Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Aloha to Melinda Curtis and A MEMORY AWAY


A Hawaiian State of Mind
by Melinda Curtis

Every author has a different writing process. Some people write on laptops, some on tablets, some on legal pads. I write about 75% of each first draft in a notebook, and I do so away from my desk. I have standards for the notebook, too. It has to be small enough to fit in my medium-size purse, and it must be pretty. I don’t like much noise while I write, so I can’t keep my husband company while he watches reality TV (he’s a reality TV junkie, although he’d never admit it).

I’ve written in my daughter’s bean bag chair in the backyard with only my dog and cat for company. I’ve written in my husband’s Lazy Boy chair (it’s good for writing my way out of the troublesome middle). I’ve written in bed and on airplanes. But my absolute favorite place to draft is in a chair or lounger overlooking the ocean.

This could be a problem, because I’m landlocked. I only learned of this preference because this summer, Mr. Curtis and I went on a 12 day Mediterranean cruise and the weather was perfect to hang out on the deck and get writing done while Mr. Curtis went to the casino or watched the NBA Finals on television. I drafted four novellas during that trip. But that still isn’t my favorite place to draft. We have a timeshare and go to one of the Hawaiian islands every other year. I’ve drafted entire books sitting on patios overlooking the Pacific ocean during a seven day holiday. I dream of drafting that fast the other 103 weeks out of the two years we’re landlocked again.

Mr. Curtis and I recently joked about how I could cost efficiently get that Hawaiian state of mind production. He suggested I buy one of those digital photo frames (the kind that rotates pictures every few seconds) and only upload beach pictures. I countered that a huge ocean poster might be put over my office window. He suggested I write in my bathing suit. I suggested a wave machine. He suggested moving to Maui.

Do you have a suggestion as to how I can capture that Hawaiian state of mind? 

Award winning, USA Today bestseller Melinda Curtis writes the Harmony Valley series of sweet and emotional romances for Harlequin Heartwarming, and the sweet romantic comedy Bridesmaid series. A Memory Away is Book 6 in the Harmony Valley series. Brenda Novak says: “Season of Change has found a place on my keeper shelf”. Melinda also writes hotter romances as Mel Curtis. Jayne Ann Krentz says of Blue Rules: “Sharp, sassy, modern version of a screwball comedy from Hollywood's Golden Age except a lot hotter.” 

Maui is a memory away ...


For better or worse, she's family now

Duffy Dufraine just found out he's going to be an uncle. Jessica Aguirre came to Harmony Valley in search of the father of her unborn child, which is by no means him. An accident may have damaged the expectant mom's memory, but he knows his twin is the man she's looking for. But Greg's gone, which leaves Duffy the only family Jess has. And he has to make things right. Offering her a temporary place to stay seems an ideal short-term solution. Until she stirs desires that make the embattled vineyard manager rethink his own long-term game plan. Is he ready to offer Jess and her baby a home to call their own—with him?

Print Book via Harlequin (available January 1, 2016)

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Aloha to Hope Ramsay and A MIDNIGHT CLEAR


Dr. Tom Crawford isn't feeling the spirit of the season when he arrives in Last Chance. Far from friends and family, he's the odd man out in this town of gossiping, tight-knit Southerners-until he meets a sweetly sexy single mom who makes him feel welcome. Suddenly the handsome doctor is thinking he's finally found a place to call home.

Local florist Teri Summers has her hands full of mistletoe in preparation for the holiday, yet finding someone to kiss is her last priority. But when the gorgeous new doctor makes a connection with her special needs son, Aiden, Teri finds herself wondering if she's finally found happiness in this season of joy. For Teri and Tom, Last Chance may be their best chance at love.


Hope Ramsay grew up on the North Shore of Long Island, but every summer Momma would pack her off under the care of Aunt Annie to go visiting with relatives in the midlands of South Carolina. Her extended family includes its share of colorful aunts and uncles, as well as cousins by the dozens, who provide the fodder for the characters you'll find in Last Chance, South Carolina. She's a two-time finalist in the Golden Heart and is married to a good ol' Georgia boy who resembles every single one of her heroes. She lives in Fairfax, Virginia, where you can often find her on the back deck, picking on her thirty-five-year-old Martin guitar. 

I am giving away a digital copy of A MIDNIGHT CLEAR to one randomly selected commenter.  To enter the giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about your favorite holiday carol - I enjoy Carol of the Bells.

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, December 5, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, December 6.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Forever Romance offers an except from A MIDNIGHT CLEAR ... 

“She turned to look over her shoulder. “Doctor Crawford, are you asking me out on a date?”

He couldn’t tell if she was shocked or surprised, so he gave her a nonchalant shrug. Maybe he could fool her into thinking he wouldn’t be disappointed if she declined. “I am. I was wondering if you would introduce me to the barbecue in this town. I’ve heard it’s excellent.”

“It is excellent. Much better than anything you’ve got in Boston.” She turned all the way around to face him. “But I’m afraid I’m busy tonight.”

“Oh, all right. Some other time then.” He backpedaled, and his prosthesis almost tripped him up. He stifled the urge to massage his knee. He was just proud enough not to want Teri to know about his missing leg.

He’d lost it as a result of bone cancer at the age of seven. His “peg leg” as Jimmy liked to call it, had been with him for a long, long time, and he was mostly steady on his feet. In truth, his scars from that time were far less visible.

He took another step back, steadier on his one foot. Luckily, Teri hadn’t noticed his awkwardness. Good.

“I’m putting up my own Christmas tree tonight,” Teri said in a rush, as if she was trying to explain her rejection. “Well, anyway, I’m going to try. But you know Aiden might not like it, so I was just going to, you know, put up something small and maybe put some angels on it or something. So I . . .” Her voice trailed off. Her face got redder.

“I see,” he said.

“Uh, well, Aiden and I are going to be on our own this Christmas, you know. And I need to put up a tree. I haven’t done that in a long, long time. I’m not sure how Aiden will react.”

“Want some help?”

She stood silent for the longest moment, either trying to compose herself or weighing the pros and cons. “You’d do that?” she finally asked.

He opted to play this scene straight. No need to give her a speech about his past. The less said about that the better. “I’m pretty good at putting up Christmas trees. Although”—he looked around at the mess—“I might not be up to your professional standards.”

Her mouth quirked as if she were trying to keep it from trembling. “My professional standards mean ”

Her mouth quirked as if she were trying to keep it from trembling
“My professional standards mean nothing. Aiden has definite likes and dislikes, and this year I thought I’d try to tailor Christmas to his standards, instead of forcing him to celebrate the holiday by everyone else’s.” She bit her lower lip.

“Sounds like a good plan to me.” Man, she had one kissable mouth. Too bad he hadn’t caught her under the mistletoe that she was clearly planning to hang before the day was out.

“Yeah,” she said with a little nod, “it does sound like a good plan, doesn’t it? I have no idea where this is going to lead though.”

Neither do I. “I’m adventurous.”

“I think that’s true. You came all the way from Boston to the middle of nowhere to do battle with Lillian Bray and the rest of the busybodies in this town. That takes courage.”

He was surprised. Ma had told him that joining the NHSC had been an act of supreme stupidity. “So, what time?” he asked.

“Uh, well, I guess about six.”

“Six it is, then.” He turned and made the quickest of getaways before she realized that he’d just sort of invited himself over.”

December celebrates the Festive Season

12/1: Melinda Curtis' A MEMORY AWAY
plus Hope Ramsay's A MIDNIGHT CLEAR
12/2: Wednesday's Warriors - ML Buchman's TARGET ENGAGED
Collette Cameron's HEARTBREAK & HONOR
12/3: Annie Raines' WELCOME TO FOREVER
12/4: Darcy Burke's THE IDEA OF YOU
12/5: Toni Blake's Take Me All the Way: A Coral Cove Novel
12/6: Weekly Winners
12/7: Pearl Harbor Day
12/9: Wednesday's Warriors - Lindsay McKenna's FORGED IN FIRE
12/10: Samantha Chase's I'LL BE THERE
12/11: Jade Lee's ONE ROGUE AT A TIME
12/12: Celebrate Little Victories
12/13: Weekly Winners
12/14: Linda Broday's FOREVER HIS TEXAS BRIDE
12/15: Heather Boyd
12/16: Wednesday's Warriors - Anne Elizabeth's A SEAL FOREVER
12/17: Lori Wilde's I'LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS
12/18: Jill Shalvis' MY KIND OF WONDERFUL
plus Bronwyn Evans' A WHISPER OF DESIRE
12/19: Celebrate Little Victories
12/20: Weekly Winners
12/21: Marilyn Pappano's CHANCE OF A LIFETIME
12/22: Sharon Struth's HARVEST MOON
12/23: Wednesday's Warriors with Diana Cosby
12/24: Open
12/25: Christmas
12/26: Celebrate Little Victories
12/27: Weekly Winners
12/28: Anthology - ONCE UPON A TRUE LOVE'S KISS with
Julie Johnstone, Katherine Bone, Collette Cameron, Jillian Chantal, Samantha Grace, Alanna Lucas, Lauren Smith & Victoria Vane
12/30: Wednesday's Warriors
12/31: Jayne Fresina's HOW TO RESCUE A RAKE

1/1/16: Loretta Chase's DUKES PREFER BLONDES
1/2/16: Celebrate Little Victories
1/3/16: Weekly Winners
1/4/16: Nancy Lee Badger's MEDIEVAL REDEMPTION
1/5/16: Lindsay McKenna's BROKEN DREAMS
1/6/16: Wednesday's Warriors
1/7/16: Nicole Helm's REBEL COWBOY
1/8/16: Jennifer Bernard's CAUGHT BY YOU
1/9/16: Celebrate Little Victories
1/10/16: Weekly Winners
1/11/16: Eileen Dreyer's A FINE MADNESS
1/12/16: Open
1/13/16: Wednesday's Warriors
1/14/16: Open
1/15/16: Open
1/16/16: Celebrate Little Victories
1/17/16: Weekly Winners
1/18/16: Reserved
1/19/16: Reserved
1/20/16: Wednesday's Warriors
1/21/16: Open
1/22/16: Open
1/23/16: Celebrate Little Victories
1/24/16: Weekly Winners
1/25/16: Open
1/26/16: Jodi Thomas' RUSTLER'S MOON
1/27/16: Wednesday's Warriors
1/28/16: Open
1/29/16: Open
1/30/16: Celebrate Little Victories
1/31/16: Weekly Winners

Monday, November 30, 2015

Fàilte St. Andrew's Day, Patience Griffin, and THE ACCIDENTAL SCOT - Book Review


Christmas in the small village of Gandiegow brings holiday cheer—and a chance for love between two strangers…

When her father is injured in an accident, Edinburgh engineer Pippa McDonnell comes home to Gandiegow to take over the family business, the North Sea Valve Company. Now she’s working overtime trying to fix NSV’s finances and find the cash to get her father proper medical care.

One possibility is to accept a partnership with MTech, an American firm desperate to get their hands on her da’s innovative valve design. He was against bringing in outsiders, but Pippa is desperate enough to at least listen to MTech’s charming representative Max McKinley.

As Christmas approaches and with the help of Gandiegow's meddling quilters, Pippa and Max slowly find themselves attracted to each other. Max seems honorable, but is he there to steal the valve design…or Pippa’s heart?

Dunnottar Castle overlooks the North Sea

Tuig thus’ an t-eathar, 's tuigidh an t-eathar thu.
Understand the boat and the boat will understand you.

The Accidental Scot is Book 4 in Patience Griffin's contemporary series, Kilts and Quilts, set in Northeast Alba, overlooking the mighty North Sea.  I loved the first book, To Scotland With Love - a double nominee for the 2015 Rita Award.   I received Books 2 and 3 just before I moved across town; I hope they are tucked away in an unopened box.   Griffin asked me to review Book 4 ... and I jumped at the opportunity.  

In the first three books, American women escaped to Gandiegow following failures in their lives. They soon discovered warmth and romance among the quilts and kilts.  In The Accidental Scot, it is a handsome American engineer who arrives in Gandiegow to offer a partnership with "the McDonnell" who owns North Sea Valve Company.  Max's boss believes his honest face and technical skills will win over "the McDonnell".  Instead, Max meets Pippa McDonnell who is holding together the company after her father's accident. Pippa is skeptical of Max's intentions and sets out to show him the "human" side of the company. She integrates him into the village's Yuletide celebrations not realizing Max's only flaw is his humbug attitude of Christmas.  But this is Scotland!   Pippa, along with the colorful denizens of Gandiegow, warm Max's heart to the festive season and an unexpected romance.

Pippa and Max seems like polar opposites - Scot versus Yank, village girl versus city boy, small business versus big corporation.  Yet they are both engineers and realize they can retool their circumstances to find happiness.  It was pure joy to read how Pippa and Max fell in love with a little help from old Scots magic.   I also appreciated Griffin's vivid descriptions:

The small village of Gandiegow hugged the coastline in an arc with a smattering of houses and buildings.  The town looked as if an artist had painted it there to add visual interest to the snow dusted bluffs rising out of the North Sea. 

For a moment, he stood peering down the narrow walkway that expanded to the other end of town.  this strip of concrete was the only thing that separated the ocean from the village.  He really should go inside the pub - he was freezing his ass off - but he couldn't get over it.  One strong wave and the town could be washed away, the sixty-three houses and various establishments pulled out to sea. Who in their right mind would live near such danger looming outside their door?

The Yank learned the Scots lived by their love for the land, sea, and each other.  I have visited Alba twice and wandered the coastline in search of crumbling castles. Go raibh maith agat (thank you), Patience, for taking me back to Alba.

Now I need to find Books 2 and 3!  Recommended read for fans of small town romance, an honorable hero, a capable heroine, and all things Scottish. 


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

1.  Please share a holiday tradition in your family or business. My office decided to forgo a gift exchange in favor of adopting a local family in need.  Needless to say, I donate books to our effort!

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, December 5, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, December 6.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Learn more about Patience and her books at patiencegriffin.com.

Coming in April 2016

Fàilte St. Andrew's Day, Christy English, and HOW TO SEDUCE A SCOT

Christy English joins us today to celebrate St. Andrew's Day with the release of HOW TO SEDUCE A SCOT, Book 1 in the Broadswords and Ballrooms series:

He’s the terror of the ton...

The plan is simple:

1. Descend from the Highlands to face the aggravation of a London Season;

2. Foist his wild sister off on some gullible English lord;

3. Retreat before the ladies of the scandalized ton can get any ideas.

Determined to see his hellion of a sister wed, Highlander Alexander Waters is willing to face anything—even the English. He just didn’t expect his own rough manners to cause such a riot…or for a blooming English rose to catch his eye.

Gently bred Catherine Middlebrook must find a respectable man to marry or her family will be ruined. She won’t allow herself to be distracted by Highland barbarians…no matter how her body may thrill whenever Alex is near.

Catherine wasn’t part of the plan, but as their battle of wills escalates, Alex comes to realize this “proper” English girl is as wild as the Highlands themselves...and nothing will stop him from having her.

Ever since Christy English picked up a fake sword in stage combat class at the age of fourteen, she has lived vicariously through the sword-wielding women of her imagination. A banker by day and a writer by night, she loves to eat chocolate, drink too many soft drinks, and walk the mountain trails of her home in North Carolina.

Goodreads link

What Kind of Historical Romance Heroine Are You?

Sourcebooks offers a special giveaway at this link ... and offers an exclusive snippet from HOW TO SEDUCE A SCOT:

His angel was as drunk as a sailor.

Alex cursed, not bothering to do it under his breath. Mary Elizabeth ignored him, but Miss Middlebrook stared him down like a schoolroom governess.

“I beg your pardon, Alex, but I must insist you do not use that language in my presence.” She looked at him imperiously from under the narrow brim of her white flowered bonnet. He was about to open his mouth to apologize when she laughed long and loud. The sweet sound echoed down the street in waves, and more than one gentleman looked over to see where the courtesan was sitting. When they saw only a little debutante dressed in pink muslin and silk flowers, they raised their eyebrows and turned back to their companions. But not before their gazes lingered for a moment, as if to memorize her face.

Coming in February 2016

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Fàilte St. Andrew's Day, Monica McCarty, and The Striker


Triùir a thig gun iarraidh – gaol, eud is eagal.
Three that come unbidden – love, jealousy and fear.

Just in time for St. Andrew's Day on November 30, Monica McCarty's THE STRIKER, Book 10 in the celebrated Highland Guard series ...

Six years ago, Eoin "Striker” MacLean endured the greatest betrayal of his life, a disaster that led Robert the Bruce to a crushing defeat and left Eoin without the spirited woman who ruled his heart. Eoin knew that falling in love with his sworn enemy’s daughter was risky, dividing him between a possessive desire for beautiful Margaret MacDowell and an undying loyalty to his king. He promised Bruce that he would keep his fiery bride in the dark about the elite Highland Guard, but he could not predict the dire consequences his secret would have on his young marriage. Nor could he foresee how surrendering to temptation could cripple Bruce’s cause, forcing Eoin to blame his wife—and himself for trusting her.

Now, as Bruce prepares to challenge the resistance’s remaining strongholds, Eoin finally has his chance for revenge against the woman he once loved so fiercely and her entire clan. But when ferociously independent Margaret reveals a surprise that unites her with Eoin, neither of them will let their love go down without a fight.

What do you get when you mix a legal career, a baseball career, motherhood, and a love of history with a voracious reader? In my case, a Historical Romance Author.  Find out more from Monica's website, monicamccarty.com.

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

1.  Leave a comment about Alba - Scotland.  It was my favorite place to visit ... until I moved to Hawaii.  Yet both Alba and Hawaii share the same sense of spirituality in the culture and land.

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, December 5, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, December 6.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Weekly Winners

Aloha to LOVE BETWEEN THE COVERS - a romance documentary
- Kim H. wins a book choice from my convention stash.

- Mary K. wins a book choice from my convention stash.


- Martha wins a book choice from my convention stash.


Winners, please claim your prizes by sending your mailing address to sos.aloha@yahoo.com.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City