush, she swayed. Concern swept across Adam’s face and a hand came to cradle her cheek.

She brought her free hand up to cover his. “I would love to see you now, but I do work. And so do you if I recall.”

He leaned his forehead against hers. “I’m done at three.”

“I close at four.”

“4:01 it is.”

They both laughed, and Adam swooped in with a tantalizing kiss. She clung to him. “I’ll need time to freshen up.”

“How about you come to me? I can take you on a trail ride.”

Emily stiffened. Go out to Sky Lake?

“Do you ride?”

She shook her head, unable to speak through the cottonmouth that had taken up residence.

“Even better. You’re going to teach me to paint, and I can teach you to ride.” Adam rubbed his hands up and down her spine. The contact soothed and reassured her, releasing some of her anxiety. “I promise it will make you feel alive.”

“Sounds perfect for a day like today.” She brushed a sweet kiss on his cheek and stepped past him. “See you this afternoon.”

“You most certainly will, Emily White.”

As she walked the few steps to her truck she pep talked herself. She could do this. Sky Lake was just a place. A ranch. A ranch she hadn’t been to and neither had Drew. It was a symbol, nothing more. Now maybe it could be a symbol of her new path. Sliding into her truck, the beginning of a smile tugged at her mouth. Adam Conley on a horse seemed a pretty fine way to spend some hours living this afternoon.


Monday, July 17, 2017

Aloha to Jody Holford and HATE TO LOVE HIM - with Excerpt and Giveaway


Jody Holford is celebrating the release of HATE TO LOVE HIM, Book 3 in her Kendrick Place novel, from Entangled Publishing .... 

Brady Davis is as happy as he is charming. Usually. Unless he’s in the same room with the frustratingly gorgeous antidote to his cheer. Mia Kendrick is headstrong and determined. She’s done with men who stand in her way—even if he has arms like Thor and a smile that makes her dizzy. Whenever they’re together, sparks fly—both the bad and good kind.

When Mia returns home to take over management of Kendrick Place, Brady is worried her focus on big business could be the end of his tight-knit home and the family he’s created there. Mia may have the power to change everything, but Brady could have the power to change her mind…if he can get inside her heart.


Jody Holford is a multi-published author who has a soft spot for happily ever after. So much so, she tattooed the words on her arm. She’s a mom and a wife, a friend, sister, daughter, teacher, and book-lover. Her stories have a little heat and a lot of heart. And maybe, some swoon-worthy moments that will make you smile.


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Jody is offering an excerpt from HATE TO LOVE HIM ...

When he walked her to her door, they stood staring at each other. She was the only woman who could look at him and make it feel as if she were touching him.

“Are you waiting for permission?” she whispered.

His hand moved to her waist. Was he? Or was he scared once he started he wouldn’t be able to stop? “Do I need to?”

He felt, more than saw, the subtle shake of her head. His mouth touched hers, parting her lips. He inhaled and all he could taste was Mia and it consumed him. Holy Christ, kissing her the second time was a ten-star, whole-body, every-cell-tingling event. Heat spread from the unwinding knot in his stomach through every part of his body. Moving one hand to her hair, he tightened his grip on her waist. Turning so their bodies aligned, he took the kiss deeper, like somehow he could push their differences so far away, they wouldn’t matter. When they were touching each other like this, nothing else mattered. Her fingers curled into his shirt as he backed her against the door.

She pushed her arms up and around his neck, holding on like he was the only thing saving her from drowning. He was drowning in her. Waves of coiled lust, cresting so hard in his stomach, he knew he needed to pull back, rein himself in. How could there be this much passion between them when they’d only just decided to like each other? If just kissing her made him frantic, what would more be like? More would be ripping his rules to shreds and lighting them on fire. His heart beat like a wild animal. He pulled away slowly, then pressed his lips to the pulse point in her neck, satisfied with its quick pace. Her breaths came in short bursts, matching his.

She surprised him once again when her lips curled upward and she remarked, “That’s definitely more than a truce.”

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Books 1 and 2 in the Kendrick Place series ... 



Friday, July 14, 2017

Aloha to Bastille Day, Heather Graham, and RWA

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Today is Bastille Day in France.  From France's tourist site (link),

Allons enfants de la patrie (Let's go children of the fatherland)… it is time to celebrate!


(On July 14, 1789) the royal fortress of Bastille — a symbol of despotism — was attacked. The tide of patriotic fervour led to the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen.

“Men are born free and remain free and equal in rights.” 


Nations around the world modeled their bill of rights after this now universal sentence. No wonder France’s national holiday, le quatorze juillet, is world famous. Every year, since 1880, Bastille Day’s notoriety is matched by festivities and pomp honouring the republic to the rhythm of the national anthem La Marseillaise.

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No doubt New Orleans will be celebrating ... from Bastille Day New Orleans (link),

Bastille Day NOLA celebrates the French National Day in America’s most French city! Leading up to July 14th (or en fran├žais, le quatorze juillet), the city will enjoy a wide variety of French-related events taking place throughout New Orleans. The best part? Most are free!

French culture is a rich part of New Orleans’ heritage, and to honor that heritage, an array of local organizations have come together to host something for everyone, from learning the art of French cooking, listening to French music, to the traditional waiters race and beyond!



When I think of New Orleans, I think of the multi genre author Heather Graham.  From her bio (link),

New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Heather Graham majored in theater arts at the University of South Florida. After a stint of several years in dinner theater, back-up vocals, and bartending, she stayed home after the birth of her third child and began to write, working on short horror stories and romances. After some trial and error, she sold her first book, WHEN NEXT WE LOVE, in 1982 and since then, she has written over one hundred novels and novellas including category, romantic suspense, historical romance, vampire fiction, time travel, occult, and Christmas holiday fare. She wrote the launch books for the Dell's Ecstasy Supreme line, Silhouette's Shadows, and for Harlequin's mainstream fiction imprint, Mira Books.


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Heather wrote about New Orleans on her blog (link),

So . . . I love New Orleans, which is pretty evident. I’ll never know exactly what made me so very passionate about the city. Is it the history—is it a real mystique, or something that we’ve given to it.
More than anything, I think it’s the way that Nola manages to be a city of living history. People live out their lives in homes where others tread before, dealing with the tragedy of the Civil War, slave markets, Civil Rights, and more. Restaurants are places where those creating the eras that came before us dined and talked and voiced their own opinion about “current” political situations that shaped the nation we live in now. Since the summer of storms, the city is more international than ever. Everyone is welcome in NOLA—Southern hospitality abounds. There’s the “decaying elegance” of bygone times; there is the good and the bad—an outlook that is resilient and hopeful for the future. There are the cemeteries where the past seems to seep right into your skin and Jackson Square where you see the performers, hear the performers, and the wonderful laughter of the children. Ghost stories in carriages as you listen to the voice of your guide . . . and the clip-clop of the mule’s hooves.


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I have the privilege of moderating the chat with Heather Graham at the RWA Conference on Friday, July 28, at 9:45 am:


An intimate chat with best-selling author Heather Graham. Get ready to discuss the current publishing marketplace, what’s changed, and where she sees the romance market going. Bring your questions for a Q&A!



I am giving away a book choice from my convention stash, including several books from Heather.  To enter the giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about Bastille Day, New Orleans, and/or Heather Graham ... anything goes!

I discovered Heather's books when I lived in the Netherlands ... the Army Library offered her romantic suspense books set in South Florida ... where I grew up.

I have met Heather numerous times at RT .... and she loves the military!  

Most recently at RT, she and Cathy Maxwell showed readers how to dance to rockabilly!

2. Comments are open through Sunday, July 30, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3. I'll post the winner on Monday, July 31.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

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Heather, center in blue, at the RT Historical Party in 2015

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Aloha to Nancy Lee Badger and SHIMMER - THE BEGINNING


Nancy Lee Badger brings you a love story called SHIMMER, a prequel to her Clan of Dragon series. A long time ago, off the coast of Scotland’s Isle of Skye, something incredible began. Among lush green forests, flower-filled meadows, and black jagged mountains, stagnant pools of algae and muck rush to the sea. Robina, daughter of the fairy king, threw wish dust to create a cool, clear, sweet-smelling fairy pool. When a huge black winged creature fell from the sky, she feared her very life was in danger. She never thought she would lose her heart.

Duff, a dragon, was dying, and his hopes to find a mate and produce offspring looked bleak. Drinking from a pool at the base of a waterfall, he sensed another otherworldly creature lurking nearby. A dragon, claiming she was no dragon, knocked him off his feet. When she threw the dust, Duff learned about her ability to shift. As they fought human hunters, and a dark fairy, Robina stole his heart. He surprised her by shifting multiple times without her magical help.

Nancy Lee Badger wrote this novella to explain how dragons on the Scottish island of Skye became shape-shifters. She has filled this paranormal fantasy with romance, danger, fairies, and characters you will love, and one or two you might hate. Enjoy this explanation of her very powerful series, Clan of Dragons with Spark, Smoke, and Smolder.

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NOOK 


Nancy Lee Badger loves chocolate-chip shortbread, wool plaids wrapped around the trim waist of a Scottish Highlander, the clang of broadswords, and the sound of bagpipes in the air. After growing up in Huntington, New York, and raising two handsome sons in New Hampshire, Nancy moved to North Carolina where she writes full-time.

Nancy is a member of Romance Writers of America, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, Fantasy-Futuristic & Paranormal Romance Writers, Triangle Association of Freelancers, and the Celtic Heart Romance Writers. Nancy and her family volunteer each fall at the New Hampshire Highland Games surrounded by…kilts!

Connect with Nancy Lee Badger

Blog Website 
Goodreads Amazon Author Page


Nancy, I love chocolate chip shortbread, too!  Perhaps we can share a package at RWA in Orlando. Nancy is giving away a print proof of SHIMMER to one randomly selected commenter. To enter the giveaway, 

1. Leave a comment about Scotland, dragons, or shortbread - anything goes!

2. Comments are open through Sunday, July 30, 10 pm in Baltimore.  

3. I'll post the winner on Monday, July 31.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Aloha to Tina Gabrielle and THE DUKE MEETS HIS MATCH - with Giveaway


Tina Gabrielle is celebrating the release of THE DUKE MEETS HIS MATCH, Book 3 in her Infamous Somertons series from Entangled ... 

The daughter of an infamous art forger, Chloe Somerton grew up poor. Desperate to aid her sisters, she’d picked a pocket…or two. Now circumstances have changed, and Chloe has a chance to marry a young, wealthy lord. Only his mentor—a dark, dangerous duke—stands in her way. The duke knows about her past, and she’ll do anything to keep him from telling.

The moment Michael Keswick, the Duke of Cameron, sees Chloe Somerton, he recognizes her as a fraud. The stunning beauty with sapphire eyes and golden hair now appears to be a proper lady, but he knows better. What begins as a battle of wills soon escalates into a fierce attraction. In Chloe, Michael finds peace from the memories of war, but he refuses to marry…and she won’t settle for anything less.


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Tina Gabrielle, an Amazon best-selling author, is an attorney and former mechanical engineer whose love of reading for pleasure helped her get through years of academia. She often picked up a romance and let her fantasies of knights in shining armor and lords and ladies carry her away. She is the author of adventurous Regency historical romances: A Spy Unmasked, At The Spy’s Pleasure, In The Barrister’s Bed, In The Barrister’s Chambers, Lady Of Scandal, and A Perfect Scandal from Entangled Publishing and Kensington Books. Tina’s books have been Barnes & Noble top picks, and her first book, Lady Of Scandal, was nominated as best first historical romance by Romantic Times Book Reviews. Tina loves to hear from readers. Please visit her website to join her newsletter and enter her free monthly contests and giveaways.

tinagabrielle.com 

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