Sunday, May 24, 2015

May is National Military Appreciation Month - Aloha to Jackson Young

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I asked Jackson Young to speak at the SOS America Military Tribute.   He is an Army vet-turned-entrepreneur. From his bio,

Jackson Young is a singer/songwriter in a professional career spanning fifteen years. Jackson has formerly held two independent records deals (Platinum Planet, TMG), a publishing deal, and is currently calling Nashville, TN, home. “I’m blessed,” Jackson remarks.

As a professional actor, Jackson has been featured as an extra, principal, and music video choreographer. He has experience in major motion picture, commercials, independent film, and television – some of which have been CMT and 20th Century Fox distribution, among others. In commercial, video, and currently independent film, he has been responsible for co-writing, casting, co-editing, producing, and executive production.

Fortunate to have studied under a three-time world champion, Jackson has professionally trained in the style of Ballroom, Latin, and Swing, and has performed privately for groups numbering more than 100 people. Owning a private dance company, Jackson taught group and private lessons and choreography. While a professional instructor, his students won placement in Pro-Am dance competitions. Jackson has also been a featured principal dancer and choreographer for a national cruise line video.

Most recently he is currently the cover model for a three book series, Diaries of a Casanova; Legend Awakening, Twisted Angel, and Rising Redemption which are co-written by New York Times and US Today Bestselling Author, Randi Alexander.

Jackson says, “Wear lots of shoes you will never regret where they take you.”


If that isn't enough to keep him busy, Jackson promotes Rowdy, the battle buddy bear, for Operation Troop Aid, operationtroopaid.org:

We salute and support all our Armed Forces! The mission of Operation Troop Aid (OTA) is to provide care packages for U.S. Service members with the revenue generated through professional concert promotions and public financial generosity. OTA is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) corporation striving to make a positive difference and inspire our Armed Forces by letting them know Americans stand with them.


During the tribute, Jackson read the lyrics to IRON MAN STRONG, written by Jackson Young, Scott Smith, and Johnny Neel

When the fire came down from the mountain in that hell Afghanistan
A moment in time would change for a life of a man
Out of nowhere a solider fell down in a flash of light
But on the ground there was no doubt he was in for the fight of his life

Made of blood and bones but has a soul forged with a might of steel
Yah got the guts and the confidence to overcome any hill
With a heart beaten out, sayin’ yes I can, and a motto of bring it on
That makes him iron man strong

He woke up days later in a hospital bed
Lookin’ down he saw metal parts where his arm once had been
The doctors say it’s a miracle but he might not walk at all
But with fire in his eyes it’s plain to see a solider won’t be a cripple

Made of blood and bones but has a soul forged with a might of steel
Yah got the guts and the confidence to overcome any hill
With a heart beaten out, sayin’ yes I can, and a motto of bring it on
That makes him iron man strong

Sometimes in a search of glory it can all go so wrong
We all get defeated but the battle is won by those that carry on
With a heart beaten out sayin’ yes I can so come on and bring it on
That makes him iron man strong


There was not a dry eye in the room.  Mahalo, Jackson, for reminding us that Freedom is Not Free.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

PS Rest assured, I will invite Jackson for a guest interview here at SOS Aloha.  Learn more about Jackson and his projects on social media: 


And for Memorial Day Weekend, I challenge readers to answer the call of the Rowdy Nation Flag Challenge at this link.


Saturday, May 23, 2015

May is National Military Appreciation Month - Aloha to Kara Braden

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Breaking News! I am now posting pictures from the RT Booklovers' Convention on my travel blog, Aloha On My Mind, at this link.
  
Kara Braden hosted the "Hunting Scorpions" table at the SOS America Military Tribute - I named the table based on her bio,

After twenty-three years on Long Island, I ended up in the Arizona desert and haven’t yet figured out how to escape. I blame my wonderful husband, a twenty-one-year veteran of the US Air Force. We share our lives with the dogs and cats who are our children and many, many computers. For fun, we watch movies, play video games (especially MMOs!), and occasionally start fires in the kitchen.

In the years before I started writing full-time, I worked in the semiconductor industry and wrote labs and learning materials for auto/diesel mechanics. I’ve since become proficient at hunting scorpions in my backyard using a blacklight and a spatula, an activity best performed in hiking boots rather than sandals. I have yet to be stung, so I’m apparently doing something right.

Learn more about Kara and her books at karabraden.com.

Kara Braden

Kara's debut book features a military heroine in THE LONGEST NIGHT:

This could work, whispered the little voice in the back of her mind, the voice that had been silent for seven years…

SHE SOUGHT SOLACE IN SOLITUDE
Years ago, former Marine Captain Cecily Knight fled her dark past and the nightmares forever haunting her nights. Alone in the remote Canadian wilderness, she survives day to day…until Ian Fairchild comes storming into her life and shatters her protective seclusion.

UNTIL ONE TOUCH BARED HER SOUL
Aloof but intriguing, defensive but undeniable, Ian is everything Cecily shouldn’t want but can’t ignore. He watches her with shrewd blue eyes, as if determined to decipher her secrets…and for the first time in years, she finds herself coming alive beneath the hands of a man with too many scars to count.

As the hushed and harsh winter closes in around them, two lost souls find themselves on the precipice of a love that could save their lives…or destroy them forever.

Women Marine Reservists enlist for the first time in 1918.

Mahalo, Kara, for serving as a military spouse!  May is National Military Appreciation Month. For the month of May, I am giving away one grand prize of books and swag from the authors featured this month (link). Plus five more commenters - one for each branch of service - wins a book choice from my convention stash. To enter the giveaway,

1. Leave a comment about Arizona, the Copper State?  I only stepped into Arizona when visiting the Hoover Dam.  I would like to spend more time in Arizona, including visiting the Grand Canyon.

2. Comments are open through Sunday, May 31, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3. I'll post the winners on Monday, June 1.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

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Friday, May 22, 2015

May is National Military Appreciation Month - Aloha to Rebecca Yarros

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Breaking News! I am now posting pictures from the RT Booklovers' Convention on my travel blog, Aloha On My Mind, at this link


The best part of going to RT is meeting authors (new to me) who are connected to the military.  I was fortunate to meet Rebecca Yarros at the SOS America Military Tribute.  From her bio,

Two Books. One Blog. Six Kids. And just enough quirk to stay sane!

Rebecca Yarros is a hopeless romantic and lover of all things chocolate, coffee, and Paleo. In addition to being a mom, military wife, and blogger, she can never choose between Young Adult and New Adult fiction, so she writes both. She's a graduate of Troy University, where she studied European history and English, but still holds out hope for an acceptance letter to Hogwarts. Her blog, The Only Girl Among Boys, has been voted the Top Military Mom Blog the last two years, and celebrates the complex issues surrounding the military life she adores.

When she's not writing, she's tying on hockey skates for her kids, or sneaking in some guitar time. She is madly in love with her army-aviator husband of eleven years, and they're currently stationed in Upstate NY with their gaggle of rambunctious kiddos and snoring English Bulldog, but she would always rather be home in Colorado.

Learn more about Rebecca and her books at rebeccaelizabethyarros.com.

Rebecca Yarros

Rebecca draws upon military life for her Flight & Glory series, including FULL MEASURES:

A new adult novel from Entangled's Embrace imprint...

Three knocks can change everything…

"She knew. That’s why Mom hadn’t opened the door. She knew he was dead."

Twenty years as an army brat and Ember Howard knew, too. The soldiers at the door meant her dad was never coming home. What she didn’t know was how she would find the strength to singlehandedly care for her crumbling family when her mom falls apart.

Then Josh Walker enters her life. Hockey star, her new next-door neighbor, and not to mention the most delicious hands that insist on saving her over and over again. He has a way of erasing the pain with a single look, a single touch. As much as she wants to turn off her feelings and endure the heartache on her own, she can’t deny their intense attraction.

Until Josh’s secret shatters their world. And Ember must decide if he’s worth the risk that comes with loving a man who could strip her bare.


Mahalo, Rebecca, for serving as a military spouse and mom! My neighbor once asked me to be listed as a person to contact should something happen to her husband during his deployment.  I would have accompanied the officer reporting a death .... luckily, I never had to fulfill this duty.

May is National Military Appreciation Month. For the month of May, I am giving away one grand prize of books and swag from the authors featured this month (link). Plus five more commenters - one for each branch of service - wins a book choice from my convention stash. To enter the giveaway,

1. Leave a comment about Upstate New York - what do you know about it?  I have visited Niagara Falls; it is beautiful even if it is a tourist trap.

2. Comments are open through Sunday, May 31, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3. I'll post the winner on Monday, June 1.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

May is National Military Appreciation Month - Aloha to Susan Stoker

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Breaking News! I am now posting pictures from the RT Booklovers' Convention on my travel blog, Aloha On My Mind, at this link

Susan Stoker co-hosted a SEAL themed table at the SOS America Military Tribute.  From her bio,

Susan Stoker has a heart as big as the state of Texas where she lives but this all American girl has also spent the last fourteen years living in Missouri, California, Colorado, and Indiana (Kim's comment - clear indicated she is a military spouse). She is quite the romantic and even met the love of her life on "Hotmail classified" before online dating and sites like match.com even existed!

Susan loves writing but her true passion is adopting dogs from rescue groups and shelters. Susan and her husband have had a total of nine "rescued" dogs since 2000 including a variety of basset hounds and bloodhounds. She has recently branched out and adopted a basset/terrier mix who acts more like a terrier than a basset (i.e. digging, eating a couch and being hyper). If you love romance and want to help her support adopting great dogs, be sure to check out her work!


Learn more about Susan and her books at stokeraces.com.



Mahalo, Susan, for your dog rescue efforts!  Susan is getting ready for the release of PROTECTING JESSYKA on July 7: 

Kason “Benny” Sawyer was the last single man on his Navy SEAL team. He loved his teammates like brothers and respected each and every one of their women. They’d all been through hell and they deserved their current happiness. But seeing the love between his friends and their women made it tough to be the odd man out all the time.

Jessyka Allen had a good life, until it wasn’t anymore. Finding herself in an impossible situation, with no noticeable way out, her job was an escape. Working at the small Bar and Grill put her in contact with some wonderful people, who Jess figured couldn’t ever understand what she was going through.

Being a SEAL, Benny thought he knew the true meaning of teamwork and friendship. But Jess would show him that everything he thought he knew about sacrifice, trust, and love, paled in comparison to what she brought into his world.

Protecting Jessyka is the 6th book in the SEAL of Protection Series. It can be read as a stand-alone, but it’s recommended you read the books in order to get maximum enjoyment out of the series.


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May is National Military Appreciation Month. For the month of May, I am giving away one grand prize of books and swag from the authors featured this month (link). Plus five more commenters - one for each branch of service - wins a book choice from my convention stash. To enter the giveaway,

1. Leave a comment about dogs - do you have a favorite breed? My family favors cats ... but we like any dogs that love to play! 
2. Comments are open through Sunday, May 31, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3. I'll post the winner on Monday, June 1.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City


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Aloha to Jessica James and MEANT TO BE - Video Trailer

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It started as a chance encounter on the beach, and ended 24 hours later when they parted to go their separate ways.  Or so they thought.

Actually it was just the beginning.

WHEN LAUREN CANTRELL said goodbye to the guy she had just met on the beach, she had no way of knowing their paths would ever cross again. But fate had another unexpected meeting in store for them—this time in a place where danger was part of the culture and the stakes were life and death.

THE LAST PERSON in the world Rad expected to see at a special ops briefing in Afghanistan is the girl he met at the beach two weeks ago—the one he can’t stop thinking about.

From the sundrenched beaches of Ocean City, Md., to the snowcapped mountains of Afghanistan, this thrilling tale of espionage and intrigue takes readers on a spellbinding journey into the secret lives of our nation’s quiet heroes—and answers the question:

What do you do when the person you most want to protect is the one risking everything to make sure you survive?

MEANT TO BE recounts the dedication of our military, the honor and sacrifice of our soldiers, and a relationship that is tested and sustained by the powerful forces of love, courage and resolve.

Check out the Video Trailer at this link.

Gettysburg National Military Park
Public Domain (link)

MEANT TO BE (June 2015) is award-winning author Jessica James’ first contemporary novel, but not her first foray into dealing with the emotions and turbulence of the battlefield. Her past novels have been set during the Revolutionary War and the American Civil War, and have been compared to some of the greatest literary novels of that era. She is the only two-time winner of the coveted John Esten Cooke Award for Southern Fiction, and was featured in the book 50 Great Authors You Should Be Reading, published in 2010.

James stays active working part-time as a stagehand where she assists with shows ranging from country bands and stage plays, to operas, symphonies and ballets. She resides in Gettysburg, Pa., and has a passion for old dwellings and first edition books.


Learn more about Jessica and her books at jessicajamesbooks.com.

Come back to SOS Aloha on June 6 - D Day - for my review of MEANT TO BE.  Have you visited Gettysburg or any other historic battlefield? One randomly selected commenter wins a book choice from my convention stash.  Comments are open through Sunday, May 31.  I'll post the winner on Monday, June 1.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City 

Lincoln visits the troops at Antietam
Public Domain (link)



Wednesday, May 20, 2015

May is National Military Appreciation Month - Aloha to Elle J. Rossi

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Breaking News! I am now posting pictures from the RT Booklovers' Convention on my travel blog, Aloha On My Mind, at this link

Elle J. Rossi joined her sister, Beth Ciotta, in singing the National Anthem at the SOS America Military Tribute.  These sisters were inspiring.  From Elle's bio,

Elle J Rossi is a writer of Dark Paranormal and Fantasy Romance. Overly fond of the happily ever after, Elle lets her characters take control as they lead her down dark and twisted paths on their haunting journey toward love.

When not writing, you'll more than likely catch her hanging with her husband, two kids and a cat who truly does rule the roost, or stealing the mic from her friends as the duel over country karaoke.



Elle J Rossi

Elle is celebrating the recent release of JADED, Book 3 in the Starstuck series:  

Welcome to STARSTRUCK, a showplace for talent, a playground for love. The hot nights amp up with Rossi’s novella JADED, part of a new contemporary continuity series by Beth Ciotta, Cynthia Valero, and Elle J Rossi. Three authors. One world. 

MARRY ME, BROOKLYN.
Four years ago Brooklyn ran from that plea and straight toward what she dreamed would be a better future. An aspiring fashion designer destined for more than the boredom of small town life and the strain of a whiskey-saturated family, she launched herself toward the runways of New York.

I CAN’T.
Emmett couldn’t compete with the glitz of the big city, let alone erase Brookyn's emotional scars. When she turned down his proposal and left him behind, he poured what was left of his heart into his music. He got through with three rules: Play the guitar. Play the field. Forget about Brooklyn.

Now Brooklyn is back and the past and present collide inside Starstruck when Brooklyn fills in as lead singer for Emmett’s band. Night after night of thumping bass and passionately sung lyrics reminds them of every delicious memory they ever shared. But a sizzling attraction can only go so far when emotions are raw and trust is fragile. Emmett still wants forever. Brooklyn is only good at temporary.


Can two hearts find a way to truly connect off the stage, or will they stay forever jaded?


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May is National Military Appreciation Month.  For the month of May, I am giving away one grand prize of books and swag from the authors featured this month (link). Plus five more commenters - one for each branch of service - wins a book choice from my convention stash. To enter the giveaway,

1. Leave a comment about karaoke - have you tried it?  I cannot carry a tune in a bucket so I have not.  But it's fun to sing along in the audience!

2. Comments are open through Sunday, May 31, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3. I'll post the winner on Monday, June 1.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Learn more about Elle and her books at ellejrossi.com.

How about karaoke in Hawaii?

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

May is National Military Appreciation Month - Aloha to Angel Payne

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Breaking News!  I am now posting pictures from the RT Booklovers' Convention on my travel blog, Aloha On My Mind, at this link

Angel Payne is amazing.  She has boundless energy to chat with readers and appreciate the military.  Angel hosted the Joint Base Lewis McChord table in honor of  her WILD Boys of Special Forces series.  From her bio,

Bestselling romance author Angel Payne has been reading and writing her entire life, though her love for romances began in junior high, when writing with friends on “swap stories” they’d trade between classes. Needless to say, those stories involved lots of angst, groping, drama, and French kissing.

She began getting a paycheck for her writing in her twenties, writing record reviews for a Beverly Hills-based dance music magazine. Some years, various entertainment industry gigs, and a number of years in the hospitality industry later, Angel returned to the thing she loves the most: creating character-based romantic fiction. Along the way, she also graduated with two degrees from Chapman University in Southern California, taking departmental honors for English, before writing five historical romances for Kensington and Bantam/Doubleday/Dell.

Angel found a true home in writing contemporary-based romances that feature high heat and high concepts, focusing on memorable alpha men and the women who tame them. She has numerous book series to her credit, including the Kinky Truth series, the Secrets of Stone series (with Victoria Blue), and the popular W.I.L.D. Boys of Special Forces series, as well as several stand-alone titles. The Cimarron series and the Once Upon a Sin series both launch in 2015.

Angel still lives in Southern California, where she is married to her soul mate and lives on a street that looks like Brigadoon, with their awesome daughter and Lady Claire, the dog with impeccable manners. When not writing, she enjoys reading, pop culture, alt rock, cute shoes, and hanging at the beach with family and friends.


Angel Payne

Angel is ready to celebrate the release of A WILDER KIND OF LOVE, Book 7 in her WILD Boys of Special Forces, available June 16, 2015, which happens to be Flag Day:

The WILD Boys are back! USA Today Bestseller Angel Payne continues the hotter-than-hot series with this A scarred hero... 

Dan Colton was once the CIA's golden boy, a get-things-done cowboy who believed forgiveness was better to ask for than permission. But performing the devil's work was always easy with his angel's face, a damn good asset to have whether he was charming agency superiors...or training submissives in his darkest dungeon role plays.

Until his face was taken away.

An act of ultimate bravery spit Colton back out as a bitter, half-burned shell of the person he used to be, unsure of how to relate to the world without his physical calling card. His only condolence is dreaming of revenge on the bastard responsible for the fire that disfigured him, but when even that plan backfires, he is a beast without any prey--tormented by a beauty he cannot touch.

A willing submissive...


Tess Lesange, known around the CIA's Vegas office as "The Laser", has only one Achilles heel--in the form of the brooding agent who once wouldn't give her the time of day. Since Dan Colton's accident, they've become friends, even trusting each other with some of their kinkier secrets. What are friends for, right?


May is National Military Appreciation Month. For the month of May, I am giving away one grand prize of books and swag from the authors featured this month (link). Plus five more commenters - one for each branch of service - wins a book choice from my convention stash. To enter the giveaway,


1. Let's chat about cute shoes ... which are your favorite?  I used to love shoes ... then I moved to Hawaii.  So my favorite shoes now are slippahs.

2. Comments are open through Sunday, May 31, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3. I'll post the winner on Monday, June 1.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Learn more about Angel and her books at angelpayne.com.